antifa notes (november 10, 2017) : Patriot Blue & Phill Galea

1) Patriot Blue

For those of you coming in late, ‘Patriot Blue’ is the name under which local (Melbourne) racist Neil Erikson (& Co) currently performs political stunts — principally in order to film them and upload them to his various Facebook pages. The boys’ latest stunt took place on Wednesday, when they harassed and racially-abused federal Labor Senator Sam Dastyari at his book launch at Victoria University, inter alia calling him a ‘monkey’ and a ‘terrorist’.

As a moniker, ‘Patriot Blue’ was adopted by Erikson almost immediately upon the announcement several months ago that, 25 years since its release as a film, Romper Stomper would be returning to Australian television screens with ‘Patriot Blue’ being the name given to the fictional right-wing group in the series. Prior to the racial abuse of Dastyari on Wednesday evening — which stoopid was preceded by the boys harassing a small ‘Teachers for Refugees’ rally in the city — ‘Patriot Blue’ had been content to harass old people at council meetings: at Yarra Council in September and Moreland Council in October. Note that the disruption of the Yarra meeting in September came on the same day Erikson, along with Blair Cottrell and Chris Shortis, was convicted of inciting serious contempt for Muslims. Again, notwithstanding Erikson’s criminal conviction for harrasing a rabbi (2014), Patriot Blue also teamed up with aspiring politician and fellow Facebook personality and Pauline Hanson fanboy Avi Yemini in August in order to complain about criminal African yoof.

Unlike the United Patriots Front (UPF), of which Erikson was formerly a member — and notwithstanding his criminal conviction for inciting hatred in September — Erikson’s numerous Facebook pages have not been removed by the tech juggernaut, even though they’re jampacked with racist, sexist and homophobic abuse and stoopid. For the record, previous political vehicles, almost all centred on Facebook, have included: ‘Nationalist Uprising’; ‘Australian Settlers Rebellion’; ‘Aussie Patriot Army’; ‘Ban Islam Party’; ‘European Australian Civil Rights League’; ‘Generation Identity Australia’; ‘Nationalist Republican Guard’; ‘Neil Erikson Media’; ‘NRG Media’; ‘OzConspiracy’; ‘Pauline Hanson’s Guardian Angels’; ‘Reclaim Australia’; ‘United Patriots Front’ and ‘United Patriots Front — Originals’.

Of course, scaring OAPs at Council meetings is one thing — and a far cry from beating a Vietnamese student half-to-death, as Erikson’s chums the ‘Crazy White Boys’ done in 2012, or from fantasising about mass murder and collecting child pr0n and guns as his mate Michael Holt was sentenced for in September — but filming himself racially-abusing a Senator in public is probably not the smartest thing Erikson has ever done. Thus, while it did result in him being again invited on to 3AW and a number of other media platforms in order to express his views, it’s also meant that Stan and Roadshow have applied to take legal action against Erikson. Aja Styles (Stan takes legal action against Senator Sam Dastyari’s abusers, Patriot Blue, over trademark infringement, The Age, November 10, 2017): ‘Stan, which is partly owned by this masthead, and Roadshow Productions, has issued a statement condemning the men’s actions and instructed law firm Gilbert and Tobin to seek legal action against the men over the infringement of the Patriot Blue trademark, and use of the Stan name on Facebook.’

See also : Australian Rightists in Pub Slur Iranian-Born Senator As A Racist, Isabella Kwai, The New York Times, November 9, 2017 | Far-right abuse of Sam Dastyari ‘dangerous’, human rights chief says, Michael McGowan, The Guardian, November 9, 2017 | Patriot Blue and other far right groups are ambushing politicians in search of the spotlight, Danny Tran, ABC, November 9, 2017 /// Far Right Harassment of Senator Sam Dastyari, OHPI, November 8, 2017 | Sacked forklift driver at the centre of racist Dastyari video, Nick Grimm, The World Today (ABC), November 9, 2017 /// Dastyari’s harasser doesn’t work for Toll, SBS, November 9, 2017 | Note that Erikson was joined by Ricky/Rikki Turner and Lachlan/Logan Spalding on the day; Logan’s mother was not. happy. on learning that Erikson had dragged her son into the stoopid (while Logan himself has no. regrets).

