Australia: Full agenda for World at a Crossroads conference - Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century

World at a Crossroads - Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century
Easter 2009, April 10-13

Venue: Sydney Girls High School, Sydney



The full conference agenda is inserted below, or visit the following links to view the various topic streams:

* Global economic crisis
* Climate change & environmental crisis
* Latin American revolution: alternatives to capitalism
* Resisting imperialism & war
* Struggles in Asia and Africa
* Australian radical history & politics
* Left unity: alliances, movement building & revolutionary organisation
* Marxist fundamentals

Hosted by Green Left Weekly. Organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective & Resistance

For more info, email or, or phone 02 9690 1230



9.30am FEATURE SESSION: World at a crossroads — socialism or barbarism
  Reihana Mohideen, feminist and labour activist in the Philippines, leader of the newly formed Party of Labouring Masses
  David Spratt, co-author of Climate Code Red
  Michael Lebowitz, Centro Internacional Miranda in Venezuela, and author of Build it now: Socialism for the 21st century


Sexism and the system: A rebel’s guide to women's oppression - Reihana Mohideen, feminist activist from the Philippines; Kavita Krishnan, national secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association; and Jay Fletcher, Resistance activist

Challenges of building a climate change movement - David Spratt, co-author of Climate Code Red; Simon Butler, Green Left Weekly journalist on environmental issues and People for a Safe Climate activist

South Korea: A view from the left – South Korean socialist Yongsu Won

Iraq and Afghanistan: The US's unwinnable wars for oil – Alex Bainbridge, DSP; and anti-war activist from the Labour Party Pakistan

Working-class responses to the economic crisis - Jody Betzien, activist in the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union; Roger Annis, activist in the International Association of Machinists in Vancouver, Canada, and delegate to the 2008 Canadian Labour Congress convention

Marx, Engels and Darwin: Evolution and historical materialism - Ian Angus, author of forthcoming book on Darwin and materialism

Understanding Marxist economic theory – Graham Matthews, DSP national executive member and Green Left Weekly journalist on economic issues

1pm – LUNCH

2pm – FEATURE SESSION: Obama, US imperialism and the “war on terror”
  Salim Vally, spokesperson for Palestine Solidarity Committee (
South Africa)
  Labour Party Pakistan anti-war activist
  Rob Stary, civil liberties lawyer
  Hosted by Pip Hinman, DSP national executive member and activist in Stop the War Coalition

3.30pm – WORKSHOPS:

Public ownership and workers’ control – Dave Kerin, heading up initiative to establish worker-run cooperatives to build solar panels; and Michael Lebowitz on the experiences and lessons of self-management in Yugoslavia and Venezuela

Evo Morales and Bolivia's Indigenous revolution – Federico Fuentes, editor of Bolivia Rising and co-author of MAS-IPSP: A political instrument which emerged from the social movements

Boycott Israel campaign – Discussion hosted by Salim Vally, involved in the recent actions by South African dockworkers to boycott Israeli ships and involving activists in the BDS campaign against Israel

Political struggle in Timor Leste: The global, regional and local context – Tomas Freitas, socialist activist involved in Timor’s clandestine movement against Indonesian occupation and a founding member of Luta Hamutuk (Fight Together), a research and advocacy institute focussing on economic issues

The politics of Che Guevara – Duncan Meerding, Resistance

Understanding the economic crisis A - Jamie Doughney, senior researcher at the Work and Economic Policy Research Unit at Victoria University of Technology

Why be a Marxist today? Introduction to Resistance and the DSP – Resistance activist Mel Barnes and Brianna Pike, DSP Sydney organiser

5.30pm – FEATURE SESSION: Confronting the climate change crisis: An ecosocialist perspective
  Ian Angus, founder of the Ecosocialist International Network, editor of Climate and Capitalism and associate editor of Socialist Voice (
  Dick Nichols, author of Environment, Capitalism and Socialism, Socialist Alliance national co-convenor
  Hosted by Stuart Rosewarne, co-editor of Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

7.30pm Dinner with music, poetry and film footage from struggles around the world


9.30am FEATURE SESSION: The spectre of 21st century socialism
  Michael Lebowitz, Centro Internacional Miranda,
Caracas, author of Build it Now: Socialism For the 21st Century and Beyond Capital: Marx's Political Economy of the Working Class, winner of the Isaac Deutscher memorial prize (2004)


Marxism, Islam and national liberation – anti-war activist from the Labour Party Pakistan, M. Saraswathy, founding member and deputy chairperson of the Socialist Party of Malaysia; and Tony Iltis, DSP activist

Climate refugees and the “overpopulation” debate – Kamala Emanuel, DSP national committee member

Philippines: Developments on the left – Reihana Mohideen, long-term activist in the women's and labour movements in the Philippines, involved in the recent formation of the Party of the Labouring Masses, and formerly vice-chair for international affairs at the socialist labour centre Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers)

Haiti today: Five years of UN military occupation – Roger Annis, Canada Haiti Action Network, visited Haiti on a human rights fact-finding mission in 2007

Production and consumption as a source of global warming: Beyond capitalism and toward a democratic ecosocialism - Hans Baer, Development Studies Program and Centre for Health and Society at the University of Melbourne, author of Global Warming and the Political Economy of Health

Understanding the economic crisis B – Dick Bryan, Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney

