Another Saturday in Fawkner:
It's a beautiful sunny day. Again.
There are LOTS of police. Police barricades, police horses, police motorcycles,
police buses, police cars. The police video unit walk around taking the
best pictures. Young people dressed in black are wearing balaclavas. Older
people in check shirts are selling socialist newspapers, while smoking
hand rolled cigarettes. Maybe they are nervous. I look up to the barbed
wire over the door of the National Action shop, and I think how strange
it is, to be here in a nice suburban street, listening to these angry chants
and hard edged speeches. Welcome to political debate in John Howard's relaxed
Australia. Welcome to Tyson Street, Fawkner.
National Action opened their shop in January 1997. They scared the shit
out of everyone who was already familiar with them. We had Howard in Canberra,
Hanson in Brisbane, and now National Action had found some friends with
money, and they had a shop, some new crappy stickers, and some new baseball
bats. The racist attacks soon started: A few residents on the tram, a few
left wing activists on the streets, a few windows, and of course the community
radio station 3CR in Fitzroy.
So the Campaign was organised once again. It had been organised before,
in Brunswick in 1992, then in Northcote, and for a rally at Parliament
House. And each time it had been successful. But it had been a matter of
just confronting and stopping National Action demonstrations on the streets,
with big counter-demonstrations. A few hours and it's over.
Now they had a shop. In the middle of suburbia.
A much more difficult campaign.
At first people were afraid to even drive past the shop. The publicity
for the first demonstration did not even mention the address of the National
Action shop. But people came. The first demonstration was on Saturday 15
March. A beautiful sunny day. That's when I heard the slogan "Fuck
off Nazi, Oi Oi Oi" for the first time. It sounded funny in the middle
of the street with all the carports and the rose bushes and the children
on their bikes watching from the driveways. National Action had dressed
up as clowns on the roof of their shop to make fun of us. Three hours later
they had stopped making fun of us. Three arrests, a few minor injuries,
up close to the police barricades. A few eggs too maybe. Not a very violent
response against people who praise war crimes and support genocide, but
still a serious show of community opposition. A first step anyway.
And then again, and again, and again and again.
Saturday 19 April, 11am Jukes Rd Fawkner, march to Tyson St. A beautiful
sunny day. This time five arrests, some minor injuries. (One National Action
member arrested on outstanding rape charges). No eggs. Saturday 31 May.
Another beautiful sunny day. No arrests, no injuries, no eggs. More community
organisations send speakers: Unions, political parties, a Jewish Holocaust
survivor, an Aboriginal activist from Perth, migrants representing their
communities, students, workers, residents.
Saturday 12 July, Saturday 9 August. Beautiful and sunny. No injuries,
And each time the speeches, the flags, the banners, the barricades, the
Each demonstration involved many planning meetings. Each demonstration
was advertised by printing thousands of leaflets, hundreds of posters.
Each demonstration was supported by other public events. We organised two
benefit concerts, one in Brunswick in May and one in Richmond in August.
We had a public meeting in Fawkner in April, and a public assembly in Brunswick
in August. We raised thousands of dollars from individuals and organisations
endorsing the campaign, and then spent them hiring trucks and sound equipment
for the demonstrations, and to print our publicity again and again.
We travelled to the demonstrations against Pauline Hanson's One Nation
Party, and at each one we were asked to speak on the Campaign Against the
Nazis, and on the political links between right wing organisations, and
their support for the racist policies of the Australian government.
We did all this in 1997.
And the shop is still open in Tyson St in Fawkner.
And National Action has a shop open in the Adelaide suburb of Salisbury,
And they ran in the South Australian election in October and received 3000
So was all our work in vain? Do we now give up our opposition and learn
to live with the fascists in our suburbs? Or do we keep going?
All the work was not wasted. National Action has not been able to grow
according to their plans, and their racist terror on the streets is less
than it would be if they were bigger and better organised. More people
are prepared to publicly oppose them on the streets and more organisations
are prepared to publicly support campaigns against National Action.
More people know that National Action are Nazis, and are aware of the very
dangerous racist policies being promoted by National Action and other racist
parties such as One Nation, Australia First and the League of Rights.
More people are prepared to publicly disagree with the climate of racism
and fear being promoted by the Australian government.
National Action are still here. They are still Nazis. They are still dangerous.
We are here to stop National Action. We'll continue the Campaign Against
We intend to close them down.
Note: National Action's Fawkner bookshop closed
in April 1998. For more info see Victory.