2) Phill Galea

Erikson’s mate Phill Galea was in court again on Wednesday; only AAP bothered to attend the court hearing and filed this report:

A pre-trial court hearing has been derailed by concerns about a far-right anti-Islam extremist’s fitness to stand trial over allegations he planned to bomb left-wing groups in Melbourne.

Phillip Galea, 32, is charged with making preparations for terrorist attacks against properties occupied by Melbourne anarchist groups between November 2015 and August 2016.

Victorian Supreme Court justice Lex Lasry on Wednesday ordered a psychologist’s report on Galea’s fitness to be tried, before a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court can proceed.

It’s understood the report will take six weeks to complete.

The pre-trial hearing was originally set down for May, but was delayed until August after the defence asked for more time to go through the evidence.

In August Galea’s two-day committal hearing was again delayed while Victoria Legal Aid secured legal counsel to act for him.

The 32-year-old is charged with collecting or making documents to prepare for terrorist acts between November 2015 and August 2016.

The anti-Islamist is also charged with acts in preparation for a terrorist act between September 2015 and August last year.

Police have accused Galea of preparing to target various locations inhabited by the Melbourne Anarchist Club and Melbourne Resistance Centre.

He allegedly ordered potassium nitrate for smoke bombs, aligned himself with right-wing and neo-Nazi groups, and researched how to make improvised explosive devices.

Arson and explosive experts raided Galea’s home in November 2015 and seized five cattle prods and 362.1 grams of mercury.

Computer equipment was also seized, and it’s alleged Galea researched homemade bombs, ballistic armour and guns.

The defence and prosecution will return to the Victorian Supreme Court on November 29 for a further directions hearing about Galea’s fitness to be tried.

Galea will remain in custody.

While Erikson will remain a wanker.

In the video below (January 14, 2016), Erikson briefly interviews Galea after he got arrest for being naughty. Note that fellow UPF fanboy ‘Farma john’ Wilkinson was alleged at the time to have ‘bought up to 22 stun guns [for use on political opponents on public demonstrations], and that police were still searching for seven of these’ (Police on the hunt for missing stun guns amid fears of use by extremists, Angus Thompson, Herald Sun, January 13, 2016); ‘Farma john’ was still promoting the UPF as recently as February.

3) Neo-Nazis & The Media

Richard J. Evans, Telling Lies About Hitler: The Holocaust, History and the David Irving Trial (Verso, 2002, pp.242–245):

What was wrong about the media’s reaction to the verdict was not that they interviewed Irving, but that they failed to prepare properly for doing so. This contrasted strongly with the hard work and dedication of the lawyers involved in the case. Small wonder, then, that Irving thought he could make capital out of his media appearances after the verdict. For Irving himself, the ‘feeding frenzy’ of the media after the verdict prompted a reaction like that of an attention-seeking child:

I do ITN, Australian ABC live, Today, Radio 4, Radio 5 . . . BBC World TV . . . Breakfast TV . . . Newsnight . . . The phone rings all morning every thirty seconds . . . BBC Radio 3 . . . Italian radio . . . Los Angeles Radio . . . Radio Teheran phones for an interview. Radio Qatar want to interview me . . . How very satisfying it has all been.

Thus a week after the verdict, Irving was claiming ‘I have managed to win’, because ‘two days after the judgment, name recognition becomes enormous, and gradually the plus or minus in front of the name fades’. The cartoons which had him denying the trial had ever taken place, or the verdict ever delivered, were not far from the truth.

