Saturday, December 31, 2005

Timur Kacharava (21.08.1985 - 13.11.2005)



Timur, we will always remember you!

At around 6.30 p.m. on Sunday the 13th of November 2005, anti-fascist activist, anarchist, musician and dear friend Timur Kacharava was murdered by neo-nazis on Ligovsky prospekt in St Petersburg city centre, Russia.

Following a FOOD NOT BOMBS action outside Vladimirskaya metro station, Timur, Maxim Zgibai, and a few others walked around the city, ending up at a bookshop on Ligovsky prospekt. Timur and Max stayed outside to finish a beer while the others went inside. Shortly thereafter Timur and Max were suddenly and brutally attacked by a group of around 8-10 neo-nazis, screaming “anti-antifa”. Timur was stabbed repeatedly in the body and neck, severing the carotid artery. Max was stabbed 5 times in the chest and back, and had his head cracked open. Following the vicious attack, which lasted about a minute, Max managed to call out for an ambulance to the security guard inside the bookshop. When Max came to the aid of Timur, he couldn’t feel his pulse. Timur was white and lying in a pool of his own blood. He was already dead. His friends could do nothing to save him.

Max is currently in hospital in a serious but stable condition. He is conscious but in deep shock. Amazingly the knife wounds missed all organs, and he has suffered no brain damage. He is unbelievably lucky to have survived.

An ambulance and police came only some 10 minutes after the attack. A supposed “emergency” response. Keep in mind that this attack occurred across the road from the main train station in the city centre of St Petersburg. The group of neo-nazis escaped and have not yet been apprehended by police.

There is evidence to suggest that Timur, Max and friends were followed after the FOOD NOT BOMBS action, as neo-nazi “scouts” (people on the lookout) were spotted at the time of the serving. Timur had already been attacked on the 9th October 2005, and thus they knew him by face and name. Similar beatings by neo-nazis have been common place all over Russia for some time.

There is a strong underground fascist movement in Russia, which is associated with the Partiya Svobody (Freedom Party), RNE (Russian National Unity) and DPNI (Movement Against Illegal Immigration) political parties. Street parades by these parties have taken place in St Petersburg, with the participation of neo-nazis chanting racist and nationalistic dogma. We believe that on Sunday the 13th of November, the neo-nazi group followed our group of friends with the intention to kill. The swiftness of the attack, the readiness of knives, the fact that they all wore low black caps and indistinguishable clothing, and the speed of their escape all attest to this.

Timur was only 20 years old and the only child in his family. He was also the co-founder, guitarist and main songwriter of local St Petersburg political hardcore bands. He was an active participant of the anti-fascist and anarchist community in St Petersburg. He was involved with St Petersburg’s first FOOD NOT BOMBS collective since its inception in January this year. He was also involved with the EPICENTRE infoshop, CRITICAL MASS bike protests, and with anti-fascist and anarchist demonstrations in St Petersburg. Timur was a 4th year philosophy student at the St Petersburg State University.

We remember Timur as a passionate, fun, intelligent and idealistic friend and talented musician. As a beloved only son and as a boyfriend. His sudden and violent death has devastated the local community in St Petersburg and broken the hearts of friends and comrades all over the world – in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Germany, UK, Spain, France, Portugal, South America, Scandinavia, the USA and Australia.

They didn’t just kill Timur, they’ve killed a part of each of us.

A police investigation of murder and attempted murder is underway. However, previous experience has shown us that the Russian police are in no hurry to solve politically motivated crime. Various political and racial attacks by fascist groups on Russians and foreigners have gone unpunished in the past. The city governor of St Petersburg and some mainstream media has claimed that Timur’s murder was by random “hooligans”, and not politically motivated. It is inconvenient for the authorities to face up to the rise of fascism in Russia – and often these groups are supporting those in power.

This is not something that we are willing to accept.

It is a disgrace to Timur’s memory to claim that his death was for anything other than political reasons. Timur was murdered for his beliefs in equality and freedom - we cannot forget that.

Because we cannot accept murder on the streets, because we believe in freedom, and because we loved our friend Timur dearly, we are organising a series of benefit gigs worldwide. Money raised will go directly towards paying the medical expenses for Maxim Zgibai and other victims of recent neo-nazi attacks, towards finding the murderers and towards putting a stop to the rise of fascism in Russia.

If a concert is being organised in your area please come and honour Timur’s memory, and support your friends and allies in their struggle against fascism in Russia.

If you would like to organise a benefit gig, please contact Timur’s friends on the email address below (or at addresses you already have) for further info.

Timur, we will always remember you!


In Melbourne, Fightdemback is organising a benefit gig for Timur for some time in January or February, 2006.




And here's an account of a very creative -- and appropriate -- form of commemoration by some Italian comrades:

On December 21 Paolo di Nella boulevard in Rome, which was named after a fascist, was re-named after Timur Kacharava, a young anti-fascist murdered last November in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Communique


Timur Kacharava Street -- (1985-2005)

This boulevard was re-named after Timur Kacharava, who was killed by Russian fascists in St. Petersburg on November 13, 2005. Ten of them attacked two unarmed persons and Timur got numerous knife wounds in the neck and died on the spot. He was just twenty years old, a philosophy student and musician, who helped homeless people and spoke of peace. We think that he deserves that this boulevard is named after him, rather than the guy who preached hate. Besides that we think it is a disgrace to the city of Rome that a street was named after a fascist. That is why we decided to correct this injustice and by doing so to remind everybody that fascism still kills.

:: Circolo Francesco Ghezzi - friends of Timur Kacharava ::


In the meantime, here are some links:

Timur Kacharava Memorial
Two More Charged With Murder
Suspects Charged Following Petition
Putin Sent Petition On Hate Murder
Chernov's Choice
Student Murder Investigation Continues
Chernov's Choice
Student Killed In City Center Attack

Remembering anarchist resistance to fascism

Friday, December 30, 2005

Barney says: "Grrrrrriiinnnddd fascism!'




Interview with Barney Frank [aka Mark "Barney" Greenway], singer of Napalm Death. Conducted via phone on September 13, 2000.

Napalm Death is a metal band, but also a political band, which is a bit of an oddity. How are you received within the metal community?


It varies, really. Some people just don't want to know about politics, which is fine. That I can totally understand, that's fine. I draw the line when people are ignorant. That is when you say no, it is not okay.

A lot of people in the metal scene are very conscious of this sort of thing. There are quite a few kids who are very open minded in the metal scene. There's quite a few sort of left-wing oriented kids in the scene, too. Quite a lot actually, you'd be surprised.

But there is, obviously, the element of conservative thinking. I guess they think it's kind of tough, it's kind of a macho thing. They don't want to be some kind of lily-livered pinko, I guess. It's very much a pride thing that I can come out and say what I believe.

There is enough division in punk and hardcore and metal already. It should be about community.

We are not always well received, but people need to remember that while it is first about the music, we also believe in liberty and freedom.

Why do you feel it is important to respond to white power music?


As a musician and a singer, I would have to say it is like a poison spreading. It is a very influential thing. People always talk about Marilyn Manson and that sort of thing being very influential, but, God, this whole white power thing really is a disease. It infects the community and, before you know it, you get these white power bands and they have got this big strength thing. Next thing, they are leafleting people's mailboxes and spreading their kind of hatred. It is, very much, a sort of spreading thing.

As a musician, I believe not only in the message but in the power of music.

At the end of the day, can you imagine if there was a sort of proto-fascist government, do you think that they would allow anyone to listen to anything that was even remotely sort of subversive? Even this white power music that we are seeing would become some sort of a taboo. It would probably be banned in that type of environment, so they are really not gaining anything.

What can bands [do] to help counter the spread of white power music?

