¡ALERTA! Stop fascists rallying @ LGBT Holocaust Memorial, Sydney : Saturday, September 23, 2017

Update (September 23, 2017) : Somewhere between 15 and 30 people bothered to rock up to Nick Folkes’ stoopid. It was shit, really. See : Straight Lives Matter rally in Sydney outnumbered by police, same sex marriage advocates as leader blames ‘violence’, Natalie Wolfe, news.com.au, September 23, 2017 | Sydney, Australia: Report-Back from the ‘Straight Lives Matter’ Counter-Demo, Insurrection News, September 23, 2017.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Willem Arondeus, the gay Dutch resistance member executed by the Nazis in July 1943 and Righteous Among the Nations.

This Saturday in Sydney, Nick Folkes and his Party for Freedom (PFF) are holding an anti-marriage equality rally (‘Straight Lives Matter’) at Green Park (corner of Victoria & Burton Streets), Darlinghurst. Folks in Sydney have organised a counter-protest for which there’s a Facebook event page here.

Green Park is the site of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Holocaust Memorial and just a hop, skip and a jump to both the Sydney Jewish Museum and the Jewish War Memorial and Museum. Fitting, then, that the list of attendees at the hate rally includes anti-Semites, neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers. According to a report on news.com.au (Far right nationalist Party for Freedom to hold ‘Straight Lives Matter’ anti-same-sex marriage rally, Benedict Brook, September 20, 2017):

The party’s leader, Nick Folkes, told news.com.au being gay was a choice and called people who didn’t identify with their biological gender “retards”.

Provocatively, the protest is being held in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, famous for its large LGBTI population and metres from a memorial to murdered gays and lesbians.

The group was unapologetic for holding the rally next to a monument mourning gay people executed by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.

“We want to make a strong point — I don’t feel we’re provoking anyone, we can hold a rally anywhere,” Mr Folkes said. He said “yes” campaigners could hold a march in a “straight area”.

NSW Police confirmed they would be in attendance at the event.

(Police in Gothenburg, Sweden will also be providing an honour guard for a neo-Nazi march less than 500 feet from a synagogue on Yom Kippur.)


(Above : PFF placard featuring Nazi Totenkopf on L and Sydney Gay & Lesbian Holocaust Memorial on R.)

For those of you coming in late, the PFF developed as a split from the Australian Protectionist Party — itself created as a split from the Australia First Party — in mid-2012, following the APP leadership’s rejection of the Sydney branch’s organisation of a public rally demanding that the Australian government ‘Torpedo the Boats’ carrying asylum seekers to Australia. The unregistered micro-party has a history of organising publicity stunts. In April 2016 its members disrupted a church service in Gosford on account of the Gosford Anglicans’ support for human rights, while in December 2015 the party celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Cronulla pogrom. Most recently, members of the party, along with a handful of others including Neil Erikson, disrupted a meeting of Yarra council in Melbourne in order to protest its decision to cancel celebrations of Australia Day on January 26. Martin Fletcher, the (former) Vice Chairman of the PFF and its IT Guy, once made the video game ‘Muslim Massacre’ available on his now-defunct website: the aim of the game is to kill all Muslims that appear on the screen. Prior to this, his site was used to promote anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and carried neo-Nazi propaganda.

Among the few dozen who’ve indicated that they’ll be joining Nick Folkes and fellow PFF members Toby Cook, George Jameson and Penny Louise/Tridgell at the hate rally are Sukith Fernando and Simeon Boikov. Sukith is a Tory student activist at the University of Sydney, a contributor to The Spectator (Australia), a Holocaust denialist, and a bit of a Hitler fanboy. (He also got into a spot of bother last week for these views.) Simeon, on the other hand, is a Putin fanboy, a Cossack, and a close ally of both the local branch of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn and the Australia First Party.

As xbops notes:

… it is important to be aware that Party for Freedom are a fascist organisation with a long record of campaigning against sexual and ethnic minority groups – including refugees – and in support of reintroducing the ‘White Australia’ policy … [The PFF are also] growing more brazen in their willingness to display fascist, Nazi, and white nationalist symbolism. In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia last month, and the emboldening of the US far-right under Trump, it is imperative, now more than ever, to put an unequivocal check on the transnational growth of fascist (and) homophobic movements.

The willingness of the PFF to more openly espouse fascist and White supremacist ideology should also be considered in terms of its re-incorporation of the remnant members of neo-Nazi grouplet ‘Squadron 88’, who attended PFF rallies in Newtown and Lithgow in July. To date, S88 is best-known for shoving shitty anti-Semitic tracts into the letterboxes of folks (many Jewish) in Bondi in August 2014 and more recently for throwing up racist posters in Petersham in July 2017.

Enough is enough!

STOP FASCISTS RALLYING AT THE LGBT HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL
WHEN : 1pm, Saturday, September 23
WHERE : Green Park, Victoria and Burton Streets, Darlinghurst
infos : antifa-au.tk

A further note on Avi Yemini’s fascist and neo-Nazi friends …

Yeah well anyway, I thought I might just note in passing some of Avi Yemini’s fanbase among the extreme-right.

