The name ‘Antipodean Resistance’ (AR) has been in the news again recently, both on account of its conducting so-called ‘training camps’ in Victoria and Queensland but also as a result of it spreading homophobic propaganda at the University of Tasmania. Most of the reportage on the group has slotted into the “SHOCK! HORROR!” category, and revealed bugger-all about its origins, membership, or relation to the broader milieu from which it emerged.
This is par for the course when it comes to media reportage on the antics of the far-right in Australia, and is to be expected. To cite one example, ‘What is Australia’s white supremacist group, Antipodean Resistance?’ (Olivia Lambert, news.com.au, September 7, 2017): ‘AUSTRALIA’S secret collective of neo-Nazis is spreading shocking messages of hate, yet chillingly claims its members are growing in number.’ Further:
The Daily Telegraph reports the neo-Nazis are now being monitored by the ASIO out of fear the extremist group could turn violent.
“Members of these groups are diverse and have different agendas, including extreme right-wing and extreme left-wing ideologies,” ASIO said to a parliamentary review into the expenditure of security agencies.
In other words: ASIO is undertaking the work it always has.
A few more preliminary remarks are in order:
First, AR is not unique, and neo-Nazism isn’t ‘new’ (in this sense): there have been neo-Nazis running about the place since Hitler killed Hitler, and there likely always will be. One of its contemporary expressions may be found in the AltRight; The Beast Reawakens by Martin A. Lee (Little, Brown and Co., 1997) explores the re-emergence of Nazism in Germany in the aftermath of WWII and its renaissance in various territories in Europe, the United States and elsewhere: you can read the introduction to Lee’s 1997 work here; of related interest is David Bird’s Nazi Dreamtime, ‘the ground-breaking story of extreme-right, ultra-nationalist thought and practice in Australia in the period immediately before and during the Second World War. It focuses on those native-born Australians who were attracted to the ideology of Nazism in Germany from 1933.’
Secondly, much of the reportage on the group fails to recognise that its shitty propaganda campaigns are aimed at generating precisely the SHOCK! HORROR! headlines it craves. While the report is in some ways quite valuable, the headline ‘Antipodean Resistance Neo-Nazi group trying to sway Australia’s same-sex marriage postal vote’ (Danny Tran, ABC, September 5, 2017) is misleading: the Hitler fanboys of AR aren’t trying to ‘sway’ opinion; they’re trying to reach as wide an audience as possible with a view to potentially recruiting that segment of the population for whom their rank prejudice appeals. (See also : Follow the lede: Danny Tran on the neo-Nazi propaganda in the same-sex marriage debate, ABC Overnights, September 18, 2017.)
Thirdly, all the reportage on AR thus far has failed to recognise its links to and origins within the so-called patriotic movement. Reclaim Australia — along with the United Patriots Front (UPF), True Blue Crew (TBC), and various other extreme-right satellites — has provided precisely the warm and nurturing environment in which an explicitly neo-Nazi grouplet like Antipodean Resistance has been able to gestate. Further, no reportage has noted that the group has publicly stated that it models itself upon relevant groups overseas: National Action (NA) in the UK and the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) in Scandinavia in particular.
In this context, it’s worth noting that in December 2016 NA was proscribed in the UK as a ‘terrorist’ organisation, while most recently 11 suspected members of the neo-Nazi group have been arrested on suspicion of terror offences across England and Wales (National Action: 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, September 27, 2017). As for the NRM, in July three of its members were sentenced to jail for ‘carrying out bomb attacks on a left-wing bookstore and an asylum center and an attempted bombing of a second asylum center’; last year, another NRM member, ‘Jesse Torniainen, was sentenced to two years in jail for an aggravated assault that allegedly led to a man’s death at a Nordic Resistance Movement demonstration in Helsinki’, while Finnish police have applied to have the organisation proscribed in that country.
In Australia, the NRM’s kissing cousins, the ‘Soldiers of Odin’, are compared to the Guardian Angels by The Age.
The group has its origins on tumblr and on neo-Nazi website ‘Iron March’ (IM), with two young fellows from Melbourne, one using the handle ‘kehlsteinhaus’ (‘Eagle’s Nest’: a Nazi-era building erected atop the summit of the Kehlstein, a rocky outcrop that rises above the Obersalzberg near the town of Berchtesgaden), and the other ‘Xav’, forming its core.
On March 2, 2016, ‘kehlsteinhaus’ wrote by way of introduction to IM that he was 22yo, unemployed, and interested in creating an Australian version of NA. Originally from Perth, he now resides in Melbourne. ‘kehlsteinhaus’ also claims to have been a ‘communist’, a ‘democratic socialist’, to have attended meetings and rallies organised by Socialist Alternative, but most recently to have been involved with the UPF. And, like Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson, he also claims to be a member or former member of the Melbourne-based neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Nationalist Alternative’ (NAlt). According to ‘kehlsteinhaus’, ‘Blair and Thomas [Sewell] are full 14/88. I’ve met and talked to them in person many times. They’ve recently converted [Chris] Shortis, who now thinks Hitler was right about pretty much everything. [Scott] Moreland [sic] is shit. [Dennis] Huts is a mixed bag.’
