It’s been a week full of drama for the network of racists, fascists and yes, neo-Nazis, that support the fascist groupuscule ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF). Tonight, Channel 7’s Sunday program broadcast an advertisement for ‘Reclaim Australia’ (RA) and the UPF, one which will presumably help RA and UPF attract a much wider level of support. That aside …
To begin with, on Thursday ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ (aka Shermon Burgess) — who’s acted as the face of the UPF since its establishment in late April/early May — announced the closure of his Facebook page and his withdrawal from the UPF. In so doing he also handed over responsibility for the group to two local (Melbourne) neo-Nazis: Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson. Ostensibly, the reason Burgess took this action was because he was ‘done. fucking done’ with pol.activism after another ‘patriot’, Mick Beeche, made a video mocking him. The Facebook page on which it was uploaded, ‘The Great Aussie Potato’, has since been deleted: curiously, the video itself was published on Facebook on February 4 — over eight months ago.
Burgess’s retirement lasted less than 48 hours. Between his departure and his return, his followers established a fund via GoFundMe asking patriots to donate money to Burgess in order to help him ease into (temporary) retirement. In the end, patriots managed to raise over $3,000 for Burgess, whereupon he returned to the UPF and republished his page.
Burgess’s departure briefly elevated Blair Cottrell to the position of UPF fuehrer. Within the space of 24 hours, however, Cottrell himself declared — in two videos uploaded to the UPF Facebook page but since deleted — that he was leaving the UPF, that Burgess was weak, and that Ralph Cerminara, the ostensible President of the ‘Australian Defence League’, was a ‘cancer’. Today it appears that Cottrell has gone back on his word and re-joined the UPF. He has also nominated a man by the name of ‘Jason Evans’ as being an infiltrator and as somehow or other responsible for the drama of the preceding days. (For another (already, slightly outdated) account of recent in-fighting among the
fascists patriots, see : New leader of anti-Islam United Patriots Front quits, Raili Simojoki, October 17, 2015.)
Burgess’s brief abandonment of ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ Facebook page and departure from the UPF generated a considerable amount of media coverage:
• Great Aussie Patriot resigns as head of extremist group after being teased online, 9News, October 16, 2015
• United Patriots Front: Anti-Islam group leader Shermon Burgess quits over mocking by other patriots, Andrew Dickson, ABC (7.30), October 16, 2015
• United Patriots Front head Shermon Burgess resigns over video mocking him, The Guardian, October 16, 2015 | Video mocks Shermon Burgess who quit United Patriots Front leadership – video, The Guardian, October 16, 2015
• United Patriots Front leader steps down after video mocking him surfaces online, Allison Worrall, The Age, October 16, 2015
• After Years of Hassling Muslims, ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ Quits Because Someone Gave Him Shit, Julian Morgans, VICE, October 16, 2015
• UPDATE: Far right leader un-quits from United Patriots Front a day after resigning over Facebook mockery, Ben Brennan, 7News/Yahoo, October 16, 2015
• Anti-Islam Movement Leader Upset People Said Mean Things About Him, The Backburner (SBS), October 16, 2015
Also generating some media interest was Burgess’s sometime replacement, Blair Cottrell, whose views on the parasitical nature of The Jew, fanboy love of Adolf Hitler and generalised misogyny features in Blair Cottrell, rising anti-Islam movement leader, wanted Hitler in the classroom, Michael Bachelard and Luke McMahon, The Age, October 17, 2015. Notable in this context is that not a single UPF follower has raised any concerns at the organisation being led by a neo-Nazi.
See also : Quotations From Chairman Blair Cottrell (July 27, 2015) | Street fights and ‘internet vigilantes’: Inside Australia’s anti-Islam movement, Bianca Hall, The Age, October 17, 2015.