For the last few weeks, good folk have been occupying empty housing in Bendigo Street, Collingwood. The houses — previously scheduled to be demolished in order to make way for another fucking highway — have been left standing empty since the Victorian government cancelled the billion-dollar East-West Link road project in December 2014. As for the private developers responsible, they were left laffing at the cancellation, the previous, Tory government having agreed to pay them massive compensation if the project was scrapped … and if the rich are happy, who could ask for anything more?
After a long-fought day, protesters have successfully occupied an empty domestic property on Bendigo St this morning.
This is despite being informed late yesterday afternoon, after weathering a 3-hour holding pattern conducted by Victoria Police officers and an anonymous party of three, that their occupation of 18 Bendigo St, Collingwood, constituted an act of unlawful trespass on private property …
Since then, the occupation has been ongoing. See :
Gosh and bother and tish and fiffle: it’s been just over four years since I last formally updated Trot Guide (April 10, 2012). At that stage I counted a mere fifteen political organisations on the far left — mostly Trotskyist in orientation. The Bad News is that it appears that at least two of these organisations are now extinct; the Good News is that at least two more have emerged — and that’s just in the last few months!
1. The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) is still kicking. Its March 2016 newsletter [PDF] contains an account of ‘Fighting fascism in Australia’ by Riki Lane, which concludes ‘All the approaches taken – counter demonstrations; getting unions to take a better stand; broad anti-racist organising – need to be pursued and coordinated. A useful approach could be to build a broader coalition of all the existing groups on a national basis. The key however, is to get the organised labour movement active in fighting this threat.’ Ho hum. The group appears to be strongest in Brisbane, with supporters in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
2. The Communist League (CL) is also still kicking, though one suspects it would struggle to field a football team. 5-a-side, maybe? For reasons which escape me, the CL was invited to attend the anarchist bookfair in Melbourne in 2012, but I don’t think they’ve been back. In any case, you can subscribe to The Militant and buy their titles from their office in Sydney. PS. The indefatigable Ron Poulsen scored 148 votes in his tilt at a seat in the Senate at the 2013 federal election.
3. The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) remains steadfast in its commitment to Communism, which in the last few years has also managed to find expression at the ballot box. Sadly, The Communists were de-registered by the AEC in May 2012 ‘because the party failed to prove it still had 500 members eligible for enrolment’. That said, the Communists are still keen to contest, so ‘If you’re on the electoral roll and would be prepared to help out, please contact us at [email protected] or ring Bob Briton on 0418 894 366’. What else can be said? Well, they still heart Stalin, and you can read a recent (October 2015) apologia for his rule (by Rob Gowland) in The Worker’s Weekly — Anti-Soviet propaganda and Stalin (Part 1) and Cold War propaganda offensive (Part 2). Strongest in NSW, the CPA has a presence in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne and Perth.
PS. A Comrade wishes to make a correction re the ‘Communist Alliance’, ‘The Communists’ and the CPA. Thus according to CPA General Secretary Hannah Middleton (June 2012): ‘The Communists (originally called the Communist Alliance) was an electoral alliance of which the CPA was one part [emphasis mine], together with migrant [Greek, Latin American, Lebanese, Sri Lankan] Communist parties and progressive individuals from around Australia. The Communist Party of Australia supported the Communist Alliance (CA) because it united a range of left political forces to fight for real change. The Communist Alliance was registered as a party on March 16, 2009. A legal challenge from the Community Alliance [emphasis mine], a conservative group in Canberra, forced the CA to change its name to the Communists. This group did not manage to meet the requirement that it update its membership list in time and was recently deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission.’
4. The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML) has had some troubles adapting to the twenty-first century. In Bad news for spotters, the organisation suspended publication of its newspaper, Vanguard, in 2014, the last print edition appearing in December 2014 [PDF]. First published in 1963, inter alia, ‘The decision to go fully online has been made in recognition of the fact that most young people use the internet as their primary source of news and communication’. Duncan B. writes: ‘I still have a copy of the very first Vanguard published over fifty-one years ago in September 1963. It is interesting to read the editorial of the first Vanguard. Under the heading “Why Vanguard is Published”, the editorial says, “The publication of Vanguard is an historic event. It is now the only paper which upholds the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. The paper has a big and noble job to do. Its main task will be to give a Marxist-Leninist analysis of the major events of our time.”’ See also : The Explosion Point of Ideology in China (1967) / China: reading guide (libcom). The CPA (M-L) may be contacted through the Vanguard at PO Box 196, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia 3065 or via email ([email protected]).
