Underage gig venues proving popular

Underage gig venues proving popular
Tessa Hoffman
Northcote Leader
October 25, 2009

MUSIC venues popping up across Darebin are proving a boon for underage live music fans.

With the bulk of Melbourne’s music scene firmly centred around pubs and clubs, youths are increasingly flocking to shopfronts such as the recently opened El Joyero cafe, on [923] High St Thornbury, to get their fill of live music.

El Joyero is the third such venue to open in Darebin in the past two years, following High St’s Loophole and Barricade Books in the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre on [62] St Georges Rd, Northcote.

All regularly host all-ages shows where alcohol is not sold and a range of punk, hardcore, rock and folk bands play to crowds that usually average 50 people. Punters say the first thing they notice about the venues is their safe feel and community atmosphere.

“They are a safe space for kids,” said Jem Moloney, 24, whose punk band Fangs of a TV Evangelist has played at all three venues.

“The opportunities to see live music as a kid are nowhere near as common as they should be. So these places are often the first point of contact for live music.”

Moloney said liquor licensing laws made it “impossible” to stage all-ages gigs in pubs, so bands like his sought out venues such as Loophole.

Since 2005, pubs and clubs running events for under-18s must obey stringent conditions. These include removing all visible alcohol and related advertising and writing a safety plan outlining how young people will get home safely.

The events must end by 10pm and over-18s cannot attend.

Liquor Licensing spokeswoman Natalie Staaks said conditions were imposed after a series of violent incidents to “ensure young people can attend such functions and have a safe and enjoyable experience in licensed premises”.

Loophole caretaker Katie Pace said a collective of artists, musicians, anarchists and students opened the “explicitly not-for-profit space” in 2007, which now hosted all-ages shows most weekends. “We’re getting requests from (all-ages gig) organisers from interstate, even New Zealand.

“They say how thankful they are … it’s hard for them to find somewhere to put on all-ages shows.”

“So far there hasn’t been any dramas with the police, the gigs end by midnight … but if the neighbours said this is a problem, we would have to respect that.”

Northcote Sen-Sgt Michael Reeves said he was not aware of complaints relating to noise, street drinking or anti-social behaviour outside any of the venues.

But he said: “We would like the organisers to let us know (so we can) provide a patrol, for parents’ peace of mind … just to drive round and make sure everybody’s OK and neighbours aren’t being affected.

“Underage drinking is always a possibility where young people gather (and) that’s one of the things we would be mindful of if we patrolled.”

Brunswick’s Liam Osborne, who started going to all-ages gigs at Loophole when he was 16, said the shows “stopped me having to go to pubs and get turned away”.

While he had just turned 18, he still preferred their laid-back communal atmosphere over pubs.

“They’re just two different vibes,” he said. “All-ages shopfront community venues have a community feel. The band plays on the floor and there’s not an emphasis on alcohol sales as opposed to pub shows.”

El Joyero officially opened this weekend. Loophole is currently re-locating (from 834A) to 670 High Street — Barricade Books is also expected to re-locate to the new space at Loophole very soon. The Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre is having an ‘Open Day’ on Saturday, November 28.

Anarchists claim Northcote Neo-Nazi attack

Anarchists claim Northcote Neo-Nazi attack
Tessa Hoffman
Preston Leader
October 14, 2009

NEO-NAZI skinheads allegedly staged a pay-back attack on Melbourne’s anarchist headquarters in Northcote recently.

Anarchists claim the four men, one armed with pepper spray, stormed into an activists’ meeting at the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre, [home to] Barricade Books on St Georges Rd on [Monday], September 28, knocking over bookshelves and demanding the group end its anti-fascist activities.

No one was hurt in the incident.

A spokesperson for the anarchist collective said during the attack, the group’s ringleader accused the meeting of graffiting anti-fascist slogans on a Burwood tattoo parlour and warned of violent repercussions if it continued these activities.

“They screamed and shouted, pushed over book shelves, crowded individuals, and threatened physical violence,” said the spokesperson.

“No-one was hurt…we were all a bit shaken.”

The spokesperson said the centre would stay open and the Melbourne Anarchist Club remained “committed to continuing to facilitate anarchist activity in Melbourne”.

Northcote Police said they had no record of the incident.

The Melbourne Anarchist Club has released a statement on the incident, which has been published on Melbourne Indymedia (and elsewhere).

