“We’re not Nazis, we’re punk-anarchists”!

[Update : April 2, 2007: Gabriel Kolko, commenting on the state of the State of Israel (‘Israel’s Last Chance’, Counterpunch, March 30, 2007) writes “Some indications of these trends [ie, “profound divisions” in Israeli society] range from the banal to the tragic. In Petah Tikva the abandoned Hashomer Hatzair office has been given to about 150 punks, “anarchists,” who originate in what was the USSR; there is also a club of punks [sic] that calls itself Nazi — “boneheads” in skinhead parlance — and paints swastikas on synagogues. Both dislike the ultra-Orthodox and like the same music.” Well, kinda. ‘Boneheads’ are racist ‘skinheads’; the political status of the punks who congregate at the club is unknown to me; both the ‘anarchist punks’ and the boneheads probably “dislike” the Ultra-Orthodox, albeit for somewhat different reasons; it’s highly unlikely that the punks and the boneheads listen to the same music — at least in the sense that, while boneheads are often happy to listen to bands which despise them (cf. David Innes), few if any punks worthy of the name enjoy listening to White Power muzak.]

Neo-Nazis? In Israel?!? Well, maybe not… In an attempt to account for a number of anti-Semitic incidents in Israel over the last few years, suspicion has centred on Russian immigrants, especially yoof. And it appears that, as in Russia, some at least — flailing around for an oppositional form of identity, and living in a society characterised, like many others, by religious conflict and ethnic discrimination, often hostile or indifferent to their presence — have collapsed into fascism. And despite a long and bloody history of struggle by anarchists against fascism — from Italy, to Spain, to Germany, to contemporary Russia — and a shorter (since the 70s) and less bloody struggle by skinheads against neo-Nazi infiltration of their sub-culture, some still just don’t get it. In Melbourne, this includes the supporters of neo-Nazi venue The Birmingham Hotel, which will host a “punk” fashion show this Friday, starring The Blurters, Charter 77, PBG and Slick 46.

They’re not working class punks; they’re scabs.

“…Don’t listen to all the shit about splits and politics, the Boneheads go on about it because they know how we drove them underground and reclaimed Skinhead culture for true Skinheads. The non-politicals go on [and on and on] about it because it’s easier than taking on the scum. I’ve been a Skinhead since 1969 and I know what it’s meant since day one.” — Roddy Moreno, The Oppressed

We’re not Nazis, we’re punk-anarchists
Moti Katz
Ha’aretz
February 28, 2007

The teenagers in Petah Tikva’s Gan Yehonatan club stress that they are not Nazis.

“We’re punks!” they say.

“People think all new immigrants are anti-Semites. That’s not true at all,” one of the teenagers says, referring to anti-Semitic incidents in town, like last year’s desecration of a large synagogue.

“We don’t like the ultra-Orthodox but we wouldn’t paint swastikas on synagogues either,” he says.

Some 150 young immigrants from the former Soviet Union frequent the Gan Yehonatan club in the afternoons. The purpose of the club is to keep the youths from drinking and hanging out in parks.

The boys admit uncomfortably that they are familiar with the Nazi-Russian youth in Petah Tikva.

“There are groups of neo-Nazis – not here at the club, though. They exist in every town in the country,” says one youth.

Some of the youths regard Israelis with anger and distrust. They are a close-knit group, but complain that Israelis treat them with contempt and see them as stereotypes. Most of all, they say they don’t belong. The reports of vandalism and attacks on ultra-Orthodox residents have intensified this feeling.

When asked what they know of Nazi and anti-Semitic groups, they act embarrassed. Gradually, however, they open up and talk about the “Nazi skinheads” and terror they impose on other groups.

‘Good’ and ‘bad’ skinheads [Skinheads vs. Boneheads]

“You must distinguish between two groups of skinheads,” one says. “There are good skinheads and Nazi skinheads, called boneheads.” (Nazi skinheads are often called boneheads by traditionalist skinheads and Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice.)

“The boneheads shave their heads and wear white suspenders with jeans or military trousers, sometimes with a white collar,” one boy says. Most of them are over 18 years old, some even serve in the military, and they advocate typical Nazi ideology, based on hatred of Jews and Israelis, he says.

“A few months ago, the boneheads held a ceremony to mark Hitler’s birthday in one of the cemeteries,” a boy says.

[A few years ago (2002), Melbourne boneheads held a celebration to mark Hitler’s birthday in a Melbourne pub… Can you guess which one? Earlier, in 1990, the bonehead Dane Sweetman celebrated the occasion by murdering fellow bonehead David Noble.]

Irena, 18, from the central region, has spent some time with the Nazi boneheads.

“I was a skingirl – that’s what you call the Nazi skinheads’ girls,” she says.

Irena’s boyfriend was the group leader, dubbed the “Fuhrer.”

“We were a bunch of immigrant Russian boys and girls, and we had a certain dress code. The boys usually shaved their heads and wore military pants.

“On weekends we’d meet in parks, where we’d drink and smoke and listen to Nazi music. Nazi music isn’t Rammstein [a German band that incorporates elements of metal/hard rock, industrial metal and electronic music],” she says with a smile. Some evenings fights would break out between her group and others who met in the parks. Irena’s boyfriend, the Fuhrer, was involved in fighting among the groups.

[Irena the ex-bonehead also features in a previous article by Katz: ‘Israelis run anti-Jewish Web sites’, Ha’aretz, February 25, 2007.]

…There are many shaven heads among the good skinheads [duh!], who wear jeans, sometimes bleach-stained, red suspenders and red laces on their military boots. One boy says that he was beaten up once by the Nazi skinheads for wearing red suspenders. “The red symbolizes Communism to them, and the Communists defeated the Nazis,” he says.

[Er… on the other hand: Red & Anarchist Skinheads // Germany. On fashion: Fire and Flames Riotwear!]

Most of the youths in Gan Yehonatan categorize themselves as punk-anarchists. “We, the punks, usually wear tight black trousers and various Mohawk hair styles,” he says. “We also have metalists, who listen to heavy metal music, wear lots of earrings and rivets, army boots and are into piercing.”

Some of them are convinced that the boneheads desecrated the big synagogue and tried to frame the punks.

After school, in the afternoons, the Gan Yehonatan group walks along the gravel path leading to the club in Petah Tikva. Several girls, some dressed in black, greet each other politely. Boys with thuggish expressions chain smoke and converse among themselves in Russian, dotted with Hebrew phrases.

The club provides the teenagers with activities to help them deal with their difficulties in creative ways. At least seven punk and rock bands have come out of the club, as well as a breakdance group. The club also has a music room, a carpentry workshop and a basketball court.

After the lights go out

Gan Yehonatan opened about three years ago, after a municipal committee headed by Nurit Tibi, director of the Beit Hila educational center, discovered that drinking and violence were prevalent among immigrant CSI youth. The committee decided to open a club in an old rundown building belonging to the Hashomer Hatzair youth movement, opposite the town’s Yad Lebanim park.

    …Statistics from the Ministry of Absorption show that more than 37,500 immigrants from former Soviet countries moved to Petah Tikva between January of 1989, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, and December of 2005 — slightly more than 20 per cent of the city’s current population.

    While many of those immigrants settled and thrived, others have had trouble adapting to the culture and learning Hebrew, leaving former professionals unemployed or taking menial jobs to get by, and their children uprooted and confused.

    Some of those have ended up at Petah Tikva’s Youth Consultation Centre, an outreach and treatment centre, where criminologist Nurit Tibi says she treats several young Russian-speaking youth who’ve been in trouble with the law for assaulting ultra-Orthodox Jews or throwing stones at synagogues.

    “I see what happened in the Great Synagogue as something very extreme and very difficult. But I also see it as part of a wider problem of identity crisis,” she said.

    While many of these immigrants qualified to move to Israel because of a Jewish grandparent, after a lifetime in an environment where religion was actively discouraged, they are today either secular Jews or do not consider themselves Jewish at all — leaving the next generation struggling to figure out where they belong in a Jewish state.

    With anti-Semitism gaining ground in Russia, Russian-speaking teens here may find the acceptance they seek by imitating what they see on Russian-language websites and videos.

    “They copy it from somewhere. And here they don’t belong to anybody,” Ms. Tibi said.

    One of her clients — a young man from a broken home, who does not qualify for citizenship because his parents are not themselves Jewish — served eight months in prison for assaulting religious Jews. “But when you meet him, you find a confused adolescent who hasn’t found where he belongs. What is he? Is he a Jew? Is he Christian? Is he Israeli? What is he?

    “These symbols are the country, for them. This is the way to fight the government — that’s how they see the State of Israel.”

