Here’s a few notes about recent developments on the far right.
1) Chris Shortis : “It’s in Revelations, people!”
United Patriots Front (UPF) leader Chris Shortis appears in an article in The Age, which details his rather bizarre religious and political convictions: Gun-toting anti-Muslim ‘crusader’ at lead of United Patriots Front (Luke McMahon, The Age, November 7, 2015). Dr Chloe Patton states: “Here we have an individual who is clearly radicalised, who is brandishing firearms while preaching holy war. The intricate conspiracy theories and crusader symbolism immediately brings to mind Anders Breivik“. The Daily Mail also features Shortis in ‘We should be doing it with absolute brutality’: Outrage at new leader of anti-Islam group’s online rant calling for Muslims to be wiped out ‘like the Japanese in WWII’ (Leith Huffadine and Nelson Groom for Daily Mail Australia, November 8) while Channel Ten aired a segment about Shortis and the UPF on November 8.
2) UPF ~versus~ 3CR
Chris Shortis was one of five UPF members who invaded the Melbourne Anarchist Club (MAC) and 3CR last weekend (November 1). The MAC released a statement and held an ‘Open Day’ on November 8. 3CR has also issued a statement, and a report on the invasion is carried by Crikey. I republish them below:
3) 3CR COMMUNITY RADIO STATEMENT RE THE UNITED PATRIOTS FRONT [November 8, 2015]
On Sunday 1st November, five members of the fascist group United Patriots Front (UPF) gained entry to the premises of 3CR Community Radio and filmed throughout the building without permission. In an effort to intimidate the station and its programmers, they then posted the video on their Facebook page.
3CR reasserts its commitment to progressive politics and our core mission of providing a voice to people denied one elsewhere in the media and in society. We stand by our commitment to providing a voice for Muslims, newly arrived migrants, Indigenous people, unions, women, queers, the working class, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people with a disability.
3CR was established in 1976 and the station currently has about 400 programmers broadcasting over 120 programs a week in 19 different languages. There are a diverse range of organisations affiliated to the station ranging from trade unions to housing groups to music appreciation clubs.
The behaviour of this far-right group is therefore utterly ridiculous.
However the UPF is of concern because of its racist, Islamophobic and anti-semitic beliefs, its hostility to the left and its capacity for violence.
On the same day the UPF came to 3CR, they also made an unwelcome visit to the Melbourne Anarchist Club.
We totally reject these tactics of intimidation and express our solidarity with other groups subjected to their harassment and vilification.
We call on the people of Melbourne to join us in rejecting this amateur schoolyard bullying and the politics of fear that make it possible. The routine Islamophobia present in mainstream politics and the media must stop and the indefinite detention of refugees must stop. We call on our political leaders to take some responsibility.
3CR urges all people concerned with upholding basic principles of human dignity, diversity and fairness to attend the protest against racism and fascism on Sunday 22 November, 11AM on the steps of Parliament House. Gather around the 3CR banner.
We also encourage people to attend the Melbourne Anarchist Club Open Day on Sunday 8 November from 12PM.
For more information contact Marian McKeown or James McKenzie on 9419 8377 or email [email protected]
4) 3CR /// UPF /// Crikey
Nationalist group invades 3CR Community Radio office, uploads dramatically scored video
November 9, 2015
Melbourne community radio station 3CR has accused the United Patriot’s Front of “amateur, schoolyard bullying” and “threatening” behaviour, after the far-right nationalist organisation gained entry to the radio station’s premises and filmed it without permission, then uploaded the video to its Facebook page.
The incident took place last Sunday. The UPF’s video shows several burly men approaching the front door of 3CR to find it shut (as it always is on weekends). A man describes the radio station as a “government-funded radio production company of some sort” (3CR is overwhelmingly funded through memberships and donations). But, he says, “so-called anarchists like to speak on radio here and are given a platform here, which confuses me … So we came here to ask some questions to clear up the confusion.” Once a month, Andy Fleming, a progressive campaigner and anarchist, is involved with a radio program on 3CR, and has been for some years. Fleming, using his online pseudonym of Slack Bastard, is one of the key irritants to the UPF, tracking and reporting their movements and arguing that they are best understood as “fascists”.
