EXCLUSIVE: Deranged but Dangerous – Right Wing extremists in Aotearoa and the dangers they pose

By   /   December 7, 2015  /   27 Comments

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Deranged but Dangerous is a two-part article looking into the threat of White Nationalist extremists in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Part One will look at the preeminent White Nationalist organisation – the Right Wing Resistance (RWR). Part Two looks at the ways this organisation and its politics interact with the New Zealand state and government.

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Ben Peterson explores NZs far right. Deranged but Dangerous is a two-part article looking into the threat of White Nationalist extremists in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Part One will look at the preeminent White Nationalist organisation – the Right Wing Resistance (RWR). Part Two looks at the ways this organisation and its politics interact with the New Zealand state and government.

 

Pakeha New Zealand doesn’t seem the most obvious place for a militant terrorist organisation. Mainstream Kiwi culture doesn’t lend itself to fire and brimstone. The closest thing to a national injustice for Pakeha is the ongoing contested claim to authorship of the Pavlova (bloody Australians!). But, behind the stoic silence and suburban sprawl, there does lurk a more dangerous element. Men dressed in black gather in lounge rooms and backyards. Their record is proven. They’ve organised attacks on public places and institutions before. Many have been to prison for their cause and they are planning a war.

These are not Jihadi sleeper cells. They are New Zealand’s White Nationalists .

The Right Wing Resistance

New Zealand has an organised and active movement of extreme racists. While they are small and on the fringes, they are real. Far from being driven underground, you can find contact numbers online and be friends with their leaders on Facebook. The Right Wing Resistance (RWR) is New Zealand’s preeminent White Nationalist organisation. RWR have networks and members across the country. As part of researching this article, I called their current National Director, “Colonel” Vaughan Tocker.

 

vaughn tatts

This is Vaughan Tocker.

Vaughan is exactly the kind of cliche of a man that you would expect to be running a white pride group. His Facebook posts alternate between rants against the threat of Sharia law, and graphic pictures of dismembered bodies from warzones. Something about the gore seems to be exciting to Vaughan. He regularly posts videos and pictures of workplace injuries, they seem to be self inflicted. Vaughan originally became a white nationalist after his wife left him and began a relationship with another man. This new partener was Egyptian. Most people are hurt by the departure of a partner; many can be resentful. Most people, however, wouldn’t see their relationship breakdowns as part of a global pattern of a racial war on white people. Vaughan Tocker is not most people.

I spoke to Vaughan when I called the RWR contact number. I said I was writing an article and asked if I could have a chat to him about the RWR. Vaughan was at a BBQ for Resistance members. He was clearly wasted, but to Vaughan the opportunity to talk to another white man (“you are a white man, right?”) was too good to miss. Vaughan ranted down the phone on a range of topics. There were the obvious nonsensical arguments: “Indian dairy owners are a threat to white culture” and “Helen Clark is flooding the country with Jihadis”. But at times his arguments seemed (briefly) sophisticated and detailed, at one point making a critique of industrial export agriculture’s effect on the environment.

His rants were many and varied, but one point was central to everything Vaughan had to say. He was at war. He is a soldier for the white race, and in his mind the common denominator to all the evils of the world was inter-racial conflict. It’s a white man’s world, and Vaughan intends to keep it that way.

After about 15 minutes of increasingly angry ranting, Vaughan’s phone cut off mid-sentence. When I called back the call couldn’t get through. It seems his battery had died. It was almost as if even technology only has a limited tolerance for bullshit.

 

Are they really dangerous?

 

After ending the call, my first impulse was to thank the Universe that this man and his group are largely an inept group of misfits on the fringes of society. Some might argue that because they are small and isolated, talking about RWR is counterproductive. Shouldn’t we just ignore them and not give attention to the crazies? Unfortunately, just because they are marginal does not mean they cannot be a terrifyingly dangerous force.

The RWR having mass appeal is not an immediate threat. While it is possible that over time this may change (see Golden Dawn in Greece) the RWR lacks the coherent message and articulate leadership to develop any significant constituency.

Angela Goodman

Matt and Angela Goodman, with Vaughan, celebrating with Nazi-cake.

