Topic

History

History

This topic focuses on Australian social movement history. There is so much to learn from the stories of past collective action for social and ecological justice. Learning social movement history can provide insights about strategy, a vast toolbox of potential tactics, and abundant inspiration.

Uncle Kevin Buzzacott stands in front of a large banner depicting a black hand against a red and yellow nuclear symbol.

Interview with Kevin Buzzacott

Kevin Buzzacott is a key figure in the opposition to the South Australian Olympic Dam mine and the nuclear industry in general. In this interview he outlines a number of the creative actions he has taken part in as part of a series of campaigns addressing the issues of dispossession and Aboriginal sovereignty.

Cover of Iain McIntyre's 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: The AIDEX '91 Story'.

Always look on the bright side of life: The AIDEX ’91 story

In 1991 over 1000 protesters blockaded the National Exhibition Centre in Canberra with the goal of shutting down the Australia International Defence Exhibition. This book includes a detailed account of the blockade, the context of the growth of the Australian arms industry, and the words of the protesters themselves.

Black and white photograph of a group of men marching with arms interlinked. Banner reads 'Support BLF Green Bans'.

Green Bans

In the 1970s Sydney builders labourers refused to work on projects that were environmentally or socially undesirable. This green bans movement, as it became known, was the first of its type in the world.

Black and white photograph of four protestors standing in front of Old Parliament House. Placards read 'Land Ownership Not Lease', 'Land Rights or Else!', 'Why Pay to Use Our Own Land', 'Which Do You Choose: Land Rights or Bloodshed?'. 'Legally This is Our Land. We Shall Take It If Need Be'.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy was established in 1972 when the Coalition Government failed to recognise the land rights of Indigenous people. From its inception, the Embassy has been interwoven into Canberra’s physical and political landscape, blending black politics, symbolism and theatre that opponents have found difficult to counter.

Black and white photograph of a large crowd of protestors. Banners include 'Vietnam Moratorium Campaign' and 'Stop the Country to Stop the War'.

The Vietnam War

Case study of the Australian campaign against involvement in the Vietnam War. The emergence of popular protest in Australia during the 1960s presented a fundamental challenge to government decisions and the way those decisions are made. By taking to the streets people challenged the policy positions of government and, in some cases, the very legitimacy and authority of the state itself.

Black and white photograph of protestors standing next to bus.

The Freedom Ride

The Freedom Ride through western New South Wales towns in February 1965 drew attention to the racism in these towns. Aboriginal student Charles Perkins was, by the end of the journey, a national figure in the fight for Aboriginal rights.

Photograph of River Red Gum trees submerged in water.

Victorian Red Gum Forests: A Historic Victory

A comprehensive case study of the successful campaign to protect Victorian Red Gum Forests. Includes the history of the Barmah-Millewa Campaign, its goals and results. Given the historic outcomes of the campaign it is worth examining how such an effective green-black alliance emerged in south-eastern Australia.

Photograph of protestors at the Jabiluka blockade in 1998. Features banners with 'Uranium, Leave it in the Ground'. The march is led by Mirarr elders and Peter Garrett.

Jabiluka Fight for Country

In 2005 the Mirarr succeeded in halting the development of the proposed Jabiluka mine. It was the culmination of an extraordinary decade-long campaign which saw people across Australia and the world stand up and support Mirarr in their opposition to uranium mining on their land.

Stop Jabiluka, Stop Uranium Mining, Reclaim the Future. Symbol of a hand print on background of a nuclear symbol.

Stop Jabiluka Mine Handbook

Stop Jabiluka Mine handbook gives a fascinating insight into an important part of Australian social movement history as well as an overview of the kinds of issues to consider when organising a large scale direct action convergence. Over 500 people were arrested in the course of an eight-month blockade at Jabiluka in 1998.

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