jew on this

critical, progressive ideas from pondering jews

Category: indigenous rights

the four…

by jewonthisguest

as said at a second night seder in melbourne by z.
hebrew via the interwebs.

בָּרוּךְ הַמָּקוֹם, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. בָּרוּךְ שֶׁנָּתַן תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. כְּנֶגֶד אַרְבָּעָה בָנִים דִּבְּרָה תּוֹרָה . אֶחָד חָכָם, וְאֶחָד רָשָׁע, וְאֶחָד תָּם, וְאֶחָד שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל

חָכָם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה הָעֵדוֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֶתְכֶם? וְאַף אַתָּה אֱמָר לוֹ כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח: אֵין מַפְטִירִין אַחַר הַפֶּסַח אֲפִיקוֹמָן

רָשָׁע מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת לָכֶם? לָכֶם – וְלֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל כָּפַר בְּעִקָּר. וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת שִנָּיו וֶאֱמֹר לוֹ: בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יי לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם. לִי – וְלֹא לוֹ. אִילּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל

תָּם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה זֹּאת? וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו: בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יי מִמִּצְרָיִם, מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים

וְשֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל – אַתְּ פְּתַח לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יי לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם

Blessed is the blessing. Blessed that we can sit as friends, as family and as fucked-up individuals lashed together by empty ritual, tradition and blood and fill this with meaning. That we can build and destroy together.

The Torah speaks of Four Sons – not really, it doesn’t exist in that form – but the Rabbis, as men, thought that there were four sons worthy of inclusion and many invisible daughters who weren’t worth mentioning at all. They also didn’t mention animals, non-Jews and people who didn’t resemble themselves. Fuck that!

The Symbol of Wisdom – this symbol is the all-knowing, all powerful patriachal dictator that we internalise as we are socialised in our houses, our families and communities. he confuses the narrative with historical factoids and presents a slick retelling of the story as a totally reasonable history. and we internalise and adopt these stories as our own. to this, we must say, fuck us!

The Symbol of Wicked – this symbol is the land developer who talks about property prices and never about Indigenous people and their land, and the minor functionaries of capitalism who grease the wheels while complaining ironically about being functionaries of capitalism, and the csg volunteers who perpetuate and construct the siege mentality that zionism so loves in melbourne. to this, we must say, fuck us!

The Symbol of the Simple – this symbol is of the status quo, of those parts of us that think that rape culture isn’t a problem because it’s everywhere and that episode 9 of Girls was fine because it didn’t confront, call-out and reject the rape scene at the end between Adam and that random character. to this, we must say, fuck us!

The Symbol of the Blank – this symbol is of the uninformed, of those parts of us who think the Jewish News is a source of information, that Australian history begins in 1788, that Prisoner X and Zionism is totally fine, and that refugees who risk their lives on boats are queue jumping scum. to this, we must say, fuck us!

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queering the doykeit

by tobybee

the internet has indeed (in my experience) been rad for building transnational communities of jewish diasporists. despite physical distance, we can connect over the lines, sharing ideas and building fledgling friendships. one such connection i’ve made has been to jenna brager, whose zine, doykeit, i discovered thanks to vlada. and so i’m loving the jewish ladies across the globe.

jenna’s just put out a new call out for submissions for a second edition of doykeit (doykeit, she writes in the first, “in a contemporary context implies a radical investment in the local communities that sustain us and an understanding that in a globalized society, solidarity politics must cross borders real and imagined), so, friends, get to it and submit something!:

Doykeit #2—“Diaspora”

The concept of ‘doykeit,’ Yiddish for ‘hereness,’ is taken from the pre-World War II Polish-Jewish group The Bund, which believed that Jews have both a right to live and a political commitment to work for change ‘here and now.’

Doykeit seeks to speak to the cross-sections of Jewish and queer/feminist identification and how these might inform an anti-Zionist or Palestinian solidarity politic.

For this issue of Doykeit, we ask for writing and art that considers one or more of the following topics: diaspora, home and “homeland,” galut, displacement, dispersal, remembrance, intergenerational relationships, borders, nationalism, and violence.

