[UPDATE (October 30, 2017) : Confessions of a homegrown ‘terrorist’, Media Watch.]
In a BiZaRR0 interview with news dot com dot au, local comic Shayne Hunter has announced his retirement as CEO of ANTIFA (‘I established a terror movement in Australia, and I quit’, Shayne Hunter, as told to Corrine Barraclough, news.com.au, October 24, 2017: ‘SHAYNE Hunter established the far-left and violent Antifa movement in Australia. After four years the Brisbane man quit. Here’s why.’).
It’s kinda barmy but presumably folks in Brisbane and Sydney who’ve had dealings with Shayne will respond in time.
[EDIT : The following statement is being shared by anti-fascist groups in Australia:]
news.com.au has recently published an article by right-wing writer Corrine Barraclough, interviewing the self-described founder of the “Antifa” movement in Australia.
It goes without saying that anti-fascist movements have existed in this country for many, many decades previous to this person’s involvement in “far-Left” politics, and that their account of their own participation is delusional.
In reality, after being excluded from numerous leftist spaces in Australia due to his erratic behaviour and a history of sexual assault, we have seen this individual move towards a right-wing politics; one which better suits his hateful narratives about gender-diverse people, people of colour, and women.
Our advice to comrades would be to avoid this individual. Our advice to the media would be to apply even the smallest grain of salt when reporting on fantastical claims. Anybody with a genuine interest in the origins and history of anti-fascism would be advised to consult Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook (Melbourne University Press, 2017).
See also : antifa notes (october 4, 2017) : Stephen Johnson, The Daily Mail Australia, ‘Melbourne Antifa’ and more … .
FWIW, among the blizzard of writings on anTEEfa in 2017, more srs treatments of the origins and history of (militant) anti-fascism may be found in Mark Bray’s Antifa: The anti-fascist handbook (2017) and Mala Testa’s Militant Anti-Fascism (2015). See also : Street Fighting Men: Antifa’s Origins in the ’60s and ’70s, Luca Provenzano, LA Review of Books, October 21, 2017 | Author Mark Bray Responds to Chris Hedges’ Criticism of Antifa (Video), truthdig, October 5, 2017.
On this month’s episode of ‘Floating Anarchy’ on The SUWA Show (5.30pm, Friday, October 27, 2017, livestreaming on 3CR///855AM), Dr Cam and I will be talking to Peter D, the individual recently d0xxed by Brisbane altright figure David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’) and falsely claimed to be the author of my blog …
You know he’s a rapist right? That’s why he left. Because he got a reputation. You google him and “rape” and you’ll find bits and pieces, written by him. Nobody will respond because they’re afraid of defamation suits.
I had an hour interview over the phone, it was turned into this article, i didnt chose the headline, or claim to have ‘founded’ antifa.
1.’More dangerous than isis’ was a hyperbolic comment, in the video below i explain that context.
2. I didn’t claim i started antifa, i told the journalist i made a call out in brisbane to get all the elements of the far left to meet up and certainly took a leadership role in organising the first counter rally against reclaim australia.
3. The smears of my character are disgusting, and many of the people in the radical left if they were honest with themselves will admit that baseless slurs of sexism or racism etc happen all the time when people have disagreements etc.
4. Although the news.com.au article isnt the [choice] of words i would of used if [i] had control over it, i do not regret it as many people have been bullied by the SJWs, from ex radicals to current lefties to ex far right extremists to former friends and lovers of people who become ideologically possessed. If it helps those people i am happy.
Also noticed the image of Kurdish fighters, some people say that different political tribes, judge themselves by their best example and their enemies [by] their worst. Maybe you chose the [image] in order to defend the ideal image of antifa that i challenged. Here is a video where radical left wingers support ISIS, so not sure if that moral high ground is so justified [deleted].
Yes, yr interview w Corrine formed the basis of her article;
Yes, claiming that anTEEfa is ‘more dangerous than ISIS’ is idiotic, but more importantly it plays to the News Corpse base by confirming their own biases (which is why it was included);
Whatever you told Corrine is one thing, whatever appears in print is another;
There were a no of diff ppl in BRIS involved in organising against Reclaim;
It’s good for you that you think the article was halpful;
Finally, the reason I included the img above was because it demonstrates the precise opposite of the claims made in the article;
the photo shows members of the International Freedom Battalion (IFB) posing w an aTEEfa flag in the town of Tal Abyad in Syria during the course of the May/June 2015 offensive against ISIS;
the IFB is not Kurdish but fights w the YPG;
Australians Ashley Johnston (February 2015), Reece Harding (June 2015) and Jamie Bright (May 2016) are among those who have died fighting w the IFB.
