Ah, Melbourne: neo-Nazi concert one day; anti-Semitic assault the next

On Saturday October 13, the Melbourne Knights Football Club / Melbourne Croatia Social Club hosted a gig for local, national and international neo-Nazi skinheads, organised by two international neo-Nazi networks, Blood & Honour and the Hammerskins. When contacted on the night of the gig, the Club denied outright any such event was taking place. In this, the Club is following in the footsteps of The Birmingham Hotel, the previous venue for the annual Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial gig. The reaction of both the Club and the Hotel stand in stark contrast to that of the (Elks) Lodge in Portland, Orgeon, which, when informed that a neo-Nazi gig organised by Hammerskins in the US was taking place at their venue, promptly pulled the plug.

As it happens, and according to a report in the October 17 edition of The Age, the following day in Melbourne there was another anti-Semitic assault, one possibly committed by the same men responsible for an earlier attack. Despite this alleged attack on Sunday, the gig on Saturday, and an earlier text circulated among local Jewish groups a day or two prior to the gig warning of the gig’s occurrence, there has been (almost) no media reportage of the gig in the middle; certainly no press.

Jewish teens ‘bashed by same man’
Barney Zwartz
The Age
October 17, 2007

A MAN who attacked a youth with a baseball bat in an anti-Semitic attack in August was allegedly involved in another attack on Sunday night, beating a Jewish teenager. Five youths, aged 14 to 16, were attacked in Carlisle Street, Balaclava, by two men about 9.15pm on Sunday. One was punched once and another four times. He needed medical help. The Age believes that one of the youths, who was not hit on Sunday, was also a witness at the August attack at Glicks restaurant and recognised the attacker. Sergeant Ken Douglas of St Kilda Police said the attack included racial and religious taunts. Afterwards the two offenders and two women got on a tram, then got off after abusing two women on the tram. The executive officer of the Anti-Defamation Commission, Manny Waks, said violent incidents in Melbourne had surged in the past two years and the Jewish community was feeling vulnerable. “Quite a number of people, including prominent members of the community, have told me they don’t wear Jewish-identifying clothes or ornaments for fear of the response,” Mr Waks said. “The more attacks happen the more acceptable they become in the wider community.”

And of course, the more acceptable anti-Semitism and racial hatred, the more likely such attacks will occur. Why Melbourne Knights / Melbourne Croatia Social Club, in particular, wants to throw its weight behind two local neo-Nazi groups is a question that deserves an answer. The fact that an attempt to include the fact of the Club’s support on Wikipedia was removed a day later suggests the Club/s may be somewhat reluctant to acknowledge their collaboration. Nevertheless, it’s real. And here is the offending sentence:

    “Locally, the club has shown sympathy for the far-right, and in October 2007 has even gone as far as hosting a white supremacist gig by the neo-nazi and racist group Blood And Honour.”

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.
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19 Responses to Ah, Melbourne: neo-Nazi concert one day; anti-Semitic assault the next

  1. steve says:

    Has nothing to do with the Melbourne Knights. The Melbourne Croatia Social Club and Melbourne Knights are separate entities. The event in question was sanctioned by the MC Social Club not the Knights. Knights are only tenants at the venue. So explain to me in all your wisdom how the Melbourne Knights are involved?

    And I’m the one that removed reference to it on the Knights wikipedia page, as it has nothing to do with the Club so has no place on the page. There’s a little thing called research, maybe you should try it some time instead of slandering an innocent party.

  2. @ndy says:

    G’day Steve,

    I don’t agree, and I have researched the issue. Until very recently, the Soccer Club and the Social Club were the one entity, and it was only last year that the two became separate legal entities. On the other hand, the links between the two Clubs are both historical — dating back over 50 years or so — and ongoing: the Knights remain the main tenant, and the Soccer and Social Club together represent a significant segment of the local Croatian-Australian community, with overlapping memberships. Further, when asked, representatives of the Social Club have denied all knowledge of the gig, instead claiming that the only event taking place that night / early Sunday morning was a screening of Croatia’s 1-0 defeat of Israel, an event which I assume would have attracted members of both Clubs to the ground. That said, if the Social Club issues a statement acknowledging its decision to hold the event, and exonerating the Knights from any involvement in that decision, that would be very useful, and I would be more than happy to remove any inference that the Knights were responsible. As for the Wikipedia page, there is a section devoted to ‘Politics’ in acknowledgment of the important political role the Club has played, especially as an expression of Croatian nationalist sentiment among the local Croatian community. One aspect of this has been support for the Ustaše / Ustashas / Ustashi, the Croatian fascist movement which played a vital role in WWII, the ‘Yugoslav Wars’ of the 1990s, and for which there is a history in Australia, both on and off the terraces. Given this, and given the occurrence of a neo-Nazi celebration at the Club grounds, I think it reasonable for this to be mentioned. In any case, that is something for the Wikipedia community to decide.

