This month’s episode of ‘Floating Anarchy’ on The SUWA Show features an interview with Max Kaiser of local trouble-makers ‘Jews against fascism’. 5.30–6.30pm, Friday, June 23, 2017 on 3CR: 855AM or livestreaming on the 3CR website.
You can read more about Jews against fascism on their Facebook page; Max K’s podcast is called Mazel Tov Cocktail and you can listen to it here. For Max’s academic writings, see academia.edu.
Next Sunday, June 25, Phillip Galea’s favourite patriotik gang the True Blue Crew (TBC) have organised a flagwit rally in Melbourne. (Note: that’s Phill at last year’s flagwit rally above.)
In response, the Campaign Against Racism & Fascism and No Room For Racism have organised a counter-rally.
So why are the TBC rallying?
According to the somewhat incoherent blurb which accompanies the Facebook event page, the flagwit rally in June last year was much victory, very success, so they wanna make it an annual affair. In terms of political content, the TBC claim that Australian nationalism and culture is under attack by leftists and other ‘traitors’, who must be crushed. As evidence of treasonous behaviour, they cite the the traitorous left’s desire to: ‘destroy’ Australia Day and ANZAC Day; increase immigration and allow refugees into the country; close the offshore concentration camps for asylum seekers and; enact the Safe Schools program. The chief problems facing Australia, according to the TBC, are the existence of African crime gangs and the threat of Muslim terrorism. Worse, both these subjects are — despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary — unable to be discussed in public because of ‘political correctness’.
To put it another way: the TBC flagwit rally is basically a particularly angwy Andrew Bolt blogpost come to life.
At this stage, it’s unclear if the fundamentalist Christian political party ‘Rise Up Australia’ will be attending (as they did last year), but presumably whatever remains of the United Patriots Front will attend, as will the Soldiers Of Odin, and numerous other little far right groupuscules, as well of course as a busload of TBC boys from Bendigo and Melton, and maybe even members of the Asolate Security Group, who knows?
PS. The Pumphouse Hotel (128 Nicholson St, Fitzroy) is likely to be the watering hole of choice for the dingbats after they’ve finished all their whinging and whining, thus maintaining the pub’s status as a fascist-friendly venue: boo!.
Reactionary commentator and convicted racist Andrew Bolt was a special guest at a book launch at Il Gambero restaurant in Carlton this time last week. Organised by a group called The Unhinged The Unshackled, the event was intended to promote a paean to Donald Trump penned by RMIT academic Steven Kates. Called The Art of the Impossible, ‘The entire book is comprised of blog posts on my own website: www.lawofmarkets.com some of which were also then published on my shared website: www.catal[l]axyfiles.com.’
In any case, prior to the launch two people accosted Bolt outside the restaurant, and one of them poured sparkles on his suit. This triggered Bolt, and there was a brief scuffle, captured on both CCTV and by a photojournalist. Or as Kates puts it on his blog: Violent thugs attack speaker at Art of the Impossible book launch. Thus far, Bolt himself has managed to squeeze out a mere 14 blog posts on the subject (and counting), the first titled ‘ON THE FASCISTS WHO ATTACKED ME’ (June 6): ‘Watch the fascist Left attack me and get clobbered. Luckily the cameras do not capture me kicking one between the legs.’
From here the story quickly snowballed into an heroic epic in which Bolt became an Antipodean Alt-Knight bravely battling the fascist anti-fascists with his bare fists (e.g.: Here’s A Thug’s-Eye View Of That Antifa Attack On Andrew Bolt, The Daily Caller, June 8, 2017; Watch Conservative Commentator Beat Down Leftist Thugs Attacking Him Over Trump Book, FrontPageMag, June 8, 2017; Thunder Down Under: Aussie Columnist Fights Off Antifa, National Review, June 8, 2017).
A writer unlikely to ever win a Walkley, in one post Bolt quotes ‘Melbourne Antifa’ as having assumed responsibility for the glitter-bombing on behalf of their ‘family’:
I have been following Far Right movements for more than a decade as a researcher and journalist. Over the past few months, I’ve seen an increase in the visibility of a new, violent, right-wing street protest movement that I call “Independent Trumpism.” It unites neo-Nazis, members of the alt-right, Patriot movement paramilitaries and Trumpist Republicans.
