United Patriots Front

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The United Patriots Front (UPF) aka the Two Patriots Front (2PF) was an Australian far right political action group that regarded itself as "a nation wide movement, opposing the spread of Left Wing treason and spread of Islamism"[1]. The group was established in May 2015 by Shermon Burgess, known for his social media persona The Great Aussie Patriot, after his departure from Reclaim Australia. From late 2015 until 2017 when the group split, it was led by hard right activist Blair Cottrell.

As with their father group, the UPF were concerned with overcoming what they saw to be the Islamic takeover of Australia, and the implementation of Sharia law. The movement was also strongly anti leftist, and has accused the left of helping facilitate such an Islamic conquest, of "hating" the Australian nation and of also supporting the notion of a one world socialist government in favour of more nationalistic interests. Despite being led by a Neo-Nazi in Blair Cottrell, the UPF identified as being a civic nationalist organisation and Cottrell's Nazism was generally kept in the closet, though visible on close inspection.

In 2015, the group held its first public action, an anti-leftist protest in Melbourne,attacking what they believed was a "socialist takeover" of the Yarra Council, and the socialist councillor Steven Jolly, accusing him of "hating Australia" and of preventing patriots from exercising their freedoms[2].

Following the appearance of Zaky Mallah, an Australian Muslim and convicted felon on the Australian ABC's Q&A program (seen as left wing by many right wing ideologues), the United Patriots Front protested in front of the ABC's headquarters in Melbourne. The protesters brought numerous Australian flags and a roasted pig on a spit, to mock Islam and the ABC for allegedly supporting the ideology. UPF members also hurled out remarks accusing the television station of committing "left wing treason" and of supporting the Islamic State[3]. The protest also prompted an immediate evacuation of the building.

Before the July 2015 rally with Reclaim Australia, members of the UPF were accused of stating that they had intentions of bringing firearms to the protest. Shermon Burgess had also stated that they had guns, and that if "shit went down", they would survive and not their enemy. This prompted an immediate police investigation into the group[4].

The United Patriots Front received a critical reception following their protest on July 18-19, with certain Australian musicians condemning the group, along with Reclaim Australia, for the groups using their music in propaganda pieces[5][6]. This prompted Blair Cottrell and other UPF members to denounce these musicians in return, and questioned where their allegiances were.

A UPF supporter was arrested and charged with threatening to kill a Melbourne socialist Councillor in August 2015[7] The Councillor, Stephen Jolly, had been the subject of a video by Blair Cottrell following the July rally, where Cottrell had stated that Jolly had to be removed from office because of his supposed affiliation with violent left wing extremists. The hypocrisy from Cottrell and his friends is laughable.

On September 10, 2015, Shermon Burgess announced that the United Patriots Front would be forming itself into a political party once it had sufficient numbers[8].

In October 2015, following a failed rally against Islam and the left in the rural town of Bendigo, Burgess left the UPF and granted Blair Cottrell full control of the organisation.

Fascist Fortitude[edit]

In 2016, the UPF established its new political party, Fortitude. Blair Cottrell became the party's self-appointed "chairman" and led the group on three rallies in rural Australia to help gain support.

Fortitude's online manifesto outlines the group's batshit insane policy, including an unconstitutional ban on all Muslim immigration and a desire to bring their warped view of "patriotism" back into the nation's state schooling system. Blair Cottrell also outlined that majority decisions on any matter within the party would be banned, and that all decisions would be made by an "Inner Circle" of elite individuals, with the final approval of Chairman Cottrell himself.

Blair Cottrell has theoretically supported the murder of Fortitude members who leak information on the party to political opposition, yet acknowledged that under "modern pacifism" this cannot occur; so instead, has advocated a "blacklist" of such traitors who are to be ostracised by other members of the group[9].

The end and aftermath[edit]

Fortitude was dissembled in mid 2016 following an inability to gain 500 members, the amount required to become a registered political party. The United Patriots Front followed suit, splitting in 2017 after a series of internal disagreements and continued social media bans. Many former UPF members joined other groups, quit the movement completely or went solo in the aftermath of the cessation.

While the UPF as an organisation officially ceased in 2017, its former members and leadership continued to remain active in far right activist circles.

In 2017, former UPF members including 'Lieutenant' Thomas Sewell established the 'Lads Society', which saw the opening of two men's only fight clubs in both inner Melbourne and in the Sydney suburb of Ashfield. Activities undertaken at these clubs include both the study of far right literature and weekly 'fight nights'[10]. The Lads Society also met with Canadian white nationalist activist Lauren Southern during her speaking tour of Australia in 2018.

Former UPF leaders Blair Cottrell and Neil Erikson were key figures behind the organising of a January 2019 rally held at St Kilda Beach. The rally took place in response to an alleged increase in violent crime committed by youth gangs of African descent. At the rally, many attendees were photographed performing Nazi salutes, and also in attendance was the controversial Senator Fraser Anning, formerly of One Nation.[11].

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the terrorist behind the March 15, 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre at Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand was later revealed to having been a supporter of the UPF during the group's heyday, and had previously referred to Blair Cottrell as "Emperor Blair". He had also made a donation to the group and threatened a Melbourne man in 2016 over his political views.[12].