Do you support Aboriginal nationalism?

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Devrim
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Apr 17 2007 22:12
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
"Aboriginal nationalism" is the broad rubric under which a significant number of militant Aborigines fight for cultural survival and against their special oppression. Some posts here would bear the interpretation that their authors see the answer to the special oppression of Aborigines to be the disappearance of aboriginality as such. This in turn is not too far from the "breed 'em white" mentality of some of the more humane colonizers. I'm not playing gotcha here, please don't react as if I am playing that tedious game. I'm trying to make progress on the issue.

Ok, let's play gotcha. I think that the expression of 'ethnic identity' is reactionary. I think that a fight for 'cultural survival' is reactionary, and I couldn't care less if their is a disappearance of 'aboriginality', or not.

Now, if you want you can accuse me of being 'not too far from the "breed 'em white" mentality of some of the more humane colonizers'. I would prefer that you explained what this fight for aboriginal culture had to do with the working class.

To bring it back to the Kurdish thing which brought me into this discussion, I like some aspects of Kurdish culture (mostly the folk music), some of it I have problems with (small things like 'honour' killings). I see no reason for communists to support the maintenance of reactionary feudal/tribal culture (of course the alternative is to claim that their is something basically good in the culture, which some people on this thread have tried to do).

Quote:
Thing is, "cultural identity" is for many people a deeply felt fact. Myself for example. My cultural identity happens to be the dominant "anglo" culture so I don't have to assert it ....or at least only in special situations that I could easily avoid if I so chose. But because it is important to me I can imagine what cultural deprivation might be like.

It doesn't make it any less reactionary because a lot of people 'feel' it. I would suggest that your attachment to 'the dominant "anglo" culture' is your problem.

Quote:
These feelings are deeply important for many people, people die for them. People turn on their personal friends and their class because of them. So we have to understand these feelings and take account of them as part of the human condition. It doesn't help a whole lot just to say they shouldn't exist.

We don't say that they don't exist. It is true that people died, and fought wars for these feelings. It is also true that the revolutionaries opposed these wars.

Devrim

frew
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Apr 19 2007 00:25

The problem of dismissing all aboriginal culture as reactionary, ignores the reality of the lives of many aborigines. In central Australia there are many people who only speak English as their fifth language or so, which, it seems to me, implies that they live in a culture that is only slightly influenced by the dominant Anglo culture and then, in bad ways. For them, aboriginal culture is not a flag or a badge, but who they are. I don't see how you can destroy their culture without destroying them physically and/or psychologically. The stolen generation represent the psychological damage done by attempts to assimilate aborigines into white culture. Aborigines are targeted by the coppers, they are ten times more likely to spend time in jail and their life expectancy is twenty years or so, shorter than whites. They cop racism off pretty much every other community, so it is natural for them to work together.
What does it have to do with the working class? The campaign that started the whole land rights struggle was the Gurindji stockmans strike, which was a struggle for fair treatment as workers. Until then, their work conditions were solely determined by the pastoralists and resembled indentured labour, like the Kanaka's in Queensland or the Hacienda system in South America. It was a struggle against institutional racism and for dignity as workers. I see this as a struggle to become working class as opposed to a struggle for rights as a separate 'Nation'.
The local land rights struggle of Sandon Point is a good example of Aborigines and whites working together for a common interest. Basically, Stocklands (property developers) wanted to build houses on some vacant land in Bulli (where I grew up), it was used by all of the locals, mainly as a thoughoughfare (or a good place for under-aged drinking). About a six months before this a middens was uncovered by a storm and the local aboriginal community set up a small camp-site. With the development plan getting put forward they set up a Tent Embassy, lit a Sacred Fire and when the locals came down to offer help, they said that they should form their own tent embassy.
For the last six years the two groups have fought the developers, each taking different tactics at different times and working together on different projects. It was one of the most militant campaigns I have ever been involved in. The day construction was due to begin, 500 people, all locals, blockaded the entrance (as the cops were breaking up the picket a Court order came through to stop the building). Once Stocklands won the Court case, fences went up, a few days later when the equipment was going to be moved on, instead of blockading, everyone trashed all of the fences. These weren't activists at a summit protest, but normal people taking militant direct action.
Sandon Point did a lot to break down racist attitudes in the community and the indigenous activists saw that their interests were in common with the locals. Working together seems to me to be the most effective way to break down aboriginal nationalism, but it can't be done by writing off their whole culture.