I established a terror movement in Australia, and I quit
SHAYNE Hunter established the far-left and violent Antifa movement in Australia. After four years the Brisbane man quit. Here’s why.
Shayne Hunter, as told to Corrine Barraclough
October 24, 2017
ANTIFA is a growing extreme group who believe violence is legitimate.
I got radicalised in Sydney. I was originally concerned about Western intervention in Syria. Radical left wing people dominated rallies and I started to associate with them more. My so-called ‘normal’ friends drifted away.
We would hang out at an anarchist library in Sydney. Here a bunch of people on the dole gather enough money to rent out the space and run a bookshop. It’s like extremist networking.
I came to believe that war was a symptom of bigger systems at play in society and they were the real enemy, like white supremacy and patriarchy. Antifa believe these systems need to be smashed through a process of ‘de-platforming’ to save the world. People who don’t necessarily agree on everything are united to attack their common enemy — anyone in the right wing of politics.
This micro-society became my life for four years.
They believe historically their roots were fighting Nazi oppression. They run a website which is updated every couple of weeks with a hit list of right wing names. They believe if these people are allowed to speak, society will suffer. So, they must be pushed back.
There is no mission statement, rather, it’s a dangerous rhetoric. There are a lot of very damaged people who are drawn to it.
Lots of activists came from Sydney University. They invited me along to some of their lectures. When I was organising the ‘Reclaim Australia’ rally and pushing Antifa into Brisbane, we delegated roles out across the gathering. Someone would print pamphlets that got our propaganda out there. Someone else would look after social media and online, we all gathered people to come.
I read that Antifa in the US is training people to shoot and punch. It’s the same here. Antifa in Sydney are doing martial arts to, as they would put it, ‘fight the Nazis’. It’s a paramilitary mindset.
It’s more dangerous than ISIS.
I was ideologically possessed for four years. I would speak louder on public transport so people could hear me speak, hoping they would hear my message.
The radical left of Antifa presents itself as being about compassion and empathy; it’s a Trojan horse. All conversations are about entitlement and rights, not responsibility. When these people talk about freedom, they really mean freedom from responsibility.
Often the people who are drawn to this cult don’t have a strong identity outside it. I’m not a psychologist but, like ISIS, it gives people a sense of belonging to something and having purpose.
A ‘social justice warrior’ cringe video appeared on my social media feed. I didn’t watch it at first. A couple of weeks later it popped up again so I pressed play. It was like seeing the entire cult through an outside lens. It woke me up. I realised that everything I had started to believe was wrong.
You don’t know humiliation until you’ve left a cult; I wasted four years of my life.
I cut ties over time. I’m still in contact with some ex-cult members but I don’t see anyone who’s still active.
In my 20-something generation, social media plays the role of a 24/7 preacher — like a pocket preacher. Each day you’re being validated by the echo chamber on your phone.
Antifa would say there is nothing good about Australian society. Their minds project that belief, and everything is filtered through this ideology.
Without doubt it’s a huge and growing threat to Australian society. It’s a miserable mindset. When I got out of it and stopped feeling oppressed, I finally felt like I could take control of my life. That’s what I intend to do now.”
Antifa is just the obverse of the fascists.
The fascists project hatred onto immigrants, muslims and leftoids; Antifa projects hatred onto fascists, bigots and blockheads.
Both combined comprise a fraction of one percent of what goes on in this society and effectively are of little consequence to anything.
You asked for some commentary from people from Brisbane, well this link is what one person has to say.
As for organising against Reclaim, it is true that there were a number of different people involved. But at one rally in particular, Shayne was the core organising force, and did it exceptionally well. The Australian anarchist scene fails badly at giving credit where it is due and celebrating its wins.
Later after that particular event we had a discussion where he commented that during that event a women was complaining, “I can’t believe they got a white male to do the talking”. When he politely offered her a chance to participate and speak, she refused.
