Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"What's a Stormfront?"

It appears that David Innes' days of hate-mongering while remaining in relative anonymity are -- finally -- over.

As noted at Fightdemback, both The Advertiser and The Australian today contain reports on the foreign white supremacist import White Crusaders of the RaHoWa, the Australian franchise for which is owned by the not-terribly 'Reverend' Colin Campbell of Adelaide (not to be confused with Peter Campbell // 'Kromlek of Asgard' of Sydney). After having been booted from one host to another, Innes has rather foolishly found a home at this, one of Adelaide's... er... 'lesser-known' churches.

Intriguingly, on the same day these articles appeared, and only a few days after my profiling of Der Baron, David's partner-in-crime Lilith Peterson has seen fit to be the first neo-Nazi since Darrin Hodges to comment on my blog for over a month.

I wonder why?

Actually, I think the reason is pretty obvious: it's a rather pathetic attempt to distance herself, her partner and her partner's brother -- Paul Innes // 'Steelcap Boot' -- from Stormfront. Not a terribly courageous thing to do for a tiny group that once boasted of its role in promoting the foreign import that is David Duke's brand of 'White Nationalism'; then again, it's not like 'Perth Stormfront' -- with their ceaseless promotion of the virtues of racism, fascism and burnt snags -- haven't been begging and screaming for the attention for some time now. Further, attempting to 'plaster over' their extensive and well-documented links to neo-Nazism is not only useless; it's embarrassing.

You see, Australia's fascists are not only confusing, they're confused. They sincerely believe that their sordid ideology really does have popular support among Australia's white population, and that the only thing preventing a 'White resurgence' is a Jewish-controlled media. Some of the more politically savvy among them realise that both aspects of this thesis are bankrupt, and do their level best to disown their movement's neo-Nazi origins and (continued) lineage.

Poor David. An historical and political illiterate, he believes that neo-Nazism is much like fashion; an ideological garment you can put on and take off as many times as you like and as the need arises. David also believes that the source of all his woes is Mat Henderson-Hau, FDB's spokesperson. In fact, while his comrade Ben Weerheym tends to adopt a scatter-gun approach to maligning anti-racists, such is David's obsessional focus on Mat, he's even constructed a shrine to him on his site.

When will David and his ilk understand that Fightdemback is not Mat, racism and fascism are unacceptable, and that, whatever they do, we're not going away?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Without Jack

Five neo-Nazi boys go round the outside;
round the outside, round the outside
Five neo-Nazi boys go round the outside;
round the outside, round the outside

Guess who's back
Back again
Jack's back
Tell a friend
Guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back
Guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back...

Jack's back! Yes, Jack van Tongeren, 58, has just a few days ago been released from jail, after having spent the last 17 months on remand in Perth. According to news reports (see below), van Tongeren is in a poor state of health and will spend the next 7 weeks preparing his defence against charges of plotting to commit four arson attacks and 19 counts of criminal damage against four Chinese restaurants in Perth in June and July, 2004 ('Supremacist leader in court', The Age, August 7, 2004). "[M]agistrate Robert Black... told the court the arson charges related to four separate alleged attacks, carried out with others, between June 1 and July 16 this year. Mr Black said van Tongeren was accused of plotting to cause criminal damage by fire to properties in the Perth suburbs of Willeton, Karrawarra, Ferndale and another unknown location."

'Long trial wait sees van Tongeren get bail'
David Darragh
The West Australian
28 January, 2006

Former Australian Nationalist Movement leader Jack van Tongeren was granted bail by a Supreme Court judge yesterday ahead of his trial on a charge of plotting to bomb four Chinese restaurants in Perth.

Justice Anthony Templeman ruled that the 58-year-old would have spent an excessive amount of time in custody if he was not granted bail before his three-week trial in March.

"A period of 19 months on remand (assuming a grant of bail was to be refused) would be excessive, having regard to (his) age and the state of his health," the judge said.

Mr van Tongeren and two co-accused -- deputy ANM leader John Anthony Van Blitterswyk, 53, and Matthew Peter Billing, 33 -- have denied a charge of conspiring to commit criminal damage by fire. They are accused of plotting to firebomb four Chinese restaurants in June and July 2004 as a publicity stunt to coincide with the release of Mr van Tongeren's book, The ANM Story.

In his ruling, Justice Templeman said the former Vietnam veteran suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome and hearing loss. Also, he had profuse bleeding from burst veins on four occasions. Apart from having a hearing aid fitted, he had no specialist treatment while in custody at Hakea Prison.

"It is clear from the evidence given by (Mr van Tongeren) that he has been worn down -- both mentally and physically -- by his lengthy incarceration on remand."

...Bail conditions, including $30,000 personal bail and a $30,000 surety and daily reporting to police, were imposed on Mr van Tongeren.

Interestingly, police claim that 'Operation Atlantic' uncovered evidence for the alleged plot after five members of the 'White Devils' Social Club for Juvenile Delinquents (aka the Australian Nationalist Movement's (ANM) youth wing) got busted for vandalism in mid-July 2004: "Detectives involved in Operation Atlantic, the investigation into the graffiti, raided van Tongeren's house in Gingin, north of Perth, on July 29, where, they allege, they [also?] uncovered a plot to harm WA's Attorney General Jim McGinty and other high profile community leaders."

With idiotic mates like the White Dickheads -- Damon Paul Blaxall (29), Daniel Tyrone Klavins (26), Frank James Lemin (20), Shannon Mark Post (24), and Ben 'Getwaway Driver' Weerheym (28) -- who needs enemies? Of course, this mob is quite used to frenzied bouts of back-stabbing: metaphorical and literal! Among one of the longer-term tensions within Australian fascism is that between Jim (the 'Lebanese') and Jack (the 'Indonesian'). The November 2002 issue of the AIJAC's Review features the following piece by Matthew Collins, 'The Tale of Jack and Jim':
Van Tongeren was initially a leading light in the Sydney based National Action (NA) neo-Nazi group in the early eighties. As with every almost other member that NA has ever had, Jack quit and went off to form his own organisation, believing NA were being soft on Jews, and not Nazi enough to lead the rebirth of the supreme Aryan being. Despite what followed, some in National Action, those with "radical" beliefs, felt in turn that Van Tongeren had been a little soft on the Asian question. Jack’s parents had previously disowned him, not surprisingly as it turned out, given his Asian ancestry.

Throughout the 1980s, while both National Action and ANM were breaking windows and spraying walls with catchy slogans, both organisations were closely scrutinised and monitored by the authorities. From the top to the very shallow bottom, members were arrested and imprisoned for fire bombings, shootings, even murder, while with their otherwise spare time, they battered and attacked each other.

Jack’s biggest nemesis throughout the eighties, and the ANM continues to bait him today, is James Saleam, former leader and founder of National Action. For constantly and casually reminding everyone of Van Tongeren’s Asian heritage, Saleam is labelled a "Sand Nigger" by the ANM, due to his own, some-say Turkish, some-say Lebanese, background. Certainly the two could not stand further apart in the political wilderness. While Van Tongeren saw a future for Australian neo-Nazism in building a broad-base with the Conservative right, Saleam has continued to waste his political life dreaming of Eureka style insurrection, inspired by Maoist and other obscure revolutionary thinkers. What the two do share, other than their long list of criminal convictions, is an empty and dying grip on the minds of what is left of the traditional Australian fascist movement.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts to establish a foothold in Melbourne during the 1990s -- most spectacularly in the form of a 'shop' in Fawkner: born January 1997; died April 1998 -- National Action has collapsed, and its last fuhrer, the racist ("and that's official!") Michael Brander, has opted to follow Jim's (unsuccessful) journey into academia... best of luck you fascist swine.

