Stormfront morans v Honi Soit

Investigating Stormfront: Whiteness, Demography and Politics
Honi Soit
“Matilda Surtees and Geordie Crawford investigate Australian white supremacy organisations.”
March 27, 2014

According to the University of Sydney’s student paper Honi Soit, “White supremacist posters, which depicted the Celtic cross, and exclaimed “White Pride Worldwide”, were last week plastered on a bus stop outside Wentworth Building.” While the article doesn’t nominate who was responsible for putting them up, a Stormfront user using the handle “truewhitewarrior” claims it was him what done it. Similar posters appeared at Swinburne University in Victoria in October last year.

The article has provoked the usual howls of protest from Stormfront, contains one or two errors, but otherwise seems reasonably straightforward. For those interested in reading more about ‘Whiteness, Demography and Politics’, I recommend Nell Irvin Painter, The History of White People (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010), The Invention of the White Race by Theodore W. Allen, published by Verso (Volume One (1994) is sub-titled ‘Racial Oppression and Social Control’; Volume Two (1997) ‘The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America’), ‘The Power of Whiteness’ (1998) and ‘Whiteness and Blackness in the Koori Struggle for Self-Determination’ (1999) by Gary Foley and the work of Alana Lentin and The Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA).

Below are some comments of my own.

Whilst one would think it easy to determine how many white supremacist groups there are in Australia, some ostensibly racist organisations reject the label. The Australia First Party (AFP), for example, prefers to consider themselves a “united patriotic front”.

Yes. A “front” which is also committed to a White Australia (and, somewhat oddly, has as its leader a fella of Lebanese descent).

These organisations hold in common a desire for racial separation, but are divided on what constitutes a white nation. Some white supremacists, such as Tom Metzger, the founder of White Aryan Resistance (WAR), believe in white nationalism, or a global community of white people.

I’m not sure this is an entirely accurate characterisation: a desire for racial separation (apartheid) can be enacted within the one nation (Australia, South Africa etc); Metzger’s primary inspiration is Nazism.

Others, like the Southern Cross Hammerskins (SCHS) and the AFP place a specific emphasis on state-based white nationalism, through their use of the Eureka flag and warnings of the “chaos of globalism”.

The SCHS are the Australian chapter of an international network of neo-Nazi skinheads known as the Hammerskins; while members do sometimes employ the Eureka flag as an emblem, the Hammerskins have their own iconography, drawing upon their own history and that of the European far right and Nazism in particular. AF, on the other hand — like the group ‘National Action’ which preceded it — is much more explicitly rooted in what it terms ‘Australianism’, a kind of disembrained, dinky-di version of national socialism (broadly understood).

This sense of race-based patriotism unites many Australian white supremacists. To this end, the AFP claim to be fighting a “yellow peril” by endorsing a traditional, patriarchal family structure, while Blood and Honour claim their promotion of racist music to be an act of resistance to non-white cultural influences.

While a man with contrary views was once the leader of the minuscule yoof wing of AF, the party as a whole does indeed take a dim view of homosexuality, especially any public expression of same-sex desire; an endorsement of ‘traditional family values’ is intended to help secure the reproduction of White race + nation, and draws upon a long history of paranoid (White, Australian) nationalism (see Ghassan Hage).

According to one supporter, two of the most prominent groups, Blood & Honour and the SCHS, “work in brotherhood” but are not formally affiliated.

Both have their own subsidiary groups, replicating the structures of their overseas predecessors. Combat 18 is an affiliate group of Blood and Honour and bizarrely the SCHS have their own “supporter’s club”, Crew 38.

The tiered relationship between SCHS and Crew 38 is reflective of a tightly hierarchical culture in white supremacist organizations. A spokesperson for Exit White Power, an anti-white supremacist project, stated that there are “a lot of rules about where you sit in that hierarchy, who you answer to, and what’s involved in different stages.”

A few things.

