1st Edition

Histories of Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Australia

Edited By Evan Smith, Jayne Persian, Vashti Jane Fox Copyright 2023
    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    282 Pages
    by Routledge

    Histories of Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Australia provides a history of fascist movements and anti-fascist resistance in Australia over the past century.

    In recent years, the far right has become a resurgent force across the globe, resulting in populist parties securing electoral victories, social movements organising on the streets, and acts of right-wing terrorism. Australia has not been immune to this. However, this is not merely a recent phenomenon; it has a long history of fascist and far-right groups and individuals. These groups have attempted to situate themselves within the wider settler colonial political landscape, often portraying themselves as the inheritors of a violent and exclusionary colonial past. Concurrently, these groups have linked into globalised anti-communist and white supremacist networks. At the same time, Australia has often seen resistance to fascism and the far right, from the political centre to the far left. Covering the period from the 1920s to the present day, and featuring insights from historians, sociologists, and political scientists, this book provides the most detailed account of this fascinating and important topic.

    This book will be of interest to students and activists with an interest in the extreme right and anti-fascism as well as Australian history, politics, and society.

    1 Introduction: Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Australian History
    Evan Smith, Jayne Persian, and Vashti Jane Fox

    2 An Uncomfortable Past: Historiographical Reflections on Fascism and Interwar Australia
    Andrew Moore

    3 Labour ‘Armies’ in the 1930s’ Depression: From Industrial Disputes to Anti-Fascism
    Phoebe Kelloway

    4 Egon Kisch and Black Australia
    Padraic Gibson

    5 ‘The Renaissance of our Fatherland’: Fascist Rhetoric and Intra-Communal Tension, Loveday Internment Group Camp 14A, 28 October 1942
    David Faber

    6 ‘War on the Whiteman’: Australia in the Racial and Political Imagination of Britain’s Far Right, 1945–1970
    Luke LeCras

    7 Fascism in Exile: Ustasha-Linked Organisations in Australia
    Drew Cottle and Angela Keys

    8 European and Australian Fascisms: The Case of Ferenc Molnár and National Socialism in Cold War Australia
    Evan Smith and Jayne Persian

    9 Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Perth in the 1980s
    Vashti Jane Fox

    10 Far Right, Far Left and Australian Engagement With Libya in the 1980s
    Kyle Harvey

    11 ‘I cop this shit all the time and I’m sick of it’: Pauline Hanson, the Far Right and the Politics of Victimhood in Australia
    Kurt Sengul

    12 Discourses of Western Civilisation in the Australian Federal Parliament
    Jordan McSwiney, Eda Gunaydin and Henry Maher

    13 Fascists in and out of Uniform: Situating Street Fascism in the Broader Context of White Supremacy
    Anastasia Kanjere



    Evan Smith is Lecturer in History in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University in South Australia. He is also Visiting Research Fellow with the School of Humanities at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

    Jayne Persian is a historian, predominantly of Central and Eastern Europe displaced persons, many of whom migrated to Australia in the post-war period. She is Co-chief Investigator on a 2022–25 ARC Discovery Project: Russian Immigrants and Anti-Communism in Cold War Australia, 1946–1966.

    Vashti Jane Fox is a PhD student at the University of Western Australia. She writes on the history of anti-fascism in Australia in the post–World War II period. She is also a socialist activist and an anti-fascist agitator.

    "This is an original and timely book with a stellar line-up of scholars. While research on the far right and fascism in Australia has grown over the years, anti-fascism and resistance have remained under explored and this book fills this significant gap magnificently."

    Aurelien Mondon, University of Bath, UK

    "This collection brings together the leading authorities on fascism and anti-fascism in Australia with a new generation working in the archives. It challenges our inherited understanding of the militant anti-fascism of the 1930s, and the early movements against the White Australia immigration regime. Lively and accessible, it documents the immediate predecessors to the racial populists of our own times, and the generations who resisted them."

    David Renton, author of No Free Speech for Fascists

    "In a world where right wing extremism continues to flourish, this history of fascism and anti-fascism is both timely and illuminating. There is an impressive depth of empirical research together with insights drawn from global fascism and anti-fascism studies, and it’s all told with clarity and style. The chapters, by both well-established and emerging scholars, explore in depth the shifting relationships between extremist and mainstream political movements. A key theme is the manner in which Australia’s distinctive forms of racism – expressed in Indigenous and immigration policies, public discourse, and popular culture – have shaped its historical experience of fascist ideas and movements. Histories of Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Australia also explores the achievements as well as the limitations and failures of anti-fascist movements in the past, making for a multi-faceted and nuanced work of history with both scholarly and practical value."

    Ann Curthoys, Professor Emerita, Australian National University, and co-author with Shino Konishi and Alexandra Ludewig of The Lives and Legacies of a Carceral Island: A Biographical History of Wadjemup/Rottnest Island