tl;dr : LOL
In Melbourne on Sunday, a small group of racists and fascists, assembled under the banner of the ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC), undertook a rally and march, ostensibly in order to celebrate ‘Aussie Pride’. The flagwit parade is an annual event, inaugurated in 2016. Thus, this was in fact the third occasion that the TBC has rallied: you can read about last year’s event here and the 2016 event here. Most estimates place the number of participants at around 60-80, with numbers varying somewhat over the course of the few hours that the TBC occupied the CBD. In comparison to 2016 and 2017, this represented a small but significant drop in attendance, and confirms that, while the TBC, its numerous patriotik equivalents, and the various personalities that constitutes the movement’s leadership, can command hundreds of thousands of followers on facebook, this does not translate into actual mobilising capacity.
Touted by Timmeh! of AltRight upstart The Unhinged as being the biggest event on the nationalist calendar, participants assembled outside the Exhibition Building a little after midday, performed an execrable rendition of the national anthem (‘boundless plains to share’ — lol), and then, reinforced by a sizable police contingent, they marched: via Exhibition Street, to the corner of Bourke and Spring Streets in the CBD. Upon arrival, the ultra-nationalists milled about, exchanged pleasantries with the opposition corralled by police on Spring Street, then listened to speeches by local neo-Nazis Blair Cottrell and Tom Sewell of ‘The Lads Society’.
After about 20 minutes of this no-doubt electric speechifying, the group — which at this stage numbered around 50 or so — were again marched away by police (via Spring Street) to Carlton Gardens, whereupon the event more-or-less ended. Fittingly, Cottrell ended his speech by declaring Melbourne to be a ‘shithole’; I suspect he may have been a tad upset that, after three years of self-promotion, only a tiny number of gronks were prepared to follow their fuehrer into battle on Bourke Street. In any case, some of the Lads reassembled for a drink at Transport Bar in Fed Square (see below) and then at Y&J’s.
Naturally — what with Melbourne being a shithole and all — the rally and march was also the subject of a counter-rally, organised by the Campaign Against Racism & Fascism (CARF) and allied groups. Their accounts of the day are also worth reading, and hopefully some lessons have been learned. In this context, it should be emphasised that, while the combined numbers of people taking part in the rally and counter-rally was several hundred, this was possibly exceeded by the number of police mobilised in order to contain them: as ever, it’s the state that determines the terrain. Be that as it may, here’s some links to media reportage, and below these are a few further notes for those interested. See : ‘They can’t summon as much violence as I can’: Leader of far-right ‘true blue crew’ vile boast as his supporters clash with anti-racism supporters at Melbourne ‘flag pride rally’, Cait Kelly/Australian Associated Press, Daily Mail Australia, June 24, 2018 (NB. To the best of my knowledge, this is one of the only media reports that actually labels Cottrell correctly as a neo-Nazi.) /// Far Right Group Host Rally In Melbourne But Were Outnumbered By Counterprotestors Three-To-One, Max Koslowski, Junkee, June 24, 2018 /// Far-right and counter protesters scuffle in Melbourne CBD, Rick Goodman, The New Daily, June 24, 2018 /// Far-right and anti-racism protesters trade verbal barbs in CBD clash, 9News, June 24, 2018 /// TRUE BLUE CREW AUSSIE PRIDE MARCH (AAP).
With regards to the political complexion and very brief history of the TBC, Tom Tanuki provides the following colourful, but basically accurate account:
The True Blue Crew are rallying tomorrow in the city, holding a vague kind of ‘flag worship’ event. It marks two years since an event in Coburg when the TBC got popular for punching on with lefties. Are you going to counter them or to wave a flag alongside them? Either way, it’s important to know what exactly the TBC is. Let’s recap and go through what we know in brief.
The TBC were formed after a few of their original core crew got into a scrap with some Antifa kids after a 2015 rally. ‘Never again,’ they said! So, the TBC were originally meant to be a patriot answer to black bloc Anteefa contingents.
Their red letter day came in May 2016, when they took part in an organised attempt to have the far-right march through Coburg. Their brief, televised fights with masked lefties were a big popularity boost for them. TBC started charging membership fees – $20 a week, $10 for ‘casual’ members. At one point, they were earning tens of thousands of dollars in just a few months! The money was being managed by TBC ‘President’ Kane Miller’s partner and her sister and all of that money was going to Kane. He was largely spending it as he liked.
