Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party, Andrew Wilson, neo-Nazis, & the 2019 Australian federal election

Above (L to R) : Radomir Kobryn-Coletti, Morgan Munro, Andrew Wilson.

On Thursday, ABC’s ‘Background Briefing’ published several articles documenting the involvement of various far-right personalities in Senator Fraser Anning’s party and office, among them Andrew Wilson and Radomir Kobryn-Colleti.

    tl;dr : A number of key figures from a radical right-wing political and social network — previously implicated in the infiltration of the Young Nationals last year and the (ultimately-unsuccessful) attempt to seize control of the Humanist Society in NSW ten years ago — have been recruited into Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party (CNP), where they play a key role in the CNP’s 2019 Australian federal election campaign.

Of the young men involved in the CNP, as well as the networks which facilitated their passage, some further details may be found by way of thewhiterosesociety, but in the meantime:

Radomir Kobryn-Coletti is ‘a conscientious and highly talented individual who’s personal skills and diverse network make him stand out as one of Perth’s most attractive young entrepreneurs’. Or at least, that’s how he describes himself on his LinkedIn profile; others may beg to differ.
Morgan Munro is another ‘attractive young entrepreneur’ from Perth, who made his debut on AltRight website ‘The Unhinged’ on Hitler’s birthday in 2018, and has since become a regular contributor, with most of his content revolving around events in his new home of Melbourne.
Zack Newton has closed his Facebook account but remains open for fashy business.
Boston White is innocent.
Andrew Wilson is ‘a toxic leach on the face of Australian nationalism … who lives off character assassination’. Well, according to one critic, anyway (see below). According to neo-Nazi troll Nathan Sykes and the Australia First Party, Wilson is A Very Bad Egg who’s implicated in a range of dirty tricks against them, performed for the benefit of the Liberal Party in Sydney. He’s also a veteran agitator and was once, in the early 2000s, the lvl boss of the ‘Patriotic Youth League’, a failed attempt by AFP to establish a yoof wing. At this time, Wilson was also a member of the Australian franchise of now-defunct neo-Nazi grouplet Volksfront (VF dissolved in 2012/3 after one of its associates, Wade Michael Page, shot to death six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, USA).

The fallout from the ABC’s reportage has to date been minimal, with the usual denials being issued and some minor online recomposition taking place. Thus when asked for commentary on the matter the Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed it as some kind of ‘conspiracy theory’, while Anning himself has declared that he knows nothing and besides, what his employees do in their leisure time is none of his concern. One minor casualty of the affair has been the boys’ Facebook page ‘Abhorrent Australian Memes Did Nothing Wrong’ (itself an alternate for an earlier page titled ‘Abhorrent Australian Memes’) which has now been unpublished. The reasons for this are unclear, though it may have something to do with the page publishing a photo taken in federal parliament of Greens MP Larissa Waters — an action which is apparently contrary to parliamentary regulations.

There are, of course, dozens of such pages, which routinely share the same or similar material, often in a coordinated fashion. One example from last week revolves around the false attribution of a quote about immigration to cricketer Shane Warne, which was posted to the Spiller brothers’ page ‘Future Now News’ (since deleted) and twice on conspiracist page ‘Agenda 21 Australia/COP 2030/Politics’ (where it remains). Note that ahead of the Australian federal election Facebook has declared that it’ll do nothing to stop the flood of lies and propaganda, which fact may play some marginal role in determining the outcome. See : A Completely Made Up Racist Shane Warne Quote Went Viral On Facebook, Brad Esposito, Pedestrian, April 16, 2019 | Shane Warne Denies Anti-Immigration Comments In Viral Far-Right Meme, Josh Butler, 10 daily, April 16, 2019 | Social media platforms slammed for lax approach to policing fake news, Claire Bickers, Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, News Corp Australia Network, April 17, 2019.

See / hear : Alt-right to release ‘avalanche’ of election campaign propaganda to help Fraser Anning, Alex Mann and Benjamin Sveen, April 19, 2019 | Australia’s alt-right is fighting a cultural battle to ‘radicalise’ the political narrative, expert says, Lisa Millar, The World Today, April 19, 2019 | Shitposting to the Senate: How the alt-right infiltrated Parliament, April 21, 2019 | Alt-Right Memes and Clive Palmer’s Return to Politics, Jordan McSwiney, Pop Politics Aus, September 27, 2018 | A Former Australian Politician’s Facebook Page Shared An Anti-Semitic Meme, Brad Esposito, Buzzfeed Australia, May 10, 2018.

*More generally, see also : Counter-terrorism police warn far-right figures about ‘negative’ behaviour, Max Kozlowsi, The Sydney Morning Herald, April 18, 2019.

Conservative Nationals Go To The Polls

On the same day as the Background Briefing report was published, in Townsville Senator Anning announced his Senatorial team in Queensland: Paul Taylor, Mark Absolon, Nancy Sandford and Brad Cameron. Previously, he’d introduced Perry Adrelius as the party’s candidate for Groom, Rod Smith for Wright, and Tim Dwyer and Peter Manuel for the Senate in South Australia.

Anning extended an invitation to the public to nominate themselves as candidates for his party by way of an email sent earlier in the month:

Hi all,

You are receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in standing for election as a candidate for Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party.

Our initial intention was to make first contact with each of you by phone within a few days (and members of our team have already spoken to a significant number of you), but the sheer volume of nominations has overwhelmed any possibility of that. At the moment we are a small team trying to coordinate a movement that has exploded into something much, much bigger than ourselves. And with the Federal Election having just been called there is not a lot of time to do it.

The close of nominations is midday on the 23rd of April, and we want to have nominations finalised a couple of days before then. This means we need to substantially accelerate the nomination process.

This email is therefore going to serve as what would ordinarily be the first step of our interview and vetting process. It will lay out bluntly and frankly what the expectations of our candidates are and allow you to decide if you want to continue in this process. The goal is to quickly weed out as many of the uncommitted, unprepared, and unsuitable as possible.

The first thing I want to do with this email is to make clear exactly what the commitments of being a candidate are. If you have not previously had any experience in politics, this might be intimidating.

FINANCIAL COMMITMENT

Firstly, you will need to pay a nomination deposit of $2000 to get on the ballot paper … Then on top of that are the costs of the campaign. Campaign costs are variable depending on what you choose to invest in and how much you decide to spend, but don’t expect to be able to run a credible campaign with less than $5000.