To begin with, unhappy with the media reportage of his hate rally on Sunday, Avi instead recommends everybody read the report on the ‘altright’ website ‘The Unshackled’ (2016–) by Tom Pirrone. According to Tom, ‘hundreds’ attended Avi’s shindig — which is about as accurate as most of the reportage on the site, which otherwise reflects the preoccupations of the Tory yoof which constitutes its audience.

The Unhinged editors of The Unshackled are Tim Wilms and Sukith Fernando (above). Like many other #altright yoof, Sukith is a card-carrying member of the Liberal Party, and it was while campaigning for student elections that Sukith got into some hot water at the University of Sydney last week. Thus according to Honi Soit (Holocaust denying student confronted on campus, Kishor Napier-Raman and Aidan Molins, September 15, 2017): ‘Fernando was confronted on Eastern Avenue by members of both Stand Up (Labor) and Switch (Grassroots/independents) who questioned him about his beliefs. Fernando repeatedly claimed that he “didn’t know” whether the Holocaust happened.’ He is also reportedly a member of multiple right-wing Facebook groups, including one called ‘Holocaust Revisionism’.

As was the case with University of Queensland student David Hilton (‘Moses Apostaticus’), being an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier is no barrier to being adopted by more mainstream publications, including The Spectator. Thus in July Sukith contributed a sterling essay to the site (Goodbye Yassmin and #PrayForLondon, July 13, 2017) celebrating Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s decision to leave Australia for London, while also deriding her for her alleged apostasy and racism. For its part, the Liberal yoof who’ve assembled behind the ‘Vanguard’ banner to contest the election have denounced Sukith for his public expressions of racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and informed the world that, if elected, Sukith will not hold office. On the other hand, Sukith’s brave stand against The Jew at his university did at least win the approval of neo-Nazi and former Grand Poobah of the KKK, David Duke, so that’s something eh.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Leaving aside Sukith, as noted previously, the main body of supporters at Avi’s rally on Sunday were drawn from pre-existing extreme-right street gangs, especially the Soldiers of Odin and True Blue Crew. Funnily enough, apart from ignoring actually-existing laws and legal processes, the implementation of the rally’s demands — minimum sentencing for violent offenders (including minors), no bail for persons charged with violent offences, no parole for those convicted for violent offences, minors to be incarcerated in adult jails and the deportation of immigrants convicted of violent offences — would actually decimate his support base.

See also : TheDingoes.xyz /// The Convict Report /// DingoCon (July 8, 2017).

TheDingoes.xyz /// The Convict Report /// DingoCon

DingoCon

Last weekend, a small group of neo-Nazi geeks, White supremacist nerds, and extreme-right yoof met-up in Sydney to talk shop. Called ‘DingoCon’ and organised under the auspices of #DingoTwitter, the only person to have publicly confessed to having paid their $88 (fnarr fnarr) entrance fee is Melbourne-based neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell, the putative leader of the now defunct Facebook page ‘United Patriots Front’ (UPF). One person who definitely did not attend — and whose presence would apparently have been unwelcome — was Dr Jim Saleam of the Australia First Party: Everyone Wants To Be Fuehrer, but it would seem that the nü gen of Fashy Goys are keen to keep some distance from the fascists in cardigans.


Above : George Christensen poses with Kane Miller, lvl boss of the ‘True Blue Crew’.

The Dingoes

While Buzzfeed buzzed about The Dingoes back in October, to date the most publicity The Dingoes mob has received has likely come courtesy of Federal MP George Christensen, who was a guest on their podcast in February. A few months later — after having made the Columbus-like discovery that he’d been chatting to neo-Nazi yoof — Christensen declared that he’d stumbled onto the podcast entirely by mistake, was really sorry about the whole thing, and vowed to stop US neo-Nazi Mike Peinovich from coming to Australia in order to address the conference his erstwhile kameraden had organised for July. (Christensen’s sudden rise and very slow fall from Dingo grace is most-usefully examined by Richard Cooke in the July, 2017 edition of The Monthly.)*

Christensen’s decision to consort with anti-Semites angered some at the time, and Jenna Price may be correct to claim that ‘[o]nly Buzzfeed’s Mark di Stefano thought it wasn’t the best use of a politician’s time’, but as Jason Wilson wrote in February, Christensen is not the only political figure to have embraced The Dingoes:

Last week, for the second time, former Labor leader Mark Latham appeared on The Convict Report, aka The Dingoes, an Australian “alt-right” podcast. It’s part of the network of podcasts hosted by The Right Stuff, a major international far right hub. That’s the same website whose major players have been recently doxxed by the left, and whose unmasking as promoters of fascist ideology has, in some cases, brought suitably ruinous consequences.

After taking note of the fact that both Christensen and former Liberal turned Conservative Federal MP Bernardi were to be guests of The Q Society function in Melbourne in February (LOL), Wilson further writes that:

Bernardi also has other, perhaps even stranger connections. In particular, he has a long relationship with a group called the Sydney Traditionalist Forum. They describe themselves as “the first explicitly paleoconservative-leaning association in Australia”, and “the only local group that embraces the political currents of contemporary dissident reaction”. Their purpose is to provide “a forum where ideas once understood to be common sense can be exchanged, debated and discussed, unfettered and ungagged by modern liberal thought-control”.

The Sydney Traditionalists, as it happens, are also comrades of The Dingoes; which fact — together with their rejection of Dr Saleam — has apparently irked the authors of the United Nationalists of Australia (UNA) blog.

