As I grow older I see clearly and distinctly what is right and wrong in our way of life and how ridiculous is everything not achieved with one’s own blood and one’s own soul and everything not infused with love. ~ Marc Chagall
The publication yesterday of Martin McKenzie-Murray’s article in The Saturday Paper seems like a good opportunity to reflect a little on my blogging: its content and purpose. Further, to examine its role in that aspect of my writing which Martin focuses upon — helping to document and monitor the trials and tribulations of the far right in Australia (‘nazi hunting’).
I’ve been blogging regularly since late 2005, so for about 8 1/2 years. This, as it happens, is the 3,339th post on my blog, meaning that on average I’ve posted something every day during this period. One focus of my writing has been the contemporary far right, especially (but not only) its Australian manifestations. Thus about a third (1,167) of my posts — including this one — I’ve categorised ‘Anti-fascism’; the other categories are listed below. I’ve tended to employ them fairly loosely, and the categorisation has been supplemented in recent years by the use of tags; most of my writing has focused upon contemporary politics.
Not unexpectedly, my writing on the subject of the far right has generated a good deal of hatred and resentment from that quarter. In his article, Martin quotes a text received by the person the Australia First Party recently alleged authors my blog, the fallout from which forms an important part of his story:
“Hey you left wing anti white bleeding heart race traitor fukn do gooder asswipe ethnic loving piece of shit ur days are coming to a end asswipe!!! Every one on storm front knows ur true name and identity u piece of shit!! Lmfao watch ur back dog!! .”
This is a fairly typical example of the abuse I’ve received. In October last year I surveyed other such criticism, usually taking the form of anonymous commentary on my blog: I republish it below.
slackbastard: a series of critical responses by (mostly) anonymous reviewers
“it is not only the “far-right” (sic) who have tired of this over-inflated nothing” (Dr Jim Saleam, leader of the Australia First Party)
“I promise you I will beat the fucking shit out of you and then make a black man take a shit in your face”
“Honestly, I am going to fucking kill you. I hope it was worth it.”
“fukn gooknigger scum”
“you’re a fucking idiot mate & you better watch your back because when me & my mates are out & about, if we see you, yr dead”
“piece of shit!” “anti-Semite” “racist wanker” “Marxist Nazi turd” “Nazi bastard” (Nicholas Folkes, leader of the Party of Freedom)
“Andy has forgotten his cover as a Anti Racist Anarchist and shown us all who he works for. Israel and ZOG”
“he has some rather well placed and well known Jewish friends. Some of them go all the way back to the 1970s”
“Andy’s mates are mostly in their mid to late 50s and almost entirely Jewish”
“the undisputed Jewish king of Victorian anti fa”
“nothing but a Zionist spy”
“Andrew Moran Art Dealer in Melbourne”
‘I was amused to see [he] was considered “sexy” by a visiting overseas anarchist “comrade” …’ (Dr Jim Saleam)
“i have read all your utter shit now please die”
“if i had bumped into you i would have ripped off your head and used it as a football you prick”
“You are the race traitor red scum that give this country a bad name.”
“I hope dirty muslim pakis rape your kids!”
“you are a piss poor excuse for a human being hopefully someone will find you hangin from a tree one day”
“i say fuck all of you white nigger lover losers … fuck you and burn in hell”
“Your problem is really that you read too much and lavish in the fruits of other people’s work.”
“Hopefully one day I meet you and kick your scrawny white ass”
“you do not seem to be white. you are probably black? or of mixed race? white mother nigger father? a mongrel?”
“me namo es andio und I like writing much words to make me seem smart. I am so communistic that my shit comes out red!”
“YOU ANTIFA WOG LOVERS ARE NOTHING BUT BULLSHITTERS,YOU SHOULD ALL BE LINED UP AND FUCKIN SHOT”
“dumb nigger luvin cock sucker”
“there are groups that are hunting you down … watching your tv, good to no that a petrol bomb comes through your window”
“you are a disgrace to the White race”
“you and your mates are nothing but sissys,dreamers,abbo shaggers”
“andy,your a homosexual,and so are most of your friends”
“you fucking homo … you realy do deserve to die”
“you deserve your throat slashed. you are pathetic”
“you deserve too be fillayed and have thinners thrown on you”
“you sit at home, all alone jerking off to your nigger shit”
“you are a fucking double standard faggot”
“you really are a disgrace to your color”
“AKA jew boy Andrew Moran … racist Jewish scum”
For a period of time I generally allowed publication of such comments, if only to demonstrate to other, less-psychopathic and more skeptical critics, that there did indeed exist such a ‘nazi’ milieu: — one characterised by a morass of anger, hatred, resentment and paranoia over race, sexuality and politics. Now, however — unless they happen to be especially amusing in their vituperations — I tend to simply bin such comments, as after a while they become simply boring, and if a reader needed further convincing that the intarwebs has provided crazed bigots an opportunity to express their views, my efforts are obviously insufficient.
