‘Halcyon Days? The Amalgamated Metal Workers’ Union and the Accord’ [Extract]

I chucked up some stuff from this title last post, but thought I might chuck the conclusion from Elizabeth Humphrys’ essay up here as well. See also : How Labour Built Neoliberalism: Australia’s Accord, the Labour Movement and the Neoliberal Project, Elizabeth Humphrys (Brill, 2018).

Elizabeth Humphrys, ‘Halcyon Days? The Amalgamated Metal Workers’ Union and the Accord’, The Far Left in Australia since 1945 (Routledge, 2018), pp.244-245.

… With the AMWU leading the way, the militancy and organisation of the Australian union movement in the 1970s enabled its leaders to push their way into the highest levels of national political and economic decision-making, in the shape of the Accord. This social contract was central to drawing unionised workers directly into the process of national economic restructuring. However, the cost of this process was the weakening, disorganisation and fragmentation of the union movement. Unions suffered from declining membership they could not reverse, decreased activity and organisation at the workplace level, and an increased focus on local and sectional interests once enterprise bargaining began to take hold. Enterprise bargaining successfully stemmed the threat of open rebellion against the Accord, but its timing and legal framework meant it could not prevent an acceleration of union membership decline. There was a consequential deterioration of the relationship between the ALP and the ACTU, as both sides found diminishing value in cooperation. Whether a sustained pushback by militants forming breakaway unions could have reversed the further decline of worker organisation is impossible to know in retrospect, but it seems likely that the deterioration prior to 1989 had already been sufficient to change the overall balance of forces, and that the shift to enterprise bargaining simply reinforced the downward trajectory of the early 1990s and beyond.

Current [sic] ACTU President Ged Kearney has described the Accord’s centralised wage system of the early 1990s as a ‘yoke and shackle for unions’ and that because of this they ‘fought for and won direct collective bargaining’. Kearney also argued that union leaders were aware that the election of a conservative government was inevitable, and that there was a ‘need to rejuvenate the capacity of the union movement to organise, to bargain and campaign again’. But this is not what enterprise bargaining delivered in practice. Instead, the labour movement was unable to recover its declining workplace density.

The contradictions of the Accord also point to the improbability of a similar social contract being used to drive radical political economic reform in the future. This is because the social organisations that were central to instituting the Accord were hollowed out in the process of the social contract, so much so they can no longer play the same role — and nor can they be as effective in resisting such reforms as they had been in previous decades. During the Accord years there was a substantial fall in the level of unionisation from 49 to 32.7 percent. In the years since, this has fallen by a further 50 percent to under 15 percent. While there is debate about the relationship between the Accord and this decline it is clear that, within the Accord framework and through the ACTU’s post-Accord era strategy, there has been no sustained reinvigoration of union activism or organisation across the country.

The failure of the left unions’ strategy of industrial militancy and mobilisation to resolve the crisis in favour of labour (in the 1970s and early 1980s) resulted in these unions seeking a political solution through central state planning, and, thus, being brought inside the state and political society. The role of the CPA-led AMWU in the Accord process demonstrates how the social contract incorporated a militant union suffused with radical perspectives into the new political project centred on reviving accumulation and ‘modernising’ the Australian economy. Central to neo-liberal restructuring was the participation of unions in industry structural adjustment and efforts to increase productivity, which proceeded alongside the attempted reorienting of the Accord in the 1986–1987 Australia Reconstructed initiative. The shift from a workplace-focused strategy to a corporatist one facilitated the enwrapment of labour and the trade union leadership by political society and its priorities. This resulted in the molecular transformation of the AMWU — its leaders, members and structures — so that they were no longer capable of playing a significant role in defending, let alone winning, social gains for Australian workers. In the end, the solution the AMWU adopted for the impasse of its previous strategy of industrial militancy hollowed out the union’s membership and power — which exacerbated the devastating impact of economy-wide changes on the metals and manufacturing industries. This was a tragic outcome, the consequences of which reverberate well beyond its ranks and are still with us today.

See also : An Integral State: notes on marx & gramsci | With Sober Senses: Fault Lines of Capital Accumulation & Front Lines of Class Struggle | Journal of Australian Political Economy | Change The Rules | Our unions in crisis: how did it come to this?, Tom Bramble, Marxist Left Review, No.15 (Summer 2018) | Strike action ‘near extinct’ as wages stagnate, think tank says, Stephanie Chalmers, ABC, January 30, 2018 | Australian unions on the eve of May Day… (April 30, 2012).

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Trot Guide September 2018 Update

It’s been a while eh — over two years, in fact (see : #TrotGuide 2016, April 21, 2016). That said, while there’s been some interesting developments on The Far Left : Down Under Edition, for the most part things are continuing to remain fairly calm and capitalism remains really really really late.

Still having a crack :
1. Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL);
2. Communist League (CL);
2 1/2. Communist Left (of Australia);
3. Communist Party of Australia (CPA);
4. Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA M-L);
4 1/2. Communist Workers Party of Australia;
5. Freedom Socialist Party (FSP);
6. Progressive Labour Party (PLP);
7. Socialist Alliance (SA);
8. Socialist Alternative (SAlt);
9. Socialist Equality Party (SEP);
10. Socialist Party (SP);
11. Solidarity;
12. Spartacist League of Australia;
13. Trotskyist Platform (TP).

Scratched :
1. ML Group (MLG) — see : Workers League;
2. Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).
Tired and emotional :
1. Resistance;
2. The Socialist.

NEW!
1. Left Unity;
2. Stalin Society of Australia;
3. Victorian Socialists;
4. Workers League.

The Far Left in Australia since 1945

To begin with, The Far Left in Australia since 1945 (Routledge, 2018), edited by Jon Piccini, Evan Smith & Matthew Worley, contains a number of essays of relevance to spotters, especially ‘The current of Maoism in the Australian Far Left’ by Drew Cottle and Angela Keys, which details the activities of Maoists in Australia in the 1960s and ’70s and inter alia the sometimes rather hostile relationship between Maoists and Trots.

The mutual hatred of the Trotskyists and Maoists for each other was not simply over ideological differences. The Maoists were seen by Trotskyists as ignorant, dogmatic Stalinist thugs, prone to violence and lost to the quest of reactionary nationalism. Maoists denounced Trotskyists as police agents, full of talk about the need to build the international socialist revolution, wreckers or cowards. In a 1970 Vanguard article, Trotskyism was condemned as an apolitical diversion in its promotion of drug-taking, sex-obsession, homosexuality and pop culture.

Maoist students were known to resort to physical rviolence against ‘Trotskyites’ in demonstrations and on campus. At Flinders University in 1972 Maoists bashed Trotskyist paper-sellers. Maoist activists at the gates of car plants in Adelaide and Melbourne jostled and punched Trotskyist speakers and paper-sellers. A Trotskyist activist was beaten unconscious by a student Maoist after a rowdy meeting at La Trobe University in 1977. In 1978, Maoist students threw another Trotskyist student through a plate glass window at La Trobe University. Maoists often attacked Trotskyist activists at union rallies. Maoist demonstrations often involved violent confrontations with the police. Maoists destroyed the Nazi Party headquarters in Carlton after a mass rally at the Yarra River in Melbourne was called to protest their activities. Trotskyists condemned this act of ‘people’s violence against fascism’. The Maoists were arguably the most divisive grouping of the Australian Far Left in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sadly, the essay fails to take note that ‘the first organised public debate in Australia between leading proponents of Maoism and Trotskyism took place at Latrobe University on 12 October’ 1978 (Maoist “in the service of peanut king Carter”: Spartacist League debates Albert Langer, Australasian Spartacist, November 1978). Langer, now known as Arthur Dent, is still fulla opinions, which you can read on Barry York’s blog C21st Left. York’s 1989 book STUDENT REVOLT! La Trobe University 1967-73 (Nicholas Press), along with Dan Robins’ 2005 thesis ‘Melbourne’s Maoists: The Rise of the Monash University Labor Club, 1965-1967’ are also relevant. See also : Bold thinking, revolutionary democracy and ‘the children of Karl Marx and Coca Cola’, C21st Left, October 20, 2017 | La Trobe Three revisit university 45 years after being locked up for protesting on campus, Josie Taylor, ABC 7.30 Report, February 24, 2017 | Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) @ Reason in Revolt Archive.

Everybody’s favourite Trot group, the Spartacist League, also get a guernsey in Isobelle Barrett Meyering’s essay ‘Changing consciousness, changing lifestyles: Australian women’s liberation, the left and the politics of ‘personal solutions”:

… women’s liberation saw itself as rejecting ‘male left’ politics and demanded that it be recognised as an ‘autonomous’ movement. For those who maintained their connections to the organised left, this proved to be a point of ongoing friction. As women’s liberation expanded, some self-described ‘political women’ within the movement complained that they were treated as suspect due to their allegiances to socialist groups. These debates reached their apogee with proposals to expel Spartacist League members from women’s liberation in Melbourne in 1973 and Sydney in 1977, prompted by complaints that they were ‘disruptive’ and not genuinely committed to women’s liberation. The proposals were the subject of significant controversy, with only the Melbourne motion succeeding.

The proposal to expel the Sparts is denounced by them in “Radical” feminism going nowhere: Fight women’s oppression through class struggle! (Australasian Spartacist, March 1977), Red-baiting in women’s movement: Stop anti-Trotskyist purge! (April, 1977), Sydney Women’s Liberation: Feminist purge defeated … (May, 1977) and no doubt in subsequent issues. See : Australasian Spartacist.

But anyway:

Maoists.