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 19 2007 00:29

Devrim:

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I would prefer that you explained what this fight for aboriginal culture had to do with the working class.

Pushed for time again, so I will focus on what I see as key point. The importance of the working-class and class struggle generally is that it is the key to general human liberation. Some class-struggle Anarchists and others treat the "working-class" as a kind of ethnicity itself, and base a kind of racism or nationalism on working-classness itself. ("anglo" working-classness usually, btw) That is missing the point in a big way. If you like the working-class, stick with capitalism. If capitalism dies so does the working-class.

Sorry to hear you were being bullied for curly hair, Joseph. No time so must leave you to think about the limits of that analogy yourself.

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 19 2007 08:37

afaik nobody here fetishises the working class as an identity akin to ethnicity (i'm thinking you mean like class war et al?). i - and i think devrim - don't talk about the working class because we like being alienated or having to earn a wage to pay the bills, but because the position of the working class in capitalist society is potentially subversive and the key to negating it, and thus also negating ourselves as a class.

frew wrote:
Working together seems to me to be the most effective way to break down aboriginal nationalism, but it can't be done by writing off their whole culture.

i think there's merit in the working together thing - but the question is, working together in what? presumably devrim shouldn't help the PKK assassinate some workers, but should e.g. strike with kurdish workers who may or may not harbour nationalist sentiments. between the nationalist terrorist activity and the classical working class direct action there's probably a large grey area.

again, devrim commented that there were aspects of kurdish culture he likes, like the folk music, so i don't know if anyone is "writing off a whole culture" (assuming for a minute there is such thing as a homogeneous 'aboriginal culture' or 'kurdish culture,' i'm not sure).

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Apr 19 2007 08:41
frew wrote:
I don't see how you can destroy their culture without destroying them physically and/or psychologically.

I am not arguing that it is our job to destroy their culture. It is being destroyed anyway. It is not our job to defend it though.
It is very difficult for people from outside to engage in detailed arguments about particular struggles that they don't know about.
To a certain extent when you discuss these sort of things with people from different countries to be a bit abstract, or for those people to do deep research into a particular situation. One of the advantages of this is that it centralises the experience of these comrades from different countries.
As I see it there are three possible positions;
1)You support all national liberation struggles
2)You support some national liberation struggles
3)You don't support national liberation struggles
If you take position 1, the specific examples of aboriginal struggle are unimportant.
If you take position two, I think the important thing is what criteria you use to decide which to support, and how the aboriginal struggle fits/doesn't fit these criterion.

jeremytrewindixon wrote:
Pushed for time again, so I will focus on what I see as key point. The importance of the working-class and class struggle generally is that it is the key to general human liberation. Some class-struggle Anarchists and others treat the "working-class" as a kind of ethnicity itself, and base a kind of racism or nationalism on working-classness itself. ("anglo" working-classness usually, btw) That is missing the point in a big way. If you like the working-class, stick with capitalism. If capitalism dies so does the working-class.

Yes that is the point. I don't think that national struggles do offer this 'key to general human liberation'. That is why I am against them.

Devrim

frew
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Apr 20 2007 00:32

Joseph K. wrote:

Quote:
i think there's merit in the working together thing - but the question is, working together in what? presumably devrim shouldn't help the PKK assassinate some workers, but should e.g. strike with kurdish workers who may or may not harbour nationalist sentiments. between the nationalist terrorist activity and the classical working class direct action there's probably a large grey area.

