Coburg 1 /// Fascists 0; Or: The neo-Nazi rally that brought anti-fascists to the streets of Coburg

Huh.

There’s been rather a lot of media attention paid to the events in Coburg on Saturday. Below are a few scattered thoughts and links to some reportage. I may add some more in the next few days …

• Most of the reportage has been poor, and frequently incorrect. Thus, in terms of chronology, several months ago Moreland City councillor Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance) organised a rally for May 28 titled ‘Moreland says NO to Racism’. It was to take place outside Coburg Library and then to march to Bridges Reserve for a picnic. Weeks later, members of the Melton and Bendigo-based ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC) decided to organise a counter-rally at Bridges Reserve: the endpoint of the proposed march. They were soon joined by their comrades in the neo-Nazi grouplet ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF).
• Bolton’s event proposed to gather support to ‘Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities – Treaty now’, to ‘Let the refugees in – Close Manus and Nauru’ and to say ‘No to Islamophobia’. The TBC (and UPF & Co.) intended to ‘Stop the Far Left!’, to ‘Support the Australian Government[‘]s Use of the Offshore Detention Centers That Protect Our Nation’ and to stop the Islamisation of Coburg (and presumably, by extension, Melbourne and Bendigo).
• The organisation by neo-Nazis, fascists and racists (ie, ‘ordinary mums and dads’) of a rally in a suburb like Coburg — one which also intended to shutdown a ‘left’ event — naturally drew the attention of local anti-fascists.

• On the day, the police strategy was to facilitate both rallies and to keep participants from clashing. In practice, this meant attempting to confine ‘anti-racists’ to the Coburg Mall and ‘patriots’ inside Bridges Reserve. Media report that something like 500 police were mobilised/available for the occasion.
• The ‘Moreland says NO to Racism’ rally proceeded but organisers did not join with others who marched from the Library up Sydney Road to Bell Street. On Bell Street, outside the Reserve, the ‘patriots’ assembled on the road but were prevented from marching up it, and then down Sydney Road, by two lines of police and a crowd of anti-fascists.
• Something in the order of 50-100 people rallied with the TBC and the UPF. A large number of these rally-goers were from Bendigo and Melton and travelled from Bendigo on a bus specially hired for the occasion.

• The last time the UPF organised a rally in Melbourne was about six months ago, in late November. See : #UnitedPatriotsFront fails to rise in #Melbourne. Again., November 28, 2015. Around 40 or so attended. This suggests that there’s been little if any growth in the UPF’s ability to attract a crowd, at least in Melbourne. The UPF has, however, established a small base in Bendigo and a smaller one in Perth. NB. As elsewhere in the country, the UPF has attracted the support of neo-Nazis in Perth. Several of them, belonging to neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Aryan Nations’, were recently arrested and charged with murder; the Aryans in Perth played host to the UPF when they travelled to that city to attend the Reclaim Australia rally last year. See : Murder shines spotlight on Australia’s white supremacist subculture, news.com.au, May 23, 2016.
• The UPF’s first rally in Richmond was rather similar to this, their latest public outing. Like the May 28, 2016 rally, the May 31, 2015 rally was directed at a socialist councillor (Stephen Jolly). See : #UnitedPatriotsFront sent packing in Richmond, May 31, 2015. It failed to unseat him, triggered a bizarre UPF letter-writing campaign to the Governor-General — His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) — demanding that he remove Jolly from office, and witnessed clashes as the UPF (with police assistance) tried and failed to occupy the Town Hall steps.
• A small number of neo-Nazis known to have attended previous ‘patriotic’ rallies were out and about on Saturday. These apparently (according to ex-UPF member Neil Erikson) included Mark Hootsen (Nationalist Alternative), Joey Edwards and Dan Newman (Combat 18). Toby Cook (Party for Freedom, Sydney) waved a silly sign and wore Golden Dawn merch, while former UPF lackey Linden Watson also made an appearance. Oddly, UPF supporter Warren Broadhead waved an Israeli flag, while a neo-Nazi (name unknown), who’s previously served as a minder to young bonehead James Lawrence, was also present. Visible neo-Nazi markings were relatively rare, though three or four men sported Nazi Werwolf insignia.

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naziboys

• Speaking of flags, the UPF left a number of theirs behind.

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• Despite some media reportage to the contrary, the anti-fascist action on Saturday witnessed the participation of a relatively high proportion of locals.
• Melbourne Antifascist Info provides the following account of events:

The United Patriots Front (stealing the thunder of the True Blue Crew, who were happy to ride their big brothers’ coat tails) assembled a fascist gathering of about 150 in Bridges Reserve Coburg around 10am (some in Nazi regalia), making to march down and disrupt Moreland Says No to Racism. A small contingent of antifascists comprising a large nunber of locals managed to head them off on Bell Street and disrupt their progress. In the ensuing mayhem, notorious methgoblin Zane Chapman and True Blue Crew leader Kane Miller were arrested and OC sprayed respectively. Both ended the day in tears (see photos).

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zanemay282016

Police officers on the scene found the love in the air too much to handle, and had a bit of a weep themselves. Officers deployed OC foam repeatedly against antifascists and fascists, and many unlucky Nazis went home with untreated chemical burns. At least four non-hostile photojournalists were directly capsicum sprayed by officers, one in the lens of his camera.

For the next couple hours, the UPF and TBC failed spectacularly to mobilise on multiple occasions, and were moved in a kettle back and forth until they unceremoniously gave up. Their every move, and indeed their tail-between-the-legs extraction, was carefully facilitated and managed by hundreds of police, without whose indulgence they wouldn’t have been able to leave the carpark, but even with whose concerted support they were still unable to march. Meanwhile, Moreland Says No to Racism’s rally proceeded unopposed and was a roaring success, moving freely through the streets and celebrating Coburg’s unity and diversity in the face of racist fearmongering. The TBC’s stated aim, of making the No to Racism rally unviable, was not only not achieved, it didn’t even barely get off the ground. Fascist symbols were seized, chucked in the bin and used as doormats by enthusiastic Coburgers.

On a sadder note, the Melbourne Street Medics Collective was left to fend for themselves as Nazis charged their triage area, beat up casualties and Medics and unbelievably attacked the ambulance and paramedics attempting to evacuate a severely injured protestor. As comrades, we are sorry that the Medics were not better protected and we implore all activists to place these invaluable people highest on their list of solidarity priorities.

Mad props to all involved, you’ll always lose in Coburg.

In which context: both fascists and police have targeted MSMC previously, most notoriously at the joint Reclaim Australia/UPF rally in Melbourne on July 18. Future events will obviously require a more concerted effort on the part of anti-fascists to protect the MSMC from attack. By the same token, legal monitoring and support for the arrested as well as the injured will likely be a priority.

• In general, given the circumstances, the day went about as well as could be expected. Importantly, and despite fascist, police and media agitation in favour of its cancellation, the ‘Moreland Says NO to Racism’ rally was neither stopped nor attacked. Further, the TBC, UPF & Co were prevented from marching through Coburg. This was only as the result of the determined action of the hundreds who gathered on Bell Street to stop it.
• Media report that 7 (seven) people were arrested on the day: ‘Police said two people were arrested for riotous behaviour, one for assaulting police and one for hindering police. Another was arrested for robbery. Two people were arrested before the rally for weapons offences.’ It seems likely that these will not be the only people to be arrested and charged in connection to Saturday’s events.
• Capsicum foam has again been confirmed as a now-routine part of policing ‘public order’ situations.
• Predictably, media and police have seized on the fact that some people wore masks to the protests. Apart from anything else, there are actually laws on the books which police can utilise if they feel the need. As lawyer Rob Stary has pointed out, s49c of the Summary Offences Act makes ‘Being disguised with unlawful intent’ a crime. Otherwise, see : Masks up (Andy Fleming, Overland, December 15, 2015); Why Masks? (Melbourne Antifascists, September 8, 2015); Why Wear Masks? (Nerve Magazine, May 10, 2016).

