The modern fascist arrived in my Inner-West suburb recently, and despite our unison complaint, they’re free to continue their brand of hate. But that doesn’t make us powerless.
A fascist group moved in up the road from my home in Ashfield recently. They’ve been responsible for putting up swastika-emblazoned stickers in the area, and they hold “fight clubs” to allegedly “train white men for racist violence”.
The police are aware of their presence, and a new group, Ashfield Community Action, has posted flyers around the area alerting the populace to the fact that we have some fascists next door. They are informing people of where the Nazis are located, and to be vigilant. It’s also likely them who are pulling down the swastika-laden stickers, or pasting over them with anti-fascist stickers.
“We have received a few questions about who the Lads Society are and why they are such a concern for people in living in Ashfield,” a post on the Ashfield Community Action Facebook page says.
“The Lads Society is an interstate fascist organisation founded in October 2017 by notorious Melbourne Neo-Nazis Blair Cottrell and Tom Sewell. Cottrell and Sewell previously led the now defunct United Patriots Front.”
The group “infiltrated” the NSW Young Nationals group with the intention of getting more alt-right figures into mainstream politics so they can take their reprehensible politics public in a more palatable manner. At least, that’s what their manifesto says. They even got a nice photo-op from a smiling, thumbs-upping Lauren Southern, the Aryan exemplar, fascist YouTube star.
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The group boasts such proud members as Beau Maverick, who was kicked out of a bar for throwing up the Nazi salute, along with his mate Kingsley James Taylor, who is very active on The Lads Society’s Facebook page, posting such things as “1488”, common shorthand for expressing white supremacist values, and a photo of him having put a swastika into a cushion that allows you to make patterns.
The chap who runs the Ashfield branch, the lease for which the group signed on April 20th, otherwise known as Hitler’s birthday, is Mark McDonald, who previously led neo-Nazi group “Squadron 88”. He is the one believed to be responsible for the distribution of racist posters in Sydney mid-2017.
Although, he’s not the big mucky-muck who founded the little playgroup for neo-Nazis. No, that title belongs to New Zealand-born Tom Sewell. You might know him as one of the grotesques who emerged from the “Reclaim Australia” rally, alongside Blair Cottrell, serving as sidekick to Cottrell for the United Patriots Front (UPF), a group which, at least in the collective view, collapsed under the weight of its own Facebook-deletion.
Thus, in 2017, The Lads Society was born in the Cheltenham suburb of Melbourne. It was a self-described “fraternal” organisation (aren’t they all?), where members work out, learn how to fight, and enjoy being white, straight and male.
Members of the community called the real estate agency, about the concerns. According to one poster in the Ashfield Community Action group, Coleman Su, manager of the real estate agency, Coleman Property, explained that they do not control the area where the Nazis meet, and that is controlled by the landlord, the name of whom they could not reveal due to the privacy act. They did say that the landlord is attempting to “deal with it”.
Meanwhile, Richardson French, the real estate agency representing the Melbourne headquarters, has apparently put their meeting space back up on the market.
As for a solution to the problems in my own backyard, I’m unsure. Perhaps the way forward is making their existence untenable in your suburb when they arrive. It’s a macro solution to the greater problem. Perhaps in constant relocation, they’ll eventually run out of suburbs to make themselves home. It doesn’t stop their views, of course, but it does erode their platform.
That might be just enough.