Yeah, absolutely. I've been fortunate that my experiences have been with more militant activists, rather than some of the corrupt Aboriginal Corporations that are about. Its like any struggle, you judge it on its individual merits.
Devrim wrote:

Quote:
It is very difficult for people from outside to engage in detailed arguments about particular struggles that they don't know about

Apologies, one of the problems of this whole debate is that it is framed in terms that make it confusing.
There are cultural aspects to the Australian aboriginal struggles that represent a separate identity, the aboriginal flag and use of tent embassies are common symbols of struggle, to that extent the struggle is Nationalist. But I don't think that there is a coherrent Aboriginal Nationalist movement, or any real desire for an aboriginal nation-state in Australia.
There are many struggles for land rights over traditional lands, which vary wildly from a recognition that they own land that they already inhabit, to claims over whole cities which justifiably get laughed out of Court. Its one of those things that there are no hard and fast rules about. I think other people have pointed out that there were hundreds of ‘nations’ before colonisation and the nature or the struggle represents this.
To some extent the issue is about racism, I listed some of the statistics in the earlier post. I think that where one group is singled out for extra harsh treatment, its working class solidarity to the rescue. Racism just pits the working class against each other and needs to be fought for that reason. Untangling racism from the struggle for land rights is virtually impossible
The way I look at it, they are working class and like most people who are working class, they don’t realise it. To a large extent they cop racism from other workers, which can alienate them from union struggles. As I said in the last post, the first land rights struggle was a struggle for dignity as workers. It is through movements like this that any division between black and white can be broken down. White unionists recognised a struggle against the boss and supported the Gurindji stockmen. It forced white workers to view aborigines as workers (as opposed to ‘savages’), and the aborigines learned that the problem wasn’t whites, but class divisions, due to the solidarity they had received from white workers.
Where there are divisions within the working class, the experience of common struggle helps to break this down.
(edited paragraph layout, it didn't put in the breaks...)

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 20 2007 03:05
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Yes that is the point. I don't think that national struggles do offer this 'key to general human liberation'. That is why I am against them.

Ok Devrim...... I am thinking of a number and that number is "one".

It was Lenin I think who said that the party must be the "tribune of all the oppressed"; reducing to a catch-phrase the sentiments of Bakunin; and Marx mumbled somewhat similar things about the working-class rather than the party. Leaving aside cheap shots about the "party"; I really think Lenin's position here is to be preferred to yours as you have expressed it.

The working-class is the key to general human liberation; but what shape is this liberation to take? Surely the right to resist cultural extermination must be part of it. You may not care if "aboriginality" disappears but quite a few Aborigines do, which is more to the point. Still more to the point is that it would be loss to the world if aboriginality disappeared. That doesn't mean I support tyrannical practices on the grounds that they are "part of the culture" , as an Anarchist I manifestly don't fetishize my own beloved culture in that way so damned if I am going to fetishize anyone elses.

But cultural diversity is part of "the great treasure house of mankind"

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Apr 20 2007 09:28
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You may not care if "aboriginality" disappears but quite a few Aborigines do, which is more to the point.

An overwhelming minority of aboriginals care about "aboriginality". And still less would if leftists stopped encouraging them. You're framing the debate in liberal terms of cultural diversity versus homogeneity. Of course in post-capitalist society there will be historically influenced variation, possibly or probably along geographic lines, interests, productive practices, whatever. Society has already incorporated the didgeridoo and boomerang as recreational tools, and aboriginal burning practices for ecological management, amongst many other things, so nothing's dissapearing in your absolutist sense.

But ethnic descent as an organising principle is pure reaction. "Aboriginality" is a bourgiose construct to move certain people off of productive land and hopefully force them into cheap labour. To adopt the construct as a real thing and not see it for the bollocks it is is to play their game: Basically reifying ethnic decent as something real, and necessarily basing arguments on inheritance.

What criteria do recognise as legit for someone to claim "aboriginality" anyway? I'm elligible for aboriginal benefits, etc, am I aboriginal?

Are you saying someone decended from traditional owners of a certain place has more rights to the natural resources of said place than someone of anglo or jap or whatever decent living there now?

If you are committed to a concept of "the great treasure house of mankind", shouldn't people just take a very general view of total human history, instead of identifying with this or that cultural-historical oddity based on something as insignificant as ethnic decent?

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Apr 20 2007 11:03

This is an interesting discussion. I'd basically agree with all the points Devrim has been making here.

