Scabs continue to crawl…

    A x-post from the Boycott the Birmingham blog. And since when were goths so reactionary? Did I miss the vampire bat or something? Check the conversation among some of the locals. Like Bart Simpson once famously stated, “We need another Battle of Nassius to thin out their ranks a little”.

As has been customary for the last 20 years or so, the last Saturday in September is when the Melbourne Punk Pub Crawl takes place. The kick-off point is The Arty, while the final destination has varied. Most recently, it’s been The Birmy.

On Saturday, September 29, 2007, as on Saturday, September 30, 2006, a number of punks crawled to The Birmy to drink and to watch punks perform on- and off- stage. This year, four bands were scheduled to perform:

Sewer Cider; Social Suicide; Suicide Kings; and The Worst.

Sewer Cider and The Worst have played at The Birmy on a number of previous occasions. Both bands were contacted prior to the gig to ascertain their attitude toward the boycott. Sewer Cider did not reply, while The Worst, in the person of Chunga, their lead singer, replied that he wasn’t a racist and that anarchists were faggots.

In 2006, on white supremacist website Stormfront, a local member of the Hammerskins, agreeing with Chunga, recalled the ISD gig the week before the 2006 Melbourne Punk Pub Crawl as follows:

Some tool rang up the owner and said he was some construction union boss and had 200 union members in the city that were going to come and picket outside and alluded to maybe doing more than that.

They also rang the owner all night and hung up and harassed him.

There was even the gig’s address/details/map/location/phone number on ‘the site we aren’t allowed to talk about here’ on the day of the gig.

Well we waited all night to ‘say hello’ to these scum and NOT one person turned up.

It’s amazing how these cowardly dirtbags can even stand up without a spine. Gutless fags.

The gig was brilliant: great bands, great people and a good time was had by all.

UP YOURS FAG ANTI-RACIST VERMIN!

GOD FORGIVES, HAMMERS DON’T!

Following the gig, Jason Bastard of Bastard Squad wrote (September 24, 2006):

It’s about time we find out where our friends really stand. This is something that can no longer be ignored. The annual punk pub crawl happens this Saturday (September 30), and it usually finishes at The Birmy. I cannot believe that punks will still go to The Birmy after something as significant as this. Hypocrisy seems no longer an issue in today’s ‘anything goes’ apathetic punk scene. If punks go to The Birmy, even the fundamentals that we all share become null and void. It would be nothing less than ridiculing ourselves.

This is not the case of ‘oh shit, boneheads were at that pub last week, we better not go there’.

This is much more than that. This is something well organised and deliberate. This is blatant support of Blood & Honour because it is providing a venue for their gigs and meetings. To all extents and purposes the Birmy can justifiably be called a Blood & Honour pub.

I will not be going to The Birmy at the end of the pub crawl or at any other time in the future. I will also be reminding others of what happened there and asking them if they are still going. It will be interesting to hear what reasons punks give for still going to The Birmy. If the answer has anything to do with having no heart or no backbone, maybe I will ask myself ‘what is this all about then’.

So what’ll it be, punk?

Fuck off if you don’t want to help, that’s the message loud and clear
From the con men you once labelled, you bastards just don’t care
Just who the fuck are you to talk? You even sell yourselves
O.K. you’ve got your own opinions, well now have ours as well

Shut your mouth, because you don’t understand the way things are
The way we live, the role we play is not a superstar
For you to use, build up, smash down as you see fit
You dozy jerks you write such shit

If we sound like a bad phone call then you’ve got a crossed line
If we tell you the same as yesterday, well, did you think we would change our minds?
You say we look too violent, say our message is forgotten
Well, if you don’t like that tough, because that’s the only face I’ve got!

Shut your mouth, because you don’t understand the way things are
The way we live, the role we play is not a superstar
For you to use, build up, smash down as you see fit
You don’t know shit… you make me sick

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 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
This entry was posted in Anti-fascism, Collingwood, History, Music. Bookmark the permalink.