You will be refunded your $2000 nomination deposit and campaign spending (up to $2.73 per vote won – approximately $2500-$3000 per percentage point in a lower house electorate) if you secure 4% or more of the vote at the election. However, you need to be able to put this money up out of pocket and potentially lose it all if things don’t go right for you. Even if you are successful enough to reclaim your expenses, you may need to wait for a significant period for your claim to be processed. If you don’t have the liquidity to dedicate these sorts of resources towards a campaign, it would be wise to take a step back.

ELIGIBILITY

When nominating you will need to complete this form [snip]. There are various reasons why you may not be constitutionally eligible for nomination. Dual citizenship is the obvious one, and if you have parents or grandparents from another country, you should provide evidence of why that does not make you a dual citizen.

Additionally working in a government job or having some sort of contract with the government may also disqualify you. So does being an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent or being under sentence for a crime punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more.

Go through the form linked above, and if you have any difficulties completing it in a way that confirms your constitutional eligibility to be elected, you should strongly consider withdrawing from the process.

POLICY

The objects of Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party are as follows:

i) the vision of Sir Henry Parkes of Australia as an English speaking, predominantly European Christian Commonwealth, as originally described in 1901 when Australia as a nation was founded;

ii) social cohesion by an immigration program that gives preference to those best able to integrate and assimilate;

iii) traditional family values, including recognising marriage as only the union of a man and a woman and the sanctity of human life at all ages, including both the unborn and the elderly;

iv) government through the democratic consent of the governed;

v) individual freedom, including unrestricted freedom of speech, association and belief;

vi) private enterprise;

vii) private property as an inviolable natural right;

viii) universal home-ownership as a national objective;

ix) Australian ownership of our infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture;

x) widely distributed ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange through owner operated farms, small business and co-operatives;

xi) collective bargaining in agriculture and industry;

xii) orderly marketing of agricultural products;

xiii) the development of rural and regional infrastructure and the re-industrialisation of Australia;

xiv) an end to usury through the establishment of a not-for-profit government bank;

xv) the right to own firearms and use them in self-defence;

xvi) welfare as a safety net but restricted to citizens;

xvii) citizens initiated referenda and voluntary voting;

xviii) decentralisation of power and competitive federalism;

xix) a fair taxation system that encourages productivity and savings and rewards hard work;

xx) the restoration of Australia’s national sovereignty through repudiation of coercive international treaties and a foreign policy that puts Australia first;

xxi) a capable and well-resourced military and strong support for our veterans.

Please read all of the above points carefully. If you are not able to whole heartedly support each and every point in this platform, please withdraw yourself from this process. Contradicting the party platform in any way will be grounds for immediate disendorsement. The reason is we expect the media will exploit any difference of view between Fraser and a candidate – even a small difference. While we respect people having different views, Party candidates have to be solid.

VOLUNTEERS

Ideally you will have a strong network of friends and supporters you can rely on to help you in your campaign. We will help our network of supporters to make contact with the endorsed candidate in each electorate, but it will be incumbent on each candidate to run their own campaign, including coordinating volunteers.

The most labour-intensive job will be handing out how-to-vote cards. Follow this link and choose your electorate, then select “polling places” to see all the locations you will need volunteers to man on election day. It’s not uncommon for a single electorate to have around 50 polling places, and usually its better to have two supporters at each location.

It’s common for many parties to be unable to have volunteers at all polling locations. However, the more people you have doing it, the higher your vote will be.

We are hopeful that strong public support for Senator Anning will translate into an unusually strong “ground game”.

POTENTIAL CONTROVERSY

If you have issues in your life that may attract attention and criticism of Senator Anning and the party, you must proactively disclose them to us before being nominated. We are not afraid of criticism, but we need to know ahead of time what issues may arise. These issues may include:

– Past criminal or legal issues

– Controversial career paths

– Previous political associations

– Publicly expressed positions or actions that may conflict with the objects of Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party

– Inflammatory social media comments

– Anything else that could become an issue

It will be grounds for immediate disendorsement if an issue emerges during the campaign that you have not revealed to us ahead of time. If you are in any doubt, disclose it.

MEDIA

All media requests will need to be passed on to and approved by Senator Anning’s media advisor. We want you to get publicity, but we are also mindful of avoiding media traps.

If you are being interviewed and are asked a loaded question designed to have no good answer (as a classic example, “Have you stopped beating your wife?”), remember that the best way to respond is usually by challenging the premise of the question (e.g. “I never beat my wife in the first place”).

If you get truly flustered, simply state the party’s position and say it is up to the public to decide if that is what they want.

And most importantly, you must never qualify or retreat from the policy platform of Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party. The number one way for our enemies to undermine the credibility of the party is to get candidates to contradict Senator Anning in some way. It is essential that voters can trust that if they vote for the party they will get exactly what they are being promised. No matter how much pressure is put on you, you must never concede any point. Failure to adhere to the objects of the party will be grounds for immediate disendorsement.

Our intent is to give each candidate a mock interview where we pose the type of questions they may be asked by the media during the campaign to test their readiness to represent the party.

SENATE CANDIDATES

Currently, we have a great many candidates who have indicated interest in Senate positions. That is of course to be expected as Senate candidates are the ones most likely to be successful, but it is inevitable that a very large number of candidates will be rejected. On the other hand it’s a good problem to have as it means that we can afford to be very selective about who we choose for our Senate team.

If you are someone who has indicated interest in standing for the Senate, we would love it if you would consider standing in your local electorate instead. While we already have more than enough potential candidates to stand in every lower house seat, they are not evenly distributed and there are still some electorates which no candidate has nominated for.

On the other hand if you believe you are an unusually strong candidate, you may still wish to be considered for a lead Senate nomination.

THE NEXT STEPS

If after reading everything above you still want to represent Fraser Anning’s Conservative National Party at the election, great! We really value your passion, your support, and your dedication.

Please respond to this email by completing the attached declaration form to indicate your continued interest.

Following that, expect to be contacted by phone for an interview …

Scores have applied to become candidates for the election, though only a handful have been officially confirmed as yet, and nominations will not officially close until April 23. Still, the Very Normal folks who’ve applied to or indicated an interest in contributing to Anning’s Final Solution range from ammosexuals to budding C&W stars, bureaucrats to lawyers, neo-Nazi thugs to racist tradies and Xtian fun-da-mentalist preachers. Most, in other words, are Ordinary Mums & Dads™, though a few are more familiar figures, drawn from the One Nation, Palmer United and Rise Up Australia parties, and some will be famous soon enough I expect.

See also : A Brief Guide To The Australian Far Right (April 2019 Edition) (April 9, 2019).

