NAZI NAZI NAZI oi oi oi!
Arriving in the City close to 1pm, when the dark devils were due to commence their rally I was taken aback by the absence of any noise or trauma as I fought claw and rubber through the horridly hectic traffic before finding my refuge close to work on Little Collins Street. Where are those damn nazis?? i kept asking myself and random passerbys, none of whom had the slightest interest in speaking to me. Have I missed the show???
However, upon reaching Parliament, the volume appeared, shouts and chants, a steady bass beat which had me nodding my head in approval. ‘Onwards, to the front line’ I roared! Yet was forced back by a thick line of fluorescent policeman, hundreds of the bastards, stretching back as far as my evil eye could see. A major detour was needed to reach the thick of the action.
‘Come on you nazi scum!’ I squealed as I saw my people. But were they my people? Lined up opposite to Parliament, flanked by yet more offerings from the copshop were a motley crew of typical beatnik fare with dreadlocks and brutish looking but soppy eyed dogs on rope, a few blacks, browns, yellows, drunk aboriginals and an assortment of folk who seemed like they had simply taken a wrong turn and could not understand that forwards was no longer an option.
To the far left on Spring Street I could now discern the source of the bass line. The odd cry of ‘you people are fucked’ let loose, as I gained a position of prominence on a bench allowing me to survey the battle scene, perhaps much like William the Conqueror did before defeating Harold and his haggard troops. The other crowd seemed like pirates, a sea of black interspersed with australian flags. What they were bellowing was lost within the cacophony of sneers and whistles and repeated verses of ‘say it loud, say it clear, racists are not welcome here!’.
Out of the melee emerged some form of urchin, greeted by hugs and kisses before, in truly dramatic fashion, raised her head to the sky and sassily danced as she announced ‘I KICKED A NAZI IN THE BUTT!’ the crowd went wild as she gyrated and was only taken out of her fugue state by a comrade who reminded me of worsel gummidge, declaring…’You didn’t facebook me!!!!!’.
I found myself more interested in the ghouls to our left as I scribbled into my dwarf notepad, hoping to find a half decent line appear from the weirdness of my fingertips. Yet had little idea how or when to approach them. I discussed this matter, at great length, with a steady procession of revellers standing with me on the bench. None grabbed the whole conversation, they just replaced the listener when they had had enough of my strategy talk. It wasn’t until one of them responded, that I realised what their game was!
‘are you a journalist???’
‘in a way perhaps, but no fucker pays me, and why should they eh??? I need to get up close and personal with the other mob, those brutes over there, see what they can offer me, for my membership…are my funds tax deductible? What are we fighting for? Do I get a uniform? These questions, god damn you, need to be answered and NOW…that is where the real story is…comrade?…’
‘brother, the best words ever written were written for free, so keep writing’
‘wise words, Stalin…but what is this…chaos is coming??? Hold tight my friend!’
And true enough, the alarm was raised, ‘HOLD THE LINE! HOLD THE LINE!’ resonated from mouth to mouth as a behemoth of a whitey, who everyone assumed was a racist psychopath, was approaching from the South. Walking with a strange smile on his face, his arms larger than my thighs, covered in tattoos which surely spelt death to refugees and all but the most lunar of white, bald other than a tiny rats tail above his tree trunk of a neck. Arms were linked as the giant strode ever onwards, until he reached the line, still smiling, his legs trying to move forward, but slowing in their momentum and effort. Those closest to him seemed young and scared. But they held firm. Some tried to engage him in chitchat, but he was there simply to smile…And there he stayed, as if driven by unknown forces to simply attempt to walk towards parliament, in full knowledge that his appearance alone would be enough to cause shivers and panic and repeated chorus of ‘HOLD THE LINE’.
‘What was he smiling for? I hope he doesn’t see me taking his photo! He looks a little more to bite off than I can chew…comrade??’ I jested!..but alas, my new friend had been replaced, yet again, on this occasion, by an elderly, frail man with amazingly silver, thick locks, who was clearly, out of his depth.
Insults were exchanged as some of The Enemy were escorted by the police past the government buildings. A new chant was conjured and disseminated swiftly…’PLEASE DONT BREED! PLEASE DONT BREED!’. Which did little to enthuse the enemy who gave us the middle finger and launched rabid nonsense as they strolled towards the train station entrance.
