Dr. Gary Foley
Dr. Gary Foley is a legendary Aboriginal activist, writer, actor, teacher, storyteller and historian. Foley describes his politicisation after arriving in Redfern in 1967 at the age of seventeen: "Getting bashed by the NSW coppers, and reading the biography of Malcolm X; that transformed my thinking". Foley was soon involved in setting up the Aboriginal Legal Service and the Sydney chapter of the Black Power Movement. In 1972, he was one of the founders of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra.
He has spoken at almost every Palestine demonstration in Melbourne since Israel’s war began, making the case for solidarity and international resistance to colonialism, racism and capitalism.
Foley quickly came to the attention of ASIO, and as revealed in SBS series "Persons of Interest", was heavily surveilled for years. He continued to be involved in every major struggle for Aboriginal rights, participating in the 1982 Commonwealth Games protest, the 1988 bicentennial demonstrations, the successful campaign to save Northland Secondary College in Melbourne in the early 1990s, and the protests that stopped the Jabiluka uranium mine later that decade. Foley has been a keynote speaker at consecutive Invasion day demonstrations in Melbourne as well as Blacklivesmatter demonstrations, and he is also an outspoken supporter of Palestine and refugee rights.
As well as educating generations of people on the streets, Foley educates his students at Victoria University where he lectures in history. He has a vast body of written work, from his PhD on the history of Aboriginal organisations and struggles in Redfern in the late 1960s and early 1970s through to his website: www.gooriweb.org. Foley is currently building what will be the biggest ever archive of Aboriginal history. Rather than sitting on dusty shelves, these materials are being compiled as a resource for future generations of radicals.
Foley has been a regular speaker at Marxism conferences over the years, schooling and entertaining hundreds with his lively stories and research into Aboriginal history.
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Who is he?
Gary Foley: ‘a direct and fiercely intellectual man’