antifa notes (june 23, 2016) : nazis, patriots, islamophobes, bigots, elections …



• There’s been a few line-up changes in the various party’s tickets for the July 2 federal election, with John Bolton making way for Wanda Marsh in the ALA (you may remember Wanda from such puff pieces as Sunday‘s TV program on Reclaim Australia from last October), while Nick Folkes (Party for Freedom) has decided not to run at all.

• Speaking of Reclaim Australia, it organised a small rally in Perth on the weekend (June 18). Somewhere around 1-200 supporters attended while a ‘Reclaim Australia from Reclaim Australia’ counter-rally attracted about half that number. The United Patriots Front (UPF) leadership — Blair Cottrell, Thomas Sewell and Chris Shortis — attended, as did several local flunkeys (Dennis Huts and Elijah Jacobson/Kevin Coombes) and dozens of men sporting True Blue Crew and UPF merch. The Aryan Nations failed to show because they’re on trial for murder, while the MUA issued a statement condemning Reclaim:

The MUA condemns the actions and hatred spread by the group Reclaim Australia and fully supports and endorses the anti-Reclaim movement.
Whilst we cannot speak on behalf of every single union member, we can speak to one of the core values of unionism: equality.
The union movement stands for equality.
No matter race, gender, religion, sexual preference or what country you come from, we are all equal. This equality is the foundation of a strong union movement and a strong society.
The Eureka flag is a powerful symbol and emblem of equality; maybe someone should tell Reclaim Australia that…
Keep up the struggle against racism.
In unity,
Danny C.

Otherwise, see : Reclaim Australia protesters descend on Perth for Parliament Place rally, Joel Kelly, PerthNow, June 18, 2016.

• The violent criminal history of UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell, and his appearance in a recent documentary on youth in prison, has finally been picked up by media (four months later).

United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell details violent criminal past in video
Geir O’Rourke, Angus Thompson
Herald Sun
June 11, 2016

THE leader of anti-Islam group United Patriots responsible for the violent Coburg riot has detailed his criminal past in an educational video distributed to Victorian schools.

Blair Cottrell, who has convictions for violent assaults and trafficking testosterone, details his jealous rage in the film that is meant to discourage youth crime.

Cottrell, who is called “Bruce” in the film, details how he chased his ex-girlfriend’s new partner with a tomahawk and torched his garage.

“I started damaging his house, throwing things at it, through the windows and, I made a couple of molotov cocktails, and lit his garage up with those,” he said.

“I had this little tomahawk that I put it inside my jacket and in the middle of the night, at one and two o’clock in the morning, I would go out the front of his house and hover around.

“As soon as 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 kill him because I was pretty determined.”

The film, titled Stories From The Inside, was produced by inmates from Port Phillip Prison in 2013, with funding from British billionaire Sir Richard Branson, to build their self esteem and discourage youth crime.

Port Phillip Prison youth development officer Anne Hooker defended Cottrell’s involvement in the project despite the UPF leader’s radical views.

“We deliberately didn’t use real names in the documentary to allow him and the others to express themselves honestly,” she said.

Cottrell, 26, was sentenced to four months in prison in May 2012 after being convicted of 13 charges, including seven counts of intentionally damaging property.

County Court Judge Michael Tinney convicted the then-22-year-old of throwing a missile, stalking, failing to comply with a community-based order, and two counts of recklessly causing serious injury.

In December 2013 he was fined $1000 and sentenced to seven days in jail by a County Court judge for aggravated burglary, property damage, arson, trafficking testosterone, possessing a controlled weapon and breaching court orders.

Cottrell has also been fined almost $3000 for driving offences, including speeding 25km/h over the limit and failing to obey a traffic sign.

The matter was dealt with by a magistrate in October 2012.

The Sunday Herald Sun spoke to Cottrell about the video, but he said: “I’ve got nothing to say about any of that stuff, mate.”

“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t come to my house.”


