Solidarity with calls for First Nations justice for deaths in custody

The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) stands in solidarity with the First Nations people of Australia and their organisations in demanding an end to the systemic racism. The Central Committee extends its sympathy to the families of First Nation adults and children who have unnecessarily died in custody. We condemn the senseless loss of life and the heartache inflicted on First Nations’ families and communities.

Continuing our longstanding support for the struggle of First Nations people for their rights and against oppression, the CPA participated in mass rallies across Australia calling for justice and accountability for deaths in custody.

Despite the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Aboriginal deaths in custody have risen steeply. There have been no convictions for any officers and leaders responsible for these deaths and no one has been held to account.

Governments complicit in a culture of racist police violence

The ongoing police violence against First Nations people across Australia is condoned by governments who are intent on continuing the suppression of First Nation peoples, their way of life and their struggle for land and cultural rights. The collusion of law enforcement, the state, and capitalism culminate in a system where First Nations’ lives do not matter.

First Nations people and their communal way of life disrupt the pursuit of private property and private profits. Capitalism fragments Indigenous societies and rights to land in the interests of mining and pastoral corporations, and multinationals. The recent destruction of a 46,000-year-old Aboriginal sacred site in Western Australia, by Rio Tinto, was excused by the Australian Government at the same time as they were voicing objections to the Black Lives Matter protest movement in Australia.

Capitalism uses racism as a tool to divide people and it profits from this division. Racism also deflects criticism away from the capitalist class in times of crisis. This is evident in the United States where the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown laws have had disproportionate impacts on the lives of Afro- American and Latino people.

Racial divisions create disunity in the community and, among workers, it weakens the struggle of the working class against capitalism. These divisions are promoted between migrant communities as well as within First Nation communities. This disunity means the bosses can intensify their exploitation of workers, reducing wages to feed their ever increasing profits. This is most blatant with the historical theft of Aboriginal workers’ wages over decades by State and Federal governments in Australia.

Colonial dispossession of First Nations’ land, killing communities, the banning of language and culture which began 232 years ago attempted to eliminate and assimilate First Nation communities so capitalists can destroy the collective nature of First Nations’ society and the communal ownership of land in Australia. This attack continues today with the Intervention in the Northern Territory where wages, control over their lives and responsibility are stolen from the community. A key action has been the theft and dispossession of land that can only benefit mining corporations.

The CPA calls for:

  • The immediate implementation of all the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody by Federal, State and Territory governments across Australia
  • Australian government coordination with the states and territories to instigate criminal investigations in all First Nations’ deaths in custody cases. This should be done in coordination with First Nations’ families and organisations who must be funded and supported to
  • oversee and inform these investigations.
  • Australian government to prosecute all law enforcement officers responsible for First Nation Deaths in Custody.
  • Aboriginal Land Rights and support for the communal ownership of the land by the traditional owners.
  • The CPA recognises that systemic racism and racist violence are indelibly linked to a capitalist system that thrives on racism. It acknowledges that the capitalist way of life is antithetical to First Nations communal societies. It is only with socialism that First Nations’ societies,
  • lives and relationships with land can be safeguarded and honored.

CPA Central Committee