After an introduction, the video reveals the men inside the 3CR offices talking to a man, understood to be one of 3CR’s programmers. Meanwhile the UFP member holding a camera walks through the building, filming walls of photos, including close-ups of the faces of those involved in the station, as well as the studios. Tense music plays throughout the video. In the Facebook comments, many applaud the UPF’s initiative and suggest other places the group could “visit”, including Moreland City Council, which has an anti-racism banner along its front.
Crikey understands one of the 3CR’s programmers opened the door to the UPF members, who had rung the buzzer. “He didn’t really know who they were, but became pretty suspicious,” station manager Marian McKeown told Crikey. The UPF members told him they were there to do some filming, she says. “He’s on crutches. He’s not physically mobile. So he leans across to open [the] door without looking in [the] peephole. Then there’s five big guys in the building — he doesn’t really feel like in a position to create conflict.”
While this isn’t recorded in their video, 3CR says its own CCTV footage shows the men pocketing one of the photos off a photo board.
Given the UPF’s hostility to 3CR and its activities, which include explicit support for progressive politics and of providing a voice to minority groups who aren’t given a voice elsewhere, McKeown says it’s hard to view the incursion as anything but a “very threatening” and “antagonistic” act.
“I think it is about Slack Bastard, but also what 3CR represents,” she said. “It’s about the kind of voices we give airtime to. They clearly have an agenda that is about intimidating those sections of our community. Refugees, Muslims, any kind of leftist who is going to call out their threatening behaviour.”
The same day, the UPF visited the Melbourne Anarchist Club, where a man immediately told them to leave. Their encounter was also filmed and put on the group’s Facebook page.
The UPF has not targeted many media organisations in the past, with the exception of a June protest outside the ABC in Melbourne during the Zaky Mallah saga that involved the group roasting a pig on a spit.
“What was interesting about [their incursion into 3CR is that it] was an escalation of their activities, and of a willingness to confront those they consider their political enemies on their own soil,” Fleming told Crikey. He notes the group’s main base appears to be in Melbourne, though it has made moves in recent months to expand, including through a picket in Bendigo (or “Bendgio”, as they have it) and a planned trip to Perth later this month.
3CR says it is not telling its programmers to change their behaviour, but is warning them to have a heightened sense of awareness. Police were called about the incident, but McKeown sounds pessimistic about their approach to the situation.
“At the time we contacted police. They told us the United Patriot’s Front hadn’t committed an offence. We’re still getting legal advice — we think it’s debatable. And they stole the photograph.”
Crikey contacted the UPF through their Facebook page. We did not hear back by deadline.
5) Kriso Richardson : UPF + CFMEU
In addition to neo-Nazis Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson and Xtian fundamentalists Chris Shortis, Scott Moerland and Danny Nalliah (“He’s anti-Islamic, claims to have raised people from the dead and once blamed the Black Saturday bushfires on Victoria’s abortion laws.”), another leader of the UPF in Melbourne is Kriso Richardson.
On November 7, Richardson uploaded a propaganda video to the UPF Facebook page about nationalism: he did so while wearing a CFMEU top. On May 31, Richardson also appears to have attended the UPF rally in Richmond, also sporting CFMEU gear.
The rally — which was targeted at Socialist Party councillor (and CFMEU shop steward) Stephen Jolly — was followed by the arrest of a man for allegedly making death and rape threats against him (‘Nazi’ charged over death, rape threats to Socialist Party Councillor Stephen Jolly, Chloe Booker, The Age, August 7, 2015):
A man has been charged after making death and rape threats to Yarra Councillor Stephen Jolly and his family.
It comes days after United Patriots Front administrator Neil Erikson’s name was attached to threats on social media to kill the Socialist Party councillor.
In what appears to be a separate incident, a 38-year-old Moe man is alleged to have left messages on the Socialist councillor’s mobile and office phones.
“Hey Stephen Jolly, I’m going to f—ing rape your face,” the man allegedly said in a message left at 4.15am on July 29.
He then used further expletives before hanging up.
Richardson also attended the Reclaim Australia (RA) and UPF rallies in Melbourne and Bendigo and a protest against the ABC in June.
3CR is of course home to hundreds of union and community groups and projects, including the CFMEU show ‘The Concrete Gang’:
Since 1976, The Concrete Gang has been the most cutting and funny source of construction industry news and views.
Raw community radio at its best, The Concrete Gang is most (in)famous for “Scallywag of the Week” where names are named and the gloves come off.
