Currently the Neo Nazis who performed their Hitler salutes on Parliament House steps in Melbourne six weeks ago are effectively instructing Victoria Police which events the self-declared fascists will allow to take place in the state.
Premier Dan Andrews spoke out in horror on social media about the death threats made to councillors and others by the Neo Nazis. It is, however, the legal system and the police’s tolerance, at the very least, of these hateful figures that has led us to this point.
At the beginning of this year, the Neo Nazi making these threats avoided a jail term, instead being sentenced to 18-month community service after a disgraceful attack on a Black security guard outside Channel Nine in Melbourne. The attack was “brutal in its force, speed and repetition” on an unsuspecting victim. If the skin colour of the actors in this assault had been reversed, would the judge have left the assailant to walk free?
On the 18 March, the same man led a posse of threatening buffoons to join him in support of an English grifter’s anti-trans speech at Parliament House. The police kept the Nazis and the disinformation purveyors on the safe side of their activity, effectively protecting them while the fascists performed their Holocaust-linked signal. Meanwhile the small pro-trans justice crowd, emotional at this display of trans-exterminationism, were aggressively pushed around and teargassed by those same police.
These same far right figures infiltrated the conspiracy-world’s “freedom” rallies over the worst of the pandemic. The groups are loosely allied now in infiltrating this American campaign onto Victoria’s streets.
The new “crisis”?
A performance called a “rainbow story hour.” This is the grandchild of Dame Edna and the Panto Dame. Theatre has a heritage of “drag” performances as old and esteemed as the western tradition and beyond: Antigone and Juliet were both drag performances. A rainbow story hour is a glittery drag performance, where a child-friendly story is read at a ticketed event. It is no different to the clowns and fairies who perform for children too.
In America, however, the right has decided that these performances are the perfect event to turn into a grift and a culture war. It is an aspect of the war on trans existence that has brought into state congresses across America hundreds of bills aimed at persecuting a tiny, visible minority as the first step in erasing acceptance of LGBTQI+ rights. It is perpetrated by the same forces stripping reproductive rights and threatening to remove access to contraceptives and women’s right to no-fault divorce.
The attack on trans people is an unalloyed win for these groups in America. The evangelical/Pentecostal perversion of Christianity that has coopted the Republican Party is absolutely committed to “traditional” male and female roles. Complementarian marriage is the only choice: man will be masculine and dominant. Women will be feminine and submissive. Heterosexuality and breeding are compulsory. Any other action by anyone acts to prevent End Times and the return of Christ to rule for a Millennium. Climate change’s disasters tell them this event should be imminent if only humanity would be pure.
Their white supremacist colleagues are delighted to join the fight. They too loathe gender or sexual blurring as much as they hate “racial” blurring. The pink triangles that the Nazis affixed to the clothing of the homosexuals they sent to concentration camps are back in fashion as a symbol of resistance to this resurgence of fascist homophobia.
Over the last year there have been a number of events where rainbow story hours were targeted by militia and thugs and conspiracy theorists in America. The most dramatic vision emerged from Columbus Ohio last week, where a group dressed in red and black chanted, “There will be blood” outside one such event, while waving a swastika flag.
Donald Trump is using the attack on trans existence as a prominent part of his presidential campaign of retribution.
The attack on trans existence is America is very clearly the first wave of a campaign on LGBTQI+ existence. Acceptance of LGBTQI+ rights and existence is repeatedly targeted in the bills being introduced. There is talk of the death penalty for being gay.
The same nonsense talking point that led to so much violence in the past is being indiscriminately applied to LGBQTI+ people again now: they are wrongly accused of being a pedophile threat. One of the more unpleasant drongos attached to Australia’s conspiracy-right movement labelled Andrews a “groomer” as a result of his condemnation of the fascist threats to councillors.
The campaign coincides with attacks on women’s rights and on people of colour.
So Melbourne’s Neo Nazis are threatening the lives of people associated with LGBTQI+ events now. What will be the next form of event that these men – or their conspiracist associates – decide is intolerable?
Victoria Police have repeatedly “advised” councils that they cannot protect them from the Neo Nazi or conspiracist threat and that the event should be cancelled.
One Monash councillor fairly suggested the Neo Nazis’ actions could “reasonably be understood as terrorism.” Dan Andrews stated that “This Americanisation of our politics has no place here,” and nor do the bigots’ “hateful views.” The vast majority are in agreement, as the Coalition parties are finding.
That leaves Anthony Carbine, Victorian Police Minister, to work with his government colleagues and police leadership to decide how long the small group of Neo Nazis will be allowed to decide what Victorians can do. It won’t end with rainbow story hour.
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