Resistance (socialist youth organisation)

Resistance is an Australian Revolutionary Socialist youth organisation with its national headquarters in Sydney. Resistance is an independent affiliate of the Socialist Alliance with a strong historical relationship with the Democratic Socialist Perspective, which dissolved into the Socialist Alliance in 2010.

Resistance organises under the slogan "When injustice becomes law - Resistance becomes duty".[1] Membership is open to everyone under 26 who is living in Australia and broadly agrees with the aims of Resistance. Resistance is made up of young workers, unemployed, students, and other young people involved in the environmental movement, the women's movement, the queer rights movement, anti-racist campaigns, and solidarity campaigns with struggles overseas. It argues that issues these movements face are products of the capitalist system,[2] and that a democratic socialist system is required to replace it. Resistance organises on campus, at schools, and in workplace and youth trade union campaigns.[3]

There are Resistance branches in Adelaide, Brisbane, Geelong, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wollongong which operate out of the activist centre in each city.[4]

Resistance held its 39th national conference in Wollongong, 24–26 April 2010.[5] The organisation's 40th national conference was held in Sydney in 2011. In 2012, Resistance held its 41st national conference in Adelaide, 20–22 July.[6] Conference participants joined local union activists in a protest at Coles in solidarity with striking transport workers.[7]


Resistance campaigns on many social justice and environmental issues. Current national campaigns include: action on climate change,[8][9] equal marriage rights,[10] rolling back the Northern Territory Intervention,[11] ending mandatory detention for asylum seekers,[12] equal rights for women,[13] Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel,[14] and stopping cuts to tertiary education.[15]

Resistance also campaigns around international issues such as ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,[16] ending the occupation of Palestine,[17] support for the Venezuelan and Cuban revolutions,[18] and support for Tamil self-determination in Sri Lanka.[19]

Green Left Weekly

Resistance members help to write for and produce Green Left Weekly, and each edition includes one page dedicated to articles written by Resistance members about youth issues or movements Resistance is involved in. In the past, Resistance has organised a multi-page magazine insert into Green Left Weekly,[20] and periodically organises lift-out fact sheets.


Resistance was formed in 1967 out of the Sydney University Labor Club and the Vietnam Action Campaign. This was a time when students were being radicalised by the Vietnam war. Throughout the late 1960s, Resistance struggled with members of the ALP and CPA for the anti-Vietnam War movement to call mass demonstrations; these experiences formed the basis of Resistance's opposition to Stalinism and emphasis on mass action in social movements.[21] In late 1969, leaders of the CPA attempted to limit Resistance's involvement in the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign in Sydney, proposing that only representatives of affiliated organisations should participate in an organising committee.[21] However, the majority of those attending the founding meeting of the VMC rejected the CPA's proposals; Jim Percy, a leading member of Resistance, played a leading role in the following Moratorium campaign of independent mass mobilisations against the war, which built the largest antiwar actions ever seen in Australia at that time, with 75,000 marching in Melbourne and 20,000 marching in Sydney.[21]

The original name for the organisation was SCREW, said either to stand for Society for the Cultivation of Rebellion Every Where, or Sydney Committee for Revolution and Emancipation of the Working Class. After a few months the name was changed to Resistance, and at the founding national conference in 1970 the name was changed to Socialist Youth Alliance, to be changed back to Resistance 10 years later.

Resistance has organised campaigns such as the high school walkouts against Pauline Hanson in 1998,[22][23] which drew 14,000 students to protest, the single largest political action taken by secondary students in Australia's history.[24] Resistance was involved in the Books not Bombs collective which organised anti-war protests in 2003[25] of around 5000 students,[26] the APEC protests against George W. Bush in 2007[27] and Students Against the Pulp Mill in 2008.

When the DSP and several other groups formed the Socialist Alliance in early 2001, Resistance gave its solidarity but did not affiliate to the Alliance until late 2003. Some have argued that since Resistance affiliated to the Socialist Alliance and the DSP dissolved itself into the Alliance, Resistance has been seriously ignored. There is in an ongoing debate about how to relate to and effectively organise Resistance, with an alternative platform put to the 2012 national conference to dissolve Resistance into the Socialist Alliance gaining support from a minority of delegates.


  1. Dwyer, Michael (20 June 1998). "Radio National - Episode 8". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Radio National. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  2. "What Resistance Stands For". Resistance. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  3. "What Is". Resistance. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  4. "Contact". Resistance. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  5. "System Offline". Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  6. "'Time of revolution' energises socialist youth conference | Green Left Weekly". 2012-05-26. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  7. "Coles security guard loses his cool". YouTube. 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  8. "Environment". Resistance. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  9. "International Support - Save Vestas Jobs!". Save Vestas. 20 July 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  10. "Struggle, Resistance and the equal love campaign | Green Left Weekly". 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  11. "National Day of Action: Stop the NT Intervention". Resistance. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  12. "Fightback needed for refugee rights | Green Left Weekly". 2009-12-02. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  13. "Women's liberation". Resistance. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  14. "Interview with Shamikh Badra, Gaza youth activist". Resistance. 2005-07-09. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  15. "What will it take to stop the cuts? | Green Left Weekly". 2013-05-11. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  16. "Bring the Troops Home! Bring David Hicks Home!". Resistance. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  17. "Proud to be on Palestine's side | Green Left Weekly". 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  18. "The Venezuelan Revolution". Resistance. 2005-12-07. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  19. "29.06.08 Australian socialist conference highlights Tamil rights". TamilNet. 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  20. "Resistance to launch magazine in | Green Left Weekly". 1998-11-03. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  21. 1 2 3 A History of the Democratic Socialist Party: The First Two Decades, John Percy, 1990
  22. "Resistance pledges rallies/walkouts against Hanson | Green Left Weekly". 1998-09-09. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  23. "Aussie students rally against racism". South News. 2 July 1998. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  24. "News August 1998". Takver's Soapbox. 31 August 1998. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  25. "Books not bombs: young people against the war | Green Left Weekly". 2006-02-22. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  26. Munro, Peter (7 March 2003). "Protest was dangerous, says department". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  27. Lawrence, Kara (22 August 2007). "APEC protestors target Sydney". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2013.

Further reading

External links

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