• On Sunday June 26, TBC, UPF & Co will be holding a flag-waving ceremony and march. The flag-waving is set to commence at 11.30am outside Parliament House in Melbourne. The Campaign Against Racism & Fascism has organised a counter-rally.

• The events of May 28 in Coburg has inspired local folk-pop group The Bon Scotts to record a single. Titled ‘Main Street’, the video for the song features footage from the protests on May 28 and intones against confronting fascists. The band has come in for some criticism on their Facebook page, while another musician has been inspired by The Bon Scotts to do a little re-mixing of their own:

• A handful of ‘patriots’ heckled a Grandmothers Against Detention Of Refugee Children – Bendigo event on the weekend; in Newcastle, ‘A support centre for refugee women in Newcastle has come under attack by vandals just days before it was set to open.’ Today (June 23), UPF fuehrer Cottrell and sidekick Thomas Sewell harassed a gathering in the city of Friends Families and Feminists Against Detention — furthering confirming the boys’ already well-established reputation as brave soldiers. (Folks should bear in mind the possibility of disruption at future ‘left’ events, especially those addressing racism and refugees.)

• The (alleged) murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox by Thomas Mair is examined by Tom in Racism, far-right ideology & hatred of refugees: the toxic mix that killed Jo Cox (June 17, 2016); the mass murder of nightclubbers in Orlando by Angela in Mi existir es resistir. Estamos aqui (June 13, 2016). See also : Why ‘Tolerating’ Your Queer Loved Ones Is Dangerous (Bianka Bell, The Establishment, June 14, 2016) and Alleged killer of British MP was a longtime supporter of the neo-Nazi National Alliance (Hatewatch/SPLC, June 16, 2016).

• On the weekend, published the following article by Paul Toohey on ‘Extremism taking us to dark places’:

AT THE Bush Pig Inn, a rustic Aussie-themed drinking hole in bush just out of Bendigo, the inner-circle of the United Patriots Front, the public face of Australia’s most far-Right “racialists”, are holding court.

Some 40 people, mostly men decked out in black with nationalist insignia, have come from around the state and beyond to hear today’s seminar on the white genocide facing Australia.

The UPF claim to be great patriots, who feel a deeper love and concern for this country than the general population. Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” plays in the background, summing up their view of Australia.


The main man is Blair Cottrell, 27, leader of the UPF and its so-called political wing, Fortitude. He was sentenced to four months jail in 2012 for torching a man’s garage in a jealous rage, and has convictions for burglary and trafficking testosterone.

Tall, well-built and V-shaped, bringing to mind the guy from Despicable Me, Cottrell talks with scrupulously controlled diction, to provide the impression that he is intelligent — which he is.

Even Cottrell’s most furious detractors admit he has charisma. He offers tea, because even though the bar is open and some guests have started drinking, this is not meant to be a piss-up: frivolity is frowned upon by these intense men.

At his side is Chris Shortis, 45, who like Cottrell has short, chiselled hair. Of English-Irish descent, Seventh-Day Adventist by faith, Shortis says he found an outlet for his thoughts when he finally discovered like-minded people on Facebook, in late 2014. Prior to that, he thought he was alone.

He will address the crowd on how white Australia is being overrun.

And there’s Thomas Sewell, early 20s, taciturn, watchful and mildly seething. The best guess is that he’s an adviser and tactician.

A former Australian soldier, he’s the one who decides after two minutes that enough photos have been taken. Sewell can be seen on video, brawling at a UPF rally last year.

The UPF rejects Islam, but also Christianity. They especially despise multiculturalism. “We’re modern-day heretics,” says Cottrell, who once said a portrait of Hitler should hang in every Australian classroom.

It is likely, according to a reformed white supremacist source who once planned to hit the streets of Sydney with a small army to gun down Asians, but these days assists authorities in infiltrating Right-wing extremist groups, that someone in this crowd is reporting back to federal agents.

Far-Right groups are now everywhere on social media, mostly using Facebook sites with no links to web sites or organisers. Unchecked, the fear is they could attract exactly the same sort of disaffected young man who, on the extremist scale, is no different from those they despise most: the loose-wheeled young Muslim.