On Troll Hunting (Ginger Gorman)

Troll Hunting by Australian journalist Ginger Gorman is a new book which examines the world of online hate and its human fallout. Along with interviews with a small number of trolls and general reflections upon this hateful world, Gorman’s book includes a number of case studies of trolling, some of which are relatively well-known while others not: all make for disturbing reading. While it’s of general relevance, many of the characters and events which populate this world would be especially familiar to (Australian) readers, or at least those who take an interest in such matters: on the one hand, ‘GamerGate’, convicted terrorist Joshua Goldberg, Andrew Auernheimer (AKA ‘weev’) and GNAA; on the other hand, those subject to what Gorman calls ‘predator trolling’, including writer Van Badham and lawyers Josh Bornstein and Mariam Veiszadeh (among others). Gorman’s book is well-written and engaging, and weaves together the author’s own experience of being ‘trolled’ with those of others, along with some examples of ‘troll hunting’ and ‘troll hunters’, the latter category including journalist and lawyer Luke McMahon. As well as being of general interest, the text is of particular interest to me because of the ways in which the ‘world of online hate’ has been ‘weaponized’ by elements of the far right, a theme explored in more detail in the anthology Cyber Racism and Community Resilience: Strategies for Combating Online Race Hate (Palgrave, 2017). At a little over 250 pages long, the text includes endnotes, which are useful, but — rather annoyingly — no index.

Gorman’s book is divided into three parts: ‘Trolls’, ‘Targets’ and ‘Troll hunting’. The first part examines the evolution of online trolling, the emergence of ‘predator trolls’ in particular — which Gorman defines (p.18) as those who set out to do real-life harm — and details the author’s lengthy conversations and interactions with several of its enthusiastic practitioners. In the second part, Gorman provides case studies of predator trolling and investigates the ways in which law enforcement has responded, or more precisely failed to respond, to these activities. Gorman also explores how social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have dealt with trolling and cyberhate generally — which is argued to be less-than-adequate. The third and final part of the book explores how some trolls, including Goldberg, came unstuck. Throughout the text, Gorman reflects upon her journey into this ‘world of online hate’, and how her interactions with the creatures which inhabit it change her understanding of them, their world, and its relationship to broader social and technological trends, especially racism and misogyny and the central place of social media in everyday life.

‘Trolling’ IRL

While the second part reveals varying degrees of incompetency and indifference on the part of tech companies, after documenting the systemic failure of law enforcement to address cyberbullying, Gorman does detect a more hopeful sign (pp.119–120):

Some stories are emerging of more appropriate, and effective, responses to cyberbullying complaints. Take comedian and writer Catherine Deveny. After making controversial comments on Twitter and Facebook about Anzac Day in 2018 — describing it as ‘Bogan Halloween’ and a ‘fetishisation of war and violence’ — she was doxed multiple times. Her home address was posted all over the internet and she received an avalanche of credible rape and death threats. She was the focus of several facebook hate groups. One night, five men in a ute turned up to her house. One of them knocked on her door and videoed himself doing it.

Within forty-eight hours of Deveny’s original comments being posted — and the resultant blow-up of public vitriol — Victorian counter-terrorism police reached out to her. They got her statement and started investigating. Police patrolled outside her house and work events. An investigator from the Office of the Federal eSafety Commissioner also got in touch. In contrast to many who’d gone before her, Deveny received significant and appropriate support. After hearing so many dire stories, it’s great to hear one like this. Wouldn’t it be amazing if all predator-trolling victims could rely on getting this kind of assistance?

LOL.

For what it’s worth, I remember when this incident took place, and at the time made brief reference to it on the blog. In which context, a few things. First, those responsible for paying Deveny a nocturnal visit included right-wing activists Julian de Ross (AKA ‘Hugh Pearson’), Rino ‘Bluebeard’ Grgurovic and Ricky Turner. Secondly, whatever became of the intervention by Victorian counter-terrorism police and the Office of the Federal eSafety Commissioner, the boys carried on as before. Thus one month later, members of the same crew — on this occasion consisting of Paul Exley and Danny Peanna/Parkinson from Sydney, together with the Melbourne-based Grgurovic, Logan Spalding, and their ringleader Neil Erikson — filmed themselves disrupting a church service in Gosford; in June, Erikson, Turner and several others paid another nocturnal visit to a private address, on this occasion that of rival right-wing entrepreneur Dave Pellowe. While it’s unclear if those responsible for attending Deveny’s and Pellowe’s address faced any legal repercussions (it seems not), for his part in the disruption of the church service Erikson at least was later charged under an obscure law making it an offence to ‘obstruct a member of the clergy in the discharge of his or her duties’.

It’s possible, I suppose, to characterise this behaviour as ‘IRL trolling’ — but there’s certainly other interpretations. One critical difference is that, while it may be performed for teh lulz, unlike almost all of the examples of ‘trolling’ Gorman provides in her book, such actions are not really all that anonymous. In fact, while there’s occasionally some effort made to disguise the identities of those responsible, for the most part it’s very public — and by public I mean ‘filmed and then published by/on Facebook’. When de Ross, Grgurovic, Turner & Co. visited Deveny’s home; Exley, Peanna, Grgurovic, Spalding and Erikson disrupted a church service; and Erikson, Turner & Co. visited Pellowe’s home; these actions were undertaken precisely in order to be documented and distributed via Facebook. So too, the numerous other occasions upon which Erikson in particular has undertaken the role of a serial pest, from disrupting council meetings and various left and ‘multicultural’ events to stalking and abusing various public figures he happens to dislike. (Note that Grgurovic is due in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on February 26 over assault charges; Erikson, along with his kameraden Ricky Turner and Richard Whelan, have a date on May 13 over similar.)

All of these acts have been performed publicly and for the benefit of his Facebook audience, the corporation having granted Erikson permission to do so for at least the last four years. Thus, it was only in the space of the last few days that Facebook, for unknown reasons, banned a number of Erikson’s accounts. (It’s possible that the pest may have come unstuck upon announcing the re-launch of the ‘United Patriots Front’ by creating an event page for a February 16 rally at Federation Square — the UPF collapsed after Facebook banned its page in May 2017.) Still, there are hundreds if not thousands of very similar pages on the site, and it remains the critical tool for far-right organising in Australia and elsewhere. (See, for example, Fraser Anning’s Neo-Nazi connections (The White Rose Society, January 11, 2019) and Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests (Amanda Taub and Max Fisher, The New York Times, August 21, 2018) for two among innumerable other instances.)