1pm – LUNCH

2pm – FEATURE SESSION: Building a worker-green-community alliance for sustainability
  Tim Gooden, secretary of
Geelong and Regions Trades and Labour Council
  Dave Kerin, convenor of Union Solidarity and heading up initiative to establish worker-run cooperatives to build solar panels
  Mel Barnes, Resistance activist in the Stop the Pull Mill campaign in

3.30pm – WORKSHOPS:

Indigenous resistance from invasion to intervention – Sam Watson, Aboriginal leader from Brisbane and Socialist Alliance national spokesperson on Indigenous rights; and an activist from the Northern Territory Rollback Intervention Working Group

The struggle for same-sex marriage rights – Simon Margan, Greens gay and lesbian rights activist; Farida Iqbal, DSP activist and campaigner for same-sex marriage rights in the ACT; and an activist from Community Action Against Homophobia, Sydney

The left in Malaysia – M. Saraswathy, founding member and deputy chairperson of the Socialist Party of Malaysia, and long-term organiser of plantation workers, urban settlers and women workers in Malaysia

Crisis and resistance in Africa – Salim Vally, long time anti-apartheid campaigner in South Africa; and Soubhi Iskander, Sudanese Communist Party

Experiences of left unity: The New Anti-capitalist Party in France and Socialist Alliance in Australia – Sam Wainwright, international observer at the NPA founding congress; and Sue Bolton, Victorian Socialist Alliance and DSP Melbourne secretary.

El Salvador after the elections: Where next for the FMLN? – Activists from the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in Australia

History of Resistance and the DSP – Resistance activist Mel Barnes and Stuart Munckton, DSP national executive

5.30pm – FEATURE SESSION: Latin America: Revolt, revolution and socialism in the 21st century
  Abelardo Curbelo, veteran of the Cuban revolution, central committee member of the Cuban Communist Party, currently Cuban ambassador to Australia
  Nelson Davila, founding member of Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement (MBR-200), currently head of Venezuela's diplomatic mission to Australia
  Luis Bilbao, long-time socialist activist on the Latin American left, participant in the construction of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and in the formation of the Union of South American Nations

Celebrating revolution: 50 years of Cuban Revolution, 10 years of Venezuelan Revolution. With toasts by
Cuba’s ambassador to Australia, Abelardo Curbelo, and Venezuela’s charge d’affaires, Nelson Davila


9.30am FEATURE SESSION: Neoliberalism and resistance in Asia
  Kavita Krishnan, Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist), editor of Liberation, the CPI-ML’s magazine in English, and national secretary of the All India Progressive Women's Association
  Yongsu Won, socialist activist from South Korea


Cultural dissent - The politics of art and resistance - Ian Angus on Racism, resistance and the blues; Jill Hickson from Actively Radical TV; and Phil Monsour, progressive folk singer

Capitalism, agribusiness and sustainable agriculture – DSP members Trish Corcoran, Kate Stockdale and Nick Soudakoff

Has racism always existed? – Resistance activist Dom Hale

Australia’s hidden radical tradition – DSP national executive member Dave Holmes

Understanding the economic crisis C – Dick Nichols, Socialist Alliance national co-convenor

The Cuban economy and Latin American integration – Tim Anderson, lecturer in political economy at Sydney University just returned from Cuba, and producer/director of The Doctors of Tomorrow

1pm – LUNCH

2pm – FEATURE SESSION: Revolution in Venezuela - Communal councils, the workers’ movement and the United Socialist Party of Venezuela
  Luis Bilbao, participant in the construction of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and in the formation of the Union of South American Nations, founding editor of the Latin America-wide monthly magazine América XXI, and author of 16 books, most recently Venezuela in Revolution: the Rebirth of Socialism

3.30pm – WORKSHOPS:

Young socialists fighting back – Kavita Krishnan, former president of the All India Students' Association (1999-2006); Resistance national co-organiser Jess Moore and high-school activist Felix Donovan

Sustainable cities: The transition to public transport, accessible housing and liveability – Ben Courtice, DSP environment movement activist; and John Rice, Adelaide Ecosocialist Network

Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah and the right of Palestine to exist – Issac Shuisha, Israeli-born Palestine solidarity activist; and DSP member Rupen Savoulian

Argentina: The key to the region - Luis Bilbao, Union of Militants for Socialism, Argentina, author of recently published Argentina as the key to the region

Imperialism, nationalism and financial collapse: The Canadian experience – Roger Annis, associate editor of Socialist Voice, Canada

The Tamil struggle for self-determination - Brian Senewiratne, Sinhalese activist involved for more than four decades in exposing the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government and Sinhalese militias; author of various books on the Tamil struggle that have been banned in Sri Lanka

Building a revolutionary alternative in Australia today – Resistance activist Mel Barnes and Ruth Ratcliffe, DSP Adelaide organiser

5.30pm – FEATURE SESSION: Revolutionary organising and internationalism in the 21st century
  Peter Boyle, Democratic Socialist Perspective national secretary
  M. Saraswathy, deputy chairperson of the Socialist Party of Malaysia
  Daphne Lawless, Socialist Worker-New Zealand central committee member and editor of Unity journal

7pm Resistance gig with funky tunes from Dhopec and others

* Some session times and speakers listed in this agenda may change.

Please visit www.WorldAtACrossroads for the most up to date agenda.