VOTE 1 FORTITUDE! #ausvotes

blairc

G’day patriots,

Announced with much fanfare last November (Michael Safi, Far-right United Patriots Front to form political party ahead of federal election, The Guardian, November 24, 2015; Brendan Foster, Right-wing group that wanted Hitler in classrooms to launch political party, Brendan Foster, WA Today, November 25, 2015), the United Patriots Front’s stillborn political vehicle ‘Fortitude’ failed to register in time for the federal election (Gus Goswell, United Patriots Front misses deadline to register political party ahead of federal election, 7.30/ABC, June 2, 2016; UPF fails to register in time to run, skyNEWS, June 2, 2016).

Between the time of the announcement and the UPF boarding the failboat, the boys went to Toowoomba, Orange and Bendigo trying to drum up support for their crusade. It didn’t really work out all that well (Anti-Islamic group United Patriots Front picks wrong Qld town for party, Brisbane Times, February 11, 2016). Along the way, the UPF & Co were condemned by the NSW Parliament and at the beginning of June Daniel Flitton (Election 2016: How far-right politics crashed and burned in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 5, 2016) wrote of the patriotik/anti-Islam movement:

Just a year later, the heat has gone out of anti-Islam politics in Australia. Violent clashes by fringe radicals wearing Australian-flag masks in Coburg last week attracted ridicule, not fear, and Blair Cottrell, the Hitler-sympathising leader of the right-wing street movement, the United Patriots Front, was howled down when he fronted a rally of aggrieved dairy farmers. In the federal election campaign, various anti-Islam parties and candidates have been entirely invisible to the general public.

Most recently, UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell had his violent criminal record made public:

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.

Boys will be boys, amirite?

In any case, UPF internal discussions revealed that both Cottrell and his Perth lackey Dennis Huts expressed concern over running for public office given their respective criminal records; see : Current Issues Brief No 22 2002-03: Crime and Candidacy (Ian Holland/Politics and Public Administration Group, March 23, 2003):

In early 2003, the media reported that convicted bomber and racist Jack van Tongeren had been released after serving 12 years jail in Western Australia and was now interested in seeking election to the Senate. Western Australia’s Attorney-General urged the Commonwealth to tighten its restrictions on candidates. Under Western Australian law, van Tongeren cannot stand for State Parliament, but the Commonwealth’s restrictions on qualifications to be a member of parliament are less severe. Should a criminal conviction render a person ineligible to become an elected representative in a democracy? This Current Issues Brief discusses the limits placed on the ability of people with criminal convictions to stand for parliament.

Jack’s Senatorial campaign — like the UPF’s abortive entry into the formal political arena — was not a great success, and ended up with a number of boys (including Jack) going (back) to jail.

Also possibly going to jail are members of the Perth-based Aryan Nations, a 21st century attempt to revive neo-Nazi fortunes out West (see also : Combat 18). The UPF were guests of the Aryan Nations when they attended a UPF/Reclaim Australia rally late last year, though strangely they’ve not copped to the fact.

So, while UPF/Fortitude is not gonna be winning any votes tomorrow, a number of other far right political projects will be; they’ll also be pitted against one another in the following electorates:

Whose ideological cuisine will reign supreme?

NSW
Lindsay : Saleam (AFP) v Stephen Roddick (ALA) — Also throwing his hat into the ring is ex-Tory Marcus Cornish.
Paterson : Peter Davis (CEC) v Graham Burston (ONP) v Brian Clare (RUAP) — Fred Nile’s CDP is also contesting this seat.

NT
Lingiari : Peter Flynn (CEC) v Regina McCarthy (RUAP)
Solomon : John Kearney (AFP) v Brigid McCullough (CEC) v Silvija Majetic (RUAP) — Marijuana (HEMP) Party also running a candidate.

VIC
Lalor : Susan Jakobi (AFP) v Marion Vale (RUAP)
Mallee : Chris Lahy (CEC) v Tim Middleton (RUAP)
Murray : Jeff Davy (CEC) v Yasmin Gunasekera (RUAP) — Former AFP president Diane Teasdale (Independent) will also be losing in the seat.