‘kehlsteinhaus’ also maintained several tumblrs, among them: antipodeansolutions, nedkellyofficial, the-kangaroos-nest and thesagesworld (now closed, but traces of which remain) and often skipped from one to the other. The launch of AR in late 2016 meant that he transferred his online activities from tumblr to IM and the grouplet’s own site (launched in November 2016) and Twitter account (created in February 2017). His parting message:
In September 2016, ‘kehlsteinhaus’ also stated that he does volunteer work at a church and dreamed of being a politician, academic or teacher — or possibly a member of a right-wing death squad. Further, the aspiring acdemic and/or RWDS member claimed to have an uncle and a sister who are married to ‘Indians’ (with whom they — gasp! — have children), not to drive a car but to use public transport, being 5’10” or 5’11” and going to Wollongong in October 2016 in order to attend his cousin’s wedding.
The boys made their first step into LARPing as an organised grouplet in July 2016 at a tiny ‘Blue Lives Matter’ counter-rally in Melbourne, where they joined Blair Cottrell (cleverly disguised as ‘Bruce’) in order to hold a brief rally before being told to shoo by police. According to kehlsteinhaus:
I’m not fully certain on everyone, but some are ‘from’ the UPF, Ironmarch, [The Right Stuff], a uni group I know little about, and skinhead groups. There’s actually quite a lot of us, and I thoroughly recommend starting things in your city. We can’t do this all by ourselves. Two of the people there flew over from Adelaide for goodness’s sake. … I was carrying the GO HOME SOROS DRONES sign.
Prior to this, he and his crew (above) also attended the TBC anti-leftist counter-rally in Coburg, for which he provided a terribly exciting account on his tumblr of how the TBC & Co beat to a pulp their anti-fascist opponents. On that occasion, most of the boys appear to have been wearing merch with the Wolfsangel (AKA the Dopplehaken or Wolf’s-Hook emblem). Old School bonehead and ‘Combat 18’ member Dan Newman (AKA Danny Krieger) was also in amongst the boys on that day, and has worn the fashionable ensemble on other occasions.
On his own or in the company of others, ‘kehlsteinhaus’ also attended: the UPF rally in Melbourne in November 2015 (‘I arrived early because I wanted to finally meet Blair, after following his progress since he began … I met Thomas Sewell, who I am a bit of a fan of … I doubt I made the best first impression on Thomas, who probably saw me as just another supporter (which I am determined not to be)’; the failed launch of ‘Fortitude’ in Bendigo in February 2016 and; the TBC flag rally in Melbourne in June 2016 (at which Blair ‘made his most moderate speech I’ve heard that was thematically all over the place, as well as containing yet more attempts at trying to look non racist in front of the media (for those not aware, Blair Cottrell is the leader of the group, and a National Socialist, which makes the whole thing quite frustrating)’. On most of these occasions ‘kehlsteinhaus’ was masked, but he did post one photo to tumblr in which he is not:
Perhaps someone out there recognises him? (Keeping in mind he may be 1/364th Aboriginal.)
The other key figure in AR is another young fellow who posts on IM as ‘Xav’. ‘Xav’ joined the IM forum in May 2015, describing himself as a 22yo national socialist of English and German descent, a Uni dropout who lives in Melbourne, and as someone who was, like many of the other AR boys, ‘radicalised’ online. His favourite authors are dead nazis William Pierce (author of The Turner Diaries) and George Lincoln Rockwell.
Another tumblr radical (his blog now also deleted), borderprotectionist is an older Melbourne resident who more closely approximates the Old School nazi stereotype: crudely racist and with shit tatts. He also has children, it appears, and likes to play and to pose with guns.
Another IM user, Vandal Nationalist joined in April 2016 and described himself at the time as a 17yo and of British and German descent. A self-described edgy, atheist and leftist gamer at 14:
I started playing a lot of Company of Heroes and that got me interested in World War 2. I always liked the Germans better since I have German heritage and was/still am learning German. I wanted to learn more so I started watching the good goy World War 2 documentaries on Youtube until I stumbled upon Adolf Hitler: the greatest story never told. I’ve been a bad goy ever since. I normally frequent 8ch.net/pol and therightstuff.biz forums but I decided to join the Iron March forum after listening to all of Fascism 101 videos on YouTube. They’re excellent but I wish there were more on there. I’m interested in joining any Fascist/National Socialist group in Melbourne.
Very oddly, ‘Vandal Nationalist’ posted several photos purporting to be of himself (which I won’t republish here) on IM.
Finally, earlier this year a geek was spotted chucking up AR stickers in Carlton and Fitzroy. This fine young fellow would appear to be J***** H****** — a very naughty boy, and someone whose parents do not share his love of Mister Hitler.
NB. I’ll probably be adding more detail to this post in time, but for various reasons — not least because a number of the geeks in question are young and their parents are not. happy. with their career choices — what this consists of is not entirely up to me.
See also : White supremacists claim postal survey sparked interest, Stephen Smiley, The World Today (ABC), September 5, 2017 | Australian neo-Nazi group peppers schools with racist fliers, Amanda Erickson, The Washington Post, August 16, 2017 | White supremacist posters targeting students placed at Melbourne high schools, Melissa Davey, The Guardian, August 16, 2017 | Anti-Chinese Posters at Melbourne Universities Are Tied To White Supremacists, Isabella Kwai and Xiuzhong Xu, The New York Times, July 25, 2017 | Offensive flyers targeting Chinese students found at Melbourne universities, Kathy Lord, ABC, July 25, 2017 | Nazi posters in Melbourne, Australian Jewish News, February 17, 2017 | Neo-Nazi posters at Melbourne Uni, Peter Kohn, Australian Jewish News, December 8, 2016.