****Anti-fascists plan to challenge Far Right demonstration. “Stop the Far-Right in Melbourne”****
Progressive activists and antifascists have declared their intent to mobilise in opposition to a far-right protest planned for Melbourne on November 20 and “take back the city”.
November 20 marks the next in a series of marauding far-right demonstrations that have brought violence to the streets of Melbourne, including attacks on the CFMEU. The protests are promoted by the far-right group Reignite Democracy Australia, which recently formed an alliance with Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party. This movement is bringing together the hard right in Australia, and progressives have to respond.
It is clear from media reporting and our own investigations that hardcore fascists like Neil Erikson (former leader of the Lads Society), members of the National Socialist Network and the Proud Boys, have embedded themselves inside the so-called “kill the bill” movement and are spreading their Nazi propaganda. On the weekend, Craig Kelly hired a member of the now-defunct fascist Lads Society to act as his security detail. This is a dangerous developent for social movements in Melbourne, as the far fight is openly talking about attacking Jewish monuments such as the Holocaust Museum, and threatening violence against individual politicians and activists.
In the last week, these protests have become more extreme with chants of “Kill Dan Andrews” at rallies and even a noose and gallows being brought out the front of the Victorian Parliament.
“The far right is willing to use violence and threats against those whom it declares ‘enemies’,” says rally organiser Nahui Jimenez. “This must be unacceptable to most people and we call on them to join our rally.”
The counter-protest has been called by the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (CARF), a broad group of progressive activists and left-wing organisations. The counter rally has been called to draw public attention to the growth of conspiratorial, anti-human and fascistic politics promoted by these groups.
“Hostility to vaccines has become a gateway to the far-right globally”, explained rally organiser Nahui Jimenez. “We will not allow fascist groups to propagate their bigotry and occupy our streets without resistance”, she said.
The organisers of the so-called Freedom rallies in Australia are aligned with a global far right movement that is attempting to disguise its racist agenda behind the facade of being pro-choice. In reality, they stand against social solidarity and the frontline healthcare workers whose vaccination hubs these groups have attacked. They propagate disinformation about COVID public health measures to confuse people and spread fear as a recruiting tactic.
“The presence of Trump flags and QAnon conspiracy theorists at these protests highlights a connection with the US far right, which has continued to grow and cohere over the course of the pandemic around anti-public health and reactionary demands”, says Jimenez. “The likes of Craig Kelly, George Christensen and One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts would love to mimic right-wing Trump style politics here, and we’re determined to stop them”, says Jimenez.
To stand against this rising threat, we need as many people out on the streets as possible. “Melbourne has traditionally been a city in which the far right loses when it attempts to build its numbers. However, the willingness of far right figures to put their supporters at risk by holding events during pandemic lockdowns means that they are now on the front-foot.
We have to rebuild the antifascist cause,” says Nahui Jimenez; “if we do that starting on 20 November, we can take back our city from the far right.”
The CARF rally will not be seeking confrontation with the far right. The protest will assemble at the 8 Hour Day monument on the corner of Russell and Victoria Streets, in Melbourne CBD from 12 noon. “The 8 Hour Day Monument represents everything that we, in CARF, hold dear,” a statement on the CARF Facebook page explains. “ We are proud to stand in the footsteps of those who saw the value of collective action, social solidarity and fighting for a better society for all.”
It will be a COVID-safe event.
For more info contact Nahui Jimenez on 0403 735 131
Melbourne: 12pm, 8 Hour Day Monument, Saturday 20 November. Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/261299109308167
Sydney: 11am, Town Hall, Saturday 20 November. FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/211105574442756/
Brisbane: 11am, King George Square, Saturday 20 November. FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1940925539421087
Perth (organised by sister group United Against Bigotry and Racism): 2:30pm, Yagan Square, Saturday 20 November. FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/367256001759644/