Whether you’re calling for #changethedate, #abolishAustraliaDay, #changethenation, or even just acknowledging that the day is #InvasionDay, if you’re a First Nations person speaking up 26th January at some point the accusation of being ‘divisive’ is gonna come up.
But apparently The Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) weren’t being ‘divisive’ enough for some racist troll who decided to create a fake propaganda version of their Invasion Day march posters for Melbourne.
Racists pretending to be Aboriginal online is not a new phenomenon, with the basic idea being to increase hatred against Aboriginal people by validating white supremacist rhetoric and conspiracy theories. Thankfully most white supremacists who engage in this behaviour are fairly easily spotted by their over the top comments and inability to mask the depth of their racism. The fake poster is no different.
Whereas the original poster calls for people to hold banner making nights before the rally saying “The more creative and witty the better” the fake poster gets a lot less creative asking people to bring posters reading “White dogs” “Fuck off Nazis” “Give it back” and “Fuck off we’re full.”
The original poster asks people to bring at least three friends while the fake poster adds ‘non-white is preferred’ – making out that Aboriginal resistance is inherently ‘anti-white’ is a common component of white supremacist rhetoric.
The original poster asks people to support a campaign to raise funds for a community funeral fund, the fake poster removes the purpose of this #PayTheRent campaign and goes on to ask people to bring the deeds to their houses and give those to Aboriginal people too.
Where the fake poster becomes more insidious and dangerous though is where it attempts to incites violence by calling for people to ‘prepare for violence, bring bats, sticks, facemasks’. Presumably it is hoped this might lead to actual violence, but at the very least it can be assumed this is designed to discourage participation in what has always been a peaceful protest.
The post has been linked to a bizarre anti-Aboriginal Facebook page called ‘Wanjina Watchers Art’, but the original post has since been deleted, either by the page admins or by Facebook itself.
The desire to paint Aboriginal resistance as ‘anti-white’ and potentially violent is not just amongst white supremacist trolls though, but has long been part of the conservative rhetoric that anti-Australia Day sentiment is anti-white, unAustralian, or ‘divisive’.
The truth however is that Indigenous protests have long sought to build support amongst non-Indigenous peoples as well, and calling for a more inclusive nation that does not ignore Aboriginal past, present and futures, actively discriminate against Indigenous peoples, is far less divisive than those who would seek to whitewash the impacts of racism and colonialism not just in history but in today’s society as well. The goes far beyond celebrating Invasion of Australia Day, but speaks to the heart of a nation that finds patriotism in colonialism and continues to dismiss and ignore Indigenous peoples calls for justice in all walks of life.
WAR member, Meriki Onus was asked for comment about the fake posters, and about their true hopes for the protest rallies tomorrow, and told IndigenousX that “the call is to Abolish Australia Day. We don’t think changing the date does anything to address the issues of genocide and dispossession as those issues continue today. We also want to go further and have the discussion about how the changing community perceptions can be utilised to create meaningful change, which is why we are also calling for people to #PayThe Rent. We want to have discussions about ‘what next’ because we are ready. We live by principles that don’t reinforce the hate that was brought to this country – this movement is about acknowledging that this land is stolen and all that flowed from that – and addressing that is not something we should shy away from.”
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