Behind closed doors, the ‘President’ was abusing his partner. He even broke her back. He wasn’t the only woman-bashing TBC member, either – and when photographic evidence of another member’s brutal assault on his wife was made public, Kane avoided the increasing media spotlight on TBC by kicking Mark out. Members knew that decision made Kane a bit of a hypocrite, for the abovementioned reasons… So they started leaving the TBC. Kane’s abused partner finally left him too and the money management side of TBC went down the drain. The things she revealed about the abuse meant even more TBC members left the group – and they took their membership fees with them.
Kane went quiet for a long while, feeling defeated. TBC ‘club meetings’ dwindled after a time to little more than 12 unemployed blokes sitting around sucking cones in Kane’s mum’s living room. But the lure of conning working class Aussies out of their hard-earned wages still called to Kane. So TBC returned somewhat with an Australia Day BBQ in St Kilda (a genius idea he came up with after a sesh watching the new Romper Stomper). And he had some stupid fucking idea to wander around parks with a bunch of other losers looking for Sudanese children to fight. A meeting he held at Tom Sewell’s Cheltenham clubhouse was televised, with Channel 7 airing a description of the TBC’s initiative as being ‘like a Neighbourhood Watch’ – and it seemed to the world like the TBC were back!
It was not like a Neighbourhood Watch. It was just more hare-brained, shard-addled fantasy garbage from a man who was desperate to be given more membership fees to enjoy himself with. He says it’s for a ‘clubhouse’ but it isn’t and it never will be. TBC only have about 5-10 people contributing membership fees and they get most of their cash from merch. It’s not enough. Kane just wants to siphon more money out from poor, angry, confused Aussies.
That money won’t do anything but fund the TBC ‘President’ and his lifestyle. This is a man who gets cash-in-hand from his Muslim boss (serious!) and has membership fees go into his mates’ bank account so child support can’t take it. This is a man with convictions for domestic violence (he was also violent to his last ex, who also dumped him), multiple AVO breaches and firearms charges who won’t pay for his own child. Money given to TBC is fleeced money, and it pays for a shit fucking dude.
Hey. Put the culture wars down for a moment. Are you a right-winger intending on going tomorrow? Don’t. Pick your battles, and more importantly, pick your allies. These are bad ones. Spend your petrol money on beer, yeah? Enjoy your Sunday.
Are you a left-winger going tomorrow to counter? Fuck yeah! I can’t come coz I’m interstate. I wish I could. I’d love to yell at them. Of course you should show these egomaniacal arseholes they can’t march through the city uninterrupted. Go and yell at racist dogs!
Just remember, y’all – the filmed fights at Coburg were the best thing that ever happened to these guys. So, be careful. And don’t lose on camera!
While the bulk of those who attended the event were members of and/or sporting TBC merch, also present were members of neo-Nazi grouplet Antipodean Resistance, Cooks Convicts (Neil Erikson, Rino ‘Bluebeard’ Grgurovic and Ricky Turner), The Lads Society (‘Troy Bloodstone’, Blair Cottrell and Tom Sewell), Soldiers of Odin (Jay B Moore) and, for some reason, Daniel Purton/A26A (AKA ‘The Crew’).
They were joined by a handful of budding AltRight media creators — a teenybopper calling himself ‘The Young Conservative’, Some Guy called Bayden Mottee and his sidekick Lee/Leon Taylor (who travelled from NSW for the event) — while most of the rest were faces familiar from previous rallies. The nipsters below were in the company of Jacob Hersant:
• According to spotters: police worked closely with TBC throughout the course of the event and relations between the two were friendly and relaxed — one might even say that they worked hand-in-glove. This was no doubt a good and useful thing, as several TBC members were wearing gloves that were steel-reinforced. Police conducted a handful of body searches on rally-goers but were rather more thorough in the case of anti-fascists; upon completion of the event, participants were invited by Cottrell to join he and the other neo-Nazi Lads at their club house in Cheltenham.
