Trot Guide September 2018 Update

It’s been a while eh — over two years, in fact (see : #TrotGuide 2016, April 21, 2016). That said, while there’s been some interesting developments on The Far Left : Down Under Edition, for the most part things are continuing to remain fairly calm and capitalism remains really really really late.

Still having a crack :
1. Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL);
2. Communist League (CL);
2 1/2. Communist Left (of Australia);
3. Communist Party of Australia (CPA);
4. Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA M-L);
4 1/2. Communist Workers Party of Australia;
5. Freedom Socialist Party (FSP);
6. Progressive Labour Party (PLP);
7. Socialist Alliance (SA);
8. Socialist Alternative (SAlt);
9. Socialist Equality Party (SEP);
10. Socialist Party (SP);
11. Solidarity;
12. Spartacist League of Australia;
13. Trotskyist Platform (TP).

Scratched :
1. ML Group (MLG) — see : Workers League;
2. Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).
Tired and emotional :
1. Resistance;
2. The Socialist.

NEW!
1. Left Unity;
2. Stalin Society of Australia;
3. Victorian Socialists;
4. Workers League.

The Far Left in Australia since 1945

To begin with, The Far Left in Australia since 1945 (Routledge, 2018), edited by Jon Piccini, Evan Smith & Matthew Worley, contains a number of essays of relevance to spotters, especially ‘The current of Maoism in the Australian Far Left’ by Drew Cottle and Angela Keys, which details the activities of Maoists in Australia in the 1960s and ’70s and inter alia the sometimes rather hostile relationship between Maoists and Trots.

The mutual hatred of the Trotskyists and Maoists for each other was not simply over ideological differences. The Maoists were seen by Trotskyists as ignorant, dogmatic Stalinist thugs, prone to violence and lost to the quest of reactionary nationalism. Maoists denounced Trotskyists as police agents, full of talk about the need to build the international socialist revolution, wreckers or cowards. In a 1970 Vanguard article, Trotskyism was condemned as an apolitical diversion in its promotion of drug-taking, sex-obsession, homosexuality and pop culture.

Maoist students were known to resort to physical rviolence against ‘Trotskyites’ in demonstrations and on campus. At Flinders University in 1972 Maoists bashed Trotskyist paper-sellers. Maoist activists at the gates of car plants in Adelaide and Melbourne jostled and punched Trotskyist speakers and paper-sellers. A Trotskyist activist was beaten unconscious by a student Maoist after a rowdy meeting at La Trobe University in 1977. In 1978, Maoist students threw another Trotskyist student through a plate glass window at La Trobe University. Maoists often attacked Trotskyist activists at union rallies. Maoist demonstrations often involved violent confrontations with the police. Maoists destroyed the Nazi Party headquarters in Carlton after a mass rally at the Yarra River in Melbourne was called to protest their activities. Trotskyists condemned this act of ‘people’s violence against fascism’. The Maoists were arguably the most divisive grouping of the Australian Far Left in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sadly, the essay fails to take note that ‘the first organised public debate in Australia between leading proponents of Maoism and Trotskyism took place at Latrobe University on 12 October’ 1978 (Maoist “in the service of peanut king Carter”: Spartacist League debates Albert Langer, Australasian Spartacist, November 1978). Langer, now known as Arthur Dent, is still fulla opinions, which you can read on Barry York’s blog C21st Left. York’s 1989 book STUDENT REVOLT! La Trobe University 1967-73 (Nicholas Press), along with Dan Robins’ 2005 thesis ‘Melbourne’s Maoists: The Rise of the Monash University Labor Club, 1965-1967’ are also relevant. See also : Bold thinking, revolutionary democracy and ‘the children of Karl Marx and Coca Cola’, C21st Left, October 20, 2017 | La Trobe Three revisit university 45 years after being locked up for protesting on campus, Josie Taylor, ABC 7.30 Report, February 24, 2017 | Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) @ Reason in Revolt Archive.

Everybody’s favourite Trot group, the Spartacist League, also get a guernsey in Isobelle Barrett Meyering’s essay ‘Changing consciousness, changing lifestyles: Australian women’s liberation, the left and the politics of ‘personal solutions”:

… women’s liberation saw itself as rejecting ‘male left’ politics and demanded that it be recognised as an ‘autonomous’ movement. For those who maintained their connections to the organised left, this proved to be a point of ongoing friction. As women’s liberation expanded, some self-described ‘political women’ within the movement complained that they were treated as suspect due to their allegiances to socialist groups. These debates reached their apogee with proposals to expel Spartacist League members from women’s liberation in Melbourne in 1973 and Sydney in 1977, prompted by complaints that they were ‘disruptive’ and not genuinely committed to women’s liberation. The proposals were the subject of significant controversy, with only the Melbourne motion succeeding.

The proposal to expel the Sparts is denounced by them in “Radical” feminism going nowhere: Fight women’s oppression through class struggle! (Australasian Spartacist, March 1977), Red-baiting in women’s movement: Stop anti-Trotskyist purge! (April, 1977), Sydney Women’s Liberation: Feminist purge defeated … (May, 1977) and no doubt in subsequent issues. See : Australasian Spartacist.

But anyway:

Maoists.

Sadly, the CPA (M-L) ceased the print publication of its zine Vanguard back in 2014, but you can continue to read the online version here. The CPA (M-L) also has an online forum of sorts called ‘Australian Communist Discussion Site’ which inter alia contains a discussion from November 2017 indicating the CPA M-L’s participation in a NEW! (to me) project in Adelaide called ‘Left Unity’; indeed, ‘our people were among the founding members of a group called Left Unity, a loose alliance of Socialist Alliance, CPA, anarchists and individuals’. You can read more about Left Unity here. And speaking of Left Unity …

See also : Anti-Revisionism in Australia, Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line.

Victorian Socialists

Like Left Unity, Victorian Socialists are a NEW! project on the left, an electoral campaign which has received the support of a number of socialist groupings including Socialist Alliance and Socialist Alternative.

Who are the Victorian Socialists?

Our political system is broken. The Liberals rule for their corporate mates. Labor is little better, tailing the political right and selling out its working class supporters to big money and developers.

It’s time for a genuine left alternative.

In the November 2018 state election, left wingers are uniting as the Victorian Socialists to get Yarra councillor Stephen Jolly elected to the upper house for the Northern Metropolitan Region.

We are for the poor against the rich, for workers against their bosses, for the powerless against the powerful.

