- Below is the text of a collective statement by a small number of local anarchist groups on the subject of the New Right, a recently formed fascist groupuscule based in Sydney which made its first public appearance at the APEC demonstrations in that city in early September.
On Saturday, September 8, 2007, a small group of between 15-30 individuals assembled in Sydney under the banner of the New Right. They were there to attend the anti-APEC summit rally and protest, and did so while assembled in the manner of a black bloc (dressed in black uniforms and wearing masks to disguise their faces). Their propaganda proclaimed the group to be composed of ‘national anarchists’.
This statement is being issued by a number of anarchist groups in Australia and Aotearoa in order to unmask these impostors, to expose ‘national anarchism’ as being the fascist nonsense that it is, and to give notice, both to the ‘national anarchists’ and to the general public, that anarchists in Australia and Aotearoa will not tolerate fascist elements attempting to use anarchist rhetoric and imagery in order to pursue their goals. We do so on the basis of our support for the equality and freedom of all individuals, regardless of race or ethnicity, and in recognition of the role of fascist ideas, parties and movements in destroying the libertarian working class cultures and movements which anarchists promote and which we depend upon for our survival.
But what, exactly, is the ‘New Right’, and what is a ‘national anarchist’?
The New Right
In Australia, the New Right is a tiny grouping on the far right, established in late 2005, largely via the efforts of a German-born, Sydney-based businessman named Welf Herfurth. Herfurth has a long history of involvement in the German neo-Nazi movement, including the NPD, and more recently the Australian far right, including organisations and projects such as the Australia First Party, Blood & Honour, One Nation and the Inverell and Sydney Forums. According to Herfurth and the New Right, “National-Anarchism represents the political embodiment of the… New Right — it is the political wing”. In other words, while the New Right provides the ‘theory’, ‘national anarchism’ is the ‘practice’.
‘National anarchism’ has its origins in the UK, and is largely the brainchild of Troy Southgate, another individual with a long history of involvement in the British neo-Nazi movement, including organisations such as the National Front, the International Third Position, the English Nationalist Movement and the National Revolutionary Faction. Critic Graham D. Macklin notes that “When put into its wider context… ‘national-anarchism’ appears as one of many groupuscular responses to globalization, popular antipathy towards which Southgate sought to harness by aligning [his activities]… with the resurgence of anarchism whose heroes and slogans it arrogated, and whose sophisticated critiques of global capitalist institutions and state power it absorbed…”.* In essence, ‘national anarchism’ is an attempt to use anarchist rhetoric and imagery in order to better advance the cause of reactionary, racist and fascist politics.
As anarchists, we categorically reject this. We also categorically reject any and all attempts by the New Right (and any other group with politics similar to it) to align themselves in any way, shape or form with the contemporary anarchist movement in Australia and Aotearoa. The use of such tactics by the far right, including the formation of ‘black blocs’ such as the one in Sydney, has been witnessed in Europe for a number of years, and it now appears that an attempt, however minor, to do so in Australia is now being made. (In Germany, for example, some right-wing radicals even use the “Antifaschistische Aktion” logo (a circle with a red and black flag) but adorn it with the slogan “Nationale Sozialisten” (national socialists)!)
We consider the use of such tactics to be deliberately aimed at causing confusion among the broader public with regards the aims and methods of elements of the far right, and to confuse anarchism with the pursuit of ‘white, nationalist’ politics. Such tactics are also based upon a recognition by elements of the far right of the attractive nature of anarchist rhetoric and imagery to many young people, and a desire to win some of these individuals away from genuine attempts to create true anarchy; a society without rulers — of whatever colour, and of whatever supposed nationality.
As such, we, as anarchists: wish to make our opposition to the New Right and ‘national anarchism’ known; denounce their attempts to appropriate ‘anarchist’ rhetoric, imagery and symbology for their own, racist and fascist purposes; commit ourselves to ensuring, each in our own way, that any and all confusion be eliminated in the minds of both the ‘national anarchists’ and the broader public regarding the opposition between anarchism and the antics of groups such as the New Right.
- *Graham D. Macklin, Co-opting the counter culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol.39, No.3, 2005 [PDF]