antifa notes (march 21, 2018) : nazis, patriots, drama, murder … the usual

Yeesh: talk about drama.

Party for Freedom /// Neil Erikson

Nick Folkes’ micro-‘Party for Freedom’ (PFF) has undergone some settling of contents over the course of the last few months. Gone is George Jameson and Penny Louise/Tridgell, along with a number of PFF placards, which George has apparently refused to return to Nick. The placards made a brief appearance at a ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC) anti-Muslim rally in Belmont on February 24. (Note that, in reality, it appears as though there is no application before the local council for the construction of a new mosque in the area.) Incensed by this traitorous act, Nick has been going off on Facebook, taking aim not only at George and Penny but also the TBC (in both NSW and VIC), the Australia First Party, its leader Dr Jim Saleam (who he accuses of playing spin-the-bottle), and one of Jim’s QLD-based flunkeys, Jim Perren (who notably helped organise the United Patriot Front’s (UPF’s) doomed party launch in Toowoomba in February 2016 — describing it as ‘a Nuremberg rally minus the swastikas’). Oh, he also accused Melbourne local Paul ‘Guru’ Franzi of drug abuse(!), and more besides. Further, Nick’s sidekick Toby Cook has recently gone full Nazi, and the day after the TBC rally in February attended Jura Books, where he and two others — Matt Lowe and Christopher Grantham — proceeded to make arses of themselves. To top it all off, Nick invited valour thief and serial pest Ralph Cerminara to act as mediator between the TBC methgoblins and whatever remains of the PFF in Sydney in order to arrange the return of the preciousss to Nick.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In any event, here’s a sampling of the sparkling prose coming from the patriotik camp:













Last week, serial pest Neil Erikson was in court again, on this occasion to be sentenced for contempt: see : Judge scolds far-right activist Neil Erikson as ‘childish’ for wearing uniform to court, Karen Percy, March 13, 2018 | You’re talking ‘rubbish’, judge tells far-right activist Neil Erikson, The Age (AAP), March 13, 2018. While sentencing has been reserved, Neil and his dickhead mates — Garry Hume, Ricky/Rikki Turner and Richard Whelan — are due back in court in June to face charges of riot, affray, assault etc arising from the MILO stoopid of last year.

Oh, Neil also acted stoopid outside Northcote Town Hall on election day in Batman and in the company of two other men later stalked Greens leader Samantha Ratnam.

True Blue Crew

Notwithstanding the angwy words with Folkes and Freedom, the TBC is making money thru selling memberships and merchandise — seemingly, with a plan to open a gym in Melton along the lines of their kameraden ‘The Lads Society’ in Cheltenham. Last month, the TBC’s number one fan, Phill Galea, was declared fit to stand trial for alleged terrorisms:

Anti-Islam extremist Phillip Galea to stand trial on alleged bomb plot
Tessa Akerman
The Australian
February 6, 2018

An anti-Islam extremist accused of plotting bomb attacks has been ruled fit to stand trial by the Victorian Supreme Court.

Phillip Galea is charged with collecting or making documents to prepare for terrorist acts between 2015 and 2016.

Police allege Mr Galea talked about bombing the headquarters of Melbourne’s anarchists.

Mr Galea is currently represented by Legal Aid after he sacked his first law firm, which commissioned a psychiatric report that found he was unfit to stand trial.

Barrister Tim Marsh today told the Supreme Court two subsequent psychiatric reports found his client able to explain the role of judge and jury and the difference between pleas.

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said it appeared as though the author of the first report was trying to determine Mr Galea’s beliefs and whether they were “radical”.

The Magistrates Court has previously heard Mr Galea has links to anti-Islam groups and had allegedly made an order for potassium nitrate, which can be used to manufacture explosives.

Mr Marsh this morning said the additional reports covered whether Mr Galea would be able to participate in a trial, and he and the commonwealth prosecution were in agreement that Mr Galea was fit to stand trial.

Justice Hollingworth remitted the case back to the Magistrates Court, where Mr Galea’s case is listed for committal in April.