    From Russia With Hate, Carolynne Wheeler, The Globe and Mail, May 17, 2006

It wasn’t easy to reach the CSI youth, says youth activity coordinator Bella Alexandrov. But gradually they started coming and infused life into the place.

In the late evening hours, the lights go out at Gan Yehonatan. Only two girls remain with Alexandrov to confide their problems. The rest of the group, equipped with cigarettes and booze, drift off into the dark corners of the park.

Alexandrov looks at them sadly as they disappear. She hopes this evening will end without any violent incidents, and that tomorrow they will come back “home.”

“Because this is the only place that could possibly constitute a home for them,” she says.

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  1. the show we played with blood red eagle was in sydney in 2003. also on the bill were bulldog spirit, dot dot dot, avo, stronger than hate, the blurters, means to an end, unclean, farce, out of order, kingdom come, changeover, blasting process, demolition highstyle, run for cover, the panic attacks, thought crime, world war 24. whether or not any of these bands are still gigging is irrelevant. blood red eagle were not playing racial songs. now, can you tell me which of these bands are right/left/non political. then come back and tell me we played a far right show.

    as for our website we didnt \”decide to close it down\”, that decision was made for us. first when some cunt bought the rights to charter77.net out from under us and tried to sell them back for a couple of grand. secondly when live.com.au went arse up. they tell me the kids these days like to use myspace instead. we have a page on there now. (don\’t bother leaving a message for me, i don\’t look at it.). another example of you making up facts on the spot.

    if you agree that the pub and b&h etc are separate, why do you keep bringing them up? also why do you keep inferring that garry is part of one of these groups? your boycott is against the pub. why don\’t you boycott any other venue these groups have used?

    there is no way that refusal of service story would ever stand up in court. for a start it\’s hearsay. secondly, last time i was at the pub (and every time i\’ve ever been at the pub) there was a sign behind the bar that said \”ONLY SERVE BOTTLED WATER\”.

    you have a problem with so called \”neo nazi fucking scum\” hanging out at the birmy, but not at any other pub/club/etc etc. WHY? they go to other pubs and \”hang out\”, why do you only have a problem if they go to the birmingham?

    so the discussion is the use of the pub. can you tell me the number of days b&h/whoever have used the function room over the last five years? then can you put that as a percentage of 1826. (number of days in five years)?

    which brings me to your list of so called \”scabs\”. it seems to me that if someone uses the function room at any time since you started your boycott (not sure exact date) then you call them a scab. but your list seems to be very fucking selective. in fact a small number of gigs are all that seem to make it onto the list. but by your logic, anyone that uses the function room is a scab. so shouldn\’t anyone who\’s booked the function room be on the list? why single out a small number of bands? why not all the rehearsals, art shows, exhibitions, private functions, meetings etc etc etc?

    punk? i\’m glad you\’re here to set me straight. there i was thinking it was just about having a laugh and having a say. but when did i claim to be the king of punk? Lin “Spit” Newborn and Dan Shersty, Timur Kacharava and Aleksandr “Shtopor” Ryukhin, Tomek Wilkoszewski and Augustin Kraus? never heard of any of them.

    and i\’ll leave you today with a quote from roddy moreno. \”anyway all we tried to do back then was \’have a laugh and have a say\’. we didn\’t mind the fascists calling us commies and the commies calling us fascists \’cos the opinions of dickheads didn\’t effect us. to sum us up we were just 4 working class skinheads who hated racism and voted labour.\”

  2. In answer to your questions.

    “now, can you tell me which of these bands are right/left/non political. then come back and tell me we played a far right show.”

    Not without doing a great deal of research, no. But of the 17 bands you listed, I would classify Bulldog Spirit, AVO and The Blurters as probably the most ‘right-wing’ or reactionary; of which three, BS is — as far as I’m aware — probably the worst, seeing as it contains a deadset neo-Nazi. In any case, I never claimed you played a right-wing show; I merely pointed out that your claim never to have played with any of ‘those’ bands — “if my band played on the same bill as one of these right wing bands, then you could say we supported them. but we don’t” — was in fact false, and that, further, by your own logic, I can say that you supported ‘them’ (ie, their politics).

    As for your band’s website, I wasn’t aware that someone squatted it, so, assuming that you’re telling the truth, I stand corrected. But as for my claiming that you decided to close it down, I think I can be forgiven for assuming that this is what in fact happened. Certainly, your claim that this is “another example of you making up facts on the spot” is baseless.

