(The Workers Weekly, Friday, September 24, 1931, p. 2)
COMMUNIST PARTY’S RIGHT FOR ABORIGINES
DRAFT PROGRAM OF STRUGGLE AGAINST SLAVERY
Full Economic, Political and Social Rights
The aboriginal race, the original inhabitants of Australia, are among the most exploited subject peoples in the world. Not only are inhuman exploitation, forced Labor and actual slavery forced upon the Aborigines, but a campaign of mass physical extermination is being and has been carried on against them, until to-day less than 60,000 full bloods have survived the murder drive - out of the million or more who inhabited Australia less than one and a half centuries ago.
Such gentle British colonising devices as “Abo shooting hunts,” poisoning of the only water holes in the desert country, cyanide in the meat, and strychnine in the flour, police shooting parties, burning the bush over their heads, segregating sexes, kidnapping the children - particularly females - and putting them to work hundreds of miles away from their race and parents, killing off the game on the territory inhabited by Aborigines, thus starving them to death, arresting without any warrant or for that matter, any cause whatever, the most virile men in the tribes (after killing off the aged and infirm) and forcing the arrested to work with chains around their necks on Government roads and for station owners, issuing licences to any capitalist desiring to employ “unlimited numbers of natives without pay for an indefinite period,” setting up organisations of crawlers and kidnappers, known as “Aborigines Protection Boards” to enslave the remaining members of the tribes, and “Mission Stations,” under dope-peddlers to muster the youth so that they can be sold into slavery - such truly British methods were used, and are still being used to enslave the Australian aborigines and to totally exterminate the race so that the crimes of British and Australian imperialists may be covered up.
NO POLITICAL RIGHT
The Aborigines have no political, social, or economic rights, no right to have property; they are denied education, or to have schools of their own; intellectuals from among the Aborigines are not allowed to practice their professions; the tribal customs and arts are stifled; wages are not to be paid to Aboriginal workers excepting to the amount of 10/- per week, but the Government gets 5/- of this amount for the A.P.B., and no wages at all to be paid by holders of licences. Although subject to all the penalties of the capitalist criminal code in the courts of justice (?) Aborigines have no status therein, and their evidence is inadmissible in “mixed” cases.
Police accusers have the right (and exercise it) to beat and even shoot the accused until they plead “guilty” to whatever crime the police desire to place upon them.
Individuals who expose the maltreatment of aborigines, or who discover the burnt remains of whole tribes, and demand inquiries, are officially threatened with death, and transported. (Rev. E.R.B. Gribble, 1926n massacre.) When inquiries are held into police murders of aborigines, and the inquiries are remarkably few, police only are put on the Inquiry Commission (exposure of Constable Murray, 1928-9), and always find the massacres “justified” because the victims “did not stop when the King’s name was called out to them” - this, despite the fact that they cannot understand English.
The women of the aboriginal race are subjected to terrifying experiences - there is no protection of them, despite the “ordinances” that appear on the statute books. Not only are they the legitimate prey of the station owners, government officials, but the so-called “protectors of the aborigines” have been proved to have raped the women without any action being taken. The tribal natives who object to this practice are murdered for their objections, but should one native be successful in preventing his own murder, and succeed in killing the station owner, then “drastic steps” are taken, not only against him, but against the whole tribe, which is thereupon exterminated by an infuriated mob led by the mounted constable “protectors” of the aborigines. Mothers and fathers have no right to their own children, and police, A.P.B. rats, or others appointed, may kidnap them at any time, in any place, without the knowledge of the parents, and hire the children out as slaves, gaol them on fake charges, or put them in “homes” of correction. This happens every day in all parts of Australia, not only to full-blooded aborigines, but to half-castes as well.
Aborigines (ful or half-caste) who take part in politics are subject to the vilest of terror, denied the right to live, and threatened with their children being taken from them, and they themselves with being gaoled for “cattle stealing” or any other charge that may be considered necessary.
In N.S.W. the scale of rations of Aborigines is 3/10 per week for adults and 1/10 for children - little more than half that granted to white workers - which is just part of the general drive against the aborigines to make their standard of living considerably lower than that for other unemployed workers, and is part of the drive to exterminate the race.
