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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 24. 28th September 1972

guns for human rights

page 7

guns for human rights

Australian Black Panther leader Dennis Walker said last week that he wanted the law changed so that blacks in Queensland could carry guns in the streets as a "warning to the pigs".

Walker, speaking at a forum on "Black Power In Australia" during O—Week, said nearly all aboriginals in Australia were an oppressed minority which was continually bullied and discriminated against by the whites and especially "the pigs".

Photo of a Black Panther speaker

"We don't want to work through the system — we can't... the whole thing (the Black Panther Party in Australia) Is based on the defence of the black community. Walker said. He said that his people "won't get anywhere unless they can overthrow this rotten system" and hence the formation of the Australian Black Panther Party.

The Party was formed basically on the models of other Black Panther parties in the U.S., U.K. and Europe, and it's platform is centred on the 10/10 programme of the U.S. Black Panther Movement with the addition of an Aboriginal Land Rights platform.

Two Levels

Their programme consists of two parallel actions: (i) education of the black community "on how fascist the system is"; and (ii) the survival programme which would give to under-privileged Aboriginals free medical services, child-minding facilities, legal representation, "pig protection" etc. In other words, the aim of the party is "human rights.

Overthrow

Although he acknowledges that "people need to know what existed before the white people got here", Dennis does not believe in reviving an interest in corroborees and other aspects of Aboriginal culture "because they won't give us a change in the power distribution of society".

Walker explained quite clearly in answer to a question that they have no hope, nor any aim to work through the "white capitalist system"; they hate this system and want to overthrow it completely. He also explained how he would tike to organise the black community to take over conventional power systems in society, he talked of taking over the lesser strata of the bureaucratic process (e.g. local Abschol) and gaining economic power through having black representatives on committees throughout all sections of the community.

Arms to Reserves

He stated that he wanted to send arms to the Aboriginal reserves. He was vigorously questioned on the point of carrying guns, but replied with the answer: "It would give me a lot of pride to walk down the street carrying a gun to make sure no pig could touch me ... we want human rights".

Another Black Panther, Sue Chilly, also spoke on the suppression of Aborigines, especially in Brisbane. Her speech seemed to be more one of personal experience than that of Dennis Walker and she drove home her point more dearly. She said she realised that the more fortunate Blacks had to help others who are Jess lucky, and because of the intolerable discrimination against herself and other Aboriginal friends in Brisbane, she had "joined the Black Panther Party to do her bit to smash the white capitalist system".

Don McPhee