115 Responses to Scabs continue to crawl…

  1. lumpnboy says:

    Jason, I would at least half agree if I didn’t think that it is precisely this sort of attention which means that the Birmingham is not the location of this nazi event this year, and more broadly if anti-fascist agitation of this sort was not a key reason why these nazis don’t feel that they can organize very openly in the inner city at least, and why most venues would be hesitant to host them.

    If the management of the Birmingham was to officially announce that they now recognize that hosting nazi events was a ‘mistake’ (I’m being charitable), and one which they would not be repeating, and more particularly if this seemed to be true, then I would indeed suggest that people not bother promoting boycotts or any other actions against the hotel. And despite the implication of much of the abuse which he has faced for doing so i.e. that he is obsessed with the Birmingham or its manager, I’m pretty sure that @ndy would prefer not to bother with doing so either. The people opposing him in the discussions on this post aren’t that interesting, after all.

    It really doesn’t seem like too much for anyone to ask – for example, not that much of a request for solidarity from the woman who was so infamously held against her will by fascists and forced to repeat racist and misogynist abuse, and who subsequently attended the rally out the front of the Birmingham Hotel. Just some simple statement – how about I even draft one for them? “Though we have done so several times in the past several years, this hotel will no longer play a role in assisting the efforts of nazis to promote themselves and recruit people to their cause of racist and homophobic violence; nor will we pretend that this has not happened, ie. we will no longer comply and help with the nazis’ desires for secrecy; nor will we treat such efforts at racist political organization as just another gig, rather than as the attempts to extend their networks of racist would-be killers which they are.” It could probably use some fine-tuning, but it is straight-forward enough, surely?

    The fact that existing networks of neo-nazis feel, I guess, too scared to organize openly, and/or have such trouble finding a space in the inner city to do so, seems a bit of a tribute to the efforts of people over the last twenty years or so to make sure that any efforts to so organize do not go well for those neo-nazis concerned. Even at the anti-APEC rally the fascists were surely masked to disguise themselves (and fairly quickly scarpered) from anti-APEC protesters, rather than the police.

    Or course, it is worth remembering that the overwhelming majority of racist assaults in this country do not come from the organized far Right but from un- or informally organized bigots of various sorts, who reflect some of the more repulsive corners of Australia’s deeply racist society. (And of course the nice pro-multicultural ALP federal governments of the eighties managed, for example, to serve the interests of capital in relation to PNG and Bougainville by treating as worthless the lives of the people living on the latter, and in particular those resisting the violence of the Australian government-underwritten neocolonial state of PNG – Australian attack helicopters slaughtering villagers for mining corporations everywhere while Foreign Minister Gareth Evans never once called anyone a nigger. Such action would have been a lot harder had those being murdered not been both foreigners and not white. Though many were Christians, I guess, thanks to a history of missionary activity.)

    In Britain in the late ’80s and early ’90s committed anti-fascists, often in or around Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), made it virtually impossible for fascists to openly organize in large parts of the country, in a sort-of they-stick-their-heads-up-we-kick-them-off way. So while in France and in other European nations various eurofascist parties promoted and rode populist racism into the mainstream, it is only more recently that the political organisation of the far right in the form of the BNP has started to catch up with (and further promote) the reality of racism in Britain. Restricting the ability of racists to organize is not the same thing as pursuing a strategy to oppose racism per se, which obviously requires much more and other forms of political action and organisation. As many in AFA concluded, encouraging people to oppose fascist political organisations could not expect to work in the long term so long as no alternative was being pursued to the realities of an inherently violent and racist capitalism, while anti-fascism risked appearing as a backhanded endorsement of the only-nominally non-racist mainstream parties which in any case were pursuing the neoliberalising and violently nationalist logics of the status quo, and so helping to create the bases for racist populisms in the first place.