Sadly, the CPA (M-L) ceased the print publication of its zine Vanguard back in 2014, but you can continue to read the online version here. The CPA (M-L) also has an online forum of sorts called ‘Australian Communist Discussion Site’ which inter alia contains a discussion from November 2017 indicating the CPA M-L’s participation in a NEW! (to me) project in Adelaide called ‘Left Unity’; indeed, ‘our people were among the founding members of a group called Left Unity, a loose alliance of Socialist Alliance, CPA, anarchists and individuals’. You can read more about Left Unity here. And speaking of Left Unity …

See also : Anti-Revisionism in Australia, Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line.

Victorian Socialists

Like Left Unity, Victorian Socialists are a NEW! project on the left, an electoral campaign which has received the support of a number of socialist groupings including Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

Who are the Victorian Socialists?

Our political system is broken. The Liberals rule for their corporate mates. Labor is little better, tailing the political right and selling out its working class supporters to big money and developers.

It’s time for a genuine left alternative.

In the November 2018 state election, left wingers are uniting as the Victorian Socialists to get Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly elected to the upper house for the Northern Metropolitan Region.

We are for the poor against the rich, for workers against their bosses, for the powerless against the powerful.

The Victorian Socialists brings together socialist groups including Socialist Alternative and the Socialist Alliance, and individual activists, unionists and community organisers.

While Stephen Jolly will head the campaign, the ticket will also include Colleen Bolger from Socialist Alternative, and Socialist Alliance Moreland councillor Sue Bolton …

Whether or not Jolly will be able to win a seat would seem to depend upon: a) getting a reasonable amount of first preferences and; b) the flow of preferences from other parties. At this stage, it seems likely Labor will preference him behind Fiona Patten (Reason Party), an eventuality which would make it more difficult for Jolly to win. Still, stranger things have happened, amirite? In any event, you can read an interview with the Victorian Socialists by Riki Lane of Workers’ Liberty Australia — Vote Victorian Socialists! Put a socialist in parliament for Northern Melbourne — here.

Oh, and the Victorian Socialists will also be contesting the Western Victoria Region Legislative Council electorate in the November state election.

Still, not everybody’s on-board, and that includes the leadership of the world socialist movement AKA The International Committee of the Fourth International AKA The Socialist Equality Party, what reckons that this ‘latest opportunist manoeuvre by the pseudo-left is a calculated response to immense disaffection within the working class towards the Labor Party, which holds government in Victoria, and to the breakup of the longstanding two-party-dominated political system. Its aim is try to capture some of the social and political discontent and channel it into new parliamentary illusions.’ The electoral vehicle is subject to further excoriation by Patrick O’Connor in Australia: The pseudo-left Victorian Socialists and its pro-capitalist election manifesto (wsws.org, September 12, 2018).

See also : The Immodest Victorian Socialists, Ivan Mitchell and Daniel Lopez, Jacobin, September 8, 2018.

Speaking of the leadership of the world socialist movement, I also recently stumbledupon a NEW! (to me) site called classconscious.org, which exists in order to ‘promote the unity of the international working class in the struggle for socialist revolution.’ The site, which began publication in March 2017, has a small number of articles on it, many concerning Julian Assange (for example: The I.C.F.I must expose the petit-bourgeois and far-right forces who have co-opted the campaign for Julian Assange: An appeal to ICFI members and supporters, September 9, 2018), and while ‘This blog has no relationship with the World Socialist Website or the ICFI, its publishers … it is from this organisation that we have gained our education in Marxism and upon which we base our perspective.’ So there you go.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

*I’m happy to announce that at some point between now and April 2016, the COMMUNIST WORKERS PARTY OF AUSTRALIA announced its existence on Facebook AND it has a website!

**Futilitarian has kindly reminded me of the existence of a ‘Communist Left’ (of Australia) in Sydney (not to be confused with the seemingly quite short-lived ‘Communist Left Discussion Circle’). They (?) publish a zine called Red which you can read here. (The latest available issue is numbered 118 and dated March 2017.) A statement published in late 2000 describes the groupuscule’s history:

Communist Left was formed in June 1976 by Owen Gager. It was formed in continuity with the record of New Zealand Spartacist League (which became Red Federation), Owen Gager’s struggle within that grouping against Spartacist League US supporters B. Logan and A. Hannah (backed by the majority of Wellington Branch). Gager had the support of Auckland comrades, notably Bruce Jesson. Jesson was expelled for building the Republican Movement at the expense of Red Federation. It supported the 1970 Programme of the NZSL and Owen Gager’s political record in Australia, mainly on East Timor and the 1976 Australian Constitutional crisis (the Kerr Coup). The first members were Bill Keats and Terry Millar who remained CPA members. Terry Millar was a member of NZSL and a comrade of O.Gager in New Zealand. A glazier, Paul Azzopardi joined shortly after.

The programme of the Communist Left, written in 1977 and published in 1978, firmly established the group’s political basis. Key points include full support for Trotsky’s founding of the fourth International but recognition that Fourth International was dead and none of the proclaimed continuers or reformers of it maintained in any way the continuity of the tradition as established by Trotsky. This includes the Mandelite United Secretariat, the Healyite International Committee, those in solidarity with the Socialist Workers Party (of the US), the Morenoite and Posadasite variants and the International Spartacist Tendency. As communism is by definition internationalist, there is an urgent need for a fifth international.

Communist Left made many important interventions on the Australian left. Gager and Azzopardi intervened within the Labor Party. Keats and Millar within the Communist Party of Australia. There were also key political interventions on such issues as the colonial nature of Australian capitalism combined with its mini-imperialist domination of parts of SE Asia and the South Pacific, the crisis of manufacturing and subsequent unemployment, the nationalist crisis of Stalinism internationally leading to the third Indochina war (and the ostensible Trotskyist sell out to Stalinism). CL made practical interventions on issues such as unemployment and housing.

Communist Left supports the founding document of the Fourth International – The Transitional Programme. The aim of the Programme of the Communist Left is not to replace Trotsky’s programme but to relate its method to a new period – the post-war boom, the expansion of Stalinism, the degeneration of Trotskyism. The document sets out international principles and applies them to Australia.

Internationally CL/A was in solidarity with the NZSL which was re-established in 1978. This group became CLNZ in 1983. Discussions were also held with the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain.

CL/A grew in size as a result of practical work in unemployment and housing (squatting). CL/A was party to a major squatting of the Glebe estate area of Sydney (October 1984) involving hundreds of people. This however led to the expulsion of founder leader Owen Gager due to his indiscipline. Gager refused to argue for tactics previously agreed to by Glebe squatters and declared war on the majority when they insisted he did so. He then pretended that he was CL and that the majority had “stolen” the organisation off him. He then constituted himself as Communist Left (Leninist) and now is actively part of the Melbourne Anarchist movement.

Until the end of 1987 CL did some important work in unemployment and housing. A bulletin Communist was published. Interventions were made on a political level on issues such as the Hawke Government’s Prices and Incomes Accord (the Accord) and the left responses such as Broad Left and Fightback. We remained involved in housing and unemployment as members of the Union of the Unemployed, the Squatters and Tenants (UUST).

Communist Left Australia spit into fragments at the end of 1987. The majority supporting calling the police against their former comrades, giving the police names and addresses, totally unacceptable placing them outside the workers’ movement. Communist Tendency was established to maintain continuity of the CL tradition. CL was re-established when two former members including Paul Azzopardi rejoined. Red has been published consistently as a quarterly since March 1988. The issue currently in preparation will be the fiftieth issue. Leaflets have also been issued. Communist Left has also published an unemployed bulletin called Unemployed Action.

Communist Left broke off relations with Communist Left New Zealand when that grouping affiliated with the League for a Revolutionary Communist International (LRCI) whose leading section is the British group called Workers Power. We intervened to show that this was fundamentally an economist tendency, whose strategy was extending the trade union struggle into a general strike “posing the question of power”. We pointed out that the question of power must not only be posed but resolved – through a revolutionary programme confronting the totality of state power. This LRCI consistently avoided. We also pointed out the consequence of this was adaptation to the existing political consciousness of the working class – their reformist chauvinist consciousness. We pointed out Workers Power attacked Benn primarily not as a chauvinist but because of his inconsistency in mobilising the rank and file. This blocs with workers who whilst being critical on a trade union outlook share his fundamental political perspective – a reformist chauvinist one. Workers Power pointed to many heart felt examples of organising against chauvinism. However these are not of strategic consequence to them in drawing class lines. Workers Power lines of struggle are organising workers on the shop floor against the bureaucracy and extending militancy. It is not drawing class lines which involve fighting for an interest independent of capitalist social relations – the capitalist state.

In New Zealand sections of the Workers Power leadership who were also leaders of the Communist Left of New Zealand split with other militants internationally to form the Liason Committee of Militants for a Revolutionary Communist International [1995–2004]. This did not constitute a fundamental break from Workers Power but argued, correctly that the current leadership were adapting to imperialist pressures. Whilst we agree with their criticisms, the totality of LRCI, from the beginning must be addressed. Since they haven’t done so we can not reconsider re-establishing solidarity.

See also : Contemporary Trotskyism: Parties, Sects and Social Movements in Britain, John Kelly (Routledge, 2018).

…Aotearoa/New Zealand

Oh yeah — I haven’t looked at Teh Left in NZ for … six years? In Good News for spotters, the —

1) Communist League;
2) Communist Workers’ Group of Aotearoa/New Zealand;
3) International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT);
4) International Socialist Organisation (Aotearoa/New Zealand);
5) Socialist Aotearoa (SA) and;
6) Socialist Appeal

— are all still kickin’, though Socialist Worker (Aotearoa) — which possibly survives as the Eco-Socialist Network? or maybe not — and the Workers’ Party of New Zealand (WPNZ) have undergone some ch-ch-changes. theicebloc blog has published a neat0 spotters’ guide to the extra-parliamentary left here, which includes Canterbury Socialist Society, Fightback, Organise Aotearoa, Redline, ☭Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (A/NZ)☭, Socialist Equality Group – New Zealand and finally Socialist Voice – Aotearoa/New Zealand. Anarchist groups and projects include Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement, Black Star Books, The Freedom Shop, Rebel Press and Tāmaki Makaurau Anarchists.

