Cultures of Post-war British Fascism 2014032441, 9781138846838, 9781138846845, 9781315727257

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Cultures of Post-war British Fascism
 2014032441, 9781138846838, 9781138846845, 9781315727257

Table of contents :
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of figures
List of contributors
1. Cultural regeneration: Mosley and the Union Movement
Re-ordering the nation
Arts and culture
2. History and cultural heritage: the far right and the
‘Battle for Britain’
The 'right’ kind of history
Defying history: the role of anti-determinist ideas
The rebirth of the West?
History as design: the role of ‘conspiracy’
History as biology: the role of 'race'
History as ‘culture’: constructing an alternative past
History as heroism: restoring the ‘heroic’ past
Conclusion: the continuing relevance of ‘history’ for the extreme right
3. Cultures of space: spatialising the National Front
Defining space
Spatialising social and political movements
Spatialising the National Front
National Front processions
The National Front’s Remembrance Day procession
Spatialising the racial politics of the National Front
Conclusion: spatial constraints
4. Securing the future of our race: women in the culture of the
modern-day BNP
Locating the place of women
Women, the BNP and Islam
Mainstreaming the ‘family-friendly’ BNP
5. British neo-Nazi fiction: Colin Jordan’s Merrie England – 2000 and The Uprising
A brief history of Colin Jordan
Neo-Nazi cultural production: licensing hatred and promoting purification
6. When popular culture met the far right: cultural encounters
with post-war British fascism
'Not the sort of book you want to buy your old granny’
British fascism on the stage
Representations on little and big screens
7. Subcultural style: fashion and Britain’s extreme right
Continental comparisons: Germany
This is England
Generation Identity, the Immortals and a conclusion
8. British, European and white: cultural constructions of identity
in post-war British fascist music
The National Front and and ‘White Noise’
Blood and Honour: beyond the nation
Great White, Great Britain
9. Nazi punks folk off: leisure, nationalism, cultural identity
and the consumption of metal and folk music
Theories of leisure and whiteness
Black metal – previous and new research
English folk music – new research on fRoots magazine
10. The ‘cultic milieu’ of Britain’s
‘New Right’: meta-political ‘fascism’ in contemporary Britain
Developing the ‘New Right’
Ideological forms
The place of Holocaust denial and ‘anti-Zionism’
Conclusion: ‘New Right’ and Nouvelle Droite
11. 'Cultural Marxism’ and the British National Party: a
transnational discourse
US origins
Anders Behring Breivik
The British National Party’s cultural project
The British National Party and ‘Cultural Marxism’

Citation preview

Cultures of Post-War British Fascism

In post-war Britain, cultural interventions were a feature of fascist parties and movements, just as they were in Europe. This book makes a new major contribution to existing scholarship which begins to discuss British fascism as a cultural phenomenon. A collection of essays from leading academics, this book uncovers how a cultural struggle lay at the heart of the hegemonic projects of all varieties of British fascism. Such a cultural struggle is enacted and reflected in the text and talk, music and literature of British fascism. Where other published works have examined the cultural visions of British fascism during the inter-war period, this book is the first to dedicate itself to detailed critical analysis of the post-war cultural landscapes of British fascism. Through discussions of cultural phenomena such as folk music, fashion and neo-Nazi fiction, among others, Cultures of Post-War British Fascism builds a picture of post-war Britain which emphasises the importance of understanding these politics with reference to their corresponding cultural output. This book is essential reading for undergraduates and postgraduates studying far-right politics and British history. Nigel Copsey is Professor of Modern History at Teesside University. With Graham Macklin, he is series editor of Routledge Studies in Fascism and the Far Right. John E. Richardson is a Reader in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. His research interests include structured social inequalities, British fascism, critical discourse studies and argumentation.

Routledge Studies in Fascism and the Far Right Series editors: Nigel Copsey, Teesside University, and Graham Macklin, Honorary Fellow, Southampton University

This new book series focuses upon fascist, far right-wing and right-wing politics within a historical context. Fascism falls within the far right but the far right also extends to so-called ‘radical-right populism’. Boundaries are not fixed and it is important not to overlook points of convergence and exchange with the mainstream right. The series will include books with a broad thematic focus suitable for students and teachers. These will be available in hardback and paperback. It will also include more specialist books, aimed largely at subject specialists which will appear in hardback and e-book format only. Titles include: Cultures of Post-War British Fascism Nigel Copsey and John E. Richardson France and Fascism: February 1934 and the Dynamics of Political Crisis Brian Jenkins and Chris Millington

Cultures of Post-War British Fascism

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Edited by Nigel Copsey and John E. Richardson

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First published 2015 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2015 selection and editorial material, Nigel Copsey and John E. Richardson; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Nigel Copsey and John E. Richardson to be identified as author of the editorial material, and of the individual authors as authors of their contributions, has been asserted by them in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Cultures of post-war British fascism / edited by Nigel Copsey and John E. Richardson. pages cm. – (Routledge studies in fascism and the far right) Summary: "In Post-War Britain cultural interventions were a feature of fascist parties and movements, just as they were in Europe. This book makes a new major contribution to existing scholarship which begins to discuss British fascism as a cultural phenomenon. A collection of essays from leading academics, this book uncovers how a cultural struggle lay at the heart of the hegemonic projects of all varieties of British fascism. Such a cultural struggle is enacted and reflected in the text and talk, music and literature of British fascism"– Provided by publisher. 1. Fascism and culture–Great Britain–History. 2. Fascism–Great Britain– History. 3. British National Party (1982-) 4. Great Britain–Politics and government–1945- I. Copsey, Nigel, 1967- editor of compilation. II. Richardson, John E., 1974- editor of compilation. DA589.7.C86 2015 320.53'30941–dc23 2014032441 ISBN: 978-1-138-84683-8 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-138-84684-5 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-72725-7 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Taylor & Francis Books


List of figures List of contributors Introduction

vii viii 1



Cultural regeneration: Mosley and the Union Movement




History and cultural heritage: the far right and the ‘Battle for Britain’




Cultures of space: spatialising the National Front




Securing the future of our race: women in the culture of the modern-day BNP




British neo-Nazi fiction: Colin Jordan’s Merrie England – 2000 and The Uprising




When popular culture met the far right: cultural encounters with post-war British fascism




Subcultural style: fashion and Britain’s extreme right




British, European and white: cultural constructions of identity in post-war British fascist music RYAN SHAFFER





Nazi punks folk off: leisure, nationalism, cultural identity and the consumption of metal and folk music



10 The ‘cultic milieu’ of Britain’s ‘New Right’: meta-political ‘fascism’ in contemporary Britain



11 ‘Cultural Marxism’ and the British National Party: a transnational discourse





List of figures

11.1 Cultural Communism, Spotlight, 1999 (extract) 11.2 ‘People Like You’, Greater London Authority election leaflet, 2008 (extract) 11.3 Extract from the BNP’s ‘controlled media’ corpus, generated 28 July 2011 11.4 An ‘ethnosocialist’ comment

207 214 215 221

List of contributors

Nigel Copsey is Professor of Modern History at Teesside University. He is the author of Anti-Fascism in Britain (2000) and Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy (2004, 2008). He is also co-editor of British Fascism, the Labour Movement and the State (2005); Varieties of Anti-Fascism: Britain in the Inter-War Period (2010); and British National Party: Contemporary Perspectives (2011). With Graham Macklin, he is series editor of Routledge Studies in Fascism and the Far Right. Janet Dack is an associate lecturer in History at Teesside University. Her PhD, In from the Cold: British Fascism and the Mainstream Press, 1925–39 was awarded in 2010, and published in 2012. She has also published chapters in Varieties of Anti-Fascism; Britain in the Inter-War Period (2010), edited by Nigel Copsey and Andrzej Olechnowicz; and Fascism and the Jews: Italy and Britain (2011), edited by Daniel Tilles and Salvatore Garau. Martin Durham was Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Wolverhampton. His research interests focus on different aspects of right-wing politics, particularly in Britain and the USA, and include neoconservatism, the Christian right and the extreme right. His most recent book is White Rage. The Extreme Right and American Politics (Routledge, 2007). Paul Jackson is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Northampton. He is co-editor of Wiley-Blackwell’s journal Religion Compass: Modern Ideologies and Faith, and editor of Bloomsbury’s book series A Modern History of Politics and Violence. His books include Great War Modernisms and the New Age Magazine (2012) and he is currently writing an ideological biography of Colin Jordan. Thomas Linehan is a lecturer in History at Brunel University. His research interests mainly relate to ‘fringe’ political movements in Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His main publications include Modernism and British Socialism (2012); Communism in Britain, 1920–39. From the Cradle to the Grave (2007); British Fascism, 1918–1939: Parties, Ideology and Culture (2000); East London for Mosley: the British Union of Fascists in east London and south-west Essex 1933–1940 (1996); and he is

List of contributors


co-editor (with Julie Gottlieb) of The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain (2004). Graham Macklin is an Honorary Fellow at the Parkes Library for Jewish/ Non-Jewish relations, Southampton University. He has published widely on right-wing extremism in Britain, including Very Deeply Dyed in Black: Sir Oswald Mosley and the resurrection of British Fascism after 1945 (2007) and, with Nigel Copsey, British National Party: Contemporary Perspectives (2011). He is currently working on a history of white racial nationalism in Britain to be published by Routledge in 2015. With Copsey, he is series editor of Routledge Studies in Fascism and the Far Right. John E. Richardson is a Reader in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University. His research interests include structured social inequalities, British fascism, critical discourse studies and argumentation. His recent books include Analysing Fascist Discourse (co-edited with Wodak, . 2013); Advances in Critical Discourse Studies (co-edited with Krzyzanowski, Machin, Wodak, 2014); and Language and Journalism (2010). He is currently writing a book analysing the multimedia discourses of British fascism (Ibidem Verlag). He is Editor of the international journal Critical Discourse Studies. Ryan Shaffer is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Global Studies at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. His interests include the cultural forms of British politics as well as the international links between like-minded political parties. He has written numerous articles and reviews, including ‘The Soundtrack of Neo-Fascism: Youth and Music in the National Front’ (2013). Karl Spracklen is Professor of Leisure Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. His research interests include leisure theory, social identity, whiteness, anti-racism and leisure subcultures. Emily Turner-Graham is a writer. She has written widely about the contemporary extreme right in Europe, with particular focus on representations of extreme right popular culture on the Internet. She has also written extensively about the historical extreme right in Britain, Germany and Australia. Her current book is ‘Never forget that you are a German’: Die Brücke, Deutschtum and National Socialism in interwar Australia (Peter Lang Verlag). Steven Woodbridge is lecturer in History and Politics at Kingston University, Surrey, and specialises in the history of the extreme right in Britain. His publications include chapters and articles on fascism and culture, fascism at the local level and extreme right attitudes towards religion. He has also published material on the racial ideology of Arnold Leese in the inter-war period, and the response of other extreme right groups to the rise of the British National Party. He is currently working on a study of the British Fascists 1923–35.

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Introduction Nigel Copsey and John E. Richardson

Cultural interventions have been a recurring feature of fascist parties and movements in Britain, just as they have been elsewhere, whether in continental Europe or further afield. Unquestionably, culture was, and remains, central to the fascist dystopian project. Indeed we might argue that ‘cultural struggle’ – in support of national and cultural ‘regeneration’ purged of the ‘degeneracy’ of liberalism – has been at the very heart of all varieties of British fascism. This is no less true for fascisms before the Second World War than for fascisms after it. To their credit, in reading British fascism as a cultural phenomenon, historians have started to chart the cultural visions and cultural outputs of British fascists during the inter-war period (see Gottlieb and Linehan (eds) 2004). However, the cultural landscapes of post-war British fascism have yet to be examined in any detail. The aim of this present volume is to map these cultural landscapes, identifying major contours (or layers) as reflected in the ideas, behaviour, literature, music, dress and discourse of British post-war fascism. Needless to say, the term ‘culture’, like ‘fascism’, is highly contested. However, this is no place for lengthy theoretical discussions. Our understanding of ‘culture’ is that it manifests itself at various levels: in terms of core ideas, values and beliefs; in terms of group behaviour(s); and in terms of objects or ‘artefacts’, such as texts, literature, dress-codes and music. We are also drawn to interactions between far-right cultures and mainstream popular culture, and so extend the analysis beyond cultures of fascist self-representation. Neither is this the place to dwell on scholarly definitions of fascism. In the spirit of scholarly pluralism, the editors have desisted from imposing standardised definitions. This might invite some criticism but all contributors to this volume accept that (British) fascism has continued to exist after 1945; that some forms of the contemporary extreme right can be considered fascist (or neo-fascist); and that because fascism views itself as a cultural movement it can be (productively) approached in those terms. For as George Mosse (1999: x) recognised, it is only through a cultural interpretation of fascism that we can come to understand the movement ‘from the inside out’. This present volume builds upon Gottlieb and Linehan’s splendid collection of essays – The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain – published


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in 2004. Taking its cue from the ‘cultural turn’ in generic fascist studies, Gottlieb and Linehan’s innovative volume departed from the well-trodden path and opened up new possibilities for research. As Colin Holmes (2005: 1462) observed in his review of their volume: The history of British fascism travelled for many years along a predictable route, focusing during its journey on a number of key sites. The career of Oswald Mosley, the bizarre worlds inhabited by Arnold Leese, fascist activities in East London which were often linked to anti-Semitism, levels of membership in the BUF, and, invariably, fascism’s failure to capture political power are among the leading contours that have captured attention. Now excursions are being made into territory which extends our understanding of Britain’s fascist past. The Culture of Fascism forms part of this new enterprise. Gottlieb and Linehan’s introduction rightly pointed out that British fascists ‘developed an extensive and, more often than not, coherent cultural package’ (2004: 3). All this stemmed from a basic view that fascists everywhere shared: that the culture of modern liberal society was profoundly ‘decadent’ and ‘degenerate’. For over a decade Gottlieb and Linehan’s collection has held its place as the major cultural history of British fascism. Yet even when setting a new research agenda for British fascist studies, it had an obvious limitation: it focused almost exclusively on the inter-war period. When the post-war period came in for consideration, coverage was limited to just two chapters. The first of these chapters consisted of an intellectual history of race, culture and evolution that spanned the twentieth century (Thurlow 2004); the second offered an historical overview of representations of cultural decadence in post-1945 fascist ideology (Woodbridge 2004). To date there has been no follow up volume exploring the much neglected post-war period. Accordingly, this present volume positions itself as the successor volume to Gottlieb and Linehan’s 2004 collection. The expanding literature on Britain’s right-wing extremist tradition, which testifies to the continuing academic and popular interest in British fascism, has already told us much. Recent publications, such as those by Copsey (2008), Copsey and Macklin (2011), Goodwin (2011) and Trilling (2012) have brought the narrative behind the rise (and fall) of the British National Party (BNP) up to date. Promising to advance our knowledge further still is a number of newer publications arriving in the field, such as John Richardson on discourses of British fascism (2015); Joel Busher on the English Defence League (2015); and Graham Macklin on the history of white racial nationalism in Britain (2015). Nonetheless a space on the shelves for a cultural history of post-war British fascism remains. As Gottlieb and Linehan also remarked in their 2004 introduction, British fascism has ‘often been a reflector and recycler of wider cultural phenomena,



and in grudging dialogue with current cultural discourses’ (2004: 2). If this was true for the 1920s and 1930s, it is just as true for the period after 1945 to the present day. Indeed, it could be argued that Britain was reshaped by far greater cultural change after 1945 than in the decades before. Prior to 1945 Britain was overwhelmingly white and nominally Christian, whereas after 1945 Britain was transformed into a multi-cultural society. Britons have witnessed the rise of youth culture and a media revolution, de-Christianisation, female liberation, the fragmentation of Britain, increasing European integration, and globalisation. Important questions remain unanswered: how far has post-war British fascism responded to profound cultural change? In what ways has contemporary British fascism absorbed cultural change and reconfigured its own cultural production and self-representation? What of new forms of far-right cultural praxis? And what are we to make of the relationship between post-war British fascism and popular culture? Drawing together the diverse scholarship of a range of specialists, this volume seeks to address such questions. The theme of cultural ‘regeneration’ serves as the point of departure for this present volume. During the inter-war years Mosley and the British Union of Fascists (BUF) had taken their intellectual inspiration from Nietzsche, Bergson, Sorel, Le Bon but above all Spengler. Applying Spengler’s prognostications on the decline of Western Civilisation, the BUF proclaimed that Britain was not just ailing but terminally ill, unless, of course, it could be restored to health by the (euphemistically labelled) ‘regenerative’ forces of fascism. Concentrating on Mosley and his post-war Union Movement, Janet Dack’s opening chapter explores continuities and changes in post-1945 fascist attitudes, and her concern, in particular, is the extent to which the original Spenglerian vision was adapted in order to accommodate a radically changing world – the rise of youth culture, for example – alongside Mosley’s new-found focus on ‘Europe a Nation’. History – a sense of the past, and assertions that certain events in Britain’s unique story have made us who we are today – has often been at the heart of fascist cultural output. Our second chapter, by Steve Woodbridge, examines how cultural ‘heritage’ and ‘history’ have played significant roles in efforts by the extreme right to ‘inform and educate’ supporters about what they claim is a distinctive British national identity. BNP founder John Tyndall’s political ideas, for example, were underpinned by a systematic cultural reading of history, and this was repeated by other BNP writers, including more recently in Griffin’s ‘modernised’ BNP. Extreme-right cultural magazines and texts have regularly carried articles on the ‘great’ heroes or events of the past, and there has often been an emphasis on historical tradition and ‘authenticity’. This chapter reveals that conflict over the interpretation of ‘history’ has been an important ideological battleground for the post-war fascist right. In some areas of fascist life and culture, the spatial component is obvious. Space has been physically fought over in the streets when fascists have engaged anti-fascist activists for the ‘right’ to stage their particular brand of


N. Copsey and J. E. Richardson

political theatre, or to traverse particular streets or routes deemed to have some symbolic value for fascist identity. If this was the case during the 1930s (see Linehan 2012) it has also been true after 1945, particularly during the phase of National Front activity and growth in the 1970s. Thomas Linehan’s chapter scrutinises these overt street-based struggles, and in so doing considers the way that fascist spatial practices sacralised particular spaces in the struggle to appropriate the streets for fascism. As Linehan reveals, this spatial component was evident in other areas of post-war fascist life and culture too (such as fascist ideological readings of race). As well as competing for physical space with political rivals, the National Front also had to contend with the dominant mainstream space of the ‘Establishment’. British fascism has long been associated with cultures of masculinity, whether in the BUF, the NF or the BNP. This association has been questioned (see Durham 1998) and in light of earlier arguments Martin Durham’s chapter interrogates more recent developments in the BNP, where Nick Griffin had projected his ‘ethno-nationalist’ party as both family and female-friendly. When it comes to gender, asks Durham, is it the case that the culture of the ‘modernised’ BNP is fundamentally different to that of the 1970s NF or Tyndall’s BNP? Whilst calling our attention to newer developments, such as the mobilisation of gender in its war against Islam, Durham remains unconvinced by the extent of the BNP’s ‘feminisation’. As a final point, Durham proposes taking the argument in a new direction: when considering the extended experience of women and the extreme right we should also consider organisations such as British Housewives’ League, set up in the aftermath of the Second World War. Despite close links to an anti-Semitic far-right organisation, its female culture was very different to that of the NF or BNP. The subject of Paul Jackson’s chapter is the neo-Nazi fiction of Britain’s neo-Nazi ‘godfather’, Colin Jordan. Notorious neo-Nazi publicist, and leader of the 1950s White Defence League, the 1960s National Socialist Movement, and later the British Movement, Jordan is less well known as the author of fiction prose. Taking inspiration from the US neo-Nazi William Pearce’s The Turner Diaries, Jordan turned to fiction in order to articulate not only his dystopian vision of multi-cultural decline but also the need for violent racial revolution. Whilst Jordan’s trashy novellas – Merrie England – 2,000, and The Uprising – lack any literary merit, they do reprise key far-right tropes such as conspiracy theory, Holocaust denial, racism, revolutionary justice and violence. Jackson develops the theme of ‘licence’ in his chapter, highlighting how these fictional texts offer sympathetic readers the licence to both entertain extremist views and to act upon these extreme views, violently if need be. Fiction also looms large in Nigel Copsey’s chapter. Copsey’s interest lies not in the cultural output of post-war fascists like Colin Jordan but in representations of post-war British fascism within popular culture. Our attention is called first to representations in young adult fiction, before moving on to political theatre, and then fictional representations on screen. There is, Copsey suggests, a propensity to dismiss home-grown fascism as something



set apart from the mainstream, lacking in any seriousness or significance. However, rather than being ignored by the cultural mainstream, at various moments British post-war fascism has elicited a series of fictional responses that have been overwhelmingly hostile, and at times brutally honest. What is important to bear in mind, Copsey argues, is that these cultural representations not only reflected contemporary social attitudes but also played a significant role in the production of societal knowledge about the far right. In the 1930s, the most obvious sartorial indicator of the British fascist was the black shirt, ‘an eloquent symbol of a time, an ideology, and a movement’ (Coupland 2004: 115). These days, the clichéd fascist uniform is the swastikaadorned ‘skinhead look’, evolving from a working-class youth subculture that first emerged in Britain in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But, as Emily Turner-Graham’s chapter confirms, the far right has moved with the fashion. Whilst ‘White power’ skinheads might retain a street presence elsewhere, particularly so in countries such as Germany (although even here a new generation is ditching the bomber jacket and leather boots), in Britain – homeland of the skinhead – the far right has adopted more mainstream signifiers in relation to its dress-codes, not least the ‘Casual’ look favoured by football hooligans. For Turner-Graham, this is deliberate: to ‘blend’ extreme-right ideas in with the more mainstream milieu. If anything, the dominant sartorial trend is towards the bland, the benign, and even the anonymous. This trend, a move away from obvious neo-Nazi associations, has also been reflected in music, as British fascists have endeavoured to distance themselves from violent neo-Nazi subcultures. In Ryan Shaffer’s chapter, developments in fascist music are traced from the heyday of ‘White Power’ skinhead music in the 1980s through to more recent attempts by the BNP to co-opt traditional and more ‘benign’ English folk music. For Shaffer, music can serve as a map of how Britain’s post-war fascists have viewed themselves and have projected their identity to others. However, messages have not always been consistent and cultural constructions of identity through this music have fluctuated between themes of Britishness, Europeanness and whiteness. Likewise, Karl Spracklen’s chapter also concerns developments in music. Spracklen’s chapter responds to attempts by far-right activists to infiltrate and co-opt two particular music scenes: black metal and English folk. He examines debates relating to boundaries, belonging and exclusion in these two scenes. Spracklen argues that both scenes have resisted far-right intervention through their policing of boundaries and communicative choices. Nonetheless, both scenes remain compromised by their relationships to myths of whiteness. In our penultimate chapter, Graham Macklin acquaints us with the esoteric world of Britain’s meta-political far right. The focus is on its principal ideological vehicle: the ‘New Right’, founded in 2005 by Troy Southgate, a former National Front ‘political soldier’ whose ideological odyssey has seen his metamorphosis from ‘political activist’ to ‘cultural and intellectual agitator’. For Macklin, meetings of the New Right provide a unique insight into the contemporary far-right’s intellectual cultural milieu. According to Macklin,


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what these meetings reveal is that whilst the British version of the New Right might share some similarities with the European New Right (see Bar-On 2007), it is influenced more by the esoteric, metaphysical, occult and extremeright themes (anti-Semitism, ‘revisionism’ and Holocaust denial) of its founders and members. In this sense it is recognisably more ‘British’ than ‘European’. A cultural struggle continues to lie at the heart of the political project of the BNP, and as part of this struggle, party officials and activists rail against cultural (and artistic) outputs that they feel exemplify the degeneracy of liberal society. In some ways this preoccupation reflects a cultural shift in campaign strategies of British fascists – away from traditional political activism towards something less quantifiable: a politics of cultural engagement. In our final chapter John Richardson examines the ways that the BNP positions objectionable cultural outputs as epiphenomenal to wider social and cultural processes underlying post-war liberal society. Central to their argumentation is the notion of ‘Cultural-Marxism’, its relation to political correctness, and wider (racialised) conspiracies purportedly intended to weaken race and nation. This chapter argues that such a Weltanschauung is not unique to British fascist activism, being shared by a range of individuals and groups based across Europe and the United States (most recently exemplified in the ‘manifesto’ of Anders Behring Breivik). Our analysis of British fascist culture therefore needs to be mindful of discourses of fascist fellow travellers, given the ways that they cross-fertilise and learn from each other. The origins of this volume go back to a discussion between the editors in 2011. A workshop was held at Newcastle University in 2012, where invited contributors were able to ‘road-test’ their ideas. The distance between the original conception of the project, workshop, and the publication of this volume was much further than we had originally anticipated. So we would like to express our thanks to the contributors for their patience, and also to thank those contributors who we approached after the workshop and who delivered chapters at shorter notice. Finally, we would like to dedicate this book to Dr Martin Durham in recognition of his longstanding contribution to the academic study of Britain’s far right. It is our hope that this book represents a fitting tribute to him and his work, in that it significantly advances understanding of the multifaceted culture(s) of post-war British fascism.

References Bar-On, T. (2007) Where Have All The Fascists Gone? Aldershot: Ashgate. Busher, J. (2015) The Making of Anti-Muslim Protest: Grassroots Activism in the English Defence League. London: Routledge. Copsey, N. (2008) Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Copsey, N. and Macklin, G. (eds) (2011) British National Party: Contemporary Perspectives. London: Routledge.



