Getting ready for Sunday’s flagwit march

Alright! We’re using the blog again.

This post is here to serve a few purposes, so skip down the page to find what you’re after if some of this doesn’t feel relevant to you:

1. To let people know the playing field on the far-right and the State (the cops) and generally what we’ll be up against on Sunday.
2. How to be prepared and safe coming to, being at, and going from the rally.
3. A bit about the capacity of the police and the issue of photographers.
4. How we can be even more organised in future.

First, the rally:

The True Blue Crew are throwing their second flag-waving (read: excuse for a biff) rally in the city Sunday the 24th. They aim to arrive at noon, so we’ll be there from 11am. Below is the poster that’s been done up for it, and here’s the corresponding event page.

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Secondly, opportunities for future organisation:

Simply rocking up on the day of a rally is the very tip of the iceberg of what it means to be an anti-fascist.

Anti-fascists spend lots of time organising and talking with people in their communities, databasing fascists, reading, writing, training, designing propaganda, stickering and postering, meeting with contacts, doing various initiatives, supporting and organising other rallies and events in solidarity with other groups.

Although showing up to a rally is definitely bloody awesome, there is always a lot more that needs doing. The more people that are lending a hand, the better our initiatives, rallies and efforts are as anti-fascists. Simple as that.

So before we get on to other matters, we’d first like to formally encourage anyone who wants to be a part of all that other stuff anti-fascists do to express interest to the page most relevant to you.

We’ve made it easy; just click on the respective image and it’ll take you to the facebook page for that anti-fascist group. From there, send them something about wanting to get organised and they’ll figure out the rest.

Note: DYVRS are based in the Yarra Valley.

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Are none of these groups near you? Organise an antifascist group in your neighbourhood! These resources from the Antifascist Network (UK) and It’s Going Down (US) might be interesting.

So, the fascists are at it again:

Let’s remind ourselves for a moment why we do what we do.

The fascists haven’t managed to self-destruct – despite the maelstrom of sectarian beefs that constantly surface. And… they haven’t been debated away or loved into submission – much to the dismay of the liberals.

The fascists in so-called Australia are still milking one of the cornerstones of modern capitalism; the racist scapegoating of groups of people for the problems capitalism creates – growing wealth inequality, a lack of stable jobs, increasing lack of resources and services for regular people, all blamed on the current scapegoat; Muslims. Before that, it was another group falsely blamed, and you better believed Nazis were there to stoke that hate and recruit off that scapegoating too.

The cops won’t do shit about the growing popularity of fascist and far-right wing ideas, the best they could manage is deal with the individual crimes in their ones and twos as they pop up, if that. Hell, we know lots of cops get jobs on the force to manifest their racist ideas with impunity. The other cops that think they’ve found an honourable vocation will be called out to facilitate fascist rallies and allow the groups we despise to grow and recruit. Blissfully unaware of their part in reinforcing the system that stokes the racism and hate in people – that leads to the same groundswell of fascist street mobilisations they so painstakingly protect. The same street mobilisations that built the support base for One Nation to be elected and to start tipping discourse even further to the right, and further toward hate, xenophobia, surveillance, national insecurity, war, offshore prisons, and closed borders.

Fascism doesn’t happen overnight. It grows slowly. And so on a good day the elected protectors of society, the cops, might muscle in a fascist building bombs to blow up left-wing clubhouses, or convict a few for beheading a dummy of a Muslim, or committing hate crimes, but have a crucial part in facilitating those ideas growing in their heads in the first place. We’ll borrow a popular phrase from anti-fascists in so-called America; Cops and Klan go hand-in-hand, fucking literally:

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So, how do we deal with this problem we see growing and developing? Especially if the people we elect to protect us from this shit are part of the problem. What do we do with those who if they got their way would deny the freedoms of so many?

We deny those people the freedom and opportunity to deny others freedom.