More broadly, while Gorman makes fairly short work of the corporate pablum spewed by Facebook and Twitter concerning their commitment to combating trolling and ‘hate speech’, if Facebook in particular is understood as being a massive private data-collection agency — one which derives a substantial proportion of its profits from selling this information to advertisers (and whoever else can pay for it) — it’s possible to cut through this nonsense fairly easily. Further, like corporations generally, Facebook is able to use the enormous financial and political power at its disposal to ensure the forms of regulation which might inhibit its continued growth and profitability are kept at bay. And while YouTube/Google doesn’t feature in Gorman’s account, its role in promoting racist and fascist propaganda, along with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, rivals that of Facebook, and has long been understood as a key node in the distribution and promotion of race-hate and other forms of hate speech (see, for example, ‘Fiction is outperforming reality’: how YouTube’s algorithm distorts truth, Paul Lewis, The Guardian, February 2, 2018 and ‘Alternative Influence: Broadcasting the Reactionary Right on YouTube’, Rebecca Lewis, Data & Society, September 9, 2018).

In any case, to return to Goldberg and Veiszadeh (pp.218–219):

Towards the end of 2014, [Veiszadeh] publicly voiced her outrage that a Woolworths supermarket in Cairns was selling singlets printed with the Australian flag alongside the tagline,’If you don’t love it, LEAVE’.

Three months after her tweet, the far right anti-Islam group The Australian Defence League posted her tweet to their Facebook page. From there, it was picked up by the alt-right Daily Stormer website. Chillingly, The Daily Stormer post about Veiszadeh, written under the byline Michael Slay, demanded of its thousands of followers: ‘Stormer Troll Army … assemble!’ ‘We need to flood this towelhead subhuman vermin with as much racial and religious abuse as we possibly can,” the spite-filled post reads …’

(Note that a few weeks ago the former ‘President’ of the ADL, Ralph Cerminara, was found ‘guilty of two counts of intimidation and one count of common assault’ after attacking his neighbour in Sydney.)

In addition to being attacked on The Daily Stormer, Veiszadeh’s tweet also triggered a Queensland woman, Jay-Leighsha Bauman, to send Veiszadeh messages calling her a “whore”, a “rag-head” and [telling] her to return to her own “sand dune country” — Bauman was later sentenced to 180 hours of community service for the crime. A few months later, an Ordinary Mum™ and Reclaim Australia supporter was charged with threatening to slit Veiszadeh’s throat. On these and other occasions, it seems the chief fault of those charged was not bothering to anonymise their threats; the fact that Bauman’s threats were reported on by both the BBC and CNN may also have prompted authorities to take a closer look. That said:

Later in 2015, Luke McMahon and Elise Potaka reported in Fairfax newspapers that Michael Slay turned out to be not one person, but two. One of those two men was Joshua Goldberg, whose main trolling preoccupation was preserving freedom of speech. As the troll hunter explained earlier, this was how he ended up choosing targets such as Josh Bornstein.

Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes

The ‘other’ Michael Slay was of course Jewish neo-Nazi and toy-doll enthusiast Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes, who was exposed by McMahon in April 2017. Like Goldberg, Sykes contributed scores of articles to The Daily Stormer, inter alia attacking Veiszadeh along with Badham, Bornstein, Dr Tim Soutphommasane and yours truly. Currently, Sykes is the chief writer for the ‘United Nationalists of Australia’ blog, the online shitsheet of the ‘Australia First Party’. In that capacity, Sykes attacks the various enemies of the AFP on the left as well as the right. Sometimes, this creates legal difficulties. Hence, after publishing an article in June 2017 by party leader Dr Jim Saleam which detailed alleged crimes committed by members of rival fascist groupuscule ‘Klub Nation’, in May 2018 legal action against Saleam and the blog was apparently taken by various persons associated with KN. (Member of this radical right-wing network are also implicated in an attempt to infiltrate the Young Nationals in NSW last year.) Beyond this, members of the neo-Nazi ‘Lads Society’ and, more recently, a man called Michael Freshwater, have also been attacked by Sykes on the UNA blog. While Sykes was dismissed by ex-UPF and Lads Society organiser Tom Sewell as a ‘divisive little Jew’, Freshwater, it’s alleged, has been part of a conspiracy to undermine AFP, embracing elements of the Liberal Party as well as neo-Nazis like Mark McDonald, the leader of the Lads Society in Sydney and former leader of neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Squadron 88’.

Notes

• Joshua Goldberg (as ‘Moon Metropolis’) published a statement on Medium on December 28, 2018 which provides a defence of sorts to his actions: ‘It was always my intention to infiltrate online jihadist spheres so that I could eventually become either a journalist, an FBI agent, or both.’ The statement also refers to … when I got Milo Yiannopoulos to publish that “expose” on Shaun King, I did it purely to see the shitstorm that I knew it would create, not because I actually care in the least about anything involving either Shaun King or Milo Yiannopoulos (both of those people are complete and utter clowns as far as I’m concerned). The article, ‘Did Black Lives Matter Organizer Shaun King Mislead Oprah Winfrey By Pretending To Be Biracial?’ (Breitbart, August 19, 2015), is dissected in this blogpost on Internet Famous Angry Men. Yiannopoulos is of course a very well-known troll who for several years was able to translate his trolling activities into sponsorship by wealthy right-wing reactionaries and sought to acquire more filthy lucre by conducting (semi-)lucrative tours. In fact, Yiannopoulos, along with Gavin McInnes and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, are supposedly being brought to Australia by Penthouse Australia publisher Damien Costas next month (March 9–14) for a speaking tour. For his part, Costas is currently embroiled in a legal battle with publicist Max Markson regarding alleged unpaid debts; there’s also allegedly been some fisticuffs. See also : Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled White Nationalism Into The Mainstream, Joseph Bernstein, BuzzFeed, October 5, 2017 (A cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine.”).

• Gorman makes reference (pp.199-200) to a category of trolling known as ‘media fuckery’, and cites US academic Whitney Phillips who defines it as ‘the ability to turn the media against itself … by either amplifying or outright inventing a news item too sensational for media outlets to pass up’. This brought to mind two things. First, a recent example of ‘media fuckery’ in which a fake Facebook page titled ‘Melbourne Antifa’ applauded the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. This later featured in an article in The Daily Mail by Stephen Johnson (‘Melbourne Antifa extremists praise Las Vegas shooter’, October 2, 2017), was fact-checked by FactCheck.Org and Snopes and in May 2018 also triggered a bizarre interaction between myself and a right-wing blogger in the US. Secondly, the phrase immediately brought to mind similar terms such as ‘culture-jamming’ and ‘subvertising’, political practices which pre-date both ‘media fuckery’ and teh intarwebs as a whole. See : How To Make Trouble And Influence People.