• Socialist media coverage: Moreland says NO to Racism rally succeeds in peaceful rally against racism, Green Left Weekly (Socialist Alliance), May 28, 2016; Fascists driven out of Coburg, Corey Oakley, Red Flag (Socialist Alternative), May 28, 2016.

• Other media: Anti-Islam protests descend into violence in Melbourne, Krystal Johnson and AAP, Yahoo7 and Agencies, May 28, 2016 | Police launch task force to investigate violent anti-racism and anti-Islam rally in Melbourne, 9NEWS, May 29, 2016 | Coburg rallies: Seven arrested as police separate anti-racism, anti-immigration protesters, ABC, May 28, 2016 | Australia immigration: Rival Melbourne rallies spark clashes, BBC, May 28, 2016 | Violence erupts at Australia immigration rallies, Deutsche Welle, May 28, 2016 | Coburg rally: Police out in force as anti-Islam, anti-racist groups face off, Wes Hosking, James Dowling, Herald Sun, May 28, 2016 | Cowards blamed for violent Melbourne rally, SBS (AAP), May 28, 2016 | The anti-racism rally that brought Nazis to the streets of Coburg, Bianca Hall, The Age, May 29, 2016 | Melbourne protests: seven arrested as clashes erupt between opposing rallies, Calla Wahlquist, The Guardian, May 28, 2016.

See also : Outlawing anti-fascism, Corey Oakley, Red Flag, May 31, 2016 | Fascism, Anti-fascism, and a coffee shop full of white liberals, George K, Secretagoo, June 2, 2016.

Bonus!

MSMC STATEMENT ‪#‎Coburg‬, May 28 – “Solidarity is not just a word”

Many of our comrades have provided thorough and well-articulated accounts of what transpired and how events unfolded in Coburg on Saturday, when due to being left without the support of the bulk of people who were initially on Bell Street, our medics and the casualties they were attending ended up behind police lines, open to not one but two attacks by the racists and fascists. For those wanting a detailed chronology and report, we would direct you to Slackbastard’s rundown as well as this timeline outlined by Melbourne Antifascist Info.

As many of our supporters will be aware, there has been much coverage and debate already about the unfortunate situation that the Melbourne Street Medic Collective (MSMC) found itself in, when our triage space on Bell Street was left inadequately protected and was subsequently charged and attacked by members of the far-right. It is true that both casualties and those of us who support the injured were attacked. To this we would like to point out the nauseating cowardice of those members of the True Blue Crew, United Patriots Front and the affiliated crew of motley thugs and neo-Nazis who seized the ‘opportunity’ to attack those most vulnerable on Saturday and ask all readers to consider this as part of a mounting case of evidence that the far right were doing anything but merely defending the supposed instigation of violence from antifa, despite their bleating insistence to that effect.

At the heart of Street Medicine is an appreciation of the systems of domination & oppression that make us and our communities sick. Capitalism and its symptoms are indeed destroying our communities and laying waste to the health of generations. This could not have been clearer on Saturday and provided a timely reminder for us all to reject the scapegoats thrust forward by politicians and abetted by the mainstream media – refugees, queers, feminists and Muslims are truly distractions put forward to divert us from the true oppression of capitalism and its ability to isolate, disenfranchise and divide us.

So while we see the need to oppose fascist bullying and intimidation – especially in thriving multicultural centres like Coburg – the need to dismantle a system that turns disenfranchised working-class people against one another must be replaced.

Further, MSMC would like to take a moment to reflect on suggestions made that the matters of hate-speech and fascism are best handled by the influence of police. On Saturday Victoria Police, while exercising extreme force with an apparent lack of discrimination or mercy, showed no consideration to the injured and hurt. To this we call shame on Victoria Police and assert that we unequivocally cannot surrender responsibility for the defence and protection of our communities to their authority.

In contrast MSMC stands in solidarity with the brave paramedics who attended and were besieged and intimidated in their ambulance by aforementioned fascists, neo-Nazis and thugs. These individuals acted courageously in the face of utterly unreasonable circumstances.

Specifically, there are a number of things that we strongly encourage. We would encourage a respectful and open dialogue prior to actions. We acknowledge the differences in many groups’ political analysis and tactics, and on this basis we encourage more thorough, widespread and representative communication-sharing between groups and individuals during the course of rallies, in the spirit of comradely collaboration and to enable individuals and groups to make informed decisions about their actions and movements. We would encourage a respect for some baseline levels of safety, such as the needs of the Street Medics not being dismissed when we communicate these at actions – requesting extra people to provide support, or safety in numbers, and things as simple as helping to form privacy circles. We encourage people to buddy up, and not leave their friends and individual members of their groups and organisations behind if they require assistance with getting home due to OC spray exposure – particularly with roaming groups of racists and fascists around. We also encourage people at actions to be aware of those around them, and that for example things such as OC spray are imprecise weapons that are designed to spread to a radius of people. We have absolutely no desire to police people’s behaviour, but rather to provide support for our communities and to promote sustainable activism that works against burnout and trauma from police violence.

Finally, whilst we are still gathering our thoughts on all that transpired, we do look forward to the opportunity to engage in a continuing dialogue with various organisers and groups around solidarity and adequate support of all factions at future demonstrations. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better and we’re keen to now look towards an immediate future where mutual aid, care and respect get rapidly much better. Solidarity is action, not just a word.

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Fascists Out Of Coburg!

dutycrime

Briefly:

As previously noted, this Saturday, May 28, in the northern Melbourne suburb of Coburg, local councillor Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance) has organised a rally: Moreland Says No to Racism. The rally is scheduled to take place outside Coburg Library at 11am, after which there will be a march to Bridges Reserve.

In response to the anti-racism rally, a group called the ‘True Blue Crew’ has organised a counter-rally. Their counter-rally has won the support of the neo-Nazi grouplet ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF) and a smattering of others, and is scheduled to take place at 10.30am at Bridges Reserve, the planned endpoint of the anti-racist march.

The TBC are a small group which formed last year. Its supporters are largely drawn from Bendigo and Melton and the group has organised a bus to transport supporters from Bendigo and Melton to Coburg. The TBC’s main claim to fame thus far has been: a) to get arrested at the July 18 (2015) Reclaim Australia rally in Melbourne and; b) to fail to break police lines in order to attack counter-protesters at the UPF rally in Bendigo on February 27 (2016). Its two main faces are Zane Chapman and Corey Hadow.

Coburg is a diverse suburb with a large population of immigrant workers and a large number of Muslim residents. It lies within the federal seat of Wills, which has been held by Labor since its formation in 1949 but which has witnessed significant growth in support for the Greens since 2001 (Socialist Alliance member Zane Alcorn is running in 2016, as is Socialist Equality Party’s Will Fugenzi).

Seemingly, the TBC, UPF and other racist boofheads want to plant their flag in Coburg, a place home to many of the groups (Muslims, leftists, ‘people of colour’ et. al.) that they despise — and wish to eliminate. Small in number, they nevertheless pose a potential danger to locals. If left unopposed, it’s possible that this will further embolden these groups and individuals to continue to prosecute their divisive, racialised and reactionary politics.

Coburg has a proud history of resisting fascist intrusions into public spaces. It’s important to carry on that tradition and to let local fascists know that they are not welcome. Please attend the rally on Saturday, let others know about it, and be advised that a small group of fascists will be in the area, looking for opportunities to attack it and other targets.