    Cheers,

    Andy.

  3. steve says:

    The two are separate entities, when they became separate is irrelevant. The board at the Melbourne Knights had nothing to do with the sanctioning of the event. That’s a fact. The Social Club and the Knights have been at loggerheads over a number of issues over the past year, there is a lot of tension there. So to say that Knights are somehow complicit is wrong. Also let it be known that Coburg United, a Turkish club, are also tenants there. Are we now going to blame them as well?

    On wikipedia, it is not reasonable for it to be mentioned as it had nothing to do with the Melbourne Knights. It’s quite simple. You can say whatever you want about the Social Club, the committee there are idiots and deserve to be held accountable. But leave the Melbourne Knights out of it.

  4. Just Curious says:

    Hey guys, where’s the link?

  5. @ndy, seriously bud, the fash had their gig, it’s over… Jeez, if we shoot everyone that’s ever come within a hundred yards of a nazi there wouldn’t be anyone left… I don’t think you’d even come out of that one without a scratch mate.

  6. Ummm, @ndy bruz… Relevance of video to current discussion?

    Or was it a global conspiracy by George W Bush, the Melbourne Knights and the Croat Social Club to host a B H gig on Saturday night?

  7. @ndy says:

    Brother’s gonna work it out.

  8. Sorry brudda, I ask uncle and he no tell me, you got a spare dolla for a brudda?

  9. Sophia says:

    “Locally, the club has shown sympathy for the far-right, and in October 2007 has even gone as far as hosting a white supremacist gig by the neo-nazi and racist group Blood And Honour.”

    My doing, and as far as I can see what I wrote was perfectly accurate- I had many of the concerns you have, Steve, but came to most of the same conclusions @ndy did after doing research into the two. It seems perfectly clear that the Knights were implicit in this- at the very best, it would be terribly strange for the Social Club to host the thing without the Knights knowing or being asked, in which case one would expect the Knights to be kicking up a fuss regarding the Social Club backing up the fash, which isn’t happening.

  10. Lumpen says:

    “Jeez, if we shoot everyone that’s ever come within a hundred yards of a nazi there wouldn’t be anyone left.”

    Are you serious? Is that what you take away after reading this blog? If so, wow, that’s totally fucking retarded. But for those who came in late: anti-fascists have the amazing ability to distinguish between being in proximity to a nazi and actively supporting them. It’s just how we roll.

    As for the Melbourne Knights vs Croat Social Club, it sounds plausible to me. I’d want to hear from them, or someone I trust that has first-hand info, before I had a go at the Knights. Though, given the apparent history of the club, you’d think they’d jump at the chance to use this as leverage if they truly wanted to assert themselves over what on the surface looks like a bunch of wingnut (or grossly incompetent) committee members or clear their reputation.

    Would it be correct to say that the Knights (among others) are seen as holding back the development of the game in Australia for playing to petty old-world nationalism rather than expanding the fan-base? I think I remember that being leveled at them a few years ago. (I watch SBS. Sue me.)

    But I know bugger-all about soccer, so I’ll defer this one to the experts.

  11. @ndy says:

    “Are you serious? Is that what you take away after reading this blog?”

    Hard to say the reasons [email protected] makes such idiotic statements. I occasionally mistake stupidity on the part of some commentators for obtuseness, and obtuseness for the fact that, on the whole, fascists tend to be as thick as pig shit. And who knows what’s really going on in their piggy little minds? (Apologies to pigs and pig lovers.)

    Soccer vs. Social Club is plausible, but in the absence of a more formal response from one or both, difficult to sustain at this point: I’ve no idea who Steve is — perhaps he’s an official? There are other facts about the case that inform this debate, but they’ve yet to be made public, so yeah, it’s difficult to say at this stage who knew what, and whether anyone involved with either Club will take responsibility for the fact that the neo-Nazis had a knees-up at their facilities.