Their use of swastikas and military style uniforms is unlikely to get traction with middle New Zealand. RWR does want to achieve higher public support, but that is not central to their political project. Their political project is not contingent on winning a majority to their side.

To understand their political project, it is necessary to understand that RWR’s central belief is that there is a coming global race war. They don’t need to win the vote, they need soldiers, and RWR organises accordingly. Training up young men and indoctrinating them to believe that they are the front line in a global race war has the potential for these individuals to take matters into their own hands. This has already happened overseas.

On July 22, 2011, Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik set off car bombs in Oslo and attacked the youth camp of the Norwegian Labour Party, killing 77 and wounding 300. He operated as an individual for his attacks, but had a long history of collaborating with right wing extremists before this point. Tackling these right wing organisations may have stopped Anders from receiving the moral and political encouragement necessary for him to make those deadly decisions.

RWR helps to create the conditions for these attacks to happen in the future. Angry boys, guns and racism are a dangerous mix.

 

The war could start at home

The central point of Vaughan’s politics was his belief in the inevitable global race war, and his ideas on political organising flowed from this. RWR organise militarily. When I called, Vaughan openly bragged about the militia structure of RWR. “You see, I run a militia. I am aColonel and we are training guys up. When the war comes we are going to be ready.”

This militarism is central to everything RWR does. Members pledge to “fight for their family, race and nation”, and videos of these pledges are uploaded to Facebook. Members pose with guns and other weapons. They organise on quasi-military lines, with ‘divisions’ and local commanders. Members are expected to follow orders of the local Führer, and in return may be given higher rank themselves.

The central project of RWR is their planned “landbase”. The group is saving money to buy land and relocate many of their members to this site. Once secured, they intend to fortify the site and use it to provide “training” to new members and host gatherings of their supporters. Vaughan tells me that they have so far raised $42,000 dollars for this project, which is a significant resource.

For most members of RWR, this will never escalate beyond an elaborate game of dressup for angry white boys. Even if RWR as a group made a decision to attempt an armed putsch, their military capacity is very questionable.The threat isn’t that RWR as a whole will overtake the New Zealand state. The threat is that the RWR creates a space where angry young men can receive the moral and logistic support to launch individual attacks on immigrants, Māori and/or leftist activists. In the Right Wing Resistance there is a bragging macho culture. This kind of culture can lead to a feedback loop, where extreme ideas and actions are encouraged. This logic leads to escalating rhetoric, and it only takes one member of RWR to move from words to actions for this to have dire consequences, as we have seen overseas.

To stop similar attacks in New Zealand/Aotearoa RWR needs to be challenged.

 

Not on our watch

There are two ways in which right wing extremists can be challenged- challenging racist politics in general, and targeting Right Wing Resistance and its members.

The point is not to argue with the true believers. It is unlikely that Vaughan will be convinced that brown people aren’t out to get him, so refuting his arguments point by point would be a waste of energy. At the same time, it is essential that we isolate racist ideas.

Most racists do not get swastika tattoos or read Hitler. Most racists are just worried that ‘the chinese’ are the cause of Auckland’s housing crisis, or believe racist myths about Islam spread by governments in advance of wars overseas. If those racist ideas are allowed to be acceptable in the mainstream, this gives credibility to the white pride brigade.

Challenging racist government policies and media stereotypes are as important as challenging the Right Wing Resistance itself.

(This political aspect will be investigated further in part two)

While the RWR does not need to win mass support – it does seek some respectability. It seeks to build a small community, and wants to reach out to disengaged white youth and provide a space of belonging. For RWR it would be a significant advance to be able to openly recruit and fundraise.

Disrupting RWR undermines their ability to function. When their events are picketed by counter protesters their ability to gain momentum and integrate new recruits is limited. Many of their members lead double lives. Someone who might appear “normal” on a day to day basis may be Heiling Hitler on their weekends. RWR is dependent on these people’s income and community networks for finance its activities and bring in new recruits.

