Scabs don’t prosper…

January 22, 2010

On December 10, 2009, a gig took place in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick.

The gig featured a dozen or so punk bands.

One of the bands scheduled to play was ‘The Worst’.

As it happens, ‘The Worst’ did not play, having been dropped from the bill.

There were several reasons for ‘The Worst’ being dropped.

1) ‘The Worst’ are one of the bands who scabbed on the community boycott of The Birmy.[1]

2) The vocalist for ‘The Worst’, known as Chunga, had previously expressed very strong opposition to the boycott — and his contempt for the “wankers” and “cocksuckers” (et cetera) who joined it — on his blog.

September 2007:

All these tossers that care sooo much about shutting down The Birmy need to get a fucking life!!! Them accusing us [of] supporting racists for playing at a pub… is no better than being a [N]azi! […] The crusty wankers who think they’re so good for being anti-racist are no fucking better than the [N]azis… They think they’re better than everybody!!! And they dislike anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs… Fuck off you cocksuckers and get a life!!!

Several weeks later, Chunga wrote:

Anyway… anarchy is a fag… that’s all I have to say to you Mr Moran… See how fast words travel my friends? Be careful what you write on the internet… Coz you never know when some stalker is gonna put it on there [sic] website. Thanx to the people who have supported us… and to the random [sic] people letting us know about this anarchist knobjockey Mr Moran…

“Mr Moran” is a reference to the anarchist and anti-fascist blogger ‘slackbastard’. The claim he is ‘Andrew Moran’ originates among Australian neo-Nazis, and has been in circulation since late 2005/early 2006.

As it happens, a number of anarchists took part in organising the gig. In light of the above — the status of ‘The Worst’ as scabs; Chunga’s drawing of a political equivalence between supporters of the boycott and Nazis, expressed contempt for anarchism and ‘fags’, and his repetition of a neo-Nazi rumour regarding the identity of a local, Melbourne anarchist — they decided to withdraw their assistance. This included the provision of a PA.

In conclusion: anarchists in Melbourne, including those who work in the music industry, have no interest in providing practical support to scabs or to groups and individuals openly hostile to anarchism. Put simply: if groups and individuals choose to support venues which provide a platform for neo-Nazism — such as The Birmingham Hotel when it was under fascist-sympathising management — then they should not expect anarchists (and other principled anti-fascists) to provide them with any form of practical assistance in future.[2]

[1] The other, Melbourne-based bands who scabbed on the boycott and who are still gigging are: Bulldog Spirit, Charter 77, Marching Orders, Napalm Hearts, Rankwaste, Scape, Slick 46, THC, The Boots and Wot Rot.

[2] The boycott was successful as it forced the fascist-sympathising manager — Gary Wayne Kitto — to leave the pub, following which new, non-fascist friendly management took over and revitalised it as a live venue. An indication of Gary’s political sympathies is demonstrated by, among other things, his decision to play songs by the US-based Klansman “Johnny Rebel” (Clifford Joseph Trahan) prior to the 2005 Ian Stuart Donaldson memorial gig. Johnny Rebel’s repertoire includes songs with the titles “Nigger, Nigger”, “In Coon Town”, “Who Likes a Nigger?”, “Nigger Hatin’ Me” and “Some Niggers Never Die (They Just Smell That Way)”. (Source: ‘B&H Australia I.S.D Sept 3, 2005.’, Blood & Honour, Number 33.)

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Hold Fast Body Art : “It’s (neo-Nazi) shit!”

November 12, 2009

‘Hold Fast Body Art’ is a tattoo studio in Burwood, Melbourne (13 Burwood Hwy).

The studio is owned and operated by Justin O’Brien. Justin O’Brien is the state representative for Victoria of ‘Blood & Honour Australia’, the neo-Nazi group which, in conjunction with the ‘Southern Cross Hammerskins’, was successfully booted out of The Birmingham Hotel after having organised a series of neo-Nazi gigs at the hotel.

On September 28, 2009, Justin and three other boneheads attended the ‘Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre’ in Northcote. The ‘Melbourne Anarchist Club’ released the following statement in response to their visit:

MAC statement on neo-Nazi attack on MARC

This statement has been prepared by the ‘Melbourne Anarchist Club’ (MAC), the owners of the ‘Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre’ (62 St Georges Road, Northcote), in response to recent threatening behaviour by local neo-Nazis.

It is intended to explain what has happened, and our response to it.