    “if you agree that the pub and b&h etc are separate, why do you keep bringing them up? also why do you keep inferring that garry is part of one of these groups? your boycott is against the pub. why don’t you boycott any other venue these groups have used?”

    The answers to these questions are obvious.

    1) The Birmy, and B&H and the SCHS, came together when Garry agreed to bring them together. And that’s for him to explain, not me.

    2) As far as I’m aware, Garry is a member of neither B&H nor the SCHS, I’ve never claimed otherwise, and would be surprised to discover if he was a member of either or both of these groups. I do, however, believe that Garry has a close working relationship with these groups, based on the fact they’ve organised a number of gigs and held a number of meetings at his pub over a relatively long period of time. Further, Garry has lied about this relationship, about the nature of these groups, and about the nature of the events they’ve held at his pub:

    ===

    Birmingham Hotel owner Gary, who refused to give his surname, denied it was a neo-Nazi gig.

    “It was a punk, skinhead gig that was the same as any night of the week,” he said.

    ===

    3) The only other venue that I’m aware of B&H and the SCHS using is The Jam Tin in Cheltenham. I don’t advocate a boycott of that venue because, as I understand it, that venue is no longer available to the scum. (And when approached, the owner didn’t lie about it either.) As for other venues, while I suspect that the Dane Centre — John Abbott’s rehearsal studio in Brunswick — has been used by the scum, I’m not aware of any further details. ( John Abbott was the organiser of a group called the Blackshirts, who, for a brief period in the ’90s, had a habit of appearing masked, in groups, at the houses of single, divorced/separated women with children, in a misguided attempt at intimidating them inre to their ex-partners/spouses… not that you’d care, of course. http://www.xyonline.net/blackshirts.shtml )

    Aside from that, The Birmy has hosted the most recent B&H/SCHS event, and it’s also used by bands that claim to be punk (but act, unfortunately, more like well-trained poodles) and working class (while acting like middle class prats).

    And, of course, The Birmy’s also got form.

    “there is no way that refusal of service story would ever stand up in court. for a start it’s hearsay. secondly, last time i was at the pub (and every time i’ve ever been at the pub) there was a sign behind the bar that said ”ONLY SERVE BOTTLED WATER”.”

    Obviously, I’m not embarking on a course of legal action; I’m merely pointing out that there have, in fact, been claims made that The Birmy pursues a discriminatory policy. If you wish to dispute this account, I suggest you go to the website in question — mess & noise — and question ‘firewitch’. And I would recount other stories, but I’m simply not at liberty to.

    “you have a problem with so called ”neo nazi fucking scum” hanging out at the birmy, but not at any other pub/club/etc etc. WHY? they go to other pubs and ”hang out”, why do you only have a problem if they go to the birmingham?”

    I have a problem with ”neo nazi fucking scum” full stop.

    “The judge said five to ten but I say double that again
    I’m not working for the clampdown
    No man born with a living soul
    Can be working for the clampdown
    Kick over the wall ’cause government’s to fall
    How can you refuse it?
    Let fury have the hour, anger can be power
    D’you know that you can use it?”

    Probably not.

    Anyway, obviously, my ‘problem’ — as you call it — is the result of Garry’s decision to allow B&H and the SCHS to organise a gig, at which Bail Up!, Blood Red Eagle and Ultraviolence performed, to commemorate the death in 1993 of Ian Stuart Donaldson, a gig which attracted wankers such as Fiona Walsh (Deadset Music, local organiser of the Wasted Festival, bonehead), Welf Herfurth (ex-NDP and ONP, Australia First Party member, organiser with New Reich Australia/NZ, and MC at the Sydney Forum), and which was also marked by the following incident:

    ===

    A LOCAL woman who was intimidated and racially abused by a group of men last month will attend a protest against neo-Nazism outside a Fitzroy pub…

    Blondien (not her real name) says she was walking alone to her car on Johnston Street the same night when she was surrounded by about seven men. She says the men screamed abuse at her, calling her a black c..t and forcing her to repeat the insults.

    “It’s disgusting that people would single out one person and you have to say stuff about your race to get out of it,” Blondien said.

    ===

    While you and Garry couldn’t care less about such matters, I and others do. So too, the fact that ”neo nazi fucking scum” have been using Garry’s pub for at least five years, if not longer (a fact which I’ve pointed out numerous times now, but which still seems hard for you to swallow).

    “can you tell me the number of days b&h/whoever have used the function room over the last five years? then can you put that as a percentage of 1826. (number of days in five years)?”

