Personal account of being a member of Resistance (Australia)

Chuck0's picture

by Tom

Resistance and the Democratic socialist party are very similar to the Socialist Workers Party of the USA. These groups are very uncritical of castro's regime and like all trotskyist groups, they assert that their brand of marxist-leninist theory is right. Resistance and the DSP claim to have large memberships, though when I was a member, it didn't seem so large. They assert that the Bolsheviks wanted free speech. And that Karl Marx really intended that dictatorship of the proletariat to be democracy. Like the ISO they don't look outwardly objectionable like the spartacists and others.

I first came into contact with them when I was 15, when they were organising people for a local rally at a local shopping centre. I took one of their newspapers home and reading it changed my view on the world, I finally thought that it was wrong to think that all socialists were barbaric people that wanted to destroy the world as the media propagated.

By 1998, the group was organising anti-racist demonstrations against the Queensland rascist Pauline Hanson, before the 1998 election. I joined as a sixteen year old, who did not read much of the theory, but was keen to be involved. But like the ISO, Resistance hoped to make its revolution by selling papers. I remember times in Hunter Street (Newcastle, Australia) when I would spend hours on a saturday morning selling the Green Left Weekly.

As a sixteen year old, with poorly developed skills of differentiaton, I was prepared to believe anything they said about other people, our own government and to be inspired by one of the great Soviet bootlickers of all time Fidel Castro.

In the 1998 Australian election, I helped the group campaign for the seat of Newcastle. Another left group recieved nearly twice as many votes, I couldn't understand why that group didn't get behind our candidate.

In early 1999, I attended their national conference in Sydney. In my contacts with the group I had noticed that there were two types of members, one which was smart, inspired people and the other made up of sad loosers who looked very pale. I realised from that conference that the party was mostly made up for the sad losers!

I realised after the conference that I was being alienated from my family. I felt that they were 'indoctrinated' by the other side and I contemplated leaving home. After talking to my dad, I resolved to leave the group. In March 1999, I broke with the group. And for months afterwards, I was washing the theoretical shit off me and I had to resist the temptation to rejoin the group. I toned down my activism and became more independent of groups. I realised that Resistance/DSP were not really leading campaigns but hijacking them for their own purposes (ie: recruitment of new members).

Recently I was at an S11 (protests against the WEF) solidarity demonstration and I talked to a person who had been my mentor in the party. He asked me whether I still thought that Cuba was a dictatorship, to which I replied yes. He said that he couldn't think of anywhere more democratic than Cuba! I replied, "there are many good things about Cuba, but human rights and civil liberties aren't one of them". It was then that I realised what was needed to be a member of groups like that, blind devotion to their cause.

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