The Victorian Socialists brings together socialist groups including Socialist Alternative and the Socialist Alliance, and individual activists, unionists and community organisers.

While Stephen Jolly will head the campaign, the ticket will also include Colleen Bolger from Socialist Alternative, and Socialist Alliance Moreland councillor Sue Bolton …

Whether or not Jolly will be able to win a seat would seem to depend upon: a) getting a reasonable amount of first preferences and; b) the flow of preferences from other parties. At this stage, it seems likely Labor will preference him behind Fiona Patten (Reason Party), an eventuality which would make it more difficult for Jolly to win. Still, stranger things have happened, amirite? In any event, you can read an interview with the Victorian Socialists by Riki Lane of Workers’ Liberty Australia — Vote Victorian Socialists! Put a socialist in parliament for Northern Melbourne — here.

Oh, and the Victorian Socialists will also be contesting the Western Victoria Region Legislative Council electorate in the November state election.

Still, not everybody’s on-board, and that includes the leadership of the world socialist movement AKA The International Committee of the Fourth International AKA The Socialist Equality Party, what reckons that this ‘latest opportunist manoeuvre by the pseudo-left is a calculated response to immense disaffection within the working class towards the Labor Party, which holds government in Victoria, and to the breakup of the longstanding two-party-dominated political system. Its aim is try to capture some of the social and political discontent and channel it into new parliamentary illusions.’ The electoral vehicle is subject to further excoriation by Patrick O’Connor in Australia: The pseudo-left Victorian Socialists and its pro-capitalist election manifesto (wsws.org, September 12, 2018).

See also : The Immodest Victorian Socialists, Ivan Mitchell and Daniel Lopez, Jacobin, September 8, 2018.

Speaking of the leadership of the world socialist movement, I also recently stumbledupon a NEW! (to me) site called classconscious.org, which exists in order to ‘promote the unity of the international working class in the struggle for socialist revolution.’ The site, which began publication in March 2017, has a small number of articles on it, many concerning Julian Assange (for example: The I.C.F.I must expose the petit-bourgeois and far-right forces who have co-opted the campaign for Julian Assange: An appeal to ICFI members and supporters, September 9, 2018), and while ‘This blog has no relationship with the World Socialist Website or the ICFI, its publishers … it is from this organisation that we have gained our education in Marxism and upon which we base our perspective.’ So there you go.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

*I’m happy to announce that at some point between now and April 2016, the COMMUNIST WORKERS PARTY OF AUSTRALIA announced its existence on Facebook AND it has a website!

**Futilitarian has kindly reminded me of the existence of a ‘Communist Left’ (of Australia) in Sydney (not to be confused with the seemingly quite short-lived ‘Communist Left Discussion Circle’). They (?) publish a zine called Red which you can read here. (The latest available issue is numbered 118 and dated March 2017.) A statement published in late 2000 describes the groupuscule’s history:

Communist Left was formed in June 1976 by Owen Gager. It was formed in continuity with the record of New Zealand Spartacist League (which became Red Federation), Owen Gager’s struggle within that grouping against Spartacist League US supporters B. Logan and A. Hannah (backed by the majority of Wellington Branch). Gager had the support of Auckland comrades, notably Bruce Jesson. Jesson was expelled for building the Republican Movement at the expense of Red Federation. It supported the 1970 Programme of the NZSL and Owen Gager’s political record in Australia, mainly on East Timor and the 1976 Australian Constitutional crisis (the Kerr Coup). The first members were Bill Keats and Terry Millar who remained CPA members. Terry Millar was a member of NZSL and a comrade of O.Gager in New Zealand. A glazier, Paul Azzopardi joined shortly after.

The programme of the Communist Left, written in 1977 and published in 1978, firmly established the group’s political basis. Key points include full support for Trotsky’s founding of the fourth International but recognition that Fourth International was dead and none of the proclaimed continuers or reformers of it maintained in any way the continuity of the tradition as established by Trotsky. This includes the Mandelite United Secretariat, the Healyite International Committee, those in solidarity with the Socialist Workers Party (of the US), the Morenoite and Posadasite variants and the International Spartacist Tendency. As communism is by definition internationalist, there is an urgent need for a fifth international.

Communist Left made many important interventions on the Australian left. Gager and Azzopardi intervened within the Labor Party. Keats and Millar within the Communist Party of Australia. There were also key political interventions on such issues as the colonial nature of Australian capitalism combined with its mini-imperialist domination of parts of SE Asia and the South Pacific, the crisis of manufacturing and subsequent unemployment, the nationalist crisis of Stalinism internationally leading to the third Indochina war (and the ostensible Trotskyist sell out to Stalinism). CL made practical interventions on issues such as unemployment and housing.

Communist Left supports the founding document of the Fourth International – The Transitional Programme. The aim of the Programme of the Communist Left is not to replace Trotsky’s programme but to relate its method to a new period – the post-war boom, the expansion of Stalinism, the degeneration of Trotskyism. The document sets out international principles and applies them to Australia.

Internationally CL/A was in solidarity with the NZSL which was re-established in 1978. This group became CLNZ in 1983. Discussions were also held with the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain.

CL/A grew in size as a result of practical work in unemployment and housing (squatting). CL/A was party to a major squatting of the Glebe estate area of Sydney (October 1984) involving hundreds of people. This however led to the expulsion of founder leader Owen Gager due to his indiscipline. Gager refused to argue for tactics previously agreed to by Glebe squatters and declared war on the majority when they insisted he did so. He then pretended that he was CL and that the majority had “stolen” the organisation off him. He then constituted himself as Communist Left (Leninist) and now is actively part of the Melbourne Anarchist movement.

Until the end of 1987 CL did some important work in unemployment and housing. A bulletin Communist was published. Interventions were made on a political level on issues such as the Hawke Government’s Prices and Incomes Accord (the Accord) and the left responses such as Broad Left and Fightback. We remained involved in housing and unemployment as members of the Union of the Unemployed, the Squatters and Tenants (UUST).

Communist Left Australia spit into fragments at the end of 1987. The majority supporting calling the police against their former comrades, giving the police names and addresses, totally unacceptable placing them outside the workers’ movement. Communist Tendency was established to maintain continuity of the CL tradition. CL was re-established when two former members including Paul Azzopardi rejoined. Red has been published consistently as a quarterly since March 1988. The issue currently in preparation will be the fiftieth issue. Leaflets have also been issued. Communist Left has also published an unemployed bulletin called Unemployed Action.