1. B&H and the SCHS are not merely White supremacist but neo-Nazi.
2. The structure of the SCHS closely resembles that of an OMC (Outlaw Motorcycle Club). Thus in addition to a formal membership there’s an allied and subsidiary group (Crew 38) which supports the Hammerskins and is the group from which members are drawn (after having demonstrated their loyalty and commitment).
3. C18 has a fractured history but most relevant is the fact that B&H is divided into two competing camps, one aligned to C18 and the other under the control of the Hammerskins. In Australia, C18 has a presence in WA and VIC. As noted elsewhere in the article, in January:

“… four men were found guilty … in a Perth court for distributing racist stickers promoting Combat 18 — stickers also being distributed by boneheads in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. One of the men convicted, Jacob Marshall Hort, was previously responsible for administering a Combat 18 website (terrormachine.net) and played in the band ‘Indigenous Hate’. In July 2010, Hort was convicted of criminal damage and discharging a firearm stemming from an incident in which several shots were fired at the Queens Park Suleymaniye Mosque, causing $15,000 damage. Note that Hort & Co have been denounced by ‘Blood & Honour Australia’ (that faction aligned with the Hammerskins) as liars and traitors; his (former?) C18 comrade, Bradley Trappitt, has since been welcomed into the New Right/’national anarchist’ camp by its leader Welf Herfurth.”

The typical demographic for such groups is young men, aged 14-25, who are often socially alienated and lack other commitments – work, mortgages, marriage, children – which may interfere with their dedication to the group.

“There are not many happy, stable young people joining white supremacist groups,” the EWP spokesperson notes. The appeal is often social, not ideological, and the prevalence of music concerts in the white supremacist community seeks to capitalise on this.

I would suggest that the typical demographic, for the Hammerskins at least, is older than this. Further, its mainstays — whether happy or sad — are generally men in their 20s and 30s, employed, married/partnered and often with children.

The Australia First Party retains an official headquarters in Tempe, in Sydney’s Inner West. It was at these headquarters that an AFP supporter was shot and killed by another in 1991.

Violence within white supremacist groups is common and is a powerful deterrent to leaving these organisations. “They can be very insular, and they tend to bash each other up quite a lot,” said the EWP spokesperson.

The murder referred to above was that of Wayne “Bovver” Smith by Perry Whitehouse. The two boneheads were members of National Action (1982–?), the group Dr Jim Saleam led before he was imprisoned (1991) for organising a shotgun assault on the home of African National Congress representative Eddie Funde in 1989; Jim assumed effective leadership of AF in the early-2000s and formal leadership in the mid-2000s. The party itself was established by former Labor MP Graeme Campbell in 1996. As for violence, its promise tends to act as an attractor for White supremacist groups, which celebrate its enactment for its allegedly morally and politically redemptive qualities.

(Note: “ANA’s Brisbane Branch publishes a monthly STORM newsletter and may be contacted at”: PO Box 635, Strathpine PS, 4500, Australia // phone 07 3205 8543 // [email protected] // australiannationalaction2.blogspot.com.au.)

It can be difficult to ascertain the extent to which extremist activity manifests itself offline. EWP’s spokesperson acknowledged that there is a lot of activity online, but describes the majority of those belonging to white supremacist groups as “keyboard warriors,” reiterating her earlier point that these groups “exist mainly for themselves”.

She points out the humorous contradiction that “one of the things they always talk about is how no one wants to meet up.” The content of Stormfront’s Down Under forums certainly supports her assertion.

And as for the “White Pride Worldwide” posters, she points out that there was no call to action involved, and no group claimed responsibility.

“They were likely just some kids who read about the White Man’s March online,” she said.

Stormfront users and other White supremacists make sporadic attempts to organise offline but, while some choose to be active in AF or other such groups (Nationalist Alternative, New Right/’national anarchists’), with some few, notable exceptions, there have been very few public rallies by White supremacists in the last decade or more, and these have tended to be very small in number. The Cronulla ‘riot’ of 2005 was widely applauded by AF, Stormfront users and others, but while it remains a continuing source of hope and inspiration, none proved able to capitalise on it any substantial fashion.