QLD
Fisher : John Spellman (ALA) v Tracey Bell-Henselin (RUAP) — Mike Jessop ‘is a candidate of the unregistered Whig party’!
Hinkler : Rob Windred (ALA) v Damian Huxham (ONP)
Leichhardt : Peter Rogers (ONP) v John Kelly (RUAP)
Longman : Caleb Wells (ALA) v Michelle Pedersen (ONP)
Maranoa : Lynette Keehn (ONP) v Sherrilyn Church (RUAP)

blahandrosaliejun26

Posted in !nataS, Anti-fascism, State / Politics, That's Capitalism! | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Dispatches From Occupied Rigaer94

[fwd]

Dispatches From Occupied Rigaer94

It has now been over a week since our doors were first cut off, cops and security intruded into our housing project, installing themselves in our stairways and other previously collective spaces. From then, the speedy and aggressive eviction and destruction of the ground level of our home began. Our social space, the Kadterschmiede, along with our workshop, laundry, attic and garden were stripped of all recognition in clouds of dust and mortar, while rubbish skips were filled with our belongings and collective histories.

Our rebellious, emancipatory project has been overrun by empty headed lackeys in uniform and we are pissed – not the least because we are used to better company than this. Whether these unwelcome wardens wear uniforms issued by the state or private security companies makes little difference to us. They both show their petty allegiance to the logic of domination and control not only via their presence but also through daily acts of physical violence, harassment, degrading comments and leers – not only directed towards us, but our visitors, friends and neighbours including young children. The police have set up a restricted area, closing off the entrance to the building and its surrounds, with anyone wanting to enter their home or visit us having to pass a gauntlet of beefed up aggressive cops and security, often needing to present identification. This process can take hours.

Further it has just been exposed that the police have been recording the details and compiling a database of people that have been identified coming into the house. At least part of this list has been passed on to and published by organised Nazi groups.

The pretext of this eviction is that the owner John Richard Dewhurst, a taxation lawyer, millionaire mega investor with companies implicated in The Panama Papers, and previously an attorney for the South African Supreme court during the apartheid era, wishes to house refugees in these spaces. If of course they can pay market rate rent in the newly renovated spaces, an amount too high for most people and above what refugee housing organisations can afford to fund. The irony of this claim doesn’t bypass us.

The clear instrumentalization of refugees as an excuse to attack a space that has shown political and practical solidarity with refugees and other people in precarious positions does not surprise us. For those in the most precarious positions are frequently pitted against each other under this current system that is set up to exploit us for the benefit of people like Dewhurst. To add salt to the wound, in this violent and invasive process three refugees who had found a home with us in the 94, can now no longer live here for fear of extra repression and police stress. The state and its most wealthy have once again moved to destroy safer solidarity spaces for those in our community whose struggles intensify on a daily basis.

The area around Rigaerstrasse has been heavily gentrified in the past decade and skyrocketing rents have seen many residents pushed out, displaced and evicted in order to make room for new developments. These are unaffordable to most existing long term residents but bring in more profit for investors. As part of a larger neighbourhood coalition of projects and individuals we have struggled against this process of gentrification, fighting to keep our neighbourhood a place for all, not just the rich. Over the past year or so we have seen the relationships of warmth and solidarity between people in our neighbourhood growing and people increasingly sharing daily life. Neighbours from both the projects and private living spaces have met and organised on the streets, in our garden and at the peoples’ kitchen in Kadterschmiede.

We understand the aggressive, overbloated attack on our collective spaces as part of the wider repressive conditions under capitalism. Conditions that see all elements of collective life and resistance attacked, commodified, co-opted and as a last resort destroyed and replaced by more controllable and consumable forms of life. We also recognize the power of collective spaces, campaigns, actions and initiatives in the face of the increasing pressure placed on all of us under a rotten and collapsing system that tightens the noose around all of our necks as it slowly drowns under the weight of its own bloated corpse. It is clear to us that the effectiveness and potentiality of these liberatory collective forms, including our own project, poses an increasing threat to this system and all those who benefit from it.

