Who’s Who in the Fascist Zoo? (Mid-2018)

Well, well, well, here we are again. Having to shine a light on all the racist, fascist scum running around Narrm (so-called Melbourne). Y’know what? We don’t want to do this. We don’t want to spend our time researching and tracking these knuckle-dragging scum bags. We’d all much prefer building a society we think we deserve. Based on equality, sustainability and mutual aid. But as long as there are fascists on the streets, there needs to be anti-fascists to stop them.

Anti-fascism is more than punching Nazis (although, it’s also punching Nazis). It’s about understanding who they are, how fascists organise and making sure we educate the community about their activities before they have a chance to spread their bullshit ideology. An ideology based on scapegoating minorities to obtain authoritarian power. We know this though, right? So let’s know who we’re fighting.

This is not an exhaustive list, by any stretch of the imagination. SlackBastard provided a rundown back in December 2016 from across so-called Australia here. We’re gonna focus on what’s happening in Narrm at the moment. So here we go. Let’s dive into the sewers of the far right organising.

The Lads Society

Basically, Blair ‘hang a picture of Hitler in every class room’ Cottrell and his old UPF mate Tom Sewell have had enough of pretending to be ‘civic’ nationalists (the fuck does that even mean?) and are happy to openly embrace their ideology of ethno-nationalism through their Nazi Club House in Cheltenham. Check out the great work by South East Community Action outlining their bullshit Nazi ideologies. Here’s their ‘crew’ photo, know some? Let us know

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Blair Cottrell
I’m sure we all now Mr. Roid, Blair Cottrell, he’s the ego-maniac who can’t pass up an opportunity to get in front of a camera and spew his toxic ideology. We’d write about how he thinks a copy of Mein Kampf should be given to every school kid, or how Hitler’s photo should be hung in every classroom, or how he stalked his ex-partner’s new boyfriend with a weapon, or how he tried to burn down his house but this has already all been written about (here and while he was in prison). He’s at the centre of the Lads Society because his ego dictates he has to be. Where they will be, he will be.

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Tom Sewell
Blair’s 2IC, Tommy Sewell, seems to be putting in a fair bit of work behind the scenes at the Lads Society. They posted a photo of ‘essential’ reading, including Mein Kamfp. Him and Blair were celebrating Hitler’s Birthday at a German pub back in 2017, classy fellas:

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Also, here’s Tommy talking about having to cleanse Australia of non-white’s on The Young Conservative’s post about the Alt-Right (more of this 19-year-old boy later…)

If you ask us, this is Tommy Sewell calling for the ethnic cleansing of non-whites, while trying to avoid the ‘historical worship’ to Nazism, as it isn’t ‘productive’.

Stuart Von Moger
Stuart has been hanging around with the ‘Lads’ for a while now, here’s a photo from the Milo event in December 2017:

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He has given a ‘workshop’ to the other Lads about the ‘Security Industry’ and should be expected at most events the other knuckle-draggers attend.

Jacob Hersant

This ‘Lad’ has been hanging out at the KKKlub House and is also one of those Antipodean Resistance National Socialists. We’ve seen him posting around on facebook asking people in interracial relationships how they feel about their kids not looking like them. We’re putting his details here because SlackBastard has done the work to explicitly highlight his connection to the Lads Society. He’s there on the right of this photo at the Lad’s Society clubhouse.

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We should also talk about the flag Swastika bois…

Antipodean Resistance

I think most of us are aware of these guys, right? They poster disgusting propaganda around in the shadows of the night after being birthed from the absolute bottom dregs of the internet (AKA the now-defunct Iron March Forums). Listen, you can read about them in a bunch of places (see below), but what you should know is that they are mates with all of the groups that try to present themselves as ‘patriots’ (see Jacob Hersant / Lads Society above). They were birthed from fascist mobilisations on the streets of Melbourne and radicalised through the internet with involvement with the terrorist-labelled National Action from the UK (who planned to murder a Labour MP), the Nordic Resistance Movement (who bombed a refugee centre) and Atomwaffen in the U.S who are linked to the murder of 5 people. Their violent ideology is out in the open, it’s about time the people behind it are, too.

More reading:
SlackBastard
ABC Ethics and Religion
Sydney Criminal Lawyers

Cooks Convicts / Nationalist Uprising / Future Now Neil Erikson

Neil Erikson
If someone can help us keep up with serial pest Neil Erikson’s milieu of Facebook pages hit us up. Neil is a mess, he was a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi back in the day, was convicted for stalking and demanding money from a Rabbi, rolled through Reclaim Australia, United Patriots Front, Nationalists Uprising and now spends other peoples money being a racist gronk. Basically, he thinks he’s funny (he’s not), thinks he isn’t racist (he is) and as a recent judge commented has a “tenuous relationship with the truth“.

Listen, we’re gonna give you a hot tip here… there’s gonna be a recurring theme of men needing to be the centre of attention and pretending they’re important and Neil is no exception. His goal is to stir up controversy and then try to use the publicity to get a few more ‘Likes’ on Facebook. He used to run around with legitimately violent gangs that nearly killed Vietnamese student Minh Duong. These days Neil is more likely to run away from a confrontation but his racist scapegoating ideology still festers a huge amount of racist hatred on his Facebook pages and is used as a constant base of violent beliefs.

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Ricky Turner
So, Ricky Turner is officially ‘Cooks Convicts 2IC’ (that makes us sad just writing that, to be honest). From what we can tell that means that Ricky T can post incoherent videos from the Cooks Convicts Facebook page and gets pushed in to instigate violence at a rally. Ricky seems a bit more keen to get into a bit of biff than Erikson but we’re pretty sure he isn’t allowed out into the real world without Neil so expect them to be side by side, like when they were at court…

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(L: Ricky Turner, R: Neil Erikson)

Rino ‘Bluebeard’ Grgurovic
If being Cooks Convicts 2IC was sad then we’re not sure what to say about Blue-beard. He generally follows Erikson and Turner around, sometimes films their racist stunts and is basically a third-tier bottom-feeder. You can find him pretty quickly because of his… blue beard…

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We don’t want to trivialise the impact these racists can have because there’s plenty of people who believe every piece of bullshit they post but with their incoherent ideology (beyond racism) and their inclination to harassment we reckon it’s best to not to bite on their shitty antics and tell them to jog on.

True Blue Crew

Basically, the True Blew crew is Kane Miller and some like-minded racists from Melton and Bendigo that want to get into some biff and try to make a buck out of it. They formed as ‘security’ for fascist rallies in 2015 and sold $140 hoodies and astronomical membership fees. There’s been a fair bit written about what happened to this money, assuming most of it went directly into the pocket of Kano. These guys are pretty easy to spot, based on their ugly af $140 hoodies and $60 caps as displayed here by a guy from Melton walking through Eltham telling a man from Eltham what people in Eltham want…

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As with all groups, most people hover around the self-proclaimed ‘leader’, in this case, it’s Kane Miller:

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Luckily most of the time the True Blue Crew will be wearing their gear. If you see someone we would recommend to be wary to engage and only with extreme caution. The whole point of the group is to be a violent gang. Their former member, Philip Galea is also being charged with terrorism charges after allegedly plotting to bomb leftist building in Melbourne.