Below : Sydney’s super contribution to the ‘White Man March’:

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2015 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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11 Responses to Stormfront morans v Honi Soit

  1. [not. happy. nazi] says:

    Stormfront morans VS Honi Soit? You mean that moronic leftist budgie cage liner that doesn’t believe essential facts like whether or not Wayne “Bovver” Smith was a member of AF or NA matters a whole lot? Nope, not when they’re in a pant-wetting frenzy about a couple of harmless bill posters that grow increasingly justified the more one exposes themselves to the hypocritical rhetoric of you lot. And, Bovver was known as ‘Bovver’ not in the circles of NA. That was a street name given him in the Mod scene of the early 1980s. Of course, it sexes up your box-head rants to call him ‘Bovver’ but that’s another little fact that is beyond either the interest of ken of you bath-dodging ‘anti’ rats. Nope, your name calling, your play acting is tiresome. The left has everything it wants but it wants more and it will gorge itself on social issues until it sprouts a peculiar dialectic out the right side of its drug-fucked head.

  2. @ndy says:

    Naw.

    I don’t whether the writers believe it’s an essential fact that Smith was a member of AF or NA at the time of his murder.
    The appearance of the posters at USyd has been used as an opportunity to explore the wonderful world of White nationalism. It seems to contain more than a few vewy angwy men.
    I don’t think it matters all that much whether Wayne was known as ‘Bovver’ or ‘Boofhead’ by NA — what seems most relevant is his violent death at the hands of a comrade, and that it took place at Dr Jim’s Bunker.
    If the left has all it wants it can’t want more — that’s a logical contradiction. But then I don’t believe reason is your strong point.

    Cheer up cobber — worse things happen at sea.

  3. [still. not. happy. nazi] says:

    Nice name change. That aside, see, it’s the slant you put on placing Wayne at NA headquarters. Dr Saleam was living nowhere near Tempe when that happened. Are you suggesting that Whitehouse acted on his orders? Bit short on anything but the propaganda of the state agents you supposedly abhor.

    Moreover, I am amused by how you mock any tiny error on the part of a WN, but excuse howlers when it comes to your gaylord friends at Honi Slut, who are, after all, supposed to represent the country’s finest university. Standards, for you and the left, are measurable only by the ideology of those who they’re being measured against. You’re not about raising them, but lowering them for all so you can all run amok like children playing with their own faeces.

    Yes, “the left has all it wants” a logical contradiction for an illogical creature. I believe I’ve applied about as much reason as you and the moranic (sic) jesters that count as your friends and allies in social pollution deserve. So keep your chin as far up as you can without fear of being outed, oh James Fleming, Andy, or whatever your real name is. The good ship lollipop is about to set sail. I do believe your presence is required, old fruit.

  4. @ndy says:

    A glutton for punishment Mr Anonymous?

    1. There’s no “slant” in recording the fact that Wayne was shot dead by Perry at the headquarters of their party, National Action. That’s just what happened. Well actually, what happened was recorded by ASIO …

    ======

    On 20 April 1991 — Adolf’s birthday… — National Action member Perry Whitehouse gunned down fellow member Wayne ‘Bovver’ Smith at the National Action headquarters. What Whitehouse didn’t know, as he closed the hand of his bullet-riddled former comrade around a knife to make it look like self-defence, was that ASIO had bugged the place, and the whole sorry affair was down on tape.

    Smith : What’s it say?
    Whitehouse: Ask him, mate. Just ask him. He’s…
    Smith : You’re the one that’s fuckin’ sayin’ this.
    Whitehouse : Just wait here. [Footsteps.] I’ll show what I got to say.
    Smith : All right.
    [Music. Pause in conversation. Six sharp noises in succession. Distinct sound similar to a gun being fired. Crashing sounds. Music.]
    Whitehouse : That’s what I got to fuckin’ say, you fuckin’ cunt.
    [Another member, Gregory Jorgensen, then speaks. His words are inaudible.]
    Whitehouse : I just killed the prick. You wanna know. Yeah, you wanna fuckin’ know. What’ya wanna know… to kill you too… I just shot the fuckin’ prick. Right. I just shot the cunt. Wanna know.
    [Music stops.]
    Whitehouse : Because he’s a fuckin’ arsehole, that’s why I shot him. Right. Do you think I’m fuckin’ scared of fuckin’ goin’ to jail. I don’t give a fuck. I’m not scared. Right. I shot the cunt dead. That’s what it’s all about boy, that’s what it’s all about, right. You ain’t got the guts to fuckin’ face up to that, you’re fuckin’ weak as piss. Right, he’s fuckin’ dead. Now we gotta get rid of that body or I’m gonna get rid of the fuckin’ body, right.
    [A gasp is heard.]
    Whitehouse : Shut up, ya fuckin’ prick.

