Who are Antipodean Resistance?

The name ‘Antipodean Resistance’ (AR) has been in the news again recently, both on account of its conducting so-called ‘training camps’ in Victoria and Queensland but also as a result of it spreading homophobic propaganda at the University of Tasmania. Most of the reportage on the group has slotted into the “SHOCK! HORROR!” category, and revealed bugger-all about its origins, membership, or relation to the broader milieu from which it emerged.

This is par for the course when it comes to media reportage on the antics of the far-right in Australia, and is to be expected. To cite one example, ‘What is Australia’s white supremacist group, Antipodean Resistance?’ (Olivia Lambert, news.com.au, September 7, 2017): ‘AUSTRALIA’S secret collective of neo-Nazis is spreading shocking messages of hate, yet chillingly claims its members are growing in number.’ Further:

The Daily Telegraph reports the neo-Nazis are now being monitored by the ASIO out of fear the extremist group could turn violent.

“Members of these groups are diverse and have different agendas, including extreme right-wing and extreme left-wing ideologies,” ASIO said to a parliamentary review into the expenditure of security agencies.

In other words: ASIO is undertaking the work it always has.

A few more preliminary remarks are in order:

First, AR is not unique, and neo-Nazism isn’t ‘new’ (in this sense): there have been neo-Nazis running about the place since Hitler killed Hitler, and there likely always will be. One of its contemporary expressions may be found in the AltRight; The Beast Reawakens by Martin A. Lee (Little, Brown and Co., 1997) explores the re-emergence of Nazism in Germany in the aftermath of WWII and its renaissance in various territories in Europe, the United States and elsewhere: you can read the introduction to Lee’s 1997 work here; of related interest is David Bird’s Nazi Dreamtime, ‘the ground-breaking story of extreme-right, ultra-nationalist thought and practice in Australia in the period immediately before and during the Second World War. It focuses on those native-born Australians who were attracted to the ideology of Nazism in Germany from 1933.’

Secondly, much of the reportage on the group fails to recognise that its shitty propaganda campaigns are aimed at generating precisely the SHOCK! HORROR! headlines it craves. While the report is in some ways quite valuable, the headline ‘Antipodean Resistance Neo-Nazi group trying to sway Australia’s same-sex marriage postal vote’ (Danny Tran, ABC, September 5, 2017) is misleading: the Hitler fanboys of AR aren’t trying to ‘sway’ opinion; they’re trying to reach as wide an audience as possible with a view to potentially recruiting that segment of the population for whom their rank prejudice appeals. (See also : Follow the lede: Danny Tran on the neo-Nazi propaganda in the same-sex marriage debate, ABC Overnights, September 18, 2017.)

Thirdly, all the reportage on AR thus far has failed to recognise its links to and origins within the so-called patriotic movement. Reclaim Australia — along with the United Patriots Front (UPF), True Blue Crew (TBC), and various other extreme-right satellites — has provided precisely the warm and nurturing environment in which an explicitly neo-Nazi grouplet like Antipodean Resistance has been able to gestate. Further, no reportage has noted that the group has publicly stated that it models itself upon relevant groups overseas: National Action (NA) in the UK and the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) in Scandinavia in particular.

In this context, it’s worth noting that in December 2016 NA was proscribed in the UK as a ‘terrorist’ organisation, while most recently 11 suspected members of the neo-Nazi group have been arrested on suspicion of terror offences across England and Wales (National Action: 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, September 27, 2017). As for the NRM, in July three of its members were sentenced to jail for ‘carrying out bomb attacks on a left-wing bookstore and an asylum center and an attempted bombing of a second asylum center’; last year, another NRM member, ‘Jesse Torniainen, was sentenced to two years in jail for an aggravated assault that allegedly led to a man’s death at a Nordic Resistance Movement demonstration in Helsinki’, while Finnish police have applied to have the organisation proscribed in that country.

In Australia, the NRM’s kissing cousins, the ‘Soldiers of Odin’, are compared to the Guardian Angels by The Age.

Antipodean Resistance

The group has its origins on tumblr and on neo-Nazi website ‘Iron March’ (IM), with two young fellows from Melbourne, one using the handle ‘kehlsteinhaus’ (‘Eagle’s Nest’: a Nazi-era building erected atop the summit of the Kehlstein, a rocky outcrop that rises above the Obersalzberg near the town of Berchtesgaden), and the other ‘Xav’, forming its core.

kehlsteinhaus

On March 2, 2016, ‘kehlsteinhaus’ wrote by way of introduction to IM that he was 22yo, unemployed, and interested in creating an Australian version of NA. Originally from Perth, he now resides in Melbourne. ‘kehlsteinhaus’ also claims to have been a ‘communist’, a ‘democratic socialist’, to have attended meetings and rallies organised by Socialist Alternative, but most recently to have been involved with the UPF. And, like Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson, he also claims to be a member or former member of the Melbourne-based neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Nationalist Alternative’ (NAlt). According to ‘kehlsteinhaus’, ‘Blair and Thomas [Sewell] are full 14/88. I’ve met and talked to them in person many times. They’ve recently converted [Chris] Shortis, who now thinks Hitler was right about pretty much everything. [Scott] Moreland [sic] is shit. [Dennis] Huts is a mixed bag.’