We will continue to fight for all projects, initiatives and spaces that provide space and opportunities to experiment with alternative ways of living under these shitful conditions, across all divisive borders imposed from above.

We invite you to join us in expressing our resistance and rage.

Your solidarity however expressed gives us strength and warms our hearts,

See you in the streets!

Yours in struggle, R94.

[end]

See also : “Polizisten kontrollieren den Ausweis, wenn ich heimkomme”, Tobias Heimbach, Die Welt, June 28, 2016 /// Berlin: on the struggle in “rebellious Nordkiez”, the anti-gentrification “dangerzone”, rabble, May 31, 2016 /// Rigaer94 @ squatnet /// Rigaer 94 @ Insurrection News /// Rigaer 94 @ 325 … Homeless Persons Union of Victoria /// Australian Museum of Squatting.

Posted in Anarchism, Anti-fascism, Art, Broken Windows, Death, History, Media, Music, Poetry, Sex & Sexuality, State / Politics, Student movement, Television, That's Capitalism! | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair 2016 : Sunday, August 14 @ Brunswick Town Hall

For the sixth year in a row, this time at a new location: Brunswick Town Hall.

• books • pamphlets • zines • films • workshops

WHEN : 10am-5pm, Sunday, August 14, 2016
WHERE : Brunswick Town Hall, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick

free entry and childcare provided

… arm yourself with ideas …

See : Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair website and Facebook.

mab2016

Posted in Anarchism, Art, Film, History, Media, Music, Poetry, Sex & Sexuality, State / Politics, Student movement, That's Capitalism!, War on Terror | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lenin ~versus~ #ausvotes

redflag

Zap! Ka-pow!

A brief guide to the parties on the left contesting the federal 2016 election:

Communist League

In NSW, Ron Poulsen (one of dozens of Ungrouped Independents) is once again having a crack at the Senate. Go Ron!

Socialist Alliance

SAll is running Senate candidates (Ken Canning, Susan Price, Sharlene Leroy-Dyer and Howard Byrnes) in NSW, VIC (Tim Gooden and Lalitha Chelliah) and WA (Farida Iqbal, Kamala Emanuel and Seamus Doherty) and contesting four Lower House seats: Peter Boyle in Sydney (NSW), Zane Alcorn in Wills (VIC), Sue Bull in Corio (VIC) and Chris Jenkins in Fremantle (WA).

Socialist Equality Party

The leadership of the world socialist movement is running Senate candidates in NSW (James Cogan and John Davis), VIC (Chris Sinnema and Peter Byrne) and QLD (Mike Head and Erin Cooke) and contesting the three Lower House seats of Grayndler (NSW: Oscar Grenfell), Gabriela Zabala (NSW: Blaxland) and Wills (VIC: Will Fulgenzi).

Q. Will Fulgenzi (SEP) beat Alcorn (SAll) in Wills?

NB. Sadly, the Communist Party of Australia, the Progressive Labour Party and the Socialist Party will not be fielding any candidates this election. See also : All out to make sure it’s time up for Turnbull (Solidarity, June 11, 2016) and Dump the Liberals, build a socialist movement (Tom Bramble, Red Flag/Socialist Alternative, June 15, 2016).

*Jim Casey (ex-International Socialist Organisation: see SAlt and Solidarity), the Greens candidate for Grayndler, will be facing off against Antony Albanese (along with Oscar Grenfell of the SEP). Casey’s candidacy has been controversial on account of the fact that he doesn’t like capitalism much. See : Jim Casey: ‘We need to build the social movements’ (Interview with Zane Alcorn, Green Left Weekly, February 19, 2016); Anthony Albanese: Labor heavyweight’s Greens rival Jim Casey defends ‘Trotskyist’ speech, Julia Holman, 7.30/ABC, May 11, 2016; Thanks Daily Telegraph, I welcome a debate about the overthrow of capitalism, Jim Casey, The Guardian, May 12, 2016; Jim Casey Talks Preferences, Albo, And Capitalism, Michael Brull, New Matilda, June 17, 2016; Grayndler candidate Jim Casey and the fake-left wing of the Greens, Oscar Grenfell (SEP candidate for Grayndler), wsws.org, June 24, 2016.