Avi Yemini / Australian Liberty Alliance

Avi Yemini has been pushing his anti-Muslim hatred to ride the racist wave of post-9/11 bigotry towards Muslims (or whoever they deem ‘looks Muslim’). Jews Against Fascism and the Australian Democratic Jewish Society have been monitoring the activities of Avi and calling him out on his bullshit. Avi doesn’t understand that the only reason he’s welcome in (some) far-right circles is that people feel like they can leverage anti-Muslim hatred to their goal of ethnic cleansing. This has resulted in Avi finding himself in abhorrent company, notably Nazis

Affiliated with Israeli Defense Force (IDF) gyms around Australia, he’s sure to wear a Krav Maga shirt to a rally to front. But we hear he can’t actually fight and is a big baby. Still worth being careful around however.

Avi is going to run under the banner of the Australian Liberty Alliance for the Victorian Parliament later this year. So he’s currently touring the country trying to drum up as much support as possible. From the looks of it, his entire platform is based on scapegoating Muslims and African-Australians and trying to stir up as much controversy as possible so that people will care about him. Here he is making light of sexual assault with Sydney Watson…

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If you see Avi about, he’s probably going to be hanging out with Daniel Jones (AKA Francis Castiglione from being normal on Facebook)

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Daniel Jones will generally play dress ups as Avi’s ‘bodyguard’ and is largely performative (see below). But anyone that posts this kinda thing online and is a racist scumbag is obviously dangerous and could often be armed. In fact, this guy is. See in his tactical vest… That’s a tactical pen. He teaches people in facebook videos how to stab people in the face with them. Consider this one of the only fascists we know about that appears sufficiently trained in self-defense.

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Chris Shortis / United Nationalists Australia

Shortis is the one who is most openly pushing his white nationalist agenda out of the scraps of what was once the United Patriots Front. After he was convicted (along with Blair and Erikson) for inciting serious contempt he’s spent his time writing horribly anti-semitic posts on his United Nationalists Australia blog and making equally as fucked videos through his (White) Australia First page.

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Shortis likes to wear a suit (when he isn’t wearing that leather jacket of his) but never fear, this dapper middle-aged gentleman has for a long time been happy to stroll down the street with branded Nazis.

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Shortis hasn’t been out and about lately, however, he’s been dunking on Avi (because Shortis is an anti-semitic Nazi scumbag) and the True Blue Crew have taken Shortis’ side, so he might raise his head this weekend for the Flagwit Rally.

Active Front / Active Front Line

Basically, there’s a few reactionary soccer ‘hooligans’ that want to play tough-boys online and look for a bit of biff. Their page keeps getting shut down, they can’t seem to increase their reach beyond like, 80 people. One of their admins, Danijel Jakov, is a pretty regular troll online. As it’s the off-season for A-League it looks like some lads will make their way down to the True Blue Crew rally on Sunday 23rd June of June looking for a fight. We’ve got a number of tips about who these fellas are but haven’t confirmed them yet, however it’s a good reminder that it’s good to be safe as there’ll likely be small gangs roaming the city looking for fights.

The Young Conservative

Some 19-year-old private school boy who goes to Uni in Melbourne is trying to make a name for himself by being a young racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, misogynistic jerk. You saw him get cornered by Tommy Sewell into effectively admitting he is a white nationalist and has the most confused ideology. Basically, he’s making short, scripted videos to get some attention and feel like he’s achieving something for himself by getting some likes on Facebook. I guess when your parents buy you an Audi as a teenager you might not really know what it’s like to do something purposeful so attacking minorities online to get some Facebook likes might stroke that fragile ego.

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Old mate here tries to act tough online and gets ‘angry’ but we’d be surprised if he was a threatening IRL. His page attracts a bunch of Alt-Right, neo-nazis and disgusting comments. We reckon he should grow up, realise there’s more to life than trying to impress the big kids on the playground and get out of this downward spiral before he becomes full edge-lord endorsing ethnic cleansing like the rest of the /pol kids.

Soldiers of Odin

A couple of years ago there was a pretty comprehensive post about the Soldiers of Odin. You can read more about how they’re linked to the European SOO group who are expressly neo-Nazi on the link above, but what we want to stress here is that the Soldiers of Odin are a racist street gang that are regularly mobile at demonstrations. Luckily they generally wear their SOO gear so you can easily identify them and avoid them if need be.

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Basically, any far-right rally will see at least a few of these racists parading their merch so always be vigilant and keep an eye out as they’ve been violent in the past and may attack anyone they deem to be vulnerable.

Infidel Brotherhood

Another Facebook group that flogs merch to people who want to be in a recreational racist street gang. They wear their uniform to try to impress people and there’ll generally be at least a few at most rallies.

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Their logo is super distinct, and although they may not be actively looking for a fight like some other groups you definitely want to steer clear of them.

Media

An important part of the fascist media is their messaging and how it’s interpreted. We obviously have no faith in conservative or liberal media to do the research required to truly call out these violent ideologies for what they are. The Murdoch Press will largely report uncritically or draw a false equivalency to the left, however, there are also smaller ‘media’ outlets that work purely as a fascist mouthpiece for these groups. The Unshackled and XYZ are ones that are trying to provide a veneer of legitimacy to their bullshit ‘news’ and ‘reporting’.

The Unshackled 

The Unshackled has run stories praising the Lads Society Nazi KKKlubhouse, fanboy Blair Cottrell, attend events with Antipodean Resistance members and are all ’round scumbags.

There’s nothing journalistic about this, it’s purely an attempt to collate and legitimise fascist and racist street groups. They held a poll for CIS-White Male of the Year and their readers voted David-fucking-Duke the ‘winner’… I mean, they chose to post this shit, what more do we need to say?

Well, what we do need to say is that if they show up at any event, all antifascists need to tell them to jog the fuck on. They are an extension of the fascists they praise, and there’s no benefit in giving them any leeway, they aren’t media, they aren’t reporters, they are racist, fascist propagandists and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near antifascists for our collective safety.

See these guys around (or someone else in Unshackled gear) make sure they don’t photograph / film antifascists.

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XYZ

This is the Alt-Right, shit posting, anti-semitic hub of shitty fucking wanna-be Daily Stormer losers. XYZ have ‘hung out’ with the Dingoes who are the grossest cellar-dwellers on Australian’s Nazi-Twitter. Hosted by the Right Stuff, the worlds largest neo-Nazi podcast network, SlackBastard has written about them here.

We don’t necessarily expect them coming out to the street but this is another reminder, ‘photographers’, ‘journalists’ and ‘curious observers’ aren’t your mates unless you have antifascists vouching for them. If you wanna know why some people choose to mask up, read this account of awful harassment, so even if you choose not to mask up, that’s cool, but recognise that a lot of people have skepticism about anyone passing as a ‘journalist’ or ‘photographer’ and help out your fellow comrades by telling them they aren’t welcome to take photos and to respect the requests of others. They may be a ‘well-meaning’ photographer / journalist (who could still do a lot of damage) or they may be a fascist trying to profile activists.

Some random local fascists for good measure:

Jarolf Meekler (possible Antipodean Resistance):

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Nathaniel Everest (possible Lad’s Society):

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Bryce Jacques:

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Paul Andrew

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Matt Mulartschuk

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Willem Briansson:

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James Campbell:

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Piero Thymiopoulos

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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.

 

Kenji Wardenclyffe Isn’t Our Comrade

Kenji Wardenclyffe’s photo is a knife in the hands of those that want to destroy Safe Schools.