Two things set Independent Trumpism apart from usual right-wing politics. First, the group’s rallies are in support of the president, but are organized outside of the Republican Party structure. Second, mainstream Republicans are appearing alongside open White supremacists, especially at events billed as “Free Speech” marches …
Oh, and finally, I suppose I should also note the recent death of Bob Whitaker, Presidential candidate for the fascist American Freedom Party and author of the slogan ‘Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white’.
On June 11, a small group of local far-rightists gathered in Dandenong in order to discuss the establishment of a vigilante gang to protect the ‘burb from marauding African kidz. While this is not the first time that fascists and the far-right have openly discussed taking the law into their own hands — the Soldiers Of Odin were gamely compared by The Age to Guardian Angels, and the UPF once discussed covertly organising some Right Wing Death Squad Entertainment — the participation of an actual registered security organisation in the project is novel, as well as ambitious.
Spearheaded, seemingly, by a patriotik fella called Daniel Purton (who’s the leader of a nü gang called A26A), those at the meeting included ‘True Blue Crew’ lvl boss Kane Miller, some Soldiers Of Odin, and various other minor characters on the far right. Police kept an eye on things, as did members of a new security company called Asolate Security, who’ve expressed full support for the budding vigilante campaign. This seems rather odd behaviour for a licensed security company, but then we live in interesting times.
Police in Portland, Oregon, have charged a white supremacist with a double murder and hate crimes, after he allegedly cut the throats of two passengers and stabbed another on a commuter train late on Friday afternoon.
According to police, while riding the MAX train in suburban north-east Portland, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, began “yelling various remarks that would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions.”
When fellow passengers attempted to intervene, Christian stabbed three of them. One man, 53-year-old Ricky John Best of Happy Valley, Oregon, died at the scene. Another, 23-year-old Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche of south-east Portland, was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A third, 21 year old Micah Fletcher, was treated for injuries that police said “are not expected to be life-threatening”.
On Friday May 26th, a man on Portland public transit was reported to have yelled Islamophobic hate speech at two women, one in a hijab. He was confronted by other passengers, and now two of these people are dead, and another is in the hospital. White supremacist Jeremy Christian was arrested for the attack. Christian is well-known to anti-fascist activists in Portland, because he was recently seen at one of Joey Gibson’s free speech rallies.
Joey Gibson, a video blogger from Vancouver, WA, has already taken to Facebook to plead that people not “politicize” these deaths, well aware of how Portland is already long tired of his endless circus. The deaths are tragic, but the crime was always political. The attack occurred on the day before Ramadan. The islamophobic slurs that witnesses reported Christian yelled before the attack are no different than those used by Joey Gibson’s friends, the homophobic and xenophobic street preachers, seen around Portland screaming at immigrants and others. This is the rhetoric that Gibson defends under the banner of free speech. Jeremy Christian posted often and at length with threats of violence against anti-fascist activists. The victims of this crime were killed because they were standing up to hate speech. These are identical to threats that Gibson’s group and other associated far-right groups have made against those same activists.
אנרכיסטים נגד הגדר Anarchists Against The Wall [Facebook]
Anarchy Alive! [Facebook]
Bombs & Shields (?) [see also : In Our Hearts]
FIRE To The Prisons (–2011) >>> Fire to the Prisons
John Kinsella >>> Mutually Said: Poets Vegan Anarchist Pacifist [A blog shared between poets John Kinsella and Tracy Ryan] Mickey Z
Old Punks Never Die! [2014: Currently Under Reconstruction]
Rad Geek People’s Daily
Revolution By The Book [see also : AK Press]
Robert Graham’s Anarchism Weblog
sketchy thoughts [see also : Kersplebedeb]
three way fight void network
DISACCORDS — ‘An anarchist news blotter following events in Oceania & South East Asia.’ everyone can do something — ‘Resources, provocations and practical things for action, ‘cos the world doesn’t just get better / stop getting worse on its own.’ Insurrection News — ‘news, counter-information & incitement from the global front lines of anti-capitalist insurrection & social war.’ It’s Going Down — ‘a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements.’ Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group — ‘Statements and opinions from the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group.’