“The word ‘diaspora’ means dispersion. It originated in the Septuagint, one of the original Greek translations of the Bible: Deuteronomy 28:25: ‘thou shalt be a diaspora in all kingdoms of the earth.’…”

Some questions to consider:

–site(s) of diaspora and site(s) of “home”

–diaspora in a globalized society

–What does it mean to be a diaspora Jew (politically, spiritually etc.)?

–How is diaspora complicated/ take on different meaning in different Jewish communities (ethnic, geographic, denominational, etc.)?

–How do we build solidarity between/ within diasporic/ exilic communities?

Due May 1st

time to talk

by tobybee

Demo against demolitions in the Negev

as i noted a couple of weeks ago, today is Green Sunday. a group of us produced a flyer and this morning handed it on Carlisle st and outside the JNF offices, located in Beth Weizmann, from where the phone calls were being made. While events in Carlisle st were pretty subdued, when we got to BW, and the security guard saw what we were handing out, a panic broke out. and by panic, i am being quite literal: we presented no security threat and yet we were deemed to be one. CSG reinforcements were called out, people who took one of our flyers were told that they could not enter the building with a flyer and were given a bin in which to chuck it, and the cops were called. One man, as he left the building, told us that we are antisemites, traitors and kapos. he said we should all be shot. Photos were taken of us. And the cops responded to us exactly how one could have predicted: they agreed we were doing absolutely nothing wrong and were amused and bewildered; they warned us not to racially vilify anyone, and when we responded that we’re all Jews, they turned around and pointed that out to the CSG men watching us and taking photos. “Every family has a black sheep”, came their retort.Al Araqib, Negev, Israel, 28.07.2010

so we came to be seen as a threat, which, in the end is part of the intention: we want, we need, people to come to understand what the JNF actually does. The Melbourne Jewish community needs to have a serious conversation about the actions that are carried out by such groups.

But it remains interesting that a group of 7 people, standing on the footpath and having a gentle conversation are seen as cause for a security panic. we can only hope that it leads to a political panic too.

Feel free to use the information on the flyer to produce other leaflets. And if you’re in melbourne and interested in joining in on future activities: we’re meeting on Wednesday 13 Feb at 6.30pm in the city – contact me if you want to know where.

“we are the ones whose homes are being demolished”

by tobybee

coming up on February 3rd is the JNF’s Green Sunday. It’s the day when they do a call around, asking people to donate to the JNF. This year they’re focused on the region around Beer Sheva, a region which, when planted with trees (which are primarily pine trees, not a sustainable or suitable tree for that region), forces indigenous Bedouins off their lands. Indeed, the JNF has been forcing Bedouins and Palestinians off their lands and out of their homes across all parts of Palestine/Israel for as long as it has been in existence, in order to claim land for Jewish settlers. This is, as we well know, often done under the guise of environmentalism.

In an article in the Jewish News advertising Green Sunday, Michael Naphtali (the current national president of the JNF) says that the “JNF has tapped into what is important: Israel’s survival and Jewish continuity, and I think Green Sunday is a great event that combines both.” In doing so, he makes the situation quite clear: the JNF works with a particular idea of survival and continuity. This is an idea of these things wherein Israel is always and only Jewish: survival and continuity is directly linked to the erasure and dispossession of non-Jews.

Yet sadly, as Jews living in Melbourne we hear nothing of the true effects of the JNF. There is no discussion, only silence. Actually, not only silence, for we are encouraged (or indoctrinated) from a young age to believe that there is no flip side to this idea of “survival and continuity”: to actually believe that the JNF helps to make the desert bloom (as though this isn’t one of the great lies that colonial societies always tell themselves).

So we need to start talking. We need to make the facts clear, to get the stories known.

One of the villages that is directly affected by the JNF and their erasures and replantings is Al Araqib, located in the Negev. There is much information out there about their struggles – including that the village – which is unrecognised by the Israeli government – has, as of mid-December 2012, been demolished 45 times.