I believe it is multi-faceted, really. Obviously, you can always spread the message on the live circuit. The only problem, I would say to bands to be careful. If you are in a club, like we experienced in Allentown, PA, many years ago, and there's like 300 white power guys there, it don't matter what you say, they are going to cave your head in. So you have got to be diplomatic. You have got to force your message forward but you need to be careful. At the end of the day, it defeats the object if you are lying on the ground with a pair of knuckledusters sticking out your mouth. That's what no one wants. You have got to gauge each situation as it comes.

Aside from that, benefit albums are always a great thing. Obviously, you can take them out on the road; you can help spread the message.

If you feel there is going to be trouble, make sure that you have like-minded people around to take care of you. I know that there's a lot of different factions in the anti-fascist movement. I know there are peaceful anti-fascists, which is fine, but in a gig situation boneheads don't fucking care. If they have come to cause trouble they will cause trouble. And you need to respond to that sometime in force. That's a necessary thing and I fully endorse that kind of action.

What do people want? Do you want to go to a show and see the same people? Do you want to go to a show where there is no diversity? Where there is just 25-28 year old muscle bound boneheads? Do you really want that? Do you not want people of all ages, all colors, and both sexes to enjoy your shows? I think that is what music is really all about.

In the metal scene, national socialist black metal is received in a variety of ways. On the one hand, there are labels like Relapse Records who publicly state that they will not sell it. On the other hand, there are magazines like Pit who publish interviews and reviews without ever criticizing their racism and anti-Semitism.

What do you think those who care about this issue should do?

I would say boycott, boycott, boycott. Don't buy the fUCKing records. Just leave it alone.

These guys have got an agenda. Some of them don't know what they are talking about. Some of these white power black metal bands are just stupid kids spreading poison, which is dangerous enough in itself. But there are certain bands where you don't know that their proceeds isn't going to funding maybe funding mailers [direct mailings - ed], or maybe worse.

You know Resistance Records, which is one of the more well-known ones. We were at Milwaukee Metalfest a few years ago and they had a store there. And it was like, what the hell was this? There were white power kids blatantly walking around and giving me the evils, you know, obviously, trying to provoke me.

This goes to promoters too. Hell, you make enough money. Show some integrity. Stop these people from coming in and infesting the scene. If you think it is any good for the scene, then think again. It is just going to cause all kinds of problems.

What message do you have for those who feel that white power music isn't a problem for the metal scene?

Use your common sense. Look at what is going on around you. Just think. If there is a long-haired metal guy out there in a band, think of him going to a show where there are boneheads. Imagine walking in and there are tons and tons of boneheads, and just imagine the hassle you are going to get. And now put that into other people's worlds. Put that, say, into a regular Joe Chinese guy's life. A Chinese kid who goes to shows and buys your CD's. Use your common sense. You don't want boneheads at your shows.

When I say boneheads I am not talking about skinheads. I want to make that distinction, I want to make that clear. There are a lot of really good skins in America. I am talking about boneheads, white power fascists.

[A much more recent interview with Barney is available here.

DemLeft: ...Do your politics ever piss off your fans or your audience?

Barney: Oh yeah. Not necessarily fans. I think most people who like Napalm appreciate the stance and agree with the stance. Certainly not everything. But they certainly would concur with the need to expand your mind and be aware of what's going on around you.]

Turning Rebellion Into Money? The Psychotic Youth League



"The Patriotic Youth League similarly denies any connection with neo-Nazi groups."

A spokesman, Luke Connors, said: "None of our members sympathises with Nazis. We're just young blokes standing up for our own sort."

Meanwhile, groups such as the PYL are enjoying the publicity. Mr Connors explains: "Mate, I'm going to get brain cancer from having the mobile phone pressed to me ear all day and all night. Answering membership and media inquiries."

Connors is thus not only a liar -- most, if not all of PYL's membership is either neo-Nazi or sympathetic to neo-Nazi ideology -- he also displays a cavalier attitude towards the possibly harmful effects -- not only of racism -- but electro-magnetic radiation as well. Perhaps Connors' embrace of fascism is an early warning sign of mental dysfunction and possible trauma, that is, brain cancer?

Oh, and speaking of psychosis and cancers on the body politic, this is interesting:

Excerpt from Leviathan by John Birmingham about a bunch of violent nutters in the '80s, including a deserving case who comes to a sticky end:

[National Action] unexpectedly found itself called upon to explain its position. The party’s slack-jawed mouthpiece denied they were in any way racist. [They] didn’t believe in the superiority of one race over another. [They] simply believed that the Anglo-Celtic culture of Australia should not be endangered. As more people noted what they were saying... the party’s internal bulletin, announced that the time had come for taking it to the streets.

Student unions noted an escalating number of bashings of Asian students after dark, both on campus and in the clutch of inner city suburbs around the neo-Nazis’ favourite watering holes. There was a shift not just in the frequency of political violence, but also in its intensity and focus. The targets began to change. The party bulletin [Audacity?] featured a regular [column] in which critics of the party would find their name, phone number and address published with an invitation to the ‘curious and adventurous’ to dish out a little nationalist justice. Journalists such as Gerard Henderson, Andrew Olle and Adele Horin who covered the immigration debate or related topics in an unsatisfactory manner began to receive phone calls and death threats late at night. Academics and unionists found their car tyres slashed and graffiti daubed on their houses. Greenpeace and Community Aid Abroad shops were broken into and looted.

Violent overthrow of the dominant paradigm doesn’t come cheap, however, so in early 1984 the party leadership cooked up a scam to rip off the GIO and raise money to buy all the firebombs, balaclavas and nail-studded clubs they would need to make people understand the righteousness of their cause. A woman who rented a room at [National Action's] headquarters came home one day to find the place ransacked, her jewellery gone and party fuhrer [James Saleam] shaking his head...

[NA] began working its way down the enemies list, widening their attacks from vulnerable students and the occasional journalist to gays, lesbians, Aboriginal, peace and anti-apartheid groups, academics, liberal congregations such as the Pitt Street Uniting Church, the Anti-discrimination Board, union activists and, somewhat recklessly, a couple of Special Branch cops who had been assigned to their case. Terrorising the wives and families of heavily armed secret police­men was not the Nazis’ first step on the happy staircase to success. After [NA] raided the meeting of a gay migration lobby group the hammer came down.

Having suffered through months of harassment the gays were ready for a fight. Their resistance seemed to unnerve the storm troopers and a handful of hysterical pansies and angry dykes proceeded to bitch slap them out of the room. Special Branch quickly obtained a search warrant and charged over to a house in Petersham used as an alternative headquarters by [NA]. They found a tape recording and photographs of the raid. Most of those who took part were arrested and charged. The cases were heard in Glebe local court and attended by observers from a resistance group called Community Alert Against Racism and Violence.

‘It was unbelievably pathetic,’ said CAARAV’s Betty Hounslow. ‘Shane Rosier, one of their big men, was just this really pathetic bloke in his late forties who was, you know, a bit chubby. He wore these brown trousers that kept riding up the back and an old yukko-looking brown cardigan. They found a lot of weapons in his house... coshs, chains, and studded balls. And his story to the magistrate was that the weapons were part of his collection. He’d always been interested in weapons, he said. His grandfather was a famous gun collector. He and his dad had always wanted to have a gun collection just like old Granddad’s, but they’d never had enough money to collect guns so they had to collect cheaper, working-class weapons. And this was why he had all these things. He said the tape of the raid was left on his doorstep one morning. Like a little abandoned baby.’

