Forty people attended a launch of the latest publication from Resistance Books, The Aboriginal Struggle and the Left on February 20.
Held in the local Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the gathering was addressed by author Terry Townsend and legendary fighter for Aboriginal rights, Fred Moore. It also included an eyewitness report-back from solidarity activists involved in helping to build the Alyawarr people's "protest house" near Ampilatwatja in the Northern Territory.
Moore described the conditions faced by Aboriginal people in the 1950s, and the growing alliance between Aboriginal communities and the socialist left.
"After a survey by the [NSW South Coast] Labour Council, we set up the South Coast Aboriginal Advancement League in 1962. To do that was very difficult. The Aboriginal people had been trodden down", Moore said. "They didn't trust white people generally because of the savage attitudes of the welfare boards that were stealing their children.
"They lived through that and were terrified. They had everything to lose. But the courageous Aboriginal women from around here stood up and said, 'Well, we may not get much out of this (alliance with trade unions and the left) but our children and grandchildren will'."
Townsend gave a brief overview of the book, including the struggles leading up to the 1967 referendum and the 1946 Pilbara pastoral workers' strike, known as the "blackfellas' Eureka".
In the audience were many members of the Socialist Alliance, ex-members of the Communist Party of Australia and current trade union leaders. Participants were inspired to continue to rebuild the black-red alliance, including supporting the actions of the Ampilatwatja community and other struggles for Aboriginal rights.