The Dingoes, Klub Naziya, Sydney Traditionalists, Liberals, United Nationalists and Australia First Party

Functioning largely as a forum for (Jewish?!) neo-Nazi and AFP member Nathan Sykes, but also occasionally featuring the musings of former UPF leader turned AFP member Chris Shortis, the UNA blog replaced the similarly batshit ‘Whitelaw Towers’, and frequently takes potshots at the various enemies and rivals of Saleam and the AFP. In keeping with this role, the blog has recently published an account of DingoCon and the nefarious forces allegedly pulling its strings.

According to UNA (‘DINGOES CONNED?’, July 6, 2017), Liberal and Leo Strauss aficionado David McBryde is ‘the man behind the curtain of DingoCon’. The logic governing the proposal is fairly convoluted but whatever its sketchy merits, it does reveal something of the fractious nature of the extreme-right in Sydney. Thus, in another post on the UNA blog authored by Saleam, McBryde is nominated as being one of a number of individuals — along with Steven Moore, Mark Pavic, Jason Rafty and Andrew Wilson — comprising the shadowy Klub Nation (AKA Klub Naziya), a bizarre group which, inter alia, organised meetings at Humanist House in Chippendale in the period 2005–2009 before staging an unsuccessful attempt to seize control of the group which owns it, the Humanist Society of NSW. KN is also alleged to have been involved in some dingbat investment scheme — the purchase of gold and silver — in which several investors allegedly lost some small sums of money. (For more on KN and Humanist House, see : Fascist infiltration of the ‘Humanist Society of New South Wales’ (Inc.), November 25, 2009.)


Above : Andrew Wilson with fellow members of (defunct) neo-Nazi skinhead gang Volksfront.

According to another source, Andrew Wilson is in fact one of the regular hosts of The Convict Report, where he podcasts under the name of ‘Aussie Tory’; certainly, Wilson once put the yoof in the Patriotik Yoof League (PYL) — the ill-fated attempt by Saleam’s Australia First Party to develop a yoof wing in the early noughties — and was one of the volk in the similarly short-lived neo-Nazi grouplet Volksfront. Since then, after various twists and turns, the PYL has been replaced by the imaginatively titled ‘Eureka Youth League’, AKA Canberra boy Matthew Grant. (You may remember Grant from such rallies as the UPF anti-Muslim rally in Bendigo in October, 2015.)

Other individuals nominated as being in some way complicit in McBryde’s plotting to undo the (White) nationalist content of The Dingoes and to bring its handful of followers (back) into the Liberal fold are: Sydney Traditionalist, DingoCon organiser, aspiring academic and self-described ‘paleo-conservative’ Luke Torrisi; fellow Traditionalist, sometime Humanist and USYD activist Morgan Qasabian and finally; Clifford Jennings, described by Saleam as an ‘Alt-Right leader and the organizer of Dingo activity’ and a former Liberal: also an aspiring USYD student politician, and organiser of a ‘Pro-Trump Counter Protest’ in Sydney in January (‘Communists, Marxists, Globalists and Cucks are going to be protesting against the inauguration of the God Emperor Trump to the Presidency of the United States of America, please join me in a very merry counter protest. Please invite those who are truly pro-Trump.’).

In summary, it’s not without reason that Jason Wilson wrote that ‘The Dingoes attempt to produce the same edgy fare as The Right Stuff flagships like The Daily Shoah, but they sound a little too much like chinless Young Liberal nerds to bring any real menace’. Beyond that, while much media reportage on the ‘AltRight’ has been obsessed with the bells and whistles (haircuts and memes) attached to it, as a general rule it’s just the old anti-Semitic and fascist whine in new bottles.

See also : Are These Two Jewish Dudes The Aussie Voice Of The Alt-Right?, Leon Gettler, Forward, April 5, 2017 | The Dingoes claim to be ‘growing’ part of Australian alternative-right political scene, Victoria Craw, news.com.au, December 5, 2016 | Big Nazi on Campus: How Well Dressed Racists Are Coming to a College Near You, It’s Going Down, May 15, 2016 | Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment: The Frankfurt School as Scapegoat of the Lunatic Fringe, March 9, 2012.

======

* Conservative MPs accidentally-stumbling-into-fascist-and-anti-Semitic-groups has a long, colourful, and generally comedic history Down Under. STRAYA has also often been a safe space for Nazi war criminals, some few recruited by the intelligence agencies to better battle Communism while others, most notoriously Slovenian Nazi propagandist Ljenko Urbančič (1922–2006), pursuing careers within the Conservative parties themselves. Urbančič, who joined the NSW Liberal Party and exercised considerable influence upon it during the 1960s and 1970s via the ‘Uglies’ faction, also enjoyed Australian hospitality by organising campaigns in support of apartheid, White rule in Rhodesia, and against the influence of liberals within the Liberals. The political legacy of the ‘Little Goebbels’ of Ljubljana continues to be exercised and/or exorcised via his #BFF and NSW state MP David Clarke and Clarke’s former acolyte, federal MP Alex Hawke. For more infos on STRAYA as a safe space for Nazis and war criminals, see : Mark Aarons, War Criminals Welcome (Black Inc., 2001).