    In Australia, the mainstream parties have adopted increasingly overtly racialized strategies of electoral mobilization, of border control and the policing of citizenship, of law’n’order and ‘anti-terrorism’, and of child-abuse moral panics and the reconstitution of welfare as expanded social control. If some far rightists manage to reconstruct a One Nation type venture and make headway with eurofascist-style electoralism, posing as respectable nationalists who would stop Cronulla-type violence of the type neo-nazis would love to play a role in creating by reducing or stopping immigration and ‘cracking down’ on people who are insufficiently white, it would be hardly be attractive for anti-fascists to lecture people to, say, vote for the mainstream parties in order to keep the fascists out, as people end up doing in France. These questions may seem a little abstract now, especially since One Nation crumbled and no far rightists seem likely to get, as that party did at its height, a million odd votes or a third of a state parliament. But they would also have seemed abstract for anti-fascists in a half dozen or so European countries which also did not expect a rapid rise of far right parties deploying racist populism as the key element of their rise into the parliamentary and in some cases governmental mainstream.

  2. lumpnboy says:

    Incidentally, in case some reading are interested and don’t know, the term ‘eurofascism’ isn’t really a reference to the location of the parties involved, though it mostly refers to parties in Europe, but rather refers to a far right political strategy considered analogous to the ‘eurocommunist’ politics evolved by several of the European Communist Parties – in particular in Spain and Italy – which gradually reconstructed their political ideologies to fit in with liberal parliamentary politics and hence with legality, trying to form a bloc with other ‘progressive’ parties to take government through the ballot box and pursue the long march through the institutions. This term came to refer to a fairly wide spectrum within the Communist left. At one end the term included fairly radical types who wanted to find ways to combine militant trade unionism and mass action by strong social movements with electoral local government and parliamentary politics, which would allow them to legislate in ways which would increase the power of the working class over their own lives and strengthen the position of progressive movements while bringing the state and capital under popular control. At the other end of the spectrum the same term included strong tendencies which in effect wished to turn the Communist Parties into more-or-less traditional social democratic parties, based on strong trade unions and committed to the reproduction of a ‘progressive’ version of capitalism. The eurocommunists were strongest in Italy but also existed as tendencies in the electorally strong parties of France and Spain, as well as in the much weaker parties of Britain and Australia. In Italy the right of the Eurocommunists ended up dissolving the Communist Party into the Democratic Party of the Left, which has finally made it into government in a thoroughly de-radicalised form. Some of the more radical eurocommunists split from this process into the Communist Refoundation Party which is now one of the largest parties of the moderately radical Left in Europe and which would not, on the whole, refer to itself as eurocommunist even though the discussions inside the party are still influenced by the vigorous debates of the eurocommunist period of the earlier Communist Party.

    The eurofascists, then, by analogy, were those fascist parties, sometimes actually linear successors of the original parties which made up the first truly fascist movement of early twentieth century europe, which moved away from a politics centred on street violence and toward electoralism. As with the eurocommunists, there is a wide spectrum when it comes to what this means in terms of the earlier goals of these parties in terms of the forms of the state and their wider social agendas.

    The term does communicate something of the evolution of various far right parties and tendencies, especially those which successfully made use of anti-immigrant racism to their electoral advantage – though I’m not overly fond of the fascism-is-to-the-right-as-Communism/Stalinism-is-to-the-left implications some draw from the term.

    Anyway, that is very broadly how I understand the history…

  3. Darrin Hodges says:

    The flying monkeys have a new target eh?

  4. @ndy says:

    “…Apologies if this has already been raised but, firstly; how can you be 100% sure that just because it’s not Gary’s pub on paper etc, he can be ’sacked’ as manager. I know of plenty of venues where the owner’s name isn’t on anything legal.”

    Ooops.

    It IS Gary’s pub. Partly. On paper.

  5. Sick of Nazis in the punk scene says:

    My friend told me that Blood and Honor have to organise their ‘gigs’ and ‘meetings’ at a secret location because it’s illegal for a group that openly endorses hatred to put on an event. The way they get around it is to say it is a private function and the people there have to be personally invited. Do you know if that’s true?

