Another Saturday in Fawkner: Rally Against National Action

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, no arrests.
And each time the speeches, the flags, the banners, the barricades, the police.

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, as well.
And they ran in the South Australian election in October and received 3000 votes.

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 the Nazis.

We intend to close them down.

Note: National Action's Fawkner bookshop closed in April 1998. For more info see Victory.

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