    ======

    NA sure did assemble the best and brightest eh, not like those gaylords at Honi Soit

    In any case, no, Saleam was not present when the murder took place and no, I’m not suggesting that Whitehouse acted on his orders(!?) … but it’s a bit disturbing that you appear to believe that Saleam could organise such a thing. Do you base this on the fact that Saleam was convicted of providing two other boneheads with a shotgun and some instructions on How To Have Fun With Firearms? Do you think his involvement in the Australian Nazi Party is suggestive of a violent streak? Perhaps you agree with the assessment of the townsfolk of Maryborough (Good Weekend spent several days ringing around Maryborough and found that young Jim is remembered as being a “spoilt little bastard”, “a little prick” and “a shit of a kid”, who never wanted for anything, “apart from a few good kicks up the arse”. In a very working-class town, he was one of the spoilt rich kids)?

    2. I don’t mock the fact that the article contains an error, merely take note of it. If your panties are in a twist because I’ve mocked a similarly minor error made by a White nationalist you’ve failed to point it out.

    3. Why are you so obsessed with faeces, filth, sex and drugs?

    Toodle-pip!

  5. [a nazi who wemains vewy upset] says:

    No punishment. You don’t … no … you don’t think you’ve somehow achieved some moral superiority here? If so, that’s a victory audible to you and you alone. But you’re still doing it, James. Andy. Or whatever. You slant your ‘articles’ in such a fashion as to infer that NA was responsible for Wayne’s death and not the convicted killer acting out of motives you have no interest in exploring; such as the defunct Special Branch setting Wayne up. Of course you aren’t interested in such things. You’re an anti. I wouldn’t expect you to. Likewise, you mention ‘Hitler’s Birthday’ as if they’d been sitting around ‘the bunker’ hunkered over a big swastika cake. In fact, it was simply that day — some might say ironic — but some might say ‘coincidence’; I’m with the latter. The rest of your response is puerile. And ordinary. I thought you were the great Andy, scourge of the (ha ha ha) White Supremacists. You’re just another knob jockey with a blog and a lot of non-White friends.

  6. @ndy says:

    Yes, it was ‘ironic’ that one bonehead murdered another bonehead on Hitler’s birthday in 1991 at the headquarters of the fascist party of which they were both members; so too that the murder victim was wearing a singlet bearing the slogan ‘Say No To The New Gun Control Laws’.

    As for who was responsible for Wayne’s death, that was Perry: he shot him. You imply that the reason he did so was because Special Branch encouraged him to. In the absence of evidence to that effect, it remains wishful thinking. I think NA’s fascist ideology — and yes, I oppose fascism — and the fact that it encouraged the use of violence as a political tool, meant that the organisation attracted to it a series of vicious, racist thugs. As such, it’s little wonder that the group tore itself apart. Otherwise, I think you’re annoyed because a little rich Lebanese kid from the country, armed with teenage dreams of becoming some kinda fascist bigshot, has to this point only succeeded in acquiring a poor reputation, a motley assortment of followers and a residency in Tempe, the walls and floors of which have been splattered with the blood of one of your former acquaintances.

  7. [a nazi who wemains vewy vewy vewy upset] says:

    Yeah, here we go: the ‘gun control laws’. If Whitehouse had a knife, would that have changed the course of events? He was out to kill; he might’ve done it with a house brick. Guns don’t kill, people kill.
    You ask for ‘evidence’ of a defunct, corrupt branch of the police force — the same NSW force that brought us Roger “the dodger” Rogerson. I imagine getting hard facts on them and their seedy operations wouldn’t equate to a Sunday stroll through the Strand Arcade.
    You say ‘the use of violence’ and yet that is a tool that anti-fa and anarchists use without compunction. They threaten; deface property; and strong arm with the aid of their union muscle to try to ‘enforce’ their views. And here you are, the great keyboard defender of ‘die-versity’ and — even if that rot about Saleam were true and not just the typical bullshit pushed by your side to try and bring down a patriot — irked by a proud Lebanese Australian. Seems a bit against your globalist beliefs to make such an aside, surely, Andrew… Or James… As to his reputation, it was always going to be a pretty hard-ask; to go up against the opposition of forces that socially engineer and culturally poison us. Erm, he was never going to become Australian Of The Year under those conditions so your point, such as it can be called one, is moot. Your reputation, meanwhile, is not so great either. As to Wayne, I imagine that Dr Saleam is more saddened by that event than yourself, who luridly uses that tragedy solely to further your own agenda. Given that you couldn’t give a toss whether Wayne lived or died, you are all the more grubby for misusing his death for your ends — which would sicken him.