    That leads me to think that it would probably be quite hard for the authorities to charge anyone or everyone at the event. And maybe that leaves the venue open to prosecution if they can prove that an event happened there. So this maybe is why the Birmy and The Melb Knight FC deny it even happened.

    I’m interested to know what you think.

  6. up the irons says:

    “to all the “crusty” anrcho-punks that left patrick o’sullivan to harass two girls at a crust gig, but managed to muster up the strength to give the girls a dirty look. tear that anti-swastika patch off your jacket. why claim to be something your not.”

    huh? the noxious residue of dumpster juice in my dreadlocks must have obviously impaired my cognitive function that evening for i have no memory of any such occurrence nor it having been mentioned subsequently. please elaborate ben…

  7. Sick of Nazis in the punk scene says:

    Another thing I was thinking about, if a place advertises a free function room do they have the right to refuse a group of people, based purely on the fact that they may not agree with their politics, even though they are having a private and peaceful function? Would that be classed as discrimination no matter how wrong someone may think their politics are?

    No need to go over your argument, i understand it. There no good argument against it. I’m just bringing some things up that I have questions about and am interested to know what you think.

    Also, I saw the banner up on the old CUB building in Swanston St today as I went past on the tram. Nice work.

    Thank god my tram didn’t crash into another one.

  8. @ndy says:

    My friend told me that Blood and Honor have to organise their ‘gigs’ and ‘meetings’ at a secret location because it’s illegal for a group that openly endorses hatred to put on an event. The way they get around it is to say it is a private function and the people there have to be personally invited. Do you know if that’s true?

    I’m not so sure about that. To begin with, I’m not aware of a law against hate. In this context, probably the closest applicable law would be one with regards racial vilification (RACIAL AND RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE ACT 2001). It states, in part:

      7. Racial vilification unlawful

      (1) A person must not, on the ground of the race of another person or class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of, that other person or class of persons.

      (2) For the purposes of sub-section (1), conduct-

      (a) may be constituted by a single occasion or by a number of occasions over a period of time; and

      (b) may occur in or outside Victoria.

      Note: “engage in conduct” includes use of the internet or e-mail to publish or transmit statements or other material.

    So yeah, it’s complicated, but under this Act, it’s possible for someone to lodge a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission alleging vilification. It’s also possible (I’d say likely, but I’m no lawyer) that if someone accrued sufficient evidence regrading gigs such as the ones held @ The Birmy, and presented this to a court, B&H and the SCHS could be judged guilty of vilification (and Gary too). But… this process is time-consuming, possibly expensive, and is likely to result in confirming what is already apparent: they’re racists.

    As for the reasons why B&H and the SCHS organise their gigs clandestinely, I imagine it’s precisely in order to avoid these kinds of headaches. In other words, and despite what a small number of local fashionistas appear to believe, neo-Nazis generally evoke little more than fear and loathing in the general public, and they know it.

    So for years, The Birmy was used as a venue, and happily so — while there was little or no publicity. But when, after the gig in 2006, and following much adverse publicity, that became problematic for them (and Gary), they moved to the Melbourne Croatia Social Club. In reference to both venues — and despite their tedious protests to the contrary — being sprung was a major inconvenience. This inconvenience has less to do with the law, I think, than an awareness on the behalf of venue managers that a record as having provided facilities to the likes of neo-Nazis is highly unlikely to endear them to anyone, and consequently may lead to a drop in trade.

    It’s economics, basically.

    But beyond that, there may also be political and social consequences, which, while indirect, are nevertheless real.

    Finally, B&H and the SCHS would also be aware that their gigs may be sabotaged by people who don’t like neo-Nazism, and the possibility of this occurring is reduced to zero if they’re unable to be found. On the other hand, as far as I’m aware, this has never happened at any neo-Nazi gig in Australia, ever, and — given the enormous apathy that exists among punks in particular, and the tiny number of anarchists and (other) militant antifa in this country more generally — I honestly don’t know if there’s any likelihood of it occurring at all. Whatever the case, B&H and the SCHS obviously aren’t taking any chances.