5. Feminism + Trotskyism = Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). The FSP is based in Melbourne and maintains a shopfront called Solidarity Salon on Sydney Road, Brunswick. Steady as she goes …
7. Formed in November 1996, the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) doesn’t appear to have made much progress since 2012. They still have a website, however, and will no doubt be active at the 2016 federal election. The party seems most active in Newcastle, NSW. In 2013, it endorsed Susanna Scurry, who ran as an independent for the federal seat of Newcastle and scored 1,026 votes (1.2%) for her troubles.
9. The Revolutionary Socialist Party is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker (etc., etc., etc.). Formed as a split from the DSP (now SA) in 2008, ‘At its final congress on 28 March 2013, the RSP voted unanimously to merge with Socialist Alternative’. See also : RSP and SAlt, Old-Style Opportunism: “Death of Communism” Lash-up, Australasian Spartacist, No. 219, Autumn 2013.
10. The Socialist Alliance (SA) was founded in 2001, has had many ups and downs, and is the organisation into which the Democratic Socialist Party finally dissolved itself in 2010 (being essentially the only group remaining within the Alliance). The intervening four years appear not to have witnessed any growth in SA, the organisation seemingly having been eclipsed by SAlt, but its support is arguably more geographically spread than SAlt’s, having contacts in every capital city and many regional centres. Currently, SA boasts two local councillors (Sue Bolton in Moreland and Sam Wainwright in Fremantle), produces the Green Left Weekly newspaper and is having a conference in Sydney in May titled Socialism For The 21st Century. SA will also be fielding candidates at the 2016 federal election. PS. Two formal tendencies have emerged within SA in the last year or so: ‘The Witches’ (?!) of Adelaide (May 2015) and ‘The 21st Century Socialism Tendency’ (April 2016).
11. Socialist Alternative (SAlt) is almost certainly the largest organisation in this edition of Trot Guide, just as it was in 2012. SAlt benefited from the absorption of the RSP in 2012/2013, while it’s yet to produce a splinter. Occasionally compared to a political kvlt by some of its harsher critics, I semi-seriously examined the claim in June 2013 and concluded that the answer was ‘no’. A highly critical account of the organisation is provided by Liam Donohoe in ‘My Salty Summer’ (Honi Soit, March 15, 2016). PS. Apologies to the SAlt member who waxed lyrical to me about the party and its many activities some months or years ago when I last made noises about updating the Guide.
12. The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) AKA The International Committee of the Fourth International modestly describes itself as the ‘leadership of the world socialist movement’ and frequently disparages its rivals (mostly SA and SAlt) as ‘pseudo-left’. The yoof wing of the SEP — International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) — has been engaged in a ding-dong battle with various University authorities over the last few years, including at Melbourne, where a bunch of kids on the Clubs and Societies Committee have failed to recognise the world-historical mission of the IYSSE/SEP/ICFI and refused to allow its supporters there to formally register as a Club. To add insult to injury, the sneaky little yuppies have even had the temerity to suggest that the junior members of the local branch of the leadership of the world socialist movement join the SAlt Club instead! The SEP frequently contests elections and will do so again at the 2016 federal election.
13. The Socialist Party (SP) was, until very recently, steady-as-she-goes. In February 2016, however, 14 members of the party — including Yarra councillor Steve Jolly — decamped, publishing an open letter alleging that the SP was guilty of engaging in a ‘cover-up of allegations of violence against women’ and stating that they ‘will not remain complicit in the silencing of victims of abuse’. The SP, for its part, issued a rebuttal, which you can read here. The folks who resigned from the SP are still flying the red flag as part of something called ‘The Socialist’; the SP remains mostly a Melbourne thing.
14. Solidarity remains the Official representative of the International Socialist Tendency Down Under. Blogger John Passant is a member, while Jim Casey, the Greens candidate for the seat of Grayndler in NSW, was attacked earlier this year for his former membership of the ‘International Socialists’, the group out of which, by various permutations and combinations, Solidarity formed and which stands in the IS tradition. Solidarity may be found in Brisbane, Canberra and Perth but mostly Melbourne and Sydney. See also : Marching Down Marx Street by Tom O’Lincoln on the history of the Cliffite tendency in Australia.
