“The Battle of #Eltham” : #Fascists ~versus~ #Refugees : November 5, 2016

See also : 800 crimes against German refugee shelters so far this year, Middle East Eye, October 19, 2016: Crimes include arson, attacks using explosives and distribution of far-right propaganda.

This Saturday, November 5, a small group of people from Sydney, Bendigo, Melton and Melbourne will be descending upon St Andrew Park in Eltham in order to engage in what the organisers of the rally, the Sydney-based micro-sect ‘Party For Freedom’, are referring to as “The Battle Of Eltham”. The ‘Battle’ is to stop St Vincent’s Care Services in Eltham from providing housing to a number of Iraqi and Syrian refugees, a joint project of St Vincent’s Health Australia and CatholicCare. According to St Vincent’s, the proposal is intended:

… to help settle and support vulnerable refugees from Syria and Iraq – with priority given to women and children.

The refugees will be provided with medium-term rental accommodation in 60 units on the site of St Vincent’s Care Services Eltham. These units are stand-alone and separate from the residential aged care and independent living facilities on site.

The 60 units have been vacant for a number of years and have been refurbished by St Vincent’s Care Services to make them liveable.

The refugee housing project will run for two years and then the accommodation will be transitioned to be used as affordable housing for seniors.

There will be no impact on the residential aged care or independent living residents who live at the Eltham site.

You can read more about the project on the fact sheet (October 5, 2016) St Vincent’s has provided here.

In any case, while St Vincent’s claims that ‘We bring God’s love to those in need through the healing ministry of Jesus’, others, including the Party For Freedom, Soldiers Of Odin, True Blue Crew and United Patriots Front, have other ideas. Thus according to the PFF, in its promotional material for the ‘Battle’, ‘the decision to house the refo invaders in an aged care facility is a slap in the face of locals’, and those who support the proposal are ‘deranged and irresponsible advocates for open borders’. Further, ‘both major parties are working together to destroy Australia by using taxpayers’ money to facilitate the third world colonisation of Australia’: a dastardly plot which now implicates the Christian charities St Vincent’s and CatholicCare. Of course, the PFF also advocates the forcible sterilisation of refugees from the ‘Third World’, and is otherwise infamous for staging an invasion of a church service in Gosford (August 2016) and for attempting to stage a recreation of ‘The Battle of Cronulla’ (December 2015).

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Those scheduled to speak at St Andrew Park as part of the ‘Battle’ are all familiar faces on the far right. Thus in addition to PFF Chairman Nick Folkes and his teenybopper sidekick Toby Cook, Sydney-based anti-Muslim activist Sergio Redegalli, ex-Australian Liberty Alliance candidate John Bolton of Adelaide, and local boys Paul ‘Guru’ Franzi (True Blue Crew), Julian de Ross (AKA ‘Hugh Pearson’, United Patriots Front) and John Wilkinson (AKA ‘Farma John’) will all be delighting the crowds with their verbal wit. One person who won’t be joining the patriotik mob will be Phillip Galea, currently a resident at Thomas Embling hospital, but otherwise on trial for alleged terrorist offences. A friend of Reclaim Australia, the TBC and the UPF, Galea’s previous legal entanglements revolved around Wilkinson’s alleged provision to him of a number of cattle prods; Wilkinson was also one of those who participated in the UPF dummy stunt in Bendigo in October last year, though has escaped facing any charges. Not so lucky are UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell and former UPF members Neil Erikson and Chris Shortis (now a member of the White nationalist Australia First Party): they are due to face court in March next year.

The fascist plan to grunt and squeal in St Andrew Park has also resulted in the organisation of some other activities by Diamond Yarra Valley Resistance Solidarity on Saturday morning. Titled SAFE – Stand Against Fascism in Eltham, the DYVRS day begins at 10am. In which context, it’s worthwhile noting that this is NOT a counter-rally and DYVRS is seeking to avoid any and all confrontation on the day. DYVRS:

DYVRS is staunchly antifascist, and firmly believes that hatred and bigotry on our streets should be shut down. In this instance though, due to circumstance and location, direct opposition to thugs and bigots is not a workable tactic.

If your desire is to shout at and engage with right wing undesirables, while in other circumstances we might agree, in this case we must respectfully ask you not join us on the day. We cannot emphasise this enough – this is a peaceful protest aimed at avoiding conflict. There is much at stake in this issue and no one to profit from conflict but the groups we oppose.

Note that further details on the day’s events (which are scheduled to finish at 1pm, ie, before the fascist rally ends at 2pm) may be found by checking the DYVRS Facebook event page on Friday night. Just a reminder the first stop on Saturday’s event at 10am is a very long way from the shouty asshats and is in an easily secured location. You are most welcome to just attend that part if you’d like. This stop will have the speeches and the banner drop. Afterwards we’ll be moving a little closer to their group but not in contact and if you’d prefer not to do that, that’s fine too. See you Saturday – remember to check for maps and further instructions on Friday on this page or Twitter.

As always, much love and respect to all the good folk taking a stand against racism and bigotry — see you on the streets!

antifa notes (october 10, 2016) : Soldiers of Odin Redux /// Eltham /// Hammerskins

See also : Who are the Soldiers of Odin?, Kieran’s Review, October 10, 2016 | An Anti-Muslim Vigilante Group Is Roaming The Melbourne CBD Pledging To “Keep Our Streets Safe”, Tom Clift, Junkee, October 10, 2016.

