by Prof. Mohan Dutta | on March 18, 2023
The Christchurch terrorist attack is often individualized in mainstream public discourse as the act of an individual extremist.
This individualization of white supremacist violence is an essential feature of the whiteness of the settler colonial state.
In this individualizing ideology, violence is attributed to a lone extremist who has been radicalized.
The response then is an individualizing response, directed at the individual extremist with the justice system of the settler colonial state organized to respond to the extremist.
The intelligence-security apparatus of the settler colonial state is organized around techniques of surveillance and monitoring directed at identifying and containing individuals likely to be radicalized and turned into extremists.
The individualizing ideology on one hand places the cause of the violence in the actions of an individual who is portrayed to have been radicalized by an ideology. On the other hand, the individualization of the violence keeps intact the very structure of white supremacy that underpins the violence.
Moreover, the individualizing ideology conveniently erases the white supremacy that makes up the institutional structure of the intelligence-military-police infrastructure of the settler colonial state.
The Australian extremist who carried out the violence in Christchurch is an extension of the white supremacy that forms the settler colonial infrastructure of Australia. This settler colonial structure in Australia is scripted into its political, juridical, military, security, and intelligence institutions.
White supremacy is built into the structure of the Australian state that has historically been organized around violence directed toward aboriginal communities.On March 18, 2023, a few days after the four-year anniversary of the Christchurch terrorist attack, at an anti-transgender event hosted by the British anti-trans rights figure Kellie-Jay Keen who is currently touring Australia, Nazis dressed in black are seen taking the Nazi salute on the steps of the Victoria parliament.
As the Nazis march through the streets onto the steps of the parliament, the Australian police are seen protecting them. In powerful images that depict the interplays of white supremacy of the police and the Nazis, the police are shown lining up to safeguard the Nazis as they take the salute.
Anti-fascist activists challenging the Nazis document the violence carried out by the police directed at the anti-fascist activists protesting the Nazis.
Moreover, anti-fascist activists document an Australian police member who flashed a white power sign at an earlier protest. In another report, Australian activists document the presence of Nazis in the Australian military.
The institutionalization of white supremacist hate within the infrastructures of the police and military exists in continuity with the racist colonial structure of Australia.
Four years since the Christchurch terrorist attack and the Australian state has continued to let the white supremacy within its structures go unchallenged.
To address the white supremacist hate that led to the Christchurch terrorist attack is to first recognize the white supremacy that is embedded within the organizing logics of the state.
This recognition then can offer the starting point for undoing the racism and hate percolating through the cellular structures of Australian police, military, and related institutions.
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