WHAT HAPPENED

On the afternoon of Monday, September 28, 2009, four neo-Nazi skinheads, believed to belong to or to be closely associated with the neo-Nazi skinhead groups ‘Blood & Honour Australia’ and the ‘Southern Cross Hammerskins’, attended the MARC. The neo-Nazis interrupted a meeting of a group which happened to be meeting at the time (a group which campaigns against sexual violence).

The neo-Nazis were highly agitated and very aggressive, confronting those present and preventing their exit by blocking the front door. They screamed and shouted, pushed over book shelves, crowded individuals, and threatened physical violence (including the use of capsicum spray or ‘mace’). The neo-Nazis demanded to know if the individuals present were ‘antifa’ (anti-fascists), and to be provided with the name and location of the blogger ’slackbastard’. After approximately 10 minutes, they left MARC with a final ‘Sieg Heil!’.

One of those present at the meeting provides the following account:

At 3pm Monday the 28th of September, several of us were sitting in the Barricade bookshop when four men entered through the front door. One of them, who was carrying a can of mace [pepper spray], yelled for us to sit down and that they had a message to deliver (he also asked who was in charge!). They proceeded to deliver a message that amounted to threatening that the MARC space would be the first point of call if there was any more antifa [anti-fascist] activity in Melbourne. They pushed over two bookshelves and swept some zines off the table as they left… Nobody was hurt, and there was no damage done to the space, just some disorganised books. We were all a bit shaken, but looked after each other.

It is understood that the most vocal neo-Nazi was a man named Justin. Justin is in his mid- to late-30s, and has tattoos on his hands and neck. He is the Victorian organiser for ‘Blood & Honour’, and is also closely associated with the Hammerskins. It is also understood that Justin works at ‘Hold Fast Body Art’ tattoo studio in Burwood (13 Burwood Highway).

During the course of their intervention at MARC, Justin informed those present that his business had been graffitied, and demanded that ‘antifa’ cease all such activity, or that there would be violent repercussions for MARC and its users. It is understood that this was a reference to an alleged incident which took place on Monday, September 14, an account of which, ‘Anti-Fascists attack neo-Nazi’s business in Burwood’, was published anonymously on the Melbourne Indymedia website.

There is no independent confirmation of this incident, but given Justin’s subsequent behaviour, we understand it to be true.

In summary: on September 14, unknown parties graffitied a tattoo shop in Burwood with ‘anti-fascist’ slogans. Two weeks later, on September 28, four neo-Nazi skinheads, including an employee at the tattoo shop in question, attended the MARC in Northcote and assaulted a meeting of a group campaigning against sexual violence, threatening further violence upon the group, MARC, and its users, unless all ‘anti-fascist’ activity in Melbourne ceased immediately.

OUR RESPONSE

The Melbourne Anarchist Club remains committed to continuing to facilitate anarchist activity in Melbourne.

Thus the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre will continue to remain open to the public, and to be used by a variety of groups, including those campaigning for an end to sexual violence, for workers’ rights, and for environmental preservation;
as a venue for art, music and film;
as a source of information on contemporary struggles for justice, as well as historical inquiry;
and as a continuing resource for those, like the Melbourne Anarchist Club, who want to advance the cause of revolutionary, class-struggle anarchism.

In addition to reviewing, along with the various groups which make use of MARC, our security and safety procedures, the MAC is organising an Open Day for the general public.

Interested in getting a tattoo or piercing?

If you don’t want to support neo-Nazis, don’t go to ‘Hold Fast Body Art’.

The Birmy : “It’s Not Shit Anymore!”

June 8, 2008

The Birmy to close?

February 17, 2008

The Birmingham Hotel supposedly had its last gig on Saturday, February 16, 2008, one featuring the literary talents of a Canadian punk rock author and the musical talents of Napalm Hearts (for whom said author shouts into a microphone). If correct, this presumably means that the owners are selling. Or maybe not. Time will tell. As for the boycott, presuming Gary, the person responsible for booking the neo-Nazis, is no longer involved in the pub, it would appear to have little more purpose…

What impact, if any, did the boycott have on the decision by the pub’s owners to sell? That’s obviously a very difficult question to answer, and until such time as the sale has been confirmed, probably not worth speculating about. For example, it may be that the current owners are not selling but have decided to make other uses of the premises. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that, from September 23, 2006 — the date of the last neo-Nazi gig at the venue — to today, a little over 18 months later, a total of approximately 11 punk gigs have taken place: on October 7, November 11 and 18, 2006; March 2, April 25, July 7, September 29, November 30 and December 1, 2007; and February 9 and 16, 2008. It’s likely that during this period there were one or two other gigs, which to avoid attention remained unpublicised. Of the two dozen or so bands that played, the most loyal have been Slick 46 (4 gigs) and The Worst (5 gigs); most others, with the exception of The Boots, Bulldog Spirit, Charter 77, Marching Orders, Poverty Bay Goon, Sewer Cider and Wot Rot, played just once.