The concern is that the UPF, which six months ago broke away to take a harder line from the more mainstream “mums and dads” anti-Islamic group, Reclaim Australia, has begun engaging some angry young minds.

There is an unnamed young white extremist on remand for weapons charges, but News Corp understands he was plotting actions that were far more organised than anything Man Haron Monis planned for the Lindt Café.

Andre Oboler, who leads Australia’s only monitoring site for online extremism, the Online Hate Prevention Institute, says interest in patriotic groups is surging, with 200,000 Australians now actively following hate sites.

He reveals that neo-Nazis out of the US have been using pro-Islamic State forums in Australia “to incite them to attack targets within Australia”.

“We’re seeing the internet being used as a way of creating strange coalitions across borders, and through anonymity people are able to use others,” says Oboler. He will not publicly name the targets, which are now heavily guarded.

He says his organisation, in conjunction with ASIO and the AFP, monitored “the content, the conversations and the planning right through to the final tweets from ISIS”. Neither ASIO nor the AFP will comment.

“ISIS certainly would not have known they were being manipulated by neo-Nazis,” he says.


UP IN Sydney, Ralph Cerminara, who encourages people to take and post video of lone Muslims to show “how out of place they look”, warns: “There will be another Cronulla II. There will be a backlash, eventually.

“The police are aiding by not arresting the violent left wing, while scores of Muslims are getting slapped on the wrist with the coward-punch law. They get good behaviour bonds.”

He says he’s currently on a court order that prevents him badmouthing Muslims after a dust-up in Lakemba. None of it slows him down. “I should be able to walk down here in a bikini and [eat] a bacon sandwich and not be attacked,” he says.

Cerminara has also been savaging the current UPF leadership accusing it associating [of] with skinheads [sic], which he says damages the anti-Islam brand. “There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, just as there is no such thing as a moderate neo-Nazi,” says Cerminara, 37, an IT worker.

This is a divisive distraction from the rolling battles with the far-Right’s most hated enemy, Antifa, the masked anti-fascist movement of the extreme Left.

Cerminara, who was allegedly slashed while shooting video of an anarchist bookstore in Newtown earlier this year, says anti-fascists have published his address and made home visits — where he lives with an Asian wife.

He has a machine-gun response for every question, pausing only when pressed on what his wife thinks of his 24/7 obsession: Muslims and the extreme Left.

Cerminara says she has received death threats and became dismayed when Nathan Abela, once a Cerminara lieutenant, had his home in Sydney sprayed with bullets in 2014. Abela has since then kept a very low profile.

“My wife saw that and she got upset,” says Cerminara. “She wants me to stop it. She knows it’s right, but she wants someone else to do it.”

On the UPF Facebook page, inviting people to the Bush Pig Inn, someone has urged Cerminara be attacked if he shows, due to his criticisms of the UPF’s skinhead [sic] element (Cerminara did not attend, and says he did not see the post).


Melbourne man Neil Erikson, 31, was one of the founders of UPF who has since left the organisation for what he sees as a shift towards neo-Nazism.

Talking on the steps of Federation Square in Melbourne, he tells how his mother-in-law recently received a cut-up photo of a foetus in the mail, which he thinks was meant to represent his young son.

That letter came from within the far-Right, he guesses, but two weeks earlier he’d been bashed by Antifa activists who’d spotted him while attending a meeting of the Australian Liberty Alliance, which is fielding anti-Islam candidates in the federal election. Erikson, whose facial scars are only starting to fade, doesn’t feel too comfortable in public spaces.

It’s tough out there being anti-Muslim.

“I originally started out in the neo-Nazi movement when I was about 16, until about four years ago,” says Erikson, who in 2014 was sentenced to a community work order, and a visit to the psychologist, for phone threats to a rabbi. “If you wanted to show pride in Australia, there was no other place to go.

“In hindsight, it’s appealing to join something like that. But there are darker sides to neo-Nazis — lost kids, lost people. Until this patriotic rise of Reclaim last year, there was no one to hang out with apart from neo-Nazis.”

