A “Fish and Chips” meet and greet for One Nation leader Pauline Hanson in the Perth suburb of Innaloo on 13 October was met with a rowdy protest.
Protesters chanted “Black, Indigenous, Arab, Asian and white: unite to fight the right!” and “Whose streets? Our streets!” as Hanson supporters arrived for the meeting. A “Honk if you hate Pauline Hanson” sign got an enthusiastic response from passing motorists.
Nick Brown, spokesperson for the protest organising group, United Against Bigotry and Racism, told Red Flag that the group’s aim was to mobilise a popular movement against Hanson similar to the one that dogged her first term in parliament 20 years ago. “In the 1990s, One Nation was met with constant protests that made it difficult for them to organise and promote racism”, Brown said. “We want to continue that tradition by protesting whenever they put on events like this.”
While campaigning for One Nation candidates back in the March 2017 WA state election, Hanson was also confronted by a crowd of socialists, migrants and local workers, chanting “Nazis get out”. On that occasion, the racist, neo-Nazi group True Blue Crew were in attendance both to support Hanson and to intimidate anti-racists. On this occasion it was the Proud Boys – a white male supremacist group founded in the US in 2016 – that provided security. Wearing matching black shirts, they chanted “West is best” and made white power hand gestures.
Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, who will be in Perth as part of an Australian speaking tour on 4 November, describes himself as a “Western chauvinist”. In 2016, he told Taki’s Magazine: “The basic tenet of the [Proud Boys] is that [we] are Western chauvinists who refuse to apologise for creating the modern world”.
Comparing his followers to Archie Bunker, a character from the 1970s US television sitcom All in the Family, McInnes asserted “that they long for the days when girls were girls and men were men”. The Proud Boys are notorious for their violent initiation ceremonies, in which members are beaten and tattooed, as well as for attacks on anti-racist opponents.
United Against Bigotry and Racism is organising a protest against McInnes in an effort to prevent him from cohering a base here. “It is important to challenge the far right”, said Brown. “By presenting an alternative to racism, sexism and homophobia, and by mobilising against far right meetings, we can demoralise the far right’s supporters and prevent the dangerous growth of the far right that is unfortunately happening in other countries.”
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