On this month’s edition of ‘Floating Anarchy’ on The SUWA Show (5.30pm /// Friday, May 26 /// 3CR /// 855AM or livestreaming) Dr Cam Smith & I chat w Dr Jason Wilson (The Guardian) about the Alt Right, the far right, fascism, irony and more.
i thought i may as well update the links to journals & zines i’ve chucked up on the blog. many of these are anarchist or otherwise radical; others liberal &/or left: some are lost, a few are found. at some point, i’ll prolly go thru the rest of the links, many of which are similarly gone, but which otherwise remind me that i’ve been blogging for freaking ages/far too long nao …
325 /// Anarchist Studies /// Anarcho-Syndicalist Review /// Anarchy /// Arena /// Aufheben /// b o r d e r l a n d s /// Breakdown Press /// Capital & Class /// Chain Reaction /// Columbia Journalism Review /// counterpunch /// Direct Action [?] /// Dissident Voice /// Dollars & Sense /// Earth First! Journal /// El Libertario /// Fifth Estate /// Freedom Fight /// Foucault Studies /// Going Down Swinging /// Le Monde diplomatique /// Links /// MAXIMUMROCKNROLL /// Monthly Review /// New Internationalist /// New Left Review /// New Matilda /// New Politics /// NOT BORED! [?] /// Organise! /// Overland /// Prickly Paradigm /// Profane Existence /// Quarterly Essay /// Radical Philosophy /// Rebel Press /// slingshot /// Smearcasters /// Social Alternatives /// Social Anarchism [?] /// The Baffler /// The Indypendent /// The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY /// The Monthly /// Upping The Anti /// Upside Down World /// Urban 75 /// Wildcat /// WW4 Report /// Z Magazine
The Three Stooges — Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson and Chris Shortis — made a brief appearance in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today for a contest mention. The three have been charged with four offences — serious religious vilification, defacing property, willful damage and behaving in an offensive manner in public — following a UPF publicity stunt outside Bendigo council offices in October 2015. The circus returns to court on September 4.
According to Ben Hillier, more than 50 people attended court in order to support the trio, while another few dozen protested in opposition outside the court. The Five Flag General dominated proceedings outside, while inside Neil Erikson demanded Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Police Commissioner Graham Ashton be subpoenaed to appear. Last week, his co-accused, Blair Cottrell, called upon his followers to be prepared to stage an occupation of the court room in the event that they were found guilty. A very odd proposal, given that it was a contest mention, and one which begs the question: stupid, or just plain liar? In any case, beheading a dummy is a big step up from attempting to decapitate his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend, so fair play.
In a rare sighting, two boneheads were spotted on a train on the Ballarat line yesterday. (It’s unknown if the bones have any relation to the bones spotted in Ballarat back in March.)
Fakes and AltReich Creeps
As mentioned previously, there’s been a few fake antifa soc.media accounts created recently. Recent entrants include Brisbane Antifa (Twitter), Hobart Antifa (Facebook), Melbourne Antifa (Facebook), Sydney Antifa (Facebook/Twitter).
STRAYA follows Yanqui fashions, and the AltReich trend is no exception, from Breitbart to Proud Boys to various patriotik deformations. One bizarr0 publication, called xyz.net.au, features the musings of former hemp crusader Ryan Fletcher. For reasons best known to himself (possibly because of one too many knocks to the head?), of late Ryan has dropped HEMP for Hitler.
John Zakhariev (above) is a 21yo dual Australian-Bulgarian citizen currently on trial in Sofia, Bulgaria. Arrested in September 2016, John is accused of undertaking weapons training in Bulgaria in order to join Daesh in Syria. He denies all charges.
I was recently forwarded the following letter from John which I reproduce below:
Since the 20th of September 2016 I have been stripped of my liberty and locked up in the heart of darkness otherwise known as Sofia Central Prison. The reason being that the Bulgarian authorities allege that I came to this country in order to train with firearms in order to fight with Islamic State or Daesh. To date, after nearly seven months, neither me nor my lawyer have seen or been presented with any evidence by the prosecution to back up these absurd allegations. One would expect that there would be a huge burden of proof on the part of the prosecution to back up her claims, which she herself has proudly boasted in court is ‘irrefutable’. Yet to date all that the court has been presented with in terms of evidence are as follows:
Firstly, workers from the legal shooting range I attended in Sofia (four times over a four week period), who all testified that my behaviour was perfectly normal and that they never had any issues with me as a client. Furthermore they all testified that I stopped attending the shooting range in early August 2016. This is in complete contrast to the claims of the prosecutor that I continued to attend until the 19th of September. Other witnesses to testify include a police provocateur who was sent to befriend me at the Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia, Muhammad Dabbousi. In his witness statement he claimed that I said to him that I love Daesh and that me and him have to go and fight alongside them and yet in court he claimed that I was merely talking about them in a neutral manner. He made no mention of the alleged attempted recruitment or anything about me saying that I love them. He even expressed shock when the judge presented him with his original witness statement, leading me to believe that the police wrote his statement for him and asked him to sign it without even looking at it: an all-too-common practice here in Bulgaria with its law enforcement. At this point I wish to note that all the witnesses from the shooting range testified that I was always accompanied by a man to the shooting range. I never went alone. I knew this man as Peter Petrov, who I strongly suspect was a police agent.