The neo-Nazis Erikson associated with were “in and out of prison all the time, for bashing some random Asian on the street.” Like the 21-year-old Vietnamese student from Pascoe Vale, severely beaten in an unprovoked attack by skinheads [sic] while walking home from work, in Moonee Ponds, in 2012.

“I was there that night, just before,” says Erikson, who saw young neo-Nazis shaving their heads earlier in the day in anticipation of a random attack.

“That’s when I started turning off that Nazi stuff. It’s not his fault he’s here,” says Erikson of the Vietnamese man. “He’s come here for a better life. It’s our government’s fault for letting him in.”

He wants the public to march against Islam, but people are too scared after the first Reclaim Australia rally at Federation Square, in April last year, fell to violence, with a grandma — among others — getting hurt.

Scenes of screaming, masked anarchists — whose contribution to the federal election campaign is street posters of party leaders dangling from nooses — and skinheads [sic] marching on the frontlines with the UPF has seen the public retreating from rallies, but not from its views.

The Reclaim movement “woke everyone up and got them out of their houses,” says Erikson.

“It’s now lost support. The neo-Nazi movement has scared people away. If Reclaim were to hold a rally now, they’d be lucky to get 20 people. It’s all gone online. They’re safer at home.”


WORLDWIDE, says Andre Oboler, Australia ranks third or fourth for supporters of anti-Islam, anti-Semitic and pro-white sites.

“When we consider the size of Australia’s population we see that a far larger portion of Australian Facebook users are actively joining such hate groups online than occurs in other countries,” he says.

As a Jewish organisation, OHPI, which attracts no federal funding, has not been able ignore what has happened in the last 18 months: anti-Semitism has been replaced with anti-Islam. They are bound to report hate, whatever its flavour.

“There’s an element of bigotry and racism that has [been] brought into the political sphere in the last few years at a much higher level than we’ve seen since World War II,” says Oboler.

In Australia, online bigotry “has risen steeply over the past year”, and especially in the last six months with “a shift with more Australians starting to engage in a small number of significant Australian specific (hate/patriotic) groups.”

Oboler tracks the rise of hate in Australia to the English Defence League, which began in 2009 with football supporters fighting anti-war Islamists on the streets of Luton. It eventually became controlled by white supremacists.

The EDL’s argument was original and appealed to many: they weren’t racists because Islam is a religion, not a race.

Oboler says the distinction is not legitimate. “No. It’s like saying, ‘I’m not racist, I’m just homophobic.’ Well, you’re still a bigot.”

It was nonetheless a powerful argument that took the far Right a lot further than it had under the founding anti-Islam matriarch, Pauline Hanson, who first appeared in 1996 with her anti-multicultural agenda.

It caught on with the Australian Defence League, “Fuck Off We’re Full” bumper stickers, anti-Halal and anti-Sharia movements, and then Reclaim Australia — formed partly in response a belief that the Lindt siege was created by favourable immigration policies to Muslims.

Then came the extremist groups and the street clashes.

There are up to 50 anti-Islam Senate candidates standing on July 2, but most — possibly with the exception of Hanson, who is running in Queensland — will have trouble under the new ballot system gaining preferences.

Daniel Nalliah’s Rise-Up Australia has 11 Senate candidates. The Sri Lankan-born Victorian developed his antipathy for Islam while living with his Asian wife in Saudi Arabia, before coming to Australia as a migrant in 1997.

Nalliah wants a 10-year moratorium on all Islamic migration to Australia.

He says the concept of multiculturalism should be replaced by “multi-ethnicity”, meaning people retain their culture while complying and integrating with Australian life and law. Which is how it already is for the Muslim majority who reject militant Islam.

“They can’t call me a racist because I’m black,” says Nalliah. “People laugh. It’s taken a blackfella to stand up for Australian culture.”