  9. @ndy says:

    So… as I said, I ain’t a lawyer, but maybe someone better qualified than I am will comment. I mean, it sounds unreasonable, but maybe there’s something to it: that is, the gigs they organise — even if they take place in a pub(lic house) — are ‘private’, invitation-only affairs, and therefore not subject to the provisions of the Act or similar legislation… could be. As for charges, I don’t know what they would be, other than of the sort outlined in the Act. And that’s a civil, rather than a criminal matter (I think?), one the pursuit of which requires someone to actually be witness to the allegedly vilifying statement or act. For example, the 2004 ISD gig:

    “Next was the band that we had all been waiting to see and we weren’t disappointed!! The Bully Boys!! They played an awesome set, with tunes like Jigrun and Fire Up the Ovens. A few of the lads had gotten hold of some Jew’s yarmulke and took a light to it and handed it to Scott while he was singing Six Million More! Seeing that burn to the tune of that song was brilliant. What a showman!”

    Certainly, there are provisions in the Act for venue owners / managers to be judged guilty of racial vilification (“A person must not request, instruct, induce, encourage, authorise or assist another person to contravene a provision of this Part”):

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/rarta2001265/

  10. lumpnboy says:

    People in Australia may not have physically disrupted neo-nazi gigs, but there have certainly been collective actions against fascists in the not-too-distant past, in Northcote, Brunswick, Faulkner…Faulkner? Is that where we were for that anti-fascist rally, when the National Action types had that shop and dressed as clowns on their roof surrounded by cops etcetera? OK it was a while ago. But do you really think it is that unimaginable that people would take collective action with the goal of disrupting a neo-nazi gig in Australia?

  11. @ndy says:

    Fawkner.

    No, it’s not completely unimaginable, but the circumstances surrounding the two are significantly different I think. For one, the rallies in Fawkner were accompanied by a large police presence. The gigs are not. (Although if there were any confrontation, they soon would be — based on the presumption that the repressive state apparatus does in fact keep an eye on such events.) Thus the small number of direct clashes between members of NA and those opposed were also accompanied by arrests. On the other hand, during the same period, Brander was arrested at a rally in the city after clocking a member of the Socialist Party (nee Militant Socialist Organisation) on the head. He was later convicted of assault (I think that was the charge).

    The small number of other physical clashes between these forces, in Melbourne, over the course of the last few decades, have, as far as I’m aware, largely been more informal affairs…

    I’ve provided a brief account of elements of this history here:

    http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=623

    Keep in mind, also, that many of those who assemble at these events would relish the opportunity to beat the living shit out of ‘anti-racists’, and for the most part are quite capable of doing so.

    Tschuss.

  12. Matt Rickmann says:

    JASON BASTARD IS A […]

    [Thank you for yr contribution Matt. Unfortunately, it is highly defamatory.]

    Matt Rickmann.

  13. Paul says:

    If the Birmy was really a Nazi pub, what was there a Kiss pinball doing in there?

  14. Sam GGF says:

    Fuck! Thank god I left this scene years ago. Nothing but petty bickering about minor issues such as ‘don’t drink at that pub. Skinheads once played a gig there’. Do you lot realise how pathetic you all sound? I’m glad I grew up and moved on. Some of you should do the same too.

  15. @ndy says:

    @Sam GGF:

    You’re commenting on events from 8-10 years ago?

    Huh.

    Anyway, leaving aside the commentary above, the boycott of The Birmingham was called not ‘because skinheads once played a gig there’, but because on September 23, 2006, local neo-Nazi skinhead groups Blood & Honour and the Southern Cross Hammerskins held their annual Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial gig at the pub. When asked about the gig subsequently, Gary, the pub manager, denied it ever took place. In other words, lied. Further, this was not the first time B&H and the SCHS held an event at the pub, or the first time Gary was contacted in protest. The boycott was not ‘pathetic’ but successful: Gary left the job within the space of 18 months of the boycott being called.

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