The historian Andrew Roberts agreed with Irving’s assessment of the defense’s triumph as a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ because the trial had brought his views to the attention of a worldwide audience. ‘The free publicity that this trial has generated for him and his views has been worth far more than could ever have been bought for the amount of the costs,’ he wrote after the trial. It was Irving, not Lipstadt, who was being interviewed on virtually every television channel. The law had let him propagate ‘his repulsive political message’. It had been a public relations triumph, and all at the expense of Penguin. Nevertheless, Irving’s boast that even if he had lost the courtroom battle, he had won the media war was a vain boast. Reports about him in the press were overwhelmingly critical. Stories on the verdict outnumbered those printed during the trial by a factor of three to one. At sea for much of the courtroom battle, journalists now had some solid ground on which to base their assessments. Analysis of fifty-five newspaper articles published from 12 to 17 April 2000 revealed that while fewer than fifteen had described Irving as a ‘gifted researcher’, forty had emphasized his activities as a Holocaust denier, thirty-seven had stressed the fact that he was a racist, and thirty-five had declared that he had falsified history. ‘As post-verdict television interviews showed,’ thought one commentator, ‘he has no idea how loathsome and isolated he is.’ Irving’s frantic attempts on the afternoon after the verdict to find a legal pretext for preventing television stations from showing video footage of some of the more repulsive moments from his speeches failed completely, and millions of viewers were treated to the spectacle of Irving describing Holocaust survivors as ‘ASSHOLES’. This cannot have done him much good. Lord Weidenfeld, publisher and pundit on matters Central European, noted too how only a few hours after the verdict, television viewers could see

how this man, crafty, evasive, sometimes crude and even primitive, then once more skilled and almost artful, struggled again and again to piece together the fragments of his reputation. Master of innuendo and of ambiguous formulations that he is, he repeatedly tried to assemble truth, half-truths and fiction into conclusive arguments.

Weidenfeld gave the impression that few took him seriously any more.

On 29 April 2000, two and a half weeks after the verdict, Channel 4 television broadcast a lengthy documentary, lasting the best part of two hours, at prime time, successfully juxtaposing well-chosen dramatized extracts from the trial transcripts with historical analyses and archive footage of the events to which they referred. Well before that, however, Irving had more or less disappeared from the airwaves once more, as the media circus moved rapidly on to other things. Meanwhile, Penguin reprinted Lipstadt’s Denying the Holocaust in a paperback edition and rushed out the judgment in an inexpensive book format. Piles of both volumes could soon be seen in all good bookshops, and more were to follow in the shape of revised versions of the experts’ reports and two comprehensive accounts of the trial by journalists who had been present in court throughout. Irving might have cruised the airwaves with virtual impunity in the first flush of defeat, but over the long haul, his prospects of continuing but neutralized media fame did not look good.

Irving’s reputation was damaged even in his own chosen milieu of right-wing extremists and Holocaust deniers. He had clearly let them down badly, and in more ways than one. To begin with, he had lost. This did not go down well on the far right. The views of other Holocaust deniers on the verdict ranged from incomprehension to defiance. Many were incoherent and abusive. Some of those which Irving put up on his own website were rabidly antisemitic, some more measured in tone. One report claiming to be from an eyewitness of the court proceedings was mostly pure invention (it put Richard Rampton’s age at seventy, had him surrounded by twenty assistants telling him ‘Stop Irving. Stop Irving now’, and so on). More significant however was the fact that Irving lost a good deal of credit among hard-line Holocaust deniers by the concessions he was forced to make in court. British National Party leader Nick Griffin criticized Irving as ‘too soft’ on the Holocaust issue. Ernst Zündel reported numerous telephone calls from supporters ‘anxious and upset, even angry’, about ‘some far-reaching and off-the-wall concession David Irving is said to have made’. Somewhat patronizingly, Zündel recalled his own experience of court proceedings and lamented the fact that: ‘It is a pity for the cause of Truth in History and for Historical Revisionism that David Irving does not have that experience of how to fight a political trial to draw upon or to fall back on.’ Zündel claimed that there was resentment among Holocaust deniers that Irving had not called them as expert witnesses, and incomprehension that he did not want to be known as one of them. One of them, the gas chamber denier ‘Germar Rudolf’, thought that ‘Justice Gray made it pretty clear that refusing to present me as a witness forced him to reject Irving’s law suit’. Irving, concluded Zündel, was being dragged into the world of the Holocaust. Robert Faurisson indeed thought he had always been there, despite having been ‘subject, intermittently, to promising bursts of revisionism’. Since Irving had not properly studied the Holocaust, Faurisson thought he was on weak ground in court. It was easy to trip him up. In any case, concluded the Frenchman, ‘he cannot be considered a spokesman for historical revisionism’.