Otherwise, the methgoblins cancelled a proposed meeting in Tarneit to organise anti-African vigilantes, but on the plus side have declared that, in-between court dates, they’ll be having another flagwit parade in June in Melbourne (see : June 26, 2016 : True Blue Crew & Co ~versus~ Melbourne and Australian Pride /// Flagwit Rally, June 25, 2017 : Recap), and will be joined by dozens of racist gronks in Sydney and elsewhere.

Aryan Nations /// Antipodean Resistance

In Perth, Aryan Nations members Robert Wayne Edhouse and Melony Attwood were convicted of murdering Attwood’s partner, Alan Taylor, seemingly in order to obtain his life insurance. See : Robert Edhouse and Melony Attwood convicted of murder in Nazi ‘death squad’ killing of Alan Taylor, Tim Clarke, The West Australian, March 12, 2018 | Perth murder scene reveals desperate attempts to conceal what really happened, Phil Hickey, WA Today, March 13, 2018 | Melony Attwood made distressed triple-0 call over murder with Aryan Nations boyfriend, Joanna Menagh, ABC, March 15, 2018.

While this may suggest the end of Aryan Nations in Perth, at least some of the handful of boneheads associated with the brand have instead decided to re-badge as ‘Combat 18’. Oh, I should also add that the site of the murder was also the site of Blair Cottrell’s announcement in November 2015 that he would be forming a political party (‘Fortitude’); he and other members of the UPF Melbourne having been guests of the Aryan Nations’ murderers for that weekend’s ‘Reclaim Australia’ rally.

As for Antipodean Resistance, they’ve been carrying on chucking up posters and going for walks and doing some other stuff. Their kameraden in the US (Atomwaffen) and the UK (National Action) have also been making headlines, albeit for killing people and doing terrorisms. VICE UK has recently published a series of articles on the far-right under the collective title of ‘Hate Island’; it includes one examining ironmarch dot org, a/k/a ‘The Obscure Neo-Nazi Forum Linked to a Wave of Terror’ (James Poulter, March 12, 2018):

Ironmarch.org was not the kind of website to hang out on if you knew what was good for you. A swastika-plastered forum which took its users on a shared journey of extreme radicalisation, it kickstarted an international wave of Nazi terror.

Users of Ironmarch.org have attempted a mall shooting; murdered two young men; attempted to hack a Sikh dentist to death with a machete; and have been found to be in possession of illegal weapons and materials to make bombs, among other crimes. While these acts of violence mostly took place in North America, the forum had plenty of fans in the UK.

One of Ironmarch’s administrators founded the banned British Nazi terror group National Action (NA), while an infographic produced by the site lists NA among its “affiliated groups”, under the heading “Ironmarch members in the global fascist struggle”.

Curiously, along with National Action (banned by the UK government as a ‘terrorist’ organisation), Atomwaffen and Skydas (Lithuania), Antipodean Resistance is the only other group listed as an affiliate of IronMarch.

Meanwhile, antifa in Eugene, Oregon have been doing a bit of digging into Atomwaffen: Mr. and Mrs. Maci: The Atomwaffen Division Implodes (March 8, 2018).

See also : YouTube Belatedly Bans Neo-Nazi Group Atomwaffen, Melanie Ehrenkranz, Gizmodo, March 2, 2018 | Read the Chilling Texts of Nazis Celebrating the Murder of a Jewish Teen, A.C. Thompson, Ali Winston and Jake Hanrahan, Mother Jones, March 1, 2018 (‘When Samuel Woodward was charged with killing Blaze Bernstein last month, other Atomwaffen members cheered the death’).

Jordan Peterson

Kermit The Flog was in town recently. The following reviewers give his latest tome on 12 Rules For Life Big Ups:

Postmodernism Did Not Take Place: On Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, Shuja Haider, Viewpoint, January 23, 2018 | A Messiah-cum-Surrogate-Dad for Gormless Dimwits: On Jordan B. Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life”, Houman Barekat, LA Review of Books, March 11, 2018 | The Intellectual We Deserve, Nathan J Robinson, Current Affairs, March 14, 2018 | Jordan Peterson & Fascist Mysticism, Pankaj Mishra, The New York Review of Books, March 19, 2018.