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A note on the International Brigades /// Simone Weil in Spain

Back in April, it was announced that ‘The Wire creator David Simon plans series based on Spanish civil war’, one which will follow the adventures of the Abraham Lincoln and George Washington battalions and their contributions to the International Brigades. Then last month I discovered that French philosopher Simone Weil actually journeyed to Spain in 1936 to join the Durruti Column. So … below is an extract from Anatole Dolgoff’s biography of his father, Sam Dolgoff, on the International Brigades; a letter Weil wrote to French writer George Bernanos in 1938 regarding her experiences in Spain with anarchist militias and; some other bits and pieces.

1)

CHAPTER 27 : LINCOLN BRIGADES — MEDIA

This is not an “objective” account. I have warned you of that from the beginning. So, bear with me while I ventilate on a subject dear to my spleen: The Abraham Lincoln Brigade. I have seen its veterans over the years taking credit as the brave antifascists, lone defenders of the Spanish Republic. I have seen them hijack public meetings, basking in the applause of an ignorant audience. I have seen the documentaries, the panels, the symposiums. Their exploits have passed into myth. And please do not misread my intentions. Many of these men were indeed brave and idealistic. Why, after all, would one go? Nor do I object to an old-timer, so few of them left, getting his moment in the sun. At some place, at some time, however, reality must enter the picture. The Lincoln Brigade was part of the International Brigades, an organisation funded, controlled, and dominated by the Soviet Union. This passage, taken from “The Spanish Revolution: A brief introduction” by Charlatan Stew, describes matters well.

In addition, the daily experiences of the Lincoln Brigade participants generally differed significantly from both those of Spanish and non-Spanish fighters in the popular militias. Jason Gurney, in Crusade in Spain…, who critically discusses the International Brigades from the point of view of the British volunteers, notes that the International Brigades claimed to be a “people’s army.” Nevertheless, it more closely resembled a professional military because of its openly hierarchical, authoritarian military officer structure. Gurney gives many examples of participants’ reports of officers demanding absolute obedience and openly resenting questions from the ranks. Gurney also notes that the officers at company and platoon level were chosen for their political views and connections. Only Communist Party members were trusted to hold senior positions.

Cecil Eby in Between the Bullet and the Lie: American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War…found that some volunteers had been affiliated with non-Communist socialist or anarchist organizations, such as the Wobblies, and others were not affiliated with any group. However, they generally reported that the Lincoln Brigade, as part of the International Brigades, was always under the management of the Communists.

Those in the Lincoln Brigades who did not submit to discipline were severely published. And punished is a kind word. Many were hunted down and assassinated; the GPU was relentless. The victim need not have been a Wobbly or a Socialist. Some were simply men of goodwill who came to Spain to fight fascists. My colleague, Harold Lipson, was one of these. “It was a reign of terror,” he said, and he fled from the Brigade — alone, knowing little Spanish, and broke. He believed to the day of his death years later in New York, that he owed his life to a brave Spanish lady, who, understanding his desperation hid him out until he could escape. So spare me the Lincoln Brigades! As for their parent outfit, the International Brigades, I mention again Russell Blackwell’s account that “The Stalinist International Brigades were taken into Aragon to smash the peasant collectives by force of arms.” A Brigade capable of that is capable of anything.

I find galling the praise afforded the communists by “liberals,” “objective scholars,” and various media types.

They, the communists, are presented as the true antifascists who fought for democracy! We should be grateful! It is a form of collective brain-lock of the same type that continues to venerate Mao and that bogus folk hero Che. And while I am in the combative mood, I will say a few words about the esteem afforded Ernest Hemmingway, champion of the Spanish Republic! Spain was the ideal stage for him to prove that the hair on his chest was indeed real and not pasted, as Max Eastman suggested. Hemmingway was held in universal low regard by those anarchists and Wobblies who knew him in Spain. Holed up in the best Madrid hotels, in tight with Stalinist operatives, commandeering the best wines, his favorite maneuver was to befriend some poor devil removed from the front, ply him with wine and maybe a hot meal, and file his story as a dispatch. Although Sam respected the Hemingway of the Nick Adams stories, and The Sun Also Rises, he called his Spain opus, For Whom the Bell Tolls, “sentimental drivel.” Federico Arcos for his part regarded the book with a detached contempt. “Can you imagine the Spanish anarchists (!) need a guy come all the way from Montana to teach us how to use explosives!” he spat out in rapid spanglish. Taken that way the plot does seem a touch implausible — and patronizing.

The Spanish anarchists who draw occasional mention from the liberal media and “objective” scholars are too often depicted as impractical church burners: Violent dreamers. If only they had listened to the dictates of Stalin and obliterated their revolution to his specifications. This was the opinion of Sir Raymond Carr, historian and practical guy, who seems oblivious, for all his wisdom, that Stalin signed his pact with Hitler three months after the defeat of the Republic.

~ Anatole Dolgoff, Left of the Left: My Memories of Sam Dolgoff, AK Press, 2016, pp.178–180; see also Chapters 24, 25, 26, 28

See also : Forgotten Fighters: American Anarchist Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, Kenyon Zimmer, The Volunteer, August 30, 2017 | “I saw the bright ones arrive”: Idealism, alienation, and persistence in the personal legacies of Australian involvement in the Spanish Civil War, danielhp, libcom, September 21, 2017 [2015] | Contested memories: Unearthing tensions from the Spanish Civil War, Up Close (podcast), University of Melbourne, October 3, 2014 | Spanish civil war monument must be pulled down, court rules, Giles Tremlett, The Guardian, June 6, 2013.

2)


Harvey Buttonshaw (via takver)

The story of Australian volunteer Harvey Buttonshaw was an outstanding case of both Communist repression and the interaction of pro-Republican Australians with the international dimensions of the war. Buttonshaw joined a Sydney radical group based at a Kings Cross bookshop (Buttonshaw); working as a poster artist he lived a bohemian life in Paris and London, joined Britain’s Independent Labour Party (ILP), then went to Spain and fought in an ILP affiliated POUM militia. Again, Communist authorities denied his militia weapons and Buttonshaw went to the front without a rifle (Inglis 138). At Saragossa, Buttonshaw’s unit was intentionally and sacrificially left behind by the Communist command in a general withdrawal and suffered the brunt of Francoist fire.

Buttonshaw’s unit lieutenant was George Orwell (Buttonshaw; Orwell 2000: 266). Eileen Blair, Orwell’s wife, sent Buttonshaw sketch pads on which he drew battle scenes, and when Orwell was shot through the neck Buttonshaw was beside him – moments earlier he had warned Orwell to keep his head down (Buttonshaw to Inglis). Like Orwell, Buttonshaw was an avowed anti-Communist. He told Amirah Inglis ‘We fought the Commies in the streets of Barcelona’ in the ‘May Days’ to ‘halt the commie take over.’ But Buttonshaw quickly recognised that the euphoric time of the Spanish Republic was over: ‘This was the end of the revolution; once more force reigned’. The Spanish struggle was traduced, and ‘a free revolution’ became ‘a junta of [Communist] officers and guards’ (qtd Inglis 154; Buttonshaw). Buttonshaw, who had fought on the Aragon front, at Heusca and from Lérida, was finally arrested in a Barcelona cafe and interrogated at the notorious Prefectura di Policía. In many respects, his personal story typified the plight of non-Communist soldiers in Spain: volunteers, including many Australians, who offered their lives for the Republic but found themselves wedged between fascism and Soviet subversion.

~ Brian Beasley, ‘Death Charged Missives’: Australian Literary Responses to the Spanish Civil War, PhD Thesis, University of Southern Queensland (2006)

3)

Letter to George Bernanos (1938)

Monsieur,

However silly it may be to write to an author, since his profession must always involve him in a flood of correspondence, I cannot refrain from doing so after having read Les Grands cimetières sous la lune. Not that it is the first book of yours to touch me. The Journal d’un curé de campagne is in my opinion the best of them, at least of those that I have read, and really a great book. But the fact that I have liked other books of yours gave me no reason to intrude upon you to say so. This last one, however, is a different matter. I have had an experience which corresponds to yours, although it was much shorter and was less profound; and although it was apparently — and only apparently — embraced in a different spirit.

I am not a Catholic, although — and this must no doubt appear presumptuous to any Catholic, coming from a non-Catholic — nothing that is Catholic, nothing that is Christian, has ever seemed alien to me. I have sometimes told myself that if only there was a notice on church doors forbidding entry to anyone with an income above a certain figure, and that a low one, I would be converted at once. From my childhood onwards I sympathized with those organizations which spring from the lowest and least regarded social strata, until the time when I realized that such organizations are of a kind to discourage all sympathy. The last one in which I felt some confidence was the Spanish C.N.T. I had traveled a little in Spain before the Civil War; only a little, but enough to feel the affection which it is hard not to feel for the Spanish people. I had seen the anarchist movement as the natural expression of that people’s greatness and of its flaws, of its worthiest aspirations and of its unworthiest. The C.N.T. and F.A.I. were an extraordinary mixture, to which anybody at all was admitted and in which, consequently, one found immorality, cynicism, fanaticism and cruelty, but also love and fraternal spirit and, above all, that concern for honour which is so beautiful in the humiliated. It seemed to me that the idealists preponderated over the elements of violence and disorder. In July 1936 I was in Paris. I do not love war; but what has always seemed to me most horrible in war is the position of those in the rear. When I realized that, try as I would, I could not prevent myself from participating morally in that war — in other words, from hoping all day and every day for the victory of one side and the defeat of the other — I decided that, for me, Paris was the rear and I took the train to Barcelona, with the intention of enlisting. This was at the beginning of August 1936.