Secondly, the prosecution presented to the court statuses which people on my Facebook friends list wrote about the ongoing war in Syria which was pro-opposition in nature. I will now make a point here which is that I never commented, shared or even liked these statuses, nor have I ever corresponded with the individuals who wrote them. The prosecution has further sought to use religious books on my computer as evidence of my support for Daesh even though a court-appointed expert himself testified that the books, though conservative in nature, do not in any way promote violence and cannot be linked to the ideology of ISIS. In my view this further shows the sheer Islamophobia of the case against me where anything even remotely connected to Islam is labelled extremist or jihadist. Yet even more disturbing for me is the court’s unwillingness to allow my defence to present any evidence in my favour. On the 21st of December I told the court that I had already left Islam months before my arrest. I further told the court evidence which could be found to support my claims including a 12 page email I sent to Canadian ex-Muslim Abdullah Sameer titled ‘Notes on Islam’ where I point out several flaws in the Islamic faith and also its claims of being a perfect faith valid for all times and places. I also told the court about some anti-radical Islamic literature which could be found on my computer and which were all downloaded in the same period beginning in early August ’til my arrest on September 20th. I also informed the court about emails I wrote to the Canadian Tourism College and International Guide Academy in Denver, Colorado enquiring about courses available in 2017, which clearly show my intention to continue my studies and not to join ISIS. And finally I told the judge that my Facebook correspondence would prove that I am indeed anti-ISIS since I spent a lot of time on it refuting the ideology of ISIS to its supporters. I even told the judge that I was also in touch with ex-Muslims weeks before my arrest discussing the possibility of setting up a Council of ex-Muslims in Australia similar to the one in the UK. The judge ordered that all this evidence be gathered, which raised my hopes of receiving a fair trial. Yet on May 16th 2017 when after many delays all this evidence had been gathered and presented to the court, the judge suddenly did a 360 and refused to even look at the evidence and calling the request of my lawyer to examine the Facebook correspondence, emails and for an examination of the books ‘groundless’ and ‘unnecessary’ since there was already enough evidence gathered by the prosecution seemingly ignoring the fact that they only ever sought evidence which would support their case.
This decision by the court confirms my fears since day one of my arrest that I would be subjected to a show trial and denied a fair hearing. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be found guilty even though I will always maintain my innocence and insist that I was the victim of a poorly-attempted entrapment operation, whose pathetic nature would be almost laughable if its consequences weren’t so serious.
I’ve just finished reading John Safran‘s new book Depends What You Mean By Extremist: Going Rogue with Australian Deplorables (Penguin, 2017). Having been a resident in these parts for some time, I enjoyed tagging along with John as he romped through this ‘mad world of misfits’ in ‘the year the extreme became the mainstream’, and had some fun identifying (or trying to identify) the various characters in the book, frequently shielded by pseudonyms. While reactions among friends and comrades has been mixed, and I haven’t read too many reviews as yet, Simon McDonald reckons it’s an easy-reading but hard-hitting expose of political extremism in STRAYA, which I suppose is apt. So in lieu of a proper, y’know, literary review, I thought that, as an anarchist and someone who’s also paid close attention to the far right Down Under, I’d jot down a few notes.
