From The Department Of “And I Would Have Gotten Away With It Too, If It Weren’t For You Meddling Kids” …
Local gym owner Avi Yemini’s invitation to One Nation Party senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts to address a public meeting in Caulfield this weekend (Sunday, December 4) was rejected by the dynamic duo on Wednesday (November 31), ostensibly as a result of security concerns.
See : ‘Intimidated’: Hanson, Roberts cancel plans to address Melbourne’s Jewish right, Bianca Hall, The Age, November 30, 2016 | Security fears cancel Hanson’s Melbourne meeting, 9News (AAP), November 30, 2016 | Hanson, Roberts cancel event due to security scare, Crikey, December 1, 2016 (According to Crikey, “The event was originally meant to take place at Glen Eira Town Hall, but it was moved to a pub when the council decided they didn’t want to be associated with it” — I assume that the ‘pub’ in question refers either to Yemini’s gym or the Bowls Club).
The meeting attracted opposition organised under the umbrella of ‘Jews against fascism’ — a dangerous rabble described by Malcolm ‘Jew World Order’ Roberts as being ‘horrid’, ‘vicious’, ‘vile’ and ‘violent’. The cancellation of the meeting has deeply upset Hanson fanboys, from Yemini to professional trollumnist Andrew Bolt. Bolt himself has pleaded — from the safety of his plush office — for Victoria police to stage a showdown with the far left, and to rid Melbourne of these meddling kids.
Originally scheduled to take place at Glen Eira council, the venue was changed to Yemini’s gym and finally — thanks to the active support of its president and board — to Caulfield Bowls. While Yemini has assumed responsibility for arranging the meeting, also invoked as supporting the initiative is the ‘Independent Jewish Council of Australia’ (IJCA), an obscure group that apparently formed in 1996 but only acquired a website a few weeks ago … though judging by the site’s contents, it’s far from certain that the site is, er, legit.
Other Jewish organisations responded negatively to the proposed meeting.
Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS):
As many would be aware, One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts will be coming to Caulfield to spruik their divisive and racist politics to the Jewish community. Along with many others in the Jewish community, AJDS stands firmly opposed to the ideas which they put forward, standing instead for principles and practices of inclusion, diversity, and real, substantial multiculturalism.
Australian Jewish News (From Cable Street to Caulfield, November 24, 2016) editorial:
… those of us who do not share those sympathies, who are prepared to stand up to bigotry and defend the rights of minorities, are entitled to protest: to say that while Hanson and Roberts may be speaking in our heartland, the majority of us do not feel they are welcome.
B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission:
While people are entitled to express their views, we hope that Senators Hanson and Roberts do not use this platform to scapegoat, single out and demonise any religious and ethnic group, which only undermines our multicultural society and contributes to a climate in which bigotry and hatred become mainstream and acceptable …
Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV):
Whilst the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) generally support the right of people to express their opinions and speak publicly, neither the ECAJ nor the JCCV supports the planned One Nation event being organised in Caulfield in December by the self-styled Independent Jewish Council of Australia (IJCA).
(In its Annual Report on Anti-Semitism for 2015, the ECAJ notes that “Reclaim rallies have included neo-Nazis, and other far Right people, Pauline Hanson as a speaker, white pride groups, racist sentiment, and swastika tattoos. One major Reclaimer, neo-Nazi Neil Erikson [see below], was convicted of making abusive and racist phone calls to a Melbourne rabbi. Australia’s most prominent neo-Nazi, Ross ‘The Skull’ May, has given support to Reclaim.” In which context, it’s worth noting that, as well as being arguably ‘Australia’s most prominent neo-Nazi’ and Reclaim Australia supporter, ‘The Skull’ was on board the bus from Sydney to Melbourne in order to attend the July 18 Reclaim Australia rally, along with John Oliver of the Patriots Defence League of Australia. Oliver tried to bring a gun with him, and had previously threatened to kill me. He now appears to be active on Twitter as @Ban_asslam.)