Fascists Out of Coburg!

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Jack ‘The Anarchist’ Grancharoff (1925–2016)

jack

I just learned that Jelesko ‘Jack’ Grancharoff (July 5, 1925–May 15, 2016) has died. ‘Jack the Anarchist’ was a working class intellectual, published a long-running zine Red and Black, and was an ubiquitous presence at anarchist events, from the 1960s through to early this century. Jack looked like Karl Marx, but embodied the spirit of Mikhail Bakunin. I remember writing to him some time in the early 1990s to obtain copies of his zine, but unfortunately I only saw him speak on a handful of occasions, the last time at a recent anarchist conference. Below are several short writings on Jack, his life, and political work. The first two are extracts from Anne Coombs’ book on the Sydney Push, Sex and Anarchy (Viking, 1996: pp.101-103; 151-152), the third prompted by a talk Jack gave at Jura in 2013, and the last an extract from a June 29, 2006 letter to The Sydney Morning Herald by Dave Clark (1946–2008: Economist, Larrikin, ‘Critical Drinker’ and Friend). You can read much more about Jack on Takver’s site, including a reference to his ASIO file, which contains ‘a nice letter from Jack to an ASIO agent who has subscribed to Red and Black and wants to attend anarchist meetings’ LOL. I hope and expect that others who knew Jack will make further reflections on his life and times available in future. If I find the time, I may scan and upload some of the articles he wrote for Red and Black.

Rest in Power Comrade Jack!

1)

Jack the Anarchist was another who never strictly followed the Libertarian line but who nonetheless found he was more comfortable among them than anywhere else. Jack Grancharoff was a political refugee from Bulgaria when he arrived in Australia in 1950. He, too, discovered the Push in 1956.

‘I was searching for some group that might be interested in social theory. I met some communists in the Domain, some Trotskyists, and had some arguments with them. Somebody told me that there were people like me drinking in a pub in Phillip Street, the Assembly.’

Jack found the Push to his liking. He had become interested in anarchism in Europe, and since arriving in Australia had been looking for sympathetic minds. This search had taken him up and down the country. Anarchism was, and still is, his mission in life and he has worked in a variety of unskilled jobs to support it, from Melbourne to northern Queensland.

In Sydney, he worked on the trams. He became a familiar figure to many: in his blue tram conductor’s uniform, a stocky figure with long hair and flowing beard; in Push pubs; at student conferences. One Push member remembers seeing Jack in the Domain, not long after he had arrived in Sydney, standing on a pickle barrel haranguing his audience with an accent so thick it was hard to understand him.

Jack and the anarchists, a couple of them fellow Bulgarians, became known within the Push as ‘the Bulgarian anarchists’. Darcy [Waters: 1928–1997] recalls an early meeting with them.

‘They came to the uni one evening for a meeting — it must have been the late 1950s. They frightened the fucking daylights out of me. They were proposing dangerous bloody things.

‘I told them that I had a lot of sympathy for their position but I wasn’t going to go out there and die for freedom. They got quite upset. We went off and had coffee with them. One was a young girl, in her mid-twenties. She said at one stage that she was prepared to die for freedom, then and there. I found this attitude pretty bloody frightening — she meant it.’

Jack’s political position put him mid-way between the Libertarians and the European-style anarchists who called themselves the Anarchist Group. He liked the individualism of the Libertarians, a kind of personal anarchism, as opposed to the more organised anarcho-communists.

Jack says, ‘Some anarchists thought the Libertarians were not anarchists but they were quite wrong because at the time the Libertarians were the only ones expressing social theory quite critically and anarchistically.’ They were attractive to a lot of people, particularly ex-communists. ‘They argued the issues, like why communism failed.’

When he speaks of these groups, he often speaks in the present tense, unlike almost everyone else. To him, this life is not over. He continues to live much as he did thirty or forty years ago. But he is not an anachronism. Indeed, his critique seems sharper now than ever.

‘The only way to a more anarchistic view in Australia is via libertarianism. They had a social critique, but they didn’t believe they were going to change society.’

Jack broke with the Anarchist Group because of his friendship with the Libertarians. He remained slightly on the outer of both groups. The Libertarians liked him and thought him a good bloke but he does not seem to have been regarded as a true intellectual, even though he certainly was, and is. Rather, he was seen as a cheery fellow who was good company. Of course, he did not have a university education. And he was not a competitor in the sexual stakes.

Nor did Jack wish to be a true Libertarian. He respected them but he disagreed with them on a number of things, including their sexual theory: what he calls ‘polygamy’.

‘Now the thing to me is: why the polygamy? Why did they have to be polygamous? Promiscuity became a sort of doctrine. In a way, there was not sufficient criticism of sexuality, and not sufficient criticism of hierarchy either.

‘Let’s face it, they probably rationalised their whole behaviour. Being promiscuous, you were being progressive, being promiscuous, you were a critical thinker, being promiscuous, you had a radical philosophy. If you were not, then you were not radical. Their radicalism was a limited radicalism.

‘What was wrong with the Libertarians was that their radical critique did not go far enough. I think they were on the right road. They said they were not proselytising but it was still the kind of critique that was very important.

‘Their radical criticism should have continued. Instead, they were stuck to theories like [Wilhelm] Reich on sexuality because these were pleasing to young people who felt sexually repressed. They didn’t go far enough. They hint at hierarchy, at oligarchy, but then they accept it, nothing you can do about it — the only thing you can do is to live your life as freely as possible. But to me the liberty that is limited is not liberty. They don’t attack the hierarchy sufficiently, and also polygamy in no sense implies that there is no hierarchy in it.’

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2)

Back in January 1960 the Libertarian had announced that a new anarchist journal was about to be launched. The first issue was planned for April/May of that year and was to be put out by ‘Sydney anarchists, members of the Libertarian Society, and others’. It would be called Red and Black. The name was appropriate for a number of reasons, not least because Stendahl’s novel The Red and the Black was being passed around Libertarian circles at the time. This would have been of some significance to the nascent novelist Ian Bedford [1938–2015], who was one of those involved in the new project.

But Red and Black took longer to get off the ground than planned. Nothing happened in 1960 and the idea was shelved. It was talked about in 1963 but still nothing happened. Then, in 1965, Jack the anarchist took it on. The first issue was printed by Nestor Grivas, as was the second issue the following year.

Jack had given a few papers at Libertarian meetings in the Philosophy Room — one on the Catholic Church, in 1960, and another in 1964 on the German/American anarchist Johann Most, an intimate of Emma Goldman. But it was downtown that Jack had most impact. He was a downtown intellectual par excellence. He combined a keen mind and a liking for beer.

None of that has changed. Thirty years later, Red and Black is still published, intermittently. As it always has, it continues to publish articles by academics, ‘street’ anarchists and European and American radicals. Sometimes it publishes pieces by foreign writers who have not been able to get their views accepted elsewhere. Jack, who is fluent in several languages, digs out articles from obscure foreign journals that few people in Australia are likely to have heard of. When he has sufficient material and sufficient funds he brings out an edition of Red and Black. Each issue has a circulation of around 400. Its contents reflect changing times, while maintaining a commitment to anarchism.

The early issues were not so different from the Libertarian-inspired journals. With the exception of Jack, most of the contributors were academics. But it was Jack’s pieces that gave the magazine relevance and currency. In 1966, for example, he wrote on ‘Vietnam’, while the academics were still talking about ‘The IWW in America’ and ‘Lenin and Workers’ Control’.

Jack’s respect and liking for individual Libertarians was tinged with annoyance at their apathy and what he saw as the sense of powerlessness that lay behind their futilitarianism.

