Will the Global Economic Crisis (GEC) facilitate social change? And do the recent ‘Group of 20’ (G20) protests reflect a rise in anarchism? Donna Yan and Bonita Silva investigate. ~ ‘A is for Anarchy’, Vertigo, Bonita Silva and Donna Yan, May 19, 2009.
Ah… student journalism. This particular example has covered all four bases:
1) Hacks: Paola Totaro. Tom Whipple.
2) Crackademics: Stewart Davidson. Benjamin Franks. George Crowder. Lawrence Davis.
3) Slacktivists: Karen Kennedy. Katrina Byrne.
4) One-and-a-half teenage fascists: Alex. Scott.
Stewart lectures the world from Glasgow. A member of the Anarchist Studies Network, Disco(ntented) Stu makes the obvious point that not all G20 protesters in London were anarchists; further, that the term is applied by hacks without regard for its accuracy; and finally that “[t]he inaccuracy of this portrayal is beside the point from a propagandist’s point of view”.
Like Stu, Benjamin is a member of the ASN (as is Lawrence). Ben agrees with Stu, and adds that:
Some aspects of the protests were consistent with anarchism… These include attempts to contest hierarchical power, open, participatory planning, and finding co-operative links between different political groups. However, [Ben] is not convinced the economy determines social change… “It should be remembered that many of those taking part in the protests, indeed those actors who provided the most memorable images of the protests, were not protestors but state officials – mainly the police. And of course other important participants were the largely conservative/economic liberal journalists, columnists and broadcasters, who were pivotal in framing the events in particular ways.”
George is quoted as follows: “The idea that the current crisis – or anything else – will lead to ‘a rise in anarchism’ strikes me as absurd”; while Lawrence “believes the opportunity for meaningful social change will depend on our future actions, or the opportunity will arise for global elites to convey the appearance of structural change. He says: ‘If people the world over are content to give their power away to elites in exchange for promises of reform, if in other words they try to achieve democracy by waiting for it, then they will wait forever’.”
So much for the crackademics.
“Non-violent anarchist activist” Karen notes that many do not understand ‘anarchy’, and it is associated with ‘violent rebellion’. Violent (presumably) anarchist activist Katrina, on the other hand, a member of the Jura Books collective in Sydney, agrees that ‘anarchy’ and ‘anarchism’ are widely misunderstood, and stresses the fundamentally co-operative nature of the anarchist vision.
4) One-and-a-half teenage fascists
Bonita and Donna also sought comment from bloggers. First, Alex: author of “a popular blog site detailing anarchist issues in Australia”.
I’ve no idea who ‘Alex’ is, but his or her blog is not popular; nor does Alex have any association with any existing anarchist group. Finally, Alex is hardly prolific: their only post for 2009 (May 1) notes the invitation from B&D to submit an opinion for their article. In December 2008, Alex complains about internet censorshit; in October, s/he notes that Victoria Police has spied on activists; in September (and there are 24 other entries for the year 2008) Alex complains that a now-deleted blog singled him/her out for criticism.
Apparently, an entry on this blog identified Alex as a ‘national anarchist’ and the blogger requested personal information about Alex to be sent to myself; someone Alex “believed to be a true Anarchist and comrade (with whom I did not necessary [sic] agree with on everything, but supported on my blog anyway)”.
Which is all very odd.
In any case, as far as I’m aware, and based on his/her own writing, Alex is a Christian who would like to live in a segregated, Christian, community, and understands ‘national anarchism’ (see below) to allow for this possibility. Hence, s/he is sympathetic to ‘national anarchism’. His/her understanding of ‘anarchism’, in other words, is highly idiosyncratic, and bears little relation to either its contemporary or historical forms.
So much for Alex.
The second oddball is Scott, a teenage ‘national anarchist’ from Geelong:
Some anarchists believe that although the turnout at the G20 protests was due to the economic instability, protests are not reason enough to prove a rise in anarchism has occurred. Scott, a representative of the Victorian National-Anarchist network says: “A lot of those involved in the G20 protests around the world are more often than not interested more in expressing their anger toward an exploitative establishment than being involved in positive grassroots activism. What happens at a G20 protest may be an example of how angry people are with world leaders but it’s hardly an example of anarchism in action.”