Kenji Wardenclyffe, photo sourced ethically, impartially and off-record.

Firstly, it’s important for Kenji and others to understand that the spaces anti-fascists create and occupy aren’t for just anyone. We consider anti-fascist activism as a form of community self-defense, so while our efforts are focused on rising neo-Nazi groups, we oppose anyone who endangers or vilifies people in our communities. We do what we do because we can’t stomach sitting back and watching police and the State facilitate pro-fascist and neo-Nazi rallies, then scratch their heads in wonderment when hate crimes continue to rise, often committed by the same bigots the police helped to embolden. We take preventative measures to keep our communities safe.

As well as organising and maintaining spaces based on principles opposed to fascism (anti-sexism, anti-racism, anti-homophobia, anti-transphobia, etc), anti-fascists organise a great deal more than what you might think when we facilitate rallies and campaigns and come together. For example, we have meetings to make collective decisions and organise, poster runs, community outreach and taking care of our environment. We uphold our principles in-spite-of overwhelming public, police and legal backlash. Was it 5 front page articles in the Herald Sun or 6 in a row? We have comrades going to court for defending their communities because laws that restrict and criminalise political dissent have been legislated across Australian States and Territories. The more effective we become the more they take away hard fought political, civil and human rights. New laws currently tabled will serve as a further impediment to our organising efforts.

And then there are people like Kenji Wardenclyffe who walk into spaces they have little understanding of and no hand in creating and use them for their own gain. Their own monetary gain, no less. Not only do these people move about without a thought or care regarding the energy activists expend in organising, they actively and purposefully undermine those efforts.

Kenji espouses values of impartiality while having clear monetary incentive in snapping photos the neo-liberal press will buy. Kenji knows what sells to the Australian and it isn’t truth or ethics. The biased press whose existence relies on the corporate dollar has no interest in reporting truth nor in articulating anything other than a demonised and violent narrative of contemporary anti-fascists. It’s a dishonest media template that is well recognised around the world. They want photos of ‘masked thugs’ and videos of the cumulative 5 seconds of violence only present at some anti-fascist rallies. You wouldn’t even know that a lot of antifascist activists are in fact non-men. We don’t see the media showing our two hours of downtime at rallies, when we’re sharing food and stories. Where’s the pictures and news stories about the important community work anti-fascists consistently take part in? Actions in solidarity with First Nations people. Support for victims of domestic abuse. There aren’t any because it doesn’t fit the narrative and template that the press have in regards to anti-fascists. There isn’t any doubt that the press and photographers have bias in not only what they report but also how they report it. Whether they acknowledge it or not, they are telling a story and that story doesn’t need to be the whole truth or even part thereof. The fact is the neo-liberal press want us to shut up and let the police deal with the hate crimes that spring up as a result of us not doing what anti-fascist action was initially created to do. People like Kenji facilitate this process.

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Impartiality and ethics, “The Australian”-style.

It’s impossible to be impartial and totally neutral. When you sell a picture that provides less than a second snap shot of an incident and presents a single photograph as truth, you’ll find it’s left wide open for interpretation and can lead to unethical and harmful outcomes. The reality is that the photo of Roz tells us nothing about what happened or why. It certainly doesn’t tell us anything about Safe Schools or the homophobia seething in Australians who think social progress involves violence and the denial of the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Even if you believe someone can be impartial, the owner of the outlets that printed Roz’s photograph, and the viewer-base reading the articles are not. The photo was used to justify further homophobic attacks and to demonise Roz who has already endured a lot of homophobia due to being a part of the Safe Schools Program. People could look at that photo and see an important anti-fascist and LGBTQIA+ activist sticking it to a deserving Trump-supporter, or a lefty ratbag who should be stripped of their position in an evil organisation that’s attempting to indoctrinate school-age children into being gay. Frankly no impartiality is possible in this case. At best, Kenji is willfully ignorance of the consequences of his actions. At worst he’s completely callous and greedy.

When he took that photo of Roz Ward pulling off the Trump supporter’s hat, Kenji claimed he had no idea who Roz was or what their contributions have been to sex and gender-diverse children growing up in a hostile neo-liberal education system. Not to mention, in his ‘neutrality’ Kenji forgot that Safe Schools is under immense scrutiny from established powers and has been fought all the way since its conception. He claims in a statement on his photography page that he had ‘no options other than see it published in The Australian. Apparently believing that to be the case, he sold it for money and gave a statement about the ‘incident’. Kenji claimed that photos of his have been stolen and used in the media before. Even if there was no chance a photo could be stolen and published, the consent to publish pictures of people in precarious situations on Facebook is evidently crucial. Kenji should know this if it’s not the first time a picture has been stolen. This is especially true of someone who has claimed he’s an ally to these struggles in the past, and praised anti-fascists on their efforts combating fascism.

There are other photographers out there with career aspirations like Kenji. Most with no organising experience, and no clear political alignment that will still send anti-fascists photos asking ‘should I blur this face out?’ or ‘is this photo bad to post?’ This is all Kenji had to do. Approach the community he takes pictures of, who organise rallies so he can come along to earn his bread and butter, and ask; ‘Who is this? Should this photo be public? Does this picture actually represent the full context or does it misrepresent it? Do I have permission to post this picture publicly? What broader good would it serve to publish the picture?’ The answer in the case of Roz Ward is that there was nothing to be gained and no public good or benefit to come from publishing it.

If Kenji was anything but a biased, far-right, anti-queer bigot, he should never have let that photo see the light of day. Because, let’s face it, there’s none of Kenji’s beloved impartiality in the neo-liberal press about Roz Ward at the moment. It’s a reactionary attack on Safe Schools based on a hat that got yanked. Andrew Bolt even asked Kenji on to his show as a guest in the wake of this photograph surfacing. Now there’s a chance that LGBTQIA+ children in primary schools around Australia won’t be protected from outright bigoted discrimination and violence. Children have committed suicide because of this kind of bullying in the past. A recent case of the suicide of a 13 year-old queer boy due to homophobic bullying has surfaced only in the last few days.

In posts and videos, Kenji wants people to understand and respect his ethics and approaches to photo-journalism. He says he’ll never give up his ‘impartiality’. He continues to play the virtuous victim, without acknowledging the real victims of this; Roz Ward and potentially LGBTQIA+ children that could benefit from the Safe Schools program. He laps up comments of support, a lot of which come from the far-right. Neo-nazis talk about how they should pay Kenji to take photos of them at rallies. Kenji continues to build his brand, opportunistically leeching off yet another event, except this time it’s an event that he actually helped create, even if it’s been to the detriment of others. He’s thinking about releasing a series of videos on journalistic ethics and impartiality during his ‘hiatus’ from activist photography.

Kenji’s ‘impartiality’ in practice involves capturing both sides of fascist/anti-fascist rallies. This means that fascists receive unfiltered intelligence about anti-fascist activists. This intelligence has led to death threats and attacks on anti-fascist activists in the past. There’s one neo-nazi currently facing terrorism charges because he wanted to blow up known lefties in Melbourne. Kenji has mounted a 360 degree camera to a helmet that live-streams footage from the rallies to Facebook. He has been told that this piece of equipment is not welcome at our rallies. He hasn’t listened. On this basis alone Kenji shouldn’t be welcomed into spaces we organise in, with people we owe protection and security to. It would be negligent of us to continue to allow Kenji entry into our rallies. If our safety isn’t factored into his ethics, we should make sure he knows where he stands with us.