• Gorman also makes reference (p.47) to local neo-Nazi activist Blair Cottrell in the context of a discussion regarding ‘hate leaching into the mainstream’ and Cottrell’s appearance as a very special guest on Adam Giles’ show on Sky News in August last year. As noted elsewhere, Cottrell – following an appearance on Sky News – told his 25,000 Twitter followers he might as well have raped presenter Laura Jayes on air because “not only would she have been happier with that but the reaction would’ve been the same”. In which context, a few things: first, while Facebook has banned the UPF and Cottrell, such commentary is considered acceptable by Twitter (to which platform Cotrell shifted after being kicked off Facebook). Secondly, his kamerad Neil Erikson made a similar remark directed at another female journalist, Jodi Lee, in November last year: ‘Jodie [sic] Lee acted like I had raped her on live TV….. She wishes!’ Thirdly, Cottrell has an extensive criminal record, mostly revolving around his stalking of an ex-girlfriend. Finally, Cotrell, Erikson and fellow white nationalist Chris Shortis were convicted in September 2017 of inciting hatred for Muslims; Cottrell is appealing the conviction on the grounds that the Victorian Act under which he was convicted (The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001) is in fact un-Constitutional, and will be appearing in the County Court in Victoria on February 19.

• While Gorman devotes relatively little space to d0xing, it’s relevant in several instances. In her chapter on weev, ‘A Professional Racist’, for example, Gorman notes (p.232) that weev appeared on a neo-Nazi podcast with Mike Enoch and Christopher ‘Crying Nazi’ Cantwell. Later in the chapter (p.236), Gorman also refers to ‘Azzmador’, who along with Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin wrote a post for the site encouraging their fellow neo-Nazis to attend the murderous ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. As it happens, Mike Enoch is in fact Mike Peinovich, who got d0xxed in January 2017, while ‘Azzmador’ is Robert Warren Ray. (According to a November 2018 report, Ray is currently a fugitive after being charged with a felony allegedly committed at the rally.) As for Cantwell, late last year he voiced an audio version of local neo-Nazi Ryan Fletcher’s tract ‘From HEMP to Hitler’, which has been promoted on David Hiscox’s AltRight website XYZ. See also : The far right, the “White Replacement” myth and the “Race War” brewing, Julie Nathan, ABC (Religion & Ethics), February 12, 2019:

The potential for violence which such online posts portend was graphically demonstrated in the United States in October 2018 by Robert Bowers, who wrote on Gab, a Twitter-like platform which is a haven for extremists and racists, “Screw your optics, I’m going in.” Shortly afterwards, he entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and murdered eleven Jews. Afterwards, Bowers told police that he was motivated by his belief that “the Jews” were “committing genocide to my people.”

Chillingly, these words were echoed by another Gab user, an Australian named Ryan Fletcher, who wrote, “I think its [sic] about time to say ‘f*** your optics I’m going in’.” Fletcher has a dark history of calling for the murder of Jews in Australia and worldwide, and of posting images of Jews being killed, on his Gab account. Fletcher subscribes to the myth: “#White gentiles are waking up to the agenda of #ZOG (which is #WhiteGenocide).” “ZOG” stands for “Zionist Occupied Government,” a term used to insinuate that “the Jews” control the United States and other Western governments. Fletcher also writes articles for XYZ.

• Speaking of neo-Nazis, Gorman notes that inre her own experience of being trolled in 2013 (pp.10–11), Six days after Newton was sentenced in 2013 came the second frightening moment. Don found a photo of our family on the fascist social network Iron March. The now-defunct website carried the slogan ‘Gas the kikes’ on its homepage. Iron March was of course the birthplace of Australian neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Antipodean Resistance’. Its British cousins, National Action, have been proscribed as a terrorist organisation (see : See Graham Macklin, ”Only Bullets will Stop Us!’: The banning of National Action’, Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol.12, No.6 (2018) [PDF]). See also : Extreme neo-Nazi ‘death cults’ drawing in children as young as 13, report warns, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, February 17, 2019 (‘Exclusive: Children as young as 13 being drawn into ideologies ‘harder, darker and more committed than ever before’’).

Below : Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes (Australia First Party/United Nationalists (of) Australia; Jacob Hersant (Antipodean Resistance/The Lads Society):

See also : Online abuse of women in the media, Justine Landis-Hanley, The Saturday Paper, February 16, 2019 | Meet The Woman Giving A New Face To Troll Hunting, Jamila Rizvi, Future Women, February 2019 | The ‘Canary In The Coalmine’ Link Between Terrorism And Trolling, Alex Bruce-Smith, Ten Daily, February 5, 2019 | Internet trolls are not who I thought — they’re even scarier, Ginger Gorman, ABC, February 2, 2019 | Troll hunting: a journey to the dark side, Karen Hardy, The Canberra Times, February 2, 2019 | Twitter, the barbarian country, or how I learned to love the block button, Van Badham, The Guardian, January 31, 2019 | Troll Hunting review: Ginger Gorman goes in search of the online bullies, Jonathan Green, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 18, 2019 | Staring down the trolls: Mute, block or resort to ‘digilantism’?, Ginger Gorman, The Sydney Morning Herald, June 16, 2017 | Cyberhate With Tara Moss, ABC, 2017 | Misogyny Online: A Short (and Brutish) History, Emma A Jane, SAGE (2017) | Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous, Gabriella Coleman, Verso (2014). As well as providing some further detail regarding weev’s activities prior to his going full nazi as an editor for The Daily Stormer, Coleman’s book also contains important background on the various (sub-)cultural contexts from which the ‘predator troll’ emerged. (Note also that, in conversation with weev in August 2010, Coleman writes (p.22): ‘His denunciation of “the repulsive order of the financiers” had the ring of truth, given the recent financial mess their recklessness has engendered, so I found myself, only minutes into my first bona fide conversation with a world famous troll, in agreement with him.’ LOL.)

antifa notes (november 2, 2018) : milo & mcinnes; lads, proud boys & natzis

Update (November 3, 2018) : Nationals ban 22 members for life after investigation into neo-Nazi links, Michael Koziol, The Sydney Morning Herald, November 3, 2018.


Above : On L, alleged killer Robert Bowers announcing his intention to GTKRWN; on R, Brisbane-based neo-Nazi and member of The Lads Society Beau Maverick. Neither man cares greatly for ‘optics’.

* The massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27 was reportedly the worst such event in US history. Unfortunately, given current political trends, that record may not last very long. In any case, Julie Nathan of the ECAJ has written ‘As the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre shows, fears of “White Genocide” are incitement to murder’ (ABC Religion & Ethics, October 29/31, 2018), while CEO Alex Ryvchin reckons ‘Synagogue slayings not a shot in the culture wars’ (October 31, 2018 — for a contrary view, see : Jews Against Fascism).

