- The Guardian
- Issue #2083
The struggles of Indigenous Australians have ensured that 26 January attracts a level of passion and interest from the population that governments have spent decades trying – and failing – to inspire in the Australian people. What does Invasion Day mean to you?
To some the answer is obvious. Calling 26 January ‘Australia Day’ summons up images of dispossession and disadvantage wrapped up in pride, with hateful imagery of the world’s oldest civilisation being ‘discovered’, pillaged, and exploited. It’s also a reminder of current discrimination and disadvantage. Calling the day ‘Invasion Day’, as well as being more accurate, is a reminder that there’s a lot of unfinished business where colonisation is concerned.
Others will react with a shrug, and the thought that they’ve got ‘real problems’ right now. Housing of any kind is expensive if not unobtainable. The cost of living is up. Climate change is with us in the form of bushfires, heatwaves and floods. Invasion Day can seem like an optional extra to people who don’t feel directly affected by colonialism. It isn’t. The system that’s giving us all ‘real problems’ is the system that’s dealing out imprisonment and neglect. Our other ‘party of government,’ the Liberals, is trying to get some political mileage out of pretending to be upset about Woolworths not being as pro ‘Australia Day’ as they’d like, at the same time as they’re putting a giant transport company, DP World, ahead of Australian workers.
Communists know that these things are connected. It’s not a coincidence that this settler-colonialist country funnels money upwards from the people who work for a living to the people who profit from their labour. Colonialism is not finished with us yet – witness the white English-speaking club that makes up AUKUS. Ignoring all the non-white countries nearby, our Labor government has chosen to spend more money that we’ve ever spent on anything on a deal with our former colonial overlord, the UK, and our present colonial overlord, the USA.
It’s no coincidence that last year was the hottest year ever, and our supposedly progressive ALP government is approving more fossil fuel extraction while throwing peanuts at renewable energy. The ALP is prioritising companies whose vast profits derive from cheap or free access to unceded Aboriginal land over survival.
The imperialism which spends big on nuclear submarines instead of on your health is the imperialism that keeps Aboriginal Australians in a state of disadvantage and discrimination. If we don’t beat it wholesale, we don’t beat it at all.
Invasion Day and the struggle for Land Rights and against baked-in systemic disadvantage aren’t an optional extra. They’re essential.
The Communist Party of Australia was the first political party in this country to make Indigenous issues a priority and we’re still doing it.
We’ll see you at an Invasion Day event.