the accidental activist
“Fleming loved punk, hated Nazis, and began researching the obscure relationship between the two …”
It’s true: I do love listening to punk music and I hate nazis, but my decision to blog about the far right owes a lot more to the anti-racist online network Fight dem back! than it does community radio. (See also : FightDemBack! A Brief History, January 3, 2007.)
In 2004-5 I took note of FDB!’s activity, participated in its online forum, and then decided to contribute an article. From memory, this article was about a Sydney-based neo-Nazi named Peter Campbell, then a member of the ‘White Pride Coalition of Australia’, now the author of the ‘Whitelaw Towers’ blog. Thus my research into fascist involvement in local music scenes was accompanied by (and derived much of its significance from) a broader context and participation in anti-racist political activism.
Otherwise, it’s true that ‘nazis’ are “not as easy to spot as you’d think” (and not simply because being identified as such makes it harder to make friends with non-sociopathic elements in these scenes). Thus the last decade has witnessed a literal and political re-fashioning of the far right, especially but not only in Europe, with major tendencies attempting to recuperate anarchist and radical left chic. An important survey of this trend has been published by antifa.cz.
My involvement in community radio actually began in 2009, after I commenced blogging, and continues into the present day. The show is called ‘The SUWA (Squatters’ & Unwaged Workers’ Airwaves) Show’ and I share hosting privileges with my good friend Dr Cam Sexenheimer. We’re on the air every fourth Friday of the month from 5.30-6.30pm and have been (with a few interruptions) since about August 2009; every other Friday SUWA is hosted by other talented folk.
Our most recent program went to air on March 28, 2014. On that episode we spoke to new matilda editor Adam Brereton about Cardinal George Pell’s performance at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings and to James Hutchings about his erroneous identification as myself. On February 28 we interviewed Liz Thompson about Manus Island and Alana Lentin on the Biennale of Sydney. (You may remember Liz from such shows as I Was Told To Lie (Dateline) and Alana from The Case for Open Borders (overland).) In January, we interviewed Haydn Keenan, the director of Persons of Interest, a new documentary about ASIO which screened on SBS that month.
Further back in 2013, we spoke with the US-based investigative journalist Will Potter on the ‘Green Scare’ and Bren0 on squatting in the UK. Prior to this, we spoke with Nate Thayer, another US journalist, about the weird partnership of American white supremacists and the North Korean government, as well as discussed recent antics by the English Defence League and Golden Dawn. Other guests over the last few years have included Aurelien Mondon, Belinda Hawkins, Ben Pobjie, Bree Blakeman, Errol Wright, Franklin López, John Safran, Karen Pickering, Kathleen McLeod, Rayna Fahey, Sarah Joseph, Tasneem Khalil, Valerie Morse and many more artists, writers, activists, scholars and troublemakers, discussing a range of topics from anarchy to (er) zoology.
being careful (& being tricksy)
It’s true that I’m generally happy to engage with nazis on my blog: I’ve published almost 18,000 comments thus far including my own, and many more from general — ie, non-nazi — readers. It’s also true that maintaining a sense of humour while responding to their stoopid is one of the keys to remaining sane; it also serves to help subvert their ridiculous claims to, inter alia, racial supremacy, and to expose the absurd foundations of their ideology.
On a general level, it helps to be careful when monitoring the far right, especially if, as in my case, this activity is used to try and help disrupt their organising efforts. This is hardly the place to detail the precise nature of the measures taken to ensure the relative safety of myself and others in undertaking such monitoring, but suffice it to say that I take such things fairly seriously, and it’s true that nazis have had some difficulty in telling their arse from their elbow when it comes to my blog.
At this point, several issues are raised. First, what is the purpose of such monitoring?
In Australia the far right, while politically weak at present, does have some potential — albeit limited — to expand its presence by capitalising upon and giving expression to a significant undercurrent of popular resentment. A sense of this emotive force is usefully examined in the same issue of The Saturday Paper (‘David Marr on race, votes and free speech’). Without going into a detailed examination of the question, in pandering to racist and xenophobic sentiment, one of the problems the political establishment faces is that, properly organised, such sentiment may outgrow and overcome the constraints the existing political system places upon it, giving birth in the process to a genuinely independent and radical, right-wing movement. Whether or not this occurs (and it seems unlikely in the short- to medium-term), it could be argued that keeping tabs on incipient expressions of such a movement is a worthwhile endeavour, especially for those committed to an egalitarian politics.