As an outsider it's difficult to know exactly what's going, what trends are being expressed, etc. so I was wondering if people could maybe help clarify some things for me? Are any of the people here members of a particular group or something? I know Skraeling was in Thr@ll, omar seems to have the same nationalist line as people in the WSM, or some of the NEFAC people, what about Jeremy? Is anyone in this discussion in the ASF, or the IWW or something?

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Apr 20 2007 11:27
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
Thus Devrim.
Quote:
Are you suggesting that they have separate interests apart from the rest of the working class? Are you trying to divide the working class into lots of different cultural/ethnic groups?

(2) Yes, obviously aboriginal members of the working class have separate interests as do gay, female, male whatever......the working-class is composed of people with many separate interests

Er, but what is the "working class" if not a class defined by its one common economic interest - the abolition of wage labour? That is what makes the working class.

In my workplace now, a local council, there is a campaign against cuts - job cuts, service cuts and service price hikes. This is obviously against the interests of council staff and council service users - workers. What is the different interest of gay people, women, muslims etc. here?

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Apr 20 2007 11:48

John - For the people from this side of the Tasman, there are very few explicitly anarchist groups of any sort. In Auckland, where Omar is, there isn't any (although there is a new anarchist discussion group). Skraeling and Yuda both wrote for thrall, I'm pretty sure, but that hasn't existed for quite some time. Other than space-based groups (ie - an infoshop in Wellington, a community centre in Wellington, an online bookshop in Christchurch etc) there is only 1 explicitly anarchist group in Aotearoa/New Zealand - Wildcat, a class-struggle anarchist group in Wellington. There's plenty of class-struggle anarchos in Welly who aren't part of Wildcat though too, for various reasons.

lumpnboy
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Apr 20 2007 16:18

I think the question of cultural survival has been posed badly, at least to suit my way of looking at things. The struggle for communism isn't a struggle for a proletarian monoculture but for a world of individual and collective freedoms in which there should arise an almost infinite variety of ways of living and in which, as a consequence of struggles against all of the forms of capital including states, wage-labor, money etcetera there should also be a dissolution of identity based on nation, race, or the "ethnicities" and 'cultures' that operate as discursive stand-ins for them. All of the latter, as identities, as identifiable, will hopefully lose their reason for being.

Of course capitalism doesn't erase forms of life to institute communism, and such reified identities are often bound up in the forms resistances take: a map of Africa is largely a map of nations whose boundaries and "national identities" came into existence in relation to imperialism and colonialism. But defence of freedoms to live in ways not determined by capitalism is surely not, for revolutionaries, a vindication of some particular prior forms of society or "culture".

To use an example without, to be sure, exact parallels to the question of indigenous nationalism, I'm jewish. In the not too recent past people made serious attempts to exterminate all jews. This is something that should be opposed, obviously. And if states attempt to supress jewish religion or 'culture', I hope communists will oppose this too. But not because any past forms of jewish life should be recovered, or present forms of life sanctified. The idea of living in a culture so defined actually fills me with horror. In fact, if jewishness as an identifiable category of people were to disappear, I'd be pretty relaxed. My hope would be that this would be entailed in communism, as a flowering of existences without respect for such boundaries and identities.

I don't believe that indigenous nationalism has a serious prospect of leading to a state, but I do believe that it leads to serious problems as does all identity politics. Solidarity with struggles against specifically indigenous oppressions shouldn't entail any concession to cultural nationalisms that are ultimately not very useful. In practice this is a difficult line to try to walk, but surely if there is one lesson of the twentieth century it is that National Liberation didn't deliver a lot of liberation, and nationalism generally didn't deliver much that I'd want to value, at least not much that couldn't have been got by other means and better. Actually now I'm sounding cruder than I wanted.

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Apr 21 2007 00:43

good post

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Apr 21 2007 00:51
John. wrote:
This is an interesting discussion. I'd basically agree with all the points Devrim has been making here.