My stay in Spain was brought to a compulsory end by an accident. I was a few days in Barcelona, and then in the remote Aragonese countryside on the banks of the Ebro, about ten miles from Saragossa, at the very place where the river was recently crossed by Yagüe’s troops; then I was at Sitges, in the palace converted into a hospital, and then again in Barcelona. A stay of about two months in all. I left Spain against my will and with the intention of returning; but later I decided voluntarily not to do so. I no longer felt any inner compulsion to participate in a war which, instead of being what it had appeared when it began — a war of famished peasants against landed proprietors and their clerical supporters — had become a war between Russia on the one hand and Germany and Italy on the other.

I recognize the smell of civil war, the smell of blood and terror, which exhales from your book; I have breathed it too. I must admit that I neither saw nor heard of anything which quite equalled the ignominy of certain facts you relate, such as the murder of elderly peasants or the Balllillas chasing old people and beating them with truncheons. But for all that, I heard quite enough. I was very nearly present at the execution of a priest. In the minutes of suspense I was asking myself whether I should simply look on or whether I should try to intervene and get myself shot as well. I still don’t know which I would have done if a lucky chance had not prevented the execution.

So many incidents come crowding … but they would take too long to tell; and to what purpose? Let one suffice. I was at Sitges when the militiamen returned, defeated, from the expedition to Majorca. They had been decimated. Out of forty young boys from Sitges nine were dead, as was learnt when the remaining thirty-one came back. The very next night there were nine revenge operations. In that little town, in which nothing at all had happened in July, they killed nine so-called fascists. Among the nine was a baker, aged about thirty, whose crime, so I was told, was that he had not joined the ‘Somaten’ militia. His old father, whose only child and only support he was, went mad. One more incident: in a light engagement a small international party of militiamen from various countries captured a boy of fifteen who was a member of the Falange. As soon as he was captured, and still trembling from the sight of his comrades being killed alongside him, he said he had been enrolled compulsorily. He was searched and a medal of the Virgin and a Falange card were found on him. Then he was sent to Durruti, the leader of the column, who lectured him for an hour on the beauties of the anarchist ideal and gave him the choice between death and enrolling immediately in the ranks of his captors, against his comrades of yesterday. Durruti gave this child twenty-four hours to think it over, and when the time was up he said no and was shot. Yet Durruti was in some ways an admirable man. Although I only heard of it afterwards, the death of this little hero has never ceased to weigh on my conscience. another incident: A village was finally captured by the red militia after having been taken and re-taken over and over again. In the cellars there were found a handful of haggard, terrified, famished creatures and among them three or four young men. The militiamen reasoned as follows: If these young men stayed behind and waited for the fascists the last time we retired from here it means that they must be fascists too. They therefore shot them immediately, but gave some food to the others and thought themselves very humane. Finally, here is an incident from the rear: Two anarchists once told me how they and some comrades captured two priests. They killed one of them on the spot with a revolver, in front of the other, and then told the survivor that he could go. When he was twenty yards away they shot him down. The man who told me this story was much surprised when I didn’t laugh.

At Barcelona an average of fifty people were killed every night in punitive raids. This is proportionately much less than in Majorca, because Barcelona is a town of nearly a million inhabitants; moreover, it had been the scene of a three-day battle of sanguinary street-fighting. But statistics are probably not to the point in such a matter. The point is the attitude towards murder. Never once, either among Spaniards or even among the French who were in Spain as combatants or as visitors — the latter being usually dim and harmless intellectuals — never once did I hear anyone express, even in private intimacy, any repulsion or disgust or even disapproval of useless bloodshed. You speak about fear. Yes, it is true that fear played some part in all this butchery; but where I was it did not appear to play the large part that you assign to it. Men who seemed to be brave — there was at least one whose courage I personally witnessed — would retail with cheery fraternal chuckles at convivial meal-times how many priests they had murdered, or how many ‘fascists’, the latter being a very elastic term. My own feeling was that when once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder. As soon as men know that they can kill without fear of punishment or blame, they kill; or at least they encourage killers with approving smiles. If anyone happens to feel a slight distaste to begin with, he keeps quiet and he soon begins to suppress it for fear of seeming unmanly. People get carried away by a sort of intoxication which is irresistible without a fortitude of soul which I am bound to consider exceptional, since I have met with it nowhere. On the other hand, I met peaceable Frenchmen, for whom I had never before felt contempt and who would never have dreamed of doing any killing themselves, but who savoured that blood-polluted atmosphere with visible pleasure. For them I shall never again be able to feel any esteem.

The very purpose of the whole struggle is soon lost in an atmosphere of this sort. For the purpose can only be defined in terms of the public good, of the welfare of men — and men have become valueless. In a country where the great majority of the poor are peasants the essential aim of every extreme-left party should be an improvement of the peasants’ condition; and perhaps the main issue of this war, at the beginning, was the redistribution of land. But those peasants of Aragon, so poor and so splendid in the pride they have cherished through all their humiliations — one cannot say that they were even so much an object of curiosity to the militiamen. Although there was no insolance, no injury, no brutality — at least I saw none and I know that theft and rape were capital crimes in the anarchist militias — nevertheless, between the armed forces and the civilian population there was an abyss, exactly like the abyss between the rich and the poor. One felt it in the attitude of the two groups, one always rather humble, submissive, and timid, the other confident, off-hand and condescending.

One sets out as a volunteer, with the idea of sacrifice, and finds oneself in a war which resembles a war of mercenaries, only with much more cruelty and with less human respect for the enemy.

I could say much more on the same lines, but I must limit myself. Having been in Spain, I now continually listen to and read all sorts of observations about Spain, but I could not point to a single person, except you alone, who has been exposed to the atmosphere of the Civil War and has resisted it. What do I care that you are a royalist, a disciple of Drumont? You are incomparably nearer to me than my comrades of the Aragon militias — and yet I loved them.

What you say about nationalism, the war, and French foreign policy after the war is equally sympathetic to me. I was ten years old at the time of Versailles, and up to then I had been patriotically thrilled as children are at war-time. But the will to humiliate the defeated enemy which revealed itself so loathsomely everywhere at that time (and in the following years) was enough to cure me once for all of that naïve sort of patriotism, I suffer more from the humiliations inflicted by my country than from those inflicted on her.

I am afraid I have bothered you with a very long letter. I will only add an expression of my keen admiration.

S. Weil

4)

See also :

Clapton CFC’s away shirt goes viral in Spain because of anti-fascist message, BBC, August 29, 2018 | Spanish Civil War veteran Jose Almudéver remembers the International Brigades, anti-fascist fight, Denis Rogatyuk, Green Left Weekly, February 13, 2017 | Stan Hilton, the last British International Brigader who fought fascism in Spain, dies aged 98, Denis Rogatyuk, Green Left Weekly, November 3, 2016 | ‘Salut Comarada’’ An Australian experience of the Spanish Civil War, University of Melbourne Archives, July 19, 2016 | Memorial International Brigades Australia.

• Paul Preston, The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain (WW Norton, 2012/2013) | Michael Seidman and “The Spanish Holocaust”, Stuart Christie, anarkismo, September 23, 2012 | The Spanish Holocaust (interview with author), Late Night Live, ABC, May 31, 2012 | Process of Extermination: ‘The Spanish Holocaust,’ by Paul Preston, Adam Hochschild, The New York Times, May 11, 2012 | The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston – review, Giles Tremlett, The Guardian, March 9, 2012.

Christie Books | Robert Graham on Spanish Revolution | libcom on Spanish civil war (especially the reading guide) | Interviewing Salvador Torrents (1950/1975/2012) : Spanish anarchist exiled to Australia (July 27, 2012).

Posted in Anarchism, Anti-fascism, Broken Windows, Death, History, Media, State / Politics, Television, That's Capitalism!, Trot Guide, War on Terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The (neo-Nazi) Lads Society : Blair Cottrell’s pro-tip : Wear Your Swastikas On The Inside

A problem for the Australian antifa, and indeed for anti-fascist groups in Europe and the US, is that few people and organisations they oppose here have much to do with Nazism. ~ Chip Le Grand, Antifa Australia goes for the jugular, The Australian, December 9, 2017

For those of you coming in late, ‘The Lads Society’ is a relatively new grouping on the radical right which evolved out of the now-defunct ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF). Spearheaded by ex-UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell and his sidekick Tom Sewell, ‘The Lads’ opened a social centre in the Melbourne suburb of Cheltenham last year, have another in Sydney, and would appear to be keen to expand the franchise to Brisbane and other major cities.

Most recently, ‘The Lads’ — membership of which overlaps with ‘Antipodean Resistance’ — were hired by Axiomatic Events to provide security for Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern during their speaking tour. This fact went completely unmentioned in media reportage of the tour, as did the fact that when the Lads and members of the racist gang called the ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC) organised a meeting in January to discuss the formation of vigilante squads to hunt African youth, they did so at the Lads’ clubhouse in Cheltenham.

Sadly, this is about par for the course for Australian jernalisms on the extreme-right, with the only article on the group appearing in June (Far right nationalists open private men-only clubs in Melbourne and Sydney, Rebecca Puddy, ABC, June 7, 2018) but with scattered references to the Lads’ participation in Sydney Watson’s ‘March for Men’ last month, an invitation the crackpot ‘Australian Jewish Association’ extended to Southern and the Lads to tour Bondi and Caulfield and, prior to this, members of The Lads Society in Sydney addressing a nationalist rally by the TBC in NSW. Note that: a) the TBC has been one of the most outspoken defenders of the neo-Nazi Lads and; b) its primary Facebook page has recently closed.