The pressure told and the Nazis turned on each other as deeply repressed suspicions and rivalries burst through to the surface. Everybody seemed to accuse everyone else of being police spies and sexual deviants. The final slide into ignoble collapse was marked by the gunshot murder of Wayne ‘Bovver’ Smith in [NA's] headquarters at Tempe a few years later. It was an almost perfect example of the hapless farce which so often attended the adventures of Sydney’s neo-Nazi elite in the 1980s. Bovver, twenty-five years old and already weighing 108 kilos thanks to the three or four stubbies of beer he’d consume for breakfast each morning, was shot eight times with a sawn-off .22 rifle by Perry Whitehouse, ten years his senior but less than half his size, during a drunken, confused and basically pointless argument. When Whitehouse blew him away, Bovver was wearing a singlet bearing the message: Say No To The New Gun Control Laws.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dr James Saleam, Australia First and the Patriotic Youth League



"But Dr Saleam dismisses suggestions the party is in any way neo-Nazi."







File Under: Failed Attempt At Political Rehabilitation

Name: James 'Jim' Saleam
Address: 725 Princes Hwy, Tempe, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9559 2070
Birth: September 18, 1955

James 'Jim' Saleam nailed his political colours to the mast very early on in his public life, while still a teenager joining the Australian National Socialist Party (ANSP) -- to be confused with the National Socialist Party of Australia (NSPA) -- in the late 1960s. Peter Henderson notes that: "David Harcourt [author: Everyone Wants To Be Fuhrer] accurately portrayed Smith's National Socialist Party of Australia as a juvenile parade of misfits in uniform, playing soldiers." And I don't suppose the NSPA was much different to the ANSP...

Little's changed since then for Saleam: he was a neo-Nazi then, and he's a neo-Nazi now.

Saleam and National Action

After emerging from the wreckage of Australian neo-Nazism of the late '60s to the mid '70s, Saleam helped establish National Action. The article below provides a potted history of Saleam's fascist activism:

NA's origins can be traced to the Australian Party, formed in 1955. The Australian Party evolved into the pro-Nazi Australian Nationalist Party, which then mutated further to become the Australian National Socialist Party in 1963. Its first act was the desecration of a Sydney synagogue.

Members of the ANSP dressed in full Nazi regalia and made a habit of beating up anti-war and anti-apartheid demonstrators. They openly admired Adolf Hitler, stockpiled arms and ammunition and kept a “death list” of people they would kill if they took power.

It is suspected the ANSP was behind the April 20, 1972 (the anniversary of Hitler's birth), bombing of the Brisbane office of the Communist Party of Australia.

The ANSP's most notorious member was a tall, musclebound and shaven-headed stormtrooper by the name of Ross “the Skull” May. The Skull intimidated protesters in Sydney until the late '70s. He was jailed for six months for bashing a journalist in 1972, and served other stints in jail for similar offences over the years.




May and another Nazi Party leader, Robert Cameron, eventually formed the National Front in the 1980s, an imitation of the British party of the same name (May's activities these days [1999] are limited to being a fanatical follower of the St George Dragons rugby league team, to the acute embarrassment of dedicated supporters).

Another young ANSP member, Jim Saleam, was arrested in 1974 and found guilty of firebombing a left-wing Brisbane bookshop. After the collapse of the Nazi Party in the mid-'70s, Saleam moved to Sydney and enrolled at Sydney University. He soon fell out with May and Cameron.

In 1977, Saleam formed a group which proclaimed its commitment to the “permanent and unapologetic reintroduction of the White Australia Policy”. In 1978, the group announced: “The Australian National Alliance has the greatest pleasure in announcing to the enemies of Australian nationalism that their days are numbered”. Other former members of the Australian Party and the NSAP [?] joined.

National Action was officially launched on Anzac Day, 1982, the culmination of a number of fusions with tiny far-right and racist sects.

Under Saleam's tutelage, NA replaced open identification with Hitlerite Nazism with an emphasis on home-grown anti-Asian racism and nationalism of early Australian labour movement figures like William Lane and Jack Lang, as well as poet Henry Lawson.

[David (I was a teenage fascist) Greason recalls some of the difficulties encountered by NA in propagating this 'line'. One typical reaction (pp.282-283): 'Bullshit'.]

NA hailed as “revolutionary” incidents such as the atrocities committed against Chinese diggers by white miners during the gold rushes of the 19th century. It adopted the flag of the 1854 Eureka Stockade rebels as its symbol.

In the 1983 campus year, NA launched a campaign against the presence of overseas students. Asian students and anti-racists were threatened by NA thugs late at night. NA violence increased when it launched a goon squad called the “Sons of Kokoda”.

In 1983-84, NA thugs: beat and hospitalised an anti-racist UNSW student leader; attacked the offices of Greenpeace and the Movement Against Uranium Mining, Community Aid Abroad, the Socialist Workers Party, Bob Gould's Pitt St Bookshop, and the Maoist East Wind Bookshop; threw a brick through the window of the home of anti-apartheid activist Meredith Burgmann; and made threatening phone calls to members of the Southern African Support Committee after a mailing list was stolen. A firebomb was thrown through the bedroom window of an anti-apartheid movement leader John Brink.

Another escalation in racist violence occurred in 1987-1989: in Adelaide, the People's Bookshop was firebombed and the New Era Bookshop and the Resistance Centre were attacked. In Sydney, 10 NA thugs wearing balaclavas disrupted and intimidated a Sydney meeting of the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force.

The most serious act of violence occurred in January 1989, when the home of the Australian representative of the African National Congress, Eddie Funde, was shot at. Two NA members were arrested.

[Eddie Funde was the first Chief Representative of the ANC in Australia. He was given the task of setting up the mission. Funde arrived in Perth on 5 December 1983... In 1991 Ndumiso Ntshinga was appointed Deputy Chief Representative for a few months until Funde left Australia for South Africa.]

They testified that Saleam had supplied them with the shotgun. Saleam had also thoughtfully given them each some money to buy a drink to calm their jitters before the attack. Saleam was sentenced in May 1991 to three and half years' jail.

[David (I was a teenage fascist) Greason again (pp.302-303): "The case that brought [NA] undone, however, came in January 1989, when Eddie Funde, Australian representative of the [ANC], had his front door shot through. Shotgun pellets were found near his child's cradle. [NA] members Jason Frost and Michael White were arrested. They both implicated Saleam, telling the court that he had given them a balaclava, a shotgun and eight dollars each for a drink to steady their nerves. That had to be Jim, I thought on reading their story. Anyone else would have given them a fifty each.

Saleam claimed it was the political police again, trying to wreck the nationalist [sic] cause. The jury was not so persuaded and, in May 1991, Saleam was sentenced to three and a half years jail. This was his second time inside -- in April 1989 he'd been sentenced to two years' hard labour for fraud and receiving stolen property. 'Ironically, Saleam received his sentence on the same day as the centenary of Hitler's birth', the Sydney Morning Herald noted."]




On April 20, 1991, NA member Perry Whitehouse murdered another NA member, Wayne “Bovver” Smith, at the organisation's inner-Sydney headquarters after an argument.

With the departure Saleam and the collapse of its Sydney base, control of NA fell into the lap of Adelaide NA f├╝hrer Michael Brander.

Source: 'Neo-Nazi thugs offer their services to Hanson', Norm Dixon, Green Left Weekly

Fast forward a few years to 1997. As fuhrer of NA, the racist Michael Brander decided to pull up stumps and re-locate his HQ from Adelaide to Melbourne, opening a shopfront/'bunker' in January 1997 in Fawkner in Melbourne's north. (Incidentally, this move was preceeded by a number of NA rallies in other Melbourne suburbs, including an infamous one in Brunswick in 1994: "During an anti-fascist demo in Brunswick, [NA] leader Michael Brander receives a direct hit to the mouth with an egg. Later that night the winning lob is replayed in slow motion on Channel 9 News as the 'Goal of the Day' and a 'Hole in One'"! Source: the indispensable How To Make Trouble And Influence People (1996).) Fifteen months later, in April 1998, and following a concerted community campaign, the bunker was closed. Brander went on to receive an MA from LaTrobe University. His topic: 'Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the Modern World'. Most recently, Brander took part in the Conference for Australian Post Graduates Working in Areas Related to European Studies on Friday, 17 June, 2005 at The University of Sydney.