As an outsider it's difficult to know exactly what's going, what trends are being expressed, etc. so I was wondering if people could maybe help clarify some things for me? Are any of the people here members of a particular group or something? I know Skraeling was in Thr@ll, omar seems to have the same nationalist line as people in the WSM, or some of the NEFAC people, what about Jeremy? Is anyone in this discussion in the ASF, or the IWW or something?

AFAIK, most of the Aussie posters aren't part of an organised group, but a few are part of an incipient group that developed out of another thread here. So I think the things being expressed aren't really "party" lines, just what people think, but also reflecting the different trends from other parts of the world that people identify with.

Skraeling
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Apr 21 2007 02:08

interesting discussion. i dont think i can contribute much to the discussion, except to note a bit about preserving indegenous culture from being wiped out. In New Zealand, Maori culture since the 1970s has gone thru a remarkable renaissance. After the Maori language was almost lost, hundreds of Maori pre-schools were formed, the Maori language was revived, the cultural groups were formed all over the place. So much so by now Maori culture is a living, dynamic culture (altho a lot different from traditional Maori culture). So the culture hasn't been wiped out. But still, even though their culture has revived, most Maori are at the bottom of the heap. Most Maori work in shitty low-paid blue collar jobs, have high unemployment, face heaps of racism, are relatively impoverished, and are being imprisoned by the state at a massive rate. This is a bit of a tangent, cos no-one is arguing that cultural revival without getting rid of capital can lead to genuine liberation, but anyway, it does kind of prove that the oppression of indigenous people is very bound up with class (intertwined with racism, of course)...

Since treaty settlements from the 1990s onwards, Maori tribes have been transformed into capitalist businesses, with the tribal elite raking in the money, and setting up their own businesses (but under the name of the tribe as a whole), which then sometimes exploit working class Maori from their own tribe. the new Maori capitalists use Maori culture as a weapon against working class Maori ("we're all part of the same tribe, share the same culture").

But the interesting thing is that working class Maori since the 1990s havent bought this at all. They've been engaging in class struggle against their own tribal capitalist elite eg. by occupying land owned by the tribal capitalist corporation. so the maori struggle has been more complex than a simple nationalist struggle for cultural self-determination. even if many working class Maori talk in kind of nationalist terms, their practice on the ground is a form of class struggle. They might justify their struggle against neotribal capitalism in cultural terms eg. they might claim that capitalist Maori aren't being Maori at all, instead they''ve become Pakeha/white, so adopted the thinking and culture of the colonial oppressor etc.

s'pose this isn't suprising, as class struggle occurs in all movements and organisations eg. feminists working in a women's refuge often engage in class struggle against their feminist bosses.

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 21 2007 02:40
Quote:
wondering if people could maybe help clarify some things for me? Are any of the people here members of a particular group or something? I know Skraeling was in Thr@ll, omar seems to have the same nationalist line as people in the WSM, or some of the NEFAC people, what about Jeremy? Is anyone in this discussion in the ASF, or the IWW or something?

I've just lost a long post on my own political history regarding this issue. Probably just as well.

Briefly; I currently belong to the IWW, and to the "asn" which latter is to say I'm affilated to the paper Rebel Worker . I'm not speaking here for any group. In the Australian context Anarchists who do not love me have aften accused me of white nationalism and racism precisely because I am critical of aboriginal nationalism. Anarchists here usually either support aboriginal nationalism all the way or keep their mouths shut for fear being called racists if they do not.

So it is interesting, even strange and refreshing, to here approach the subject fom another angle.

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 21 2007 02:59

Just a quick remark about "land rights" and how it fits into the general picture. It is an issue separate from sovereignty.

If Parliament passed a law that all Aborigines were to have their privately owned land confiscated I suppose Anarchists would recognise this as a racist attack? Just as if Jews or Lebanese or whoever were to have thier land confiscated? We would go around saying 'well we don't agree with property in land anyway, so screw them". Or would we? (There have been Anarchists who would not defend wages because they opposed the wage system.....but we have in general moved on.)

