Episode 184 – Nazis, Foreign Fighters and Whitehouse Hamburgers

Episode 184 – Nazis, Foreign Fighters and Whitehouse Hamburgers

It’s been quiet in Australia. Everyone is still on holidays or on the “go slow” except for Fraser Anning and the Nazis.

Jonathon Pie: We’ve reached peak Nazi (language warning)

Fascist Vs Nazi

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy, which came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe.

Nazism is a form of fascism and showed that ideology’s disdain for liberal democracy and the parliamentary system, but also incorporated fervent antisemitism, scientific racism, and eugenics into its creed.

10:01 From the SMH:

Everything you need to know about Australia’s far right.

What a motley bunch of incels.

On October 15, 2015, far-right kingpin Shermon Burgess posted his final video on the popular nationalist Facebook page, The Great Aussie Patriot.

“G’day patriots,” he started. “Now just letting you know what’s going on. I’m going to be handing full leadership of the United Patriots Front over to Blair Cottrell. I won’t be doing it anymore.”

Reclaim Australia – the series of rallies in 2015 that turned out thousands of anti-immigrant, anti-Islam “patriots” – saw Cottrell as the next golden child. And so did Cottrell. One researcher says he views himself as the “sexy Fuhrer”: a muscular, blond, articulate leader who has said Jews are “a much deadlier enemy than the violent Islamic pillagers”, and that to keep women in line you should “crack them around the ear every once in a while”.

But in his three-year tenure as de facto leader of Australia’s far-right, the “sexy Fuhrer” has failed. The movement has dramatically weakened since its Reclaim Australia days – something that could have been predicted from watching Burgess’ resignation video three years ago.

“I won’t be making videos and I’m taking down my page,” he said, before adding: “Now it’s not because of media, it’s not because of death threats from Islam – even though I’ve received many of those.

“It’s because of the dumb f—ing patriots out there.”

Since Reclaim Australia, the single biggest ideological clash in far-right circles has been whether to be pro or anti-Israel. Some nationalists celebrate Israel, believing it sets a precedent for the emergence of other single-ethnicity states, while others find more ammunition by blaming Jews for faults in the economy and media.

When it comes to Jews, Australia’s far-right hasn’t been able to keep it together. In the extensive field of far-right Facebook pages and groups, the big news at the end of last year was the clash between Neil Erikson and Avi Yemini. If Cottrell is Australia’s most well known nationalist, Erikson and Yemini are second and third. Erikson is a self-confessed “troll” who famously harassed former senator Sam Dastyari in a Melbourne pub in 2017, and Yemini is the most prominent member of the only far-right party to contest the recent Victoria state election, the Australian Liberty Alliance (which received 0.6 per cent of the upper house vote). He’s also Jewish.

One result of the constant infighting is that since Reclaim Australia, the far-right has rotated through a ferociously high number of groups. Erikson, for instance, has been part of at least 16 different nationalist projects in recent years, including: Cook’s Convicts, Patriot Blue, Nationalist Uprising, Australian Settlers Rebellion, Aussie Patriot Army, Ban Islam Party, European Australian Civil Rights League, Generation Identity Australia, Nationalist Republican Guard, Neil Erikson Media, NRG Media, OzConspiracy, Pauline Hanson’s Guardian Angels, Reclaim Australia, United Patriots Front – Originals, and UPF itself.

Current main players are:

United Patriots Front
Spawned from the 2015 Reclaim Australia rallies, United Patriots Front was the largest far-right group – and the one with the most momentum – of the last few years. But due to leadership splits and a lack of cohesion, the movement failed to grow from its peak in 2015. It is currently an organisation in name only – described as an “umbrella group” by Erikson – and has been superseded by the dozens of newer groups.

True Blue Crew
A newer anti-Islam outfit which has organised street rallies since 2016. They have protested mosque developments and so-called African gangs. Last year, they were featured in a controversial Channel 7 news segment in which it was reported that True Blue Crew was planning to set up neighbourhood watch-style patrols to prevent South Sudanese crime.

Lads Society
Cottrell’s latest project is club houses in Melbourne and Sydney which feature gym equipment and a library. The Lads Society has offered bodyguard services to visiting far-right celebrities, including Canadian Lauren Southern.