In any case, last week a new page appeared on Facebook: LadsLeaks LadsLeaks. The small amount of material thus far uploaded to the page revolves around two Lads — ‘Kingsley James Taylor’ and ‘Beau Maverick’ — being kicked out of a bar in Brisbane after making Nazi salutes, and then later one of them being detained (for unknown reasons, but presumably related to their Nazi behaviour at the bar) by police. The video appears to date from December 2017.

In and of itself, a pair of neo-Nazis acting like arseholes is not especially noteworthy; however, it’s the angry reaction of Der Fuehrer, Blair Cottrell, to this open display of neo-Nazi beliefs that’s most telling. Thus, after informing the Lads that his recent absence from the group’s activities is because he’s been fucking a lot of women, Cottrell makes it plain that such imagery is Bad.

Very Bad.

Why? Well, according to Cottrell …

    … from what I’m seeing, everyone’s doing nothing but praise them for it. Oh, good on them. Oh, the problem is society, the problem’s not us: we know the truth. Society are the ones who are bad. We’re good, so we’re gonna run around Roman-saluting people. Tell me, what was your goal? When you’re sitting in a fucking pub or you’re going into a public place, what’s your goal when you Roman-salute people and say Sieg Heil? What’s your fucking point? What are you trying to achieve? Come on, give it to me, give it to me in the comments. Tell me how that’s practical and what the fucking purpose is. Give it to me. Oh you’re raising awareness for the cause? What the fuck does that mean?

    I’ll tell you what you wanted, I’ll tell you what your purpose was. You wanted to stir people up. You wanted to go out and stir some fucking peasants up. And you did stir ’em up. And then when they got stirred up, they called the police. And then you cry victim. Oh, we didn’t do anything wrong. Whoop-di-fucking-do. What did that achieve? And then you’ve got somebody else on the page saying Oh, I’m a fucking skinhead, I have been for fifteen years. Now full respect to you, I don’t care what you do with your life. But trying to tell everyone else that they’re basically a … or to subordinate themselves to you, because you’re more experienced and you — quote unquote — earned your laces: what the fuck does that even mean? And you have done time for the cause? You’ve done time because you beat up some Pakis, probably. And is that what you want for us, for us to beat up some people who aren’t white, to earn our laces? You know, is that your plan? To bash some people who aren’t white, to do some jail time and then finally we can be considered highborn skinhead neo-Nazis? Really? Is that your plan to win the hearts and minds of the people? That’s a good fucking plan, well done. Cocksuckery! And why is everyone sticking up for it? Why am I the only one speaking sense? Jesus Christ! You start a new organisation, you get guys putting their balls on the line, putting a lot of money into this fucking club, into this new group, putting a lot of their labour into it, dedicating themselves to it, believing in it, and then someone sticks their big fucking red-lace skinhead boot in and says fuck you all, let’s go do some jail time, let’s earn our laces, let’s go Sieg Heil people in the street, that’ll get us some new members! Fucking clue on to it dickheads, Jesus Christ, is anyone gonna say anything … ?

    Fucking LARPers? Fucking oath they’re LARPers! We had one at the club last night. Now I don’t know if he’s in this group, I don’t know if he’s watching me now, but I don’t give a fuck, I can’t remember his name. But he was respectful of me, said Oh I love what you’re doing, I love the approach that you’re taking. But then later on, he was having a conversation — this guy who either was a skinhead or still is, I don’t fucking know — he was having a conversation with one of our newest members, who’s just a Christian; that’s it. He doesn’t know that much — I don’t think he does anyway — but he’s a good guy, and he’s open to sensible conversation. And this former or current skinhead guy, whatever he is, wants to start a fight with him, because he doesn’t know about the Jews, so let’s beat him up! Great fucking solution! Wow, how’d you think of that, fuckhead! Jesus fucking Christ! He ended up having to fuck off. I’m surprised that Christian kid stuck around, but he was good enough to.

    Seriously, just to wrap it up, too, just to wrap it up, the last fucking thing I’ll say is, do you really think that, if Adolf Hitler rose from the grave, if his spirit descended and stood beside you, put his hand on your shoulder, and he surveyed your jackboots with your red laces, and your fucking swastika tattoos, and your abrasive, fuck-the-world attitude, your little syndicate-separatist cult, do you really think he’d be proud of you? Do you really think he would say you’re a true national-socialist, well done? Do you think the man who said all great movements are popular movements and one must adjust himself to the times would be proud of you, would believe in you? Get a fucking clue! Anyway, suppose I’m just venting a little bit but, I reckon some of you needed to hear this. And don’t reply to this video with oh fuck you, you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re the new guy on the block, we’re the real deal, you’re a poser, whatever the fuck you people say, don’t reply to me with that shit, take on some constructive criticism, yeah? Take it on board. Be a fucking man, take some criticism, on the fucking chin, and think, fuck maybe he’s right, maybe this guy’s got a plan, maybe he can sorta see what’s gonna happen in the future and maybe he’s trying to do the best that he can for this group, you know?

    So yeah — here’s my two cents.

Another video features imagery of the Cheltenham bunker, taken at its opening in October 2017, overlaid with a Nazi marching song, ‘Erika’, by the Nazi composer Herms Niel. Funnily enough, James Buckle, one-time President of ‘Firearm Owners United’, confirms his membership of the group in a comment on the video:

Bonus!

The Lads — Tom Sewell and Stuart Von Moger — celebrate the opening of the Cheltenham clubhouse with some fitting Nazi muzak:

Added Bonus!

Mister Cottrell discusses a proposal by Matt Doran of Channel 7’s Sunday Night to work together to create a segment on The Lads and their important work fighting African street crime. Mister Cottrell states that he was paid several hundred dollars by Channel 7 for the inconvenience. Sadly, the segment appears not to have been completed.

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Nigel Farage in Melbourne : Friday, September 7, 2018

See also : Nigel Farage colonizes Australia, Zoya Sheftalovich, politico, September 6, 2018 | Deplorables love in for Tony Abbott and Nigel Farage, Aaron Patrick, Australian Financial Review, September 7, 2018.

BEFORE

The final leg of Nigel Farage’s blitzkrieg tour Down under takes place at the Sofitel Hotel (25 Collins Street) later today.

The Campaign Against Racism & Fascism (CARF) has organised a protest outside the venue. For more details and to keep up-to-date with what’s up, see the Facebook event page here.

Victoria Police have declared the blocks surrounding the venue a designated area, granting them various additional powers.

To this point, ticket sales appear to be somewhat disappointing for organisers, with the original Sydney venue (September 6), the International Convention Centre (which previously played happy hosts to some barking-mad anti-Aboriginal hate-speech courtesy of Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern) being pulled and the event taking place at Doltone House instead. This parallels the experience in Adelaide — where it was marketed as being at the Town Hall but with attendees being directed to a smaller venue a short distance away — and so too Perth.

To add to the tour organiser’s woes, there’s been a falling out between Damien Costas and Max Markson, the dynamic duo responsible for bringing Nesquik to town in December last year. Thus:

… the party has suddenly come to a spectacular halt and the “bromance” is over amid wild accusations on both sides and a trail of debt, with Mr Markson claiming Mr Costas owes him $90,000.

Mr Markson and Mr Costas are also at war over hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills from the tour, with money owed to everyone from venue operators to security guards, Yiannopoulos and the family of one of Australia’s biggest drug smugglers.

Mr Costas confirmed Yiannopoulos was still owed money from the tour, but he wasn’t the one owing it. Mr Markson said Yiannopoulos, who agreed to do the tour in return for a $250,000 fee, was still owed several thousand dollars, but denied he was responsible.

See : Private Sydney: Markson sparks up in court in dispute with Penthouse publisher, Andrew Hornery, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2018. See also : Poor ticket sales force Nigel Farage to move Australian gig to smaller venue, Jonathon Read, The New European, September 6, 2018.

AFTER

Maybe 200 or so folks staged a rally outside the Sofitel; a handful were arrested. Cooked Convict Neil Erikson was detained by police, Rino ‘Bluebeard’ Grgurovic lost his MAGA hat, and their mate Andy Nolch (see : Anti-feminist charged over Eurydice Dixon graffiti has ‘no remorse’, court hears, Tammy Mills & Sarah Emery, The Age, September 8, 2018) was also there to be entertained by Farage.

See : Nigel Farage: Clashes break out at former UKIP leader’s Melbourne event, Joshua McDonald, ABC, September 8, 2018 | Arrests after hundreds rallied against right-wing Nigel Farage in Melbourne’s CBD, The New Daily/AAP, September 8, 2018.

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Phillip Galea (September 2018 Update)

Yeesh — I was wondering how Old Mate’s trial was going (see below).

Note that, while others have abandoned this 110% True-Blue Dinky-Di Aussie Patriot™ — including, sadly, his comrades in the ‘True Blue Crew’ — the silly old bugger Mike Holt has been one of his few public defenders. As I noted in November last year:

======

According to the OAP, Phil Galea, Australian patriot, was arrested and accused of being a terrorist in August 2016 after he followed and filmed ANTIFA terrorist thugs at their headquarters. The police allege that he had “bomb making materials”, but Phil denies this and says he can prove why he had the chemicals for peaceful scientific experiments.

LOL.

More recently (November 16, 2017), Mike published a letter from Galea about a dead patriot called Shannon Wallace, in which Phillthy speculates that Wallace may have suffered an ‘unnatural’ death (possibly murdered by use of a ‘sonic gun’?). In early 2016 I visited Shannon Wallace in what was called The Compound by him and his father, writes Phil, before providing a garbled account of various persons and events and identifying Darren Norsworthy (PDLA and ‘Battalion 88’) and ‘Aaron’ [Dekeulenaer, presumably; a nazi dork from Ballarat associated with PDLA, ‘Battalion 88’ and RWRAU] as police informants. Phill also writes:

If I was murdered (or had an “accident”), Shannon was to use an internet café to sign into my e-mail account and send Blair Cottrell (UPF), Mike Holt (Restore Australia), and Liz Sheppard (Reclaim Australia) all of my recordings from a fake account. Then Shannon was to use the Linux computer I had given him to make dozens of copies of the discs and hand them out to all True Blue Crew Members who were on a list I had given him when he went to the Melton anti-mosque rally. Then he was to hand the discs directly to the press as well.