I'll assume that most of us would agree that while we live in a capitalist society Aborigines should have their rights under capitalism defended. And really that is what the land rights movement is about.. Recognising traditional owner ship under capitalist law. Aboriginal land was originally seized without compensation under the fiction, the lie, that Aborigines did not live in organized societies and therefore could not own land in any sense
that capitalist law was able to recognize. (Contrast to NZ situation) Aboriginal nationalism is a diiferent matter and a diffferent argument although related.

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 21 2007 03:12

Oh yeah, and Joseph K......of course if "whites" were oppressed, or if "anglos" were being prevented from having xmas trees or speaking english or whatever, then of course I would support them. Is this an issue?

The situation you describe, as a hypothetical, white nationalism by an embattled community suffering from anti-white racism, has some simialrities with the situation of Israel doesn't it? And more with the situation as Zionists often present it. I haven't visited the Israel thread here but I don't believe in driving the Jews into the sea. "White" is a difficult term though, I'm assuming you mean anglo or western european? Anyway the general issue might be more easily discussed in the israel connection than in connection with Aborigines who can't walk the streets without police harassment.

Quote:
what if there was significant anti-white racism? (this is mostly a far-right myth in the UK at least, but it's a hypothetical).
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daniel
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Apr 21 2007 03:46
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
Aboriginal land was originally seized without compensation under the fiction, the lie, that Aborigines did not live in organized societies and therefore could not own land in any sense
that capitalist law was able to recognize.

Tough, innit. My ancestors were driven off the land in england by the Industrial revolution. Do I make a big fuss and demand compensation? No. On the other side of the family, my ancestors got driven off their land by the pogroms. Do I demand back a piece of the Ukraine and money from the government of the ukraine and Russia to make up for the pogroms? No. That's just the what happened - the working class was and is displaced wherever capitalism spreads, no matter race or ethnicity.

So if we're all trying to get back the land our ancestors lost it's going to be pretty messy not to mention pointless. And how far back does it go? so if Cherokee get their "ancestral land" back in Wisconsin, do the Sioux come along and demand their "ancestral land" back from the Cherokee? After all, the Cherokee Nation in Wisconsin is a "foreign imperialist, land-grabbing, settler-state, blah blah blah blah." As you see - a bollocks line of reasoning.

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 21 2007 06:23
Quote:
Tough, innit. My ancestors were driven off the land in england by the Industrial revolution. Do I make a big fuss and demand compensation?

No, Daniel? Maybe you should? Of course the english people in general had long ceased to own their land by the time of the Industrial Revolution. The notion of resistance to "the Conquest" was long important in english radicalism, or at least in its rhetoric, the "Norman Yoke" and all that.....and hadn't entirely died out in the 1960s, witness Christie & Meltzer's "Floodgates of Anarchy" . And even resistance to the Conquest was based on a historical myth, at least in some part.

On the other hand, whatever the drawbacks of Aboriginal society, it is hardly a myth that the Aborigines were dispossessed and turned from a largely free people into serfs and beggars. And furthermore land dispossession isn't just something that happened in the past but is a continuing process. The Gurindji who began the modern land rights movement with the Wave Hill strike were living as something close to serfs on their ancestral land. It wasn't a matter of ancient history for them. Eddie Mabo in whose name the great land rights victory was won in court was fighting dispossession of his people in the here and now. Its not like people running around claiming to be Carthaginians and wanting Gaddafi to hand over Libya.

I imagine the Cherokee and the Sioux can settle their differences, if they are still salient, Daniel. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Melbourne's Warindjeri served as Black Police against the other aboriginal peoples and this history although largely unkown to "white" liberals is hardly forgotten by Aborigines. But I think we can safely leave it to others to use this history as a wedge to disempower and ridicule a hideously oppressed people trying to stand up.

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Devrim
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Apr 21 2007 07:45
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
Ok Devrim...... I am thinking of a number and that number is "one".

I am not sure what this refers to, Jeremy. I think that it refers to this:

Devrim wrote:
As I see it there are three possible positions;
1)You support all national liberation struggles
2)You support some national liberation struggles
3)You don't support national liberation struggles

I would prefer not to comment until you have clarified it.