At a Saturday morning Rise-Up election campaign in Bendigo, the town that has become the nation’s unwanted anti-Islam focal point for its no-mosque campaign, Nalliah’s group are shooed away from the Bendigo Marketplace, as they hand out leaflets.

The security guard is at a loss when asked whether she would also order Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten to leave. The Rise-Up people then congregate downtown outside a cafe, where the owner tells them to get lost or she’ll call the cops. They move, again.

Oboler says anti-Islam political groups should be allowed their voice. Australia has limited constitutional free-speech rights, but the High Court says we have the right to open political communication to enable the democratic process.

“There should be leeway for political parties,” says Oboler. “If you force them to code what they’re saying, people might vote for them accidentally.”

The Bendigo mosque was last week cleared to be built, but Cerminara tells me plans are afoot to block it: “It will not be built. The Greens tie themselves to trees. We will do it as well.”


THE UPF leadership group sticks close to each other at the Bush Pig Inn, scanning faces, not sure of who is who among those who have arrived in response to its open Facebook invitation.

They won’t let us take crowd photos, because “some of these people have jobs”.

They nevertheless extend politeness to two members of News Corp. The UPF expects bad press, so doesn’t have much to lose.

Asked to explain core beliefs, Cottrell says: “It is essentially racialism, but it’s not what you think it is. It’s not supremacist. We actually advocate for an exclusive existence for all the races of the world — not this blending, multiculturalism, egalitarianism nonsense.

“We want to encourage different cultures to stay who they are to remain as they have always been. Every culture, every race, must have exclusive existence. Anyone who tries to take that away is an enemy.”

Cottrell’s language sounds like one of white supremacy. He proposes that one race — the white one — controls Australia.

The problem, says the former neo-Nazi source, is that UPF leadership — even if they are not themselves advocating terror — will attract kids, just as ISIS does.

“If you’re an ISIS guy, the majority are not even believers in Islam,” he says. “Most of it is attachment problems, being bullied at school and mental illness. They get disaffected and have got to find somewhere where they belong.

“It’s the same with white extremists. They don’t really believe in racial segregation, but they go along with it because they need something.”

This man, himself a master indoctrinator, building a far-Right army of 150 people to attack Asians (whom he later went back to and tried to de-radicalise), explains how it works.

“You say to the guy, ‘Come here, we’re your mates. Who was it who bashed you? We’ll get them.’” Then they’re hooked. But the real threat comes from those who are too unmanageable even for the white extremists.

“The danger is the people on the fringes who might get rejected,” he says. “They’re going to be your lone wolves.”

He says of the far-Right groups: “They want chaos in order to rebuild the nation. And they’re inviting everyone to join them. If Muslim kids look at this, how will they feel?”

He says that the feds and state police are watching closely.


When the UPF are asked if they can channel patriotism into love of sport, they sneer. Asked about the first Australians, they trip up, because they are outranked. Questions become futile, because they have it all figured out.

Shortis makes the extraordinary claim that Australia’s constitution is a “nationalist” document, which sets out a formula for a nation to be ruled on separatist lines. This is news. The Australian constitution does not use the words “nation”, “national” and especially not “nationalist”.

The constitution creates a federation. Nothing in the document mentions race or exclusion. That is why Aborigines are fighting to get a brief mention in the preamble.

“Israel has laws to preserve Israel as a Jewish state,” says Shortis. “Because they want to preserve their racial and cultural identity. I ask the question to the far-Left: why are we called white supremacists?

“It’s far from the case. If anything, the white race is the most disgusting, self-loathing race on the face of the earth. How long does the white man have to pay for the perceived evils of our colonial history?”

There is nostalgia here for a time before they were born. “Our freedoms have diminished in the last 40 years,” says Shortis. But do you diminish the freedoms of others? “This lie that we go out looking for Muslims to seek them out, I don’t know who invented that.”

We take our leave. There’s a game on back in Melbourne at Etihad I’d like to see. Shortis says something about my “poor priorities”. But I’m not so sure.

Later that day, departing the stadium with 28,000 people, mostly white but a whole lot more, you can’t help look at the little Asian and Indian kids at the game with mum and dad.