It’s CFMEU radio for construction workers in the tradition of the late and great John Cummins who was a long-term host of the show.
Listen live at 9:30am Sunday mornings on 3CR Community Radio 855AM or get the podcast at 3cr.org.au/concretegang (or search The Concrete Gang on your podcast provider).
I doubt ‘Cummo’ would’ve been impressed to see fascist thugs attacking the station he broadcast on — or to witness one of their comrades making fascist propaganda in construction union clothing.
Finally, note that the UPF has declared itself to be in political solidarity with a range of neo-Nazi and fascist groups and movements in Europe, including the Greek neo-Nazi organisation ‘Golden Dawn’. In May 2014, the CFMEU participated in an anti-fascist rally in Brisbane, called in order to denounce both Golden Dawn and the Australia First Party.
6) Reclaim Australia /// November 22
The UPF has declared that they will be heading to Perth on November 22, the date of the third round of RA rallies. In Melbourne, RA has recently declared that they’ll be protesting in Melton against the construction of a Muslim skool rather than at Parliament House. Counter-protests have been organised at the following locations:
STOP ISLAMOPHOBIA! Rally against racist Reclaim Australia (United Against Islamophobia and Bigotry Brisbane)
Canberra Rally Against Racism: No to Reclaim Australia, No to Islamophobia! (Canberra Anti-Racism Network)
Counter rally – Oppose Reclaim Australia and the UPF (Tasmania Welcomes Diversity)
No to Racism, No to Fascism: Stop Reclaim Australia (Campaign Against Racism & Fascism)
RALLY AGAINST RACISM – Stop ‘Reclaim Australia’ – Melbourne (No Room For Racism)
RALLY AGAINST RACISM – Stop ‘Reclaim Australia’ – Newcastle (RALLY Against Racism -Community organizing space)
Reclaim Australia – No Way! (United Against Bigotry and Racism)
No to Racism, No to Reclaim Australia – Muslims are Welcome (No to Racism, No to Fascism, No to Islamophobia)
7) Australia First Party ~versus~ Party for Freedom
There’s a ding-dong battle going on in Sydney between Dr Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party (AFP) and Nick Folkes’ Party for Freedom (PFF). The last week has seen the PFF stage a banner drop denouncing Saleam and also, curiously, publish a video which documents Saleam’s attendance at a meeting of neo-Nazis to pay tribute to dead Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi:
Also in attendance at the commemorative meeting was Alex Norwick, a former National Action member, candidate for the AFP (Wyong 2015, Chifley 2013, Deakin 2010) and editor of the party’s newsletter Audacity; it also seems to have attracted notorious neo-Nazi Ross ‘The Skull’ May.
The PFF’s attacks upon the AFP follow similar attacks launched by Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’), who has denounced not only Saleam and the AFP as ‘nazis’ but so too Melbourne-based neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Nationalist Alternative’. Odd behaviour given that Burgess was more than happy — proud, even — to work alongside neo-Nazis like Cottrell and Erikson throughout 2015, and even helped to promote Squadron 88’s anti-Muslim agitation in Penrith.
For his part, Saleam denies any and all association with neo-Nazis and blames the campaign upon local Liberals, engaged in a conspiracy with the PFF and neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Squadron 88’ in order to damage the reputation of the AFP.
Otherwise, while Burgess has left the UPF in the capable hands of Cottrell in Melbourne, in Sydney he’s continued to maintain his years-long commitment to Ralph Cerminara, valour thief and sometime leader of the ‘Australian Defence League’. Burgess and Cerminara both now appear to be aligning themselves with Folkes and the PFF against the AFP — Burgess and Folkes are also talking up the PFF’s historical re-enactment of the December 2005 Cronulla pogrom.
See also : CRONULLA /// NEVER AGAIN (October 28, 2015).
8) Australia & the Fascist Idea of Greater Britain
Evan Smith of the Hatful of History blog has written an interesting account of the British Union of Fascists’ approach to Empire and Australia:
Part of this view of Australia as an integral part of Greater Britain’s trading relations was the country’s perceived promise as a destination for British migrants to take opportunity of the vast space offered and its potential for agricultural and industrial development. This was a widely held view since the early days of the Australian colonies and the BUF reinforced the idea of the British colonial settler as imperial pioneer.
Read the rest at the Imperial & Global Forum here.