16. NEW! Formed as a split from the SP, The Socialist is The Title of The Newest socialist kid on the bloc. The Socialist has a Marxism study group, a socialist-feminist study group and an uncertain future.
17. Trotskyist Platform (TP) split from The Spartacists over a decade ago. TP hates fascism and racism almost as much as it hearts North Korea — which is A Lot. You can read about The Planks on Which Trotskyist Platform Can Stand Solid And Work Hard to Help Build The Communist Movement here and also An Eyewitness Account of North Korea and Its People: Bravely Building a Friendly, Socialistic Society While in the Cross Hairs of Imperialism here. PS. TP write ‘Though we in Trotskyist Platform have sharply differing political views to the anarchist who runs the Slackbastard blog and who has initiated the 2nd May  counter-mobilisation to the fascist threat, we applaud the initiative he has taken and are thus actively building this action.’
Which I think is probably the only mention, let alone props, I’ve been given by any of the above groups in over 10 years of blogging … LOL.
• ‘Trot Guide’ is a neat categorisation but the political designation does not obviously, apply to the CPA, CPA-ML, MLG or PLP.
• Despite a hopeful sign in March 2013, the League for the Revolutionary Party/Communist Organization for the Fourth International (Australia) appears to have closed its post office box in North Melbourne.
• SA and SEP will be fielding candidates in the upcoming federal election; fingers crossed, so will the CPA, CL, PLP, SP and maybe even The Socialist will run.
• The online archive at Reason in Revolt has a range of documents on Australian socialist and radical groups: ‘Reason in Revolt brings together primary source documents of Australian radicalism as a readily accessible digitised resource. By ‘radical’ we refer to those who aimed to make society more equal and to emancipate the exploited or oppressed. Reason in Revolt is an expanding record of the movements, institutions, venues and publications through which radicals sought to influence Australian society.’
• on saturday (april 16), jura books (sydney) will be hosting a discussion w visiting academic alex prichard on the subject of ‘Anarchy, Freedom, and Constitutionalism’ : “How do you know when you’re free? Anarchists have usually said you’re free to the extent that you’re not dominated. But what secures this non-dominated state? Do we need to be empowered, or is something else needed?”
• you can listen to alex and fellow academic saul newman discuss anarchism on late night live with phillip adams here (anarchy rules!, april 5, 2016).
• Several members and/or close associates of the UPF — Ralph Cerminara, Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson — have been nominated to appear in the Magistrates Court in Maryborough on Thursday, April 14, to respond to an application for an intervention order by a former associate, Joelle Norris. Whether Cottrell & Co appear or not would seem to depend on several factors. One is whether or not it has any impact on his parole conditions (if any). If so, he will likely appear to contest the order. It’s equally possible that Cottrell hasn’t been served with a notice of the hearing — but far less likely to have failed to notice its appearance on Facebook. Given his history of family violence, Cottrell would presumably be savvy enough to understand that if he fails to attend the hearing it will almost certainly be granted in Norris’s favour, meaning it’s very much in his interests to attend and to contest. Who knows? Hopefully he doesn’t bring an axe or a tomahawk along with him …
• Speaking of BFFs, Peter Grace has examined Cottrell’s views on ‘friendship’ here:
• Also on April 10, around 20 or so flagwits belonging to Nick Folkes’ Party for Freedom gathered near the Halal Expo in Sydney. They shouted abusive slogans, waved placards for a while, and then went home.
• Dr Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party has lodged an application with the AEC to use the Eureka flag as its symbol on ballot papers (see : Australia First Party’s use of Eureka flag angers rebels’ descendants in Ballarat, Bridget Judd, ABC, April 12, 2016). The quest to appropriate the symbol is a long-running campaign of Dr Jim’s, dating back to the 1970s, and disputes over its status as an emblem of ‘left’ or ‘right’ has involved a wide range of historical and contemporary actors, from anarchist to neo-Nazi. Certainly, when the AFP joined fellow neo-Nazis from Golden Dawn at a public demonstration in Brisbane in May, 2014, they were rudely reminded that, as far as anti-fascist construction workers are concerned, the flag has no place in their hands. (Note that Jim Perren, one of the AFP dingbats present at the rally and co-author of the neo-Nazi ‘Whitelaw Towers’ blog, later helped arrange the UPF’s visit to Toowoomba in February.)