No review on freed neo-Nazi axe murderer Sweetman

Speaking of racial assault, Dane Sweetman remains on parole despite an alleged assault on a patron at a pub in Collingwood. The Victorian Police Association and the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation Commission are not happy, according to Greg Roberts writing in The Australian, while 'Corrections Minister Tim Holding said he would not be making representations to the parole board. "The board took into account the fact he was not charged with any further offences," a spokesman for Mr Holding said. "It's a matter for the board."' According to Roberts "Police sources said the man did not wish to proceed with charges against Sweetman because he feared retribution."

Racist attacks on Australia Day

Aboriginal children in Rockhampton, Queensland have been shot in an alleged racially-motivated assault on Australia Day according to The Australian and The Advertiser. The first attack was reported the day after Australia Day, while a second assault was only revealed to have occurred days later when the child concerned reported to hospital after having heard of the first attack.

Child shot in alleged racist attack
By Steve Connolly
January 27, 2006

AN Aboriginal boy was shot in the back with an airgun pellet in an alleged random, racist attack on Australia Day, a Queensland court heard today.

Hayden John Nitz, 17, today faced the Rockhampton Magistrates' Court charged with unlawful wounding and weapons offences.

Police prosecutor Senior Constable Darrell Dalton told the court Mr Nitz allegedly fired at the 13-year-old boy with an air rifle yesterday in a drive-by shooting outside a house on Alexandra Street, North Rockhampton.

The boy was allegedly hit in the back and the pellet pierced his skin under the armpit.

He is reported to be in a serious but stable condition in the Rockhampton Base Hospital.

Snr Const Dalton said Mr Nitz was in a car with other people being sought by police when the shooting occurred.

He said Mr Nitz, of Rockhampton, and his alleged accomplices had intended to "shoot indigenous persons".

...He was remanded in custody to face Rockhampton Magistrates' Court again on April 3.
News.com.au reports that there will be 'New charges over girl's shooting' (January 29):
AN Aboriginal girl initially treated for an insect sting has had surgery to remove an air-gun pellet fired at her in a string of suspected racist shootings on Australia Day.

Five men already charged over the identical shooting of a 13-year-old Aboriginal boy in the same city will again face court on Tuesday over the attack on the girl.

Police allege the two teenagers were among eight people who were fired upon in the central Queensland city of Rockhampton on Thursday. The other six were not hit.

It emerged today that the 15-year-old girl sought treatment at Rockhampton Hospital on Australia Day, believing she'd been stung by an insect.

Medical staff put a band-aid on her wound and sent her home.

But the girl contacted police when she saw a media report about the air-gun attack on the 13-year-old.

When she returned to hospital an x-ray revealed an air-gun pellet was lodged in her back. "She thought she was stung," said Central Queensland Crime Co-ordinator Detective Inspector Mick Niland.

"She went up to the hospital and they put a band-aid on it."

The girl was expected to be discharged from hospital today after the pellet was successfully removed.

Five youths have been charged over the attack on the 13-year-old boy.

The same five will face court on Tuesday, where charges will be laid over the shooting of the 15-year-old girl.

Two of the five – Hayden John Nitz and Timothy Perry, both 17 – have already faced Rockhampton Magistrates Court on charges stemming from the attack on the boy...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

2006 Trot Guide Update #2 // Riot Squad

Yes! A split! And in the Spartacist League (of Australia... & New Zealand?) no less! According to Lou:

According to a May 2005 leaflet, Trotskyist Platform (TP) 'Is a left split from the Spartacist League (SL), which had in practice started moving, albeit quite slowly, in the direction of the social-democratic left. The new tendency is being founded by the editor of the SL's newspaper ... who is known as Praba Balasubramaniam'.

'The immediate cause of the split was the SL's recoil from turning their written defence of the arrested Redfern & Palm Island Aboriginal militants into actual *action*' (that is, the defeat of Balasubramaniam's motion calling for SL to initiate a 'united-front demonstration' on the subject.)

A further detail, 'TP is today founded with just 6% of what the tiny SL has.'
Assuming that the SL has 100 members -- an extremely generous estimate -- the Trotskyist Platform has... 6.

Q. Is this Australia's smallest Trot group?

Well, I've searched for online refs to TP, and found just two, both referring to demonstrations in Sydney:
---->> Rally: Down with the Anti-Communist, China-Bashing Campaign! <<----
5:30pm Saturday 1 October

Rally to Celebrate the Anniversary of the 1949 Anti-Capitalist
Revolution in China!

[where] Railway Park, Auburn (cnr Northumberland Rd & Rawson St)
[contact] Trotskyist Platform: 0417 204 611
---->> Rally to Defend the Black Opponents of Racist State Terror! <<----
11:00am Friday 8 July


[where] The Block in Redfern
[contact] Jenny/Lyall Munro (Aboriginal activists): 0413 188 907
Trotskyist Platform: 0417 204 611
See: 2006 Trot Guide // 2006 Trot Guide Update #1
Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

In related developments...

Steve Gee rejoices as "finally" NSW has a riot squad. Note that in this report the main question put to Iemma is 'Why didn't this happen sooner?', not 'Is this a good thing?'. That this is a good news item for the citizens of NSW is simply assumed; while the squad's disbandment in the 1980s is mentioned, no reason is given, nor any mention made of its history.

Iemma is then quoted as making a denial: 'We don't have an ethnic gang problem'. Immediately preceding this statement is the NSW Premier's assurance that the state government has enough police, enough laws, and enough prisons to 'solve racial conflict' and put a permanent end to race rioting...
NSW riot squad formed
By Steve Gee
The Advertiser
January 17, 2006

IT took three race riots in less than two years - but finally NSW has a riot squad.

The hand-picked squad of 50 officers will be on call 24 hours a day.

Their new tactics will include the use of riot shields and horses to force back lines of rioters.

A further 600 police from across the state have been trained in riot response tactics and can be called in at any time. Eventually there will be 1200 riot-trained police on call across the state.

Unveiling the Public Order and Riot Squad yesterday, Premier Morris Iemma denied the squad was too little too late in the face of violent conflicts around Sydney.

"There's riot police, tough new powers and plenty more coming in the fight to take back control of the streets and to ensure peaceful, law-abiding citizens can go about their business," Mr Iemma said.

"This is another step in our fight to take back the streets in our crackdown on anti-social behaviour and riotous behaviour.

"The message is a simple one: If you want to riot we've got riot squads and we've got plenty of cells in our jails to accommodate you."

Mr Iemma denied Sydney had an ethnic gang problem, saying: "No matter what their ethnicity, no matter where they come from the message is a simple one - your behaviour won't be tolerated."

The Government announced plans to reform the riot squad - axed in the 1980s - after the Redfern and Macquarie Fields riots.

Deputy Police Commissioner Terry Collins said police had learned from the experience of last year's Macquarie Fields riot, in which officers were injured by missiles as they held their positions.

"We've gone through that. We've tried to do that softly, softly approach, quite frankly," Mr Collins said.

"We'll certainly be putting large contingents - a large field force - of police out there with a clear mandate to do what they need to do, not just stand there in the line, cop molotov cocktails, cop rocks being pelted at them."

