The threat posed by right-wing extremism to Australia
The contemporary far-right in Australia is best described as a conglomerate of different ideas and ideologies, held with varying intensity and activity, but connected by certain political positions. These positions, in general, include ultra-nationalism and racism, and opposition to multiculturalism, homosexual rights, equality for females, “the Left” and, in many cases, opposition to democracy and the rule of law.
From 2015 to 2017, much of the far-right was heavily focussed on actively opposing Islam and Muslims being in Western countries. Much of the opposition was fuelled by Islamist terrorist attacks over the previous decades. The Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney in December 2014 and the mass migration of Muslims into Europe, particularly into Germany, in 2015 galvanised the far-right into action.
At the same time, neo-Nazi groups were re-emerging and consolidating their propaganda and public activity. Many of these groups were incubated online, and formed groups in Europe, North America and Australia. In late 2016, a neo-Nazi group arose in Australia, Antipodean Resistance, which was politically active through the use of propaganda posters and stickers, predominantly anti-Jewish, anti-homosexual and in favour of a “white Australia.” The group further called for the killing of Jews and homosexuals, and the deportation of those of non-European ethnicity.
During 2017, many on the extreme-right began to embrace the “white-replacement” myth. This idea provides an updated conspiracy theory with which to demonise and attack Jews, and which also slots into the prevailing hostility towards those of non-European ethnicity and Muslims – by blaming “the Jews” for the mass immigration of Africans, Asians, Arabs and Muslims into “white” countries. It became the galvanising ideology which inspired and emboldened the far-right, from the Charlottesville rally in August 2017 – with its signature chant, “Jews will not replace us” – to the massacre of Jews in Pittsburgh in October 2018, whose perpetrator chillingly wrote beforehand, “Screw your optics. I’m going in.”
The latter shooting became the first in a series of deadly attacks inspired by the white-replacement ideology. This came home to Australia with the massacre of Muslims in two New Zealand mosques in Christchurch in March 2019 by an Australian who believed that he was defending European Christian civilisation against another “Islamic invasion” – this time through Muslim migration, into Europe and other “white” countries.
Increasingly, the extreme-right are sharpening their ideological perspectives. The prime focus is on the notion of race. It is predominantly ethnic-European ultra-nationalism whereby only those of European ethnicity are deemed to be Australian and have the right to live here. People of all non-European ethnicities, except Indigenous Australians, are to be forced to emigrate.
Coupled with the racial ultra-nationalism are the cultural motifs. Primarily, this is expressed in gender terms. Opposition to gender equality is expressed by the aim of putting women back in the kitchen and bedroom as their sole role in life as wife, breeder and home maker, and revoking their right to vote. Homosexuality and other so-called “sexual deviancies” are to be outlawed and eradicated, including by execution.
Right-wing extremists usually perceive the democratic governments of the West as being corrupt and owned by “the oligarchs” – a term usually used to refer to Jews; and that governments no longer represent their nation, but have become traitors to their nation and race. Right-wing extremists also place the blame on “Cultural Marxism” (often code for Jews) and/or “the Left” (often portrayed as the lackeys of “the Jews”) as being the means whereby Western society is being racially and culturally undermined and “replaced” through immigration, multiculturalism, feminism and homosexuality. “The Left” is often represented as being predominantly found in academia and the media – two important social influencers.
The religious or spiritual dimension within the extreme-right is usually expressed through a nationalist or racialist prism. Quite a few of them promote an intolerant and extremely conservative form of Christianity, which includes hatred of Jews as “Christ-killers” and theological objections to homosexuals and to female equality. Others take on the older European pagan myths, which are often perceived as the pure essence of European spirituality, based in race and soil. Often there is rivalry between the Christians and the pagans, usually about whether Christianity is a European religion, or a plot by Jews to control Europeans. Others seek to form an alliance of ethnic Europeans between Christians and pagans in order to fight “the Jew” and other non-Europeans.
There tends to be three core subjects of discourse and contention – Jews, China and Islam – within the extreme-right. These three are each seen as a threat to Australia, and to the West in general, for varying reasons. It is these so-called threats that the extreme-right seek to wage war against. It is not uncommon to see online polls conducted by the extreme-right about which of the three poses the greatest threat to Australia, or whether one would rather live under occupation by Islam or China – many consider they already live under Jewish occupation, sometimes referred to as “ZOG” (Zionist Occupational Government).