Political groups (such as the anti-TPPA campaign- Vaughan was very proud of his attendance at these rallies) can and should seek to exclude RWR and its members from their events. Community groups, including sports clubs or social groups should take a stance against RWR being involved and cancel the membership of known racists. Anti Racists should avoid doing trade with businesses that are run by or employ known RWR members- and should actively encourage others in the community to do so to. Targeting the sources of RWR funds can go a long way to undermining the organisation.

Below is a list of names and pictures of known RWR members. I hope that this can help some communities be aware of the activities of some within their midst.

A second article will look closer at the political aspects to Right Wing extremism and the relationship between Nationalist Militia and the New Zealand Government/State. 

 

Vaugh Tocker- Masterton
commnet- Thats Robs smiley face behind me He stood beside me at dawn Parade . Next year im going to do a Wreath.

Ash “Phatboy” Cleve and partner Ashley Cleve- Palmerston North

phatboy and ashley

Rob (Upper Hutt)

rob upper hutt small

Beau Allen

beau allen small

 

Kyle Chapman ( RWR Founder- also known as Kyle Kerry and Roberto W Right on Facebook)

cu_kyle_110511_2

Many many more pictures, names and general areas to come-

 

Ben Peterson works for Unite Union on the South Island. He’s a long time socialist and a member of the Mana Movement.

 

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27 Comments

  1. Rae says:

    In times like these you are going to get a rise in the number of people who will identify with groups like this, though, all in all, not many. You mentioned his ranting against Sharia law and here’s where you run into a bit of trouble. While there really is no place for the likes of White Supremists there is also no place for Sharia law either, and for my mind, anywhere, religion does not belong in government.

    • thekiwisonfire says:

      I hope that New Zealand never develops the likes of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) or the National Front in France, as the last thing New Zealand needs is another xenophobic and homophobic group to spout ignorance and fear.

      There are public neo-nazis, and then there are ‘far-right’ political groups which are dangerous in the sense that they suck people into a light form of neo-nazism and intolerance through playing to fear and ignorance – often they dress well, and speak politely, but their policies are anything but nice to minorities.

      Many people don’t read up on who they are voting for, and just vote based entirely on slick TV campaigns or a party’s ‘tough stance’ on an issue.

      It is true that radical Islamists should be guarded against, but not by undermining the very values of human rights that allow a decent society to exist i.e. like creating a discriminatory immigration policy, treating some people as second-class citizens, and allowing ‘conservatives’ and the ‘far right’ to quash social advances over LGBT and women’s rights.

  2. Afewknowthetruth says:

    ‘Deranged but Dangerous – Right Wing extremists in Aotearoa and the dangers they pose.’

    The headline led me to believe the article would be about John Key and the National Party. There is no individual or group in NZ that is more dangerous or is causing more actual harm, both locally and globally, at the moment.

  3. Steve says:

    These people are being closely watched by the spooks.

  4. Steve King says:

    Good article. We don’t hear too much about these nutbars, but as you say we should not necessarily take them lightly. The fascists is Germany tapped into, among other things, mass unemployment caused by the Great Depression. In Aotearoa at the present time, we have high unemployment and worryingly high youth unemployment. The potential for disaffected, jobless young men (and women) to be drawn into an extreme group is very real. Our government bears some culpability here as they have created these conditions and presided over growing unemployment and increased alienation of people on the fringes.

    • Too small this country for causing a revolution like your predicting and your underestimating Maori as this weak minority group that can’t get it together be careful of those assumptions my people are strong and don’t forget

  5. JR Murphy says:

    Haha, I thought you were going to talk about the government as well. Those radicalised capitalist terrorists that have been running our country for the past 30 years – Bryan Bruce calls neo-liberals. Check out the NZ Terrorism Suppression Act and you will find the government made themselves criminals – passed under urgency.

    Economic terrorism, undermining of infrastructure – is cuts to social housing for vulnerable poor people and mental health facilities for example. Housing situation made even worse because these terrorists have allowed thousands of rich foreigners into NZ that are displacing the poorest, disabled and young people from their homes and jobs.

