Adelaide’s bi-monthly communal-local free magazine reviews Australia’s ‘political extreme left-right’
BY Barlow Redfearn AND Lachlan Colquhoun
September 28 – October 11 2007
As we await a federal election, both sides of politics are trying to outdo each other in claiming the bland middle ground. One of the main issues in the upcoming Adelaide City Council election is how to get over voter apathy and actually get people to the polls.
But in a world where politics has largely become a big yawn and bathroom renovations are more important there are still people out there whose views vary significantly from the norm.
It might not be the heyday of the highly charged 60s and 70s, when Adelaide and Flinders University were riven by factional games between people calling themselves Maoists, Trotskyites and Spartacists – even the odd Anarchist – but politics and the idea of social change does still inspire deep passions and commitment in some people.
For the police, the danger has largely passed. One former Special Branch member puts it this way: “We stopped chasing commies and skinheads and started concentrating on potential suicide bombers. We stopped driving past unis and union headquarters and found out where the mosques are.”
While the potential for revolutionary action and violent protest from more traditional political movements may have receded, there are still believers. Although many of them object to being labelled with the traditional tags of “left” and “right” they are nevertheless motivated, in various ways, by contempt and frustration at the political status quo and long for change, of varying kinds. And some of these people are out there in the suburbs of Adelaide, dreaming and agitating for their particular causes.
The traditional left, for example, still exists – although its proponents are shy about revealing exactly how many footsoldiers they have. The Spartacist League, for example, has a website listing contact numbers for Sydney and Melbourne but none for Adelaide. A phone call to the Sydney contact brings the comment that while there are a “few members” on the ground in Adelaide, they wouldn’t want to talk to the press. They take a number and pass it on, but no-one calls back.
The most notable left groups have formed themselves into a coalition called the Socialist Alliance, an organisation made up of eight smaller Socialist groups and the long-standing behemoth, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA).
Bob Briton, the South Australian secretary of the CPA, says that while his party’s platform is still to abandon capitalism according to the teaching of Marx and Engels, the affluence of modern Australian society is a major hurdle to its aspirations.
“In the 1930s we (the CPA) were helping the poor and were the mainstay of the anti-fascism movement, at a time when the government was seeing a lot of worth in fascism,” says Briton.
“This was certainly the high water mark in terms of members, we were the largest party in the country at the time with 23,000 and the role that the Soviet Union played in WWII made communism appealing throughout the world.”
Times change, however, and Briton - who declines to put a figure on current membership - concedes that his enemy – capitalism – “has sustained itself despite widespread poverty and unemployment.”
“The relative affluence of Australia at the moment certainly makes it a lot harder but the same contradictions of capitalism that triumphed in Latin America will eventually catch up with Australia.”
Latin America remains a major inspiration for the Adelaide left, who look to countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba for concrete proof that capitalism doesn’t necessarily have to dominate the world.
Leslie Richmond is with the Adelaide branch of the Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP) and says the region gives “much hope.”
“We see there that people are rediscovering Socialist ideas and believing they are valid,” he says.
“We wouldn’t be doing it (campaigning for socialism) if these ideas weren’t going to be something that would work in the future.”
Like all committed leftists, Richmond believes it is only a matter of time before capitalism is discredited, and the political spectrum shifts towards the left. “It is just a matter of how far it goes,” he says.
The Adelaide left is similar to leftist movements worldwide in its promotion of a youth league as a way of recruiting. Throughout Australia, that organisation is Resistance, which has a rarely open shopfront in Currie Street.
“We are optimists and we believe strongly in what we are doing and in the future,” says Leah Lazarou, a Resistance member who plans to run for the Socialist Alliance in the Federal seat of Port Adelaide.
“We want real democracy based on what people need. Anywhere where people are struggling against something which is systemic you need to make people aware.”
The polar opposite of the Resistance, shadowy right-wing groups such as National Action and the Patriotic Youth Alliance, are keeping a very low profile in Adelaide, barely maintaining Post Office boxes.
