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Buzz developing around World at a Crossroads Easter Conference

Over the last week, a real buzz has begun to develop around the World At A Crossroads conference in Sydney over Easter. The phones at the Abercrombie Street orgnanising office have been ringing hot with inquiries, interstate speakers doing workshops at the conference are reporting that they are also fielding inquiries about the conference, and the organisers say are starting to get more media requests for interviews than they can handle. It seems that many people will be coming to the conference “off the street” (not pre-registered).

A sign of the gathering momentum is that, except for Socialist Alternative who have their own conference in Melbourne at the same time, every socialist organisation has now booked a stall at our conference. Stalls have been also booked by the Australia-East Timor Association, International Volunteers for Peace, the Guatemalan Human Rights Association and the Australia-West Papua Association, in addition to the AVSN, Socialist Alliance, and the DSP/Resistance stall.

International speakers update

The bad news is that Ammar Ali Jan from the Labor Party Pakistan will not get to the conference as he did not receive his visa in time to make the trip from Lahore to Karachi to catch his flight (it was held up, not by the department of immigration this time, but by separate Australian “security checks” – it seems that the Australian government now considers every Pakistani a potential terrorist).

On a brighter note, it is now confirmed that well-known Zimbabwean socialist Muyaradzi Gwisai will definitely be attending the conference. Munya is a central leader of the International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe, and deputy chairperson of the Zimbabwe Social Forum. He teaches law and is a well-known class fighter in his country.

Munya was elected to the national parliament in Zimbabwe in 2000, as the MP for Highfield in Harare, on a ticket backed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. However, in 2002 he lost his seat when he was expelled from the MDC. The ISO Zimbabwe, along with Zimbabwe's trade unions and other militants, played an important role in the creation of the MDC. However, as the MDC leadership came to be dominated by members of Zimbabwe's capitalist class and increasingly embraced neo-liberalism, Gwisai and the ISO Zimbabwe often clashed with the MDC leaders.

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