One of the images of yesterday’s protests seems to show a Nazi salute. Gallingly, this behaviour is now common in this country.
Yesterday, CFMEU secretary John Setka faced the media and claimed that there was a Nazi element present during the demonstrations in Melbourne. Sadly, it wasn’t hyperbole, as this image appeared on social media late yesterday.
— Reid Butler (@reid_butler9) September 21, 2021
In February, the swastika appeared in the aisles of fruit and vegetable market in the same city, as an unnamed man wore the infamous armband whilst doing his shopping. The incident was reported to the police, who eventually informed the market that there was nothing that they could do, as there is no law that stops the wearing of nazi imagery and insignia.
Bitterly, the flag of Hitler’s monstrous regime is now a common sight on these shores. Be it waved in well-covered protests, links to elected officials, or the talking heads that are given space by our mainstream media.
In Australia, ‘national pride’ takes the form of evoking the spirit of the ANZAC while flying the flag of the country that the ANZAC died fighting. This took a literal turn today, as far-right protesters made their stand at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.
Protesters chanting “freedom” and “Lest we Forget” have swamped Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.
RSL Victoria has condemned the demonstrators saying “it is not appropriate to use this hallowed location for any protest”.
— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) September 22, 2021
“They Dressed Well” is an article from TIME magazine from June of 2000, long before Donald Trump was on anyone’s mind as a presidential candidate, before “alt-right” was a term on everybody’s tongues, but two years after American History X hit theatres.
The piece talks about “Nazi chic” in Korea, where people idolise the style of the Nazis. Something which, as everyone knows, they were very good at; Hugo Boss made the SS uniforms, as everyone is so fond of reminding us all, and the Volkswagen Beetle was made at Hitler’s request.
But the bar the journalist is visiting is not a Neo-Nazi hangout, he tells the reader; some of the patrons “aren’t even quite sure who Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were.”
“Others, like regular patron Chung Jae Kyung, 22, are aware of the evil the Nazis did but not especially moved by it,” Donald Macintyre writes. “’I don’t hate them, I don’t like them,’ says Chung, a neatly dressed English-lit student with an easy smile. ‘But at least they dressed well.’”
“Any power whatsoever is destined to fail before fashion,” Mussolini is quoted as saying in a 1930 issue of British Vogue.
“ was intended to highlight the need for fascist regimes to capture the fashion system for their own purposes,” Mel Campbell writes in her piece for Crikey. “And because clothing can also express subversive ideas of dissent and solidarity, the fascists will come for your community’s favourite looks, too. Spencer’s ‘dapper’ dressing and trendy side-fade haircut are a deliberate attempt to confuse far-right politics with hipster progressivism. Normalisation of fascism begins when we internalise fascist aesthetics, either through irony or self-preservation.”
Today, we don’t like to use the word “Nazi”. We prefer “alt-right” or “Neo-Nazi” or “anti-immigration”.
“Middle class and well-spoken, dressed in skinny jeans and New Balance trainers rather than bomber jackets and boots,” Andrew Gilligan writes, “members of Generation Identity (GI) are accused of using slick branding and coded language to ‘normalise’ extremist views.”
In 2021, a gathering in Central Victoria hit the front pages, as a group of white supremacists were discovered in the Grampians National Park chanting Waltzing Matilda, and were also found outside a cafe (which was run by a family of Australian-Indian descent), telling them “we are the Ku Klux Klan”.
As one local put it, “…there were 40 white males, many with skinheads, some chanting ‘white power’. That is intimidating for anyone.”
As Jordan King-Lacroix of The Big Smoke noted, “Australia wants to see itself as a fair country for one and all where everyone can ‘have a go’. Well, the Nazis are having a go, and they are one group that shouldn’t get a go. Because they already had one, and we all know how that turned out.”