Book launched on Indigenous struggle and the left

Issue 

Socialist Alliance member and author Terry Townsend launched his new book The Aboriginal Struggle & the Left on December 2 at the Brisbane Activist Centre.

Aboriginal activist Sam Watson kicked off proceedings by introducing the new Socialist Alliance Indigenous policy, the Charter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights.

Watson raised key issues in the Aboriginal rights struggle, including deaths in custody, incarceration rates and the Stolen Generations.

Speaking of the significance of the new charter, he noted the role of the Socialist Alliance in challenging the government over the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in police custody on Palm Island in 2004.

"If the support wasn't there from the Socialist Alliance, nothing would have been done", he said.

But Watson also noted the further work that needed to be done to bring about stronger solidarity between the Socialist Alliance and the Aboriginal rights movement.

"We need to be active, diligent and we need to be out there campaigning", he said. "At this point in the year, there's still a lot to be done."

Watson's talk laid a perfect foundation for Townsend to launch his new book, which talks about the history of the collaboration between the socialist movement and Aboriginal activists, dating from the 1930s.

Townsend talked about the links made between anti-racist whites and Aboriginal workers through the trade unions.

"The book touches on Communist Party of Australia members and their support of Aboriginal communities", he said. "Aboriginal issues were very much on the CPA's agenda."

"There are two hidden histories; the CPA and the Aboriginal Rights struggle."

Townsend is long-time socialist activist and is the managing editor of the online socialist journal Links.

[The Aboriginal Struggle & the Left is available for $15 at Resistance Centres or can be ordered online at www.resistancebooks.com.]