A little history

In general, neo-Nazi and fascist activity is subject to the same peaks and troughs as any other form of political activism.

In the 1980s, the two dominant forces on the far right were Jack van Tongeren’s ‘Australian Nationalists Movement’ (ANM), principally confined to WA, and James Saleam’s ‘National Action’ (NA), which largely confined itself to NSW.

Australian Nationalists Movement

The ANM came to notoriety through its conduct of an arson campaign against Asian-owned businesses in Perth, a campaign intended to drive Asian-Australians from the state and to create a ‘Whites Only’ Western Australia (with van Tongeren as its führer). The plan came unstuck when police arrested those responsible, with van Tongeren himself — a former member of NA — sentenced to a lengthy prison term (1989-2002) for his role as the chief architect. The campaign was murderous as well as violent: ANM member David Locke was killed by two associates after he was suspected of being a police informer.

    In 1993, the ANM was the subject of a documentary, Nazi Supergrass, by David Bradbury:

    “A film that reveals the extraordinary race war waged by the neo-Nazi Australian Nationalist Movement (ANM) in the late eighties in Western Australia.

    This is the chilling story of neo Nazi terrorism under the Southern Cross in suburbia. It explores the dark underworld of neo-Nazis in Australia. Ex-Vietnam vet Jack van Tongeren modelled himself on Hitler and was convinced he was the modern day Fuhrer destined to lead Australia out of a corrupt world where Jews, Asians and Aborigines defiled the majority Anglo Saxon race. Van Tongeren and his Aryan army of malcontent criminals and teenage skinheads lead a terrifying ‘war’ in Perth of the late 80’s firebombing Asian restaurants and defacing Jewish synagogues…”

Released in 2002, van Tongeren launched another campaign, this time to promote his manifesto and a further attempt to enter Parliament. Like his previous campaign, it was not a roaring success (see : White supremacist Wallys: Weerheym in The West Australian, July 9, 2007; Racist jailed for ‘stunt bomb plot’, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 24, 2007; WA police say “You’re under arrest!”; Billing and van Tongeren say “Huh?”, April 5, 2006).

National Action

National Action was formally launched on ANZAC Day (April 25) in 1982. It was at about this time that Saleam bought his property in Tempe (a suburb of Sydney), which became NA’s HQ (and which now forms the HQ of the ‘Australia First Party’). Of this period, David Greason writes:

From 1984 onwards National Action was regularly in the newspapers, accused of terrorism against leftists and anti-racist activists. Saleam would always be there, denying it all, and claiming a set-up by the political police of the NSW Special Branch, hoping no doubt that he could become the new Tim Anderson.

Both the roll-call of violence and harassment against National Action’s critics was damning. Journalist Denis Freney received phoned death threats and had his windows shot through. Bronwyn Ridgway of the NSW Nurses Association had her car firebombed. Meredith Burgmann, now a NSW Labor MP, had the windows of her house bricked. Anti-apartheid activist John Brink had a Molotov cocktail thrown through his bedroom window. Three masked men necklaced an effigy outside the home of Reverend Dorothy McMahon of the Pitt Street Uniting Church. National Action members stormed a dinner, shouting death threats at NSW Liberal Helen Sham-Ho. A meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force was disrupted. Conservative commentator Dr Gerard Henderson received death threats after criticising National Action in a newspaper column. The Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, Irene Moss, had racist slogans daubed on her garage.

The case that brought National Action undone, however, came in January 1989, when Eddie Funde, Australian representative of the African National Congress, had his front door shot through. Shotgun pellets were found near his child’s cradle. National Action members Jason Frost and Michael White were arrested. They both implicated Saleam, telling the court that he had given them a balaclava, a shotgun and eight dollars each for a drink to steady their nerves. That had to be Jim, I thought on reading their story. Anyone else would have given them a fifty each.

Saleam claimed it was the political police again, trying to wreck the nationalist cause. The jury was not so persuaded and, in May 1991, Saleam was sentenced to three and a half years jail. This was his second time inside — in April 1989 he’d been sentenced to two years’ hard labour for fraud and receiving stolen property. ‘Ironically, Saleam received his sentence on the same day as the centenary of Hitler’s birth’, the Sydney Morning Herald noted.

Further, on April 20, 1991, National Action member Perry Whitehouse murdered another NA member, Wayne “Bovver” Smith, at the organisation’s inner-Sydney headquarters after an argument.