‘If they really believed in futilitarianism, then giving papers didn’t make sense’, he says. ‘Giving papers is, to me, action’.

He thinks the Libertarians were afraid of activism, ‘because activism requires a different kind of theoretical approach. They were afraid of activism because activism brings up ideologies and that’s where they would give up. They wanted to maintain their purity. But their purity is the purity of a people who are fading away from not taking account of the reality that is surrounding them.’

randb

3)

Jura Books in Sydney recently hosted [May 2013] ‘Anarchism in Bulgaria: As I See It’ by the 88-year-old exiled anarchist Jack Grancharoff. Around a dozen people listened intently to Jack as he described his upbringing and his involvement in anarchism and the challenges [presented] by both fascism and Stalinism. (The meeting was also a benefit for the Jock Palfreeman Defence Fund.)

In the early 20th Century, anarchism entrenched itself as a mass organisational movement in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland – anarchists having already been active in the 1873 uprisings in Bosnia and Herzegovina against Austro-Hungarian control. But it was primarily in Bulgaria and its neighbour Macedonia that a remarkable case of anarchist organising arose, in the midst of the power-play between the Great Powers. This was the area of conflict where Jack focused much of his early talk on.

Growing up in the midst of poverty, Jack began to challenge authority in his school, soon being expelled and according to his own words was an anarchist before he even knew it. Working as a shepherd in the midst of various invasions, starting with the Nazi and later the Soviet, Jack was expelled from one village after another before coming across anarchists for the first time while being incarcerated in a Soviet concentration camp for a couple of months for being an ‘enemy of the people’.

This poorly-studied movement not only blooded itself in national liberation struggles and armed opposition to both fascism and Stalinism, but developed a notably diverse and resilient mass movement, the first to adopt the 1926 Platform of the Ukrainian Makhnovist exiles in Paris as its lodestone. For these reasons it is vital that the revived anarchist-communist movement in the new millennium re-examine the legacy of the Balkans.

The discussion provided a rare opportunity to hear about and to discuss a little known, but critically important, chapter of anarchist history: the ‘Bulgarian Commune’ of 1944/45. Jack was a participant in those events, as well as knowing the rich variety of characters and organisations that were a part of the events leading up to 1945.

According to Jack, ‘Anarchism succeeded in becoming a popular movement and it penetrated many layers of society from workers, youth and students to teachers and public servants. The underground illegal activities of the movement continued.’

The Bolshevik ‘Red Army’ rolled in at the end of WWII and destroyed what had been organised with the help of the anarchists of the region, just as the Stalinists had done during the Spanish Revolution in the Aragon region, almost ten years earlier. Jack was later forced to flee, first to Italy where he met Italian anarchist partisans and later to Australia where he found work in forestry in Queensland. Jack soon came into contact with Spanish and Italian anarchist exiles in Melbourne and was a founding member of Jura Books in Sydney [see comments below] …

[For more information on Bulgarian anarchism, see: The Anarchist-Communist Mass Line: Bulgarian Anarchism Armed. Listen to ‘Anarchism in Bulgaria – 88 yr old exile Jack Grancharoff relates his experiences’ here.]

4)

… The only great speaker from this era I know to be still alive is the 80-year-old Jack Grancharoff, the Bulgarian anarchist who spoke for years, perched on top of a barrel. He ended up with an MA in politics from Macquarie University but was refused even a casual teaching position there, on the grounds that his English was not good enough.

I once introduced him to a former dean of the faculty of commerce at the University of NSW, as the “professor of peasant studies, University of Sofia”.

I asked Jack why the dean reacted strangely to my introduction. “Oh, I used to work here as a cleaner,” he replied.

If only real professors could not only profess but also hold and entertain an audience like these wonderful elocutionists.

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anarchist notes : iwa-ait splits

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Update (June 9, 2016) : Response to the Yellow CNT on the IWA (CNT-AIT Regional de Levante).

Well it’s hardly ‘news’, but it’s note-worthy: the International Workers’ Association (IWA) / Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores (AIT) — the anarcho-syndicalist international — appears set to split. The December 2015 congress of the Spanish CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo / National Confederation of Labour) apparently decided to ‘refound’ the IWA-AIT on a different organisational basis. The CNT has published an explanatory note (in English) titled ‘CNT on the re-foundation of the IWA. CNT-E’s XI Congress agreements on internacionalism’, which claims, inter alia, that:

… we have found sections in the current IWA to have very little commitment to union work in their local context. Rather, they exert enormous efforts to monitor the activities of other sections, larger or smaller, that do make this area a priority. Consequently, over the past few years, the IWA has become inoperative as a vehicle to promote anarcho-syndicalism and revolutionary unionism at an international level.

In addition to complaints about inactivity/bad practices, the statement also claims that the current general secretary of the IWA-AIT acted unilaterally to expel the German section (FAU). This claim, along with others, is disputed by the general secretary. See : On The Publication of the CNT Spain Regarding the IWA.

Currently, the IWA has the following sections:

AIT-SP (PORTUGAL)
ASI-MUR (SERBIA)
ASF-IWA (AUSTRALIA)
CNT-AIT (SPAIN)
CNT-AIT (FRANCE)
COB-AIT (BRAZIL)
FAU-IAA (GERMANY)
FORA-AIT (ARGENTINA)
KRAS (RUSSIA)
NSF-IAA (NORWAY)
Priama Akcia (SLOVAKIA)
Solidarity Federation (ENGLAND)
USI-AIT (ITALY)
ZSP (POLAND)

The FAU and USI — which, after the CNT, are the largest sections in terms of membership — have welcomed the CNT’s declaration, and would seem likely to join the ‘refoundation’. See : Erklärung des FAU-Kongress 2016 (May 17, 2016) and Le Mozioni del Congresso straordinario dell’USI-AIT (April 17, 2016). (The IWA has published a response to the USI statement here.)

Further discussion on the split/proposed refoundation can be found on Robert Graham’s (excellent) blog: The CNT Splits from the IWA (April 12, 2016).

Posted in Anarchism, Broken Windows, Death, History, State / Politics, That's Capitalism! | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Coburg ~versus~ The True Blue Crew & United Patriots Front & Co

pfflulz

On Saturday, May 28, racist boofheads from a nü patriotik grouplet called the ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC) have organised a counter-rally in the suburb of Coburg in Melbourne. On that date, Sue Bolton of the Socialist Alliance has organised a rally titled ‘Moreland says NO to Racism’:

• Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities – Treaty now
• Let the refugees in – Close Manus and Nauru
• No to Islamophobia

WHEN : 11am, Saturday, May 28
WHERE : Gather outside Coburg Library, Victoria St Mall. Then march to Bridges Reserve, Bell St, Coburg for community speakout and entertainment. Bring your lunch and join with other Moreland residents in saying our community supports a diverse and inclusive Moreland.

