Does violence have a place in Aboriginal protest?


ABORIGINAL people are routinely told that ‘Violence is never the answer’. But when it suits white interests, violence is frequently the answer.

It was the answer when Australia joined the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. And it is frequently the answer when Australian police want to bring Aboriginal people to heel. The brutal beating death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in the Palm Island police station in 2004 is a case in point. And so too is the Aboriginal response to that killing – an uprising on the island, that is still being talked about today, and has irrefutably lead to improvements, albeit modest, in the lives of Palm Islanders.

In this video, Tracker managing editor Chris Graham is speaking at the 2012 Sydney Writer’s Festival, on an essay he wrote for the new book, Left Turn (published by Melbourne University Press) in which he makes the case for the place of ‘violence’ in Aboriginal protest.

The session was chaired by the editor of Left Turn, Jeff Sparrow, and included Aboriginal activists Ali Cobby Eckermann and Sam Watson.

Left Turn is available in good bookstores everywhere, or is available as an ebook from Readings.

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