If Kenji is with us in our fight to maintain what little inclusive space in this world we can, his actions don’t show it. He doesn’t seem to care about how to operate in spaces based on ethics defined by the people that created those spaces. He takes from our movements for himself, to the detriment of our work. He puts his own career and ethics before the efforts, energy and fundamentally, the safety of hard-working activists. We have a right to act according to our ethics to keep ourselves safe, and that doesn’t come second to Kenji’s photojournalist ethics and purported ‘loyalty to the truth’.


The fundamental point is, Kenji has done whatever he pleases, but time has long past since activists began to feel uncomfortable with their non-consensual involvement in his career-building efforts. This is at heart what has happened here and this is something that has been going on for longer than just this incident. We know more than we’ve let on about Kenji, and this is only the latest in a string of serious misconduct. Yet, we exercise restraint because we can consider the potential repercussions for other victims of Kenji’s past actions and don’t want any backlash for those people. Had we failed as Kenji did to realise how media can be used to hurt the innocent, there might’ve been more to talk about regarding Kenji’s overstayed welcome on the Left.

There is a sizeable contingent of anti-fascists known to us who won’t be welcoming Kenji back to a space he’s made hostile for more reasons than just greed, disrespect and negligence. We invite other activists to join us in ensuring the continued defence of our activist communities and spaces from people who would make a career of disrespecting our work.

Kenji is not our comrade.

The UPF & Blair Cottrell counter-protest BLM: And He Would’ve Got Away With It, If It Wasn’t For His Meddling Ego

A group of unidentified patriots in matching black bloc gear showed up to the Black Lives Matter march in Melbourne on the 17th of July to make a brief and unimpressive nuisance. The (15-strong) counter-demo held pro-police and anti-BLM signs, including one advancing the obscure and antisemitic conspiracy theory that George Soros is the fiendish Jew pulling the strings behind the scenes of somehow involved in all this anti-white rabble-rousing (Rush Limbaugh having advanced this theory on no evidence except for Soros’s campaign contributions to Hillary Clinton).
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The UPF flatly denied knowledge or involvement, and are still playing their engagement with the matter in the third person. However, photos and footage of the incident clearly show Blair Cottrell as a vocal member of their contingent. For the most facepalimingly obvious moment, check this (frustratingly unembeddable) video from Channel 10 News (skip to 1:10). Note Blair (who seems to realise as he’s speaking that he’s blowing his and the UPF’s cover) accidentally letting slip the information that there are current VicPol personnel “in” the UPF before awkwardly correcting himself.

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This is pretty interesting for a few reasons. Firstly, a large number of the counter-demonstrators were wearing the matching Wolfsangel patches that we first noticed in Coburg on a bonehead also sporting sometime-absent Blood & Honour/Combat 18 dickhead Danny Krieger’s build and SS belt buckle

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The Wolfsangel is a pretty popular symbol with neo-Nazis, occupying a place in Reich symbology that’s reassuringly butch and manly to the knowing observer, but obscure enough to pass without comment around the uninitiated. Anyway, here’s Blair with some of his new mates.13769483_10210198425906245_4661676373819521395_n

And here’s some suspiciously similarly-dressed neo-Nazis who showed up to hassle the march and rail against immigrants an hour or so later.
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Note the “White Pride” head tattoo and the re-appearance of Melbourne’s favourite Blob Fish, Danny Krieger. Danny, for his part, also has some interesting head tattoos, currently rocking the aforementioned Wolfsangel, and a massive Odal rune to complement it.
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With this collision of associations, icons, and individuals, we find it extremely credible to call Krieger’s as-yet-unidentified comrades of yesterday neo-Nazis. Here’s where it gets really fun.

Given Blair Cottrell’s colourful history of association with openly neo-Nazi groups and ideologies, and his dismal attempt to claim political legitimacy for his group and ideals, it would make sense that he’s been tactful about worshiping Hitler in the open. He’s made a point of not hating the Jews quite so much and encouraging people to ditch the blatant neo-Nazi stuff at rallies, and has usually claimed that anybody so attired is either a plant or just some random.

As a result of this, the old-school neo-Nazis who used to provide the foot-soldiering for groups like the UPF had largely vanished into thin air, some decrying Blair as a zio-patriot, others as a traitor to the movement, and were replaced mainly by a very broad church of civic nationalists, garden-variety racists, and crypto-fascists happy to take the third way to white supremacy.

However, with the stop-start of the UPF’s political party Fortitude, and their recent loss of thunder to the younger, savvier, less ideologically demanding and less personality driven True Blue Crew, Blair’s behaviour and allegiances have become more peculiar. The latest in a long stream of departures, Christian fascist Chris Shortis unceremoniously disappeared from the UPF’s page lately, apparently poached by old-school Nazis, the United Nationalists Australia. Civic nationalist Dennis Huts has returned to the fold, and Blair has made a number of increasingly awkward bids for attention, whether being heckled at a Dairy Farmer’s Rally or wandering alone into a crowd of regugee activists to try and punch on before being moved on by police. The adoption by Blair’s nearest and dearest of a slick, black-bloc style aesthetic mimics similar moves by groups in Europe to streamline and modernise the stale neo-Nazi image to get the kids off the couch and onto the streets. British group National Action have become well-loved posterboys for stealing anarchist style to sex up the far right, but it hasn’t helped them much on the streets.

This brings us to yesterday’s shenanigans. Blair Cottrell hooking up with a group of confirmed neo-Nazis to stage an anti-Black demonstration while also advancing an anti-Jew conspiracy theory. During which, he forgets his ruse and admits his presence on national news, and drops some curious info about the UPF. Certainly the latest in a series of unhinged incidents for the dude, but unsurprising. Blair Cottrell has lost his empire and he’s gone back to what he knows. Hanging out with neo-Nazis and hassling innocent people. We guess, given the page’s attempts to cover up Blair’s involvement, that he’s trying to keep a foot in both camps.

Note:

As mentioned above, Blair seems to slip up on an admission concerning UPF members in the police force. This has been rumoured before (and given VicPol it comes as little surprise), but given Blair’s increasingly nutty behaviour and the group’s long history of suspiciously intimate relationships with police at rallies, we’d be inclined to take this as a genuine admission. Whoops.
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LOVE COBURG (///) HATE RACISM

Dear lovely anti-racist folks of Melbourne (and gday to those further afield),

It’s less than 24 hours until a motley crew of fascists, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, extreme nationalists & racist ‘patriots’ plan on assembling in Coburg. Why? Well, fuck knows. Based on what they’re saying on facebook, it’s pretty much to whinge about the existence of brown folks; demonstrate their support for Australia’s policy of torturing refugees & asylum seekers through our network of privately-profitable concentration camps; and to pretend that communists secretly run the country.. or something.

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Though this piece is a bit old now (it was published last year in the lead up to the July 18 Reclaim Australia rally @ Parliament), we reckon it’s still a useful read if you’re planning on coming along to tell the fash to get the eff outta Coburg tomorrow. We think now as we did then that everybody should be empowered to make informed decisions about how they participate in antifascist activities, without being told by others what they must do.

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But we’re not just writing this blog entry to plug something we published nearly a year ago; even if we think it’s useful, encourage you to go read it & would appreciate it muchly if you shared it around! In addition, and as a matter of some urgency, we want to put forward some ideas about the stakes involved in tomorrow’s mobilisation.