Perhaps the most coherent perspective, surprisingly enough, is provided by UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell, who outlines a rational (if rather unlikely) pathway to state power for him and his mates, and for whom the hullabaloo over halals represents merely a convenient platform from which to practice his best Hitler impersonation. Notably, Der Uber Der confesses (p.152) to viewing his followers in much the same way as he views Jews: as divided into highborn and lowborn, order-givers and order-takers. (Of course, there are no prizes for guessing to which category Blair assigns himself.) The seeming absurdities and contradictions which plague the various deplorable characters in the book are remarked upon continually throughout the text: valour thief, serial pest and implacable opponent of Islam, Communism, ‘Third World’ immigration and multi-culturalism, Ralph Cerminara (pp.23–27), apparently has an Italian father, an Aboriginal mother, and a Vietnamese partner, while Dr Jim Saleam causes other white nationalists to snigger behind his back on account of his Lebanese ancestry. John is also keen to underline the fact that religion, especially Christian evangelicalism and fundamentalism, plays a critical role in the worldview of a large segment of Deplorable Australians. Enter Danny Nalliah’s Catch The Fire Ministries/Rise Up Australia Party, that grouping which has done the most to add some, ah, colour, to the various events organised by Reclaim and the UPF. Speaking of Danny, Scott Moerland also stars as ‘Mr Normal’ (p.79). Well for a time at least, before eventually being revealed as being ‘some sort of doomsday Christian’ (p.84): a fact which helps explain why he ran as the RUAP candidate for Oxley at the 2013 federal election (Scott got 400 votes or 0.43% for his troubles).
In terms of mobilising opposition to Reclaim Australia, the UPF, et. al., the book concentrates on one project: No Room For Racism (NRFR) in Melbourne, for which Mel Gregson is deemed the ‘matriarch’ (p.92). For those of you coming in late, NRFR was established in early 2015 in order to promote opposition to the first (April 4, 2015) Reclaim rally in Melbourne. (Other anti-fascist and anti-racist groups and projects emerged in other towns and cities at the same time.) After April 4, another campaigning group was established in Melbourne called Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), but its activities play no part in John’s account. In any case, given that both NRFR and CARF are capable of making their own assessments, in the remainder of this post I’m gonna concentrate on a coupla Muslim figures portrayed in the book, before concluding with an assessment of John’s portrayal of my comrades, Les Anarchistes.
The ‘extreme’ Muslims featured in the book are Musa Cerantonio, some bloke called ‘Hamza’ and some other fella named ‘Youssef’. Also making a special guest appearance is ‘Ahmet the Turk’, and in ‘The Sufi in the garden’ (pp.40-44), John meets a Sufi; someone who might function as a ‘counterpoint’ to two other Muslims (Musa and Hamza) he talks to about Islam and politics. While the ‘Sufi’ is, like other characters in the book, unnamed, it wasn’t too difficult for me to work out to whom John might be referring. For what it’s worth, they have a very different recollection of their conversation to John’s. Later in the book (p.224), John makes reference to a ‘famous-enough Muslim’, and pays particular attention to something the Islamic semi-idol posted on their Facebook page. Again, it wasn’t too difficult for me to discover who this person is, and I thought it would be worthwhile examining the incident a little more closely, both because of what it reveals about the writing process, but also because it helps shape what eventually becomes one of the key themes of the text: anti-Semitism and its (ab)uses. John writes:
‘We, French-Muslims, are ready to assume our responsibilities.’ Dozens of celebrities and academics have written a letter to a Paris newspaper. The signatories say that local Muslim communities must work harder to stop the extremists in their midst, and to honour those killed the letter lists all the recent terrorist attacks in France.
The one at the kosher deli.
‘You are ready to assume your responsibilities’, writes a French Jewish leader in reply, ‘but you are off to a bad start. You need to understand that these anti-Semitic attacks were committed against Jews, who were targetted for being Jewish. In any case we’ll always be here to remind you.’
Those signatories aren’t the only Muslims who believe in Jewish exceptionalism. From France to my hometown …
In which context, a few things:
• The terrorist attack on the kosher deli/the Porte de Vincennes siege (January 2015) involved a man who’d pledged allegiance to Daesh/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, killing four Jewish shoppers and holding others hostage before being shot dead by French police.
• The statement by some French Muslims was published in Le Journal du Dimanche on July 31, 2016 (see : “Nous, Français et musulmans, sommes prêts à assumer nos responsabilités”). The letter makes explicit reference to five terrorist attacks: at Charlie Hebdo (January 2015); at Bataclan theatre (November 2015); at Magnanville (June 2016); at Bastille Day celebrations in Nice and at a church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray (July 2016). The list is not exhaustive. Thus the letter fails to reference the Toulouse and Montauban shootings of March 2012 (in which a French rabbi, among others, was shot dead), the La Défense attack (May 2013), the Tours police station stabbing (December 2014), the February 2015 stabbing of three French soldiers on patrol outside a Jewish community centre in Nice, an attack upon churches in Villejuif in April 2015, the Saint-Quentin-Fallavier attack of June 2015, the Thalys train attack of August 2015, a man who drove his car into soldiers protecting a mosque in Valence in January 2016, an attack upon a police station in Paris later that month and, finally, an attack upon a family at a holiday resort in Garda-Colombe in July 2016.