Two more groups of foes appeared in our company before I gave in to temptation and scurried through the backstreets to seek out the heart of darkness. The first were menacing. I felt that knowing sensation rise up my spine when forced into close quarters with serious scum. For they were by my side before I realized. Thick set, smiling vermin, spitting on the floor, pushing up against the HOLD THE LINE crew, then loitering, with intent. But intent for what? I knew the energy around this cackle of devil geese, from my former life in the badlands of the Northern hemisphere, where to meet such swine was commonplace, and whether I were to emerge with my bones intact was down to the throw of a dice….They were more serious, more menacing, yet essentially, did nothing other than force arms to be locked. They drank in the hatred flowing towards them with real pride, said very little indeed, perhaps nothing, just smiled, and made their presence felt. I rarely trust thick set nazis eager to stroll into a crowd of hundreds eager to see them spit roasted. And was thankful when they turned and strolled, ever so slowly, back to whence they appeared.
The second group were more…playful. Two youths, their faces covered with hoodies and masks, not really understanding their role other than to walk in a circle, thrust their palms out as if they were attempting telekinisis or Ryu’s hadoken, then almost bursting into hippetyhop dance moves. Their true hillbilly hick leader however, was in the faces of the do-gooder crowd, laughing and swearing, sticking his middle finger up, before walking away pulling down his trousers and wiggling his bare arse to his newfound fans…which roused bothersome memories of an AFL match I attended (hopefully the last) when a bearded hippo of a man stood up and produced the same bare bottom move to the stadium camera when he found his chance at stardom, his family all around him whooping and cheering…’yeh, dad! you show ‘em!!!!’. And also, a similar horror-show at the Melbourne Open, when during a break in play, the entertainment goon had picked a child from the audience, and encouraged him to bend over and wiggle his arse in front of the camera, in an appalling, provocative style set to the rhythm of a Kelis or Britney mong classic . the crowd had gone wild with laughter, the MC joining him arse to arse, his parents crying tears of pride…my dear mother goose had been close to scornful of my booing and hissing whenever an australian player came on court and was announced, she had found my behaviour rather ‘improper’ and ‘not in sync with the ambience of the partisan crowd’. She was correct on both counts. Yet when she and many others close by heard me quip…’for fucks sake, mother, this would never happen at Wimbledon…such vermin would be shot on the spot, and rightly so’, she was quick to nod in stern agreement, for they had gone many steps too far. ‘yes, daniel…but quiet now… they might hear you’.
Leaving my bench, I stripped to a loin cloth and strode towards the black death, soon enough found myself amongst them. The first character I noticed, whom I could look upon without encouraging combat, was a man-woman, dressed in denim adorned with patches depicting various white supremacy logos. She was a bearded lady, and also gave the impression of a goblin, as she ranted and raved, garbling half heartedly about WHITE WHITE WHITE…UMMM…OUR COUNTRY…WE WERE HERE FIRST…YEHHHH!…pure gobbledegook. Her partner seemed uninterested, ready to head home from this tired scene, yet she was determined to sound the horn of her own lunacy, and proceeded to do so…I turned my head to see who had buffeted me to the side, and was forced to look up to the heavens, where I found the fierce grimace of a young-un decked in similar denim, yet far more voluminously adorned with patches, the most prominent of which took my fancy as it included a wolf howling at the moon…along with the words…’never turn your back on the wolf pack’…Meeting my awkward gaze and appraisal of his attire with my eyes and notepad, he eyes began to narrow and darken, I sensed fury seeding in his soul, and was thankful for his distraction towards one of his kin pushing up against a ‘street medic’, and off he strode, to collar his over zealous flock then stride away into their own sense of darkness…Yes, I was now amongst the devil spawn. Yet it wasn’t to last, due to the bizarre but some how welcome appearance of a wizard and oddly jolly fellow carrying with great care and regard a giant carrot…
The ambience was darker here, yet dispersing, and soon enough, another giant close by began ranting…’EVERYONE COME HERE. THEY ARE GOING TO ARREST US ALL. SPRAY US. FOLLOW ME TO SAFETY’, then proceeded to follow in step the police…which made no sense to me…or did it?
Growing bored of the stale skirmishes erupting between the ‘street medics’ and wannabe fascists, I was drawn to a line of heavily armed security, positioned smartly in the shadows under the awnings of the spring street cafes and theatres. I had not seen them previously, and they were a strident bunch, lacking mirth, focused on the task they may be given at short notice. Onwards and a return to the protestors locked arm phalanx, where a stage had been erected, outstretched from a pick up truck, and words of revolution were amplified, then music. The scene had changed to one of a carnival atmosphere…I surveyed the crowd, and focused on a copper…
‘excuse me, my friend…but where are the nazi hoardes, i need their story, i need their faces, i need THEM!’
smiling shyly, as a child might when introduced to strangers by his mother, he responded,
‘gone home, mate…had enough’
‘but of what??? ‘
‘of everything they wanted to find.’ with a nervous chuckle…
shrugging my shoulders, I accepted defeat in my mission to delve deeply into the heart of darkness, sauntered back to my two wheeled steed, aimed myself towards Footscray market and hit launch, almost finding myself crunched by a police car turning into their new HQ in West Melbourne…did he get my number plate as he beeped his horn in anger??? Best to simply accelerate, and if he gives chase, then we can chat…great driving nonetheless, yet if I have learned anything today, it is not to stop and aim for pleasantries with a policeman entering his lair who may well find fault with my riding…best to turn the throttle and hope for a better future, for all concerned.
