Well, well: what can be said about Australian Defence League (ADL) leader Ralph Cerminara? We could talk about his consistent lies and posturing online or his ongoing personal battle for legitimacy and love within Australia’s confused far-right community. Either way it’s worth knowing, just for a laugh, who this clown is and what he has been up to over the last few months.
To begin with: Cerminara is a compulsive liar with an ongoing identity crisis, claiming to have held ‘this rank’ and served in ‘that country’ during the conflicts in East Timor and Afghanistan. He has been denounced by numerous figures within the Australian Defense Force who do not endorse his racist views or his wish to draw links between the ADL and Australia’s servicemen and women. Despite all his claims to the contrary, the facts are that Cerminara held the rank of Gunner/Private (ie, the lowest possible rank) for under a year before being discharged for general incompetence and mental instability.
We could talk about an incident in early September 2014, of his highly-publicized trip to Sydney’s largely Muslim suburb of Lakemba. It started late one evening, mid-week, when Cerminara, in a drunken and drug-fueled frenzy, managed to stagger on to his twitter and Facebook accounts and broadcast gallantly that the “ADL are on their way to Lekemba!!!!’. This post was followed by a series of status updates that echoed Cerminara’s incoherent racism and hatred of Islam, conveyed in swearing and petty blemishes. Armed with his trusty video camera/smart phone, Cerminara took to the streets of Lakemba and in classic ADL style followed Muslim women dressed in burqas and filmed them in a threatening manner. It wasn’t long before members of the community reacted and Cerminara was swiftly hospitalised.
Since his overnight stay in the hospital, Cerminara appears to have learned nothing. Although Islamophobia is gaining momentum, Cerminara is not. The band associated with him – Eureka Brigade – continues to mock traditional Oi! music in a completely moronic and embarrassing way, advocating the Holocaust and blowing asylum seeker vessels out of the water. His mates in the Patriots Defence League of Australia (PDLA) – also known as the undisputed kings of hide-and-seek on the far-right – organised an anti-Muslim rally at Sydney’s Hyde Park on September 27. After anti-fascist activists scoured both parks, the PDLA were nowhere to be found: the PDLA have continued to no-show at their alleged events.
In mid-December, Ralph saw his meeting ‘The Consequences of Islam in Australia and the World’, scheduled at the Marrickville PCYC, cancelled, and the venue denouncing the event as dishonest and covert in nature, being a racist forum. The true nature of the event was not disclosed to venue managers. This was days after Ralph made a public appearance during the Sydney Siege. In a shameful display, Cerminara fronted cameras in a feeble attempt to capitalise on a moment of distress to further his public profile, briefly, before he was moved along by authorities.
In more recent events, on December 23, Ralph and two of his mates attempted yet another “gallant” charge on Lakemba in an attempt to stir-up racial and religious tension. It again ended in tragedy for Cerminara as he and his compatriots suffered a brutal hiding. Two ADL members were arrested and refused bail over Christmas and the New Year.
Despite his ongoing racially-motivated death threats, calling for a second Cronulla Riot, Cerminara continues to make a mockery of himself, which has resulted in the ADL existing as several tiny online splinters, each splinter trying desperately to distance themselves from affiliation with him. He has been unofficially banned from other far-right groups and events as well as being denounced by former ally Nathan Abela. This highlights that Ralph has never really managed to mobilise more than a handful of supporters, most of whom have ended up turning on him.
Cerminara is a gift to all who fight Islamophobia. His antics will continue to expose the ADL as a loose confederation of loudmouth keyboard-warriors with little to no understanding of political ideology, Australian history or theology. People will continue to see through his messy little group and others like it, seeing it for what it is: a poorly-disguised and strictly amateur fascist project repackaged as a fine Australian mess.
We wish Ralph and his mate Zane a happy stay in prison and hope that his political views are welcomed warmly by the prison community, which we am sure will be happy to accommodate him.