The Australia First Party. LOLWUT.

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The Australia First Party (AF), a White nationalist/neo-fascist party, has been mentioned a few times in the media recently, chiefly on account of its organisation of a rally in Brisbane on May 2 in solidarity with the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn (GD). Since then, the Melbourne-based Online Hate Prevention Institute has published an analysis of Social Media, Golden Dawn and Australia’s Far-Right (May 7) and a Golden Dawn Australia Update (May 10), outlining OHPI’s campaign to pressure Facebook to apply their TOS to the ‘hate speech’ GD engages in on the site.

As it happens, the rally turned out to be a flop, with the handful of nazis who did rock up eventually being forced to flee in taxis(!) by the presence of a large number of counter-protesters. Indeed, the fact that between them AF and GD were only able to assemble 14 Übermensch to take to the streets (and taxis) of Brisbane suggests that the party has some way to travel before it commands anything remotely resembling popular support: the barracking from the sidelines of a team of keyboard warriors on Stormfront simply ain’t cutting it. (Note that AF party leader Dr James Saleam touts for business on the site using the handle ‘radnat’.)

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That said, while Golden Dawn in Australia may have been exposed as being deeply unpopular, in Greece the party is poised to win seats at a local council level and in the European parliament at elections later this month. The neo-Nazi party’s sudden rise in electoral support — from 0.3% of the vote in parliamentary elections in 2009 to 7% (and 18 MPs) in 2012 — has given heart to similar parties across the globe. AF issued its own statement of solidarity with GD in February 2013, noting that AF shared much in common with GD in terms of ideology and politics. On the other hand, the level of support GD has obtained in a crisis-wracked Greece remains a dream for AF. In which context, it’s also worth noting that the only two AF candidates to have won office — Bruce Preece was elected to local council in Adelaide in 2006 and Maurice Girotto in Sydney in 2012 — both quit AF soon after having won.

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The rapid departure of Preece and Girotto suggests a certain political instability in the party. Beyond this, if proposed changes to party registration go ahead — an interim report of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters “calls for parties to have 1500 members before they can register with the AEC” — then micro-parties such as AF will face an uphill battle to even remain registered, let alone expand their existing support base. For AF, this support base currently consists of a small number of middle-aged racists drawn largely from the ranks of AAFI, NA, ONP and the like, supplemented by a few older nazis and a few younger, White faces. (On AF’s farcical attempts to build a yoof wing — variously titled the Patriotik Yoof League and, more recently, the Eureka Youth League, see Protect Australia First. Parties., March 24, 2009.)

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Established in 1996 by former Labor politician Graeme Campbell as a White nationalist party, in the mid- to late-2000s AF fell under the control of Dr James Saleam, a Sydney-based fascist. In 2007, the struggle for control of the party produced a rump AF (since collapsed) and the Australian Protectionist Party (APP), oriented around the traditional concerns of the radical right supplemented by a determinedly anti-Muslim sentiment. The APP produced a further split in 2012 to create the Party for Freedom, modelled on Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid or PVV). None have had any real success to date.

Saleam has a long history on the far right, from joining the Australian Nazi Party (National Socialist Party of Australia) in his yoof, through to establishing a series of fascist grouplets while at the Univerity of Sydney and currently as President of AF. Notably, Saleam was responsible for the establishment of the (now defunct) neo-Nazi organisation National Action in 1982 (see : Troy Whitford, ‘A political history of National Action: Its fears, ideas, tactics and conflicts’, Rural Society, Vol.20, No.2, April 2011). His leadership of that group was suspended when in 1991 he was sent to jail for organising a shotgun assault upon the home of African National Congress representative Eddie Funde in 1989. This crime is one of several, including fraud, for which Saleam has been found guilty. (On Saleam’s history, see : Dr James Saleam & ‘The Audacity of Hate’, September 26, 2009.)

