Wednesday, September 12, 2007

THE BATTLE OF APEC

by Peter Middleton

1. Introduction: how to form your own Black Block

For some time now, we had been discussing here at the New Right blog the Freie Nationalisten, the importance of an anti-capitalist, anti-globalist, and above all, ‘social’ ideology. We decided, at the APEC summit at Sydney on the 8th of September, to put words into action. All the planning was done by word of mouth – either by phone or by face to face contact. Because of the lack of the advertisement on the Internet, neither the police nor the left-wing demonstrators at APEC were prepared for our arrival. We insisted on an all black, anarchist dress code, and the use of baseball caps, sunglasses, and masks – either bandannas or half-face masks – like the Black Bloc at Seattle in 1999. Why? We all knew, from bitter experience, that our enemies at the demonstration would use photographs and film – either their own, or the mainstream media’s – to find out who we were. The next step would be to find out addresses, phone numbers, places of employment, etc., and then make threatening phone calls to ourselves and family members, send threatening mail, and do their best to get us fired. The Black Block look, to our minds, seemed to be perfect for protecting our identities. (Indeed, mainstream anarchist literature always claimed that anarchists adopted that look to protect their identities from the State).

As well as that, the outfits, I have to say, looked menacing. They also made us look anonymous – they erased our individuality, and in a liberal society, that is a very frightening thing in itself. Finally, there was a strength in uniformity, which is why armies make all their soldiers dress the same…

Added to all this was the benefit of camouflage, pure and simple. We predicted (and we were wrong, as it turned out) that there would be a large ‘Black Bloc’ of mainstream anarchists in attendance – in particular, two groups, Mutiny and AC/DC. The handful of individual anarchists who were there at the demonstration were mistaken for us throughout the day, much to their chagrin.

The banners we designed ourselves. They contained a positive message: ‘Globalisation in Genocide’, ‘Australia free nation – or sheep station’ and ‘Power to the people – not political parties'– nothing what the traditional left would expect from us so called ‘Right- Wingers’. They were also the product of our own hard work, with members on their hands and knees working on the stencils of one banner the days before. (Six of the bandannas were sewn by a female member of our group). All the money came from our pockets: we did not receive any donations from any political party or any trade union. In general, we pushed ourselves hard, physically and mentally, in the weeks before the demo: what you get is what you invest.

2. The start of the demo

The march was scheduled to start at around 10 o'clock. We had collected all of our number - around 30 to 35 people - and walked through the Sydney CBD to the rally assembly area. We passed plenty of Socialist Alliance members, handing out propaganda and newspapers, on the way. I have to admit that, at this point, I was feeling quite cocky - a little nervous, but sure that our march would proceed peacefully, with minimal interference from the police and the communist and anarchist demonstrators. We were told, by our demo co-ordinators, that the police would see our 'Black Bloc' uniforms and at first think that we were a mainstream 'Black Bloc' anarchist group. Because the police would have briefed, beforehand, that 'Black Bloc' anarchists were one of the groups of trouble-makers at anti-globalisation demonstrations - that is, one of the groups who smashed up Starbucks windows - they would surround us, and stay very close to us, as soon as they saw us. This turned out to be the case. We arrived in the assembly area, in the midst of many other demonstrators and media, and began 'suiting up', putting on our bandannas, hoodies and sunglasses. Straight away, the police began looking at us in a hostile manner: one policeman even sneered, 'People who aren't cowards don't hide their faces'. He then went on to announce, to all the media photographers and cameramen (and possibly a few police photographers in the vicinity), 'Take photos of all these guys - these are the ones we'll arrest when the trouble starts'. Obviously, the police, at this point, believed we were violent anarchist demonstrators.

The media began closing in, pointing cameras at our (covered) faces, and firing off questions. Now, anyone under such circumstances normally feels flattered that the media are paying attention: that's human psychology. The next step is to go and shoot one's mouth off, in the hope that a soundbite will end up on the six o'clock news, where all of one's friends and relatives can see it... After all we were at the demo to represent an idea and not our personality. To paraphrase Descartes: it is not a case of 'I think, therefore I am', but 'I am on the six o'clock news tonight, therefore I am'.

But, for this demonstration, we enforced a strict 'no comment' policy. That is, we were told to say 'No comment' to all questions; and, if the media persisted, we would tell them that all the answers could be found at the New Right websites and pass them a brochure. Our demo co-ordinators upheld this rule most ruthlessly, and reprimanded any of our number who violated it.

The result was that our brochures started circulating in the crowd early. At first, we were taken by the other demonstrators to be mainstream anarchist Black Bloc; one lone Black Bloc demonstrator, waving a black flag, and not part of our group, at first came over and tried to join us. But, after the brochures were handed out, one of the communists there obtained and decided, rather slowly, that we were FRN - Fascist/Racist/Nazi. One young woman walked over, pointed to us, and chanted, 'Racist, racist, these guys are racist' and walked off. That was the first shot fired by the communists - a weak and ineffectual one, perhaps, but the first.

A round of applause went up when the trade unions marched down the road - and by trade unions, I mean the CFMEU and others. Then came the communist ‘red bloc’, with their impressive forest of red flags mounted on high poles (all what was missing was the swastika and one could have thought it was a Nazi parade, just not an organised one). I was quite taken with these flags: as a visual effect, they have the effect multiplying the number of demonstrators. I wondered, though, what the communists would do with them - the police had specified that flagpoles of a certain length (1 metre) could not be carried into a demonstration site, as they could be used as weapons.

By this point, we had attracted the full attention of the communist demonstrators. One thin, impudent little man came up mouthing obscenities, in a jeering way - obscenities of a sexual nature, specifying what he would like to do us. Another man, with spiky blonde hair, came up and asked us if we were the New Right Australia/New Zealand, and if we intended to stay dressed like the Black Block all day. When we told him yes, he shook his head, laughed and said, 'Good luck'. (I was told later, that at the end of the day, he came up and congratulated us for sticking it out). By this point, I knew that we had walked into the lion’s den: we were outnumbered, by an opponent, who would not let us march unmolested.

