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January 20, 2022

Comment: The rise of emboldened neo-Nazis

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Well respected anti-racism activist, supporter of First Nations rights and prominent trade unionist, Padraic (Paddy) Gibson, had three neo-Nazi types, with shaven heads and shirts emblazoned with the Eureka flag, turn up on his front doorstep on the night of Saturday December 4.

The unexpected and uninvited visitors banged on his front door, calling out that they wanted to speak to him.

Anti-racism campaigner Paddy Gibson was threatened by neo nazies in his Sydney home. Source: Sydney Criminal Lawyers

The three men soon commenced bashing on the door of his Sydney home, ripping at security screens and even broke a window.

Gibson explained that he has been the subject of death threats in the past, and welcomed the support that his multicultural neighbourhood has shown since the incident.

As a member of socialist group Solidarity, Padraic is a key figure on the local social justice movement.

He’s also a researcher at the UTS Jumbunna Institute, where he works under esteemed Professor Larissa Behrendt. And his work at the uni directly deals with Aboriginal deaths in custody.

NSW police are currently investigating the matter.

It’s been lost on no one that this incident has occurred at a time when far-right groups have been emboldened, owing to their prominent mobilising as part of the ‘Freedom’ movement.

Of course, not all participants in the recent anti-lockdown and vaccine mandate rallies have been people who align themselves with right wing politics.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers spoke to Paddy Gibson:

You’ve said that you received death threats last year around the time of the Black Lives Matter rallies. Why do you think you’ve been targeted now?

‘I’ve got no particular indication as to why, except that I am a prominent anti-racist activist, and in the sights of these people. As I said, I’ve received quite a lot of threats previously, including threats to the house.

‘I would say I am known to the far-right, and they’ve probably got wind in their sails, as they’ve been welcomed with open arms at these ‘Freedom’ rallies and demonstrations against lockdowns and vaccine mandates. There’s been a prominent far-right presence within that movement.

‘I’ve had more experienced trade unionists and anti-racist activists contact me, telling me that these kinds of tactics were a lot more common in the late 80s.

‘There was a group, National Action, who used to do home visits. But people haven’t heard about this particular tactic for quite some time’.

There have been numerous visible displays of a far-right presence around the country. Would you say the attack on your house reflects a failure on the part of the political leadership in addressing this?

‘Absolutely. It certainly reflects a failure of political leadership on a range of fronts. Firstly, the racism that we see in such a concentrated and violent form with fascist and openly far-right groupings, is really something that’s encouraged by government policy.

‘We live in a country where there’s absolute systematic racism against Aboriginal people, people of colour and migrants. Aboriginal people are demonised and abused by police and government agencies every day of the week.

‘The response to the Black Lives Matter Movement was disgraceful. We had the police commissioner Mick Fuller demonising BLM protesters as being violent and responsible for the spread of the coronavirus last year. We had police attacking our attempts to organise these rallies.

‘We have ongoing police killings of Aboriginal people in police custody. That includes the shooting just a few weeks ago in Sydney. And it’s sanctioned, really, by the government refusal to prosecute killers.

‘The racist political system in Australia, and the racist policy settings, are what allow the far-right to get an audience for their ideas and confidence in them to grow.

‘That’s absolutely the case. Nationalism and xenophobia have been encouraged through the coronavirus pandemic. We have seen border closures. It is the go-to measure for governments when they try to appear as though they’re acting to contain the virus.

‘This is a kneejerk, xenophobic response that’s designed to show people they’re being tough and protective. But all of it encourages racism and nationalism. That’s what you get if you have racism at the top: people on the ground are empowered to carry that out in a violent way.

‘Then there’s the failure of the response to the coronavirus. The group that I am part of, Solidarity, has been very critical of lockdowns.

‘We’re very critical of vaccine mandates. The government’s coronavirus response has been very punitive, and it’s done an enormous amount of social damage.

‘We have a very polarised society, where a lot of people have lost work and their livelihoods, and that sort of environment is a breeding ground for the far-right to grow.

‘I’m incredibly pro-vaccine. I’ve been campaigning for the vaccination since it became available. And I’ve been heavily critical of the government’s vaccine rollout. The government is using vaccine mandates and scapegoating unvaccinated people as an excuse for the failure to properly invest in the health system and the social security system, and actually provide the security and care that we need to get through this pandemic. It’s all of those things: a rise in racism and the social and economic pain that has come out of the coronavirus crisis’.

‘This is a perfect storm.