Interestingly, despite news of the squad's formation being framed in terms of it being a response to riots at Redfern and Macquarie Fields, Dale Mills notes ('NSW riot squad to target dissent', Green Left Weekly, January 26) that the initial announcement "was made after the 'anti-globalisation' protests against the [neo-conservative] Forbes business leaders’ conference at the Sydney Opera House on August 30, 2005. The next day, NSW Police Minister Carl Scully praised the police crackdown on the protesters, even though many had been injured, and he endorsed the formation of a full-time state riot squad. On September 1, Police Commissioner Ken Moroney announced the formation of the Public Order and Riot Squad." And in a sign of things to come, according to Mills "The new riot squad is likely to use the NSW government’s new “lock-down” powers, introduced in an emergency sitting following the Cronulla riots late last year. These powers allow police to ban people, including journalists, from entering an area where the riot squad is being used. Out of the gaze of the media, serious human rights abuses could occur when the riot squad has been let loose."

Victorian Authorities Censor 'Entartete Kunst'... Again

:: Left : Victoria is not amused ::

Azlan McLennan's latest work has received an extremely savage review from the notoriously fickle Footscray police. As reported by ABC Online, The Age, Melbourne Indymedia and news.com.au, his latest artistic assault on nationalist ideology has been [censored]. In essence, the critics out West have delivered an aesthetic ultimatum: this season, burning flags is out; waving flags is in. (Although some trouble-makers appear to disagree.)

As expected, police have made their usual (dis)claim(er): they were acting after having received 'complaints' from 'the public' (according to news.com.au, lodged on the 20th of January) regarding McLennan's work. Bizarrely, the person (or persons) from Footscray police responsible for the theft of the work from outside Footscray's Trocadero gallery was (or were) only able to gain access to the work by entering the gallery from an adjoining business: 'Gallery executive Michael Brennan said no one had been at the gallery when police removed the flag. "On Friday ... Footscray police officers gained access to the space through a neighbouring business and removed the flag, leaving behind a business card with the neighbouring business," Mr Brennan said. "(The card) was then passed on to an artist who shares a studio at Trocadero Artspace, who consequently called us to tell us this work had been removed by the police."'

Further, according to a police spokesperson: "Police would not have been able to remove the burnt flag if it had been displayed inside the gallery... If it was inside the gallery they wouldn't have the authority to do anything with it. But once it's out in public view it could be treated as an incident of offensive behaviour or offensive language."

Logically, this implies that the work in question is regarded both by (an) anonymous member(s) of the public and the critics at Footscray police station as offensive; police claim that "[a]n investigation had been launched to establish whether an offence had been committed". In other words, no charges have been laid, and no 'crime' committed, other than one against certain, limited notions of what exactly constitutes 'good taste'; notions derived from anonymous members of the public and... Footscray police.

Now, far be it for me to question the police's recent foray into cultural criticism, but surely they -- like other unhappy visitors to the Proudly UnAustralian exhibition -- could content themselves with an unkind entry in the Trocadero's guestbook? More importantly, will I ever get to view McLennan's work? Rather sadly, it appears that the answer to both questions is 'no'...

And now, a word from their sponsor:

On February 27th 1933... While the defeated Centre Party and the Marxists were being driven from their final entrenchments, the trade unions abolished, and while National Socialist thought and ideas were being brought from the world of dream and vision into the world of fact, and our plans were being put into effect one after the other -- in the midst of all this we found time to lay the foundations of a new Temple of Art. And so it was that the same revolution that had swept over the State prepared the soil for the growth of a new culture.[...]

Art is not one of those human activities that may be laid aside to order and resumed to order. Nor can it be retired to pension, as it were. For either a people is endowed with cultural gifts that are inherent in its very nature or it is not so endowed at all. Therefore such gifts are part of the general racial qualities of a people. But the creative function through which these spiritual gifts or faculties are expressed follows the same law of development and decay that governs all human activity.[...]

But we are convinced that in the political sphere we have discovered a fitting mode of expression for the nature and will of our people. Therefore we feel that we are capable also of recognising and discovering in the cultural sphere the complementary expression which will be adequate to that nature and that will. We shall discover and encourage artists who will imprint on the new German State the cultural stamp of the German race, which will be valid for all time.
-- Adolf Hitler, 'Art and Politics', in Liberty. Art. Nationhood (M. Mueller & Son: Berlin, 1935)

Long live Entartete Kunst!

Friday, January 27, 2006

David Innes // 'Baron von Hund' & Stormfront Down Under


"I am what you would call a breedist at best" Innes -- along with his brother Paul ('Steelcap Boot') and partner Lilith Peterson ('Lilith') -- has been the key organiser for the white supremacist Stormfront in Australia -- more commonly known as 'Scumfront' or 'Shitfront'; opinion is divided as to which is the most apt -- for some time now (mid-2004). Once a month, Der Baron and a few of his similarly racist mates gather for a 'Stormfront BBQ' at David's house in Perth, whereupon they intersperse their retarded political outporings with the consumption of burnt chops and lukewarm beer.

Now, Perth is not the only city in which Stormfronters have been active. Indeed, just a few months ago (November 2005), Stormfronters in Melbourne attempted to hold a BBQ of their vewy own.

Unfortunately for the ten or so net-Nazis who gathered in -- of all places -- Birrarung Marr, ZOG was an additional, uninvited guest. Even worse, ZOG -- in the form of one of FDB's most dedicated members, Agent Gerbil -- brought his (her?) camera along to take some happy snaps. As a result, more than one of the BBQ attendees decided that caution was indeed the better part of valour, and decided to 'retire', presumably to crawl back under the rocks from which they had (briefly) emerged.

Now, before the photos were published, opinion was unanimous. As 'International Controversy' put it: "[T]oday was a good event. Even if some people were convinced every asian holidayer taking pics was an anti, or any random person who walked within eye-sight of the bbq was a potential problem." One long-time member called 'Medieval' (MatThew Henderson) even claimed that "I am a man of mystery after all!"

Of course, it was a slightly different story after the photos were published. While 'Medieval', 'Polish Boy' and a handful of others chose to scatter like cockroaches before the coming storm, 'JN' (James Newman) -- he of Cronulla riot video fame -- took it as an opportunity to issue a 'challenge' to Darp.

(Hmmm... I wonder where James is now? Has he discovered a less-objectionable hobby?)

Still, while fascists living in Melbourne may have been comprehensively owned by FDB, Stormfront Perth is growing in leaps and bounds.

Well... that's what Der Baron would have you believe. (Mind you, Innes the 'Breedist'(!) also believes that 'The Jew is using the black' as a, ah, 'love muscle' against the White Race!) And while Melbourne is in many ways -- demographically, as well as culturally and politically -- quite a different city to Perth, it may be that Perth's time has well and truly come.

So who is David Innes? And what's Scumfront / Shitfront / Stormfront anyway?

The Only Thing Worse Than A neo-Nazi Is A Dishonest neo-Nazi

Last things's first. Stormfront is claimed by some to be the world's first "hate site", having been established in May 1995 by one Don Black, a businessman from Florida, USA. And while Chip Berlet identifies 'hate' as having been online since 1983 (see Chip Berlet, 'When Hate Went Online'; note also that Chip claims that "A small group of anarchist hackers tipped me off to the existence of the racist computer BBS's in late 1984"!), in many ways all that 'negative emotion' appears to have crystallised on one site: Stormfront.

