The APP are certainly busy little bees, and their buzzing about Islam has once again attracted the attention of the corporate media — in this case, Jano Gibson (‘Locals oppose Muslim school’, Sydney Morning Herald, September 26, 2008) and The Muslim’s nefarious plan to
blow-up build a school in Austral (a rural area in south-west Sydney).
[The APP’s] online forum, www.australianidentity.net, which openly declares that “views, ideas and contributions that are hostile to [an Anglo-Celtic-European-white heritage] are not permitted” on it, received several postings about the proposal after the development application was lodged in April. “Any chance of an APP [Australian Protectionist Party] campaign on the basis of traffic usage etc?” wrote Casapound. “Yes, indeedy,” replied Darrinh, who is
believed to beDarrin Hodges, the NSW chairman of the Australian Protectionist Party, who recently stood unsuccessfully as a candidate in the Sutherland Shire elections. The Herald was yesterday unable to contact Mr Hodges, whose campaign material stated: “I will oppose mosques, sex-shops and any developments that undermine Australia’s traditional and family values.”
A few points:
‘Casapound’ is the pseudonym used by local Patriotik Yoof Luke Connors (pictured above, smoking a fag at the Sydney Forum). His handle is derived from the name of a fascist squat in Rome, Italy (est.2003) — one which, it appears, Luke is quite enamoured with (just as he is the Italian neo-fascist movement as a whole). Luke had his own brush with fame following the Cronulla pogrom in December 2005, when he was interviewed by The Age in his capacity as the spokesperson for the now-defunct Patriotik Yoof League.
In summary, he thought the pogrom was ace.
Illuminating the meaning of the phrase ‘Don’t count your chickens before they hatch’, however, according to the article ‘…groups such as the PYL are enjoying the publicity. Mr Connors explains: “Mate, I’m going to get brain cancer from having the mobile phone pressed to me ear all day and all night. Answering membership and media inquiries”.’ Assuming Luke has a brain (and it’s not cancerous), the irony is that, within the space of a few years, the PYL had dwindled down to one person: an elderly, tennis-playing Queenslander named John Drew (vociferously denounced by his kameraden on Stormfront Down Under for his apparent attraction to men and masturbation). Having, like Darrin, left both SF and the Australia First Party behind him, Luke now (like Darrin) extols the virtues of the APP and the mutant lump known as ‘national anarchism’.
I wonder if they’ll meet the same fate as the PYL…?
Apart from Darrin’s rather desultory performance in recent council elections, the APP has also come into the media spotlight (no doubt much to the chagrin of rival leader Dr James Saleam of the AFP: see Moffat, AFP, and those BLOODY FOREIGNERS!) as a result of its plans to bring the leader of the British National Party, Nick Griffin, to Australia in December. The announcement by the APP/BNP of Nick’s intention to visit the colonies has been greeted with joy by racist wingnuts Down Under, while in the Mother Country Searchlight and allied groups have launched a campaign to stop him.
In truth, some have expressed the view that Nick should go — and not come back (perhaps as the result of an unfortunate “accident” involving a blue-ringed octopus, crocodile, jellyfish, scorpion, shark, snake, spider, stonefish or dropbear). No doubt, if he does come, a Welcoming Committee will be formed to ensure his trip is as productive as possible.
Speaking of the BNP, they held a little rally in
Hooked-On-Classics Stoke-On-Trent last weekend, ostensibly in order to protest the manslaughter in July 2007 of (BNP activist) Keith Brown by his (Muslim) neighbour, Habib Khan. Found guilty in May and sentenced to eight years jail for the crime in August 2008, ‘Local BNP councillor, Martin Coleman, told reporters the party would start a campaign to “expose what has gone on today in court” and said he viewed the case as “insanity and madness”.’
In response to the BNP rally — which attracted around 300 supporters — a number of groups organised a counter-rally. Anindya Bhattacharyya (The BNP shows its true Nazi colours in Stoke, Socialist Worker, September 27, 2008) writes:
Despite the frustrations of being blocked from directly confronting the Nazis, local people on the anti-fascist demonstration were pleased with the turnout and determined to build a mass movement on the ground against the BNP. Speakers at the anti-fascist demonstration included local Labour MP Joan Walley, Vince Simpson from North Staffordshire Race Equality Council, Jason Hill from Norscarf and a variety of councillors and trade unionists from the city and surrounding area… Martin Smith from [Socialist Workers Party front group Love Music Hate Racism] spoke of how the BNP was aiming to use the current economic crisis to build an organisation of racist thugs. “They have no right to march on our streets – they shall not pass,” he said. Martin also argued against the idea that anti-fascists should restrict themselves to peaceful methods, pointing out that key turning points in previous struggles – Cable Street in 1936, Lewisham in 1977 – had involved physical confrontation with the Nazis.
Presumably, this is an indication that the SWP will be reviving the nth version of the Anti-Nazi League (now known as ‘Unite Against Fascism’), and hope to be able to claim title to headlines such as ‘Fascists routed in Cologne’ — only in, say, Coventry. That a Labour Party politician is able to share an anti-fascist platform ‘against the BNP’ — when disillusionment with the endless ‘betrayals’ by Labour of working class people is one important reason for the BNP’s modest success — is indicative of the, er — witlessness? — of the SWP’s approach to ‘fighting fascism’ and the ‘Nazi’ BNP.