• The French Jewish leader is Robert J. Ejnes, Executive Director at the Conseil Représentatif des Institutions Juives de France (CRIF)/Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions. He posted a comment in response to the statement on his Facebook account on July 31, 2016 [https://www.facebook.com/robert.ejnes/posts/10155122557237942]; the CRIF later posted a modified version of this comment on August 1, 2016. See : Jewish Leader Slams French Muslims for Omitting anti-Semitic Violence From Anti-jihad Petition, Haaretz, August 1, 2016.
• Given that my French-language skills are as advanced as my admiration for Carlton FC, it’s a little difficult to follow the story of the statement, but it’s worth noting that, in response to the criticisms leveled at it of ‘Jewish exceptionalism’, on August 1, 2016, one of the signatories, Socialist Party politician Bariza Khia, published a statement on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/bariza.khiari/posts/10154298138245900] — later added to the statement published in Le Journal du Dimanche and endorsed by all signatories — in which the signatories claim that the omissions were not deliberate, that they wished to avoid unnecessary controversy, and that ‘Jewish students in Toulouse or clients of the Hyper-Kosher murdered because they were Jews, a Catholic priest martyred in his church, a soldier or a Muslim policeman slaughtered in service … the list of victims is terribly long and so diverse, our nation in all its components, that we must face adversity together’ [machinetranslation]. I suppose it would also be worth adding that it was a Muslim immigrant from Mali who saved the lives of other Jewish shoppers at the supermarket, an action which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised (even if Robert Ejnes did not). See : Malian Muslim hailed for saving lives at Paris market, France24, January 12, 2015.
To return to Almost Famous, John writes that:
… I see today that he’s busy on Facebook, tormenting a family of Israeli immigrants (so, to be clear, Australians) who run the cafe around the corner from my flat. A Muslim friend of his wandered in for a snack a few hours ago and spotted an item on the menu: ‘Israeli breakfast’. Finding out that the family running the cafe are Israeli, she lashed out at them, freaking out everyone in the cafe, and now the famous-enough Muslim is lashing out too, ‘exposing’ this family for being Israeli …
… His Facebook fans pile on: Jews are stingy, so no doubt this Israeli breakfast is the stingiest breakfast ever. That sort of thing.
Again, for what it’s worth:
• While John implies that the discussion takes place sometime in late 2016, in reality the Facebook post is over three years old (May 2013).
• The friend is not described as being ‘Muslim’ but rather ‘Palestinian’.
• According to the account relayed by Famous-Enough Funny-Man: the Palestinian woman cancelled her order because she found out it was an Israeli business; when the owner demanded to know why, she said ‘Because Israel occupies my land’. Allegedly, the owner then followed the Palestinian woman down the street, abused her, and told her to never come near his café again.
• While the post has some caustic commentary, nobody accuses Jews of being ‘stingy’. [EDIT (May 21, 2017) : Somebody did comment to that effect but at some point b/w now + then it was deleted.]
• While I’ve got no idea what happened, and either account could be true, in John’s retelling the Palestinian has become a Muslim, and even if one believes that it’s wrongful for a Palestinian to boycott an Israeli business on account of Israel’s colonial status, a national conflict has become a religiously-motivated one. (Surely there are better examples of anti-Semitic actions on the part of local Muslims than the above?)
Anyways, back to John (p.229):
But hey, maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I should drop in on Mrs Sneer and Mr Snort at the Melbourne Anarchist Club and they can explain to me how spreading avocado over soft-toasted challah is in fact structural violence.
Which would seem as good a time as any to examine how ratbag anarchists are portrayed in the book.
Mrs Sneer & Mr Snort
As part of his journalisms, John joins the UPF as they party after their second rally in Bendigo in October 2015. (A detour finds him at the wrogn pub, one at which members of ‘Nationalist Alternative’ — ‘They’re like the UPF except they don’t sugarcoat their views on Jews’ — are drinking. Not mentioned in the book is the fact that Blair Cottrell, along with Neil Erikson, is a former member of the tiny groupuscule.) Partying with the UPF includes being filmed doing shots of tequila with them. This is later shared by the UPF on their Facebook page, where they jokingly claim that John is now an official member of the gang. John notes that the reception by some on the left to this example of fraternising with teh enimy is frosty. According to John (p.92), ‘The Melbourne Anarchist Club — those guys who turn up to the rallies with their faces wrapped in bandannas — seem particularly miffed’. This is incorrect, and in this instance John seems to have mixed-up the MAC with ‘Melbourne Antifascist Info’, who did indeed ‘hope there’s a good explanation for why John Safran went out for drinks with the United Patriots Front last night’.
