As you may have read, last weekend some neo-Nazis went camping in The Grampians.
See : Neo-Nazis go bush: Grampians gathering highlights rise of Australia’s far right, Nick McKenzie and Joel Tozer, The Age, January 27, 2021 | ‘We do not need to wait for a Christchurch’: Grampians cross burning spurs call for action, Nick McKenzie and Joel Tozer, The Age, January 28, 2021.
Unsurprisingly, the incident has generated quite a lot of commentary, much of which has revolved around what might be an appropriate response to this news. The discussion has been given particular relevance in light of both the inability of police to take legal action and the recent announcement of a federal government inquiry into ‘extremism’. Hence, Greg Barton has argued that: ‘Now would be a good time for Australia to follow the lead of Five-Eyes partners such as Canada and formally proscribe far-right extremist groups such as the Proud Boys. Doing so would go some way to helping the police better do their job.’ Others have suggested that current laws, specifically counter-terrorism legislation, should be sufficient to address right-wing extremism and terrorism.
See also : ‘A wake-up call’: What’s being done to combat the rise of far-right extremism, Ahmed Yussuf, SBS (The Feed), January 29, 2021.
In either case, government policy is outta my league (and not my focus). Briefly, then:
• The camping trip was organised under the umbrella of the ‘European Australian Movement’ (EAM) and the ‘National Socialist Network’ (NSN).
• Officially, the EAM was launched on January 1, 2020, as a project of its parent group, ‘The Lads Society’ (TLS).
• TLS emerged in late 2017, following the collapse of the ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF). At that stage, The Lads had (privately) announced the establishment of a social centre in Cheltenham. In January 2018, the fascist bunker was the site of a joint meeting between The Lads, members of the defunct racist groupuscule ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC), and various other racist agitators. The meeting was intended to provide a forum for the organisation of white supremacist vigilantes to combat the ‘African gangs’ that Peter Dutton declared at the time were so terrifying that Melbournians were simply too scared to leave their homes.
• Sadly, after a community campaign, The Lads’ social centre in Cheltenham was forced to close, and the nazis had to find another organising space. This turned out to be located in Rowville. It too ended up being forced to close, not long after I disclosed its location. This was also the fate of the social centre in Ashfield, Sydney, that TLS established.
• The UPF emerged in 2015 as the militant vanguard of ‘Reclaim Australia’. TLS represented the consolidation of the support that the UPF had won between 2015–2017, principally by way of Facebook, but also supplemented by its occasional public excursions.
• As well as being present at Final Solution’s anti-African rally in St Kilda in January 2019, TLS organised a visit to Box Hill cop shop in late 2019 in order to join the tabloid chorus of disapproval at the fact that police had raised the Chinese flag to commemorate National Day of the People’s Republic of China. As Andrew Bolt wrote at the time (SURRENDER: VICTORIA POLICE RAISE THE FLAG OF COMMUNIST CHINA, Herald Sun, October 2, 2019): No need for communist China to invade. Victoria’s police have already raised the dictatorship’s flag over a police station in a heavily Chinese suburb. And guess who came to cut the cake to celebrate the dictatorship’s birthday? Why, it’s Gladys Liu, the Liberal MP tied to China’s propaganda arm. By the same token, Lads provided security for Stefan Molyneux and Bolt’s fellow SkyNews propagandist Lauren ‘The Great Replacement’ Southern for their 2018 tour.
• After some internal discussion, and more-or-less following the exclusion of Blair Cottrell, Tom Sewell emerged as spokes for TLS, and TLS — incorporating those elements of the short-lived neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Antipodean Resistance’ that hadn’t already joined TLS — decided to launch itself as EAM and NSN. In other words, while TLS has been at pains to present itself as a fraternal organisation, EAM is basically an extension of TLS, and so too NSN.
• Like his (former) BFF Cottrell, Sewell got his start with the older neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Nationalist Alternative’, which has its origins in anti-mosque agitation in Williamstown.
• In summary, the Hitler yoof who went hiking in the Grampians on the weekend are the end result of over a decade of agitation by local extreme-right actors. But whereas 10 years ago NAlt, for example, were extreme-ly reluctant to be accurately understood as a neo-Nazi formation, The Lads — by way of EAM and NSN — have thrown caution to the wind and are now happy to pose and strut as precisely who and what they are: neo-Nazis.
• No doubt much more can and will be said on the subject of TLS/EAM/NSN, ‘extremism’ and ‘terrorism’, but in the meantime, props to the good people of Gariwerd for: a) noticing and; b) documenting the excursion by these putative members of the Aryan Master Race.
See also : From Antipodean Resistance to the National Socialist Network (November 29, 2020) | A Brief Guide To The Australian Far Right (July 2020 Edition) (July 3, 2020).
“They had a fire, which you’re not permitted around the edges of Lake Bellfield. But we live here, you often see young couples with little fires.”
But Superintendent Milner says:
“Our members deployed to that group and spoke with them and identified that they weren’t breaking any laws, and that was the extent of our involvement.”
So they didn’t even ping the Nazis for their illegal fire. Of which they would have had plenty of evidence, even if it was out by the time the coppers arrived.
Also, these Nazis haven’t thrown caution entirely to the wind. They’re still masking up for photos.
What were the flags blurred out in the photos in The Sydney Morning Herald story?
The flags were those bearing the emblem of the EAM.
Andy, why spend time writing articles naming and shaming people who you refer as Nazis/White Nationalists/Right-Wingers. Your time would be more constructive if it were directed towards promoting separation between those who wish to live under Socialism/Communism or Capitalism/Nationalism?
It’s true that I often write about neo-Nazis and white nationalists, especially those residing in Australia. I do so because I oppose neo-Nazism and white nationalism. (I would add, in this context, that as the name ‘National Socialist Network’ might suggest, I think it’s an accurate descriptor in this case.) As for naming and shaming, yes, I think that, in order to better oppose such doctrines and the groups and individuals who espouse them, it’s important to know who they are. Whether or not you think this is constructive activity or not, I do. And while I’m unsure precisely what you mean by ‘promoting separation between those who wish to live under Socialism/Communism or Capitalism/Nationalism’ in general I think you’ll find that, just as there are groups that promote neo-Nazism and white nationalism, so too are there groups that are communist and socialist, and I also write about these groups. These are separate political projects, and I don’t think its really possible for neo-Nazis, for example, to happily join a group composed of, say Jewish socialists: I take this as read.