Still, the tough-talking is perhaps justified in the sense that, when it comes to the electoral process, the SWP are simply no match for the BNP. Dramatic illustration of this fact was given in May, when the SWP — using the moniker ‘Left List’, since dropped for the more alluring title of ‘Left Alternative’ — did exceedingly badly in local council elections. Thus the BNP’s Richard Barnbrook — who happened to pay a spectacularly unsuccessful visit to Cologne recently — was elected to the London Assembly (and gave a great, drunken acceptance speech). Barnbrook received 69,710 votes for Mayor, while the SWP candidate, Lindsey German, got a mere 16,796. (As the Respect candidate in 2004, German got 61,731 votes.)
Note that the fortunes of the SWP in the UK are in some ways mirrored by those of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) in Australia. Both parties are major forces on the Leninist left, and both parties decided, in their wisdom, to try and hitch their wagons to the ‘anti-capitalist’ movement in the early noughties by way of joining/forming an electoral alliance. In the case of the SWP this meant, first, joining/forming the Socialist Alliance (1999–2003), then Respect (2003–2007), then Respect Coalition (2007–2008), then the Left List (2008), and now the Left Alternative. In the case of the DSP, they comprised one of the founding members of the Socialist Alliance (2001) and — while every single other member of the ‘alliance’ has since departed — have remained there. This has come at a cost to the DSP, with the recent departure of a large minority to form the Revolutionary Socialist Party. (The electoral performance of the SA has also been quite dismal.) The SWP, on the other hand, has witnessed a declining membership and, most recently, the ejection (scapegoating) of two of the leading proponents of the electoral turn, John Rees and Lindsey German, from the commanding heights of the ‘Left Alternative’…
Remember the Left Alternative? Okay, maybe not. The Left Alternative, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is the current incarnation of the post-split Reespect/Left List/Left Party that did so well in the May elections. You remember, when Lindsey German came so close to winning a seat on the GLA? No? Still drawing a blank?
This puts you in the good company of many Socialist Workers Party members, who have been asking themselves “Whatever happened to the Left Alternative?”
…So the LA is going to be a parked front, much like Globalise Resistance, kept just about ticking over in case there’s a need to dust it off again. This makes sense. Since the election debacle, practically all the SWP’s allies – who weren’t too numerous to begin with – have flaked off. The four Tower Hamlets councillors have gone, three to New Labour and one to the Tories. Kumar Murshid has gone. The very able Sait Akgul seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. And the SWP itself doesn’t have the membership or the money to keep a halfway serious electoral intervention going under its own steam…
My first reaction to this is, about fucking time. The period of Rees’ ascendancy has been one long lurch from disaster to disaster, with occasional flashes of potential in between. In this tragic-comic situation, the tragic part is that, in fact, it’s been John and Lindsey who’ve been associated with attempts to break out of the old sectist rut and turn towards some type of united front politics. Unfortunately, they’ve been congenitally unable to make that work. The trouble with united front or coalition politics is that, in the nature of things, you’re going to be working with people to your right, and that creates liquidationist or opportunist pressures. Those pressures are an inevitable overhead, and it’s a matter of taste as to whether you think them a price worth paying for the sake of a possible, but far from inevitable, future as the revolutionary wing of a much bigger movement. Hence the pressures from those who preferred the certainties of the old-style SWP politics, and hence John and Lindsey making openings to other forces, and then ruining it all by the most crass manipulation, or by seeking to square the circle by promising enormous gains right around the corner. You know the phrase, hoist by your own petard? This is a good illustration of what it means.
~ Trouble at the top: The SWP’s palace coup, Splintered Sunrise, September 11, 2008
Anyway, while John and Lindsey have presumably moved on to bigger and better things, and Splintered Sunshine provides hours of fun for trainspotters, if the pair play their cards right, they’ll be back on the front pages soon enough.
Luke Connors. I wonder if his brains are as big as his build? Or his ego for that matter.
“Mate, I’m going to get brain cancer from having the mobile phone pressed to me ear all day and all night.”
haha touche @ndy. horrible as cancer is I secretly hope it’s true!
Chortles, Swippies and fascistic morons etc aside, you (like too much of the left) continue to peddle the same self-affirming nonsense around the Socialist Alliance as ever:
“In the case of the DSP, they comprised one of the founding members of the Socialist Alliance (2001) and — while every single other member of the ‘alliance’ has since departed — have remained there. This has come at a cost to the DSP, with the recent departure of a large minority to form the Revolutionary Socialist Party. (The electoral performance of the SA has also been quite dismal.)”
The statement “every single other member of the ‘alliance’ has since departed” is neither true for individuals, nor groups. The DSP (membership close to 250) is still far outnumbered by other Socialist Alliance members, including members of affiliate organisations.
The “large departure” wasn’t really that large – the cost was more the effort put into the 3 year debate, and perhaps one or two of those who left. Numerically the RSP is maybe in competition with the Socialist Party. Maybe.