    As far as Garry’s concerned, the answer is ‘zero’. Indeed, according to boofhead, B&H and the SCHS have never organised anything at The Birmy. In reality, however, as far as I’m aware, the boneheads and assorted other neo-Nazi scum celebrated Adolf Hitler’s birthday and ISD’s death in 2002 and 2003, and either 2004 or 2005 (I can’t remember which off-hand). It’s also possible that other gigs have taken place, I haven’t been paying attention, and relatively few others have either — certainly not the “working class punks” (arf arf) who are happy to hold hands with the scum. As for meetings, I’ve no idea how many have taken place (whether formal or informal), and the same goes for the SCHS. What’s important to note, however, is that NONE of these gigs or meetings have been publicly-advertised, the groups operate by word-of-mouth, and otherwise try to maintain a low profile (for obvious reasons). Further, Garry (the Bastard) has been more than happy to oblige them, both in terms of providing his pub as an organisational platform and meeting-point, and by being prepared to collude with the scum in keeping their activities vewy vewy secwet — even to the point of publicly embarrassing himself by lying about the whole affair.

    Anyway, here’s what one of the boneheads from B&H thought of last year’s gathering:

    ===

    “For those unaware the Birmingham is in a very “multi-cultural” (aka shitty) part of Melbourne. The reds seem to have taken affront to our presence and having not so cunningly deduced the whereabouts of the event, proceeded to post the location and contact details of the gig on various red websites. Some bottom touching wag then proceeded to call the pub manager and claiming to be a spokesman for the cfmeu stated the pub would be closed down by violence due to the assault of a union member by boneheads the previous evening. Full points for originality and credit where credit is due, this story was better than the usual bomb threats and did cause some nervousness on behalf of the pub management. Of course it was all bullshit that came to nothing and prank calls and hang ups were the order of the night throughout the evening. Of the reds themselves however there was never any sign…

    In a footnote however, many left-wing punks, feeling betrayed by The Birmingham (traditionally a punk hangout), called for a boycott of the pub from their annual pub crawl the following week due to their “support” for the nazis. The pub crawl ended at The Birmy as per usual, red punks in tow, probably grumbling drunkenly into their beer about nazi sympathizers.”

    ===

    Of those drunkenly grumbling, one, notably, was Jason Bastard (you can read his thoughts on the matter elsewhere on the blog). Incidentally, in the past, punks on the pub crawl have given The Birmy a wide berth, and for much the same reasons. Of course, for the punk fashionistas, opposition to bonehead infiltration comes and goes, just as they do, and like any other fashionable pose…

    “which brings me to your list of so called ”scabs”. it seems to me that if someone uses the function room at any time since you started your boycott (not sure exact date) then you call them a scab. but your list seems to be very fucking selective. in fact a small number of gigs are all that seem to make it onto the list. but by your logic, anyone that uses the function room is a scab. so shouldn’t anyone who’s booked the function room be on the list? why single out a small number of bands? why not all the rehearsals, art shows, exhibitions, private functions, meetings etc etc etc?”

    To begin with, I’ve simply listed all the bands that I’m aware of that have performed at The Birmy in the period since the ISD gig. If you know of any more, please feel free to list them. The only band which I haven’t listed is Sewer Cider, which had a ‘secret’ gig in March… and will be playing again on July 7, with Distorted Truth, The Boots, The Worst and Wot Rot.

    I’ve no idea who uses the function room.

    I’m not aware of any art shows, exhibitions or meetings having taken place. Are you? Again, if so, feel free to provide details.

    As for scabbing: this epithet is directed primarily at people who should know better. To be precise, people who claim the title of being ‘punk’ (which often means, in practice, nothing more, and a whole lot less, than adopting a fashionable pose) and ‘working class’ (that is, “I’m thick and I drink beer. Oi oi.”). And time generally sorts the wheat from the chaff.

    “punk? i’m glad you’re here to set me straight. there i was thinking it was just about having a laugh and having a say. but when did i claim to be the king of punk? Lin “Spit” Newborn and Dan Shersty, Timur Kacharava and Aleksandr “Shtopor” Ryukhin, Tomek Wilkoszewski and Augustin Kraus? never heard of any of them.”