Sadly, Mike Peinovich (‘Mike Enoch’) did not attend DingoCon, instead electing to goto the Scandza Forum in Oslo, Norway on July 1. Erik Olson (Searchlight) writes: ‘Recently a small “volkisch” far-right group called Scandza Forum started making its presence felt publicly with calls for more international activity. Some minor events took place and then we learned from our inside sources that a major event was to take place in Oslo on 1 July 2017 under the Scandza banner heavily supported by Greg Johnson’s Counter-Currents.’ Note that Johnson was a guest of The Dingoes in September last year.

#Reclaim Australia : November 22, 2015 : Post-match

blahmelton
Above : A protest sign in Melton featuring the neo-Nazi leader of the UPF, Blair Cotrell, and one of his quotes on skool curricula. For more see : Quotations From Chairman Blair Cottrell (July 27, 2015).

‘Reclaim Australia’ (RA) held a series of anti-Muslim rallies across the country on Sunday, November 22. These were the third series of such rallies to have taken place this year, previous rallies having been held on April 4 and July 18/19. This post contains links to reportage on the rallies (and counter-rallies) as well as a few additional notes.

In general, this third round seems to have witnessed slightly smaller numbers of Reclaimers assemble than did previously (Newcastle seems to have been the sole exception). Events in major cities — especially in Melbourne and Sydney — were heavily policed, and police adopted the basic strategy of attempting to keep the two sides widely separated via the use of mobile barriers, regular police and riot squads, and through the use of mounted police (in the cases of Adelaide and Melton). In this task they were largely successful.

Regarding Melton/Melbourne, the conviction and sentencing of Braybrook Reclaimer Phill Galea for weapons offences on Friday, while seemingly prompting the Bendigo-based groupsucule ‘The Resistance Victoria’ to abandon attendance, doesn’t seem to have had much impact on other Reclaimers in Melton, with local far-right networks organised around the ‘Patriots Defence League of Australia’ (PDLA) and racist yoof gang ‘True Blue Crew’ (TBC) being prominent.

I’ll be adding more details to the accounts below as the week progresses.

This account by Rachel Baxendale in The Australian (Reclaim Australia rallies: Two sides go to war in towns, cities, November 23, 2015) provides a general overview of events:

Hundreds of Reclaim Australia protesters and their opponents have held rallies in cities and towns across Australia, with riot police using capsicum spray to subdue violent members of both groups.

Rallies were held in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart and Alice Springs, as well as at Townsville [at which Pauline Hanson spoke] and Cairns in north Queensland, Mildura in northwestern Victoria and Esperance in Western Australia.

At Melton in Melbourne’s outer northwest, there were six ­arrests as hundreds of police, ­including members of the air-wing, mounted branch and dog squad, maintained a barrier ­between about 500 protesters from each group.

A 29-year-old man who punched a police horse was subdued with capsicum spray and charged with animal cruelty, while three men were charged over possession of knives and another two with riotous behaviour.

Victoria Police Acting Commander Alan Byrnes said three members of the public were hurt, but the protest was largely peaceful. “It’s always a bit disappointing to see people turn up with masks,” he said. “You wonder what their motives are for doing that.”

A coalition of socialist, anar­chist and unionist groups calling themselves No Room for Rac­ism chanted “Nazi scum off our streets”, “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land” and “Shame, shame, Victoria Police”.

On the other side of the police line, Australian flag-clad youths screamed “you are a f..kwit” at a Syrian woman addressing the No Room for Racism group.

Melton father Luke Mackie said he had joined the Reclaim Australia protest because he ­opposed an Islamic school being built in the area.

“How can they be calling us Nazis when they’re the ones discriminating against us?” he said. “My kids aren’t Catholic, but they go to a Catholic school. They won’t be allowed to go to this Muslim school.”

In Sydney, police arrested two people as up to 1000 packed parts of Martin Place, with police lines again separating the demonstrations. About 300 people associated with the Refugee Action Coalition and the Socialist Alliance pushed up against police along Macquarie Street. A 36-year-old man was ­arrested for allegedly damaging a memorial while a 16-year-old boy was issued a “move on” direction for allegedly breaching the peace.

Speaking to several hundred anti-Islam protesters, the founder of Reclaim Australia, Catherine Brennan [Liz Shepherd], said recent events in Paris had worried many Australians. “I think there were a lot more people than we were originally ­expecting,” she said. “Because of the Paris attacks — unfortunately.”

Additional Reporting: AAP.

See also : Ugly clashes at anti-Islam rallies in Australia, BBC, November 23, 2015 | Eight charged after Reclaim Australia rallies turn violent, SBS, November 23, 2015 | Anti-Racist Activists Drown out Reclaim Australia Rallies, El Sur TV, November 22, 2015.

Otherwise …

ADELAIDE

Attracting relatively strong crowds on April 4 and July 18, Adelaide saw several hundred join the RA rally on November 22. Those who organised in opposition appear to have been successful in attracting the greatest support. Grace Hill writes:

In Adelaide, Reclaim had to meet at an alternate location to parliament to try and get away from us, a victory from the outset. We marched to meet them, and it was immediately apparent that we outnumbered them. Their planned march was cancelled due to us blocking the entrance to the square. Congratulations to everyone who attended the counter-rally!

See : Police separate opposing protesters at Reclaim Australia rally in Adelaide, Meagan Dillon, The Advertiser, November 23, 2015.