For an introduction I encourage you to watch this short doco. And then to read, and talk to your family and friends, and reconsider what the JNF is, and the role that it should play in your life.

for a sweet year

by tobybee

please don’t spill over, dear tomatoes, i prayed. alas, to no avail…

gut yontif, dear readers. i’m finishing up cooking an eggplant and tomato bake for erev rosh hashana dinner tonight. and so, i wish you a nourishing, fulfilling, self-reflective year to come. a year filled with love, laughter, and friendships. with the strength to cope with adversity, and the strength to ask for help. and the strength and care to offer help. the determination to offer forgiveness, to others and to yourself. the desire to right the wrongs that you perpetrate, knowingly and unknowingly. the willingness to see what structures of oppression you fall victim to, and which ones you are complicit in. and to do what you can to not be complicit. the assurance that you will dance as you further the revolution.

my cooking playlist:
the wailing wall
the shondes
leonard cohen

Occupy Chanukah…

by tobybee

Some of us who are involved in Occupy Melbourne (myself, Tal Slome, and Max Kaiser) organised an Occupy Chanukah event for last Tuesday night (as mentioned below). About 25 people came,  both Jews and non-Jews, and we did some readings and had some interesting discussions, said the relevant prayers, lit our decolonisation Chanukah candles from Narrow Bridge Candles, and ate some delicious ponchkas.

The three of us who organised the event put together a couple of things: a readings booklet, (which was a collection of previously published writings from the interwebs, and some bits that we wrote ourselves) which we read through as a group, each person reading a small section as we moved around the circle; and a sheet with the relevant prayers and a few Chanukah recipes from around the world. In the readings, we wrote, in part:

Thoughts on the Maccabees and their push for Jewish homogeneity…

We have a sense now that, after rededicating the Second Temple, the Maccabees fought to create a Jewish community that was homogenous and not in any way ‘Hellenized’. That is, they worked for an idea of Judaism and Jewish identity which would be ‘pure’. But as we stand here today, in the space of the Occupy Movement, at Occupy Melbourne, we purposely stand in solidarity with others. And in order to do so, we embrace an idea of Jewish identity which is diasporic: that is cosmopolitan, and stands in common, in solidarity, with other movements for liberation (and liberation from what, and towards what, must be a common question).

We take an idea of diasporism that is multiple, not singular, and that embraces both Chanukah and Occupy Melbourne, from Jewish writers such as John Docker, who lives in Canberra and who wrote that diaspora is ‘a sense of belonging to more than one history, to more than one time and place, more than one past and future. Diaspora suggests belonging to both here and there, now and then. Diaspora suggests the omnipresent weight of pain of displacement from a land or society, of being an outsider in a new one. Diaspora suggests both lack and excess of loss and separation, yet also the possibility of new adventures of identity and the continued imagining of unconquerable countries of the mind.’

We take an idea of belonging that means that we challenge the idea – perpetuated by many within the Jewish community and without, historically (such as by the Maccabees), and today – that standing alongside others amongst whom we live, and sharing cultures with them, is inherently bad, and we avow, alongside Ella Shohat, who writes from New York (via Iraq), that we will not allow ourselves to be defined as exclusively Jewish, ‘as [inherently] closer to other [Jews] than to the cultures of which [we] have been a part.’ We at Occupy Chanukah reject the idea that ethnic, racial, religious purity is superior to hybridity, or to internal difference. We also avow that forced assimilation – the pressuring of marginalised groups to conform, which is all too common in this country today – must be fought against. We stand in solidarity with those many Jews throughout history, including in the Chanukah story, who have fought against those rulers, and social pressures, which instructed Jews (and others) to conform.

And so we remember this moment in Jewish history here, at Occupy Melbourne, in order to write it anew into the history books.

For as we have seen, Chanukah has undergone many transitions of history.