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia:
We stand firm against the policies and politics of those such as Pauline Hanson, Malcolm Roberts and the One Nation Party. We believe that people should not be judged by their ethnic origin or religion, but by their actions towards peace and the harmony of our community.
The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council did not release a position statement on the affair, but Tzvi Fleischer wrote about ‘Senators in glass houses’ and attempted to trace connections between Malcolm Roberts and anti-Semitism in particular. Dean Sherr, writing for the AJN (Not in our backyard!, November 25, 2016), notes that:
… across the two federal seats that cover Caulfield and much of Glen Eira, Goldstein and Melbourne Ports, Hanson’s One Nation polled between 0.38 per cent and 0.40 per cent. In the six booths across Caulfield, One Nation polled a total of 26 votes, a similar percentage. Even combined with the more explicitly anti-Islam party, the Australian Liberty Alliance, the anti-Islam bloc failed to total one per cent in the heart of Melbourne’s Jewish community. To paraphrase Senator Roberts, where’s the “empirical evidence” of a Jewish undercurrent of One Nation support?
When One Nation first emerged in the late ’90s, its relationship with the far right was a key issue. In 2001, Danny Ben-Moshe wrote (One Nation and the Australian far right, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol.35, No.3):
One Nation, the Australian anti-immigration political party established in April 1997 by independent MP Pauline Hanson, was defined by its founder’s explicit and hostile attitude towards Aboriginal reconciliation, Asian immigration and the resulting multiculturalism. With similar views being espoused by Australia’s organized racist groups, there was constant speculation about the nature of One Nation’s ties to the racist right. Theories ranged from active recruitment to subversive infiltration, but the truth is somewhere in between. Almost every racist group endorsed One Nation and their members joined the party and sought to exert influence over it, both at a leadership and grassroots level.
The furore over Yemini’s invitation to Hanson and Roberts to address a meeting in Caulfield, and its subsequent cancellation, has similarly provoked a number of racist groups, including the Facebook group ‘Australian Settlers Rebellion’, which offered the following meme as a puny defence:
In which context:
• ‘Australian Settlers Rebellion’ (ARSE) is the Facebook safe space for Shermon Burgess and Neil Erikson: the racists the United Patriots Front (UPF) rejects;
• Erikson, a former member of the neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Nationalist Alternative’, spent years as a neo-Nazi activist in Melbourne and, as noted by the ECAJ Report, has a criminal conviction (February 2014) for harassing a Melbourne rabbi:
Neil Luke Erikson, 29, phoned Rabbi Dovid Gutnick of Melbourne City Synagogue on three occasions, telling him “Give me the money Jew or else I will get you” and abusing him for his faith.
He also spoke of circumcisions, blood money and Jewish sidelocks and told Rabbi Gutnick he knew his location and was coming to get him.
Magistrate Donna Bakos said she had no doubt Erikson’s calls were motivated by prejudice and found he had little remorse for his crime.
Erikson is due back in court in March next year, along with UPF fuehrer and neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell and fundamentalist Christian and White nationalist Chris Shortis (Australia First Party), for alleged racial and religious vilification arising from the publicity stunt the trio (along with John Wilkinson and Linden Watson) staged in Bendigo last year in order to promote an anti-Muslim rally;
• The photo the simpletons have used is actually of Manny Waks (R) and his father, Zephaniah (L). Avi Yemini, the captain of the Hanson failboat in Caulfield, is brother to Manny;
• The protest was organised by Jewsagainstfascism. Burgess and Erikson, on the other hand, happily and knowingly collaborated with a range of neo-Nazis and fascists in both Reclaim Australia and the UPF before spitting their dummies and embarking on a number of other failed projects, of which ARSE is merely the latest;
• Can you spell ‘anti-Semitic’? LOL.
See also : Jews United: Pauline Hanson And Malcolm Roberts Sent Packing, Michael Brull, New Matilda, December 2, 2016. Brull (and New Matilda) takes note of Avi Yemini’s desire to have Waleed Aly removed from television and from the country, but he is also on record as wanting to impose a total ban on immigration from Africa and the Middle East on the basis that such people will dirty the streets.