Old mate slackbastard, as usual, summarised the situation pretty well:

The suburb of Coburg and Moreland generally is home to a diverse range of communities: ethnic, cultural, linguistic, national and religious. Many of these communities are ones that the UPF and Co. would like to see eliminated. The presence of an organised group of neo-Nazis, fascists and racists poses an immediate danger not only to locals but, if left unopposed, will further embolden these groups and individuals to continue to prosecute their divisive, racialised and reactionary politics.

Coburg has a proud history of resisting fascist intrusions into public spaces. It’s important to carry on that tradition and to let local fascists know that they are not welcome. Please attend the rally on Saturday, let others know about the rally, and be advised that a small group of fascists will be in the area, looking for opportunities to attack it and other targets.

We are not here to say that the Moreland Says No To Racism rally tomorrow is bad, or wrong. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. Leaflets distributed in the Moreland area in the past month by militant antifascists explicitly encourage people to attend the rally. As we have stated in the past, we broadly support all efforts to fight racism, and firmly oppose the notion that there is any one “right” way to do things.

However, we think that the intention of fascists to invade a fiercely & proudly diverse working-class neighborhood like Coburg is quite alarming, and that if they are not firmly persuaded to not try such things again, this will constitute the beginning of a new ‘march & grow’ strategy for Australian nationalists.

We believe that it is obvious that a diversity of tactics is the only way to meet the twin objectives of allowing the anti-racist community event to go forward on the one hand; and countering longer-term fascist strategic aspirations on the other. We see these goals as inseparable parts of the same struggle, and in that spirit, respectfully make the following three points.

1/ Pretending that the fash don’t exist is both a deeply flawed political position & an irresponsible way of dealing with a (potentially) volatile situation. If you are going to ask people to come out onto the streets in support of your campaign, you have a responsibility to communicate with them honestly about the the prospects, both good and bad, of the action.

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It is critical that people are informed about the far right in a way that neither overstates nor diminishes the potential threat they pose. We reckon knowledge is power, and that any serious antifascist campaign should strive to spread this knowledge as widely as possible. Indeed, we believe it is incumbent upon antifascist organisers to do so.

2/ Pretending that a police force engaged in every day acts of physical & structural violence against Indigenous, migrant, queer and working-class communities can be used as a tool to challenge racism is both bad politics & a fundamentally flawed strategy.

We say this, primarily, because the assertion that the cops will ‘deal’ with the far-right is a claim with no basis in reality – as anyone who has had Victoria Police turn a chemical weapon on them in the last year can attest.

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Time & time again, we’ve seen the police bend over backwards to facilitate provocative fascist marches, despite the fact fascist organisers have been arming themselves with tasers, knives & in one case an actual handgun.

Time & time again, all we’ve seen the police do in response is deploy completely disproportional force against anti-racists, whether those anti-racists have been attempting to confront Nazis or merely holding a placard at a rally.

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The photo above of the riot cop high-fiving a member of the UPF on July 18 last year is merely the tip of the iceberg. Quite simply, the ridiculous “patriot” movement that has consumed so much of our time & energy in the last year simply would not have continued to exist without VicPol’s commitment to letting them spread their bigotry & nonsense freely. Pointing this out has nothing to do with loving or hating the cops, it’s simply the reality of the situation.

3/ We believe that, whilst we cannot rely on the government or the police to challenge racism, we can rely on each other. Indeed, Melburnians have shown again and again in the course of the last year, in all sorts of different campaigns, that when we work together we can achieve a lot.

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The fact that the Herald Sun in particular, news outlets more generally, the police & the government seek to slander & discredit progressive social movements at every opportunity is nothing if not testament to the fact that people getting organised & taking to the streets threatens their haughty power.

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If we don’t listen to the Herald Scum any other day of the week, why do we suddenly care so much about what they have to say when they’re reporting on a protest or demonstration? And, for that matter, aren’t they largely responsible for inflaming the very racialised divisons & hatreds we’re trying to resist?

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Put it this way: far apart from their role in perpetuating and maintaining forms of racist violence & oppression, if the cops or pollies or the media or whatever had any desire to “deal with the UPF”, do you not think that they would have acted to do so already? They’ve had more than a year to act.

Even if you hope that this rather bleak situation can be changed by lobbying the government, voting or writing letters to the paper – and though we clearly don’t believe this to be sufficient, we’re not trying to stop anyone from doing it – we don’t understand why the blossoming of grassroots community organisation & campaigns against racism would be anything other than an asset to that approach.

You don’t have to agree with us, and you certainly don’t have to do anything you are uncomfortable with doing / unable to do. All we ask is that the same solidarity & good faith we extend to you be granted to us. People from all over Melbourne are coming to support the Moreland Council rally by telling the fash to fuck off. It’s really actually just that simple.

Of course, the task before us is daunting. It’s fine to be nervous or afraid. That’s natural. As we see it, it’s our task to support one another through this fear & doubt & whatever may be thrown at us along the way. Divided, we can easily be controlled, intimidated, harassed or attacked.

But together, even against an adversary that wants to make us feel as if they’re so much bigger & tougher & stronger than we are, we can win.

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We believe that though the many strategies employed by activists organising against racism differ significantly, they are mutually complementary, even if we disagree with the priority given to a particular course of action or the effectiveness of a particular approach.

When we say ‘remembering means fighting’, please don’t think we just mean physical confrontation. To us, fighting means (among other things):

Acting together. Organising collectively. Turning up on time. Looking after one another. Not giving into fascist threats. Not giving into their demands. Refusing to be intimidated by them. Standing up for our communities & the many different kinds of people who live in them. Not letting the Nazis have the streets & certainly not letting them be ignored.

We do whatever we can on the basis of what we can contribute, and that’s all we can do. Nobody is “weak” for being unable to fight, and nobody is “as bad as them” for being prepared to confront the fascists. In the words of the late, great Gil Scott-Heron “nobody can do everything; but everybody can do something.”

The guide we have linked to above is just one of the contributions to the debate we’ve made over the course of the last year, not to antagonise the pointless sectarian divisions that already hamstring progressive political forces in this country, but in the hope of demystifying antifascist practice & encouraging more people to get out there and act.

What we think is on the record, and if you disagree that’s fine, but please let’s disagree substantively, with reference to all the factors at play, and not simply on the basis of whichever niche political ideology you happen to subscribe to.  We don’t have any interest in telling people what to do and certainly not what they ought to think. We do however consider these questions to be both empirical & historical. It’s not a matter of sectarianism & certainly not a matter of heaping shit on others who are doing different things. It is simply us reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned in the last year, considering what worked & what didn’t work, and striving to do better.

What unites us is much greater than that on which we differ. We believe it a matter of urgent necessity to encourage more people to realise their own power, their collective potential & their responsibility to act. We want, as we’re sure many others do, the most people possible to get out there & participate. Not only because it’s the right thing, not only because it’s important but also because we believe that through this experience, we can empower people to begin organising in their communities to confront the very real problems we all face; and not just spend all our time chasing Nazis off the street.

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Only together can we make the world a better place.

Let’s get on with it.

 

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¡No pasarán!

With love, rage & solidarity,

Some antifascists; living, working & organising on stolen Wurundjeri Country

On the Party for Freedom @ the Halal Expo, Flemington. 2016

On Sunday, the fascist grouplet “Party for Freedom”, an openly xenophobic, islamophic and racist organisation held a demonstration outside the Halal foods Expo in Flemington, Victoria.

