Above: Nazis rally at Parliament House in Melbourne on May 13, 2023. Their banner reads “Living Space for Whites Stop Immigration”.
Labor and the Far Left help Nazis grow in Australia
By Lorraine Pratley
(This article was written by the above author for Real Left Australia)
Yesterday, Saturday 13 May, I witnessed the fracas between the fascist National Socialist Network, CARF (Campaign Against Racism and Fascism) and Victoria police.
Just who are the groups involved? This is an explainer from a Real Left perspective. ‘Fascist’ gets thrown around a lot these days and this is understandable, given Western democratic freedoms are fast flowing down the toilet, but it probably isn’t a good idea to be too loose with our words. For the purposes of this article, fascist means virulent Left-hating.
Antifa – Before Donald Trump popularised the term ‘Antifa’, anti-fascist protests in Melbourne were understood to involve socialists and anarchists. Antifa is not an organisation as such, rather it’s a tradition representing the thread of anti-fascist resistance that began in 1920’s Italy. Post WWII, antifa would have died out if there were no more fascists. Ongoing economic and social crises however, have ensured fascists have lurked everywhere, waiting for their chance to rebuild, just look at Ukraine. To complicate matters, since the Left got smug, acquired Trump Derangement Syndrome, and declared everything anti-establishment as ‘far right’, these days you will find Antifa types counter-protesting all sorts of issues that aren’t far-right at all, like medical choice or women’s sex-based rights.
In Melbourne, CARF is the group that organises formal protests against fascists. It is comprised of three main groupings:
Socialist Alternative – the largest proportion of CARF, a far-left organisation. The largest of its kind in Australia, highly organised and somewhat politically coherent, it’s the street wing of the Covid left, built mostly through in-person meetings, street stalls, and protests. It is also synonymous with the Victorian Socialists political party.
Periphery of Socialist Alternative – comprising former members and university campus contacts.
Anarchists, modelled on the European Black Bloc – young men who wear black, including black (non-Covid) face masks, with theoretically shallow politics. They tend to be testosterone-filled adventurers, primarily there to get into a punch-on with nazis, or, at the very least, pelt them with things.
National Socialist Network, NSN – these are real Nazis, of the swastika loving, sieg heiling, Hitler worshipping type (and, according to The Age newspaper, replete with yesterday’s chant of “no Jewish power”). They are in a nascent phase after cohering a small hardcore of politically worked out fascists. They never went away, they have just been driven underground every decade or so by determined campaigns of confrontational protesters.
A quick snapshot of what happened on the day: nazi’s arrived one hour early, presumably to take the coveted parliament steps for photo ops before police arrived. Victoria police, presumably under heavy political pressure for negotiating a brief space on the steps for the nazis on 18 March in return for their cooperation to leave, were having none of that and successfully forced them off the steps, proceeding to cordon off an area for them on the road, keeping distance between them and counter protesters. After much sieg heiling on one side and noisy chanting on the other side, the police escorted the nazis southwards on Spring Street, where they guarded them in the Fitzroy Gardens, ensuring that, when the nazis eventually left, there would be none of the altercations so highly desired by the Black Bloc. (the linked video also shows a brief altercation when police were manoeuvring to escort the nazis away from parliament: anarchists got close and appear to have hit leader, Sewell, with a water bottle where it really hurts.)
By January 2023, the NSN in Melbourne seemed to have cohered about 20 members by agitating on social media against unscientific lockdowns and other authoritarian measures carried out by the state in the name of Covid-19. Fascism, as a political solution to the rapid escalation in authoritarianism of the Australian state and the brutality of the ‘pandemic’ measures taken, was overwhelmingly rejected by the approximately 25% of Australians who didn’t believe the Covid nonsense, including the many hundreds of thousands who protested lockdowns and mandates. Yet, covert activity including meetings, camps and working out in gyms enabled figures like Tom Sewell to cohere a number of followers into a foundational group. The NSN is currently in its next phase of growth: to publicly present on the street in ‘uniform’ (not to be confused with the anarchists, they wear all black now too) and in formation, in a disciplined and organised manner (still working on the latter) to project an appealing community and sense of purpose for angry and resentful men (and I thought I spotted at least one woman). And they’re buff.
Despite the best efforts of the, now nonsensical, ‘far left’ to help the Nazis grow, to move beyond the current phase, that is to outnumber the far left and carry out attacks on far left meetings and spaces, would require a deeper economic crisis in Australia, which is as yet unlikely, given projected moderately low unemployment, and the insatiable hunger for Australian commodities on the global market. Nevertheless, with the budget announcement this week, Labor has handed the NSN a recruitment gift by announcing expanded migration of 715,000 people over the next two years in the context of a severe housing crisis where the projected housing shortage is around 100,000 for the foreseeable future and the government has only committed to building 6000 social houses per year for 5 years, a drop in the ocean. This is what led the NSN to call an anti-immigration rally in front of Victorian state parliament on Saturday, to capitalise on the extreme distress of many renters in Australia, the brutalisation of homeowners by rising interest rates, and generations of young people who know they will never be able to afford to buy a home.
