How Australian is 'Australia Day'?
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by Max O.
When the 26th of January, 'Australia Day', comes around each year it poses more of a problem for our national identity than a day of national celebration. It is a day when the invader's (British colonialism) version of history suppresses the First Nations' sovereignty, culture and history.
The barbarity of the convict prison in Port Jackson that the First Fleet was tasked to established is also conveniently and quietly ignored. These notorious beginnings of Australia in 1788 are aspects that our reactionary political leaders prefer us to forget.
However the amnesia that envelopes the country where focus is on the celebration of British imperil foundation, never quite eliminates these historical blights and continues to haunt our nation's consciousness.
More recently acknowledgment has been given to the multicultural waves of migration to Australia and the token 'Welcome to country' by First Nation participants at Australia Day ceremonies so as to coopt these sections of the Australian people and soften the reactionary nature of the celebration.
Abbott the royal sycophant
However, old imperial habits die hard for our political minders and lackeys. Witness the gaffes by Prime Monster Abbott who chose the 1788 invasion as the significant moment in the nation's history for all the wrong racist reasons, arguing that until then Australia was "...nothing but bush'.
Being the royal sycophant that he is, Abbott can't help himself by reinstating knighthoods and dameships to Australian awards, and then goes one step further by awarding a British parasitic prince an Australian knighthood. Even his own reactionary class is embarrassed by his grovelling foolery.
Nevertheless out of all Abbott's stupidity are some positives. Australians can learn from his negative example. It has forced them to confront our real history (invasion, dispossession, class struggle and the need for independence) and the nations contemporary political situation.
Resurgence to overcome dispossession
Parallel to this year's official 'Australia Day' celebrations were the First Nations and their allies powerful Invasion/Survival Day commemorations. The Brisbane (Musgrave Park), Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney Invasion Day marches showed a renewed militancy by First Nations' activists.
In Brisbane indigenous activists staged a sit-in in the closed off section of South Bank, protesting Australia Day. A fence and line of police was quickly put in place to separate them from the rest of the rally. However they refused to move, destroyed an Australian flag and chanted "What's today, Invasion Day".
Canberra Invasion Day march shut down one of the city's busiest roads from the city centre to the now famous Tent Embassy, opposite old parliament house.
Despite police attempts the large Melbourne Invasion Day rally gate-crashed the official Australia Day march.
The Sydney Invasion Day march began at the Redfern "Block Tent Embassy" (established to oppose the sell off of Aboriginal housing for commercial development) to Victoria Park to take part in the Yabun celebrations.
Organisations such as Warrior Aboriginal Resistance and First Nations Liberation lead and arranged these rallies.
In modern times the First Nations struggle has gone from 'a day of morning' for citizen rights in 1938; to the 1967 referendum to allow Aboriginal people to be included in the official census and given citizenship rights; then the trail blazing of the1970's Aboriginal Tent Embassy and Land Rights campaigns; followed by 1990's dispensing with 'terra nullis' and the Mabo decision; the frustration of the Native Title battles; which lead to the First Nations to conclude the need for the ultimate demand of sovereignty and self-determination.
"The Black Line is drawn"
Within the struggles of fighting racism and dispossession in Australia essentially two political lines have emerged. The conservative section of the First Nations, lead by the likes of Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Warren Mundine and Adam Goodes have assimilated themselves to the current capitalist structures.
Witness their co-option - Pearson is a mouth piece for the Murdoch Press, Langton is an apologist for the mining companies, Mundine prostituted himself to either the Labor or Liberal parties and Goodes is seduced by the current Recognition campaign.
The militant section of the First Nations, lead by Ghillar: Michael Anderson, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Tauto Sansbury and Jenny Munro to name just a few and expressed organisationally by Sovereign Union have openly challenged and refuse to accept the bankrupt laws of the Australian capitalist state.
The latter group have declared that now a Black line must be drawn against the assimilation path advocated by indigenous conservatives and enforced through the 'Recognition' and constitutional reform campaign. To quote from the Sovereign Union media release, "The time has come where we must draw the line in the sand to use Arabunna Elder, Kevin Buzzacott 's statement: 'The Black Line is drawn', in respect to the issue of constitutional reform and recognition.
As Sovereign Union argues the current contemplated constitutional reform extinguishes their sovereignty and consequently is a fraud. As Vanguard has stated many times before only an anti-imperialist republican constitution can guarantee a sovereign treaty between First Nation peoples and non-indigenous Australians.
Only then will we have an Australia day that truly represents an honourable history; one of liberation not invasion.
The present Australian capitalist state, dominated by imperialism, will always deny this right. Past bitter experience and betrayals have proved this fact time and again to First Nation peoples.
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