Well, The University of Sydney is certainly a step-up from Brander's previous surroundings!

Australia, Australia, Australia

The Australia First Party (AFP) is a minor political party in Australia. The party's policies are in general nationalist and protectionist. It is described [by] some observers as a party of the extreme right, although the party itself denies this. The AFP is not a registered political party with the Australian Electoral Commission, has no parliamentary representation and has not contested a federal election since 1998. The party is currently attempting to be re-registered.

The Australia First Party was founded in June 1996 by Graeme Campbell, who was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, from 1980 until he was expelled from the party in November 1995. Campbell had become increasingly critical of the policies of the Labor government of Paul Keating, particularly in matters relating to economic deregulation, Aboriginal land rights and multiculturalism.

Campbell hoped to see the AFP became a serious political party, drawing on a current of populist opinion which rejected the policies of both the Labor Party and the opposition Liberal Party. But the AFP was overshadowed by the appearance in 1997 of Pauline Hanson's One Nation, a rival populist party led by a former Liberal MP, Pauline Hanson. Hanson monopolised media attention and [arguably!] prevented the AFP becoming a significant party.

At the October 1998 federal election, Campbell lost his seat, polling only 22 percent of the vote in a seat he had represented for 18 years. The AFP failed to win significant support, being heavily outvoted by One Nation. In June 2001, Campbell left the AFP in order to stand (unsuccessfully) as a One Nation senate candidate in Western Australia.

Following Campbell's resignation, Diane Teasdale became the national president of the Australia First Party, but at the national level the party has been inactive since the 2001 election, which it did not contest.


In 2002, however, a new AFP branch was formed in Sydney. The party announced the formation of a new "nationalist youth oraganisation," the Patriotic Youth League. This body's website suggests that it is affliated to the British National Party, an far-right political party in the United Kingdom. The phraseology at the AFP website, such as "the politics of New World Order liberal-globalist-capitalism," also suggests that the party has been revived by people of a more systematically extreme-right persuasion than was the case under Campbell's leadership. The Secretary of the Sydney Branch is Dr. Jim Saleam, a stalwart of the Australian far right who is perhaps best known for organising a shotgun attack on the home of a political rival in the late 1980s.

The AFP website says that the party fielded candidates in the 2004 local council elections in Sydney, Newcastle and Coffs Harbour. But the real extent of the AFP's organisation and membership is not known.

In November 2005, AFP president Diane Teasdale stood in the elections for the Shepparton [Council] Office and received 1367 votes, representing over 4% of the electorate.

On December 11, 2005 the Sydney AFP branch, along with the PYL, distributed pamphlets and stickers at the Sydney beach side suburb of Cronulla where an estimated 5000 people had gathered to protest against alleged harrassment by Lebanese gangs. SBS World News on December 13, 2005 reported that Sydney AFP Secretary Jim Salaem had organised around 150 members and sympathisers to attend the rally.

Enter the Patriotic Youth League: Australian Nationalism Boldly Ventures Back to the Nineteenth Century

I first encountered the Psychotic Youth League in the form of a racist sticker a year or two ago at LaTrobe University (Bundoora campus). A cheap and nasty sticker from a cheap and nasty group:

The Patriotic Youth League (PYL) is a White Nationalist youth organization in Australia whose members describe themselves as 'radical nationalists'. They are described as Neo-Nazi by broad sections of the community and the media, a tag which they repudiate.

The PYL was founded in late 2002 by its current president, Stuart McBeth, a student at the University of Newcastle who was previously involved with the One Nation Party. It acts as the youth wing of the Australia First Party, under the mentorship of former National Socialist Party of Australia member and National Action leader Dr. James Saleam (generally known as Jim). Dr. Saleam is perhaps best known for the shotgun attack which he ordered on the home of African National Congress representative Eddie Funde in the late 1980s. He has also served time for arson and fraud.

The PYL has numerous links to international White Supremacist groups, including the New Zealand National Front and Volksfront. Andrew Wilson, then the president of the PYL's Sydney branch, told the Herald that McBeth had founded the Australian branch of the Volksfront. Many PYL members also use the white supremacist Stormfront message board.

Prior to their main website going offline, the PYL advertised openly neo-nazi bands, saying "soon the Newcastle foreshore will be packed with lowered utes with chrome rims and awesome stereos pumping out Fortress."

[From a neo-Nazi website: "Australia's Fortress is one of the greatest skinhead Rock Against Communism bands in history! This live cd captures all of the energy and power of Fortress and is one of the best concert albums, comparable to the infamous "Live At Waterloo" Skrewdriver cd. If you are a Fortress fan, you will definitely want to add this to your collection immediately: Another Nail In The Coffin - Here Comes The Thunder - Hail Rock 'n' Roll - Victory Or Valhalla - The Warrior - I Hate Commie Scum - Loss Of Identity - Hail The New Dawn (Skrewdriver) - On The Horizon - Ace Of Spades (Motorhead) - We're Still Alive - I Hate Commie Scum (Encore) - Hail Rock 'n' Roll (Encore) - Johnny Joined The Klan and For Faith And For Folk." Another site gives the same contact details for Fortress as the neo-Nazi Southern Cross Hammerksins. Turn It Down has the right (not 'white') idea: "Youth culture has been attacked by organized white supremacists. By using music to recruit a new generation of haters, the white power music industry must be stopped."]

The PYL is believed to have branches in Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne, and the Central Coast.

The image of the Eureka Flag is used as a logo by the League. This is ironic as the first person to be prosecuted for the Eureka Stockade (where the flag orginated) was an African American from New York.

Alleged Links to Violence

The PYL has been linked by the Sydney Morning Herald to racially motivated attacks at the University of Newcastle.

In December 2005, there were a series [?] of race riots in Sydney. Neo-Nazis were accused of participating in and deliberately inflaming the situation. MSN reported that "one woman was pictured among the angry crowd holding a poster... which advertised a group known as the Patriotic Youth League.

If at first you don't succeed, lose, lose and lose again...

For many years, Saleam has struggled to distance himself from his past and to recast Australian fascism as simple, unadulterated 'patriotism'. In fact, the bulk of Saleam's political activity is dedicated to just this mission: giving fascism a respectable face. Unfortunately for Saleam, his long history of involvement with neo-Nazi groups and individuals, criminal record in its cause, and total failure to repudiate racism and fascism, makes this a very difficult -- in reality, impossible -- task. Nevertheless, Saleam tries. Below is a list of his complaints to the Australian Press Council. All of which, needless to say, he lost. Indeed, one of the most appalling aspects of Huxley's article featuring Saleam is its failure to acknowledge that just a few days prior to its appearance, the APC dismissed a complaint brought by Dr James Saleam against The Australian for its description of the complainant as a 'prominent neo-Nazi' in two articles published by the paper!

Case One:

Mr James Saleam for himself and on behalf of National Action complains to the Australian Press Council concerning three articles which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 November, 1988: "Masked hate bears a fiery necklace" on page 1, and "Thugs use terror to back apartheid" and "Hairdresser is a target of hate" on page 20. The article on page 1 draws the reader's attention to the two articles on page 20.

All articles report violence or threats of violence on racist grounds... The complaint is dismissed.

Adjudication No. 401 (April 1989)

Case Two:

The Australian Press Council has dismissed complaints arising from the publication of a feature article by the (then) Daily Telegraph Mirror titled "LOOSE cannons" on 11 November, 1995.

In the immediate aftermath of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and a public speech of the dangers posed by "right wing militia groups" by the Deputy Director General of ASIO, the feature article examined "political extremism and religious fanaticism", with a focus on the 2000 Olympics.

It canvassed the views of journalists, police and some of the self-professed extremists, with an emphasis in illustration and text on one David J Palmer, of the National Socialist Defence of Australian Peoples, depicted in military-style uniform upon which swastikas were prominent.