Communist Left broke off relations with Communist Left New Zealand when that grouping affiliated with the League for a Revolutionary Communist International (LRCI) whose leading section is the British group called Workers Power. We intervened to show that this was fundamentally an economist tendency, whose strategy was extending the trade union struggle into a general strike “posing the question of power”. We pointed out that the question of power must not only be posed but resolved – through a revolutionary programme confronting the totality of state power. This LRCI consistently avoided. We also pointed out the consequence of this was adaptation to the existing political consciousness of the working class – their reformist chauvinist consciousness. We pointed out Workers Power attacked Benn primarily not as a chauvinist but because of his inconsistency in mobilising the rank and file. This blocs with workers who whilst being critical on a trade union outlook share his fundamental political perspective – a reformist chauvinist one. Workers Power pointed to many heart felt examples of organising against chauvinism. However these are not of strategic consequence to them in drawing class lines. Workers Power lines of struggle are organising workers on the shop floor against the bureaucracy and extending militancy. It is not drawing class lines which involve fighting for an interest independent of capitalist social relations – the capitalist state.

In New Zealand sections of the Workers Power leadership who were also leaders of the Communist Left of New Zealand split with other militants internationally to form the Liason Committee of Militants for a Revolutionary Communist International [1995–2004]. This did not constitute a fundamental break from Workers Power but argued, correctly that the current leadership were adapting to imperialist pressures. Whilst we agree with their criticisms, the totality of LRCI, from the beginning must be addressed. Since they haven’t done so we can not reconsider re-establishing solidarity.

See also : Contemporary Trotskyism: Parties, Sects and Social Movements in Britain, John Kelly (Routledge, 2018).

…Aotearoa/New Zealand

Oh yeah — I haven’t looked at Teh Left in NZ for … six years? In Good News for spotters, the —

1) Communist League;
2) Communist Workers’ Group of Aotearoa/New Zealand;
3) International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT);
4) International Socialist Organisation (Aotearoa/New Zealand);
5) Socialist Aotearoa (SA) and;
6) Socialist Appeal

— are all still kickin’, though Socialist Worker (Aotearoa) — which possibly survives as the Eco-Socialist Network? or maybe not — and the Workers’ Party of New Zealand (WPNZ) have undergone some ch-ch-changes. theicebloc blog has published a neat0 spotters’ guide to the extra-parliamentary left here, which includes Canterbury Socialist Society, Fightback, Organise Aotearoa, Redline, ☭Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (A/NZ)☭, Socialist Equality Group – New Zealand and finally Socialist Voice – Aotearoa/New Zealand. Anarchist groups and projects include Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement, Black Star Books, The Freedom Shop, Rebel Press and Tāmaki Makaurau Anarchists.

Antifa Australia goes for the jugular (while I make some comments) …

On the weekend The Australian published a lengthy article by Chip Le Grand on antifa in Australia.

Below are some comments.

Antifa Australia goes for the jugular
Chip Le Grand
The Australian
December 9, 2017

The first rule of antifa is you do not talk about antifa. Not to a journalist, at any rate. It is less an organisation than a broad objective across the radical left; a determination to block, frustrate and ultimately silence far-right politics. It is fundamentally illiberal and necessarily secretive. For these reasons, it is poorly understood and readily mischaracterised.

Ssshhh …

To the best of my knowledge, there have only been one or two occasions on which anTEEfa in Australia have spoken to journalists. First, ‘Beneath the black mask: inside Australia’s anti-fascist Antifa groups’ (Peter Munro, The Sydney Morning Herald, May 21, 2016) contains interviews with three anti-fascists. Secondly, a former anti-fascist, Shayne Hunter, was recently interviewed for a piece in the Murdoch press (‘I established a terror movement in Australia, and I quit’, news.com.au, October 25, 2017). Perhaps the first time the term was used in media reportage in a local context was 2014 (Australia’s Golden Dawn Rally Falls Embarrassingly Flat, Lauren Gillin, VICE, May 7, 2014). See also : Cronulla protests: what is the anti-fascist group Antifa?, Michael McGowan, The Sydney Morning Herald, December 12, 2015 | Explainer: what is antifa, and where did it come from?, Troy Whitford, The Conversation, August 30, 2017.

Beyond that: while it’s true that ant-fascists generally seek to disrupt fascist organising, completely eradicating far-right and fascist politics is hardly an achievable objective. Instead, most seek to simply limit, as much as possible and given the means available, the growth of such political expressions. The liberality of these actions, as well as their public status, is generally determined by their context.

Antifa activists are not mindless thugs. They are well organised and, generally, experienced political and social activists who are prepared to resort to violence — they say reluctantly — to deny the far right any platform from which to promote its ideas. In Melbourne and Sydney this week, they mobilised more than 100 supporters within an hour to shout down a speaking event by the alt-right’s charismatic bomb thrower, Milo Yiannopoulos.

Leaving aside the alleged mindlessness and thuggery (and the claim that Milo is ‘charismatic’), the fact that several hundred people (ie, several hundred more than 100) mobilised in Melbourne in order to protest Milo Yiannopoulos’s performance at Melbourne Pavilion last Monday was. not. simply. the result of a preparedness to act at short notice, but rather active campaigning over months (and years).

[snip] The antifa view of the world is that far-right politics — particularly white supremacy, nationalist chauvinism and the kind of fascism that tore Europe apart in the middle of the 20th century — is again on the rise across Western democracies.

Accurate or otherwise, that’s not a view confined to those actively opposing white supremacy and ultra-nationalism, as a search for relevant materials would demonstrate. To put it another way: there’s a rational basis for concern over a resurgent far-right in Europe, both Western and Eastern. That said, Australia is somewhat peculiar in terms of Western democracies, a theme also explored in the relevant literature. Or as Oswald Mosley claimed in 1933: ‘I always thought it remarkable that Australia, without studying the Fascist political philosophy and methods, so spontaneously developed a form of fascism peculiarly suited to the needs of the British Empire.’ See also : Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA).

In the US, this conviction has made bedfellows of anarchists, Marxists, socialists, anti-racists and other militant activists beneath the antifa doona. In Australia, existing left-wing groups such as Socialist Alternative have diverted resources from other campaigns to fight what they describe as the fascist menace. New groups, such as Jews Against Fascism, have formed to fight the far right.

