Laure Akai, secretary of the International Workers Association (IWA), will be giving a presentation on the practice of anarcho-syndicalism this month. The IWA was founded in 1922 in Berlin and has sections around the world. The series of events around Australia is being organised by the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation (ASF), the Australian section of the IWA.
See also : The Relevance of Anarcho-syndicalism: Noam Chomsky interviewed by Peter Jay, The Jay Interview, July 25, 1976 | A history of Anarcho-syndicalism (Solidarity Federation, UK, 2001) | Anarcho-Syndicalist Review : “an independent syndicalist magazine, published since May 1, 1986 (originally Libertarian Labor Review). ASR is a forum for non-sectarian, critical, informed and constructive discussion of anarcho-syndicalist theory and practice.” | “The Solidarity Federation’s book, Fighting for ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle, aims to recover some of the lost history of the workers’ movement, in order to set out a revolutionary strategy for the present conditions. In clear and accessible prose, the book sets out the anarcho-syndicalist criticisms of political parties and trade unions, engages with other radical traditions such as anarchism, syndicalism and dissident Marxisms, explains what anarcho-syndicalism was in the twentieth century, and how it’s relevant – indeed, vital – for workers today.” 
On Thursday night in Newtown an altercation occurred outside of Black Rose anarchist infoshop involving Ralph Cerminara (Australian Defence League/Left Wing Bigots & Extremists Exposed Facebook page) and Dan Evans (Reclaim Australia and principal organiser of the February 6 PEGIDA rally in Canberra) on the one hand and two or three people at the infoshop on the other.
Charges laid following brawl – Newtown
NSW Police Force Media Release
January 29, 2016
Four men have been charged following an alleged brawl in Newtown last night.
Just after 8pm (Thursday 28 January 2016), emergency services were called to a service station on Enmore Road, following reports of a brawl nearby involving men armed with poles, bottles and fluorescent light tubes.
On arrival, officers attached to Newtown Local Area Command located a 37-year-old man [Ralph Cerminara] and a 36-year-old man [Daniel Evans] suffering minor injuries.
They were assisted at the scene by Ambulance Paramedics, before being taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in a stable condition.
Both men were arrested this morning (Friday 29 January 2016) after leaving hospital, and taken to Newtown Police Station.
Police also arrested two men, 21 and 23, at the scene.
They were also taken to Newtown Police Station.
The 23-year-old man was charged with affray, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and being armed with intent to commit actual bodily harm.
The 21-year-old man was charged with affray and being armed with intent to assault.
The two younger men were refused bail, to appear in Newtown Local Court today.
Both the 37-year-old and the 36-year-old were charged with affray; with the younger man also charged with being armed with intent to commit an indictable offence.
They were both granted strict conditional bail, to appear before Newtown Local Court on 18 February 2016.
Cerminara — a valour thief and close comrade of Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’), has previously been arrested for trying to provoke a fight in Lakemba in December 2014 and generally tries to make mischief by filming himself harassing Muslims and leftists on the streets; videos which are later uploaded to his Facebook page. In recent months, Black Rose has become the focus of his ire. He published this video on November 14, 2015:
Otherwise, the incident has provoked the usual response from ‘patriotik’ folk — and anarchists and other anti-fascists should expect further attacks.
In February the UPF is embarking upon a promotional tour for its yet-to-be-registered political party, ‘Fortitude’. They’re planning on holding public rallies in Toowoomba, Queensland on February 13; Orange, NSW on February 20; and Bendigo on February 27. Chris ‘The United Nations is attempting to install the Pope as leader of a new world government!’ Shortis has been announced as the party’s candidate for the Senate in Victoria at the next federal election.
Det Sgt Tierney said Mr Galea met anti-immigration activist “Farmer John” Wilkinson, as well as other UPF members, across the road from a UPF barbecue at Sandringham Beach on January 3.
The court heard that Mr Wilkinson told police on January 7 that he had bought up to 22 stun guns, and that police were still searching for seven of these.