Aside from functioning as one of the premiere sites for English-speaking fascists and racists the world over, Stormfront also appears to be a fairly successful cash-cow for Black. Members of the Forum are regularly invited by him to become one of the site's 'Sustaining Members': this means making regular donations directly into Black's bank account. And while those attracted to sites such as Stormfront tend to be (almost jaw-droppingly) stupid, it's far from certain that Stormfront / Don Black will be able to milk his audience for money forever, let alone 1,000, 100, 10, or even one more year.

Still, notwithstanding his rather obvious profiteering -- more accurately perhaps, including his profiteering -- Black's project has been reasonably successful. It has certainly functioned, as the Internet has more generally, as a valuable resource; not only for fascists, but their opposition as well.

In a broader, ideological sense, the overall direction of the site's politics is determined by Black's mentor, David Duke. And, in keeping with Duke's continuing struggle to achieve some degree of 'mainstream' political respectability, the Stormfront moderators frequently intervene in threads in order to clampdown on some of the more overt expressions of hatred made by its less-disciplined members. In the Australian forums, that role has recently (December 18, 2005) been granted by Black to Lilith Peterson, David Innes' partner and comrade. (Prior to this, the moderators were exclusively 'foreign'.)

For those who don't wish to peruse such forums, a few months ago Joe Hildebrand wrote a singularly entertaining piece on his 'life as an uber fraud', from which the following extracts derive:

'Life as an uber fraud - the one race I won'
The Daily Telegraph
October 29, 2005

SOMETIMES in dark moments a beam of light can raise you from your malaise. A beacon of hope in a world of twilight.

Such a thing happened to me when, during a rough day at the office, I decided to become a white supremacist.

It all started when a wire service friend of mine had her story posted on the white nationalist website Stormfront...

First I had to become a registered user of Stormfront, so I adopted the username Curiouswhitey. I wanted to convey a sense of wide-eyed innocence...

Anyway I climbed aboard and suddenly found myself making great new friends like KLANSMAN, Canadian_Warrior, KeepBritainWhite, aryanprincess88, [Paul Innes] and – the most fearsome white supremacist of all – MrBadgerSir.

My original intention was to get all the guys over for a barbecue, a sort of get-to-know-you session where we could discuss everyday stuff like house prices, the lack of affordable child care, ethnic cleansing and the latest restaurants.

But I found myself drawn in to the rich online discussions that were taking place.

One topic, introduced by my new mate Yggdrasil, was entitled "I need your race riot videos!" Straight to the point – that's Yggdrasil for you, the old sausage.

Yggdrasil, always thinking ahead, noted "our struggle will be won or lost with the DVD" before asking people for footage of race riots, "especially the emotional stuff such as beatings of whites by blacks".

I wanted to help out but all I had was Finding Nemo. So I thought I'd try to get a broader discussion going: "Speaking of videos, has anybody here seen Rabbit Proof Fence?"

Looking forward to the reply. Those guys are great.

On the topic "In what ways were you brainwashed?" started by Steeltrump, I found myself opening up like I hadn't dared to before.

"My parents were so poor they couldn't afford a mirror. I always thought I was black until my 16th birthday. When I found out I was so mad I decided to hate all of them."

This was a slight exaggeration. I was actually 15-and-a-half but cyberspace lets you loosen up a bit.

In another discussion launched by Baron Von Hund about Aborigines, I tried to get in his good graces.

I was new to the scene and I needed a friend, so I simply said: "Couldn't agree more Baron. They should go back to where they came from."

Then I was ridiculed for apparently thinking I was the first person to say that. What? Had no one agreed with the Baron before?

...They're a pretty nice bunch of guys and girls there. When sweetthing25 said she was going to have another baby everyone sent heaps of congratulations.

Whiterider was particularly supportive, saying, "I believe that it is imperative that both women and men should sacrifice themselves more to have large white families".

Whiterider's kind of the big picture guy.

Other times we all just chat about stuff.

On one chatroom everyone had to say something about the person before them and boy, there were lots of yellow smiley faces being thrown around.

Spartan even wrote "Jeanway is the queen of smilies" but then aryanbrother88 said Spartan was just a suck-up.

Sometimes we talk about our feelings, like when Aikon said he was actually dating a Jewish girl but it was okay because she renounced her religion.

"I'm not a race traitor . . . I couldn't tell she was a Jew when I met her," he said. I dunno Aikon, it's a grey area.

...Also everyone is pretty big on Prussian Blue, those nice young blonde haired American girls who sing about racial purity, but I think they should change their name to Prussian White just to keep things straight.

['Prussian Blue' actually refers to the coloring of the Zyklon B residue used in the gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps during WWII: commentary is superfluous.]

Still, it's nice to know that, despite the '60s, some mums and dads are bringing their kids up properly.

...Any way, I must rush off. SturmTiger is having book club at his house tonight and everyone has to bring a plate.
Innes The neo-Nazi

David Innes' online targets are 'all the usual suspects' of the far-right: Australia's indigenous peoples, homosexuals (gays specifically), ethnic minorities, 'communists' (anarchists and leftists generally) and basically anyone who finds the idea of a 'White Australia' both absurd and offensive.

And, of course, 'the Jews'.

Further, much like the other crazed denizens of Australia's far right swamp, Innes' ideology -- such as it is -- is in all important respects a foreign one which apes, often quite comically, its North American counterpart. Thus Innes is a follower of David Duke, and speaks with glowing praise not only of Duke, but also the dead neo-Nazis William Pierce and George Rockwell. In fact, notwithstanding his repeated denials, even a cursory examination of Innes' own site reveals a passionate commitment to White supremacy and its logical corollary: fascism/neo-Nazism.

Masochistic Taste In Music

Among one of the more unusual aspects of David Innes' "personality" (a term I use very loosely) is his taste in music. In essence, Der Baron simply loves antifa. In fact, if you wanted a list of HM bands that have and do regularly kick the shit out of fascists like David -- both on and off stage -- you'd be well-advised to tune into the same frequency he does. Among the more prominent of these multi-racial, multi-ethnic bands are: Anthrax, At the Gates, Biohazard, Bolt Thrower, Brujeria, Brutal Truth, Carcass, Entombed, Faith No More, Fear Factory, Godsmack, Helmet, Kreator, Linkin Park, Machinehead, Megadeth, Metallica, Nailbomb, Napalm Death, Paradise Lost, Pitchshifter, Rammstein, Rob Zombie, Sacred Reich, Sepultura, Slipknot, Soulfly, Strapping Young Lad, Suicidal Tendencies and System of a Down.

In conclusion then, it's obviously very hard to be a fascist and a lover of hard music! Or to put it another way:

Nazi Punks Fuck Off!

Shut 'Em Down!

Media Release

27 January 2006


Twenty five conservationists have shut down the Eden woodchip mill this morning, with four people locked on to machinery inside. The Japanese-owned chipmill exports woodchips to Japan from East Gippsland and South-East New South Wales forests. The protest follows a week of blockades in East Gippsland’s old growth forest, which resulted in 13 arrests.

Protesters inside the chipmill are being sprayed with high-pressure hoses by mill workers and police are not yet in attendance.

“Eighty percent of timber from East Gippsland and the South-East ends up as woodchips which are exported to Japan. On Australia Day, many Australians see this as madness,” said Billy Dain, spokesperson for the protesters.

“The Victorian and NSW premiers, who pride themselves on their green credentials, must act to stop this ongoing forest destruction,” he concluded.

