Psychologists have known for a long time that being part of a group can exert a strong influence on how you behave. In fact, some people change their attitudes and behaviours to fit in with the norms of the ‘in-group’ they’re part of, or even want to be part of. This is called ‘conformity’, and the pressure to conform can be very strong if you want to feel as if you really belong.
Once you’re part of a group, you tend to treat members of your group more favourably than non-members. Pride in your group, group cohesiveness and harmony are all closely connected. Group leaders know that one of the best ways to increase cohesiveness is to create threats that don’t really exist, or exaggerate facts to make them seem more threatening than they really are.
That’s what organisers of the annual Hammered Music Festival might be counting on. By organising this festival for ‘proud white men and women’, the Southern Cross Hammerskins may be aiming to make members even more committed to their white nationalist ‘in-group’.
In fact, the more opposition the festival receives from ‘out-groups’ such as the politicians who label potential participants as ‘lunatics’ and ‘recalcitrant elements’, the stronger group cohesiveness will become. There’s nothing like criticism or threats – real or fabricated – to make members close ranks and become even more protective of their ‘in-group’.
The festival is being billed as a ‘massive event on the white calendar, with great bands, great atmosphere and a great weekend’. In other words, it’s an opportunity for a lot of like-minded people who may rarely meet face-to-face to get together and become even more committed to their ‘in-group’. In this case, members of the group hate anybody who isn’t white.
It’s also an opportunity to reinforce group standards and ensure all members conform to the group’s extremist views.
The greater the criticism about this event becomes, the more advertising the festival receives, which in turn attracts more attendees including potential new recruits.
Regardless of whether the general public decides to ignore the event so it doesn’t attract more attention, or whether they decide to speak out against the event and all it stands for, one thing is for certain: this event is not in the public interest.
As we’ve pointed out there’s no such thing as “white values”. An Aussie with white skin is as likely to share values with an Arab, a Jew, an Englishman or a German. We are all human.