*US propagandist Daniel Pipes was also recently in the cuntry: see : Daniel Pipes Comes to Melbourne: Are Australian Muslims Right to be Outraged?, Chloe Patton, ABC Religion and Ethics, March 8, 2018.

Mr Potato Head

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has extended the white hand of friendship to white farmers in South Africa and informed them that STRAYA has indeed ‘boundless plains to share’ (with white men). According to Jason Wilson, Peter Dutton’s offer to white South African farmers started on the far right (The Guardian, March 16, 2018) — which seems about right. According to Jon Piccini, Peter Dutton’s ‘fast track’ for white South African farmers is a throwback to a long, racist history (The Conversation, March 19, 2018) … which again, seems about reich. (See also : Drawing The Global Colour Line, Henry Reynolds, Marilyn Lake, Melbourne University Press, 2008.)

Dutton’s kamerad, the Very Ethical Jim Molan, was angwy and upset (presumably) when Little Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen were jailed for hate crimes a few weeks ago; worse yet, the hate criminals had their Facebook page deleted. Oh, and Golding was attacked in prison and had his nose broken last week.

See also : Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves Too, Liam Stack, The New York Times, March 17, 2017.

terrorisms

In Germany, a number of neo-Nazis have been jailed for attacks upon refugees: see : Germany: Far-right ‘terrorists’ jailed for attacks on refugees, Al Jazeera, March 8, 2018 (‘Dresden’s high court sentences seven members of the Freital Group to between five and 10 years for attempted murder’).

In Greece, alleged members of neo-Nazi group ‘Combat 18’ got arrest: see : Greek counter-terrorism squad arrests five suspected of neo-Nazi group involvement, Neos Kosmos, March 7, 2018 (‘The men are alleged members of far-right criminal group, Combat 18, and suspected of involvement in a series of arson attacks and explosions’).

anTEEfa

Arsenal Pulp Press in Canuckistan is publishing a cartoon guide: The Antifa Comic Book: 100 Years of Fascism and Antifa Movements Around the World by Gord Hill.

In Russia, police in St Petersburg have arrested a man allegedly responsible for organising the murder of antifascist Timur Kacharava in 2005 (St. Petersburg: Police arrests man behind antifa activist Timur Kacharava’s assassination, Crime Russia, February 23, 2018). Elsewhere, Russian authorities have been keeping busy repressing anarchists and anti-fascists; a useful summary of recent bastardy is available via avtonom dot org: Review of repressions against anarchists in Russia – 2017 and first months of 2018. In Sydney on the weekend, local anti-fascists held a smol rally outside the Russian consulate in solidarity with compañerxs in Russia.

Finally, two four recent articles examine the impact anti-fascist action has had on fascist organising in the US: Is Antifa Counterproductive? White Nationalist Richard Spencer Would Beg to Differ., Natasha Lennard, The Intercept, March 17, 2018 | The alt-right is in decline. Has antifascist activism worked?, Jason Wilson, The Guardian, March 18, 2018 | How Antifa uses no-platforming successfully to fight white supremacy, David Griscom, New Statesman, March 19, 2018 | Antifa Has Richard Spencer on the Run. Does That Vindicate Its Tactics?, Joshua Holland, The Nation, March 22, 2018 (‘There’s good reason to believe that antifa’s success has come despite violent tactics, not because of them’).

Speaking of which …

Heimbach, Spencer, & The Yanqui AltReich

Recently, in Michigan, both Richard Spencer and Matt Heimbach had A Very Bad Time: see : After Fights And Arrests, Richard Spencer Speaks To Tiny Crowd At Michigan State, Christopher Mathias, Huffington Post, March 6, 2018 (‘Spencer and his white supremacist buddies had a miserable two days in Michigan. Everywhere they went, anti-fascist protesters were waiting’). Worse was to come for Heimbach, after he was caught fucking his father-in-law’s (Matt Parrott’s) wife; Parrott also being the other key leader of the neo-Nazi groupuscule ‘Traditionalist Worker Party’. See : How a white nationalist’s family came to blows over a trailer tryst, Marwa Eltagouri and Avi Selk, The Washington Post, March 14, 2018 | Neo-Nazi Group Implodes Over Love Triangle Turned Trailer Brawl, Kelly Weill, The Daily Beast, March 14, 2018 (‘Matthew Heimbach and his spokesman came to blows after Heimbach was caught sleeping with the spokesman’s wife. What’s more, Heimbach is married to the spokesman’s stepdaughter’).

M A S T E R R A C E.

See also : Alex Jones is a menace to society. I’m suing him., Brennan Gilmore, The Washington Post, March 14, 2018.

The SUWA Show : March 2017 edition w Dr Jason Wilson on Trump, Gorka & #TheResistance

Our guest on the March edition of Floating Anarchy (4th Friday of the month on The SUWA Show on 3CR) is Dr Jason Wilson.

On Gorka, see : Gorka Hedges, Evades on Vitezi Rend Tie, Eli Clifton and Jim Lobe, LobeLog, March 21, 2017 | Sebastian Gorka, Uphold Your Oath To The American People, Jane Eisner, Forward, March 21, 2017 | Sebastian Gorka’s association with far-right, pro-Iranian political figures in Hungary, Hungarian Free Press, March 18, 2017 | Sebastian Gorka May Be a Far-Right Nativist, But for Sure He’s a Terrible Scholar, Foreign Policy, March 17, 2017 | The husband-and-wife team driving Trump’s national security policy, Eli Stokols, Bryan Bender and Michael Crowley, Politico, February 13, 2017 (‘Before they became a Trump administration power couple, Sebastian and Katharine Gorka were prolific collaborators on research about the threat of Islamist terrorism.’).

antifascism on film

Fighting Talk [1993]

*On Anti-Fascist Action, see libcom’s archive of the group’s journal Fighting Talk, published between September 1991 and April 1999, in PDF format.

Antifascist Attitude [2008]

ANTIFA : Chasseurs De Skins [2008]

161 > 88 [2012]

The Moscow Mutiny [2012]

The Rise Of Sweden’s Far-Left Militants [VICE, 2014]

Burning From The Inside [2015]

SAD BUT TRUE : IVAN. IN MEMORY OF OUR FRIEND. [2015]

BBC Our World : Crushing Dissent [2016]

The Antifascists [2017]

See also : Antifa Worldwide: A Brief History of International Antifascism, Alexander Reid Ross, It’s Going Down, February 14, 2017 | Read the Introduction to Militant Anti-Fascism!, revolution by the book (AK Press), April 21, 2015.

#Antifa in Russia

Two things:

First, this article at Global Voices Online is problematic but worth reading. I’m yet to encounter a serious account in English of antifascist politics in Russia.

Russia’s Punk Underground on Trial
Lewis May
November 7, 2014

See also : avtonom.org.

Secondly, a blast from the past. The eXile was a zine published in Moscow for the benefit of local yuppies.

Scared Skins
Jake Rudnitsky
The eXile
February 24, 2006

If AntiFA punks and skinheads are brave enough to want to take the fight against Russia’s 50,000 skinheads [sic] to the street, why won’t they talk to the eXile? By Jake Rudnitsky.

I first learned about AntiFA about a week ago while sitting at Starlite with NTV journalist Andrei Loshak. He’d devoted a Profession: Reporter show to the movement last December and a young ethnic-looking guy approached him with a little constructive criticism. AntiFA is the name of Russia’s anti-fascist hardcore skinheads and punks.

The highlight of Loshak’s show was a video shot on an AntiFA’s camera-phone in which they attack a group of neo-Nazi skins near Chisty Prudi. (Yes, even skinheads have 3G phones these days.) The resolution was terrible — even worse than the operativniye syomki, or secret cameras, that his show frequently relies on to catch officials taking bribes red-handed — and the fan wanted to put Loshak in touch with other AntiFA members that could hook him up with better footage and interviews.

The story sounded like a gimme. I wanted to write about for myself. But I should have realized that if Lohsak, with a month and NTV’s resources, couldn’t find anything better than this one camera-vid shot, I’d be facing an uphill battle.

Over a week later, after scouring the internet for contacts, prostrating myself on obscure ru.net chat rooms, and tapping every single acquaintance I have with any possible connection to AntiFA or punk music (including the ethnic guy mentioned above and most of his friends), I finally scored an interview. Well, sort of.

My “interview” with someone from AntiFA was actually contracted out to a journalist Ruslan Korolev whom I met at a ru.net site called the “United Forum of Anarchists.” From there we carried out a long courtship via email before he finally agreed to telegraph my questions to an unnamed representative of AntiFA and send me a transcript of the interview. Who answered my questions, what role he has in the organization, and how much I could trust the info is anybody’s guess. For all I know, my questions could have been asked to a 42-year-old TV psychic for 50 rubles a minute. All I knew was that, according to Korolev, nobody wanted to talk to me without the permission of their leader, and that I was lucky to get even this interview.

On the day that this issue went to press, I finally got to interview a real, live AntiFA activist, nicknamed “Ukrop” (Dill). He told me that he was just about the only one in Moscow willing to talk to the press and, judging by the difficulty I’d had, I believe him. There were a few restrictions — no photos, for example — but at least I’d have something to write about.

Had I had the good sense to call Edward Limonov before embarking on this fool’s errant, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. Limonov told me, “I have no interest in these guys. They’re irrational.” After all my efforts to secure an interview, I can safely say, he’s right. Ukrop’s name says it all, really. AntiFA is the dill of Russia’s extremist politics: bland, irrelevant, and easily ignored.

In theory, anti-fascism sounds hard as nails: anarchists, punks and skinheads running around and looking for brawls with Moscow’s Nazi-skinhead underground. When I first envisioned this story, I thought it’d be filled with Chopper-like braggarts, righteous, scar-covered thugs living in squats and in a constant state of war. After all, whatever you say about Russian fascists, they’re definitely scary. Last year according to the SOVA Center, which gathers info on racial attacks, they were credited with 28 murders throughout Russia. It’d seem like anyone looking to take them on would have to be equal parts crazy and tough. In other words, anything but dill.

Furthermore, it’s understandable why they’re a bit camera shy. The basic tenet of AntiFA is to challenge the growing neo-Nazi movement in Russia with force; they want to make it hurt to be a Nazi. But they’re vastly outnumbered by Moscow’s real [sic] skinheads, who according to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights numbered 5000 two years ago, the last time anyone bothered to count. Last November, ultra-rightists mobilized up to 5000 to goose-step down Tverskaya holding racist signs in broad daylight. According to Dima, a skinhead I talked to who is neither AntiFA nor racist (boneheads, as enlightened Russian skins call their racist/fascist brethren), AntiFA activists on a good day can only muster a group of about 50 and their total number in Moscow is no more than 200. I figured they must have brass balls.

So, it was a bit of a surprise when Ukrop asked me to meet him at Bilingua. Nothing against the cafe, which is a favorite among bearded intellectuals and other assorted pencilnecks, but it’s not exactly the hard-assiest place in Moscow. Nor did his lunch of beer and grenadine add to the baby-faced punk’s intimidation-creds. By the time he started telling me that the fascists were on the decline and AntiFA was rising, I realized I’d been had.

AntiFA is just another western fad, no different than riggers, cigar-smoking, and sushi. Russia’s always had a minority of Westernizers in its capitals, looking to the West for trends that they blindly copy. The trend AntiFA’s membership is mimicking is the same soft stuff as the Food Not Bombs and Critical Mass crowd in the States. I got to know those two movements well when going to school in Minneapolis, one of the last places in the States where punk was practiced by people beyond high school. They’d do their thing, occasionally causing a traffic jam or starting an organic garden on an abandoned lot, and nobody would pay them any mind. They bought books at the local anarchist book store, ate vegan, espoused totally impractical politics, and spent their weekends crowding into mattress-lined basements to watch punk shows. They’re as unthreatening as someone with a shaved head can be. That, to the AntiFA crew, must seem like paradise.

With an unintended irony, Ukrop told me about his recent meeting with a bunch of German anarchists and red skins (anti-racist skinheads). “They thought we were lucky since we actually get to fight,” he told me. “But in another five years, the situation here will be just like Germany.”