We get to their rally point before they do. We occupy their space and fill it with a message of solidarity and community, not hate and racism. We deny them their march route through the centre of the city. We call their bosses and let them know they’re providing a living to a Nazi who would deny that same living, and perhaps even a life, to others. They may use their right to free speech to voice their opinions, but we won’t let them be free from the consequences of what they say, and more fundamentally, what they believe and the movements they build with those beliefs.

So, if they’re not going away, those who believe in equality and justice have to put up posters and talk to people and get up early to challenge this bullshit in the streets. And on that note…

The Playing Field – who we’re dealing with:

There are various active fascist groups in Melbourne at the moment, and lots of them have endorsed this rally.

The True Blue Crew: The mutts throwing the thing. Well known for charging exorbitant fees for membership and merch (that only got covered in dirt and pepper spray) and then that money being swindled by a certain member, somehow this mob of fuckboys still have their wobbly legs underneath them. Things have been a bit quiet though, but they might bring a number of people out for their expensive fashion parade.

The Lad’s Society: Nazis have a clubhouse again. Here’s some info put together by South-East Community Action about what we might be able to do about said clubhouse and a petition has launched to shut it down. A cover photo on their page and promotional video suggests there are a reasonable number of Nazis meeting regularly in Cheltenham to circle-jerk, wear frumpy suits and punch each other. And let us just say that whoever let that promotional video out of the editing room should be fired. We are now acutely aware that none of the roided swinging-dicks on the Right could fight their way out of a paper bag. Cheers for the laughs fellas. Anyway, South-East Community Action put that Hanson song over it and though it was funny, nothing beats the comedic effect of the original.

Active Frontline: The rally has been endorsed by this small band of foaming at the mouth right-wing soccer ‘hooligans’ who keep getting their page shut down for trying to start biffs with anti-fascists over the internet. They have also endorsed this rally.

Avi Yemini & co: Avi hasn’t promoted this event from his page at a glance, but he could foreseeably have a presence in the city or at the TBC rally. Daniel Jones, who operates as Avi’s body-guard is featured in facebook videos showing people how to stab people with tactical pens, one of which he would certainly have on him at a rally like this.

Future Now/Cook’s Convicts/Whatever the fuck else: Least but not last, Neil Erikson has endorsed the rally through one of the 30 groups he’s started over the last 2 years. He is still actively being an absolute nong in public, seemingly for a living since it appears he never worked for toll, despite wearing a toll shirt all the time to give himself working class cred…? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. He interrupted a refugee rally to say that all refugees are rapists, he’s been hassling the Gosford Church, doing toy graffiti in Sydney tunnels (shout out to crew up north for sorting that out) and generally avoiding conditions placed upon him by the courts for past nonsense he’s been involved in. We’re not too worried about his capacity to bring anyone other than maybe his four-strong cartoonish band of fellow dipshits, but he has endorsed the rally on his pages and that might be worth noting. Also worth noting is that he seems on reasonable terms with Blair again… Easier to follow the betrayals and friendships on ‘Days of Our Lives’.

The Unshackled: This sad gaggle of basement dwellers try to pass as a ‘news’ website. They’re effectively a mouthpiece for the racist and fascists that are attending the rally. You can basically hear the awkward, nervous fan-boy giggles as they promote the Nazi scum over at the Lads Society in this ‘article‘. There’s a chance that the Unshackled will try to ‘report’ at the rally on Sunday, we’d recommend to politely tell them to jog on if they try to film, take photos, or ask for comments.

Cops: Yep, they belong here. They’re not on our side, and by our estimates they’ve been the force that’s come out on top at quite a few rallies. We can’t forget to consider that it is a PR nightmare for them that we are out on the street, taking measures the State doesn’t take in quashing fascists. They want to seem like they are in control, and so don’t expect cops to be nice to you, and if they are expect that it’s only to get information out of you.

Some tips for dealing with them.