Bonus Toscano!

Dr Joe Toscano is running for election again, this time in the VIC seat of Dunkley under the banner of ‘Public Interests Before Corporate Interests’ (PIBCI). He last ran for the state seat of Frankston in 2014 and got 140 votes (0.4%) for his troubles.

See also : antifa notes (june 9, 2016) : australian far right + #ausvotes (June 9, 2016).

Posted in State / Politics, That's Capitalism!, Trot Guide | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

June 26, 2016 : True Blue Crew & Co ~versus~ Melbourne

burn

Briefly:

They lost. Again.

Otherwise:

Despite S C R E A M I N G ! headlines, the day was relatively uneventful, with relatively small crowds (a few hundred people in total), very few, minor clashes on the margins, and an overwhelming police presence. Two counter-protesters were arrested in Carlton Gardens as police responded to the burning (or attempted burning) of a handful of flags, while one or two PUFers also got arrest.

In terms of numbers, approximately 100 or so members and supporters of the Bendigo- and Melton-based ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC) and the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF) — along with various other racist and fascist dregs — assembled near Parliament House (Parliament Gardens) this morning, intending to rally outside the building at 11.30am and then to march thru the CBD. Perhaps 2-300 other people attended a counter-rally at the same location.

Prevented from occupying the space outside Parliament, the TBC & Co were instead escorted by police up Nicholson Street to the Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building. There, kettled by police, they gathered outside the main (southern) entrance, where they waved flags and chanted. My favourite patriotik chant — undertaken with great gusto from within the kettle — was ‘Whose streets? Our streets!’

LOL.

Confined to the area immediately outside the main southern entrance to Royal Exhibition Building, the << facho >> held a static demo for the better part of an hour, surrounded by police, media, and bewildered tourists. At around 1.30pm, the police permitted the small group to leave, escorting them the brief distance from the building to the corner of Nicholson and Gertrude. About half jumped on a charter bus (Bendigo Bus Company; registration number 0401 AC) — presumably to piss off back to Bendigo and Melton — while the remainder (about 40-50 people) were escorted by police the short distance to Parliament station, where they (presumably) jumped on a train.

Later in the afternoon, the << facho >> assembled — again — at The Pumphouse Hotel.

So:

The last time the UPF rallied in Melbourne they attracted a crowd of about 40 or so; the fact that only roughly that number assembled again today suggests that they’ve failed to build in the intervening period.

More later, but in the meantime, see also : Far left, right-wing groups rally: Anti-Islam, anti-racism groups protest in Melbourne, The Age, June 26, 2016 | Violence breaks out after anti-immigration, anti-racist rallies in Melbourne, ABC, June 26, 2016.

more and later

blahandrosaliejun26

Politics makes for strange bedfellows. Thus I should add that the TBC and UPF’s numbers were heavily supplemented by members and supporters of Danny Nalliah’s Catch the Fire Ministries/Rise Up Australia Party (RUAP). Both party leader Danny Nalliah and VP Rosalie Crestani addressed the gathering, the Jesus freaks joining the Jew-haters in patriotik unity. Other familiar faces included a handful of Party for Freedom supporters: Toby ‘Golden Dawn’ Cook and George Jameson. Indeed, local PFF supporter Hong Shen was at one point given the great honour of leading the racist schmucks. LOL. For further information on the PFF and its handful of members, see : Anti Fascist Action Sydney on the Party for Freedom. Old mate Phill Galea made an appearance (but failed to blow up, cattle prod or Tase any body), as did (ex-?) PUFer Linden Watson, Tim Wakeling, UPF leaders Blair Cottrell and Thomas Sewell and TBC level boss Kane Miller.