So we remember this Jewish moment to remember a Jewish identity and to remember the legacy of resilience that past Jews have bequeathed us; to remember the ways in which Jewish resistance has been variously played out; to remember the beauty and creativity of forms of Jewish longevity.  But also to remember that we are a marginalised people, and that we stand with other marginalised peoples; to remember that the condition of being marginalised is, in the end, quite ordinary, and for so many an everyday affair. And that to be subjected to state-based violence is everyday, and is built into the system as it currently stands; to be subjected to material and discursive, or physical and oral violence, is, for many of us, an everyday affair.

photo credit: Sharne Vate

Here is the Occupy Chanukah at Occupy Melbourne program and the Occupy Chanukah prayer/song/recipe info, so feel free to have a read and use them (or bits of them) in any future Chanukah events you organise…

Palestinian Freedom Riders

by anzya

On Tuesday afternoon in the West Bank, a group of six Palestinian Freedom Riders inspired by the US Civil Rights movement attempted to ride segregated settler buses headed to Jerusalem and were violently arrested for their actions.

From their earlier press release:

In the 1960s U.S. South, black people had to sit in the back of the bus; in occupied Palestine, Palestinians are not even allowed ON the bus nor on the roads that the buses travel on, which are built on stolen Palestinian land.

In undertaking this action Palestinians do not seek the desegregation of settler buses, as the presence of these colonizers and the infrastructure that serves them is illegal and must be dismantled. As part of their struggle for freedom, justice and dignity, Palestinians demand the ability to be able to travel freely on their own roads, on their own land, including the right to travel to Jerusalem.

Palestinian activists also aim to expose two of the companies that profit from Israel’s apartheid policies and encourage global boycott of and divestment from them. The Israeli Egged and French Veolia bus companies operate dozens of segregated lines that run through the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, many of them subsidized by the state. Both companies are also involved in the Jerusalem Light Rail, a train project that links illegal settlements in East Jerusalem to the western part of the city.

From their recent press release:

In a scene reminiscent of the early U.S. civil rights movement, border police and army surrounded and shut down Jerusalem Bus 148, blocking the Freedom Riders at the Hizmeh checkpoint. The action clearly highlights the injustice and dispossession that Palestinians face under Israeli occupation and apartheid. The six freedom riders who boarded the bus originally as well as an additional rider, were arrested and are currently at the Israeli Atarot police station.

Reading about this I started thinking about the Australian Freedom Ride in 1965, and how powerful this kind of action and image can be, even around 50 years after the original Freedom Rides in the US. Here is Charlie Perkins talking about the Australian Freedom Ride (via Koori History Web):

For more on this…

Mondoweiss describes why transportation is such an important issue in Palestine:

In my visit to Palestine this past June, the problem of transportation was discussed in virtually every conversation. The limits on transportation for Palestinians tell you virtually all that you need to know about the racist Occupation. One graphic example is that there are different license plates for Israeli settlers from those of the Palestinians. A car with Palestinian plates cannot travel into Israel. And, in fact, there are roads within Occupied Palestine, on which Palestinian vehicles are prohibited. Another graphic example, which relates directly to the matter of the Freedom Rides, was explained to me at a border crossing where Palestinian workers were going into Israel for their jobs. I was informed that once in Israel they had to ALREADY have their transportation arranged. Naively I assumed that they could simply hop on a bus and go to work. Not so fast, it turns out. The Israeli buses will not stop to pick up Palestinian workers.

The Palestinian Freedom Rides aim to dramatize that there is no freedom of movement for Palestinians. They are a population suffering from an on-going occupation that has become, as I have asserted previously, a slow-motion annexation. Discriminatory transportation policies which privilege the freedom of movement of Israelis, and Israeli settlers in particular, are part of the low-intensity violence experienced by the Palestinians on a daily basis aimed at further and further marginalizing them until they feel forced to abandon their own land.

Also read +972 mag for photos and coverage. And electronic intifada.

occupy melbourne… some notes

by tobybee

I’m part of a group of people – calling ourselves the ‘rooftop collective’ (because we sat on the roof of a house of melbourne to talk ideas and write) – who have written some thoughts regarding Occupy Melbourne. The Jewish connection? Well, half of the members of the group are Jewish, plus, as Occupy Judaism has clearly shown us, the Occupy movement (like any and every social movement) is, almost inherently, something which Jews should be, and always are, a part of. For our Jewishness is inextricable from other parts of our subjectivities, some of which are liberatory and some of which are oppressive. Some identity formations – and their material effects – we want to embrace, others we might seek to rebel against (so, we might love reading about the Cairo Geniza, but repudiate the idea that Jews control global capital – to give some basic examples).