For further comment:
Billy Dain (on site) 0402564862 or 0427221691
Harriet Swift (on site) 0414908997
Fiona York (East Gippsland) 0351540174

GECO (Goongerah Environment Centre Office)

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em

Andrew Scott Sanders, 25, "today made a brief appearance in Penrith Local Court charged with prohibited weapons offences and possessing a disguise with the intent of using it to commit an indictable offence. The former Sydney security guard was arrested on December 19 when police who raided his Willmot home, in Sydney's west, allegedly found smoke grenades, mace, capsicum spray and an unlicensed pistol." The webmaster of fightback.org has been "ordered to live with his mother and not leave her side while in public".

It appears that the court believes that Andrew's not Der Fuehrer, just a naughty little boy.

(Source: 'Don't leave mum's side, court orders', Sydney Morning Herald, January 27, 2006.)

In related news ('Hate text suspect faces court'), "Brett Andrew King, 25, of Loftus, has appeared in court charged over the circulation of text messages inciting racial violence following the Cronulla riot... [Brett] is the first person to face court charged over the sending of text messages relating to last December's racial violence."

Happy 218th Birthday Australia!

"In 1788 down in Sydney Cove, the first boat people landed and they said 'sorry boys, our gain's your loss, we're gonna steal your land'".

As today is Invasion Day, I thought I'd post Jas H Duke's poem 'Happy Birthday Australia', written, I believe, for Australia's purported bicentenary in 1988. (I say 'purported' because January 26, 1788 is not actually the date upon which the modern nation-state of Australia was formed; that event formally occured on January 1, 1901. January 26 is the date upon which the British Empire was expanded to include the colony of New South Wales.) Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of Duke's wonderfully acerbic poem to hand, so instead, here's a link to singer-songwiter Kev Carmody. He's written a great song called 'Thou Shalt Not Steal', the first lines of which appear above. Oh, and remember Kids: "If you want to avoid being a dole bludger, be sure to pick your parents carefully" -- Jas H Duke.

[And here you'll find a contemporary Melbourne anarchist's reaction to the opening of Australia's first Parliament. The more things change 'n' all that!]

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mecca-Cola for Sweetman?

'Outcry at neo-Nazi's 'soft drink' parole switch' reads an article by Greg Roberts in today's The Australian (p.3).

He is a notorious neo-Nazi and axe murderer accused of headbutting a man for asking about his swastika tattoos in a Melbourne hotel.

And yesterday, despite Dane Sweetman's violent background, the authorities reacted by amending his parole conditions, to ban him from drinking alcohol, sparking anger from anti-racist campaigners.

Sweetman, 36, was released from Fulham prison on parole last October after serving 15 years of a 20-year sentence for the 1990 murder of David Noble at a 1990 party to celebrate Adolf Hitler's birthday...

Patrons at the Tote Hotel [arguably Melbourne's home of rock and/or roll] alleged Sweetman headbutted and punched a man in the hotel in the inner-Melbourne suburb of Collingwood earlier this month after the man questioned him about swastika tattoos on his neck. Hotel co-owner Bruce [Eeek!] Milne said the incident was reported to police. "This person has been barred from the hotel," Mr Milne said...

Sweetman created a sensation at his trial when he pulled a knife from his boot as he was sentenced and plunged it into a wooden dock rail.

He kept a diary in prison in which he boasted of having bashed two Asian men, a Caucasian woman with an Asian boyfriend and a homosexual, although he has a conviction for sexually abusing a boy under 16. His convictions include attempted murder, malicious wounding and assault with a weapon...

Great. A convicted neo-Nazi murderer and child rapist (allegedly) assaults someone in a pub, and the Adult Parole Board extends his parole conditions to include "bann[ing him] from entering the premises of any licensed venue in Collingwood" and "abstain[ing] from consuming alcohol generally".

That'll learn him!

Filth! Perversion! Sickness! See It NOW @ Yr Local Sinema!

Pure comedy GOLD from Weerheym!

Newsflash: Western Civilization teeters on the brink!

"First Brokeback Mountain, now Tan Lines" says "PAD Writer" aka Ben 'Getaway Driver' Weerheym.

He goes he goes, he just goes... on... and on... and on... from "the very first article" on Ben's blog to the latest entry, "the relentless assault" on intelligence, morals and good taste continues. First, Ben the literary critic; now Ben the cineaste. And guess what? It's those damn (fat) Jews in Hollywood what are responsible! Again! As boofhead himself notes:

[That] Brokeback Mountain is received with acclaim by heavily-Jewish Hollywood -- which has long sought to debase and destroy Western culture -- should be reason enough to see such garbage as part of a concerted assault on White values and traditions.

Of course! ("Evidence? What's that?")
Not too long ago we had a movie that perverted the traditional American cowboy heritage with the fictional tale of two gay, yes, gay cowboys. So much for Roy Rogers and the Lone Ranger... In an interview, Wyoming playwright Sandy Dixon objected to the film stating that she had "never encountered a gay cowboy" in a lifetime in the state, and doesn't think what Hollywood is doing is right. To the film's producers, she said: "Don't try and take what we had, which was wonderful -- the cowboys that settled the state and made it what it was -- don't ruin that image just to sell a book... There's nothing better than plain old cowboys and the plain old history without embellishing it to suit everyone."

No gay cowboys? Why son, that's a load of horseshit, right up there with 'no black cowboys'. Chuck Browning -- a real rhinestone cowboy -- sets the record, er straight, here. (Incidentally, the passages in bold are ones Ben plagiarised from a racist shockjock called "Frank Roman".)

As for Tan Lines... Ben continues "in the same [thick, purplish] vein". Thus according to boofhead:
...a new film is currently in production that concentrates on Australia's world-famous White surfers[, the ones] who gave a serious kicking to the "multiracial dream" of the corrupt Aussie elite recently[. They] are being targeted [by] a new film portraying a [group] of homosexuals who surf [and live in] "a small town in New South Wales" much like the area around Cronulla, where thousands of Whites rose up against Muslim rape gangs who had been terrorizing the beaches.

Having declared his opinion on a film he hasn't seen, Ben now proceeds to condemn a film that hasn't even been released. The filmmaker's crime, it seems, is to portray homosexuals -- eeek! -- as individuals capable of... surfing!

Now, Ben's reasoning abilities may still be in short pants, but:

It wasn't the Australian surfing community (lead by Mark Richards) who engaged in the violent assaults at Cronulla on December 11 last year. In fact, what happened was that a number of extremely cowardly members of a crowd of 5,000 assaulted several individuals of supposed "Middle Eastern appearance" (including Bangladeshi students, a Jewish boy and a Greek girl). While literally hundreds of arrests have been made in connection to that and subsequent events, the arrests of Danny Glen Shanahan, 20, an apprentice carpenter from Picton; Daniel Paul Kelly, 20, an apprentice plumber from Engadine; and Samuel Murray, 19, of Bardon Ridge, have received extensive media coverage. During their initial hearing, "Prosecutor Paul Upsall tendered media photographs of the riot showing Shanahan striking alleged victim Safi Merhi, who was "cowering" with his arms over his head in an effort to protect himself. Shanahan acknowledged that "this is a cowardly act and deserves punishment", he said... [while] Kelly cried when he was refused bail."