We were told, by our demo co-ordinators, to get onto the road and unfurl the banners. We had been given a pep talk beforehand to stay disciplined, not respond to provocation and to keep the demonstration peaceful, at all costs. The moment the police saw any sign of violence, they would throw us into a mobile holding cell, and at the least, shut down the demonstration. Given the impending communist assault, however, that discipline may have been difficult for us to maintain. It would have been easy for a communist to provoke a scuffle, which would, in turn, lead to us being thrown into the clink. We were being forced to play by the Marquess of Queensbury rules, while they were not.

The precariousness of our situation dawned on all the members of the group. By this point, we knew that arrest by the police, or a beating at the hands of the communists, was a real possibility. The natural human reaction to that is fear. We were starting to feel rather nervous by then. As we crossed from the footpath into the street where the march was to take place, I reached over and clasped the hand of one of the others (who, exactly, I can't remember, as all of us were masked, and almost indistinguishable); I said to him, 'This is it, brother: you stand by me and I'll stand by you'.

We crossed from the gutter to the street and unfurled the banner, taking up our positions. The large banner was rolled out at the front, the other two, smaller banners on the left and right flanks. Unknown to us, the communists had appointed their own informal ‘march security’ stewards – old men wearing reflector vest jackets with ‘security’ written on the back. One approached us straight away, and told that we as the Black Blocks weren’t allowed to march with masks, or start any violence. He went away, and when he returned, told us we had no right to be there, that we would be forbidden from marching. (He told another communist that we were affiliated with the ‘racist, fascist’ Internet forum Stormfront). A tall, intimidating communist walked up to the front of the banner and informed us coldly: ‘You no be here, man – you be gone’, and that we were not allowed to march.

It dawned on me that the communist groups had assumed ownership of the entire anti-APEC/anti-Bush demonstration: they were, in effect, masters of the ‘Stop Bush’ coalition. All the other community groups were there at the communists’ sufferance. That is, indigenous rights groups, environmentalists, trade unionists, liberal Christians and pacifists, ordinary mums, dads and concerned citizens, were only allowed to be present because the communists allowed them to be there. And, clearly, we so-called ‘Fascist racist Neo-Nazis’ were not. They would use verbal intimidation to get rid of us, and take pictures of us – plenty of them had their cameras there. They shoved, and spat, especially at the smaller members of our group, but stopped short of a real physical assault: after all, plenty of CCTV cameras were rolling, and the police were ever-present. And, of course, we were an unknown quantity. Our masks, our black clothes, made us look menacing. We were under strict orders from our co-ordinators not to respond to violence, or verbal provocation; but the communists didn’t know that.

So what were the police doing? It took them a while to realise that we were not mainstream ‘Black Bloc’, and that we were not with the communists. They concluded, then, that we were ‘Far Right’. After that, they said the same thing they always say in these ‘Far Right’ versus ‘Far Left’ situations: they told us that they could not guarantee our physical safety, so we had to leave. Our co-ordinators told the police, in turn, that we were citizens of Australia and thereby constitutionally guaranteed the right to march like anyone else at the demo. We only wanted a peaceful march, and had briefed all members not to respond to violent provocation. That did the trick: the police assented to our presence there.

The police then insisted that it was a regulation – probably a ‘special power’, especially introduced for the APEC summit – that no-one could march masked. Again the co-ordinators told the police that we had families, jobs, and that the Left would do their best to take as many photos of us as possible and work out who were. So we needed the masks to hide our identities to prevent negative repercussions in our private lives. After looking at all the cameras around our group, the media’s cameras in particular, the police officer gave his permission but warned us again that he would pull us out at the first sign of violence.

Surprisingly enough, the police were not the enemy here – they were a neutral third party. They, in all probability, thought little of both us and the communists. Their main concern was to prevent any violence and any damage to property. At the time when we left, the senior police officer present thanked us for our co-operation, our discipline and that we were not giving in on any provocations hurled at us. (One woman communist approached the police claiming, falsely, that we had hit her. The police officer informed her dryly that he watched her for a while abusing us and that she was lucky he didn’t arrest her himself).

3. The battle begins

We were in the middle of a crowd of three to five thousand people. Police snipers, visible in the skyscrapers above, had their sights trained on us. The media were pressing cameras in our faces, taking literally thousands of photos, often from only two or three feet away; one TV camerawoman got behind our banner and started filming the backs of our necks. (We joked later that at last we understood how Paris Hilton and Britney Spears must feel when being confronted by the paparazzi). Dozens of police stood around, watching. We stood there, in the same spot, moving only a little at a time, for hours. And, non-stop, the communists and the so called peace loving liberal democrats would come over, verbally abuse us, screaming obscenities, calling us all sorts of names under the sun. I would shout, whenever one of our number showed signs of becoming abusive in return, ‘Don’t respond, don’t respond – peaceful march!’.

I was told, a few weeks beforehand, that at these rallies, the communists resemble a pack of hungry wolves, or jackals, surrounding a handful of people crowded around a campfire. The jackals, in this instance, were afraid of the fire, and the human beings. But some were so driven by hunger that all fearfulness had been forgotten. So one or two of the more desperate and foolhardy jackals would approach the humans, sniff at them, bark and yap, and then return to the safety of the pack. This is exactly what happened. The ‘jackals’ approached us all day throughout the rally. They would swear, try and ‘psych’ us out by rambling on in a threatening manner, or announce that we had no permission from the rally organisers to be there. They would then return to the safety of the pack and then, incredibly, only a few metres away, set up an informal study group and discuss our ideology, who we were, and what we stood for. Often our pamphlets would be scrutinised. They did this even though we were a short distance away: because we were, for the most part, mute, they assumed we were deaf as well.

The communists were in a complete state of confusion as regards to our ideology and aims. During one ‘study group’ session, one, older communist woman pointed at the picture of Subcomandante Marcos in our brochure, and said to the other communists there, ‘No. No. No!’. (It was not always negative: in another ‘study group’, one communist woman smiled wistfully, looked at our banner and informed her fellow travellers: ‘If only we had a banner like that, and had been dressed like that, we could have gotten all that attention…’). In the end, they concluded that we were ‘Nazis’ – a term they apply to all their opponents they do not understand or do not want to understand. That was the correct communist party line, handed down by the democratic central committee…

Some really bizarre characters approached us. One old man, with a ‘dancing skeleton’ mounted on a pole, walked over and lisped: ‘Where’s your ID? Your police ID? I know you’re police!’ He became more and more hysterical, and sweaty, until even his fellow travellers realised that he was a liability, and hauled back into the crowd.