  8. @ndy says:

    anonymous nazi writes:

    Yeah, here we go: the ‘gun control laws’. If Whitehouse had a knife, would that have changed the course of events? He was out to kill; he might’ve done it with a house brick. Guns don’t kill, people kill.

    You missed the point. Smith was shot dead. He was wearing a singlet with a slogan opposing the ability of his murderer to employ a gun to do so.

    You ask for ‘evidence’ of a defunct, corrupt branch of the police force — the same NSW force that brought us Roger “the dodger” Rogerson. I imagine getting hard facts on them and their seedy operations wouldn’t equate to a Sunday stroll through the Strand Arcade.

    No I didn’t ask for evidence that a defunct (sic) branch of the NSW police force was corrupt. In your second comment you asked “Are you suggesting that Whitehouse acted on [Saleam's] orders?” I answered “no, I’m not suggesting that Whitehouse acted on his orders(!?) … but it’s a bit disturbing that you appear to believe that Saleam could organise such a thing.” You replied by claiming that I “slant [my] ‘articles’ in such a fashion as to infer that NA was responsible for Wayne’s death and not the convicted killer acting out of motives you have no interest in exploring; such as the defunct Special Branch setting Wayne up.” In other words, you believe that NSW Special Branch conspired to have Whitehouse kill Smith. The obvious response is “What evidence is there that Special Branch did this?” You provide none.

    You say ‘the use of violence’ and yet that is a tool that anti-fa and anarchists use without compunction. They threaten; deface property; and strong arm with the aid of their union muscle to try to ‘enforce’ their views.

    Yes, I do maintain that NA “encouraged the use of violence as a political tool” and for that reason it attracted the support of “vicious, racist thugs” and thus “it’s little wonder that the group tore itself apart”. What evidence is there that NA engaged in violent activities? Lots. Norm Dixon, ‘Neo-Nazi thugs offer their services to Hanson’, Green Left Weekly, August 19, 1998:

    NA has a long history of violence against migrants, Australians of non-European ancestry and anti-racist activists.

    NA’s origins can be traced to the Australian Party, formed in 1955. The Australian Party evolved into the pro-Nazi Australian Nationalist Party, which then mutated further to become the Australian National Socialist Party in 1963. Its first act was the desecration of a Sydney synagogue.

    Members of the ANSP dressed in full Nazi regalia and made a habit of beating up anti-war and anti-apartheid demonstrators. They openly admired Adolf Hitler, stockpiled arms and ammunition and kept a “death list” of people they would kill if they took power.

    It is suspected the ANSP was behind the April 20, 1972 (the anniversary of Hitler’s birth), bombing of the Brisbane office of the Communist Party of Australia.

    The ANSP’s most notorious member was a tall, musclebound and shaven-headed stormtrooper by the name of Ross “the Skull” May. The Skull intimidated protesters in Sydney until the late ’70s. He was jailed for six months for bashing a journalist in 1972, and served other stints in jail for similar offences over the years.

    May and another Nazi Party leader, Robert Cameron, eventually formed the National Front in the 1980s, an imitation of the British party of the same name (May’s activities these days are limited to being a fanatical follower of the St George Dragons rugby league team, to the acute embarrassment of dedicated supporters).

    Another young ANSP member, Jim Saleam, was arrested in 1974 and found guilty of firebombing a left-wing Brisbane bookshop. After the collapse of the Nazi Party in the mid-’70s, Saleam moved to Sydney and enrolled at Sydney University. He soon fell out with May and Cameron.