Little wonder then that surfers and beach-users around the country have since sought to put as much distance as possible between themselves and racist thuggery such as this. Not Ben though. I'm quite certain, however, that his exultation over violent racist outbursts such as this will -- like Daniel Paul Kelly -- end in tears.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mao More Than Ever // Stalin Wasn't Stallin'

OK, well, 'gray' has forced me to complete my analysis of (non-mainstream) 'left' Marxist political parties in Australia by turning to the non-Trotskyist Marxist left. Most of these parties appear to be basically Maoist or Stalinist in orientation: all are quite silly ("more gauche than sinister") in my opinion, in addition to being even scarcer than their Trotskyist counter-parts (a situation somewhat compensated for by their overall wackiness!).

1) Committee for a Revolutionary Communist Party in Australia: The Maoist CRCPA allegedly publishes two papers -- Struggle and Rabblerouser -- and is allegedly also 'close' to the political positions of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. As such, it appears to be one of the groups the RIM claims is struggling to form a vanguard Marxist-Leninist-Maoist party, Down Under. In fact, let's give over the floor to them (or, more likely, him): "We have set ourselves the task of reconstituting the Communist Party of Australia on the basis of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Our perspective is one of leading and unleashing the masses to seize power through revolutionary war and [to] establish the dictatorship of the proletariat in Australia." Once upon a time you could write to this mob at this address: GPO Box 474D, Melbourne, VIC, 3001. Big on 'People's War', the group -- assuming that it had more than one member -- appears to have emerged briefly in 1996 only to run to the hills in preparation for the struggle ahead shortly thereafter.

2) The Communist Party Advocate(s) are another group whose continued existence has been rumoured but appears not to extend much beyond 1996. An account of the formation of the group may be found here, suggesting that the party should perhaps be renamed the Communist Party of Australia (CPA-ML) where 'ML' = 'Marcus Larsen', the 'communist party advocate' (singular).

3) Communist Party of Australia (CPA). In reality, the CPA are the artists formerly known as the Socialist Party of Australia. The SPA split from the CPA in 1971 (presumably in reaction to news of my birth) only to reclaim the title in an uncontested bout in 1996. The CPA publishes the weekly The Guardian in addition to the journal Australian Marxist Review.

4) Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) (CPA-ML) is a Maoist party which publishes the weekly Vanguard. It split from the (Stalinist) CPA all the way back in 1964. As was the fashion in those days, it affixed the term 'Marxist-Leninist' to its banner in the hope that the Australian proletariat might thereby flock to it.

We didn't.

5) Marxist Initiative tries to initiate revolution through its publication Australian Socialist. It was formed in 1992 mainly by members of the (now-defunct) Association for Communist Unity (ACU) and is active in the Progressive Labor Party. The group appears to have involved in an abortive attempt in 1997 to establish the New Labour Party, before finally settling on the term Progressive. NB: The ACU was apparently the result of a minority of the SPA's membership splitting away on the basis of support for the Accord.

6) The National Preparatory Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Australia (or NPCMLCPA for ease of pronunciation) is a Maoist groupuscle which allegedly publishes a rag called Eureka and which gets my vote for most grandiose title (although describing the NPCMLCPA as the Mystery Men of Australia's fast-disappearing Maoist cult is probably more fitting: "Unlike other superheroes, the Mystery Men are not world famous. They are just ordinary guys trying to be superheroes, albeit not too successfully").

7) The New Era Communist Party of Australia is an (almost) urban legend, with origins in Queensland.

Must be the heat.

8) The October Seventh Socialist Movement (known by the suitably sinister acronym 'OSSM') is a Stalinist group that publishes The Southern Cross. It emerged blinking into the twenty-first century as a split from from the CPA in 2003, and by now is quite possibly no longer crawling but walking; who knows? From the mouth of a horse known as 'National President' Raymond Berbling: "The October Seventh Socialist Movement in Australia was born in 2003, mainly from veteran leaders of the Communist Party of Australia in the state of Victoria, after a lifelong struggle first in the old CPA (now liquidated) and its contemporary, now also taking a similar, irreversible revisionist path. The founders of the October Seventh Socialist Movement believe it is our revolutionary duty to build a genuine Marxist-Leninist party in Australia." For 'genuine', read "based on the writings of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Che, Castro, Hoxha and Mao"! If this sounds like your cup of tea, by all means send fraternal greetings to: John Bennett (National Secretary), October Seventh Socialist Movement, PO Box 607, Carlton South, VIC, 3053.

NB. Both the Socialist Labor Party of Australia and the World Socialist Party of Australia I've already referred to in the 2006 Trot Guide.

8 1/2) The Communist Left Discussion Circle is a funky bunch, members of which enjoy discussing... Left Communism (especially as one might find it represented in the pages of the ICC's World Revolution). I remember being quite startled when not one but two members of this group (although admittedly one was a tourist) attended a meeting at Barricade (in 1999?) to discuss 'Anarchism & Marxism'. Hell, I was so impressed that a pommy bastard had travelled half way 'round the world just to talk to my comrades, I even bought a copy of their paper! Unfortunately, the ICC homepage states that the PO Box for World Revolution (Australia) is "momentarily closed".

Finally, an honorary mention must be made of Lastsuperpower.net: "A bunch of decayed Marxists and Stalinists in search of a home...".

Corrections and/or additions welcome.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Art = Ego

It seems that Azlan McLennan just can't stay out of trouble. A couple of years ago (September, 2003) he managed to bring the conduct of students at Melbourne's VCA into question (although not because they'd hatched a cunning plan to hang the last arts bureaucrat by the guts of the last gallery owner, unfortunately). Instead: "Student conduct at the Victorian College of the Arts is again being questioned after an unsuspecting security guard was hired and then humiliated as part of a performance piece last week." 'Again' refers to an (other) art project of a few months prior: "a student filmed himself apparently killing a chicken".

Take that, Mum & Dad!


I am a working for Securicor,
Take the money and come back for more.
I want to do it cause I know I should,
For the customer and the common good.

As The Age describes it, Azlan:

hired a security guard for an exhibition at the VCA student gallery. The guard, from the international security firm Group 4/Securicor! - which runs various detention centres - was not aware he was being used as an "installation" in the project, which was designed to make a statement about Australia's policy on asylum seekers. [The private in a private army] was told to let people into the exhibition only if they had an invitation. But the gallery is usually open to the public, and conflict soon mounted between the security guard and students who were kept out. Only a few students had been given invitations, so some people who were unaware of the project became aggressive, and at one point, a scuffle began...

McLennan defended the art work, saying it aimed to show people what it felt like to be denied entry into a place they wanted to enter. "This kind of work is always going to polarise the community, but I'm happy at the end of the day if it sparks debate," he said. But the incident has been controversial at the college, with some, including staff members, questioning whether it went too far. "I think there's a widespread climate at the VCA of unethical conduct. It just doesn't seem to be something that's on the agenda or something that people think about," said one inside source.
Azlan has also gotten into trouble with Melbourne City Council authorities and various right-wing pundits in the corporate media over a work -- Fifty Six -- critical of Israel (and produced with the aid of an $8,000 MCC grant). In May 2004 the work was painted over and council funding to the art group responsible for displaying it was revoked. In fact, last September (2005), "City of Melbourne officials banned him from exhibiting [Canberra's 18] in its Campbell Arcade under Flinders Street on the subject of 18 terrorist organisations that had at one time been supported by governments in the Coalition of the Willing. So he showed it at Monash University the next month." (A charge which the Council denies, incidentally. See: 'Melbourne Council denies censoring local artist'.)

"It's just obscene and offensive," he said.