After recounting the UPF’s trip to the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC) and radio station 3CR (the expedition consisted of Blair Cottrell, Chris Shortis, Neil Erikson, Andrew Wallis and Linden Watson), John attends the Open Day the MAC organised in response: ‘There are more hot anarchists than I expected here. Don’t get me wrong, there are also flabby radicals who wouldn’t be able to throw a Molotov cocktail without breaking into a wheeze, but still’ (p.157). LOL. It’s at this point that Mrs Sneer and Mr Snort enter the story.
After criticising John for his (inadvertent) appearance in the UPF’s promotional stunt, Mr Snort registers his displeasure with John’s article on the Golden Dawn and AFP rally in Brisbane in 2014. It’s at this point that the distinction between ‘structural’ and ‘non-structural’ violence is introduced: Mr Snort says far-right violence is a form of ‘structural violence’ (that is, part of State, corporate and systemic violence), and left-wing violence isn’t. And furthermore, my ‘comedic story’ contributed to this ‘structural violence’ by equating the two. For John, this distinction, and its flaws, comes to encapsulate what he considers a worrying trend, both on the left and among some Muslims (the Sufi’s view on the Charlie Hebdo attack), one which tries and fails to escape the ethical dimensions of discussions on the uses of violence and which, in the end, dismisses various examples of anti-Semitism as being trivial and unworthy of a serious response. Thus Mrs Sneer claims that [t]here’s not meaningful anti-Semitism these days … in the way there’s meaningful Islamophobia, and in practice, this distinction merely becomes a way of separating worth from unworthy victims, the Naughty from the Nice.
Mrs Sneer and Mr Snort are then unfavourably compared to the arguably more nuanced approach of ‘Ahmet the Turk’, who attended the open day to express solidarity with the MAC. Beefy and bald, he says he’s new to politics but when he saw ‘these people getting attacked for essentially defending Muslims? I thought, You know what? We’ve got to show them some solidarity. We need to tell them, “You are not alone.” Just like how they’ve told us that we’re not alone.’ Ahmet and the Seven Turks then rock up to the Reclaim/UPF/True Blue Crew rally in Melton (pp.169–180), where inter alia they’re photographed with Senator Lee Rhiannon (or at least, that’s what Ralph Cerminara reckoned LOL) but otherwise try and keep the peace. (As an aside, John writes that the reason the rally was held in Melton was in order to protest the fact that the local council had approved the building of a mosque. This is incorrect. Rather, protesters were angry and upset because they claimed, falsely, that Melton Specialist School had planned to re-locate from Coburns Road to the former site of Victoria University’s Melton campus in Rees Road, Melton South, but was forced to abandon the site to make way for the Al Iman College. See : Anti-Muslim rally reveals a racism both shocking and commonplace, Crikey, November 23, 2015.)
The other anarchist featured in the book is referred to as ‘The CEO’ (p.186): ‘At the rallies he points his finger here and there, muttering into ears, and the little ninjas scuttle off on the mission’. Again, The CEO was not difficult to identify and again, their recollection of their conversations differs from John’s. In any case, insofar as The CEO’s role is understood to be reflective of actual anti-fascist action, organisation and planning, it immediately reminded me of a white nationalist’s account of the TBC rally in Coburg in 2016, in which at one point in the day’s proceedings ‘advance ANTIFA scouts relayed some order via their weird coded street language of whistles and the mob took off at a dead run’. In other words, there are few if any secrets revealed about ‘ANTIFA’ in John’s book.