    No, you’re far from being the king of punk. Besides which, Poison Idea already hold that title, and if they were going to lose it to anyone, I really doubt it would be Charter 77. In any event, the fact that you’ve never heard of any of those names kinda reinforces my point. But as the great man himself said, ‘any info on the above is freely available to anyone who knows how to use Google’. Who knows, you may even stumbleupon my blog while so doing…

    Finally, as for Roddy, if you’re seriously trying to suggest that he and The Oppressed would adopt anything like the weak-as-piss approach your band has, you’re sillier than I thought. Besides which, if commies called them fascists, that’s ‘cos they was skins (and like, thanks, in part, to people like you, ‘skins = fascists’); if fascists called them commies, on the other hand, that’s ‘cos they, like you, simply couldn’t conceive that serious anti-fascists could be otherwise ordinary working class people, who understand what scum neo-Nazis are, and why they must be stopped before they start.

  3. just to clear something up. garry doesn\’t own the pub.

    also i don\’t like using the dane centre because of the blackshirts connection. the big difference with the dane centre is the bloke that owns/runs it, is/was the leader of the black shirts.

    even if you say there has been 10 far-right shows at the birmy (this is taking the ones you\’re talking about and doubling it) then the pecentage of days the pub has been used for this purpose is 0.55%. which means 99.45% percent of the time it\’s not.

    you have a problem with ”neo nazi fucking scum” full stop. which is fine. but these people drink at other pubs too. why only boycott the birmingham. why not every pub in melbourne that serves them a beer.

    i didn\’t think you were thinking of taking the glass of water story to court. it\’s a figure of speech. i was trying to point out that you shouldn\’t be making accusations based on hearsay.

    in my opinion your list of scabs is a load of shit unless it lists every single person/group that has booked the function room. either make it a proper list of \”scabs\” or admit it\’s a list of people you don\’t like. particularly \”working class punks\”. what\’s your definition of working class? why aren\’t these bands working class? don\’t bother defining punk because it\’s different to every person, and there\’s about 10 punk scenes in melbourne who all think they\’re the one true punk.

  4. Fibber!

    You said “Remember @ndy, life is but a game. This game has been played, and you have lost. Ciao.”

    So why haven’t you buggered off?

    I think you’re taking things a bit too seriously (unlike “most of the public”).

    I also think you’re kinda stoopid…

  5. ‘Remember @ndy, life is but a game. This game has been played, and you have lost. Ciao.’–loudproudpunk
    it does sound cool though. for many nights, i imagined that loudproudpunk thrusted his hands into the sky as if he were a matador who defeated the bull before his cheering audience. when does don quixote (Loudproudpunk) fight the windmills?

  6. “just to clear something up. garry doesn’t own the pub.”

    apparently not.

    “also i don’t like using the dane centre because of the blackshirts connection. the big difference with the dane centre is the bloke that owns/runs it, is/was the leader of the black shirts.”

    garry runs the birmy. he’s responsible for authorising neo-nazi gigs. and lying about it. further, what difference does it make? why are you prepared to boycott the dane centre, but not the birmy? if garry *acts* like a member — he makes available ‘his’ pub for meeting and organisational purposes — again, what’s the diff? (and do you know what the purpose of a boycott is?)

    “even if you say there has been 10 far-right shows at the birmy (this is taking the ones you’re talking about and doubling it) then the pecentage of days the pub has been used for this purpose is 0.55%. which means 99.45% percent of the time it’s not.”

    a daft analysis.

    ‘even if you say there has been 10 murders/rapes at the birmy (this is taking the ones you’re talking about and doubling it) then the pecentage of days the pub has been used for this purpose is 0.55%. which means 99.45% percent of the time it’s not…’

    therefore, the pub’s use for this purpose is ok? of course not.

    in any case, the question is not merely the frequency with which these events have taken place — although it’s relevant that the birmy’s got form — but the fact that the birmy is unique in this regard… and one neo-nazi gig is one neo-nazi gig too many.

    here’s another question:

    of all the neo-nazi gigs that have taken place in melbourne during the last five years, what percentage have taken place at the birmy?

    “you have a problem with ”neo nazi fucking scum” full stop. which is fine. but these people drink at other pubs too. why only boycott the birmingham. why not every pub in melbourne that serves them a beer?”

    a daft question. no other pub in melbourne hosts gigs by the scum, obviously.

    “i didn’t think you were thinking of taking the glass of water story to court. it’s a figure of speech. i was trying to point out that you shouldn’t be making accusations based on hearsay.”

    uh-huh. well, here’s a few more questions for you:

    do you agree that garry’s a liar?
    do you agree that a woman was abused on the night of the gig — the gig which garry denied took place — by a number of men who attended the gig?
    and do you agree that this woman attended the protest outside of the birmy the following month?

