FightDemBack! A Brief History

    Reading over the Wikipedia entry on FightDemBack!, I thought ‘Hmmm. I think I can do better…’. So, for that or for worse, here it is. I believe I’ve located most, if not all, references to FDB (and directly-related issues) that may be found in the media, but unfortunately, many corporations restrict access to their online archives, so… fuck ’em. The pedia entry still needs a little polishing, of course, but a) I’m not sure I could be bothered documenting criticism of FDB coming from the fascist camp (“It’s the Jews!”), and b) there isn’t much else that doesn’t involve broader questions of ‘fascism’ and ‘anti-fascism’…

    So anyway, feel free to comment.

FightDemBack! (often abbreviated as FDB) is an Australian and New Zealand online anti-racist network. Employing the slogan “Fighting Race-Hate in Australia and New Zealand”, it concentrates on documenting and opposing the activities of members of the Australian and New Zealand “white nationalist”, fascist and neo-Nazi milieus.


1) Name
2) Origins
3) Activities / History
4) Outcomes
5) Criticism / Politics
6) References
7) See also
8 ) External links

1) Name:

The group is named after the anti-fascist song Fite Dem Back (Forces of Victory, Island, 1979) and with the permission of its author, UK dub reggae artist Linton Kwesi Johnson (1952 –).*

2) Origins:

The group was established in late 2004 by a number of anti-racist activists from Australia and Aotearoa / New Zealand, and officially launched on ANZAC Day, April 25, 2005. In Sydney, Australia, FDB was spearheaded by Mathew Henderson-Hau (a/k/a ‘Darp’), a former advertising copywriter turned law student. Prior to FDB’s formation, Henderson-Hau was better known as a blogger, winning the Best NSW Blog in the 2005 Australian Blogging Awards.* [1]

Henderson-Hau is a member of the Australian Greens.*

In Melbourne, the group nominated Cam Smith, a multi-media producer and radio journalist, as its spokesperson. Donald Oorst, a part-time academic and author, represented the group in Perth.

In Aotearoa / New Zealand, the public faces of the group were the lawyer Robert Trigan and political activist Asher Goldman. (NB. Trigan left FDB (and New Zealand) in July 2005.)

Brian Stokes has also acted as a spokesperson for the group. [2]


Membership of the FDB online forum is open to members of the general public, though the group maintains the right to remove those deemed to be promoting racist and/or fascist views. The group itself is run by a non-hierarchical collective, most members of which post on the forum, but not all of whom maintain a public presence on it.

3) Activities / History:

FDB maintains a website which publishes news of racism in Australia and New Zealand, includes an archive of related material, and contains a public forum in which these and other subjects are discussed. Aside from occasional press releases and interviews with other media outlets, the website is the principal means by which FDB maintains a public presence.

FDB has also conducted a number of political campaigns, often targeting groups and individuals on the far right. Groups that have been targeted include (but are not limited to) the Australia First Party (AFP), Blood and Honour Australia, the New Zealand National Front (NZNF), the Patriotic Youth League (PYL), Stormfront Down Under and the White Pride Coalition of Australia (WPCA).

    Please note that the following is intended to be an illustrative rather than an exhaustive account of FDB’s activities during the periods discussed.


During the second half of 2004, a number of events occurred which brought anti-racist activists in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand together. A key event was the announcement by the NZNF of its intention to establish a trans-Tasman organisation of racists, one likely to include the PYL. [3] In the months preceding this announcement, the PYL had been active at the University of Newcastle, and revealed as being linked to the US-based neo-Nazi group Volksfront. [4] In Australia, Henderson-Hau helped to organise the removal of PYL propaganda from Sydney’s north-western suburbs. [5] In New Zealand, the NZNF met with militant opposition at their annual rally in Wellington in October: ‘At one stage, the outnumbered National Front were chased from the railway station and around parliament buildings by a group who called themselves the “scary fairies”.’ [6]


In the early part of 2005, FDB continued to monitor the possible emergence of a trans-Tasman alliance of fascist/neo-Nazi groups. [7] In Australia, particular attention was paid to the attempts by the PYL and AFP to capitalise on anti-Sudanese feeling in the regional town of Toowoomba, Queensland and Newcastle, NSW. [8] [9] In January, FDB helped to organise a rally in the latter city opposing racial vilification. [10]