Some time later, a bearded man with a sign about Osama Bin Laden and George Bush walked over and declared: ‘You’re not anarchists! You can’t be nationalists and anarchists!’, and then, in a pleading tone, ‘I’m an anarchist, I’m an anarchist’. Indeed, he wore all black – his clothes looked at least ten years old and hadn’t been washed for nearly as long. (One of the communists snarled, ‘They can’t be real anarchists – their boots are brand new!’. I chuckled at this, because I had been telling the others beforehand that our clothes did look too clean and new – too clean and new to be mainstream ‘Black Bloc’).

I saw a good many interesting things: in fact, the entire demo was a masterclass in Australian street politics. At one point, a few metres away from my side of the banner, a communist ran into a tall, old CFMEU man, who was wearing a hard hat. They knew each other, and hated each other, on sight, apparently, and had had a long-running enmity. The union man started pushing the communist around, telling them to get out of here.

After our set up, things gradually became more and more intense. We were doing nothing but standing there, rooted to the spot, unable to march, and being approached by ‘jackals’ at every point of the line – on every side of the banners. It was as though we were a bunch of cowboys in a circle of wagons, being surrounded by Indians galloping around on horseback, shooting at us and yelling their war-cries. Things suddenly became more intense when one rather unpleasant looking communist woman, well into her fifties, came up and reprimanded us primly, shaking her head and scolding us, and then mounted the podium after the first two speakers (http://sydney.indymedia.org.au/node/51736/play), and announced, ‘There’s a bunch of people down the back who are impersonating the Black Bloc. We don’t know who they are – they may be Neo-Nazis, they may be agent provocateurs. Their banners are worth thousands of dollars… They’re police! Don’t give in! Don’t give in to provocation!’. All the communists in the street, including the ‘red bloc’ – the Socialist Alliance red-flag wavers at the front of the march – had now been made aware of us. We were in even more trouble now. Orders had come down from the line from our demo co-ordinators, passed from man to man along the chain of men manning the banners, that at the first sign of trouble, we were to abort the mission – no exceptions. We were not there to start any trouble and the co-ordinators' first priority was the safety of our group.

The odd thing was that a few of the speeches were quite good. One, in particular, by a fiery individual who remains unknown to me, sounded excellent: he inveighed against neoliberalism and liberal democracy, and the content reminded me of the essays at the New Right Australia/New Zealand blog. Quite a few of us roared in approval. He could have been a communist himself, for all we knew, but his ideas were sound. And as members of the New Right we are not slaves of one dogmatic ideology and are able to approve with people that are not ‘with us’.

Astonishingly, there were no other large groups of ‘organised’ anarchists, no Black Bloc, except for us. Mutiny and AC/DC were a no-show. There were one or two individuals alone by themselves, dressed in black, who claimed to be anarchists (perhaps individualist anarchists, of the Max Stirner type?). But there was no anarchist group: I was surprised that the mainstream anarchists, with all their belief in community, solidarity and collective action, could not organise enough of their members for a decent presence at a rally.

The scene there was full of political dilettantes. One young, very short young man, in a black jumpsuit-type outfit, came up, grinned and said, ‘I am an anarchist’, and then, that question: ‘How can you be nationalists and anarchists?’. I was in no mood for his taunts. One of our number was passing by my sector of the line with a camera. I asked him, ‘Film him!’ and pointed at the young man. After having the camera shoved in his face, he stuttered, ‘Are you filming me?’. I nodded yes. He mumbled something… I relented, and told one of my comrades to hand the young man a pamphlet. He took it with trembling hands and walked off.

After the speeches had finished, the march advanced on to Hyde Park. But we were pinned. A group of around five protestors had set up a purple banner a metre in front of us, with the intention of blocking us. They were lead by a tall, rather plain and thin-lipped young woman, who had previously been handing out Socialist Alliance literature, and had been annoyed that the media had been photographing and filming us non-stop. ‘That’s right!’, she shrieked sarcastically, ‘Film them! That’s where the politics is! Don’t film this!’, waving a SA pamphlet. The communists behind the purple banner began chanting a ‘stamp out racism now’ chant, against us. (I was curious, myself, as to what was written on the front of the banner – but none of us ever got to look at the front, only the back). One of our number responded to this with the chant: ‘Nazis out! Nazis out! Nazis out!’, pointing at them. Then all of us joined in. The reaction of the communists was remarkable: they literally staggered backwards in surprise. It was the first time that they had been called ‘Nazis’ in their lives.

But they had succeeded in blocking our progress. All was not well for them, however. Another person from the crowd made his way and began screaming at them, accusing them of racism. They squabbled for a while. Then a senior police officer walked over to the purple banner communists and asked them, ‘Are you moving or what?’. They argued with him, and then packed up their banner and rejoined the rest of the march.

We advanced – around 20 metres. And then, because of the jackals, we halted. By this time, the march down to Hyde Park had paused: the marchers were sitting down, listening to speeches, at the end of the street. Policemen stood in our front, at the rear and on the right flank. The jackals stood a safe distance away, and the pressure relieved somewhat.

4. Towards the end

Then a bizarre thing happened – something which goes to show that you can never plan for everything. A crazy but entirely benign old Greek man, waving two flags – one Australian, one Greek – bounded over, and began screaming gibberish. He started with a rendition of the Australian folk ballad, ‘Waltzing Matilda’, and then launched into a mad stream of consciousness ramble about Gough Whitlam, Vietnam, how he loved Australia… He told us, ‘Don’t be afraid to go to Long Bay jail! There’s coffee there, ice cream, TV, a nice bed – what more could you want?’. One of our number bawled out, ‘You’re speaking from experience?’. We laughed. Not deterred, he walked over straight to the front banner, leaned over it and shouted at the police and the communists. He sounded so crazy that even one of the stone-faced policemen to the front of us cracked a smile.