Previously, Wilkinson gave the following stirring address at a Reclaim Australia rally in Melton in November alongside Casey councillor (and deputy president of the Rise Up Australia Party) Rosalie Crestani. According to the Herald Sun:
Farmer John, from United Patriots, spoke to the crowd while it chanted “No Muslims in Melton”, and threatened more violent action. “We’re going to burn every mosque down if they build them … Let’s stick it up them,” he said.
… in Bendigo
On Australia/Invasion/Survival Day, the UPF paid a visit to Bendigo. Among other things, they went to the house of a man, Jason Godwell, they believed had registered ‘United Patriots Front’ as an ABN. The home visit was filmed and uploaded to the UPF Facebook page, and as well as being named and having his address published, Godwell was denounced to the UPF’s 30,000+ followers. (Subsequently, the video was deleted.) Godwell himself later stated that he had not registered UPF and was a victim of identity theft. Having been publicly named by the UPF as a Bad man, Godwell further claims that he was forced to abandon his home and the care of his child.
Maajid Nawaz /// PEGIDA /// Tommy Robinson/Stephen Yaxley-Lennon
Former Islamist Maajid Nawaz is currently undertaking a brief tour of Australia. You can listen to an interview with him on ABC radio here (January 27), while a critical account of his political evolution has been published in New Republic (What Does Maajid Nawaz Really Believe?, Nathan Lean, January 27, 2016).
Curiously, Nawaz makes explicit reference to the role of neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Combat 18’ in ‘radicalising’ him as a teenager; in Melbourne, there have been numerous reports of ‘Combat 18’ stickers popping up around town in the last few months, meaning former Creatard Patrick O’Sullivan and his nazi chums have been more active than usual. Coincidentally, some wanker stuck a sticker up in Chapel Street Prahran reading “Cure AIDS, kick a poofter to death”.
Nawaz is also famed for helping to establish the Quilliam Foundation, a UK-based project which claims to attempt to ‘de-radicalise’ Islamists and other ‘extremists’. Its most famous success story is (was) Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’), the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL), who announced (in conjunction with the Foundation) his resignation from the group and the anti-Muslim movement in October 2013. The mouthy little gobshite claims that the Foundation paid him thousands of pounds to resign in a move that many saw as a bribe: Robinson stepped down, and Quilliam took credit for bringing about his departure. The money, Robinson said, went to pay “my wife’s rent and help with basic bills, [and] in return Tommy Robinson would be their poster boy.”
Fast-forward a year or two and Yaxley-Lennon is back, baby, this time as the spokesperson for PEGIDA UK, and will be addressing a rally in Birmingham on February 6. On the same date, another dozen or so anti-Muslim protests are planned, while in Australia, neo-Nazis, fascists, racists and a motley assortment of other bigots will be converging on Parliament House in Canberra. See : Pegida meets with European allies in the Czech Republic, Deutsche Welle, January 23, 2016.
On this month’s episode of the ‘Floating Anarchy’ edition of The SUWA Show (3CR /// 855AM /// Friday, January 22, 2016: 5.30-6.30pm), my co-host Dr Cam Smith and I talk to Professor Rob Sparrow of Monash University — recently declared to be the author of my blog by some neo-Nazi critics — and to Jason Wilson, a freelance journalist who’s written several articles for The Guardian on the subject of the ongoing occupation by ‘patriots’ of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, USA.
In addition to several notes on anti-fascism (which included some advice on Facebook use), I wrote about the ‘Rojava Revolution’ in northern Syria and a strike and occupation at a factory in Dandenong. Oh yeah: in January I also briefly appeared on an episode of The 7.30 Report about ‘citizen detectives’.
February (9 posts)
In February I began to chart the emergence of proto-fascist movement ‘Reclaim Australia’. I republished several (very interesting) articles from Le Monde Diplomatique on the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris, took note of the #HESTAdivest campaign, and a controversy re protest, the Black Rose kolektiv and the (now sadly-departed) Indigenous activist Ray Jackson. I also republished an article by sociologist Ghassan Hage on Continuity and Change in Australian Racism and briefly noted some silly neo-Nazi shenanigans at the Melbourne Knights.