In response to FDB’s activism, its site, officially launched on ANZAC Day (April 25) 2005, ‘received hate email’ and was subjected to a DDOS attack. [11] [12] Opposition to FDB also took the form of the attempted establishment, in June, of a site, Redwatch Down Under, modelled on overseas counterparts such as Redwatch UK. [13] [14] (One activist from Aotearoa/New Zealand, Jeremy Lambert, responded by requesting that his name be added to the ‘hit list’.) [15] Also in June, FDB was profiled in the Australian Jewish News. [16]

In July, FDB argued that the political environment created by the ‘war on terror’ and attendant racist sentiment was a potentially fertile recruiting ground for racist and fascist groups. [17] In New Zealand, members and former members of one of these groups, the NZNF, appeared in court over racist activity. [18] [19] In Australia, a synagogue was desecrated in April, while public rallies opposing racism were held in July in Toowoomba and at Macquarie University in August. [20] [21] [22] FDB also identified the WPCA as being a source of racist propaganda and activity in Toowoomba. [23] In October, the nature of the milieu FDB opposes was humorously revealed by an investigative report into Stormfront Down Under, undertaken by the Sydney Morning Herald. [24] The involvement of a number of groups also previously identified by FDB as a source of racial unrest — PYL, AFP and Stormfront Down Under — featured prominently in reportage of the events in Cronulla in December. [25] [26]


The aftermath of the Cronulla riot produced a large volume of reportage. An article in the January edition of the Australian Jewish News identified the AFP, PYL and Blood & Honour Australia as being among those present. [27] Also in January, FDB noted with alarm the presence of convicted neo-Nazi axe murderer Dane Sweetman in Melbourne’s pubs and his involvement in altercations with customers. [28] In February, FDB noted the fact that Australian Nationalists Movement leaders escaped police custody. [29] Further, FDB “argue[d] that a bomb-making manual, allegedly linked to a white supremacist website based in Adelaide, breache[d] anti-terror laws”. [30] (The site in question, maintained by Colin Campbell and associated with the Creativity Movement, has since been closed down.)*

June and July witnessed further attacks on synagogues, and the exposure of members of the Young Liberals as proudly proclaiming racism, sexism and homophobia. [31] [32] [33]

In September, the involvement of WPCA member and Heinemann Electrics employee Peter Campbell in the alleged distribution of bomb-making instructions was reported. [34] During the same month in Perth, a mosque was subject to a drive-by shooting: an article in Crikey by Cam Smith argued that a ‘Focus on Islamic threat helps others slip through the net’. [35] [36]

In Wellington in October, FDB welcomed the rally in opposition to the NZNF, which successfully prevented the NZNF from assembling at the city’s cenotaph as it had originally planned. [37] In Melbourne, FDB took part in a campaign to publicise a boycott of The Birmingham Hotel, a pub in Collingwood and the venue for a gig (September 23) organised by Blood & Honour Australia and the Southern Cross Hammerskins. [38] [39] [40] In December, FDB opposed The Great Australian Bikini March, and endorsed the community BBQ organised by members of a local mosque in response. [41] [42]

In Sydney, FDB (for the second year running) publicly opposed the AFP-sponsored Sydney Forum in August, and Henderson-Hau featured in a number of articles in relation to the first anniversary of the Cronulla riots. [43] [44] [45] FDB also claimed partial responsibility for the closure of a site containing a game which celebrated the ‘Cronulla uprising’. [46]

4) Outcomes:

FDB claims to have had a significant number of successes in its campaigns, and has established a media profile as a source of commentary on race-related issues.

The response of groups targeted by FDB has been overwhelmingly negative. On Stormfront Down Under, for example, discussion of Henderson-Hau in particular is explicitly banned and discussion of FDB in general is discouraged.

5) Criticism / Politics:

Anti-fascist and anti-racist groups have often been categorised on the basis of their adoption of either ‘liberal’ or ‘militant’ political strategies. [47] A number of key issues distinguish the two: a) attitudes to ‘freedom of speech’; b) relationship to the law and the state and; c) preparedness to physically disrupt fascist and racist organisations, often in the name of ‘self-defence’.