With the departure of Saleam and the collapse of its Sydney base, control of National Action fell into the lap of Adelaide NA führer Michael Brander. Brander carried on the struggle for several more years, attempting to (further) extend NA’s influence to Melbourne by way of establishing a shopfront in Fawkner in January 1997; the shop was closed in April 1998; barely 15 months after it was opened.

As for Brander, he enrolled at LaTrobe University and, having completed his MA in history, has since been welcomed with open arms by the ‘neo-conservative’ / reactionary Quadrant magazine, which re-published his MA thesis on ‘Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the West’ in its March 2005 edition. Brander also addressed a post-graduate conference organised by the University of Sydney in July 2005, and is currently alleged to be publishing a zine called Australian Resurgence. (For further details, see : Anti-fascism in Melbourne: 1990s, March 20, 2007).

    “National Action,” a former member of the group tells me, “was like a model aircraft club with the occasional murder. There were the skinheads and the thugs and the nutters on the fringes, but basically, apart from that, it was a bunch of blokes without girlfriends.”

Australia First Party

Having abandoned NA, after his release from prison Saleam eventually made his way to Graeme Campbell’s Australia First Party (AF), established in June 1996. Following Campbell’s resignation in June 2001, Diane Teasdale became its national president. In 2002, a new AFP branch was formed in Sydney, under Saleam’s control (and which has become the new centre of gravity for the party).

Having contested numerous elections since its formation, its only electoral success thus far has been the election of Bruce Preece to local council in Adelaide in November 2006.

In 2007, AF underwent a split, leading to the creation of two rival groups named AF — one based in Sydney and the other in Shepparton (Victoria) — and a new group titled the ‘Australian Protectionist Party’.

Since 2001, AF, along with others on the far right, has organised an annual conference titled the ‘Sydney Forum’. It has enjoyed the support of various RSL Clubs in Sydney (Bexley, Eastwood and Petersham) and has also been hosted at The Bunker in Tempe. This year’s Forum took place on the weekend of September 26/27, and participants were drawn from a range of far right groups, including the New Right Australia, Australia First Party, One Nation, “National Anarchists”, and the neo-Nazi muzak networks Volksfront and Blood and Honour.

On September 28, the day following the Forum, four neo-Nazis belonging to Blood and Honour and the Hammerskins attacked the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre.

Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre

The Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre hosts a number of different groups, including the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation and Barricade Books. Since opening to the public late last year, MARC has hosted film screenings (including a festival of Spanish-language films organised by the Latin American Solidarity Network or LASNET), gigs, parties, workshops and a range of other events, in solidarity and co-operation with a wide range of other community groups.

Barricade Books

Barricade opened its doors for the first time at 115 Sydney Road, Brunswick on February 4, 1995; the outcome of several years preparation by a loose association of local anarchists. Notably, Barricade is the fourth such shop to open in Melbourne since the beginning of the 1970s.

Barricade’s opening didn’t go unnoticed, as just five months later, on July 11, neo-Nazis smashed the shop’s windows. As a result, for almost two years, the infoshop looked like a real live barricade, with ‘temporary’ iron sheets placed over the front windows. Still, the infoshop continued to function.

The smashing of the shop’s windows, and their replacement with temporary hoardings, was followed by various forms of low-level harassment, including the painting of swastikas on the shop’s front door on Invasion Day, January 26, 1996. An anti-fascist demonstration was held in Brunswick soon after, and marched to Barricade in solidarity. Finally, in June 1997, at the end of a long but eventually successful battle with the local council, the shop was fitted with bullet proof plexi-glass.

Since the attack on September 28 of this year, the roller door on the front of MARC has been repeatedly daubed with swastikas and slogans.

In August 2009, the SMH reported that “GRAFFITI daubed on the home of the NSW Treasurer, Eric Roozendaal, is believed to have been done by a group that has links to neo-Nazis. An unknown group painted ”88” on his eastern suburbs home, on the footpath and on the house of a neighbour at the weekend. Among far right-wing groups, the number 88 is taken to represent HH, shorthand for Heil Hitler…” (Neo-Nazi graffiti on Roozendaal home, Brian Robins, August 17, 2009).