Irving was going to have a lot of bridge-building to do if he was to have any friends left at all after the trial ended. At the end of May he flew to California to address an audience of 140 people at a meeting organized by the Institute for Historical Review. The location was kept secret. Characteristically he gave yet another figure, plucked as usual out of thin air, for the money he thought the defense had spent on the action – this time it was 6 million dollars, or about 4 million pounds. One local Jewish organization described him as a ‘freak in a sideshow’. Others objected. Meanwhile Irving’s announcement that he was organizing a so-called historical congress in Cincinnati suggested that the search for funds was going to take priority over mending fences with the Institute for Historical Review.

antifa notes (april 5, 2017) : trolls & goons & masks & moar

The last few months has witnessed the emergence of a number of fake antifa accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Most are fairly obviously fake, some less so. In any event, blogger b9AcE has compiled a list of fake antifa accounts, around 40 or so, and notes that:

After those and other fake antifa-accounts were made well known, they and other newly created ones now use extremely obvious sarcasm, whereas many previously even copied the entire content of genuine antifa-accounts to seem legitimate.
In the cases of accounts that clearly pretended to be legitimate, they seem to now in many cases have deleted the content that was obviously meant to mislead.
Considering this change, the purpose of the original post has been fulfilled… by them.
On those grounds, it does not seem beneficial to post further updates to the previous list here.
If the behavior changes again, that stance might change and this revision’s notification be replaced by other content.

Note also that a silly ‘Antifa Australia’ Facebook page has popped up here, ‘Boston Antifa’ have been revealed as two right-wing nerds called Alexis Esteb and Brandon Krebs, while snopes ponders a fake antifa flyer here. My personal favourite fake is the Antifa Squad YouTube channel and this comment (posted on or about November, 2013):

Elsewhere, Lucy Battersby (Government suspends its YouTube advertising, amid concerns about where revenue goes, The Age, April 1, 2017) writes of some problems Google has in adhering to the corporate commandment ‘Don’t Be Evil’:

The global Google boycott keeps on rolling, with the Australian government the latest big spender to suspend advertising on Google’s YouTube platform.

The move comes at the end of a week when several advertisers have pulled out of the platform causing massive brand damage to Google …

Some YouTubers like Millennial Woes – a Scotland-based video blogger who posts bigoted monologues – claim to be able to make a living from their posts, according to one expert on far right groups.

And in Australia groups like the far-right United Patriots Front use social media to reach out to supporters.

“Blair Cottrell and the United Patriots Front use Facebook as their main platform, not YouTube. And while they have a real large audience and some of their Facebook videos reach millions, these are not monetised by them but rather by Facebook,” another expert said.

The UPF has tried to use crowd funding to raise money, but these are usually shut down by appeals to the platform for breaches of terms of service, he added.

Otherwise:

• Shermon Burgess and Neil Erikson have re-badged their Facebook page. Previously known as ARSE (Australian Settlers Rebellion), it’s now known as ‘Nationalist Uprising’. By my count, the boys have now burned through: 1) Aussie Patriot Army; 2) Australian Defence League; 3) Australian Settlers Rebellion; 4) Ban Islam Party; 5) European Australian Civil Rights League; 6) Generation Identity Australia; 7) Nationalist Alternative; 8) Nationalist Republican Guard; 9) Neil Erikson Media; 10) NRG Media; 11) OzConspiracy; 12) Pauline Hanson’s Guardian Angels; 13) Reclaim Australia; 14) United Patriots Front; 15) United Patriots Front — Originals and who knows, maybe more. In other words, the pair have had more Facebook pages than they have friends.

• Speaking of Neil Erikson’s (former) friends: ‘Michael James Holt, 26, has pleaded guilty to a string of firearm manufacture and possession charges, including manufacturing a gun without a licence, after police found a large stash of guns and weapons across three properties in 2015 … [Holt] remains in custody and is due to be sentenced on April 12.’ Previously, Erikson had enthusiastically agreed with Holt about the desirability of arranging for the mass execution of ‘mudbloods’ at Federation Square — while selling fairy floss, popcorn and showbags.

Top Blokes.

• Another Top Bloke to have attached himself to the neo-Nazis in the UPF is Canberra’s most impressive cement renderer, Nathan Davidson. Davidson, who while the subject of a suspended sentence for a conviction of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in 2013 and on bail for traffic matters, got busted in early 2016 with drugs and guns and stuff. Word on the street is that the naughty naziboy got a slap on the wrist and is currently serving a community order.

