October 2018

December’s planned far-right speaking tour, “Ann + Milo Live”, has collapsed with ticket holders directed to Penthouse’s upcoming Gavin McInnes Tour.

The “Ann + Milo Live” tour was to feature Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (more commonly known by the pseudonym Tommy Robinson) and former Katter Australia Party Senator Fraser Anning. The tour promoter (believed to be Dan Spiller, aka. Future Now Australia) emailed ticket holders today simply stating that “due to unforeseen circumstances our Ann and Milo tour has had to be cancelled”, no further explanation was offered.

Australia has become a regular pitstop on the global far-right speaking circuit. In the past year Australia has seen tours by Milo Yiannopolous, Lauren Southern, and Stephen Molyneux. The “Ann + Milo Live” tour was one of two far-right tours planned for this coming month, and there are never ending rumours that Steve Bannon intends to cash in on the Australian alt-right’s happiness to throw money at any low-rent foreign racist that shows up in Sydney.

The “speaking tour” is a key source of funding for modern far-right agitators. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon has launched multiple speaking tours to cash in on recent contempt of court proceedings and is due in the United States in less than a fortnight.

Local racists who splashed cash on the “Ann + Milo Live” tour are not being offered a refund. The promoter appears to have instead onsold the ticket sales to rival Penthouse, who have also attached Stephen Yaxley-Lennon to their previously announced Gavin McInnes tour.

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Penthouse have delayed and rebranded their planned Gavin McInnes tour. The Proud Boys founder and far-right thug Gavin McInnes was due to commence his Australian speaking tour this week. Penthouse, having picked up Stephen Yaxley-Lennon from Dan Spiller’s Future Now, are now promoting a Gavin McInnes + Tommy Robinson double bill for the first fortnight in December.

It is still unclear whether McInnes will even be allowed to enter Australia.

Last week Sudanese Australian lawyer Nyadol Nyuon launched an online petition calling on David Coleman and Peter Dutton (the ministers for Immigration and Home Affairs respectively) to prevent McInnes entering Australia. The petition has quickly attracted 30,000 signatures and has prompted national debate.

Nyuon argues that McInnes is coming to Australia to spread hate and encourage violence and should thus be barred:

The thought of Gavin McInnes coming to this country to spread hate is extremely concerning. The fact that his hate speech is often accompanied by violence which is extremely concerning. A man who encourages violence, who formed a gang labelled a hate group and that serially engages in violence should not be allowed into Australia. We should not allow Australia to become the last hope of such a group.

In the Guardian, Jason Wilson similarly made the case for denying McInnes a visa, detailing his history of violence.

These calls have been picked up by the ALP, with shadow immigration minister Shayne Neumann calling on the government to refuse McInnes a visa on character grounds. Neumann wrote:

“Labor strongly supports the refuse or cancellation of visas of non-citizens on character or criminal grounds and the removal of criminals from Australia under Section 501 of the Migration Act.

Under these powers you, as the responsible Minister, have the power to refuse visas for individuals if there is a significant risk that the individual would:
– vilify a segment of the Australian community; or
– incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community; or
– represent a danger to the Australian community or to a segment of that community, whether by way of being liable to become involved in activities that are disruptive to, or in violence threatening harm to, that community or segment, or in any other way”

In the coverage that has followed, even the Murdoch media is now referring to McInnes as the leader of a violent gang (eschewing the usual euphemisms, “provocateur” and “activist”).

Calls to use of Section 501 of the Migration Act for any purpose are not without their critics.

This legislation is more commonly deployed for explicitly racist purposes, deporting so-called “foreign criminals”. Approximately 1,500 New Zealanders (predominantly Maori) have been deported under Section 501 since 2015, despite supposed free movement and residency between the two countries. Section 501 has been used to deport children, split families, and in some cases deport people who have lived their entire lives in Australia.

The political problem is that any appeal to the good graces of the government has the potential to provide cover for the existence of an incredibly unjust piece of legislation. Australia’s “border protection” regime, and all the executive powers that go with it, serve deeply racist purposes. The Australian government detains and tortures groups of asylum seekers, “turns back” (refouls) others, and holds the threat of random and arbitrary deportation over the heads of many more. Migrants and asylum seekers in Australia are held in a state of uncertainty and terror, and Section 501 of the Migration Act is one of the mechanisms the government uses to do this.

The Melbourne based Campaign Against Racism and Fascism put out a statement rejecting calls to deny McInnes a visa on just this basis. The CARF statement read in part:

Although we are disgusted and outraged by international fascists visiting Australia, we also recognise that the Department of Immigration and the Australian Border Force already execute the brutal, draconian border “protection” policy of the Australian Government, and we denounce any expansion or strengthening of that policy. We also bring to attention the irony of a Labor Party MP calling for the denial of McInnes’ visa on the grounds of his white supremacist views when it was the Labor Party themselves who pandered to white Australia’s xenophobia and created the groundwork of the current immigration regime.