Coupland, P.M. (2004) ‘The Blackshirt in Britain: The Meanings and Functions of Political Uniform’, in Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T.P. (eds) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris. Durham, M. (1998) Women and Fascism. London: Routledge. Goodwin, M. (2011) New British Fascism: Rise of the British National Party. London: Routledge. Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T.P. (eds) (2004) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris. Holmes, C. (2005) ‘Book Review’, English Historical Review, 120(489): 1462–1463. Linehan, T. (2012) ‘Space Matters: Spatialising British Fascism’, Socialist History, 41: 1–21. Macklin, G. (2015) White Racial Nationalism in Britain: A History. London: Routledge. Mosse, G. (1999) The Fascist Revolution: Toward a General Theory of Fascism. New York: H. Fertig. Richardson, J.E. (2015) British Fascism: a Discourse Historical Analysis. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag. Thurlow, R. (2004) ‘The Developing Fascist Interpretation of Race, Culture and Evolution’, in Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T.P. (eds) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris. Trilling, D. (2012) Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right. London: Verso. Woodbridge, S. (2004) ‘Purifying the Nation: Critiques of Cultural Decadence and Decline in British Neo-Fascist Ideology’, in Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T.P. (eds) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris.


Cultural regeneration Mosley and the Union Movement Janet Dack

Introduction Cultural regeneration was a highly significant concern for British fascism between the wars. In their quest for cultural rebirth, Mosley and the British Union of Fascists (BUF) took inspiration from Friedrich Nietzsche’s concepts of the will to power and Übermensch, or Superman. Reference was also made to other anti-rationalist and anti-positive thinkers, including Henri Bergson who argued for the existence of a creative force, élan vital, and claimed that intuition was stronger than intellect; Gustave Le Bon who developed a theory of crowd psychology; and Georges Sorel, particularly his thinking on the power of myth. Yet without doubt, in relation to the cultural understanding of Mosley and the BUF, the most influential of these thinkers was Oswald Spengler. Spengler’s organic conception of the nation and his theory that each civilisation or culture had a natural and inevitable life-cycle consisting of formation, growth, decadence, decline and death informed much of the writing in the inter-war BUF press (Linehan 2000). Within these pages, the meaning and function of culture in a fascist society was hotly debated and the overwhelming message was that Britain was a nation in terminal cultural decline, descending into the abyss. Representations of a nation drowning in a rising tide of decadence, compounded by a failure of masculine vitality, and a lack of respect for traditional values were regular features of papers such as Action and Blackshirt. Recently published work has examined these inter-war cultural obsessions (Linehan 2000; Gottlieb and Linehan 2004); regrettably, far less attention has been paid to the cultural attitudes and policies of post-war Mosleyites and British fascists more generally. Steven Woodbridge (2004) is one of the few scholars to engage with the post-war cultural concerns of British fascists. According to Woodbridge, the post-war far-right merely reproduced the responses of inter-war fascists in their struggle to revive the nation’s cultural identity and reverse the process of decline. How accurate is this view? By focusing on Mosley and the Union Movement (UM), and in particular on the UM papers Action and Union and the more intellectual journal The European edited by Mosley’s wife, Diana,

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this chapter examines the continuities and changes in post-war attitudes, including perceptions of the state of the nation and what it was to be part of the nation; attitudes to masculinity; the challenge to youth; the role of women; anti-urbanism; and the function of the arts. Particular attention will be paid to the extent to which the Spenglerian vision was adapted to accommodate a radically changing world, Mosley’s increasing focus on ‘Europe a Nation’, and the economic exploitation of Africa. The tensions created by attempts to develop a new European identity alongside that of the existing British/English tradition will be explored and their impact on the direction taken by British fascism considered. As we shall see, as far as the UM was concerned, it was mostly a case of reproducing inter-war policies. Even so, there was some adaptation, albeit limited in scope.

Re-ordering the nation During the inter-war period the BUF adopted an organic concept of culture that was heavily influenced by Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West, which had first been published in Germany in 1918 and in England in 1926. Linehan (2000) points out, however, that they did not share Spengler’s pessimistic view that Western Civilisation could not be rejuvenated. The BUF, among other fascist groups at the time, based their interpretation of events on a cyclical rather than linear perception of time (Griffin 2004). As the sense of crisis deepened, so the time of renewal came closer. While pouring scorn on Britain’s political leaders, whom they categorised as a bunch of old women (Action, 9 Jul. 1936; Blackshirt, 28 Nov. 1936), and those they considered to be effete, left-leaning intellectuals (Blackshirt, 22–8 Jul. 1933, 16 May 1936, 8 Jan. 1938), the BUF remained convinced that the overwhelming majority of British subjects had merely been misled by ‘old gang’ politicians or conniving trade union officials. Once the people were aware of the ‘facts’, the BUF was convinced that they would turn to Mosley, who had the policies and the will to rejuvenate the nation. The BUF press was full of confident assertions that the new corporate state would transcend social divisions and envisioned a future fascist Britain as a classless meritocracy. Those with talent who served the state would be rewarded without regard to class (Blackshirt, Feb. and 1 May 1933). Repeatedly the BUF emphasised the classless nature of the corporate state while stressing that national renewal could not be achieved without sacrifice and service (Blackshirt, 7 Feb. and 7 Dec. 1934, 1 Jun. 1937; Action 31 Oct. 1936, 13 Nov. 1937, 12 Feb. 1938). After the Second World War, and despite victory over Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, Oswald Mosley and his Union Movement continued to regard Britain as a nation in decline, though the cries of decadence and impending doom were less shrill and were frequently subsumed within articles on economic policy. Still, the perception of imminent collapse continued to underpin Mosley’s thinking and UM policy. The major development was that Mosley’s


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vision now encompassed the whole of Western Europe. In The Alternative, published in 1947, Mosley evoked a strong sense of degeneration and disintegration. Obviously drawing upon the work of fin de siècle writers such as Maurice Barrès, Mosley referred to a rootedness in European culture and tradition; roots that had been torn up under the influence of an oriental infection. This infection combined the ‘sinister cohesion of Communism’ with the baleful effect of International Finance; Mosley associated both with Jews (Mosley 1947: 19–21). Returning to the theme of imminent crisis, Mosley warned of an approaching economic crash and civil war made inevitable by the ‘ineptitude and decadence’ of Western capitalism (Mosley 1954a: 9–18). In 1958 he claimed that the disruption resulting from the final failure of the capitalist system in Europe would require a siege economy across Western Europe (Mosley 1947). Consistent with his pre-war thinking, Mosley regarded the dismantling of the British Empire as symptomatic of Britain’s degeneration and the result of a collective failure of will to keep the Empire intact. The war had hastened the demise of the Empire and lowered Britain’s status in the world. However, Mosley claimed that when Britain accepted her destiny to unite Europe her future could ‘transcend even the past’ (The European, Jun. 954). Those who led the country into the Second World War were described by Mosley as a decadent elite suffering from ‘febrile vanity and nervous hysteria’ (The European, Apr. 1955: 12). The European frequently published articles critical of Britain’s decision to declare war on Germany and there was a strong sense that Britain had sown the wind and deserved to reap the whirlwind for her failure to recognise the innate rightness of Hitler’s intentions (Raven 1954; Mills 1955; Peel 1957). There was an outright refusal among the writers contributing to The European and the other UM papers to countenance the thought that any German action deserved retribution. An article by Bertram Peel argued: ‘If he [Hitler] persecuted it is easy to understand why he did so’ (Peel 1957: 144). He also complained that with regard to the Jews ‘what was done by both sides in the heat of battle … has yet to be considered impartially’ (Peel 1957: 145). Mosley had also argued that both sides had committed atrocities and were approximately equal; he was not inclined to argue about amount or degree, his concern was that only the Germans had been punished and they had acted in the heat of battle. ‘What we did was done in cold blood after the battle was won’ (The European, Mar. 1954). Consequently, the Nuremberg trials and the de-Nazification process were subjected to unreserved criticism (The European, Feb., Apr. and May 1954, Jan. 1955). The whole ethos of the UM rested on the premise that Mosley was always right, therefore, the BUF’s pre-war support for Nazi Germany could not have been wrong and so it must be that the victors were persecuting the losers to obscure their own mistakes. Along similar lines, Diana Mosley was highly critical of the ITV documentary Tyranny: the Years of Adolf Hitler. She

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claimed that the programme distorted the facts and argued that Austria had welcomed Hitler and the Anschluss, with the ‘whole country going wild with joy’ (Action, 14 Mar. 1959). She also pointed out that the programme had failed to mention National Socialist achievements or the allied bombing of Dresden. However, in 1967, in a television interview with David Frost, Mosley did concede that Hitler had been wrong to kill the Jews in the extermination camps. He admitted that for a number of years he had not believed that this had happened and, though he doubted the number said to have been killed, it was wrong to kill any innocent civilians and had Hitler lived he should have been tried for war crimes. Despite Mosley’s belated acknowledgement of the Holocaust, Graham Macklin (2007), who regards Mosley as one of the earliest proponents of Holocaust denial in Britain, notes that he continued to blame the Jews for bringing about the war and therefore their own destruction. Similarly, he continued to maintain that the Nuremberg trials were unfair and that the Allies should have also been tried (The Frost Programme, Nov. 1967). Concern at the impending economic crash was coupled with fear of Soviet political domination of the continent. A 1973 editorial in Action accused Europe’s leaders of lacking nerve and direction. Their ‘tittering decadence’ was said to be reminiscent of ‘the decadence that rotted Rome before the final assault of the barbarian hordes’ (Action, 15 Apr. 1973). Nevertheless, the years passed and the terminal crisis failed to arrive. In December 1980 Action’s front-page headline was ‘NEXT YEAR – CRISIS, PARTY COLLAPSE AND BRITAIN AWAKE IN NEW UNION!’ (Action, Dec. 1980). The coming crisis was said to prove that Mosley had been right in 1953 when he had first predicted it and he was praised for giving twenty-eight years of warning. Regular readers of the BUF press might argue that Mosley had been predicting the crisis for closer to fifty years! Mosley argued that what was needed to bring about Europe’s second renaissance was a new way of life that united ‘the underlying tradition of Europe with the profound revolution of modern science’ (Union, undated pamphlet). In order to gain the consent and ‘spiritual enthusiasm of the people’ it was necessary to demonstrate strong leadership, the will to act and to have ready a cadre of men imbued with the ‘Prussian Spirit’ who were willing to live lives of service (Bardey 1956; Mosley 1968, 1974b). The constitution of the Union Movement retained the Spenglerian concept of society as an organic whole, along with the BUF’s model of leadership and its slogan of ‘opportunity for all and privilege to none’. The object of the movement was to achieve ‘Europe a Nation’ and to develop higher forms of human life by harnessing the ‘persistent energy of the creative manhood of Europe’ (Constitution of the Union Movement, undated). The form of ‘Europe a Nation’ differed over the years. Mosley initially envisaged Britain taking its white colonies into the European economic system but was adamant that the black colonies should be given their independence immediately as they would not fit in to Europe because they were a


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different people with different standards and a different way of life. Because of this perceived cultural difference, in a plan devised in cooperation with the South African Oswald Pirow, Africa would be divided into two separate nations. The larger part would be reserved for black Africans and the smaller part, which Mosley considered to be more suitable for white development, would provide resources for Europe and a guaranteed market for its manufactured goods. According to Mosley, both nations would be equal in opportunity and status but independent and entirely separate. However, there would need to be an interim period during which the workers of black Africa would need to be employed in white Africa until sufficient white labour had been recruited. How long this interim period would last was unclear, but Mosley envisaged it as being a considerably shorter period than that required for white technicians to train their replacements in black Africa (Policy of the Union Movement n.d.; Mosley 1954b). Mosley’s later, alternative plan was to increase the size of white controlled Africa and ensure a permanent majority of white settlers. Black Africans would be given equality of citizenship and some local control of their own areas. Mosley favoured ‘a measure of apartheid within Euro-Africa; the dignity of equal status within a great community would then be enjoyed by blacks without the friction of close daily contact’ (1954b: 12–13). His plans for Europe a Nation and the ‘equal but separate’ concept appear to be a precursor of the thinking of Alain de Benoist and the French New Right (Bar-On 2012). As Mosley admitted that it was probable that some form of apartheid would have to be introduced before Euro-Africa was fully realised and ‘the dignity of equal status’ could be conferred on its black citizens – and then went on to claim that the Belgian Congo treated its black population better than British controlled Northern Rhodesia did – it is not hard to imagine the conditions that black Africans would have had to endure if Mosley had had his way (Mosley 1954b: 13–14). Claims that ‘we have no prejudice whatever against negroes’ were undermined by cartoons in Britain Awake, Social Justice and in East London Blackshirt (Mosley 1954b: 12). The policy of Mosley and the UM was unequivocal: ‘coloured’ immigration should be stopped immediately and all ‘coloured’ immigrants should be repatriated (Action, 15 Apr. 1970, May 1973, 15 Sep. 1976). This policy was based on cultural rather than biological considerations and was consistently maintained over three decades (Union, Dec. 1951; East London Blackshirt, Dec. 1955; Action, 30 Jan. 1959, 1 Jul. 1961, 15 Apr. 1973, 15 Sep. 1976). There was, however, a fear of miscegenation that some historians have linked to biological racism (Macklin 2007). Nonetheless, Mosley’s hostility to the new immigrants was overwhelmingly expressed in cultural terms. While Mosley claimed that he ‘stood for a constructive and humane policy’ and always maintained that ‘when coloured immigrants are here they should be treated with utmost courtesy and kindness’, the UM press was often less than kind (Skidelsky 1990: 513). The arrival of these immigrants was compared to a flood or an invasion and they were alleged to be violent, abusing white women, and taking jobs, houses and other resources

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needed by British people (Action, 16 Jan. and 27 Jun. 1959, Nov. 1960, 1 May 1961, 15 Apr. and 1 Jun. 1973; Social Justice, May 1967). Such claims are very similar to those made against Jewish immigrants between the wars. However, the UM had not simply replaced one prejudice with another: antiSemitism remained deeply rooted within the Movement (Mosley 1947; Grundy 1998; Union, 27 Mar., 8 May and 12 Jun. 1948, 29 Jan. 1949; The European, Apr. 1954, May 1957; Action, 16 Jan. and 28 Mar. 1959, 15 May 1973). The image of British and European identity that Mosley and the old-guard of the UM presented remained as exclusive as that proclaimed by the BUF between the wars. While the UM press concentrated on economic plans for Europe and preventing ‘coloured’ immigration, Mosley’s other writing often referred to the evolution of higher European forms. Influenced by Nietzsche’s concept of Übermensch and Wagner’s Götterdämmerung, he argued that the purpose of life was to move from lower to higher forms. Men should not be content with their achievements but should always strive to be something more (Mosley 1968). They should experience life to the full but be prepared to renounce it and be ‘ready to give all that all may be won. That is what men must aim at becoming’ (Mosley 1958: 51–61). However, as always, Mosley was a man in a hurry and, conscious of the need to speed up the evolutionary process, suggested that genetic engineering, including a ‘scientific’ breeding programme, might prove a more efficient option than social conditioning and the natural course of evolution in encouraging European men to live lives of dedication and service (Mosley 1947). He does not refer to the potential use of genetics in his later writing on higher forms, but that he considered the practice appropriate at a time when it was tainted by association with Nazi ideology and the Holocaust demonstrates, not for the first time, a disregard for public opinion and a refusal to admit any fault on the part of the Nazi regime.

Manhood Following the First World War the traditional role of men in society was more open to question than had previously been the case, in particular their perception of themselves as providers for their families and as the head of the household. Traditional gender roles were weakened by economic depression, industrial rationalisation, and the increasing confidence of women in the work place, in politics and in the mainstream press. The stress on masculinity by the BUF during the inter-war period was an attempt to reassert the central role of men in a society undergoing rapid change. Great emphasis was placed on virility and masculinity as creative and driving forces in the nation’s achievements (Dack 2012). The uniform played a significant part in heightening the masculine image of the BUF which continually emphasised aspects of masculinity relating to strength, hardness and fortitude. While their opponents were portrayed as feeble and feminine, the fascists themselves were


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always shown as hard, vigorous and determined. The revival of masculinity would serve to underpin national renewal and represented a return to ‘manhood in authority’. The revitalisation of the nation would not be an easy task and violence and aggression were perceived as healthy expressions of the male character. The ideal of manhood was not easily achieved and preparation for the struggle to come included physical training and sporting activity. Throughout the inter-war period there was a continued emphasis on men’s physical fitness (Dack 2012). The significance of sport for the BUF in defining both the male and national identity has been noted by Michael Spurr (2003). During the post-war decades the UM continued stressing the importance of physical activity. An Action editorial declared that: ‘All that is needed are the manly virtues of another age; the athletic attitudes in place of decadence; not the end of freedom but the beginning of a new time of vigour!’ (Action, 1 Apr. 1973). The fear that modern life was making men soft, and that a ‘unisex’ society was developing, remained strong (Action, 15 Nov. 1972). It seems that the UM perceived masculinity in rigidly fixed terms yet were concerned that it was vulnerable to corruption and in need of protection. Attitudes to homosexuality were frequently contradictory but invariably hostile, although in his memoirs Jeffrey Hamm claimed to be tolerant ‘on all such controversial issues from alcoholism to adultery or homosexuality’ (Hamm 1983: 160). Hamm had taken over as the Union Movement’s Secretary in 1956 (Hamm 1983) following the imprisonment of Alf Flockhart who had been convicted, for the second time, ‘of “interfering” with a man in a public lavatory’ (Grundy 1998: 112–13). During the 1950s instances of alleged homosexual activity within the UM continued to occur (Grundy 1998). Mosley’s own writing suggests that he regarded homosexuality as a disease and he argued that ‘action should be taken when it becomes contagious’, a view that received support in later editions of The European. In the same article, apparently in response to some discussion of the topic in the mainstream press, Mosley also described homosexuality as a cult and as a fashionable habit boasted about by ‘vapid young men’ who wanted to appear ‘clever’ despite them having no ‘psychological tendencies of the kind’. He called for the ‘return of seriousness and the restoration of social values’ in order to curb these alarming developments (The European, Jan. 1954). The UM also continued the tradition, well established by the BUF, of using references to what they perceived as feminine attributes as an insult. In one headline the Labour and Liberal parties were described as ‘All “Radical” Girls Together’ (Action, 17 Oct. 1959). In 1949 Florence Hayes referred to the ineffectiveness of ‘Old Mother Westminster’ (Union, 3 Dec. 1949). Similarly, in 1962 Gillian Atherly claimed that ‘BRITAIN IS HAG-RIDDEN’ in an article critical of the Government’s alleged lack of policy in the face of the many problems the country faced (Action, 15 May 1962). As late as 1980 the Social Services Secretary, Patrick Jenkin, was disparagingly referred to as ‘soft-sister Jenkin’ (Action, Jun. 1980). It appears the UM’s perception of manhood had not progressed since the 1930s.

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Youth Julie Gottlieb (2004) suggests that, in the inter-war period, underlying the sense of a crisis of masculinity was a concern that young men were growing up without a strong sense of what it meant to be a man. The BUF proclaimed that only fascism understood youth, and youth would play an integral part in saving the nation from communism. There were frequent calls for ‘old-gang’ politicians to step aside and let youth have its chance. Weaknesses in the education system were viewed as contributing significantly to the dilemma in which young men found themselves (Blackshirt, 1 Jun. 1933). There was also concern that the nation’s youth were overindulging in entertainment and drink to such an extent that the morale of the nation was being undermined (Blackshirt, 23 Feb. and 17 Aug. 1934, 4 Jan. 1935; Action, 2 Dec. 1937). The BUF’s remedy was to inspire British youth with British ideals, but schools were failing to provide that inspiration, and consequently the education system needed to be adapted to prepare young Britons for the challenges of the twentieth century (Blackshirt, 1 Jun. 1933). Therefore, a revolutionary new education policy for boys up to the age of eighteen was advocated. Their early years would be devoted to play, but from the age of seven they would be encouraged to develop their physique and practise reading, writing and drawing. Academic study would not be introduced until the age of fourteen (Blackshirt, 11 and 18 Sep. 1937). The proposals made no mention of education for girls. While the UM looked to the youth of Britain to provide momentum for the movement, Mosley no longer called for elderly politicians to step aside. This was, presumably, a consequence of his own aging. He no longer criticised the British Government for being old, instead he praised older European statesmen such as Clemenceau, Bismarck, Hindenburg and, even, Churchill. Based on their achievements, he considered that ‘by the hard, practical test of success, it does not appear necessary to find politicians whose youth makes them innocent of everything except wetting their nappies’. He therefore restricted his criticism to older politicians with ‘Peter Pan syndrome’; those who were old in years but retained the ‘babbling indiscretions of extreme youth’ and argued that it was not the years of a man that mattered but his character (The European, Dec. 1957). However, the youth of Britain were still of vital importance if the UM was to grow into a mass movement. Yet the attempt to establish a youth section faltered and even a proposed cycling club failed to attract the nation’s youth. In 1956 Trevor Grundy was invited to re-launch the Mosley Youth Movement. Although he was only sixteen years old his parents had been longstanding BUF and UM members. While reports in the UM press suggested a large and enthusiastic youth membership, Grundy’s memoir notes there were seven recruits in mid-1956, one of whom turned out to be a police spy. He found it was difficult to recruit and retain members and only had around ten active members. Youth movement activities largely consisted of meetings,


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selling UM newspapers at underground stations and occasional bus trips (with older members) to the south coast, Manchester or Birmingham to promote Mosley and the UM. In 1958 gangs of Teddy Boys were active in attacking non-white immigrants during the Notting Hill riots. Many had been attracted by the UM’s discourse of anti-immigration and repatriation and its tolerance of violent behaviour. Several hundred had joined the Notting Hill Gate branch and many followed Mosley as he walked to meetings. Teds were regularly to be seen at UM meetings and Alex and Max Mosley adopted the style. Max also occasionally adopted the Ted’s pattern of speech (Grundy 1998). Mosley was full of admiration for the Teds, describing them as ‘fine virile types, which is what youth should be’. Similarly, Hamm, referring to a photograph of a gang of Teds imprisoned after being convicted of violence, described them as ‘some of the finest faces you could wish to see in Britain’ (Dorril 2006: 613–16). Hamm also saw potential in gangs of Hell’s Angels who he thought were in revolt against the ‘smug materialism’ of the existing system, but he had no time for the Mods who were judged to be not manly enough for the UM (Action, 15 Nov. 1972). It appears that Mosley and the UM continued to associate manly virility with the capacity for violence. The younger Mosley boys were keen to attract young people to the movement through music and parties, and were of the opinion that constant references to Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and British fascism were counterproductive. They were at pains to separate the UM from what they perceived to be the taint of fascism. In contrast to the older members of the movement, both Alex and Max were also keen to recruit young Jews (Grundy 1998). This was intended to further distance the UM from inter-war fascism, to counter accusations of current anti-Semitism and to present the UM as new and forward looking. During the 1980s the UM called for unemployed youths to be conscripted into a National Youth Service undertaking work in industries such as forestry, food production or highway maintenance in exchange for pocket money, food, clothing and shelter, or pocket money only if they were able to live at home. It was claimed that hard work would be good for them and benefit the country (Action, Aug. 1980). The policy was nothing more than a vague outline and in practice it would have been unlikely to attract support from either employers or trade unions. The education system remained a cause for concern and Harvey Black described the 1944 Education Act as ‘a pretentious piece of “youth racketeering” designed primarily to mobilize the most malleable part of the population, to make the “children of tomorrow” into “citizens of the brave new world”’. He used the term ‘mobilize’ advisedly as he saw the Act as extending conscription to those too young for military service. The requirement for school leavers to continue their education at college for one day a week reinforced his view that the Act was about ministerial control rather than education; he feared that that control, which encompassed the

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compulsory registration of independent schools, ‘may be aimed at possible ideological “purges”’. Black denounced the Act as ‘nothing to do with education’ and cited Wyndham Lewis’ view that ‘Popular education … has only resulted in people being more gullible’ (1957: 289–94). Black complained that the primary aim of the education system was to produce compliant members of the capitalist democratic system. However, taking education in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany as examples suggests that Mosley and the UM would only take exception to children being trained to support the status quo and would readily employ similar techniques to ensure the stability of their own ‘brave new world’. The attitudes of the BUF regarding the education of boys were carried forward into the UM and in 1960 Hamm explained UM opposition to coeducation on the grounds that the Movement was ‘strongly opposed to teaching boys to behave like girls’ (Action, Feb. 1960).