• Not serving a community order — but very much wanting to serve the white community of Manly — is Australia First Party (AFP) member Victor Waterson, who’ll be losing the Manly by-election on April 8. Waterson had fifteen seconds of fame back in October 2014 when he played dress-ups with Nick Folkes (Party For Freedom) and Sergio Redegalli. Previously, Waterson was the losing One Nation candidate for Bennelong at the 2010 Federal election (0.8%), the losing ‘independent’ candidate for Epping at the 2011 state election (2.6%), and the losing AFP candidate for Bennelong in 2013 (0.6%). He was also the losing AFP candidate for McMahon at the 2016 Federal election (2.1%) and for Penrith at the 2015 NSW election (0.7%).

• The Victorian state government has introduced legislation — the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Public Order) Bill 2017 — intended to provide Victorian police with greater powers to control and repress public protest. These powers include, inter alia, greater scope to influence local council’s capacity to grant permits for public protests and to prevent persons from shielding themselves from the effects of chemical weapons (capsicum spray) or to conceal their face at public events. The Bill also re-defines and increases criminal penalties for ‘riotous’ behavior. See : Anti-mask laws proposed in Victoria, Melbourne Activist Legal Support, March 14, 2017.

• Josh Dukes, the antifa who got shot by a Milo Y fan in Seattle in January, has been interviewed by Teh Grauniad: ‘I refuse to be like them’: why the man shot while protesting Milo Yiannopoulos doesn’t want revenge (Julia Carrie Wong, April 4, 2017).

• Finally, ABC’s 4 Corners has profiled Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. In a mildly amusing episode (Please Explain), PHONy is revealed as a political plaything for Our Pauline, her gormless followers rich pickings for the chancers that assemble under her banner, and otherwise rather similar to PHONy of the 1990s, with Muslims now replacing Asians as the boogeyman of choice — and the Tories much happier to play along. (Of passing interest is the financial support given the party by multi-millionaire property developer Bill McNee, who has also donated fat sums to the Tories.) See also : antifa notes (march 14, 2017) : One Nation Party too sophisticated for WA; UPF Go To Court; boneheads; ‘Alt-wrong: The Australian right is startling for its incoherence’, Richard Cooke, The Monthly, April 2017:

There is a pat explanation available, where Pauline Hanson is simply the antipodean franchise of a global movement of right-wing populism. Like Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom, or Marine Le Pen in France, or Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, she has been a chronic presence. Like them she has undergone decades of gestation, from a larval stage on the fringes of discourse to a resplendent full expression in the mainstream of politics. But, so far, this rise of the right has proved abortive for Hanson. Unlike them, she is unlikely to contest anything as monumental as Brexit, or challenge for the leadership of her country. Unlike them, she is also one of the least coherent politicians of her era.

antifa notes (august 18, 2016)

G’day my fellow Aussie patriots,

It’s next-to-impossible to keep up with the various shenanigans engaged in by ‘nationalists’ and ‘patriots’ Down Under — I’m considering updating A (very) brief guide to the contemporary Australian far right sometime soon, maybe — but a few things are worth taking note of.

1) The True Blue Crew (TBC) is holding another anti-Muslim rally in Melton on Sunday, August 28. (Their last rally took place in Melbourne on June 26.) They’ll be joined by the United Patriots Front (UPF) and presumably assorted other rightists (including Ralph Cerminara, a man Blair Cottrell, fuehrer of the UPF, has memorably described as a ‘cancer’). Amusingly, the TBC have co-opted Eric Bogle‘s ‘And the Band Played Walzing Matilda’ in order to promote their hate rally.

2) Not joining the TBC on August 28 will be Phill Galea. Galea’s arrest and prosecution for ‘terrorism’ has generated a lot of commentary, obviously, with much of it centred upon establishing who Galea is and what role he played in the far right movement. As noted previously, Galea did attend an abortive anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rally back in April 2010, but has otherwise been an enthusiastic participant in a range of different groups (Australian Defence League/ADL, Reclaim Australia, Patriots Defence League of Australia/PDLA, TBC, UPF et. al.) and patriotik events. The reaction of his (former) friends to news of Galea’s arrest is captured by Peter Grace in one of his numerous videos documenting their antics:

Evan Smith provides some historical context in ‘Between the bomb and the ballot box’: the history of the far-right in Australia (The Guardian, August 16, 2016), while Martin McKenzie-Murray writes on How Reclaim Australia hid a ‘terrorist’ in The Saturday Paper (August 13, 2016).

