"That relationship between (us) and that tree and that water is what gives us our respect, the law has been given us by the spirit... it is a law of sharing and caring it is a law of respect, a law of love"
— Judulu Neale from Yarrabah
Centuries of dispossession.
The history of the world is that of dispossession.
Over 2 centuries ago the colonisers came and dispossessed all the tribes that make up aboriginal Australia.
No one owns Australia.
Aboriginal people managed Australia for millennia.
This is aboriginal land.
It is not owned in the capitalist sense. The capitalists want to take the resources out of the land; no one really owns anything because we come and go, life and death.
So the capitalists turned up and took all the resources and told workers that they don’t own anything but could work for wages.They stole from the first nation people, they stole from workers who produce our wealth (apart from the wealth produced by the natural world).
The capitalists forced Aborigines to work for nothing. If the capitalists sack you, you have nothing; if they take aboriginal land, the tribes that managed the land are left with crumbs. This is how they buy people off.
Alderman Quirk, hardhat-wearing, pumped-up pretender swaggers to the tent embassy , sees it as a danger to the society (of greed) and tells police and council workers to pull it down.
Alderman Quirk has learnt how to stamp out the fire of our resistance.
He seeks the assistance of elders.
Only three step forward.
How do people become elders?
It is out of their behaviour and strength – it is not something conferred on them by right – Alderman Quirk can’t say to the tent embassy people the elders want to get rid you, so that’s it. The sovereign embassy has 40 years of standing up to white authority behind it. That fire can’t be put out, because it lives in all of us, young and old. And we need that fire, we need to resist.
So council workers clean-up the tent embassy site and call in the police. Their union should say to them: how does putting out the fire fit your job description? OK, if the council workers don’t do as they are told they will lose their jobs. We all know that – but the union has to stick for the workers and stop that from happening, that’s the union’s job.
Police bring in vans and harass people in the park.
We turn up with more wood.
Boe starts up the sacred fire again, as his ancestors have done. We wait. People arrive. We have spent the day bringing wood despite a fatal accident on the Western Freeway. The western suburbs are all locked up – traffic chaos. Later the cops pounce on Boe; and when Coco and Hamish try to defend the sacred fire, they too are arrested. They are all charged with ‘contravene direction or requirement’ under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 791 (2). The bail condition is that they shall not attend Musgrave Park and, if they do, they will commit an offence that is punishable by fine or imprisonment. They are to appear in court again on 8 January 2013.
As soon as we try to return home, having just turned out of Musgrave Park into Cordelia Street, the cops are on us. The car and trailer that delivered the wood that feeds the fire is pounced upon by police. They breathalyse the driver who says that I have never had a test like this before – the policewoman from West End says it is just like blowing out candles from a birthday cake.
Quirk calls in the fire-brigade who blow out the sacred fire as if it were a birthday cake – such disrespect!
What is to follow?
Throwing off our chains
We should stop these centuries of oppression, we should resist the dispossession, we can overcome the years of slavery in our work.
It is around the fire in the park is where we make our decisions – they can’t be made for us by men in high towers.
Call to workers, to unions
This is a call to workers and their organisations. Do not participate in this shameful act of dispossession – ask yourselves what job description as council officer, as fireman, as social worker says that you must assist is taking Musgrave Park from people who have always lived there and for whom it is a sacred place where all tribes come together.
Save the fire; save Musgrave Park! Come and join the resistance at the sovereign tent embassy.
Come down to Musgrave Park – help the tent embassy live again.
They’ll never put out the fire! And if they do, we’ll start it up again.