A worker-centred response to immigration must be to slow the intake to a trickle until the housing and infrastructure crisis is resolved. Massive resources need to be poured into home building to bring prices down and relieve soaring rents. This would involve a reduction in defence spending and Big Pharma subsidies, along with imposing fair taxes on the rich. Rent caps must be applied in cases of opportunistic price-gouging. Vacant homes must be made available for rent, especially given the global supply chain crisis caused by lockdowns continues to have an unavoidable impact on the rate of house and apartment construction. Make no mistake, the Australian capitalist class will not countenance a slowing of migration, they want to pick and choose their workers and will maintain a callous disregard for the extreme housing stress that high immigration will cause to citizens, residents and new migrants alike. In order to counter resistance from the rich, workers, unions and their lower-middle-class allies must organise a serious campaign for housing justice. These are realistic, human-centred demands, and they are not racist.
The NSN had one banner at their rally, which read “living space for whites, stop immigration”. Presented with an opportunity to counter racist non-solutions with sound left-wing solutions, what did the far left do? They called their snap counter protest and spent almost the entire time, chanting contextually meaningless slogans like “migrants are welcome, nazis are not“. [Other stock standard favourites are “sexist racist anti-queer, nazis are not welcome here“ and the childish gloat “you’ll always lose in Melbourne”].
The upshot of the day for different forces:
NSN – a clear victory – they have at least doubled in size, in terms of people prepared to march on the streets (from 20 on 18 Mar to perhaps 40 on 13 May). We will see more of them. The more they are counter protested in such a shallow, mindless way by anti-fascists, the more attractive they will appear to some with a deep hatred of corporate woke agendas.
Socialist Alternative – given they recruit through protests, they will presumably be pleased with this outcome. They also seem to be losing the mask mandate war, given only about 50% of the contingent wore Covid masks, indicating it may not be possible to hold out with that charade for too much longer. And don’t expect them to learn any lessons about crying wolf about the “far right“, referring to those with valid scientific scepticism of the pandemic to the campaign to protect children and defend women’s hard won sex-based rights, any time soon.
Black Bloc – despite no actual fisticuffs, pleased, including downing Sewell with a close-range projectile and slashing tires. Given the lack of opportunity for confrontation throughout the Covid years, when they obediently stayed home and supported pseudo-scientific authoritarianism from the state they purportedly want to smash…
Victoria police – comfortable. Once again managed to keep several protest groups separate on the whole. No mainstream media optics of nazis on the parliamentary steps.
Dan Andrews – don’t expect him to take any responsibility for manufacturing a deeply polarised state with a mental health crisis.
Genuine antifascists – some legitimate concerns are warranted. Fascists are growing in Melbourne. Thanks to policies of the mainstream left and the infantile mob behaviour of the far left.
Women’s sex-based rights campaigners – vindicated. They have nothing to do with nazis and, accordingly, were not present at Parliament yesterday.
In finishing off, I’d like to address a genuine question from a member of the Freedom community. Aren’t we on the same side as the nazis on this specific issue of protecting children? It’s true, these nazis seem genuinely concerned about gender ideology, a predatory anti-science movement with the express purpose of confusing and grooming children for the medical industrial complex and, for the rest of us, legally enforced mass participation in a minority of men’s autogynephilic fetish and, in its darkest corners, for the normalisation of pedophilia. However, how concerned are nazis, really? They didn’t care about Muslim children in the 2000’s or the 2010’s. Nor did they care about Asian children in the 90’s. Whilst we might say the same thing about the One Nation party, they have read the room and abandoned overt racism in favour of right populist policies and, importantly, defence of free speech and medical choice. Nazis, on the other hand, as indicated on their latest banner, presumably do not care about non-white children at all. So, with the practical merger of the mainstream and far Lefts with corporations and the state on many important issues, it has become necessary to ally with right populist forces. However, it’s important to draw the line at nazis, whose policies are overwhelmingly negative and divisive and who, let’s not forget, are homophobic and want women in the home.
For left wing people, it’s one thing to dream of a world without borders, but it’s another thing entirely to chant simplistic slogans that don’t address the very real problems faced by ordinary people today.
2 thoughts on “Labor and the Far Left help Nazis grow in Australia”
Hi Adam, Great article, thank you. Yes I agree, the Real Left and Freedom movements need to work together on this. We should organise a meeting to bring these groups together. Happy to help out. Chris
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Thanks for publishing!
In terms of solutions, I would add a demand for curtailment of negative gearing tax breaks, to bring house prices down. Some workers have investment properties, almost always only one, and this is inevitable given the low aged pension. Still, it does not seem fair that the taxpayer funds this.
I would also like to add: I support full citizenship rights for all migrants on all types of visas. This would not fully resolve racist attitudes, but removes some structural racism like keeping migrants insecure, afraid to assert their industrial rights. It also prevents employers using cheap labour to bring all wages down, thereby undermining this divide and rule tactic.
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