And so on and so forth …

See also : Will the Alt Right Produce the Next Timothy McVeigh?, Alex Reid Ross, AlterNet, November 27, 2017 (‘The history of white nationalism suggests we could be entering a period of violent upheaval’).

======

Melbourne’s Trades Hall targeted by man who planned to carry out terrorist attacks, court told
Joanna Crothers
ABC
September 3, 2018

A man who planned to carry out terrorist attacks on three Melbourne targets intended to recruit people by handing out information on how to make explosive devices, prosecutors allege.

Phillip Galea of Braybrook, in Melbourne’s west, was charged in 2016 with planning to commit a terrorist act and collecting material in connection to a terrorist act.

On the first day of Mr Galea’s committal hearing, prosecutor David Staehli alleged there was electronic material showing Mr Galea was targeting the Melbourne Anarchist Club in Northcote, the Resistance Centre in the CBD, and Trades Hall in Carlton where Mr Galea collected intelligence and conducted reconnaissance.

Mr Staehli said Mr Galea wanted to produce what he called The Patriots Cookbook, which would show how to make smoke bombs and metal bombs by using potassium nitrate “for the advancement of extreme right wing ideology to overcome the perceived Islam-isation of Australia”.

“Mr Galea intended to source and recruit people to attack the targets identified,” Mr Staehli said.

The court heard authorities raided Mr Galea’s property in 2015 and found 361 grams of mercury, along with video clips on how to make explosives, and instructions on manufacturing mercury as a precursor to explosives.

Prosecutors also said they found footage of Mr Galea performing a reconnaissance mission at the Resistance Centre in September 2015.

‘He started to talk about chopping people up’

Witness Heidi Martin told the hearing she met Mr Galea through a right wing rally in Canberra and they met up again in Geelong in 2015 with other people when creating the Facebook group, the Greater Geelong Patriots United.

The pair met again with three other people not long after to break away from the group and create their own page, Reclaim Australia Victoria Incorporated.

She became the editor of the new page but told the court members of the group became uncomfortable with posts Mr Galea was putting up.

“He had a particular focus on church burnings. He was starting to talk about chopping people up, which is certainly not in line with anyone’s beliefs,” she said.

“It was a matter that was quite alarming and concerning and you’ve got someone talking about doing something that could harm the community.”

She said she spoke with a number of other members about her concerns.

“We were mainly talking about things that Phil had told [me] which were alarming things. Things that would send shock waves through anyone,” she said.

Ms Martin told the court a man involved in the group, Greg Burton, had been asked by Mr Galea to edit documents that were going to form The Patriots Cook Book, and he was horrified at what he read.

“There was stuff about torture techniques,” she said.

Mr Galea is in custody.

Accused far-right extremist was ‘nuts’, associate tells court
Rick Goodman/AAP
The Age
September 3, 2018

An accused far-right extremist spoke often about bombing two left-wing groups in Melbourne and said any innocent bystanders hurt would be “casualties of war”, an associate says.

Phillip Galea is charged with making preparations for terrorist attacks on the Melbourne Anarchist Club and Melbourne Resistance Centre between November 2015 and August 2016.

The 33-year-old is facing a committal hearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.

Darren Norsworth, who was associated with Galea through right-wing group Reclaim Australia, gave evidence on Monday, saying he first believed he was only joking about bombing buildings[.]

But Galea kept going on about it and the way he spoke gave the impression he was serious, Mr Norsworth said.

“I said if you blow up the buildings innocent people walking past would get hurt,” Mr Norsworth told the court.

“That’s what made made me click and think this guy is bloody nuts.

“I couldn’t turn a blind eye.”

Mr Norsworth said Galea also spoke often about a document he called the “Patriots Cook Book” that outlined different ways to “hurt the left”.

“Any chance he got he would go on about this stupid cook book,” Mr Norsworth said.

“One of the things he had was how much battery acid to inject into a leftie.

“He thought it was important to show the right wing how to hurt the left.”

Mr Norsworth said Galea had also obtained blueprints of the buildings he was allegedly planning to bomb.

Galea is also charged with collecting or making documents to prepare for terrorist acts between September 2015 and August 2016.

His mental state was previously examined to determine if he was fit to stand trial and in February the courts deemed him to be fit.

Galea has been in custody since August 2016 and his committal hearing continues.

BONUS! Neil Erikson interviews Phil Galea

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antifa notes (august 29, 2018) : March For Men, Nazis Go To Canberra +++

Ah-men

On Saturday, YouTube personalities and budding AltLite superstars Avi Yeminem and Sydney Watson organised a ‘March For Men’ in Melbourne. Unlike ‘March For Men’ events in the UK, this march did not raise funds for cancer research but rather was an excuse for IRL trolling and the sale of crappy merch.

Reports on attendance range from 150 (Jeff Sparrow) to 250–300 (spotters) to 500–700 (organisers); a smaller counter-protest was organised by CARF. According to CARF, in addition to Men’s Rights Activists, the event also attracted participation by members of neo-Nazi grouplets Antipodean Resistance and The Lads Society, as well as the methgoblins of the True Blue Crew (TBC) and, in a rare excursion, The Proud Boys (PBs). The PBs also carried a banner reading ‘The West is the Best’ but, sadly, it got lost, then incinerated:

For an account of the action, see : ProudBoys Victoria Go Flaccid…; note that PB fuehrer Gavin McInnes is scheduled to tour STRAYA in November. See also : ‘Stop the name-calling!’: anger unites Melbourne’s March for Men protesters, Jeff Sparrow, The Guardian, August 26, 2018 | What the people at Australia’s March for Men had to say, Madison Griffiths, The Feed, SBS, August 27, 2018.

Speaking of violent misogynists, Adam Giles’ ‘mate’, the steroid-munching neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell, dropped this banger on Twitter on Monday night, before then suspending his account … presumably to return another day to continue to threaten street performers and schoolgirls with violence:

See also : Blair Cottrell and the problem of male aggression, Clementine Ford, The Age, June 26, 2018.

Mister Cottrell, having been convicted in September last year of inciting hatred for Muslims, returns to court in November to appeal the conviction, when he’ll be ably-represented by Adelaide barrister John (W) Bolton, increasingly the go-to law-talking guy for the extreme-right. On his blog, Mister Bolton (Invalid because they impermissibly burden the implied freedom of political communication contrary to the Commonwealth Constitution., July 18, 2018) writes that:

At 9.00 a.m. on 19th July 2018 Mr.Cottrell appeared in the County Court in Melbourne. He has lodged an appeal against a conviction after a [t]rial in which he was un-represented in the Victorian Magistrate’s Court. The appeal was set for a mention only and trial directions.

The [t]wo day County Court trial date in August 2018 has now been vacated because a notice was lodged with the Court that asserts that the sections of the Victorian Racial and Religions Villification Act [sic] with which Mr. Cottrell is charged are invalid.

Note that Mister Bolton is organising some crackpot PR stunt in Lakemba in NSW in October.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

One court date that has not been vacated takes place on Friday, when THE MILO FIVE FOUR THREE (Neil Erikson, Rick Turner & Richard Whelan: Garry Hume and Garry ‘Soldier of Odin’ Mattsson have both obtained diversion orders) will be appearing in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for contest mentions arising from the Milo stoopid of December last year. The stoopid also resulted in Victoria Police billing tour organisers $50,000 for their troubles but, not surprisingly perhaps, Damien Costas and Penthouse Australia have told them to go fuck themselves. As for the Infowars-supplements salesman, dumped from the line-up of some US conference called ‘Politicon’, he returns to our shores in November, bringing with him some very expensive luggage, not least fellow right-wing blabbermouth Ann Coulter.

In any event, as well as having a court hearing in Victoria on Friday, Erikson has another court date in Gosford (NSW) on September 11 to face charges arising from his disruption of a service at Gosford Anglican Church. Standing alongside Erikson on this occasion will be a handful of racist gronks from the TBC (who are also demanding that Father Rod Bower is dismissed from his position).

See also : Neil Erikson ~versus~ Law & Order (June 30, 2018).

Nazis Go To Canberra

This Saturday, The Performance Artist (Formerly Known As The Great Aussie Patriot), Shermon Burgess, has organised a rally in Canberra. Grandly titled ‘Spirit of Australia’, it would be more aptly described as ‘Spirit of Nazi Germany’. Thus in addition to Burgess, the MC for the event is Matt Lowe, currently the fuehrer of a tiny neo-Nazi grouplet called ‘Australian Patriot Uprising’, a splinter from the now-defunct ‘Party for Freedom’. While the list of speakers, like the expected attendance, is very smol (Burgess and Lowe), Senator Fraser ‘Final Solution’ Anning appears to have initially accepted an invitation to speak on the podium but then to have withdrawn. One group that will not be attending the event is the TBC in NSW, who’ve recently made the Columbus-like discovery that: a) some of their comrades are ‘nazis’ and; b) it can be a bit tricky claiming to be a 100% True Blue Dinky-Di Aussie Patriot™ while organising with ‘nazis’.

anTEEfa

On the weekend, ‘Independent Australia’ published an interview what I done with Martin Hirst, which you can read here. See also : Understanding the mainstreaming of the far right, Aurelien Mondon and Aaron Winter, Open Democracy, August 26, 2018.

As noted previously (April 24, 2017 and October 4, 2017), there’s a number of spectacularly daft (fake) ‘antifa’ pages on Facebook. More recent/still extant pages include: Antifa Queensland; Antifa Sydney; Brisbane Antifa; Sydney Antifa.