So even though, if I’m honest, there was little which is explicitly Jewish in this statement, it was informed by a set of Jewish intersection values, politics, ideas and histories. The statement reads, in part (check out the whole statement here):

Transformative political action requires that we intervene in and change our political, personal and economic realities and our desired worlds; that we open our politics, language, relationships and practices to the possibilities of justice.

To do this we need to continue to recognise and take seriously that we occupy occupied ground. This country is in dispute, Indigenous sovereignty has never been ceded; Indigenous struggles continue. Decolonisation must structure the conversations we have about imagining a better future, and committing ourselves to working out what this means must be central to our movement.

We seek to act in solidarity with Indigenous struggles.

Things can and must change. We can create the spaces for change, we have the power to make change. We all have the possibility for kindness, solidarity and for hope. Occupy Melbourne embodies and symbolises hope: hope for direct democracy, the hope of turning public/private spaces into spaces in common, the hope of an open-ended process of experimentation with different ways of being together, the hope of laying bare the inherent antagonisms of society, and making them explode.

[…]

Who are the 99%. What is the 99%.

The 99% are united by the political and economic control that we lack in common, not by the sameness amongst us. We do not control the majority of the world’s wealth, nor the political systems that (want to) determine our relations, desires and lives.

What 99% of the world have in common is that we are exploited, albeit differentially, by the systems of capital, and that we share the power to change it.

We are comprised of myriad differences, experiences, identities and belief structures, both imposed on us and self-determined.

Capitalism stratifies the 99%. The inequities amongst us both involve and transcend class. We are divided by oppressive structures of thought and behaviours that determine privilege and marginalisation. Amongst us are the struggles of Indigenous people, women, people of colour, differently-abled people, queer and transgendered people, refugees, migrants and people of marginalised ethnic and religious practices and identities.

We are informed by the ‘differences’ we have learned, some of which we need to unlearn. There are some differences which need to be discarded, others which must be encouraged. Occupy Melbourne needs to embrace differences amongst people, but abandon any ideas of difference which rely on and produce hierarchies.

We all carry prejudice and inequity amongst us. We all need to face this and ensure it informs our commitment to listen, to re-think, to take responsibility for how our personal expressions and actions affect each other’s experiences, and to be willing to change. We come together through a subversive, unified practice of respect, not through striving for a sameness of experience and identity. We realise transformative commonalities through shared struggles.

The bankruptcy of liberalism

We should be wary of employing the liberal language of ‘rights’, as it divides and disempowers. We take action not because we have a state-authorised ‘right’ to, nor the ‘right’ to protest, the ‘right’ to freedom of speech, the ‘right’ to free-assembly. Defining ourselves as empowered by ‘rights’ plays into the hands of those who would divide the movement, where the person who is deemed to have rights by the state is the governmentally-defined ‘good citizen’. In effect it is the State that determines what our ‘rights’ are and when to end them. ‘Rights’ are just as often used to limit us, to create a false divide between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ protesters, and are cynically used to delegitimate resistance.

The actions of Melbourne mayor Robert Doyle and the Victoria Police demonstrated all too starkly the bankruptcy of liberalism and exactly how far our ‘rights’ extend. Our eviction from City Square, a ‘public’ space, which we legally have a ‘right’ to, shows that the conflict on Friday was not about whether or not we were ‘expressing our right to protest in a free society’, and who was actually observing the law and who was not, but was a clear political conflict between us and those who have the power to give and take away such ‘rights’.

Our ‘rights’ in the liberal order only extend to the dissent that the system can or will tolerate, not to dissent that fundamentally threatens the status quo. We need to create our own ways of expressing our need for justice, and alternatives that are not pleas to be re-included as ‘good-citizens’ within an oppressive system.

Just as on Friday we were reduced to symbols of disruption that needed to be brutally repressed, the system depends on its constitutive others: people, practices and ideas that are central to upholding the place of those who are included, through their very exclusion. These others are racialised others, gendered others and marginalised people generally. If we are to stand as the 99%, then we must all take a stand together as the ‘excluded’, as bad citizens or uncitizens, barbarians at the gate opposing the system rather than asking for inclusion within it or to reclaim privileges lost.