This month, Azlan's at it again, this time with a poster campaign which I was again unable to see thanks to MiniCult (= "Yarra Trams, the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne": the posters in question having been removed three weeks ago). Inspired by the much loathed Metlink (= Melbourne's privatised and naturally detiorating 'public' transport system) propaganda campaign against The Glorious Proletarian Struggle for a Means to get from A to B, Azlan has once more had the temerity to use his 'art' to question more than our sense of aesthetics. According to Mark Moor writing in the January 10, 2006 edition of the Herald Sun:
A CONTROVERSIAL artist was censored for the third time in 18 months yesterday after posters that seem to discourage Muslims from using public transport[!] were ripped down.

Victorian College of the Arts student Azlan McLennan allegedly made two posters imitating the Metlink Pay Your Way advertisements, but his version was deemed offensive and obscene by members of Government, transport operators and advertisers.

One poster, in a tram stop on the corner of Victoria Pde and Latrobe St, read "Attention passengers -- in the interests of personal safety non-Anglos are advised not to use public transport."

The second, on the corner of Collins and Spencer St, warned: "Muslim commuters may be subject to suspicion."
Interestingly, the liberal broadsheet The Age characterised this as a case of an artist victimising Melbourne transport companies and an advertising company! 'Fare game! Shelters feel the brush of protest', The Age, Chris Evans, January 10, 2006:
MELBOURNE transport companies and an advertising company that maintains sponsored bus shelters in the city are the latest victims of an artist who two years ago upset the establishment with a work attacking Israel.

Azlan McLennan... has attacked Australia's part in the war against terror with a parody on MetLink's campaign against fare evasion...

Outdoor advertising company Adshel, which provides and maintains the shelters, had donated the exhibition space to the Urban Art Collective.
"Racist!" they said.

Some critics argue that McLennan's work is racist, a charge he denies in Holly Ife's January 12, 2006, Herald Sun article 'My art is not racist':
A MELBOURNE artist whose controversial posters were removed from tram stops on Monday yesterday denied they were racist...

The posters were deemed offensive and removed. But McLennan, who is in Indonesia teaching at a political art workshop, said his posters were designed to highlight the victimisation of non-Anglo minorities.

He said the poster telling non-Anglos to avoid public transport featured an image of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian man shot dead on a train by London police who mistook him for a suspect in an attempted bombing.

"This shoot-to-kill policy is a clear illustration of state terrorism and targeting of non-Anglo minorities," the Victorian College of the Arts student said.

His second poster featured an image of Melbourne terrorism suspect Joseph "Jack" Terrence Thomas, who McLennan claims has been victimised for his religious and political beliefs.

He described the removal of his artwork as a "predictable exercise in damage control".

McLennan's website opens to an image of Osama bin Laden with the words "You need me" across it. The site contains links to Arabic news service al-Jazeera, anti-war websites and anti-Zionist organisations.
Stuffed if I can find it though! More serious, perhaps, is Rob Stary's claim that Azlan's work might possibly jeopardise Thomas's right to a fair trial. As Fergus Shiel ('Public art threatens fair trial: Thomas lawyer', The Age, January 12, 2006) writes:
A VICTORIAN terror suspect's right to a fair trial has been prejudiced by posters put up at tram stops as part of a public art program, his lawyer claims...

Rob Stary, lawyer for terror suspect Joseph Terrence Thomas, 32, said the posters were embarrassing and potentially a contempt of court.

Mr Stary said he was alarmed that the words "Attention passengers, Muslim commuters may be subject to suspicion" were superimposed over a photo of Thomas on one of the posters at the tram stops.

He said: "This has the capacity to abort his trial. It is completely ill-advised and probably amounts to a contempt of court. Who knows how many prospective jurors would have seen these posters?"

Thomas, from Werribee, is on bail and about to face trial, having pleaded not guilty to receiving money from al-Qaeda. He has not entered pleas to charges that he provided the terrorist group with resources or support to help it carry out a terrorist attack, and of having a false passport...
Proudly unAustralian

Finally, you can read some of Azlan's reflections on 'activist art' here; critical commentary on "a grandstanding undergrad way out of his depth" may be found here; a more reflective piece on Fifty Six by Doris Reader, 'Whiteout and the Madness of Truth', may be found here; a lengthy and (eminently reasonable) Rationalist editorial on the same work may be found here; a 'Submission by The National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA)' to the Senate Inquiry into the Anti-Terrorism (No. 2) Bill 2005 -- which discusses some of the possible effects of this legislation on artists' work and provides a potted history of recent censorship of artistic works -- may be found here; an interview with Azlan (from some years ago) may be found here and (phew!) on the odd chance that you'd actually like to view some of Azlan's work...

Proudly unAustralian
Arts Hub Australia
Monday, January 16, 2006

A Melbourne gallery is hosting a self-consciously seditious artwork this month, sure to contribute to the debate about freedom of artistic expression in Australia.

Proudly unAustralian, by artist Azlan McLennan, will be on show at Trocadero from the 18th January – 25 February.

The artwork shows an Australian flag ablaze - a hot button image intended to provoke reaction.

"Proudly unAustralian is an artwork designed to counter the continent’s upcoming anniversary, celebrating 219 years of European intervention," said McLennan.

"The burning of the Commonwealth flag exercises Prime Minister John Howard’s public, yet begrudging reluctance to outlaw Australian flag burning in 2002, with his admission: “…I guess it's part of the sort of free speech code that we have in this country.”

The flag burning symbolises the locally and internationally deplored treatment by the Australian government of its indigenous peoples, asylum seekers, its industrial relations and education reforms, US collaboration in the attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan and the incitement against Muslim and Arab populations at home and abroad. This act is compounded by Howard’s denial that there is no underlying racist sentiment in Australia following the racial tensions in Sydney in December and more importantly, the government’s clear role in this division of class."
Catch it while you still can!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Anarchy : Beyond the Infoshop

What would they talk about anyhow? Who has the best drugs? How drunk they got at the last "anti-fascist" fund raiser gig? Why "fascists" are so evil?
Recently on the Australian Anarchy Bulletin Board Another Leigh has got the ball rolling on one of my, er, 'favourite topics': anarchist infoshops! In Australia, there are currently three: Barricade in Melbourne and Black Rose and Jura in Sydney. (Anarchist literature is also distroed in Brisbane via BASTARD.) Anarres and Beating Hearts are (principally) mail-order distros.

Another Leigh raises two areas of concern. The first relates specifically to Australia, the second to more general issues which presumably confront anarchists everywhere.

Anarchist Infoshops and so on

Another Leigh writes:
While all of this talk about Trotskyoids, the CIA and theory [on AABB] is lovely, I thought I might instigate a discussion on something more relevant and pressing.

As was pointed out in a previous post, Melbourne has two sources of Anarchist literature: Barricade and Anarres. Neither of which function very well, neither are expanding.

Similarly, Sydney has its two book shops. While they seem to be in a better condition, the existence of two shops servicing a rather small movement begs the question:


Even if you are familiar with the history of the two shops in Sydney, it still seems very weird that such a split still exists. At the very least, why aren't all four groups bulk-buying material together? Meeting together? Federating freely?

So my question to anyone involved in any of the groups is, 'What makes your group significantly different from the rest?'
To begin with, I should point out that, at present, the overwhelming majority of members of the AABB are from Melbourne or Victoria. In fact, as far as I'm aware, there's just one person from Sydney on the board. So, as far as the contemporary situation in Sydney is concerned, who knows? It appears that anarchists in Sydney are keeping Mum.

