Thompson Academic Center Modern society is immersed in plastic. From our household appliances to handheld gadgets. From our clothes to our food to our beds, lined with synthetic fiber, to our work tables laminated in plastic tops, it is all around us. Microplastics are small pieces of plastic 5mm or less, either manufactured that size or degraded from larger objects.
Let no one say the past is dead. The past is all about us and within. It is a politically active intelligentsia I think they are the most interesting group to emerge from the political point of view in the whole of the Aboriginal community in Australia.
The antipathy of the historical and anthropological establishment toward the urban, militant activists of Redfern, Fitzroy and South Brisbane seems equaled only by an apparent lack of knowledge of events that occurred in these effectively 'closed' communities during the late 60s and early 70s.
Attendant as a natural consequence of ignorance of the defining events of these communities, is the manner in which historians have trivialized, marginalized and dismissed the achievements and historical influence of the so-called Australian Black Power Movement.
Black Power was a political movement that emerged college essay instructions not included cast African-Americans in the United States in the mids. The concept sought to express a new racial consciousness, and Robert Williams, of the NAACP, was the first to put the actual term to effective use in the late s.
Malcolm X inspired a generation of black activists throughout America and beyond, whilst Carmichael 'made Black Power more popular, largely through his use of the term while reorganizing the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee SNCC so that whites would no longer possess leadership responsibilities.
Roosevelt Brown, to give a talk on 'Black Power' in Melbourne. For the purpose of this thesis I define the 'Black Power movement' as the loose coalition of individual young indigenous activists who emerged in Redfern, Fitzroy and South Brisbane in the period immediately after Charles Perkins' 'Freedom Ride' in In this thesis I am particularly interested in the small group of individuals involved at the core of the Redfern 'Black Power movement', which existed under a variety of tags including the 'Black Caucus'.
She said it was about 'the power generated by people who seek to identify their own problems and those of the community as a whole, and who strive to take action in all possible forms to solve those problems' Paul Coe saw it as the need for Aboriginal people 'to take control both of the economical, the political and cultural resources of the people and of the land so that they themselves have got the power to determine their own future.
I contend that Australian historians who seek to analyze events of the more recent Mabo era cannot properly comprehend the shape and state of race relations today without an understanding of the dynamics, personalities and events of the era of Black Power. A growing disillusionment in black Australia today with the apparent limitations of the Native Title Act and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission ATSIC mirrors a similar community disaffection with Aboriginal organisations and leadership in the late s.
The disaffection then resulted in indigenous communities supporting more radical forms of action advocated by the Black Power movement. Thus there are important lessons to be learned from serious study of the events of that era. Land in Aboriginal Politics in NSW,no Australian historians seem to have made a serious attempt to examine the long-term political, social and economic factors underlying the emergence of Black Power in Redfern.
Only Margaret Ann Franklin Black and White Australians,Andrew Marcus and Bain Attwood seem to have shown some interest in the era, but then only relatively superficially and in the context of the wider story of the 60s and 70s.
Peter Read wanders around the subject of Black Power in his biography of Charles Perkins, but because his focus is on Perkins he is deficient in his understanding of the younger generation that superceded the relatively conservative notions of Perkins.
Bennett Aborigines and Political Power, A Short History -on the other hand are openly hostile to Black Power.
In doing this I firstly have the problem facing any indigenous person in the academy trying to give an accurate account of historical events within conventional Western academic constraints and as a linear narrative.
Every issue has been approached by indigenous peoples with a view to rewriting and rerighting our position in history The sense of history conveyed by these approaches is not the same thing as the discipline of history, and so our accounts collide, crash into each other. As a participant in most of the events discussed, I have both the advantage of first hand knowledge and the disadvantage of the constraints imposed by the inherent subjectivity of such a position, not to mention the unreliability of memory.
Nevertheless, I intend to provide a narrative of three of the important defining moments in the emergence of Black Power as a seminal political force in indigenous politics in Australia. These events were; the establishment of the Redfern Aboriginal Legal Service; the Springbok rugby tour; and the Aboriginal Embassy in These three events helped define the ideas, personalities, actions and alliances that formed the Redfern Black Power movement, which in turn influenced indigenous political notions and actions for more than a decade.
Indeed, today as significant sections of indigenous communities become disaffected with the illusions of progress represented by the era of Mabo and the Native Title Act, many are beginning to call for a return to the political strategies and tactics of the Black Power era.
Thus there is a considerable residual perception in indigenous Australia that remembers the Black Power era as a time of greater social, political and economic gains than at any time since. In the course of a narrative of these events I challenge assumptions and interpretations of those few Australian historians and commentators who have proffered an opinion or analysis of the era.
In challenging false impressions created by less detailed accounts I hope to give greater insight into the significance of the ideas and philosophies of the Black Power era, from an indigenous perspective. Furthermore, as Linda Tuhiwai Smith asserts, 'indigenous groups have argued that history is important for understanding the present and that reclaiming history is a critical and essential aspect of decolonization.
Their sense of invasion, of loss and deprivation of land was expressed clearly and unarguably'. This idea, inspired by Cooper, was described by Goodall as a 'brilliantly symbolic plan recognised as a turning point in capturing white attention'. Just how tough it could be was demonstrated by the protracted dispute at Cummeragunja which began in and in part prompted William Cooper's disillusionment and idea for a protest at the sesqui-centenary celebrations the following year.
Aboriginal residents had at first sought William Cooper's assistance over grievances with the Protection Board manager. When Cooper's moderate tactics of petitioning the NSW Protection Board failed, the community turned to former Cummeragunja resident Jack Patten who, on Friday 3rd Februarywas arbitrarily arrested when he addressed the people on the reserve.
Two thirds of the residents immediately packed up and crossed the Murray River into Victoria and thus withdrew their labour from the NSW Protection Board. This action has been described as, 'perhaps the first direct political action taken by Aboriginal people which lay outside the guideline offered by the established system'.Unfortunately, the Be bug reporting system strips off the names of the people who report the bugs (to protect them from retribution!?) and so I don't know who wrote this.
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