Friday, March 20, 2015

Unity is Power- Australians March to Save Aboriginal Communities

Racial Genocide: The Australian Government's new policy of de-funding Aboriginal communities means that it will eliminate access to services such as health care and education, while also completely cutting off power and water.

On March 16, 2015, thousands took action across dozens of cities & smaller regional communities in Western Australia demanding the government abandon its plan to evict 150 Aboriginal communities in Western Australia. Major city centers in Brisbane & Melbourne were shut down by massive sit-ins while Perth marched on Parliament. Online people used the hashtag #SOSBlakAustralia to show their support for those taking the streets. The day’s actions were organized by a vast group of Indigenous peoples, community organizations, spear-headed by a small collective going by SOS Blak Australia.

This latest attack on Australia’s Aboriginal communities will create up to 20,000 refugees & add another chapter to the history of the Australian government’s attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples. The closures are being done under the guise of budget cuts, Australia’s racist Prime Minister Tony Abbott has gone as far as saying that the government can no longer fund a “lifestyle choice”, referring to Aboriginal people living on their traditional lands. Truth be told it is Aboriginal people who are being forced to fund the government’s “lifestyle” which continues to rely on exploiting stolen land and resources, including fossil fuels. The price they’ve paid includes not only their land but the attempted destruction of their culture.

Massive sit in & march to stop eviction of aboriginal communities shut down Melbourne yesterday|#SOSBLAKAUSTRALIA |

— proleterrorist (@soit_goes) March 19, 2015

Australia is not just attempting to balance its budget on the backs of Aboriginal people but it has been alleged that it is displacing them to make way for drilling & mining projects. Western Australia’s ‘Sovereign Union Governor’ told RT that the government was “after gold, uranium, natural resources of aboriginal land”. One the world’s oldest cultures could be displaced by one of the world’s most outdated technologies: mining. Meanwhile, resistance to the closures has been building up since November with the demolition of the Oombulgurri community. The process began with utilities being shut off followed by forced removals & home demolitions. (You can read more about their experience here). This process is now being repeated as aboriginal communities began reporting water shut offs earlier this week.

Tammy Solonec - an Aboriginal woman and human rights lawyer from Amnesty International - spoke out strongly against the closures. Arguing that it will only make the situation for many Aboriginal people worse, not better.

“Moving Aboriginal people from their homelands will be harder than making these communities sustainable and viable. It will cause inter-generational trauma. It will break connections to land and culture. It will force people to move to larger towns and cities, that are already experiencing over crowding – where they will have greater exposure to drugs, alcohol, violence, crime and ultimately incarceration”

2,000+ rally in Perth to stop aboriginal evictions | via @alex_bainbridge — proleterrorist (@soit_goes) March 19, 2015

One of the focal points of resistance has been Matagarup, site of the Noongar Tent Embassy which was established in 2012 in response to attacks on indigenous land claims. The site became a refuge for Aboriginal people displaced by community closures. On March 13, over fifty police officers, including many on horseback, descended on the encampment. Despite their efforts police failed to evict the refugee camp (You can learn more about their struggle here).

The March 16th day of action showed the world a people that is committed to protecting its Indigenous population from government land grabs. As the government moves forward with its plan to evict these communities expect to see many more actions & calls for international solidarity.

Updates & background on the resistance to closing of 150 aboriginal communities

— proleterrorist (@soit_goes) March 18, 2015

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