Anyway, back to the subject of land rights:

jeremytrewindixon wrote:
If Parliament passed a law that all Aborigines were to have their privately owned land confiscated I suppose Anarchists would recognise this as a racist attack? Just as if Jews or Lebanese or whoever were to have thier land confiscated? We would go around saying 'well we don't agree with property in land anyway, so screw them". Or would we? (There have been Anarchists who would not defend wages because they opposed the wage system.....but we have in general moved on.)

I think that this would clearly be a racist attack. I think that you are conflating two things here though, privately owned land today, and historic land rights.

I think that Daniel rightly pointed out the absurdity of the historic land rights issue.

I am not saying that we should ignore racism in any way. I am suggesting that a 'national' movement isn't the way to combat it.

I think that I will address your points about culture on another thread, as they are a bit of a diagression from the main topic:

http://libcom.org/forums/thought/great-treasure-house-mankind

Devrim

smush
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Apr 21 2007 10:49

good post Skraeling.

just one thing

Skraeling wrote:
Since treaty settlements from the 1990s onwards, Maori tribes have been transformed into capitalist businesses, with the tribal elite raking in the money, and setting up their own businesses (but under the name of the tribe as a whole), which then sometimes exploit working class Maori from their own tribe. the new Maori capitalists use Maori culture as a weapon against working class Maori ("we're all part of the same tribe, share the same culture").

your generalisation of "Maori tribes" goes to far for my liking. i would say there is one tribe who probably hasn't even started that said transformation and several who are still in the process of 'metamorphosis'. And as you point out in the following paragraph, there is resistance within most tribes against 'neo-tribal capitalism'.

Do you think the Waitangi Tribunal process has helped this transformation? Like; rather than a return of the land (or sovreignty (mana motuhake) over the land and resources), the Tribunal made sunstantial pay-outs to some iwi (tribes) which gave the leadership money (and some money went into community projects too) but the people are still poor.

Skraeling wrote:
s'pose this isn't suprising, as class struggle occurs in all movements and organisations eg. feminists working in a women's refuge often engage in class struggle against their feminist bosses.

or working class activists in general who do activism with the rent-a-mob.

lumpnboy
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Apr 21 2007 20:46

I think some of the arguments in [url=http://www.unl.edu/rhames/courses/current/readings/kuper-native.pdf] relate to this discussion in interesting ways.

Skraeling
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Apr 22 2007 23:29
smush wrote:
good post Skraeling.

just one thing

Skraeling wrote:
Since treaty settlements from the 1990s onwards, Maori tribes have been transformed into capitalist businesses, with the tribal elite raking in the money, and setting up their own businesses (but under the name of the tribe as a whole), which then sometimes exploit working class Maori from their own tribe. the new Maori capitalists use Maori culture as a weapon against working class Maori ("we're all part of the same tribe, share the same culture").

your generalisation of "Maori tribes" goes to far for my liking. i would say there is one tribe who probably hasn't even started that said transformation and several who are still in the process of 'metamorphosis'.

yup, your quite right, not all tribes have been transformed into businesses, the process is still going on now, and resistance to it too. also i reckon i should have said "the state and capital have attempted to transform Maori tribes into corporations", rather than saying they simply have

Quote:
Do you think the Waitangi Tribunal process has helped this transformation? Like; rather than a return of the land (or sovreignty (mana motuhake) over the land and resources), the Tribunal made sunstantial pay-outs to some iwi (tribes) which gave the leadership money (and some money went into community projects too) but the people are still poor.

of course the Waitangi tribunal (the govt's treaty settlement body) has been an essential part of this, its all part of the state and capital's plan to co-opt an unruly movement . i would say more than what you've said. even where land has been returned, and is supposedly collectively owned by the whole tribe thru the tribal corporation, because that corporation is run by a small tribal elite, the profits largely go to them and not the tribe as a whole. in short, the tribal elite become capitalists who own and control the land.

i'll get back to the topic. someone mentioned that a similar process of turning indigenous tribal elites into capitalists has been occuring in Australia. If so, have there been concrete instances of working class Aborigines struggling against their tribal elders and neo-capitalists?

throwhen
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Apr 22 2007 23:56

no

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 23 2007 00:46
Devrim wrote:
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
Ok Devrim...... I am thinking of a number and that number is "one".

