When looking back on this turbulent time in the world, one of the main things to come out of it will be the division, frustration, and anger that seem to be spreading across the world at present. At the forefront of this is, of course, Donald Trump and, in particular, his war with the media, a war that is shifting media and public behaviour across the western world. With his coining of the oxymoronic phrase (usually, when referring to Trump, you can remove the prefix ‘oxy’ from this phrase) “fake news”, Trump introduced a tag and an awareness of the power and problems the media can garner and cause.
Orwell saw it coming. Newspeak and the editing of history to suit The Party in Nineteen Eighty-Four seems to be the goal of Trump, and, for his supporters, every week is Hate Week. Whether it is to pressurise and threaten senators, galvanise his supporters or distract the public from whatever the current scandal, Trump uses his Twitter feed to spread his message. Perhaps the most cunning and equally desperate use of his Twitter, as well as his interviews, briefings, and bizarre rallies, is to attack the press, mainstream media, the fake news, they are now referred to. There are a few exceptions to this broad attack; Fox News, and a few other largely ‘right wing’ sites get endorsements and retweets. Fox News seems to be POTUS’ personal favourite, as he often advertises, endorses and retweets segments, shows and articles. And Fox promote his agenda, ensuring their popularity amongst his supporters.
Fox News is not the first outlet to present biased views to suit an agenda. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales promoted the calm and tranquil, idyllic England in the 14th century, disregarding civil war, huge religious conflicts, and the death of monarchs. England was a place of fear, upheaval, and chaos at times, but Chaucer presented a pastoral retreat, devoid of this chaos and violence. Henry VIII, in among marrying and killing everyone, took the time to ensure any written work that existed was not a dissent to his rule and his lifestyle. For anyone to take a swipe at him, they had to be brave and subtle, clouding their work in metaphor, such as Whoso List to Hunt by Thomas Gray. And so it continued, across lands, across authors, across works. The uncivilised masses in Africa depicted by Conrad, the unruly Indians by Kipling, all examples of a controlled route of thought, an idea of people and places passed down by writing.
The difference between then and now is how this propaganda is passed down, and by whom. Regardless of the morality of their work, nobody can deny the ability of some of these authors, like Kipling and Conrad, to engage and describe the scenes they set. Today, however, the messages are being passed around by journalists, some of whom are very loose definitions of the term, and even people like Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins et al. The access to social media, and an increasingly frustrated and lively audience, spreads agenda and division directly to the masses. The difficulty is how to counteract it, and to realise that this isn’t just a one-sided, simplistic issue of right versus wrong.
For every Daily Mail immigrant story, we see The Guardian wheel Owen Jones or Frankie Boyle out and pontificate, throwing around the moral high ground, essentially lecturing the readership of the right, engaging in a dismissive, possibly even arrogant rebuttal of the right wing’s name calling. The issue is that every time The Guardian does this, or The New York Times lambasts Trump, no problems are solved, no issues resolved, the chasm between the two sides simply widens. Whichever side one is on, whichever two sides are arguing, the insistence on naming the sides and picking one, almost completely eliminates fair debate, counteracts balance, and ends with name calling and mud-slinging on both sides far too often.
The rush for clickbait and traffic necessitates catchy headlines, and short opinion polls full of jargon and rhetoric. However, the insistence on using these tags to identify groups of people creates a very difficult environment for the media to operate within. For every Remoaner, we have a Brexiteer; for every alt-right we have an alt-left; for every Republican, a Democrat; for every Trumpster, a member of The Resistance. In a world where white people afraid of losing their privilege have begun using the phrase ‘reverse racism’, finding fact and objectivity in the middle of these polarising articles and tags is becoming increasingly more difficult. Take, for example, the BBC. When Daily Mail readers are calling the Beeb “a left-wing propaganda” organisation, while the more left wing Remainers will, surely, have been sick of watching the unelected, ale-drinking Nigel Farage somehow manoeuvre himself onto the channel every day for months. This difference of opinion is precisely where the difficulty lies when people are pushed to take a side, a label, and stick to it. Once the psychology of a label is attached, logic seems to be overcome by emotion.
Once a label is assigned and a side taken, the population will then pick a position and read or view news accordingly, in many cases. Trump supporters brandishing everything outside of Fox and a few others as Fake News is the best example of this. Of course, there is a gap in the middle between any two sides, where the reliable news sources should be lying, those places where people go to check the news in the morning, see what is breaking around the world, and the like. Examining the BBC in this position is an interesting place to assess the problems the media face. While more people get their news through links on social media and clickbait articles, reputable organisations like BBC must compete for their web traffic. So, there are two choices: rise above it or get in the mud. Too often, the BBC have plunged into the depths of sensationalism and throwing forth opinion. Especially when covering Trump, the smarmy interjection of heavily swayed opinion pieces muddies the reputation and impartiality of the coverage, resulting in those readers on one side of the fence casting aspersions about the company’s position. However, without the headlining and the variety of positions presented, what traffic would a company like this even receive? Should every view and opinion on topical stories be covered to provide impartiality, or should the impartiality of just the bland facts be enough?
Of course, the public must decide the solution to an extent here. The desire to be proved right and to back up an opinion or idea often determines what we read, share, like or retweet, while anything to the contrary will be dismissed, called a name, or labelled as Fake News. The key to overcoming this as a public and as an individual must be compassion, patience, and empathy. While many of the people one may read or debate with could be considered to be lacking in one or any of these qualities, exercising them ourselves is the only true way to overcome this issue of bias and emotion. Resisting the clickbait, questioning the media and being willing to see faults on both sides of the aisle is the only way this can happen.
Only once the ground between any two sides is established, both by the media, those in power, and the general public, and we begin to listen to each other and understand each other, can we begin to move forward. The media’s desire to create extremes and internet traffic drives the emotion and anger in the public. This emotion and anger drives protest, hate, crime, and violence, and the cycle restarts. Only once those left in the middle, those balanced, patient people, begin to engage and empathise and inspire, can they start to bring people together. This must come from tolerance and understanding, not arrogance and mud-slinging. This doesn’t mean violence, criminality and discrimination should be tolerated at all, we should rightly be calling out Trump for tolerating neo-Nazism and we should be protesting these people ourselves. But this must be in the name of equality and peace, not just shouting at the tv and being outraged for the sake of opinion.
Stop tagging, stop name-calling, start talking.
Article first posted here.
Ever since I had the misfortune of seeing Jack Renshaw, the leader of proscribed hate group National Action, wishing one of his white supremacist members a merry Yule I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the links various far right haters have been attempting to make with Paganism.
In much the same way that Britain First have tried to co-opt Christian values and ISIS have tried to usurp Islamic values I am starting to see my own faith become associated with a misrepresentative and unwelcome element and one that I worry will cause the same confusion and controversy for Pagans that the idiots in Britain First and ISIS have done for the Abrahamic faiths.
To some extent it is easier to co-opt Paganism than it is Islam, Judaism or Christianity. We have no single scripture or doctrine that spells out what it is to be a Pagan or what our beliefs entail. The holy scriptures of the three Abrahamic faiths clearly detail what being a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim involves. Pagans enjoy no such clarity, to be a Pagan can mean something very different to every individual who identifies under the umbrella term of Paganism. This makes it hard to deny somebody as a part of the faith as there is no objective set of rules we can point to as being broken.
The far right have a definite need to identify with a faith. This is because a good deal of their prejudice is targeted at those with differing religious beliefs. Historically they have attempted to align themselves with Christianity in order to fuel their prejudice against Muslims and Jews but as the tactics the far right deploy in their persecution of UK minority faiths move further and further from the teachings of Jesus Christ they have increasingly started to usurp the Pagan faith as an alternative.
The fluidity of Paganism is one of the elements that attracts the far right. As a non-prescriptive faith there are no hurdles to overcome to self-identify as a Pagan. There are no mandatory rites of passage, no set holy days, no learning or memorising of scripture. There is no formal initiation into Paganism. It is therefore perceived by some as a faith that requires minimum effort to adopt.
The far right are attracted to Paganism as they perceive it in some way as being the traditional faith of the ‘English’ people. A faith that predates Christianity, Islam and Judaism appeals to their obsession with Nationalism and their white heritage. It is interesting to note however how inconsistent they are with this as those of the far right who do try to adopt Paganism focus very much on the Nordic Gods and Nordic mythology of the Vikings who, rather ironically, would have been the “invaders” and not the indigenous settlers of the British Isles.
