Sunday, June 6, 2010

Defending Indigenous Rights: land, law, culture - Anti-racist convergence in Alice Springs

Dear Comrades,

We’re writing to tell you about the important next steps in the campaign against the Northern Territory intervention, and to invite you continued participation in it.

The February protest house project at the Alyawarr people’s walk-off was the result of much collaboration with and solidarity from the union movement across this country. We understand the importance of our comrades in the unions being part of our struggle: we’ve learnt from history and appreciate the role that particular unions played in organising and constructing the protest house.

Many unionists came away from the experience inspired and wanting to stay in touch and involved in the campaign. While solidarity from unions is growing, the momentum across Aboriginal communities affected by the intervention also gathers pace: more communities are coming on board, wanting to make a stand against the laws. There is a campaign to unionise Aboriginal workers who are forced to work for nothing more than the Basics Card – a policy taking us back to the rations day.

Because of this momentum, and the need for us all to come together in a display of strength and opposition to the intervention, we’re planning what looks set to be an historic gathering of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Alice Springs: 6-9th July 2010.

We want people to come together to hold workshops and forums, plan a national strategy to defeat the intervention, and learn from each others’ experiences in other campaigns.

The demands of the gathering are:
* Stop the intervention &
* Reinstate the Racial Discrimination act with no conditions and no special measures.

Students and other groups around the coast are already planning “Freedom bus rides” to converge on Alice Springs for the event, and we’re mobilising families and communities across central Australia.

We are asking unions, activist groups, churches – anybody concerned with human rights for Aboriginal people- to join us in this campaign.

Please consider being part of the July gathering. This is an invitation to attend the event.

But we also invite you to consider being a part of it in other ways: official endorsement; host a workshop or stream (you may want to consider a theme relevant to your organisation- “Unions and the Aboriginal rights movement”, “Climate change and Aboriginal people”, etc); provide material support for the event such as marquees, donations of food, money etc; “sponsor a seat” on the freedom bus rides to enable a student or young Aboriginal person from your state to attend…

Monday 5th July - Arrival of every one

Tuesday 6th July 10:00am - Arrente welcoming speech to all

Richard Downs
Alyawarr Spokesperson for Intervention walk off

NB: Richard Downs will be speaking in Perth on Thurs 24 June and Sat 26 June