Monday, October 24, 2005


Apparently 25 or so Nazis faced off with about 30 counter-demonstrators in Wellington on Saturday. I wasn't there, although I had been at the anti-fascist rally last Labour weekend. Apparently the anti-nazis only heard about this a little bit before hand, so it was just 30.

What I find really, really puzzling, is that at least some of the same people demonstrated in the same space as the fascists at the Labour party congress earlier this year. I had to leave that demo because I'm not comfortable being in the same space as the fascists.

I'm very ambivalent about anti-fascist organising. Actually that's not true, I think most of the anti-fascist organising that's happened in Wellington over the last year is at best a complete waste of time, for a number of reasons:

1. The members of the National Front, or the New Right, or whatever they're calling themselves now, are so far down on the list of threats to our lives that they're really not worth bothering with (if there was going to be a rise in fascism it wouldn't come from people with Nazi tattoos, it would come from the crazy religious right, or in the form of 'anti-terrorism').

2. The threat of the nazis is that they are violent thugs. There's nothing the left can do to make them less violent thugs.

3. If there was an increase in interest fascism then the reason for that would be the failure of the Labour government to deliver a real improvement in people's lives, and fascism offers them an analysis of what's going on (that is what I believe is behind the rise in popularity of the Destiny church). Standing up at fascist rallies and going "rah rah you suck" doesn't actually do anything. We need to actively offer an alternative analysis.

4. I think the fascists kind of get off on us opposing them. It validates their tiny group of people, and builds the idea that there's some kind of battle between nazis and anarchists and commies (which I think totally devalues what we're trying to do).

I understand the desire to have an opposition, and make sure that no asian or Jew, or anyone else who the Nazis happen to be hating on, walks past and thinks that this is acceptable. But fundamentally I think protest and organising are best used against people with some kind of power.


  1. Kia ora

    Thanks for your constructive comments on antifa organising. As an antifa activist, I would like to respond.

    1. True, that's why you'll find that most antifa activists are involved in stuff around those issues as well. Yes, they are low down the list of threats, and that's got a lot to do with antifa activists keeping an eye on them and keeping them down there.

    2. True, but we do help ensure they get punished when they do commit crime. The Police aren't terribly on to it when it comes to dealing with nazis, but we are.

    3. True, it is also symbolic of how acceptable Brash's racism is in the public eye. Standing up at fascist rallies is about 0.01% of what we do as antifa activists. Most of us are involved in activities like media, education etc but we don't do those things under the title of antifa, cause that would be stupid and not very positive. And we do offer an alternative analysis which is constantly being built on at

    4. Yip, some do, as is the case in any political movement, especially where there's lots of young people. I'm not sure what the point is here.

    I agree that protest and oraginsing is best used against people with power. But it also useful for using against people who use violence as their main tactic of activism to prevent them from getting power in the first place. And given that they actively recruit young, disenfranchised kids, do you really want them to get a foothold?

    I don't think the members of the NZ jewish community, the Auckland Mulsim community, or the people who have been randomly attacked by members of the NF on the street want them to get half a foothold of power.

  2. Thanks for posting (and for not making fun of the fact that I originally spelled fascist wrong - that was a very embarassing discovery).

    I understand where you're coming from, and we agree on a lot. But this is where I fundamentally disagree:

    "Yes, they are low down the list of threats, and that's got a lot to do with antifa activists keeping an eye on them and keeping them down there."

    I don't think anti-fascist activists have anything to do with the reason the neo-nazis in New Zealand are miniscule

    I think you misunderstod my forth point, I think that fascists grow stronger because you fight them. It gives them a purpose. You know that feeling you sometimes get on a demo where there are a lot of police, or the police over-react, where you feel important because of it. I think that's that anti-fascist demos can give that feeling to fascists.

    If anti-fascist activity is what people want to do, it's what people want to do. I've no power over other activists. And I understand the desire to show that this sort of racism is unacceptable. I just don't think anti-fascist activism in Wellington has made the blind bit of difference to anyone (except made some people feel good).