On a base level the far right are drawn to Paganism for the Hollywood associations with the Occult and spiritual power. Our ranting far right keyboard warriors enjoy the delusion of power that claiming to be Pagan gives them. Undoubtedly it boosts their false sense of self-esteem while tweeting hate speech to their 100 Twitter followers from their Mum’s spare room in their Superman pyjamas.
The modern definition of what it is to be a Pagan is very different to how pre Christians would have worshipped their Gods. When the far right talk about Paganism they are attempting to identify with the Pagans of old as justification for the use of using primitive tactics to destroy cultures that differ to their own. But this is too simplistic as it negates many hundreds of years of human growth and development. Just as we no longer do our cooking in holes in the ground we no longer see and perceive the world in the same way that our ancestors did. When the far right talk about the conflicts between pre Christian communities and how those conflicts were settled with violence they fail to understand that we have evolved as a society since then. Pagans in the modern world do not see violence and prejudice as constructive tools.
Interestingly, the belief that pre Abrahamic societies and in particular the far right’s beloved Vikings were all about violence is a myth. The Vikings were pragmatic and practical people who would usually attempt a trading relationship with other countries before involving themselves in any conflict. If the far right truly want to emulate the Vikings they would do better to involve themselves in matters of farming and trade than they would in violence and disunity.
I have said Paganism is a diverse and hard to define faith in modern times and this is true. Perhaps the one thing though that all Pagans would identify with is a reverence for nature. Nature is an all-encompassing term to mean both the planet and the living creatures on it. This includes fellow human beings. It is not in keeping with the spirit of Paganism to wage war and genocide against other humans. Hate has no place in a Pagan world view.
There is sometimes a misconception that Paganism lacks the morality of the Abrahamic faiths and that as such it offers more wiggle room for those wishing to speak hate against their enemies. Although there is no specific doctrine of morality, the values by which Pagans choose to live their lives are closely associated with liberalism and with the ideas of equality and social justice. This belief system is far more in keeping with a left wing political view than it would be the right wing and certainly has very little in common with the divisive beliefs of the extremist far right.
In summary, the ethos of Paganism is a poor choice of faith for those hell bent on disparaging and discriminating against their fellow human beings. Preach your hate if you must far right extremists – but you do not preach your hate in the name of my Gods.
You’ve probably seen some right wing morons trolling groups like ours who come out with nonsense like “Praise Kek”, “The Left can’t meme” and other similar idiocy along with a fascination with Pepe the frog and a green version of the Nazi flag. I thought it might be an idea to explain who these idiots are and what it is they represent.
Firstly, Kek is a translation of the acronym “LOL” seen when playing World of Warcraft online. This has been discussed online which has drawn the attention of the “alt-right” who have used it for their own ends.
What is called the Cult of Kek has spread which is a faux worship based on the worship of the Egyptian deity Kek. This is the God of Darkness and Chaos who was depicted as either a frog or frog headed human. On the 4Chan boards where Kek originated the far right have substituted Pepe the Frog. Apparently they feel that this “deity” uses ancient Egyptian meme magic to influence the whole world.
The Kek fanatics also use a version of the Nazi flag to represent the fictional land of Kekistan. This was invented by the people who use the /pol/ board on 4Chan which was the land of origin for “shitposters” who worship Kek. This whole idea hit the mainstream when a YouTube user promoted it in January 2017.
On Twitter an official Republic of Kekistan account was created and within 2 days had amassed over 5000 followers. They also have their own website which included a so called manifesto (which I have posted below).
You may note that a number of these hopeless trolls only have the brains to write “Reeeeeeee” as a comment. This is apparently the noise made in rage and frustration by the Angry Pepe character.
White nationalists have been using this whole idea to troll on Facebook, Twitter, Gab and other social media platforms. They also combine Pepe the Frog with Donald Trump (doesn’t change him much) who they praise for their success.
To be honest, this all just shows how bizarre the “alt-right” (can’t we just call them Nazis?) are. They have to create a fictional universe, with a whole back story just so they can go on social media and troll. They can’t use words, they can’t use facts. All they have are a handful of memes, a weird frog and a green Nazi flag to back their ideas up. In America they have even turned up at protests with flags, chanting that they want to “free Kekistan” and suchlike……..even demonstrating in front of the White House! It is hard to believe that they have any idea of the real world at all.
While the Kek brigade are really nothing more than an online joke to be honest, you do have to bear in mind that the people using Pepe and “Kek” are bigoted, racist, Antisemitic, Islamophobic and Xenophobic hatemongers who have about as much to do with the modern world as the true leader that they are missing, the one who shot himself in the bunker in Berlin in 1945.
The political terminology of left, right, extreme left, far right can be a minefield for anybody trying to make sense of their newspaper. Not only are the terms hard to pin down to a precise definition they are also used interchangeably and (often) wrongly, leading to widespread confusion.
In order to understand what we mean when we use the term “far right” we need to be clear where it sits on the political spectrum and how it relates to other political perspectives.
Broadly speaking left wing views are concerned with the principles of Socialism. This is the belief that the state should work for the good of the people and which encompasses the ideas of democracy, free health care, the welfare state and some level of redistribution of wealth.
Further left than Socialism is Marxism. Marxism seeks to put control of the economy into public rather than private hands. The idea being that instead of workers working for a private owner they work for a collective benefit that they can all share in. Culturally this further left position is concerned with the social responsibilities of the state to the individual and also of the individual to the state.
The extreme left would be Communism which draws heavily on Marxist theory but which propounds the idea of a society with no class boundaries where all citizens are equal with equal rights and opportunities.
Equally broadly speaking the right wing are concerned with the principles of Conservatism which is a belief in upholding traditional established values and institutions such as the monarchy and the church. Conservatism is built on the idea of a defined national identity and embraces a monocultural rather than a multicultural society. Political Conservatism is linked to the idea of Capitalism, the idea that the economy is strongest when based on competing factions, with wealth in the hands of the few used to employ the many.
Further right than Conservatism is Libertarianism. This places more emphasis on the individual’s rights than any obligation the individual has to community values. Libertarianism is concerned with freedom and has become intrinsically linked to the concept of free speech. In Libertarian economics both private ownership and private enterprise are encouraged.
The extreme right wing would be Political Fascism. Fascism can be defined by the autocracy of a leader or government, a strong nationalist agenda and a pro uniformity approach. Diversity is not encouraged within a Fascist ideology. The emphasis is on conforming to the unified goals of the state.
The far right of which Resisting Hate and other anti hate groups speak share certain key characteristics. The first is Nationalism. It is important to distinguish Nationalism from Patriotism. Patriotism being love of one’s country whereas Nationalism is the belief that one country and its people are superior to others. Patriotism can be found in both left and right wing politics. Nationalism is a right wing ideology.
The right have a strong sense of national and cultural identity which can be a positive thing but the far right take this further and perceive integration with other cultures as a threat to their sense of identity. In doing so they reject the concept of diversity and start to see those of different races or cultures as potential usurpers of their country and diluters of their cultural values. This can lead to unrest within communities and prejudice toward those not deemed to share the same racial or cultural background.
The far right appeal to a sense of elitism. This is closely linked to the idea of racial and cultural preservation but with emphasis on the fact that a ‘superior’ community is being eradicated. This can be seen in far right white supremacist groups who call for more breeding among white people to ensure their race survives the ‘threat’ of blood mixing with other ethnic groups . It is not hard to see how closely this elitism is linked to racism. It is equally not difficult to see how this idea of racial purity invites a parallel with the Nazi Germany obsession with the Aryan race.
The growth of the far right can be attributed to the focus on a sense of community. Using similar recruitment rhetoric to a street gang, far right leaders offer individuals a sense of belonging and pride. This can be a powerful tool, particularly among deprived areas with low employment which is often the demographic where far right activism is the most prevalent.
In keeping with the idea of a traditional and, to a certain extent, homogenous society the far right reject the liberal ideals of actualising the self and condemn individuals who do not conform to their preconceived ideas of how people should behave. This is where we encounter gender and sexuality prejudice which is often deemed by the far right as unnatural human behaviour. It is also where we encounter religious prejudice with the far right self identifying as defenders of the Christian faith and using the pretext of upholding Christian values as a way to cause conflict with other religions.
The primary tactic used in advancing a far right agenda is the sense of urgency in defending a nation or community against an external threat. We have seen this throughout history with the persecution of people of colour, homosexuals, Jews, Muslims and other minority groups. This was very clearly illustrated during the Brexit referendum with Nigel Farage’s infamous Breaking Point poster which sought to depict immigrants as invaders in order to unite and mobilise the far right against a common ‘enemy.’