I’ve seen a lot of hate and slagging off of Shayne, but not a single comment addressing his statements about political dogma, and the culture of entitlement in antifa scenes. And the situation mentioned above is a (very) small example of this.
Would it have been more PC to token up a Muslim woman on the mic? Did this person ignore the fact it WAS an open mic and any one was free to participate if they wanted to? That multiple people had spoken, including Indigenous people? That Shayne only spoke when no one else wanted to, because the vocal space needed to be filled to counter Reclaim? No, instead we’ll just complain about one aspect of that successful event which doesn’t fit a particular dogmatic view of the world, but then not make an effort to participate and fix the situation.
There is a laundry list of this sort of thing, and for the record, involves Shayne on the receiving end of one instance of sexual assault from a female activist. While it is easy to just jump into the circle jerk of ‘hate on Shayne’, it isn’t completely a one-way street. And it would do the scene (it is a scene not a movement) well to have a look at itself. Because some of it is incredibly alienating.
In particular, I think this ‘call-out’ culture creates nothing more than networked bullying and character assassination.
To address the claim of dogma … ya know, sometimes people just make shit up about someone they don’t like and throw it around. And it is a reality not readily accepted by the Left, that women do just make up stuff, including false rape allegations, just to get back at an ex. It is the main reason there aren’t more male primary school teachers. As dysfunctional as it is, at least with the State legal system, there is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
Also there are just enough egoists around who’d slag off a successful action, just so that they can remain a big fish in a puddle of mud. See my response to the guy from Rebel Worker (https://happyanarki.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/reply-to-rw-dec-2016-and-april-2017).
To deal with these situations, anarchists in Australia are better off looking to Indigenous culture and cultivating practices of restorative justice, rather then USA constructions of call-out culture.
I’ve been on the receiving end of lies and and public defamation masquerading as ‘call-out’ culture. It is the main reason I decided not to participate in organising another Brisbane Anarchist Summer School (https://anarchistsummerschool.wordpress.com).
I understand why Shayne did this, but it is shit because when you throw this mud, it also lands on the people who made sure Golden Dawn never had the chance to take to the streets of Brisbane.
I’m glad to read that Shayne made a worthwhile contribution to the Reclaim Australia counter-protest in Brisbane in April 2015; he’s also quoted in this article (https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/tensions-threaten-to-boil-over-at-brisbane-reclaim-australia-rally-20150404-1mekmb.html):
‘One of the organisers of the counter-protest, Shayne Hunter, said it was important to send a message to Muslims that the Reclaim Australia crowd was not representative of the wider community.
“We displayed that these views aren’t acceptable and that there is vocal opposition to the scapegoating of Muslims and blaming Muslims for everything,” he said.
“We also showed that people understand the issue of Islamic terrorism is multidimensional.
“Not all Muslims are to blame for it and there’s a lot of things that Australia could do, like thinking about the war crimes in Iraq and how that leads to hatred within some minorities in the Muslim world.”
(Re Australia First Party/Golden Dawn Australia counter-protest in Brisbane in May 2014, I’m unsure Shayne participated in that event.)
Re the complaint made by a woman re speakers in Brisbane, I’m not sure how relevant this is to assessing Shayne’s views as expressed in his interview w Corrine B; to put it another way, criticism is a constant, and it’s worthwhile distinguishing b/w the more-useful and the less-useful. So yes, there are dogmatists, and discussion w them is generally unhelpful, and it makes sense to try and not alienate those we would like to draw towards us — this is simply common sense. Otherwise: I’m unsure what you mean when you write about ‘the culture of entitlement in antifa scenes’.
More broadly: yes, ofc there are issues w ‘call-out culture’, and there’s been extensive discussions of its more pernicious elements for some time. I don’t see Shayne making a helpful contribution in this regard, however, as his complaints are frequently incoherent and/or nonsensical and his outlook shaped by both paranoia and a desire for fame or attn (whether + or -).
OK. Here’s my take:
1. It’s no surprise that men kicked out of the Left after accusations of sexual violence move Rightwards.
2. Happy A makes a hugely incorrect generalisation about rape accusations. While false accusations are not unknown, they are quite rare.
3. In his interview, Shayne mixes valid criticisms with both over-generalisations & complete rubbish.
4. If Shayne had any integrity, he would have done an interview/article with an honest publication. Anyone with half a brain knows what a Murdoch rag will do with this info, so he wears responsibility for it.