The start of this counterculture war can be traced to the Easter weekend two years ago when a large Reclaim Australia rally took over Melbourne’s Federation Square. Hassan is a 31-year-old bartender and events manager. He is also an active member of Socialist Alternative who contributes regularly to its online publication, Red Flag. “The size and breadth of that mobilisation of the far right shook many of us up,” he says. “Nationally, we decided to prioritise anti-fascist organising.”

The same event prompted Jordana Silverstein, a University of Melbourne academic, to form Jews Against Fascism. “We fundamentally disagree that if you ignore fascists they will go away,” she tells Inquirer. “They don’t. They become emboldened.”

In the US, contemporary antifa activity is generally traced back to the 1980s, when youth subcultures like skinhead and punk were the subject of concerted efforts at infiltration by the radical right, which in turn generated (militant) opposition. Hence it was in the late ’80s that Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) formed in New York and Anti-Racist Action (ARA) was born, the groundwork for the latter being laid by a skinhead crew in Minneapolis called The Baldies. (ARA’s contemporary expression is the Torch network.) A lot has happened between Then and Now, but certainly the Trump era has given added impetus to antifa organising in the US. See also : Inside the Underground Anti-Racist Movement That Brings the Fight to White Supremacists, Wes Enzinna, Mother Jones, May/June 2017.

In Australia, I’d argue that ‘the start of this counterculture war’ was a little earlier than April 4, 2015. Certainly, if anti-fascism is ‘less an organisation than a broad objective across the radical left; a determination to block, frustrate and ultimately silence far-right politics’, then its origins in Australia may be traced back as far as the 1920s and to the Italian migrant anti-fascists (see : Fascism, Anti-Fascism and the Italians in Australia: 1922–1945, Gianfranco Crestiani, Australian National University, 1980). More recently, anti-fascists in Melbourne actively campaigned against Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party and National Action in the 1990s. [For (Marxist) analysis, see : How we stopped Pauline Hanson last time, Tess Lee Ack, Marxist Left Review, No.12 (Winter 2016) / Understanding Hansonism (Ben Reid) & When the Australian ruling class embraced fascism (Louise O’Shea), Marxist Left Review, No.13 (Summer 2017).]

Otherwise: SAlt was largely absent on April 4, 2015, this also being the weekend of their annual Marxism conference, and the opposition to Reclaim on that occasion was drawn from other segments of Teh Left in Melbourne.

The antifa armoury includes more than protest chants and punches. Mark Bray, formerly an activist in the Occupy Wall Street movement, is the author of Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook, published in Australia by Melbourne University Press. In interviews with anti-fascist activists in Europe and the US, Bray explores antifa tactics including the dark art of doxxing, a form of online sabotage pioneered by computer hackers.

In the antifa context, doxxing means the outing of Nazi sympathisers — the publication of ­information that identifies anonymous far-right bloggers or activists, which in turn puts pressure on employers to sack them. This year a University of Nebraska philosophy student, Cooper Ward, was doxxed and unmasked as the voice on an anti-Semitic podcast, The Daily Shoah. Bray says he was driven off campus and into hiding.

“Despite the media portrayal of a deranged, bloodthirsty antifa … the vast majority of anti-fascist tactics involve no physical violence whatsoever,” Bray writes.

“Anti-fascists conduct research on the far right online, in person and sometimes through infiltration; they dox them, push cultural milieux to disown them, pressure bosses to fire them and demand that venues cancel their shows, conferences and meetings; they organise educational events, reading groups, trainings, athletic tournaments and fundraisers; they write articles, leaflets and newspapers, drop banners, and make videos … But it is also true that some of them punch Nazis in the face and don’t apologise for it.”

Got d0x?

First, yes, ‘d0xxing’ is A Thing … though in Australia it tends not to extend as far as it does elsewhere. Thus, in my own case, while I’ve named a number of local AltRight figures — David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’) is one recent example — I don’t publish full deets, most infos is drawn from open-sources and often relies upon simply drawing upon previous research (or is the result of a tip-off). Thus it’s also been possible to identify a number of the nazis who assembled outside Melbourne Pavilion last week simply by referring to previously published material. Inre Cooper Ward and ‘The Daily Shoah’, Ward was one of several neo-Nazis ‘outed’ at this time, including Mike Peinovich (‘Mike Enoch’). His outing as a neo-Nazi activist resulted, inter alia, in his separation from his (Jewish) wife — but the Shoah must and has gone on. Unmentioned but relevant in this context is that both the sitting MP George Christensen and former Labor leader turned angry old pensioner Mark Latham have appeared as guests on the podcast network TRS (for which ‘The Convict Report’ is the local expression).

[snip] A problem for the Australian antifa, and indeed for anti-fascist groups in Europe and the US, is that few people and organisations they oppose here have much to do with Nazism. Consider the rollcall of hard-right leaders who turned out in Kensington in support of Yian­nopoulos. Neil Erikson, a far-right agitator and leader of a small group known as Patriot Blue, used to be a Nazi but in recent years has publicly disavowed his former beliefs and now says he is a supporter of Israel.

Who you calling a Nazi, Nazi?

First, Erikson has publicly acknowledged the fact that, from his early- to mid- teens through until the end of 2015/beginning of 2016, he considered himself — and was considered by others — a neo-Nazi activist. A former member and/or associate of Blood & Honour and Nationalist Alternative, Erikson, in addition to having a criminal conviction for stalking a rabbi (February 2014), also ran with the short-lived gang ‘Crazy White Boys’, responsible for the attempted murder of Vietnamese student Minh Duong in 2012. Secondly, prior to ‘Patriot Blue’, Erikson had cycled through numerous other brands and Facebook platforms, and no doubt will jump on another bandwagon when it suits him. Finally, given his record, it’s not unreasonable to view Erikson’s posturings — first as a neo-Nazi, now as a ‘supporter of Israel’ — with some degree of skepticism, and to view his performances as being simply (and more accurately) opportunistic exercises by an attention-seeking, racist, meathead.

Blair Cottrell, the hulking former leader of the defunct United Patriots Front, is fascinated by Adolf Hitler as a historical figure but ridicules neo-Nazism as a contemporary political movement.

Or; Pull the other one (it’s got bells on).