As a defender of liberal values I am often challenged why my view of live and let live does not extend to the far right. I am asked why I can support those who differ to me in matters of faith, race and culture but not those who oppose my political views. The answer lies in the essence of what it is to be far right. It is to oppress, devalue and discriminate against others. This is the ethos I oppose. The paradox being that the one thing I will not tolerate is intolerance.
If you clicked on this article hoping for a pithy Hopkinseqsue one liner that claims to solve the problem of terrorism in a soundbite then I am afraid you are out of luck. Terrorism in the modern age is more complex than a few buzz words can easily express. Activists, newspapers and politicians may try to sell the idea of a simple solution but the truth is that terrorism represents the evil in human nature and there is no simple solution to human nature.
We look for a solution because as human beings we are empathetic enough to want to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities from harm. But we also look for a solution because we want to believe we have some power over this growing threat and that there is an answer out there that will help keep us safe.
The difficulty with constructing a defence to terrorism is that the enemy is not a tangible united force. It is a fragmented and dissipated threat that springs up in individuals inspired by extremist ideologies. These ideologies can be a perversion of a legitimate faith (think ISIS and Islam) or they can be a corruption of a political ideology (Think the right wing and White Supremacy). The problem is that the individuals who develop views extreme enough to manifest themselves in evil acts of terrorism are not indicative of the ideologies themselves. Therefore it is too simplistic to blame any ideology for the individuals who commit hate in its name and, as a consequence of this, it is extremely difficult to predict where the next act of terrorism will arise from.
We may not have the answer to stop terrorism yet but what we do have is a lot of failed suggestions as to how it should be dealt with. Nigel Farage was in favour of closing the country’s borders to migrants: “Frankly, if you open your door to uncontrolled immigration from Middle Eastern countries, you are inviting in terrorism.” Yet this solution holds no water as the majority of terrorist attacks on both UK and US soil have been from citizens of those countries and not immigrants. If our terrorists are home grown it would seem futile to try and resolve the problem of terrorism with tighter immigration laws.
Ex EDL leader Tommy Robinson wants to resolve the problem of terrorism by deporting Muslims “Deport all the Muslims who want Sharia law and the problem would be solved overnight.”
But terror is not a Muslim problem, terror is a hate problem. Thomas Mair who savagely murdered MP Jo Cox was not a Muslim, Joseph Christian who fatally stabbed two men on a train in America was not a Muslim. The likes of Robinson want you to believe the problem is as simple as blaming all Muslims because, if you do believe that, you will buy into the simplistic rhetoric of his solution. A solution that will cause divisions in society, break families and communities apart and will do nothing toward making our streets a safer place.
UKIP have offered an equally ludicrous solution to the problem of terrorism. Prior to failing to secure a single seat at the General Election Paul Nuttall, then leader of UKIP was suggesting that we consider internment and tagging.The echoes of fascism ring loudly in the memory as we recall with discomfort who last proposed such extreme measures and the evil that such methods of inhumanity resulted in.
The trouble is that there is no fail safe method for predicting who will commit an act of terrorism. We can rely on police and government intelligence to a certain extent but this is by no means fool proof. Listening to members of communities, friends and families who might be in a better position to identify a radicalised or extremist individual is also of some value but it is inevitable that some people will slip through the net. How many times have we witnessed an act of terrorist atrocity for those close to the terrorist to be genuinely shocked that someone they knew and were close to could be capable of performing such an act of evil? Predicting human behaviour is not an accurate science.
If we cannot predict who will commit an act of terrorism we cannot prevent them from doing it. We cannot imprison people simply because we believe they might commit a crime. The British legal system is founded on the principle of actus reus, namely that without a crime there can be no culpability. The right wing shout about Orwell’s 1984 and the perceived eroded rights of the people but imprisoning people for a crime they may commit… that really is Orwell’s thought crime. It just isn’t a solution.
The only way to eradicate terrorism from our society is to create an environment where hate cannot survive. Terrorism borne from any ideology is based upon the isolation and segregation of people from the mainstream (in the majority of cases young men). By integrating our societies and respecting the rights of others to hold political and religious views that differ to our own we kill off the noxious weeds of hate before they start to flourish. Those seeking to radicalise our young people will find it a good deal harder if, as a country, we are offering our young people a positive future based on respecting them and the contribution we want them to make to our society.
Some of preventing terrorism starts with politics. It starts with giving people the right economic conditions to believe they have a future. But it also starts with our attitudes, ridding ourselves of the preconceptions and prejudices that cause people to become isolated and easily picked off by those who would seek to turn their nihilism into hate.
Those of you call for deportation, vigilante violence and (in the case of some real idiots) genocide are playing right into the hands of ISIS and the like. You are creating the perfect conditions for hate. You bay for blood and howl at the moon for a solution to terrorism without realising that not only have you nothing to offer to make our country a safer place, you are actually part of the problem.
As founders of Resisting Hate we get a lot of threats and abuse. So we thought we would share with you just a small sample of the kind of thing the far right send to us every day.
Now just to be clear, none of us at Resisting Hate are the kind of people who even blink an eyelid at this kind of rubbish. Total water off a duck’s back. But it does give a good picture of the kind of people we regularly oppose and also a good idea why we do it.
Far Right, Nationalist and Fascism based groups have a history in Britain dating back to before the Second World War. The evolution of the far right ideology with its roots in Mussolini’s Fascisti to the modern day Britain First and Neo Nazi hate groups is a fascinating journey and one we have documented here for the benefit of our readers.
1923 British Fascists (British Fascisti)
The British Fascists were formed in 1923 by a British Nationalist called Rotha Lintorn-Orman as a reaction to Internationalism and what she perceived as the Communist left.
1929 Imperial Fascist league
In 1929 Arnold Leese, who had previously been a member of the British Fascists, established his own pro fascist group the Imperial Fascist league. Where the British Fascists had been primarily concerned with Italian fascism which focused on expansionism and empire building the IFL, under influence from prominent Nazi Julius Streicher, began to adopt themes of Anti-Semitism and White Supremacy which is closer to the definition of Fascism we would use today.
1932 British Union of Fascists
In 1931 a young Labour (ex Conservative) MP called Oswald Mosley left government to form his own political party with a group of equally disgruntled Labour MPs which he called the ‘New Party’. This authoritarian right wing party merged with several other smaller fascist groups in 1932 which became known as the British Union of Fascists. In keeping with the origins of fascism and as a nod the party adopted a black clothing preference (reminiscent of Mussolini’s National Fascist Party paramilitary uniform) and members became known colloquially as ‘Blackshirts’
1933 British Union of Fascists attends the Nuremberg Rallies
As part of the British Union of Fascists representation Moseley’s sister in law the infamous Unity Mitford (who it is rumoured had a love affair with Hitler – certainly a close friendship is documented) travelled to Germany to watch Hitler’s address.
1936 The Battle of Cable Street
The Battle of Cable Street was a physical clash in London’s East End between Mosley’s Blackshirts and rising Anti-Fascist opposition (with links to Communism). The march also saw a lot of Jewish people protesting against the Anti-Semitism the British Union of Fascists were openly promoting. Mosley was forced to abandon a planned pro fascism march as a result of the size of the crowds opposing it.
1935 The Nordic League was established in the UK
Founded in Germany in 1921 and claiming Heinrich Himmler as a member the established Nordische Gesellschaft was brought to the UK to be managed by chairman Archibald Ramsay. The group promoted strong anti-Jewish sentiment which manifested itself in Anti-Semitic speeches and calls for increasing calls for violence. William Joyce was closely involved with the League in its early years of operation.
1936 The Public Order Act
In 1936 the government passed a law making it illegal to wear political uniforms in any “public place or meeting.” (A law which still stands today). The act also forbade the use of “physical force in promoting any political object”.
1937 National Socialist League
The British Union of Fascists split in 1937 with the pro-Nazi and radical Anti-Semitic faction led by William Joyce splitting off to form the National Socialist League. This venture was largely unsuccessful and in 1939 dropped to less than fifty members and eventually folded.
1937 British League of Ex Servicemen and Women
The British League of Ex Servicemen and Women was established as an anti-Semitic right wing alternative to the British Legion. It was run by founder James Taylor until 1944 when the leadership changed to Jeffrey Hamm. Hamm expelled deputy leader Victor Burgess who went on to found the Union of British Freedom. The league was subsumed into the Union Movement in 1947.
1937 British Union of Fascists changes its name to British Union
The British Union claimed a membership of 50,000 people at the height of its influence.