I am not sure what this refers to, Jeremy.

I was referring to my "one-dimensional" jibe earlier, which you somewhat took exception to. The intention was to repeat or underline in a mildly flippant manner intended to suggest underlying friendliness good humour and comradeship on my part that you were "following a line" without sufficient regard for the complexities of reality.

Quote:
I think that this would clearly be a racist attack. I think that you are conflating two things here though, privately owned land today, and historic land rights.

I think that Daniel rightly pointed out the absurdity of the historic land rights issue.

I'm assuming here that you have not read my reply to Daniel on this point, otherwise you would have referred to it. So I'll avoid comment at this stage. You may not realise that the Australian High Court has held that in the groundbreaking Mabo and Wik decisions that Aboriginal land rights are a matter of present capitalist law, not just history. There is a bit of a paradox when Anarchist militants are keener to tell destitute Aborigines to piss off and let the big corporations take thier land than is the Australian bourgeois judiciary. I'll put a link to the Mabo decision here.

Quote:
I think that I will address your points about culture on another thread, as they are a bit of a diagression from the main topic:

OK....it is true that the issues are mixed, inevitably though to some extent. Aboriginal land rights and Aboriginal nationalism are also in large part separate issues although linked.

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jason
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Apr 23 2007 07:29
Quote:
i'll get back to the topic. someone mentioned that a similar process of turning indigenous tribal elites into capitalists has been occuring in Australia. If so, have there been concrete instances of working class Aborigines struggling against their tribal elders and neo-capitalists?

Not that I'm aware of in any detail. Although in the last spate of riots there was a brief mention in the news of tribal elders sheltering with the cops in the station from the community. I don't know anymore about it. It struck me coz its not something that I've heard before.

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Steven.
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Apr 23 2007 11:32
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
You may not realise that the Australian High Court has held that in the groundbreaking Mabo and Wik decisions that Aboriginal land rights are a matter of present capitalist law, not just history.

You, an anarchist, can't expect to be able to use what the Australian High Court says as a justification for an argument. Historic land rights are nonsense, as daniel demonstrated, whether the Australian High Court says so or not, especially the historic land rights of a racial/ethnic group.

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 24 2007 03:17
John. wrote:
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
You may not realise that the Australian High Court has held that in the groundbreaking Mabo and Wik decisions that Aboriginal land rights are a matter of present capitalist law, not just history.

You, an anarchist, can't expect to be able to use what the Australian High Court says as a justification for an argument. Historic land rights are nonsense, as daniel demonstrated, whether the Australian High Court says so or not, especially the historic land rights of a racial/ethnic group.

John, you are missing the point. Aboriginal land rights are not "historic" but current even under capitalist law. If a government decided that all Jews were to have their houses seized, would you shrug and say "well they bought thier houses using money earned inthe capitalist system which we are against. So screw them?"

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Apr 24 2007 08:46
Quote:
There is a bit of a paradox when Anarchist militants are keener to tell destitute Aborigines to piss off and let the big corporations take thier land than is the Australian bourgeois judiciary.

Sounds a bit like classical leftism to me. We're supposed to defend blacks from "big" corporations. How? Support aboriginal corporations of course! The fact that the bourgeois judiciary gives land rights should be evidence enough that they are either pointless or reactionary. On the pointless side of things, even most supporters will admit that land rights havn't ameliorated black destitution at all (unless of course you're part of the chiefly "in crowd"), but rather its a "spiritual" thing, whatever that's supposed to mean...

Quote:
Aboriginal land rights are not "historic" but current even under capitalist law. If a government decided that all Jews were to have their houses seized, would you shrug and say "well they bought thier houses using money earned in the capitalist system which we are against. So screw them?"

But where's it start and end? I got black heritage and will try and squeeze some dough from it if I can (even though I openly admit its a scam). But I also got convict and Chin heritage. Should we look at trying to get paid for this as well? I'm sure there was forced labor/stolen wages there too.