Of course, being a semi-rational political actor, Cottrell doesn’t want to be known as a neo-Nazi. Like others, he understands that this is — still — a political kiss-of-death, properly the domain of uniform fetishists. That said, the reasons he may be described as one are rather more extensive than an apparent fascination with Mister Hitler: from celebrating his birthday to expressing a desire for every Australian school child to be issued with a copy of Mein Kampf … annually. Cottrell’s determination to fight the moral and political degeneracy allegedly caused by The Jew — of which ‘Cultural Marxism’, ‘feminism’ and ‘multiculturalism’ are major symptoms — lies at the heart of his political vision. I documented this in early 2015, collecting a series of his online postings on sites like Facebook and YouTube and republishing them as ‘Quotations From Chairman Blair Cottrell’ (July 27, 2015). Elements of this formed the basis of a The Sydney Morning Herald article published in October 2015 (Blair Cottrell, rising anti-Islam movement leader, wanted Hitler in the classroom, Michael Bachelard, Luke McMahon, October 17, 2015). Leaving aside the fact that Cottrell and the UPF lodged with members of Aryan Nations when they held a rally in Perth; that Queensland neo-Nazi Jim Perren, along with fellow neo-Nazi Bradley Trappitt (Combat 18), organised their failed party launch in Toowoomba in early 2016 (Perren described it as a mini-Nuremberg rally minus the swastikas); that in their internal discussions Cottrell recommended reading The Protocols; that the UPF gave birth to Antipodean Resistance and The Lads Society … leaving all that, and much more, aside, it’s also the case that Cottrell was denounced as a ‘Nazi’ by his former UPF colleagues Shermon Burgess and Neil Erikson. Finally, the words of Jean-Paul Sartre are rather apt in this context:

Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

To continue:

Avi Yemini, a tough-on-crime activist, is a former Israeli soldier. He recently joined Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives and hopes to stand as a candidate in next year’s Victorian election.

Yemini is not a neo-Nazi, though he wouldn’t be the first Jew to assume such a mantle (cf. Danny Burros and Nathaniel Jacob Sassoon Sykes). Indeed, in May 2013, one Jewish bloke and Republican Party booster, David Cole/Stein, was exposed as a Holocaust denialist; most recently, he’s gone into bat for local ‘transcendental’ fascist Richard Wolstencroft. In any case, Yemini certainly loves associating with neo-Nazis and other fascists, and rarely misses an opportunity to join with them in castigating Bad People (leftists, Muslims, et. al.) for their crimes. On his relationship to the wider Jewish community, this statement by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society is germane.

As for Yiannopoulos, although some of his supporters are Nazi sympathisers — Inquirer was sent a picture of a man giving a Nazi salute as he walked out of his Kensington speaking engagement — there is scant evidence that he is.

When Yiannopoulos was preparing a treatise on the alt-right for the Breitbart website early last year, he sought the input of a white nationalist blogger and self-described Nazi, Andrew Auernheimer, and forwarded it along with contributions from other hard-right figures to his co-author, a Breitbart staff journalist. When the Buzzfeed news site obtained emails exchanged between Auernheimer and Yiannopoulos, it reported them as proof that “Breitbart and Milo smuggled Nazi and white nationalist ideas into the mainstream.” There was no smuggling involved, Nazi or otherwise; Yiannopoulos’s treatise was a rambling cook’s tour of right-wing groups, with Auernheimer quoted as an on-the-record source.

O RLLY.

Actually, the Buzzfeed article — Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream (Joseph Bernstein, October 6, 2017) — does a little more than document the fact that Yiannopoulos sought the input of neo-Nazi weev into one article he — or rather one of his Breitbart lackeys — wrote. Inter alia, the article ‘also reported that Yiannopoulos’s passwords included references to Kristallnacht, the 1938 anti-Semitic German pogrom that historians mark as the beginning of the Holocaust, and the Night of the Long Knives, the murderous 1934 purge of Hitler’s onetime allies by Nazi paramilitaries.’ It also contains footage of Milo singing karaoke while his friends make Nazi salutes. In any case, Roger Mercer, the billionaire hedge-fund manager bankrolling Breitbart and Milo, recently withdrew his support (citing ‘personal reasons’ for doing so).

[snip] The fallout for antifa [from Milo’s cancelled gig at Berkeley] has been mixed. Speaking to Inquirer from New York, Bray says the movement is stronger and better organised than it was a year ago. “The spectacle of Berkeley and the precedent it set emboldened a lot of anti-racists and anti-fascists,’’ he says. “It was a call to arms for the movement.’’

Berkeley also set in train a series of events that last week culminated in FBI director Christopher Wray announcing that antifa activists were the subject of a counter-terrorism investigation. Wray told the US House of Representatives homeland security committee: “While we are not investigating antifa as antifa — that’s an ideology and we don’t investigate ideologies — we are investigating a number of what we would call anarchist-extremist … people who are motivated to commit violent criminal activity on a kind of antifa ideology.’’

(Don’t Talk To The) FBI

On June 15, 1917, President Wilson signed the Espionage Act, which delineated punishments for foreign spies and prohibited organized resistance to WWI. A great deal of repressive federal and state legislation followed, including the Trading with the Enemy and Sedition Acts. The government apparatus for enforcing these laws also expanded, including to the recently formed Bureau of Investigation (a precursor to the FBI). These mechanisms were used against anarchists, the IWW, and other left-wing organizations: on the same day that the Espionage Act took effect, police arrested Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman. The leader of the Socialist Party, Eugene Debs, was sentenced to ten years in prison for delivering an antiwar speech in Ohio in June, 1918. The ‘Red Scare’ of 1917–1921 reached a peak with the Palmer Raids of November 1919 and the targeting of the Union of Russian Workers, an anarcho-syndicalist labour union composed of Russian immigrants. On November 8, 700 police raided seventy-three radical centres, arrested more than 500 individuals, and seized tons of literature. Many of those arrested were transported to Ellis Island and deported to Russia on the transport ship, the Buford. Over 3,000 people were deported in 1919, 2,000 in 1920 and over 4,500 in 1921.

Fast-forward to the early 2000s, and the Red Scare has become the Green Scare. In January 2015, one of its primary targets, Eric McDavid, was released from prison after serving almost nine years jail, his conviction the outcome of an FBI entrapment operation. See : Manufacturing Terror: An FBI Informant Seduced Eric McDavid Into a Bomb Plot. Then the Government Lied About It., Trevor Aaronson, Katie Galloway, The Intercept, November 10, 2015. The FBI has also been actively engaged in the infiltration and disruption of other groups, projects and social movements during this period. CrimethInc:

… starting with the entrapment case of Eric McDavid—framed for a single conspiracy charge by an infiltrator who used his attraction to her to manipulate him into discussing illegal actions—the FBI seem to have switched strategies, focusing on younger targets who haven’t actually carried out any actions.