    As it stands, they’ve gone into denial mode.

    The neo-Nazis are happy though:

    [SEIRYU] : was a fkn BLINDER / good to see such a strong turnout / 88

    Littlemissevil : Top weekend all round. The bands were bloody brilliant, great to see fortress live for the first time (for me). The quick and the dead went off… cheers to the guys who put it together, awesome fun was had by all! Can’t wait for next year…

    Steelpcap Boot : Thanks go to Blood and Honour, as well as the Southern Cross Hammerskins for bringing this year’s ISD gig about. Brilliant line up. Awesome show.

    And as usual, they’ve left a little mess behind…

    As for Knights and holding back the game… there’s been numerous attempts at a national level to break the linkage between specific clubs and their particular ethnic constituencies (Knights, Croatia; South Melbourne (Hellas), Greece). The formal split between Knights Soccer and Croatia Social Clubs could be read as evidence of such an attempt. But it’s a long and complex story, obviously, involving individuals and groups with multiple agendas, over a period of 50-odd years… kinda like the story of ‘multiculturalism’ itself, especially when placed against the background of post-WWII migration from parts of Europe. Suffice it to say that waving a Ustasha flag is one thing; holding a neo-Nazi gig, another, and while the occasional display of what are presumed to be archaic political allegiances by some segments of a fan base may be reasonably excused as not being in the full control of sporting or club officials, holding a gig on club grounds cannot.

  12. steve says:

    Firstly to @ndy, no I’m not an official at the Knights. I am just a supporter. There is no denial from Knights, as they had nothing to do with it so there is nothing to deny on their behalf.

    On holding the game back, that’s simply plain wrong and shows clear ignorance on the history of the sport in this country. The Melbourne Knights along with many other ethnic clubs built the sport in this country. The Croatian community alone has put millions of dollars into the sport for over 5 decades while mainstream Australia ignored the game.

    Finally to Sophia. The Melbourne Knights are tenants, they do not own the ground. Can you comprehend this? The Melbourne Croatia Social Club does not have run anything by the Knights. According to your silly logic, the Turkish club Coburg United, who are also tenants, are complicit as well. What kind of research have you done? You clearly have very little idea about how the Social Club works. If you proceed to write such things on the Knights wiki page again, I will not hesitate to delete it once more and report you to the admin for vandalism.

  13. Sophia says:

    Steve: I fully admit I could be in the wrong here and so won’t be reverting the wiki page. That said, in the absence of some kind of affirmation from the club about their disapproval of the facility being used to host fascists, and a statement from the Social Club saying they were responsible, it does make the Knights look pretty bad.

  14. Robert says:

    I am continually amazed at how much time is spent by people with not a lot to do (probably on the dole) tracking down a bunch of guys with no hair. The ‘local right’ normally keep their heads down and any links between them and recent violent activities is mere supposition and innuendo. The very fact that no one showed up to remonstrate with so-called nazis shows a lack of conviction and heart.

  15. @ndy says:

    G’day Robert,

    What I find continually amazing is how much time is spent by people who continually claim to have much better things to do making comments about how they’re “continually amazed at how much time is spent by people with not a lot to do (probably on the dole) tracking down a bunch of guys with no hair”. So too, their claims to be speaking from a position which is both apart from the ‘local right’, but one which is at the same time intimate enough to allow them to claim expert knowledge of their activities. For example: “the ‘local right’ normally keep their heads down and any links between them and recent violent activities is mere supposition and innuendo”. It’s arguable that the fact that “no one showed up to remonstrate with so-called nazis shows a lack of conviction and heart”; it may also demonstrate a lack of co-ordination, planning, and transportation.

    Or, alternatively, that there’s more than one way of plucking a chicken.

  16. Joe says:

    How about you losers get a job and leave everyone in peace.

  17. @ndy says:

    What’s a job?

  18. Rufus says:

    As I recall when I was young, I do remember a time at Olympic park when South Melbourne “Hellas” were playing Melbourne “Croatia”. There were a number of flags being waved in the “Croatian” crowd. These flags if I remember were red, had a white circle and, if my memory serves me right, a black symbol reminiscent of a symbol also used by some Indians.

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