What was the reaction of the general public to our presence? One of the human rights observers came up to each and every one of us and presented with a free legal aid hotline number business card. We thanked him sincerely. A communist woman stopped him and told him, ‘Don’t give those cards to the Nazis’. He shrugged, told her, ‘They have as much right to demonstrate as you do’, and walked off.

One of our demo co-ordinators was approached by a woman from the crowd who told him, ‘Good on you’, and handed him a $50 note. Others came up and offered us their support: they told us that not all the anti-globalist demonstrators in attendance were communists - that quite a few were from other political spectrums as well. The communists didn’t believe in the cause, they had hijacked the event and put it in the service of their ideology. They, the non-communists anti-globalists, wanted to march with us, but were afraid that they and their families would be attacked.

Ironically, from a corner, I saw a man lurking by the newsstand, wearing a cap and sunglasses, watching us. He was a Sydney based activist who I had tried to convince a few weeks before to join us all at the rally. He refused, and made his excuses. Now he had turned up – to watch from a safe distance. Near the end of our demonstration, he walked up, and said, ‘Hey fellas, how are you? How did it go?’. Our reply to him was not fit to print here.

The truth was that we were desperately short of men at the demo: we had expected at least ten more. Instead, those ten had pulled out at the last minute. And many other activists we had invited had refused to come – even though we had offered to drive them. Some of these activists claimed to be tough men, telling us stories of how good they were in fights, how brave they were, and showing us all the clever punches and kicks they had used on people. But now, when it came to the punch, they were nowhere to be seen. Instead, their place at the barricades – and our banners were a barricade – had been taken by some women, teenage boys who had never been to a demo before, and elderly people aged around 70. The communists knew, despite our disguises, who the women were in the group, and picked on them mercilessly. These women found it hard going, more hard going than the males who were there, and should not have been at the front line. In an ideal situation we would not have put them there. But we did not have enough men and these women took their place without hesitation and a courage that had to be admired. And they knew that all of the men in the group would defend them and all the others who were not able to defend themselves.

All of us there were anxious: our hearts were beating, our stomachs churning, our guts twisting, our shirts soaked in sweat. Anyone who was there on that day of September the 8th and who says they were not anxious, is lying. But: no-one wavered; no-one turned on their heels and ran home. Not all of us there were rough types, used to the threat of physical confrontation: some of us were highly-educated, intellectual types who were physically slight. But we stood our ground. I learned the lesson that fear is not shameful: it is giving into fear, running away, and leaving your comrades in the lurch, which is.

From the start, my field of consciousness had been restricted: the events had been so intense that I was only aware of myself, the comrade to the left of me at my place on the banner, and the comrade to the right. The co-ordinators were the ones who kept the group together, spoke encouragement and rushed to potential hot spots to stop any trouble. They made sure that everybody had enough water and when one of us needed a rest they made sure they got it. In all these sea of hate they were the ones who keep us calm and made us feel safe.

But now I heard a noise from the rear. I looked around, and saw the water-cannon – the legendary APEC water-cannon, which had been so hyped in the media weeks beforehand – had pulled up; so had a van which disgorged black-suited SWAT types. I also heard the sound of attack dogs yapping; meanwhile, a police helicopter flew menacingly close. One communist, watching, crowed to the other: ‘Their anarchist strategy has backfired!’. Evidently, he believed that the water-cannoners were there to deal with us.

The police to the front of us looked to the rear, equally surprised as I was. This gave me encouragement: surely the police in our rear wouldn’t water-cannon their own? Word got around our group, from our demo co-ordinators: a scuffle had developed in the crowd at the head of the march, and the water-cannon crew had driven up this direction to be on standby.

Then a senior police office walked up and said to one of the co-ordinators: ‘Your part in the march is over: masks off, banners down’. After analysing the situation and thinking about what we had achieved the co-ordinator told us to get ready in 2 minutes and move out in a disciplined and organised group. We walked away, and folded up our banners ceremoniously – again with the cameras being jammed in our faces. Word got around again, from the demo co-ordinators, as to why we were leaving. The senior officer had told us that he had received intelligence that the communists, ahead in the march, were arranging an ambush for us. So he felt it best to avoid a confrontation which would result in violence, and for us to leave.

We walked, at a very brisk pace, in an elongated formation away from the march, past the police and the cameras, and into what seemed another world: the world of everyday Sydney, away from APEC. I was flooded with feelings of relief: no arrests, no assaults, no nothing. Could it have all been that easy?

I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, two communist men, in their fifties, walking alongside us. I wondered, idly, how far they would follow us– our rendezvous point was quite a distance away. I expected them to lose heart by then.

Suddenly, the train of ‘Black Blockers’ came to a halt. We stood there, as a group, as one of us announced, ‘We’re being followed’ and pointed to the two men. At that moment, I saw that all the blood drained from their faces: it had occurred to them that they two were now alone with around 30 men and women who they had been abusing for hours, and now they had no police standing by – nothing. They thought we were going to do a Franco or a Pinochet on them. Then one of the co-ordinators announced: ‘Split up’. We split up, and walked off in groups of two, three or four.

With three other comrades, I walked into a shopping mall. We caught our breaths, changed into our ‘civilian’ clothes, and made our way back to the rendezvous point. During this time, we relaxed: chatting, eating snacks, smoking. The first SMS messages started coming in, from friends who were following events on the news: it was reported at the site nine-msn.com, for instance, that ‘our leader’, whoever he was, had been arrested. That amused us no end.

Suddenly, a blonde, curly-haired man appeared, sat down near us, and got out his phone. One of our group said, ‘He’s a commie – I saw him at the march’. We concluded, at once, that the communist was calling for his comrades, and telling us where we were. Our co-ordinators ordered us to pack up and move on, straight away, which we did. The last thing we wanted to end the day in a street brawl with some communists that wanted to brag to their comrades that they beat some ‘Nazis’ so they could safe some face. Eventually we arrived safely home.

The battle of APEC was over.

5. Conclusions

We were tremendously pleased, afterwards, that no arrests had occurred and that none of us had been physically assaulted. We had avoided identification, too.