1939 British People’s Party
In 1937 the British Union of Fascists Director of Publications John Beckett was dismissed by Moseley and after establishing the National Socialist League with William Joyce (Joyce’s nick name Lord Haw Haw), Beckett went on to found the British People’s Party. The party was primarily seen as an anti war party with the objective being the immediate cessation of the Second World War. There was a downturn in Anti-Semitism with Beckett citing Joyce’s strong Anti-Semitic views as one of the factors precipitating the demise of the National Socialist League. Unlike the British Union the British People’s party escaped proscription in the war years and continued in a muted capacity until its eventual disbanding in 1954.
1939 The Right Club
Archibald Ramsay established The Right Club primarily as an anti-Jewish vehicle. It was intended to be a coalition of likeminded Anti-Semitic individuals and groups with a view to limiting what they perceived as problematic Jewish influence in the government. After a police raid on one of the members the group membership list was seized and several high profile members arrested including Ramsay. This effectively ended The Right Club for good.
1940 Defence Regulation 18B expanded
In May 1940 the government expanded legislation that allowed suspected Nazi sympathisers to be detained indefinitely. Both Oswald Moseley and Archibold Ramsay were arrested under this legislation (though William Joyce avoided arrest by emigrating to Germany). It is estimated up to a thousand people were detained under 18B as a result of suspected Nazi views. (Moseley would remain under supervision in the grounds of Holloway prison until 1943.)
1940 British Union of Fascists proscribed by the government
In 1940 the British government proscribed the British Union whose total membership at this point was estimated to be in excess of 18,000 people.
1942 English National Association
The English National Association was an Anti-Semitic right wing party founded by John Webster and led by Edward Godfrey
1944 Union for British Freedom
Victor Burgess who regularly spoke at Speakers Corner founded the Union for British Freedom after leaving the British League of Exservice Men and Women (at Jeffrey Hamm’s request).
1944 National Front After Victory
In 1944 AK Chesterton established a new far right group called the National Front After Victory which was intended to pull together several smaller fascist groups including the British People’s party. (AK Chesterfield had been the editor of the British Union of Fascists newsletter titled “Blackshirt” until leaving in 1938 to join the Nordic League.) The National Front After Victory was not a success and soon dispersed.
1945 Union Movement
Moseley made a return to far right politics with the creation of the Union Movement, another far right attempt at unifying different post war extremist and Anti-Semitic groups under one banner. Although envisioned as a political party the Union Movement performed poorly in elections and evolved into more of a street protest group which led to discontent and loss of members.
1948 British Nationality Act
The British Nationality Act of 1948 expanded the definition of a British citizen to include both British born and ‘naturalised’ citizens born overseas in British colonies. This would lead to an increase in immigration over the following four years which would act as a spur for far right opposition.
1950 British Empire Party
Founded by P J Ridout in 1950 the British Empire Party was a small political party who only ever put one candidate up for election.
1954 League of Empire Loyalists
AK Chesterton’s League of Empire Loyalists was intended to be a pro-British Empire party fighting for the sustainable future of the British Empire. The ethos of the group shifted in the latter years when immigration became the key focus.
1956 White Defence League
In 1956 Colin Jordan formed the White Defence League after breaking away from the League of Empire Loyalists. This was a clear step away from the ideology of Empire building to embrace overt racism. Jordan’s vision was more Anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi, anti-Immigration than the LEL and the group made little attempt to align itself with established political parties.
1957 National Labour Party
Disenchanted with the LEL members John Bean and John Tyndall established the National Labour Party (which despite the name has no legitimate link to the Labour party). Unlike the LEL which had poor success at elections, the NLP secured a handful of council seats. However, after failure in the General Election and Bean arrested for rioting, the party membership dwindled and eventually merged with the White Defence League in 1960 to form the British National Party.
1958 Notting Hill Race riots
The 1958 Notting Hill Race riots gave the White Defence League and Colin Jordan enhanced publicity due to WDL claims of involvement in the riots in addition to the public rallies they were holding with regularity across London. The riots were primarily white working class youths attacking the homes of West Indians in the Notting Hill area. Approximately 400 agitators took part.
1960 British National Party
The primary focus of the newly established BNP was Anti-Semitism and the group’s manifesto included the mandatory deportment of British Jews to Israel. Curbing immigration was a key political pledge and this was to be achieved by the repatriation of immigrants currently living in the country. The leaders of both the National Labour Party (Bean and Tyndall) and the White Defence League (Jordan) were prominent figures in the new party as was the widow of Arnold Leese (who had founded the Imperial Fascist League.) The main focus of the BNP initially was as a public protest group rather than a political party though some council seats were obtained. Bean stepped down as leader in 1966 and was succeeded by Philip Maxwell who took the party into the merger with the National Front in 1967.
1962 National Socialist Movement
In 1962 Colin Jordan split from the British National Party and along with John Tyndall founded the National Socialist Movement. The key reason for the split was Jordan’s pro-Nazi views which were perceived as too radical to be likely to win votes (by the BNP). Jordan retained control of the paramilitary arm of the BNP (called Spearhead) but was arrested for his involvement under the Public Order Act (1936) Both Jordan and Tyndall were imprisoned. The NSM established links with the American Nazi party and its leader George Lincoln Rockwell which had close links not just to fascism but specifically to the ideology of Adolf Hitler and WW2 Nazism.
1960 National Party of Europe
The National Party of Europe was the idea of Oswald Mosely which focused on establishing a unity between far right parties in different European countries. It was to promote ‘European Nationalism’ and the idea of Europe as a single nation. There was little support for the NPE as most far right groups preferred to focus their energies into British Nationalism.
1961 Conservative Monday Club
The Monday club was a splinter group from the Conservative political party with emphasis on right wing principles and ideals, in particular supporting an anti-immigration agenda.
1962 The Patriotic Party
Established by Richard Hilton from Chesterton’s LEL the Patriotic party was mainly composed of ex-military personnel. The name changed from True Tories to The Patriotic Party in 1964 and was eventually subsumed by the National Front.
1964 Greater Britain Movement
In 1964 John Tyndell split from the National Socialist Movement and (taking most of its members with him) formed the Greater Britain Movement with which he planned to focus on a British flavour of National Socialism drawing on less European and Nazi influences. Unlike the LEL or the NLP the Greater Britain Movement showed little interest in politics but instead defined itself as a street protest party. The group established a reputation for violence (including a high profile attack on a synagogue) and Tyndall himself was arrested for illegal possession of a gun. There was an attempt by the GBM to unify several key far right groups into a single unity but this was rejected by Chesterton, Mosley and Bean. The GBM was finally (and reluctantly) merged into the National Front in 1967.
John Tyndall launched the far right publication Spearhead in 1964. He used it to promote the National Front and subsequently the BNP throughout his association with both groups. The magazine continued until 2005 but retains an archived online presence to the present day.
1965 Racial Preservation Society
The Racial Preservation Society was a White Nationalist group focusing on the distribution of far right and radical publications. In addition to promoting right wing authors the Society published their own magazine entitled “The Southern News”.
1966 National Demographic Party
In 1966 David Brown, an Independent political candidate and chairman of the Racial Preservation Society founded the National Demographic Party. The group merged with the British Defence Leagues in the early seventies after unsuccessful merger discussions with both the British National Party and Chesterton’s League of Empire Loyalists.
1968 “Rivers of Blood” Speech
In 1968 Enoch Powell, Conservative MP made a speech in Parliament relating to the proposed bill of The Race Relations Act 1968 (legislating for equal rights of housing, employment and public services irrespective of colour). The speech was vehemently anti-immigration, detailing a bleak future for the ‘indigenous’ population and proposing the state sponsored voluntary emigration of non-national British citizens. The speech was denounced by the then Conservative leader Edward Heath as racialist and Powell was demoted from his position in the cabinet. However Powell’s speech had had the effect of bringing some of the far right’s political arguments into the wider public arena and can be seen as a turning point for the growth of the far right in Britain.
1967 The National Front
In 1967 Chesterton merged his League of Empire Loyalists with Philip Maxwell’s British National Party and shortly after with John Tyndell’s Greater British Movement. The National Front, although still Anti-Semitic focused on White Supremacy as its core principle and campaigned against non-white immigration, mixed race marriages and ethnic diversity. The NF is best defined as a Neo Nazi movement, upholding the same far right values as previous Fascist parties but with a strong pro-British (and anti-European) flavour and few links to traditional Nazi symbolism or ideology. Chesterton was succeeded as leader in 1971 by John O’Brien. The National Front shows the evolving shift of the far right from the primary focus being Anti-Semitism to Racism, White Supremacy and British Nationalism.