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Aside from his neo-Nazi past and violent criminal record, for his critics on the radical right, Saleam’s ancestry — his ‘racial’ lineage — has long been a point of contention. Saleam claims to be of Greek descent; others maintain that he’s of Lebanese stock. Such criticism is generally muted, however, on account of Saleam’s obvious dedication to removing from Australia non-Whites — even if, ironically, a successful mission would entail his own deportation. This is not a new theme, as the following tale from David Greason’s book I was a teenage fascist (McPhee Gribble, 1994) reveals:

Sydney was great for colourful nationalist identities. I also met Nick ‘White Australia’ Maina (he changed his name by deed poll for the 1974 senate election), an associate of Robert Clark’s in the anti-Grassby campaign of 1974. Maina, of Greek parentage, objected strongly to Italian and Greek immigrants, considering them a potential security risk if war ever broke out. He wanted them deported, just in case. Like many on our side, he liked to consider all possibilities. ‘But Nick’, I said patiently, ‘you’re a wog. On that logic, you’d have to deport yourself’. His voice cracked with patriotic fervour. ‘If I had to, I would’, he said. ‘I love this bloody country so much’.”

Heh. Of course, that was then and this is now — and Greek-Australians have been (begrudgingly) accepted into the White nationalist fold.

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One of Saleam’s most loyal followers is Ross ‘The Skull’ May. According to Greason: “The Skull (he shaved his head) was virtually blind and was the closest thing to the Grand Old Man of Australian Nazism — his life story, as recounted in Harcourt’s book [Everyone Wants to be Fuehrer, Angus and Robertson, 1972], was a litany of brawls, unprovoked attacks on moratorium marchers, and regular trips to the lock-up” (p.103). May’s brawling days are now presumably well behind him but he retains his place at Saleam’s side.

While neither Saleam nor May joined AF in Brisbane, other fascist stalwarts like Jim Perren, formerly a member of the ‘White Pride Coalition of Australia’ (WPCA — now defunct) did. In 2009, both May and Perren attended AF’s annual gathering of fascists known as the Sydney Forum. The Forum was last held in 2011. Its MC, Welf Herfurth, announced his retirement at that stage, and is now concentrating on promoting the New Right and ‘national anarchist’ groupuscules in Sydney by way of various publicity stunts.

They’re a weird mob.

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Above : The one person counter demonstration by Ross May (aka The Skull) dressed in his Nazi uniform, holding a placard which says “The National Socialist Party says Stop the Queers. Keep Australia Clean.” (Sydney, September 1973)

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Above : ‘The Skull’ at the 2009 Sydney Forum.

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Above : Pauline Hanson meets ‘The Skull’.

Bonus OFF!

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 2014 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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15 Responses to The Australia First Party. LOLWUT.

  1. patrick says:

    It’s extremely difficult to take the AFP seriously when it is led by a mad Arab and puts idiots like Peter Watson up for an election. What level of insanity would compel a person to vote for Peter Watson?
    Voters already hold politicians in contempt, Saleam has conviction for fraud and lives off Centrelink benefits. Not exactly a party leader people would have any faith in.
    Australians have no interest in National Socialism and the delusional nazis are hard pressed to maintain a party of 500 members as it is. The public rallies prove that their support is limited to a handful of delusional fools.
    If Saleam really wanted the AFP to succeed, he would resign, but his ego won’t allow that. Saleam and the nazis associated with the AFP are the biggest enemy of Nationalism in Australia. They are not Nationalists, they are dickheads who enjoy getting pissed and imagining that they are the stars of their own little Romper Stomper film.

  2. @ndy says:

    Well … Peter was originally a candidate for Labor — a very odd choice on their part, but presumably evidence of a certain lack of available talent (admittedly in the unwinnable seat of Southern Downs). 14 people voted for Peter when he stood for the QLD Senate in 2013; he and Peter Schuback received 6,531 votes in total (0.25%).

    It seems extremely unlikely that Saleam will ever let go of AF. This is a good thing.

  3. patrick says:

    Not surprising that little Peter got so few votes. The following link may amuse you @ndy, we all knew it was coming one day, LOL.
    http://www.warwickdailynews.com.au/news/court-appearance-for-former-alp-candidate/2017947/

  4. @ndy says:

    That’s sad man.