The most common response among our fellow activists was, ‘I wish I could have been there – I would have stood by you’. Well, they were offered every opportunity – cars to be driven in, places to stay, but they refused. I was told weeks beforehand, by one person who jabbed his finger in my chest to prove his point, that no-one in the general public would approve of the ‘Black Bloc’ look, that he himself was a working-class man and knew what other working-class thought. So his place at the march was taken by teenagers, the elderly and women.

As for the communists: we received hate mail in the e-mail accounts listed on the pamphlet. They also made outraged comments on the communist forums. Here is a sample from RevLeft.com:

SpikeyRed writes:
I was there with the Socialist party and saw them too!
We automatically got talking about who they were and where they were from, becuase, they had about $4000 worth of banners (estimated off the cost our our own similar sort of banner) and they were all wearing brand new shiny black boots! Not cheap at all! So they have some major financial backing from someone. We thought some of them might of been police provacteurs or have had some kind of high level government or corporate sponsoring. Also discussed was the possibility of American Fash sponsorship.
We got a few copies of their brochure, and those fuckers had the audacity to use IWW cartoons including the wildcat strike symbols. They also used a statement from the Zappatista's that was taken out of context, and two picture of Marcos, one where he was waving to the people in a way that these fuckers were able to stretch it so he looked like he was giving the Sig Heil salute.
Another thing I forgot to mention is that their brochures where just that, expensive, glossy nicely folded brochures, not printed and photocopies paper like everyone else.
Very suspicious.
Word is alot were up from Melbourne, so the Melbourne reds and (real) blacks will be watching...

Spartan writes:
we have got to watch out though as groups like the national anarchists and national bolsheviks are successfully bridging the gap between nationalism and anti capitalism which confuses many young anti capitalists. thus they can attract quite a bit of support unless of course we strangle this movement in its cradle.

GuerillaE writes:
These guys most likely have backing, as mentioned before, because their set up and their resources (the speed of it alone) is a bit much for just a backyard nazi group.
Their anarchist idealogy is most likely a trick to get more members onto their side, we all know how the nationalists play these 'snag em while they're angsty' games.


[end]

And we received plenty of new enquiries from members of the public, and donations. The New Right websites are doing more traffic than they have before. And all from one demo…

6. The way forward

The day of September the 8th drove home some hard political truths to me. Who were the ones stopping us from marching? The police? The Liberal Party? The Labor Party? The Greens? ASIO or any of the other intelligence services? The anarchists (they couldn’t get out of bed in time)? The Antifa (they were nowhere in sight)? The Muslims? No: it was the communists. They constitute a massive extra-parliamentary opposition, which is unelected, and which prevents anyone from using the liberal rights of freedom of speech and assembly, which we are all supposed to have, through the use of physical and psychological intimidation.

These are standard communist tactics. One only has to look at two recent examples. After Enoch Powell made his ‘Rivers of blood’ speech in 1968, he was besieged – literally – whenever he spoke in public. Student communists, led by the likes of then student communist activist Jack Straw, used all the tactics mentioned here to prevent him from speaking and to intimidate members of the audience. Powell’s speeches at the time take a rather dark, anti-student tone, speaking of a mob rule which is invading British political life… More recently there was the case of Pauline Hanson in Australia. A friend of mine told me that Hanson had scheduled a meeting at a hall which had been booked for the purpose. But the communists were everywhere: they had even climbed up on the roof and were drumming on it. The meeting was cancelled – either because the owner was afraid of bad publicity, or property damage, or both. I asked my friend, who was there, if Hanson had any substantial security. My friend shrugged and said no. And that is typical: liberal democratic parliamentarians like Hanson and Powell were not used to the communist game. They did not understand the concept of an unelected parliamentary opposition which was not interested in the gentlemanly, civil debate of parliament and academic seminars. This unelected parliamentary opposition believed in one thing: force. What’s more, the professed moral superiority of the communists justified any amount of intimidation…

At one point in the rally at APEC, a woman approached one of my comrades and asked for a pamphlet. He gave her one. ‘Give me another’, she said. He gave her another. ‘Give me a third’, she said. After he had given her three pamphlets, she threw them at his feet. (Luckily, we had foreseen this contingency, and had printed up over a thousand). Now, such conduct is unacceptable in any form of life – so is shouting, spitting, threatening, especially so to women. But communists do such things in a state of high moral dudgeon.

In this connection, I was surprised by the calibre of the communists I saw on that day: they were not average people; often, they seemed freakish, socially abnormal types. Thinking it over, I was inclined to classify communism as a refuge for social outcasts – or perhaps the political equivalent of a lunatic asylum. But mad people can be dangerous.

Which is not to say that the communists were physically intimidating types: many of the communist men were soft and effeminate, lisping, ‘Nazith, you guyth are all Nazith… That’th a Nazi thymbol on your banner’. I asked myself, whatever happened to the standards of Australian Leftism? Where were the communists who ate glass for breakfast, the thugs who beat up Labor leader Arthur Calwell, for example?

No: the communists were a threat because of their numbers – once we had the numbers on our side, we would win. And this gets to the heart of the matter. Okay, some nationalists are divided on certain points: should nationalism be anti-Islamist or anti-Zionist? Should we have a movement or a party? But, in the real world, these concerns are irrelevant so long as the major problem is not dealt with. I say to the party-political party types: your party will need to do a march at some time – when, where and how will you march when communists are blocking you, physically, in the street? How are we going to hold meetings, when communists are interfering with them and putting pressure on the hall owner to shut them down? How are you going to hold fund-raising dinners? How are you going to keep a political party office open when it gets the windows smashed in, or worse, firebombed? (The communists will not attack the office of the local Labor or Liberal MP – they will attack yours). And it will all be justified in the name of ‘smashing fascism’. (One of the comrades at the march complained to me afterwards, ‘Why do they call me a Neo-Nazi? I’m not a Neo-Nazi!’. I told him, ‘That’s what they’ll always call you – you had better get used to it).