One for The Kids

February 1, 2008

What’s a few more scabs between friends?

November 30, 2007

A handful more local bands have scabbed on the boycott. They are:

Long Haul Paul & the Pukes;

Rankwaste;

Scape and;

THC.

The four bands played November 30. On December 1, these four will be joined by Donkey Punch (as well as Sewer Cider, The Boots and Wot Rot, all of whom have previously scabbed on the boycott).

Boycott the Birmy on myspace

October 10, 2007

You can now find a myspace page dedicated to promoting the boycott. Please consider joining.

Boycott the Birmy!

October 3, 2007

Scabs continue to crawl

October 1, 2007

As has been customary for the last 20 years or so, the last Saturday in September is when the Melbourne Punk Pub Crawl takes place. The kick-off point is The Arty, while the final destination has varied. Most recently, it’s been The Birmy.

On Saturday, September 29, 2007, as on Saturday, September 30, 2006, a number of punks crawled to The Birmy to drink and to watch punks perform on- and off- stage. This year, four bands were scheduled to perform:

Sewer Cider; Social Suicide; Suicide Kings; and The Worst.

Sewer Cider and The Worst have played at The Birmy on a number of previous occasions. Both bands were contacted prior to the gig to ascertain their attitude toward the boycott. Sewer Cider did not reply, while The Worst, in the person of Chunga, their lead singer, replied that he wasn’t a racist and that anarchists were faggots.

In 2006, on white supremacist website Stormfront, a local member of the Hammerskins, agreeing with Chunga, recalled the ISD gig the week before the 2006 Melbourne Punk Pub Crawl as follows:

Some tool rang up the owner and said he was some construction union boss and had 200 union members in the city that were going to come and picket outside and alluded to maybe doing more than that.

They also rang the owner all night and hung up and harassed him.

There was even the gig’s address/details/map/location/phone number on ‘the site we aren’t allowed to talk about here’ on the day of the gig.

Well we waited all night to ‘say hello’ to these scum and NOT one person turned up.

It’s amazing how these cowardly dirtbags can even stand up without a spine. Gutless fags.

The gig was brilliant: great bands, great people and a good time was had by all.

UP YOURS FAG ANTI-RACIST VERMIN!

GOD FORGIVES, HAMMERS DON’T!

Following the gig, Jason Bastard of Bastard Squad wrote (September 24, 2006):

It’s about time we find out where our friends really stand. This is something that can no longer be ignored. The annual punk pub crawl happens this Saturday (September 30), and it usually finishes at The Birmy. I cannot believe that punks will still go to The Birmy after something as significant as this. Hypocrisy seems no longer an issue in today’s ‘anything goes’ apathetic punk scene. If punks go to The Birmy, even the fundamentals that we all share become null and void. It would be nothing less than ridiculing ourselves.

This is not the case of ‘oh shit, boneheads were at that pub last week, we better not go there’.

This is much more than that. This is something well organised and deliberate. This is blatant support of Blood & Honour because it is providing a venue for their gigs and meetings. To all extents and purposes the Birmy can justifiably be called a Blood & Honour pub.

I will not be going to The Birmy at the end of the pub crawl or at any other time in the future. I will also be reminding others of what happened there and asking them if they are still going. It will be interesting to hear what reasons punks give for still going to The Birmy. If the answer has anything to do with having no heart or no backbone, maybe I will ask myself ‘what is this all about then’.

So what’ll it be, punk?

Vae Victis joins boycott…

September 15, 2007

Sydney band Vae Victis — exponents of the very finest in D-Beat, Fantasy Metal and Disco since time immemorial — have recently voiced their support for a boycott of The Birmy. If you’d like to join them, please comment below…

Cool potatoes and hot bananas. The following bands have declared that they’re not gonna play along to get along:

ABC Weapons : Easy listening.

Final Warning : “…punk, ska and reggae with incisive lyrics, kick ass rhythm, and the passion of youth at the threat of extinction.”

Pisschrist : “Melburn mange!”

Schifosi : “Down-tuned epic melodic crust.”

Speartackle : “Rock City Hardcore.”

The Focus : [ Genres = indie rock, post-punk ] “Play melodic, hook-riddled tunes with a Husker Du feel.”

The Resignators : “Better start skanking or ya gonna start bleeding.”

Vents : Hard to Kill hip-hop.

Yidcore : “The original humus-fuelled punk pranksters!”