That’s the big joke. The Germans are actually wishing there were more racists, while all the Russians want is a boring social-democratic regime where it’s safe to play punk! It’s understandable; in Germany and the States, these movements are fringe because they’re totally irrelevant. They’re made up of a bunch of college kids who dig hardcore music and the menacing skinhead style, but don’t want to offend anyone by embracing it. So they thought up SHARP (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) and ARA (Anti-Racist Action), where they could have their cake and eat it. It was a risk-free venture, because the whole of society is anti-fascist and anti-racist, at least nominally. What ultra-rightists we do have tend to confine themselves to bunkers in Idaho and the Upper Peninsula. Taking a stand against racism is a risk-free endeavor.

[Comment: SHARP’s origins are in New York and the UK in the late 1980s. Roddy Moreno, singer for The Oppressed, played a vital role in helping to spread the SHARP message. ARA, on the other hand, has its origins in an anti-fascist skinhead crew in Minneapolis called The Baldies, operating in roughly the same period. (ARA has recently reformed as the Torch Antifa Network.) Otherwise, anti-fascist activity is rarely as risk-free as the yuppie suggests. For example, in 1998, two ARA SHARPs, Lin and Spit, were shot dead by boneheads outside Las Vegas. In May 2014, bonehead Melissa Hack pleaded guilty to her role in their murder.]

Yet, while the westerners are gazing longingly [at] their comrades in Russia, where there’s a clear and present enemy, the Russian AntiFA guys gaze just as lustfully at the West, where the movement’s about aesthetics only. The thing that makes the delusion so ridiculous is that Russia is not going to be like Germany, not in 5 years, not ever. Skinheads [sic] here are not declining, like Ukrop claims. They’re everywhere, and they operate with virtual impunity. The 28 murder figure sited above, or even SOVA Center’s 2004 estimate of 46, is almost certainly a lowball. The militsia often labels hate crimes as the work of hooligans or entirely unrelated to race.

For example, Argumenty i Fakti wrote about a triple murder on November 28 in Perm that the paper attributed to skinheads [sic], but that wasn’t included in SOVA’s stats. Or there was a Death Porn story we took from MK in late 2004 in which the murder of a Georgian was pinned on two Tajik workers, even though several skinhead [sic] youths were seen running from the scene. The fact is, Russian “justice” is so arbitrary that it’s impossible to say how many racially motivated murders take place every year.

One thing that is clear, though, is that last year only 25 Russians were sentenced for ethnically motivated murder and beatings, according to the SOVA Center, and most of those were associated with two murders in Petersburg of African students. In other words, there are still plenty of skins [sic] running amok out there, and they’re getting away with murder.

* * *

Perhaps I am being a little too harsh on the AntiFA guys; after all, they do go out and fight with skinheads [sic], and several of them have taken some pretty hard knocks. The most sensational was last November, when a Petersburg anti-fascist pacifist activist Timur Kacharav was stabbed to death by skinheads [sic]. “I got an SMS that he’d been killed,” Ukrop said, who’d been hanging out with him just two hours previous. “It was hard to believe.” [See also : Timur Kacharava: Five Years Later, chtodelat news, November 16, 2010.]

While Timur is the movement’s only fatality, several others have been seriously injured over the last year. One friend of Ukrop’s was set upon by boneheads as he left his apartment about a year ago. Eight skins [sic] attacked him with screwdrivers and lead pipes, breaking his arm and several ribs. According to Ukrop, they bought his address from the militsia, who had arrested him not long before for brawling. Vanya, a big name in Moscow’s AntiFA, was hobbled by an attack six months ago and still walks with a crutch.

“The pressure started about a year ago,” Dima told me. “Actually, it wasn’t long after AntiFA attempted to branch out. Before that, they had been mostly involved with propaganda — stickers on the metro, anti-racist song lyrics and whatnot. Once they tried to take the fights to the streets, they got stamped on. Hard.”

According to Ukrop, they face off against boneheads at least once a week. The fights generally take place on the weekends, when AntiFA crashes some bonehead concert. Otherwise, they descend on Chisti Prudy, which is a favorite skinhead [sic] hangout. The fights usually have 15-20 per side and, according to Dima, aren’t terribly vicious. Ukrop said that the most dangerous weapons AntiFA wields are flares and beer bottles, “so that the cops don’t have any excuse to detain us.”