Part of resisting this inclusion is resisting representation. Occupy Melbourne doesn’t represent the 99%; we are not a vanguard claiming to speak on behalf of those without power. We envision a politics of self-determination and direct democracy without need for representation and with a disdain for governmental politics. We are in the process of creating ourselves as political agents, of working towards our own transformative commonality, of building our own power.

[…]

All of us have our time stolen in different ways by the daily grind of capitalism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, racism, colonialism. Importantly, all of us want to be involved. And while there may be differences in the time, energy and knowledge that we can each commit to Occupy Melbourne, we assert that this will never be the basis for hierarchies amongst us. We will not push people out because they have less time, disregard people because they are not sure how to articulate their thoughts, alienate people when they make mistakes. None of our politics is pure. We will embrace a willingness to make sure our patterns of organisation don’t align themselves with structures of domination. Occupy Melbourne is a continuous learning space, a space to make mistakes and together figure out how to do better next time, how to expand and how to continue, how to keep going and never stop. Occupy more, decolonise more, find each other, build larger and stronger networks and keep discovering new ways to experiment with social life, building consensus, and reclaiming our lives.

Vale Bobbi Sykes

by anzya

Aboriginal activist, poet and icon  Bobbi Sykes sadly passed away on Sunday.

In a small part of her interview with Wanda Cohen in 1985 Callaloo*, talking about her poetry, she said:

My poetry and that of other black Australians is not “fine art”. It verbalizes
the agony in which we live. Given how many we are, and how few writers
there are, it is surprising how many of our writers are poets. Kevin Gilbert spent
most of his adult life in prison where he taught himself to be literate and published
when he came out. Kath Walker is another well-known poet. Most of the women
poets don’t have a prison background, but most of the men do. That’s similar to
the black situation here in America.

I had no other way to cope with my emotions other than put them on
paper. I’d write things furtively in the middle of the night and shov~ them into
drawers. At the same time I was a political analyst, writing for newspapers all
around the world. For almost ten years I’d been known as a militant activist writer,
critical of the way institutions in our society operate. I published my book of
poetry, Love Poems and Other Revolutionary Actions, in 1979. The newspapers who
covered my book party wrote: “Activist turned poet.”

Her poem “Ambrose” was also published in the Callaloo article, and originally published in Love Poems and Other Revolutionary Acts, in 1979 :

AMBROSE

They say you took your life/
with your
own hand.
But I been looking
at your life
these past
four years
and I see other
hands
in the taking
of your life.
Your mother was
helping
you
to die
since
your first breath.
You showed me
her picture
once
taken with you
as a babe.
You lay, pretty boy,
on a table.
Behind you she stood
your bottle in one hand
her bottle in the other/
symbol of your childhood.

Your father helped
by the hole
he left in your life
when he split
&
you
only seven months in
foetaldom.

Teachers had a hand:
laying hands
upon you
(not in love)
in punishment

for your dirty clothes
& later
for your lies
(your survival kit, haha–

you told me later).
Incorrigible:
you lived more
a uniformed life
contained
by uniformed men
than in the free air
of which you
often spoke.
I don’t like to talk
about
how the ‘helpers’
helped–

moving you closer
& closer
to your inevitable fall
(or were you pushed?).

Helpers who
let you know so soon
that vour best .
wasn’t good enough/
for them.
‘There is no place
for me here’
you told me/
already 17
and floating now
in the only space
you could see open.
There were handmarks
& fingerprints
all over you
when they found you;
but you died
by your own hand
they said.

* Callaloo, No. 24 (Spring – Summer, 1985), pp. 294-303

Protest Against the NT Intervention

by anzya

If you’re in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane, hop along to this national day of action against the NT Intervention, organised by the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective. Their media release is below:

No to Forrest’s GenerationOne, Yes to Aboriginal ‘Jobs With Justice’

Aboriginal people deserve decent, well-paid and meaningful jobs – this is a basic human right. But these jobs won’t be delivered by the GenerationOne billionaires’ project.