BRISBANE

Sadly for Reclaimers, the Brisbane rally appears to have suffered from some serious PA problems, which have been the subject of many complaints online from the 1-200 or so who rocked up. The presence of several CFMEU flags at the counter-rally irked others.

Among those who did join the Reclaimers was an Adolf Hitler impersonator (!) and a handful of boneheads belonging to tiny neo-Nazi groupscule ‘Right Wing Resistance Australia’, the local branch of the New Zealand organisation. (See : Right Wing Resistance New Zealand.) On July 18, members of RWR, PDLA and other nazis acted as marshals at the event.

A comrade from Brisbane writes:

In total, there were maybe 250 on our side & 100 on theirs. It was scheduled to start @ Emma Miller Place @ noon. I got to the Roma Street station @ 11.30am & was kinda surprised that I had to walk past the RA area to get to where around 100 ‘Say No To Racism’ folk were already pressed against police barriers & in full voice.

Noticing a way to get past police into their area I went in & ripped out anything I could see plugged in before some RA & cops came to stop me. The cops were a wee bit unsure what to do with me as I looked like ‘commie scum’ but needed a walking stick. I made a bit of a fuss & the RA wanted me arrested but cops just took me to our side haha.

Apparently each mob ended up where they did because our mob pushed through initial police lines while they were still setting up. Highlights: their PA not working; seeing Hitler, more than a few boneheads. Swastika & SS tatts got a guernsey & we genuinely made them really fucking mad. Catching a cop tapping his foot to “FUCK OFF NAZI FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF NAZI FUCK OFF!” was great. There was one arrest when a RA supporter tried to get over the police barrier: an exercise in futility as they had a line of cops stopping them & we had PSRT (Public Safety Response Team) riot cops stopping us.

The energy this time was amazing. It was an almost celebratory mood on our side, despite their increase in numbers & increase in bonehead presence.

An hour earlier out at Logan the PDLA held an anti immigration rally, so if they’d been there there may have been even more aggression from them as they seem to have some proper psychos in their ranks. Fuck knows why they did their own thing Sunday but aside from a small group of bikies turning up to the RA rally late I don’t think many from their rally rocked up.

Kim Vuga was at the RA rally but we could hear & see fuck all as when they had speakers they were forced to huddle together in the back of their area to hear anything. PA probs apparently. As I say it was a real party atmosphere on our side.

After a few hours RA organisers started rounding up their mob & they drifted off with police protection as usual (we weren’t able to leave our area) to the sounds of “YOU’LL ALWAYS LOSE IN BRISBANE” & “FUCK OFF NAZI FUCK OFF”. Our mob, when able to leave (about 30 mins after the fash) spontaneously took to the streets & marched to King George Square where people milled around before drifting off. We should’ve done a march through the city or had a street sit-in but hey …

Finally, another highlight was a number of new faces on our side who had attended as a direct result of Paris. It was the most anarchist comrades I’ve seen in one place for a while too and it was nice to catch up with people. Ummm … the cops even seemed to be a bit more receptive to our presence & a bit put out by RA causing them to use up so many resources this time. Their whole demeanour when dealing with us was quite reasonable. Police negotiators didn’t even bother with us either, just went straight to their mob. Anyway that’s about it … aside from some positive talk among anarchists about doing stuff out my way. Yay!

See : The face-tattooed protesters and Adolf Hitler lookalikes whose appearance at a Reclaim Australia rally mocks the group’s claim that it stands for ‘ordinary’ people, Lucy Mae Beers, Daily Mail (Australia), November 23/4, 2015.

CAIRNS

In Cairns, around 300 or so people attended the RA rally, and just a handful were present to express disagreement.

CANBERRA

RalphCAN

A small number of Reclaimers — perhaps 100 or so — attended the Canberra leg of the event. A crowd roughly similar in size counter-protested. Among those who spoke at the RA rally were Shermon Burgess (‘The Great Aussie Patriot’) and close ally Ralph Cerminara (above) of the ‘Australian Defence League’. A month or so prior to his address outside Parliament House, and in the wake of the Parramatta shooting, Cerminara called upon his 5,000 or so followers on Facebook to launch “lone wolf” attacks upon mosques and imams. His Facebook page was subsequently closed, though he remains very active on another page called ‘Left Wings Bigots & Extremists Exposed’, which identifies alleged ‘extremists’ and documents some of his encounters with them. His most recent focus has been upon Black Rose infoshop in Newtown. Joining him in his crusade is Nick Folkes of the ‘Party for Freedom’. Folkes along with Burgess are currently organising and promoting a Cronulla riot re-enactment, scheduled to take place on December 12.

Roxley Foley writes:

Unreported by any news outlet was the amazing rejection of the theatre of hate and division seen across the nation. Amongst the anti racism protesters arrived a delegation of first nations representatives from all corners of the country. The delegation had taken time out of a week long series of meetings at the tent embassy to make a unified denouncement of Reclaim Australia but also to teach the anti racism protesters that hate cannot be beaten by hate. Warriors and healers lit a sacred fire and spoke of the need to confront the wound and legacies of racism to which Reclaim are just a modern symptom and were urged not to fall into the trap of fueling the energy of the opposing side. Unfortunately the initial arrival of howling Reclaimers was too much and anti racism organisers urged the crowd to yell and scream at Reclaim. The resulting spectacle was predictable and depressing. At the peak of sides hurling abuse the warriors made the call to the crowd to turn their backs and walk away back to the circle. The change in energy was almost immediate and without a source to reflect their outrage Reclaimers taunts were pitiful and almost humorous, provoking laughter as we sat in a circle together. Within a very short amount of time Reclaim lost its steam and faces of regret, shame and humiliation amongst their side could be seen. Federal police officers approached us after Reclaim had left, amazed at how we had deescalated the situation and sincerely thanked us. Hate and anger are vicious circles that can only be beaten by compassion, understanding and a little bit of laughter. The true spirit of this land and people shined that day and the media chose to report a story of a nation tearing itself apart, but those who were there experienced something special.