They stepped up this new strategy during the 2008 Republican National Convention, at which FBI informants Brandon Darby and Andrew Darst set up David McKay, Bradley Crowder, and Matthew DePalma on charges of possessing Molotov cocktails in two separate incidents. It’s important to note that the only Molotov cocktails that figured in the RNC protests at any point were the ones used to entrap these young men: the FBI were not responding to a threat, but inventing one.

Over the past month, the FBI have shifted into high gear with this approach. Immediately before May Day, five young men were set up on terrorism charges in Cleveland after an FBI infiltrator apparently guided them into planning to bomb a bridge, in what would have been the only such bombing carried out by anarchists in living memory. During the protests against the NATO summit in Chicago, three young men were arrested and charged with terrorist conspiracy once again involving the only Molotov cocktails within hundreds of miles, set up by at least two FBI informants.

And so on and so forth. To cut a long story short, the fact that the FBI is investigating anTEEfa should surprise no-one. As Ward Churchill has written (“To Disrupt, Discredit and Destroy”: The FBI’s Secret War against the Black Panther Party, [PDF], 1988]):

The FBI’s politically repressive activities did not commence during the 1960s, nor did they end with the formal termination of COINTELPRO in 1971. On the contrary, such operations have been sustained for nearly a century, becoming ever more refined, comprehensive and efficient. This in itself implies a marked degradation of whatever genuinely democratic possibilities once imbued “the American experiment,” an effect amplified significantly by the fact that the Bureau has consistently selected as targets those groups which, whatever their imperfections, have been most clearly committed to the realization of egalitarian ideals. All things considered, to describe the resulting sociopolitical dynamic as “undemocratic” would be to fundamentally understate the case. The FBI is and has always been a frankly anti-democratic institution, as are the social, political and economic elements it was created and maintained to protect.

Naturally, anti-fascists organise not only to defeat fascism, but also to combat repression. The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund is one such project, but there are others, and no doubt there’ll be more as the state — increasingly, in close collaboration with the corporate sector — acts to repress dissent.

See also : What Chip Le Grand gets wrogn about the Australian ‘alt-right’ (September 10, 2017) /// Three Way Fight /// Anti-Fascism Beyond the Headlines: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore Interviews Mark Bray, LA Review of Books, December 11, 2017.

Now that Yiannopoulos’s tour has ended, antifa in Australia will readjust its sights to homegrown targets …

The risk here is that, in the absence of genuine Nazis to punch, antifa will employ its tactics against people who hold legitimate conservative political views.

Bray, who introduces his book as a “unashamedly partisan call to arms”, defends militant anti-fascism as a “reasonable, historically informed response to the fascist threat”. If that threat in Australia is more perceived [than] real, where does that leave antifa?

Bonus! Aamer

Who are Antipodean Resistance?

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

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

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

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

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

A few more preliminary remarks are in order:

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

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

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

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

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

Antipodean Resistance

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

kehlsteinhaus

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

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

LOL.

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


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

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



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

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

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

Xav

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

borderprotectionist

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


Arschschmerzwagen/terminalautist88/Vandal Nationalist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TrotGuide 2016

See also : Trot Guide September 2018 Update.

trottrottrot

Gosh and bother and tish and fiffle: it’s been just over four years since I last formally updated Trot Guide (April 10, 2012). At that stage I counted a mere fifteen political organisations on the far left — mostly Trotskyist in orientation. The Bad News is that it appears that at least two of these organisations are now extinct; the Good News is that at least two more have emerged — and that’s just in the last few months!

1. The Alliance for Workers’ Liberty (AWL) is still kicking. Its March 2016 newsletter [PDF] contains an account of ‘Fighting fascism in Australia’ by Riki Lane, which concludes ‘All the approaches taken – counter demonstrations; getting unions to take a better stand; broad anti-racist organising – need to be pursued and coordinated. A useful approach could be to build a broader coalition of all the existing groups on a national basis. The key however, is to get the organised labour movement active in fighting this threat.’ Ho hum. The group appears to be strongest in Brisbane, with supporters in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.

2. The Communist League (CL) is also still kicking, though one suspects it would struggle to field a football team. 5-a-side, maybe? For reasons which escape me, the CL was invited to attend the anarchist bookfair in Melbourne in 2012, but I don’t think they’ve been back. In any case, you can subscribe to The Militant and buy their titles from their office in Sydney. PS. The indefatigable Ron Poulsen scored 148 votes in his tilt at a seat in the Senate at the 2013 federal election.

3. The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) remains steadfast in its commitment to Communism, which in the last few years has also managed to find expression at the ballot box. Sadly, The Communists were de-registered by the AEC in May 2012 ‘because the party failed to prove it still had 500 members eligible for enrolment’. That said, the Communists are still keen to contest, so ‘If you’re on the electoral roll and would be prepared to help out, please contact us at [email protected] or ring Bob Briton on 0418 894 366’. What else can be said? Well, they still heart Stalin, and you can read a recent (October 2015) apologia for his rule (by Rob Gowland) in The Worker’s Weekly — Anti-Soviet propaganda and Stalin (Part 1) and Cold War propaganda offensive (Part 2). Strongest in NSW, the CPA has a presence in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Melbourne and Perth.

PS. A Comrade wishes to make a correction re the ‘Communist Alliance’, ‘The Communists’ and the CPA. Thus according to CPA General Secretary Hannah Middleton (June 2012): ‘The Communists (originally called the Communist Alliance) was an electoral alliance of which the CPA was one part [emphasis mine], together with migrant [Greek, Latin American, Lebanese, Sri Lankan] Communist parties and progressive individuals from around Australia. The Communist Party of Australia supported the Communist Alliance (CA) because it united a range of left political forces to fight for real change. The Communist Alliance was registered as a party on March 16, 2009. A legal challenge from the Community Alliance [emphasis mine], a conservative group in Canberra, forced the CA to change its name to the Communists. This group did not manage to meet the requirement that it update its membership list in time and was recently deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission.’