    In general, a liberal approach disavows the use of physical violence against political opponents, usually, although not always, except in the most extreme of circumstances (for example, as a response to being put at risk of serious injury or worse). Liberal anti-racists also advocate adherence to the law, but are prepared to engage in (non-violent) acts of civil disobedience — and other generally minor transgressions of the law — when thought necessary to achieve specific, limited goals (for example, reform of the legal and political system).

    In the UK, liberal anti-racism is typified by the prominent anti-fascist and anti-racist magazine Searchlight (1975–).*

    Other UK-based groups, such as Anti-Fascist Action (AFA: 1985–2001), on the other hand, may be described as militant in the sense that, in addition to engaging in public education, the group is (or rather was) also committed to directly confronting fascist groups ‘on the streets’ and, when thought necessary, violently disrupting their organising efforts.* The politics of AFA (and those of militant anti-fascism more generally) are outlined in more detail in a recent book by two participants, Dave Hann and Steve Tilzey: No Retreat: The Secret War Between Britain’s Anti-Fascists and the Far Right (Milo Books, 2005).*

    Dave Hann was interviewed by FDB in August, 2005.*

Both the liberal and militant approaches outlined above are often linked to broader differences in political perspective on the part of those involved: militant tactics are often associated with anarchist and radical leftist politics, and liberal approaches with social democratic perspectives. On this issue, FDB has taken the position that it is primarily an investigative body, rather than an activist base, and “comprises people from many cultural and political backgrounds”, who are united primarily in opposition to racialist politics and racial inequality (and their attendant forms of social division).* [Henderson-Hau]:

“Our effect has been that we cancel out the impact of the hate groups because we also draw media attention,” he said. “Before we came along, they were much more brazen.”

He said Fight Dem Back has “mainstreamed” the anti-fascist, anti-Nazi campaign in Australia and New Zealand. “When these characters hold a rally, you expect the usual socialist and anarchist groups and so on to come along and voice their opposition, but when Fight Dem Back turns up to these rallies, people understand that it’s more than that.” [16]

Free speech

In general, FDB does not agree with the proposition that racists and fascists have a ‘right’ to free speech, and has actively sought the co-operation of ISPs in the removal of racist websites, and to publicise companies providing such services.

Response of groups targeted

The far-right groups which FDB target have been highly critical of its tactics, arguing that they constitute a form of political hypocrisy. The ‘censorship’ of websites, they argue, constitutes an offence against ‘free speech’. The far right also complains of double standards, where FDB is allegedly ‘racist’ for choosing to focus on the racist activities of “white nationalist” groups in particular, while ignoring or downplaying the significance of similar activities on the part of racial and ethnic minorities.

In addition to political content, much of the criticism of FDB on the part of “white nationalists” has been of a highly personal nature, and concentrated on Henderson-Hau in particular. Thus he is alleged to be ‘gay’, ‘Jewish’, of ‘mixed-racial background’ etc., and his ‘criminal’ behaviour the ‘logical’ outcome of his genetic inheritance. More generally, according to “white nationalist” critics, Henderson-Hau and FDB are irrationally prejudiced against whites, and themselves racist. On Internet forums such as Stormfront Down Under, FDB is frequently portrayed as the product of a political conspiracy involving Jewish and (other) moneyed interests, which aims to further the “multi-culturalist” agenda. FDB assists in this effort, it is argued, by waging a war against opposition to (multi-culturalism / white racial genocide in Australia and New Zealand). In other words, a war against (politically-organised racists / “white nationalists”).


Another source of criticism is FDB’s financial status. “White nationalists” allege FDB is privately funded by Jewish organisations. FDB denies these allegations, and claims that funds are generated by members of the network and through donations by the general public.

Targeting of FDB members

Both Henderson-Hau and Goldman have been subjected to flyering campaigns in areas in or near their residences (in Sydney and Wellington respectively), portraying the pair as dangerous and violent. A number of the targets of FDB’s campaigns have been featured on its website, and also in national and regional press, radio and television.

