OR, RIDING THE TIGER IN COBURG (WHILE WATCHING OTHERS FALL OFF AND BE EATEN)
Well gentle readers, what a day we had over in Sydney Road and surrounds, that part of Coburg being known to local wags as ”The Gaza Strip”!
Melbourne turned on one of her winter specials for this entree to the marching season, a biting sou’ wester, with frequent showers and heavily overcast.
This Nationalist reporter, ever a man of the people, made his train on time for once and took a seat on the connecting 513 bus; the most Plebian mode of transport known to man.
Arriving at the Sydney Road stop I alighted upon the verge of Bridges Reserve and noted a small clutch of Patriots who had arrived early. Seeing no familiar faces I set off for the Coburg Library, the rally point claimed for the day by Moreland city councillor Sue Bolton and her coalition of Left, Green and reedy Social Justice groups.
Now why, you may ask, was a Nationalist bypassing the “Patriotic” rally and attending the opposing formation?
Simply put, as a local to the Northern Suburbs I set out to further my knowledge of the state of play in Moreland’s alternative political scene. Frankly, the collection of blow-ins recruited by the “True Blue Crew” would hardly have had anything useful to relate on that score.
My scepticism of the Patriot cause in general is well documented on this very blog, but I don’t propose to slander any particular group or person in my report. They shall make their own case and put forward their impression of the day’s events.
Certain things occurred in their line that was visible to all; these I shall report since they go directly to the heart of the Nationalist position and are a fact of the matter. But I will reassert the Patriot’s prerogative to disagree with my interpretation or else step up and explain themselves.
The Mall was abuzz with activity as 10:30 rolled around. What was billed as a display of community spirit and unity seemed anything but, as there were in effect two rallies building simultaneously, at either end of the precinct.
The grandmotherly figure of Sue Bolton could be seen mingling with her group of concerned clucky citizens, Greenies and Refugee advocates at the carpark end. Meanwhile ANTIFA, Socialist Alternative, and their fellow travellers were assembling by Sydney Road.
Socialist Alternative began their stereotypical chants at this time, a nonstop medley of tired slogans and catchphrases in a refrain of mantras more powerful than any sleeping tablet in their drowsy effect. This tiresome display did not let-up for the entirety of the pre-march activity.
I was actually pleased to see the Spartacists appear at this point and engaged with them on the subject of union leadership and the futile path the CFMEU has taken in defending themselves in the “bosses’ courts”.
At around eleven, an awful leftist bard took to the makeshift stage, introduced as an “award winning songwriter” by Ms Bolton, but given his twanging out-of-tune Fender and warbling vocals one wonders if those awards were bestowed by the deaf community.
Anyhow, his massacre of Kev Carmody’s From Little Things, Big Things Grow was interrupted by the exodus from the mall, in full, aggravating chorus of the Trotskyite and Black Bloc contingent.
It was clear they intended to make their own way to confront the “Fash” and leave the old fogeys behind, so I quickly attached myself to their formation, and set off down Bell Street.
By this time the militant element of the socialist rally had grown considerably. As the group drew up to the police lines just east of the Sydney Rd intersection, they numbered in the hundreds; bolstered by a contingent of young Arab men numbering perhaps a few dozen.
Being a man of middle-age I was not able to keep up with the lead elements of the march. A small scuffle appeared to break out between riot police and anarchists as the latter ran pell-mell into the officers. OC foam was deployed with several people affected.
As the anarchist street medics took charge of their blinded, sputtering colleagues, the Patriots, some eighty in number as I perceived them, surged onto the street. The Left groups were then pushed back by a line of mounted police, leaving a distance of some twenty to thirty metres, and a double wall of coppers between the opposing sides.
A steady rain began to fall, chants began to rise from both sides, and an anarchist heaved what appeared to be a nectarine over the heads of the cordon. But both groups remained static. After perhaps fifteen minutes, the Patriots moved from their position astride both lanes of Bell Street back into the park, save for a small contingent who mounted the porch of the nearby primary school to unfurl an Australian, and a stinking Israeli flag.