I would like to see marches by nationalists, and I would like to attend gentlemanly seminars by nationalists, and gentlemanly debates between opposing nationalist factions. But, in order to hear Guillaume Faye and Alain de Benoist debate their respective points of view, we would have to smuggle them into Australia like rats. We have to do that already with visiting nationalists from overseas, lest they suffer the fate of de Benoist, who once had his glasses broken by an Antifa on a trip to Canada.

The bottom line is: at some point, nationalists will have to get out from behind the Internet keyboard and connect with the community. But how can they get their ideas across to the community when the communists are blocking them?

When I turned on the TV news after the APEC summit, I saw the leaders of the Stop Bush campaign – many, if not all, card-carrying members of communist parties who tried to crush us – hobnobbing with mainstream liberal democratic politicians and having their soundbites quoted respectfully by the mainstream media. They were expressing their outrage at the police treatment of some of the people at the rally, and demanding their free and unfettered right to freedom of expression, free of coercion. They talked about how their right to demonstrate was trampled on and that excessive force was used by the authorities.

I will leave the reader to draw his own conclusions on their moral posturing.

So how do we move forward? Well, we have to have more of the same as we had at the APEC demo: except we need more people. If half the macho bigmouths of nationalism, half of the activists we had begged to come weeks before the rally, had shown up, our numbers would have been greater than what they were. We could have physically intimidated the communist enemy, simply by our presence, and without breaking the law (we at New Right do not endorse anyone breaking the law). Think of what a difference a hundred nationalist men in balaclavas, guarding a One Nation meeting hall in 1997, would have made. The same goes for Powell in 1968… Certainly, men dressed like that may look menacing, and may alienate some sections of the general public. But we are not playing a civilised game here. After the APEC demo, I was reminded of an old Oswald Mosley post-war interview. The interviewer harangued him for the ‘thuggish’ tactics of the British Union of Fascists in the pre-war era. Mosley replied simply, ‘We adopted those tactics in response to those of the Left’. Before APEC, I didn’t understand what Mosley meant; after APEC, I do. (And keep in mind that the communists of the 1930s were much more violent and forceful than those of today).

A hundred, two hundred, NA activists men and women at APEC would have lead to the complete paralysis and demoralisation of the communist forces. We would have been able to appoint our own ‘March security’ men and decide who can, and who cannot, attend the march. We could approach the communist ‘red bloc’ and say, ‘Commies, hey? Tsk, tsk, tsk… You no march here, man. You be gone’.

And why can’t a ‘Stop Bush’ spokesman be a nationalist? Why does he have to be a communist, at each and every one of these events – ‘Stop Bush’, ‘Stop the war in Iraq/Iran/Lebanon’, ‘Stop globalisation’, ‘Stop poverty’…

Instead of a sea of red flags, we could have a sea of black – National-Anarchist – flags. It is possible: we only need more numbers, and more effort. But many nationalists are too stuck in the mud, ideologically, and too afraid of mixing with other nationalists, and not to mention the community (at rallies and other public events) to do it. A European statesman once remarked that pacifism was a fallacious philosophy because everything worth having had to be fought for. We nationalists can have the freedom to express our ideas to the community, and to debate positions among ourselves and with the mainstream public, only by fighting for that freedom. We have the numbers – we have enough men and women around Australia – but what we need is the will. The battle of APEC shows that.

The battle of APEC might be over, but others will follow.............

30 comments:

Scott Henley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Western Values said...

Down with Communist Totalitarianism!!

Hell yeah! Leave our beautiful Western cultures alone to flourish in freedom, creativity, happiness and prosperity!

giorg1 said...

I too was there. Reading this blog entry is like re-living the experience. Extremely vivid and detailed, and above all accurate.

Well done.

Anonymous said...

Great job friends. I just attended a rally in Harrisburg Pennsylvania U.S.A. It was an anti Immigration rally and like yours we had our commies but here the tide is turning
we had about 40 Keystone State Skin Heads and Maryland state Skin Heads in attendance and, at one point a handful of commies were ready to start trouble they were surrounded by these Skins and boxed in the commies the cops were laughing their buts off but stood by to prevent violence. the best part was when pair of main stream grandmas noted that in spite of their appearance they were a welcome group to our side and were to be commended for their support of our nation and that maybe all the bad press on these young men may be lies.

jesse james said...

Good work from a lefty.. I dont agree with a lot of what you say but the communists have had it too good too long, dont tar all us on the left with the same brush, we are not all violent and hatefull towards those who have different opinions, personally I just like to talk about differences in opinion rather than fight.

{by the way the "red block" in the article was socialist alternative not alliance}

Josh said...

Good job guys. I was offerred to come just over a day earlier but couldn't organise it quickly enough to get there.

As you said, about the different factions of Nationalism traditionally having problems and not joining together, is a big problem. I think, though, once the numbers grow and grow it would be very disappointing if the New Right and Coalition forces became as arrogant, cocky, forceful and as violent as the Communists that dominant the political arena.

For the ultimate success of the New Right and Nationalism, I think "accessibility" is the ultimate key.

Anonymous said...

Awesome article.

Major respect to all New Righters and those on the 'other side' who didn't attempt to disrupt the protest.

Flávio Gonçalves said...

Great job you guys, all the best from your comrades "up topper" here in Portugal.

www.resistente.org

Anonymous said...

excellent report
Nationalist greetings from New Zealand
Mrs S Brooker

pigsniffer said...

you did well....except that you let slip police jargon and vocabulary on occasion and generally showed an infantile understanding of political terminologies typically of a copper promoted above his capabilities....see-thru and amusing but ultimately an embarrassing failed attepmt at a covert operation to act as agent provocateurs....keep trying hard lol

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you've got us. We're really all a special team of cops put together by John Howard himself to usurp the hard left, as part of a secret right-wing conspiracy to stop Socialist Alternative becoming the next government of Australia.

You guys are so on the ball. We'd never get anything past you.

Also, if you blow up the photos big enough you'll see the guy driving the water cannon truck is actually Elvis.