6) References:

[1] Brigid Delaney, Shooting for top dog in cyber town, Sydney Morning Herald, October 6, 2004
[2] Google ‘harbouring’ racists, The Age, October 26, 2006
[3] Elizabeth Binning, Racist group seeking transtasman alliance, New Zealand Herald, September 18, 2004
[4] Matthew Thompson, Neo-Nazi link to campus anti-foreigner campaign, Sydney Morning Herald, August 31, 2004
[5] Adam Bennett, Race hate group unstuck, Sydney Morning Herald, December 19, 2004
[6] Violent clashes at anti-racism rally, TVNZ, October 23, 2004
[7] [FDB Press Release] National Front Cannot Deny Nazi Links Anymore,, April 18, 2005
[8] Police clear Sudanese refugees of crime wave claims, ABC, January 20, 2005
[9] Greg Berghofer, Racist fliers left in street with Sudanese family, Toowoomba Chronicle, October 19, 2005
[10] Refugee supporters act to counter race hate slurs, Sydney Morning Herald [AAP], January 21, 2005
[11] Mike Houlahan, Website target of hate emails, Christchurch Press, June 14, 2005
[12] Sam Varghese, Anti-racist website attacked, The Age, September 2, 2005
[13] Derek Cheng, Far-right group sets up ‘hit list’, New Zealand Herald, June 20, 2005
[14] Racists to set up ‘hit-list’ website, Green Left Weekly, June 22, 2005
[15] Jeremy Lambert [Press release], Application for inclusion on [National Front] ‘Hit List’,, June 20 2005
[16] Peter Kohn, Website seeks net loss for Nazis, Australian Jewish News, June 17, 2005 [FDB]
[17] Lisa MacDonald, ‘War on terror’ emboldens white supremacists, Green Left Weekly, July 27, 2005
[18] National Front member appears in court, TVNZ, March 4, 2005
[19] Angela Gregory, Ex-National Front teen faces charges, New Zealand Herald, September 29, 2005
[20] Synagogue desecrated in Australia, Ynetnews, April 24, 2005
[21] David Murray and Jessica Lawrence, Visit defuses race tensions, The Sunday Mail, July 31, 2005 [FDB]
[22] Anti-racists rally at Macquarie Uni, Green Left Weekly, August 31, 2005
[23] Susan Searle, Net closes on racists, Toowoomba Chronicle, July 14, 2005
[24] Joe Hildebrand, Life as an uber fraud: the one race I won, Sydney Morning Herald, October 29, 2005 [FDB]
[25] William Birnbauer and Claire Miller, White supremacists hide in quiet suburbs, The Age, December 18, 2005
[26] David King and Paige Taylor, Extremely vulnerable, The Australian, December 24, 2005
[27] Nadav Shlezinger, “Victory in Cronulla”, The Review, January 2006
[28] Greg Roberts, Outcry at neo-Nazi’s ’soft drink’ parole switch, The Australian, January 24, 2006
[29] David Weber, WA police lose hate crime suspect, ABC, February 28, 2006
[30] Bomb-making manual linked to white supremacist groups, ABC, February 1, 2006
[31] Break-in blamed on anti-semitism, Sydney Morning Herald [AAP], June 26, 2006
[32] Jano Gibson and Edmund Tadros, Cleric slams synagogue attack, Sydney Morning Herald, July 31, 2006
[33] John Stewart, Racist Young Liberals ‘not uncommon’, ABC Lateline, July 18, 2006
[34] Greg Roberts, Neo-Nazi ‘circulated bomb-making material’,, September 15, 2006
[35] Police investigate Perth mosque drive-by shooting, ABC, September 30, 2006
[36] Cam Smith [FDB], Focus on Islamic threat helps others slip through the net,, October 13, 2006
[37] Keith Ng, National Front marchers clash, Herald On Sunday, October 22, 2006 and Ruth Hill, Message to National Front: peace, love, spit and shove, Sunday Star Times, October 22, 2006 [FDB]
[38] Marika Dobbin, Neo-Nazi gig incites chorus of protest, Melbourne Times, September 27, 2006 [slackbastard]
[39] Marika Dobbin, Victim of white supremacist abuse returns to join protest chorus, Melbourne Times, October 18, 2006 [slackbastard]
[40] Marika Dobbin, Protesters put hard word on Fitzroy pub, Melbourne Times, November 1, 2006 [slackbastard]
[41] Glenn Fisher, Bikini line to march on Brunswick streets, Moreland Leader, November 27, 2006
[42] Mark Dunn, Bikini march sparks retort, Herald Sun, December 7, 2006
[43] Luke McIlveen, Renewed race riot fears, Daily Telegraph, November 27, 2006
[44] Edith Bevin, Few anniversary problems, The Sunday Mail, December 10, 2006
[45] Jehan Casinader, Cronulla cuts run deep a year on, New Zealand Herald, December 25, 2006
[46] Asher Moses, Cronulla game site gets zapped, Sydney Morning Herald, October 18, 2006
[47] See, for example, Pan’s review of Nigel Copsey, Anti-Fascism in Britain (MacMillan Press, 2000)