Rise Up Australia Party
An anti-Islam, nationalist, Christian party, Rise Up was launched in 2011 by Danny Nalliah and has contested both the 2013 and 2016 federal election (it received 0.3 per cent of the nation-wide Senate votes in the last poll). The party has ties to Pauline Hanson, and its Facebook page was temporarily banned for “hateful speech” content.

Australian Liberty Alliance
The group was controversially launched with infamous Dutch politician Geert Wilders in attendance, and has ties to far-right independent senator Fraser Anning. It contested both the 2016 federal election and the 2018 Victoria state election, where it received 0.6 per cent of the vote in the upper house.

They have lots of social media followers.

Despite their multitude, they amass considerable online followings: Australian Liberty Alliance has 46,000 followers on Facebook, and Erikson, on his personal page, has 23,000. Remnant pages from the Reclaim Australia days have even more reach: the “Stand Up For Australia – Canberra” page, for instance, has 134,000 followers.

Fraser Anning, the independent senator who attended the St Kilda beach rally last Saturday, is a rising star on the far-right Facebook scene. His 75,000-follower strong page shares popular posts, including a recent one – “Too many pollies and those in the media are out of touch with the legitimate concerns of everyday Aussies” – that garnered 13,000 reactions and was shared 3000 times.

But only 100 showed up at St Kilda? Maybe a lot of followers are Russian bots?

From the Crikey pocket guide to Australian Nazis:

15:03 Proud Boys

Formed in 2016 by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys describe themselves as“proud western chauvinists who refuse to apologise for the creation of the modern world”.

They believe western culture in general and white men in particular are under siege from political correctness, Islam and feminism. As such, the group’s rhetoric touches on men’s rights activism, libertarianism, the “white genocide” conspiracy theory and the twin hard-right sugar highs of anti-Islam and antisemitism.

To join, one must go through a four-part process — first, pledging loyalty; second, reciting breakfast cereal names while getting punched (I promise we’re not making this up); third, getting a tattoo and agreeing to not masturbate. All of this would be very funny, if not for step four. Per the Southern Poverty Law Centre:

… in early 2017, the Proud Boys added another degree to their membership hierarchy: in order to enter the fourth degree, a member needs to ‘get involved in a major fight for the cause’.

They have been involved in violent brawls across North America, they wear slogan T-shirts glorifying violence against leftists (“Pinochet did nothing wrong”) and McInnes has been been quoted advocating for violence several times. In 2017, they formed a “paramilitary wing” called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK).

17:00 But Facebook censorship is kicking in

“To the best of my knowledge, they do operate in multiple cities, on some level, including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth,” Australia’s most assiduous fascist cataloguer, Andy Fleming, told Crikey.

McInnes was planning to visit Australia late last year, and the group’s numbers were expected to grow. However, after a protracted campaign, his visa was finally cancelled.

“If he’d been allowed to tour, that would have been very dangerous — it would have emboldened some of the nastier elements in the group, as well as being a huge recruitment drive, so that was a relief,” the researcher for The White Rose Society told Crikey. “But I think the real thing that’s killed their momentum has been the deplatforming on Facebook.”

Following violence in New York, Facebook purged the majority of Proud Boy pages, including Proud Boys Australia. Further, the Proud Boys Australia website is now more or less blank.

22:55 Morrison echoes Howard in a push for a conversation on Australian values

You sort of know when Australia Day is coming up, don’t you, when you get the annual conservative outing to put politics into Australia Day?

27:07 WA Liberals

The Christian takeover continues.

30:32 How many lies a politician can tell before Australians distrust them

In a paper published in Royal Society Open Science, the team analysed 370 Australians’ responses to a series of claims made by then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

Some were true, others were not. Afterwards, the participants were shown fact-checks of those statements.

Researchers found the corrections “strongly reduced” belief in what they called “myths” on both sides of the political spectrum. That is, voters were willing to accept that they had swallowed a fib.

They also found that support declined for politicians who were caught telling “myths” – but only if they told enough of them.

Participants had to be given a ratio of four false claims to one statement of fact before they changed their view about a politician.

These results contrasted sharply with a follow-up study in the US.

There, even when voters were presented with statements from Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders which were 80 per cent “myth”, their feelings towards them “hardly shifted”.

RMIT ABC Fact Check chief academic investigator Gordon Farrer said Australia’s compulsory voting system and the highly partisan nature of US politics were likely factors in those findings.

33:40 Trump

The hamburger fiasco and the Taco Bell comment.

