Let's build a powerful people's movement for unity

Issue 
Ken Canning (left) leading the Invasion Day march in Sydney in January this year.

My name is Ken Canning. My traditional name is Burraga Gutya. My people are the Kunja clan of the Bidjara Nation of what is now called south-western Queensland.

I was raised mainly on the coast of Queensland and in Brisbane and, although I have lived in Sydney since the late 1970s, I am still a very proud Murri.

I have been fortunate that since living in Sydney the local Koori community has always taken me in and I feel very much at home here. Many First Nations peoples now living in Sydney are from all over this country and from many different nations.

I am very proud that I have had a very long involvement in activism in our First Nation people's struggle for basic human rights. The fight for the rights of First Nations people will always form the platform of any struggle I am involved in, including my campaign as the lead NSW Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance.

Having said that, all people from all walks of life will benefit from the fight for justice for our people. We cannot hold our heads up high as a nation or as global citizens unless we end the continued persecution of Indigenous peoples by the duopoly that monopolises all of the parliaments in this country.

Just as important is the fact that a strike for the freedom of any oppressed peoples is a strike for freedom for all people. The road to equity and justice for my people requires smashing the stranglehold the Liberal National coalition and Labor have on political decision making in Australia. By doing this, the struggle of all disenfranchised people for freedom, equity and justice can be taken forward.

While I see this election campaign as part of the struggle for the rights of Indigenous people, I have never lost sight of the fact that to win our struggle we have to build a broad, strong and powerful people's movement. We have to join together and fight for all our freedom.

This country, now called Australia, has been built on lies, greed and the attempted genocide of its First Nations. To rectify these wrongs is to bring freedom to all oppressed peoples. Indigenous activists all over Australia have forged strong links with other groups fighting the same battle. We are not exclusive in our struggle, for it is my belief the oppression of one is the oppression of all.

There is hope for this society but it can only come from this base: a people's movement.

The Socialist Alliance has been instrumental in the evolving struggle for the freedoms of not only my peoples but for all peoples.

In recent times in Sydney we have walked and fought side by side for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and the gay, lesbian and transgender communities seeking marriage equality. We have stood shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim sisters and brothers against the racist hate groups, such as Reclaim Australia and the United Patriots Front, to totally oppose Islamophobia. In return many of these people have walked by our side in our protest movements.

We have seen a record number of Anglo-Australians marching along with First Nations people towards our ultimate road to determine our own futures. The most powerful aspect of this interaction is the respect people are gaining for each other. People are no longer attempting to tell us how to campaign but are now following our lead.

First Nations peoples on this continent have been fighting against the greed and corruption of the capitalist system for 228 years and people from all backgrounds are realising that not only do we have the will to win but, in fact, we have the answers within our communities of how to live in harmony with each other and how to love and care for our precious Mother Earth.

I urge all people who are dissatisfied with the present quasi-dictatorial system of the federal and state parliaments to support Socialist Alliance candidates, which in the NSW Senate ballot are myself; Susan Price, a national co-convener of the Socialist Alliance and former UNSW president of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU); Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, a descendant of the Guringai, Gadigal, Wiradjuri and Dharug peoples of NSW and national councillor in the NTEU; and Howard Byrnes, a construction worker and Construction Forestry Energy Mining Union member.

We ask for your strongest practical support and vote in the upcoming federal election to help build a powerful people's movement for unity.

[Ken Canning is the lead NSW Senate candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the upcoming federal election.]

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