See also : ASIO monitoring of right-wing extremists uncovered alleged plan to attack radical left, Nick McKenzie, Michael Bachelard, The Age, August 13, 2016. Note that the article contains a correction, viz, ‘An earlier version of this story quoted a person purporting to be Ralph Cerminara. Fairfax now accepts this was not Mr Cerminara, and that Mr Cerminara does not subscribe to the beliefs expressed. Fairfax apologises for the error.’ Speaking of Cerminara …

3) Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’) recently announced the launch of yet another Facebook project: Australian Settlers Rebellion (ARSE). At this stage it consists of Burgess, Neil Erikson, UPF leader (?) Scott Moerland and (possibly) Cerminara. ARSE takes the place of a series of Facebook projects established by Burgess and Erikson since they left the UPF and denounced the group as ‘Nazis’. Other stillborn projects include Generation Identity Australia (now known as Australians Resistance Network), Aussie Patriot Army (deceased) and United Patriots Front – Originals (defunct).

The departure of Burgess and Erikson from the UPF, and their declaration that the ‘patriots’ they’d been working closely with for more than six months were — shock! horror! — actually neo-Nazis, has naturally produced some bad blood. (This is in addition to the fact that Erikson now has very few allies among the far right in Melbourne.) A few days ago, this blood appears to have boiled up in the person of UPF lackey Linden Watson. Peter Grace again:

4) The UPF appears to have lost the support of Chris ‘The United Nations is attempting install the Pope as leader of a new world government’ Shortis, who has now openly embraced ‘national socialism’ and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and gravitated towards the Australia First Party. ‘Last Thursday’, Blair Cottrell’s sidekick Thomas Sewell expressed his support for fascism in a post which was soon deleted from the UPF page.

TomUPFonFascism

Otherwise, The Boys continue to hint at the fact that The Jew is responsible for All The (Bad) Things; a perspective expressed frankly in their internal discussions alongside, crucially, a recognition of the fact that being honest about their beliefs risks losing the support of that fraction of ‘patriots’ not down with neo-Nazism. It may also be read as evidence of the ideological incoherence of the milieu, and the fact that broadly speaking, it comprises anti-Semites, white nationalists, national socialists and fascists as well as Islamophobes: whether one aspect or the other is emphasised is largely a tactical question. The case of UPF leader Kriso Richardson (United Australian Front: UAF) underlines this fact.

5) The UAF was established in late 2014, ie, prior to the emergence of both Reclaim Australia and the UPF. While men wearing UAF merch made their debut at the anti-leftist rally in Richmond in May, 2015, it is now known as Order 15/UAF, and is open about its commitment to white nationalist and fascist doctrines.

6) The UPF and the TBC held a small counter-rally in Perth on August 13, and again on July 30, The Boys on both these occasions expressing support for The Mother Potato, Pauline Hanson. In Melbourne on July 16, the UPF attempted to mount a very small counter-protest. Wearing masks and holding a ‘Blue Lives Matter’, the boys (around 10–15 in total) were told to shoo by police — and did. Just a handful of neo-Nazis stuck around to heckle the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest later in the day, which attracted thousands.

7) Nick Folkes‬ and his micro-Party for Freedom staged a successful media stunt on the weekend, disrupting a church service in ‪Gosford‬. The event succeeded in Folkes being invited to address radio and television audiences — even if it also earned him a rebuke from Andrew Bolt and The Mother Potato herself expressed qualms. In any case, this is not the first time racist meatheads have targeted churches for their commitment to human rights, the PFF’s antics recalling an earlier period in which right-wing radicals harassed ‘progressive’ church-goers. Dorothy McRae-McMahon:

In the autumn of 1986, six men marched into the Uniting Church in Pitt Street during my morning service. They marched in fast, carrying the Eureka flag. They came down the centre aisle, put a pamphlet on the lectern and handed out various leaflets before marching out again.

That was the beginning. From that day on National Action launched a sustained campaign of harassment against me because of my involvement in the anti-apartheid movement and other anti-racism activities. It went on for two years.