A know-nothing, Scott is indeed a representative of the “Victorian National-Anarchist network”, a network which consists of a handful of teens and one or two adults, all of whom have gravitated to ‘national anarchism’ by way of the far right. Scott himself is a refugee from the white supremacist website Stormfront, and a continuing supporter of the neo-Nazi network ‘Blood & Honour’, having attended at least one of its annual events, and being chums with the representative of the “Victorian Blood & Honour network”. This particular group of neo-Nazis recently came to media attention by way of organising a gig in Perth (April 25) to celebrate the deaths of Australian soldiers in WWII and, prior to this, by way of the public exposure of the membership of this network of Canberra-based neo-Nazi Nicole Hanley, a senior manager for Thales, a major arms manufacturer and military supplier (Hanley was subsequently suspended from her position).
While the fascist teenybopper was a member of Stormfront, he produced what is probably one of my favourite comments. Thus:
For the record, NoCrusties is a teenage fascist from Melbourne. By his own admission, he travelled to Sydney to take part in the ‘anarchist’ ‘black bloc’ organised by Welf Herfurth. On Stormfront, he makes the following comment regarding the photo below, which I think explains why the New Right should be opposed better than I ever could:
Today, 05:35 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Re: New photos of Nazis having fun in the sun
They are celebrating the girls graduation from Jewish strangulation school?
Haha, jokes, haha!
In the shadow of horror, SS guardians frolic
International Herald Tribune
September 18, 2007
“…The photos provide a stunning counterpoint to what up until now has been the only major source of preliberation Auschwitz photos, the so-called Auschwitz Album, a compilation of pictures taken by SS photographers in the spring of 1944 and discovered by a survivor in another camp. Those photos depict the arrival at the camp of a transport of Hungarian Jews, who at the time made up the last remaining sizable Jewish community in Europe. The Auschwitz Album, owned by Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, depicts the railside selection process at Birkenau, the area where trains arrived at the camp, as SS men herded new prisoners into lines.
The comparisons between the albums are both poignant and obvious, as they juxtapose the comfortable daily lives of the guards with the horrific reality within the camp, where thousands were starving and 1.1 million died…”
That a teenager who has celebrated the Holocaust, attended neo-Nazi events, is being tutored in politics by a Sydney-based neo-Nazi named Welf Herfurth (originator of both the ‘New Right’ and the ‘national anarchists’ — and co-founder, most recently, of another fascist groupuscule named ‘Volksfront Australia’) — and is and has continued to be involved with a range of fascist projects — should be selected by two student journalists from Sydney to re-present ‘anarchist’ opinion on the ‘global economic crisis’ may be unfortunate, but the possibility still exists for this oversight to be corrected.
Either way, my feeling is that it will end in tears.
SKARPRETTER : NAZISCUM
Another black man loses his life on the street
A young punk goes down by knife in the east
The worst of vermin are on the rise
A little kid is beaten down outside her home
Onlookers don’t help, she takes the beating alone
They look away and ignore her cries
We’ve got an enemy to beat
We’ve got to meet them in the street
There’s a time to fight and that time has come
We’re coming for you, naziscum!
While another easy victim is left to die
The authorities they turn a blind eye
Reports are filed and nothing is done
‘Cause these are the killers they themselves create
Ugly symptoms of a racist state
Like the father, so the son
And now they’re marching under the black flag
Stolen to replace a swastika filth rag
It seems they are too stupid to understand
That it represents the opposite of their ideology
The antifascist black flag of anarchy
Is not for their filthy hands
See also : APEC : New Reich / “National Anarchists” (September 8, 2007) | All Heil the New Reich* (September 18, 2007) | Anarchist statement on the New Right (October 21, 2007) | Anarchist statement on New Right (cont.) (October 29, 2007) | APEC : Notional Anarchists (November 20, 2007) | The BNP’s German pals face their own troubles (Searchlight, March 2008) (March 10, 2008) | mathaba.net : last words (May 1, 2008) | Troy Southgate as state asset? (May 23, 2008) | White nationalism v national anarchism (June 3, 2008) | Neo-Nazi ‘national anarchists’ in Germany in the headlines (June 4, 2008) | Seig Heil! Boneheads, NPD, APP, Darrin Hodges… (August 25, 2008) | Vote 1 Darrin Hodges the National Anarchist Protectionist (and er, Saleam’s Lot) (September 7, 2008) | The New Right in The Public Eye (December 18, 2008)