4. The Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML) has had some troubles adapting to the twenty-first century. In Bad news for spotters, the organisation suspended publication of its newspaper, Vanguard, in 2014, the last print edition appearing in December 2014 [PDF]. First published in 1963, inter alia, ‘The decision to go fully online has been made in recognition of the fact that most young people use the internet as their primary source of news and communication’. Duncan B. writes: ‘I still have a copy of the very first Vanguard published over fifty-one years ago in September 1963. It is interesting to read the editorial of the first Vanguard. Under the heading “Why Vanguard is Published”, the editorial says, “The publication of Vanguard is an historic event. It is now the only paper which upholds the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism. The paper has a big and noble job to do. Its main task will be to give a Marxist-Leninist analysis of the major events of our time.”’ See also : The Explosion Point of Ideology in China (1967) / China: reading guide (libcom). The CPA (M-L) may be contacted through the Vanguard at PO Box 196, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia 3065 or via email ([email protected]).

5. Feminism + Trotskyism = Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). The FSP is based in Melbourne and maintains a shopfront called Solidarity Salon on Sydney Road, Brunswick. Steady as she goes

6. NEW! ML Group (MLG). The MLG (Marxist-Leninist Group) announced its existence online in a post on the MLG blog titled ULTRA-NATIONALISM, RACISM AND BIGOTRY ARE NO SOLUTION. WORKERS CAN DEFEAT FASCISM! ALL OUT ON APRIL 4! Alright! You can read the MLG’s PROSPECTUS! and its CONSTITUTION! and much, much more on its blog.

7. Formed in November 1996, the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) doesn’t appear to have made much progress since 2012. They still have a website, however, and will no doubt be active at the 2016 federal election. The party seems most active in Newcastle, NSW. In 2013, it endorsed Susanna Scurry, who ran as an independent for the federal seat of Newcastle and scored 1,026 votes (1.2%) for her troubles.

8. Resistance, 2012: ‘Nominally independent yoof wing of SA’. 2016: Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance. See also : Successful #RadicalIdeas2015 conference.

9. The Revolutionary Socialist Party is no more. It has ceased to be. It’s expired and gone to meet its maker (etc., etc., etc.). Formed as a split from the DSP (now SA) in 2008, ‘At its final congress on 28 March 2013, the RSP voted unanimously to merge with Socialist Alternative’. See also : RSP and SAlt, Old-Style Opportunism: “Death of Communism” Lash-up, Australasian Spartacist, No. 219, Autumn 2013.

10. The Socialist Alliance (SA) was founded in 2001, has had many ups and downs, and is the organisation into which the Democratic Socialist Party finally dissolved itself in 2010 (being essentially the only group remaining within the Alliance). The intervening four years appear not to have witnessed any growth in SA, the organisation seemingly having been eclipsed by SAlt, but its support is arguably more geographically spread than SAlt’s, having contacts in every capital city and many regional centres. Currently, SA boasts two local councillors (Sue Bolton in Moreland and Sam Wainwright in Fremantle), produces the Green Left Weekly newspaper and is having a conference in Sydney in May titled Socialism For The 21st Century. SA will also be fielding candidates at the 2016 federal election. PS. Two formal tendencies have emerged within SA in the last year or so: ‘The Witches’ (?!) of Adelaide (May 2015) and ‘The 21st Century Socialism Tendency’ (April 2016).

11. Socialist Alternative (SAlt) is almost certainly the largest organisation in this edition of Trot Guide, just as it was in 2012. SAlt benefited from the absorption of the RSP in 2012/2013, while it’s yet to produce a splinter. Occasionally compared to a political kvlt by some of its harsher critics, I semi-seriously examined the claim in June 2013 and concluded that the answer was ‘no’. A highly critical account of the organisation is provided by Liam Donohoe in ‘My Salty Summer’ (Honi Soit, March 15, 2016). PS. Apologies to the SAlt member who waxed lyrical to me about the party and its many activities some months or years ago when I last made noises about updating the Guide.

12. The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) AKA The International Committee of the Fourth International modestly describes itself as the ‘leadership of the world socialist movement’ and frequently disparages its rivals (mostly SA and SAlt) as ‘pseudo-left’. The yoof wing of the SEP — International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) — has been engaged in a ding-dong battle with various University authorities over the last few years, including at Melbourne, where a bunch of kids on the Clubs and Societies Committee have failed to recognise the world-historical mission of the IYSSE/SEP/ICFI and refused to allow its supporters there to formally register as a Club. To add insult to injury, the sneaky little yuppies have even had the temerity to suggest that the junior members of the local branch of the leadership of the world socialist movement join the SAlt Club instead! The SEP frequently contests elections and will do so again at the 2016 federal election.

13. The Socialist Party (SP) was, until very recently, steady-as-she-goes. In February 2016, however, 14 members of the party — including Yarra councillor Steve Jolly — decamped, publishing an open letter alleging that the SP was guilty of engaging in a ‘cover-up of allegations of violence against women’ and stating that they ‘will not remain complicit in the silencing of victims of abuse’. The SP, for its part, issued a rebuttal, which you can read here. The folks who resigned from the SP are still flying the red flag as part of something called ‘The Socialist’; the SP remains mostly a Melbourne thing.

14. Solidarity remains the Official representative of the International Socialist Tendency Down Under. Blogger John Passant is a member, while Jim Casey, the Greens candidate for the seat of Grayndler in NSW, was attacked earlier this year for his former membership of the ‘International Socialists’, the group out of which, by various permutations and combinations, Solidarity formed and which stands in the IS tradition. Solidarity may be found in Brisbane, Canberra and Perth but mostly Melbourne and Sydney. See also : Marching Down Marx Street by Tom O’Lincoln on the history of the Cliffite tendency in Australia.

15. The Spartacist League of Australia AKA International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is ace and grouse and my personal favourite Trot group. It has members in Melbourne and Sydney and calls the SEP ‘Political Bandits’ and ‘Scab Socialists’, SAlt ‘Cheerleaders for Capitalist Counterrevolution’ and so on and so forth.

16. NEW! Formed as a split from the SP, The Socialist is The Title of The Newest socialist kid on the bloc. The Socialist has a Marxism study group, a socialist-feminist study group and an uncertain future.

17. Trotskyist Platform (TP) split from The Spartacists over a decade ago. TP hates fascism and racism almost as much as it hearts North Korea — which is A Lot. You can read about The Planks on Which Trotskyist Platform Can Stand Solid And Work Hard to Help Build The Communist Movement here and also An Eyewitness Account of North Korea and Its People: Bravely Building a Friendly, Socialistic Society While in the Cross Hairs of Imperialism here. PS. TP write ‘Though we in Trotskyist Platform have sharply differing political views to the anarchist who runs the Slackbastard blog and who has initiated the 2nd May [2014] counter-mobilisation to the fascist threat, we applaud the initiative he has taken and are thus actively building this action.’