This dismal display was given the hooting it deserved. The crowd then erupted in applause as a posse of ANTIFA rounded the corner bearing a clutch of UPF banners, stolen, they said, from a Patriot’s own vehicle.
These flags were summarily desecrated, torn apart, made into bandannas and attempts to burn them were only thwarted by the now driving rain.
The merriment continued further until advance ANTIFA scouts relayed some order via their weird coded street language of whistles and the mob took off at a dead run in the direction of the old Pentridge Prison complex.
Nowadays the “Bluestone University” is a high end café and residential precinct, yet it still remains a warren of laneways and blind corners, as I puffed along behind the leftist youths I was apprehensive about what I’d find ahead.
Some fracas occurred behind one of the cafés, out of my view. A crowd of ANTIFA and their supporting Arab protestors (that’s right, the ANTIFA have aligned with the Lebanese ED) had armed themselves with makeshift weapons. As I arrived on the scene they were retreating ahead of a squad of riot police. Some were showing mild abrasions and the effects of OC spray.
A short standoff occurred in Urquhart Street. The leftists began to turn on the police to bait and scuffle with them, but this was quickly defused by the Socialist crowd marshals who informed their charges that they had taken the day, and the crowd were to assemble for a march back down Sydney Road to the town hall.
As I set off with this appalling rabble, the young Arabs began sounding off in their own language with shouts of “Allah Akbar” accompanied by their baritone laughter, which could be heard as we made our way back down into the heart of Coburg.
The lead elements however made another inexplicable detour, so at a dead run once again the crowd surged into the carpark behind the local leisure centre; the alternative entrance to Bridges Reserve.
Once again the ANTIFA applied the “crash or crash through” modus operandi on the police line with predictable results, thus I spent the last minutes of the rally as part of a human shield around three scumbags who I should have let go blind as they were treated for the effects of OC foam. Funny how things work out.
So by way of conclusion, I ask myself what I learned about the world today. My overall impression was that Coburg does indeed have enthusiastic and well-practised cadres from many notionally leftist tendencies who can work effectively together.
As our young friends in the Nationalist milieu noted on a recent podcast there may well be more fertile and open minds on the Left side of Australian alternative politics than the right. I certainly can’t help coming to that conclusion at the end of today’s fun. The crowd was 90% White, showed for the most part good humour and good judgement and when all is said and done they stick to their guns and their message is consistent, the minimum prerequisite for political activists.
And as for the depressing showing by the Patriots, their use of Israeli flag as a primary banner tells the Nationalist all he needs to know and this Nationalist now feels sure that their movement has run its course. The UPF in particular should seriously consider whether cultivating a group such as the “True Blue Crew” is a good idea in the long term. If the TBC are to become a bogan praetorian guard, I for one would not trust them with my safety given their performances on Bell Street.
It is true that all pro-active political groups at some point will attract a more or less criminal subculture whose minds are too shallow for the proper political training but who are tolerated because they’re good in a ruck. The patriots must appreciate however that even in revolutionary movements such men have a use by date and their skill set is really only suited to specific phases of struggle far down the timeline from the present state of affairs. The True Blue Crew moreover had nailed their colours to the dunghill of Civic Patriotism even before today’s outing, the Israeli flag coupled with their dopey Right Wing Anti Fascism was merely the icing on a rather shitty cake.
In truth these hard fighting men appear to the Nationalist as no better than those they opposed today. No boys, you are not political activists, you are mere participants in a masked pantomime played by burly toughs; strong on sentiment maybe but informed by the same set of rotten lies! At any rate as this farcical coalition of “right wingers” achieved nothing on Bell St today. Sue Bolton is no doubt cuddling up to her “special someone” tonight as she pats the old dear’s head and praises her on a job well done.
ANTIFA are at their revels, getting drunk and coupling in degenerate acts too horrible to contemplate, the world turns and as I stood in the rain waiting with them the plebs on the 513 bus stop knew only that their way home was delayed by an hour or so due to “ugly scenes”.
The only real upside for the Nationalists is that coming months will reveal who from that side is willing to throw in their lot with a true coalition of genuine Australian Nationalists, who is willing to “Ride the Tiger” and who is merely its latest meal.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of now, Mr James Hillman is on staff with United Nationalists Australia