  5. patrick says:

    The real sad thing is that the AFP allowed him to stand for the senate. AFP seems to thrive on failure and with Peter, that is all they will get. His past as a raving lunatic that threatened people and constantly lied about having others bashed will never be forgotten.
    I seriously doubt that he understands that as an adult now, he will no longer be judged as a smartass little shit. Words and actions have consequences and as a member of AFP, his words and actions reflect on the party as a whole.
    When younger, Peter often lied about having nazis bashed, well as an adult, the nazis may bash him. The very people he thinks are on his side will be the first to turn on him as he has constantly turned on others. Unfortunately for Peter, it very well maybe a matter of when, not if.

  6. Golden Dawn Fraser says:

    @ Patrick,
    Of course the notion that AF under Jim Saleam might be just political wreckers has never entered anyone’s head?
    Jim isn’t stupid, he’s an intelligent guy even if his minions aren’t particularly, how many “mistakes” can someone make before it starts to look like an intentional pattern of behaviour?
    The same is true of Natalt, last year G.J.Sansom gave an interview to the U.S based “White Network” podcast under the pseudonym “Max Blackwood”, the conversation opened with a “Boong” joke, included sundry other fabricated atrocity stories and general bullshit about the state of race relations in Australia and a VERY generous assessment of Natalt’s standing in the community.
    Is it just me or do you get the impression that these groups are deliberately steered toward failure by their facilitators and spokesmen?

  7. I Sing The Race Electric says:

    @Golden Dawn Fraser. You’re right about Saleam, I’ve met him; he is very intelligent. I understand that the owner of this blog has a vested interest in discrediting him but to portray him as a fool doesn’t do justice to the reality. I do believe he takes what he can where he can get it. Is he of Lebanese extract? Does it matter? AFP isn’t a Nazi organisation, and many of those that rank in WN or nationalist circles at one time flirted with Nazi imagery. Personally, I think it’s silly, and I have no interest in ANY totalitarian state. This is the oddity of WN, that this vast umbrella must shield so many of disparate viewpoints. I regard the preservation of White heritage, culture, and race as foremost, but fuck off with the jack boots and all the rest of it. I’ll be in the reeds with grenades lobbing them at any state that wants to tell me what time of day to take a shit. I support Golden Dawn in its effort to preserve Greek identity, but were they to gain power, the first two years would have to observed carefully to make sure they didn’t just replicate the usual attitudes of those who assume power: ie., sell out.

  8. I Sing The Race Electric says:

    Pardon the bad copy there. I really have shocking eyesight; I’m a trained subeditor so it’s doubly embarrassing.

  9. @ndy says:

    They don’t make fascist intellectuals like they used to.

  10. patrick says:

    @Golden Dawn Fraser. No it is not just you. I would describe Saleam as passion fingers due to the fact that everything he touches is fucked. Saleam and his mates take great pride in the fact that only a handful of people show up to their rallies, WHY? Anyone else would be screaming at their fellow members for such a poor turn out, yet they boast that they got a dozen people. In a country of over 20 million, that is nothing to be proud of.
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result every time.
    It has been said before by many people that Nationalism will never succeed in Australia while it has idiots like the AFP speaking for it, and to be honest I doubt Saleam wants it to succeed, because then he and his mates would quickly become even less than they are at the moment. They would have nothing left in their pathetic lives to whinge about and no one would pay any attention to them, so no matter what they say, they are not interested in succeeding.

  11. patrick says:

    @I sing the Race Electric. Actually the AFP is a nazi party. Even if it says it is not, it is regarded by all as nazi. Just look at its leader and its members, however due to the fact you claim it is not, then how would you describe it?
    Yes it does matter that Jamahl Saleam is of Arabic heritage. Due to the fact that the AFP is claiming that Australia is for Whites only, it says a lot about the AFP that it allows an Arab to be its leader.

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