Women Gottlieb (2003) suggests that, despite the important role played by women in the BUF, support for female empowerment was unlikely to have continued in practice. In reality the BUF marginalised women and their interests (see also Durham, in this volume). The subject of education for girls received scant attention, though Anne Brock-Griggs, the BUF Women’s Propaganda Officer, argued that they should be educated up to the age of fifteen in order that they could be trained to serve their families and the nation (Action, 21 Feb. 1936). Similarly, Brock-Griggs, while stressing the importance of women in the corporate state, was frequently vague as to the specifics of their role (Action, 6 Jan. 1938). Many of her columns were related to family and household concerns and emphasised the significance of motherhood. The BUF press often stated that under a fascist government married women would be allowed to work, if they wished to do so, and they would be paid on an equitable basis with men, but, as the corporate state would ensure higher wages for men, there would be no need for women to work. The BUF did not advocate equal pay in the interests of fairness and equality; their concern was to curb the practice of hiring women because they could be paid less than men (Dack 2012). Generally, women did not feature prominently in the pages of the UM press or The European. In his essay ‘Europe: Faith and Plan’ Mosley makes no mention of women, except in relation to the welfare state which he claims would be unnecessary as ‘self-help must be the basis of a healthy future’ with men and women both being given the opportunity to insure themselves against accident, illness or death (Mosley 1958). It seems unlikely that women would play anything more than a marginal or token role in the running of the proposed European state and, given that a key point of Mosley’s economic reform was higher wages, it is fair to say that the UM retained the hope that women would remain in the home while men provided for them financially. Indeed, this is confirmed by Elsie Orrin who stated that equal pay


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was essential to prevent employers offering women jobs they were not really suited for, simply because they were cheaper than more suitable men (Union, 12 Mar. 1949). One place women did figure, though not in a positive light, was in the short stories of Desmond Stewart published in The European. Stewart, a homosexual Roman Catholic, first came to Mosley’s attention while studying literature at Oxford (Macklin 2007). He travelled to Rome on a number of occasions in the late 1940s before taking up a teaching job in Baghdad. In 1958 he moved to Cairo (Haylock 2006). His experiences abroad provided the inspiration for his short stories. In ‘I am Dying Egypt, Dying’ the three female characters sit waiting fearfully for the men in their lives to decide their future for good or ill. All three are attempting to be something that they are not and there is an underlying sense that they are willing to trade themselves for security and social standing (European, Mar. 1954). Their fear and inaction and the tainted nature of their relationships with men are very different and provide a stark counterpoint to the tender friendship that develops between two young men of different faiths. One of the youths dies and the other goes to a bath house and gives an elderly man a massage in order to earn money to buy flowers for his friend’s grave. In another story, ‘Late Romans’, the female character is shallow and degenerate and contrasts sharply with the young fascist worker to whose company the narrator is increasingly drawn (European, Jan. 1954). While many of the short stories in the inter-war BUF press are leaden pieces of propaganda (Action, 18 and 25 Jun. 1936), there are stories in Action that have the same slightly homoerotic air of the later works by Stewart and that also emphasise male bonding and dismiss the friendship or love of women. Most notable of these is ‘In Gallery Ten’ by Fran H. Shaw. In this story two miners who had been close friends fight violently over a woman and then, following a roof fall in the pit, decide that ‘wenches don’t amount to much’ while clasping each other’s hands from their hospital beds (Action, 11 Jun. 1936). Despite the limited visibility of women in the UM press there was one woman who did have a significant presence. During the early 1960s Mosley’s wife, Diana, was a regular contributor. Her column, ‘A Diary’, which had appeared in The European before Mosley closed it down to concentrate on standing for Parliament in the October 1959 elections, was made up of a mix of UM propaganda, comments on what she considered newsworthy events, and reflections on her own travels and social activities. These were largely superficial, shallow and, at times, brittle observations that revealed a combination of prejudice and antagonism towards those she considered to be Mosley’s opponents and a patronising condescension to those she regarded as her social inferiors. Her petty point scoring included sneering criticism of President Kennedy’s plan to send Peace Corps volunteers to work in underdeveloped countries (Action, 15 Mar., 15 Apr., 1 Aug. 1961 and 1 Feb. 1962). She expressed opposition to immigration and having written that ‘we all know that white people are cleverer’ went on to suggest that black children

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should be taught by black teachers in separate classes so that they did not retard the education of white children, who should be taught by white teachers (Action, 15 Feb. 1962, 5, 1 Mar. 1962). Over the years there were occasional columns written by female members. These tended to concentrate on heaping praise on Mosley, reminding women of their place and on urging other women to sacrifice more. Examples included Winifred Robert’s appeal for women to send their jewellery to support the cause (Union, 11 Jun. 1949), and Elsie Orrin, Celia Goodwing and Eileen Bell who were keen to praise Mosley’s foresight and leadership (Action, 2, 16 and 30 Jan. 1959). Orrin was critical of British women who, having ‘failed to prevent a horrible and unnecessary war’, were compounding their failure by their tardiness in ‘proffering their services to the cause’. In order to protect their children they should aid UM ‘to assure peace between brother nations’ (Union, 26 Feb. 1949). Orrin was also keen to reprimand women dissatisfied with their lot in life, reminding them that the sexes were different and made for different purposes. A woman’s place was in the home raising a family. Men were superior in strength and creativity. While brilliant women should be allowed to work, especially if there was a dearth of men in that sphere, ‘the best woman is never better than the best man … Genius belongs to the sphere of men’ (Union, 12 Mar. 1949). Women who did not marry and chose to work were mocked and criticised. The marital status of Stoke Newington’s ‘Spinster Housing Manager’ would have been of no interest if the post had been occupied by a man. As it was, she was subjected to repeated criticism and always with reference to her single status (East London Worker, Aug. 1953; East London Blackshirt, Jan./Feb. 1954). Certainly the role of women was seen as less significant than that of men and was not valued or celebrated in the same way. Perhaps the coverage in the UM press did reflect the movement’s lack of active female members and a consequent lack of interest in their lives and opinions but the subordinate image of women presented was unlikely to remedy that.

Anti-urbanism Again displaying Spengler’s influence, the BUF press viewed modern city life as separating city dwellers from the healthy traditions of rural life. The city drained the vitality of, and encouraged effeminacy in, its inhabitants; promoted materialism and disrupted an individual’s moral and spiritual compass (Dack 2012). Linehan (2000) argues that members of the BUF had a nostalgic, romanticised view of rural life clearly demonstrated in articles written by Henry Williamson and Jorian Jenks. Post-war anti-urbanism did not feature in the pages of the UM press as it had in the papers of the BUF. However, Williamson did contribute articles on the countryside to The European. These were heavily nostalgic and similar in style to those printed in Action before the war. The closest he came to expressing anti-urban sentiments was when he referred to ‘slum dwellers’


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having rotten teeth, as a result of eating white bread (1956). Apart from Williamson’s articles, anti-urbanism only re-surfaced in the guise of criticism of the decay of areas in which immigrants were concentrated (Action, 1 May 1961; Social Justice, May/Jun. 1967). Despite his prominent position in the BUF, Jenks did not join the UM. However, he did contribute, together with Robert Saunders and Robert Row, to their agricultural policy ‘None Need Starve’ published in 1952. The policy was intended to increase production, improve quality and reconcile the interests of the British farmer and consumer within a European agricultural system. It aimed to correct the faults identified by Row in a series of articles, ‘The Land Decays’. These presented a sharp contrast to Williamson’s nostalgic articles and were critical of government regulations and ‘Tory neglect’ (Union, 16 and 25 Sep. and 2 Oct. 1948). It appears the UM still valued agriculture and the rural life, however, they placed more emphasis on, and gave more publicity to, economics and ending immigration and, post-war, there was little promotion of the back-to-the-land policies of the inter-war period.

Arts and culture The BUF was alarmed by developments in the arts and popular culture. Their obsession with order and control in all aspects of society naturally led to calls for form, clarity, beauty and integrity in artistic and cultural expression (Linehan 2000). The nature of culture and the role of the arts in a fascist state were closely debated during the inter-war period (Blackshirt, Aug. 1934). George L. Mosse (1985) argues that establishing a link between fascism and classical images of masculinity was often a way for fascists to define masculinity and male beauty while avoiding homoeroticism. Adopting a Spenglerian viewpoint, Theo Lang argued that politics had become detached from the arts and from ‘the culture of man’ and looked forward to a time when the state would be able to utilise the nation’s cultural power (Blackshirt, 27 Jul. 1934). Popular culture also gave rise to concerns and the BUF regarded entertainment for its own sake as too frivolous for the vanguard of the fascist revolution. In particular, there were complaints that the cinema was subject to undue Jewish or American influences and that films pandered to the lower instincts of the masses. The BUF looked forward to a British film industry that would be free from Jewish influence. British films would dominate the cinema screens and Hollywood would no longer be allowed to corrupt the nation or undermine its traditions and institutions. Documentaries, or dramas based on the lives and work of the people of Britain, would be standard fare as would films that uplifted the spirit and enriched the life of the nation, especially those that had heroic and patriotic themes. Similarly, the BBC was regarded as being under ‘alien’ influence, producing radio programmes that did not reflect the listeners’ or the nation’s interests (Dack 2012; Linehan 2000).

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These concerns continued to be raised throughout the post-war decades. The belief that alien profiteers were corrupting the population through their control of the arts and media was an enduring cause for concern. Hamm urged that in ‘cinema, theatre, books and the arts, let us act against the flaunting of pornography which makes fat profit for fatter profiteers’. He went on to suggest that the Government should subsidise ‘genius’ that was supressed by the present system because it was not ‘good box office’. This could be done by demanding ‘freedom’ in the press and on TV for those whose views were contrary to ‘the prevailing spirit of decadence’ (Action, 15 May 1973). This was a view long held by Bell, who was highly critical of the low standards of commercial TV broadcasters and the high proportion of American programmes. She called for their broadcasting licences to be revoked and given to men like Mosley, who would know where to find the brains needed to use the TV stations to educate the nation (Action, 24 Oct. 1959). But details of who these men were, and the programmes that they might produce were not provided. The BBC was also castigated for being ‘unsound’ (Action, 21 Mar. 1959). In the 1960s and 1970s television had become the dominant popular cultural form. Michael Harold complained that ‘Internationalists control TV production’ leading to a preponderance of ‘American pap’ on ITV and to the BBC transmitting pro-American, anti-European propaganda (Action, Mar. 1960). The previous month it had been alleged that Granada TV was Jewish controlled and, in the same issue, Harold had sensed ‘sickness and decay’ in the ITV drama The Voodoo Factor and criticised the BBC for being unadventurous (Action, Feb. 1960). Generally, the UM continued to believe that contemporary television shows were corrupting the nation, and Hamm was not unique in complaining that ‘a stream of decadence flows into our homes from the television screens’ (Action, 15 Apr. 1973; see also Richardson, in this volume). However, Mosley adopted a more pragmatic approach and advocated the use of TV for political purposes generally and, more specifically he argued that TV could prove to be a useful tool with which to manipulate the trade unions during a time of crisis (Mosley 1974a). As had been clear in relation to the mainstream press during the inter-war years, Mosley functionalised the mass media and viewed it primarily as a means to his political ends. The UM’s most pressing complaint concerning TV was the perceived boycott of Mosley and his movement. In January 1967 Granada TV had made a programme featuring the UM’s Manchester branch, but it was not screened (Social Justice, May/Jun. 1967). However, on 15 November 1967 Mosley appeared on The Frost Programme. During the 38-minute interview, which began with David Frost pointing out Mosley’s early political promise, the audience was largely hostile and at times a heckler prevented Mosley from speaking. Having mentioned Mosley’s economic brilliance and the multiparty support he had once enjoyed, Frost turned his attention to allegations of anti-Semitism, which Mosley attempted, unconvincingly, to deny. He was


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similarly implausible in his rebuttal of claims that he had been a friend and imitator of Hitler. While, as mentioned earlier, he appeared to have accepted Hitler’s responsibility for the extermination of large numbers of Jews, he continued to maintain that his attitude to Jews during the 1930s was justified. The programme appears to have attracted little press coverage. The Jewish Chronicle noted that although Mosley appeared mainly ‘sweet and reasonable’ no one who remembered him from the 1930s would be convinced by his performance (Jewish Chronicle, 16 Nov. 1967) and a few days later they described him as ‘bruised but unrepentant’ in the face of a hostile audience (Jewish Chronicle, 24 Nov. 1967). While the programme did not receive extensive coverage at the time, some years later Virginia Ironside, in relation to another programme, recalled that in the interview with Frost, Mosley appeared ‘so mild, so reasonable, so tired and so easily deflated by the heckling of the audience that it was hard to imagine that there ever was a man of real fire in there’ (Daily Mail, 28 Jul. 1971). Although the mainstream press had largely ignored Mosley’s appearance on The Frost Programme, the following day his name was mentioned in a review of The Tactics of Resignation by R.K. Alderman and J.K. Cross, a study of the cases of Mosley, Aneurin Bevan and Frank Cousins (Times, 16 Nov. 1967). The authors argued that if Mosley had not resigned over unemployment in 1930 he might well have gone on to lead the Labour Party. In the run up to the publication of his autobiography, My Life, an interview with Tim Heald appeared in the Daily Express. Heald was of the opinion that Mosley’s views had mellowed, though Mosley himself stated that his book would demonstrate that not only had he been right all along, but he had also been misunderstood. He looked back proudly, and not entirely accurately, on his time leading the BUF. Fascism had been right at the time, he said, but was now ‘totally outmoded’ (Daily Express, 12 Oct. 1968). According to the Daily Express (19 Sept. 1969) My Life had enjoyed considerable commercial success, though its own review of the book was not entirely complimentary (Daily Express, 21 Oct. 1968). Mosley’s memoirs were serialised in The Times between 14 and 18 October 1968. Around this time Mosley was the focus of a Panorama programme (Daily Mail, 21 Oct. 1968), which attracted 8.5 million viewers (Skidelsky 1990) and was occasionally asked to take part in documentaries about aspects of the inter-war period, including a BBC1 programme on Ramsay MacDonald (Daily Express, 9 Aug. 1968) and a Radio 4 programme on Stanley Baldwin (Guardian, 17 Oct. 1970; Observer, 8 Nov. 1970). Additionally, Hamm and Mosley took part in a programme, broadcast in January 1970, on the Battle of Cable Street for the BBC2 series Yesterday’s Witness (Hamm 1983). On 25 March 1970 Jeffrey Hamm was interviewed by Bill Grundy for the Today programme regarding the UM’s housing and immigration policies, and was also scheduled to appear on the BBC’s Nationwide on 8 April (Action, 15 Apr. 1970). The following year, Mosley’s appearance in A Kind of Exile, broadcast by Anglia TV in July 1971, caused some controversy even before it was

Cultural regeneration


broadcast. Commissioned by Sir Lew Grade as part of a three-programme series on exiles, it was initially refused airtime by Lord Bernstein at Granada. Just before the programme was due to be broadcast on the rest of the ITV network Lord Bernstein relented and the programme was given full network coverage on 27 July 1971 (Daily Mirror, 23 and 27 Jul. 1971). The programme featured interviews with Mosley at his Paris home, and with politicians who knew him during his heyday. The Daily Mirror noted that Mosley was still waiting for the nation to call for his return (Daily Mirror, 27 Jul. 1971). James Thomas also noted Mosley’s conviction that he could solve Britain’s economic problems and his realisation that it ‘is always the old and experienced politicians who pull nations out of a mess – all the way from De Gaulle to Mao’ (Daily Express, 28 Jul. 1971), a radical departure from the inter-war rhetoric that stressed the need for youth and energy over experience. The evening after the programme aired Mosley took part in Late Night Line-up on BBC2 to discuss ‘Britain and Europe’ (Daily Mail, 28 Jul. 1971). In 1972, feeling that his talents were not fully appreciated, and in the hope that he would in future play a greater role in current affairs, Mosley hired a publicist to ‘burnish his image’ (Daily Mail, 11 Oct. 1972). New York born, Mrs Polly Davies was hired not to create a new image but to ensure he appeared ‘before the British public in a regular capacity’. She admitted the job ahead of her ‘was quite a challenge’ (Daily Mail, 11 Oct. 1972). Following the publication of Skidelsky’s biography of Mosley in April 1975, interviews with Mosley were broadcast on three BBC programmes (Hamm 1983). He was also the subject of another documentary, A Fall Like Lucifer, broadcast by ITV on 5 August 1975. Nancy Banks-Smith described the programme as ‘fair and even sympathetic. More for what he might have been than for what he was’ (Guardian, 6 Aug. 1975). Despite noting that Lord Boothby had described Mosley as arrogant and impatient, Thomas suggested that Mosley in his later years, while still fascinating and a great talker, had mellowed and developed into a wit (Daily Express, 6 Aug. 1975). There were similar reviews in other papers, pointing out the potential that Mosley had once shown and regretting that he had taken such a disastrously wrong turn (Daily Mail, 6 Aug. 1975; Daily Mirror, 5 and 6 Aug. 1975). It appears that the reviewers considered Mosley’s political ambitions as at an end. Yet, given his enormous self-esteem, it seems likely that the hope that one day the call would come never quite died. Indeed, on the day before the programme was broadcast Mosley called for the formation of an emergency government made up of the most ‘dynamic’ men from the political parties and representatives from ‘the unions, the Civil Service, the home Forces and the universities’ who were to be democratically elected but with the legislative power to act decisively (Guardian, 5 Aug. 1975). His appetite for self-promotion appeared undiminished. Hamm and Mosley appeared on TV on consecutive nights in February 1976 and Mosley also appeared on the Tonight programme on 17 November 1976; he had celebrated his eightieth birthday the previous day (Hamm 1983). During the Tonight programme it was clear to Clive James that Mosley’s


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ambition had not dwindled: ‘Plainly he foresees a national government with himself at the head of it … He loves Britain and has been waiting for its call – all unawares that the best reason for loving Britain is its reluctance to call him or anybody like him’ (Observer, 21 Nov. 1976). James described Mosley as ‘devoid of any capacity for self-criticism’, ‘talking grotesque malarkey’ and refusing to admit to anti-Semitism while embodying it (Observer, 21 Nov. 1976). Despite these repeated appearances, Hamm insisted that Mosley and the UM were subject to a TV boycott. Mosley’s TV appearances suggest that to some extent he had been successful in re-casting himself as a benign elder statesman, albeit one with a chequered past that still clung to him and caused him to be regarded with some suspicion.

Conclusion Although both Mosley and Hamm persistently claimed that Mosley had developed a new synthesis of fascism and democracy that offered an advanced and positive new political creed, as we have seen, there was in fact a great deal of continuity and very little change in the policies advocated in the post-war period. The UM’s plans for the cultural and spiritual regeneration of Britain and Europe had changed very little from those of the BUF (Action, Jan. 1959), even though Mosley no longer insisted on the necessity of youthful leadership, having developed an appreciation of the value of experience as he aged. The exclusive perception of what it was to be British was retained and, while antiSemitism continued to be a feature of the UM’s discourse, prejudice and, at times, the use of violence was developed and extended to encompass nonwhite immigrants. However, this was a logical extension of the movement’s understanding of ‘Britishness’ that grew out of changing immigration patterns. The only really significant element of adaptation was the ‘extension of patriotism’ to include Europe, and that was often difficult for the membership to accept; so much so that the UM had to come up with a new slogan that combined the new concept with the battle cry of the BUF: ‘Britain First in Europe a Nation’ ( However, this was not enough to win over those who retained a firm attachment to British Nationalism and distrusted Mosley’s European ideas. Mosley and the UM retained the Spenglerian elements of BUF policy they had adopted in the 1930s and made little effort to adapt any of their cultural policies to the post-war world, at a time in which Britain, in particular, was embracing rapid social change. The young firebrands of the inter-war years had become middle-aged and by the 1960s had either drifted away from the movement or had distanced themselves from it. Those who remained committed to Mosley and continued to take an active part in the UM adopted an attitude of ‘keeping the faith’ but failed to motivate a stagnant membership. Their rigid gender definitions, authoritarian attitudes and the restricted opportunities the movement advocated for women appeared dated and uninspiring.

Cultural regeneration


This perception of a movement stuck in the past was not helped by Mosley’s appearances on TV. In particular, his obvious vanity, his refusal to accept that there had been any error of judgement on his part during the inter-war period and his insistence that the Jews were responsible for the BUF’s anti-Semitism appeared incompatible with the image that he tried to present of the UM as a modern and dynamic new movement. Mosley’s intransigence, a characteristic shared by many UM members, and the grandiose notions of ‘Europe a Nation’ alienated potential members, and the sporadic attempts of his younger sons to attract a more youthful membership were unable to provide the energy and enthusiasm necessary to rejuvenate and invigorate the UM. Far-right parties need energetic leadership. But despite Mosley’s acknowledged charisma and rhetorical brilliance, the UM lacked energetic leadership. Mosley spent little time in Britain and left the running of the movement to second-rate lieutenants. The UM’s press was repetitive and dreary, its tired and contradictory dogma was unattractive to all but those living on the memories of the glory days of the 1930s. It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the new generation of neo-fascists looked to other, more relevant organisations as an outlet.

References Bardey, G. (1956) ‘The Prussian Spirit’, The European, 35(Jan.): 13–20. Bar-On, T. (2012) ‘Intellectual Right-Wing Extremism – Alain de Benoist’s Mazeway Resynthesis since 2000’, in Backes, U. and Moreau, P. (eds) The Extreme Right in Europe. Oakville, CT: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Black, H. (1957) ‘Education Versus the Educationalist State’, The European, 53(Jul.): 226–294. Dack, J. (2012) In from the Cold? British Fascism and the Mainstream Press 1925–39. Saarbrücken: Lambert Academic Publishing. Dorril, S. (2006) Blackshirt. London: Viking. Gottlieb, J.V. (2003) Feminine Fascism: Women in Britain’s Fascist Movement. London: I.B. Tauris. Gottlieb, J.V. (2004) ‘Britain’s New Fascist Man’, in Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T. (eds) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris. Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T. (eds) (2004) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris. Griffin, R. (2004) ‘This Fortress Built Against Infection’, in Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T. (eds) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris. Grundy, T. (1998) Memoir of a Fascist Childhood. London: Heinemann. Hamm, J. (1983) Action Replay. London: H. Baker. Available at: www.oswaldmosley. com/free-ebooks.htm [Accessed 18 Mar. 2012]. Haylock, J. (2006) ‘Stewart, Desmond Stirling (1924–1981)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford: Oxford University Press; online edn. Available at: [Accessed 8 Dec. 2013].


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Jenks, J., Row, R. and Saunders, R. (1952) None Need Starve. Available at: www.oswa [Accessed 18 Mar. 2012]. Linehan, T. (2000) British Fascism. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Macklin, G. (2007) Very Deeply Dyed in Black. London: I.B. Tauris. Mills, H.T. (1955) ‘The Reckoning’, The European, 25(Mar.): 28–35. Mosley, O. (n.d.) Policy of Union Movement and What Membership Means. London: Union Movement. Mosley, O. (1947) The Alternative. Ramsbury: Mosley Publications. Mosley, O. (1954a) ‘The European Situation’, The European, 11(Jan.): 9–18. Mosley, O. (1954b) ‘The African Problem and England’s future’, The European, 14(Apr.): 10–19. Mosley, O. (1958a) ‘Wagner and Shaw’, The European, 37(Mar.): 51–62. Mosley, O. (1958b) ‘Europe: Faith and Plan’, in Quill, M. (ed.) Revolution by Reason and Other Essays by Oswald Mosley. Lewiston, NY: The Edward Mellen Press Ltd. Mosley, O. (1968) My Life. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd. Mosley, O. (1974a) ‘New Men and New Policies’, in Quill, M. (ed.) Revolution by Reason and Other Essays by Oswald Mosley. Lewiston, NY: The Edward Mellen Press Ltd. Mosley, O. (1974b) ‘Where is the Will to Act’, in Quill, M. (ed.) Revolution by Reason and Other Essays by Oswald Mosley. Lewiston, NY: The Edward Mellen Press Ltd. Mosse, G.L. (1985) Nationalism and Sexuality. London: University of Wisconsin Press. Peel, B. (1957) ‘Those Dictators’, The European, 51(May): 128–147. Raven, A. (1954) ‘Nemesis of Nonsense’, The European, 12(Feb.): 10–14. Skidelsky, R. (1990) Oswald Mosley, 3rd edn. London: Macmillan. Spengler, O. (2000) The Decline of the West. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Spurr, M. (2003) ‘“Playing for Fascism”: Sportsmanship, anti-Semitism and the British Union of Fascists’, Patterns of Prejudice, 37 (4): 360–376. The Frost Programme (1967) Available at: [Accessed 17 Nov. 2013]. Woodbridge, S. (2004) ‘Purifying the Nation: Critiques of Cultural Decadence and Decline in British Neo-Fascist Ideology’, in Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T. (eds) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris.


History and cultural heritage The far right and the ‘Battle for Britain’ Steven Woodbridge

Introduction Some of the ‘big beasts’ of the British extreme right have shown an abiding interest in history and in the cultural heritage of the past, and have regularly used a rather convoluted combination of historical themes, imagery and language to try to provide gravitas and legitimacy to their political discourse about the present. John Tyndall (1934–2005), the founder of the British National Party (BNP), and its leader until 1999, was a prime example of this. In his magazine Spearhead he often peppered his commentaries on current political developments with references to the major events of Britain’s past or with historical slants and ideas. Similarly, in Tyndall’s general ideological writings and speeches, where he set out what he saw as the philosophical underpinnings of ‘racial nationalism’, there was invariably an overt historical dimension to the arguments the BNP leader espoused. In Tyndall’s view, demonstrating the nature and value of the past to a rising new generation was especially important. Tyndall wanted to infuse the young with what he regarded as the ‘truthful’ and right type of history. In his book The Eleventh Hour: A Call for British Rebirth, first published in 1988, Tyndall at one point argued that patriotism and ‘national pride’ should occupy what he called a ‘major role’ in the school curriculum. He wrote: History in particular should be presented to the young in a way that places heavy emphasis on Britain’s achievement in all fields – but not to the point of glossing over national weaknesses and mistakes. The young should be thoroughly imbued with a national view of the world, and taught the eternal laws that govern the success and failure, the strength and weaknesses, the rise and fall, of nations and empires. The overall purpose must be to instil an unshakable national pride, together with an intelligent appreciation of what contributes to the national weal. (Tyndall 1988: 242) This emphasis on the need for a strong ‘national’ history, and the claim that history is also subject to ‘eternal laws’, remained important tenets in Tyndall’s


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writings and speeches right up to his death in 2005. In one of the last major speeches he made abroad, delivered to David Duke’s White Nationalist Conference in America in 2004, Tyndall made notably conspicuous use of historical events and trends to stir the passions of his audience. These core themes and perceived historical processes, in turn, were drawn from both his life experiences and his deeper general beliefs about what he saw as the self-evident lessons of history. Near the beginning of his speech, the (by then former) BNP leader made reference to his own release from prison in 1986, and to the speech he had made at his ‘welcome back’ meeting that year: ‘I said that history provides a number of examples of the truth that those who are in gaol today may well be in power tomorrow. I also said, pointing out to history once again, that those who are in power today might well be in gaol tomorrow.’ Building upon his allegation that those who speak the truth about the past and the present are often the victims of a censorious system, during the course of his speech Tyndall also dwelled upon what he claimed was the ‘white man’s heritage of skills and creativity’, and on the current threat to this and to ‘civilisation’. Tyndall asserted that white people across the Western World today reminded him of the people of Russia in the ‘twilight years of Communism’ – they were all serving ‘a lie’, a system held together by ‘the lie’. Some people, Tyndall argued, held out and refused to serve that lie, and survived and ‘endured’. Moreover, according to Tyndall, they were vindicated – ‘as we will be vindicated by future history’.1 In many ways, this was vintage Tyndall, but it was also fairly typical of the kind of pronouncements made about history and its meaning by various other extreme-right (ER) leaders and writers in Britain during the post-1945 period.