Do they want to hear bad things about who they are, or where they come from? Do we want to make them [feel] hated? We do not. That is why most of us refuse to do it.

Most who leave this stadium wear the tribal insignia of their teams. But all who leave the stadium pass untroubled, in peace.

See also : Australia Dodges Populist Lurch as Brexit, Trump Hit Markets, Jason Scott, Bloomberg, June 18, 2016.

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 2018 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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2 Responses to antifa notes (june 23, 2016) : nazis, patriots, islamophobes, bigots, elections …

  1. @ndy says:

    Initially it seems like the Australian Liberty Alliance is organised and well structured. But then you get to the water.

    Rundle: muddying the waters with Angry Anderson and the ALA
    Guy Rundle
    June 22, 2016

    When the speakers had concluded and all the crazy questions had been asked, the 40 or so people who had turned up to the North Ryde meeting of the Australian Liberty Alliance — guest speaker: Angry Anderson! — stood around chatting. There were no refreshments, and no one suggested repairing to the bar downstairs. That was a little worrying: absence of creature comforts is one sign of a serious political party, one too busy getting stuff done to think about food.

    In the Pittwater room of the RSL, there was only a table stocked with row upon row of bottled waters and bowls of Mentos mints, for reasons that had become obvious earlier in the evening. Your correspondent made his excuses and scurried to the gents, to write up a series of notes that could not be taken in the meeting itself. The Liberty Alliance were “not keen” on having media at such events, I’d been told earlier. And they were careful with their security to avoid protesters. The address of the North Ryde meeting was sent to those who were registered, by text message, a precaution somewhat undermined by the fact that the website advertised “Angry Anderson at the RSL!” .

    I tried to recall some of the choicer moments — a questioner asking what was to be done about the “Socialist Morning Herald” and “Pravda On The Yarra”, whispered tales of advertising being pulled by the big boys, like Prime TV, the beaming approval for some entry into the media: “We got on Mad As Hell last week!” — but it was all swirling around in my head.

    You go to a Trot meeting, and the speech is already edited into a series of dot points by the speaker; notes, which you are welcome to take, are not required. The hard right frown on media but are so intellectually disorganised that note taking is an absolute must. What was it Angry said about the mechanics of the inner ear, while talking about his days as an apprentice fitter and turner? What was the phrase NSW Senate candidate Kiralie Smith used when she imitated Barnaby Joyce berating her about halal certification? They had different takes on the Communist New World conspiracy, but what were they?

    Oh, and the water. The water, the water, the water. Don’t forget the water. There was a bang on the stall door. They’d found me out! It was a get in the back of the car moment. “REG!” a woman’s voice slur-shouted. “Um, no,” I said in my fruitiest English-accented voice. “Oh. Zalright. Just looking for my deadshit of a husband, he’s got me wins card.” That was fine with me, love. Your demands and needs were clear, unlike the addled, ride-down-the-mountain meeting I’d sat through earlier.

    It had begun too many hours earlier, when the MC, 60ish Rotary clubbish type, had acknowledged the traditional owners — by which I mean he’d asked the audience to put their hands up if they’d been Liberal Party voters. About three-quarters did. There were mutterings of “Abbott”, “what they did to Tony”, “multicultural Malcolm”.

    This gathering, the ALA, was no UPF bikie/leather outfit or True Blue Crew squaddists. About 85% male, it was half those in V-neck sweaters and slacks who looked like they’d been tinkering in the shed right up until they had to leave for the meeting, and the other men who would go to the beach in a dark blue suit, black shoes and socks and a short-back-and-sides from 1952.

    “We’re getting lots of people coming over,” said someone. They didn’t need to. It was clear that the blue suit brigade were old NSW Liberal branch officials, and the more informal crowd had been drawn from the new hard-right social movements — anti-mosque protests, the Q Society, the mad anti-halal movement. This meeting was one of a series across the state.