1968 British Movement
In 1967 Colin Jordan looked to merge his National Socialist Movement with the National Front but this was rejected by Chesterton. Instead, Jordan rebranded the NSM to the British Movement which sought to establish itself as a street action party and which quickly gained a reputation for violence and street rioting. There were numerous arrests of BM members throughout the seventies and early eighties. In 1975 (after being arrested –again) Colin Jordan resigned as leader and was succeeded by Michael McLoughlin who campaigned to make the party more attractive to the young working classes and who grew the membership to in excess of 3000 members.
1972 John Tyndell becomes leader of the National Front
Tyndall oversaw some success with the NF in local elections and council seats but his Nazi past proved a barrier to his credibility and the NF party leadership passed to John Kingsley Read in 1974. This was to be a short lived period and Tyndell quickly reclaimed the leadership with Read leaving the NF in 1976 to set up his own group titled The National Party.
1973 Union Movement renamed the Action Party
Under the leadership of Jeffrey Hamm the Union Movement changed its name to the Action party in 1973 and contested a handful of seats at the London council elections. The party divided into two in 1974 with some members staying loyal to the Action Party and others defecting to join the newly established League of St George.
1974 The League of St George
The League of St George upheld Mosley’s vision of a united Europe with the members joining from the Action Party primarily interested in pro European politics. Less of a street protest party than a discursive organisation the League kept membership to small numbers and sought to establish links with other far right groups across Europe. The group published a periodical titled The League Review.
1976 National Party
The National Party came into being as a result of both disagreement in the Conservative party ranks relating to ethnic immigration and friction between John Tyndell and John Kingsley Read of the National Front. (Read allegedly having more moderate views and who eventually left the far right to join the Conservative party). Despite making attempts at gaining a political foothold the National Party failed to gain mainstream credibility or success beyond a couple of council seats. The NP also promoted Holocaust Denial.
1977 November 9th Society
In 1977 Terry Flynn founded the November 9th Society (which became politically active under the name ‘The British First party’) Promoting their Neo Nazi views the group publicly supported discredited historian David Irving in 2006 (jailed for his historically inaccurate and intentionally malicious denial of the Holocaust).
1977 The Battle of Lewisham
In 1977 the National Front led an anti-multiculturalism march in South East London that attracted the attention of anti-fascist demonstrators. This led to massive clashes and fights on the streets with over 200 arrests and injuries to over 100 people. The march also divided anti fascists with differences of opinion as to whether to react with peaceful protest or using force to prevent the march from proceeding.
1978 Action Party changes to Action Society
In 1978 the Action Party changed its focus from being a political group to being a publishing house and changed its name to the Action Society. In 1994 Jeffrey Hamm died and the Action Society ceased its publishing activities.
1979 The National Front fractures
1979 saw Margaret Thatcher win the General Election for the Conservative party which started to move the party away from centrist ground and back toward a more right wing agenda. This weakened the National Front with many members feeling as a result of the political shift such a far right protest group was no longer required. The publicity for the National Front after the street riots during the Battle of Lewisham had also had a detrimental effect on the party which led to a leadership challenge by Andrew Fountaine. This challenge was not successful and leadership was maintained by Tyndell but it led to fractures with some members leaving with Fountaine to join his Constitutional Movement and others leaving to join the newly set up British Democratic Party. The fractures took their toll on both Tyndell and the National Front and after a short period Tyndell was succeeded as leader by Andrew Brons who had the backing of the National Front deputy leader Martin Webster.
1979 The Constitutional Movement
Andrew Fountaine’s Constitutional Movement was established as a breakaway group from the National Front and intended as a less extreme right wing alternative. Fountaine wanted to distance his group from Naziism and offer a credible political alternative to the mainstream parties. Poor results led Fountaine to become disillusioned and leave the party which struggled to make much impact without him. The party changed its name to the Nationalist Party in 1982 but after winning no seats at the 1983 General Election lost a lot of members to the British National Party and faded into oblivion.
1979 British Democratic Party
The BDP were the second group to splinter from the National Front in 1979. The group was established by Anthony Reed Herbert in an attempt to make far right politics more palatable to the mainstream. The party was undermined by its association with Ray Hill who was working undercover for the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight and who was passing key information about the BDP to antifascists and the press. The BDP received bad publicity with regard to alleged involvement in supplying firearms to Neo Nazis which undermined their credibility and led to the assimilation of the BDP with the British National Party in 1982.
1980 New National Front
John Tyndall resigned from the National Front in 1980 citing ideological differences (primarily he objected to pro homosexuality views within the group) and took a chunk of the NF membership with him. In 1981 Tyndall started to made advances toward other right wing parties and groups with the hope of establishing a bigger and more effective union. This was referred to as the Committee for National Unity.
1982 British National Party
In 1982 the Committee for National Unity decided to establish a new far right political party. This was to be founded on the key policy of British (specifically white British) nationalism and was called the British National Party. Although envisioned as a political party the early years of the BNP were characterised by street based activity (in much the same manner as the National Front). Tyndall’s Neo Nazism was deemed to appeal to too narrow a base by the party and in 1999 he was replaced by Nick Griffin who sought to remould the party into more of a political entity with appeal to a wider demographic of right wing voters.
1982 National Socialist Action Party
The Neo Nazi group The National Socialist Action Party was established by long term far right supporter Tony Malski who intended the party to be a pro force military style organisation. Malski had no political aspirations and the NSAP did not field any political candidates. The party disbanded after negative publicity from a Channel 4 documentary in 1984.
1986 Official National Front
In 1986 the National Front divided into two. The Official National Front and the Flag Group. The Official National Front (including Nick Griffin who would eventually emerge to lead the BNP) took a less traditionalist approach to right wing politics and a more moderate approach to British Nationalism. There was less emphasis within the ONF on anti-Semitism which caused friction in the group leading to a splintering in 1989 and a name change of the group’s remaining members to ‘Third Way.’
1986 Flag Group
Immediately after the National Front split the group led by Andrew Brons named themselves the National Front Support Group. However this quickly became rebranded as the Flag Group. After fielding several political candidates under this name and after the demise of the ONF the Flag Group eventually reclaimed the branding and name of the National Front.
1987 Blood and Honour
Blood and Honour was officially formed as a Neo Nazi group in 1987 though the origins of the group can be dated back to some of the Neo Nazi and White Supremacist musical bands linked to the National Front of the late 1970s. Blood and Honour attempted to bring Nazism to public attention through far right musical groups and a quarterly publication advertising far right events, paraphernalia and Nazi inspired concerts and gigs.
1989 International Third Position
The International Third Position came into being as a result of the split in the National Front. It was led by Roberto Fiore but the most prominent member was Nick Griffin who would eventually lead the BNP. The ideology was racial separatism, the idea that different races can coexist within a nation if there are strict boundaries governing interaction between them. The group rebranded as ‘England First’ in 2001.
The United Kingdom Independence Party was founded in 1991 in opposition to the signing of the Maastricht treaty which established the three pillars of the European Union. The party achieved little political headway or notoriety until into the turn of the century moving its share of the national vote from only 0.3% in 1997 General Election to only 1.5% in 2001 General Election. When established UKIP although a right wing party is not technically a far right party. The far right associations would come later in the history of UKIP.
1992 Blood and Honour “Battle of Waterloo”
A highly publicised concert (heavily promoted by periodical Blood and Honour) to be given by far right rock band “Skrewdriver” ran into clashes with antifascists and police who attempted to prevent concert goers from attending the event by closing down Waterloo station in London. Subsequent attempts by anti-fascists to prevent Skrewdriver and other Neo Nazi music bands from having an audience took place at many of the events organised by Blood and Honour. The co-founder of Blood and Honour – Neo Nazi Ian Donaldson – died in a car crash in late 1992.
1992 Combat 18
Combat 18 was intended as a paramilitary group to defend, in particular, BNP members from expressing far right views in public. The group had strong links to Neo Nazi organisation Blood and Honour and was built on the premise of violence and street action. Co-founder Charlie Sargeant was imprisoned for murder in 1997. After rejection from the BNP in 1993 (the association with Combat 18 believed to be discrediting the BNP who still retained aspirations of political success) went on to increased levels of violence, racist attacks and confirmed links to football hooliganism. The activities of Combat 18 show the beginnings of a shift in the attitude of the far right from Racism to Islamophobia. The group were also associated with Northern Ireland loyalist movements.