The ‘right’ kind of history This chapter will explore the extreme right’s interpretations and utilisation of history, and their related attempts to selectively appropriate the past for ideological purposes. Analysis of the general ideological landscape of the extreme right in Britain since 1945, and the continuities and changes in ER patterns of belief, suggests that ‘history’, and ideas about culture, heritage, tradition and the past, have played an important and continuous role in the speeches, texts and general written output of key ER ideologues over the years. First, this has taken the form of grand, sweeping philosophies about history, where ER theorists have set out their position and relationship (as they see it) to the broader historical context, and to the profound underlying forces supposedly at work in society and the world, both in the past and in the present. Some ideologues took the view that they could ‘intervene’ in history and bend it to new purposes, while others were less optimistic, and tended to construe the workings of history in conspiratorial terms, interpreting events as being mainly outside the control of human agency, or as only understandable if unlocked using the axiomatic ‘key’ of race.

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Second, history has also been used as part of the ER’s configuration of ideas and policies employed for battles in the national political arena: their engagement with history has involved an attempt to embed it firmly within their own party cultures, so that they can then present themselves to wider society as the only dependable and legitimate defenders of the country’s indigenous national traditions and unique cultural heritage. In 1998 Spearhead magazine referred to this self-appointed role in rather grandiose terms as ‘the battle to reclaim Britain’ (Spearhead, no. 353, Jul. 1998). This notion was recycled by the BNP a decade later for its 2009 European Elections campaign. References to, and articles on, subjects and individuals from history, together with historical imagery, symbols and metaphors, have therefore often been given a prominent place in the ideological pages of the journals, newspapers and websites of British ER parties and movements. Particular watershed events and symbolic moments from British history have been highlighted by the ER, and re-invented or ‘re-imagined’ to try to construct an alternative far-right historical culture, largely as an attempt to distinguish such a culture from all ‘liberal’ accounts of the past. These two forms of engagement with history – a philosophy about time, events and change, and a concern to construct an alternative, non-liberal narrative about Britain’s past – have often gone hand in hand. Moreover, this preoccupation with history is also undoubtedly an attempt to shape the present, and to develop a contemporary political strategy through the creation of an historically aware ER political culture. The aim of this is to educate adherents about the ‘unique’ traditions and special facets of their national community, and articulate why these need to be defended from ‘other’ and ‘alien’ cultures. In fact, overall, since the re-appearance of the ER in Britain after the Second World War and, indeed, up to the present day, there have been a considerable number of interpretations, philosophies about, and types of history put forward in ER literature, something which scholars have not analysed in any systematic detail. This chapter seeks to address this lacuna in the published historiography. The objective is to briefly describe and critically evaluate some of the main versions of history expounded in the philosophical and propagandistic output of the ER in this country since 1945 and up to the present.

Defying history: the role of anti-determinist ideas One recurring idea about history in general and the patterns it has taken, put forward especially by the early post-war British ER but still exerting an influence today, concerns the extent to which individuals can take a direct hand in history and bend it to new purposes. This theme has its roots in the idea of ‘crisis’ in history (a consistent preoccupation of earlier inter-war British fascists) and in claims that modern Britain has been in serious national


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decline over the last century due to the influence of liberalism, democracy and – in particular – the onset of ‘national decadence’. Ideologues such as Sir Oswald Mosley (1896–1980) regularly preached that Britain had become ‘decadent’ or was in ‘crisis’, or that a breakdown of the Western World was imminent (see also Dack, in this volume). This would take the form of either an acute economic crisis, or a more general societal crisis, or a combination of both. In 1961, for example, in Mosley – Right or Wrong?, Mosley opened his preface to the book with the statement that: ‘Britain comes to crisis, a deep crisis of the whole system. It may be deferred or concealed for a period, but the coming of crisis sooner or later is now certain.’ Referring back to his earlier career, Mosley argued: ‘At the time of my resignation from the government I stated this crisis would come, and have continued to do so ever since.’ He further claimed that, at every stage, he had ‘advanced a constructive policy to meet it, which has been continuously developed as new facts changed the situation’ (Mosley 1961: 25–26) (see also Action, no. 95, 1 Jul. 1962). Thus, in conjunction with a fatalistic-sounding conviction that crisis was just around the corner, Mosley nevertheless also took the view that decisive ‘action’ could, in fact, reverse this and save the day. The German historian and ‘Conservative Revolutionary’ ideologue Oswald Spengler (1880–1936) had been a major influence in the development of Mosley’s analysis of history (Thurlow 1981: 17–33). In common with their inter-war fascist predecessors, Mosley and his Union Movement (UM) lieutenants, along with various other British neo-fascists in the post-1945 period, displayed an ambivalent fascination with the writings of the controversial former schoolteacher, whose thesis about the life-cycles of cultures and civilisations, exemplified in his best-selling book The Decline of the West (1918, 1922), put forward a highly determinist interpretation of history. Spengler had claimed that the past is shaped by certain immutable laws concerning the rise and fall of cultures and nations, and the nations of the West had now entered the Twilight stage and were facing inevitable decline. However, in line with his inter-war critique of such historical pessimism, Mosley was adamant that the symptoms of national decay could be cured, and the process halted and reversed. Moreover, not only could such historical decline be prevented, but the attempt to intervene in history could help bring about the veritable ‘rebirth’ of the nation or the race, or both. In his book The Alternative (1947), which functioned as an ideological launch-pad for his political comeback and for the new UM, Mosley claimed that he was demonstrating how, through the ‘Will to Achievement’, Western civilisation and European culture could free itself and bring about regeneration and ‘rebirth’. Mosley warned that it was ‘vitally important that the culture and life of Europe should continue’, and that this would ‘depend on the highest type of Europeans giving all, and daring all, as an order of men dedicated to the great rebirth’ (Mosley 1947: 299). Controversially (and mistakenly, according to some other British neo-fascists), Mosley saw Europe and his policy of ‘Europe-a-Nation’ as an infallible way of preventing collapse.

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Alexander Raven-Thomson, writing in the UM’s newspaper Union in 1948, was equally keen to portray the UM as having ‘an unshakeable belief in the future of our civilization’ and sought to present UM members as ‘the men of the Future’, proclaiming: ‘The Destiny of History demands the reunion of all Europe to attain the mightiest achievements of which this Continent is capable’ (Union, no. 33, 25 Sep. 1948). This was echoed by another UM ideologue, B.C. Kemp. Writing on the ‘Lesson of History’ in 1949, Kemp argued: The Idea that inspires us is the knowledge that man is given the power to resurrect and transfigure Civilisation. We sense the opportunity of this great age which gives to us at least the means to break the cycle of fatality and obtain our release from the “Bondage of the Gods”. We know now that disaster is not inevitable, that we need not again lapse in dust and ashes to oblivion. (Union, no. 56, 12 Mar. 1949) Again, Mosley, writing in 1951 on the UM’s creed of ‘European Socialism’, stated: We take note of the warning contained in the great analysis of Spengler, which is the premise from which we begin our struggle against the death tendencies of the present period. But we reject the conclusion of pessimism, that the civilisation of the West is now doomed. In Mosley’s view, we possessed weapons which no previous civilisation possessed in the fight against ‘decadence’, and its causes ‘can now be recognised and combated’ (Union, no. 175, 14 Jul. 1951). Such ideas about history remained firmly in place throughout the UM’s existence. According to the UM’s newspaper Action in 1962, for example, the way to ‘The Greater Europe’ was to know about the past: History shows that nations stay great – or they decline into oblivion. The city states of classic Greece reached perhaps the highest plane of human achievement, yet they fell because of their own fatal dissensions. Imperial Rome ruled the known world, then decayed and collapsed before the barbarians. In the modern age each of the nation-states of Europe has illuminated history, and gone into eclipse. The UM’s monthly paper urged Europe to take action now, and sounded a tangible note of optimism: ‘There is clearly no real disaster ahead, if the world uses some commonsense. Let a greater Europe, in its own system, show the way’ (Action, no. 90, 1 Mar. 1962). Similarly, at another point in 1962, reflecting on the influence of Spengler on the ideology of the Union Movement, Robert Stanton posed the following question to readers of Action: ‘Surely the will and energy of European man can yet overcome the pessimism of the latter-day Spenglerians?’ (Action, no. 99, 1 Oct. 1962).


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The rebirth of the West? These rather ostentatious philosophical ideas about history can also be discerned in ER texts during the 1970s. Some of the main intellectuals in the National Front (NF) subscribed to a distinctly Spenglerian analysis of the past, and exhibited signs of a love–hate relationship with the German writer’s pessimistic prognosis about Western history. John Bean, for example, writing in 1970 in the NF-supporting journal Spearhead on ‘Nationalism and the Meaning of History’, warned the journal’s readers that Spengler could only give ‘a message of defeatism’ with his view that civilisations rise and disintegrate. Significantly, Bean was convinced that a distinctive cultural identity involved an awareness of history: ‘To become aware of our heritage and to develop an innate desire to preserve it from destruction by assimilation with alien cultures … is one result of searching for the meaning of history’ (Spearhead, no. 36, Sep. 1970). Similarly, in a ‘Special Issue’ of Spearhead in early 1972, the ER’s general preoccupation with overcoming ‘decline’ and bringing about ‘rebirth’ was in stark evidence again. One article, dwelling on the need for a ‘Renaissance of Western Man’, argued that the ultimate task was ‘to prove wrong the Spenglerian thesis that every civilisation meets its moment of irreversible decline and death’ (Spearhead, no. 49, Jan.–Feb. 1972). This sense of the magnitude and ‘grandeur’ of history was also very much in evidence in the BNP writings of John Tyndall. In 1990, in a long and turgid article in Spearhead, he dismissed the twentieth century as an historical ‘aberration’, claiming that, in contrast, the nineteenth century had been a phase in history with a distinct cultural identity. He predicted that, with the end of the twentieth, there would now be a cultural ‘counter-revolution’ and a return to the nation-state: ‘Our civilisation is awakening from a nightmare, and is ready again to resume history’s road!’ (Spearhead, no. 253, Mar. 1990). Such sweeping historical language often featured in Tyndall’s overall political vision. In fact, from 1982 to 1999, the BNP leader’s pessimism concerning the future of British society was combined with an optimistic belief that decisive intervention in history through strong political action could stop ‘decline’, and even reverse it. As far as Tyndall was concerned, a modern, non-liberal nationalist movement could save the nation. Such views also influenced the work of other BNP writers. Robert Colby, for example, contesting Spengler’s thesis, argued in 1996 that decline is ‘not an inevitable process’. Providing an idiosyncratic version of history stretching back to the collapse of ancient Greece and Rome, and highlighting what he claimed was the ‘catastrophe’ that has often threatened Western civilisation during its history, Colby asserted that ‘white civilisation has endured such disasters and gone on to triumph’. Surveying the West today, Colby claimed: ‘There are already signs, both in Europe and America, that white people are finally waking up to the challenge of their imminent extinction’ (Spearhead, no. 329, Jul. 1996). Indeed, a comprehensive understanding of history and its

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lessons for today (as they saw it) was always of fundamental importance to Tyndall and his close BNP ideologues. In The Eleventh Hour Tyndall called Spengler’s The Decline of the West a ‘monumental’ work, and quoted at length from it. On the other hand, in Tyndall’s diagnosis, the ‘central weakness’ of Spengler’s thesis was that he did not anticipate the ‘revolutionary challenges’ against such death forces. The BNP leader argued that: There exists a lifeline for the renewal of our civilisation that is there for the grasping if we can summon the determination to fight our way to the attainment of it. We can, in other words, prove Spengler wrong in his assertion that the West is finished; for the remedy to its potentially terminal sickness is indeed available … The formula for rebirth and renewal is on offer. (Tyndall 1988: 534–35) Although much less explicit, this view of history as both crisis and opportunity could also be detected in some of the writings produced under Nick Griffin’s stewardship of the British National Party. The organisation’s ideologues were especially keen to instil a sense of the ‘historic’ possibilities awaiting the party if members remained disciplined and dedicated to their mission. Griffin himself, for example, wrote in Identity in 2004: ‘The struggle in which we are engaged is a long-term one. At some point in the future a fortuitous combination of external circumstances could well give us the chance to shortcircuit the whole power-winning process and achieve our goal of state power far more quickly than it is reasonable to expect’ (Identity, no. 45, Jul. 2004). Griffin had also displayed obvious interest in how Britain’s problems may be part of the wider crisis of ‘the West’. At the fifth American Renaissance Conference, entitled ‘In Defence of Western Man’, held in April, 2002, Griffin gave a keynote speech on how the ‘crisis’ was a crisis of liberal elites, and on how, thanks to the BNP and other European nationalists, whites were waking up to a new political landscape (Identity, no. 20, May 2002). This premise was echoed in 2004 by Tim Heydon in Identity, who claimed that liberalism is the ‘Suicide Note’ of the West. Attacking how individualism and the liberal left had undermined the main pillars of Western culture and society over time, Heydon warned his readers: If the people of the West do not summon up the will to throw off this insidious evil, this pernicious cancer spells the end for us – the ‘Suicide of the West’. We lie like the cowering denizens of the crumbling Roman Empire at the mercy of barbarians bringing with them the new Dark Ages. They will take from us and trample underfoot everything we have known and have loved and cared for. Unless you help us to stop them. (Identity, no. 46, Aug. 2004)


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Heydon returned to some of these claims about history in 2007, when he reflected on ‘How Civilisations Decline’ over time (Identity, no. 76, Mar. 2007). Further evidence of Griffin’s sense of historic mission can also be pointed to. The BNP leader paid close attention to Samuel Huntingdon’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’ thesis (Identity, no. 64, Mar. 2006), and, in 2008, Griffin also offered his own distinctive version of ‘the crisis’ that he claimed is about to engulf the West, which he termed the ‘Peak Oil’ crisis. Taking on what he called ‘the pessimists’ who believe the end of the oil age will see a reversal back to the Stone Age, Griffin claimed that he was ‘a perpetual optimist’, and preferred ‘to side with those who believe that human ingenuity and resilience could – with rapid action to implement a sensible long-term plan – mitigate the decline’, allowing civilisation to survive a painful process of ‘powerdown’. Pointing in this case to how the British in the past had overcome a previous energy crisis, Griffin added: ‘Since succumbing to a counsel of despair would be to adopt an Eastern fatalism wholly at odds with our traditional character, let us simply resolve to have faith that we still have it in us to make a positive mark on the future as well as on the past.’ Griffin stressed to his readers in the same article that the BNP could not: Sit back and ‘wait for the collapse’ a la Mosley or theoretical Marxists. Rather, the aim is to impress upon you the absolutely unprecedented nature of the opportunities which will arise for us in the very near future, and thus to stimulate even greater efforts to build the nationalist movement now, so as to be ready to seize those opportunities. (Identity, no. 92, Jul. 2008) Significantly, in the same issue of Identity, Bea Kaye, another BNP writer, espousing the need for a ‘Modern Renaissance’ and firmly rejecting fatalism, showed strong evidence of favouring a vitalist approach to history. Kaye argued that: Man has the power to dominate circumstances to a much greater degree than he did in the past. He can fashion his own future, and even create his present. A nation, no less than an individual, possesses the willpower, the ability to learn from experience, and the authority to choose whether the world shall be hideous or handsome. (Identity, no. 92, Jul. 2008)

History as design: the role of ‘conspiracy’ The idea that there is a distinct ‘key’ to history and everything else flows from and is shaped by such a definite explanation, has also played a major role in ER ideological texts since 1945. In particular, ER writers have claimed that such a key to unlocking the mysteries of how history actually works entails having a full grasp of how people at the heart of the ‘conspiracy’ operate deviously behind the scenes, or understanding the underlying realities of ‘race’, or a combination of both.

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If we turn to the place of conspiracy theory in ER ideology, the conspiratorial view of history has been expounded by numerous elements of the post-1945 British extreme right. There has certainly been close interest on the part of academic historians in the relationship between conspiracy theory and the closely allied phenomenon of Historical Revisionism and Holocaust Denial (Billig 1978; Eatwell 1991). In truth, the conspiratorial version of history is something of a time-honoured view of history that – in essence – ascribes many, or all, of the misfortunes of British life and politics to the underhand plotting of secret, or not so secret, groups in society, such as the Jews, Communists, Freemasons, Finance Capitalists or ‘Cosmopolitans’ (see also Richardson, in this volume). There has been a long tradition within some strands of the extreme right in Britain of perceiving the world as being under the control of a vast network of conspirators. As hyper-nationalists, members of the ER who subscribe to such conspiracy theory often contrast the interests of the British nation with the ‘anti-national’ machinations of ‘internationalists’, supposed groups of secretive and manipulative non-British individuals who wish to subvert British national identity, wreck its historical and ethnic uniqueness, and ultimately force the nation to submit to a form of slavery. One of the earliest post-1945 advocates of a conspiracy approach to history in this country was Admiral Sir Barry Domvile (1878–1971). In From Admiral to Cabin Boy, published in 1947, Domvile referred to ‘Judmas’, which he called his copyright title for ‘the Judaeo-Masonic combination, which has been the principal disturbing factor in world politics for many a long day’. Utilising an explicitly ‘historical’ reading of political affairs, Domvile continued: ‘There is nothing new about Judmas; for several centuries now, it has been behind most of the wars and revolutionary movements in Europe, and to some extent in other parts of the world’ (Domvile 1947: 80). For Domvile, the aim of ‘international Jews’ was a ‘World state kept in subjection by the power of money, and working for its masters’. He continued: You may find this fantastic, but do not be too ready to laugh it away, or you will only be qualifying yourself for another British Ostrich of which there are too many in existence already. If some of us had been a little more wide awake in the past, the world might have been spared untold misery. (Domvile, 1947: 82) Domvile had strong links to ‘The Britons’, one of the most influential of the early post-1945 groups expounding the conspiracy version of history. The Britons group was a markedly anti-Semitic organisation which had been in existence since 1919 and, via its publishing arm, The Britons Publishing Society, printed and disseminated a wide variety of works by leading conspiracy theorists right up to at least the 1970s.


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A small band of committed individuals remained at the heart of the organisation, seeking to network their racial ideas across the general ER. The group, who were not interested in forming a party and engaging in mainstream political competition, had recommenced their activities within three years of the end of the Second World War, publishing new editions of the infamous forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and other works by leading conspiracy ‘historians’, such as Nesta Webster (1876–1960). The Britons Society ploughed considerable energy into drawing up new sales lists of books and pamphlets for the consumption of like-minded conspiracy enthusiasts, especially ‘historical’ material for the younger generation of British nationalists. With the launch of their regular news bulletin Free Britain in 1947, for example, The Britons appeared even more determined to disseminate their conspiracy theories to all corners of the British ER, but also to influence the ideology of the emerging new leaders of the post-war ER, and ensure they remained sufficiently ‘Jew-wise’. The core message in numerous articles in Free Britain was very much framed within a conspiratorial view of history and claims about how history works according to a tangible ‘design’. Admiral Domvile was given a regular page in Free Britain and used this to attack the progress of what he termed the ‘One-World plot’ during the twentieth century (Free Britain, no. 143, Apr. 1954). In an early use of the term ‘revisionist’ in British ER circles, Domvile also argued in 1954 that historical revisionists in the USA were ‘courageous individuals’ who were trying to tell the historical truth and counteract the effects on the public mind of the versions of history put out by the ‘Court Historians’ (Free Britain, no. 151, Dec. 1954). It is important to note that a fair number of the conspiracy theory books printed and re-printed by The Britons, especially material by Nesta Webster (who was in many ways the ultimate arch-conspiracy historian), were available for sale on the reading lists of the NF, the BNP and various other ER groups in Britain for many years. The first chairman of the National Front, A.K. Chesterton (1896–1973), certainly subscribed to the view that history is manipulated by hidden forces. Chesterton’s The New Unhappy Lords: An Exposure of Power Politics, first published in 1965, was a classic example of the conspiratorial approach to history, and patently owed a debt to the work of Nesta Webster. In the foreword to his book, Chesterton noted that a conspiracy ‘by its very nature is secret’, but when a conspiracy ‘has been active for many years’, there were bound to be occasions when it revealed its existence. He made it clear that he thought that the ‘policy objective’ of the conspiracy had become known, and that there had been ‘continuity of the policy pursued to achieve it in one country after another, with no turning aside during the course of several decades’. Chesterton continued: Whether or not one takes a deterministic view of human life, multitudinous events have the appearance of being accidental. Even so, where

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policies all over the world are shaped to the attainment of one end, the explanation that they can be traced to a large number of accidents or coincidences places a greater strain on credulity than does the belief that they have been deliberately contrived. (Chesterton 1965: 9–10) Chesterton, evidently keen to justify the lack of annotation and his failure to cite sources in the book, also wrote: Readers accustomed to take happenings in the world at their face value may find it hard, if not impossible, to accept this conspiratorial version of history, which at first sight may appear to them far-fetched. Yet many minds, working upon widely differing data, have reached the same broad conclusions, and I can but request patience from readers new to the theme – and a fair hearing. They are asked to study such facts as have been ascertained, and to judge whether, on a weighing of probabilities, the deductions based upon the facts are logical and make good sense. (Chesterton 1965: 10) One of Chesterton’s willing pupils for this conspiratorial view of history was John Tyndall. In his autobiographical book The Eleventh Hour Tyndall acknowledged his debt to Chesterton, and it is no coincidence that Tyndall also quoted from Mrs Webster’s work (Tyndall 1988: 142). A whole chapter of his book (chapter 5) was also devoted to the question, ‘Is There a Conspiracy?’. Even during his ‘respectable’ years in the NF in the 1970s, Tyndall had been prone to conspiracy theory, even employing the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion when writing about ‘The Jewish Question’ in 1976 (Spearhead, no. 92, Mar. 1976). This obsession was always an undercurrent in his subsequent politics. In fact, during and after his time as BNP leader, Tyndall was happy to allow a number of BNP writers to contribute blatantly conspiratorial articles to Spearhead (e.g. no. 170, Dec. 1982; no. 247, Sep. 1989; and no. 412, Jun. 2003). Two years before his death, Tyndall also returned to the topic himself with an article entitled ‘Conspiracy Unveiled!’. Reflecting on his engagement with conspiracy analysis nearly four and a half decades after he had first encountered it, Tyndall wrote: To cut a long story short, in due course I came to believe beyond any question of doubt that the element of conspiracy did exist in the affairs of the modern world, in that there definitely were certain currents driving the nations away from their traditional national loyalties and towards a one-world order. He alleged that these currents were being driven by ‘forces of immense power’ but now, in the modern world, whereas before only ‘a small minority of the


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politically conscious’ could observe it, millions were able to see the conspiracy unfolding (Spearhead, no. 414, Aug. 2003). Over time, the precise source of the ‘conspiracy’ has often varied in ER texts, but the general message has always been the same: there is very little that is ‘accidental’ in history; everything that is deemed anti-British or against British interests must be the product or grand ‘design’ of secret underhand forces. In A.K. Chesterton’s case, the main target for his criticism was the United Nations Organisation (UNO), with its ‘internationalist’ drive to subvert national identity since its foundation. A similar theme was contained in NF publications, where the European Economic Community (EEC) was portrayed as seeking to put Britons into ‘bondage’ (Spearhead, no. 83, Apr. 1975). In the case of the Griffinite BNP, the main target had often been either the threat to ‘nationhood’ by the corporate ‘elites’ of the European Union (EU) or the multicultural ‘totalitarianism’ of Westminster’s liberal establishment (Identity, no. 97, Dec. 2008; no. 98, Jan. 2009; and no. 99, Feb. 2009). On one occasion in 2005, the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group was also singled out by the BNP. Identity carried an article by Paul Flavelle entitled ‘The Hidden Hand’, which was billed by the magazine as exposing ‘a powerful secret group that has made many of the decisions that have led to the decline of the West’. The very term ‘Hidden Hand’ in itself was replete with historical meaning, being a familiar coded term employed by anti-Semites as far back as The Britons in the 1920s. Unsurprisingly, Flavelle’s article drew upon the conspiratorial work of nationalist writers such as A.K. Chesterton (Identity, no. 51, Jan. 2005). The BNP’s claims about the Bilderberg Group’s supposed long-term campaign to ‘rule the world’ were also repeated in 2009 (Identity, no. 102, 2009).