    In 1977, Saleam formed a group which proclaimed its commitment to the “permanent and unapologetic reintroduction of the White Australia Policy”. In 1978, the group announced: “The Australian National Alliance has the greatest pleasure in announcing to the enemies of Australian nationalism that their days are numbered”. Other former members of the Australian Party and the NSAP joined.

    National Action was officially launched on Anzac Day, 1982, the culmination of a number of fusions with tiny far-right and racist sects.

    Under Saleam’s tutelage, NA replaced open identification with Hitlerite Nazism with an emphasis on home-grown anti-Asian racism and nationalism of early Australian labour movement figures like William Lane and Jack Lang, as well as poet Henry Lawson.

    NA hailed as “revolutionary” incidents such as the atrocities committed against Chinese diggers by white miners during the gold rushes of the 19th century. It adopted the flag of the 1854 Eureka Stockade rebels as its symbol.

    In the 1983 campus year, NA launched a campaign against the presence of overseas students. Asian students and anti-racists were threatened by NA thugs late at night. NA violence increased when it launched a goon squad called the “Sons of Kokoda”.

    In 1983-84, NA thugs: beat and hospitalised an anti-racist UNSW student leader; attacked the offices of Greenpeace and the Movement Against Uranium Mining, Community Aid Abroad, the Socialist Workers Party, Bob Gould’s Pitt St Bookshop, and the Maoist East Wind Bookshop; threw a brick through the window of the home of anti-apartheid activist Meredith Burgmann; and made threatening phone calls to members of the Southern African Support Committee after a mailing list was stolen. A firebomb was thrown through the bedroom window of an anti-apartheid movement leader John Brink.

    Another escalation in racist violence occurred in 1987-1989: in Adelaide, the People’s Bookshop was firebombed and the New Era Bookshop and the Resistance Centre were attacked. In Sydney, 10 NA thugs wearing balaclavas disrupted and intimidated a Sydney meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force.

    The most serious act of violence occurred in January 1989, when the home of the Australian representative of the African National Congress, Eddie Funde, was shot at. Two NA members were arrested.

    They testified that Saleam had supplied them with the shotgun. Saleam had also thoughtfully given them each some money to buy a drink to calm their jitters before the attack. Saleam was sentenced in May 1991 to three and half years’ jail.

    On April 20, 1991, NA member Perry Whitehouse murdered another NA member, Wayne “Bovver” Smith, at the organisation’s inner-Sydney headquarters after an argument.

    With the departure [of] Saleam and the collapse of its Sydney base, control of NA fell into the lap of Adelaide NA führer Michael Brander.

    Little was heard from the group until 1994, when NA relaunched itself in public with rallies in Melbourne and Adelaide. The rallies attracted about 30 in Melbourne on March 5, and 50 in Adelaide on April 9 (including many who attended both).

    The majority were skinheads wearing T-shirts emblazoned with swastikas. In Adelaide, loud, scratchy martial music was played, and Brander’s mum was on hand to proudly give her son a stiff-armed fascist salute.

    A counter-demonstration of 600 anti-racists greeted the Melbourne rally, and more than 1000 rallied in Adelaide. On March 12, 500 anti-racist demonstrators chased Brander and 30 neo-Nazis from the inner-Melbourne suburb of Brunswick when they attempted another rally. A week later, a small band of skinheads trashed the offices of the LaTrobe University Students Representative Council in retaliation.

    Brander’s attempts to extend NA’s base from Adelaide to Melbourne have been frustrated by violent faction fights with rival neo-Nazi grouplets in Melbourne and, most decisively, by mass anti-racist mobilisations.

    On March 18, 1995, more than 300 anti-racists mobilised against 30 or so neo-Nazis on the steps of the Victorian Parliament House. Police allowed the NA thugs to break through their lines and attack the anti-racists. Five demonstrators were assaulted and one was taken to hospital. In September, Brander was convicted of assault.

    After a 14-month campaign of demonstrations by local residents and anti-racists, in April this year [1998] NA was forced to close its bookshop in the working class suburb of Fawkner. It scuttled back to Adelaide without even paying the rent.

    Brander’s offer of NA’s services to One Nation seems to an attempt to revive the neo-Nazi sect’s flagging fortunes.