The last manifestation of right wing action was a National Action rally outside the Parafield Gardens high School in 2003 over race issues in the classroom, and what they claimed were “Asian gangs” operating at the school. At that time, the main man for National Action in Adelaide was Michael Brander, a one time candidate for the priesthood, who enjoyed some headlines in 2000 when he was involved in a defamation case involving former Messenger Newspaper editor Des Ryan, whose description of Brander as a “racist in the worst sense” was upheld by the court.
Brander, however, has left Adelaide and is believed to be in Europe and in his absence the right-wing movement has drifted away into obscurity. Lines of enquiry inevitably lead to the notorious right-wing warrior Dr. Jim Saleam, a Brander rival, who picks up the phone after only a couple of rings at his home in Sydney. Saleam, a founder of National Action in 1982, has done time in gaol for various offences, such as bashing a journalist, firebombing a left-wing bookshop and providing a gun to members who shot up the home of an anti-apartheid activist.
He says that he’ll be in Adelaide soon to address a meeting of the right-wing faithful, largely centred around the Patriotic Youth League and the Australia First Party, which will be fielding Senate candidates at the federal election, although none in Adelaide.
Contacting Australia First in Adelaide proves a difficult task and all enquiries are inevitably re-routed to Melbourne, where national president Diane Teasdale complains that media bias against the “new right” means that no-one in Adelaide knows what the party is about. Which leads us to the “lite” right, the more visible and older League of Rights, whose operations resemble a political version of the tea and scones Country Women’s Association.
Coramandel-based Betty Luks, who edits the League’s journal, describes the organisation as a movement rather than a political party, and estimates its local network at around 1000. The League, she says, stands for constitutional monarchy, national self-reliance and a limit on immigration. She is happy to confirm some overlap with Australia First, but denies any involvement with right-wing groups such as National Action or the Patriotic Youth League and refuses to pigeonhole the group as either left or right.
“They are just key words the media use to associate us with propaganda that goes on in people’s minds, it’s a psychological tool,” she says.
Equally elusive is perhaps Adelaide’s most notable dissident, the Holocaust denier founder of the Adelaide Institute, Dr. Frederick Töben, who has spent time in gaol in his native Germany for his views and is involved in ongoing defamation suits in Australia.
Töben, a fellow traveller of the controversial David Irving, also resists any kind of orthodox political classification, and says his main role is to ask questions about history – particularly involving the treatment of the Jews in Nazi Germany – to prevent it from being used and distorted. He publishes a newsletter through the Adelaide Institute which was once producing 300 hard copies per edition, but that is down to around 100 now that more people are accessing it online. If he has a major meeting, he says he can get around 60 people along.
“These concepts, like ‘hater,’ ‘holocaust denier,’ ‘racist’ – I am none of these,” says Töben, who has recently returned from a Holocaust conference in Teheran. Is he anti Jewish then? “I’m not against anybody who is human,” he says. “But this collective guilt for this whole holocaust thing, its rubbish and its got to go.
“I don’t believe there were gassings – fumigations yes – and that’s how the whole thing has been twisted and any story I have read on this is contradictory and flies against the face of science.”
Most people would be uncomfortable with Töben's views but he says his stance also brings into question crucial questions of freedom of speech, which are equally relevant to Holocaust deniers as to anyone else.
“I am out for truth and that is my pillar,” he says.
“After all, isn’t that supposed to be one of the things about living in a democracy.”
Posted on 27 Sep 2007
by santomauro @ 02 Oct 2007 07:55 pm
What sort of Truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?
"I agree with Dr. Töben that the question that needs to be asked is what crime was committed by Palestinians for what may have happened to the Jews of Europe. As a publisher and researcher on the Holocaust I am convinced Nazi gassings never happened. I should not go to jail, for having that view in eleven nations including Israel! Dr. Töben's Holocaust problems are my Holocaust problems." –Michael Santomauro
Peace is patriotic.
253 West 72nd street #1711
New York, NY 10023
Call anytime: 212-787-7891
This picture of Fredrick Töben with his latest book 40 Days in Teheran appeared in the print version of The Adelaide Review
Honsik denied the Holocaust and spoke of the “absurdity of the gas chamber lie”!