Jews are usually seen as the fundamental problem. Attitudes towards Jews tend to range from deporting them to killing them en masse. Jews are portrayed as controlling the mechanisms of power – government, finance and media – plus undermining the cultural values of Western Christian civilisation. Conspiracy theories abound blaming “the Jews” for the majority, if not all, of the problems in the West.
Discussions on China and Chinese Australians revolve around two complementary positions. First, that Chinese Australians should emigrate, due to being racially non-European, regardless of how many generations their families have lived in Australia. Second, that China, as a growing world power, presents a major economic and security threat to Australia. China is perceived as infiltrating Australia, and of using Chinese Australians as a fifth column, in order to take over Australia.
The position on Muslims and Islam has the broadest variety of perspectives. One position is that Muslims are a foreign element, with the majority of them of non-European ethnicity and should therefore be forced to emigrate. Islam as a religion is perceived as being incompatible with European Christian culture, and therefore has no place in “Christian” countries. Islamist terrorism has birthed and reinforces many of the negative views of Islam and Muslims. The position at the other end sees Islam and Muslims as natural allies against Jews, homosexuals, feminists and other “undesirables.” One neo-Nazi even promoted the idea that Australia should encourage Muslim immigration in order to counter such “social degeneracy.” Because Nazism is an ideology based on race not religion, it has no particular issue with Islam or Muslims, as attested to by Hitler’s allying with some Islamic leaders in the Middle East. Some right-wing extremists have been putting out memes such as “Islam is right about the homos” and “Islam is right about women” in order to provoke and confuse those on the Left.
One of the main themes expressed by the extreme-right is that a war is coming – a civil war, a race war – between the ethnic-European races and those of non-European ethnicity. This is often expressed as “RAHOWA” (Racial Holy War), or as “GTKRWN” (Gas The Kikes, Race War Now), or as “White Revolution” (“Kike” is a highly derogatory word for “Jew”). This war is seen as inevitable and as something to be desired, if only because it is seen as the only way left to “take back” their countries from their “race enemies” and the “race traitors” – all destined for either death or deportation. Another component of this race war is the “Day of the Rope” concept which refers to the public hanging of all “race traitors” – namely, “whites,” and particularly politicians, academics, journalists and Leftists, who have supported “non-whites.”
Hitler has made a comeback among many on the extreme-right. Even those not normally considered to be subscribers to Nazi ideology are promoting Hitler as the knight in shining armour – unfairly tarnished by “the Jews” – and as the saviour of the European races. Many espouse historical revisionism whereby Hitler was “the good guy” and that the allies chose the wrong side. They point to “race mixing” and “sexual degeneracy” as examples of the consequences of Hitler losing the war and of his enemies having won. Holocaust denial is rampant among the extreme-right, while at the same time seeking another Holocaust. Hitler has become the ultimate hero and meme in their propaganda war.
The concept of accelerationism is hotly debated, whether to let society fall apart in due course or to take action to bring it on more quickly. Either way, the extreme-right see the ultimate goal as being achieved through race war. Mass murderers like Robert Bowers in Pittsburgh acted on accelerating the social fracturing by playing their role in initiating race war. Others see the actions of accelerationists as being counterproductive to the white ethno-nationalist cause, as it gives ammunition to the authorities and civil society, which is then used against the ethno-nationalists and other right-wing extremists.
In their paranoid fantasy, many right-wing extremists believe that there will be a genocide of the European races, and that this is imminent, unless there is a race war. This belief is one of the driving forces for accelerationism. The more they believe ethnic Europeans are under existential threat of extinction, the more violent they will become, resulting in more terrorist attacks against minorities in majority ethnic-European countries.
One way of dealing with right-wing extremists is to bring the full force of the law against them, especially when they espouse, threaten or incite violence. Another way is with de-radicalisation programs, to wean them off their destructive course. In many ways, radical Islamists and radical ethno-nationalists have parallel ideologies and are on parallel paths – intolerant, supremacist, violent, totalitarian and genocidal. Lessons learned with one may well be useful and applicable to the other.