See also : The Goddam Election! with John Safran (SBS, June 26, 2016) : ‘John Safran investigates the micro parties contesting the 2016 Australian Federal Election, revealing bizarre alliances that [upend] perceptions of Australian multiculturalism, uncovering what could be the most religious election ever. As the nation heads towards a neck-and-neck election, the micro parties supported by Australia’s religious minorities could end up with a balance of power. Join Safran as he cracks the lid on unlikely alliances and surprising frenemies in his inimitable style.’

Posted in Anti-fascism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Floating Anarchy on The SUWA Show (June 2016)

fafa

hey0,

today’s episode of The SUWA Show features Coggo of the Melbourne Street Medics and Alana Lentin of the University of Western Sydney.

nb. 3cr held a radiothon june 6-19. you can still donate to the station to halp keep people-powered radio on air; if you wanna support The SUWA Show nominate it when you donate!

links of relevance:

Too diverse?, David Goodhart, Prospect Magazine, February 20, 2004
Austerity and war against multiculturalism, Alana Lentin, openDemocracy, June 21, 2016
Island retreat: on hate, violence and the murder of Jo Cox, Aaron Winter, openDemocracy, June 20, 2016
Racism and the EU referendum: a state of emergency, Brendan McGeever, openDemocracy, June 21, 2016
Refocusing anti-racism: delineating and combatting opportunistic racism in the mainstream, Aurelien Mondon, openDemocracy, June 22, 2016

pro-tips [via melbsmc]:

PRO-TIP 01: WALK DON’T RUN

This Sunday: it is best to assume that we are safer – together – in a large crowd.

Difficult situations such as confrontations with fascists can be frightening but it is important to spread calm in the crowd at all times.

A normal response to high intensity situations is often to speed up – freeze, fight or flee. Sometimes these instincts are necessary to our survival but spreading calm means knowing when to slow down, breathe and assess the situation.

Another great way to spread calm is not to run.

Running sends out confusing signals: it’ll cause the counter rally to loose cohesion, it’ll create panic and most devastatingly of all people WILL get left behind!

In crisis situations people tend to mirror the emotions of those around them, so if things are appearing a bit [chaotic] stay calm and suggest a safer position by saying something like “I think we should walk over there”, rather than shouting something alarming like “RUN!”

Good communication with your buddy, the people around you and the marshals means we are all acting in solidarity with each other … and no one gets left behind!

PRO-TIP 02: WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE EXPOSED TO PEPPER SPRAY!

Victoria Police have an ever increasing record of pepper spray deployment.

The very best advice regarding pepper spray is to not get sprayed or contaminated!

Consider wearing a scarf, mask and/or eye protection to the action.

If you see that pepper spray is about to be deployed:
– STAY CALM AND DON’T PANIC. There are lots of good reasons to avoid panic: panic is contagious and if groups of people panic, they almost always make poor decisions and quickly descend into chaos
– WALK, DON’T RUN away from the pepper spray
– AVERT YOUR EYES, MOUTH AND NOSE (calling loudly: “Pepper spray! Cover up!” is a comradely thing to do also); bury your face into a scarf or under your shirt

If you are contaminated either by primary or secondary exposure, here are some crucial tips to get you through it:
– STAY CALM. Exposure to pepper spray is awful but this is the worst part and with prompt aftercare, things will quickly begin to get better. Opening your eyes will be the most difficult moment but acute symptoms can usually be overcome within 20mins-2 hours, with appropriate aftercare
– COME STRAIGHT TO THE STREET MEDICS! Work together with your buddies and the crowd in getting all casualties quickly to the Street Medics. Loudly call “MEDIC” and others will know to assist. Melbourne Street Medic Collective members are trained in pepper spray decontamination and use protocols in alignment with global street medicine practice
– DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES RUB YOUR EYES and avoid touching yourself altogether (if however you are wearing contact lenses, these must be removed as soon as possible)
– DON’T SCREAM. This will only draw the chemicals deeper into your airways

If you are exposed to pepper spray you will need to change your clothes before going indoors or entering a vehicle or public transport and you will also need to take special care when you arrive home. The Melbourne Street Medics can provide more information in the event of exposure.