Anonymous said...

tis incredible the way you act so surprised when called neo-nazis..ha, need i say more? i read your pamphlet and the views expressed there are pretty much plain racist. and you call yourself anarchist, yet you had masters in your ranks telling you what to do, how to dress, how to act; contradictory to anarchism. and before eaach 'point' you make about something at the rally you include a detailed explanation of how ugly all the left-wing people there were...but i suppose you need something to fill the gap left by the lack of a real argument. and you express extremely sexist views also; any serious anarchist recognises the important role women can play in the struggle. and what bravado; you are so tough and brave arent you? my first reaction was to ignore this group as nonsensicle idiocy, but then i decided it was probably better to combat your racist propaganda with logical, rational and humanistic argument. good riddance
p.s. comment moderation? ah,thats why you have so little comments... you got rid of all the critical ones.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, wow, you actually think anarchists always dress as a 'black block' at rallies? there were at least 150 people that i know who were at APEC, who identify as anarchists (real ones). and yes AC/DC was there as well. you have no hope of taking on socialist or anarchists if you can only pull together over 100 people across australia, i know over 100 anarchists in my state!... not everyone who confronted you were 'commies'. one last thing, drop the racist views and join the real anarchists or shave your heads and start listening to oi! you will never last!

Anonymous said...

HAAHAHAHA... anarchists who have a 'demo coordinator' who they take orders from...hahaha.... yeah you're real anarchists!

Western Values said...

and you call yourself anarchist, yet you had masters in your ranks telling you what to do

National Anarchism simply holds to the anarchist goal of power being devolved to the lowest level, so that people are empowered in their own lives and their own communities. We're not nihilists like the extreme side of anarchist movement; we still believe in right and wrong. If it serves our purpose we also believe in having a coordinated approach to our activities......which believe it or not may actually involve someone being apppointed as a coordinator! I guess that's what someone with your level of morality calls a 'master'!

and you express extremely sexist views also; any serious anarchist recognises the important role women can play in the struggle.

There were women in our group at APEC. Are you saying those women are sexist?

my first reaction was to ignore this group as nonsensicle idiocy, but then i decided it was probably better to combat your racist propaganda with logical, rational and humanistic argument. good riddance

What argument? As far as I can see you are yet to put forward any argument, let alone a 'logical, rational' one?

Anonymous said...

the women in your group sexist? no i am not saying that at all, and you know that. this article was clearly written by a man.
"we were desperately short of men at the demo
"their place at the barricades – and our banners were a barricade – had been taken by some women
"These women found it hard going, more hard going than the males who were there, and should not have been at the front line
"they knew that all of the men in the group would defend them
" such conduct is unacceptable in any form of life – so is shouting, spitting, threatening, especially so to women

you write of women as dainty frail creatures who need their men to look after them, and suggest the women were only there on the day to replace men who werent 'man enough' to come down themselves. it bemuses me that you cant see this. read over what is written on the website and and try to locate the false assumptions and prejudices..ive made a humble shortlist above...

regarding 'masters', you you seem to unashamedly admit to having a heirarchical structure similar to that of the police. yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. this is not in the least anarchistic; in fact it is not dissimilar to capitalist power structures. i am not a nihilist, nor am i anti-coordination. if a person takes a hockey stick into a football game they are not merely playing bad football, they are in fact not playing football at all. similarly if a group of people have an authoritarian decision making structure, they are not 'bad' anarchists, or a different kind of anarchist; they are simply not anarchists.

Anonymous said...

Much respect to New Right Australia for actually doing something rather than hiding behind a computer. Don't let the Red-Fascists get you down!

The Way Forward said...

Well done on the day and one can only hope that numbers will grow. I am interstate and it wasnt possible for me to attend however it may become a possibility for my involvement some time in the future. The reds ha, the only ones you need to worry about are as you said the lunatic asylum type. They arent hard men but just village idiots that have no understanding of what they are ranting on about. So once again hats off to you on a great effort.

Western Values said...

this article was clearly written by a man.

I don't even know who wrote this article. I don't even know if Peter Middleton is a nom de plume, someone I haven't met, or someone I've met who introduced themselves to me under a false name. We're a decentralised movement.

I actually suspect one of the women wrote this article and adopted a male non de plume and a male writing style. But I may be proved wrong.

you write of women as dainty frail creatures who need their men to look after them, and suggest the women were only there on the day to replace men who werent 'man enough' to come down themselves. it bemuses me that you cant see this.

That might be your perception. I don't feel this way. I believe every woman has full ownership of her own life and destiny, and is fully capable of managing these functions independently of anyone, male or otherwise. This is the typical view of everyone I've met in this particular group.

I think the fact that you cling to equality of the sexes argument as the main reason that something has to be wrong with National Anarchism is more reflective on you than on anyone in this group.

regarding 'masters', you you seem to unashamedly admit to having a heirarchical structure similar to that of the police. yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. this is not in the least anarchistic; in fact it is not dissimilar to capitalist power structures................nor am i anti-coordination

It's very interesting you are not anti-coordination but you don't want anyone to do the coordinating. I don't really see how that works in practice. Maybe that's why you guys haven't really achieved much.

Anyone who was involved in our APEC demonstration who felt they were part of a hierarchal structure that compromised their goals was free to leave at any time. Amazingly, no one felt this need.

This would indicate to me that everyone who was there felt the coordinating structure was completely in line with their desire to devolve power to the lowest level. I don't see how this compromises the anarchist component of National Anarchism.

Anonymous said...

Hey, i was at APEC, and i thought you guys were police provocatuers. I have in the past been associated with both the socialist alterative and alliance, both of who's company i did not enjoy. I read most of the article, but am not entirely sure why you were there. ALso, the red block is alternative, not alliance, and they do bad mouth anyone that is not them, even the other socialists, which is why i am disolusioned with them.
I don't agree with your nationalist stance, but i do believe that everyone deserves a voice. Well done for not getting violent.
I wouldn't mind reading some more of your stuff, not because i want to join, just to see what you guys are actually about.
And one very important question..What did you think of the coppers there? I felt they were deliberatly repressing the crowd, and trying to start some violence to make the protest look bad. I'm assuming you didn't see what happened in Hyde Park at the conclusion of the rally? It was fucking disgusting.
Anyway, good on you for not starting any violence, and i wish you all the best in your beliefs, even though i think 'left' views are better, cheers

Anonymous said...

You've got some mates over at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo/ but also a few anarchists who doubt you have anything in common with them

Anonymous said...