History as biology: the role of ‘race’ Another highly prominent version of history in ER texts since 1945 has been a ‘racial’ view of the past. In this interpretation, the primary emphasis has been on race, biology and genetics as the main keys to understanding past events. In many ways, this version of history, favoured by a diverse range of thinkers located mainly in the racial nationalist strand of the British ER, is closely linked to the ‘conspiratorial’ typology, and there has been much cross-over and fertilisation between the two philosophies. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, one of the most active of the postwar racist ideologues was Arnold Leese (1878–1956), who used his Jewish Information Bureau and his publication Gothic Ripples (which he launched near the end of the war) to influence and mould a new generation of ‘Jewwise’ thinkers in Britain. As far as Leese was concerned, as he put it in Gothic Ripples in 1948, ‘All is Race’. But while Leese claimed that ‘Race’ is the basis of politics, and that this could be demonstrated through a careful and thorough study of history, in his eyes few people in Britain realised this thanks to Jewish propaganda. The object of Nationalism, he argued, must be the

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preservation of ‘the Race’ (Gothic Ripples, no. 43, 18 Oct. 1948). Again, he repeated in Gothic Ripples in 1953 that race was the ‘basis of all politics’ and that the central problem of politics was the preservation and ‘survival’ of the race (Gothic Ripples, no. 99, 30 Mar. 1953). Leese was determined to break what he saw as the liberal and Jewish ‘censorship’ of this racial and historical reality. Gothic Ripples showed copious evidence of an obsession with history, and was often replete with dire warnings about what might happen if people ignored the principal ‘racial’ lessons of the past. In fact, Leese was unquestionably a good example of the way that conspiracy theory and biological racism could be completely entwined when theorising about both the past and the present. Although Sir Oswald Mosley, hardly a friend or fellow-traveller of Leese and the racial nationalists, was himself prone at times to insert a biological angle into his own construction of the British ‘story’, Leese remained highly suspicious about this, raising questions about Mosley’s personal ‘racial’ pedigree and attacking the UM leader as a charlatan who was being manipulated by Jewish puppet-masters. Aware of Mosley’s ambivalence about Spengler, Leese also turned his guns on the German historian’s writings and criticised Spengler as misunderstanding the role of race in history (Gothic Ripples, no. 66, 15 Jul. 1950). Interestingly, during the course of the 1950s and 1960s, some of Oswald Mosley’s ideological rivals and critics on the racial nationalist right in Britain, while in profound disagreement with his ‘Europe-a-Nation’ solution to the challenge of decline, nevertheless still subscribed to a remarkably similar fascination with the idea of defying Spenglerian predictions about inevitable historical doom. However, their reading of history owed a huge debt to Arnold Leese, and was constructed to emphasise history’s fundamental roots in ‘race’ and biology. Good examples of this mindset appeared in the writings of one of Leese’s close disciples, Colin Jordan (1923–2009), who is often viewed as the godfather of British neo-Nazism. An article published in 1966, entitled ‘National Socialism: A Philosophical Appraisal’, illustrates Jordan’s views well. Rather than placing faith in ‘Europe’ as saviour of the West, Jordan made the case for ‘race’ and the ‘folk ideal’, and set out what he saw as the reasons for the revival and durability of ‘National Socialism’ in the post-war world (see also Jackson, in this volume). In Jordan’s estimation, the creed had lived on in history because it was ‘synonymous with higher man’s will to survive’ and, beyond the ‘particularities of time and place’, National Socialism was ‘nothing less than an orientation of the mind’, its roots going back to ancient Greece and Rome, and to the ‘Nordic tribes’ of early Europe. Thus, according to Jordan: ‘History is a saga of social decay and renewal. National Socialism is the twentieth century’s remedy of renewal for the great degeneration of modern times’, it being ‘immensely more than a transitory political scheme. It is a historic tendency of rebirth: our age’s movement of renaissance, a movement revolutionary in


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scope and spirit’, which sought no compromise with the present order. The significance of the ‘folk’, argued Jordan, was as a ‘racial community’, and man’s life as part of this was ‘interwoven with life of the whole, not only present, but past and future, for while men come and go the folk lives on, continuous, eternal, providing its members perform their duty to it’ (Jordan 1966: 5–7). It is also salutary to note that, in the 1970s, although the NF was keen to dissociate itself from Jordan-style neo-Nazism, the old obsessions with race often bubbled to the surface in the Front’s internal ideological publications. In particular, NF ideologues such as Richard Verrall seized upon Sociobiology and new developments in genetics in order to construct a view of history as being shaped by immutable underlying forces rooted in nature (Spearhead, no. 127, Mar. 1979). Similarly, during John Tyndall’s leadership of the BNP, as well as regularly sounding forth about his own views on the history of the white race, he gave space in Spearhead to the views of other ‘experts’ on racial history, such as the ‘cultural historian’ Arthur Rix. In one such article (entitled ‘Liberal Censorship: The Rewriting of History’), Rix complained about the ‘half-truths, distortions and outright lies promulgated by historians within the leftist establishment’. These ‘officially-approved academics’ were, according to Rix, minimising the importance of ‘white civilisation’ and ‘magnifying the achievements of non-whites’. Combining ‘race’ with conspiracy theory, Rix claimed that, until 1945, it was universally agreed that the most important civilisations were those created by the race which was referred to as ‘Aryan’, but now it was important to ‘expose the way in which historical facts fundamental to the heritage, pride and very existence of white people, have been twisted or concealed to fit in with the perverted ideological agenda of the egalitarian academic establishment’ (Spearhead, no. 332, Oct. 1996). Although no longer leader of the BNP after 1999, Tyndall still used his journal Spearhead to promote a notably ‘racial’ stance on history, wherein history was interpreted as being subject to the laws of Darwinian natural selection. In a ‘Vocabulary for the Politically Aware’, published regularly in the journal, key terms and concepts were set out and ‘defined’ for the benefit of readers. Liberalism, the journal claimed, sought to invert the process of natural selection by ‘exalting’ weakness and degeneracy: ‘By contrast, the Race-and-Nation philosophy is entirely in accordance with the cosmic scheme of things and must therefore ultimately triumph’ (Spearhead, no. 412, Jun. 2003). Although the ‘modernised’ BNP under Griffin sought to move away from Tyndall’s hardline racism, and instead to stress the role of racial ‘difference’ in history, the fascination with biology and genetics was still apparent in BNP ideological material (Identity, no. 59, Oct. 2005). Moreover, despite its official adoption of ‘ethno-nationalism’ in place of racial nationalism in 2006, BNP writers still demonstrated, at times, a notably strong interest in what can only be described as a ‘racial’ analysis of history, in the sense of perceiving biological conceptions of race as explaining the rise of white Western civilisation

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and the historical background of the British people. As the introduction to one article in Identity put it in 2007, a ‘genetic history of the British Isles’ showed that the ‘essence of our British nationalism lies exclusively in our blood’ (Identity, no. 79, Jun. 2007). A striking example of this continued adherence to a biological analysis of the past could also be discerned in the work of Arthur Kemp, who joined the BNP in the mid-1990s and rapidly rose through the ranks after Nick Griffin became chairman in 1999. Kemp became manager of ‘Excalibur’, the BNP’s sales arm and, for a while, as one of the leading ideologues in the BNP, he ensured that ‘Celtic’ and ‘Nordic’ historical iconography was very prominent in BNP merchandise. His most influential work, however, was March of the Titans: A History of the White Race (1996), which was strongly praised by the BNP (Identity, no. 13, Sep. 2001). In this lengthy and ponderous multi-volume study, Kemp argued that ‘race’ (which he defined in biologically deterministic terms) is the driving force of history, and from this flows ‘ethnicity’ and ‘culture’. He claimed that ethnicity and culture are directly dependent on each other, ‘and flow from each other in a symbiotic relationship’. According to Kemp, his book thus dealt ‘primarily with white racial history, and flowing from that, white ethnic groups and cultures’. Echoing some of the more Nazi-style racial theorists, Kemp claimed that the ‘science of genetics’ had ‘only come into its own’ in the last ten years of the twentieth century, but had proven to be a major aid in tracking racial history. Mixing his obsession with race and genetics with a sweeping neo-Spenglerian ‘Rise and Fall’ approach to history, Kemp contended that, as soon as a society loses its racial homogeneity, it will change and succumb to decline, a ‘simple fact’, often ignored by historians. Pointing to the ‘dissolution’ of the Roman Empire as an example of this process, Kemp asserted on his website: ‘This is an immutable law of nature. It is the iron rule upon which all human endeavour is built – that history is a function of race.’2

History as ‘culture’: constructing an alternative past Another way in which history has been constructed and used by the ER in Britain since 1945 has been via the adoption of a ‘cultural’ interpretation of the past. From the early stages of the post-war re-emergence of the British ER, a number of far-right ideologues had concluded that, in order to win back or attain legitimacy in politics, they would also have to adopt a cultural approach and take their battle into the wider domains of society. Mosley, for example, saw his new network of ‘Book Clubs’, literary societies and philosophy/ history ‘discussion circles’, set up in 1946–47, as an important tool for laying the groundwork for the resurrection of his movement and the re-insertion of his political ideas into the mainstream of society. He saw it as vital to ‘permeate’ civil organisations and intellectual groups with cultural ideas that were sympathetic to his new post-war vision of politics (Thurlow 2000: 132).


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This awareness of what was later called the ‘cultural struggle’ to win the hearts and minds of people was a premise that intermittently reappeared in ER writings over the subsequent decades, but has received much more prominence in recent years with the emergence of the BNP. Significantly, ‘history’ and the defence of heritage have often played a major role in this line of argument. Some of the first signs of this rediscovery of culture could be seen in the 1980s. During this period, some of the more reflective members of the National Front made the case for a dedicated policy of raising cultural awareness of British heritage and highlighting those figures from the past who had contributed to this. In a key strategy article in the NF journal New Nation in 1984, for example, Nick Griffin put forward some forthright views on ‘Culture and Nationalism’. The young NF ideologue was critical of what he called the ‘crippling narrow-mindedness’ of some other British nationalists, and argued: ‘There is not a single example in modern European history of a national political revolution taking place before that country has first seen a cultural revolution.’ In Griffin’s view, ‘cultural nationalism’ could make a ‘favourable backdrop, the sympathetic climate of opinion which is vital for the final victory’. He explained further: Our Nationalism in fact takes root in the very depths of Britain’s cultural heritage. Looking back on the history of these islands, there is scarcely a great man of letters, radical political thinker or figure who does not have something to say to us today. Referring to the threats to ‘national and cultural identity’, Griffin declared: If we are to recover that identity, it is up to us to rediscover the richness of our culture and to show our people that our own heritage can offer something better than alien baubles, decadence and corruption. We must remember our past, for therein lies the key to our future! (New Nation, no. 6, Winter 1984) This approach to the importance of wider culture as an aid to political success, especially knowledge of the past and its heritage, was certainly in evidence in John Tyndall’s writings. He wrote: ‘In every way possible we must draw from the best of our own national traditions the inspiration for the movement of British revival of which we are part’ (Tyndall 1988: 521). Utilising Mosley-style discourse on the need for national rebirth, Tyndall further argued that ‘our movement must become much more than merely a political one’. The ‘recovery’ of the ‘national character’ involved a ‘mission of total regeneration of a people – in mind, body and spirit – as a necessary prerequisite of political recovery’ (Spearhead, no. 248, Oct. 1989). Together with various other BNP writers, Tyndall proclaimed that the task of winning the ‘cultural’ war in wider society was a necessary precursor to ultimate success in the political arena.

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Such views were firmly echoed by his BNP successor, Nick Griffin. Building on the views he had put forward in his former NF days, some of Griffin’s writings in the mid-1990s had already returned to the idea of the need for a ‘cultural war’ strategy. He seemed to be especially impressed with general European ER’s ideas concerning the need for a cultural ‘War of Position’, particularly the attempts by thinkers associated with the French New Right to formulate a ‘Gramsciism of the Right’ (Woodbridge 2004: 140). After Griffin became BNP leader, this stance could be seen in both the BNP’s public and internal pronouncements. Typically, in their 2005 General Election manifesto, the party stated that it was embroiled in ‘a cultural war’ in Britain (BNP 2005: 31). Further evidence of this line of thought could be also seen in various articles Griffin penned for Identity. In 2007, for example, in an article entitled ‘Building Nationalist Strongholds’, Griffin pointed to the need for non-electoral nationalist strongholds where the BNP could ‘raise popular consciousness of our identity and traditions and the threats to them’, such as community projects, youth clubs, Helping Hand schemes for pensioners, community patrols to curb anti-social behaviour, and St George’s Day committees (Identity, no. 81, Aug. 2007). Likewise, in an interview given to the Counter Currents website in January 2011, Griffin commented at one stage: ‘The radical left were absolutely right in their long march through the institutions. They could see that this Gramscian position is not just about politics; it’s about a much broader movement. And that’s very, very important.’3 History, heritage and ideas about the past, have often been at the very heart of such claims. The vision of the need for a ‘cultural struggle’ has been shaped by BNP claims that liberalism has ‘manufactured’ a false version of history which downplays or censors the role that ‘great men’, ‘great heroes’, national heritage and ‘indigenous’ peoples have played in British history (Identity, no. 59, Oct. 2005). Commenting critically on a report from the Historical Association in 2007, for example, the BNP’s Lee Watts warned members that history ‘is being doctored to fit a multicultural society’ (Identity, no. 85, Dec. 2007). In response to what they perceive as the ‘battle’ for British history, BNP ideologues have therefore sought to promote and embed a more traditional or ‘real’ version of history which, for example, restores cultural ‘identity’, awareness of tradition, heroic historical narratives or particular historical periods (such as the age of the British Empire) back to their ‘rightful’ place in the British story, maintaining the memory of the ‘grandeur’ and distinctiveness of Britain’s past and the achievements and sacrifices of its people. Tellingly, when the BNP were given a rare (and highly controversial) public opportunity in a university student newspaper to persuade young people ‘Why You Should Vote British National Party’, the article told readers that the BNP ‘exists to help prevent the destruction of the traditional culture and identity of our ancestral home land – the British isles’. When this article was also reproduced in Identity, it was accompanied by images of the heritage site Stonehenge and an Anglo-Saxon helmet (Identity, no. 72, Nov. 2006).


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History as heroism: restoring the ‘heroic’ past Similarly, the BNP have been very keen to persuade both supporters and potential voters that the party is merely defending what the great military and political heroes of the past, such as steadfast leaders like Nelson and Churchill, or ‘ordinary’ heroes such as the soldiers of the First World War and the 1940 Battle of Britain fighter pilots, were also doing – defending the British Isles and national identity from ‘invasion’. This has not just taken a written text-based cultural form, but has involved the extensive use of glossy visual imagery and historical symbols on the front covers of and within party publications, or has involved the sale of ‘historic’ and nostalgic music. In 2005, for example, one issue of Identity carried Horatio Nelson on the front cover, with the famous slogan ‘England Expects’ (Identity, no. 59, Oct. 2005). Moreover, the magazine has carried images of war memorials and poppy fields on its covers, with one issue also posing the question ‘What did they die for?’ (Identity, no. 72, Nov. 2006). This appropriation of ‘historic’ figures, imagery and iconography has not always gone to plan, however. When the BNP used the famous wartime song ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’ by Vera Lynn on one of its music compilation albums of ‘patriotic’ and historic songs, there was strong public outrage and criticism, including from veterans and the singer herself (Guardian, 19 Feb. 2009). Furthermore, when the BNP employed images of Winston Churchill and a Battle of Britain Spitfire in its 2009 European Election campaign leaflets and literature (a campaign billed as ‘The NEW Battle for Britain’), again commentators were able to point to the evident historical errors and blatant distortions this entailed (Independent, 22 May 2009; Daily Mail, 26 May 2009; Guardian, 27 May 2009). In essence, during Nick Griffin’s leadership of the BNP, there was abundant evidence in party literature and propaganda of an attempt to construct a highly selective narrative about the role and importance of heroes, great individuals or watershed events in British history. This had served two purposes: first, to legitimise and reinforce a sense of proud cultural inheritance and tradition among BNP adherents, and second, to persuade members that what they are doing in the present is merely the latest stage in a long line of past heroic endeavour. As one BNP writer put it in 2007, it ‘is vital that we as nationalists learn from history’ (Identity, no. 75, Feb. 2007). On the other hand, the choice of who is deemed ‘historic’ and important has tended to chop and change with the passage of time and according to which particular contemporary message the BNP has wished to convey. Shortly after Griffin became leader in 1999, for example, the party began to utilise a new emblem in the form of Alfred the Great (848/9–899). An image of the Saxon king was used as part of the backdrop to the stage at rallies and press conferences, and was placed alongside the new party slogans of ‘Freedom, Security, Identity, and Democracy’ (Searchlight, no. 310, Apr. 2001). It

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was also used on the masthead of ‘historical’ sections of the BNP website in 2002, and as part of the party’s merchandise sales branding. The political symbolism of this was especially important to the modernisers around Griffin: they evidently wanted to present a ‘great’ figure from the British past as the personification of what they saw as the ‘traditional’ national virtues of strength and courage, the same values supposedly being defended by the BNP in the present. In sum, the message was that, in the same way as King Alfred had united his kingdom and fought against ‘outsiders’, the contemporary BNP were protecting this ancient legacy and were engaged in such a struggle in the twenty-first century. Griffin’s ‘modernisation’ was thus a process still dependent on trawling the past for historic figures who could reinforce the party’s contemporary political symbolism and ideological message. However, it is noticeable that the use of King Alfred is now quite rare and the party at national level has moved on to the utilisation of other iconic figures. A comparable process could be discerned at local branch level, where ‘valiant’ local and regional figures from the past were appropriated: the BNP’s new Fenland Group in East Anglia, for example, formed in 2000, pointed to Hereward the Wake (1035–1072), the eleventh-century leader of local Fenland resistance to the Norman conquest, as embodying the necessary ‘heroic’ qualities needed for present-day battles. Interestingly, the new Fenland Group was given help by the appropriately named ‘Hereward Club’, which sought to convey the appearance of being merely a ‘history club’, but which was in reality a front-name used by members of the nearby Peterborough BNP (Spearhead, no. 371, Jan. 2000: 27; Identity, no. 52, Feb. 2005). Similarly, in Liverpool in 2011, keen to instil a sense of ‘heritage’ in their members and to present themselves to the public as defending historic ‘rights’, the local BNP decided to celebrate ‘Magna Carta Day’, informing supporters that: Magna Carta Day, is the anniversary of the greatest ever acknowledgement of the FREEDOM of the PEOPLE of BRITAIN. On this day, in 1212AD, King John was forced to sign the re-introduction of our ancient rights, which had been granted by King Alfred the Great (the only English Monarch ever to be acknowledged as ‘Great’). To reinforce the historical significance of this for the present, the branch also emphasised that the ‘people of Britain’ must never lose sight of this, ‘and we must defend our rights, no matter what’. But the branch’s love of King Alfred has tended to have a ‘flavour of the month’ quality about it, serving particular and immediate campaign purposes only. At other times, a key historic figure used by the branch in its public profile has tended to be St George.4 It is also important to note that the triumphs and sacrifices of past heroes and great historical figures have also been utilised to help the BNP with its finances in the present. A key revenue arm of the BNP under Griffin had been


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the ‘Trafalgar Club’, where annual fund-raising dinners and visits to historic locations have been held on the eve of the annual anniversary of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, and Horatio Nelson has been held up as an example of the heroic qualities of the past that BNP supporters should emulate today (The Voice of Freedom, no. 21, Nov. 2001). The influence of the strategy ideas of other European ER parties in the BNP’s ‘cultural’ battle for Britain should also not be overlooked. In more recent years, undoubtedly influenced by the French National Front’s employment of the iconic historical image of Joan of Arc in their propaganda, the figure of St George has played an increasingly important symbolic function as a historical and national icon in BNP ideological output, with the BNP’s journal of ideas regularly proclaiming the need to celebrate the English Saint (see for example, the front covers of Identity, no. 43, Apr. 2004; no. 64, Apr. 2006; and no. 77, Apr. 2007). In particular, the BNP has been determined to appropriate and politicise the annual St George’s Day (23 April), and has attempted to depict the figure of St George as exemplifying the BNP’s own chivalric ‘last stand’ against the encroachment of non-indigenous cultures. At the launch of the BNP’s General Election manifesto in 2010, for example (held on St George’s Day in Stoke-on-Trent), the party ensured that a member was present on the stage dressed as St George while Griffin delivered his speech. Again, serious historians have found the BNP’s claims about St George both unhistorical and highly problematic, and recent studies have pointed to the fact that St George was actually a multicultural figure (Riches 2005; Collins 2012).

Conclusion: the continuing relevance of ‘history’ for the extreme right As the foregoing discussion has demonstrated, there is a wide range of evidence that shows the ideologues of the British extreme right have put considerable effort into ‘thinking historically’ since 1945 and continue to do so today. Some ER thinkers have tried to explain historical events through what they have claimed are the deeper patterns, designs or meanings of history, such as engaging with Spenglerian ‘inevitability’, or claiming to have found hidden ‘keys’ to history and pointing to conspiratorial forces or deterministic conceptions of race. Other ER ideologues have openly utilised a cultural version of history as part of their ‘battle’ to win support in wider civil society in Britain or to promote their canvassing and other operations in the contemporary political arena. In truth, culture has regularly taken centre stage in the ER’s political strategies. In the British ER’s version of history, especially in the forms espoused by the BNP in recent years, perceptions of major past events and ‘great’ individuals, narratives, stories, memories, emotive images and symbols have all been employed to construct and give meaning to the extreme right’s imagined and mythologised version of Britishness and the nation. In its own way, the BNP has not only followed previous British ER projects to ‘politicise’

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culture, but has sought to manufacture its own (highly questionable) version of history in a British rendering of the culture wars that were witnessed in the USA during the 1990s. If anything, given its recent electoral decline, the BNP’s attempts to promote a historically aware culture have become even more marked as the party struggles to hold on to its diminishing membership, and to portray itself as making a historic last stand against liberalism and non-British ‘outside’ creeds. The ideologues of the British ER since 1945 and up to the present have certainly been very keen indeed to raise awareness of the past and to ‘educate’ the public in the lessons and contemporary importance of history. Ultimately, however, the ideologues of the ER have been, and remain, very poor historians, with little regard for empirical evidence or anything that might challenge or contradict their current ideological convictions.

Notes 1 Tyndall, J., 2004. Speech at the 2004 White Nationalist Conference, Louisiana, at: [Accessed 9 Mar. 2012]. 2 Kemp, A., 2011. March of the Titans: A History of the White Race (summary), at: [Accessed 5 Mar. 2012]. 3 Penrose, M., 2011. Interview with Nick Griffin, 15 Jan. 2011, at: [Accessed 13 Mar. 2012]. 4 Liverpool BNP Branch, 2011. Magna Carta Day 15 June, at: http://liverpoolbnp. com [Accessed on 17 Mar. 2012].

References Billig, M. (1978) Fascists: A Social Psychological View of the National Front. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. BNP (British National Party) (2005) Rebuilding British Democracy: British National Party General Election Manifesto 2005. Powys: BNP. Chesterton, A.K. (1965) The New Unhappy Lords: An Exposure of Power Politics. London: The Candour Publishing Company. Collins, M. (2012) St. George and the Dragons: The Making of English Identity. London: CreativeSpace. Domvile, B. (1947) From Admiral to Cabin Boy. London: The Boswell Publishing Co. Eatwell, R. (1991) ‘The Holocaust Denial: A Study in Propaganda Technique’, in Cheles, L. et al. (eds) Neo-fascism in Europe. Harlow: Longman. Jordan, C. (1966) ‘National Socialism: A Philosophical Appraisal’, National Socialist World, 1 (Spring): 5–7. Mosley, O. (1947) The Alternative. Ramsbury: Mosley Publications. Mosley, O. (1961) Mosley – Right or Wrong? London: Lion Books. Riches, S. (2005) St. George: Hero, Martyr and Myth. Stroud: The History Press. Spengler, O. (1918, 1922). The Decline of the West, 1991 edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Thurlow, R. (1981) ‘Destiny and Doom: Spengler, Hitler and British Fascism’, Patterns of Prejudice, 15(2): 17–33. Thurlow, R. (2000) Fascism in Modern Britain. Stroud: Sutton Publishing.


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Tyndall, J. (1988) The Eleventh Hour: A Call for British Rebirth, 3rd edn. Welling: Albion Press. Woodbridge, S. (2004) ‘Purifying the Nation: Critiques of Cultural Decadence and Decline in British Neo-Fascist Ideology’, in Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T.P. (eds.) The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain. London: I.B. Tauris.


Cultures of space Spatialising the National Front Thomas Linehan

Introduction This chapter will seek to introduce a spatial component into post-1945 British fascist studies by considering the role played by space in important areas of fascist political life and culture by focusing on the activities of one of the main far-right organisations of the post-war era, the National Front (NF). In some areas of NF political life and culture, the spatial component is obvious. Street-based activity became an important means of self-definition for NF activists, as the space of the street helped aid the broader goal of forging a collective neo-fascist political and cultural identity. Access to the space of the street became a site of political struggle as fascists asserted their ‘right’ to traverse the nation’s streets, some of which were deemed to have symbolic value for fascist identity. This was particularly the case during the phase of heightened NF activity and growth in the 1970s when high-profile street processions became one of the Front’s principal means of attempting to communicate with a wider audience. This chapter will scrutinise the National Front procession and, in so doing, will also consider the way that NF spatial practices sacralised particular spaces in the struggle to appropriate the streets for fascism. Often this process of ascribing value to selective spaces was achieved through ritual, which served the aim of endowing such spaces with a sacred aura. This chapter will consider these street-based political struggles for space in a further related sense, namely the National Front’s attempt to access space in the face of the tenacious opposition of a range of political rivals determined to deny fascism the space to grow. As well as finding its space squeezed by leftist and other shades of political opposition, the NF had to contend with the dominant liberal capitalist mainstream space, an avaricious, all-encompassing space which was reluctant to tolerate or accommodate rival or oppositional spatialities, whether of the far right or the far left. The spatial component was evident in another important area of National Front political life and culture. The racial ideology of the NF was heavily infused with spatial concerns. The NF viewed the British nation-state through the lens of race and space. Viewing Britain as a ‘place’ with a clearly


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demarcated racial identity and culture, the NF imagined grave threats to white ‘British’ cultural identity in the changing post-war circumstances of immigration and increased movement of peoples across national borders. The NF would articulate a reactionary politics based on race, place and an exclusionary white ‘British’ cultural identity as one response to the arrival of those they perceived to be unwelcome ‘strangers’ to Britain’s shores. Before we turn to engage with the above themes, we should specify how the concept of spatiality is being defined and applied in relation to this chapter. This will entail an excursion into some of the recent academic scholarship and historiography on space and the spatial, including some of the scholarly literature on the spatiality of political and social movements. This focus on the literature and the conceptual terrain of spatiality will form the basis of the next section.

