Alerta! Stop fascists rallying on Oxford St | #Antifa

“When Nazi’s show up, you fight like hell.”
– Queer Latinx Reverend Alba Onofrio, August 2017

At 1pm on 23 September, a Sydney-based far-right group by the name of ‘Party for Freedom’ are planning to hold an anti-marriage equality rally on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

[Update 15/9: the location of the rally has been changed to Green Park, Corner Victoria and Burton Streets, Darlinghurst. Green Park is located between the National Art School and St Vincent’s Hospital, and about 300m away from Oxford St travelling down either Darlinghurst Rd or Victoria St.]

While the rally should be opposed on these grounds alone, it is important to be aware that Party for Freedom are a fascist organisation with a long record of campaigning against sexual and ethnic minority groups – including refugees – and in support of reintroducing the ‘White Australia’ policy.


While Party for Freedom are often derided for their Westboro Baptist Church style crudity and dismal political stunts, including their incompetent effort at organising a ten-year commemoration of the 2005 Cronulla white nationalist riot, it is critical to note that they are growing more brazen in their willingness to display fascist, Nazi, and white nationalist symbolism. In the wake of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia last month, and the emboldening of the US far-right under Trump, it is imperative, now more than ever, to put an unequivocal check on the transnational growth of fascist (and) homophobic movements.

For readers who are unaware of the significance of the location and timing of the September 23 rally, Oxford Street is Sydney’s main gay and lesbian district and the location of the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Along with several other far-right and fascist groups, Party for Freedom’s rally seeks to take advantage of the intensification of homophobic sentiment following the decision of the Turnbull government to force a poisonous and unnecessary postal plebiscite on same sex marriage.

Party for Freedom has also recently held a rally in Newtown – another key hub for LGBTIQ communities in Sydney, as well as left-wing activism and ethnic diversity. At this rally Party for Freedom supporters displayed signs featuring the Nazi Totenkopf (‘Deathskull’, symbol of the Nazi paramilitary organisation), the white nationalist Celtic cross, and the ‘Helicopter Rides’ meme, a reference to the torture and execution techniques of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, which is a current favourite amongst US-based far-right groups.

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Symbols from Party for Freedom’s Newtown rally in July 2017: SS Totenkopf, white nationalist Celtic cross, Pinochet ‘Helicopter Rides’

At an anti-Islam rally in Lithgow in late July 2017, Party for Freedom displayed a banner with the phrase ‘blood and soil’, a Nazi reference that is also used by US fascist groups, and which was one of the main white nationalist rallying chants in Charlottesville last month. A more extensive background on the group can be found at Andy Fleming’s blog ‘Slackbastard‘ and the Anti Fascist Action Sydney dossiers.

blood and soil
Party for Freedom displaying Nazi slogans at a Lithgow rally in July 2017

The key point here is that fascists need to be opposed and disrupted when and wherever they appear. This is especially so in a climate where they are more confident in displaying their white supremacist, anti-Muslim, and queerphobic beliefs. Party for Freedom’s recent actions are an expression of a global rise in far-right and fascist politics. A powerful display of opposition towards their rally this September would go a long way towards diminishing their confidence, and building the strength of anti-fascist resistance here and around the world.


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Alerta! Stop fascists rallying on Oxford St | #Antifa

Roundtable on Social Democracy, Borders, and Novara Media

MATT: In astronomy the term ‘nova’ – derived from the Latin feminine of novus or ‘new’ – refers to the event of an explosion on the surface of a star that gives off a sudden burst of light preceded by a gradual return to its original state. An interesting detail in the origins of the astronomical concept is that it is based on a sixteenth-century assumption that these flashes of energy that seemingly appeared out of nowhere signalled the birth of a new star. While this was eventually found to be incorrect the gap between the invention and the subsequent revaluation of the concept was enough to allow for convention to take hold and legitimate the ongoing circulation of a false signifier.

In this light, it seems to me that a question worth asking with respect to Novara Media is why are all these social democrats pretending to be libertarian communists? And, further, what impact is this having on the politics of the border?

In my own case this questioning arises from having followed the Novara project since the period following the convulsions of the UK student opposition to university cuts and a tuition fee hike. The slogan from around that time, “No Future, Utopia Now!”, struck me as a refreshingly clear-eyed rejection of the pragmatics of austerity. Cut to 2017 and, in the wake of Corbyn’s proposal to abolish tuition fees, we find Aaron Bastani imploring his followers to regard “no borders” as a horizonal proposition that, as such, lies beyond the existing terms of the political proper.

The argument here is that “no borders” is horizonal because it lacks a “how.” This distinction is curious considering that millions of people at this very moment are quite seriously engaged in questioning the border on precisely these terms: how to obtain documents, how to leave, how to cross, how to evade detection, how to escape detention, how to stay in touch, how to keep it all together etc. From the perspective of those who confront them as an obstacle, the question of overcoming borders has an inherent pragmatics to it, one that is no less real or non-political than any other issue. In this sense, placing “no borders” in the category of the “horizonal” is less a description of the reality of cross-border politics than a devaluation and deferral of the work to support it.

So what gives? In short, the question of how people might cross a border in safety and sustain a life beyond it is not the same as the question of how to win the consent of a populous defined and shaped by that same border. In this case the question of whether the apparent contradiction in these propositions could be resolved is less significant than the question of which side of the equation tends to win out whenever they are set in conflict. The stakes of allowing this dynamic to slip from view are clearly born out in an analysis that demonstrates the function of an electorally interpolated British left to the interests of a party whose immigration policy is more draconian than that of New Labour.