See : Reclaim Australia and Canberra Anti-Racism Network members face-off outside Parliament House, ABC, November 22, 2015 | Protesters face-off in Canberra: Reclaim Australia and ‘anti-racism’ rallies at Parliament House, Christopher Knaus, The Canberra Times, November 22, 2015.

HOBART

AFAHobart2

Around 50 or 60 people attended the RA rally in Hobart with well over twice as many assembling to oppose them.

An anti-fascist in Hobart writes:

On 22 November approximately 40-50 racists, bigots and assorted potatriots assembled in the car park of Franklin Square. (Franklin Square was closed for renovations so they had to make do with the car park.) Anti-racists and anti-fascists had booked Parliament lawn to hold a counter rally in the knowledge that Franklin Square was closed and to disallow the bigots use of the space.

The counter rally attracted between 200-250 people from a broad range of society and had a local band performing. Speeches were given by a local Indigenous representative, a spokesperson from Tasmania Welcomes Diversity and several refugees.

There was about 20 police in attendance and the bigots, headed by Danny Bell (former admin of UPF-Tasmania) were told to disperse from the car park. They then attempted to rally at Parliament lawns but were held back by a line of police. Rally organisers and attendees made the collective decision to continue listening to speeches and let the bigots make themselves look stupid, which they happily obliged in doing.

Yelling ‘paedophile lovers’, ‘traitors’ and ‘flag burning scum’ through a single megaphone, the UPF drew the ire of passers by and laughter from the anti-racism rally. Locals in the area were also overheard voicing their disgust at the sad spectacle.

The UPF continued their rally from behind police lines for another 20 or so minutes before dispersing and heading to one of the few local bars that will have them.

It’s worth noting that their numbers were considerably larger than at their previous event, but that is most likely owing to Reclaim Australia’s involvement and the events in Paris. Reclaim Australia had pulled out of organising the event just days prior, and the UPF had stepped up. UPF involvement caused considerable angst amongst some RA supporters, and the turn-out reflected this.

The decision by counter protesters not to physically or verbally engage with the UPF was a tactical one, and done in the knowledge that the Tasmanian UPF and RA have very little capacity for organisation or ability to have a broad impact. In this circumstance, the tactic worked well, and the UPF showed themselves to be a small group of sad, incoherent fools with very little support in the broader Tasmanian community. That said, we stand firmly in solidarity with all anti-fascist and anti-racist groups who mobilised around Australia on the day and do so with an appreciation that fighting fascism requires a number of tactics across many fronts.

See : Police keep the peace between United Patriot Front, Reclaim Australia and rival protesters in Hobart, Lucy Shannon, ABC, November 23, 2015.

MELBOURNE (MELTON)

meltonupf

Farmer John, from United Patriots [Front], spoke to the crowd while it chanted “No Muslims in Melton”, and threatened more violent action.

“We’re going to burn every mosque down if they build them … Let’s stick it up them,” he said.

~ Anti-Islam, anti-racism protesters clash at violent Melton rallies, Cassie Zervos, Andrew Jefferson, Kara Irving, Herald Sun, November 23, 2015.

The RA rally in Melton — ostensibly called in order to protest the construction of a mosque and an Islamic skool in the area — witnessed a number of scuffles between Reclaimers and counter-protesters, and a handful of arrests. Media scrutiny was intensive and the conflicts occupied center-stage in media reportage, though there were no serious injuries.

It’s widely estimated that around 3-500 people attended both the rally and counter-rally (though some reportage claims up to 1,000 attended the counter-rally, which I think is an over-estimation). A handful of boneheads — including James Lawrence (see below) — attended the event, as did naughty boys Zane Chapman and Corey Hadow.

Speakers at the RA event included John Bolton of Adelaide and ‘Aunty Marj’, the UPF’s ‘Farma john’ and ‘Hugh Pearson’/’John Sobieski’/’Koala732’ — real name: Julian De Ross — while ‘Rise Up Australia Party’ (RUAP) deputy leader and Casey councillor Rosalie Crestani acted as MC. Another RUAP candidate, Jonathan Willy Eli, sang the national anthem at the rally. Reclaim rally ends in racist scuffles, Lachlan Moorhead, Berwick Star, November 24, 2015:

Cr Crestani said she was a member of Reclaim Australia and not a member of the far-right group United Patriots Act [sic], whose members also attended Sunday’s rally, but she said the UPF had a “pure motive”.

“We can all criticise different parts of their approach … but they have a pure motive,” she said.

“It doesn’t come across as pleasant to some, sometimes it’s a cold-hard truth.

“It’s something we have to be careful of but I meet many of these men and women and they have Australia’s best interests at heart.”