That said, there's obviously no problem in principle with either Melbourne or Sydney having more than one source of anarchist literature.

Secondly, the idea that all four groups should order literature together has been discussed before. Aside from the willingness of the groups concerned to actually do so, the principal problems are of a 'technical' rather than 'political' nature. Such difficulties are also present when it comes to meeting together or federating. Further, I would argue that there's little point in federating a small assemblage of groups if they are not even functioning well, let alone expanding (an assessment which I don't entirely agree with in any case).

Finally, there are a number of differences between Anarres and Barricade. One of the more important ones is in terms of openness. During its almost eleven years of existence, literally hundreds of individuals have been members of the Barricade collective. Anarres, on the other hand, has attracted -- quite deliberately -- a much, much smaller number during its fourteen or so years of operation. Secondly, Anarres is a mail-order service which holds occasional stalls. Barricade, on the other hand, actually maintains a space (currently @ Irene, 5 Pitt St, Brunswick) which has served this and a number of different purposes over the years: meeting space, gig space, Food Not Bombs kitchen and anarchist library (among others). In short, I see the two as serving different, though similar, and, hopefully, complementary functions.

A second discussion that needs to be had, maybe on a seperate thread, is about Infoshops in general. You've been in one and you've been in them all. They're dark, dingy and cluttered with crap. Is a shop full of propaganda, punk albums, Class War t-shirts and Chomsky really what the @ movement needs right now? Why do these places take the form that they do? If not, then what should replace them (if anything)?

I'd also like to hear people's experiences of O/S infoshops, how things have been done differently, reasons for failures, etc.

The broader purpose of this discussion is to inform talks going on in MAC (Melbourne Anarchist Club, the artists formerly known as the Brunswick Community Resource Group [BCRG], aka A-House), with a view to enlisting the expertise of anarchist groups overseas in the future of MAC and Barricade, so please reply with that in mind.
The reasons why infoshops -- or at least Barricade in any case -- are generally "dark, dingy and cluttered with crap" are fairly obvious to my mind. Infoshops, like any other project, are the products of the efforts of those involved. Presumably then, the Barricade collective has had members who like punk music, Class War fashion and the writings of Chomsky. And if it's dark, dingy and full of crap, that's because i) we have few resources and ii) 'free individuals' don't like to be told what to do. (And believe me -- or not -- I've done my fair share of cleaning and tidying up over the years!)

In general, I think infoshops are afflicted with the same kinds of problems any collective, entirely voluntary project suffers from, compounded by the fact that 'anarchism' i) attracts more than its share of 'flakes' (read: 'eccentric: a person with an unusual or odd personality', not 'the flesh of any of several species of small shark, particularly Gummy Shark') and ii) there is a general reluctance to assert not only one's 'rights' but also to commit to one's 'responsibilites'. How this tension is managed is crucial, I think, in any explanation of the 'failures' and 'succeses' of any particular anarchist group. And as I wrote on the AABB: "As a member of the Barricade (not Anarres) collective... I was a semi-regular customer @ Barricade for its first [four] yrs (1995-1998), and during that period I often would be disappointed --> really pissed off when I went and it was closed. Then I decided I may as well quit complaining and joined. Since then I've done literally hundreds and hundreds of shifts. Some relatively busy, most not...".

I should add that, for me, one of the most interesting and useful functions of an infoshop is as a contact point. I've met (again, literally) hundreds of anarchists, both from Australia and around the world, as a result of working @ Barricade. And its role as a source of information -- and as a device for networking -- comes to the fore during what the experts call 'Major Events'; an important fact which deserves acknowledgement.

Fred Bear writes:
Hi all,

I'm a member of Anarres.

I'd like to know why Another Leigh thinks we haven't been successful? Anarres is entering its 14th year. We have over 500 titles and we are the Australasian distributors for Freedom Press. We have just reached a milestone. We have effectively paid off all our stock and now nearly own it all 100% outright. Previously we had a lot of stock on consignment which meant if something catastrophic happened we would have had a debt and no stock! In addition to Freedom Press you'll find nearly all of New Society Publishers and a fair swag of AK Press in our stock listing!

Anarres is not in competition with Barracade; rather, we try to complement each other. There is some overlap in our stock and Anarres does sometimes end up doing bookstalls at the same event. Anarres and [Barricade] have a long history of cooperation and we have at times wholesaled stock to [Barricade].

Anarres is always open being an online mailorder anarchist book supplier.

IMHO Anarres has a lot to be proud of and is a great success.

I know that both Barricade and Anarres would welcome new members. I suggest (in the most friendly fashion) that Another Leigh should consider joining one of the collectives in Melbourne or at least buying up lots of books from us!

As for the Sydney bookshops this is another story... Jura and Black Rose have a long complicated history and rather than get it wrong I won't comment other than to say they seem to me to be a great success too!
(Anyone interested in reading about the 'split' b/w Black Rose and Jura could do worse than read Takver: here and here.)

:: Above: September 1983 - Black Rose Collective celebrating 1st birthday with the Dead Kennedys. L to R: Diane, Jello, Lyn, Alan, Darren, Richard, Greg, John, Margaret ::

Another Leigh (again):
Well, that's part of what I think needs to be discussed: definitions of success and failure.

Let me start by saying I didn't mean to say that Anarres, Barricade or any particular group could by pointed to and labelled "failure" because the revolution hasn't happened yet.

I've been in the Barricade collective and it was... a mixed experience. Part of my motivation for this thread was to flush out some of these links where they exist (they're not immediately obvious) and to promote discussion of ongoing activities and goals.

If you define success as "keeping the movement from fading into obscurity" then yes, all the infoshops have played a large role in that. But none of them, to my knowledge, are attracting huge numbers. This could be defined as a failure.

It could be that 'success' is defined by a collective working together using anarchist principles. Success could also be defined as a demonstrable recirculation of anarchist ideas. There are all different kinds of "success".

But (oh, you knew this was coming) how many books is enough? Why sell books at all?

These aren't rhetorical questions.

A common accusation is that we are organising in ways that allow us to form a scene, to become a subculture and not to really try and form an anarchist movement. Given the static numbers of people involved in anarchist groups of the last few years, I think it is worth examining how and what we do. Part of this is asking why there are four book shops, when conceivably the entire anarchist community could be served by one (or two).

I'd like to hear from Fred Bear what goals Anarres have been working toward (aside from paying off debts) and how closely they have come to fulfilling them. Maybe another way of putting it is to ask Fred Bear, 'Why are you in Anarres and not Barricade?' Or vice-versa for @ndy. Again, that isn't a rhetorical question.

It's still not clear to me why Anarres and Barricade don't meet together regularly, seeing that both {allegedly} have so much in common. What makes it neccessary for there to be two tiny groups rather than a medium sized one?

Why [sniff sniff] can't we all just work together?

The precise reasons why Barricade is in the state it's in are many and complex. Many of them have to do with our re-location from Sydney Rd to Pitt St in January 2003. As it stands, there are still lots of people who assume we've disappeared rather than simply moved. There have also been a number of incidents involving ex-members to contend with (and which we're still contending with). That said, I think one measure of Barricade's importance is i) the fact that we've been raided by the police, attacked by neo-Nazis, slandered in the press and subjected to infiltration and ii) historically speaking, it's by far the longest-running infoshop Melbourne's had.

More later! Oh, and hello to all you anarchobloggers! You rock!