Left: David J Palmer, Fuhrer of the Australian National Socialist Defence of Aryan People Movement (NSDAP), Imperial Wizard of the Invisible Australian Empire of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, qualified chef de cuisine. Photo kindly but inadvertantly made publically available by Ben 'Getaway Driver' Weerheym. (December 18, 2005)

Mentioned in passing was the complainant James Saleam for the fact that, when chairman of Australian National Action Group, he was sentenced to three and a half years jail in 1991 for organising a shotgun attack on the home of Eddie Funde, Australian representative of the African National Congress.

[snip]

Mr Saleam states that he regards this a libel upon him and complains about the article on nine detailed points. His central complaint is that the article gives undue prominence to Mr Palmer's views as representative of the extreme right, and the very prominent photograph of Mr Palmer tends to identify others mentioned in the article with "Nazi doctrine or similar doctrine".

[snip]

The article was not about Mr Saleam; he was mentioned only briefly and was not credited with the views of anyone else mentioned. He disputes the view of the right wing organisations and people identified in the article and is entitled to do so. He submitted a letter to the editor for publication which the newspaper declined to publish due to its length...

Adjudication No. 853 (May 1996)

Case Three:

The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint against The Sydney Morning Herald by James Saleam about a report on a campaign that stirred-up racial discontent over Afghan refugees working in Young, NSW.

Dr Saleam was referred to in the article as being a member of the Australia First Party, which had distributed a pamphlet about the refugees. It also said that he was a former head of an extremist political group, National Action. It recorded as background that he had been convicted of firearm offences, and was "caught up in - though never charged" over the murder in 1991 of a National Action member.

Adjudication No. 1177 (September 2002)

Case Four:

The Australian Press Council has dismissed a complaint by Dr James Saleam against New Idea concerning a "Special Report" by Debi Marshall in its 23 March edition.

The report referred to the activities of David Palmer, described as head of the National Socialist Defenders Aryan People and as "Wizard" of an Australian chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and his use of the Internet to recruit people to his organisations.

Adjudication No. 1183 (November 2002)

Case Five:

The Press Council has dismissed a complaint brought by Dr James Saleam against The Australian for its description of the complainant as a 'prominent neo-Nazi' in two articles published by the paper. The complainant felt he had been unfairly labelled by the newspaper.

Adjudication No. 1303 (December 2005)

In 1984, Saleam also managed to lose an election. Badly.

Ratso: Thrills, Chills & Frills




The Frill-necked Lizard, or Frilled Lizard also known as the Frilled Dragon, (Chlamydosaurus kingii) is so called because of the large ruff of skin which usually lies folded back against its head and neck. The frill is supported by long spines of cartilige, and when the lizard is frightened, it gapes its mouth showing a bright pink or yellow lining, and the frill flares out, displaying bright orange and red scales. The frill may also aid in thermoregulation.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

On Islam: An Interview with Mehdi Kia

On Islam: An Interview with Mehdi Kia
by Cihan Aksan

The following interview was conducted via email in November 2005.

Mehdi Kia is a political activist and co-editor of Iran Bulletin-Middle East Forum (http://www.iran-bulletin.org). The journal is a political quarterly in defence of democracy and socialism in the Middle East. It was first published in 1993 under the name of Iran Bulletin and has since been expanded with a new editorial board.

M. Shahid Alam was born in Bangladesh, moved to Pakistan in 1971, and received his PhD in economics from Canada in 1979. He has published three books; his latest, Is There An Islamic Problem, was published by The Other Press, Kuala Lumpur, in 2004. His political essays have been featured in Dawn (Pakistan), The Nation (Pakistan), Al-Ahram (Egypt), The Star (Bangladesh), CounterPunch (USA), Commondreams (USA), Scoop (New Zealand) and others. Currently, Alam teaches economics at Northeastern University in Boston. He may be reached at alqalam02760@yahoo.com.


Q: Islam as a religion holds within it a potent political force. Its message extends to the legal, economic and social organization of the Muslim community. Does this make it incompatible with secularism? Is secularism a deviation from the basic principles of Islam? Is it merely an idea imported from the West to which Islam can never relate? Or is there a place for a secular political order in Islamic countries?


A: Secularism is an idea and a system of governance. The idea seeks to create a secular man who lives his life without reference to God. It believes in the sufficiency of reason as a guide to life. Conversely, it rejects the authority of religion, as a source of meaning and values. As a system of governance, secularism is a bit less ambitious. On the assumption that life divides into a public and a private sphere, each neatly separable, it seeks to exclude religion from the public sphere. The objective is to create a system of laws that does not favor any religion.

The conflict between Islam – any religion, for that matter – and secularism as an idea should be transparent. A Muslim lives his life with reference to God, His Book and His Prophet. A Muslim also reasons because God reasons with him. The Qur’an urges man to use his reason and experience to understand God, His creation and His Book, and based on this understanding to create a just society. The secular idea is not only incompatible with Islam. Indeed, they must oppose each other.

As a system of governance, secularism can be expansive or accommodating. It can marginalize religion or give it greater sway over society. The actual results depend on a variety of factors. Most importantly, perhaps, it depends on the way the boundaries are drawn between the public and private spheres. Is the public sphere large or small? For instance, does it include education? Secondly, how rigorously does the state exclude religion from the public sphere? And what restrictions does it place on the expression of religion in the private sphere?

One can imagine an extreme form of secular governance. In this case, the public sphere is large – extending over education, media, laws of inheritance, relations between sexes, and modes of dress. It legislates religion out of this large public sphere, taking positions which contradict religious values. In addition, it inhibits the practice of religion even in traditionally private spheres. Very likely, this will breed discontent if a majority or even substantial segment of the population is religious. In the event, this form of secularism would also be incompatible with democracy.

On the other hand, secularism can be minimalist. This is a secularism that works within a limited public sphere, allows the democratic expression of widely-held religious values in the public sphere, and even supports religious organizations without discrimination in some activities (say, education or charitable work) provided they contribute to public order and morality. Indeed, variants of this minimalist secularism were the norm in most of the Muslim Sultanates before they were destroyed or restructured, starting in the nineteenth century, under the impact of Western power. If Muslim countries had enjoyed a measure of democracy over the past decades, this is the kind of secularism many of them would have produced.

In the face of colonial erosion of Islamic values and institutions – followed by suppression of Islamic tendencies under corrupt and often militantly secular governments – many Islamic thinkers have sought to recreate Islamic societies. In several instances this re-Islamization is more ambitious than any recent historical model. This reconstituted Islamic society must recognize the Qur’an and the Sunnah as the ultimate source of legislation on all questions. Some Islamic thinkers believe that this cannot be achieved under democratic governance. Others argue that democracy is compatible with Islam if its laws are subject to oversight by a council of Islamic scholars. It would appear that Iran illustrates this second model.

More here.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Huxley Redux



Recently, I uploaded a copy of John Huxley's article 'Armed, dangerous but shocking organisers' (Sydney Morning Herald, December 20, 2005). It purported to explore the Australian 'neo-Nazi underground'. According to Huxley: "For those with the time and the stomach to wade around the internet, neo-Nazis and their near neighbours, the white supremacists, are not difficult to find". But what else did Huxley discover that allowed him to conclude that contemporary neo-Nazis living in Australia are 'armed', 'dangerous' but -- fortunately -- 'shocking organisers'?

The first few paragraphs of Huxley's article establishes the framework for his argument that contemporary Australian neo-Nazis are of "limited intelligence" and have quite bizarre "preoccupations": nothing especially newsworthy in this observation. However, did they really have "little" to do with 'Cronulla' and its aftermath?

Prompted by reported sightings of racist flyers, inflammatory text messages, shaven heads, black boots and swastika tattoos, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has promised to investigate neo-Nazi activity.

