Fringe: the outer, marginal, or extreme part of an area, group, or sphere of activity.
For Shermon, Neil and Blair, that’s all UPF will ever be, the fringe. Likely, we’ve seen the peak of their popularity. What went so wrong?
As some of you may remember, UPF, or “United Patriots (sic) Front” began only weeks ago, after a hideous split with Reclaim Australia.
Less than 25% of Shermon’s ‘The Great Aussie Patriot’ moved over with him. Many of the notoriously extreme far-right persons who would comment in some of the most vile ways on GAP moved a long with Shermon, but majority didn’t.
ReclaimWhat had an opportunity to speak with many disenfranchised members of his page, who didn’t want to make the transition, the common theme amongst the reasons as to why they chose not to, seemed to be a lack of unity, childish bullshit, and extremism itself.
See, there is an inherent issue with those who chose to join Reclaim Australia to stand up to extremism (or as they believe they are) and then trying to get them to join something of the same crux in which they stand against. Extremism.
UPF could be described like a failed rocket launch, but generally, failed rocket launches take weeks to retry, trying to better on the previous failure. If NASA deliberately sabotaged their launches, daily, whilst offending their fan base on a constant basis, then yes, UPF would fit this bill.
I prefer likening them to whac-a-mole, except, their own attitudes and actions are the mallet constantly hitting them down.
It likely began with the polarisation of people who seemed confused about whether to stay with RA, join UPF, or both. Shermon made it quite clear in the initial days that those who choose not to join were not ‘patriotic’. This pissed people off. Why? Disunity.
This was an obvious pain point for those who experienced the RA split.
Then, there was the content that leaked regarding the way in which Blair and Neil had handled themselves over the past few years in the public sphere. I’m clearly talking about rank racism, sexism, and far right Neo Nazi politics. The Internet was literally a litany of homophobic, sexist, racist, vile, misguided political drivel. How did Shermon handle this? By telling his followers to take it up with the other leaders, it wasn’t his issue. This pissed people off. Why? Accountability.
Then there was Shermon, who openly called for brawn men to come along to his (failed) May 31 rally. Thinly veiled threats of violence could be found in almost every video he posted for the two weeks prior to May 31. This pissed people off. Why? Violence.
Then on May 31, videos began to emerge of an altercation Shermon and co had with an Islamic woman in Richmond, who was shopping with her young child and husband. In the video, Shermon’s mate who was touting swastikas can be seen, hypocritically telling her to “shut up and fuck off” because they have a right to “free speech”. Nobody spoke out against the man tattoed with Nazi-esque symbolism, nor even attempted to have a proper debate with this woman, they intimidated her and told her she didn’t belong. This pissed people off. Why? Lying.
Shermon told 3AW on June 1st that he asked this man to leave. This is an outright lie. Not only do these videos show Shermon allowing this man to intimidate an innocent woman, but Shermon then used it as an example. He then put this man on the front line of their 30 odd rally, in full view of the press. Even the thickest of his following could see this was a lie.
Blair Cottrell quickly hit facebook to recount the day’s events, where he took pride in violence, where video emerged of ‘Sewell’ punching what he described as “lesbian looking” women in the face.
This pissed people off. Why? Homophobia and Mysogyny.
Then, the media had their say. The UPF was rightly labelled anti-Islamic and radical, although we prefer far-right fringe extremists. 3AW’s Neil Mitchell told Shermon that this is not the sort of debate we want in Australia, Shermon struggled to justify what his cause was even about.
Now, anyone from Melbourne knows that Neil Mitchell is far from anything left of centre, but this hasn’t stopped Shermon labelling him as “far left”.
It gets worse. Even Andrew Bolt, one of the most prominent far-right sympathisers in News Corp, has had to distance from UPF, urging people not to join.
If you are that far right, that Andrew Bolt disowns you, you probably need binoculars to see your group on the political stage.
One of the final nails in their coffin was the Daily Stormer having a say, supporting this rally, whilst blaming its failure on the ‘Jewish’ media. Worse yet, it was revealed yet another bonehead in their 30 strong rally was actually acting as the reporter for the Daily Stormer.
All of this further disenfranchised previous followers. Why? Because some people don’t forget WW2.
Although Blair may dream to have a 21st century Nuremberg rally in Melbourne, no, Australia – it will never happen. This Hitler-fanboy dream will never flourish.
Perhaps to Blair, any publicity is good publicity, but trust me when I say, there is bad publicity, and they’ve earned it.
When a fan base of 4,500 can only attract 30 attendees, a 0.6% turnout says a lot about the unity of your following. Pathetic.
We are quite certain that this UPF group will stay on the fringes, if not totally fizzle out in the next few weeks.
I guess only time will tell.