The group comprised mostly of late 20’s-mid 30’s men dressed themselves in different traditional Islamic garb of both sexes. The ones not in ‘costume’ wore shirts saying ‘RAPEfugees NOT WELCOME.’ Largely activists from Sydney, they were continuing their career as professional protesters from the North Shore. They were joined by a number of local racists, of both garden and skinhead variety. Even a couple of vegetarians turned up, because Halal is obviously far more evil than racism.

The group chanted insulting slogans, waved flags and placards, and stood over, abused, and taunted any number of families, women and children attending the event.

A small police escort watched over the events, with a detachment of PORT nearby waiting, several cars of police making rounds keeping a watchful eye, and a line of mounted cops standing in the background. None of these intervened of course. Freedom to harass and persecute minorities being the inherent human right of any white bloke in Australia, after all.

Then out of nowhere, our heroes from the lovely North Shore were having a fucking bad day.

A number of antifascists attacked from all sides. Fights immediately broke out, and almost all the fascists’ flags, placards, and banners were gone, all within two minutes. A number felt quite sore, and one bloke had to be taken to hospital after having copped his own flagpole in the eye. We’re still not sure how, but it wouldn’t surprise us if he was stupid enough to hit himself.

The police had no idea what to do, two people were temporarily detained but managed to bugger off, and the cops largely stood around in the horse shit their useless mounted unit provided. They’re still so confused they think everyone ‘jumped off the tram.’ Nick Folkes, the Party for Freedom’s chairman immediately got out his phone cam and provided a video of himself, on the verge of tears, decrying the actions of “An-tee-fa.” With no tools left, and their mates bruised and battered they had to pack up and fuck off back to their posh homes in Sydney to wank with bougie tears over how much they hate the multi-cultural working classes of ‘Straya. (Of course, everyone from An-tee-fa is on the dole, or Lee Rihannons paycheques, remember.)

However, the far-right were not the only group rather upset.

There has been plenty of outcry about the actions of the small groups attack on PFF.

“You’re as bad as each other.”

“You’re just dickhead blokes out to look tough.”

“It’s racist because you didn’t consult the concerned community.”

Maybe we are as bad as each other. But only to liberals. Fascism is a violent, authoritarian response to crises in capitalism, where members of all classes join together over an identity based around nation and ethnicity, excluding and persecuting minorities in order to shift the blame away from the real causes, and maintain a sense of solidarity in fear. When these movements grow, they are exploited by the folks at the top of the chain, to keep the rest of us in place. Fascists hate poor people. They might carry on about ‘caring for our own first’, but you never see them lift a finger to actually help. With one breath they will cry; “Feed the Aussie hungry first!”, then with the next “Fuck the dole bludgers, let them starve.” The fascists would divide us over religion and skin colour to satisfy the needs of the rich, and screw the rest of us.

Maybe some of us are dickhead blokes who are out to look and act tough. But you know what, we’re also just stupid working class people who will never have the enlightened views of our betters. We could apologise for thinking that it’s fucking horrible that people are allowed to get away with abusing minorities in our communities, and that we made a decision that we would stop it. But we won’t.

You know what else? We’re definitely not all blokes. Maybe what’s sexist is to assume that women don’t participate or organise in militant anti-fascist circles. I guess you wouldn’t know that women participate, because thankfully you don’t know who participates at all.  It’s the same for claims that it’s all white blokes. If anything, the people from these marginalised communities who may have participated have every god damn right to feel indignant enough to fight back. If you’re attacking militant antifascism on the grounds that it’s racist, be very careful.

Seems like all that black clothing and the facemasks work.

It’s not a tactic for every time, and it doesn’t replace the work that militants do in other spaces to help build positive things in their community. But the anonymity allows that to continue, and it’s effective in stopping fascists.

Some may say that to take such militant action without the consent of the rest of the ‘movement’ is vanguardist and unaccountable. This may be correct if we were attempting to lead the revolution, or to impose our ideas upon others. But we were not. The context of anti-fascism means this was the defense of our communities.

The fascists attempt to capitalise on discontent amongst communities that are exploited by the system, and blame minorities. The left wants to capitalise on discontent amongst communities, and fight the ruling class. Let’s not pretend as the Left we do not have our own interests in beating the fascists out of our communities. Let’s not pretend that victory is just out-numbering them and having the ‘moral high ground’ of non-violence. We know that violence is a tactic, that it is not to be fetishized but neither is it to be condemned when it’s appropriately targeted. Sometimes part of winning is organising and building the movement. Sometimes the victory is sending them fucking running, leaving them without resources to organise and looking like the fools they are.

Sunday achieved all of these last three objectives.

Maybe Nick Folkes and the Party for Freedom were an easy target. But they are still part of a very broad idea in Australia that Halal is somehow a violation of our rights, and that it’s okay to blame Muslims. Only last week the United Patriots Front unfurled a banner at a Collingwood/Richmond football game that said “Stop the Mosque!” One brave young comrade confronted them, and others rallied to support her. When we let the legitimisation of racist discourses go unchecked, we have failed.

The action in Flemington was successful. The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism demo in the city was successful, and Collingwood Football Club and it’s supporters told the United Patriots Front and other racists to piss off. On a day when the slogan was raised; ‘You’ll always lose in Melbourne’, it was made sure of.

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Voices of the UPF

The concerned mums and dads of Reclaim Australia and the UPF made it so clear on Sunday Night with Kent Brockman that they are very, very, very super duper concerned about getting their chance to speak their minds and do that freedom of speech thing our constitution is so super keen on. In keeping with that, we’d like to give a voice to the forgotten Patriots. Because, what with the recent spectacular implosion of the UPF, a few Patriots have been getting a bit antsy. Those comments that haven’t been ignored or buried have been deleted by those pesky left wing social justice warriors, I mean, the UPF. Here, to fix the imbalance, is the Melbourne Antifascist Info special feature, VOICES OF THE UPF. Presented in four parts without commercial interruption in portable, slick PDFs.

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G’night Patriots.

UPF In Bendigo; Making Them Lose on Away Days

We’ve already been through a few rounds with both the UPF and Reclaim Australia, and now we’re back at it again in Bendigo. The 10-10-15 ‘Global Day of Action Against Islam” is being used by the patriots to continue to have a whine about the mosque in Bendigo. As we’ve said before, if you’re planning on going out to oppose the “United Patriots Front” this weekend, it’s totally legitimate to feel a bit anxious or worried about what the day might have in store. The last time the UPF did outnumber us in Bendigo, and while we stood up against them they claimed the victory. This time it won’t be so easy for them.

Bendigo residents have formed a devoted group called Bendigo Action Coalition that’s done a ton of useful on the ground organising to spearhead local resistance to the thugs. As usual the UPF have been making noises about violence and confrontation, and conflating this with their own tricksies of creating fake anti-fascist propaganda to stir up resentment for the antifascists.

Being nervous or concerned by nonsense like this is perfectly understandable, particularly if this is the first time you’ve done something like this, but even those amongst us who are more experienced, these feelings aren’t uncommon. They’re natural and having them doesn’t make you a bad antifascist. They can, however, be managed & overcome in a few ways. We hope that this quick primer will provide you with a few tips and resources about how to be keep one another safe, how to be effective and (hopefully) have a bit of fun running the racists out of town.