    “in my opinion your list of scabs is a load of shit unless it lists every single person/group that has booked the function room. either make it a proper list of ”scabs” or admit it’s a list of people you don’t like. particularly ”working class punks”.”

    well, i think that your opinion, like your analysis and your question, is daft.

    to begin with, what you’re demanding is completely unreasonable. that is, i’ve got absolutely no idea of the identity of “every single person/group that has booked the function room”; further, i don’t know how i’d obtain that information (do you?). finally, there’s a point in singling out the ‘working class punk’ bands who play — see below.

    “what’s your definition of working class? why aren’t these bands working class? don’t bother defining punk because it’s different to every person, and there’s about 10 punk scenes in melbourne who all think they’re the one true punk.”

    before i give you my definition of working class, here’s some interesting words from one of the members of the dropkick murphys, the irish-american working class punk band which, as you’ll probably be aware, toured recently, and played with the working class we’re-just-ordinary-simple-folk-trying-to-make-our-way-in-life band bulldog spirit:

    ===

    “How do you define working-class? What does it mean to be a working-class rock band?”

    [Ken Casey, August 2003] I don’t know, it’s just how I was raised. I don’t offer a fancy definition of working class. But it’s something you’re born into. I have friends who have gone on to college and got great white collar jobs, but they’ll always be working class kids. By the same token, there are kids from rich families who move to a new city where nobody knows them, shave their head, get a job at a factory and go around talking about working class this and that; but they’ll never be. As far as we go as a band, working class rock band just signifies that we came from nothing.

    ===

    so, like casey says, it ain’t about fashion, and even if, say, a kid from a rich family moves to a new city where nobody knows them, shaves their head, gets a job at a factory, and goes around talking about ‘working class this’ and ‘working class that’… they’ll never be. to put it another way: as a general rule — and despite your assertion to the contrary — i don’t have a problem with ‘working class punks’ (hell, ‘some of my best friends are working class punks’ — arf arf); i do have a problem with:

    a) rich and middle class kids who pose as ‘working class’;
    b) kids who think ‘working class’ is a fucking fashion pose and;
    c) ‘working class punks’ who use their supposed identities as, like, workin’ class people, as an excuse to pursue anti-working class attitudes, behaviours and politics — and who think that being ‘working class’ means you’ve got a free pass when it comes to using your mind. this is bullshit, and an example of anti-working class prejudice in action.

    as for ‘working class’ itself: it’s a socio-economic category, and among other things, describes an individual’s economic and social positioning. basically, if an individual derives the bulk of their income (wage/salary) from the sale of their labour (a job) — and if the alternative to not having a job is starvation or some form of social welfare — then they’re working class. further, working class really only obtains its meaning in relation to society as a whole; class society. for there to be a working class, in other words, there must be a non-working class, otherwise ‘everyone’s working class’, and ‘working class’ has no meaning. more generally, in a class society (a society stratified by social class), the working class is a group of people who have a low level of wealth, income and prestige, and for whom certain forms of labour are typical — industrial and factory workers, office workers, clerks, farm and manual labourers, etcetera.

    working class people are young, old, gay, straight, black, white, married, single, parents, childless, left-wing, right-wing, in good health and bad, prefer punk to opera or opera to punk, barrack for collingwood or some other shit team… in a word, are culturally — and in a whole lot of other ways — ‘diverse’.

    more on punk and class later.

    fuck fascism.

    boycott the birmy.

  7. Huh?

    I can only assume that you’re referring to the boycott of The Birmingham. The purpose of the boycott was to financially penalise the pub owners and managers; ideally, to being about a change of management/ownership to one that would refuse to provide a platform for neo-Nazis. If you define ‘successful’ (one ‘l’) to mean ‘Having a favorable outcome’ or perhaps ‘Having obtained something desired or intended’, then yes, the campaign was successful: in early 2008, The Birmy obtained a new owner and was placed under new management.

    This is very old news.

  8. I can’t believe I accidently came across this load of bullwank from both sides. Here’s 4 facts: 1 – same centre is a rehearsal room. 2 – the Birmingham is a pub. 3 – the cfmeu has used violence against innocent people. 3 – Jason Bastard is a murderer. Feel free to fact check all four.