Secondly, what is the relationship between what I write and the act of ‘keeping tabs’? While Martin’s story concentrates upon Australian neo-Nazis (and a significant proportion of my blogging concerns their activities), racial politics runs through the Australian body politic from top to bottom, whether considered in terms of modern Australia’s origins as a penal colony, its formal foundation as a White colonial settler state, the state’s contemporary role as a regional sheriff, or in terms of a series of continuing assaults upon asylum seeker, refugee, Muslim and indigenous populations. In other words, while neo-Nazism itself has extremely limited purchase on the popular imagination, many of the ideas and sentiments it gives expression to find important echoes both in terms of Australia’s past and present.
Finally, both historically and in the contemporary world, the far right acts to destroy liberatory movements and all forms of progressive politics. Given its relative marginality in contemporary Australia, these efforts are generally sporadic and usually trivial. But much depends upon one’s situation in relation to these groupings. Thus while National Action failed to secure anything like some semblance of popularity, its (often quite vicious) antics did have real and even lasting effects upon those subject to its predations …
In the context of monitoring local (Melbourne) neo-Nazi activity, Martin refers to threats Stormfront users made regarding the Propagandhi tour of 2011. (At the time, users referred to band members as “gay filth”, “punk faggots”, “[i]nsect thin and as queer as they come”, “typical run-of-the-mill self-hating anarchist scum”, “anarchist fags”, “fags”, “lowlife, antiwhite scumbags”, “homos”, “Queer Jews”, “commie queer filth”, and so on.) It’s curious to note that some time after the gig (which was great btw), I received a message from a member of this rowdy group who wrote that, on reflection, they regretted having participated in the nazi nonsense, and intended to steer clear of such activity in future.
EXIT: White Power
As Martin notes, I’m not especially familiar with the work of ‘EXIT: White Power’, but I’m reasonably familiar with the role of similar organisations in Europe and North America. The benefits of such work has been the subject of considerable debate among anti-fascists elsewhere (an outline of some of the underlying tensions present is available by way of the excellent North American antifascist blog threewayfight) but I think one of the first examples I encountered was contained in the 1996 book Fuhrer-Ex: Memoirs of a Former Neo-Nazi by Ingo Hasselbach (and Tom Reiss). In any case, I’m generally supportive of providing opportunities for members of ‘White Power’ organisations to exit them. Speaking of which …
boneheads et cetera
A few points:
• The former manager of The Birmy did not, as far as I know, invite Johnny Rebel to play at the pub. He did, however, play Johnny to entertain the boneheads who attended a neo-Nazi gig at the venue;
• Gary did depart the venue about 18 months after a boycott was initiated;
• Prior to deciding to take it over, I was contacted by the management team which replaced him and asked if upon Gary’s departure my support for the boycott would cease (to which I answered ‘yes’);
• From memory, Bruce and the Tote were generally receptive to initiatives to limit the presence of neo-Nazis at the pub;
• Calculating even a rough figure of those who regard Uncle Adolf as being an hero is difficult — there may be 200, 2,000 or even 20,000. Certainly, of these only very few belong to organised groups such as the Southern Cross Hammerskins, Volksfront and the like;
• Neo-Nazis generally despise Muslims, but politics can often make for strange bedfellows. A useful analysis of some of the permutations and combinations of various post-WII fascist movements is contained in Kevin Coogan’s Dreamer of the Day: Francis Parker Yockey and the Postwar Fascist International (Autonomedia, 1999). Martin A. Lee’s The Beast Reawakens (Little, Brown & Co., 1997) is another, highly useful account of the evolution of (neo-)Nazism in Europe after the collapse of Hitler’s regime;
• In addition to the existence of neo-Nazi and White nationalist groups animated by anti-Semitism, ‘The War on Terror’ has witnessed a remarkable escalation in anti-Muslim sentiment and organising, ranging from the semi-respectable Q Society through to the somewhat-less-respectable Australian Defence League and related groups.
See also : A Brief History Of Neo-Nazi Music In Australia, December 2, 2010 | Subcultures, Pop Music and Politics: Skinheads and “Nazi Rock” in England and Germany, Timothy S. Brown, Journal of Social History, Vol.38, No.1 (Fall 2004).
fierce but broken
I am polite and well-spoken.