7) See also:

Robert Carr, The Struggle for Generational Legitimacy: Youth, Antiracism and Counter Movements in Australia since the Mid-1990s, paper presented to the Social Change in the 21st Century Conference, Centre for Social Change Research, Queensland University of Technology, October 28, 2005

8 ) External links:

“Antifa is a collective of militant anti-fascists committed to opposing the rise of the far-right in Britain and abroad. We believe in the ‘no platform’ philosophy and the tradition of fighting fascism/racism stretching back to Cable Street, Red Lion Square, Lewisham, and Waterloo. We are a network of various organisations and individuals who see anti-fascism as part of the class struggle.”


Australia First Party
New Zealand National Front


“The international anti-fascist magazine.”

Stormfront Down Under

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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13 Responses to FightDemBack! A Brief History

  1. weez says:

    Nice work, @ndy! Fairly comprehensive!

  2. In Melbourne, the group nominated [the incredibly sexy] Cam Smith, a multi-media producer and radio journalist, as its spokesperson.

  3. weez says:

    I can see why, Cam. You’re just full of multi-media hotness. 😀

  4. A nice summary, which could work well in initiating debate on contemporary opposition to fascism and the far Rights.

    I think the division between liberal and militant anti-fascisms is better understood as a division between different ways of relating to the state, rather than to violence per se. Liberal anti-fascists often want the state to be violent/use force against fascists. An example in your text: accusing a far Right group of breaching anti-terror laws by publishing material instructing in violence can reasonably be interpreted as calling upon the state to use these laws against those implicated. The law, like democracy, is not the opposite of force and violence, but rather constituted by force and violence, in its formation and at every moment.

    And in general I think that there are serious problems with strategies that attempt to delegitimate the far Right by linking them with the concept of terrorism.

    The first point, on liberal/militant strategies, is an old debate, while the relation to concepts of terrorism and of anti-terror campaigns is a more recent one, albeit closely related to the former.

    I\’d be interested in other people\’s views on these matters in the current period.

    A very nice history, though, which does create a space in which such matters can come to the fore in certain radical circles.


  5. @ndy says:

    hi weez, cam and ben,


    ben: i think yr right. the q of ‘violence’ is intimately related to the q of the state and its ‘monopoly’ on same.

    inre that ‘far right group’: peter campbell is his name, white supremacy is his game, and the wpca was his (online) playpen.

    (nb. fdb was able to bring about the rapid disintegration of the wpca merely thru bringing public attn to its activities.)

    in any event, attn to this particular (head-)case was facilitated by the industrial dispute at heinemann vic, and the company’s citation for racist bullying (among numerous other offences). this included, but was not limited to, the relatively archaic practice (but apparently soon to become quite hip among the managerial class) of employing workers but not actually *paying* them for their labour… at all!