  • Avoid talking to them in general. There are usually police liaison roles elected, and so if that’s not you in that role, ‘no comment’ is the best comment.
  • You may be searched. Avoid having items that could be construed as weapons in your bag, or expect to lose them and expect a fine in exchange.
  • Note that wearing a mask and engaging in criminal activity in a ‘designated area’ can get you up to double the punishment. Still useful to bring as copping a face full of pepper spray is no good, but it’s worth noting that they haven’t pursued a landmark case regarding the new anti-masking laws, so it’d pay not to be the first. This older resource by the Melbourne Activist Legal Service is still relevant and useful regarding this topic and beyond.
  • Furthermore, the cops recently bought new weapons like a pepperball semi-automatic rifle and rubber-bullet grenades and mention their intended use is ‘violent demonstrations’ and ‘prison uprisings’. The experimental coagulative OC spray we’ve dealt with before that has been used for a while now is still in operation.

Get informed:

Before the rally it’s worth making sure you’re informed about your rights and the law, and various other things that may be necessary at a rally like this. It would be worth checking out Fitzroy Legal Service’s Activists Rights Handbook for basic stuff about your legal rights when on a political demonstration or action.

We also think this guide from South London Antifascists is useful, although not all the points they raise are relevant to activists in Australia.

Pre-Rally Preparation:

– Invite your mates along. Sometimes the moral high-ground alone isn’t enough to beat literal Nazis. Numbers there on the day really help. Invite your mate who doesn’t like Nazis but hasn’t been to anything yet, your partner who talks about being anti-racist over coffee but hasn’t put words into action yet. There are so many people with these ideas, and we could use their numbers on the day! Of course, make sure they have their heads screwed on and are well debriefed about the situation before they come.

– Learn who’s who in the Nazi world using this resource we made (coming). Being able to know a Nazi when you see them is useful for avoiding trouble.

– Organise yourself a rally buddy – Someone you trust to look out for you on the day, and someone you can return the favour to. Come together, stick together, leave together.
– Organise your plan of arrival and exit ahead of time. Who you’re coming and leaving with. The bigger the group the better in most cases. Safety in numbers!
– Message the pages listed above for information about groups of people heading in together on various train-lines around the city, or organise your own contingent to head in together.
– Print out the poster and stick it up around your town, keeping a lookout for cops and wandering fascists of course.
– Have your pack ready to go the night before – Here’s a handy guide by the Melbourne Street Medic Collective on preparing what you might like to have in your backpack at a rally.
– Always helps medics on the day if you throw some plain (not mint!) Mylanta into your backpack too. They use this to make LAW spray to treat OC spray victims.
– It pays not to go out drinking or partying too much the night before a rally, and coming straight from the club to the rally is just bad form. Collective Responsibility is important to consider. Not having your head on your shoulders because you’re still pinging from the night before is a good way for mistakes and bad decisions to happen, and especially at anti-fascist rallies, you’re likely not to be the only one done over by those bad decisions. Therefore, you’re responsible to your mates and they’re responsible to you. Part of that responsibility is not being gacked on the day.

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Rally Day:

Morning of. You’re refreshed from a good sleep. No hangover. Not still partying from the night before.

– Get up on time. Very important on days like this.
– Have a decent feed.
– Dress appropriately for the weather that day and for changes in weather… ‘cos Melbourne. Consider leaving piercings at home, covering tattoos, and branded items that might make you more identifiable by fascists or cops looking to nab you.
– If you’re coming with mates, you’ve pre-organised your transport in together. If you’re coming in with an organised anti-fascist group, they’ll have their own ways organised to get the people they’re responsible for to the rally in good stead.
– If you do come by yourself, be careful to be able to pass through the city relatively unnoticed by fascists. It’s worth noting that fascists have been known to get to the city two or three hours before their own rallies to stir up trouble. When you get to the rally, talk to someone there and ask them if they can find you a buddy so you’re accounted for throughout the day. Be sure to leave with people after the rally too.
– Listen to your marshals. Of course, not uncritically. If they’ve missed something, let them know, but they’re there to make things go smoothly. Decisions need to made quickly at rallies like this, and people elect them because they trust them with that role.
– Stay in the block where possible. You need to pee, go with your buddy.
– Drink heaps of water and eat when you need to. The day can be stressful and being weak from not eating or drinking properly on top of general anxiety is a recipe for something going awry.

