September 9, 2011 – News & Politics
On this, Jeff Sparrow is correct. A coalition with the far-right is a very dangerous one not worth pursuing.
It’s certainly true that, throughout Australia, fascists are increasingly taking an interest in the Max Brenner rallies. But here’s the thing: they’re not supporting the protests.They’re supporting the stores.
The newest face of what’s euphemistically-called the ‘nationalist community’ is an outfit called the Australian Protectionist Party. The APP was formed by Mark Wilson, a former organiser of the fascist British National Party, who emigrated to Australia in the 1980s. One of the APP’s most active members is Nicholas Hunter-Folkes. He was formerly the administrator of a charming Facebook group called ‘F**k off, we’re full’. More recently, however, he launched a new Facebook event entitled ‘Protest Against the Mad Marxists’: essentially, a counter-rally in support of the Sydney Max Brenner shop.
“The hardline left, radical Muslim and student groups have been campaigning for the closure of any business with links to Israel,” he explains, “[…] The left totally ignore the aggression and agenda of the Islamists in the Middle East and also in Australia.”
Another prominent APP leader is Darrin Hodges, a long-time racist activist. Joe Hildebrand once identified Hodges as the semi-anonymous poster on the Nazi Stormfront site explaining that: “I’m more interested in the purer form of fascism… and while I don’t subscribe to the whole ‘worship Hitler’ thing, his comments on multiculturalism and politics in general are still just as relevant today as they were 70-odd years ago.”
In the UK, the link between Jewish groups and the far-right has become even closer:
Take the British National Party, the parent group inspiring the Australian Protectionist Party.
Its head, Nick Griffin, is a long-time fascist, who calls the Holocaust “the hoax of the century” and has named two of the pigs on his farm ‘Anne and Frank’. Yet the BNP under his leadership has positioned itself as one of Israel’s staunchest supporters.
As Ruth Smeed of the Board of Deputies of British Jews says: “The BNP website is now one of the most Zionist on the web – it goes further than any of the mainstream parties in its support of Israel.”
Why? Griffin explains that the real opportunity for his party comes from attacking Muslims. “We should,” he says, “be positioning ourselves to take advantage for our own political ends of the growing wave of public hostility to Islam currently being whipped up by the mass media.”
This isn’t good. I abhor BDS as much as the next guy, and the protestors on that side are joined by some truly disgusting and virulently antisemitic, anti-Western individuals (though not all of them are like that). But that doesn’t excuse the alliances on our side. We need to be careful that, when sharing our platform with others, and when seeking out coalitions (as we should), that we don’t partner with the wrong crowd. There are friends who truly share our goals and our values. But there are others whose own ideologies are so full of hate and bigotry that we need to stay well clear.
The Australian Defence League and Q Society types, and the Geert Wilders politicos they inspire and are aligned with, are only in partnership with us because they see us as a legitimisation tool and another way to spread their messages of hate. Ultimately, they don’t like Jews either, it’s just that, for now, they hate Muslims a whole lot more. Don’t think they won’t turn against us eventually, if or when they get the chance.
We need to find coalitions and friends to oppose BDS, but not at any cost. Fascists, true fascists, should not be first on our call sheets.