A VIP, the neo-Nazi graffiti on Roozendaal’s house gained the attention of national media; not being VIPs, the attack on MARC, despite being of a more threatening nature, has been thus far ignored by all but a local newspaper. It did, however, come to the attention of current AF and former ‘White Pride Coalition Australia’ member Jim Perren, who wrote the following in response to the attack on his blog, ‘Whitelaw Towers’ (a blog which is recommended reading material for AF, and whose main author uses the email address ‘[email protected]’):

Strangely, bizarrely even, it appears @ndy, following months of sustained and concentrated provocation against White Nationalists, has proven to lack the intestinal fortitude for an actual confrontation.

After orchestrating a series of cowardly attacks including (alleged) actual vandalism, he has ‘bottled’ at the first signs of any form of response, let alone real retaliation, and gone running to his handlers in the Government and their attack dogs in the Law Enforcement Agencies.

Oh, what a guy!

Oh, what an “Anarchist”.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

That last comment from ‘bad idea’ is an absolute hoot. Folks, just pinch yourselves and bear in mind we are supposedly talking about ‘Anarchists’ here.

Authoritarian, law abiding, state collaborating ‘Anarchists’ quoting [l]aws, regulations and statutes?

Have we missed something here?

Whatever happened to the Revolution @ndy?

For reasons best known to Jim, the post has since been deleted from his blog.

Bonus!

‘Fear of Nazi revival’, Northcote Leader, Monday, July 17, 1995:

The Friends of Barricade Bookshop group fears a resurgence of neo-Nazi activity in Brunswick after two attacks on its bookshop in as many months. The group claims neo-Nazis smashed its windows at Barricade Bookshop in Sydney Road last Tuesday. “We believe the attack was buoyed by [an earlier] police raid because the news had gone out on the streets and the neo-Nazis acted in response to that”, group member [SS] said. Mr S said members feared a resurgence of neo-Nazi activity similar to that in March last year. Mr S said two witnesses saw three young men, who looked like [boneheads], smash the windows about 1am.

‘Nazi attack on Brunswick shop’, The Melbourne Times, February 7, 1996:

The front of [DG]’s house and the Barricade book shop in Sydney Road, Brunswick, have something in common — they are swathed in swastikas. Barricade Books has a distinctly war-zone ambience, with its smashed windows and semi-permanent shutters… The response from the Brunswick community was a rally at the traditional battleground — Brunswick Town Hall — followed by a march to Barricade Books. The protesters mostly matched the ambience of the any-and-all cause bookshop — shaved heads, coloured hair, overalls, work boots and politics ranging from the local Radical Women group to anarchists to mainstream politicians making election speeches… Speeches were made about “scum” who only come out in the dead of night — in 1993 a group of young National Action members did rally at the town hall, where they were pelted with eggs and abuse… Eventually, after mutual congratulations on a fine rally, the crowd went home — or popped into Barricade for a fresh supply of stickers and PC t-shirts. One member of Barricade’s collective organising committee said the steel shutters would remain while the bookshop tried to get permission to put up proper night security shutters to protect the windows.”

Added Bonus!

MAC statement on neo-Nazi attack on MARC

MAC statement on neo-Nazi attack on MARC

This statement has been prepared by the ‘Melbourne Anarchist Club’ (MAC), the owners of the ‘Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre’ (62 St Georges Road, Northcote), in response to recent threatening behaviour by local neo-Nazis.

It is intended to explain what has happened, and our response to it.

WHAT HAPPENED

On the afternoon of Monday, September 28, 2009, four neo-Nazi skinheads, believed to belong to or to be closely associated with the neo-Nazi skinhead groups ‘Blood & Honour Australia’ and the ‘Southern Cross Hammerskins’, attended the MARC. The neo-Nazis interrupted a meeting of a group which happened to be meeting at the time (a group which campaigns against sexual violence).

The neo-Nazis were highly agitated and very aggressive, confronting those present and preventing their exit by blocking the front door. They screamed and shouted, pushed over book shelves, crowded individuals, and threatened physical violence (including the use of capsicum spray or ‘mace’). The neo-Nazis demanded to know if the individuals present were ‘antifa’ (anti-fascists), and to be provided with the name and location of the blogger ’slackbastard’. After approximately 10 minutes, they left MARC with a final ‘Sieg Heil!’.