On Friday at 5.30pm outside the State Library, The Greens Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, will be speaking in support of the campaign for ‘jobs with justice’ against the NT Intervention. Mr Bandt will be joined by veteran Aboriginal rights activists Gary Foley and Robbie Thorpe, as well as union representatives, including Kevin Bracken from the Victorian Trades Hall Council, at the Melbourne event, part of a National Day of Protest.

Spokesperson for the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective (MAIC), Sharon Firebrace, said “Andrew Forrest’s GenerationOne project has been a failure in the past.  And it will continue to be the pernicious smokescreen it was set out to be. Jobs for Aboriginal people will be delivered through fighting against the interests of the people like Andrew Forrest and challenging this government. The launch of this campaign, with the support of Adam Bandt, Aboriginal elders, and unions, is a challenge to business and this government.”

There are old platitudes in the GenerationOne project about education and employment, which are indicators of disadvantage, not the cause of it. Aboriginal rights activists are challenging this project.

Ms Firebrace says “There is no mention of land rights on the GenerationOne site, not one mention of the dispossession, racism and ongoing genocide that lies at the heart of Aboriginal disadvantage.”

A statement – “Worse than WorkChoices” – to be launched this Friday as part of a National Day of Protest against the NT Intervention, outlines the cruel lie of both the Labor Government’s “Closing the Gap” policy and the ongoing NT Intervention.

When the NT Intervention was introduced in 2007, it promised to deliver “real jobs” for Aboriginal communities. Instead, thousands of waged jobs have been lost and Aboriginal organisations have been crippled as Community DeveAlopment Employment Projects (CDEP) close down.

Ms Firebrace, said “There is no such thing as justice when it comes to jobs for Aboriginal people in the top end. Vital services such as rubbish collection, school bus runs, sewerage maintenance, construction and aged care, these are being done by Aboriginal people in exchange for quarantined Centrelink payments.

“Aboriginal workers have described the BasicsCard as a return to the “ration-days” when they were paid in food instead of cash. It is exploitative and dehumanising. And it all fits in with renewed 1930s-era ‘assimilation’ policy that is being flogged by the Government, and the billionaires like Andrew Forrest.”

The protest in Melbourne, will be joined by actions in Alice Springs, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. In Alice Springs, Aboriginal CDEP workers will be making the trip from the towns associated with the 1966 Gulrindji walk-off [the strike which inspired the Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’].

Last Wednesday, more than 200 Gurindji people joined a stop work meeting at Kalkaringi, to protest the NT Intervention and endorse the ‘jobs with justice’ statement. The crowd was addressed by veterans of the 1966 Gurindji walk-off from Wave Hill station such as Bernard Jalyirri. A new era of Gurindji workers like Peter Inverway are now speaking out, “Our people walked off Wave Hill station for getting paid in flour, tea and sugar. Now we are getting paid on the BasicsCard. We need to continue with this strike action.”

The rally voted to endorse a statement demanding an end to the Intervention and ‘Jobs with Justice’ for Aboriginal workers, which will be published in the Australian newspaper and launched with national protest rallies on October 29. A Gurindji delegation will travel to Alice Springs to join the protest.

Reflecting on the rally, walk-off veteran Jimmy Wave Hill said “There is too much humbug from this government…We need to follow in Vincent Lingiari’s footsteps with our fight today.”

MELBOURNE RALLY – National Day of Protest against the NT Intervention – Jobs With Justice now!
Friday, 29 October 2010, 5.30pm
State Library, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, Melbourne

RALLY: Friday, 29 October 2010, 5.30pm, State Library, cnr Swanston & La Trobe Sts, Melbourne

Speakers: Gary Foley, Robbie Thorpe, Adam Bandt (Greens – Member for Melbourne), Adam Frogley (Indigenous Coordinator, NTEU), Kevin Bracken (Victorian Trades Hall Council), Stephen Jolly (Councillor, City of Yarra)

For more on Melbourne’s campaign: www.maicollective.blogspot.com
For other actions in Australia: www.jobswithjustice.wordpress.com