I may add some more thoughts at a later date, but in the meantime I think it worthwhile highlighting the fact that the rehabilitation of anti-Semitism and its increasing centrality to extreme-right perspectives in the United States is echoed Down Under as an increasingly larger segment of younger right-wing activists not only adopt a fascist outlook but place anti-Semitic conspiracy theories at the heart of their worldview. By way of example, the AltRight media platforms ‘XYZ’ and ‘The Unshackled’ (AKA ‘The Unhinged’ — which, to its credit, has been authorised by Google as a trusted media source) have drifted over the course of the last year or two from fairly conventional arch-Toryism to an open embrace of white nationalism. Leaving aside David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’), fellow XYZ contributor Ryan Fletcher has accounted for this shift in an essay titled ‘Trading HEMP for Hitler’ (a text which comes highly recommended by editor David Hiscox). Fletcher is also a YUGE fan of James Mason’s Siege — required reading for members of local neo-Nazi grouplet Antipodean Resistance.


Above : Tim Wilms of The Unhinged wearing his Proud Boys ‘Pinochet Did Nothing Wrong’ shirt. Note that the arm reads RWDS (‘Right Wing Death Squad’). Under the Pinochet dictatorship (1973–1990), tens of thousands of Chileans were raped, tortured, murdered and forced into exile by his death squads. (Coincidentally, this weekend, LASNET has organised a gathering on Autonomy & Resistance at Trades Hall in Melbourne.)

See also : Pittsburgh shooting extends wave of conspiracy-minded rightwing violence, Jason Wilson, The Guardian, October 27, 2018 | George Soros: Why Are Australians Flirting With This American Conspiracy Theory?, Alex Bruce-Smith, 10 Daily, October 31, 2018 | Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe (March 9, 2012).

1) Dan Spiller/Future Now Australia Presents: Milo Yiannopoulos & Ann Coulter

Queensland businessman Dan Spiller (AKA ‘Future Now Australia’ AKA ‘AE Events’) has recently announced the cancellation of the upcoming tour by Infowars-supplements salesman and paedophile apologist Milo Yiannopoulos (accompanied by fellow wealthy blabbermouth Ann Coulter). This is the second time Spiller has tried and failed to organise a tour by ‘foreign radicals’: back in April, Spiller announced that he’d be bringing both Yiannopoulos and ‘Proud Boys’ founder Gavin McInnes to Australia. That effort collapsed in a heap within a few days, but Spiller’s latest production took several months to fall apart … which I suppose could be considered either an improvement or a degeneration (depending on your perspective). In any (non-)event, the decision to cancel the tour has been compounded by Spiller’s decision not to refund buyers but instead offer them tickets to go and see two other ‘foreign radicals’ — Gavin McInnes and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon — when they tour in December.

Fingers crossed, Mr Spiller’s seemingly chronic inability to successfully profit from foreign hate-merchants will not deter him from attempting to do so and being similarly adept in future. The silver lining on this grey cloud of failure, however, is perhaps the new book by Milo, which is apparently All About Australia:


Above : An extract from Yiannopoulos’s upcoming book on Australia. It’s unclear at this stage if Janet Albrechtsen has accepted an invitation to write the foreword.

See also : Milo Yiannopoulos Fans Are Pissed His Aussie Tour Got Cancelled, And It’s Extremely Funny, Tom Clift, Junkee, November 1, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos’ Australian Tour Has Been Cancelled And Fans Want Refunds, Josh Butler, 10 Daily, October 31, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos’ Australian tour cancelled with no refunds, SBS, October 31, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos’ Aussie Tour Has Been Cancelled, Disappointing Dozens, Ben McLeay, pedestriantv, October 31, 2018 | Milo Yiannopoulos tour cancelled; Gavin McInnes visa debate continues, Kieran’s Review, October 30, 2018.

2) Gavin McInnes & Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (‘Tommy Robinson’)

Damien Costas, publisher of Penthouse Australia, is planning on bringing Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes and ex-BNP member and founder of the English Defence League Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA ‘Andrew McMaster’/’Paul Harris’/’Tommy Robinson’) to Australia in December. As usual, venues will be made public 24 hours prior to the event, but it’s not unreasonable to expect previous venues, including Festival Functions in Findon (Adelaide), Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington/La Mirage in Somerton, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and Le Montage/International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) to again provide a platform for race-hate. The dates for the tour are as follows:

• ADELAIDE : WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5
• PERTH : FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7
• MELBOURNE : TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11
• GOLD COAST : THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13
• SYDNEY : SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16

Of course, the possibility of either McInnes or Yaxley-Lennon being able to enter the country is entirely dependent upon Mr Potato Head’s feels on the subject. On Robinson, and in particular his current legal troubles (which may also see him prevented from coming), see : David Renton and Barrister Blogger.

With regards McInnes, he and his ‘Boys’ have been getting into some bother of late. Just a few weeks ago (Friday, October 12) in New York, McInnes was invited by the Metropolitan Republican Club to celebrate the anniversary of the assassination of Japanese socialist Inejiro Asanuma on this date in 1960. Following the event, some of McInnes’s fanboys went on a bit of a rampage, and some got arrest. An awful lot of ink has been spilled on the subject of the event and its aftermath, but as ever New York City Antifa (Twitter) is an xclnt resource. See also : The Proud Boys, The GOP And ‘The Fascist Creep’, Christopher Mathias, Huffington Post, October 18, 2018 (‘Gavin McInnes spoke at a GOP club, then his followers violently attacked leftist protesters. Modern American fascism finds its foot soldiers’) | NYPD arrests 14 Jewish protesters outside Republican club where Proud Boys brawled, Rex Santus, Vice, October 31, 2018 (‘The protesters outside the Club on Tuesday were there to call on the Republican Party to denounce white nationalism after the Saturday shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 worshippers were murdered by a man who’d shared anti-Semitic and white supremacist comments online.’).

Closer to home, Melbourne lawyer Nyadol Nyuon has launched an online petition, calling on the Minister to deny McInnes a visa. For their part, both Facebook and Instagram appear to have removed a large number of (official and unofficial) Proud Boy accounts from their sites. ‘The crackdown came slightly more than two weeks after members of the group reportedly attacked and beat activists protesting at an event in Manhattan. It also follows the massacre of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue — the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent US history.’ The gab.ai webshite (AKA ‘Twitter for nazis’) is also experiencing technical difficulties at the moment …


Above : Melbourne-based neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell tweets a dank meme about killing socialists. Note that Asanuma’s teenybopper assassin, Otoya Yamaguchi, killed himself a few weeks later.