The rally has been endorsed by a dizzying array of groups, including:

• 3ZZZ Greek programme
• Australia West Papua Association (AWPA)
• Australian Jewish Democratic Society
• Australian Services Union, Victorian & Tasmanian Authorities & Services Branch
• Brunswick Baptist Church
• Brunswick Neighbourhood House
• Brunswick Uniting Church
• Campaign Against Racism & Fascism
• CERES
• City of Moreland
• Coburg Islamic Centre
• Community Radio 3CR
• Construction, Forestry, Mining & Energy Union
• Cook Islander community group
• Didi Bahini Samaj (Victoria)
• Earthworker Cooperative
• Electrical Trades Union
• Fawkner Community House
• Federal Republic of West Papua (FRWP)
• Freedom Socialist Party
• Friends of the Earth
• Grandmothers against Children in Detention (Wills branch)
• Indigenous Social Justice Association
• Iranian Women’s Association
• Islamic Council of Victoria
• Jews for Refugees
• Kurdish Democratic Community Centre of Victoria
• Labor4Refugees
• Mariel Sudanese Cultural Forum
• Moreland Greens
• Mums for Refugees
• No Room for Racism
• Northern Interfaith and Inter-cultural Network
• North-West FM
• Political Asylum Comedy
• Radical Women
• Refugee Action Collective
• Robinson Reserve Neighbourhood House
• Socialist Alliance
• Sudanese Communist Party (Melbourne)
• Victorian Trades Hall Council
• Victorian Traditional Owners Land Justice Group
• Voices against Bigotry

As for the TBC, they’ve given their counter-rally the rather grandiose title of ‘Stop the Far Left! – Rally Supporting the Australian Governments Use of the Offshore Detention Centers That Protect Our Nation’, further whining that:

tbcmay28

So, basically, a rally against ‘Teh Left’. Note that the TBC is (currently) asking their supporters to assemble at Bridges Reserve at 10.30am — half an hour before the ‘Moreland says NO to Racism’ rally is scheduled to begin (at 11am at Coburg Library) and at the end-point of the march.

Joining the TBC will be the UPF, whose very first public rally in Richmond (May 31, 2015) targeted another socialist councilor, Stephen Jolly. Jolly was also the subject of a bizarre letter-writing campaign by the UPF in which followers were implored to write the Governor-General, Peter Cosgrove, requesting that he remove Jolly from office.

No rlly.

Obviously, neither the UPF rally nor the batshit letter-writing campaign met with any success; the possibility of a UPF member standing against Jolly for election was not an option, it seems, and remains a distant possibility given the failure of ‘Fortitude’, the UPF’s stillborn political party, to obtain the requisite number of members to register with the AEC. Indeed, times are tough for the UPF, with a number of departures from the grouplet in recent months and just a few supporters in Melbourne, Bendigo and Perth (and a handful of other locations). Dennis Huts, the leader (along with flunkey Kevin Coombes/’Elijah Jacobson’) of the UPF in Perth, has been spending his time harassing queer yoof (see : Perth fascists target teens, The Perth Voice, April 29, 2016). In any case, the UPF’s fuehrer, Blair Cottrell, remains determined to become Chancellor, so the UPF can be expected to trundle along for a while yet, latching on to the TBC in this case, the anti-Muslim mob in Narre Warren previously, and performing occasional stunts for the media.

As for the TBC, a few of its boofheaded faces (Zane Chapman, Corey Hadow) popped up at the July 18 Reclaim Australia/UPF rally in Melbourne, in Melton on November 22, and were in amongst it again at the UPF rally in Bendigo on February 27 this year. (In Bendigo, the TBC waved Australian flags, wore Australian underpants and capes, and made a puny attempt to break police lines in order to attack the small counter-protest outside Bendigo railway station. You can watch video of the minor incident here.) Most of the TBC boys seem to be from Bendigo and Melton, and could be considered a (slightly) more grown-up version of the ‘Southern Cross Soldiers’. Well, sorta. They’ll be joined by the UPF on May 28, presumably along with most of the rest of the fascist mileu in Melbourne (Nationalist Alternative, PDLA, et. al.), Victoria and even interstate.

Finally, it’s been a while since the far right elected to hold a public rally in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. About 20 years, in fact, during the period in the late 1980s through to the mid- to late-1990s, when neo-Nazi grouplet National Action and various other boneheads held rallies and even established a bunker in Fawkner. See : Anti-fascism in Melbourne: 1990s (March 20, 2007). psyberimp writes: “We have driven Nazis out of Moreland on several occasions. We embarrassed them in Brunswick. Before they were hoarded onto a city bound train, a crowd of thousands chased about a dozen boneheads, including their fuehrer Michael Brander, down Dawson St where they took refuge in a warehouse.”

Still, when all’s said and done …

LOVE COBURG /// HATE RACISM

coburg1
coburg2

A PDF of the above can be downloaded here.

See also : Melbourne Antifascists [Facebook].

Posted in Anti-fascism, History, State / Politics, That's Capitalism!, Trot Guide, War on Terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Robert Edhouse & Aryan Nations & United Patriots Front

edhouse

Above : Robert Edhouse

aryannationsboneheads

Above : Edhouse and two teenage nazis

Strewth.

ABC reported today that Robert Edhouse, President of the tiny neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Aryan Nations’ (Perth), has been arrested and charged with murder.

Girrawheen murder: Teenagers among four people charged over death of Alan Taylor
Graeme Powell
ABC
May 10, 2016

Four people have been charged with murdering a man in the northern Perth suburb of Girrawheen, with a 17-year-old boy making a brief appearance in Perth Children’s Court in connection with the alleged attack.

The body of Alan George Taylor, 42, was found beside his home in Arnos Way on April 22.

Police said the fly-in, fly-out worker died from serious injuries suffered in an assault with an unknown weapon.

The boy was the first to be charged with the murder and appeared in Perth Children’s Court on Tuesday morning.

He was not required to enter a plea and was remanded in custody to face court again next month.

Meanwhile two men appeared in Joondalup Magistrates Court charged with murder.

Corey Joshua Dymock, 19, and Robert Wayne Edhouse, 20, were not required to enter a plea and were both remanded in custody to face Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court later this month.

A 35-year-old woman also charged with the murder is yet to face court.

Mr Taylor lived at the property with his partner and three-year-old son, among others.

It appears possible that the others charged with murder — Dymock (19), a juvenile, and an unknown woman — are also associated with the Aryan Nations.

Edhouse first made contact with me back in November 2014, asking me to help promote his nu group: I wasn’t very interested.

Fast forward to early 2016, and Edhouse got his wish for publicity by appearing as a spokesperson for AN in WA media. Prior to this, in January, Edhouse messaged me to complain that anti-fascists failed to disrupt a United Patriots Front rally in Perth (which AN attended). The links between the AN and UPF are — or were — close but informal: allegedly, the UPF were housed by AN member Melony Jane Taylor when they travelled to Perth in order to attend a UPF rally last year. In any case, the UPF draws from the same right-wing swamp as AN does (or did). Certainly, Edhouse and AN keep up-to-date with the antics of the Australia First Party, whose leader, Dr Jim Saleam, also entertained Edhouse on one of his trips to Sydney (just as he did the UPF leadership when they were also in Sydney late last year).

jimanded

Above : Saleam, unknown nazi, Edhouse (@ The Bunker in Tempe)

audaciousrob

Above : Edhouse and fellow nazi (copy of AFP newsletter ‘Audacity’ on couch)

As for Edhouse’s partner(?) Melony Jayne Taylor, she makes her own political convictions pretty apparent:

beautiful

Posted in !nataS, Anti-fascism, Broken Windows, Death, History, Media, State / Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

antifa notes (april 29, 2016) : From Angry Anderson to Neil Erikson

angryala

• The anti-Muslim Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA) launched its Victorian Senate campaign in the Arthur Streeton room at the Sofitel On Collins on Wednesday night (April 27). The MC was diminutive Tory, Gary ‘Angry’ Anderson. You may remember him from such political stunts as the Liberal Party’s 2010 NSW election campaign and the 1991 VFL Grand Final half-time entertainment.

• Along with the Australia First (AFP) and One Nation (ONP) parties, the ALA is one of three ‘far-right’ parties surveyed by news.com.au in Far-right-wing parties after your vote on election day (Oliver Murray, April 26, 2016). Not included are the (unregistered) Party for Freedom (ie, Nick Folkes & Co.), Danny Nalliah’s Rise Up Australia Party (RUAP), and ‘Fortitude’, the stillborn political party of the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF).