PRO-TIP 03: MIND YOUR MATES

At the very least, bring one trusted friend/family member (but ideally 2 or 3) to buddy with at a rally. You will be their rock and they will be yours; stick together like glue.

Sometimes things will get out of hand, especially if <> are involved and you WILL need each other. Use the buddy system to assess each other’s mental & emotional state, get a second opinion; share supplies; be each other’s advocate, especially if you encounter the police or need the assistance of street medics. Most of all you can help keep each other safe.

Before the rally kicks off, write the phone number of buddy(s) in permanent marker on your arm . Being a buddy means you never leave your partner(s) field of vision but, if you do get split up during the action, be certain to have a back-up plan or meeting place in mind so you can hook up again later.

Leave the rally with your buddy(s); seeing each other off home/on public transport/to their bikes/cars etc out of harm. Under no circumstances should members of your organisation be left abandoned, by themselves, without transport, as has happened at previous actions.

Check in with them over the next days with a phone call/face to face contact/social media. If you have to come alone, please try and make your presence known to another approachable, friendly looking comrade who you can mutually have each other’s back for as per above.

PRO-TIP 04: BE RESPONSIBLE, BE PREPARED!

It is very important that you have enough basic supplies to keep yourself warm, hydrated and protected from the elements at political actions, particularly when they could go for a while. This makes it easier on you, and ensures you respect the people around you by not assuming they will just take care of everything for you.

First and most importantly, bring a bottle of water – dehydration can creep up on you, especially in cold weather when you’re less likely to be conscious of drinking water. Street medics can’t carry enough water for everyone, and this goes double if pepper spray is deployed and we need to conserve water for decontamination. A couple of low-GI snacks such as bananas and muesli bars are also good to have on hand, as going without food can lead to low blood sugar levels and put you at risk of dizziness, fainting, and not thinking clearly (try to eat at least a small breakfast too).

Sensible wet weather clothing and enclosed shoes are also important – standing around cold and soaking wet is a surefire way to speed up hypothermic symptoms, especially if you have been exposed to pepper spray, and thongs are a bad idea with crowds of people or police horses about!

If you take medications (or have an asthma inhaler), please remember to bring a small supply with you, particularly in the case of arrest or if you find yourself being unable to leave an area for an extended period of time.

And, finally, try to bring a small amount of cash (enough for a taxi) and a Myki card with a little bit of money on it, ensuring you are able to leave if a situation becomes unsafe.

BONUS! PAINTED BIRD!

Posted in Anarchism, Anti-fascism, Death, History, Media, State / Politics, That's Capitalism! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

ala

Briefly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“As soon as the door would open, my heart would skip and I would stand up and be holding a knife because I’d be ready to go round there and be ready to kill him because I was pretty determined.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

blairc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MAIN PLAYERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I. SURGE IN ONLINE EXTREMISM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. DIVISIONS IN THE FAR-RIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘IT’S APPEALING TO JOIN SOMETHING LIKE THAT’

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

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

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

It’s tough out there being anti-Muslim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

III. UNPLEASANT TRUTHS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then came the extremist groups and the street clashes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV. THE LANGUAGE OF HATE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘OUR FREEDOMS HAVE DIMINISHED’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Anti-fascism, Art, History, Media, Music, State / Politics, Television, That's Capitalism!, War on Terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

antifa notes (june 9, 2016) : australian far right + #ausvotes

[Updated June 30, 2016]

With the federal election rolling around soon, I thought I may as well take note of the electoral efforts of the far right. A mixed bunch, common themes are opposition to Islam, denial of anthropogenic global warming, and a mAd love of flag-waving (‘Australia for Australians’).

(Dr Jim Saleam’s) Australia First Party : AFP is standing several candidates, including party leader Dr Jim Saleam in Lindsay (NSW), Susan Jakobi in Lalor (VIC), ex-ONP candidate John Kearney in Solomon (NT) and Victor Waterson in McMahon (NSW). Saleam will be running against ex-Tory and Penrith councilor Marcus Cornish and Stephen Roddick of the Australian Liberty Alliance. One Nation in WA — ie, that faction not aligned with Pauline Hanson — appears to have merged with AFP for the purposes of running two losing candidates (Lyn Vickery and Brian McRea) for the Senate under the AFP banner. (The WA branch was chucked out of One Nation a few years ago.)