Fears that extreme right-wing groups may have been involved appear to have been confirmed by the revelation that white supremacists were among those subsequently arrested. Clearly, they were present and armed.


A pity Huxley does not source his claim that Scipione's promise to investigate neo-Nazi activity was prompted by such "sightings". In reality, such 'sights' are -- rather like the insight that neo-Nazis are stupid -- not that uncommon. Well, not to those with the eyes to see.

But how well organised are such groups? How significant are they in the Australian political landscape? And what part did they play in the Cronulla riots and their aftermath?


Ah! After gently taking the hand of the (no doubt, culturally sensitive) liberal reader and, leading them out of their safe urban ghetto and into this bewilderingly ugly and marginal political landscape, Huxley zeroes in on his target.

While ugly and - given their weaponry, highly dangerous - the involvement of such individuals should not be exaggerated, says Associate Professor Andrew Moore, of the University of Western Sydney, a specialist in Australian right-wing politics.


Oh! So one should be alert but not alarmed. Then again, what qualifies Andrew Moore to comment on contemporary neo-Nazi activism in Australia? According to Huxley, Moore's qualifications rest on the fact that Moore's "a specialist in Australian right-wing politics". I've searched for online publications which might support Huxley's claim, and discovered the following:

Moore -- along with Dr John Perkins -- has just recently edited a special thematic issue of Labour History: 'Old wine and new bottles: the extreme right in twentieth century Australia'. Moore's editorial statement in this issue of the journal, like the six essays which it introduces, concentrates on history, especially early- to mid- 20th Century Australian history. The only article which is in any way contemporary is Murray Goot's essay on 'Pauline Hanson's One Nation: Extreme Right, Centre Party or Extreme Left?'. As the title suggests, its focus is on placing One Notion on the political spectrum of Left to Right. Further, Moore's book on fascism in Australia -- published almost 11 years ago now -- is also an historical account.

In essence, one might say that Moore is very well-qualified as an historian of the far right in Australia, but his qualifications to comment on contemporary neo-Nazi events, groups, individuals and projects in Australia are far less credible.

(Oh, and what "weaponry" is Huxley referring to?)

Moore continues:

"I'm sure they'd like to take responsibility for all of the Cronulla events, but in terms of impact, of shaping the events, they would have been insignificant.

"The reality is that Prime Minister Howard probably had more to do with the riots in terms of generating racial tension than they have over the past few years."

That does not mean they should not be taken seriously.

The danger is that, fuelled by alcohol, equipped with the latest communications and inspired by right-wing groups in Europe, they can exploit, escalate and inflame community friction. French anarchists had a word for it: situationism.


Oh dear... Moore reckons that contemporary Australian neo-Nazi activists would be more than happy to "take responsibility" for the racist assaults at Cronulla on Sunday, December 11, 2005; while in reality, they do not 'deserve' being given 'credit' for such an achievement as their involvement was "insignificant".

Moore offers no evidence to support his contention; he's obviously speculating. Nevertheless, Huxley is happy to agree with his expert's speculations. So too, presumably, Moore's identification of the Howard Government as playing a role in "generating racial tension".

As for the 'danger' Huxley detects in contemporary neo-Nazi activism...

'Situationism' is not, in fact, a term used by 'French anarchists' to describe the manner in which, "fuelled by alcohol, equipped with the latest communications and inspired by right-wing groups in Europe, [contemporary Australian neo-Nazi activists] can exploit, escalate and inflame community friction".

In fact, the term 'Situationism' is derived from an actual organisation: the Situationist International (1957 -- 1972). While generally described as being 'anarchic', the group itself was not anarchist. If anything, the ideas and practices of the SI derived from Marx, Hegel, and the European artistic, literary and political avant-gardes of the early- to mid- twentieth century; especially Surrealism. Granted, Huxley's hardly the first to mis-characterise the SI. Still, one wonders what he means. What exactly is "it" that "the French anarchists" called "situationism"? The danger that "they" -- neo-Nazi / extreme right-wing / White supremacist groups such as "Aryan Nations, Skinheads, Volksfront, Redwatch and White-Sydney" -- will get pissed and destroy? If so, what on Earth does this have to do with French anarchists? Which French anarchists? Or "situationism" (sic)? French anarchists frequently clash with fascists. And "situationism" doesn't exist!

The journal Internationale Situationniste defined situationist as "having to do with the theory or practical activity of constructing situations." The same journal defined situationism as "a meaningless term improperly derived from the above. There is no such thing as situationism, which would mean a doctrine of interpretation of existing facts. The notion of situationism is obviously devised by antisituationists."


Ahem. To resume:

"Australian fascism may not have produced an antipodean Kristallnacht [Germany's "night of broken glass" in 1938 when synagogues were destroyed], but neither should its force or appeal be underestimated in the 'quiet continent'," says Professor Moore, author of a biography of Frank de Groot. "The Sydney Harbour Bridge incident is invariably remembered as humorous, but to do that diminishes the reality of right-wing extremism in Australia."


For the Antipodean reader, Kristallnacht is presumably the first thing that springs to mind when thinking 'Nazi riot'; Moore claims that the incident at The Coathanger -- the principal protagonist Frank de Groot being, incidentally, the subject of a biography by Moore -- is the closest thing we have to an Australian equivalent. Moore's final words are cautionary ones: to remember this incident as humorous would "diminish... the reality of right-wing extremism in Australia".

Huh?

First, let's rewind to 1938: 'Kristallnacht'.

On the nights of November 9 and 10, rampaging mobs throughout Germany and the newly acquired territories of Austria and Sudetenland freely attacked Jews in the street, in their homes and at their places of work and worship. At least 96 Jews were killed and hundreds more injured, more than 1,000 synagogues were burned (and possibly as many as 2,000), almost 7,500 Jewish businesses were destroyed, cemeteries and schools were vandalized, and 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. [Hence, in the opinion of some, more deserving of the name Pogromnacht. Wikipedia again:] Today in official German sources it is mostly called Pogromnacht ("pogrom night"), reflecting the fear that "Kristallnacht" was too euphemistic given the fact that the original dimension of the term has been lost. Many other Germans refuse to call it that way; the perversity, obscenity and uniqueness of the Reichskristallnacht was only described in the proper name "Kristallnacht", and "Pogromnacht" itself was an euphemism.


Now, to 1932, Frank de Groot, and that incident. First though, it should be noted that no mobs throughout Australia and the newly acquired territory of New Zealand freely attacked Jews in the street, in their homes and at their places of work and worship. Further, no Jews were killed, nor hundreds more injured; no synagogues were burned, no Jewish businesses destroyed. Jewish cemeteries and schools were left unmolested. Finally, no Jews were arrested or sent to non-existent concentration camps. What happened was:

Frank de Groot, [an] antiques dealer and New Guardsmen... slashed the opening ribbon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in March 1932, depriving Premier Jack Lang of the kudos.


While seemingly trivial(!), according to Moore:

Captain De Groot's legendary deed – of slashing the opening ribbon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on 19 March 1932 – was of immense consequence to the continuing stability of responsible government and parliamentary democracy in New South Wales. The New Guard was actively plotting to unseat a democratically elected government. De Groot may have warded off more militant elements within the New Guard from more extreme action, including a possible coup d'etat and kidnapping of the New South Wales premier. Part of the folklore of the city of Sydney, at the very least De Groot's deed may be seen as a partial circuit breaker of the tensions of a highly volatile political situation.


Well, it may be considered humorous by some, and it may be considered by others as being "of immense consequence to the continuing stability of responsible government and parliamentary democracy in New South Wales", but it has nothing to do with neo-Nazi / extreme right-wing / White supremacist groups such as Aryan Nations, Skinheads, Volksfront, Redwatch and White-Sydney.

Dr. Jim Saleam, on the other hand, is quite a different proposition.