March (15 posts)
March was also entirely devoted to documenting and promoting opposition to Reclaim Australia, though I also republished Melbourne teenager turned IS/ISIL/ISIS/Daesh supporter Jake Bilardi’s account of his brief life and political evolution. March witnessed the announcement by key Reclaim Australia figure Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’) of local Melbourne neo-Nazi Neil Erikson’s stillborn documentary film project ‘The Hunt for Andy Fleming’. Also in March, following a concerted campaign by fascists and various other bizarr0s, my Facebook page was forcibly closed.
April (6 posts)
April witnessed the first of a series of national rallies organised under the umbrella of ‘Reclaim Australia’: I wrote several posts about the April 4 events and also published a few things elsewhere (New Matilda and Overland). On my monthly radio show on 3CR (with co-host and raconteur Cam Smith), we spoke to writer Van Badham about what it all meant and the importance of opposing fascist movements both online and on the streets.
May (10 posts)
Another month devoted to Reclaim Australia and the emergence of fascist splinter group the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF). Comprising a small assortment of local (Melbourne) neo-Nazis, fascists, and right-wing Christian fundamentalists, the UPF held its first, ‘anti-Communist’ rally in Richmond on May 31. The demo attracted around 60-70 or so supporters, a counter-demo several times that size and, while attracting considerable media and public attention, failed to unseat Stephen Jolly from his Yarra Council seat (or to occupy the steps of Richmond Town Hall — even with police assistance). The targeting of Jolly eventually culminated in the arrest and prosecution of a man for making rape and death threats against Jolly and his family. Oh yeah: after being briefly resurrected, my Facebook page was again closed down by an orchestrated campaign.
Another month devoted to Reclaim Australia et al (the second national rally took place on July 18). I also republished online commentary (now largely deleted) by UPF leader Blair Cottrell on his hatred of Jews, belief in anti-Semitic conspiracies, denial of the Holocaust, love of Adolf Hitler etc., and drew attention to a Kurdish solidemo in Sydney by local anarchists. [Note: None of the UPF’s followers have ever registered any objection to Cottrell’s neo-Nazi views.]
August (11 posts)
In August, the UPF transferred its activities from Melbourne to the rural Victorian town of Bendigo, where they were able to draw upon the support of a pre-existing grassroots campaign against the construction of a mosque (the town’s first). Their first (August 29) and subsequent rally in October were relatively large affairs, attracting hundreds, with opposition being split between the campaign ‘I Believe in Bendigo’ and the impromptu ‘Bendigo Action Coalition’. Margot Spalding of ‘I Believe’ was later featured on an episode of the ABC’s Australian Story.
While Nick Folkes and his ‘Party for Freedom’ began organising for a Cronulla riot re-enactment to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the anti-Muslim riot/White Civil Uprising in December 2005 (heavily promoted by Shermon Burgess — who failed to turn up to the court hearing intended to try and stop the re-enactment), the wheels began to fall off the UPF bandwagon. The rapidly unfolding drama revolved around Burgess’s decision to quit, then re-join, then again quit the UPF, while current UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell memorably described Burgess’s #BFF (and valour thief) Ralph Cerminara (Australian Defence League) as a ‘cancer’ upon the patriotik movement. October 10 was the day of a farcical, ‘global’ (Australia and the United States) rally against Muslims. E-commerce cowboy Jon Ritzheimer led the charge on that occasion and has been most recently (January 2016) witnessed joining a clutch of other wingnuts in an occupation of a wildlife reserve in Oregon. (See also : I Studied Oregon’s Militia Movement. Here’s 5 Things You Need to Know, Spencer Sunshine, US Uncut, January 3, 2016.)
November (9 posts)
In November, along with the usual antifa notes, I republished an article from US anarchist journal Drunken Boat on the history of the concept of ‘decadence’ and a few things about the massacre in Paris. Reclaim Australia went to Melton and the UPF staged another awfully unsuccessful Little Big Day Out in Melbourne; I was also interviewed by Phillip Adams for Late Night Live.
December (2 posts)
The Cronulla Riot Re-enactment turned out to be a damp squib and I wrote an article for Overland on the matter of ‘masking up’ …
A few final notes:
• The last month has witnessed the consolidation of the UPF under the leadership of neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell. Burgess has left and has recently been joined by fascist meathead and chief UPF propagandist Neil Erikson (also accompanied by the usual Days of Our Lives drama). It’s uncertain at this stage if former ADF soldier Scott Moerland remains holding hands with the neo-Nazi mob in Melbourne, though it seems likely that Christian fun-da-mentalist Pastor Danny Nalliah will remain content to be wheeled out periodically at their public performances.