See also : Australia should be wary of the Proud Boys and their violent, alt-right views, Kaz Ross, The Conversation (ABC), October 30, 2018 | Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes: ‘We Need More Violence from the Trump People’, gritpost, October 18, 2018 | The New Nazis: How the meme-rich world of the internet is a threat in Australia, Kaz Ross, ABC, October 14, 2018.

3) Young Natzionals

The recent revelation that the Young Nationals in NSW have been targeted for infiltration by neo-Nazis and White supremacists created some mild embarrassment for the party over the course of the last few weeks. On Wednesday, it was announced that 15 members of the party — including Thomas Brasher, Michael Heaney, Clifford Jennings and Oscar Tuckfield — had resigned, while something like another 20 have had their membership status questioned, and may yet leave or be forced out of the party. See : Nationals members resign en masse amid investigation into neo-Nazi ties, Michael Koziol, The Age, October 31, 2018 | Young Nationals resign after after ABC investigation reveals alt-right push, Alex Mann, ABC, October 31, 2018.

On Monday the story — the origins of which may be traced back to some reportage in The Australian back in May, but which was given flesh by Alex Mann for the ABC — provoked the following front-page treatment in The Daily Telegraph:

Oddly enough Sharri’s father, Max Markson, has been doing his bit to promote racism and fascism in Australia by way of Penthouse and in his capacity as Milo’s Australian publicist. Sadly, the relationship between Costas and Markson has broken down in the wake of the paedophile apologist’s December 2017 tour: ‘ … Mr Markson called Mr Costas a “lying conman”. Mr Costas, the publisher of Penthouse Australia and owning a company alongside one of Australia’s biggest drug dealers, convicted ice importer Sean Dolman, retaliated by calling Mr Markson “a very naughty boy” who “had his finger in the till”‘ (Private Sydney: Markson sparks up in court in dispute with Penthouse publisher, Andrew Hornery, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 6, 2018).

See also : “I’ve had pictures of the Florida school shooter posted on my door”. UTAS’s Dr Kaz Ross says she has had death threats since exposing young Nationals alt-right supporters, On Mornings with Sarah Gillman, ABC, November 1, 2018 | NSW Nats clear key player in Nazi scandal, SBS (AAP), October 31, 2018 | White Nationalists Plan to Infiltrate Mainstream Australian Politics, Paul Gregoire, Sydney Criminal Lawyers, October 22, 2018.

4) The Lads Society

As noted a year ago, the neo-Nazi grouplet ‘The Lads Society’ has a clubhouse in the Melbourne suburb of Cheltenham. The nazis also have a training facility in Sydney, which is located at 34 Thomas Street, Ashfield. The Lads certainly have a sense of humour, with the lease on the property being signed with Colemon Property Group on Hitler’s birthday (April 20).

The chief organiser of ‘The Lads’ in Sydney is a Kiwi called ‘Mark McDonald’. Previously, Mark was the lvl boss of another short-lived neo-Nazi grouplet called ‘Squadron 88’. It attracted some media attention by way of stuffing letterboxes in Jewish areas of Sydney with anti-Semitic tracts. McDonald is also widely-believed to be responsible for the distribution of some racist posters in Sydney in mid-2017. Most recently, McDonald and several other Lads attended Adelaide barrister John Bolton’s batshit rally in Wiley Park:


Above : Partially-obscured, joining Cottrell on the right is Adelaide barrister John Bolton; standing between Cottrell and Tuckfield is Mark McDonald, founder of defunct neo-Nazi grouplet Squadron 88 and current lvl boss of The Lads Society in Sydney.

Finally, ladsleaks has published an interesting discussion drawn from The Lads’ private Facebook page. The list of participants in the discussion reads like a Who’s Who of neo-Nazism Down Under, including both founders Blair Cottrell and Tom Sewell, Mark McDonald (‘Tyler Winchester’) and Stuart Von Moger, David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’), Jim Perren (Australia First Party/’Whitelaw Towers’/United Patriots Front), Welf Herfurth and more. Much of the discussion revolves around The Lads’ shared hatred for Jewish neo-Nazi Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes. Based in Sydney, Sykes was until a few years ago a prolific contributor to the world’s leading neo-Nazi webshite ‘The Daily Stormer’. A member of the Australia First Party, Sykes uses his blog ‘United Nationalists of Australia’ to take aim at the party’s rivals on the right — including, of course, The Lads.

The post which triggered Tom can be read here — I’ll post other commentary from ladsleaks here laters.

5) … of note

Guns, fascism, infighting and couch-surfing: Researcher Serena Tarr recounts a year studying the alt-right, Emma McClatchey, Little Village, October 8, 2018;
Here Is a List of Far-Right Attackers Trump Inspired. Cesar Sayoc Wasn’t the First — and Won’t Be the Last., Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept, October 28, 2018;
We Must Pressure Mainstream Forces to Stop Downplaying the Far Right, Spencer Sunshine, truthout, October 29, 2018;
Three Months Inside Alt-Right New York, Jay Firestone, Commune, Fall 2018 (‘An undercover antifascist descends through all nine circles of the alt-right inferno.’);
Twilight of the Racist Uncles: How Facebook is melting the minds of our elders, Ed Burmila, The Baffler, October 30, 2018;
After Last Week, There’s No Hope That the Media Will Ever Abandon False Equivalencies With the Far Right, Natasha Lennard, The Intercept, October 31, 2018;
Engedaw Berhanu Remembers His Nephew—Brought to Portland, Then Forever Lost, Jason Wilson, Willamette Week, October 31, 2018;
Punching On With Patriots: How To Tackle Gavin McInnes And His Proud Boys’ Promise of Violence In Australia, Tom Tanuki, New Matilda, October 31, 2018.

John August ~versus~ slackbastard

    NB. I began writing this in mid-January, put it aside, and am only now returning to it. In the interim, the NSW Humanist Society/Humanist Society of NSW held a meeting on February 14, 2010, to elect a new Committee of Management, but I’m unaware of the results of this meeting (see below), and who now constitutes the Committee. The latest edition of the Society newsletter, however, states that the person previously responsible for letting the Hall (David Duffy) has been replaced, and those wishing to hire it will be more stringently vetted in future.