Defining space To begin with, this chapter rejects the idea of space as a neutral background against which political action is played out. Space is not a fixed, pre-existing territorial backdrop against which political activity takes place (Pugh 2009). Neither is space static or a closed system. Space is, rather, ‘always in process’, in the words of Doreen Massey (2005: 11). To be more specific, space is the sphere of a quite complex series of social, material and technical processes, inter-connections, networks and inter-relations that operate within and even beyond a given society or nation-state. In the modern era, this complex and dynamic interaction of processes which encompasses the national, local and transnational has given rise to modern ‘abstract space’, a space which, particularly during the twentieth century, had assumed a quite distinct globalising and homogenising character. It needs to be stressed here that one of the key driving forces in the creation of modern ‘abstract space’ was the dynamic of modern capitalist development. A number of scholars have emphasised this ‘relational’ and dynamic idea of the spatial, space as the outcome of a broad spectrum of national, local and transnational flows, networks and inter-connections (see, for instance, Amin and Thrift 2002; Amin 2004). The scholarship on space has highlighted another dimension to the concept of modern space which we need to take account of when considering the efforts of political and social movements to bring about change in society, as with the National Front. Every ascendant ‘mode of production’, as the writings of Henri Lefebvre have made clear, needs to produce ‘its own space’, and then set about consolidating this space as the accepted and dominant space in society (Lefebvre 1991: 31). During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in particular, modern capitalism would pursue this goal with particularly ruthless efficiency. For David Harvey (1989: 232), the gradual consolidation of the power of the new capitalist elites and the successful reproduction of their system was greatly facilitated by highly efficient spatial organising and their ‘superior command of space’. The point here to stress in terms of our analysis

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of the spatial activities of the National Front is that the new spatial order was highly antagonistic towards rival spatialities. In a memorable comment, Henri Lefebvre (1991: 370) stated that the ‘abstract space’ of capitalism, ‘which is the tool of domination, asphyxiates whatever is conceived within it’. In a technologically advanced modern society, as with Britain in the post-1945 era, the pervasive control exercised by capitalism and its dense network of institutions, technologies and communications over space would clearly pose problems for a movement seeking to effect political change, as with the National Front. The scholarship on space has highlighted another feature of modern space that we should be mindful of when considering the issue of spatiality and the National Front. This speaks to the relative importance of place and place-based political struggles in a modern world increasingly dominated by the globalising and homogenising tendencies of modern capitalist ‘abstract space’. Some scholars have stressed the importance and prevalence of place or place-based ‘territorial’ issues in political conflict situations in the modern period. According to David Harvey (1989: 271–3), a privileging of place and an engagement in a highly place-bound politics was one reaction to a world perceived to be undergoing a process of rapidly accelerating and disconcerting spatial homogenisation as a consequence of capitalist development. This reaction had become quite pronounced from the late nineteenth century in many European nation-states experiencing capitalist modernisation, Harvey tells us. Henceforth, increasingly as the spatial juggernaut of modern capitalism accelerated during later decades, ‘the identity of place was reaffirmed in the midst of the growing abstractions of space’ (Harvey 1989: 272). This new politics of place could often be reactionary. As the networks and flows of modern capitalist development impacted on identity and related notions of ‘belonging’, particularly at moments of acute political tension and conflict, the politics of place could fuel a far-right agenda emphasising the supposedly alternative, ‘higher’ ideals of ‘rootedness’ and ‘community’. This was certainly the case in the Third Reich. Notions of ‘rootedness’, ‘community’ and ‘belonging’ pervaded Nazi thinking and would spawn an almost mystical attachment to place or nation (see Griffin 2007: 321–4). It need hardly be mentioned that the Nazi desire to cling to something ‘rooted’ or ‘eternal’ as a counter-weight to the turbulence and psychological terrors thrown up by a rapidly changing modern world, namely the supposedly ‘permanent’ spiritual and metaphysical values of place or national community, was an unambiguously reactionary racist undertaking. Thus, the idea of ‘community’ being projected was one perceived as racially homogenous and exclusionary. Though shorn of the mystical and metaphysical assumptions of the Nazis’ celebration of race and place, the National Front would also promote a cultural politics of race, place and national community defined in a narrow, reactionary way in terms of an exclusively white ‘British’ racial identity, culture and nation-state. Before we conclude these observations on place, it should be pointed out that other scholars who have sought to incorporate spatiality into their


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understanding of political and social movements are less inclined to privilege the role of place in their deliberations. Instead, they tend to pursue an approach which calls attention to the critical role in political conflict situations played by wider national, and particularly transnational, flows and networks. Thus, in his recent study of the democratic spatial practices engaged in by Thomas Hardy’s London Corresponding Society, David Featherstone (2007) has argued that geographies of resistance are always the product of multiple and diverse spatial influences and connections which derive from a range of national and transnational, as well as local, sources (see also Featherstone 2009). In adopting this more ‘relational’ approach, this scholarship eschews those historical accounts which represent political conflict situations as being overly determined by place-bound influences and factors.

Spatialising social and political movements Before we turn to the matter of spatialising the National Front, we should attempt to summarise some of the key points mentioned above which speak to the issue of space and political and social movements. First, it needs to be stressed that ‘any group that wishes to make some changes to society and seeks to bring about change will engage in some form of spatially located action’ (Hetherington 1998: 123). Second, the politics of the NF did not occur in a spatial void. Rather, its political activities unfolded in the context of another quite significant space, namely the dominant ‘abstract space’ of capitalism and the liberal capitalist state. This dominant mainstream space, moreover, had the power to manipulate and restrict the space at the disposal of political ‘fringe’ movements like the NF. Third, we need to take account of the role that place plays in spatial and political struggles. Fourth, as well as being sensitive to the importance of place in our analysis, we must also view spatial conflicts in broader relational terms which take account of wider flows and networks, usually of a national though sometimes of a transnational nature. Fifth, movements seeking to bring about change, as with an extreme right-wing group like the National Front, would also have to engage with the rival spatialities of political opponents determined to disrupt their progress, namely the anti-fascist or ‘anti-Nazi’ movement in the case of opposition to the NF.

Spatialising the National Front Between 1945 and the late 1960s, a whole series of constraints acted to reduce the space within which a viable fascist revival could flourish in Britain. Not least among these constraints was a powerful residual memory of Nazi aggression, racism and genocide within the mainstream national and popular culture which militated against a serious neo-fascist revival in Britain. During this period as well, as had demonstrated during the inter-war years in relation to Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF), a longstanding

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and resilient British liberal-democratic state continued to prove very effective in closing down the political space available for fascist advancement. This being said, no hegemonic power could attain complete mastery over space. This also applied to the liberal capitalist state, even with the immense and highly sophisticated resources at its command. As Henri Lefebvre (1991) recognised, mainstream capitalist space, like capital itself, was never free of ‘contradictions’, which had the potential to expose cracks in the fabric of the ‘ruling’ space that could be exploited by rival ‘geographies of resistance’. These spatial contradictions were often most acute during phases where the dominant power was embroiled in economic or political difficulties or, even more seriously, a protracted phase of economic recession or restructuring. However seemingly dominant the hegemonic power then, a struggle over space with political rivals invariably ensues: Over its control, its production, over who is allowed in and who is kept out, and over what the nature of acceptable activities is to be in that space, over what constitutes a pure space filled only with acceptable behaviours, and what constitutes transgression of that putative purity. (Mitchell 2000: 170) It was the convergence of a number of economic developments and issues from the late 1960s through the 1970s that would expose ‘cracks’ in the fabric of mainstream liberal capitalist space. The British economy was showing signs of serious faltering by the 1970s, with underperforming industries, a growing balance of payments deficit, rising unemployment which reached one and a half million by 1978, and falling living standards due to a steadily rising cost of living. By July 1975, inflation had hit 26 per cent. The 1973 international oil crisis, labour unrest, the three-day week in 1973–4 and an IMF bail-out in 1976, would add to this bleak picture of economic and political hardship. We should add to this as well, the infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech by Enoch Powell in April 1968 and a further inflammatory antiimmigration speech by Powell in the run-up to the June 1970 General Election, one effect of which was to scapegoat newly arrived immigrants for the cumulative problems which beset Britain as the 1970s unfolded. The National Front came to prominence in the context of these various ‘cracks’ that appeared in the fabric of mainstream space. The NF was initially formed on 7 February 1967 following a merger of the ultra-conservative far right-leaning League of Empire Loyalists (LEL), and the racial nationalist British National Party (BNP).1 The bulk of the albeit tiny membership of the Racial Preservation Society also joined the NF at its inception, while individual members of John Tyndall’s neo-Nazi Greater Britain Movement (GBM) were permitted to join in the wake of the GBM’s dissolution in October 1967.2 Other ‘patriotic organisations’ which ‘rallied under the NF flag’ in these early years in the words of the NF press, were the English National Party, the Anti-Communist League, and elements of the Anglo-Rhodesia


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Society and the National Democratic Party (Spearhead, Jan.–Feb. 1972). The NF’s first Chairman was the pre-war Mosleyite and LEL founder A.K. Chesterton. Chesterton resigned his office in 1970, to be succeeded by John O’Brien. An ultra-conservative Powellite rather than a fascist, O’Brien resigned shortly after, in 1972, over concerns he had about pro-Nazi elements within the NF Directorate. One of these pro-Nazi elements was John Tyndall, who had been active in the National Socialist Movement (NSM) during the early 1960s. Tyndall assumed the Chairmanship of the party following O’Brien’s resignation. Following a brief hiatus during late 1974 and 1975 when he was ousted as Chairman by ‘moderates’ seeking to distance the NF from Nazi associations, Tyndall assumed the party leadership which he held up to his departure from the NF in January 1980. Another of the pro-Nazi elements within the NF leadership was Martin Webster, the party’s National Activities Organiser during the 1970s. Like Tyndall, Webster had moved in pro-Nazi circles prior to his involvement with the NF, including the LEL, the NSM and the GBM.

National Front processions To a large extent, the National Front pursued similar spatial tactics to those of the largest and most prominent of the pre-war British fascist groups, the BUF. While the NF, even more so than the BUF, pursued a vigorous election strategy, contesting both local and national elections, it was to a great degree a conventional street-based fascist movement. The NF has been described by a former far-right activist as ‘an enormous, violent neo-Nazi, fascist and antiimmigration street movement’ (Collins 2011: xv). This recourse to the space of the street was partly forced on the NF by circumstances, particularly in the form of the spatial tactics of its mainstream political opponents. Like Oswald Mosley during the 1930s, the NF leadership felt that they had little option but to take their message to the streets owing to the ability of their mainstream opponents to close off vital avenues of public space available for the use of fascist propaganda. For instance, local councils, particularly Labourcontrolled local authorities, proved very effective from the mid-1970s in denying the Front access to indoor public halls under council control for the purpose of political meetings. We shall return to this issue of restricted access to mainstream space in a later section. Denial of indoor public space by its mainstream political opponents was not the only factor driving the National Front on to the streets. Street processions and parades are important for marginal political groups because they provide a means of becoming more visible to a wider audience. Marginal groups ‘utilise parades in their efforts to gain greater visibility, recognition and legitimacy. In this context, parades and their dramatic use of public space provide an important avenue for groups to challenge their marginalised status’ (Hagen 2008: 350). Street processions, moreover, are ‘acts of territoriality’ which allow marginal groups to lay claim to certain city streets if only

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temporarily and, in so doing, proclaim their ‘right’ to have a presence in these areas (O’Reilly and Crutcher 2006: 247). Street processions are particularly valuable to marginal political groups in another, related sense. Processions serve as a highly effective spatialised method of communicating messages to a wider audience. If skilfully staged, moreover, they can prove superior to other means of communication. The NF leadership correctly recognised this unique quality of street processions. As the NF’s then President Blaise Wyndham explained in mid-1980, when arguing that the NF must remain ‘a party of the streets’: despite its recent political setbacks, street marches ‘display our will to convey our message to the public at large’ (New Nation, Summer 1980). ‘If the NF had restricted itself to orthodox and “respectable” political activities’ during its growth period from 1967 through the 1970s, Wyndham added, ‘such as small meetings, leaflet distribution, pamphlet production, petitions to Parliament and the occasional participation in the electoral fray’, the Front would not have become ‘a household name throughout the land’ (New Nation, Summer 1980). In a further, related sense, street processions provide a unique opportunity for a group to project an image of its ‘community life and culture’ to the outside world through means of a public performance (Seales 2008: 52). Processions thus serve as a performance or drama enacted in a public space of a political community’s culture or ‘way of life’, at least, the cultural face the political community would wish to make available for public scrutiny. In the case of a far-right political ‘community’ like the National Front, the ‘values’ or culture it preferred to present to a wider public were those of patriotism, law and order, discipline, tougher sentences for criminals, respect for Britain’s armed forces, and ‘Britishness’, the latter defined in terms of a singular white ethnic identity and community. Other aspects of the NF’s ‘culture’ on show during street processions were opposition to communism, the IRA, the European Common Market and the ‘permissive society’. Street processions are valuable to political movements in other ways. Processions serve as an important means of self-definition, and thus aid the broader goal of forging a collective political identity. Thus the NF street processions of the 1970s, particularly the more carefully choreographed annual ritual performances as we will see below, helped in the process of creating a collective neo-fascist National Front identity in opposition to the ‘contemporary political orthodoxy’. The lure of carefully staged political marches and rallies for participants was an important aspect of this process. Participation in the theatre and drama of well-staged street processions can exert a powerful emotional pull and thus bind participating members and supporters to the collective whole of the group. In this sense, street processions create the street as a space offering transcendence for individual participants into the collective culture and ‘consciousness’ of the group. The value of forging a collective National Front identity via the spatial drama of processions was not lost on the NF’s leadership during its growth period of the 1970s. As a later 1985 NF editorial put it, reflecting on the emotional release provided by the ‘nationalist’ marches of the recent past, as the marchers


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‘stand in ranks beneath waving banners … everyone is united by a common vision and by the emotion stirred by the rituals and symbols of the gathering. The crowd thinks and acts as one’ (New Nation, Summer 1985). Carefully staged National Front street processions helped the goal of forging a collective political identity in a further sense. Like their fascist counterparts in the pre-war period, the NF leadership of the 1970s, particularly John Tyndall and Martin Webster, believed that highly visible and theatrical street processions helped to establish a powerful emotional bond between all those participating. In an August 1973 piece in the NF press, Tyndall commented that ‘it is constantly necessary to recharge our own people with a spirit of enthusiasm’ (Spearhead, Aug. 1973). This could be achieved via the drama and display of the street procession, according to Tyndall: What is it that touches off a chord in the instincts of the people to whom we seek to appeal? It can often be the most simple and primitive thing. Rather than a speech or article, it may just be a flag; it may be a marching column; it may be the sound of a drum; it may be a banner; or it may just be the impression of a crowd. (Spearhead, Aug. 1973) All these elements of the street procession, Tyndall went on to say, are: ‘among the things that appeal to the hidden forces of the human soul’ (Spearhead, Aug. 1973). There was a further aspect to the street procession of which we should be aware. Street processions, at least the most carefully staged, were ritual exercises where a political community like the NF engaged in a dramatic public ritual performance of its culture. As the 1985 editorial commentary cited above makes clear, the NF leadership was very aware of the important role that ritual played in street processions. Ritual performance told of another aspect of a political community’s culture. Repeatable or annual ritual performance had the effect of sacralising particular public spaces for a political movement. This sacralisation of a particular public space would also further help communicate the political community’s way of life or culture to the outside world. This was no more evident than in the annual ritual performance of the NF’s procession on Remembrance Day, as we will see below. Before we turn our focus on to the National Front’s Remembrance Day procession, it need hardly be mentioned that the NF marched under the banner of many political slogans and issues during the 1970s. The NF’s reactionary extreme right-wing phobias and grievances were many. NF members were assembled to march in protest against the European Common Market, ‘biased’ BBC broadcasting on South Africa, the IRA and ‘coloured immigration’, which included protests against the arrival into Britain of Ugandan Asians and Vietnamese ‘Boat People’ among others (for examples, see Spearhead, Feb. 1973, for an anti-Common Market procession; Spearhead, Sep. 1970, for an anti-BBC march; Spearhead, Apr. 1973, for an anti-IRA

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march; Spearhead, Apr. 1971, for a march against ‘coloured immigration’; Spearhead, Nov. 1972, for a march against Ugandan Asians; National Front News, Aug. 1979, for an anti-‘Boat People’ procession). Occasionally, there were other, less phobic, more celebratory or festive ‘distractions’ for the NF faithful. One such occasion was the NF’s St George’s Day march and rally, an annual ritual commemoration of England’s patron saint meant to instil in participants and spectators alike a heightened appreciation of the Front’s patriotism. Another festive occasion for the NF faithful, as with the St George’s Day procession usually held in the warmth of the spring sunshine, was the annual May Day march (for an example, see Spearhead, May 1970). The structure of these marches, particularly the reactionary anti-marches, tended to emulate the style and form of the earlier, inter-war fascist processions, with a focus on military precision, organisation and pomp, colour, pageantry and plenty of noise. This carefully choreographed display of neofascist theatre and spectacle was generated by lines of ‘disciplined’ marchers, pipe bands, waving banners and a ‘forest’ of Union Jack flags alongside flags of other ‘states’ that the NF found convivial, such as South Africa and Rhodesia. We should not forget to mention either, the sinister undertone of ‘masculine’ political violence running through many of these NF militarised processions, a threatening ‘sub-text’ designed to impress itself upon the minds and senses of the opposition. An anti-fascist street activist recalled the National Front’s arrival for its infamous meeting at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, Holborn, on 15 June 1974, in just such terms, a day marred by the tragic death of another anti-fascist, Kevin Gately: By now we could hear the drumbeats of the advancing Nazis. And then, their march came into view: a sea of Union Jacks fluttering along Vernon Place leading from New Oxford Street. The flags looked sinister, dangerous too, mounted as they were on pointed steel poles; … The NF vanguard ‘Leader Guard’ was a mean, heavy looking bunch with short back and sides to a man, and an emphasis on brawn. (Lux 2006: 24)

The National Front’s Remembrance Day procession The NF’s Remembrance Day procession was one of the most important annual rituals in the Front’s political calendar. The procession was staged to commemorate the war dead of Rhodesia, ‘a country who volunteered to fight for the British Empire and Commonwealth in greater numbers relative to their population total than those of any other’ in the words of the NF press (Spearhead, Sep. 1970). The NF’s decision to annually remember the Rhodesian war dead was a protest against the British Government decision not to include the Rhodesian dead of the two World Wars in the official ceremony at the Cenotaph. This exclusion policy was part of a package of British responses to the Rhodesian Government’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on 11 December 1965. In later years, the war dead of South Africa


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and Ulster would be commemorated by the NF in its Remembrance Day ritual along with the Rhodesian war dead (Spearhead, Dec. 1971). The NF’s Remembrance Day procession and rally usually drew in a large number of participants, as in the 11 November 1973 event when the party claimed that 4,000 marchers were in attendance (Spearhead, Dec. 1973). The Remembrance Day procession followed a usual pattern. The ordering of the march itself was carefully staged. A flag party, a pipe band and a drum corps usually led the march, followed by columns of Front members and supporters holding Union Jacks. In keeping with the occasion, a contingent of decorated ex-servicemen marched in a special column. The procession tended to follow a carefully chosen route through the public space of the city, traversing some of the most important streets and locations of the liberal state. Thus the 1970 procession on 8 November set off from Portland Place, wound its way down Regent Street, marched round Trafalgar Square, before moving on to assemble at the Cenotaph at Whitehall (Spearhead, Dec. 1970). Following a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph conducted by a former RAF Wing Commander and an ex-RAF NCO and the playing of the last post, the NF column wound its way to Caxton Street where it dispersed (Spearhead, Dec. 1970). In choosing these particular streets and locations for the march, the NF’s leadership and procession organisers shrewdly appropriated some of London’s most important public spaces for far-right political purposes. This act of appropriation of some of the main streets of the capital was of some symbolic significance, for as one scholar of rituals and public space explained it, the central streets of main cities ‘conveyed prestige; to occupy them was to command attention, and perhaps to gain respect’ (Goheen 1993: 128). As well as appropriating some of the key public spaces of the capital, the NF leadership also shrewdly appropriated a coveted national ritual and turned it towards far-right purposes. In staging these annual pilgrimages to the nation’s principal site of remembrance, the Cenotaph, the NF sought to commandeer the potent symbolism of Remembrance Day for the far right and in so doing link the Front to the coveted national myth of reverence for the war dead of nation and Commonwealth during the World Wars. The NF’s Remembrance Day procession should thus be interpreted as a public ritual with a rite-ofpassage format, in that the intention of the procession ritual was to achieve a transformation in awareness on the part of those participating in the march, as well as the spectators lining the route of the procession. In regard to the latter, the NF press commented that the Front’s ‘magnificent’, disciplined march to the Cenotaph on 8 November 1970 ‘must have impressed the thousands of Londoners present’ (Spearhead, Dec. 1970). The NF hoped that this transformation in awareness would take the form of an enhanced appreciation of the Front’s patriotic credentials and almost religious reverence for the heroic sacrifices made by the peoples of nation and Commonwealth. We should note here, however, that the NF’s Remembrance Day ritual was a ‘racialised’ event, in that the Commonwealth sacrifices primarily being

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commemorated were those of the Front’s perceived white ethnic ‘kinsfolk’ from Rhodesia and South Africa. There was a further component to the NF’s Remembrance Day ritual of which we should be aware. This additional element was in evidence at the NF’s Remembrance Day ceremony of 14 December 1971. Following the procession through London’s main streets of over 800 marchers according to the NF press, and the traditional wreath-laying ceremony and ‘two-minute silence’ at the Cenotaph, a Baptist Minister and NF parliamentary candidate, Reverend Brian Green, stepped forward to conduct a religious service. During the service, the Reverend Green read selected extracts from the Bible, recited the Lord’s Prayer, before reading a ‘special prayer’ attacking the ‘politically motivated ecumenists who are seeking to betray Ulster, Rhodesia and South Africa’ (Spearhead, Dec. 1971). Following prayers, the entire NF parade and watching crowd joined Reverend Green in singing the hymn ‘Oh God Our Help In Ages Past’. Everyone present, the NF press claimed, ‘had been clearly moved by the solemn dignity of the occasion’ (Spearhead, Dec. 1971). Through such means, the NF worked to sacralise their annual Remembrance Day procession and ceremony for its members and supporters. The injection of a discernible religious component into the event also worked to confer sacred status on the sacrificial community of the war dead of nation and Commonwealth for the NF’s members and supporters. In a similar way, the overtly religious component functioned to sacralise certain public spaces for the movement, in this case the revered public space of the nation’s principal site of mourning, the Cenotaph.

Spatialising the racial politics of the National Front Space and spatiality figured in another important area of the National Front’s political life and culture. The NF inclined towards an extreme racist ideology. This combined a number of elements, including anti-immigration racial populism, a racial nationalist belief in Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, and conspiratorial anti-Semitism (Thurlow 1998: 263). Spatial categories and perceptions permeated the NF’s racial thinking. We can see this if we look more closely at the Front’s racial nationalism. The NF’s racial nationalist belief in Anglo-Saxon racial superiority was predicated on a rigid spatial topography of supposedly higher and lower races. According to one NF race theorist, the ‘modern Europid or White racial type’ descended from the ‘highly advanced and inventive’ Cro-Magnon Man who lived over 3,000 years ago (New Nation, Autumn 1980). For this race theorist, Cro-Magnon Man was endowed with a range of physical and cultural attributes, including ‘a large brain’, an ability to make musical instruments, and a capacity to create art of ‘subtlety and sensitivity’ (New Nation, Autumn 1980). The ‘African’ contemporary of the northern Cro-Magnon Man, however, was said to be still at the lower ‘Homo erectus stage’ (New Nation, Autumn 1980). Such thinking was underpinned by a crude pseudo-scientific doctrine of biological


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determinism which claimed that the capacity of the ‘White Caucasoids’, in the words of another NF race theorist, to attain the ‘higher’ achievements of culture and civilisation was due to their superior genetic makeup (New Nation, Autumn 1983). Taking a cue from Darwin’s evolutionary biology and Gregor Mendel’s theory of genetics, this same writer claimed in a later article that genetic heredity or the ‘law’ of inherited differences precluded the possibility of changing the situation of inequality between the races through the intervention of social, economic or other ‘environmental’ factors (New Nation, Spring 1984). There was a temporal as well as a spatial dimension to these perceived genetically determined differences. Apparently, the genetic differences were essentially ‘fixed over a historical timescale’, a ‘scientific’ proof which meant that ‘the races of man can never be made equal’ (New Nation, Spring 1984). There is a further spatial sub-text to this mode of race thinking. This has its basis in assumptions which have Enlightenment origins, assumptions that became particularly strongly embedded in the Western imperialist narrative. In these Enlightenment and imperialist ‘metanarratives’, the dominant space of the European or Western world was viewed as ‘advanced’ or ‘progressive’, while other ‘places’, like Africa or Latin America for example, were defined as ‘backward’, ‘lagging behind’ or ‘underdeveloped’ (this argument has been stated most eloquently by Massey 2005). The consequence of this turning of the world’s complex geography into a single temporal sequence was to devalue the rich spatial heterogeneity of global space, as well as the various different ‘places’ which made up these supposedly ‘backward’ spaces. Most tellingly from the point of view of our analysis of National Front racism was that this discursive operation, whereby complex global space was turned into temporal sequence, served to also devalue the peoples who inhabited these supposedly ‘backward’ places. There is a final point to note here in terms of Enlightenment, ‘Western’, European and imperialist perceptions of supposedly ‘backward’ places within global space. Beyond the linking of space with time, the Enlightenment, Western, European and imperialist project created a ‘racialised geography’ of global space, supported ‘directly or complicitly’ by the academic discipline of geography itself during the nineteenth century, which positioned the ‘Western world’ as the dominant centre, while the ‘nonwhite areas of the world were mapped into marginality and subordinance’ (Kobayashi and Peake 2000: 399). Taken together, these various spatial, temporal and geographical notions of race had a tendency to foster a view of the world which assigned particular races to particular places. This was a world divided by firm racialised boundaries and supposedly innate differences between peoples residing in firmly geographically located places. A related tendency was to foster a reactionary, often xenophobic attachment to place, whereby place becomes racialised as ‘our place’ (see Perry and Blazak 2009/2010). This was the observed, preferred view of world and place of racial nationalist groups like the National Front. The NF conceived the British nation-state as a ‘place’ with a clearly

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demarcated ‘racial’ identity and culture. For the NF, a healthy national community should be racially homogenous and exclusively white. As part of its aim of preserving the homogeneity and ‘purity’ of the ‘British nation-race’, the NF would pursue an extreme and aggressive spatial policy which aimed at the physical removal of non-white minority groups from the dominant mainstream white space through a policy of compulsorily enforced repatriation of ‘coloured’ new Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants. This extremist policy of spatial distancing, whereby the British landscape was marked out as a segregated exclusive white space, was usually accompanied by the vulgar extremist language of biological racism. Britain’s ‘new party’ was resolved to prevent, declared the NF’s first Chairman A.K. Chesterton in a speech at the party’s first AGM on 7 October 1967, ‘our beloved country’ being handed over to ‘a flood of African and Asian immigrants – peoples whose presence in our midst threatens the future of the British breed with a genetical peril it has never encountered before: the deadly peril of mongrelisation’ (Spearhead, Nov.–Dec. 1967). The National Front, then, would pursue an extreme policy of spatial segregation. ‘Critical race theory’ has highlighted the importance of spatial segregation for the construction of the idea of race. ‘Race’, as identity and ideology, becomes what it is ‘precisely because of how it is given spatial expression’ (Delaney 2002: 7). Put another way, the idea of space is ‘an “enabling technology” through which race is produced’ (Delaney 2002: 7). Within this framework of understanding, spatial segregation should be viewed as a key ‘technology’ for the production of race. Here one just need recall the way that devalued racialised groups both in the past and in the present have been figuratively and physically removed from the formal legal mainstream space. Jewish ghettos in Medieval Europe, native-American reservations, segregation in the ‘Jim Crow’ South, genocide in Nazi-occupied Europe, and the ethnic cleansing which took place during the break-up of the former Yugoslavia are examples of extreme forms of displacement of those deemed to be racially inferior or threatening from official space which have occurred in the historical and recent past. In addition, slavery and imperialism provide further historical examples of how space and race intersect to the detriment of a persecuted racial group. In relation to the latter, ‘racialised bodies and groups has always been linked to the theft of land and the control of space’ (Neely and Samura 2011: 1934). Beyond overseas colonial land theft in the ‘periphery’, the spatial practices of dominant groups worked to produce racialised spaces within the imperial ‘centre’ as well. Here one just has to think of the spatiality of racialised residential segregation in many American urban spaces, realised through the creation of poor ‘black’ neighbourhoods in rundown inner city districts and affluent ‘white’ areas in the outer suburbs (Leitner 2012). Indeed, recent scholarship on the idea of ‘whiteness’ contends that whiteness works to construct a ‘socio-spatial epistemology’ and ‘sociospatial positionality’ that ultimately ‘manifests in the solidification of social and spatial boundaries’ (Leitner 2012: 831). The project of whiteness is,


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moreover, based on almost unspoken normative moral assumptions which designate ‘white’ as a site of cultural superiority and privilege. Whiteness is a standpoint: A place from which to look at ourselves and the surrounding society, a position of normalcy, and perhaps moral superiority, from which to construct a landscape of what is same and what is different. It allows other places … to be subjected to a white gaze. (Kobayashi and Peake 2000: 394) There is an additional, important point to flag up here in regard to racism and space, and particularly National Front racism and space, namely that we need to consider and understand ‘race’ in relational terms, in that the meaning of race is always intertwined with space and place and invariably involves some form of spatial thinking, processing or positioning. It should also be stressed that the National Front’s articulation of a reactionary politics of place and ‘belonging’ as a response to the perceived threat to white ‘British’ identity and culture posed by immigration did meet with some success at the local level in terms of support during the party’s growth spurt in the 1970s. The research of Christopher Husbands into the NF’s anti-immigration racial populism and patterns of urban support for the party during the 1970s showed that the Front’s anti-immigration message tapped into a locally based white working-class ‘cultural’ tradition that was historically ‘susceptible to “oppositional” scapegoating and racist mobilisation’ (Husbands 1983: 143). Among other factors, limited social and spatial horizons, apolitical pragmatism, strong ‘locality-orientation’, parochialism, ‘sensitivity to supposed threat’ and xenophobic attitudes which were transmitted generationally, were the ingredients which helped forge this nativist ‘territorial-cultural’ tradition and inclined some members of these communities towards ‘racially exclusionist’ parties (Husbands 1983: 142–7). Additionally, Husbands noted that these workingclass ‘places’ showing support or sympathy for the NF during this period were often experiencing the blight of long and short-term industrial decline, as with parts of Wolverhampton, Leicester, Bradford and Blackburn. Equally significant for Husbands in terms of NF support were those inner city locales undergoing ‘cultural decline’ or neighbourhood deterioration, as with parts of London’s inner East End and boroughs to the north of London such as Shoreditch and Hackney (Husbands 1983: 114–21).