    Maps of the half-dozen lower house electorates they’re focusing on were spread over a side table, with different coloured lines indicating different “regional group” responsibilities. Another table was piled with slick leaflets targeting different seats. Taking this all in as the MC did the preliminaries, a shudder went through me. This was the hard right getting its shit together, no question. Then the MC said “Please welcome Angry Anderson!” and 10 minutes later, the crazy was back, and I relaxed again.

    “Sibilant … I’m not very sibilant … anyone know what sibilance is, your ‘S’s and your ‘T’s.” The audience looked bewildered. Gary “Angry” Anderson, leader of Rose Tattoo, commercial TV voice of yoof and the excluded, Nationals candidate for a couple of seats, has now joined the ALA, is running on its Senate ticket. Trim, glowing with health, the man is almost 70 and looks … well, he actually looks younger than he did when he was with the Tatts. The wild years, the drinking and drugs and head-butting amps — he’s left that stuff long behind.

    An Angry Anderson warm-up speech for a political event is a verbal free jazz event in which the man jumps from sibilance, to why kids were going deaf, to the failure of modern teaching methods, to the structure of the inner ear, to the failings of union representation in the 1960s, to Peter Garrett’s bad choices, to the joys of reading, and finally out to some actual politics. It was a lot of AA and, until the end, not much ALA.

    It had its poignant moments — memories of a dad who beat him, and who had been beaten, of childhood abuse — and its absurd ones as when he pointed to the Australian flag on a floor-pike behind him and gave a long disquisition on the Stockaders swearing allegiance to the Eureka flag, and then it veered off into some mutterings about the Communist New World conspiracy.
    His free association is hard to capture on the page because every thought branches off into an aside, so that a 40-minute speech is one sentence, with many dependent clauses. “Like I tell my kids that they can’t hear their teachers, because the music they listen to, on their tech sound systems, I give each of them a big present when they turn 12, because well, you do, and sound systems, that I’m so envious of, anyway, between seven and 12 minutes of that will cut off the sibilance, and that happened to me through operating a metal press, mind you with the things teachers say these days, maybe my kids are better off, because, I think it’s 75 decibels will …” which went on for some time before he managed to get out of this tailspin.

    Everyone laughed along with him gaily. Were they being polite? I looked around. No, they were into it. Their minds were attuned to what would only otherwise pass muster as an open mic slam event at the Emerging Writers’ Festival. How? When the main act, Kiralie Smith spoke, I had my answer.

    Many will remember Kiralie Smith as a forceful woman who rose to prominence in the anti-halal movement, an everyday Strayan in country style, long brown hair and Fosseys of 1987 fashion. That Kiralie Smith is long gone. The woman who strode up to the microphone, with shining blond hair, jewelled choker and tailored-cut dark blue suit, is a political professional, made over in the same manner as the just plain folks of the US Tea Parties became beltway professionals. The ALAers, to judge from the meeting burble, have many gripes, but Kiralie has just one: the purported character, spread and very existence of Islam.

    “Islam is not a religion!” she said. “Y’know, y’know, y’know” — she has a hee-hawing sort of voice and laugh, the class dag style, which tends to undercut the Dominique Francon makeover. “It’s a totalitarian ideology and political movement, and, and, and when I saw Malcolm Turnbull — MT, Empty! — at that Iftar, I was sick to my stomach.”

    There was a lot more like this, culminating in the ALA’s brilliant plan: to make all religions in Australia compulsorily accredited, and require them to commit to the UN Human Rights Convention. “Guess which ‘religion’ won’t? Which hates women and gays?” “Islam!” the crowd yells back. It’s deliciously wacko on so many levels, the chief one being that the Australian Liberty Alliance is trying to subvert section 116 of our constitution, the freedom of religion, which is about the only explicitly encoded liberty we possess. That is good wacko.

    The ALA has “23” other policies, Kiralie asserted, but there was time to talk about only one other big one. Not the economy, not war and defence, but our waterways. Our rivers have been locked up by those damn Greens. Or non-damming Greens. The Riverina is dry because not enough rivers are being dammed. No, no, don’t try to work it out. The Greens — “they hate nature, they hate us!” Kiralie roared — apparently run the joint, the bipartisan Murray-Darling Basin Plan being their evil work.