Get organised:

If you’re not already involved in organising against UPF there’s still time. Search for the counter rally page in your city (Bendigo Action Coalition in Bendigo, Campaign Against Racism and Fascism in Melbourne), read up about what’s going on and consider making contact with the organisers to answer any questions you might have.

Here is a copy of the BAC call out for the day. Please share these around, feel free to download, print it off, hand it out, post it up etc.

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

Talk to your friends, your family and anyone else about what you want to do, and get them to come along with you. The more of us there is, the easier & more fun this is all going to be. The more safe we will all be, too.

Have a plan:

  1. Check out the transport options, figure out with your friends how you’re gonna get there on the day and then stick to that plan. Getting out of bed on time really matters on days like this! Rule number one of antifascism; don’t have a hangover! Also sort out how you are going to get home in advance, and have a backup plan in case of changing circumstances. There are limited trains out of Bendigo, so make sure you check the train times. Including backup times in case we’re around for longer than planned.
  2. Know where you’re going & what the protest area looks like. Look at a map & try to memorise the layout of the streets around it. Figure out how you will move between transport & the rally area.
  3. Dress appropriately for the conditions in your city. Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen are going to be useful as it’s going to be quite hot and were going to be outside all day. Added bonus is they can also help protect your identity (if that’s something you are concerned about }. It’s also a good idea to stash a change of top in your back pack, in case you want to change it up on your way home. Given the recent developments in policing these rallies, clothing that covers your body well, scarfs, sunnies etc are extra useful in protecting yourself from pepperspray too.
  4. Consider removing piercings, jewellery & avoiding where possible loose clothing that can be grabbed. Also, if you have long hair, keep it tied back and out of your face.
  5. Bring water, low GI snacks that are easy to eat on the fly (fruit, nuts, muesli bars, pack some sandwiches), sunscreen, umbrella/raincoat, a bit of cash, photo ID and any medications you require.

Get informed:

There’s plenty of really useful stuff on the internet about preparing for an action like this. At the very least, 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.

Also important to have a look at is the Melbourne Street Medic Collective’s website. They have an extensive list of resources available covering many different aspects of political action including preparation, staying safe & self care.

Safety & strength in numbers:

This is pretty common sense really but it is worth repeating.

Any time you got out on an action, no matter what sort, we reckon it’s worth buddying up. This will not only help you communicate, co-ordinate and get things done on the day, but it will keep you all safe. Pick a buddy, stick with them, and co-ordinate amongst a broader group of people so everyone can check in & be accounted for.

Whatever dangers do exist when dealing with the far-right can be effectively minimised on the day provided we stick together & look out for one another. If you don’t have a buddy or a group of contacts to coordinate with, then ensure you to get to the event before the scheduled start time, stick with the crowd & try to make some friends.

Remember that solidarity is contagious. If you are feeling nervous, chances are someone else is too. Speak up, reach out & support one another.

A few points about Nazis:

The UPF are the latest core of nazi thugs organising these rallies, but they’ve gotten support from the Australian Defence League, and made ties with local “Rights For Bendigo Residents”, meaning a turnout of local folk possibly looking for a scrap. Bendigo has experience organised anti-mosque agitation for a while. It is important to consider the potential threat posed by hardcore nationalists without overstating it. Though they claim to be the “master race”, and love to act real tough, they’re rather less impressive in person. Some are individually dangerous but it’s easy to avoid this danger with a few simple precautions. The most important precaution is to stick together, work together & look after one another!

  1. Know your enemy. If you check the Melbourne Antifascist Info page, there are a few ‘collectors cards’ identifying the main fascist thugs.
  2. The “United Patriots Front” are meeting at “2.30pm.” The UPF are all about trying to start a ruck, and should be treated as serious and confrontational. The locals on their side may also be keen for a punch on, but they might also be more hesitant and confused as they have less experience. Also, don’t risk pissing off local supporters because you misidentify them, but remain aware that right-wingers might try and integrate with our crowd, too.
  3. Different towns in Australia have different levels of far-right activity, so it really depends where you are as to what flavour of racist bonehead you might be dealing with. Some general rules still apply though: if you’re walking down the street and a gang of boofy blokes wearing flag-capes comes towards you, consider walking somewhere else.
  4. Fascists on the attack? We will film them back! The UPF have consistently attempted to distance themselves from the overt Nazis in their group (like old mate Swastika head), even by lame propaganda like kicking ‘Ross the Skull’ off their bus from Sydney last time. We are well aware of the company they keep. Unfortunately, this information doesn’t seem to matter much to his followers, but it is still important to identify the Nazis on the day, both to keep people safe, but also because every nail in the coffin helps.
  5. That being said, if you’re taking photos of anti-fascists don’t go posting it online without the consent of the people you’ve photographed. Avoiding identification is really important to some anti-fascists more at risk, and depending what you capture you could be aiding the police. Remember, historically the police crackdown harder on anti-fascists than racists, and that trend isn’t about to change.
  6. I know we’ve said it a few times already, but really the most important thing you can do to stay safe is to look out for one another & stick together. There is no more important time to do this than when the rally breaks up & everyone goes home. Fascists are bullies, but they’re also cowards & some may hang around in the city to look to pick a fight. This happened last time so make sure you’ve arranged plans to get home safely. We can protect ourselves from this threat by making sure we move in a group (to the station etc), with purpose & with a clear idea of where we’re going. Know the location, know the exit routes & stick to your plan.

Be careful around the police:

It doesn’t matter what you actually think about the police, love em or hate em, you will definitely have to deal with them on the day. The Activists Rights Handbook is a much more rigorous & comprehensive guide for dealing with the law than we have room for here, but here are a few tips:

  1. They are likely to be the definitive force on the day. Last time they mobilised large numbers from Melbourne, and they did play nicer than on July 18, however it’s worth noting they pulled out the capsicum spray again and though it was aimed at the UPF, it could just as easily be us. They have consistently facilitated the fascists rallies and if our intention is to No Platform the UPF, we are immediately at odds with the Police. Don’t expect them to be playing nice this time around.
  2. Don’t talk to them unless you are detained or arrested. You don’t have to speak to the cops, and no matter how nice they are, the reason they speak to you is to gain information that they may attempt to use against you or someone else. Better to be safe and say nothing at all.
  3. If you see someone in a mask, don’t give them shit. It’s their choice and their safety and anonymity is important. It’s just as valid as whatever tactic you have chosen to employ. People have a lot of good reasons for masking up, you can read a piece here where we deal with it. Some antifascist mates of ours from Bendigo have also produced a sweet leaflet we host here (bonus; it explains reasons some people may/have chosen to burn the flag) dealing with the same issues.
  4. Elect a police liaison to negotiate on your crew’s behalf. Instead of allowing the cops to decide who they want to put pressure on, choose a confident person whose job it is to communicate with the plod if/when it is necessary. Don’t do it unless you absolutely have to – go to the BAC/CARF marshals first and find the police liaison.
  5. Use your common sense, keep focused & don’t do anything silly. By all means defend yourself & your friends if attacked, but initiating a toe-to-toe boxing match with the boneheads somewhere public is a less than wonderful idea. Collective action is what makes antifascism effective, not individual bravado. Remember, the UPF exist pretty exclusively to come “smash” us “traitors”. Denying them the opportunity to do this on their terms drives them batty & causes them to do all sorts of silly things. We can’t rely on the police to keep us safe, but we can laugh our arses off when they start getting nicked for kicking off with the coppers.
  6. On that topic, we’re not telling you what action you can and can’t take… but remember, if you get arrested in another city, that’s really hard on your comrades who have to wait around and bail you out.
  7. On top of that point, the most important political point right now is that we help galvanise support in Bendigo for a serious, confrontational anti-racism that will No Platform hate speech. Helping BAC pull off a good rally is the priority.