    “tee hee! tee hee hee!”*

    (*to the sound of fabulously well-paid lawyers from freehills clapping, shouting, and singing ‘hallelujah!’ in praise of capital.)

    anyways… i think that, while yr probably right inre the problematic nature of linking the ‘far right’ to ‘terrorism’ (as if this were the core of the problem), it’s at least useful to compare the recent treatment of alleged islamic terrorists by the state with that of alleged fascist terrorists (esp in the post-WWII period)…

    more generally, from an anarchist perspective, it’s obviously untenable to argue that the state may be relied upon to effectively foreclose the development of a ‘fascist’ movement, either in australia, aotearoa, or anywhere else for that matter.

    in australia, recent expressions of xenophobia on the part of popular elements (‘hansonism’) has, i think, been effectively recuperated by the state thru the partial adoption of its rhetoric — albeit in a more nuanced / less vulgar fashion — and the effective implementation of its more obvious policy prescriptions: the abolition of atsic, tightening of border controls (and associated measures: death by drowning, physical imprisonment, isolation, psychological torture, public demonisation, etc.), and the enthusiastic enunciation of an authoritarian politics of control — whether over the movements of people between countries, in their workplaces, or on the streets.

    more later…

  6. @ndy says:

    oh yeah.

    um, there’s actually TWO campbells: peter (sydney) and colin (adelaide). peter was wpca, colin the ‘white crusaders of the rahowa’ (wcotr). locally, this mob is ably represented by the human urinal (and birmy regular) patrick o’sullivan.

    the good reverend (colin campbell) hosted, for a time, the website of david innes (‘baron von hund’) of stormfront down under, perth. innes himself hosts mthly bbqs for perth and wa-based members of the forum, and a radio show, ‘chunder from down under’, on stormfront radio; his partner, lilith peterson, is the australian moderator on stormfront down under, and his brother, paul (‘steelcap boot’), is one of the less (!) articulate members of the same forum, constantly plastering his stupidity left, right and centre…

    anyways, to cut a long story short, after being booted from one isp to another, innes’ scribblings have found a happy home in the usa with stormfront / racist small businessman don black.


    on innes and the wcotr:

    an article on campbell and bomb-making (‘white resistance’) manuals:

    “Reverend Col Campbell 3rd, Komandant WCOTR”. the cut snake:

    campbell is referred to in this (rather amusing) article by dan box (the australian, march 4, 2006):

    nb. campbell’s bunker was allegedly raided by afp sometime in feb/mar ’06. campbell’s site —, slogan: ‘not white? not welcome!’ — was pulled some mths later, leaving innes, the wcotr, the ‘aryan warlords’, the ‘worldwide aryan freedom fighters’, and various other online masturbators without a home:

  7. Dr. Cam says:

    One thing I’d note: Some of the incidents mentioned in this article (the Perth mosque shooting, for example) have little to do with FDB, besides them falling under the scope of what FDB monitors.

    Of course, there are incidents documented on the FDB site that we appear to have little to do with where we are actually deeply involved…

    Quandary, huh?

  8. @ndy says:


    The list of refs isn’t exhaustive (I’ve discovered a few more since, which I may add later) but I think refs to shit like the mosque drive-by also helps to provide, as you suggest, some sense of the events and issues fdb monitors…

  9. Scott says:

    I’m a fan of Linton Kwesi Johnson, and probably bought his records before most of the dolts that started this organisation had heard of him.
    It’s bizarre though, bizarre, and ironic. Bizarre, ironic, and wrong, that those who for some reason are going against Australians and New Zealanders that are standing up for their country, are labelling them “fascists”, and call their group ‘Fight Dem Back’ as they support foreigners who are pouring into our countries!
    It is we, who are fighting THEM back!


  10. Dr. Cam says:

    FDB has never labelled anyone standing up for their country a ‘fascist’. We have only applied that label to people who subscribe to neo-fascist ideologies.

    You may have missed a few of LKJ’s points.

  11. @ndy says:

    I wonder if Scott knows the person responsible for such gems as I call my non-ideology Donutism in recognition that all ideologies have “something missing”?

  12. inglourious_basterd says:

    Revisiting this thread – how could I have missed a post from Scott Pengelly, the Melton Mauler, defending the white man from his outpost in Mum’s spare bedroom?

    Gah what is the world coming to?


  13. Pingback: Comments on ‘Hunting Australia’s neo-Nazis’ [The Saturday Paper, April 5, 2014] | slackbastard

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