The open embrace of neo-Nazis and fascists belonging to the UPF by Christian fundamentalists such as Crestani and RUAP suggests that my initial feeling — that a coalition of fundamentalist Christians and fascists may prove untenable — was possibly mistaken: fear, hatred and contempt for Muslims — combined with both group’s marginal political status — appears able to trump any wider political disagreements.

The presence of one particular group of anti-fascists, ‘Brigada Anti-Fascista’, has caused a good deal of consternation on the part of ‘patriots’/fascists. Here they are spreading love and good cheer:

brigadaaf

An anti-fascist writes:

So this is the Antifascist Fighting Brigade. They were awesome. They had our backs all day and helped protect the triage area from frequent attempts by hatriots to harass and perpetrate violence against medical staff — thank you guys!

It was another tense day but not nearly as tense or threatening as Bendigo. A few people did dumb things like not just getting out of the way of police horses but overall it was pretty sensible. The antifa guys (and one girl — yay!) were pretty focused on just keeping people safe and ejecting the hatriots who tried to get among the counter protesters. There was one incident where the riot squad pepper sprayed their way into our counter protest and dragged out some guy I’ve not seen before … I have no idea what that was about but a dozen people just standing peacefully paid the price and were treated by the legendary angels from Melbourne Street Medics.

There were some funny chants, I had a long exchange with some demented ranter across the line who didn’t take to kindly to being told I was having trouble understanding him ‘cos I don’t speak bogan. He was even more feral when I asked if his Mum knew he was at a bigot protest and he mortally wounded me by calling me a “fairy” (WTF?) when I told him he could tell his Mum when he got home to the basement tonight. It was funny but I guess you had to be there.

So we had some speeches, a bit of chanting at bigots, Ezekiel Ox beat-boxing for everyone and then doing a pretty fair John Farnham rendition (if you’re into that sort of thing). Then we waved goodbye to the hatriots as they packed up and wandered off to a local park to presumably smear themselves in pig fat and eat some non-halal babies or something. Sadly, Sparkles The Unicorn couldn’t come and Anarcho-Panda didn’t feel she was safe enough to attend either, but we blew them away with energy wit, and compassion, so until next time antifascista siempre!

Another account, paying particular attention to the police deployment of chemical weaponry on the counter-protest:

I attended the Melton counter-protest and my observations were that the police were way too eager to deploy cap spray every chance they got, so much so that they inadvertently sprayed their own horses. It was secondary mist but the horses were distressed and it was fucking disgusting. All instances of capsicum spray were due to flagwits infiltrating the counter-protest and becoming violent … The suffering I witnessed at the hands of the police was awful. One woman was capsicum sprayed in the face for no apparent reason and spent around an hour at the triage area in unrelenting agony. There was a man who was affected so badly by the capsicum spray that he was shaking uncontrollably. Another woman was taken away in a wheelchair with a broken foot. There was much disappointment to say the least but we at least succeeded in countering the proto-Nazi nationalist dickheads and we will do it again and again.

At their BBQ picnic — conducted in a local park following a march after the end of the hate rally — some Reclaimers squabbled among themselves (see : Police separate Reclaim Australia protesters during infighting at barbecue, Jason Young, Herald Sun, November 23, 2015).

Finally, upon leaving the ‪counter-protest in ‪‎Melton‬, a number of anti-fascists/anti-racists were escorted by police to a bus station. They were followed and harassed at the station by Reclaimers/local racists. Among those who assembled were bonehead James Lawrence (also prominent at the May 31 ‪UPF anti-socialist demonstration in Richmond) and Damian Kourevellis — friend of Phill Galea and ‘President’ of the ‘Patriots Defence League of Australia’ Eastern Victoria chapter.

Allegedly, one Reclaimer was arrested, but on being called out Damian and James preferred to hide behind riot police.

At Melton station, anti-fascists/anti-racists were greeted by a contingent of fascists emerging from their cars. One sported WP and Nazi tattoos (including swastikas on his shoulder blades). He did a “sieg heil!” salute in response to being called out.

Local racists were happy to roll with the nazis on both occasions (just like the Diggers did in WWII).

See : Melton: A Firsthand Account, angryrecluse, November 24, 2015 | Mixed Agendas and Dumb Fights: Reclaim Australia Held a Classic Protest in Melton, Julian Morgans, VICE, November 23, 2015 | Reclaim Australia, No Room For Racism rallies clash in Melton, ABC, November 22, 2015 | At least seven arrested in anti-Islam and anti-racism protests, 9 News, November 22, 2015 | Arrests as violent clashes break out at Reclaim Australia rallies, Michael Safi, The Guardian, November 22, 2015.

MILDURA

A small RA rally consisting of about 70 people was held in Mildura on Sunday, at which local members of the Australia First Party were prominent. See : Rally takes to streets: Reclaim Australia protesters voice concerns, Toni Brient, November 22, 2015.

NEWCASTLE (CESSNOCK)

nazinewcs

Newcastle witnessed a large contingent of many hundreds of Reclaimers take to the streets, including sometime PDLA leader John Oliver (above, holding megaphone). You may remember John from when he posed as a ‘Concerned Dad’ on the 7 Network’s Sunday program, or perhaps as the man who attempted to bring a gun to the July 18 joint RA/UPF rally in Melbourne — or as I do, which is as the man responsible for establishing a fund to d0x me and who opined that I should be hunted down and beaten and further that I should have my testicles removed and attached to my forehead(!). Oliver spoke alongside a nazi from the Australia First Party.