Although his political views are almost diametrically opposed to those of Professor Moore, Dr Jim Saleam, NSW secretary of the Australia First Party, agrees that the true number of neo-Nazis is small.


OK, so Dr. Jim Saleam -- our second 'expert' -- is the NSW [read: Sydney] secretary of the Australia First Party, and, despite having political views which are "almost diametrically opposed" to those of Moore, agrees with him "that the true number of neo-Nazis [in Australia] is small".

A few questions occur to me at this stage:

1) What are Moore's political views?
2) How many neo-Nazis does he think there are in Australia?

1) If Moore has political views, they're not stated in this article. This makes it a litle difficult to conclude anything at all about Saleam's "diametrically opposed" views.
2) Presumably, given Moore's concerns that "the involvement of [neo-Nazis at Cronulla] should not be exaggerated", they number < 5,000. But how many less?

A student of the so-called "Kangarooreich", [Saleam] has identified several "criminal-political gangs", such as White Power, Aryan Guard and the Australian National Socialist Movement.


'Kangarooreich' is in fact the term Saleam uses to describe Australian neo-Nazism. His site 'Inside The Kangaroo Reich: Selected Materials On Australian Neo-Nazis And Other Dirty Tricks Operations Against Freedom Of Expression In Australia', was established in October 2002, and contains numerous articles by Saleam, mostly concentrating on elaborating his thesis that: "...the real Kangaroo Reich is neither the shouting street neo-nazi, nor the would-be media fuhrer, but the shadowy trained coordinators who call the tune, the intelligence agents and others who are the real gestapo-like thought and political police of our time." In essence, then, contemporary Australian neo-Nazism / the 'Kangaroo Reich', is, according to Saleam the Expert, little more than a government plot.

A pity Huxley failed to include this revelation in his article.

"They absorb some of the Nazi motifs and style themselves that way, but they're defined more by their criminality than by Nazi ideology," says Dr Saleam, who received his doctorate at Sydney University for a thesis examining contemporary Australian extreme-right ideology, politics and organisation.

"There are people who believe in the ideology, but in Australia they probably number no more than two dozen."


Saleam, the expert on contemporary Australian neo-Nazism -- or should that be expert contemporary neo-Nazi? -- is, unlike Moore, at least able to put a figure on the number of neo-Nazis in Australia: "probably... no more than two dozen".

This is a lot less than 5,000.

Of course, Saleam is at pains to distinguish between this group -- presumably 'genuine' neo-Nazis -- and those other groups -- "such as White Power, Aryan Guard and the Australian National Socialist Movement" -- that are inauthentic "criminal-political gangs". But who are these groups?

While not referrring to the article by name, it appears that Huxley has read Saleam's article '"Racist" Criminal-Political Gangs Are No Friends Of Ours' (dated November 28, 2005), in which Saleam names the following groups as being particularly disruptive to the activities of non-criminal political gangs such as, presumably, Australia First and the Patriotic Youth League: White Power (Adelaide), the Australian National Socialist Movement (ANSM) (Brisbane), Aryan Guard (Melbourne), The (Gary) Middap group (Melbourne), The 'men in black' security group (Melbourne), The White Devils (Perth) and The Snowtown Murderers (Adelaide).

Q. Why does Saleam place the term "racist" in quotation marks?

Moreover, [Saleam] explains, they tend to be more interested in alcohol, and crime, than ideas. They are poor organisers. They splinter into ever smaller groups.


The message? Nothing to see here: move along! (Although it's interesting to note that Saleam appears to believe that alcohol, crime and neo-Nazi ideology are incompatible. Another revelation that Huxley has failed to highlight?)

Members of the Australia First Party - whose NSW members probably number only in the hundreds - were in Cronulla when the [first] rioting occurred, distributing flyers calling for a crackdown on "refugees, contract labour, overseas students and illegals".


According to Saleam, presumably. Writing for The Age, Richard Baker ('Australia First: reclaiming the agenda', December 14, 2005) claims Australia First "mobilised 120 people to attend Sunday's violent rally in Cronulla". Their flyer purportedly distributed at the 'riot' is not available; however, Saleam did produce a text in anticipation of the rally cum riot in which he stated: "All members and friends of Australia First, particularly those in the Sutherland Shire, will participate as individuals in this first great mobilisation of Australians against the terror of multiculturalist ideology and practise in this country's history."

But who is Dr Jim Saleam? And why is he so agitated by "the terror of multiculturalist ideology"?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Crassmas!



Fucking BRILLIANT!

Santarchy!

Bad Santa: Do you want this man in YOUR chimney?
Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:54 AM ET164

By Erik Kirschbaum

BERLIN (Reuters) - Drunken Santas on a rampage in New Zealand, armed German robbers in Santa disguises, a British St. Nick wanted for flashing, and a Swedish vandal in a Santa outfit are giving the big man in red a bad name this year.

Reports of "Bad Santas" breaking the law or otherwise wreaking havoc have been circulating around the world.

Armed with a gun, a man in a Santa outfit held up a furniture store in the German town of Ludwigshafen Saturday and forced two cashiers to open the safe. He filled his sack with cash, locked the two women in the safe and escaped.

He is still on the loose, but police in Tuebingen were able to nab a bank robber armed with a machine gun in a Santa costume with the aid of an infrared camera and helicopter. They found him hiding in a ditch in a nearby forest.

"The machine gun was fake," a police spokesman said. Dressed in a Santa cap, beard and wearing sun glasses, he was wanted for stealing 500,000 euros in four separate bank robberies.

One Santa was stopped by police for driving 150 kph (90 mph) on a northern German motorway, 50 kph over the speed limit.

"He said he was in a rush because he still had packages to deliver," said a spokesman for the police. They gave Santa a fine and took away his license.

Last week an inebriated half-naked Santa disrupted a Christmas market in Dabringhausen before police intervened.

That incident paled in comparison to what happened in Auckland Saturday when 40 drunken Santas rampaged through the city center, stealing from stores and assaulting security guards in a protest against Christmas becoming too commercial.

In Britain, police said they were looking for a Santa acting suspiciously -- a flasher who exposed himself to women.

Officers in Swanage on the south coast of England said the flasher had struck a number of times since December 6, and a week later exposed himself whilst wearing a Santa Claus outfit.

A British agency recently issued a code of conduct to root out substandard Santas. "Santa is a magical and cuddly man, not a fat, smelly slob," said James Lovell of the Ministry of Fun agency in London. "He must not smell of drink or body odor."

Last Christmas, a shopping center in south Wales installed a webcam dubbed "Santacam" in his grotto to overcome parents' concerns after several high-profile pedophile cases in Britain.

======

Police hope Santa mayhem a one-off

19.12.05
By Derek Cheng

Police are hoping the drunken antics of 50 men in Santa Claus outfits at the weekend is not the start of a regular problem at this time of year.

The group, participating in this year's "Santarchy" - Santa anarchy - stole from shops, urinated in the streets and threw rocks at buses in downtown Auckland on Saturday.

"It's just a pack of clowns, just a bunch of idiots getting together and taking the opportunity to be relatively anonymous by all wearing the same clothing, making it difficult to identify who's done what," said Senior Sergeant Matt Rogers.

He hoped the problems this year were a one-off event at a time when office and end-of-year parties already whet people's appetites for alcohol.

"We hope people go out and have a good time and behave in a civilised manner, but if people can't, police will deal with it appropriately."

Police arrested three men and will charge a fourth after the group hurled glass bottles at several security guards.

Two of the guards were treated for cuts to the head.

"We started getting phone calls from the public at 5.15pm. They were at Britomart, behaving loutishly, just being silly."

About 6pm the group, which had shrunk from 50 to about 20, made their way to Princes Wharf, where one adventurous Santa scaled the mooring rope of a cruise ship.