    In his analysis of NA, Troy Whitford (‘A political history of National Action: Its fears, ideas, tactics and conflicts’, Rural Society, Vol.20, No.2, April, 2011) notes that:

    ” … National Action’s leadership had developed a preoccupation with retaliating against media comment. Despite National Action’s initial acceptance that the media were likely to be prejudiced against the organisation, it embarked on making a number of complaints to the Australian Press Council, seeking to get some of the media stories retracted. These complaints were not upheld. National Action consequently reverted to a dissident student stance when it launched a ‘political attack’ upon what the group described as ‘the traitor class’ journalists (Sydney Morning Herald 18 October 1989). Within a short time, the NSW Antidiscrimination Board received complaints from journalists who said they were being harassed by National Action. Editors of National Action’s journal ‘Audacity’ were publishing the journalist’s telephone numbers and addresses. The journalists complained that after the publication of their residential details they received threats via mail and telephone. National Action said it published the addresses of journalists after its own members had their homes descended upon by the media. Throughout the late 1980s there were a number of complaints made to the Human Rights Commission regarding the tactics of National Action. A total of seven journalists lodged complaints.”

    In concluding his survey of NA he writes:

    ” … the concoction of authoritarian leadership, militant tactics and an anti-immigration focus saw the group attract a cluster of individuals and media that interpreted the work of National Action as part of an international Nazi or white supremacist front. National Action’s leadership was not able to deter such a membership, and at times even spread rumours of affiliations with overseas groups itself. The final conclusion that can be reached about National Action is that its choice of organisational structure, tactics, and objectives was simply the work of dissident students co-opting old labourist theory. What had started as an expression of student rebellion over Asian immigration had become an unruly cabal of malcontents.”

    I provide a brief survey of NA and NA-related activity in this post: ‘Anti-fascism in Melbourne: 1990s’ (March 20, 2007). It includes reference to a small sample of violent attacks by local neo-Nazis in advance of an anti-NA rally in March, 1994, including; “verbal abuse by boneheads of local community members (Muslim schoolgirls, Turkish women and others, including public transport workers); violent assaults (upon a Vietnamese man, a Somali man, a group of teenaged Asian schoolgirls and others, including a group assault upon a Maori man outside of a Brunswick pub); and a campaign of racist graffiti and vandalism (largely directed at local churches, businesses and the cars and residences of ‘known’ or suspected anti-racist and anti-fascist activists).” At the same time, NA also engaged in “an infamous anti-Asian pogrom in Rundle Street Mall (Adelaide), when approximately 20 or so NA members, boneheads and their allies, shouting Nazi slogans and dressed in Nazi paraphernalia, assaulted 15 people. The injured were treated for broken bones, severe bruising and facial injuries, and one (Asian) man “was kicked more than 30 times about the head and body” (‘Neo-Nazi street rampage’, Herald Sun, March 28, 1994). Brander subsequently denied NA involvement, defended the racist mob’s actions, and was quoted as stating that “I don’t see neo-Nazis as being detrimental to our group” (Shane Maguire, ‘SA Gangs At Flashpoint’, Sunday Mail, April 3, 1994).”

    Other examples of NA violence are documented elsewhere.

    Regarding the use of violence by anarchists and anti-fascists, that’s a long story, anarchism having developed in the mid-19th century and antifascism in the 1920s. In more recent times (late 20th century), accounts by Dave Hann and Steve Tilzey (No Retreat, 2004) are relevant, as is Sean Birchall’s Beating the Fascists (2010) and Martin Lux’s Antifascist (2006). Which is to say, somewhat relevant, as they each concern themselves with militant antifascist activity in the UK from the 1970s through to the early 1990s and only Lux would appear to identify as an anarchist. There’s no account of contemporary antifascism in Australia that I’m aware of, which is not unusual given that organised fascism has had a very limited presence in Australian political life and anti-fascist movements, by definition, only emerge in response to such activity.

    Finally, you write that I’m “irked by a proud Lebanese Australian” (Saleam). In reality, Saleam denies that he’s of Lebanese descent, all evidence to the contrary. It’s also true that his political opponents on the far right sometimes refer to him as ‘The Mad Arab’, just as Jack van Tongeren was awarded the nickname ‘Java Jack’ on account of his Indonesian ancestry.

    They’re a weird mob, these nazis.

  9. eric says:

    OMG a swastika cake!

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