It comes as no surprise to since learn of spilled blood earlier in the festivities, before I joined the fray. For there is always a nasty element within any tribal group, and tribalism is the key word and term here, for even amongst the protestors, I could smell fear and bloodlust alongside their stance of defiance. Many, perhaps on both sides, have no stomach for a real fight, and extend themselves only within the safety of their tribe, their chorus of liberty or oppression safe in numbers, but when leaving that tribe, they leave their chorus well alone. It seems, given the numbers I witnessed, a couple of hundred on my side of the line, a hundred if not less on the other, more an appreciation of solidarity, the cause is close to inconsequential, for what matters most, is that feeling, that close to certainty, of being a part of something which means something.
Of course its a problem that some people need to don denim with patches confirming allegiance to white supremacy groups, yet this is not and never will be the Warsaw ghettoes, this is Melbourne, and the crying shame to me, is that there is so clearly such potential here, a larval melting pot of many cultures, most moving beyond their formally dug in and fought for enclaves and their progeny becoming…as australian as the next man and woman. I could easily launch into a rant of the stupidity and futility of what I witnessed today, pour apathy upon a passionate focus on an issue which seems far smaller than is suggested by the media and online social networks, when what matters more to me individually is the bigger fight to be fought, namely the use of our taxes – as we swear at each other in the streets, with street medics to heal our wounds and police to thwart any grievous harm – to continue to support not wannabe but real nazis in Ukraine, ISIS in the Middle East, al-qaeda all over the place, even in Europe…yes yes, that is my fight, which I sniper at in my own way, but today was something different. this odd gathering of dreadlocked beatniks and wannabe fascists seems to me, more a chance for solidarity than anywhere else in the western world, for these divisions are not yet murderous, they are merely spiteful, and rooted in a desire, a yearning, a need for a semblance of tribalism, not die hard hatred. So let us work together, to curb the enthusiasm to create rival factions, fighting over words and ideologies which a fair portion on both sides of the divide, do not adhere to in heart and soul.
A brief note on the police…Whilst it seems clear that a small group of protesters were sprayed with capsicum, that same group were attempting to force their way through the police lines to fight with their rivals. Their efforts to make use of the bulging crowd, gather momentum and break through the lines dragged other protesters into the firing line. Which is worth condemnation. The police are not going to allow a mass brawl to take place (at least not on the steps of Parliament in Melbourne). We pay them to keep the peace. If you fancy a dose of pepper spray then have the decency to explain to your comrades to give you some room, make yourself known to the police, and they can give you your fill without injuring others nearby. There are other causes where such…brazen eagerness to fight with police is more understandable, issues towards which I can more easily sympathize. Wannabe Nazis should be ridiculed and shamed. Beating them black and blue only fuels their moronic propaganda and confirms many of their apparent fears.
I saw on both sides, those more eager to find meaning in a movement, than savage brutality for the enemy they have been told to hate and fight. There is opportunity here, to unite, under a shared banner of love and liberty. And we should all focus upon that, focus on our similarities, not our differences. Collide, speak, seek solidarity, and join forces to focus on the bigger battles which must be fought if the world, not just Spring street on July 18th 2015, is to be made a better place for all.
Such is the still larval state of this colourful society, we all have a chance to play our part in making it accepting, understanding, accommodating and loving, of all who have found themselves here by birth or refugee status or any other entrance. The life here is good, better than in so many other climes, so rather than seek out aggression through differences in arrival status, we must accept that we are all immigrants, and to fight against each other is pointless. To work together, to embrace the cultures of our parents and grandparents and meet other cultures vibrant and rich with enthusiasm and eagerness, is the clearest of ways forward.
Yes, I was pleased to see the fascist goons wholly outnumbered. Yet I was more eager to note the opportunity to find our enemy as our kin, our neighbour, whatever his or her creed and religion and culture, as our brother and sister, and to embrace the multitude of colours in skin and character, find it and know it as a part of ourselves. So rather than racism, islamophobia, true aussie patriot movements, lets focus on solidarity. We have here so much more than so many others around the globe. Let us rejoice, and be as one people, as one voice, as one heart…