Have fun:

For the most part, the kind of muppets who will drag themselves along to a rally about the “evils of Islam” are pitiful, pathetic and ridiculous, not to mention misguided. Make good use of that fact. It’s likely that most of their attendees are so attached to their silly conspiracy theories that they are well beyond rational debate. But they are not beyond ridicule! Blast them with music, sing them songs, chant them down. Dance your ass off to anti-racist tunes, explain to passers by why they’re plonkers, bring along a vuvuzela.. whatever! As BAC are pitching the rally; this is going to be a loud and colourful event!

The most effective forms of resistance involve everyone participating how they’re best able, so bring your skills, creativity and your friends and let’s make a go of it!

Stand together, stay safe, ‘¡No pasarán!

See you on the streets,

Melbourne Antifascists (///)
(This stay-safe guide has been gratefully adapted a couple of times by Melbourne Antifascists from a piece published in the lead up to the first Reclaim Australia rally.)

Why Masks?

There’s been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth lately about the sight of masked protesters at anti-fascist demonstrations. Common complaints or concerns we’ve heard leveled against masked protesters is that they make other demonstrators feel unsafe, they bring the tone down or that they seem as though they must be looking for trouble. It’s true that masked protesters are hard to ignore at anti-fascist demos, but I would argue that their presence has more to do with the prevention of violence than its promotion. If you’re critical of masking up as a tactic, or feel unsafe when masked individuals pop up from time to time, please read on. I hope to allay your concerns, but in doing so I may need you to join me in accepting one or two uncomfortable truths. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though…

Nazi is now a verb.

Bandana cat watches you while you Nazi.

“They make me feel unsafe”

Yeah, I get it, people running around in masks amid a cacophony of shouting, colours, banners etc. It is confronting. It is frightening. It is also reality and it isn’t going anywhere by you disapproving of it. If you’re paying attention to the UPF and you don’t feel unsafe yet then that says two things to me. One: You aren’t paying enough attention, and Two: Maybe you should have a think about why that is. Putting their violent ideology to the side for one moment, the UPF is run by violent thugs who have managed to consolidate other groups of violent thugs into a big, happy, violent thug menagerie. Let’s make no bones about it- these men are violent, they are dangerous, and they are very, very public about both of these things. That’s the reality that we and (I hope) you are organising in. We are dealing with scary frigging people, trying our best to look lovely and friendly and approachable isn’t much of an option. Keep thinking about why masked protesters make you feel more unsafe than Nazis, because it might come up later.

“Masked protesters are looking for trouble”

Not really. If you take the time to really pay attention to the behaviour of most masked demonstrators on the day, you won’t notice much in the way of spectacle. While it’s true that biffs break out on the ground between Nazis and anti-Nazi demonstrators, you’ll tend to notice that the people who get involved are neither all masked nor all unmasked at the time (including Nazis). For every photo of a masked protester throwing a projectile through the air, there are a dozen people in masks not up to much at all, holding signs and milling about like everybody else. In fact, if you respect masked protesters like you would any other partner in a struggle, they’ll respect you and if you keep an eye out for them, they’ll keep an eye out for you. After all, wearing a mask does give an activist the agency to be able to extricate a comrade from a shit situation swiftly, and without compromising their identity…

“I knew it! The only reason their identity needs protecting in that situation is so the police can’t bang them up when they act like hooligans!” you gasp, in that unflattering way you have.

Again, not really. People are rarely arrested at anti-fascist demonstrations in Melbourne, but even so, if the police are determined to strike, a mask won’t stop them picking people out of a scrum. Remember back in my first point, when I told you the Australian far right are a violent and credible threat? Of course you do, you’re a quick learner. Well, here’s what activists face online when Nazis even speculate that it’s them wot done it (whatever it is that day).

How would you like to read the above and realise it’s you they’re after?

Now, the easy way out of thinking about this is to point out that the above are all keyboard warriors. There’s no way of knowing if that’s true or not, and the UPF et al’s online membership comprises most active street-level neo-Nazi thugs in Melbourne. Even if the people above are just twiddling their thumbs in the basement, they’re giving out the names, photographs and sometimes home suburb information of activists accused summarily of usually minor indiscretions (flipping the bird, being gender-non-conforming, shouting) but also sometimes the kind of shit that really gets patriots hot under the collar (women hitting men who can’t hit them back, shoving, flag singeing etc). This information is accessible to the kind of chaps I introduced you to earlier. But y’know, it’s not like a neo-Nazi keyboard warrior ever hurt anybody

Loose ends

Remember when I asked you to think about why masks are scarier than Nazis? Good. I’d like to posit that it’s because you’re not in danger yourself. I don’t want you to feel bad about that, I hope you’re not in any danger. You seem nice. But many of the activists who work tirelessly to oppose fascist street-level organising aren’t so lucky. They don’t all have cars that keep them off the streets, they often live in the same suburbs as the neo-Nazis themselves (i.e. not very nice ones), some of them have the kinds of crappy jobs or houses they could lose at any moment, some of them aren’t white. What I’m trying to say is that activists are putting themselves in harm’s way all the time opposing fascism, and that harm comes from credible sources of violence. You have to understand that.

Masks aren’t a license to fuck shit up, they’re a license to go home at night and crawl into bed without checking under it first. You don’t have to wear one, but if you see somebody who has decided to, respect their decision. Don’t insist that they take it off, lest everybody look bad. Don’t ask them, why?, and don’t shove cameras in their faces.

See you at the next rally. I’ll be the one wearing… oh, never mind.

A G A I N S T N A T I O N A L I S M

We had hoped to wade into the “uncomfortable task of self examination and clarification, which far from being inconvenient, is actually the only way we will ever win for realsies” on the topic of nationalism/racism/fascism sometime pretty soon, but we’ve been beaten to the punch!

For the moment, we want to encourage you all to read this fantastic analysis of “Reclaim” from a comrade on Ngambri/Ngunnawal land (“Canberra”).

This is the beginning of a really important conversation, and one we hope to add to in the coming days.

Thanks very much to the author/s

totaltantrum

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Addressing the anti-fascists and their enemies in Canberra.

Firstly, a few notes:

Traditional fascism is unpopular.  We see the far-right attempting to outmanoeuvre this unpopularity in various ways across the globe, so that we have nationalist-anarchists in Sydney, nationalist-autonomists in Dresden, Casa Pound nationalist-squats in Rome and popularised pro-nationalist street movements throughout much of the world.  Reclaim Australia are only the most recent and most local innovation in this respect.  As far as there are fascist elements within the movement, they deserve to be opposed with the traditional uncompromising vigour.  However, it is important also to pay close attention to what is signalled by the popularity of these protests.  In times of crisis and uncertainty, nationalism has always been an appealing force.  Many of the people attending Reclaim rallies are not fascists, but are simply confused and proletarianised individuals who have been effectively mobilised by nationalist discourse.  Obviously, we should…

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