After 15 years in Spanish Exile a European Arrest Warrant enables Austria to request Spain deport Gerd Honsik – officially he arrived in Vienna on 4 October 2007 – and more hunting for Dissenters…
Rückkehr nach 15 Jahren
Die österreichische Justiz ist nun des seit Jahren flüchtigen Neonazis Gerd Honsik habhaft geworden. Der wegen Wiederbetätigung im Jahr 1992 zu eineinhalb Jahren Freiheitsstrafe verurteilte 65-jährige Wiener wurde am Abend nach Wien überstellt. Das berichtete die ZiB am Donnerstagabend.
Honsik war im August überraschend in Spanien verhaftet worden, nachdem er dort 15 Jahre unbehelligt hatte leben können. Ein EU-Haftbefehl hatte die Verhaftung möglich gemacht. Am Freitag wird wahrscheinlich ein Untersuchungsrichter die U-Haft über Honsik verhängen.
Bereits in der Justizanstalt Der Sprecher der Staatsanwaltschaft Wien, Gerhard Jarosch, erklärte, die Haftprüfung gegen Honsik sei bereits mit Erstellung des Haftbefehls beantragt worden.
"Jetzt ist er schon in der Justizanstalt, er muss innerhalb von 48 Stunden dem zuständigen U-Richter vorgeführt werden. Der muss entscheiden, ob er ihn in U-Haft nimmt oder nicht." Diese Frage dürfte aber eher eine rhetorische sein, denn "es ist ziemlich sicher fix", dass Honsik in U-Haft kommt.
Was die Verurteilung von vor 15 Jahren betrifft, sei diese noch nicht rechtskräftig. "Die muss zunächst einmal rechtskräftig werden, da muss jetzt die zuständige Instanz noch entscheiden." Außerdem gebe es dann noch weitere Verfahren.
"Seit seiner Verurteilung und nach der Absetzung nach Spanien hat er so viele weitere Fakten gesetzt, über das Internet Nazi-Propaganda und Wiederbetätigung gemacht, da müssen wir prüfen", so Jarosch.
Mit "großer Freude über die Wirksamkeit des Europäischen Haftbefehls, gerade bei Neonazis", nahm Justizministerin Maria Berger (SPÖ) die Nachricht von der Überstellung Honsiks auf. Dass die Auslieferung nur 42 Tage nach der Festnahme stattfinde, demonstriert für Berger "die hohe Effizienz dieses Instruments der europäischen Justizzusammenarbeit".
Honsik: "Missbrauch des Verbotsgesetzes"
Pikantes Detail am Rande: Donnerstagabend, also zu einem Zeitpunkt, an dem Honsik bereits in der Justizanstalt untergebracht war, erreichte einige Medien, darunter ORF.at, noch eine von ihm gezeichnete E-Mail, in der er in einer "Petition an das österreichische Parlament" die Unterbindung des "Missbrauchs des NSDAP-Verbotsgesetzes" fordert, "wenn Sie es denn noch nicht abschaffen wollen".
Nach Prozess abgesetzt
Im Mai 1992 war Honsik wegen der Herausgabe des Druckwerks "Freispruch für Hitler?" von einem Geschworenengericht in Wien zu einer eineinhalbjährigen Freiheitsstrafe verurteilt worden. Während des anhängigen Rechtsmittelverfahrens setzte er sich nach Spanien ab und führte dort in den vergangenen 15 Jahren seine einschlägigen Aktivitäten fort.
Die spanischen Behörden lehnten seine Auslieferung bisher zweimal ab, mit dem Europäischen Haftbefehl wurde im August die Festnahme ermöglicht. Spanien musste binnen 90 Tagen über die Auslieferung entscheiden.
Honsik wehrte sich gegen Auslieferung
Nach der Verhaftung beantragte Honsik die "sofortige Aufhebung" des Europäischen Haftbefehls.
Sein Verteidiger Herbert Schaller erklärte in einer Aussendung, aus dem Gesetz über justizielle Zusammenarbeit in Strafsachen mit den EU-Mitgliedsländern, das die Voraussetzungen des Europäischen Haftbefehls regle, ergebe sich, dass dieses Gesetz "im Fall meines Klienten nicht gilt und daher auf ihn nicht anwendbar ist". Der Antrag im Landesgericht für Strafsachen Wien wurde allerdings abgelehnt.
