I have had a strange couple of days. Apparently some loon is going to “find out exactly who” I am and why I’ve apparently been “exposing union members’ mothers’ addresses to violent criminals”.
The neo-Nazi is a bloke named Neil Luke Erikson, he calls himself “Nationalist Republican Guard” online. The Cooma based garbage collector is Shermon Burgess, a flag wrapped Islamophobe who has been promoting a series of anti-islamic rallies due to be held on April 4.
On its Facebook page Reclaim Australia is described as a “grass roots movement” to “stand together to stop halal tax, sharia law & islamisation”. It is the initiative of Shermon Burgess, the self-described “Great Aussie Patriot”, a man with form on the Australian far-right.
Burgess has now tried to conceal and distance himself from his previous record of promoting crude racism and racial vilification, but the remnants of his politics remain online for all to see. Some of the classier examples of his racism are the tunes he released as the lead singer in far-right band Eureka Brigade. Perhaps you have heard hits such as “Shit on a Mosque”, “Clockwork and the Shermonator” and “ADL Killing Machine”?
This is Shermon in “Shit on a Mosque (It’s what we do)”:
“We’ll shit on a mosque, she’ll be right,
punch some muslims and have a good time,
Ralph Cerminara will show you his might”
And these are some of lyrics from “ADL killing machine”:
“No sharia or halal,
time to get the .50 cal,
We’ll fight you fuckers to the end!
We like Buddhists Sikhs and Jews,
and the Christians too,
but there’s no fucking room for you!”
The rest are similarly awful, both in their racism and in their absence of any musical talent.
As you can probably guess from the lyrics, Shermon Burgess is a member of the Australian Defence League (ADL). The ADL is an attempt by the far-right in Australia to replicate the success of the UK based street gang the English Defence League.
Shermon’s music makes multiple glowing references to the antics of Sydney based military imposter Ralph Cerminara. Cerminara was the supposed president of the Australian Defence League who came to public attention last year when he led a comic attempt to attack the Islamic community in Lakemba. Cerminara and an accomplice went to the mosque in Lakemba, taunted locals, started a brawl, and were quickly arrested. By all accounts Cerminara and his accomplice copped a beating.
On an aside, Burgess is also on the record expressing delightful opinions about indigenous Australians:
“I have met some nice aboriginal people, right, but they are few and far between. Really, so many of them are just dickheads, you see them passed out on metho and bludging cigarettes, and still blaming the modern generation for what happened two hundred years ago”
Burgess has tried to bury his politics and reinvent himself as the supposedly mainstream ‘Great Aussie Patriot’, but his ongoing association with neo-Nazis gives lie to this supposed transformation.
Neil Erikson and the NRG
I must confess I had no idea who Melbourne based neo-Nazi Neil Erikson was until he decided I was behind Reclaim What (I’m not).
Erikson made the news last year after being arrested for making threatening phone calls to a Melbourne Rabbi:
Neil Luke Erikson, 29, phoned Rabbi Dovid Gutnick of Melbourne City Synagogue on three occasions, telling him “Give me the money Jew or else I will get you” and abusing him for his faith.
He also spoke of circumcisions, blood money and Jewish sidelocks and told Rabbi Gutnick he knew his location and was coming to get him.
Neil Erikson was a key part of the Melbourne neo-Fascist grouplet Nationalist Alternative before it imploded late last year; he has since gone on to establish the oddly named Nationalist Republican Guard.
The connection between Neil Erikson and Shermon Burgess has come to the fore in recent weeks as they seek to battle the (real or perceived) enemies of Reclaim Australia.
Unsurprisingly, as a racist organising a series of racist rallies, Burgess has received a variety of attention from anti-racists of all sorts. He appears to have been particularly irritated by the website Reclaim What who posted contact details for his employers at Cooma Shire and requested supporters phone and complain about the racist politics of one of their garbage collectors.
Neil Erikson is assisting Burgess in responding to his critics; under the name NRG Prop he has produced a series of videos attacking individuals he believes are responsible for the criticism of Shermon Burgess. Burgess is in turn quick to post and promote the various theories advanced by Erikson, in some cases beating him to the punch.
And how I fit into this…
It seems Neil Erikson has decided that I publish Reclaim What. Two days ago Shermon Burgess posted some screen shots from my Facebook profile, twitter account and personal website on his Facebook page with the caption:
Everyone we have been busy with our Hacker department working flat out but we have traced the Left Wing owner of the webpage and facebook page reclaimwhat.net and this is the man who gives out patriots personal addresses, writes up fake blogs. Here you can see who he is and…
(I’m working from a screen shot published by Reclaim What, the original message has since been removed).
In the days since Burgess put the above message on his Facebook page, Erikson has released a couple of videos poking fun at some old (and admittedly awful!) videos on my youtube account and vaguely threatening to find out who I ‘really’ am. I’ve also received a few weird text messages, and Facebook friends have contacted me in concern after receiving messages like this:
Which brings us to…
Union Member’s Mother’s Addresses!
Earlier tonight Erikson released a video claiming I had published his mother’s (???) address online. As best I can work out someone using the handle Death Sec has published a mobile phone number and a street address they claim belong to Erikson. The Facebook page Reclaim What then shared this info, and Erikson is livid. These are his remarks from that video:
Boy do we have more news on this Kieran Bennett fellow. It seems going from online he’s a supporter and organiser for NUW union. I am sorry to say mate, the person you exposed, Neil Erikson, you put his mothers address online, to incite violence against his mothers house. The funny thing is Neil Erikson is a member of the NUW union. He’s gonna find out exactly who you are Kieran Bennett and why you are exposing union members mothers addresses to violent criminals.
It’s a laugh a minute from these guys.
For the Record
Time to get a few things straight. I doubt the increasingly unhinged Shermon Burgess and his neo-Nazi friend will pay much attention to this, but for everyone else:
First: I don’t publish, write for, or contribute to Reclaim What. It’s nice to see people are sticking it to the racists though, even if I disagree with their tactical approach.
Second: Contacting Shermon’s boss to whinge about his political activity is silly at best and dangerous at worst. I am no fan of asking employers to police the political opinions of workers, primarily because the first target for such repression has long been the left. “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the…” anyone?
Third: I’m not in the habit of posting political opponents’ home addresses or private phone numbers online. Not even the racist ones. Petty online harassment will not defeat the political agenda of racism and fascism. Victory over the far right requires organizing in our workplaces, communities and streets.