As Angela noted in a previous discussion, the politics of pragmatism (the how), turns less on a distinction between utopia and the “now” than a politics of work, i.e. what works (or doesn’t), and for whom. It seems to me that this is a useful basis for posing a few direct questions. What is the point of Novara Media and what place does it have engaging in a liberal-pluralist obfuscation of “no border” politics? Why is there such insistence on including someone like Paul Mason who continues to circulate nonsense arguments about immigration, wages, and political necessity? Why are people who stand for something other than a politics of populist nationalism regularly compelled to justify and explain the basics of this position? Moreover, why do such individuals continue to perform this role of supplementary counterpoint to the “how” of social democrats?

ANGELA MITROPOULOS: I wanted to briefly pick up on two points here.

The first is the claim that migrants bring down wages or drive up unemployment, implicit in Mason‘s argument that is it necessary to “meets the objections of low-paid workers to wage suppression” with the suspension of freedom of movement. It is remarkable that anyone on the Left gives this idea any credence at all, let alone a platform. They are not just false views; they are racist. Population increases do not decrease wages or increase unemployment. A fixed number of jobs or work is never how any economy has operated, ever. The difference between the effects on the labour market from population increases through birth-mortality rates and those of migration are, within the scope of a single country or area, at most short-run impacts restricted to a narrow band of occupations where substitution is in play. That has to do with time, not migration. And, it is border controls which decrease the wages migrants can expect and which makes some instances of worker substitution tempting for employers – leaving aside that much of this involves a turn-over between migrant workers in some sectors.

The second is that the social democratic project is exhausted. If the role of the state is the regulation of money and labour, social democracy has been reduced to the project of controlling labour. For all the enthusiasm it has mustered around the revival of national-populism (and associated familial-racial personalities); for all the bombastic talk about regulating capital and finance, the only lever that social democracy has managed to press in many years is controlling the movements of people. This has been true of the Australian Labor Party since the Keating government (which also happened to introduce migration internment), and it’s been true of SYRIZA.

The British Labor Party seems to be pursuing a very similar course in ‘soft Brexit’ arguments for the retention of a single market (in goods and services) and the suspension of freedom of movement (by people). In putting this forward, Paul Mason cited Article 112, which in effect means defining freedom of movement as the cause of “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties.” Corbyn, Mason and others have also claimed that the end of freedom of movement is a necessary consequence of Britain no longer being part of the EU, though this is clearly untrue (Norway is not a member of the EU, but retains open borders with EU countries).

The amazing thing about a lot of this is the extent to which Mason and others claim to be against ‘neoliberalism,’ and that the revival of social democracy has been made possible by the collapse of said ‘neoliberalism.’ Because by my account, what a lot of people called ‘neoliberalism’ was in fact an increasing freedom of movement of things and money and, by contrast, an increasing control over the movements of people. A position that Mason is now promoting as ‘soft Brexit.’

Roundtable on Social Democracy, Borders, and Novara Media

Boycott the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (#FODI): Stop Culturewashing the Detention Industry | #DumpMolan

From late 2013 xBorderOps, along with other groups such as RISE: Refugees Survivors and Ex-detainees, has been running boycott and divestment campaigns against the financial and cultural supply chain of the Australian refugee detention industry.

We are reissuing the call for local and overseas visitors to respect the boycott of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) over its role in culturewashing the detention industry.

We appreciate that it is not in the interest of FODI organisers to make its detention industry connections clear, and that many speakers would have booked their attendance without a complete picture of what they were signing up to. Nevertheless, experience has shown that merely voicing one’s concerns from inside the event does not produce change. Given the information below, we ask that speakers refuse to offer the value of their work to this industry, withdraw from FODI, and make other arrangements.

Continue reading “Boycott the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (#FODI): Stop Culturewashing the Detention Industry | #DumpMolan”

Boycott the Festival of Dangerous Ideas (#FODI): Stop Culturewashing the Detention Industry | #DumpMolan

#Broadspectrum is finished

On Thursday, April 28 2016, Broadspectrum (BRS) requested that trading in its shares on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) be halted pending the release of a statement by BRS.

According to the most recent report, Ferrovial is extending its takeover offer until May 13, as it aims to get at least 90% of buy-offers accepted by that date and will, upon doing so, de-list Broadspectrum from the ASX.

Continue reading “#Broadspectrum is finished”

#Broadspectrum is finished

Design, architecture, and the cultural violence of the border. #BoycottArchDaily #NoBorderWall

Lines of opposition have been drawn across international architecture and design circles following the launch of competition that invites creative engagement with Donald Trump’s proposal to “Build the Wall”. The dispute has resulted in a call from Montreal-based FIG Projects to boycott the ArchDaily weblog over its role in distributing the competition call out, and a decision by Bustler editors to refuse to publicise the competition due to “fear that it promotes xenophobia”.

These moves resonate with tactics used in the 2014 Sydney Biennale Boycott and raises again the question of how designers, artists, writers, and other creative workers might effectively oppose the interests of the border industrial complex.

A new piece by Matthew Kiem makes the case for disrupting the connections that events like Building the Border Wall? aim to facilitate. It is worth reading in relation to an interview with Angela Mitropoulos published in New Inquiry last November that addresses the international reach of the both the border industry and its opposition, along with this piece by Mitropoulos on the meaning and implications of post-Fordist fascism.

Design, architecture, and the cultural violence of the border. #BoycottArchDaily #NoBorderWall

REST Super: Major Shareholder In Manus and Nauru Detention. #Broadspectrum #RESTdivest

REST, the superannuation fund for workers in retail, warehousing and the fast-food industry, is a major shareholder in Transfield Services Broadspectrum.  According to Broadspectrum’s 2015 Annual Report, REST has just under 25 million shares Continue reading “REST Super: Major Shareholder In Manus and Nauru Detention. #Broadspectrum #RESTdivest”

REST Super: Major Shareholder In Manus and Nauru Detention. #Broadspectrum #RESTdivest