AFP has been contesting state and federal elections since 1996, to little effect and with zero success. The party wants to re-institute the White Australia policy, inter alia, which is rather ironic considering its leader, Dr Jim Saleam, is of Lebanese ancestry. Arguably the most coherent in terms of ideology, it’s also the least popular (except among neo-Nazis), and struggles to field a team at public events.

The ALA is the political expression of the Q Society, and is the semi-professional face of Islamophobia in Australia. The party has nominated a nobody named Daniel Jones to lead its fight against Creeping Shariah in Victoria. An outside chance of a win elsewhere in the country, the party has solid financial backing.

One Nation’s main attraction remains Pauline Hanson, who only narrowly lost the race for a seat (Lockyer) in the Queensland state parliament in 2015. If she fails, as seems likely, to win the Senate contest, she’ll still walk away with tens of thousands of $ in prizes. In 1996, Pauline reckoned she and the rest of Australia was in danger of being ‘swamped by Asians’; twenty years later, it’s now Muslims who threaten to sink White Australia, especially Bendigo. Sadly, this week saw Bendigo councillor Elise Chapman withdraw as ONP’s candidate for the Senate in Victoria. See : Bendigo anti-mosque campaigner Elise Chapman withdraws One Nation election candidacy, Peter Lenaghan, ABC, April 27, 2016.

RUAP is one of several Christian parties on offer (others include the Australian Christians, Christian Democrats (Fred Nile’s mob), and Family First), and has worked very closely with the UPF over the course of 2015, happily sharing a platform with neo-Nazis and fascists. (This is presumably because God told Danny that Hitler, like Jesus, was ace and grouse.) UPF flunkey Scott Moerland is a former RUAP candidate and while it’s unknown if God has told him to run again, he did share a stage with Danny at the massive February 6 PEGIDA rally in Canberra, along with John Bolton (ALA Senate candidate in South Australia), his (other) fuehrer Blair Cottrell (UPF), Kim Vuga (Love Australia or Leave micro-sect) and Chris Shortis, the Victorian man who’s allegedly pumped $20,000 into Cottrell’s dingbat campaign to become Chancellor of Australia.

Still, you’ve gotta risk it to get the biscuit amirite?

neilviakenji

• Also on Tuesday night, and just around the corner from the Sofitel, the Scots Church hosted US Christian fundamentalist Eric Metaxas. See : Gay Rights Is The New Nazism: Meet The Men Speaking With Scott Morrison At Christian Lobby Conference, Thom Mitchell and Max Chalmers, New Matilda, April 12, 2016. A small rally was held outside the venue to denounce Metaxas and his tour sponsor, the Australian Christian Lobby. See also : Naarm / Melbourne: LGBTQI community blockade of Australian Christian Lobby event, Insurrection News, April 28, 2016.

Among those who attended the event was former UPF member Neil Erikson, armed as always with his camera, and finding a natural place among the police also monitoring the event. After a few minutes filming it appears that Neil fell over, and may even have damaged his camera as a result. He later claimed to have assaulted local anarchist Kieran Bennett and to have knocked him unconscious — a claim which Kieran rejects. (Note that Neil was accompanied by two comrades, who also allegedly tripped and fell over.) Bizarrely, within the space of less than 24 hours, Neil’s account of the event changed from one in which he ‘knocked out’ a political opponent to claiming that an unknown person inserted a finger up his bottom while he was lying on the ground; a claim picked up by Buzzfeed (Far Right Nationalist Claims Someone Stuck A Finger In His Anus At A Protest, Lane Sainty, April 28, 2016).

tuffguyhuts

• It appears as though Dennis Huts — the leading ‪UPF flunkey in Perth — bravely struck a young woman at the Safe Schools rally in Perth last week (April 22), thus confirming his reputation as a man of deeds as well as words. (He claims she waved a placard in his face.) In any case, it’s indisputable that such behaviour embodies the very best of the ANZAC tradition, and The Ghosts of Gallipoli would no doubt agree that the UPF is fully entitled to claim — as it does — to stand in this tradition. Indeed, the dangers, hardship and loss that accompanied the ANZACs’ ultimately futile attempt to establish a foothold on the Gallipoli peninsula are echoed in UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell’s own tale of amazing courage in the face of adversity. Following the rally, Huts published a series of photos of those attending in order to support Safe Schools, with predictable results. Later, Facebook forced him to remove the photos. See : Facebook removes ‘gay shaming’ from United Patriots page, Out in Perth, April 27, 2016.

• Former UPF associate Phill Galea was in court again this week in Bendigo.

Galea appeared at a contest mention hearing in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday [April 26] to fight his charge of possessing a distress signal without reasonable excuse.

He has risked an even larger fine after refusing to settle the charges in court, wanting to call the boat owner as a witness to give evidence to the court.

The charges stem from a United Patriots Front rally in Bendigo on October 10, when police were mistakenly told Galea was carrying a knife.

Instead, they found a flare in his front right pocket.

Galea told police it was for his personal protection, but later claimed he was holding it for a friend, a member of the Australian Patriots Defence League.

Note: There’s no such thing as the Australian Patriots Defence League; there is an ‘Australian Defence League’ (ADL) and a ‘Patriots Defence League of Australia’ (PDLA). See : Flare at Bendigo protest ‘in case I got jumped’, Adam Holmes, Bendigo Advertiser, April 26, 2016.

• Casey councillors have rejected an application to build a mosque in Narre Warren, however Rejection of plan not based on religion, Melbourne council says (Jessica Longbottom, ABC, April 27, 2016). The mosque has been the subject of a months-long grassroots campaign in opposition to its construction, as virtually all such projects are now in Australia, a campaign which also attracted the support of the UPF. At this stage, it seems likely that the mosque developers will appeal the council’s decision, so it’s far from clear whether or not the mosque will actually be built — or not. Note that Casey council rejected a previous application to convert a gym into a mosque in 2014. See also : Mosque opposed by far-right political groups likely to be blocked, Melissa Davey, The Guardian, April 27, 2016.

• Finally, the ‘True Blue Crew’ in Melton have declared that they’ll be rallying in Coburg on Saturday, May 28. You may remember the TBC from such events as the UPF rally in Bendigo in February 2016 (where they shouted impotently at police and anti-fascists), the Reclaim Australia rally in Melton in November 2015 (where they shouted impotently at anti-fascists) and from the Reclaim Australia/UPF rally in July 2015, when a handful of TBC fell over, got pepper sprayed, arrested, and slapped with token fines. ‘Stop the Far Left! – Rally Supporting the Australian Governments Use of the Offshore Detention Centers That Protect Our Nation’ is the full title of their grand plan for Coburg in May, and is intended to be a response to another rally titled ‘Moreland says NO to Racism’, organised by local councillor Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance), which demands ‘Stop the forced closure of Aboriginal communities -Treaty now’; ‘Let the refugees in – Close Manus and Nauru’ and ‘No to Islamophobia’, and which is endorsed by a large array of other organisations.

Fascists haven’t held a rally in Coburg since the mid-1990s, when Dr Jim Saleam’s former party National Action were quite active in the area. An NA rally at Brunswick Town Hall in March 1994 was protected by a large number of police, but even with police reinforcements the neo-Nazis were forced to flee both the Hall and the suburb, grabbing a specially-commadeered train express from Brunswick to the city. See : Anti-fascism in Melbourne: 1990s (March 20, 2007). The UPF has announced that it will be supporting the TBC, and it’s safe to assume that every patriotik Tom, Dick and Adolf will too. How committed the police are to facilitating a fascist assembly in Coburg, however, is an open question.