Honsik hatte beim Prozess 1992 unter anderem erklärt, "Mitleid mit Hitler" zu haben. Seine vom Dokumentationsarchiv des österreichischen Widerstandes (DÖW) dokumentierten Tätigkeiten waren zahlreich.
Neben der Herausgabe der rechtsextremen Zeitung "Halt" (daran waren die Organisationen "Volksbewegung" und "Nationale Front" geknüpft) war er auch für die verbotene rechtsextreme Nationaldemokratischen Partei (NDP) von Norbert Burger tätig.
1988 veröffentlichte er das Buch "Freispruch für Hitler?", das beschlagnahmt wurde. Honsik leugnete wiederholt den Holocaust und sprach von der "Absurdität der Gaskammerlüge".
Sending a firm message to all Germans – through controlled media leaks!
'Nazi' row sinks German TV star
Eva Herman was a top news presenter for NDR until 2006.
The German television network NDR has sacked a prominent talk show host after she praised the family model promoted by the Nazis. NDR said Eva Herman, 48, was fired after confirming quotes printed by the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
She said "values like the family, children and motherhood, which were promoted in the Third Reich too, were later scrapped by the 68ers".
She was referring to the radicalism that swept the West in the 1960s. She made the remarks at the launch of her latest book on Friday, called The Noah's Ark Principle - Why we must save the Family.
NDR's programme director, Volker Herres, issued a statement saying that "Herman's authorial activities are, in our view, no longer compatible with her role as a television moderator and talk show host".
Herman had previously appeared as a newsreader on the Tagesschau bulletin, but stood down last year before the publication of The Eve Principle to protect the neutrality of the programme.
Pine Gap risk
The Independent Weekly, 29/9-5/10,2007
Extending Pine Gap’s role (IW 22Sept) would have been a move for defence and world peace many years ago. Since then the US has changed. It nis a financial empire in a state of decline.
As a result it has become an unpredictable and dangerous country which can still attack other nations. Because of this, Australia moves into peril as it continues to align itself with the US.
Who believes that WMD was the reason for the Iraq invasion? Alan Greenspan, former US Reserve Bank chief, says it was oil. Who believes that our security from terrorism was enhanced by supporting the Iraq invasion? Pine Gap needs to close.
Michael Dwyer, Somerton Park, South Australia.
Crock of pile tears
The Independent Weekly, 29/9-5/10 2007
One can only sympathise with those American families who are still mourning the loss of loved ones during the attack on the NY twin towers on 11 September 2001.
When I read the article “Mum sheds more tears over 9/11” about such families (IW Sept 15) I immediately wondered how many Iraqi families have been mourning the loss of loved ones since the US invaded their country. The world is now aware that Iraqis were not responsible for perpetrating 9/11. It was led by Saudis, so why did George Bush invade Iraq and not Saudi Arabia? This of course occurred with the connivance of the Howard Government and other governments in the Coalition of the Willing.
Recently I heard Abdullah Bawadi, the Malaysian PM and a moderate Muslim, speak on terrorism and the Middle East. His feeling was that if the US genuinely sought to do the right thing in Palestine, the situation between east and west would be vastly improved.
Maybe, if our leaders took the advice of moderate leaders like Badawi, instead of blindly following the George Bush’s of the world, they might actually contribute to building world peace instead of contributing to more death and destruction.
Andy Alcock, Forestville, South Australia.
Barossa Valley Herald, 26 September 2007
The invasion of Ira was really for oil, not weapons of mass destruction according to Alan Greenspan. Did John Howard deceive the Australian public or did George Bush deceive John Howard?
Makes little difference to those killed or maimed for life.
Adam Lyons, Gawler East, South Australia.
[AI: The invasion was to make the Middle East safe for Israel!]
What’s the future
If farmers are going to be paid to walk off their properties then we would like to know who is going to end up with the land.
Will it be sold off cheaply to the giant multi-national bio-tech companies so that they can contaminate the whole of our country with genetically modified organisms?
We have tragedy and potential catastrophe for organic farming unfolding before our very eyes, and it appears to be because of the Howard Government ‘s lack of action over global warming and their signing us into the American Free Trade Agreement. No wonder the Australian people want a change of government.
Alex Hodges, Birdwood, South Australia.
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