The Melbourne Anti-intervention Collective (MAIC) called a snap protest on Monday 2 May outside the Celtic Club on Queens Street, where Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt was due to launch a book by academic Gary Johns entitled ‘Aboriginal Self-Determination: The Whiteman’s Dream’. As the callout puts it, they will be :
…openly calling for the destruction of Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal collective identity… Johns argues that Aboriginal culture should be ‘relegated to museums and occasional ceremonies’. He argues that Aboriginal communities should be dispersed and individuals should be forced to chase ‘market opportunities’.
On the contrary, protesters argued that the policies of assimilation and destruction of Aboriginal culture have been tried in the past and have failed, as also ‘[the] evidence mounts of the total failure of the NT Intervention.’
‘… we have seen efforts to destroy Aboriginal communities and culture before. From massacres to missions, from stolen generation right through to the NT Intervention – these area the policies that have created disadvantage and social disfunction – not the as-yet untested policy of self-determination, or Aboriginal culture.’
In spite of the short notice about thirty protesters picketed the main entrance, which management elected to close, while others handed out leaflets at the bar door, which remained open. There did not seem to be a very large attendance at the function, if the numbers arriving at either of these points were any guide. Various members of the Collective took turns at the megaphone, including MC Lucy Honan and Indigenous activist Robbie Thorpe. Extracts of the speeches and interactions with guests arriving for the function can be seen in the YouTube video embedded above.
Since the Australian Conservation Foundation launched its campaign against the proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory some 2700 signatures have been collected on the ‘Dump the Dump’ petition. (See also report on this site for 26 July 2010.) Today, Dave Sweeney, ACF nuclear free campaigner, went to Energy and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson’s office to deliver the petition, accompanied by anti-nuclear activists including members of Friends of the Earth ACE collective, who brought a trailer loaded with drums of ‘radioactive waste’ to highlight the message. (See also Nuclear Freeways.)
The office was locked down, as seems to be the way when concerned citizens want to make contact with their Member of Parliament, and it took the good offices of a police officer to get the door opened. Even then only two people were admitted, and the door hastily closed to prevent others from following. There was also an elderly gentleman who arrived on some business to find the door locked, but he was informed his was a matter for the State member and redirected accordingly. It was not clear what would have happened otherwise. After a short while the two re-emerged, along with the accompanying police office, in proud possession of a hand-written receipt for the petition ‘addressed to Martin Ferguson’. Various plain-clothes AFP and others arrived in the meantime, but this also seems to be the way where Minister Ferguson is concerned…
Dave Sweeney poses with petition
Elderly gentleman tries to get in
Police come to his aid
Two are allowed in...
But only two ...
And no more.
Posing for a few closing pics...
Rallies were held around Australia on Friday 29 October under the banner of ‘Jobs with Justice’ and an end to the Northern Territory Intervention (see http://jobswithjustice.wordpress.com/). The rally in Melbourne (see report on http://www.maicollective.blogspot.com/) ended with a sit-down at a major city intersection, bringing peak-hour traffic to a halt for over twenty minutes …
The rally began at the State Library, where Indigenous activist Sharon Firebrace introduced a series of speakers ranging from Gary Foley and Robbie Thorpe (pictured above) to Greens Federal MP Adam Bandt, Victorian Trades Hall President Kevin Bracken, Socialist Councillor Steve Jolly, David Glanz of the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective, Colombian unionist Parmenio Poveda, , NTEU Indigenous Coordinator Adam Frogley, and Wurundjeri elder Ringo Terrick, who delivered a Welcome to Country.
Organisers, the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective had good reason to be pleased with the turnout, estimated at around 500 at its peak, though as one speaker reminded the rally, there need to be vastly greater numbers on the streets if the aim of ending discrimination is to be achieved.
Photos from the rally and subsequent march and sit-down, mostly self-explanatory:
Another view of rally
The march down Swanston Street
Also on the march ...
At Bourke and Swanston