Posted in !nataS, Anti-fascism, Sex & Sexuality, State / Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

#EWLinkHouses : End The Rot /// Squat The Lot

bendigostreet

Hey0,

For the last few weeks, good folk have been occupying empty housing in Bendigo Street, Collingwood. The houses — previously scheduled to be demolished in order to make way for another fucking highway — have been left standing empty since the Victorian government cancelled the billion-dollar East-West Link road project in December 2014. As for the private developers responsible, they were left laffing at the cancellation, the previous, Tory government having agreed to pay them massive compensation if the project was scrapped … and if the rich are happy, who could ask for anything more?

Well, the Homeless Persons Union of Victoria, among others. March 31, 2016:

After a long-fought day, protesters have successfully occupied an empty domestic property on Bendigo St this morning.

This is despite being informed late yesterday afternoon, after weathering a 3-hour holding pattern conducted by Victoria Police officers and an anonymous party of three, that their occupation of 18 Bendigo St, Collingwood, constituted an act of unlawful trespass on private property …

Since then, the occupation has been ongoing. See :

Squatters stage protest occupation in Collingwood, Marika Dobbin, The Age, March 30, 2016
Homeless women ‘told they had 10 minutes to leave’ East West Link home, Aisha Dow, Benjamin Preiss, The Age, April 1, 2016
Homeless retake houses in protest, Jacob Andrewartha, Green Left Weekly, April 6, 2016
Still no clarity on East West Link houses, Kieran’s Review, April 14, 2016
Homeless Persons Union holds state to account, Ellena Savage, Eureka Street, April 14, 2016
A Day With the Squatters Protesting Melbourne’s Housing Crisis, Chris Shearer, VICE, April 18, 2016
Party time for occupiers of East West Link homes in Collingwood, Clay Lucas, The Age, April 20, 2016

Tomorrow — SUNDAY, APRIL 24 @ 2pm — there’s a PARTY in Bendigo Street and YOU are invited!

bendigoparty

See youse there!

See also : Australian Museum of Squatting | Yarra Campaign for Action on Transport (YCAT).

Posted in Broken Windows, Collingwood, Media, State / Politics, That's Capitalism! | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

#TrotGuide 2016

trottrottrot

Gosh and bother and tish and fiffle: it’s been just over four years since I last formally updated Trot Guide (April 10, 2012). At that stage I counted a mere fifteen political organisations on the far left — mostly Trotskyist in orientation. The Bad News is that it appears that at least two of these organisations are now extinct; the Good News is that at least two more have emerged — and that’s just in the last few months!

1. The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) is still kicking. Its March 2016 newsletter [PDF] contains an account of ‘Fighting fascism in Australia’ by Riki Lane, which concludes ‘All the approaches taken – counter demonstrations; getting unions to take a better stand; broad anti-racist organising – need to be pursued and coordinated. A useful approach could be to build a broader coalition of all the existing groups on a national basis. The key however, is to get the organised labour movement active in fighting this threat.’ Ho hum. The group appears to be strongest in Brisbane, with supporters in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

2. The Communist League (CL) is also still kicking, though one suspects it would struggle to field a football team. 5-a-side, maybe? For reasons which escape me, the CL was invited to attend the anarchist bookfair in Melbourne in 2012, but I don’t think they’ve been back. In any case, you can subscribe to The Militant and buy their titles from their office in Sydney. PS. The indefatigable Ron Poulsen scored 148 votes in his tilt at a seat in the Senate at the 2013 federal election.

3. The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) remains steadfast in its commitment to Communism, which in the last few years has also managed to find expression at the ballot box. Sadly, The Communists were de-registered by the AEC in May 2012 ‘because the party failed to prove it still had 500 members eligible for enrolment’. That said, the Communists are still keen to contest, so ‘If you’re on the electoral roll and would be prepared to help out, please contact us at [email protected] or ring Bob Briton on 0418 894 366’. What else can be said? Well, they still heart Stalin, and you can read a recent (October 2015) apologia for his rule (by Rob Gowland) in The Worker’s Weekly — Anti-Soviet propaganda and Stalin (Part 1) and Cold War propaganda offensive (Part 2). Strongest in NSW, the CPA has a presence in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne and Perth.

PS. A Comrade wishes to make a correction re the ‘Communist Alliance’, ‘The Communists’ and the CPA. Thus according to CPA General Secretary Hannah Middleton (June 2012): ‘The Communists (originally called the Communist Alliance) was an electoral alliance of which the CPA was one part [emphasis mine], together with migrant [Greek, Latin American, Lebanese, Sri Lankan] Communist parties and progressive individuals from around Australia. The Communist Party of Australia supported the Communist Alliance (CA) because it united a range of left political forces to fight for real change. The Communist Alliance was registered as a party on March 16, 2009. A legal challenge from the Community Alliance [emphasis mine], a conservative group in Canberra, forced the CA to change its name to the Communists. This group did not manage to meet the requirement that it update its membership list in time and was recently deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission.’

4. The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML) has had some troubles adapting to the twenty-first century. In Bad news for spotters, the organisation suspended publication of its newspaper, Vanguard, in 2014, the last print edition appearing in December 2014 [PDF]. First published in 1963, inter alia, ‘The decision to go fully online has been made in recognition of the fact that most young people use the internet as their primary source of news and communication’. Duncan B. writes: ‘I still have a copy of the very first Vanguard published over fifty-one years ago in September 1963. It is interesting to read the editorial of the first Vanguard. Under the heading “Why Vanguard is Published”, the editorial says, “The publication of Vanguard is an historic event. It is now the only paper which upholds the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. The paper has a big and noble job to do. Its main task will be to give a Marxist-Leninist analysis of the major events of our time.”’ See also : The Explosion Point of Ideology in China (1967) / China: reading guide (libcom). The CPA (M-L) may be contacted through the Vanguard at PO Box 196, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia 3065 or via email ([email protected]).

5. Feminism + Trotskyism = Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). The FSP is based in Melbourne and maintains a shopfront called Solidarity Salon on Sydney Road, Brunswick. Steady as she goes

6. NEW! ML Group (MLG). The MLG (Marxist-Leninist Group) announced its existence online in a post on the MLG blog titled ULTRA-NATIONALISM, RACISM AND BIGOTRY ARE NO SOLUTION. WORKERS CAN DEFEAT FASCISM! ALL OUT ON APRIL 4! Alright! You can read the MLG’s PROSPECTUS! and its CONSTITUTION! and much, much more on its blog.

7. Formed in November 1996, the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) doesn’t appear to have made much progress since 2012. They still have a website, however, and will no doubt be active at the 2016 federal election. The party seems most active in Newcastle, NSW. In 2013, it endorsed Susanna Scurry, who ran as an independent for the federal seat of Newcastle and scored 1,026 votes (1.2%) for her troubles.

8. Resistance, 2012: ‘Nominally independent yoof wing of SA’. 2016: Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance. See also : Successful #RadicalIdeas2015 conference.

9. The Revolutionary Socialist Party is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker (etc., etc., etc.). Formed as a split from the DSP (now SA) in 2008, ‘At its final congress on 28 March 2013, the RSP voted unanimously to merge with Socialist Alternative’. See also : RSP and SAlt, Old-Style Opportunism: “Death of Communism” Lash-up, Australasian Spartacist, No. 219, Autumn 2013.