(Debbie Robinson’s) Australian Liberty Alliance : The ALA, the political project of ‘The Q Society’, is standing Senate candidates in every state, several lower house seats in NSW (Peter Kelly in Bradfield, Ron Pike in Farrer, Stephen Roddick in Lindsay, Carl Halley in Macquarie) and QLD (Tony Duncan in Bowman, John Spellman in Fisher, Shaun Spain in Forde, Matt Darragh in Griffith, Rob Windred in Hinkler, Caleb Wells in Longman) and one in WA (David Archibald in Curtin). They will be battling AFP leader Saleam in Lindsay and One Nation in Longman. Note that John Bolton (SA) was dropped from the ALA team and is now standing as an independent in Wakefield, while its most famous face is Gary ‘Angry’ Anderson (NSW). Along with Pauline Hanson, an ALA candidate seems the next most likely to win a Senate seat.

(Lyndon La Rouche’s) Citizens Electoral Council : The CEC is the Strayan expression of the LaRouchite kvlt (see : Lyndon LaRouche: Fascist Demagogue, PublicEye.org), deeply committed to stopping The Royal Family from selling drugs to The Kids. And stuff. They’re running losing candidates in the Senate (NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA) and also several Lower House seats (Michael Gough, Cowper, NSW; Lindsay Cosgrove, Hume, NSW; Peter Davis, Paterson, NSW; Peter Flynn, Lingiari, NT; Brigid McCullough, Solomon, NT; Chris Lahy, Mallee, VIC and; Jeff Davy, Murray, VIC). See also : The CEC Report on Channel 31.

(Blair Cottrell’s) Fortitude (United Patriots Front) : Despite gaining a good deal of media and public attention over the last 12 months, staging an ‘East Coast’ Tour earlier this year, and having conducted several successful media/publicity stunts, the UPF has seemingly failed to attract sufficient support to register with the Australian Electoral Commission. It’s unknown if any of the small clutch of fascists and ultra-nationalists who form the UPF’s inner core will bother sticking their hand up for the election — a ‘seminar’ conducted at The Bush Pig Inn in Jackass Flat on June 5 attracted around 20 or so participants. In January, internal UPF discussion acknowledged that party fuehrer Cottrell was unable to run for public office because of his violent criminal record, while UPF Perth lackey Dennis Huts also worried that his own imprisonment for an unspecified crime might bar him from running. The stench the UPF carries around with it was confirmed by the hostile reception party fuehrer Cottrell received when he tried to jump on board the dairy farmers protest in Melbourne in May. See : Watch: Far-Right Leader’s Effort To Hijack Dairy Farmer Protest Backfires, New Matilda, May 25, 2016.

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Above : Kim Vuga with UPF Perth lackey Kevin Coombes (aka Eljah Jacobson).

(Kim Vuga’s) Love Australia Or Leave Party : Like UPF/Fortitude, LAOL appears to have failed to register for the election. Vuga, whose main claim to fame is appearing on a TV show, will be running as an independent for the Senate in QLD and is joined by Karen Street in Tasmania (in April, Street replicated, with a whole lot less fanfare, the UPF stunt at a match in Hobart), Elizabeth Power and Tony Robinson in NSW and Ian Felton and Jeffrey Simmons in VIC.

*Just as Vuga’s party failed to register, so Karen Street, Elizabeth Power, Tony Robinson, Ian Felton and Jeffrey Simmons do not appear on the ballot; another Tony Robinson is an ALA candidate in TAS (along with Susan Horwood).

(Nick Folkes’) Party for Freedom : On June 4, the PFF staged another desultory rally in Sydney, this time in the suburb of Blacktown. The Big Idea being celebrated on this occasion was Getting Rid Of All The African And Muslim Immigrants To Australia. Ho hum. (A crowd several times larger than the roughly 20 or so individuals the PFF gathered told the racist meatheads to shoo.) As he’s done on numerous previous occasions, Folkes will be losing badly in whatever ring he throws his hat into.