    Those of us living in the darklands are frightened and angry, that our government thinks more of foreigners than the people who live here is abusive and traumatising. This is basic instinct stuff, traumatised people mostly live in their limbic brain (emotional) and work out of their amygdala. Check out Maslows Heirachy of needs – I don’t have one of those needs met current, which is probably why I’m so unwell, suicidal and self-harming.

    I have become xenophobic, I get these horrible hateful thoughts about people from other countries. I have to consciously stop them, trying to reason with myself that its not their fault, its the fault of our incompetent immoral government creating this inhuman environment.

    Its easy to be against racism Ben, but if you and your family had nothing and someone rich from another country came in and forced you out of your home and took your job away from you – then how would you really feel.

    Its not just me getting angry about this, lots of people are, they know its ‘a bit’ racist but they are just being honest. They’re scared, because most of them don’t have much money and live almost week to week.

    The government should stop all immigration immediately until it can be proven that no person who already lives here is going to be forced out of their home – that is what creates racism and hatred.

    Like I said the terrorists have been running our country for 30 years and this is what they have created. Was talking with a woman on facebook last week who has just returned to NZ after 25 years. She was in shock and really upset, kept repeating how it wasn’t New Zealand anymore, it was America. Everything – advertising, TV, types of crimes, affluent rich gloating about what they have through media and poor people protesting to get the basic necessities to live.

    Monday morning and already I have had police here before 8.30am doing a welfare check because I phoned them yet again distraught and begging them to listen to my complaints of harm by ACC under Section 151 of the Crimes Act. A little known section that says people caring for vulnerable people (which I am – blah) have a DUTY TO PROVIDE NECESSARIES AND PROTECT FROM INJURY. That’s five times in 3 weeks – yay me, I beg them not to come, but they come anyway.

    Rough night last night, couldn’t stop crying most of the night, then woke up this morning and started crying again because I am so frightened about what is going to happen to me. I don’t want to live in poverty in this hell hole, I have no hope and no reason to live, if I can’t work and will be forced to move around repeatedly with abusive landlords and flatmates then death is a far better option. Of course I’m not the only one thinking this because 30% of people who suicide are on welfare.

    My country is such a disappointment, such a huge disappointment. The similarities to the rise of NAZI Germany are chilling – rich and powerful are always corrupted and start abusing poor and powerless. It is basic instinct for strong to persecute weak – it is being human and civilized that stops us from doing that – sorry used to stop us from doing that.

    Until we consider the Human Rights and constitutional laws of this country as superior to the terrorist behaviour and laws passed by radicalised terrorists then things are only going to get worse.

    Did you know of all the UN documents NZ has signed, the only one with an Optional Protocol – where NZers can make complaints to UN is the declaration against Torture. To fix that our terrorist government changed the law and made it impossible to make a complaint of terrorism without the attorney generals consent – ie Christopher Finlayson. Please tell me again we aren’t being controlled by radicalised capitalist terrorists.

    Kia kaha to us all.

    • yvonne tayor says:

      I share many of your concerns but think things are worse and harder to bear because of your health. Do you have a doctor who you like and can talk to? If not ask to be referred to one of the appropriate services run by your District Health Board.
      NOBODY should have to wake in the night, crying. That is depression, and it blackens your thoughts.
      Please take care of yourself.

  6. countryboy says:

    Is that a soft toy on that old TV? Is that a toy gun lying on the floor? A cross bow ? Braw hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha aaa a a a a a a a Hahahahahhahahahahaa ahaahaha a a a a !
    That grubby and tacky room looks like very gang bangers crib I’ve ever seen.
    No class darlings.
    Isn’t it terrible? What being ignored by ones father and resented by ones mother can do to a person.

    The real enemy is you and me for allowing our politicians to do what they do to us. Not these poor, feckless bastards.

  7. Donna Miles-Mojab says:

    Very informative article Ben. I agree that it is vital that groups such as anti-TPPA do not allow dangerous groups like the RWR to hijack their cause and dilute their core message.

  8. Ben says:

    “Most racists are just worried that “the Chinese” are the cause of the Auckland housing crisis”.

    I’m sorry, but I thought that was the view of the Labour party.

    • countryboy says:

      @ Ben. You think? That surprises me.