See : Nathan Paterson, the man behind the Cessnock Reclaim Australia photo, Michael McGowan, The Newcastle Herald, November 24, 2015.

PERTH

The RA rally in Perth was significant if for no other reason than that RA splinter group the ‘United Patriots Front’ had declared it would be travelling to Perth to join with the rally (previously, the focus of the UPF was in Bendigo, where they organised rallies on August 29 and October 10). Among those UPF members who travelled to the event were UPF fuehrer Blair Cottrell, convicted anti-Semite Neil Erikson and Christian fundamentalist Chris Shortis. They were joined by local boy Dennis Huts, now the UPF’s spokesperson in Perth.

Cottrell gave his usual Hitleresque performance, which was very warmly received by the small crowd of around 300 who gathered to see him perform. The UPF also took the opportunity of their Perth visit to announce that they would be forming a political party to contest elections. See : Far-right United Patriots Front to form political party ahead of federal election, Michael Safi, The Guardian, November 24, 2015 | United Patriots Front to start political party called Fortitude, Joseph Young, Rebekah Cavanagh, Herald Sun, November 24, 2015.

An anti-fascist reports:

It was very good. We had a crankin’ PA system. Didn’t quite outnumber them by my count, but looked fairly equal. I went down to the RA/UPF side, and the PA was completely drowning them out, Victoria’s voice thundering out across the oval. Blair Cottrell ended up having to give his Hitleresque speech to the backing of ‘it’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under.’ I’m not sure if he meant it, but to me it sounded like he was talking to the beat. Quite a surreal sound, and made his entire rant seem [even more] absurd.

Another anti-fascist writes:

The Reclaimers advertised their rally as starting at 12 noon, at Parliament Place, where all prior rallies had taken place. The began assembling very early, as did the police.

Indeed, one of the most striking things at this event was the extensive police presence. They cordoned off not just the park where RA assembled, but the adjoining street was closed off to traffic – and to all of us passing through. With the exception of those attending the RA rally. Effectively (and unsurprisingly), the cops shielded and protected the Reclaimers.

By noon, their presence had grown to about 400, as people continued to arrive. I would estimate their crowd at 4-500.

We assembled on the hill overlooking the park – about 200 of us. This is Perth, and it is unlikely that we will ever outnumber the RA. But we were loud and better-looking.

Their rally opened with the national anthem, and of course, no welcome to country (unlike us). Blair spoke several times, and on one occasion (the only one I wished I had earplugs) read his ‘poetry’. His followers had prominent presence with several UPF flags flying, AND a ‘Blair Cottrell’ flag that has now become a bit of a joke in the anti-RA crowd …

See : Perth’s Anti-Islam Protest Was Really Weird, Royce Kurmelovs, VICE, November 23, 2015 | Large police presence at Reclaim Australia rally near Perth Parliament, Briana Shepherd, ABC, November 22, 2015 | Heavy police presence at Reclaim Australia rally at Parliament House in Perth, Brendan Foster, WA Today, November 22, 2015 | Hundreds at WA Reclaim Australia rally, SKY News (AAP), November 22, 2015.

SYDNEY

ASENSyd

The Sydney rally attracted relatively fewer participants than previously, and appears to have been easily outnumbered by opponents. The event ended in some controversy, however, one account of which appears in this ‘Open letter to the organising committee of [the] Sydney rally against Reclaim Australia on November 22’.

COMMENTARY

On Sunday, Radio National’s ‘Background Briefing’ broadcast an episode on the anti-Muslim movement in Australia. Anti-Muslim extremists: how far will they go? by Christine El-Khoury (ABC’s The Drum, November 24, 2015) further reflects on the development of the movement and argues that it should be viewed with some concern. Max Chalmers in New Matilda writes Comic And Terrifying In Equal Measure: What We Learned From The Reclaim Australia Rallies, November 23, 2015. Previously, Jeff Sparrow wrote Members Of The Far Right Are Threatening Political Violence. Whatever Happened To Those Anti-Terror Laws? (New Matilda, November 21, 2015). See also : Reclaim Australia: Government accused of failing to condemn violence from anti-Islam extremists, Stephanie Anderson, ABC, November 23, 2015 | Melbourne rally violence: Is the worst yet to come?, news.com.au, November 24, 2015.

See also : Believe in Bendigo : Businesswoman Margot Spalding leads campaign to fight anti-mosque ‘hate’, Janine Cohen, Australian Story (ABC), November 23, 2015.

CRONULLA /// NEVER AGAIN

Serial pest Nick Folkes and his micro-Party for Freedom have organised a party to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the racist pogrom in Cronulla. Joining him in this effort to stir up racial, religious and ethnic antagonism will be ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ Shermon Burgess and, presumably, an assortment of other racist thugs.

Anti Fascist Action Sydney is organising to oppose the racist rally. To keep up-to-date, please see the AFA Sydney blog and Facebook page and please spread the good word: — download a PDF version of the poster below here : cronullaneveragain.

CNA

See also : Anti-Islam ‘patriots’ set their sights on Cronulla, where it all began, The Sydney Morning Herald, October 22, 2015.