• The UPF has announced that it will be forming a political party with the God-awful title of ‘Fortitude’. To help promote the party the boys have organised an east coast tour, taking advantage of local anti-mosque and anti-Muslim campaigns in Toowoomba (Queensland), Orange (NSW) and Bendigo (Victoria). If the party registers it will face competition for the racist vote from the Australia First Party, Australian Liberty Alliance, One Nation Party, Party for Freedom, Rise Up Australia Party, and a clutch of other wEiRd0es.
• Last week, Erikson and others claimed to have discovered that I am in fact Monash University academic Professor Robert Sparrow. I’m not, but it will likely take some time before meatheads like Erikson, the UPF and other fascist bizarr0es realise their mistake.
I thought I may as well provide a brief summary of the year in blogging + activism.
Well … next post, maybe.
Before I do, a few days ago (December 30), I became aware that local neo-Nazi Neil Erikson had published a video on his Facebook page claiming that I am Monash academic Professor Rob Sparrow.
The video features Erikson, driving in his car, while watching a video on his phone of an exchange between Rob and other panelists on the subject of ‘political correctness’ (you can watch the video here). The convicted anti-Semite and neo-Nazi activist states:
That guy there [points at Rob]: his name is Doctor Robert Sparrow, Monash University. Now for the past ten years, patriotic and nationalist groups, have been fighting an enemy. An unseen enemy. This is the most cowardly of the pond scum of the left. He’s the king of the pond scum. Andy Fleming has spent over a decade, sitting on his little gay computer, taking down patriot’s photos of their children, of their houses, and storing it on his hard drive. Then he then spreads it to all the anarchists, around the local area, so the anarchists go and attack these people’s houses. He’s been blamed and accused of causing a fire bomb of a man, a patriot’s letterbox, a few years back. He’s even been behind the anarchist violence on April 4, July 18, May 31st, August 29. All that anarchist violence where they were bashing old women, desecrating war memorials, it all come from Andy Fleming. And that, my friends, is Andy Fleming: Doctor Robert Sparrow, the biggest fucking coward in our nation. So spread the word patriots, and let’s expose this piece of shit. Catch yas.
A short while later, the video was removed and Erikson uploaded another. Minus the criminal accusations above, it widens his, er, critique, to include Rob’s siblings, Jeff and Jill Sparrow. Titled ‘Slackbastard AKA Sparrow Family’ and published on December 30, Erikson states:
How you goin’ patriots? Well we discovered who slackbastard is, some guy named Robert Sparrow. Now he’s a lecturer, at university: he talks about anarchy, he’s all edgy and shit because he wears like loopy earrings, he teaches all the kids money’s bad, capitalism’s bad, [I’m?] edgy. Now that is slackbastard. We also found out who his brother is, Jeff Sparrow, who’s a edgy communist journalist. He writes for some shitty news agencies online like Overland and shit, so he’s like real edgy communist [indecipherable] … tell everyone how to spend their money. Not only that they gotta sister named Jill Sparrow, who’s a socialist and she started Socialist Alternative, in Melbourne. Now get this, if you watched the news a couple of months ago, some crazy woman was being dragged out of a government building by police, she had red hair, she had her child breastfeeding off her breast, screaming like a disheveled mess. That’s their sister Jill, she’s a socialist, she’s edgy too, they’ve been doing this since they were young. But guess what, they grew up in the most richest suburb in Victoria: Brighton. They’re spoiled little fuckin’ rich kids. When’s the left wing gonna learn, you gonna let these little spoiled, little spoiled brats tell you what to do with your cash? It’s disgusting. Have a happy new year, and fuck the left wing. Catch ya later.