      • Ben says:

        Are you saying that Twyford and Little did not blame the Chinese for the Auckland housing problems? I am not sure which backwater you live in but you should be able to find Twyford’s assertion that Chinese investors were fuelling the housing boom.

        • Jack Ramaka says:

          Everyone knows it is Australian Investors fuelling the Auckland property market John Key said so himself.

          • Cassie says:

            (if John Key said it’s Australian Investors who are fuelling the property market then it can’t be !)

            I must say I also thought this would be about National govt.

        • Sam Sam says:

          Yeah. It was a bit of a dick move from Twyford. As Benie Sanders once said, It is unexceptable in this day in age to bring racism into political debates, and we must shut the door on it and shut it tight.

  9. Moonbeam says:

    If there’s one thing the so-called Right Wing Resistance shows it’s that fanaticism is a human trait and knows no social, ethnic, national, religious borders.

    Personally I’m more worried about our own homegrown fanaticism than anything spawned from overseas. The RWR is more “New Zealand” in flavour and therefore more appealing to certain disaffected young people.

  10. Prospero says:

    Our great little leader John Key better look out because after all he’s a Jew.

  11. goodwitheu says:

    I’ve bumped into this guy vaughn before, he came stumbling past the cafe and ranted for a few minutes before I told him to walk on. While I agree with the notion this lot are sick in the head, I can’t agree with your suggestions. Firstly, have they committed any crimes so far? Bashings and the like under their own banner? If no, then what right do you have to say they can’t join a sports team etc? What if their kids want to? Are they allowed to play because dad will come and watch on Saturday morning?

    If this is acceptable then whatever mosques those Maori Isis aligned converts belong should have arbitrary penalties applied to them… it is absurd.

    Come to think of it, my grandparents are so stuffy in their thinking they would have kittens if I dated an African woman, came out gay, or even quit my job and or even quit my job and became an artist. Lets ban them from civic activities too.

    Hearts in the right place but you didn’t think this through.

    • muerk says:

      While I agree with the notion this lot are sick in the head, I can’t agree with your suggestions. Firstly, have they committed any crimes so far? Bashings and the like under their own banner? If no, then what right do you have to say they can’t join a sports team etc? What if their kids want to? Are they allowed to play because dad will come and watch on Saturday morning?

      Yeah, I agree with you.

      Also isolating someone because they are racist isn’t going to make them less racist either. It’s just going to confirm that it’s “war” and drive them closer to their “brothers in arms”. Far better to have them involved (as individuals, not as the RWR) in the wider community as much as possible to get them to interact with as wide a section of people as possible.

    • Steve says:

      I agree with your points here & I can relate based on my own experience.

      The best way to deal with extremists is to expose them & their hateful views through dialogue. Same applies to extreme Islamists, or with puritanical Christians or Jews. Indeed, censuring them or banning them from civic activity makes their non-causes more appealing to deranged and disaffected young people.

      As you rightly point out, excluding them from society also harms their children & reduces the ability of the kids to engage with people of different races and faiths. Sometimes, things like kids sport and social activities are the best way to break down barriers. For example, my dad was skeptical of Asians when I was a boy, however I became friends with a Korean boy at school & this did change my dad’s attitude and views. How can you continue to voice racist views about Asians when your young son’s best friend is Korean.

      While it’s awful that the Nazi movement has a following in New Zealand, & as a Jew it’s hurtful to me personally, these people need to be shown some leniency and tolerance. This is the standard we expect in a liberal society & I think this type of abject racism needs to be looked upon in the social-economic and cultural context in which it exists.

      Neo-Nazis are working class, poor, very poorly educated Pakeha who have been completely failed by the compulsory education system & had very little (if any) social support. Be clear that these are not the Pakeha who have experienced inter-generational privilege, they tend to be very working class and poor. These are the contextual causes of their situation, much like how systematic colonisation and oppression of other minorities has historically contributed to crime & inter-generational poverty.