A few articles of interest: New York’s Alt Right (Part I), NYC Antifa, November 29, 2016 | Hate speech by another name: Why the term ‘alt-right’ should not be legitimised, Celeste Liddle, The Age, November 28, 2016 | Keyboard warriors of the alt-right have Australia in their sights, Daniel Flitton, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 26, 2016 | Calling them “alt-right” helps us fight them, Matthew N Lyons, Three Way Fight, November 22, 2016 | SPLC on Alternative Right. Note that for a very short period, the UPF media page touted itself as ‘The Offical AltRight of Australia’.
Rundle: there’s no use screaming, the Australian alt-right is already here
December 2, 2016
A butterfly flaps its wings, and across an ocean, a tsunami begins … the old quote from those days when chaos theory was the coming thing (“fractals, man!”) seems very apposite now that chaos is actually here. Random events tie together, and you have to look for the subtle effects. Take the Trump triumph, for example. In America the pinnacle of power is occupied by an orange man … and in Australia, a political revolution begins in the seat of Orange.
From offshore, it’s amazing to me that the result of the Orange byelection is not being pored over more, for its implications. As a new post-liberal nationalism takes over the world, its first appearance in Australia has been little remarked upon. Out of nowhere, the National Party vote has been hollowed out in its heartland, by the latest variation of the Shooters Party, a local appearance of the process by which Trump took over the Republicans, the Tory Right won over the modernisers, and the Front National appears poised to win in France next year. Surely, the only reaction to this event should be that, ‘it has begun’? Why has this not occurred?
The answer I suspect lies in the particular character of Australian politics and the Australian right. Our country is near-unique in combining European social democracy (however attenuated), with a settler/new-world social structure. Thus we have avoided both Anglo-American Thatcherite politics, and the recrudescence of European social democracy to its nationalist, communalist roots. It’s often said that we’ve had a quarter century of continuous growth, but it runs deeper than that — allowing for the sharp 1990-91 recession, we’ve had nearly 35 years since there was a period of sustained reversal, the stagnation of the mid-late 1970s. In the 1970s, the labour movement and progressivism were welded together in a manner that was consolidated by the fact that the neoliberalising of our economy was done by a “social market” style Labor government. No great imbalance of power between the two major classes of our time — educated knowledge workers and everyone else — occurred.
Consequently, the hard right has had very little purchase, and, crucially, has attracted very little political talent. More than anywhere else in the world, the Australian hard right has been a freak show of ego, narcissism and delusion, the most recent display being the real-time collapse of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – which makes it One Nation’s third or fourth real-time collapse in its 20-year history, by my reckoning. The same is true of the hard-right groups, the UPF and others, arisen out of a combination of Facebook and “squaddism”. Noxious and potentially violent, they are nevertheless led by the reliable hard-right type, the young-Anglo-male-narcissist, the type who discovers in himself a talent for stating a case, inspiring people and some organisational skills — and rapidly becomes a deranged egomaniac, falling out with everyone else around him.
For years we have relied on that feature of the hard right — their lack of access to any means of self-scrutiny or strategic reflection — to ensure that they would defeat themselves. But that, I think, is over. It’s been over elsewhere for a while, with the emergence of hard-right (so-called “alt-right”, a not unuseful term) figures such as the late Andrew Breitbart, Steve Bannon, Geert Wilders and others, and of nativist/nationalist right figures such as Nigel Farage. Now I suspect it’s over here, and the Shooters party is the most likely vessel for its success.
The Shooters — they seem to change their name repeatedly; I’m keeping it simple — represent what has now become a stable hard-right tradition in Australian politics. Born via various strands of student and fringe-right politics in New South Wales in the ’90s, midwifed by the voting system of the NSW upper house, and the notorious “tablecloth ballot” election of 1999, the Shooters draw on the distinctive character of rural NSW (and parts of south-west Queensland) for a geographical base.