The only possible defence against fascism is working class self-organising and self-defence. The Campaign Against Racism and Fascism calls on all those who oppose racism and fascism to reject the false protection of the state and instead take direct antifascist action.

The reality is more difficult.

The far-right is a growing threat in Australia. There is a sizeable audience for fascist ideas within Australia and there are plethora of far-right groups organizing in an attempt to relate to this audience. Tours by far-right agitators like Gavin McInnes help groups like the local Proud Boys franchise recruit and organise. If we want to stop the growth of the far-right in Australia, fascist organizing needs to be shut down.

But no matter how much we might wish for working class self-organisation and self-defence against fascism, the situation on the streets has been very different.

The state has shown a willingness, time and time again, to deploy overwhelming police resources in order to facilitate fascist events and demonstrations, and in doing so brush aside the opposition that has been mounted by small antifascist groups from the far-left.

More people are taking the threat of the far-right seriously; thirty thousand people have signed Nyadol Nyuen’s petition, something that would not have happened three years ago. But there is not yet any mass anti-fascist movement with the capacity to shut these groups down, and majority of people concerned about the growth of the far-right maintain their faith in the police and the state.

It would be preferable to stop a far-right movement before it grows, before it becomes established, and before it has the capacity to crush its opposition. As anti-fascists we have to organise, we make the case that the police and the state cannot be relied on and that working class self-organisation and self-defence are required. But we have not yet succeeded in this task.

Until we do, I welcome any set-back that the far-right faces, wherever it comes from.

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Background Briefing has today published the results of an investigation into neo-Nazi infiltration of the Young Nationals in New South Wales.

Earlier this year The Australian and The Land newspapers reported that a “former” alt-right figure, Clifford Jennings, had been elected to the Young Nationals state executive at their May 2018 conference in Lismore.

The Land reported that Jennings and “an alleged alt-right bloc attempting to hijack proceedings” and that:

A motion calling for strict controls on migrants who were not from ‘culturally appropriate nations’ was narrowly defeated after a 90-minute debate.

Responding to media inquiries back in May, Jennings claimed he had long since abandoned any connection with the alt-right and denied that he had any “sympathies towards white nationalism or the alt-right movement”.

The Background Briefing report details how a group of up to 25 people with links to the far-right joined the Young Nationals in New South Wales just in time for this years conference. Despite their denials, it is clear that Clifford Jennings and others involved in the group have fascist politics and that they joined the Young Nationals with the explicit aim of capturing that organisation for the far-right.

This information has come to light as the result of an ongoing project by research group, the White Rose Society. White Rose researchers have gained access to a range of Facebook groups used by the far-right.

Clifford Jennings and other NSW Young Nationals infiltrators were members of a closed Facebook group called The New Guard. Facebook records reveal the group was created on 25 February 2017 and that it was originally titled “Fash Queensland”. The about section describes the group’s politics:

“Our Cause started with an Australian fascist group – the original new guard… We are the soil in which the movement will grow. Our Objectives are to enable nationalists to begin businesses, acquire funds, learn skills… Nationalists, fascists, national socialists, libertarians, Christians, pagans, agnostics, atheists and truth seekers are welcome in this place.”

The group’s administrator signed posts as “The Aussie Fascist”.

In this group, Jennings and others discussed far-right politics, made plans, and recruited young people drawn to fascist politics online to undertake action in the “real world”. To the media, Jennings has claimed that he has long since ended his association with the far-right.

But in January 2017 on a closed Facebook group Jennings wrote:

“I view fascism as being in the interests of my blood, it’s probably better to just call me a nationalist, all I care about is the fourteen words”.

Jennings’ posts are littered with references to coded neo-Nazi slogans.

The Young Nationals infiltrators have since moved from organising online. The group has links to both the Lads Society and neo-Nazi outfit Antipodean Resistance. Background Briefing journalist Alex Mann staked out the Lads Society HQ in Sydney and confirms in his report that multiple members of the far-right plot attend its Friday fight nights.

The Background Briefing report indicates that The Nationals are taking fascist infiltration of their party seriously, and that a number of individuals with revealed links to far-right politics have been sent ‘show cause’ notices which could result in the termination of their memberships. Jennings is yet to be expelled from the party.

Background Briefing will air on Radio National this Sunday, you can click through to listen to their story here. A transcript is not yet available.

Extensive screenshots, photos and other documents, along with profiles of five more far-right activists involved in the Young Nationals infiltration have been posted online by the White Rose Society today.

The far-right infiltrators mentioned in the Radio National piece are Clifford Jennings, Thomas Brasher, Oscar Tuckfield, Nicholas Walker and Michael Heeney. The White Rose Society has also compiled profiles on Stuart Churchill, Lisa Sandford, and Justin Beulah.

The far-right in Australia are active, organising, and seeking inroads into mainstream politics. The likes of Fraser Anning, Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer are making various barely concealed appeals to this constituency. The Young Nationals infiltrators are just one far-right group who have moved from closed Facebook groups to “real world” politics, theirs is unlikely to be the last attempt.

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