Which I think is probably the only mention, let alone props, I’ve been given by any of the above groups in over 10 years of blogging … LOL.

Notes

• ‘Trot Guide’ is a neat categorisation but the political designation does not obviously, apply to the CPA, CPA-ML, MLG or PLP.
• Despite a hopeful sign in March 2013, the League for the Revolutionary Party/Communist Organization for the Fourth International (Australia) appears to have closed its post office box in North Melbourne.
• SA and SEP will be fielding candidates in the upcoming federal election; fingers crossed, so will the CPA, CL, PLP, SP and maybe even The Socialist will run.
• The online archive at Reason in Revolt has a range of documents on Australian socialist and radical groups: ‘Reason in Revolt brings together primary source documents of Australian radicalism as a readily accessible digitised resource. By ‘radical’ we refer to those who aimed to make society more equal and to emancipate the exploited or oppressed. Reason in Revolt is an expanding record of the movements, institutions, venues and publications through which radicals sought to influence Australian society.’

BONUS! ☭☭☭☭☭COMMUNISM WILL WIN☭☭☭☭☭

communism

Communism Will Win in Australia. See also : Aussie Anarchist Meme Squat.

George Christensen & Team Australia ~versus~ Flag-Burning Socialist Ratbags*

flagburners

Poor old George Christensen — who can boast that he is the only federal or state MP to have accepted an invitation to address a Reclaim Australia rally (Mackay, July 19) — has had his complaint to the Human Rights Commission re opposition to Reclaim Australia — specifically, the burning of the Australian flag at a protest in Melbourne on April 4 — dismissed. According to Christensen:

The clowns who burned three Australian flags at a protest on the Easter weekend, protected by a wall of socialist ratbags, have been reported to the Human Rights Commission.

I have been contacted by a number of people who were offended by protesters burning the national symbol during aggressive Socialist Alternative and Socialist [A]lliance protests in Melbourne. Many people were surprised it is not against the law to burn the Australian flag in such a manner and they feel offended and threatened when they see these actions taking place in Australia and broadcast on the news.

I have asked the Racial Discrimination Commissioner to investigate the protests to see if they are unlawful under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. According to the Act, it is unlawful to perform any action in public that is likely to offend people of a particular race, religion, or national background. If sections of the Act can be applied to one race or nationality it must apply to all, whether a minority or the majority.

Burning of flags, physical violence, and placards and chants labelling people “racist” were part of a counter-protest attended mostly by university students and members of the Socialist Alternative in response to organised rallies by Reclaim Australia.

Reclaim Australia organised rallies in at least 16 cities around Australia, including Mackay and Townsville, voicing concerns about the rise of Islamic extremism, a push to introduce Sharia law into Australia, and the connections between Halal certification and funding for terrorist organisations.

These were legitimate concerns that were not targeting individuals or a specific religion. Radical Islam is an ideology that has more to do with politics than any religion and certainly has nothing to do with race, but professional protesters have tried to make it about race and engaged in extremely racist and intolerant actions.

It is a shame the Socialist ratbags took such aggressive and racist action to shut down any free speech that doesn’t agree with their own ideology. According to the Left, free speech is a right – as long as you agree with the Left.

The ‘clowns’ in question — aka Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance — released a media statement following the flag burning. See : Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance burns butcher’s apron in defiance of racist ‘Reclaim Australia’ rally, Green Left Weekly, April 9, 2015. The action made the Reclaimers very upset, but this was not the first time WAR had burned the Australian flag as an act of resistance to colonialism and racism. See : Why WAR burned six Australian flags – MEDIA RELEASE, November 20, 2014.

George Christensen: Anti-Reclaim racism claim rejected
The Australian
August 6, 2015

A complaint by government backbencher George Christensen that protesters opposed to a Reclaim Australia rally sought to incite racial hatred has been dismissed by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Mr Christensen — the only federal Coalition MP to speak at a Reclaim Australia rally — alleged that a group called Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance in April burnt three Australian flags “which, as an Australian, I find to be particularly racist behaviour”.

The Queensland politician argued that the counter-protest breached section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, in that the flag-burning targeted Australians of European descent and was intended to cause offence, insult and humiliation, and dissuade people from joining the rally.

In a letter to the commission, Mr Christensen pre-empted any suggestion the Reclaim Australia rally was racist, saying the movement did not target individuals nor any particular racial group. “As we have seen, Islamic extremists … are not represented by a single race, nor can radical Islam be considered only a religion as it is ideological and as much a political movement as it is a religion,” he wrote.

In response, one of the commission’s case officers acknowledged Mr Christensen’s concerns, but said: “It is unclear how it could be argued that the burning of the Australian flag was done because of your race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, or that of other Australians of European descent more broadly.” No action was taken.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane last week warned of “organised racist movements” such as Reclaim Australia causing disharmony and urged anyone offended to “seek the protection of laws that prohibit such hatred”.

“At these rallies, far-right, racial-supremacist agitators have been visibly present,” Dr Soutphommasane told an audience at Australian National University. “People with xenophobic political agendas have also been present. Pictures and footage of the rallies clearly show that people sporting Nazi tattoos and other insignia have been openly parading their extremist sympathies.”

He said the “corrupted national pride” that emerged during the Cronulla riots had returned in “a strain of patriotic expression that is tainted with the stain of aggressive nationalism”.

“It is time that we reclaim patriotism,” he said.

For a contrary view on patriotism and nationalism, see : A G A I N S T N A T I O N A L I S M, totaltantrum, April 19/July 19, 2015. See also : Reclaiming (White) Australia? Talk about a redundant exercise, Senthorun Raj, August 6, 2015 | Banal Nationalism | The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism, Fredy Perlman (1984).

“So we say, we always say in the Black Panther Party, that they can do anything they want to us. We might not be back, I might be in jail, I might be anywhere. But when I leave, you can remember I said with the last words on my lips that I am a revolutionary and you’re going to have to keep on saying that. You’re going to have to say that I am a proletariat. I am the people, I’m not the pig. You got to make a distinction.”

~ Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969), executed by the Chicago Police as part of the US federal government’s COINTELPRO. See also : Noam Chomsky & Kathleen Cleaver on Race, Gender and Class Issues – Black Panthers (1997).