Photography.

This is adapted from the London Anti-fascist blog on their approach to dealing with photographers.

‘Photographers claiming to be sympathetic to our actions have been taking photographs where the faces of anti-fascists are visible and then posting them on social media and selling them to newscorp. Anti-fascists have also been allowing themselves to be photographed, even encouraging photographers to take their pictures and then ‘tagging’ themselves on Facebook.

We resist photography at actions because:

  1. Fascists are dangerous. We do not want them to know who we are.Photographs of us end up on Left-wing watchdog sites and other fascist sites that publish images and contact details of various anti-fascist activists and sympathizers; actively encouraging violence, abuse and harassment.Though, unfortunately, we do run the risk of being photographed by Fascist photographers, we obviously do not want to aid them in their identification of us. In particular, we need to avoid photographs taken in or near to kettles as these are much more likely to have our faces visible in them.

    Allowing ourselves to be photographed and, worse, tagging photographs on Facebook puts us in particular danger from Fascists, who then have a considerable amount of information about the individual photographed to link to an image. Furthermore, this provides access to the information of others: the real names and details of Facebook friends, their friends etc. putting the individual and comrades in real danger.

  2. The police use photographs and video from protests to collect intelligence on protesters and as evidence in court. Even images and videos that are taken to show police violence, or live-streamed by sympathetic protesters, can and are used as evidence against us. Live–streaming is particularly dangerous here as it is impossible to know what is going to happen at a protest and thus what images of a volatile and easily-misread situation will end up being shared and used by the police.When someone tags themselves in photographs at demonstrations, this aids the police in gathering information on who they are, and how regularly they might attend such demonstrations. If they are arrested and then still tag themselves in a photograph, they then assist the police in showing where they were, who they are, what they are wearing and exactly what they are doing at the time of an alleged crime, as well as implicating anyone who they are with at the time of the photograph.

Suggested guidelines

  • Unless otherwise suggested, wear caps, sunglasses, and have a mask on hand, so that we are less recognizable in photographs taken by fascist photographers.
  • Do not live stream anti-fascist actions, nor post images of others live.
  • Discourage photographers from documenting anti-fascist actions and when photographers are present encourage them to focus on photographing fascists and police, police violence in particular and ask them not to use any photographs with visible faces of anti-fascists.
  • Any photograph or video in which somebody is recognizable must have the permission of that person before it is posted publicly, even if it seems that this person is a victim of police or fascist violence.
  • If you do want to distribute photos of an anti-fascist action, then we ask that you please obscure the faces of anti-fascists and anyone who is being arrested.
  • Make sure that no photographers are photographing your face. If they are, ask the group to help you to encourage the photographer to stop.
  • Do not tag yourself in photographs from demonstrations on Facebook or associate yourself with these images on other social media.’

After the Rally:

– Leave the rally in as big group as you can. Before you go, obviously make sure your assigned buddy for the day is with you.
– Take a moment to eat/rehydrate.
– Pays to organise a debrief to discuss what went well, any legal funds you might need, what could be done better next time.
– If you’re drinking at a pub, do it at a pub away from the rally point and do it with lots of people. Fascists have come into pubs after rallies looking for anti-fascists to scrap with.
– Relax and unwind with your pals.

For those of us in Melbourne, the following places have a bunch of information you might want to check out:

We get that these situations can be confronting. We do it because we can’t just let nazis, fascists and racists mobilise in the streets. We hope you can’t either. If you’ve never been to a rally before, maybe this is the time you come out and stand with like-minded people. We can’t predict what will happen on the day but if you’re ever feeling uncomfortable or nervous there’s always going to be marshals around, and just remember that the people there have your back. Whether you want to be the first line of defense or contributing to the important mass of people backing them up, it’s important we’re all there holding it down and on the right (left) side of history.

 

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