• Having journeyed to Transport Bar at Fed Square upon completion of the rally, Cottrell and a number of his followers took the opportunity to engage in some cultural criticism. Spying a street performer, ‘Dandyman’, dressed in pink, and possibly imagining himself in the role of head of an Antipodean Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Cottrell & The Gang vocally objected to the performer’s pink costume. This, apparently, was sufficient reason to demand that he remove himself from the Square, and sufficient evidence for the performer to be accused of being a paedophile(!). Requesting assistance from police, they merely oversaw the cancellation of Dandyman’s performance and their removal from the Square. Granting de facto recognition of the authority of Cottrell & The Gang to decide who comes to Fed Square and the circumstances in which they come is a bold move by police, but is perhaps in keeping with the generally amiable relations between the two forces. In any case, it also reminded me of another brilliant piece of cultural criticism Cottrell mounted back in June 2015 as the poor boy struggled to come to terms with the suburb of Northcote:
… The drive into the heart of the city from the northern suburbs was not without drama. I was among our two carloads of eager souls traveling from the north inbound and I have never experienced such appalling traffic conditions.
I specifically remember crawling slowly through the suburb of Northcote and I have never in my life witnessed such a putrid expression of civilized humanity; not even in Dandenong is there such a profoundly visible depression of the buildings, the atmosphere, and the people themselves. I found myself staring open-mouthed out of the car window; for some moments, I was in a state of disbelief and felt as though the surrounding depression was creeping through my car window and licking at my sentiments of hope. The contagious despair of the place threatened to engulf my person after only a few minutes of being there.
Had the people living here really begun to believe such conditions were normal?
The walls of the buildings were literally caked in vulgar graffiti – and not the kind which had any creative or admirable aspect to it. Peeling and faded old advertising posters for music shows long since passed, mold and rot which would take the local business owner perhaps 30 minutes to remove with a high pressure hose, yet none anywhere seemed to have bothered. Even the smell of the place quickly quelled a painful hunger for breakfast I had been feeling hitherto.
And the propaganda there was all anti-racist material.
Posters, graffiti, and even large banners hanging from old public buildings of British-Australian architecture read “racism-free community”, “smash racism”, and so forth.
A structural dedication to past Australian military services, a building of some sort with architectural dedications in the front gardens, was the only decent looking building in the area, however, not even it was spared by the local graffiti bandits who had ‘tagged’ the walls and panels with some unintelligible scribble.
Was this suburb of Northcote the ultimate expression of so-called anti-racism? If so, the cultural degeneration of this place speaks absolute volumes of the philosophical and moral backwardness of these self-abnegating plebeians: today’s Marxistic Left-wing.
Had these pioneers of cultural decay gained any knowledge of our intentions on this particular day, you can rest assured they would have flocked to the area in formidable numbers to “smash the fash”, as they put it …
PS. TBC gangs in Perth and Sydney also held flag-waving rallies. In Perth, approximately a dozen or so boofheads assembled in order to be laffed at by scores more; in Sydney, Kokoda veteran Bill Ryan took the opportunity to denounce racism, but received little if anything in the way of support. Sydney eh?
BONUS! DandyMan versus nazi goons
This article by Richard Watts provides a good breakdown of Cottrell & The Gang’s harassment of Dandyman and the heartening response of the Melbourne community: Street performer reclaims Fed Square after far-right threat, ArtsHub, June 26, 2018. See also : Dandyman to perform this afternoon despite right-wing attack, Javier Encalada, The Northern Star, June 26, 2018 /// Melbourne street performer abused with homophobic slurs, Jesse Jones, Star Observer, June 26, 2018 /// What Happened When A Far-Right Group Bullied A Street Performer?, The Project, Channel Ten, June 26, 2018 /// Blair Cottrell and the problem of male aggression, Clementine Ford, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 26, 2018.
Cottrell was accompanied by at least thirteen others during the course of his artistic cleansing of Fed Square:
1: Luke Phipps; 2: Bayden Mottee; 3: Ian Sayer; 4: Max Towns; 5: TBC; 6: Jacob Hersant (Antipodean Resistance); 7: TBC; 8: Kane Miller; 9: ‘Troy Bloodstone’ (Lads Society); 10: TBC; 11: Rino ‘Bluebeard’ Grgurovic; 12: Steven Hansford; 13: TBC.
See also : We give you Melbourne’s thug Taliban, DYVRS, June 26, 2018.