This second video has been spread widely among Erikson’s fascist comrades, including by Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’), while similar material — claiming that Professor Sparrow is the author of my blog — has appeared on neo-Nazi blogs like Whitelaw Towers, Nick Folkes’ Party for Freedom Facebook page, Facebook pages belonging to Dr Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party and presumably elsewhere. Accompanying the material is commentary of the sort one might expect: promises of bloody revenge, homophobic diatribes, commitments to harassing Monash University (several Facebook users admit to phoning Rob’s office and leaving abusive messages), a handful of skeptical inquiries, and so on. A sample:
So what evidence does the bRanes trust present in order to prove that I’m Rob? While Erikson offers none, Burgess pops on his science hat in order to proclaim:
In that other place known as reality, this is obviously not the first time that some fascist bizarr0 has claimed to know my ‘real’ identity: in March last year James Gilhome claimed that I was some bloke called Robert Godino; the year before that, the Australia First Party & Co. alleged that I was James Hutchings (after the party received a letter from a lawyer, I suddenly became ‘Andy’ Hutchings, James’s non-existent brother). And so and so forth.
In conclusion, despite the falsity of the claim, like previous such excursions, this latest ‘outing’ will likely take some weeks or even months to subside. In which context, it’s important to remember that Burgess’s 41,000+ Facebook followers are entirely gullible and will believe absolutely anything he says — and that Facebook is entirely happy to facilitate his racism, xenophobia, and general abuse of Muslims in Australia (see also : 2015: The year that angry won the internet, Mike Wendling, BBC, December 30, 2015). The same rule applies to the far fewer numbers who pay attention to the diatribes of Neil Erikson, the online poutings by the Australia First Party, and/or the assorted other fascist grouplets and random bigots that have volunteered to take up the cudgel against Professor Sparrow.
Yes, well: props to the “anti-Muzzie crew” I guess. In any case, the tsunami of racist violence that was promised by paranoid phantasists turned out to be a bit of a damp squib in the end: over 9,000 somewhere between 40 and 60 patriotik folks assembled at a BBQ in Cronulla today; a far cry from THE BIGGEST AUSSIE PRIDE RALLY THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER SEEN that was promised by galloping mythomaniac Shermon Burgess (aka ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’).
Thus while Nick Folkes (Party for Freedom) attended the rally cum BBQ, the meeting was also attended by (United Patriots front leader) Danny Nalliah and Rosalie Crestani of the fun-da-mentalist Xtian Rise Up Australia Party, Kim Vuga, of Love Australia or Leave and glass-blowing serial pest Sergio Redegalli. Ralph Cerminara of the Australian Defence League also rocked up.
Oh yeah: approximately 150 or so anti-fascists attended Cronulla today as well. There were two arrests: one of an Aboriginal man for allegedly swearing at police and that of another man for allegedly disturbing the peace.
Dressed in black, faces covered, members of Antifa are the self-appointed enemies of the far-right.
During the protests and counter-protests that marked the 10-year anniversary of the Cronulla riots on Saturday, Antifa members carrying red, black and white flags emblazoned with the words Antifaschistische Aktion clashed with anti-Islam protesters.
A woman draped in an Australian flag was surrounded by 20 to 30 Antifa members who shouted at her to “take that fascist flag off now”.
Antifa, or anti-fascists, are a loose collection of socialists and anarchists, anti-racists and small-l liberals.
Antifaschistische Aktion is the name of a German anti-fascist organisation that reportedly has its roots in the German communist party in 1932, and was dissolved in 1933 by the Nazis and resurfaced in the 1980s in Europe as a response to resurgent right-wing groups.
Today the hard-left group is transnational, and part of hard-left common at the protests that usually mark G20 and other global leader summits in Europe.
In Australia members or self-professed members of the group have become an increasingly common sight at rallies organised to oppose the far-right protests held by groups like the United Patriots Front and Reclaim Australia.
Antifa Australia’s Facebook page has as its most recent post on November 17: “These deranged far-right scum want to damage society and bring everyone down. If the Authorities won’t stop hate speech, the leftist community will now need to implement their own authority via grassroots action.”
It describes itself as the “militant Left-Wing”, and in October wrote on Facebook that “a war … will break out in Cronulla when the far-right hold their rally”.
“We are one against the racists and their masters of the rich Australian ruling class,” the post read.
