As you may have heard, Jason Molloy & Ross Baumgarten were sentenced to prison yesterday for attacking 7 Auckland Mosques and shooting at pedestrians with a BB gun.
Now, those of you that know me know that one of the things I do a lot of is anti-fascist activism. So, you would probably think I’d be happy with the events at hand, right? Well, so did I.
On September 28th, I wrote the following on the Fight Dem Back! forums:
I believe the police are an inherently oppressive arm of an inherently oppressive force (the state). I believe jails are a fundamentally flawed concept that neither serve the offender or the victim adequately.
However, when I heard Jason and Ross were arrested and will likely be going to jail, I was (and still am) happy.
How do I reconcile those two thoughts? Essentially, it is with a similar thought pattern to that which Duck Monster stated it.
The state is a far bigger threat to all of us, a far more oppressive force, than a few random boneheads. However, it is a threat in a different, much less overt, sense. That does not mean, however, that the boneheads do not need to be opposed.
Unfortunately, in our current societies in Aotearoa and Australia, the most effective means for shutting down the boneheads are via the mainstream media and the police. We are (generally speaking, although there are exceptions) not in a situation where physically smashing them on the streets would be a productive method – on the contrary, it would likely be counterproductive and lead to reprisals against immigrant communities (who generally would not have been involved in anti-fascist activity).
Essentially, my thoughts in a nutshell are – fight the boneheads with the best tools available (one of which is FDB). Outside of anti-fascist activity, I will also continue to fight the state and the consumerist way of life, with the best tools I see for that fight.
Later, in reply to the question “Assuming they go down, what do you think they’ll be like when they get out? Better?”, I replied:
Nope, they’ll likely be much, much worse. That is, if they come out alive. I guess it’s just my bitter and twisted side that allows me to find happiness in their being beaten up.
Since writing that however, as time has passed, as Jason and Ross plead guilty and as they came closer and closer to their sentancing date, the “bitter and twisted” side of me that allowed me to enjoy their suffering became smaller and smaller, which is probably a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong – Jason and Ross are arseholes of the highest order. The question has to be though – what do we stand to gain by sending them to jail? And the (perhaps more important) follow up question – what do we stand to lose?
There can be no doubt that while they are in jail, they will be beaten. When Jason spent time in remand during the course of the case, he was beaten so badly that the Judge had no real choice but to bail him to his family in Gore. The general population of Mount Eden (where I assume they will go) will know who they are, what their views are and what they did to get into prison. The large number of Maori and Pacific Island prisoners (and likely a large proportion of Pakeha inmates) will not feel kindly disposed towards them, and understandably so.
Jason and Ross are entering jail with large prejudices against people of colour. These prejudices will only be reinforced by the fact that many of those people will likely attack Jason and Ross. Thus, it becomes somewhat of a self-perpetuating cycle, ever increasing in magnitude.
So, in a year (or possibly less with good behaviour?), when the two get out of jail, their prejudices will likely have increased, and in all likelihood will go on to further attacks, whether they be against immigrants or Maori or anti-racist activists.
In that situation, nobody wins.
So, what were the other options? Some Muslim organisations were calling for community service. While this perhaps might have worked, I feel that in all likelihood, Jason and Ross would have seen it as forced labour (which it essentially would be), and probably would have only resented those who they would blame for causing it. If the community service was working to help the Islamic community they damaged, or if their supervisors were immigrants or Maori, then this would have only futher dragged them down the path of race hate.
So, what is the solution? Perhaps the most tragic part of this is that I’m not sure. What I do know, however, is that the chances of the so-called “justice” system having the desired effect are pretty damn close to zero.
Who then is to blame? Like Ross’ mother, who was interviewed recently (“My son the little race hate foot-soldier”, Sunday Star Times 27/11/2005), I lay the blame squarely at the feet of the older Nazis such as Kerry Bolton, Kyle Chapman and Sid Wilson.
“These are impressionable young minds they’re moulding into their way of thinking, their little foot-soldiers,” she said of the Front.
“These are old men running this, and these young ones are like sponges, soaking it all up.”
These people are the ones who provoke attacks such as Jason and Ross’. They have been involved for years, sometimes decades, and have enough of a brain to know that they dont want to risk getting arrested themselves. So, instead, they pump their vile hatred into the impressionable minds of teenagers, especially outcasts, who, having no other friendship/support network to fall back on, are much more receptive to this message of hate. Then, when attacks and arrests occur, these older Nazis claim “It’s not our fault! We never told them to attack a Mosque”. While that might be true (although in some cases even this is debatable), they create a situation where these kids have no outlet for their anger but physical damage, whether it be to buildings or people.
The macho aggressive culture that is bred and encouraged in all Nazi movements can only serve to create more Jason Molloys and Ross Baumgartens. As long as people such as Kerry, Kyle and Sid are left alone, we’ll be seeing plenty more where this came from.