‘kehlsteinhaus’ also maintained several tumblrs, among them: antipodeansolutions, nedkellyofficial, the-kangaroos-nest and thesagesworld (now closed, but traces of which remain) and often skipped from one to the other. The launch of AR in late 2016 meant that he transferred his online activities from tumblr to IM and the grouplet’s own site (launched in November 2016) and Twitter account (created in February 2017). His parting message:

LOL.

In September 2016, ‘kehlsteinhaus’ also stated that he does volunteer work at a church and dreamed of being a politician, academic or teacher — or possibly a member of a right-wing death squad. Further, the aspiring acdemic and/or RWDS member claimed to have an uncle and a sister who are married to ‘Indians’ (with whom they — gasp! — have children), not to drive a car but to use public transport, being 5’10” or 5’11” and going to Wollongong in October 2016 in order to attend his cousin’s wedding.


The boys made their first step into LARPing as an organised grouplet in July 2016 at a tiny ‘Blue Lives Matter’ counter-rally in Melbourne, where they joined Blair Cottrell (cleverly disguised as ‘Bruce’) in order to hold a brief rally before being told to shoo by police. According to kehlsteinhaus:

I’m not fully certain on everyone, but some are ‘from’ the UPF, Ironmarch, [The Right Stuff], a uni group I know little about, and skinhead groups. There’s actually quite a lot of us, and I thoroughly recommend starting things in your city. We can’t do this all by ourselves. Two of the people there flew over from Adelaide for goodness’s sake. … I was carrying the GO HOME SOROS DRONES sign.



Prior to this, he and his crew (above) also attended the TBC anti-leftist counter-rally in Coburg, for which he provided a terribly exciting account on his tumblr of how the TBC & Co beat to a pulp their anti-fascist opponents. On that occasion, most of the boys appear to have been wearing merch with the Wolfsangel (AKA the Dopplehaken or Wolf’s-Hook emblem). Old School bonehead and ‘Combat 18’ member Dan Newman (AKA Danny Krieger) was also in amongst the boys on that day, and has worn the fashionable ensemble on other occasions.

On his own or in the company of others, ‘kehlsteinhaus’ also attended: the UPF rally in Melbourne in November 2015 (‘I arrived early because I wanted to finally meet Blair, after following his progress since he began … I met Thomas Sewell, who I am a bit of a fan of … I doubt I made the best first impression on Thomas, who probably saw me as just another supporter (which I am determined not to be)’; the failed launch of ‘Fortitude’ in Bendigo in February 2016 and; the TBC flag rally in Melbourne in June 2016 (at which Blair ‘made his most moderate speech I’ve heard that was thematically all over the place, as well as containing yet more attempts at trying to look non racist in front of the media (for those not aware, Blair Cottrell is the leader of the group, and a National Socialist, which makes the whole thing quite frustrating)’. On most of these occasions ‘kehlsteinhaus’ was masked, but he did post one photo to tumblr in which he is not:

Perhaps someone out there recognises him? (Keeping in mind he may be 1/364th Aboriginal.)

Xav

The other key figure in AR is another young fellow who posts on IM as ‘Xav’. ‘Xav’ joined the IM forum in May 2015, describing himself as a 22yo national socialist of English and German descent, a Uni dropout who lives in Melbourne, and as someone who was, like many of the other AR boys, ‘radicalised’ online. His favourite authors are dead nazis William Pierce (author of The Turner Diaries) and George Lincoln Rockwell.

borderprotectionist

Another tumblr radical (his blog now also deleted), borderprotectionist is an older Melbourne resident who more closely approximates the Old School nazi stereotype: crudely racist and with shit tatts. He also has children, it appears, and likes to play and to pose with guns.


Arschschmerzwagen/terminalautist88/Vandal Nationalist

Another IM user, Vandal Nationalist joined in April 2016 and described himself at the time as a 17yo and of British and German descent. A self-described edgy, atheist and leftist gamer at 14:

I started playing a lot of Company of Heroes and that got me interested in World War 2. I always liked the Germans better since I have German heritage and was/still am learning German. I wanted to learn more so I started watching the good goy World War 2 documentaries on Youtube until I stumbled upon Adolf Hitler: the greatest story never told. I’ve been a bad goy ever since. I normally frequent 8ch.net/pol and therightstuff.biz forums but I decided to join the Iron March forum after listening to all of Fascism 101 videos on YouTube. They’re excellent but I wish there were more on there. I’m interested in joining any Fascist/National Socialist group in Melbourne.

