Soon after the Nationals banned 22 members for links to neo-Nazi groups, our left-leaning Facebook page was shocked to discover that the most notable member was one of ours.
For the average woke Australian, the Nazi prowls our borders as a borderline fictional beast. Our dead relatives might have fought them (maybe), but for the most part, we can mostly assume that they’re mostly dead. The American Nazi is separated from us by a vast ocean, and the Reich that inspired them is safely trapped in the pages of our history books. While we might rarely spot one on Sky News, we sleep safely in the assumption that the average Nazi is kept at arm’s length, which is fortunate, because if they weren’t, we’d totally belt them good, just like Hollywood’s preeminent ANTIFA member would.
However, the average Nazi does breathe in the ear of the average Australian, as I’ve discovered during my forced march through 2018. First, it was in the self-flagellating verbiage of comedian Michael Hing, who brilliantly illustrated the ethics of the problem as he saw it. Recalling a short film he worked on, Hing masqueraded as one half of a gay couple, and soon discovered that his opposite (and on-screen boyfriend) was of that world, replete with a tattooed allegiance to Adolf Hitler. For Hing, the question was not whether one should punch a Nazi, but the question of ethics came into play when he was asked to share an on-screen kiss with one.
My own scrape with Adolf’s type was within the seemingly safe space of left-leaning subversive social media nonsense. I’m a card-carrying member of The Tony Abbott Haiku Centre, a page that solely exists to take the piss within the strict format of Haiku.
However, things lurched to the rightward recently, primarily in the wake of the Nationals turfing out 22 members they discovered to be of the neo-nazi persuasion.
The state director of the NSW Nationals, Ross Cadell, disclosed to Fairfax Media that while he was “certain” he booted all the jackbooted, he was also unsure, stating “…who knows who will try and join tomorrow … vigilance is ongoing.”
As it came to be, one of the Young Liberals who resigned prior to Friday’s banning was one of us, a member of our little club, who riotously dropped a 1300 word farewell letter that castigated the Nationals for bowing to left propaganda. The Sydney Morning Herald put it thusly:
Mr Jennings denied he was a white supremacist or neo-Nazi, but admitted to having “radical” views in the past. In a resignation letter, he accused the Nationals of betraying its founders’ wishes by adopting pro-immigration policies.
“Opening Australia to mass Third World immigration is not ‘moderate’. It is extremist,” he wrote.
Mr Jennings also advocated the principles of the White Australia Policy, arguing he and his fellow travellers “follow the classical liberal principles that formed the basis of the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901”.
His 1300-word letter to the party also disparaged the “left-propaganda agency ironically named the Australian Broadcasting Corporation” and accused the party of collaborating with left-wing blogs.
As far as neo-Nazi infiltration goes, I’m fairly certain that sneaking into a Potemkin collection of leftie dorks might have not been worth the effort. Conversely, I’m unsure how many other groups have been similarly compromised. But, I’m curious as to what the goal was. I’m still unsure. What preceded, was rather more clear. After the veil was pulled back, the entirety of the centre lost the plot, readily abusing Jennings (outside the usual format we strictly communicate in). He was quickly asked to digest bricks, fuck all the way off, and someone even offered the following plan for an unnamed future weekend: Let’s all build gallows! / For a fun family outing / Where we hang Nazis!
Extreme? Sure. But it fits the format. More to that point, I have a series of questions.
Was Jennings a fan of Haiku, and joined the group against his better judgement? Or was a member as a plant for the neo-Nazis, one where he’d print out our lamer poetic efforts to introduce mirth to the weekly meetings of the Young Libs? If so, did you guys read my stuff?
The obvious point is the obvious point. Here was a man that freely supports the White Australia policy, freely swimming in the same direction as those who don’t. To be honest, we only discovered Jennings identity by naked fluke. It was down to the pioneering efforts of a member who happened upon an unrelated piece that illustrated Clifford’s notable fuck you to the NSW Nationals. It’s easy to assume that if his desk flip didn’t make the papers, his mask would have remained snugly in place, and we’d all be none-the-wiser. To be brutally honest, his page didn’t hint as to what his views were. He looked like an ordinary white dude with his ordinary partner, smiling ordinarily. As a student of history, I naively marginalised the renewed march of the Nazi as fiction, the modern version might quack like a duck, but it doesn’t step like a goose. It couldn’t happen in America, and it certainly couldn’t happen here.
Perhaps the words of Cadell are the most prescient here, and we should remain vigilant. However, I don’t think we should exclusively worry who might join our ranks tomorrow, perhaps we should gaze at who joined us yesterday, those who already populate our backyards and Facebook groups alike.
While ours was a place for Haiku, not Hitler, the larger meaning becomes clear:
Let’s not fool ourselves,
The modern Nazi lives here,
…closer than you think.