10. The Socialist Alliance (SA) was founded in 2001, has had many ups and downs, and is the organisation into which the Democratic Socialist Party finally dissolved itself in 2010 (being essentially the only group remaining within the Alliance). The intervening four years appear not to have witnessed any growth in SA, the organisation seemingly having been eclipsed by SAlt, but its support is arguably more geographically spread than SAlt’s, having contacts in every capital city and many regional centres. Currently, SA boasts two local councillors (Sue Bolton in Moreland and Sam Wainwright in Fremantle), produces the Green Left Weekly newspaper and is having a conference in Sydney in May titled Socialism For The 21st Century. SA will also be fielding candidates at the 2016 federal election. PS. Two formal tendencies have emerged within SA in the last year or so: ‘The Witches’ (?!) of Adelaide (May 2015) and ‘The 21st Century Socialism Tendency’ (April 2016).

11. Socialist Alternative (SAlt) is almost certainly the largest organisation in this edition of Trot Guide, just as it was in 2012. SAlt benefited from the absorption of the RSP in 2012/2013, while it’s yet to produce a splinter. Occasionally compared to a political kvlt by some of its harsher critics, I semi-seriously examined the claim in June 2013 and concluded that the answer was ‘no’. A highly critical account of the organisation is provided by Liam Donohoe in ‘My Salty Summer’ (Honi Soit, March 15, 2016). PS. Apologies to the SAlt member who waxed lyrical to me about the party and its many activities some months or years ago when I last made noises about updating the Guide.

12. The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) AKA The International Committee of the Fourth International modestly describes itself as the ‘leadership of the world socialist movement’ and frequently disparages its rivals (mostly SA and SAlt) as ‘pseudo-left’. The yoof wing of the SEP — International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) — has been engaged in a ding-dong battle with various University authorities over the last few years, including at Melbourne, where a bunch of kids on the Clubs and Societies Committee have failed to recognise the world-historical mission of the IYSSE/SEP/ICFI and refused to allow its supporters there to formally register as a Club. To add insult to injury, the sneaky little yuppies have even had the temerity to suggest that the junior members of the local branch of the leadership of the world socialist movement join the SAlt Club instead! The SEP frequently contests elections and will do so again at the 2016 federal election.

13. The Socialist Party (SP) was, until very recently, steady-as-she-goes. In February 2016, however, 14 members of the party — including Yarra councillor Steve Jolly — decamped, publishing an open letter alleging that the SP was guilty of engaging in a ‘cover-up of allegations of violence against women’ and stating that they ‘will not remain complicit in the silencing of victims of abuse’. The SP, for its part, issued a rebuttal, which you can read here. The folks who resigned from the SP are still flying the red flag as part of something called ‘The Socialist’; the SP remains mostly a Melbourne thing.

14. Solidarity remains the Official representative of the International Socialist Tendency Down Under. Blogger John Passant is a member, while Jim Casey, the Greens candidate for the seat of Grayndler in NSW, was attacked earlier this year for his former membership of the ‘International Socialists’, the group out of which, by various permutations and combinations, Solidarity formed and which stands in the IS tradition. Solidarity may be found in Brisbane, Canberra and Perth but mostly Melbourne and Sydney. See also : Marching Down Marx Street by Tom O’Lincoln on the history of the Cliffite tendency in Australia.

15. The Spartacist League of Australia AKA International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is ace and grouse and my personal favourite Trot group. It has members in Melbourne and Sydney and calls the SEP ‘Political Bandits’ and ‘Scab Socialists’, SAlt ‘Cheerleaders for Capitalist Counterrevolution’ and so on and so forth.

16. NEW! Formed as a split from the SP, The Socialist is The Title of The Newest socialist kid on the bloc. The Socialist has a Marxism study group, a socialist-feminist study group and an uncertain future.

17. Trotskyist Platform (TP) split from The Spartacists over a decade ago. TP hates fascism and racism almost as much as it hearts North Korea — which is A Lot. You can read about The Planks on Which Trotskyist Platform Can Stand Solid And Work Hard to Help Build The Communist Movement here and also An Eyewitness Account of North Korea and Its People: Bravely Building a Friendly, Socialistic Society While in the Cross Hairs of Imperialism here. PS. TP write ‘Though we in Trotskyist Platform have sharply differing political views to the anarchist who runs the Slackbastard blog and who has initiated the 2nd May [2014] counter-mobilisation to the fascist threat, we applaud the initiative he has taken and are thus actively building this action.’

Which I think is probably the only mention, let alone props, I’ve been given by any of the above groups in over 10 years of blogging … LOL.

Notes

• ‘Trot Guide’ is a neat categorisation but the political designation does not obviously, apply to the CPA, CPA-ML, MLG or PLP.
• Despite a hopeful sign in March 2013, the League for the Revolutionary Party/Communist Organization for the Fourth International (Australia) appears to have closed its post office box in North Melbourne.
• SA and SEP will be fielding candidates in the upcoming federal election; fingers crossed, so will the CPA, CL, PLP, SP and maybe even The Socialist will run.
• The online archive at Reason in Revolt has a range of documents on Australian socialist and radical groups: ‘Reason in Revolt brings together primary source documents of Australian radicalism as a readily accessible digitised resource. By ‘radical’ we refer to those who aimed to make society more equal and to emancipate the exploited or oppressed. Reason in Revolt is an expanding record of the movements, institutions, venues and publications through which radicals sought to influence Australian society.’

BONUS! ☭☭☭☭☭COMMUNISM WILL WIN☭☭☭☭☭

communism

Communism Will Win in Australia. See also : Aussie Anarchist Meme Squat.

Posted in State / Politics, Trot Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

anarchist notes (april 13, 2016) : APRIL 2016

FBFBFRT

a few things :

• on saturday (april 16), jura books (sydney) will be hosting a discussion w visiting academic alex prichard on the subject of ‘Anarchy, Freedom, and Constitutionalism’ : “How do you know when you’re free? Anarchists have usually said you’re free to the extent that you’re not dominated. But what secures this non-dominated state? Do we need to be empowered, or is something else needed?”

• you can listen to alex and fellow academic saul newman discuss anarchism on late night live with phillip adams here (anarchy rules!, april 5, 2016).

• a few weeks ago, the always-outrageous disaccords blog got name-dropped in a garbled account in the daily terrorgraph about folks in sydney wanting to ride the public transport system w/o paying. ‘Free Transport, Full Communism’: Cowardly vandals encourage attacks on rail staff screamed the headline (march 18, 2016).

• on april 23 in sydney there’s gonna be an Anarcho-Queer Solidarity Bloc to the Safe Schools Protest. Hell No to the Homophobic ACL!. on the subject of the acl, see : Gay Rights Is The New Nazism: Meet The Men Speaking With Scott Morrison At Christian Lobby Conference, Thom Mitchell and Max Chalmers, New Matilda, April 12, 2016 (There are “a lot of parallels” between the failures of church groups to resist Nazism in 1930s Germany and the growing acceptance among US Christians of liberalism in contemporary America – including towards issues of sexuality – according to the star attraction at this year’s Australian Christian Lobby conference).

• another blog worth taking a look at is insurrection news. a recent post invites readers to contribute to the establishment of a mobile infoshop in the Philippines: Support the Greenhouse Infoshop mobile library!

• the ‘perth libertarians’ have a facebook page here; the (anarcho-syndicalist) asf-iwa have a (new) twitter account here.

• in melbourne, anarchist affinity recently held a discussion on the subject of Social Anarchism, Individualism and Lifestyle Politics. aa will also be holding a Workplace Organising Skills 101 w/e workshop on april 23 and april 30, presented by two comrades from the FAU Berlin.

• also on april 23, hot shots in footscray is hosting a series of skills workshops on coping w trauma / metal working / screen printing and moar.

• in melbourne, may day this year happens to fall on a weekend (sunday, may 1). anarchists will be among those gathering outside trades hall for the occasion.

bonus qeld!

Red and black on both sides: interview with radical hip-hop duo QELD (libcom, april 11, 2016)

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