Conclusion: spatial constraints All political and social movements seeking to bring about change in society need to build an effective ‘social movement space’ for the conduct of their political operations. This is usually a formidable undertaking, particularly for a new political party, requiring an appropriate level of resources and personnel, not least because it entails building a system of ‘dynamic trans-local

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networks, connecting individuals, institutions and activists in different places’ across a wide national geographical landscape (Leitner, Sheppard and Sziarto 2008: 162). Such a spatial strategy is also dependent on the ability of a ‘social movement’ to access an appropriate degree of space necessary for the fulfilment of its political operations, and then to maintain strategic control over these pockets of space. The National Front would struggle to achieve all these aims during its political life-time, even during its most active years between 1967 and 1979. An unstable membership base certainly did not help matters in this regard. It has been estimated that the National Front recruited between 60,000 and 70,000 members during the 1970s, mostly from the lower middle class and the working-class social groups (Eatwell 1996: 102). Nevertheless, this was always a fluctuating, unstable membership. Numbers could rise quite dramatically depending on external circumstances, as during the Ugandan Asian crisis between October 1972 and July 1973 when NF membership doubled to reach around 15,000 members (Copsey 2005: 182–3). The Malawi Asian immigrant crisis during the first few months of 1976 would bring another sharp influx of recruits. During these months up to mid-1976, some 2,096 new members joined the party (Copsey 2005: 184). On the other hand, numbers could also fall quite sharply depending on circumstances both external and internal to the party. A case in point here in relation to the latter would be the internal wrangling which beset the NF during 1975 when more ‘moderate’, conservative elements within the party sought to re-orientate the NF away from its attachment to pro-Nazi sentiments and habits. The factionalism eventually resulted in the exodus of around one-fifth of the total NF membership, some 2,000 members, which moved on to form the nucleus of a new party of the Right, the National Party (Taylor 1982: 43–4). Another damaging exodus of members came in November 1979, not long after the NF’s disastrous poll showing at the 3 May General Election when it managed to secure just 1.3 per cent of the total poll. On this occasion, around 2,000 members were lost when the party’s then Deputy-Chairman Andrew Fountaine and his supporters left the NF following an internal squabble to form the National Front Constitutional Movement as a rival to the established NF (Taylor 1982: 90–1). Even when the party was experiencing one of its membership growth spurts, during early 1973, the NF leadership admitted that its resources were uncomfortably strained. Low levels of participation in political duties by existing members, a dearth of personnel with the appropriate organisational skills, and ‘geographical factors’ which meant that the most skilled personnel were unable to access the Front’s main business at Headquarters, were making it difficult to carry out the tasks necessary to maintain the Front’s political momentum, according to John Tyndall (Spearhead, Mar. 1973). NF personnel and resources, then, were often spread very thinly across space during these years, making it difficult to build and maintain an effective ‘trans-local network’ of activist campaigns linking places across the national geographical landscape.


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An even more serious obstacle to the NF’s efforts to build a viable ‘social movement space’ came in the form of the ability of the dominant mainstream power to deny it access to public space for the purpose of political meetings and other forms of fascist propaganda. We mentioned above that local councils were instrumental in denying the Front access to indoor public halls under council control, a spatial tactic that was used quite frequently during the second half of the 1970s, particularly by Labour-controlled authorities. To take just one example, during the NF’s anti-European Common Market campaign during 1975, over 120 Labour-controlled local administrations denied the NF access to indoor municipal halls (Copsey 2000: 122). Only during election periods, courtesy of the 1949 Representation of the People Act, was the NF granted access to council halls, though even here Labourcontrolled authorities would find ways to deny the Front the use of council premises, as during a by-election in Manchester in June 1978 (Copsey 2000: 145–6). It should be noted that such actions were not solely confined to Labour authorities. The Tory-controlled Ealing council, for example, also followed a policy of banning the Front from council halls (Copsey 2000: 147). To make matters even more difficult for the NF in terms of finding outlets for its propaganda, the mainstream media proved very effective in denying the NF access to broadcasting on television and radio for much of the 1970s, election periods being the exception (Copsey 2000: 141; see also Copsey, in this volume). The NF leadership was at least candid in admitting that this progressive closing down of mainstream public space had hurt its political operations. Richard Verrall who, along with Andrew Brons, assumed the leadership of the party following Tyndall’s departure in January 1980, complained in late 1980 that ‘ever since the National Front became a political force to be reckoned with’ it had been ‘the victim’ of ‘a conspiracy by elements of the Establishment’ to restrict its ‘rights of freedom of speech and assembly’ (New Nation, Autumn 1980). Verrall added that the ‘Establishment’ used anti-fascist violence as an excuse to deny this ‘right of political expression’ (New Nation, Autumn 1980). Nick Griffin, then a prominent NF activist, was more forthright three years later when he complained that ‘every possible step’ was being taken by the ‘Establishment’ to prevent the NF from functioning as a political party. A situation had been created, Griffin went on to say, drawing on a spatial metaphor to emphasise the point, whereby ‘every new National Front activity or initiative leads to Establishment moves to close that particular avenue of approach’ (New Nation, Autumn 1983). The National Front faced other difficulties in its efforts to build a viable ‘social movement space’. Although effective, organised anti-fascist opposition to the NF was slow to develop, by late 1973 a small number of far-left groups had announced their intention to use ‘physical action’ to deny fascism the space to grow. The latter included the International Marxist Group (IMG) and the International Socialists (IS), the latter changing its name to the Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) shortly after in 1977 (Taylor 1982: 34). These tactics were most noticeably in evidence during these early years of opposition

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to the NF at Red Lion Square on 15 June 1974, a highly confrontational event mentioned above. It is important not to underestimate the role played by physical force opposition in preventing the NF from conducting the streetbased operations necessary to building a viable ‘social movement space’. This certainly seemed to be the case by mid-1977, a period which saw the NF face its stiffest physical opposition to date on the streets of Lewisham on 13 August 1977. As an anti-fascist activist recalled: Lewisham had shown what was possible … it did seem, at least on a street level, that the fascists were in retreat. Apart from in certain well-defined strongholds, every time they dared venture out they were in danger of extreme physical opposition. Many youngsters who’d otherwise have been tempted to join the Front on their inner-city jaunts came over to our side. (Lux 2006: 69) Direct opposition using physical force was not the only factor acting to squeeze the physical space of the Front. By the second half of the 1970s, the NF was struggling to contain an expanding broad-based anti-fascist movement, embracing elements both on the far left and beyond the left, which was operating in a ‘social movement space’ that had developed with some sophistication by that point. This elaborate social movement space would enable the various anti-fascist groups which had sprung up in numbers during 1976 and 1977 to spatially stretch their resistance to the National Front beyond the local and even national contexts to connect to other, wider transnational networks and connections. Leitner has described how right-wing nationalist political parties, of a type similar to the National Front, adopt a particular ‘scale-frame’ which presents ‘themselves as guardians of the national interest and of a national identity and cultural/racial distinctiveness that is in danger of being obliterated’ by foreigners and transnational or supra-national developments (Leitner, Sheppard and Sziarto 2008: 160). To counter this, groups opposed to the anti-immigrant agenda of right-wing nationalist groups tend to employ an alternative scale-frame which draws on a much wider, transnational, even universal or ‘global’ framework stressing the importance of ‘equality of treatment to all legal residents’ within a territory, irrespective of whether these residents were immigrants, economic migrants or political refugees (Leitner, Sheppard and Sziarto 2008: 160). The embrace of this wider, more universal scale-frame helped create a broad-based anti-National Front, or ‘anti-Nazi’, spatial imaginary which transcended narrow national frames of reference and boundaries. This universal, spatial imaginary based on the values of equality of treatment and tolerance for all members of the national community irrespective of ethnicity or ‘race’, would help facilitate the creation of a highly diverse but effective moral community of groups and individuals bound together by a fierce determination to oppose the narrow ‘racialised’ conception of the national community promoted by the Front. As Nigel Copsey notes, ‘the extent of opposition to the NF during the


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mid-to-late 1970s was impressive, ranging from the radical Left to the Young Conservatives with the churches, various ethnic minority groups, all-party campaign groups and the media also drawn in’ (Copsey 2005: 189). The most visible expression of this diverse, broad-based anti-fascist moral community by the late 1970s was the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) which was launched on 3 November 1977. By the following summer, the ANL had attracted around 50,000 members to its banner. By the late 1970s, the NF had to contend with another broad-based anti-fascist moral community in the form of the Joint Committee Against Racialism (JCAR), which was formed in December 1977. The JCAR has been described as ‘an alternative to the ANL for moderates’, and attracted support and personnel from the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the National Union of Students, the British Council of Churches, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Federation of Bangladeshi Organisations, the Indian Workers’ Associations and the Supreme Council of Sikhs (Taylor 1982: 139). Control over space is a vital source of political power. In a related sense, as mentioned above, a political and social movement seeking to achieve change in society needs to build a viable ‘social movement space’ for the conduct of its political activities. By the end of the 1970s the National Front was finding it almost impossible to undertake this basic political operation. By this date, the NF found its physical and political space being dramatically squeezed by an impressive range of groups and individuals from virtually every section of society, adopting a range of both ‘physical force’ and ‘moral force’ methods and tactics. The NF also struggled to contend with the prevailing mainstream space of the ‘Establishment’ which, as we have seen, proved very adept at denying the Front access to public space. If Margaret Thatcher’s cynical adoption of the ‘race-card’ in 1978 finally sealed the National Front’s political and electoral fate, the seeds of the Front’s decline had been sown before that in its failure to build an effective social movement space in the face of the diverse and imaginative spatial tactics of the anti-fascist opposition.

Notes 1 The LEL was formed in 1954. The BNP was founded in 1960. 2 The Racial Preservation Society was a small affair with circa 500 members. The GBM made its initial appearance in 1964.

References Amin, A. (2004) ‘Regions Unbound: Towards a New Politics of Place’, Geografisker Annaler, B, 86: 33–44. Amin, A. and Thrift, N. (2002) Cities: Reimagining the Urban. Cambridge: Polity Press. Collins, M. (2011) Hate. My Life in the British Far Right. London: Biteback Publications. Copsey, N. (2000) Anti-Fascism in Britain. London: Macmillan. Copsey, N. (2005) ‘Meeting the Challenge of Contemporary British Fascism? The Labour Party’s Response to the National Front and the British National Party’, in

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Copsey, N. and Renton, D. (eds) British Fascism, the Labour Movement and the State. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Delaney, D. (2002) ‘The Space That Race Makes’, The Professional Geographer, 54(1): 6–14. Eatwell, R. (1996) ‘The Esoteric Ideology of the NF in the 1980s’, in Cronin, M. (ed.) The Failure of British Fascism. The Far Right and the Fight for Political Recognition. London: Macmillan. Featherstone, D. (2007) ‘The Spatial Politics of the Past Unbound: Transnational Networks and the Making of Political Identities’, Global Networks, 7(4): 430–452. Featherstone, D. (2009) Resistance, Space and Political Identities: The Making of Counter-Global Networks. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. Goheen, P.G. (1993) ‘The Ritual of the Streets in Mid-Nineteenth Century Toronto’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 11(2): 127–145. Griffin, R. (2007) Modernism and Fascism. The Sense of a Beginning Under Mussolini and Hitler. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Hagen, J. (2008) ‘Parades, Public Space, and Propaganda: the Nazi Culture Parades in Munich’, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 90(4): 349–367. Harvey, D. (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford: Blackwell. Hetherington, K. (1998) Expressions of Identity: Space, Performance, Politics. London: Sage. Husbands, C. (1983) Racial Exclusionism and the City. The Urban Support of the National Front. London: George Allen & Unwin. Kobayashi, A. and Peake, L. (2000) ‘Racism Out of Place: Thoughts on Whiteness and an Antiracist Geography in a New Millennium’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 90(2): 392–403. Lefebvre, H. (1991) The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell. Leitner, H. (2012) ‘Spaces of Encounters: Immigration, Race, Class, and the Politics of Belonging in Small-Town America’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102(4): 828–846. Leitner, H., Sheppard, E. and Sziarto, K.M. (2008) ‘The Spatialities of Contentious Politics’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 33(2): 157–172. Lux, M. (2006) Anti-Fascist. London: Phoenix. Massey, D. (2005) For Space. London: Sage. Mitchell, M. (2000) Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell. Neely, B. and Samura, M. (2011) ‘Social Geographies of Race: Connecting Race and Space’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(11): 1933–1952. O’Reilly, K. and Crutcher, M. (2006) ‘Parallel Politics: the Spatial Power of New Orleans’ Labor Day Parades’, Social & Cultural Geography, 7(2): 245–265. Perry, B. and Blazak, R. (2009/2010) ‘Places for Races: The White Supremacist Movement Imagines U.S. Geography’, Journal of Hate Studies, 8(1): 29–51. Pugh, J. (2009) ‘What are the Consequences of the “Spatial Turn” For How We Understand Politics Today?’, Progress in Human Geography, 33(5): 579–586. Seales, C.E. (2008) ‘Parades and Processions: Protestant and Catholic Ritual Performances in a Nuevo New South Town’, Numen. International Review for the History of Religions, 55(1): 44–67. Taylor, S. (1982) The National Front in English Politics. London: Macmillan. Thurlow, R. (1998) Fascism in Britain. From Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts to the National Front. London: I.B. Tauris.


Securing the future of our race Women in the culture of the modern-day BNP Martin Durham

Introduction ‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children’. These are the ‘14 words’ that were originally coined by US white supremacist David Lane, a popular, if not the most popular slogan of contemporary white racial nationalism. We would imagine that these words would find no place in the publications of the modern-day British National Party (BNP), a party which maintains that the old doctrine of white racial nationalism has been cast aside and with it, all notions of racial superiority and inferiority. Nowadays the BNP profess to follow an alternative and ‘non-racist’ doctrine of ‘ethno-nationalism’. Yet, in February 2005, we find one female BNP writer referencing Lane’s words, declaring that ‘Nationalists recognise that in order to “secure the existence of our race and a future for our children” we must cherish our future offspring – there is no greater contribution we can make to our society’ (Identity, no. 52, Feb. 2005). Is it the case, then, that the ‘modernised’ BNP has fundamentally altered its position on the role of women in line with the adoption of its ‘new’ ‘ethno-nationalist’ belief-system? Let us consider, for a moment, what the 1970s National Front (NF) had to say about their idea of the ‘nation’: Our objections to immigration spring from the fact that as nationalists we seek to preserve the identity of the British nation. The British nation is not merely a defined patch of ground – it is the people who live on it and their common ancestry, heritage and culture, and their awareness that they are a particular people. That is what our ‘racialism’ means. If the British people are destroyed through racial inter-breeding, then the British nation will cease to exist. (Fielding 1981: 150) And this is what the modern-day BNP understands by the ‘nation’: Ethnic nationalism is nationalism wherein the ‘nation’ is defined in terms of ethnicity … Ethnic nationalism bases membership of the nation on

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descent or heredity … In other words, ethnic nationalism defines a nation by its original founding people, within a defined geographic territory … Race is a biological reality … Race is defined as a group of people who share common physical, cultural and hereditary factors … Official projections are that within 50 years, mass immigration, combined with natural reproduction rates of immigrants already present, will mean that the ethnic British will be a minority in this country. Unless the right of the British people to self-determination in an ethno-nationalist state is observed, the woeful fate of the American Indian awaits the native British. (BNP n.d.) The difference between the two passages is very nearly imperceptible. With the latter, the word ‘racialism’ is carefully avoided so as not to invite the charge that the BNP is racist. But it still comes down to a shared understanding that membership of the British ‘nation’ should be based on the principle of heredity, that is, race. The ever so slight difference is that instead of using the words ‘nation’ and ‘race’ interchangeably as the NF did, the BNP now make reference to a third term – ‘ethnicity’. This serves as a far less threatening euphemism for the racial group of ‘Indigenous Caucasians’ that the BNP delineates as the British ‘nation’.

Locating the place of women I will begin by examining the range of views on women that have been expressed by the modern-day, ‘ethno-nationalist’ BNP, in the party’s theoretical journal, Identity, on the party’s website, in party literature and in the BNP paper, the Voice of Freedom. My purpose here is to investigate the extent to which Griffin’s BNP had, in regard to women, genuinely moved beyond the values and ideas of the 1970s NF and 1980s/90s BNP – values and ideas which were rooted in ‘race and nation’, but also fierce hostility to the perceived cultural decadence of liberal multicultural society (see Durham 1998). First published as a bi-monthly periodical in February 2000, and then as a monthly, the BNP’s Identity magazine celebrated publication of its onehundredth issue in early 2009. It then briefly appeared as a quarterly magazine until publication ceased altogether in 2010 (when it was no longer financially viable). Throughout its lifespan, Identity never afforded a great deal of specific attention to women – it tended to deal more with other topics, such as immigration, Islam, economics, electoral targets and the (white) history and heritage of Britain. But what there is, in many ways bears a marked resemblance to what preceded it in the NF and the BNP from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. If, for instance, we look at Spearhead from the 1970s to the late 1990s we see heated opposition to the emergence of modern feminism. In 1979, for instance, Tyndall’s magazine declared that ‘male aggression and


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female domesticity’ were biologically based and that feminists were wrong to claim they were socially constructed (see Durham 1998). For Tyndall, the ‘rampant feminism our times, represented as it is mainly by the most repulsive harridans, is due to the general decline among the White Race (and particularly in Britain) of real manhood’ (Tyndall 1998: 245). Following Nick Griffin’s capture of the BNP in 1999, John Tyndall and Spearhead frequently denounced the new leadership, and as we will see, this included the allegation that Griffin’s BNP was ‘capitulating’ to rampant feminism. Yet if we look at Identity, we still encounter articles on feminism’s supposed ill-effects. In 2003, for instance, its former editor, John Bean, wrote ‘Feminism and its effect on our youth’, in which he observed that in a society in which boys still dominated in sports, girls did better than boys in A-level and GCSE results. Boys were increasingly accepting their lower academic status at schools and colleges, and were concerned instead with their ‘street cred’. With political correctness now increasing the number of female reporters in sport, boys were concluding that they had no role in society, and as a consequence, could only find primordial masculine outlets in cultures of violence and excessive drinking. Bean declared that feminism was therefore playing its part in the cultural disintegration of British society. The conflict between sexes was artificial, he argued, a conflict championed by a tiny minority of cryptoMarxist feminists (and their male allies). The sexes were complementary, endowed with their own qualities, he insisted, and the article denounced the effects on society of celebrated feminist writers Simone de Beauvoir, Betty Friedan and Andrea Dworkin (Identity no. 36, Sep. 2003). A later article would denounce the effects of both feminism and consumerism. Fortunately, it declared, ‘the dormant spirit of femininity’ was awakening, and by men and women fighting together, the enemies of ‘our kin’ could be sent ‘back to the darkness from whence they came’ (Identity no. 88, Mar. 2008). Harking back to the traditionalist (fascist) preoccupation with controlling population numbers, the role of women, articles in the journal asserted, was above all to bear and bring up children (if the British nation was to survive). In ‘Tough Time for Mothers’ a female author declared that young women’s expectations were being manipulated both by Britain’s liberal elite and the instant gratification of consumerist society (Identity no. 102, undated). Other aspects of the role of women, including in regard to the socialisation of boys, were discussed in the magazine. One article cited a recent United Nations report comparing industrialised nations which had found that British children were more drunken, more bullying and more bullied than those in many other countries. This, it declared, was due to a widespread absence ‘of a stable family environment’. The ‘frightening number of single parent and step-families’, the former frequently headed by mothers, had ‘left a destructive void where boys especially have an imperative need for an authoritative father figure’. An article which appeared the previous year declared that ‘Marriage is the way forward’, holding that ‘the breakdown of the traditional

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family’ was a major cause of Britain’s declining standing in Europe. For a family to have ‘the proper balance of love, discipline, fun and development’, it needed a mother and a father who were married. Decrying ‘the ease of access to housing for single parents’ the author argued for the BNP to lobby for a modification of benefits so that such a status was no longer attractive. Government funds should be used ‘to encourage heterosexual marriage’, and where at a recent BNP Conference it had been suggested that ‘bringing up children was a job and as such should be rewarded by payment of a wage for mothers’, his argument was the bringing up of children was ‘a duty within the confines of marriage’, and if it was to be funded, single parent families could receive ‘decent child allowances’ but not the ‘premium’ allocated to married families (see Identity no. 78, May 2007; no. 63, Feb. 2006). A further article, this time by a female author, called for the BNP to support ‘an optimum population policy’. It denounced the ‘present system of social security’ for rewarding ‘unlimited and indiscriminate breeding for racial, political and religious motives’. But it also decried the increase in a white underclass, in which women pregnant out of wedlock were being rewarded with a free house without ever having worked. Large immigrant families were being paid ‘to procreate voters who in twenty years time will be mobilized to take our country from us’ (in the 1970s the NF claimed that black immigrants were breeding at a much higher rate), while single parent underclass families were producing ‘feral’ children who made life for others a misery. ‘Large families of any kind must pay their own way and stop being subsidised by the public purse’, and keeping the population down would not only benefit the British people, but could be done ‘without cries of racism or xenophobia’ (Identity no. 86, Jan. 2008). This last suggestion should remind us of the leadership’s claim to be ‘modernising’ the party. An extended discussion of population by extreme-right veteran Alastair Harper appeared in 2005. It warned of spiralling population growth, accused the Green movement of being silent on the issue, and denounced the ‘aggressive breeding patterns of religio-political institutions like Islam and the Catholic Church’. ‘The “right” to have lots of babies’ was decried as depriving people of ‘the “right” to enjoy the pleasure of living on an uncrowded, peaceful, and bountiful planet’, and Harper advocated instead the use of birth control to restrict the growth of ‘the affected multitudes’. Yet this article had been preceded a month earlier by the reprint of a report from an American website declaring that ‘Whites Must Breed or Face Extinction’ (see Identity no. 58, Sep. 2005; no. 59, Oct. 2005). Abortion continued to be of concern for those who saw themselves as championing race and nation, but as with the NF of the 1970s, there was dispute as to what should be done about it. In 2003 an article by a male author declared that abortion was a threat to Britain’s survival. Millions of British babies had been aborted, and now the government was attacking ‘the fertility of the British people’ through the morning-after pill. It had taken a long time for Britons to recognise the consequences of immigration and


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multiculturalism, and now they were beginning to realise too what ‘our abortion and contraception culture’ was doing. Just as ‘the European Union has fished British waters almost to extinction by killing all the young fish’, now the liberal cultural elite were ensuring ‘we are driving ourselves to extinction by killing our unborn young’. In a subsequent article, another male, arguing that Christians should support the BNP, declared that the party had made it clear that the current ‘abortion on demand’ culture should be tightened significantly and that traditional families should be encouraged to have more children. Indeed, its first Annual Conference on 19 November 2005, he noted, had decided: ‘This conference believes that the BNP should oppose the promotion of social abortion and campaign for a mothers’ wage’ (Identity no. 28, Jan. 2003; no. 69, Autumn 2006). In February 2005 an article by a female author appeared which noted the BNP position on abortion was that it should only be allowed where ‘absolutely necessary’. Nationalists recognised that ‘women, although different to men, were just as valuable to society’, and that future offspring were crucial to ‘secure the existence of our race and a future for our children’ (as we have seen, this, of course, was a quote from the imprisoned American extreme-rightist David Lane’s ‘14 words’). There was ‘no greater contribution we can make’ than this, but the growth of feminism, along with ‘the encouragement of women to take high-paid jobs’ was ‘forcing women to abort children to pursue material, selfish interests’. Once a female had consented to sexual intercourse, the writer declared, she had ‘exhausted her right to choose’. This was regardless of male desertion, a female desire for a career, a couple’s financial situation or if a pregnancy resulted from rape. In distinction from the other examples, a raped woman had not consented to intercourse, and the author declared she would not condemn a woman in this situation for resorting to abortion ‘if she really feels no other option is suitable’. The only other circumstance, however, that she would support abortion was where there was a ‘direct threat to the health and quality of life to the mother and/or the child’ (Identity no. 52, Feb. 2005). The following month the magazine published a briefer reply by a then prominent female activist, Sadie Graham, and in an accompanying statement, the editor described the two articles as ‘pretty much’ summing up ‘the Nationalist overall viewpoint on abortion’. Graham declared that while the BNP was not ‘pro-abortion’, it would support ‘a woman’s decision’ in the case of rape, and that in her own view should see abortion less in terms of ‘moral pro-life grounds, but on account of cultural and political reasons’. It was linked with ‘the decline of family values in society’ and ‘an increasingly low white birth-rate, high non-white birth-rate and politically motivated pressures on British women to focus on their careers rather than raise families’. The previous article had been based on ‘emotive generalisations’ and ‘opposing abortion even in cases of rape would be a sure-fire way to lose their support’. It was right to encourage debate on political issues, but abortion was ‘very controversial and highly personal’ (Identity no. 53, Mar. 2005).