The most serious attacks are when a group of boneheads mobs a person or two. The victims are sometimes punks, AntiFA activists or rappers, but most often non-Russians. While the big brawls might end with a little blood and some bruises, the only hope of escaping this type of attack is running. If a victim falls, the very least he can expect is a few broken ribs.

A friend of Dima’s who sympathizes with AntiFA but isn’t a part of it got attacked by a group of bonehead teens and smashed over the head. He later checked into the neighborhood tram-punkt, or ER, where there were three other guys who’d been attacked by the same group. “The funny thing is, three of the four were Russian and the fourth was Caucasian,” Dima said. “Skinheads [sic] are racist and fascist, but more than anything, they’re just drunk thugs willing to attack anyone.”

Dima contends that many of the ultra-right that come out for displays like the November march aren’t so much skinheads [sic] as racist alcoholics. “They don’t like blacks [meaning non-Russians],” he said. “But who does in Russia?” Part of the reason the picture of racist skinheads [sic] is so blurred in Russia is because there’s a relatively fluid boundary between them, soccer hooligans, and average working class stiffs. Russia’s a country with a huge poor, disenfranchised population where racism isn’t taboo. Most skins [sic] don’t belong to a party or anything more organized than a soccer firm. There are parties like Slavyansky Soyuz (Slavic Union, abbreviated SS), but most skins [sic] come from the ranks of Spartak fans.

Maybe for this reason, Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin denies their existence entirely. Last year RIA-Novosti quoted him saying, “We don’t have any skinheads [sic] in the city. I have never acknowledged them and do not acknowledge them. There is rabble from Moscow and its suburbs who attack people of various nationalities.”

Ukrop’s own estimates are only slightly less absurd. He claims that the boneheads only really have some 400-500 active fighters, and those are scattered across several groups that are constantly infighting. Apparently, they’re always accusing each other of being Jews and beating the shit out of each other. He qualifies this statement by saying that probably 80 percent of Moscow’s skinheads [sic] are drunk 16 to 20-year-olds looking for adventures. “They’ll eventually grow up, and you’re left with the devoted fascist core,” he said. What he fails to acknowledge is that when they grow up, they’ll be replaced with new teens. As Andrei Urov of the Youth Human Rights Movement told me, “The problem isn’t so much the thousands of skinheads [sic], but a society of millions of sympathizers.”

AntiFA is looking to repeat what happened in New York in the ’80s, where SHARP was born. “What they don’t understand,” Dima said, “is that it’s the exact opposite: in New York the Nazis were the underground.”

* * *

For a group as secretive as AntiFA, it’s a wonder how they ever get any members at all. As recently as a year ago, they advertised with stickers on the metro, until boneheads started attacking their shows. Still, according to both the anonymous interview and Ukrop, membership is growing. Ukrop said that around 300 people identified themselves as AntiFA in Moscow, of which maybe 150 were active fighters. Those are pretty impressive figures considering he said there were only maybe 100 members a year ago.

The only way to get recruited, or even learn about it given the deficit of information even on the web, is to already have contacts with that world. Like analogous Western groups, the best way in is through music. Even that can be hard enough: AntiFA concerts are by invite only. The only way to hear about shows by AntiFA groups like Clowns, Working Boys, and Change the World Without Taking Power, is to get an SMS the day of the show from someone in the know.

However, AntiFA members also serve as security to many of Moscow’s underground punk and even rap shows, which are favorite targets of the boneheads. According to Ukrop, punk shows make a particularly easy target because, “Punks are soft and always drunk.” Dima said that plenty of hardcore bands, like Union, are not AntiFA but have sympathetic lyrics and there’s plenty of crossover.

These measures, and the fear of press, are apparently to prevent infiltration. But that’s not the only reason they do it; the low profile, off-the-grid approach fits in to their anarchist principles. I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that they like it that way because it makes them feel even more underground. After all, punk shows still advertise despite the fact that they’re an easy target.

AntiFA claim that there’s a black list of their members which puts them in particular danger. But, as Urov told me, he too is on the SS’s black list, but he’s not afraid to tell people his name. “It’s that, or get a nose job,” he said.

