user preferences

New Events

Indonesia / Philippines / Australia

no event posted in the last week

Strike to stop aboriginal deaths in custody

category indonesia / philippines / australia | indigenous struggles | opinion / analysis author Saturday January 31, 2015 17:31author by MACG - Anarkismoauthor address PO Box 5108 Brunswick North 3056 Report this post to the editors

The movement against Aboriginal deaths in custody is growing. It is growing because the deaths just keep happening, and that’s criminal. We're not just talking about deaths from natural causes. Many of these deaths are far from natural.
From 'The Anvil' newsletter of Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (MACG), issue 4/1, Feb. 2015.


The movement against Aboriginal deaths in custody is growing. It is growing because the deaths just keep happening, and that’s criminal. We're not just talking about deaths from natural causes. Many of these deaths are far from natural.

Racism, Impunity and Genocide

We're talking about:

(a) Eddie Murray. The coppers said he “committed suicide” in 1981 by hanging himself – when he was so drunk he couldn't even stand properly.

(b) T.J. Hickey. In 2004, he was on his push-bike and chased by a cop car when he impaled himself on a fence. The coppers turned away a police rescue van. TJ died in hospital that night.

(c) Mulrunji Doomadgee. Also in 2004, Mulrinji was killed by a copper who “accidentally” fell on him in a Palm Island watch house and cleaved his liver in two.

(d) Mr Ward. He was cooked alive in the back of a prison van in 2008, while being transported across the West Australian desert in a heat wave.

(e) Ms Dhu. She died in police custody last year, with serious and unexplained injuries after twice being denied admission to hospital.

And these cases are only the tip of the iceberg. There's pattern here and the pattern is racism, the pattern is police impunity and the pattern is genocide. No copper and no police officer in Australia has ever been convicted for causing the death of an indigenous person in custody. The 1987-91 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody investigated 99 deaths and concluded that not one was due to police violence.

How Can Deaths in Custody End?

The movement against deaths in custody is growing, but so far it is nowhere near strong enough. Australia's original sin, the Aboriginal Genocide and the theft of Aboriginal land, means that anti-Aboriginal racism is an integral part of the Australian State. Even if an enlightened reforming government were elected, Aboriginal people would still be arrested in numbers vastly disproportional to the non-Aboriginal population and Aborigines would still die unnatural deaths in custody. The problem is too deep-rooted for mere parliamentary change to be effective.

Aboriginal deaths in custody will only stop when the capitalist class as a whole, regardless of the governing party, becomes serious about stopping them. And that will only happen if the working class as a whole mobilises to demand that the deaths cease. The clearest and most emphatic way for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers to mobilise is through strike action.

A 24-hour protest strike on the day of the funeral (or other appropriate date) by all workers in that State, or possibly across Australia, called with the agreement of the victim's family, would speak to the bosses in the only language they understand. If we cut off the flow of profits whenever an Aboriginal person died an unnatural death in custody, the capitalists would soon get the message and find some way to pull their thugs into line. They'd be falling over themselves to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission. Those recommendations were part of a deal which denied justice for past deaths, in return for hope that future ones might be avoided.

Why Would Workers Strike for Aboriginal Rights?

An injury to one is an injury to all. It might not be easy to get workers in Australia to strike against deaths in custody, but it would be in their interests. The working class can only defend itself by defending the interests of each and every worker. Any oppression hurts the working class by sowing divisions which bind some part of the working class to their exploiters through illusions or reactionary ideology. Divisions hurt workers' ability to fight back as a united force.

By campaigning throughout the working class, we can raise awareness of Aboriginal deaths in custody and show why workers must stop them. And when we campaign for workers to answer each unnatural death in custody with a protest strike, workers will find one more reason to re-build our unions and seize control from the Laborite officials. Our unions would become more effective weapons in the class struggle.


The oppression of indigenous people in Australia will not end before capitalism does. We can fight some aspects effectively, like Aboriginal deaths in custody, but the wider issues of genocide and dispossession demand a workers' revolution. On Invasion Day 2015, the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group takes a stand against racism, against genocide, against dispossession and against Aboriginal deaths in custody. Does this make us un-Australian? Yes, and proudly so.


*You can download the current and back issues of The Anvil here

Related Link:


This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

Front page

Μετά την καταστροφή τι;

Aufruf zur Demonstration am 2.9.2018 in Unterlüß "Rheinmetall entwaffnen – Krieg beginnt hier"

Mass protest in central and southern Iraq

Ecology in Democratic Confederalism

[Colombia] Perspectivas sobre la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales de Colombia 2018

Call for Solidarity with our Russian Comrades!

8 reasons anarchists are voting Yes to Repeal the hated 8th

Comunicado de CGT sobre la Nakba, 70 años de dolores para el Pueblo Palestino

[ZAD] Les expulsions ont commencé, la zad appelle à se mobiliser

Assassinato Político, Terrorismo de Estado: Marielle Franco, Presente!

La Huelga General del 8 de Marzo, un hito histórico

A intervenção federal no Rio de Janeiro e o xadrez da classe dominante

Halklarla Savaşan Devletler Kaybedecek

Σχετικά με τον εμπρησμό

Ciao, Donato!

[Uruguay] Ante el homicidio de un militante sindical: Marcelo Silvera

[Argentina] Terrorista es el Estado: Comunicado ante el Informe Titulado "RAM"

[Catalunya] Continuisme o ruptura. Sobre les eleccions del 21D

Reconnaissance par Trump de Jérusalem comme capitale d'Israël : de l'huile sur le feu qui brûle la Palestine

Noi comunisti anarchici/libertari nella lotta di classe, nell'Europa del capitale

Luttons contre le harcèlement et toutes les violences patriarcales !

The Old Man and the Coup

Hands off the anarchist movement ! Solidarity with the FAG and the anarchists in Brazil !

URGENTE! Contra A Criminalização, Rodear De Solidariedade Aos Que Lutam!

© 2005-2018 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]