The Spirit of Eureka Committee was established in the lead up to the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade Rebellion in 2004, to give a strong and united voice to the current struggles of Australia’s ordinary people.
The Spirit of Eureka tries to draw on the continuity and relevance of this important event in the history of Australia’s ordinary people to the present day endeavours and struggles for justice, democracy and sovereignty. The Eureka rebellion laid the foundation stone for Australia’s peoples continuing social, industrial and political struggles. It was advanced for its time in settler Australia’s early history, and along side the Aboriginal struggles for their sovereignty, represents an important fighting tradition that continues to inspire our fight today.
The enduring and timeless spirit of that just rebellion against the injustice of British colonial authority, and a call for unity and loyalty to your comrades, is embodied in the two quotes adopted by the Spirit of Eureka Committee, the Eureka rebels’ pledge of allegiance “We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties” and Raffaelo Carboni’s declaration at a monster meeting, “I call on my fellow diggers, irrespective of nationality, religion or colour, to salute the “Southern Cross” as the refuge of all oppressed from all countries on earth.”
These quotes are as relevant in today’s Australia as they were in the 1854 rebellion and express the true collective values of ordinary peoples’ unity, solidarity and fight for justice, democracy and sovereignty. They continue to inspire our struggles today. Australia’s multiculturalism was born at Eureka Stockade where more than 20 nationalities and different religions all united in a common fight.
It is this spirit that the Spirit of Eureka Committee is drawing on to promote and support Australian people’s current struggles and endeavours.
The Eureka rebellion and its Eureka flag, are enduring and powerful symbols of Australia’s ordinary people’s unity and just struggles for more than 150 years.
The Eureka rebellion, and the overwhelming public outrage that forced colonial authorities to free the imprisoned rebels, are a testimony to the Eureka upraising as a genuine mass movement. This mass movement for justice and democratic rights has been repeated countless times throughout Australian history with the Eureka flag proudly flying above.
In recent times, the Clarrie O’Shea’s struggle against the penal powers in 1969, the MUA in 1998 and more recently the enormous mobilisation against WorkChoices by unions and communities that resulted in resounding electoral defeat of the Howard government.
The Eureka flag continues to be raised across far flung communities of rural Australia. It will continue to inspire ordinary people in the fight for justice and fairness, a real democracy and an independent Australia. The ABCC attacks on building workers and their unions will be met with same mobilisation.
The job started at the Eureka Stockade rebellion in 1854 is not finished and continues today.
- We live in a country where the hard won rights of workers and unions to organise and take action in their workplaces for jobs, wages and conditions have been shredded. And this is at a time of almost unfettered freedom for big business and major corporations.
- The broader attacks on people’s civil and democratic rights are on unprecedented scale, and a copy of the US led, so-called, global war on terror.
- The looming economic crisis created by global corporations means hardship for many ordinary people. Destruction of Australia’s manufacturing base will worsen the difficulties for the people. Our economy has been deregulated by US driven globalisation, destroying local manufacturing industry and agriculture, etc. Australia’s economy is heavily dependent on global financial corporations.
- The environmental crisis requires urgent and immediate action. It’s the ordinary people who create the enormous wealth of this country and have practical solutions to redressing climate warming.
- Australia needs an independent foreign policy that breaks free from its military alliance with the US and stops acting as US deputy sheriff in our region. A policy that promotes global peace, fair trade and sovereignty of countries and people.
Yet ordinary people have no real say or power over any of these major decisions that impact on our lives and future generations.
The Spirit of Eureka Committee aims to support, encourage and contribute towards building a genuine people’s mass movement for a just, democratic and sovereign Australia. We believe that the enduring and powerful tradition, and symbol, of our own country’s Eureka rebellion will continue to unite, inspire and strengthen many of these struggles.
We hope the Spirit of Eureka will assist in building a united people’s movement in today’s Australia.