Patriot leader wants to keep Australia “beautiful”
By Michael Cadelina and Jill Tengco
Mitch’s anti-Islamic views emerged a few years ago in the smoker’s area on the second level of a local pub in Newcastle. Him and his then-girlfriend sat having a chat with, what seemed like, a friendly Sudanese immigrant. Not long after, the couple was approached by the immigrant’s nine other not-so-friendly Sudanese mates and was, for the first time, hit with racial slurs. So when they asked him for his pack of cigarettes, he was having none of it. “I pretty much told them to f— off. And then, it wasn’t like a punch. It was sort of like an open hand slap across the face. And then his mate next to him raised his hand at my partner.” Bouncers burst through the doors and the couple bolted for the exit. “I was on my own with my girlfriend, I can’t really stand up against ten males, you know what I mean?… So yeah that was sort of my awakening.”
For Mitchell Van Dam, 28, this was the moment that influenced his past few years of protesting, rallying and taking a stance against the migration of Muslims into Australia. When he’s not spending time with his family or working at his carpentering job, Mitch leads the controversial True Blue Crew’s NSW branch as a self-proclaimed Australian patriot.
The True Blue Crew, with over 10,000 followers, was founded in 2016 in Melbourne. It is a far-right activist group set on eradicating Islam and stopping refugees, asylum seekers and left-wing supporters all around Australia.
Local police are constantly aware of the Crew’s activities and work with the Crew to ensure they cause as little trouble as possible in their protests. Police said “as ever, we respect the rights of people to meet and air their views on political matters. We will not tolerate however any resulting acts of violence or anti-social behaviour.”
But Mitch says their aims are far from anti-social. “We just need to preserve it…You know, keep the Australian values, keep the culture going. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s a great country. It’s a beautiful culture.”
Fellow True Bluey, Mark, sat by Mitch’s side as he likened the government allowing Muslims into the country, to leaving a pitbull (Muslims) and a labrador (“people who have lived here forever”) to fight for a bowl of food. “The Islamist doesn’t want to share the bowl. It wants the whole f—ing bowl. And that’s not what we’re gonna take.” The labrador will bite back, Mark said.
They are also concerned by a growth of African gang violence, which Chief Commissioner shot down as “complete and utter garbage. There are people who have been affected by crime, and that’s always been the case, and that’s the case in every city in Australia, and the same as every city in the world.”
Not only with other races, Mitch has experienced recurring clashes with hardcore left-wing groups as well. Mitch recalled how last year in Penrith, his friend experienced violent counter-protest backlash from their habitual enemy, Antifa. “About 10 of them came out with chains and baseball bats.” Mitch said exasperated, “they’re trying to just destroy the country! Why? Why? What’s so bad about this country?”
But what drives these passionate and extreme beliefs? One would expect, rightly so, that Mitch’s personal life has influenced this stance. Back at the Newcastle pub, Mitch’s “awakening” was set back when his then-girlfriend didn’t approve of him joining the patriotic movement. But, it became a different story once they separated. “I started to look into things a bit more,” said Mitch. “I started to sort of research. Eventually one thing led to another,” and he found himself protesting against a mosque in his hometown. Then, after seeing footage online of England’s Islamic schools, he rallied and shut down a Penrith Islamic school. “They’re pretty much taught to despise all westerners,” voices Mitch. “I wouldn’t even call it a curriculum. I’d call it an ideology of hate against Western society… It is absolutely disgusting. And to have that here… No. Not gonna happen.”
Contrary to protesting against Muslim institutions, his home life is surprisingly average. When he’s not working as a carpenter at his self-run business six days a week, he’s spending time with his fiancee and seven month old daughter. But his family has undoubtedly been affected by his extreme activism in more ways than one. “I’ve been disowned by a part of my family which are on the hard left side of things because they think I’m a racist. But the only thing I’m trying to protect is, just, Australia.”
What does his soon-to-be wife think of Mitch being one of the most hated men in New South Wales? Mitch admits there have been definite concerns. Left-wing online groups like Anonykatz and Slackbastard have publicised and ridiculed his private life. Months after a night of playing Goon of Fortune in the comfort of his Belmont backyard, Mitch was spending another day scrolling through the internet, when he came across the discovery of his new identity. “Mitchie Van Goonbag” was coined after an image of the night was publicised in the left-wing sphere. “Thats a great one whoever came up with that. Full credit!” said Ben, another Mitch underling.
But Van Goonbag doesn’t seem too phased about his fiancee’s concerns. “Come rally time and protest time, I only dedicate time to that. Even if I have to take days off work. And it does cost money and valuable time with family as well, but it’s for a very good cause.” Ben says it’s times like this that Mitch is above the average Australian because he gives up his own free time to make sure that Australia “stays great”.
In doing so, Mitch’s crew is constantly named racists, even by academics. RMIT University professor, Judith Bessant describes the True Blue Crew as “overt white racism, xenophobia and social conservatism aimed at bolstering male values and privilege.” But Mitch denies racist beliefs calling for a focus on the bigger picture. “People need to start caring about where the country’s heading,” he proclaimed, with his two flatterers beside him agreeing. “Don’t worry about the people that are gonna call you racist. You feel what you feel. It’s Australia, you have the right to free speech. Say what you think. If no one likes it, f— ‘em.” If Mitch has to target Islam, he will, with one message: “Just keep Australia beautiful”.
To here more of his story, check out the podcast of our interview here: