Indigenous Australia

On Invasion Day, I heard Australia screaming

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Invasion Day march, Melbourne, 26 January 2018 (screen shot via @Ruptly).

Calls for Tarneen Onus-Williams to resign from the Koori Youth Council are confected outrage because she dared to speak out against oppression, says John Passant.

AT THE INVASION DAY protest in Melbourne, organiser Tarneen Onus-Williams told the huge crowd:

"Fuck Australia, hope it burns to the ground."

All the fake free speech advocates have condemned her and some – like former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett – have called for Onus-Williams to be sacked from her role with the Koori Youth Council.

This confected outrage is rubbish. Anyone with a brain knew she was talking metaphorically — just as I was in this poem, 'Burn, Australia, burn', published on the Blackfulla Revolution FB page.

Burning to renew is a strong theme in Aboriginal life.

The outrage is just another example of the colonial mindset of the privileged Australian "one per cent" and their hoodwinked followers. How dare an oppressed Indigenous Australian woman fight for justice and a better world? How dare an Indigenous woman tell the truth that that justice and freedom can only be won by smashing the current genocidal system and state?

Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR), a group to which Onus-Williams belongs, issued a statement in response to the cries of outrage from the dispossessors, which has also caught the attention of the friends of fascists, including the Murdoch media:

In response to the attacks on WAR members and the call to burn Australia to the ground at the Naarm Abolish Australia Day Rally, we would like to issue the following statement:

Fuck Australia. 
Fuck your land theft, your child stealing and your
state sanctioned murders. 
Fuck your governments, your military and your police. 
Fuck your concentration camps dressed up as correctional facilities and immigration detention centres. 
Fuck your economy, your greed and your cult of the almighty dollar. 
Fuck your poisoning of water, your wholesale destruction of land and your pollution of our atmosphere. 
Fuck your language forced upon us and violently attempting to replace our very own. 
Fuck your white supremacy, your patriarchy and your capitalism. 
Fuck your flag, your anthem and your precious national day. 
WAR will not rest until we burn this entire rotten settler colony called Australia, illegally and violently imposed on stolen Aboriginal land at the expense of the blood of countless thousands, to the fucking ground, until every corrupt and illegal institution of white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist settler colonial power forced upon us is no more. We will not rest until we build a society that cares for and honours the Earth, our mother, that respects the interconnectedness of all beings, that is founded on our sovereignty and responsibility to this country and the people who live on it, and that offers a place of safety and prosperity for our people and for all those oppressed and excluded by the current systems of power - refugees, people of colour, LGBTQIA people, poor people, disabled people. 
Abolish Australia, not just Australia Day

When the oppressed – who in this case have suffered 230 years of genocide – fight back, we must support them. After all, what is the comparison between using the word "fuck" and upsetting the gin and tonic brigade, compared to the death of hundreds of thousands of Aboriginal people since the invasion began, the denial of this history and not doing anything about it? "Fuck" is too mild a response to 230 years of genocide. 

The left cannot stand on the sidelines on this and tut tut about swear words, or of wanting to overthrow the structures of genocide. Our current society is built on genocide. WAR is quite right to say, "Fuck Australia". They are quite right to say, "Abolish Australia".  

We must fight together. The Australia we live in is built on the death and dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous Australians. It is also built and rebuilt on the exploitation of workers every day. It is built on poverty, inequality, racism and discrimination. It is built on war — the war against those whom the one per cent regard as internal and external enemies.

Every day we see the results of this capitalist society — from three million living in poverty, to the new genocide of the stolen generations, to wage stagnation, to banning strikes, to cuts to public services, like health, transport and education and the attacks on welfare recipients.   

We know what we are against. But what are we for?

Burn, Australia, burn

For the seeds throw the future

Into the ground

And let the new, renewed, grow

A new land

Where love is the tree of life

And all live well

Not the hell of today

But a new way

Burn, Australia, burn

From the old, grows the new. Our new society must be a democratic society. It must put people before profit. It must turn current society upside down, so that we, ordinary people, run the world — not the one per cent. 

Let’s unite against the old order of genocide, of war, of poverty, of wage slavery. We have a new world to win.

As Arundhati Roy said:

'Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ 

On Invasion Day, I heard her screaming.

Read more by John Passant on his website En Passant or follow him on Twitter @JohnPassantSigned copies of John's first book of poetry, Songs for the Band Unformed (Ginninderra Press 2016), are available for purchase from the IA store HERE.

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