    Rivers, dams, she did go on. It was only seeing the lined-up bottles of water, the bowls of refreshing mints after that I twigged: our precious bodily fluids! They want to steal our precious bodily fluids! Halal poisons us, and our rivers do not run. Truly, we are in the wilderness. It was a great double act, Angry the sort of free-floating id of the disgruntled masses, going where it will, Kiralie its angry ego, obsessively focused on purity and danger, and the contamination of our land and people.

    Towards the end, she brought it all together as she got onto the globalist agenda and the Communist New World order — which is the real power behind the scenes, Communists will be glad to know. Arguing for the protection of homosexuals from Islam, as groups such as ALA are now wont to, has been a problem for them, since they also argue that the whole homosexual population is pursuing a radical anti-family agenda by getting married.
    How to reconcile this?

    “In the UN, which the Islamists have taken over, really” — nodding of heads at the UN — “the globalist and the Islamist agenda are coming together. And the real purpose is the lowering of the age of consent and paedophilia,” although even Kiralie looked a little tentative about that. But for at least some in the crowd, that was a relief from the tension. Ah, that makes sense! I looked at the heads of the short-backs-and-sides, and wondered what they thought of their blonde bottle rocket of a candidate, firing off in all directions, an entirely different type of fizza.

    Effective politics demands that people recognise points of unity among differing ideas and bury the differences sufficient to be able to work together. That’s what an effective party is: a collection of factions, themselves collections of fractions and tendencies. It’s to our great good luck that the hard right works, these days, in the opposite manner; they all tend towards the paranoid, in which everything persecuting them is connected to every other thing persecuting them (“people ask me, ‘What are you most concerned about?’,” said one morose chap to another in the dry socialising after, “and I say, ‘everything’.”‘), while the petty differences between them magnify to make it impossible for them to work together.

    They all — from One Nation to Family First to the wilder side of the Shooters — have essentially the same world view, which is that it’s all run by the globalist trans-homo elite. That should be the basis for a mass movement. Instead, they are splintered in such a way that they may well rule themselves out of Senate seats they could otherwise get. This was one additional reason for removing the Senate automatic ticket scam — because it removed any incentive to work together and rewarded the right’s pathological fractiousness, stemming from the fantasy nature of their politics. Put Kiralie Smith, Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter in the same party, and they’d tear each other apart.

    In the rich ecosystem of the hard right, the ALA appears to have taken on the role of clearinghouse, a sort of sink-strainer to catch every stray obsessive notion that flows through the culture. Gary “Angry” Anderson has become their mascot, saint and holy spirit — a man who put his anger and pain into music then good works, and has now succumbed to anger’s specific gravity, its tendency to draw us back to the temptations of resentment and blame.

    Whether it is a cause for sadness or foreboding is another question entirely. On the one hand, it’s another meeting in a room in an RSL. Where the left has draughty church halls, the right has these echt meeting places, all apricot walls, polished fake copper fittings, and landscape reproductions — places where people who can’t organise some coffee and biscuits for after, talk about how they’re going to run the country, so long as they can maintain their vital and free hydration.

    On the other hand, they did have the maps out. They do have a degree of organisation and evolving structure. They have a core of volunteers working themselves into the ground. The organisational apparatus is clearly more rational than the higher-profile freak show figures who have drifted in from the anti-Muslim social movements. Should “this sucker go down” again, and a major recession hit us, with a couple of terror incidents thrown in as well, the ALA could swell into life — and would have the apparatus in place to cope with an influx of members.

    Their future success will depend on whether their Senate vote this time round is merely small, or pathetically derisory. Anything better than utter humiliation, and they might be in it for the long haul. And in one accusation they are absolutely right: the media has ignored and blanked them out as just another bunch of eccentrics meeting above a beer barn, and we all know how that goes.

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