Attempts by far right hate groups to organise a movement in Aotearoa have suffered a heavy blow after the united efforts of the radical left and concerned community groups this weekend. A speaking event by alt-right personalities Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux was cancelled following protests, and a rally for supporters of the British right-wing extremist Tommy Robinson was dispersed by counter-protestors only a day later.
Southern and Molyneux had been booked to speak at the Bruce Mason Centre on Auckland’s North Shore, before this event was cancelled by Auckland Council’s venue organiser on security grounds. Driven underground, they were forced to reveal their plans only at the last moment, on Friday afternoon. Any chance of them speaking was finally scuttled after the PowerStation, a popular music venue, cancelled their event as soon as they became aware they were the intended hosts.
Southern and Molyneux are key media figures in the alt-right movement, and their presence in Aotearoa only serves to give succor to local right wing activists who hope to spread vile ideology. Both a virulent racists and islamophobes. Southern has made a name for herself on the alt-right for her rants against multiculturalism, feminism and Islam; while Molyneux specialises in attempting to revive discredited race science – claiming that Hispanic and Black people are less intelligent that than Whites and telling his recent Australian audience that Aboriginal Australians are “the lowest rung of civilisation.”
Around 1,000 people protested the pair on Friday evening, in rallies organised by Tāmaki Action Against Fascism (TAFA) and Love Aotearoa, Hate Racism. Speakers at the rallies represented the whole spectrum of the Auckland left (organised under TAFA) and also included figures such as Marama Davidson (co-leader of the Green Party) and the intellectual and campaigner for Māori rights Annette Sykes. Centre stage at the Friday rally was given Māori speakers who explained the brutal truths of New Zealand’s colonial history that racists like as Southern and Molyneux seek to obscure.
On Saturday, anti-racist protestors gathered to oppose a small group of far right protestors supporting the British extremist Tony Robinson. The lively and energetic counter demonstration outnumbered the racists almost three to one and surrounded them as they rallied in Aotea Square. Activists of the so-called alt-right were left with nothing to do but shamefacedly slink away as anti-racists played “We Are the Champions” at full volume.
Everyone who stands against racism and inequality should rejoice at the welcome the far right has received in Auckland this week. But the fight against the far right and their racist backers doesn’t end here. Further visits by politicians of the extreme right, including UKIP’s Nigel Farage and the Australian racist Pauline Hanson are planned for the near future. The links between these events are clear – several supporters of Southern and Molyneux who attempted to disrupt the anti-racist event on Friday were amongst the contingent that attempted to spew their hate the next day. To prevent hate groups organising we must continue to build the movement against racism, fascism and the alt-right.