First published by www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au

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  1. Paul with respect mate nice to put your views Accross absolutely 100% believe in freedom of speech.. however Paul we live in the most wonderful and successful Multicultural society on the planet Incidentally . and also one of the safest
    For Women.. but yes past and present
    Wrongs are happening to our first people’s
    In this country that iam concerned about and sorry.. overall in my opinion we are certainly not a racist country, i just spent
    12months in WA perth in the Suburb Thornlie as multicultural as any suburb
    In Australia ,and i have been to most in Sydney , Melbourne etc , so many cultures
    Represented first people’s, Africans , Middle
    Eastern, Asian, many European countries
    Not once did i come accross any racism
    Any Violence at all in all the shopping centre’s ,restaurant’s , hotels, Bars.
    Sporting events etc . Everyone was ever so friendly respectful of each other.. so proud to call Australia home and feel forever grateful that when my father migrated from
    Estonia he decided to call Australia home..
    “For we are one for we are many” ..

    • Barrow again talking our pm’s Lala land comments on racism in Australia.
      These same groups have sucked in all those conspiracy theory folks as well as the unvaccinated protestors who have made hospitality venues and shops unpleasant by attacking verbally staff trying to keep employed.

    • Barrow, count yourself fortunate that you personally have not encountered racism. This doesn’t mean that racism is not out there, it alive and well in Australia.

  2. Rebound fascism grows from mixed freedom rallies because it attracts right-wing
    boof-headed incompetents playing at being the super hero. If you are a follower
    best think on it. In the end you create ‘a lost country.’

    • Who will ever forget the Cronulla race riots in December 2005. Fast forward to December 2021 and Peta Credlin issues an apology to South Sudanese community. In Australia, it is always about, ‘The Other’, which has been stunningly fomented by The Liberal/National Coalition ever since the days of The Tampa Affair.

      • Joachim yes i have been subjected to
        Unwarranted comments not calling it
        Racism .. but yeah wog boy all the time
        At school did i care NO some people
        Have to rise above Joachim, have a think skin and i did ..thats the problem
        With society to soft offended by the smallest of comments..” sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt” as for the Cronulla
        Joachim do you know how all that started ? Well if you do not may i suggest you do .. no surf lifesaving
        People need to be flogged for informing
        People to stay between the flags .. and so it began .. always two sides to the story … don’t condone any violence against women or Man or child ..
        Never will incidentally..

        • Yes I am aware of the origin of the riots but regardless of the origin, the ensuing rioting, violence and racism showed off the underbelly that is ‘Ugly Australia’.

  3. Thankyou Echo for this piece and it’s complex, nuanced and yet absolutely clear points. We need more voices like Paddys at this time.

  4. A timely reminder that, if you are not booked in for your booster, you are most definitely right-wing!
    Roger Curran
    Ocean Shores

  5. You forgot the street chanting brawlers, Barrow, along with home attacks
    ie; busted-up property. This is no simple matter of ‘most people agreeing
    to disagree. ‘ Threatening antics by thugs aren’t welcome in this land &
    they need to be stopped – pronto.

  6. Critical of lockdowns, critical of vax mandates but has always been pro vaccine. Mate who the heck do you think is at those Freedom marches! Those far right people, are anti lockdown, anti mandate, have always had vaccines before this one, have lost their jobs, have been segregated, and race doesn’t come into it. The elderly, veterans, paramedics, veterans, Mums and Dads, local Originals, all are there standing up for the freedom to choose. When did your personal health choices, your loss of income, get turned into far right wing politics?
    Oh I remember, it’s that square thing called a TV ,that tells you how to think , what to think, what to say, it shapes a narrative and repeats it until low and behold you now have a new neural pathway in the brain, that sees all as rasict far right wing neo nazis and yet all I’ve seen is struggling Australians all colours, races, beliefs all stand together and say No.

  7. I was born in 1945 the end of WW 2. I’ve seen & heard all the twists & turns. Sure enough
    many of my generation marched against ‘fruit loop wars’ [yes Vietnam plus]. I am an
    ‘no nuke’ person & with ICAN + Arts Action For Peace. A paddy wagon is not at all
    comfortable & neither is Pine Gap a fun thing. .. so understanding what this land’s gone
    through as well as the first nation’s horror set-up along with all peoples’ rights I’d
    guess you believe I ought to agree with protests. There are 2 kinds of ‘protest’. One is
    well informed & puts people & country first. We did not attempt to bash & threaten
    those thinking differently – we were there in solidarity. Even today we’d sing out
    the ‘look at me’ camera minded ones. Rebellion treated calmly gets listened to.

    • Well Stefanie i will always support individuals whom protest for causes
      They believe are right or wrong ..
      Regarding we did not attempt to bash or threaten those thinking differently ?
      Well point in case the BLM protests in
      America bashed killed robbed even
      Other black African Americans..
      How many lives lost ? Billions of dollars
      Damage to businesses public property
      Now is that rebellion treated calmly?
      and how did the Media cover this anarchy?
      Well mostly peaceful ? Oh Really..


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