  12. elle says:

    The National party will like these sort of people ,they create a divide that National can use for their own ends.divide to rule is their motto.
    They have tried to set maori against white people,i have never met a maori I didn’t like.
    Time this world forgot about brown and white,its ridiculous, this sort of thing helps create wars.
    America has the worst problem of black bashing,and as this government follows America in everything ,we don’t need this sort of thing in NZ ,we are a small country under 5 million ,we must all band together,united we rise, divided we fall.
    Just what Key wants divide us to knock us over and hand us to America,much easier to control if we are fighting each other.
    We should not give these RWR publicity,they feed on it ,lets just starve them of the limelight.

  13. Marcus says:

    For all we know these far-right nutters might be in regular contact with John Key’s office. A bit far-fetched do you think? Well, Cameron Slater is in regular contact with John Key’s office, not even Key will deny that, and Slater’s warped sense of morality isn’t all that much different from these nutcases.
    That might be the reason that Key has started talking up the subject of “Jihadi brides”. A convenient way to get hackles to rise.
    This ethically corrupt government would make a deal with the devil if they thought they could profit by it.

  14. elle says:

    The comment from JRMurphy is so sad and John Key is responsible, the comment should be sent to parliament ,make them squirm a bit ,but in the case of Key,he would probably shrug his sholders and say “so what”hes is more dangerous than any terror group,Why ar’n tthe opposition doing something to help get rid of him from the leadership,hes no leader,just a bullet in the Obama gun.

    The Herald is as responsible as Key ,they cover up for him as they are paid to do.
    All this misery was planned years ago , get riot police to stop anyone who protests ,buy up media so the truth dosnt get out,

    Sell NZ assets so we have nothing to sell when the bankers come for the huge loan Key has raised ,none of the loan has done much for the people who struggle,low wages to invite the cabal in and make it easy for them to make huge profits
    ,People allowed into NZ to profit from house and land sales,Tpp will be icing on the cake for Key ,hes got Groser out of the way so he cant answer for his part in TPP.
    Key is setting up a false flag (jidhadi brides)maybe an attack or two in NZ to divert attention from his disgusting behaviour.
    If you are for real jr murphy, hang in there,be strong and don’t let the Ba#####s get to you .

  15. Mike the Lefty says:

    The people that enthusiastically flock to such causes are nearly always of two distinct types. Type 1: The bully boy, an aging ex-school bully who wants to relive the satisfaction of stealing other boys’ lunch money, beating up the four-eyed nerds and showing off in front of the teacher. The other type is the frustrated spoilt little nobody who just revels in the flags, uniforms, guns, emblems (especially the swastika) and has an aching ambition to prove he is somebody.
    These clowns complement each other perfectly. One provides the leadership and direction that the other craves. One provides the perfect cannon fodder that the other needs to achieve his aims.
    Mostly they are just pantomime horses, trooping around in circles following each other to nowhere, but occasionally one more intelligent than the others arises and directs them onto greater and more destructive things.
    Not sure where it is with these clods. Part of me thinks they are just taking advantage of the paranoia and fear generation adopted by the National government in response to the ISIL threat. The other part of me wonders if they might think now is the time to strike.
    I know one thing though, the SIS and other government spy agencies won’t be as concerned about their activities because they are the political right, not the left and National doesn’t really care what the extreme right says and does because it thinks it can keep them under control. We will see.

  16. Vaughan Tocker. says:

    This is Vaughan Tocker. I will write a response but it will take time. Im wondering what Phycological Degree Peterson has to determine over the phone that I was wasted, I hung up because it seemed Peterson was high on Crack or something and he asked far too many questions. It would not of matered what I answered , ringing me was a token gesture in that his mind was set on what the contents would be. This is reverse racism at its best. We are here to ensure the survival of our race and to secure a future for White children . In this country Sharia law is illegal . In this country Marrying girls at one years old and having sex with them at nine years old is a sickness we call Peodophilia. Don’t ever give me shit about the arab that raped and pillaged and terrorised my family again mr Peterson.
    The carnage you describe on my sight is real and coming to NZ because of supporters like you.
    Unlike you im a realist and have no identity crisis. Im a White European and have bravly sworn to protect my race . And as for my work injuries being self inflicted you weaner, ill see you.
    Hail RWRNZ W/W


 
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