AntiFA is also careful to distance themselves from another purportedly antifascist group: Nashi, the pro-Putin youth group. Most recently, they campaigned for the resignation of Perm’s governor because he allowed a far-right politician to speak at some youth conference. Ukrop took this as a sign that the Kremlin thinks antifascism has good prospects and is looking to co-opt its ideology.

However, it seems more likely that the Kremlin’s polit-tekhnologs are acting more out of fear of the fascists than the appeal of antifascism. After all, it’s an open secret that Nashi security, at least at its Moscow events, is provided by Spartak football hooligans with ties to racist skinheads [sic]. If anything, they’re interested in co-opting the fascists and turning them into a politically useful tool in case of a threat from an Orange — or a National-Bolsheviks — revolution.

* * *

Postscript: This year in Moscow, skinhead [sic] gangs have already killed a 13-year-old Uzbek kid on January 7, stabbing him 34 times. Their most recent victim, a 29-year-old Armenian on February 15, got stabbed to death 14 times from multiple knives.

More Pussy Riot from Melbourne to Moscow

Yeah so in case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, last week (August 17) three members of the Russian group Pussy Riot — Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova — were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for the crime of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’; viz, performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin in an Orthodox church (Cathedral of Christ the Savior) in Moscow on February 21, 2012 [original video | dubbed video].

Judge Marina Syrova called their behaviour “blasphemous” and described it as a “gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society”. She also said, “The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules”.

I wonder how she feels about Angry Kremlins? (Or the hackery-dackery-do of her court?)

You can read the three women’s closing trial statements here.

Other articles of interest include Vadim Nikitin, The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot, The New York Times, August 20, 2012: “…what Pussy Riot wants is something that is equally terrifying, provocative and threatening to the established order in both Russia and the West (and has been from time immemorial): freedom from patriarchy, capitalism, religion, conventional morality, inequality and the entire corporate state system.” Sara Joseph (Castan Centre for Human Rights Law) takes ‘A closer look at the Pussy Riot phenomenon’ here (August 24, 2012).

Sean Guillory examines ‘Pussy Riot as Modern Day Skomorokhi’ (Russian minstrels to which Tolokonnikova compared Pussy Riot) on his blog here (August 23, 2012).

In Counterpunch (The Secret History of Pussy Riot, August 23, 2012) a rather deranged Israel Shamir (AKA Jöran Jermas/Adam Ermash) reckons, inter alia, that an OMGWTF! Jewish bloke named Marat Gelman is teh bRanes behind Pussy Riot, claims that the US State Department paid for the August 17 single published by The Guardian, blames another OMGWTF! Jewish bloke (Alex Plutser-Sarno) for the antics of the group Voina (from which Pussy Riot is understood to have emerged) and otherwise writes the kind of shit you’d expect of a bizarro.

On newmatilda.com, Bec Zajac documents a Melbourne rally in support of Pussy Riot held on the day of their sentencing (Local Artists Protest For Pussy Riot, August 20, 2012). (See also : Free Pussy Riot! Melbourne rally, Friday, April 20, April 17, 2012.)

On Sunday, September 2, 2012 there’s a benefit gig at The Gasometer Hotel (484 Smith St, Collingwood) *ing the fabulously talented Terrible Truths, Glow, Spitehouse, Wet Lips, Ex Con and Sick Sad World. All proceeds go to assisting the three women with their legal costs, child care and other needs.

PS. Fuck Putin.

Of related interest : A Survey of Russia’s Most Radical Contemporary Artists, Marina Galperina, Flavorwire, August 15, 2012.

BONUS SHAMIR!

Bob (He’s From Brockley) recommends reading Soupy One’s blog, which has republished an article originally published by Searchlight in May 2004 and titled ‘Israeli writer is Swedish anti-Semite’; he’s also compiled a list of other articles critical of Shamir here.

BONUS VOINA!

Vice‘s Harry Langston interviewed Voina’s Alexei Plutser-Sarno and published the results here while Art Threat published an article in February 2011. See also : Stefan van Drake, Voina Group: bios of the key players (December 12, 2011).