*Folkes has abandoned his campaign.

(Pauline Hanson’s) One Nation Party : Perennial chancer Hanson has good prospects of being elected to the Senate according to pundits. In the intervening two decades since Hanson made her maiden speech in Parliament, the party’s rhetoric has changed from Australia being in danger of being ‘swamped by Asians’ to being ‘swamped by Muslims’. (Note that the party itself is apparently in danger of being swamped by ‘Asian wives’.) The party’s main competitor for the bigot vote would appear to be the ALA. Joining Hanson in her quest for a seat in the Senate in QLD is Malcolm Roberts, Fraser Anning and Judy Smith; the party is also running Senate candidates in NSW, SA, TAS, VIC and WA. In QLD, candidates for lower house seats are Troy Aggett (Blair), Brenden Ball (Fadden), Robert Pasquali (Fairfax), Phil Baker (Flynn), Geoff Virgo (Herbert), Damian Huxham (Hinkler), Peter Rogers (Leichhardt), Michelle Pedersen (Longman), Lynette Keehn (Maranoa), Brad Trussell (Oxley), Elise Cottam (Wide Bay) and Rod Smith (Wright): in Longman, ONP will be pitted against ALA. In NSW, Carter Edwards will be standing in Dobell, Graham Burston in Paterson, while Neil Smith is running in Richmond.

(Danny Nalliah’s) Rise Up Australia Party : God has told the Reverend that he’s gonna win BIG this time. Presumably. The party — which has formed an informal alliance over the last year with the UPF — is a fundamentalist, multi-ethnic Christian project opposed to multiculturalism and Islam and wants Australia to remain Australian (as opposed to Austrian, presumably). Pastor Danny Nalliah and deputy leader Rosalie Crestani will take a break from talking on God’s behalf in an attempt to address the Australian Senate from VIC, while Brian Tucker and Maree Nichols in NSW, Anthony Hardwick and Sheila Mundy in WA, Paul Taylor and Neroli Mooney in QLD, Jan Pile and Jimmy Gimini in the NT and Sandie O’Connor and Jess Wyatt in the ACT will be losing elsewhere. The party will also be praying to Jesus to ensure that the following all go to Parliament (and/or Heaven):

VIC : Tran Tran (Ballarat), Sandy Caddy (Bendigo), Angela Dorian (Casey), Melanie Vassiliou (Chisholm), Nicholas Steel (Corangamite), Ash Puvimanasinghe (Corio), Lin Tregenza (Dunkley), Yvonne Gentle (Flinders), Peter Dorian (Gippsland), Colin Robertson (Holt), Peter Vassiliou (Hotham), Vincent Ferrando (Indi), Margaret Quinn (LaTrobe), Marion Vale (Lalor), Tim Middleton (Mallee), Jeff Truscott (McEwen), Norman Baker (McMillan), Yasmin Gunasekera (Murray);

WA : Philip Scott (Brand), Mitchell Sambell (Durack), Jennifer Whately (Forrest), Henry Barnard (Hasluck), Stephen Carson (O’Connor), Taffy Samuriwo-Vuntarde (Pearce), Alison Rowe (Stirling);

NSW : Brian Clare (Paterson), Tracey Bell-Henselin (Fisher), John Kelly (Leichhardt), Sherrilyn Church (Maranoa);

NT : Regina McCarthy (Lingiari), Silvija Majetic (Solomon).

Oddly, Nicholas Steel (Corangamite) has stood for both the Australian Protectionist (2013) and One Nation parties (2007) previously.

See also : Election 2016: How far-right politics crashed and burned in Australia, Daniel Flitton, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 5, 2016 | Psephos: Adam Carr’s Election Archive: Australian federal election, 2 July 2016 | Cate Speaks blog provides a nifty guide to all the micro-parties (there’s dozens) here.

Posted in Anti-fascism, State / Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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

Huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fascists Out Of Coburg!

dutycrime

Briefly:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fascists Out of Coburg!

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