Finally, there’s a nu/olde anti-fascist kid on the bloc: PUSH! Organising and Educating to Build an Anti-Fascist United Front and ‘The Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group is pleased to announce that we have participated in the launch of a new anti-Fascist organisation. The initial callout is reproduced below.’

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Who are Antipodean Resistance? (August 2018 Update)

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention. ~ Heather Heyer (1985–2017)

Briefly:

‘Antipodean Resistance’ are a neo-Nazi grouplet which emerged out of the ‘United Patriots Front’ swamp in 2016. I wrote about the group in September 2017 and again in April 2018. Its members like to make a nuisance of themselves by covering skools, universities and synagogues in neo-Nazi propaganda and attending patriotik marches and rallies. RMIT University in Melbourne and the beachside suburb of Brighton have recently been blessed by their agitprop, which is regularly documented by the group via its account on the GAB social media platform (AKA ‘Twitter for Nazis’).

Most recently, members of the group were hired by Axiomatic Events in order to provide security for Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern during the course of their hate-speech tour. In doing so, the boys were joined by the members of another neo-Nazi grouplet, ‘The Lads Society’. Indeed, there is a strong cross-over in membership between the two groups, as future publications will detail. Thus last month, ‘The White Rose Society’ began publishing what will be an ongoing series of exposes of members of both Antipodean Resistance and The Lads Society. New entrants include Mathew Baston (L) and Nathaniel Anderson (R):

thewhiterosesociety blog is here and may be contacted via thewhiterosesociety[at]protonmail[dot]com.

While media reportage on neo-Nazis and fascists Down Under is generally poor, it’s a Good thing that independent anti-fascist researchers are active, and from what I can gather there’s a good deal more to come … 😉

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Neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell & Useful Idiots Adam Giles & Sky News Australia

UPDATE (August 8, 2018) : 1) American Express has temporarily withdrawn advertising from Sky News Australia, but QANTAS and numerous other corporations have Murdoch’s back (American Express pulls advertising from Sky News after far-right extremist interview, Naaman Zhou, The Guardian, August 7, 2018). 2) Subject to criticism by Sky News journalist Laura Jayes, Blair Cottrell responded with a very funny joke about raping her. And while Sky News Australia has indicated that Cottrell will not be a guest on the channel in future, both Facebook and Twitter have given his rapey-jokey ways the big tick of approval (Facebook defends decision not to suspend Blair Cottrell over rape comments, Amanda Meade, The Guardian, August 7, 2018).

Melbourne-based neo-Nazi activist Blair Cottrell was a very special guest on ‘The Adam Giles Show’ on Sky News Australia on Sunday night. Given 10 minutes to outline his political vision, Cottrell conveyed classic fascist talking-points about (White) nationalist resurgence; stressed the importance of defending White Australia from non-White subversion advocated for the end of non-White migration and the mass migration of White South African farmers and, while condemning all politicians, gave qualified support to Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton’s proposal to do similar.

Outside of his White nationalist fanbase, the public reaction to Cottell’s interview has been rather savage. In response to this, Sky News Australia has offered a semi-apology and declared that Giles’ program will temporarily cease airing (while presumably also scrambling to find a suitably-qualified junior producer to discipline). Of more import, obviously, is the widespread disgust at the decision to provide a neo-Nazi activist — one, moreover, with a violent criminal record — with a platform, which today resulted in Craig Emerson deciding to quit his gig at Sky as a commentator.

Much more can be said on the matter, and no doubt will, but in the meantime:

1) Cottrell’s desire to have a portrait of his hero Adolf Hitler hung in every Australian classroom and for copies of Mein Kampf to be issued to all Australian schoolchildren annually is documented in Blair Cottrell, rising anti-Islam movement leader, wanted Hitler in the classroom, Michael Bachelard, Luke McMahon, The Sydney Morning Herald, October 16, 2015.

You can read more about Cottrell’s views on Jews, women and more in Quotations From Chairman Blair Cottrell (July 27, 2015).

2) With regards his criminal history, in addition to being found guilty of inciting hatred for Muslims in September 2017 (a decision which, with the help of Adelaide-based barrister John Bolton, the Jew-hater is appealing), Cottrell’s criminal record is detailed in a report by Geir O’Rourke and Angus Thompson in the Herald Sun (June 11, 2016). Of his offending, they write: 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, as ‘Bruce’, appeared in a documentary about youth in the maximum-security Youth Unit at Port Phillip Prison in Truganina, in which he describes how he abused steroids, stalked his former partner and her boyfriend, tried to kill him, set fire to their house, and eventually got arrested, convicted, and sent to prison.

3) The following are links to media reportage on the debacle. And ofc, NEVER READ THE COMMENTS!

Sky News under fire for hosting far-right ‘activist’ Blair Cottrell, Joe Hinchliffe, The Age, August 5, 2018;
Sky News admits it was ‘wrong’ to air interview with Blair Cottrell from United Patriots Front, ABC, August 5, 2018;
Craig Emerson quits Sky News over Blair Cottrell interview, Amanda Meade, The Guardian, August 6, 2018;
Sky News Fucked Up Big Time, Rob Stott, Junkee, August 6, 2018;
Sky News Admits It Fucked Up By Letting Neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell On The Air, David Adams, pedestrian, August 6, 2018;
Sky News says Cottrell interview was ‘wrong’, The New Daily/AAP, August 6, 2018;
Mass Boycott Of Sky News After Blair Cottrell Interview, Josh Butler, Ten Daily, August 6, 2018;
Why I quit Sky News over the Blair Cottrell neo-Nazi interview, Craig Emerson, Australian Financial Review, August 6, 2018;
Sky News bans far-right extremist and suspends program that hosted him, Naaman Zhou, The Guardian, August 6, 2018;
With one TV interview Blair Cottrell caused widespread outrage in Australia, here’s why., Belinda Jepsen, mamamia, August 6, 2018;
Outcry over Sky News Australia interview with far-right extremist, Amanda Meade, The Guardian, August 6, 2018;
Sky News interview with Blair Cottrell: Craig Emerson quits, hosts condemn move, Anne Lu, International Business Times, August 6, 2018;
Sky News just put the Adam Giles Show in ‘recess’ over Blair Cottrell interview, Simon Thomsen, Business Insider Australia, August 6, 2018;
Sky News Australia apologises for interviewing ‘Hitler fan’, Tom Barnes, The Independent, August 6, 2018;
‘It’s terrible’: Concerns grow at Sky News after Blair Cottrell appearance, Broede Carmody, The Sydney Morning Herald, August 6, 2018;
Blair Cottrell: Sky News Australia apologises for interview with far-right activist after fierce backlash, Eleanor Rose, Evening Standard, August 6, 2018;
Sky News Has Decided To Suspend That Show That Had The Neo-Nazi On It, Ben McLeay, pedestrian, August 6, 2018;
Sky News Admits Interviewing a Hitler Fan Was ‘Wrong’, Wendy Syfret, VICE, August 6, 2018;
Australia backlash over far-right figure’s TV interview, BBC, August 6, 2018;
Sky News Had A Guy On Who Wants “Mein Kampf” In Classrooms And People Are Not Impressed, Gina Rushton, Buzzfeed, August 6, 2018;
Here Are Some Other People Who Have Appeared On Sky News Lately, Brad Esposito, Buzzfeed, August 6, 2018.

But wait … there’s more!

Far-right nationalist Blair Cottrell copping it over rape tweet to Sky News reporter, Ben Graham, news.com.au, August 7, 2018;
It’s Incredibly Easy To Not Put Nazis On TV, James Hennessy, pedestrian, August 7, 2018;
‘Sky News After Dark’: A digital Nuremberg Rally, John Birmingham, The Sydney Morning Herald, August 7, 2018;
Why is the Australian media promoting white nationalist ideas?, Jason Wilson, The Guardian, August 8, 2018;
‘It was my error’: Sky News boss gave Cottrell interview the go-ahead, Broede Carmody, The Age, August 8, 2018;
On the fear of a ‘foreign invasion’, Jeff Sparrow, overland, August 8, 2018.
Why Facebook didn’t remove far-right extremist’s rape comments, Amanda Meade, The Guardian, August 8, 2018;
News Corp uses its muscle to protest Sky News ban from Victoria’s train stations, Amanda Meade, The Guardian, August 10, 2018;
Race storm batters Sky News in land of Murdoch’s birth, Michael McGowan, The Guardian, August 10, 2018;
Sleeping Giants fuel Sky News backlash, Alex McKinnon, The Saturday Paper, August 11, 2018.

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Stefan Molyneux & Lauren Southern @ La Mirage, Somerton : Friday, July 20, 2018

Briefly:

Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern spoke at La Mirage in Somerton (210 Hume Highway) this evening.

You may remember La Mirage from when they hosted a similar event starring Geert Wilders back in February 2013.

Ticket-holders were instructed to meet at Broadmeadows train station to then catch a SKYLIGHT BUSINESS bus to the venue. The station was also the destination of a contingent from CARF (who’d earlier assembled in the city) and was heavily policed.

There was a counter-protest at the venue, and some enterprising individuals managed to sneak in to the venue and cause some minor disruption:


The ‘autonomous interrupters’ issued a media release regarding the action:

MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: 20TH JULY 2018
TIME: 8.20pm

Anti-Racist Protesters Interrupt Far-Right Speaker Lauren Southern at Melbourne Event
** ACTION CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS **

Pro refugee, anti-racist activists and members of the LGBT community have interrupted the speaking event of the far-right “celebrity” Lauren Southern.

Southern’s lecture was interrupted by non-violent protesters who chanted “Racism Off Our Streets” as they unfurled banners reading:

“This Is Our Free Speech” and “Muslims Are Welcome”.