One of those present at the meeting provides the following account:

At 3pm Monday the 28th of September, several of us were sitting in the Barricade bookshop when four men entered through the front door. One of them, who was carrying a can of mace [pepper spray], yelled for us to sit down and that they had a message to deliver (he also asked who was in charge!). They proceeded to deliver a message that amounted to threatening that the MARC space would be the first point of call if there was any more antifa [anti-fascist] activity in Melbourne. They pushed over two bookshelves and swept some zines off the table as they left… Nobody was hurt, and there was no damage done to the space, just some disorganised books. We were all a bit shaken, but looked after each other.

It is understood that the most vocal neo-Nazi was a man named Justin. Justin is in his mid- to late-30s, and has tattoos on his hands and neck. He is the Victorian organiser for ‘Blood & Honour’, and is also closely associated with the Hammerskins. It is also understood that Justin works at ‘Hold Fast Body Art’ tattoo studio in Burwood (13 Burwood Highway).

During the course of their intervention at MARC, Justin informed those present that his business had been graffitied, and demanded that ‘antifa’ cease all such activity, or that there would be violent repercussions for MARC and its users. It is understood that this was a reference to an alleged incident which took place on Monday, September 14, an account of which, ‘Anti-Fascists attack neo-Nazi’s business in Burwood’, was published anonymously on the Melbourne Indymedia website.

There is no independent confirmation of this incident, but given Justin’s subsequent behaviour, we understand it to be true.

In summary: on September 14, unknown parties graffitied a tattoo shop in Burwood with ‘anti-fascist’ slogans. Two weeks later, on September 28, four neo-Nazi skinheads, including an employee at the tattoo shop in question, attended the MARC in Northcote and assaulted a meeting of a group campaigning against sexual violence, threatening further violence upon the group, MARC, and its users, unless all ‘anti-fascist’ activity in Melbourne ceased immediately.

OUR RESPONSE

The Melbourne Anarchist Club remains committed to continuing to facilitate anarchist activity in Melbourne.

Thus the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre will continue to remain open to the public, and to be used by a variety of groups, including those campaigning for an end to sexual violence, for workers’ rights, and for environmental preservation;
as a venue for art, music and film;
as a source of information on contemporary struggles for justice, as well as historical inquiry;
and as a continuing resource for those, like the Melbourne Anarchist Club, who want to advance the cause of revolutionary, class-struggle anarchism.

In addition to reviewing, along with the various groups which make use of MARC, our security and safety procedures, the MAC is organising an Open Day for the general public.

The Open Day will take place on Saturday, November 28, and will include free food, entertainment, and a variety of other activities.

More details will be provided in coming weeks.

All are welcome.

¡No pasarán!

===

For more information and enquiries:

    Melbourne Anarchist Club
    P.O. Box 494
    Brunswick
    VIC 3056
    AUSTRALIA
    [email protected]
    http://mac.anarchobase.com/

Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre (MARC) attacked by neo-Nazis

Recently, the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre (MARC) in Northcote was attacked by neo-Nazis. Based on what those responsible for the attack stated, it is understood to have been in response to an alleged, recent anti-fascist action which took place in Burwood, on or about Monday, September 14, 2009.

More statements may follow from the groups who use the space, but for the moment one of those present has written the following, brief description of what happened:

At 3pm Monday the 28th of September, several of us were sitting in the Barricade bookshop when four men entered through the front door. One of them, who was carrying a can of mace [pepper spray], yelled for us to sit down and that they had a message to deliver (he also asked who was in charge!). They proceeded to deliver a message that amounted to threatening that the MARC space would be the first point of call if there was any more antifa [anti-fascist] activity in Melbourne. They pushed over two bookshelves and swept some zines off the table as they left… Nobody was hurt, and there was no damage done to the space, just some disorganised books. We were all a bit shaken, but looked after each other.

The four males who attended the space were described as being white, as aged between their early 20s and mid-30s, well built, with shaved heads and tattoos.

Typical boneheads, in other words.

One bonehead was referred to as ‘Justin’, and he did most of the yelling. Justin has tattoos on his neck and hands. A second bonehead also spoke. He has reddish hair, tattoos on his neck, and was wearing a green bomber jacket. The third and fourth boneheads were younger; one was described as being ‘stocky’, while the other was wearing a ‘Crew 38’ (Hammerskins) patch on his jacket (and also as having odd-looking eyebrows).

Note that Control of Weapons Regulations 2000 defines “An article designed or adapted to discharge oleoresin capsicum spray” as a prohibited weapon.

TO BE CONTINUED…