Antifa’s WordPress website lists its goals as opposing fascism, as well as to “defend the working class and their organisations from fascist attack”.
In keeping with the groups historical links to socialism, it also paints itself as anti-capitalist.
Members of Antifa in Australia have deliberately remained anonymous.
That’s despite attempts by opposing groups to out some of its most outspoken Australian advocates such as Andy Fleming, a pseudonym used by a Melbourne-based anti-fascist who runs a blog called slackbastard that tracks the far-right movement.
A few points:
• In general, ‘antifa’ is simply an umbrella (generic) term used to describe a variety of ‘anti-fascist’ actions, projects and organisations. In Australia, antifascist activism extends back to the 1920s and the various struggles between fascist and anti-fascist groups within the Italian diaspora. When WWII broke out, many Italians were interned. One of those interned was Francesco Fantin, an anarchist and active anti-fascist. He was murdered by fascists at Loveday internment camp in South Australia on November 16, 1942. See also : The Proletarian migrants: Fascism and Italian Anarchists in Australia | The Faber Fantin Research Project Site.
• The German KPD was one of many left organisations to organise dedicated anti-fascist groups. Antifaschistische Aktion was one such group which also included (and was preceded by) the Proletarian Hundreds, Red Front Fighters, Anti-Fascist Youth Guards and others. The SPD organised its Reichsbanner group, and other left parties and tendencies had their own equivalents. In contemporary Germany (and elsewhere in Europe), there are a number of groups which have adopted the label ‘Antifaschistische Aktion’, sometimes with direct links to communist parties, more often drawing from a broader left milieu. The revival of anti-fascism in Germany was one of the results of re-unification, which witnessed an upsurge in racist and neo-Nazi violence. In this instance, AFA drew upon a wider anti-authoritarian tendency often described as ‘autonomist’ and typically hostile to authoritarian socialisms.
• ‘Antifa Australia’ emerged in 2008 as a social media presence. It’s not a group as such but exists as a promotional tool for a particular interpretation of ‘anti-fascist’ politics in Australia. Between then and now, a number of other ‘antifa’ political projects have emerged, and 2015 in particular has witnessed some mild growth in the number of those involved in or in some way associated with the loose networks that have evolved in response to the emergence of Reclaim Australia, the United Patriots Front and allied forces.
For reasons best known to himself, Blair Cottrell, the neo-Nazi fuehrer of the fascist grouplet the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF), decided a few days ago that it would be a really good idea to hold a rally at Parliament House and a march from there to the Premier’s office in Treasury Place.
Because the Premier, Daniel Andrews, described them as semi-literate and hateful bigots.
Several hundred anti-fascists and anti-racists made sure that things didn’t go quite according to the Master Race’s silly plan, however, and the 30-40 UPF members and supporters who stupidly thought they could swan about town on Saturday were soon disabused of the notion, being prevented from assembling at either Parliament or Treasury Place and instead being eventually confined to Macarthur Street — before going home with their tails between their legs.
In summary, the UPF’s shit soufflé simply failed to rise.
Finally, The Age‘s John Elder claims that the UPF contingent was 150: this is false, as photos and video of the UPF rally demonstrates. Further, there was no ‘clash’; police effectively kept the tiny mob of flagwits well away from anti-fascists. In any case: United Patriots Front and No Room for Racism clash in central Melbourne, The Age, November 28, 2015.
The fascists of the United Patriots Front have been terribly #butthurt by statements made by the Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to the effect that they’re a bunch of semi-literate bigots.
As a result, the UPF has declared that they’ll be gathering @ Treasury Place at 1pm tomorrow (Saturday, November 28) to whine and complain.
In response, a dance party (11am, Treasury Gardens) and snap rally (12.30pm, Treasury Place) has been called.
Check it out!
Facebook forced me to remove this image from my page because it upset the delicate sensibilities of Blair Cottrell, the neo-Nazi fuehrer of the UPF. Please feel free to download and re-publish on Facebook and elsewhere. And yes, he really did propose that a portrait of Adolf Hitler be hung in every Australian classroom, that Mein Kampf be issued to every Australian school student annually, is a Holocaust denier, a White supremacist, and believes in a Jewish conspiracy to control the world.