In any event …
As a mobilising force, Reclaim Australia seems to have more-or-less disappeared up its own bottom: — widely understood as an essentially racist and xenophobic movement, met with sometimes fierce opposition on the streets, riven by internal conflict among the handful of dumbs and mads who constituted its core organisers, and in other ways eclipsed by the emergence (or re-emergence) of various other, largely online anti-Muslim projects, chief among them the UPF, RA appears spent. If so, RA will have become just one more of the already innumerable anti-Muslim propaganda pages FB happily carries and promotes. Of course, this may be a temporary retreat, and RA once again be the broad umbrella under which a liquorice all-sorts of anti-Muslim prejudice takes to the streets. Who knows? Barring some dramatic development, it does seem doubtful it will again stir as many suburban keyboard warriors as it did in 2015.
The UPF, which constituted itself as the vanguard of RA, is also barely a year old, and has obviously undergone some settling of contents during transit. As well as, first, the departure of Shermon Burgess and Neil Erikson from the UPF and, secondly, their denunciation of it as a ‘Nazi’ organisation, most recently Perth flunkey Dennis Huts declared that he was leaving the UPF — as much a man of his word, and his criminal convictions, as his fuehrer, he’s now back — while fellow sandgroper Nic Genovese has also elected to leave. Others to have ostensibly left the group’s inner circle include Kris0 Richardson, Linden Watson and John ‘Farma John’ Wilkinson. In any case, the UPF is now very much a vehicle for the political ambitions of local neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell and his sidekick Thomas Sewell (the football-hating, Hitler-loving pair carried the UPF banner at the Collingwood-Richmond match last week), with the financial support of Christian fundamentalist Chris Shortis, largely moral support from fellow Bible-basher Scott Moerland, and G*d knows what from the crazy, mixed-up Kevin Coombes (aka ‘Elijah Jacobson’ aka ‘Abdullah Islam’; Coombes was first a born-again Christian, then a Muslim, and is now a neo-Nazi sycophant).
Such, at least, is the UPF leadership. Around it has gathered a very small base of (generally quite demented) fanboys, chiefly from Bendigo, Melbourne and Perth, but also including a handful of neo-Nazis and other White supremacists from Queensland and elsewhere; Jim Perren of Whitelaw Towers/Anti-Antifa blog being one. While some have a developed political perspective, an emotional attachment to flags and other nationalist symbols, combined with a visceral hatred of Muslims and other racialised elements, typically eclipses any thoughtful or genuine political commitment. They are thus easily manipulated, lied to, and used — and are. Further, their commitment is just as often fleeting: — their naivete about politics, society and social change leading them to mistakenly believe both that their views are more popular than they are in reality and that acting like a racist dickhead in public is a surefire way to win friends and influence people.
(I should add that the UPF has little support in Sydney partly because its leadership is based in Melbourne but also because Sydney’s far right has already been colonised by Dr Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party on the one hand and Nick Folkes’ Party for Freedom on the other. The UPF has sought counsel from AFP but has not explicitly allied itself to it; Shortis has recently been playing with the PFF in Sydney but was noticeably absent — as was the UPF as a whole — from the PFF’s rare Melbourne excursion last weekend. Sydney is of course also home to Ralph Cerminara, an Australian Defence League activist and serial pest who was previously aligned with Shermon Burgess but is now singing from the UPF hymnbook. Now BFFs, the fact that Cottrell memorably described Cerminara as a ‘cancer’ — and late last year expressed a desire to travel to NSW in order to break the cancer’s jaw for some infraction — gives some insight into the highly unstable nature of the boys’ relationships.)