Trump campaigned on a promise to build a wall. Are the Democrats defying democracy? What would Don Chipp do?

More on Walls

NB The episode of This American Life dealing with walls.

The tiny Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla sit on the northern shores of Morocco’s Mediterranean coast. Together they form the European Union’s only land borders with Africa.

44:23 While Donald Trump has spent much of his presidency focused on the number of people who want to get into the U.S., since he took office, record numbers of Americans have wanted to get out. 

Endless War Has Been Normalized And Everyone Is Crazy

From Caitlin Johnstone:

Endless war and military expansionism has become so normalized in establishment thought that even a slight scale-down is treated as something abnormal and shocking. The talking heads of the corporate state media had been almost entirely ignoring the buildup of US troops in Syria and the operations they’ve been carrying out there, but as soon as the possibility of those troops leaving emerged, all the alarm bells started ringing. Endless war was considered so normal that nobody ever talked about it, then Trump tweeted he’s bringing the troops home, and now every armchair liberal in America who had no idea what a Kurd was until five minutes ago is suddenly an expert on Erdoğan and the YPG. Lindsey Graham, who has never met an unaccountable US military occupation he didn’t like, is now suddenly cheerleading for congressional oversight: not for sending troops into wars, but for pulling them out.

55:55 The Velvet Glove says foreign fighters must be charged

We have to make an example of them … apparently

1:10:45 Feedback

Murray was not happy with the 12th Man’s view on artefacts.

Waz asks: How much real damage would be inflicted on humanity if works of art such as the Rosetta Stone and the Mona Lisa were destroyed? You three all seemed to agree it would be a disaster. Why?
I would argue it would be a disaster if items of scientific importance where destroyed but not items that we are able to replicate.

Private Health

A recommendation from John Menadue:

‘Perhaps [we could consider] a review of what Pierre Trudeau and his government (in Canada) did in 1984 when they took on a system not dissimilar to ours – uncontrolled fee for service – and legislated that doctors could charge what they liked BUT unless they adhered to the fee negotiated between the provincial government and the profession (on an annual basis) the doctor lost all access to a Medicare reimbursement. The system still works today in Canada and few doctors opt out of it. Now there is a thought and a significant game-changer.’

1:19:11 The primary flaw of the secular movement is illustrated by the popularity of Jordan Peterson.

Peterson, a wily thinker whose ideas are often difficult to pin down, spreads a belief in quasi-Christian culture with what can only be described as a quasi-definition of God. When asked during a debate with atheist philosopher Sam Harris what God is to him, Peterson replied, “God is how we imaginatively and collectively represent the existence and action of consciousness across time. As the most real aspects of existence manifest themselves across the longest of time frames, but are not necessarily apprehensible as objects in the here and now.”

Though this flimsy definition of God is certainly not what most religious people around the world think of their deity, Peterson has tapped into exactly what is missing from atheism. He focuses on stories and archetypes and on how these human constructs provide meaning and purpose to life. In addition to allowing cultural and moderate Christians to hold onto their cherished beliefs without too much added baggage of dogmatic ideology, Peterson also connects with those who feel left behind by an increasingly shallow and materialistic world.

1:22:37 Germany: New Law Banning Child Marriage Declared Unconstitutional

The Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH), Germany’s highest court of civil and criminal jurisdiction, has ruled that a new law that bans child marriage may be unconstitutional because all marriages, including Sharia-based child marriages, are protected by Germany’s Basic Law (Grundgesetz).

The ruling, which effectively opens the door to legalizing Sharia-based child marriages in Germany, is one of a growing number of instances in which German courts are — wittingly or unwittingly — promoting the establishment of a parallel Islamic legal system in the country.

The case involves a Syrian couple — a 14-year-old Syrian girl married to her 21-year-old cousin — who arrived in Germany at the height of the migrant crisis in August 2015. The Youth Welfare Office (Jugendamt) refused to recognize their marriage and separated the girl from her husband. When the husband filed a lawsuit, a family court in Aschaffenburg ruled in favor of the Youth Welfare Office, which claimed to be the girl’s legal guardian.

In May 2016, an appeals court in Bamberg overturned the decision. The court ruled that the marriage was valid because it was contracted in Syria, where, according to Sharia law, child marriages are allowed. The ruling effectively legalized Sharia child marriages in Germany.


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