Actions will always speak louder than words. This was clearly demonstrated by your group and those who critise you. Real men stand up for women, others send them in to spit and taunt for them. Well done to all who were present at Apec in Spetember.

Anonymous said...

Thats a great action! Great banners and rally, thats the way to stand tall in the face of tyranny. Rock on.

J.D said...

I am a member of Resistance Socialist Youth, NOT socialist alternative, though i speak only for myself.

I would like to clarify that we WERE NOT the ones abusing anarchists or far-right supporters, you have as much right to an opinion as we do and we respect that.

In SOME ways we fight for the same thing - this was demonstrated at APEC.

Good on you not getting violent in the face of Socialist Alternative (NOT socialist alliance OR resistance!) and police provokation.

Cheers

Western Values said...

I hope National Anarchy doesn't splinter like these socialist groups!

Flávio Gonçalves said...

Good to see that some people still believe in freedom of speech for all.

Stef said...

Hi guys, what are your views on Animal Rights and Deep Ecology? These movements have almost competely fractured from the Left in recent years...and not just groups like PETA and ALF(who both have been acused of 'racism' by the humanist left). As an AR activist i'm interested to hear your views on flora and fauna(and Linkola maybe?).

Anonymous said...

I am a nationalist(not the neonazi skinhead type mind you) from Sweden. Though I dont share all of your nationalanarchist ideology, I just got to say that you guys really have balls. You are a real inspiration with your courage and it makes me proud of being an nationalist and identitarian and knowligment of that the fight is the same for all kindred of the North and Europe. Here in Sweden there is no real New Right movement and few autonome nationalists and it not very popular here. The whole scene is dominated by bonehead Third Reich - fanatics who never read Mein kampf in their lives. I am glad that there is idealist and intellectual nationalists out there taking up the fight and do not fear action.

Regards from a Nationaldemocrat from Svea Rike.

Long live the New Right Australia!

NudeWhiteAusNZ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Total Anarchy said...

Firstly, just want to say that this was really well written and gave a good feel for a side of this that I wouldn't normally be exposed to.

Now, I'm an anarchist, but I don't subscribe to all the NA/NR ideas, but I wanted to give some thoughts on what was written in this post.

"Obviously, the police, at this point, believed we were violent anarchist demonstrators."

Now, my first point is that you guys showed a lot of naivety here. The Black Bloc is a tactic specifically employed by anarchists who wish to act in less than legal ways on large demos. To take on the look of the Black Bloc, whether for identity security or intimidatory reasons is to invite unnecessary interest from the law. There are other ways of keeping one's identity hidden without going down the BB route. I'd suggest taking a more carnivalesque approach and see what kind of masks you could get from costume shops. Something not too silly but does the job.

"But, for this demonstration, we enforced a strict 'no comment' policy. That is, we were told to say 'No comment' to all questions; and, if the media persisted, we would tell them that all the answers could be found at the New Right websites and pass them a brochure."

Excellent policy. The media mediates. That is they will always take your message and manipulate it how they want. Give them little if anything, certainly nothing that can be easily edited (soundbites etc).

"It dawned on me that the communist groups had assumed ownership of the entire anti-APEC/anti-Bush demonstration: they were, in effect, masters of the ‘Stop Bush’ coalition."

This has happened on a global level with international socialist groups taking credit for the entire anti-globalisation movement. In the UK, the SWP claim that it was their actions at Seattle that started it all (ignoring of course the anarchist organised J18 demos in London that were a year or two before).

"We were in even more trouble now. Orders had come down from the line from our demo co-ordinators, passed from man to man along the chain of men manning the banners, that at the first sign of trouble, we were to abort the mission – no exceptions. We were not there to start any trouble and the co-ordinators' first priority was the safety of our group."

While for accuracy of reporting this was interesting, you've made a mistake here. You've just sent out the message to the leftists that if enough of them start assaulting your march you will fold. That's a red-rag to a bull for these people. There is the possibility that some of the leftists are correct and that this is just the information designed to act as an agent provocateur but I'll take it on face value. I'd recommend getting some reliable stewards for your next outing.

"Astonishingly, there were no other large groups of ‘organised’ anarchists, no Black Bloc, except for us. Mutiny and AC/DC were a no-show."

As someone else said, there were plenty of anarchists there. The author doesn't seem to understand the Black Bloc tactic but I explained that in my first point.

"One of our number responded to this with the chant: ‘Nazis out! Nazis out! Nazis out!’, pointing at them. Then all of us joined in."

This was hilarious. I wish I was a fly on the...er...banner for that.

"A crazy but entirely benign old Greek man, waving two flags – one Australian, one Greek – bounded over, and began screaming gibberish."

Believe me, you can't call it a proper march if something like this doesn't happen. Congratulations! ;)

"The senior officer had told us that he had received intelligence that the communists, ahead in the march, were arranging an ambush for us."

Again, if you weren't expecting this then you are all very politically naive. Any deviation from ideological purity must be purged and it's not fascism when they do it.

Now, in terms of the condemnation you have received here, most of it has just been pathetic. Is this the best the Left can come up with? You're wearing clean clothes so you must be cops? Anarchists clearly aren't allowed jobs. You had co-ordinators so you must be hierarchical? This is ridiculous. If I'm working in an affinity group and I injure myself I will defer to the person with the best first aid skills. Also, as long as everyone agree with each persons role in a given affinity group, the passing down of "orders" (poor choice of word) can still be anarchist in nature.

I think the conclusion of this piece, greater connection with "traditional" right-wing groups, would be a mistake. This would only increase the suspicion of your "true motives" and increase the amount of flak you will receive from the Left. More engagement with progressive left and post-left anarchists might serve your cause better but that's just an opinion from an outsider. As far as I know you could just be the same old racists in sheep's clothing, in which case you wouldn't want to connect with such communities. You need to think more tactically however.

Anyway, like I said at the start, I'm not an NA supporter. I'm just a different flavour of anarchist who thinks you have the right to your own political position. While authoritarian governments are ruling the planet we have much bigger fish to fry than some people who want to go off and set up their own separatist communities. Hopefully what I've said might be of interest.

Either way, stay safe.