Of course, in addition to being a ‘street movement’, the UPF also fancies itself as a political party: ‘Fortitude’. Announced with much fanfare late last year in Perth, the UPF embarked upon an east coast tour to promote the fledgling party in February. The tour was not especially successful. Barely 40 or so attended its meeting in Orange, NSW, perhaps twice as many in Toowoomba, QLD (where organisation of the meeting was left in the hands of Catholic relief teacher Liz Carlsen, Perren, and a handful of QLD-based neo-Nazis), and several hundred in Bendigo. The attendance in Bendigo was the largest by far, but still far less than the UPF managed to attract at its peak, which in October last year was somewhere between 500 and 1,000. Further, despite now having over 40,000 likes on FB, it seems as though the UPF/Fortitude is still struggling to obtain the 500+ signatures required in order to register with the AEC (and, crucially, to contest elections under its own name on the ballot). The proximity of the next federal election also means that it’s now almost impossible for the party to do so — even if it did manage to collect the requisite total.
That’s not the only or biggest problem Fortitude faces, for it enters a field already crowded with radical and populist right-wing electoral alternatives, most notably the Australian Liberty Alliance and One Nation. The ALA in particular is a far slicker, well-funded, well-organised and generally palatable option for the anti-Muslim crowd than Fortitude, with its neo-Nazi leadership, criminal history, white nationalism and crude, racist outpourings. It seems possible that even if it does register, Fortitude will likely crash soon after launch, and the boys again be reduced to orchestrating publicity stunts and conducting closely chaperoned (and very small) police rallies. It will then find itself in a position to produce more characters like Phill Galea and Nathan Davidson: — and John Wilkinson’s public exhortation to ‘stop the mosques’ by burning them down will become a much more attractive proposition for its violent fanbase.
In April last year a page called “Slackc-nt” appeared on Facebook. It’s now been publicly disclosed that the author of the page is a man by the name of Andrew Wallis — AKA Drew Smith, Tommo Oro, et. al.. Wallis was also one of the five UPF meatheads — along with Blair Cottrell, Neil Erikson, Chris Shortis and Linden Watson — who paid a visit to 3CR Community Radio and the Melbourne Anarchist Club in November last year.
A month or two ago the Sydney-based fascist grouplet ‘Party For Freedom’ (PFF) — the organisers of the Cronulla Riot Re-enactment failboat last year (and the ‘anti white genocide’ Palm Sunday counter-rally a few weeks ago) — decided that it would be A Good Idea to hold an anti-Muslim rally outside the Halal Expo in Ascot Vale. According to reports, around 20 or so folk travelled down from Sydney to join the rally, and were joined by a smaller number of locals. In any event, their rally was briefly the site of a scuffle, after a small group of anti-fascists decided to say ‘G’day’ and welcome them to marvelous, multicultural Melbourne. There appear to have been no arrests, but the PFF lost a number of flags and placards, and one of their supporters — wearing a PFF t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Rapefugees Not Welcome Stay Away!’ — appeared on the TV with a cut and some blood on his face.
The PFF will be staging another anti-Muslim protest outside the Halal Expo in Sydney on April 10. This will be the second occasion on which the PFF have done so, having organised a rally outside the Halal Expo in 2015 which was also the site of a minor clash with anti-fascists (see : Protests at halal food expo turn violent, SBS, April 13, 2015).
Also today, a crowd of several hundred gathered at Fed Square to rally against racism and fascism. They also went on a march. A small contingent of Collingwood fans joined the rally, each one of them as beautiful as fascism is ugly. Props!
The neo-Nazi grouplet United Patriots Front (UPF) staged a(nother) provocative little stunt on Friday night, unfurling a banner reading ‘Go Pies’ and ‘Stop the Mosques’ at the Collingwood-Richmond match. After a short while, MCG security removed the banner and ejected those responsible — which included UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell — from the ground.
The UPF have staged a series of publicity stunts since forming in April/May 2015. These include an ‘anti-Communist’ rally in Richmond (May 2015), roasting a pig outside the ABC offices in Melbourne (June 2015), beheading a dummy outside Bendigo council offices (October 2015) and being uninvited guests at the Melbourne Anarchist Club and community radio station 3CR (November 2015) — while trying to hunt me down.
The Collingwood stunt attracted a good deal of attention for the grouplet, and while it was denounced by the AFL, Collingwood, Richmond and many others — including, of course, many Collingwood supporters — it earned Cottrell another opportunity to appear in the media and to promote the UPF: the purpose of this and previous stunts. Further, the media is loathe to describe the UPF accurately, and the group is variously termed as ‘nationalist’ and ‘far right’ — but never neo-Nazi.