Very oddly, ‘Vandal Nationalist’ posted several photos purporting to be of himself (which I won’t republish here) on IM.

J**** H******

Finally, earlier this year a geek was spotted chucking up AR stickers in Carlton and Fitzroy. This fine young fellow would appear to be J***** H****** — a very naughty boy, and someone whose parents do not share his love of Mister Hitler.

NB. I’ll probably be adding more detail to this post in time, but for various reasons — not least because a number of the geeks in question are young and their parents are not. happy. with their career choices — what this consists of is not entirely up to me.

See also : White supremacists claim postal survey sparked interest, Stephen Smiley, The World Today (ABC), September 5, 2017 | Australian neo-Nazi group peppers schools with racist fliers, Amanda Erickson, The Washington Post, August 16, 2017 | White supremacist posters targeting students placed at Melbourne high schools, Melissa Davey, The Guardian, August 16, 2017 | Anti-Chinese Posters at Melbourne Universities Are Tied To White Supremacists, Isabella Kwai and Xiuzhong Xu, The New York Times, July 25, 2017 | Offensive flyers targeting Chinese students found at Melbourne universities, Kathy Lord, ABC, July 25, 2017 | Nazi posters in Melbourne, Australian Jewish News, February 17, 2017 | Neo-Nazi posters at Melbourne Uni, Peter Kohn, Australian Jewish News, December 8, 2016.

Phillip Galea : Y U No Like The Left?

galeayuno

Briefly, Phillip Galea appeared in court again today where, inter alia, police reaffirmed that he allegedly planned on doing harm to leftists. See :

Victorian extremist Phillip Galea planned to bomb leftwing premises, police say (AAP/The Guardian)
‘Patriot’ accused of bomb plans, rewriting terror guide, assures judge of sanity (Adam Cooper, The Age)

The Age article contains a Channel 7 News report which states that Galea attended the May 31, 2015 United Patriots Front (UPF) anti-leftist rally in Richmond armed with a 25cm kitchen knife; ‘according to Federal police that was just the beginning of his violent plan’. (Incidentally, the protest was a bizarre attempt to remove Yarra councillor and socialist Stephen Jolly from office. Happily enough, Jolly was re-elected to his position on the weekend.)

Galea is scheduled to be back in court on December 19.

A few points:

In addition to being linked to Reclaim Australia (Galea attended their protests and claimed to have been an admin on one of their Facebook pages; he also appears to have helped establish the RA Media website and ‘RA media newsgroupe’ Facebook page), the True Blue Crew (TBC) and UPF (Galea attended various of their functions, both public rallies and more private meetings), it’s alleged that he had an association with neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Combat 18’, which has maintained a shadowy presence in STRAYA for some years. A few years ago (2010), several C18 members were convicted of having shot at a mosque in Perth, while in Melbourne it’s more closely associated with Creatard bonehead Patrick O’Sullivan, though others have also claimed an association and have attended various public protests organised by the TBC and UPF, including in Coburg in May and the ‘Blue Lives Matter’ demonstration in the CBD in July. Note that Galea also attended a farcical anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rally in Melbourne organised by the ‘Australian Defence League’ back in April 2010.

galeashortisoct10
Above : Galea with comrades at the United Patriots Front rally in Bendigo, October 10, 2015. L to R : Galea, Chris Shortis, Linden Watson and Ralph Cerminara.

galeawtbc2b
Above: Galea chillin’ like a gangster with the True Blue Crew.

Otherwise:

The True Blue Crew will be hopping on a bus from Bendigo and Melton to Eltham on November 5 in order to attend a protest organised by the Sydney-based Party for Freedom (PFF). The PFF maintain that the decision by St Vincent’s Care Services to temporarily house 100 or so refugees from Iraq and Syria at its site is tantamount to rape and murder. Then again, the PFF has also floated the idea that peoples in the Third World require sterilisation, so we’re not really talking about rational political actors. The boys from Sydney, Bendigo and Melton will be joined by the Soldiers of Odin, who were the subject of a recent column by Jason Wilson: Fear and loathing on the streets: the Soldiers of Odin and the rise of anti-refugee vigilantes (The Guardian, October 28, 2016): ‘Far right groups are gaining a global foothold because they echo mainstream discourse which has shrunk the political horizon to issues of border paranoia, terror, and security.’

In response to the fascist protest, Diamond Yarra Valley Resistance Solidarity (DYVRS) has organised some alternative activities: SAFE – Stand Against Fascism in Eltham.

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).