Auckland Peace Action stands in relentless opposition to any attempts by neo-Nazis to organise at the University of Auckland. The European Students Association was nothing more than a thinly veiled white supremacist club that decided the time was ripe to recruit more hatemongers to their cause on the back of the election of US president Donald Trump. It should have been banned from the University campus.
The group used well-known white supremacist imagery and has borrowed a modified version of a slogan from Hitler’s SS: “our pride is our honour and loyalty.” The people involved were hiding behind pseudonyms and attempting to cloak their racism and fascist beliefs with claims of only wanting to celebrate European culture. We are not, however, misled. Nor have we “misunderstood” the group.
While the European Students Association people remain hidden, their social media presence said a lot about who they are and what they think. On Twitter, Caitlin Duncan (@cduncs42) notes that the first and second “likes” of the group’s facebook page were Milo Yiannopoulos and Nigel Farage, respectively. These two men have been advancing the ugly resurgent racist ideas that now dominate much of the political debate in the US and UK.
Across the globe, white supremacists and fascists just like these are re-grouping and attempting to gain credibility by moderating their outward appearance. They don’t carry Nazi flags or salute “Heil Hitler.” Instead, they have refined their image – they carry New Zealand flags, dress in suits or “smart casual” and talk about wanting to “celebrate” European culture – in order to mainstream deeply racist, misogynist and hate-filled ideas.
Let’s make no mistake – in providing a space for these people the University was prepared to provide a platform for racism; a platform for anti-intellectualism; a platform for hate to incubate. In the process, the administration made the choice to make the University a distinctly uncomfortable and potentially dangerous place for thousands of students and staff. Such reckless behaviour by an institution of higher education is reprehensible, and quite frankly, confounding.
To be clear, Auckland Peace Action will stand strongly against any and all attempts at fascist organising anywhere in the city. If necessary, we will join our friends at We are the University to ensure that neo-Nazis are not safe to organise at the University of Auckland. This is our City of Peace, and there is no room for racists here.