1997 National Socialist Movement
This group has no direct association with Colin Jordan’s NSM in the 1960s. It was established from a split in paramilitary far right group Combat 18 and initially led by David Myatt. The group was both racist and anti-Semitic and known for the use of violence. In 1999 NSM member David Copeland embarked on a London bombing spree with the use of homemade nail bombs, intentionally targeting ethnic and homosexual members of the public.
2002 The Racial Volunteer Force
The Racial Volunteer Force was a breakaway group from Combat 18 in 2002. Led by Mark Atkinson and John Hill from Combat 18 the RVF was established as a street protest group. Unlike Combat 18 who were moving toward Islam as a primary target the RVF wanted to retain the ethos of National Socialism and in particular Anti-Semitism.
2002 White Nationalist Party
Based in the North of England and founded by Combat 18 frontman Eddy Morrison the White Nationalist Party was founded on extreme National Socialism principles. Mark Cotterill left the White Nationalist Party in 2004 he to found his own party the England First party
2004 England First Party
Prior to his membership of the White Nationalist Party Mark Cotterill had been a member of the BNP and he planned for the England First Party to be closer in political ethos to the BNP than the more street based protest group WNP he had just left. Cotterill used this new group to establish the far right (and relatively wide reaching) periodical Heritage and Destiny which he described as the “radical voice of racial nationalism”.
2005 Nationalist Alliance
Founded in 2005 by Catherine Parker-Brown the Nationalist Alliance as a unity was short lived. As a result of infighting the group split later the same year and although the party continued with its nationalist agenda for a couple of years it failed to make an impact on the far right political scene.
2005 British People’s Party
Founded by Eddy Morrison from the National Front the British People’s Party was a hard line anti-Semitic Holocaust denying party with Northern Ireland sympathies. The sole BPP political candidate David Jones was expelled from the party in 2012 allegedly as a result of a liaison with far right hate blogger Claire Khaw.
2006 New Nationalist Party
Formed by ex BNP Sharon Ebanks the New Nationalist Party was intended to focus on local political issues in the areas surrounding Birmingham. Although the party contested several local council seats none of the candidates from the NNP were successful.
2006 Nigel Farage and UKIP
In 2005 high profile member Robert Kilroy Silk left UKIP (to establish his own right wing political party) and UKIP floundered in an electoral slump as the party struggled to establish an identity as a credible political entity beyond their support of a single issue (leaving the EU). In 2006 Nigel Farage took over the party leadership and after establishing a broader political agenda took the party through a period of success including putting 13 UKIP MEPS into the European Parliament.
2009 The English Defence League
The EDL was founded in 2009 by Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon). It marked a key turning point in far right views as it was established as an anti-Islam party rather than a pro Nationalist party. Initially Robinson tried to make a distinction between what he called “Radical Islam” and the UK Muslim population in general but this view was not shared by the majority of his members and the group quickly established a reputation for being anti Islam.
2010 The European Defence League
Tommy Robinson’s vision was to expand the EDL to a wider European membership. In 2010 he set up the European Defence League which saw moderate success in Holland with the Dutch Defence League but which failed to garner mainstream support across Europe.
2010 British Freedom Party
The British Freedom Party was chaired by Paul Weston from UKIP and was promoted as politics of a “centrist” nature. This aspiration for the central ground looked unlikely when anti Islam Tommy Robinson was appointed deputy leader and even more unlikely when EDL member Kevin Carroll (known for his anti-Islam views) was promoted to leader in 2013.
2010 Britannica Party
The Britannia Party was a small splinter group from the BNP set up by Charles Baillie. It received minimal votes in Scottish council elections and, despite claims to oppose Scottish devolution, achieved little publicity with its campaigning.
2011 Britain First
Britain First is probably the most high profile splinter group of the BNP. Established in 2011, by party funder and founder Jim Dowson, Britain First continued the anti-Islam trend of the extreme far right. The party has achieved some success online with the Facebook page in particular receiving over one and a half million likes. The group however have failed to rise to the challenge of converting online activism to street based protest with less than 0.01% of the online membership regularly turning up to face to face Britain First events.
2011 The London Forum
Jeremy Bedford-Turner (Jez Turner) an ex National Front member set up the London Forum in 2011. The forum was (and still is) a speaking place for far right and nationalist speakers to publicly share their views. Past guests have included Holocaust Denier David Irving, Barrister Ian Millard (barred from practising law due to his anti-Semitic views) and Alison Chabloz – anti-Semitic singer songwriter.
2013 Tommy Robinson leaves the EDL
In 2013 Robinson held a press conference to confirm he would be leaving the EDL. He cited his reasons as concerns with the methods employed by the EDL and the “dangers of far right extremism.” Robinson was supported in leaving the EDL (along with deputy Kevin Carroll) by the Quilliam foundation – a counter extremist think tank co-founded by ex-Islamic extremist Maajid Nawaz.
2013 Robinson leaves the English Defence League
Robinson was succeeded as leader of the English Defence League by Tim Ablitt who tried and failed to merge the EDL with the British Freedom Party. Under Ablitt the EDL attempted to make overseas connections including an open link with Terry Jones the President of American group ‘Stand up America Now’ (infamous for his threats to burn copies of the Islamic holy book the Quran). During this period the EDL also received controversial support from the Jewish Defense League.
2013 National Action
National Action are a youth Neo Nazi movement established on the internet in 2013 but set up as a street protest party. Unlike traditional far right groups there is no single public figure linked to leadership of the party though prominent members include Jack Renshaw, Garron Helm and Ashley Benn. The group are primarily an Anti-Semitic organisation, citing Hitler and the Nazis as their inspiration. The group are also associated with both Nationalist and Racist beliefs. Aside from poorly manned youth rallies the group’s key activity has been placing Neo Nazi stickers promoting ‘White Power’ in big Northern cities. National Action also claim to be supporters of Donald Trump. Also allegedly linked to National Action is Anti Semite Joshua Bonehill-Payne, convicted in 2016 for sending hate tweets to Labour MP Luciana Berger and currently in prison.
2013 British Democratic Party
The British Democratic Party is a splinter group from the BNP attracting the more extreme far right members and including Andrew Brons (leader) and John Bean. The BDP are an anti EU party opposing all immigration and supporting the reintroduction of the death penalty.
2013 Murder of Lee Rigby
The murder of fusilier Lee Rigby was a crime committed by two converts to Islam and despite being widely disowned by Muslim communities as having any links to Islam the murder caused civil tension with both the EDL and the BNP using the murder as a call to arms for their respective far right associations. The murder of Lee Rigby was also a pivotal point for the rise in anti-Muslim crime which spiked sharply in the weeks and month after the murder took place.
2013 Liberty GB
Liberty GB was founded in 2013 by ex UKIP candidate (and ex BFP leader) Paul Weston. The party was founded on anti-Islam principles and despite the use of ‘Liberty’ in its name is a conservative organisation with racist undertones and strong links to the EDF. Weston was arrested in 2014 for religious harassment and more recently Liberty GB member Timothy Burton was convicted in court of religiously harassing the founder of Muslim support group Tell Mama UK.
2014 Dowson leaves Britain First
After a disagreement about strategy, specifically relating to the mosque invasions favoured by Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen of Britain First, Jim Dowson left Britain First. The group continued with online success on social media but with very limited political success beyond this with Jayda Fransen the party’s deputy leader managing to acquire only 0.14% of the vote in the Rochester and Stood by-election. Britain First also hit the headlines in this period for inflammatory comments about burying dead pigs in building works for mosques and for its ‘Christian Patrols.’ Britain First has been denounced by Christian leaders as not being representative of the Christian faith and the Community Security Trust (a charity to promote safety of Jewish communities and individuals) has also warned Jews that Britain First do not have Jewish interests at heart. Paul Golding stood for London mayor in 2016 but achieved only 1.2% of the total vote.
2014 Knights Templar International
Founded by Jim Dowson in 2014 the KTI is a primarily online allegedly non-political Christian organisation (which mainly operates through Facebook). Anti-Bigotry group IRBF exposed email correspondence from Paul Golding of Britain First advising his members to join the KTI which confirmed the link between the two groups and the link back to Dowson. IRBF also exposed the KTI director as being Jim Dowson’s sister in law.
Established as an online anti Islam movement by an anonymous leader under the pseudonym ‘James Bond’ Bluehand claims an International membership though is independently estimated to have fewer than 300 genuine online members. The group operates exclusively on Twitter and has no presence beyond social media.