Introduction

As noted, John August, the President of the NSW Humanist Society/Humanist Society of NSW, has recently released a statement regarding the Society, Humanist House, and the ‘Public Information Forum’ (PIF), a fascist grouping whose meetings at the House in October and November 2009 were accompanied by protest. After detailing some recent history involving the Society’s relationship to and with the PIF (aka ‘Klub Nation’/’Klub Naziya’/’Mark Pavic Group’), as well as an attempt to introduce a statement in opposition to racism and xenophobia into the group’s Constitution, August notes that the Society’s last AGM:

…resulted in a committee which included many PIF members who had not previously attended social gatherings or committee meetings, contributed to the Humanist Viewpoints or otherwise taken an interest in the NSW Humanists. The election was itself problematic, with no scrutiny of candidates before the election, and confusion about preferential voting.

The Society zine (Humanist Viewpoints, Vol.48, No.4, October/November/December 2009) states that the:

2009 AGM was well attended and the new committee consists of John August (President), David Duffy and Waratah Rosemarie Gillespie (Vice Presidents), Victor Bien (Treasurer), Affie Adagio (Hon Sec/Editor) and Angela Drury (Assist. Sec). Ordinary committee members: Dylon Anderson, Ken Cratchley, Tony D’Angiolillo, Hugh Drewitz, Gillian Ellis, Fred Flatow, Robin Hall, Mark Pavic, Andrew Wilson, and John Wright.

The same number also welcomes the (‘White nationalist’) Australian Protectionist Party’s NSW spokesperson Darrin Hodges into the Humanist fold.

Protest

In relation to public protest at Humanist House, August has little new to add. There were two such protests — in October and November — timed to coincide with the meeting of the neo-Nazis. August reiterates the fact that he considered the protests violent (a Society member who witnessed one of the protests asserts that the protesters struck the building, and “a glass panel inside Humanist House was damaged around this time”) and therefore unwelcome, and that he remains at a loss as to the identities of those participating. August also complains that participants failed to contact the Society prior to the protests in order to communicate their concerns, and have not done so since. For their part, the neo-Nazis apparently accused August and the committee of collaborating with the protesters and, inter alia, “claimed that the police would be investigating the damage which resulted to Humanist House”. In summary: “The protester’s careless and ill-thought out actions exacerbated an already difficult and stressful situation. Great work, guys.”

Police

Again, not a great deal of new information. August spoke to Redfern police about the protests, who expressed knowledge of the involvement of participants in other political activity (“The protesters knew that the group went by the name “Klub Nation”… and it seems had been protesting elsewhere”).

Politics

In news just to hand:

I was intrigued to note that the Humanist Society of NSW was not an exhibitor at the Global Atheist Convention, an event at which one of its Patrons, Robyn Williams, was a guest speaker.

Pam Walker has authored an article — Anti-fascist protests at Humanist House, City Hub, March 17, 2010 — which states that Mark Pavic was elected Vice President of the Society at its February 14 meeting. If correct, then the fascists have not only not been removed from the Society but, seemingly, further cemented their place within it. Which is, of course, unfortunate: moaron that subject — and August’s understanding of the political issues raised by neo-Nazi infiltration of a Humanist association — later.

In the meantime, however, readers should note other events from Australian history — from 100 or more years ago. Humanists in particular should discuss the relevance of this history with other groups in civil society.

NB. The Melbourne Anarchist Club was formed on May 1, 1886 by members of the Australasian Secular Association. Anarchists played a key role in challenging Christian domination of the colonies, and in particular bourgeois opposition to participation by the working class in public life. In 1889, and the years following, anarchist and socialist agitators such as Chummy Fleming, Sam Rosa and John White participated in regular public protests demanding the opening of libraries and other civic institutions on Sundays.

Bonus History!

[Source : Radical Melbourne, Jill and Jeff Sparrow, Vulgar Press, 2001, pp.161–164.]

In 1883, The Argus published an article condemning the presence of the poor in the Public Library on Swanston Street:

A visitor to the library may test the matter first by his nose. He can smell vagrancy the moment he crosses the threshold. Using his eyes, he can see it right up and down the long hall; peering curiously about, he can find it in any of the alcoves, nicely sheltered and walled about with books. If he chooses to particularise, he may see an unmistakable specimen enter, shuffle up to a bookcase, select a volume of light literature, choose a seat, set up his elbows as supports to his head, and bend his eyes on the print. In a little while he spits. In an hour he will sleep; if he snores an attendant may disturb him; then he will read and spit again.

The Argus proposed two solutions – regulations forcing potential entrants to show a letter of introduction from a ‘respectable’ household or, failing that, the division of the building into distinct areas for different classes. By name, the library might have been ‘Public’ (or ‘Free’), but there was more than a suggestion from Melbourne’s elite that the building and its collection remained rather too good for the populace, since ‘the books . . . are handled, and soiled, and spoiled, and frequently mutilated, by creatures who would be better bestowed within Her Majesty’s gaols’.

Continue reading

NSW Humanist Society 1 ‘Public Information Forum’ 0

A ‘Final statement by John August, President Humanist Society of NSW, regarding Humanist House and the PIF’ has been published on Indymedia, dated January 8, 2010. It concerns the relationship between the Society and the ‘PIF’, or ‘Public Information Forum’, a small group which has been associated with the Society for the last decade or so, and which has been the subject of some controversy given its fascist political complexion.

In brief, the Society has announced that it will no longer be making its premises in Chippendale available to the innocuous-sounding PIF. (An aside: according to Martin Walker in his The National Front (1977), citing Rodney Legg, ‘NF Directorate meetings were always held in a public house booked in the name of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society’ — arf arf.) This decision was made at some unspecified but recent point by an Executive appointed at a Special General Meeting late last year. Otherwise, August’s statement provides his account of events within the Society over the last few months, culminating in the SGM. Of note is the fact that a large number of Sydney-based racists and fascists have joined the Society, and a proportion of these elected to the Society’s Committee. The Executive is currently organising an AGM at which a new Committee will be elected; the composition of this Committee will reflect the relative strength of the racist and fascist contingent.

Finally, on a spotterly note: “While other hirers of [Humanist House] have a public identity and often a webpage (one example is the “Spartacist” group, a previous tenant, which have a regular publication, website and entry on Wikipedia), there is no similar such information available on PIF”.

See also : Fascist infiltration of the ‘Humanist Society of New South Wales’ (Inc.) (November 25, 2009) | Klub Naziya / Klub Nation / Public Information Forum / Jason Rafty… (November 15, 2009) | Neo-Nazis in Sydney // Neo-Nazis in Phoenix (November 10, 2009) | Klub Naziya in Chippendale (November 7, 2009) | Neo-Nazism ~versus~ humanism (November 4, 2009) | Is neo-Nazism humanist? (October 14, 2009).

Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.

~ Frederick Douglass, “If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress”, August, 1857.