In any case, fair play to the UPF: the stunt was successful, and Collingwood’s statement that if it’s ‘established that [Cottrell & Co] have a formal connection to the club, this connection will be severed’ means little to a man who loves Hitler and hates Collingwood.
Finally, a few months ago Cottrell declared that the UPF would be staging a commemorative rally this weekend to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the April 4 Reclaim Australia rally. It looks like this plan has been shelved, but an anti-fascist gathering will be taking place at Fed Square in any event.
Today in Bendigo, around 2-300 patriots/fascists answered their fuehrer’s call and attended the third and final leg of the United Patriot Front’s whirlwind tour of the ‘east coast’. There they were treated to another of Blair Cottrell’s best Hitler impersonations, whinged and whined about bloody Muslims, and (presumably) joined the UPF’s yet-to-be-registered political party, ‘Fortitude’. (The previous week in Orange, NSW saw around 40 or so gather at the local bowls club and the week before that around 70-80 attended the UPF meeting in Toowoomba, QLD.) The Bendigo Action Collective (BAC) held a ‘March Against Fascism & Bigotry’ which attracted anywhere from 50 to 100 or more in opposition to the fascist group’s presence in town.
The day appears to have been largely uneventful, though towards the end of the BAC march, outside the Bendigo railway station, a small group of a dozen or more UPF supporters — consisting largely of members of a tiny yoof gang from Melbourne calling themselves the ‘True Blue Crew’ — gave it large and were subsequently told to shoo by police. (You may remember the TBC from such rallies as ‘Reclaim Australia’ in Melbourne on July 18, when three of their members were arrested by police for being naughty and subsequently fined: the fines being paid for by the UPF.) Curiously, joining the TBC was (ex-?)UPF stalwart Linden Watson and Ralph ‘Valour Thief’ Cerminara, a man memorably described by UPF fuehrer (Blair Cottrell) last year as a ‘cancer’, a ‘virus’, and as someone who ‘infects’ and ‘destroys’ everything he touches.
• The 2-300 UPF supporters who attended today were dwarfed by the crowd of anywhere from 500 to as many as 1,000 who attended the last time the UPF was in town (October 10), which may suggest that the UPF is declining in appeal. On the other hand, their numbers last time were considerably boosted by the presence of Christian fundamentalists from the ‘Rise Up Australia Party’, the period between October and February has witnessed a series of ruptures in the UPF, and the mosque appears to be going ahead despite numerous legal challenges to its construction …
• The UPF’s Perth leader, Dennis Huts — best known for being an uninvited guest at Muslim prayer rooms in hospitals and universities — has declared that he’s leaving the UPF (and public activism). This presumably leaves fascist thug Elijah Jacobson as Cottrell’s subordinate in Perth. Below is a discussion taken from the UPF’s internal discussions on Facebook, in which the boys discuss the virtues of the stillborn ‘Generation Identity: Australia’ project, now re-named ‘Australians Resistance Movement’ and admined by UPF member and neo-Nazi Jim Perren.
• Finally, the UPF has a tiny presence in Tasmania too. Well, of sorts. Their bizarre/disturbing batshit has been documented by anti-fascists in that part of the world in ‘We got chatting a while ago …’ (Antifa Tasmania, February 27, 2016).
This is an announcement of resignation from the Socialist Party, Australian section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).
We, the undersigned, refuse to be party to the cover-up of allegations of violence against women and will not remain complicit in the silencing of victims of abuse.
Over recent months we have watched the organisation we built be torn apart by attacks on a woman comrade for coming forward with serious allegations of abuse by a leading male member. We believe such allegations should always be investigated with seriousness and sensitivity, while open to scrutiny and democratic oversight. Instead, we have witnessed an attempted cover-up, defence of the alleged perpetrator and disgraceful treatment of the alleged victim.
As committed socialists and Marxists, we consider this an unforgivable breach between theory and practice. We have a proud history of fighting to end the oppression of women in society. We have published important material on the many ways women are oppressed by capitalist society and have expressed solidarity with the many movements throughout history that have fought and challenged this oppression. However, this important work will amount to nothing if we tolerate the silencing of women within our own ranks.
We are entering a new period of history where self-proclaimed socialists like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn are inspiring people into political action and shaking up the capitalist system. A whole new generation is discovering the ideas of democratic socialism. Socialists should welcome them with open arms. But this can only be done on the basis of taking a principled stand against all forms of oppression.