2015 Pegida UK
Pegida UK was established as a sister group to the far right German organisation Pegida (an acronym for Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes) It was brought to the UK by Tommy Robinson who hoped to establish the group as a more respectable alternative to the EDF. To date the two Pegida UK marches have been notable for their lack of attendees with neither publicised event managing to attract more than 200 delegates. The group have had some moderate success on Pegida radio catering to a far right crowd with anti Islam guest speakers. Robinson stepped down as leader to be succeeded by Paul Weston of Liberty GB. The group is also assocated with Anne Marie Waters from Sharia Watch.
While not a far right event in itself the EU referendum in 2016 was notable for the change in public attitudes to embrace far right ideas including anti-immigration and anti-Islam sentiment. Hate crime toward many minority demographics significantly increased after the referendum.
2016 UKIP post referendum
UKIP moved further to the right in the lead up to the EU referendum with campaigns like their Breaking Point poster (depicting a dystopian and factually inaccurate view of immigration) consolidating their status as a far right party. Nigel Farage stepped down as leader in the same year and the party has struggled to find a long term replacement. The current leader Paul Nuttall (a climate change sceptic) has enjoyed several scandals including the claim he does not live in his constituency and the disproval of his claim that he lost personal friends in the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989.
2016 The murder of Jo Cox
In 2016 Labour MP and campaigner for human rights Jo Cox was murdered by far right supporter Thomas Mair. Mair had been a member of the National Front in the 1990s and was also alleged to have links with both the EDL and Britain First. This high profile act of terrorism brought far right extremism to the attention of both the media and the public with the Government Prevent program confirming in 2017 that one in every four referrals to the program was now related to far right extremism.
2016 Patriot News Agency
Jim Dowson established the Patriot News Agency to link together far right social media sites and organise the publication and sharing of pro Donald Trump anti Hilary Clinton propaganda in an attempt to influence the US Presidential elections. This was at least partially successful with a strong social media following and the candidate of choice elected (though there is no established evidence to support Dowson’s role in Trump’s election).
2016 National Action is Proscribed
The support of National Action for far right fascist murderer Thomas Mair in additional to their public calls for the death of both further MPs and “traitors” led to the Conservative government proscribing the group in late 2016.
In light of talk of “Nazis” in America and those who sympathise with them I thought I’d cover the “American Nazi Party” and the original leader George Lincoln Rockwell.
In this country (UK) there is the New British Union which I covered a few weeks ago which is mirroring the British Union of Fascists set up by Oswald Moseley. The history and set up of the American equivalent is very different.
A man called George Lincoln Rockwell created and headed up the organisation in 1959. Rockwell was born in 1918 in Illinois and after graduating from high school subsequently applied to go to university in Harvard. He was not successful in that application but later applied to study at the Hebron Academy in Maine where he started reading Western Philosophy.
During his studies Rockwell read the bible and changed faith to Christian. He was a promoter of Identity Christianity whose followers identify themselves as being superior due to being the descendants of Europeans who were seen as “chosen people”. Their doctrine also states that non-white people in the world would need to be either exterminated or taken into a life of slavery. (This is a summary, the ethos of the group would warrant an entire article of its own).
After completing his education Rockwell joined the US Navy and fought both in WWII and the Korean War as a naval aviator. By all accounts it seems that he did well in his military career, becoming a Commander and having no issues during his 19 years of service. He did however get divorced while stationed in Iceland and then met his second wife where they married and had a honeymoon in Berchtesgaden (where Hitler had his retreat in the Bavarian Alps).
After the war he had a number of jobs, from sign painting to creating a magazine for US servicemen’s wives. The publication had a series of financial problems and he ended up selling the magazine.
While spending time in San Diego, Rockwell became interested in Adolf Hitler and his political ideals and pursued this to the extent that he read and agreed with what was written in Mein Kampf (I have read Hitler’s book and it is an intensely boring read, just page and page of paranoid ramblings.) and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (another intensely boring read). At this time Douglas MacArthur was pursuing a position of President of the United States, which Rockwell supported due to his beliefs and his stance against communists (he even bought and smoked a pipe like MacArthur did) . He was also influenced by a magazine called Common Sense published by Conde McGinley, which was an Anti Semitic newsletter.
Rockwell moved to Washington where he was involved in many demonstrations against the war and became so “far right” that when someone sent him a swastika flag, he created a shrine to Hitler and so completed his move to Naziism.
In 1959 Rockwell created a group called the World Union of Free Enterprise National Socialists (handily shortened to WUFENS but only 9 months after it was created he changed it to the American Nazi Party (ANP).
It was while in Washington that Rockwell spoke at demonstrations which, in a very Hitler style, lasted a very long time, sometimes a couple of hours. He was refused permission to speak in New York but did speak to reporters about his ideals and what would happen to Jews if he won an election to be president (which was his goal). He explained that if they were patriotic Jews then he would allow them to stay in the country. If they weren’t however, then he would execute them. He estimated that 90% of Jews fall in the “traitor” category.
The American Nazi Party owned a vehicle known as the “Hate Bus”. This VW minibus was driven to places where they had desegregation of areas (a good example being bus shelters). They wrote slogans on the bus which proclaimed their thoughts on “race mixing”. In the end however, the bus was repossessed which rather put an end to that venture.
The American Nazi Party was based on not only the ideals promoted by Hitler in the German Nazi Party in WWII, but also the uniform and flag of the Third Reich. Rather than the traditional Nazi “Sieg Heil” they chose to shout “white power” in its place.
In an attempt to become someone who people would vote for in an election, Rockwell changed the name of the American Nazi Party in 1967 to National Socialist White People’s Party (this was partially to counteract the civil rights group National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People). This angered many of his followers, who believed that he was betraying the intrinsic values and beliefs of the party.
In the end, the National Socialist White People’s Party was taken over by a neo-Nazi called Matt Koehl who changed the name of the group to the New Order in 1983 and that is where the American Nazi Party as a group ends. The New Order exist today however they are very much a small group who keep well out of the spotlight. They celebrate Adolf Hitler’s birthday and believe that they, as an ideological group, are the heirs of Hitler himself.
Rockwell was assassinated in the end on the 25th August 1967 by a disillusioned ex member of the ANP. The reaction of his father says a lot – he was quoted as saying: “I am not surprised at all. I’ve expected it for quite some time.”
As Rockwell was a veteran and had been discharged after having a very honourable service, the government agreed that he could have a military burial in Culpeper National, Cemetery. They did give a proviso, that there were to be no Nazi flags/insignias etc however the Nazi members of the funeral party ignored this and there was a tense five hour standoff where the hearse couldn’t enter the cemetery as it had been blockaded. The hearse was actually next to a railway track and was almost hit by a train at that time. Rockwell’s body was cremated the following day.
And so ended the ANP. While the members were very active and have influenced other groups like New Order and Ayrian Nations, David Duke and William Luther Pierce (the founder of National Alliance) as a group they were politically impotent and didn’t get very far. During our time on Twitter, our group has come across many people who seem to have a thing for Rockwell and the ANP and who consider him to be a pure ayrian individual who epitomises everything the far right stand for.
The government’s counter terrorism Prevent strategy has generated a good deal of controversy in the twelve years since it was first launched. Ostensibly a program that aims to target radicalisation and to help people unwittingly drawn into terrorism it has come under a lot of fire both from Muslims and Non Muslims for being focused too specifically on Islamic terrorism at the expense of the other threats faced by the British public.
A few weeks ago I attended a meeting at the City of London Police HQ where among the attendees in the room were two police officers involved with the Prevent program. Although the topic of the meeting was on a different subject, when we came to the free discussion part of the day the conversation, perhaps inevitably, turned to Prevent and several of us present at the meeting challenged the officers on that fundamental question – Is Prevent purely about Islamist radicalisation?
To their credit the officers certainly displayed no anti Islam bias. They talked with genuine passion about the importance of all cultural groups in the UK working together to defeat terrorism. They spoke about the importance of integration and how critical it is for the Prevent program to get all communities to buy into the strategy of supporting people at risk of being influenced by terrorist or extremist influences. They spoke at length about their view that Prevent should be perceived as a holistic counter terrorism program and not one aimed solely at targeting the Islamic community.
The senior officer present went on to talk about the figures for non Islamist referrals and these were impressive. 40 percent of referrals made by Prevent in 2016 were for far right radicalisation. This is an important step forward in tackling the rising challenge of the far right and also gives credence to the claim that Prevent is not a backdoor for legitimising Islamophobia.
However it does also raise the concern that these figures are not widely accessible to the general public. Or at the very least they are accessible but not positively promoted which amounts to much the same thing. In a meeting room of people, all of whom were connected with anti hate crime work those stats should not have come as a surprise to the majority of those present.