Yup. Electoral results fairly bad. Good thing that’s not all we do. Although NSW local elections were nothing to spit at. Fingers crossed for the Vic local elections (for both the Socialist Alliance and the SP, btw).
There is no point four. Oh yes. Wait. Did we mention the tendency of capitalism to go “oh shit… who the fuck did that? Is it broken? Can I buy a new one?”
As you were. Carry on.
My reference to ‘every single other member’ of the SA having left (apart from the DSP), was intended to refer to the departure of:
International Socialist Organisation;
Freedom Socialist Party;
and the seeming inactivity of:
Worker-Communist Party of Iraq in Australia;
(Alliance for) Workers Liberty and;
Chilean Popular and Indigenous Network.
As far as I’m aware, the only members of SA currently are the DSP and its youth wing (Resistance). If there are other affiliate organisations, it’s a closely-guarded secret.
I obviously don’t know the membership numbers of the DSP, RSP or SA. But, equally obviously, more than one or two individuals left the DSP to form the RSP. Further, aside from the existence of a lengthy internal debate, I think it reasonable to assume that the split/expulsion of a considerable minority of activists from the DSP will take some time for the party to recover from. Finally, the DSP now has another competitor.
The problem with the argument that, while electoral results may be fairly bad, SA is engaged in other projects, is that this was the case prior to the creation of SA. In other words, the DSP was quite capable of — and did, in fact — contest elections on its own behalf. Moreover, the results it received were not dissimilar to those SA receives now. Further, when SA was launched, the expectations associated with it were much higher — as they should have been, given that a) it was an alliance of a number of Leninist parties, and b) it was explicitly aimed at capitalising, at the ballot box, on what was understood to be a minor resurgence of the left.
In reverse order:
I understood your reference to ‘every single other member’ as you intended. My point is that you used a number of the wrong words. As far as affiliates go, you are mostly correct (although there are discussions with a couple of groups over new affiliations). But you miss the main point: “affiliates” are a very different thing to “members”, of whom we have several hundred who are not members of any “affiliate” organisation. This is what makes the Socialist Alliance an interesting and promising project, despite the vicissitudes and unkickable habits of life on the hard left. It’s also something of a magic trick that people who like to claim that Socialist Alliance has failed do, suddenly making hundreds of people vanish into thin air. Not unlike a several Wall St companies this week.
Of course, the rainbow discoloration of competing left groups means that, whatever the gains of Socialist Alliance, a new phase of left regroupment is probably still necessary. But there’s no reason to chuck out the baby with the bathwater.
A lot of the expectations of higher votes were a bit loopy. Then there was the rise of the Greens. All things considered, Socialist Alliance hasn’t done too badly on that front. But the postcards are staying firmly in the draw.
RSP. Meh. 30-odd. Mostly inactive anyway. It was the bloodletting that was the most damaging. And that’s over now.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
“We wombats don’t like being disturbed – if you irritated us, we sat on you until you died. The inanities of your world, like electric fences, or being hit by speeding cars, have never bothered us much. But now you humans have gotten outta hand, with your wars and bombs and poverty and Global Warming and other such uncomfortable things, so we have decided to intervene. We can help fix your problems, so we can go back to ignoring you. Ok? – Yours, the Revolutionary Wombats Association.”
Naivety is cute, so are wombats.
Number Nine… Number Nine… Number Nine…
Right. No other known affiliates at this point, but who know what the future may bring. Regarding the issue of unaffiliated members: fair enough. There are hundreds. Two things. One, how many of these are active? I know a number of individuals who’ve signed on the dotted line, but their activity ends there. Two, the unaffiliated members do not appear to be active to the extent that the great majority of SA candidates are drawn from the DSP/Resistance. For example, in last year’s Federal election, SA stood a number of candidates. There were presumably others, but Tim Kirchler, the SA candidate for Moncrieff, appears to have been one of only a very small handful not to have been a member of DSP or Resistance (Tim got 315 votes or 0.4%).
On results: no, they haven’t been good. Worse, in the seven years since its formation, they actually haven’t improved. Or to put it another way: they’ve either remained steady, or actually declined. In the last federal election, across the entire country, in the Senate race SA received 9,525 votes (0.08, a decline of 0.03 from 2004); this from a pool of 12,656,805 potential votes. In 2004, otoh, SA received 13,305 votes, or 0.11% (99.89% of voters directing their preferences elsewhere).
Obviously, the rise of the Greens is an important factor. In fact, a crucial one, both for SA, and for any other electoral party of the left. The fact is that, for the vast majority of ‘progressive’-minded people, a vote for the Greens is simply a lot more attractive than a vote for SA. On its own, SA is simply unable to deal with this issue. In my opinion, only a significant rupture within the ALP left and allied unions would make any serious challenge possible, at least at any time in the near future. But even here, such formations would — and in fact have, generally speaking — gravitated towards the Greens as being the most realistic and sensible prospect.
2001: A Space Odyssey.
Assuming that a left electoral alternative was both possible and desirable, I think the DSP ruined the possibility of SA performing this f(n) when it decided to become a ‘Perspective’ within SA.