Finally, the concluding chapters of the book examine Trump’s victory in the US, Pauline Hanson’s return to the Australian Parliament, and the failure of the UPF (as the stillborn ‘Fortitude’ party), the Australian Liberty Alliance and Rise Up Australia Party to make a dent at the 2016 federal election. In the meantime, Musa Cerantonio has been arrested and charged with terrorisms, as has Phill Galea, while Avi Yemini’s attempt to introduce Pauline Hanson and Malcolm ‘Jew World Order’ Roberts to the Jews of Melbourne not unexpectedly fell in a heap. Cory Bernardi has split from the Coalition to form the Conservatives, swallowing Family First and recruiting former ALA candidate Kirralie Smith. Most recently, Bernardi’s neo-reactionary comrade-at-arms George Christensen, having undergone radical weight-loss surgery in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and having previously been a guest speaker at a Reclaim Australia rally and starred on a local neo-Nazi podcast, has now demanded that their New York comrade Mike Peinovich (‘Mike Enoch’) be prevented from entering the country — in order to attend a conference organised by the same crew of nipsters. Neil Erikson has denounced ‘Nazism’ while Shermon Burgess has embraced it. Having been kicked off Facebook, the UPF circus rolls into court again next week (May 23) while the boys in the True Blue Crew have taken some time out from assaulting their partners in order to wave some flags in the CBD on June 25.
* ‘The Skull’ appears as a foil for the UPF in Sydney, which is credited with kicking him off the bus the boys organised to take a small crew of patriotik volk to Melbourne for the joint July 18 Reclaim Australia/UPF rally. At the time, ‘The Skull’ had been adopted as the elderly mascot of a short-lived neo-Nazi groupuscule called ‘Squadron 88’. While the incident is claimed as being proof that the UPF didn’t tolerate the participation of neo-Nazis in its activities, leaving aside the fact that its leadership is (or was) neo-Nazi, in reality ‘The Skull’ was not the only neo-Nazi on the bus, as John Lyons and Martin McKenzie-Murray reported at the time.
A bus trip from Sydney to Melbourne highlighted the way neo-Nazi elements are trying to infiltrate the Reclaim Australia movement. Just after 9pm on Friday, July 17, a mixed group of activists — including four neo-Nazis — turned up at Sydney’s Central station to board a bus organised by UPF. But police were waiting for them. They sought out [John] Oliver, the man who had tried to reveal the identity of Fleming, who was carrying a gun. Oliver tells Inquirer he had notified the police firearms registry that he was transporting the gun to Melbourne but, nonetheless, police did not want the gun on that bus.
Oliver says he was taking the gun to Melbourne so over that weekend he could combine sports shooting and the rally. “Maybe I made an error of judgment to think that I could do the two things on the one weekend,” he concedes.
But he insists that those in Reclaim Australia are mainstream Australians opposing extremism. He says he was concerned there were four neo-Nazis on the bus. “The first thing I saw when I sat down was the guy in front of me draw a swastika on the mist on the window,” he says. “Two of the neo-Nazis were kicked off in Yass and two made it to Melbourne.”
One of those forced off the bus was Ross “The Skull” May, who has become the figurehead of Squadron 88, Australia’s newest neo-Nazi group …
For the few men who comprise the anti-immigration Australia First Party and the neo-Nazi Squadron 88, the numerals referring to “HH” or “Heil Hitler”, it was an opportunity to augment the United Patriots Front’s rally in Melbourne, itself a supplement to the Reclaim Australia rally organised for the foot of the Victorian parliament. A road trip was planned, a bus rented. The journey would be a merry drive from Sydney to Melbourne, a city they deemed a leftist “stronghold”. They packed a gun but Sydney police – aware of the groups – searched them before they departed and it was confiscated …
So the Sydney group were happy to help storm the fortress of Melbourne. They’d take a coach bus into battle. Nine hours of ribald camaraderie before they smashed some commies. It’d be fun. A real weekend.
Except news got out that one of the boys on the bus was Ross “The Skull” May, one of Australia’s more notorious neo-Nazis, and his presence was suddenly considered detrimental.
It is hard to satirise May. As accords his nickname, he looks like a desiccated corpse re-animated by the dark voodoo of Nazism. In reality he’s a semi-coherent octogenarian with few teeth and a sunken face, who in earlier years wore Nazi uniforms and intimidated political opponents.
According to sources, May was told a short way into the road trip to abandon the crusade and he disembarked just outside Canberra. The departure of one man wasn’t insignificant, given there were only about 30 aboard – about 10 to 20 per cent of the eventual anti-Islam congregation in Melbourne.
Finally, and for what it’s worth, on the evening that the bus departed Sydney I took note of the fact that ‘The Skull’, along with members of S88 and AFP, were on board, as did media. I think that this, rather than the UPF’s putative opposition to ‘Nazism’, is what really explains why poor old Ross was told to get off.