I challenged the senior officer on this. I asked him why, knowing Prevent faces the issues it does in terms of being accepted, the program had not made more of an effort to get these figures widely distributed. If they want communities to buy into Prevent then surely hard stats proving the program is being used to combat hate across the board is the best way to do this. No community wants to feel it is being victimised. If there is evidence to the contrary then this needs to be talked about. Some positive PR would work wonders for how Prevent is perceived, surely?
The senior officer explained Prevent had experienced difficulty in getting the newspapers to print their statistics on referral numbers and that this has been a concern for the program since launch. I challenged him on what other attempts the program had made to get their message out to the public and asked what other channels had been attempted to try and get the key numbers circulating. Unfortunately his focus (and by association the Prevent focus) was very much on the problem and not the solution. They had hit a brick wall but instead of attempting to climb it, the Prevent program appeared to have no idea how to navigate this blocker.
The bloke across the table from me (and I do wish I remembered his name. I’d certainly friend him on Twitter) had a much more proactive attitude to solving the problem. He suggested Prevent get their key statistics printed on leaflets and then distribute them to the UK Mosques. His logic was that it is the communities who the program is believed by many to unfairly target who need this information the most. He felt strongly that if UK Muslims were told 40% of Prevent referrals were nothing to do with Islam and were in fact targeting individuals of a right wing ideology that is often associated with Islamophobic crime then this would help present Prevent as a balanced counter terrorism initiative which would allay tensions between communities and improve the credibility of Prevent.
I strongly agreed with my friend across the table and added my own suggestion that the anti hate groups could be of some use here too. Any and all of us would be glad to publish the information if it meant getting the truth to people. Likewise the blogging community could be of some value as could independent journalistic publications.
I have to admit I was frustrated by the response. It wasn’t that they didn’t see our point, I got the impression it was more an inability to look beyond the red tape. The established channel was to go to the newspapers and if that failed there was no back up plan. As is often the case with public service bureaucracy there was little imagination applied to solving the problem outside the formal structure of the status quo. And it is a real missed opportunity, all that effort put into tackling all forms of extremism but no effort at all to actually get out there and tell people what they are doing.
On the basis of the recent work to address extremism of all types I think Prevent may yet prove to be a program with some value. But it needs to get its act together and sort out its communication problems because until it does its stereotype of being anti Islam is not going away and the good it could do will always be stymied by a lack of confidence from the British public it was set up to serve.
This cherubic looking schoolboy is Jack Renshaw, the leader of youth Neo Nazi group National Action. The group was proscribed by the British government for promoting racist and Anti Semitic behaviours.
Jack repeatedly makes Twitter accounts to attempt to recruit followers to his extremist (and nonsensical) views. However he is usually spotted and suspended before he has managed to persuade even a hundred hapless idiots to follow him.
To the generation with parents and grandparents who fought in the Second World War and who learned about the Holocaust, Fascism and the dangers of far right radicalisation on the school curriculum Nazism seemed a horror consigned to the most shameful parts of modern history. It was unthinkable that an ideology as discriminative and inhumane as that followed by a man who wanted to eradicate an entire religion from the face of the planet could ever once again be seriously entertained as political theory. But make a comeback it has, in a manner that needs to be exposed a great deal more publicly than it has been.
It is important that Nazism as a term is clearly defined. I am not using the word as a euphemism here or as a substitute for far right hatred, for which it is often mistakenly used. I am using the word literally. There are a growing number of people today who genuinely claim to be Nazis in the sense that they admire the doctrine of Adolf Hitler and share his hatred of the Jewish people.
Nazism, simply put, is the political doctrine of the German Nazi party in the 1940s. The key elements were a belief in a superior “master” race, a nationalistic plan for expansion of German lands and a deeply entrenched anti-Semitism underpinning the belief that Jewish people (and others) were racially impure and therefore “not deserving of life.”
There is some debate as to whether Fascism started as a left wing ideology. In modern debate this stems from both a misunderstanding of the term “National Socialism” and a determination from those of a far right persuasion who do not identify as Nazis to smear the political left with a perceived link to the Nazi philosophy. A full discussion of Socialism, Nationalism and Capitalism is beyond the remit of this article but stated very simply Socialism is a political theory that advances the well-being of those worst off in society, advocates state owned utilities (think NHS) and promotes democratic consensus and the voice of the people. Fascism is an elitist political system where the government is heavily influenced by non-state run businesses run for Capitalist gain, the focus is on Nationalistic identity rather than individualism and the voice of those in power is closer to dictatorship than democracy (think Hitler).
On a first reading some items on the National Socialist Party’s 25 point plan do read as being close to Socialist principles. Specifically “All citizens must have equal rights and obligations,” and “We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens,” sound to echo Socialist values. But it is important these points are read with regard to the overall context which is that citizens are defined solely within the Nationalistic sense of being German born. This is specifically pointed out in the doctrine – “Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently, no Jew can be a member of the race.” The underpinning premise of National Socialism was the pursuit of inequality based on Nationalism. In no sense of the word could this divisive ideology be considered to be Socialism.
The Nazis of the 21st century refer to themselves as Neo Nazis. This is essentially 1940s Nazism stripped right back to those key principles of inequality and division. Neo Nazism does not even make the pretence to be advancing the rights of citizens, it is focused entirely on the dehumanisation and objectification of those it does not deem to be worthy of citizenship. In seeking to create divisions Neo Nazism has retained the anti-Semitism of old but the focus and obsession with racial purity (translated – they only like white people) has also contributed to a rise in Islamophobia and anti Muslim hatred.
Whereas Nazism was abhorrent in believing dehumanisation to be a means to an end Neo Nazism is abhorrent for seeing it as an end in itself. Neo Nazism is not political theory it is an attempt to justify the thuggery, ignorance and hatred of a bored and vicious minority sector of modern youth.
Neo Nazism first found its home on social media, primarily on Twitter and hate sites like The Daily Stormer but is also now spreading to far right social media sites like GAB which have been specifically envisioned to create right wing echo chambers. The rise of Neo Nazis on social media is a serious concern because it exposes the young and the naïve to a radical doctrine of hate and dehumanisation. News events like the appointment of Donald Trump to the American presidency and in particular his appointment of Breitbart anti-Semite Stephen Barron to the position of his senior advisor have given Neo Nazis the self-illusion of having credible acceptable views and provided them with the confidence to keep posting their hate on public forums.
The inability to act from social media giants (we have seen evidence that Facebook allow private groups which discuss “alternative” ways to stop UK immigration), entertainment sites (why is Holocaust Denier Alison Chabloz allowed to sing her venom on YouTube?), web search companies (Up until last month the auto correction on Google for “Was the holocaust….?” ended in “a hoax,”) main stream media (LBC continue to employ Katie Hopkins despite her publicly endorsing anti-Semitic Twitter accounts) ISPs (why is white supremacist forum Stormfront not blocked in the UK?) and the government (Why is racist hate group Britain First not proscribed?) have all been instrumental in allowing this resurgence in Neo Nazism.
The online upsurge in Neo Nazism has morphed into physical acts and violence around the world. In America a group of armed white supremacists plan to march through Montana as a “protest” against Jewish people and Jewish run businesses. In the UK youth group National Action were allowed to make numerous street “protests” and hold rallies openly inciting hate against Jewish people before finally being proscribed as a terrorist organisation. Following many complaints by ourselves and others to Twitter, National Action spokesman Jack Renshaw* has finally had his account suspended. The Prevent program in the UK which attempts to identify young people in danger of radicalisation has reported a massive 74% spike in far right referrals. Even more worryingly is the fact that 300 of those are reported to be under 18 with some as young as ten.
Most people have heard the quotation from George Santayana; “Those who do not learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them, ” and the sentiment is true. It is imperative that the horrors of Nazism never leave our educational syllabus. Every generation must be taught how the pursuit of a far right nationalistic doctrine can end in devastation and genocide.
And those of us who were taught about Nazism at school? We have learned our history. We do not have the excuse that we are uneducated or uninformed. We have learned the dangers of an extremist far right ideology, we have learned the consequences of Nazism, of radical expansionist Nationalism. We have learned what happens when human beings are dehumanised and abused. Yet despite this knowledge and our bitter understanding of where a path to Neo Nazism would take our countries we are still failing to take the action needed to stamp out the Nazi resurgence before it indoctrinates our young and our vulnerable into hatred.
Those of us who are unwilling to use what we have learned from history and teach the next generation are doomed to watch our children repeat the mistakes of the past.
Nobody can change 1939-1945 but anybody could change 2017.
*Looks like a 12 year old choirboy, here is a picture.