In a recent post, Far Right Attempting Regroupment, I noted that fascist agitator Shermon Burgess had changed his tune about Reclaim Australia.
A month after his public and acrimonious split from Reclaim, Burgess is now desperately preaching a message of “patriot unity” in an attempt to build support for planned rallies on July 18 (in Melbourne) and July 19 (elsewhere).
I noted that the “allied groups” Burgess has been name-checking are largely ephemeral, and that in reality he was probably drawing support (for things like his bus trip) from the likes of the Australia First Party:
The people on such a bus will not be coming from some MySpace group, instead they are almost certainly going to be drawn from the milieu around Jim Saleam’s Australia First Party, and their more obviously swastika licking friends in the Hammerskins and Squadron 88.
Burgess’ public position has been moving further toward the extreme edge of the far-right, but even so it is still surprising to see something as brazen as this go up on the United Patriots Front facebook page:
Jim Saleam has a forty year career on the far right in Australia dotted with numerous criminal convictions. He started as a swastika wearing “National Socialist”, spent time in prison for arranging shotgun attacks and arson directed at political opponents, and now attempts to propagate an Australian fascism grounded in the history of the White Australia Policy.
Despite his attempts to distance himself from his swastika licking past, Saleam maintains an ongoing connection to the neo-Nazi scene, evidenced in particular by his continued work with longtime neo-Nazi and Squadron 88 mascot, Ross “the Skull” May.
In the video, Saleam expounds on a couple of his pet conspiracy theories, in particular his claim that the government funds anarchists in Australia. He is then joined in front of the camera by Neil Erikson to announce that:
On July 18 and July 19 Australia First Party throughout the country will be supporting the Reclaim Australia rallies. We want to see all patriotically minded Australians there to stop the intimidation at street level of the extreme left against patriotic freedom of expression.
For those unfamiliar with the career of Jim Saleam, I recommend checking out The Audacity of Hate by Greg Bearup, a 2009 profile originally published in SMH’s Good Weekend magazine.
Shermon Burgess and the United Patriots Front are now publicly and overtly aligned with a man who:
spent three and a half years in the 1990s in prison, for supplying a gun to two skinheads who shot up the home of an African National Congress representative while his young family was inside. He was jailed for a further two years for insurance fraud. In the 1970s, he was involved with Australia’s Nazi Party – the Nationalist Socialist Party of Australia – and has been photographed on several occasions wearing swastika armbands. He also had links to the Patriotic Youth League at the time of the 2005 Cronulla riots.
So what does this mean?
It is simply inconceivable that Shermon Burgess, Neil Erikson and the others grouped in the so-called United Patriots Front could be unaware of Jim Saleam’s status as Australia’s premier fascist ideologue. Neil Erikson’s appearance in this video with Jim Saleam was not some kind of mistake or misunderstanding.
This video is yet more evidence that Burgess and the UPF do not simply hate Muslims; they are embarked on a deliberate project to build a fascist political formation.