The struggle for a socialist society – a society that puts the interests of people before profit – must be founded on the understanding that we cannot challenge capitalism while condoning violence against women within our movement. We must oppose all forms of oppression on the basis of class, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexuality.
We have a world to win through struggle, solidarity and socialism. We intend to fight for it.
Blair Cottrell — the leader of the United Patriots Front and Fortitude — appears as ‘Bruce’ in a recent documentary about youth in prison (the maximum-security Youth Unit at Port Phillip Prison in Truganina). In this passage he describes how he abused steroids, stalked his former partner and her boyfriend, tried to kill him, set fire to their house, and eventually got arrested, convicted, and sent to prison.
I knew steroids were always available to me, so I decided to buy some. I spent $1,000 on my first course, which was testosterone and dianabol … The aggression and the rage that I got from them almost was addictive. It made me feel good, it made me feel powerful. And every time my girlfriend would tell me ‘it’s enough now, you need to cut back, you need to take it easy, you’re getting too angry, you’re getting too big, you just look ridiculous’, I would sort of just dismiss it …
… I was friends with this guy for two years before she broke up with me. And I was under the impression that over these two years he had weaseled his way into her mind and influenced her to leave me and get with him. So I had convinced myself that it was his fault, and he needed to disappear.
When she cut me off, which [was] probably around mid-year, that’s when everything got really bad. I started obsessing about this guy. I used to walk past this guy’s house like ten times a night, up and down his street, just watching it, waiting for him to come out of it, and he never did. And I would leave him messages telling him to ‘stand up to me, stand up to me’ and he never replied.
When I never got a reply from him I started carrying knives, and like a hatchet, I had my hatchet … I had a little tomahawk … I had like this little tomahawk that I used to wear it, I put it inside my jacket and in the middle of the night, like one and two o’clock in the morning, I would go out the front of his house and like just hover around, and they always used to stay up really late and smoke bongs and the lights would always be on.
So I would sleep behind this little white picket fence across from his house and look through the cracks, at his house, and as soon as like the door would open my heart would skip and I would stand up and be holding a knife because I’d be ready to go round there and be ready to like kill him because I was pretty determined.
There was one time where he did come out his front door and I had jumped out from behind his fence with a tomahawk in my hand and he ran away. So I put the tomahawk back in my jacket and I chased him, screaming out, telling him to stop, telling him he was a fucking coward. I chased him down about three streets and then he disappeared and that just made me worse and then I started damaging his house I started throwing things at it, through the windows and like, I made a couple of Molotov cocktails, and lit his garage up with those … and I started getting arrested after I did that.
When he made an intervention order against me I took it seriously because it threatens you with two years jail if you break it which is like a restraining order. So I started trying to speak to my girlfriend again. Of course she didn’t speak to me after what I’d been doing …
Since his release from prison in May 2014, his public statements would suggest that Cottrell has not altered his views on women. He also regards feminism as being a Jewish plot. In any case, the neo-Nazi will be addressing a Little Nuremeberg rally in Bendigo this Saturday. A ‘March Against Fascism & Bigotry’ has also been organised.
For those of you coming in late, ‘Whitelaw Towers’ (WLT) is a neo-Nazi blog that often functions as a kind of online shit-sheet for Dr Jim Saleam’s ‘Australia First Party’ (AFP). Thus, while there are many entertainingly batshit articles on the AFP website dedicated to trashing the (deregistered) party’s many political enemies, WLT exceeds the site many times in over in terms of size and scale.
WLT originally developed as a replacement for another, short-lived blog titled ‘Victor Whitelaw’ (February–October 2006). The author was a Sydney-based neo-Nazi named Peter Campbell. When ‘Victor’ stopped publishing, WLT was born (October 2006). Campbell was joined by his comrade in Toowoomba (now Chinchilla), Jim Perren — both men proud members of the now-defunct ‘White Pride Coalition of Australia’ — and more recently by AFP member, the Sydney-based Nathan Sykes.
I didn’t realise it until now, but Peter Campbell is actually deaded, having (reportedly) been killed in a motorcycle accident in August 2013. That means sole responsibility for the blog now resides with Perren and Sykes.
