Agenda Announced for 'World at a Crossroads' Conference

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One of the most important annual events for the left in the Pacific and Asia region. Climate change and ecosocialism is a key focus of this year’s conference.

World at a Crossroads – Fighting for Socialism in the 21st Century
April 10-13, 2009 – Sydney, Australia
Hosted by Green Left Weekly
Organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective & Resistance


Session times and speakers listed in this agenda may change. Please visit www.WorldAtACrossroads for the most up to date agenda.  


9.30am FEATURE SESSION: Capitalism’s crises and our solutions
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 and 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 (Canada)
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 Tasmania

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

7.30 pm CONFERENCE DINNER & FIESTA 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