A protestor revealed a t-shirt which read “it’s not ok to be racist”, alluding to a t-shirt worn by Southern on her arrival to Australia that stated “Its ok to be white”.

Spokesperson for the autonomous interrupters, Nita Habibi said, “Lauren Southern spouts an extremely Islamophobic rhetoric that is nothing short of hate speech. She is a dangerous individual whose false views on Muslims stir up polarisation and violence. We have come here tonight to peacefully object to the promotion of hate.”

The event is hosted by La Mirage Reception Centre in Somerton, Victoria. This centre also hosted the far-right Dutch politician, Geert Wilders, in Feb. 2013. The location was kept under wraps until this evening by the organisers who feared protest of their racist and hate-fuelled event by Melbourne’s anti-racist, anti-fascist community.

Southern was recently denied entry to the UK due to the unacceptability of her racist views. She was recently involved in a far-right group’s attempts to obstruct NGOs’ boat rescue operations that prevent drownings of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. Southern also denies the existence of transgender people, frequently mocking the idea of more than two genders, on social media.

Habibi furthered stated: “Southern’s dismissive attitude towards the LGBT community models a disrespectfulness to the public which we do not want replicated on our streets. She claims that she has the freedom to disseminate hate, so we are giving her a taste of her own medicine and exercising our freedom to disseminate a message of peace”.

Several hundred police were mobilised in order to ensure that the hate-speech went ahead uninterrupted and they deployed dogs, horses and capsicum spray.

For what it’s worth, the cream of Melbourne’s tiny neo-Nazi community put in an appearance, and members of both Antipodean Resistance and The Lads Society acted as the private security detail for the event. Naturally, among those attached to the security detail for the event was balding neo-Nazi Tom Sewell, previously sidekick to Blair Cottrell in the now-defunct ‘United Patriots Front’ but more recently the leaseholder for the neo-Nazi grouplet called ‘The Lads Society’ in Cheltenham:


According to Victoria Police, 500 officers were deployed at the event in order to facilitate the public expression of racial and religious vilification; Axiomatic Events were invoiced $60,000 for the privilege; there was one arrest (assault police); four people were ejected from the event by the private neo-Nazi security detail, one of whom was issued with a penalty notice for their troubles; one member of the private neo-Nazi security detail was cited for possession of a taser; approximately 328 persons were searched at Broadmeadows station, where three were pinged for carrying weapons (knuckleduster, flick-knife, knife).

The Australian:

Lauren Southern: protesters out to disrupt right wing commentator’s event
Rebecca Urban
The Australian
July 20, 2018

A protester has managed to jump on stage to disrupt the Melbourne speaking event of visiting conservative commentator Lauren Southern, as hundreds of anti-facist protesters clashed with police outside.

Nita Habibi was pounced on by security as she invaded the stage during Ms Southern’s presentation. She was quickly removed from the venue while shouting “I love Muslims”.

“I love freedom of speech,” she told The Australian after being evicted. “I wanted to interrupt the thing. I think it’s really dangerous what’s happening. Hate speech should be interrupted.”

Up to 200 anti-fascist protesters faced off with police while attempting to stop buses entering the reception centre in Melbourne’s northern suburbs [where] Ms Southern and her fellow speaker Stefan Molyneux are kicking off their nationwide tour.

At least one protester has been arrested by police, who have used pepper spray during the clash.

Officers wearing riot gear and carrying shields pushed protesters back from the gates of the La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre in Somerton, forming a line and shouting “move, move, move’’ as they advanced.

Mounted police and police dogs were used to help control the crowd which booed and swore at buses and cars bringing people to watch the event.

Protesters chanted “f … off” as the police approached.

Blair Cottrell, who once led the far-right United Patriots Front, attended the event and watched the protest before being told to go back inside.

“Apparently my presence is antagonising people,” he told The Weekend Australian.

Antifa protesters had earlier gathered at Broadmeadow’s station and targeted audience members who were to be bussed to the event.

Armed with megaphones, members of Campaign Against Racism and Fascism urged onlookers to let the departing buses know what they thought of them.

“There are bus loads of people off to hear about white supremism,” one shouted.

Organisers later altered the bus route to get the final two bus loads of passengers in from the south, while riot police held protesters off about a kilometre away on the Hume Highway.

More than 800 people have purchased tickets to hear Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux — both described as alt-right commentators — speak.

Ms Southern, a Canadian activist, journalist and author, is well-known for her controversial commentary on feminism, free speech and immigration, sounding off on Nine’s A Current Affair this week about women being “not psychologically developed to hold leadership positions”. She was initially denied a visa to enter Australia. While Mr Molyneux is the equally controversial host of Freedomain Radio, a popular philosophy program.

Campaign Against Racism and Fascism, the group behind a similar protest against controversial British commentator Milo Yiannopoulos that turned violent last year, were expecting several hundred supporters to attend the protest to ensure that the pair “regret the moment they decided they would come here to try and spread their views.”

The far left-wing group was anticipating that far-right protesters might also attend the event — to protest against the protesters — as they did when Mr Yiannopolous spoke in Melbourne last December. However, no rival groups were observed at the train station.

Police billed the Yiannopolous event organiser $50,000 for extra police resources, which is reportedly yet to be paid, while Southern has been sent a $68,000 bill from Victoria Police for their resources to be used this evening.

A spokeswoman for Victoria Police said safety was the “number one priority” and confirmed that there would be a “strong police presence” outside the event.

“We are equipped and well-prepared to deploy resources, respond and intervene where needed. Individuals have the right to lawfully attend events and protest, however we ask that people do so peacefully and respectfully without impact on the rest of the community. The spokeswoman said under the Victoria Police (fees and charges) Regulations 2014, Victoria Police “has the right to charge any event organiser for the use of police resources”.

However she declined to confirm whether the union organisers of a large rally in Melbourne in April, which saw up to 100,000 supporters flock to the CBD and saw the closure of major roads and tram routes. A spokesman from the ACTU declined to comment, while Victorian Trades Hall Council did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.

Tonight’s event was to start with the screening of Farmlands, billed as “the world’s first comprehensive documentary on South Africa and the looming options between genocide and civil war” after which Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux will give a speech. They will also visit Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.

Herald-Sun:

Protesters rally against far-right commentator Lauren Southern in Broadmeadows
Genevieve Alison and staff writers
Herald Sun
July 20, 2018

LATEST: The Hume Highway is closed after more than 100 protesters gathered outside a Somerton venue where controversial alt-right commentator Lauren Southern will take to the stage tonight.

The demonstrators at the front gates of the La Mirage Reception and Convention Centre have spilt on to the road and blocking the highway, which has been closed to traffic by police.

The crowd charged at a bus of people arriving at the venue, surrounding it and throwing rocks at the vehicle.

Punches have been thrown and members of the crowd have also been shoving each other, with people pulled over the road’s rope barriers amid the melee.

The riot squad and mounted police are working to hold back the crowd, which includes people wearing face coverings.

United Patriots Front leader Blair Cottrell fronted the protesting group shortly after 7pm, smiling and waving to police and media.

Earlier tonight, protesters gathered at Broadmeadows train station, where ticketholders to the 23-year-old Canadian’s event were instructed to meet from 4.30pm.

They were bussed to the venue in a bid to keep its location a secret “for as long as possible”.

About 60 uniformed police lined the entrance to the train station in a bid to quell tensions between left-wing protesters and ticketholders attempting to get on the shuttle buses.

Mounted police were also present after Victoria Police yesterday served Ms Southern a bill of almost $68,000 for the extra police protection.

Protesters hurled abuse at shuttle buses as they departed, screaming “Nazi scum” and “unite to fight the right”.

In a email sent to ticketholders this morning, tour managers said the “fierce opposition to this event by the extreme left … has been breathtaking” and were co-operating with police and counter-terrorism units.

See also : Protesters at Lauren Southern event clash with riot police outside Melbourne venue, ABC (AAP), July 21, 2018.

An eyewitness:

Police were present at Federation Square and at Flinders Street station (especially on the train platforms going to Broadmeadows) from around 3:30pm. They filmed activists congregating at the Square and at various locations around the station, including platforms. We traveled to the venue separately to CARF and were therefore able to avoid being kettled at Broadmeadows station; police searched people at the train station.

I would estimate that there were approximately 200 antifascists at the venue, La Mirage. A helicopter was deployed by police at approximately 7:45-8:00pm and various police forces were present throughout: some on horse, some on foot. Most were wearing numbers, some were not wearing name badges. Roving police units took video footage.

Police found it difficult to hold back the counter-protesters and antifascists were able to enter the Highway and slow the passage of buses to the venue. Example: antifascists marched towards an incoming bus, surrounded it, and the bus had to stop. The Highway on one side had been totally shut down by this stage, and the potatoes on the bus were visibly angry. Police then tried to break the picket using horses and the riot police. They picked individuals off using batons. A line of antifascists surrounding the bus and banging on its sides were attacked by mounted police from behind, who tried to lift antifascists by the hair and/or backpack and to throw them aside. This tactic was relatively unsuccessful but it appears that police instructed the bus driver to go forward anyway (despite the real danger this presented to antifascists). Eventually, riot police were used to clear its passage, with counter-protesters picked up and thrown elsewhere onto the road.

At least one potato got off a bus and tried to walk into the venue, but was blocked from doing so and was eventually ordered by police to get back on. That bus could not enter the venue, and neither could a number of private vehicles. Most eventually entered the venue, on foot, with a police escort. On the other side of the block (the side closest to the main gate to the venue) police used pepper spray on comrades, who were treated at the scene.

Some folks were able to get into the event in order to disrupt it. They did a great job and we waited for them to come out, then went elsewhere to debrief. They estimated that around 800 people [!] attended, the vast majority men. The biggest group represented was older Australians, followed by the usual potatoes.

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