1) Soldiers Of Odin

Several months after they began parading around the Melbourne CBD, The Age has taken notice of the Soldiers of Odin. See : Vigilante-style group Soldiers of Odin patrolling Melbourne CBD, Chris Vedelago and Cameron Houston, October 10, 2016. According to The Age: “The Soldiers of Odin appear to operate similarly to the Guardian Angels network, founded in New York City in 1979 to patrol the subway system amid growing crime rates.” I would suggest that a better model would be the street patrols of Greek neo-Nazis Golden Dawn. Be that as it may, a few points:

• The SOO were founded in October 2015 by Mika Ranta, a Finnish neo-Nazi activist with links to the Suomen vastarintaliike or Finnish Resistance Movement (FRM), the local branch of neo-Nazi grouplet Nordic Resistance Movement. Like others belonging to SOO, Ranta has a violent criminal record.

• Members of the FRM are allegedly responsible for the recent killing of an anti-racist activist, 28-year-old Jimi Karttunen: “The man arrested in connection with assaulting a man to death at the Helsinki Central Railway Station is a key figure in the Finnish Resistance Movement (SVL), confirmed the police. A passer-by was beaten up outside the Helsinki central railway station where the Finnish Resistance Movement was holding a demonstration on September 10. The man succumbed to his injuries at the Helsinki Meilahti hospital on September 16” (Helsinki murder suspect key figure in SVL, FTimes-STT Report, September 21, 2016). His murder sparked a massive protest in Helsinki, one of the largest in recent memory.

• Since its formation in Finland, the SOO — rather like the (now largely-moribund) English Defence League — has expanded to a number of other territories, including Canada. Anti-Racist Canada has exhaustively documented SOO’s links to neo-Nazism and criminal violence.

• The leader of SOO in Melbourne is Jay B Moore. Like other Soldiers, Moore has an association with other patriotik groups, in particular the Patriots Defence League of Australia (PDLA). Below he’s pictured at the joint Reclaim Australia/United Patriots Front (UPF) anti-Muslim rally in Melton in November 2015 and at the UPF rally in Bendigo in February 2016 sporting PDLA merch. (Another member of the SOO, Cam ‘Moody’ McCann, was present at the Reclaim Australia rally in Melbourne in April 2015 in the company of a small clutch of neo-Nazi methgoblins.) Given the apparent collapse of the PDLA, it makes sense for Moore and others to have hitched their wagon to yet another anti-Muslim vehicle; an ever-present dynamic within the broader milieu. Or: same shit, different pile.

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• While the meatheads belonging to SOO are obviously more attracted to the bells, whistles and uniforms, the association between Odinism (and other forms of esoteric religion), fascism and neo-Nazism extends back many years, including in Australia, and most especially by way of Alexander Rud Mills (1885–1964). His peculiar beliefs are examined in ‘Skeggold, skalmold; vindold, vergold’: Alexander Rud Mills and the Asatru faith in the New Age (Australian Religion Studies Review, Vol.12, No.1, January 1999) while his (Nazi) political beliefs are examined more closely in David S. Bird’s Nazi Dreamtime: Australian enthusiasts for Hitler’s Germany (ASP, 2012). See also : Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke (2002). Anti-Fascist News provides some more recent accounts of the relationship between neo-paganism and the far right on its site here; it’s also worth noting that other ‘heathens’ reject racism and fascism. See : Heathens United Against Racism.

• The SOO joined the True Blue Crew (TBC) and UPF at their anti-Muslim rally in Melton in August this year at which members of the TBC and SOO clashed. The TBC eventually booted the SOO from Melton, with most of their animosity seemingly being directed at SOO President Jay B Moore. Despite this, the SOO — minus including Moore — joined with the TBC at an anti-refugee rally in Eltham on October 1.

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Source : DYVRS

Speaking of which …

2) DYVRS – Diamond Yarra Valley Resistance Solidarity

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The Party for Freedom (PFF) is holding another anti-refugee rally in Eltham on November 5. The ostensible target of their ire is St Vincent’s Care Services, which has recently won a contract to provide housing to something in the order of 100 Iraqi and Syrian refugees. St Vincent’s has published a fact sheet explaining the initiative here.

In response to this rally and the rally of October 1 a new group has formed: Diamond Yarra Valley Resistance Solidarity (DYVRS). On the DYVRS blog it notes that a majority of those present at the rally on October 1 were drawn from the TBC, SOO and other satellites; the Soldiers, the Crew, the UPF, the PFF and All The Usual Suspects (even Ralph Cerminara!) have announced their intentions to return on November 5, making it a fun day for the whole racist family. Those unhappy at the prospect of another assembly of racist and fascist bigots should follow DYVRS for more announcements.

3) Blood & Honour / Southern Cross Hammerskins

FTR, Benson & Hedges and the Southern Cross Hammerskins are holding their annual Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial gig this weekend in Melbourne. The event commemorating the death of the Skrewydriver has been held every year for the past two decades with only occasional fanfare in the media — even the massacre conducted by Hammerskin Wade Michael Ppage at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin 2012 barely registered in Australia. In any case, their cheeky kameraden in the UK managed to fool keen-eyed and whip-smart Cambridgeshire Police a few weeks ago as ‘Hundreds of people attended a neo-Nazi rally that was not opposed by police in the belief it was a charity event’ LOL (Cambridgeshire neo-Nazi rally allowed as ‘charity’ event, Sally Chidzoy, BBC, October 6, 2016).

BONUS ALTRIGHT!