Monday, October 30, 2006



Like Nazis marching
into Poland
comes this convoy
from the city:
snake of chrome

with snake-evil task,
the trucks of Amax,
going to Noonkanbah,
place of the goanna,
to rip and tear.

In this time and place
a Nazi raid
into the lands of those who
with sacredness and gentility
uphold civilisation
against the perfidious
god of profit.

With conqueror’s sneer
at the roadside few
the police drive straight
at the camera crew

Superiority – so base, so low,
as on the trucks of Amax

In my dull routine
far from the jellied
heat of the road,
an aching to fight:

to swoop from the skies
in wedgetail glory
leaving the trucks of Amax

But police stand guard
with batons hard
along the road
to Noonkanbah…

Under the banner of plunder
the Nazis march today
all through the great
Down Under
if Amax has its way.

And a fight it shall be,
for in these things -

Compassion and the greed of the plunderer
Respect and the superior man’s contempt
Understanding and the arrogance of the profiteer
Independence and prostitution to the foreign dollar
Freedom and police in the pay of traitors
No - there are no
swastikas, only dollar signs
but like Nazis
marching into Poland
go the trucks of Amax

I wrote the poem above in 1980. This is the background:

Australia is a nation created by British colonialism, which seized the southern continent from its indigenous owners in 1788 and succeeding years. Ruling class historians describe this as "discovery" and "settlement" and even today try to deny that the process was one by which one group of people, the colonialists, used violence and the threat of violence to overturn the traditional rights of another people, the tribal communities of Aboriginal Australia.

As a Second World country, Australia is denied its full rights to independence by imperialism. The injustice of this is visited many times over on the indigenous peoples, many of whom live in worse than Third World conditions.

Twenty-six years ago, the Texas-based multinational Amax decided that it wanted to drill for oil on the Noonkanbah pastoral lease near Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia. The traditional Aboriginal owners saw themselves as custodians of the land and it’s Dreaming sites and resisted this encroachment on their land. The labour movement swung into action behind them.

The right wing Premier of Western Australia mobilised the state forces behind Amax and a vicious police presence was used to guard a convoy of 49 Amax trucks on their journey from Perth to Noonkanbah, 3000 kilometre to the north.

The arrogance of the reactionaries and their contempt for indigenous culture is seen in the cartoon.
Twenty-five years later, in December 2004, the Noonkanbah community won a native land title claim to 1811 square kilometres of their traditional land.
The "place of the goanna" refers to an indigenous belief about a part of the mining lease being sacred to the large Australian lizard called the goanna.
The wedgetail eagle is a magnificent and majestic bird, the largest of Australia’s birds of prey.
(For a history of indigenous struggle in the 70’s and 80’s, see here)


Anonymous said...

Good article and nice poem, Indigenous people are "invisible" in the modern world and anything that brings the spotlight on their plight and precious wisdom is welcome.

Good we think alike on Wu Jie and Deng Xiaping Thought.

I have just posted a piece on Reason and Revolution about Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald on Prachanda.

Welcome comments or criticisms.

haisanlu said...

how are you getting on with reading Lenin's materialism and Empiro-criticism ?