When he came back down, several security guards grabbed him, sparking the flurry of flying bottles.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said he was disappointed that a stronger signal wasn't sent out about public disorder.

"It's a bit disappointing that the law is not being enforced that sends a strong signal to the rest of them and to anyone else who thinks this is humorous," he said.

"There's a group of people obviously organised and going into shopping areas and just intimidating shop owners and operators."

Alex Dyer, who organised the Santa spree, explained Saturday's antics as a group of men who liked having a drink and a laugh.

"It doesn't mean anything and it's not against anyone. It's just having fun. That's what life's about."

While Mr Dyer did not condone illegal behaviour, he washed his hands of any responsibility.

"I can't physically restrain people from doing stupid things. I can't say, 'Okay 50 drunk men, all listen to me: Please, nobody do anything stupid'.

"If someone does something stupid and gets caught for it, that's their problem."

He said Saturday was not an anti-commercialisation protest.

"People do Santarchy in other countries, sure, and for them maybe that's their aim, but with us we're just dressing up as Santa and getting drunk. We just like booze."

Mr Dyer said he had never been arrested, and he had never met the people who were arrested.

"I had a great time."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Special Guest Commentary




Stop reading this blog. Go out there and overthrow the social order. Form collectives. Celebrate diversity. Don't accept money. Stealing from the rich is OK.

Love,
The Dugongs.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

'Disarmed, pointless and shockingly bad journalism'

'Armed, dangerous but shocking organisers'
Sydney Morning Herald
December 20, 2005

Cronulla and its aftermath had little to do with the neo-Nazis. John Huxley explains why.

IT SAYS much, perhaps, for the brainpower and preoccupations of Australia's neo-Nazis and white supremacists that the Socceroos' recent World Cup win prompted an angry analysis of the Aryan purity of the players.

"Just what are we supposed to be supporting, the victory of multiculturalism?" complained one visitor to the Stormfront White Nationalist Community's chat room. "But their skin colour looked pretty good to me!" another replied.

A third conceded it was a good result. "Just a shame that the Jew [Football Federation Australia chairman Frank] Lowy was shown on screen several times. Could have done without him."

For those with the time and the stomach to wade around the internet, neo-Nazis and their near neighbours, the white supremacists, are not difficult to find. They inhabit sites - sometimes linked, always anonymous - operated by groups such as Aryan Nations, Skinheads, Volksfront, Redwatch and White-Sydney.

They sell Aryan Nations wallpaper: Hail the Fourth Reich. They quote Adolf Hitler with approval: "Those who want to live, let them fight, and those who do not want to fight in this world of eternal struggle do not deserve to live."

And in the case of the invisible White-Sydney, they pledge to cleanse inner-city suburbs, such as Parramatta, Auburn and West Ryde, that have become "safe havens for criminals".

Prompted by reported sightings of racist flyers, inflammatory text messages, shaven heads, black boots and swastika tattoos, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has promised to investigate neo-Nazi activity.

Fears that extreme right-wing groups may have been involved appear to have been confirmed by the revelation that white supremacists were among those subsequently arrested. Clearly, they were present and armed.

But how well organised are such groups? How significant are they in the Australian political landscape? And what part did they play in the Cronulla riots and their aftermath?

While ugly and - given their weaponry, highly dangerous - the involvement of such individuals should not be exaggerated, says Associate Professor Andrew Moore, of the University of Western Sydney, a specialist in Australian right-wing politics.

"I'm sure they'd like to take responsibility for all of the Cronulla events, but in terms of impact, of shaping the events, they would have been insignificant.

"The reality is that Prime Minister Howard probably had more to do with the riots in terms of generating racial tension than they have over the past few years."

That does not mean they should not be taken seriously.

The danger is that, fuelled by alcohol, equipped with the latest communications and inspired by right-wing groups in Europe, they can exploit, escalate and inflame community friction. French anarchists had a word for it: situationism.

"Australian fascism may not have produced an antipodean Kristallnacht [Germany's "night of broken glass" in 1938 when synagogues were destroyed], but neither should its force or appeal be underestimated in the 'quiet continent'," says Professor Moore, author of a biography of Frank de Groot. "The Sydney Harbour Bridge incident is invariably remembered as humorous, but to do that diminishes the reality of right-wing extremism in Australia."

Although his political views are almost diametrically opposed to those of Professor Moore, Dr Jim Saleam, NSW secretary of the Australia First Party, agrees that the true number of neo-Nazis is small.

A student of the so-called "Kangarooreich", he has identified several "criminal-political gangs", such as White Power, Aryan Guard and the Australian National Socialist Movement.

"They absorb some of the Nazi motifs and style themselves that way, but they're defined more by their criminality than by Nazi ideology," says Dr Saleam, who received his doctorate at Sydney University for a thesis examining contemporary Australian extreme-right ideology, politics and organisation.

"There are people who believe in the ideology, but in Australia they probably number no more than two dozen."

Moreover, he explains, they tend to be more interested in alcohol, and crime, than ideas. They are poor organisers. They splinter into ever smaller groups.

Members of the Australia First Party - whose NSW members probably number only in the hundreds - were in Cronulla when the fist rioting occurred, distributing flyers calling for a crackdown on "refugees, contract labour, overseas students and illegals".

But Dr Saleam dismisses suggestions the party is in any way neo-Nazi.

He concedes that photographs of him wearing a Nazi armband exist, but points out that they date from the mid-1970s, when he was experimenting with political groups of different persuasions.

The Patriotic Youth League similarly denies any connection with neo-Nazi groups.

A spokesman, Luke Connors, said: "None of our members sympathises with Nazis. We're just young blokes standing up for our own sort."

Both Dr Saleam and Mr Connors point out that an "uprising" involving about 5000 people is beyond the organisation of any single political group.

Meanwhile, groups such as the PYL are enjoying the publicity. Mr Connors explains: "Mate, I'm going to get brain cancer from having the mobile phone pressed to me ear all day and all night. Answering membership and media inquiries."

[In a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, John Huxley said:
"Increasingly, Australians live in a society in which it is always someone else's fault; in which perpetrators masquerade as victims; in which personal responsibility has been replaced, all too frequently, by a readiness to lie, to sue, to redirect blame or, worse, to find scapegoats."]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Faster Pussycat Kill Kill!

'Barbie all the rage for irate girls'
The Age

By Nick Foley
December 20, 2005

GIRLS hate Barbie so much that many admit torturing, maiming and even decapitating the doll, according to British research.

The all-American toy has become a "hate figure" among seven to 11-year-old girls, who regard Barbie as a "babyish" symbol of their earlier childhood.

Researchers from the University of Bath questioned 100 children about their attitudes to a range of branded products and found the doll provoked the strongest reaction.

"When we asked the groups of junior school children about Barbie, the doll provoked rejection, hatred and violence," said Agnes Nairn, who headed the study.

"The meaning of 'Barbie' went beyond an expressed antipathy. Actual physical violence towards the doll was repeatedly reported, quite gleefully, across age, school and gender.

"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity in contrast to other forms of play with the doll.

"The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving." Academics found the girls' violent hatred of Barbie was linked to the doll's "rich symbolism". Children said they disliked the toy because they regarded it as a feminine icon, "plastic", and an unwelcome reminder of their childhood. "It's as though disavowing Barbie is a rite of passage and a rejection of their past," Dr Nairn said.

The study also found that while boys expressed feelings of nostalgia and affection towards Action Man, girls' attitude to Barbie remained hostile. The doll was regarded as an inanimate object by girls rather than a treasured toy and friend.

"On a deeper level, Barbie has become inanimate," Dr Nairn said. "She has lost any individual warmth that she might have possessed if she were perceived as a singular person.

"This may go some way towards explaining the violence and torture."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Read... My... Lips!



Do you love me because I'm beautiful, or am I beautiful because you love me?

Saturday, December 03, 2005