Initially, most of the harassment was aimed at frightening me and trying to bring down my career. They sent out pamphlets not just to my parish but around many of the parishes of the Uniting Church, claiming some pretty amazing things about my sex life. It would have been exciting indeed if I’d been doing the things they said I was doing! One particularly unpleasant pamphlet they put together was called ‘Sodomy and Gonorrhoea in the Uniting Church’. It was a classic Nazi document, mainly homophobic and racist, and it was clearly an attempt to end my ministry.

The church authorities firmly supported me and there came a time when it would have been very difficult if they hadn’t done so. The parishioners at the Pitt Street church were also supportive to a person. Members of National Action had clearly been going through the church’s rubbish bins for some time and they’d got hold of discarded documents including part of our mailing list. They started phoning up some of our people and saying: ‘We know where you live and we know the names of your children and if you don’t leave the Pitt Street church we’ll come and do something to your children’. We lost nobody. In fact we gained people in that period.

By 1986, the Uniting Church in Pitt Street had clearly identified itself with the anti-apartheid cause. Archbishop Desmond Tutu had spoken there on two momentous occasions. It’s a church that seats 2000 people and we’d never seen it full like it was on both those days. It was a great thing for us to facilitate the gathering of so many anti-apartheid activists. We also had an anti-racist graffiti team which went around the city painting over slogans that said things like ‘Kill an Asian a day’. I was the only church employee in the regular team that went out, the rest were all parishioners from the Pitt Street church. On one occasion we approached the railway authorities asking them to wipe out slogans in the Stanmore railway tunnel. Six weeks went by without a response, so we went and did it ourselves. We got caught and were arrested for being on railway property.

I suspect the publicity we got after the graffiti incident was a triggering point for National Action’s campaign. Apart from the pamphlets there was nuisance-type harassment. Week after week they poured sump oil and printing toner across the front steps of the church. We sometimes had to pay for it to be cleaned up because it would soak into the sandstone. Their campaign gradually escalated until it became quite frightening. I was living alone at the time and they’d phone me in the middle of the night and make death threats and say various other horrible things. Bags of faeces and vomit were thrown all over the front steps of my house and stuffed in the letter box or in the windows. One time they graffitied my front fence. If I left the phone off the hook or later when I got a silent number they would come around and knock on my door in the middle of the night.

I was frightened during these incidents but I also felt supported by many people around me, not only in the church but outside as well. I have to say my spirituality sustained me too. They never gained power over me, nor any of us in the parish. After they’d been around I could always ring up somebody from the parish. No matter what time of the night it was, even at three o’clock in the morning, somebody would always hop in their car and come around to clean up the mess, sit down, have a cup of coffee and debrief me.

We eventually decided to go public about National Action’s campaign. We’d been reluctant to do so because we didn’t want to give them any publicity. But then it went on and on and they’d been harassing the parish for some eight months, we thought: ‘Well the Australian community has a right to know what’s going on in its midst.’ We were also getting very angry by then.

We took the initiative and wrote an open letter to the Sydney Morning Herald. The media took an immediate interest. We discovered lots of other people were being attacked by racist groups. Often they were individuals who had no support group or members of the Jewish community. Or people who worked for the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission, even some journalists. We then formed a loose-knit anti-racism coalition and started lobbying for government and police action.

We took a deputation to the NSW Police Minister. He was outrageous. He was absolutely outrageous. He told us that things like a few bricks through windows were par for the course in a diverse sort of community where people have different opinions. We came out of the meeting stunned by his attitude. We didn’t know what to do next because we really needed his support. What was even more surprising was that his press secretary and advisers later put out a press release which said the Minister was really troubled by the racist attacks and they had to stop. That was very different from what he said to us. In the end the Sydney Morning Herald ran a column which gave our account of that meeting with him.

In all this, more and more anti-racism groups came together in support of each other. We had very moving experiences. One time people gathered on the front steps of the Pitt Street church with placards saying ‘If the police won’t defend this church – we will’. They were people who wouldn’t normally come near a church …

8) Finally, ‘Jews against fascism’ have a Facebook page and Jason Wilson writes Turnbull wants to diagnose rightwing populism? He should look to his own party (The Guardian, August 18, 2016).