Finally, the WLT Facebook page recently merged with the ‘Anti-Antifa Australia’ page, previously maintained by Brisbane bonehead Chris Smith. I’ve been informed that Smith left the project last year and for most of it Perren assumed responsibility for the page.
United Patriots Front
The UPF paid a visit to Orange yesterday (February 20) as the second leg of their ‘east coast’ tour to promote their fledgling, yet-to-be registered political party, ‘Fortitude’. It’s unclear why they chose Orange to promote it (presumably, they have at least one supporter in town) but the party went down like a lead balloon, the meeting attracting something in the order of 40 or so flagwits, most of whom reportedly came from outta town.
The UPF return to Bendigo on Saturday, February 27, and can reasonably be expected to attract at least a few hundred supporters. It will be the third time the boys have staged a rally in town, having previously organised anti-Muslim rallies on August 29 and October 10, 2015. The October 10 rally was their biggest event thus far, attracting somewhere in the order of 500 to as many as 1,000 people.
Bendigo is an attractive proposition for the boys for two primary reasons. The first is that the UPF is essentially a Melbourne-based project, with its key leaders — Blair Cottrell, Kris0 Richardson, Thomas Sewell and Chris Shortis — living in town. Further, Cottrell and Sewell have had a long association with neo-Nazi group Nationalist Alternative, another Melbourne-based project. In addition, the UPF has been able to attract the support of Melbourne-based Christian fun-da-mentalist party Rise Up Australia. Secondly, the UPF has been able to piggyback upon a long-running campaign by locals to stop the development of a mosque in town.
On the other hand, the events in Toowoomba and Orange have not generated a whole lot of public interest; the denunciations of the UPF as neo-Nazi by former comrades Shermon Burgess and Neil Erikson have made at least a few of their supporters re-think their commitment to the group; the two previous rallies in Bendigo have taken advantage of support from a broader milieu drawn from ‘Reclaim Australia’, its supporters, and various tiny satellites; the event is the launch of a yet-to-be-registered political party which enters an already fairly crowded field (including the Australia First Party, Australian Liberty Alliance, One Nation, Rise Up Australia and various other, right-wing Christian grouplets).
In summary, the event in Bendigo will be a real indicator of the actual level of support for the UPF and Fortitude, and determine whether or not it has actually been able to build a real social base, at least in Bendigo if not elsewhere in the country. Speaking of which, the Bendigo Action Collective has organised a ‘March Against Fascism And Bigotry’ in opposition to the UPF. For details, see their Facebook page.
As noted in my last post, the UPF’s “inner circle” has been penetrated and material assembled there made available on the intarwebs. The material so far released consist of the circle’s Facebook discussion for the period December 22, 2015 to February 15, 2016 (ie, a few days after the Toowoomba rally) and messages exchanged via the Fortitude page for the period December 11, 2015 to January 20, 2016. It appears possible that other material will be released at a later date.
Most of the discussion that takes place among the boys is fairly mundane and of the sort that accompanies any (tiny) political project: the production and distribution of propaganda, creation of contact lists for supporters, scheduling of meetings and so on. Added to this are opinions about the various personalities to be found in the ‘patriotik’ movement, references to the various squabbles that have taken place during this period, and an attempt to solidify some kind of basic organisational structure. Throughout it is clear that Cottrell functions as the fuehrer and that the other boys are subordinate to him — a position which they seem to quite enjoy. Nonetheless, it’s not all smooth sailing, as this angry video addressed to his underlings suggests:
Otherwise, here’s a few more samples of some of the more, ah, interestink things the boys have had to say:
1. Kris0 Richardson expresses his liking for neo-Nazi warbler Saga:
2. Kris0 Richardson expresses a desire to smash the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, in the face with a hammer on account of his willingness to apologise for the state’s previous criminalisation of homosexuality:
3. Perth-based Elijah Jacobson expresses a desire to give “ANTIFA & SAlt” (Socialist Alternative) a hiding:
4. Nic Genovese (also from Perth) expresses gratitude on being appointed the UPF’s chief propagandist:
5. Kim Vuga hearts the UPF and is going to Perth in March:
6. Cottrell urges the boys to read The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or The Protocols of the Meetings of the Learned Elders of Zion, the notorious anti-Semitic forgery, and to pay particular attention to Protocol 9.