These regions have the only non-metropolitan population centre of gravity in the country; their rural form was always quasi-European in that smaller farms supported a network of regional cities, a continuous community, for more than a century. For decades, culminating in a movement in the 1920s, New England had a separatist statehood movement; and the area both sides of the NSW-Queensland border has played host to the “League of Rights” movement and its advocacy of “social credit” economics, a 20th-century movement, which advocated seeing all citizens — but especially small property owners — as stakeholders in the social “corporation”, and thus due an annual dividend.
That distinctiveness has had some paradoxical effects. The now two-decades long resistance to the expansion of gas production across farmland, and the more recent expansion of open-cut mining, took the miners — who are mostly ex-National party grandees — by surprise. They saw protest as a left-wing thing; they have been shocked at the alliances that have formed, and the success of them. But they have always believed that, in the end, the country would vote Nat, because it always has (the protesters agreed with them; those locals campaigning against the Shenhua and Whitehaven mines in the Liverpool plains, and CSG in the Pilliga tear their hair out as their neighbours complain that mining is destroying their way of life — and then troop to the polling booth to vote the next generation of Nationals/CSG entrepreneurs into power again).
The Orange vote is where that has all come apart. You only have to crack the National Party wall once, to deprive it of its most important asset, a sense of inevitability. For many in the country, the routine National Party vote wasn’t simply a political act – it was part of a social collectivity, based in a society less fully transformed by the market than urban areas have been. Without that mystique, the Nats could suffer a series of losses very quickly.
With that may come something akin to the nativist right now arising abroad: stable, focused, and capable of appealing to One Nation voters, once One Nation has suffered its next total collapse. It’s something to get ready for, for its politics will not be the neoliberalism-with-a-few-rural-bribes of the current Nats — it will be a statist post-liberal Keynesianism, advocating mass regional infrastructure and social investment for the revival of regional areas that have suffered successive relative decline over decades, perceived cultural sidelining, and bitterly resent it. After it has taken a bite out of the Nats, it will go after Labor.
For the latter, this will be a threat. For the left, it could be an opportunity. In these areas, the Greens vote remains where it always has, at around 6% (save in anomalous areas like the northern NSW coast, where it rises in a cloud of aromatic smoke); but Greens figures such as Jeremy Buckingham are held in the highest regard, for their tireless battle for the community. It is foolish to imagine this will ever convert into a Greens vote; the ensemble of Greens politics simply cannot stretch to accommodate. Instead, what is required is a wide-spectrum “Rural Alliance” movement, emphasising regional social-democratic values in investment, education and services, opposition to the mining juggernaut, forms of conservation and environmental politics that synthesise with rural politics, and a neutral or conscience position on a wide range of social issues.
I’m not advocating such an alliance as a “covert” operation, but as an open one, that builds an electoral model on the success of the Lock the Gate movement at a social level (though remaining separate from it, organisationally). Such a movement could rapidly become a force at the state and federal level; eventually it could create a geographic power base, running from Indi on the NSW-Victoria border, up into south Queensland — and such contiguity and “placefulness” would amplify its power and effectiveness.
Even by commanding a slice of the vote, it would change the politics of the region immediately; and with four of five parties in the hunt, it would only need a primary vote in the 20s to prevail.
The Orange wave is going to change a lot of things; one of those will be the way in which political goals and grouplets are put together. The Australian alt-right is getting its act together, and the current circus in the Senate is disguising that. The delayed rise of the movement in Australia is a bit of luck, allowing progressive forces to learn from what is already well-advanced elsewhere. If such groups don’t respond with imagination and creativity, then a lot of their activity will just be useless flapping about.
On twitter you posted an image of a group of young men standing in front of a war memorial at Melbourne Uni. I’m pretty sure that’s a picture of MULC (Melbourne Uni Liberal Club) members rather than “nipsters” sadly. On campus they are known for selling ANZAC Day badges, getting attention from Neil Mitchell/the papers when the student union doesn’t buy a wreath for ANZAC Day etc.
Um, OK. But I think you’ll find that one of the fellas — Tom Abbey, holding red ensign — is mos def a nipster.