Under the regime of the social fascist Labor governments, FEderal and State, the victimisation and exploitation of the aborigines are intensified and repressive measures on the part of the police are encouraged. The Scullin government recently raised the scale of “wages” for the aborigines, but in the same ordinance takes 50 per cent of these “wages” for itself, whilst in no way enforcing payment to the aborigines.
Hitherto, the conditions of the Aborigines have not been considered by workers in the revolutionary movement, and the rank and file organisation set up by the aborigines was allowed to be broken up by the A.P.B., the missionaries, and the police, but henceforth no struggle of the white workers must be permitted without demands for the aborigines being championed; no political campaigns without political programs applicable to our fellow exploited - the aborigines - being formulated.
The fifty thousand aborigines in the Federal territories, the few hundred in each State, and the tens of thousands of half-caste workers in each State and the territory must be mobilised around the program of demands outlined below. The white workers in unions, and in other mass organisations, the intellectuals, scientists, and humanitarians, must all unite with the Communist Party in a common fighting front against murderous, rapacious imperialism, and help win back for the natives of Australia part of their native country and common rights as human beings.
The Community Party, speaking in the name of white and black workers of Australia, demands:-
(1) Full and equal rights of all aborigines - economically, socially, and politically - with white races.
(2) Absolute political freedom for aborigines and half-castes; right to membership in, and right to organise, political, economic and cultural organisations, “mixed,” or aboriginal. Right to participate in demonstrations and public affairs. Right to leave Australia as full citizens.
(3) Removal of all color restrictions on aborigines or half-castes, in professions, sports, etc. Aboriginal intellectuals, school teachers, etc., not to be prevented from practising because of the “color line.”
(4) Cancellation of all licenses to employ aborigines without pay. Cancellation of all indentures and forced labor conditions from aborigines, and payment at full wages for all time worked.
(5) Prohibition of slave and forced labor, whether through the A.P.B., police, indentures, missions, or otherwise, and compensation for all previously employed.
(6) Unconditional release from gaol of all aborigines or half-castes, and no further arrests until aboriginal juries can hear and decide cases.
(7) Abolition of Aborigines Protection Boards - Capitalism’s slave recruiting agencies and terror organisations against aborigines and half-castes.
(8) Absolute prohibition of the kidnapping of aboriginal children by the A.P.B., whether to hire them out as slaves, place them in “missions,” gaols or “correction” homes.
(9) Full and unrestricted right of aboriginal and half-caste parents to their children, without living in constant fear that the A.P.B. or mission stations will kidnap them to send into slavery.
(10) Aboriginal children to be permitted to attend public and high schools and to sit for all examinations.
(11) Liquidation of all missions and so-called homes for aborigines, as these are part of the weapons being used to exterminate the aboriginal race by segregating the sexes and sending the young girls into slavery.
(12) Full right of the aborigines to develop native culture. Right to establish their own schools, train their own teachers, for the children of the aborigines and half-castes. The Australian Government to make availble sums of money for such purposes, to be paid into and controlled by committees comprised solely of aborigines and half-castes.
(13) Unemployed aborigines to be paid sums not less than other workers as unemployment allowance. Employed workers to have the 7-hour day, 5-day week, with pay at the same rates as other races.
(14) The handing over to the aborigines of large tracts of watered and fertile country, with towns, seaports, railways, roads, etc., to become one or more independent aboriginal states or republics. The handing back to the aborigines of all Central, Northern, and North West Australia to enable the aborigines to develop their native pursuits. These aboriginal republics to be independent of Australian or other foreign powers. To have the right to make treaties with foreign powers, including Austeralia, establish their own army, governments, industries, and in every way be independent of imperialism.
Workers, intellectuals, humanitarians, scientists, anti-imperialists, fight for these demands for the aboriginal race. Prevent Capitalism exterminating this race through bare-faced murder or slavery.
Struggle with the aborigines against Australian imperialism!
Workers and oppressed peoples of all lands, unite! Smash imperialism!s Right f