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So far, we have focused on the party magazine. Elsewhere, the British Nationalist, the party paper during the Tyndall years, had frequently used its regular ‘Where We Stand’ column to call for the repeal of the legalisation of abortion, at one point with exceptions in the case of rape or medical necessity. In 1995, however, the explicit reference to abortion was dropped. The BNP paper in the Griffin years, the Voice of Freedom continued to avoid a specific condemnation of abortion (Voice of Freedom, Mar. 2000). But this did not rule out the paper making critical reference to abortion. In late 2008, for example, an article by a male author declared that contraceptive failures were contributing to an increase in abortions, and that at a time of a soaring immigrant birth-rate, the government’s promotion of both contraception and abortion ‘jeopardises the survival of the British people’ (Voice of Freedom no. 94, 2008). Nonetheless, the abortion issue seems to have receded in importance, and the paper’s concern with women was more likely to involve the publication of columns by women councillors on their work. One, who lost her Birmingham seat after a recount, was Sharon Ebanks. Another, Cathy Duffy, was elected for Charnwood, and described both raising local issues and her work on committees and other bodies. More revealingly, it often emphasised through its visual imagery the importance of women for the organisation (see, for instance, Voice of Freedom no. 73, 2006; no. 95, 2008). This, of course, takes us to election manifestos. While in an early section of its 2005 manifesto, Griffin’s BNP had included the suffragettes in its list of those who had fought for democracy, a later section on ‘Abolishing multiculturalism, preserving Britain’ described the belief that people ‘in a given population’ all had the same potential as only ‘partly refuted’. This it contrasted with ‘the now totally discredited feminist argument that men and women are innately the same’. Having gone on to discuss immigration, bewailing the number of children born to immigrants, it declared in a section on ‘Culture, traditions and the civil society’, that the party would protect British identity against ‘a quasi-Marxist cultural war against all things white, European and male’ while it announced in a section on crime: ‘We will end the legal system’s harassment of fathers by means of the Child Support Agency and change the outdated presumption in favour of maternal custody in divorce cases to one of joint custody’. Finally, in a section on health, it decried the burden on the National Health Service of treating ‘imported diseases’ such as ‘the new wave of heterosexual AIDS’, and pledged that a BNP government would ‘introduce a massive public health awareness campaign on the danger of choosing high-risk groups as sexual partners’ (BNP 2005: 7, 14, 17, 22, 24, 28, 42). The 2010 manifesto had less to say on such issues. In a section on immigration it attacked the immigrant birthrate, and while discussing ‘the Islamic Colonisation of Britain’ it attacked the birthrate among Muslim immigrants, quoting The Times on the ‘Grooming of white girls for sex’ by Muslim men. In a section on education it reiterated the call for ‘a public health awareness


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campaign’ on the dangers of ‘high-risk, unsafe sex’ while finally, in a section on the economy, part of its call for lower taxation was a promise to ‘encourage the family unit by reintroducing the married man’s allowance by as much as £2,500, depending upon the presence of children’ (BNP 2010: 17, 31, 33, 52, 72). Not only did the areas of concern diverge in the two manifestos but no distinct section on women (or even on the family) appears in either document. There were no signs of pressure from BNP women, or a wish to specially reach out to them, but the first of the two manifestos, and later documents, should draw our attention to the existence of a ‘fathers’ rights’ lobby within the party. The BNP’s 2007 Greater London Authority mini-manifesto declared that ‘Divorce and family laws and maintenance arrangements discriminate against men, and innocent men who are falsely accused of rape have their lives ruined while their lying accusers cannot even be named’.1 In 2008, the party conference passed a resolution that ‘the traditional family unit’ made up of husband, wife and child or children was ‘the foundation block of British society’. Its upholding was ‘paramount’, and if the marriage broke down, unless there was ‘a lawful reason why that relationship cannot continue’, a child should have direct contact with both parents. Men and women had ‘different, but equal’ qualities, it declared, and both were ‘essential ingredients for the successful upbringing of children’ (Identity no. 97, Dec. 2008). The following year a party policy discussion was referred to on its website. Entitled ‘Promoting the Traditional Family Unit’, a document was written by Pete Molloy, a former activist with ‘Fathers 4 Justice’. Having, he declared, long fought in family courts for ‘the right to have my children have their loving father in their lives’, he denounced a situation caused by legislation brought in under a Conservative government in the late 1980s, and then ‘exacerbated when the antitraditional family unit Marxist Labour Party came to power’ in the late 1990s. Under these governments, it was left to the child to decide whether to have contact, and, he declared, they could be manipulated by the mother. Under a BNP government, both parents could have contact unless there was ‘a lawful reason’ not.2 While this discussion was influenced by individual grievances within the party, BNP interest in the emergence of a ‘fathers’ rights’ movement was also evident. In 2008, the BNP’s London organiser, Nick Eriksen, had written to Matt O’Connor, the founder of Fathers 4 Justice, seeking to persuade him not to run as the English Democrats’ mayoral candidate, arguing that ‘you must surely be aware’ that the BNP manifesto was the only one to state that ‘Divorce and family laws and maintenance arrangements discriminate against men’ and to have the policy pledge to ‘make joint custody of children the norm in divorce cases’.3 It was this election, however, that earned the party particularly bad publicity in regard to its attitude to women. In 2008, Eriksen had already attacked feminism in his column in Right Now!, but he was removed from his position on the Greater London Authority candidates’ list after anti-fascists

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revealed that under the heading, ‘Assault with a friendly weapon’, he had declared on his blog that rape was ‘simply sex. Women enjoy sex, so rape cannot be such a terrible physical ordeal.’ If carried out without violence, to regard it as a serious crime was ‘like suggesting that force feeding a woman chocolate cake is a heinous offence. A woman would be more inconvenienced by having her handbag snatched.’ Such a view, the BNP declared, might ‘be perceived as trivialising the issue in a manner that many women in particular could have found extremely offensive’ (see Searchlight no. 394, Apr. 2008; no. 395, May 2008). While such stunningly misogynist views were not BNP policy, both a calculated anti-feminism and, from 2005 to before the 2010 election, a more general ‘fathers’ rights’ stance did become policy. In discussing the attention the BNP has paid to women, we might also refer to election leaflets in which women were quoted on why the public should support the BNP. In 2008 in the Greater London Authority election, on a leaflet showing ten people advocating a BNP vote, six were women, described as a housewife, a designer, a sales assistant, a student, a councillor and a carer. Where the housewife, for instance, expressed fear for her children’s future, from knife and gun crime and from paedophilia, the carer expressed outrage at the inability of doctors or nurses in ‘our hospitals’ to speak English. In 2009 a national ‘election communication’ declared on one side, ‘We Say what You Think’, above a picture of the party activist, Nick Cass, his wife and their children. Inside were a number of photographs of BNP voters. In one a pensioner couple denounced being ‘pushed to the back of the queue behind bogus asylum seekers’, while another showed a young mother and child denouncing ‘bureaucrats’ and ‘bankers’, calling for ‘our children’ to ‘have a future’ (BNP 2008; 2009). In a digital age it may well be its website which is most crucial for understanding how the BNP has recently sought to project itself. First we will consider a list of Frequently Asked Questions, which after answering a host of possible queries on party policy, finished by explaining the party’s position on abortion: The BNP regards the abortion of healthy infants as wrong, except in the circumstances of pregnancy due to rape, or if the child will clearly be born being heavily disabled or handicapped. The BNP will close down what has become a nationwide profit-driven child-killing industry. Especially with our birthrate below replacement level and with a huge demand for babies for adoption, there is no reason to abort a healthy baby. This was preceded by the party’s view on women’s role. It denounced attempts ‘by our enemies’ to divide the nation ‘along gender lines’. Men and women were essentially different, but not unequal. Pay should be equal for the same jobs, but neither sex should be promoted into jobs for which ‘they tend to be less well suited’. Women should receive financial incentives ‘to have children and so offset the present dangerously low birthrate’. Wages for mothers would


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‘give women the choice to stay at home and be mothers’ or go out to work, and in ‘a BNP Britain’, women could choose whether to pursue employment rather than be ‘forced to make a decision between children and career’.4 Linking women’s role in society with their contribution to the BNP, the website had also included a ‘tribute to motherhood’. It was a tragedy, it declared, that ‘so many capable women’ chose the pursuit of possessions instead of raising a family, while young girls who often had not left school were becoming mothers ‘usually as a result of moments of madness, lack of education or a cynical attempt to live off the state’. It was a right to be a mother, but it involved a sense of duty. ‘Far from being the weaker sex’, mothers were demonstrating outside courts where paedophiles were being tried and were campaigning against drug dealers. ‘The British National Party has in the past few two years witnessed a tremendous rise in the number of ladies who have joined us.’5 As for the traditional NF-style concern with ‘permissive’ culture, this continued. Denouncing ‘Pornography and Sexual Violence’, another author declared that while the BNP supported ‘stronger punishments for child molesters, rapists and murderers’, it also recognised the need to pay attention to ‘the other causes of the upsurge in sexual violence and abuse’. This particularly involved ‘the close correlation between the promotion of pornography and the prevalence of sexual violence and predation, which has been clearly established by researchers and police forces over the last few decades’. Pornography had been normalised by the mass media, particularly through the photographs which appeared in newspapers. Furthermore, newspaper shops were displaying pornographic magazines ‘in clear view of women and children’. Moral standards had been eroded, and TV companies were broadcasting channels devoted to pornography ‘into British homes’. It was no surprise, then, that ‘our women and children are not safe’. The pornography that the media had normalised encouraged the committal of ‘sexual violence against the vulnerable’. Once people were encouraged to believe that sex was ‘purely for pleasure with no responsibilities attached’, it was only a small step before they turned the ‘casual sexual use’ they had been fantasising about into reality. ‘We in the British National Party can assure the British people that when we take our country back for them, we will take a much dimmer view of pornographers and their destructive trade.’6 When focusing on how the modern-day BNP conceives of women, much of what we have discussed offers few surprises. This is not unexpected since its essential ideological position, regardless of its adoption of ‘ethno-nationalism’, is that the British nation will perish if society’s racial nature is allowed to fundamentally change. While the surfacing of a ‘fathers’ rights’ lobby in the early twenty-first century is new, the same arguments also re-surface: that men and women are fundamentally different and that feminism has wilfully obscured this; and that a central role for women is bearing children and this is crucial for white survival. Much is therefore very similar to the NF of the 1970s and the BNP under Tyndall.

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Women, the BNP and Islam So are there any other differences in how the modern BNP sees women? Here I would suggest we might look at two areas. One links with the opposition to Islam that has marked the party since 2001. In important part, this is illustrated by the iconography of party leaflets. As John Richardson has already noted, an election leaflet in Stoke included a photograph of women in niqabs, one of whom is making a V sign at the camera, and contrasted it with a far earlier photograph depicting female white homogeneity. Indeed, this contrast was also made in the party’s election campaign in 2008 (see Richardson 2011). Perhaps more surprisingly, the BNP (which is not noted for its trumpeting of female liberation) has attacked the treatment of girls and women within Islam, publishing, for instance, an article on the subject in 2008 and in 2012 reporting on Jackie Griffin, the wife of its leader, denouncing the repression of women at the launch in Antwerp of a transnational group, Women Against Islamification (Identity no. 88, Mar. 2008).7 Most crucial, however, has been the BNP’s linking of Islam with the abuse of white girls. In early 2004, a group sharing the BNP’s Bradford post office box, Mothers Against Paedophiles, became active and Griffin announced that he was visiting the area to gather evidence that white girls were being groomed by Asian men. An undercover documentary obtained footage of him addressing a meeting in Keighley earlier in the year denouncing ‘Asian Muslims’ for ‘seducing and raping white girls’ in the town and declaring that the Koran told followers they could ‘take any woman you want as long as they’re not Muslim women’ (Guardian 21 and 24 May 2004; Daily Mail 17 Jan. and 3 Feb. 2006). In 2010, as we indicated, the BNP manifesto devoted a section to ‘the practice of “grooming” – where young white females are lured in sex abuse traps by Muslim males’ while in 2011, its website reported on a new leaflet, ‘Our Children Are Not Halal Meat’, which had been issued for a by-election in Oldham. The leaflet displayed a Times front cover, ‘Revealed: Conspiracy of silence on UK sex gangs’, and quoted it as declaring that the police and social services had concealed a scandal. ‘Nick Griffin has said it for years’, the leaflet declared, ‘now the media admit Muslim Paedophile Gangs can no longer be ignored.’8 In 2012, the BNP’s youth wing issued a leaflet aimed at girls between ten and fifteen and the mothers of primary school girls. Illustrated with a drawing of three females of indeterminate age standing in boxing poses, the leaflet claimed to spell out warning signs of grooming by ‘Muslim sex gangs’, and how it could be avoided.9 In the BNP’s narrative, young white girls were in danger from predatory Muslim men. This in turn can be linked to a visual iconography in which young British white girls in shorts are seen as symbols of freedom and contrasted with Muslim women in black burkas (Identity no. 69, Aug. 2006). While attacking Islam as hostile to women took on prominence as part of the BNP’s anti-Islam campaign, it was not wholly new. In 1979 Spearhead had


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republished from the French extreme-right journal Defense de l’Occident, an article by a woman denouncing North African Muslim immigrants’ ‘antifeminine’ views and predicting that their large-scale immigration into ‘Nordic and West European countries’ would result in ‘a total debasement of female life’ (Spearhead no. 129, Jul. 1979). What is more, much in this narrative echoes earlier concerns about ‘negro crime’, in particular, the alleged sexually predatory behaviour of black men. During the 1970s/80s the NF claimed that blacks were largely responsible for rapes of white women, and that ‘Black Pimps Force White Girls into Prostitution’ (Bulldog no. 35, Sep. 1983). If for the 1970s NF, white women were turning to black men as a consequence of cultural decadence (feminism, promiscuity), which in turn was understood in terms of conspiratorial anti-Semitism (Jews encouraging inter-racial breeding to destroy white civilisation), the modern-day BNP understands ‘grooming’ in terms of the ‘wicked’ nature of Islam which, the BNP believes, subjugates women and encourages paedophilia. As with earlier forms of anti-Semitism, this is also underpinned by conspiratorial thinking, Eurabian conspiracy thinking in the case of the BNP’s Islamophobia (see Linehan 2012).

Mainstreaming the ‘family-friendly’ BNP If one new development in the BNP’s view of women has been the mobilisation of gender in its war on Islam, a second has been its projection of the party as more family-friendly and more female-friendly. In part this has involved distancing itself from the use of ‘old-lady-frightening skinheads’ in public activities (see Identity no. 94, Sep. 2008). But more importantly, it involves describing the Red White Blue Festival as a ‘Family Festival’, and an article on the BNP and women in the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight quoted the party’s website in 2003 declaring that ‘Three decades of British nationalist activities have, albeit unintentionally marginalized our very own women and children, with political rallies in the past witnessing a dominance by male participants. The RWB family festival sweeps away that old, counter productive style of doing things’ (see, for instance, Voice of Freedom no. 41, Aug. 2003; Identity no. 79, Jun. 2007; no. 91, Jun. 2008).10 But it has also entailed drawing attention to the number of women joining the party, and above all the adoption of the women candidates we have noted earlier. Women candidates had existed in both the NF and the early BNP. But they were now brought together with a deliberate rebranding of the BNP to present it as more in tune with modern women. To understand this, we might note the report in Identity on David Cameron’s modernisation of the Conservative Party which claimed that contrary to media allegations the BNP was ‘keen that our most competent women members should become Parliamentary candidates’. We should also turn to an article by Griffin in which he declared that while it was obvious that a ‘well educated and already successful’ white man would usually make the best Member of Parliament, it was vital to confound a stereotypical image of the party and ‘soften’ its image,

Securing the future of our race


and as a result women, pensioners, ex-service veterans or ‘someone with a physical disability’ would make better candidates (see Identity no. 103, Spring 2010; no. 83, Oct. 2007). In 2002, the Guardian published an article on the softening of the party’s image, noting the recent appearance of an article in the Daily Telegraph in which a couple had been interviewed, the woman pictured in her nurse’s tunic, declaring that ‘I wouldn’t be doing a caring job if I wasn’t a caring person’ and expressing ‘her determination to provide a better future for her children’. It compared it with an interview with ‘an ordinary-seeming couple of BNP candidates’ that had appeared in the London Evening Standard shortly before, in which they had discussed ‘their eclectic taste in music, and their hopes for the future’. What both interviews showed, it was suggested, was ‘the carefully scripted line chosen by the BNP’s leader’, through which he was attempting to normalise the party (Guardian 1 May 2002). Nick Griffin had already been considering the possibly beneficial role of a greater prominence for women before he had decided that modernisation was a way forward for the party. In late 1996, writing in an issue of Spearhead with a photograph of the recently elected Australian anti-immigration campaigner, Pauline Hansen, on its cover, he had argued that where the growing racial nationalist backlash can be characterised as a revolt of ‘angry white males’, it was unlikely to gain ‘the unhindered support’ of women or of ‘married men with family responsibilities’. Conversely, when ‘ordinary women’ began to see ‘nationalist political activity’ as the only way to enable the family to survive, then they would both encourage ‘their menfolk’ to become involved, and do so themselves (Spearhead no. 334, Dec. 1996). But if we are to see it as crucial for a modernisation strategy, the softening of the party’s image can be traced back to a prominent West Midlands activist, Sharron Edwards. In 1999, the Guardian drew attention to Edwards’ appearance on the BNP website, calling on ‘less faint-hearted women to stand as candidates’. The following year, after her appointment as Griffin’s deputy, an article about her in the West Midlands Sunday Mercury quoted Professor Michael Billig declaring that ‘Putting women to the fore is a tactic that had been used before by fascist groups across Europe’, but ‘sometimes by going too strong on this softer image they alienate their hardcore supporters so it’s a very difficult balancing act’ (Guardian 26 Aug. 1999; Sunday Mercury 7 May 2000). She was in charge of the party’s family circle, Renaissance, which had organised a ‘family fun day’ in the area. Griffin, who had attended the event, subsequently described having had ‘a glimpse of the British National Party of the future … unsmearable, positive, attractive – and successful’. Shortly after her rise to prominence, however, she came into conflict with Griffin and was expelled from the party (see Copsey 2008: 109, 120). While the family circle did not survive, Griffin continued to think in these terms, and subsequently an ostensibly non-political group, PROFAM, led by prominent BNP woman Lynne Mozar, set up a website.11 The BNP also sought to create specific campaign groups for mothers. One was Mothers


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Against Paedophiles. Here we will note that in 2008 seeking to take up concern over knife attacks its then key London figure, Richard Barnbrook, had launched Mothers Against Knives, then after a complaint from an organisation of the same name, had renamed it as London’s Mothers Against Knives.12 Yet far more important was the emphasis on woman candidates. We have already referred to their prominence in the pages of the party paper. We might also look at the mainstream press. In 2003, the Daily Express published a front page story, ‘Shame on Britain’s Women Fascists’, illustrated by pictures of many of the ‘more than 20’ women chosen as candidates in the council elections. Extremism was being hidden behind a feminine cloak, it declared. More widerangingly, in late 2003 the Observer published an article on the role of women in the BNP, claiming that under the new leadership the party was attracting women by an apparently feminist appeal, drawing attention to the greater visibility of women and ‘a blurring of the official line on abortion’. ‘Of course we would like to see more white children being bred’, Bev Jones, a regional organiser, declared, ‘but I have been a single mother myself and I’m inclined to say women should have the choice of whether to have abortions or not.’ Commenting on the article, Spearhead declared that women had never been seen by ‘believers in the traditional order’ as inferior, but while in the past ‘everything possible was done to persuade women to become more prominent in the BNP’, they had been promoted on merit. Now, however, there were signs that they were being promoted ‘for cosmetic political reasons’. The Observer article had suggested women were joining in increased numbers for genderspecific reasons, where, Spearhead retorted, they were probably joining for the same reasons as men. Most importantly, it suggested that the party was now unacceptably accepting ‘politically correct and “feminist” attitudes’, while Bev Jones’ view was hopefully ‘not representative of a new policy direction for the party as a whole’ (Daily Express 29 Apr. 2003; Observer 21 Sep. 2003; Spearhead no. 417, Oct. 2003). Spearhead had compared the BNP under its new leadership to New Labour, and suggested that the BNP was retreating from its opposition to feminism. To what degree did women make up members of the party, councillors or most importantly, voters? A gender gap is common in voting patterns for the extreme right, although it is important to note that for the more popular of such parties in Europe this can still mean a significant number of women voters. Based on MORI polling from 2002 to 2006, Matthew Goodwin has estimated that while males made up 69 per cent of the BNP electorate, females made up 31 per cent (see Goodwin 2011: 102). The same percentage emerged from a YouGov poll in 2009.13 We also see differences in proportions of men and women in the number of candidates, and of members. Between 2002 and 2009, according to Goodwin, over three-quarters of BNP councillors were men. In 2001, the percentage of female candidates in elections was 6 per cent. In 2005, it was 13 per cent, in 2009, 14 per cent and in 2010, 16 per cent (Goodwin 2011: 128). A leaked membership list for 2009 had 11,811 members, 2,034 of whom were females.14

Securing the future of our race


Griffin was obviously seeking to increase the participation of women, but to best understand his views we might look to his appearance at the 2002 conference of American Renaissance, an organisation which brought together American academic racists and nationalists from Europe. Talks were taped and sold, and its journal published a letter by a woman who had bought videotapes of the event criticising Griffin for declaring that while it would be good for nationalist organisations to have more women members, most politically oriented women were ‘wackos’. In the next issue, Griffin replied that he spoke from experience and that while it would be good to have women involved, it should not be ‘in a neo-feminist way’, where they ranted from the platform or confronted opponents as vigorously as men. Instead it was in keeping with ‘natural sexual differences’ that they were ‘involved as organizers of people, in defense of the needy, or as convincers of the unconvinced’ (American Renaissance Jul. 2002; Sep. 2002). Just as it would be a mistake to assume that under Tyndall’s leadership, the BNP denied women any prominence, we should not see recent developments as representing a ‘feminisation’ of the life of the party. We might be forgiven for seeing developments in this light. Jackie Griffin, the Chairman’s wife, was quoted by the Observer in 2003 that she owed ‘my feeling of empowerment to women of my grandmother’s generation who were staunch feminists’ and the party paper the same year titled a report on Bev Jones’ appointment as North-West Regional Organiser, ‘Girl power comes to British nationalism’. The party might have taken leave of its senses, she suggested, ‘or just decided it’s time to “break the mould” of the traditional Nationalist activist and utilise the talents of that most under utilised force in Nationalism – Girl Power!’ (Observer 21 Sep. 2003; Voice of Freedom no. 41, Aug. 2003). Yet ‘feminisation’ is not the right term, and not only because it conflates feminism with a greater role for women. The party had experienced some organisational modernisation, but not without tensions with female activists. We referred earlier to Sharron Edwards’ expulsion but in referring to Sadie Graham as ‘formerly prominent’, we are drawn again to the role women have played both in the party apparatus and sometimes in breaches with Griffin. Graham had been the party’s group development officer before taking part in an internal rebellion and she and Jones had been expelled from the party. (Other women have occupied such positions as the party’s membership secretary, national administration officer or been responsible for the party’s overseas liaison.)15 A different picture of the role of women in the party emerges from a programme broadcast on Sky TV on January 2008. The makers of BNP Wives profiled three women in the party. One, Suzy Cass, was clearly racist but expressed doubts about the effect of activism on her family. Another, Rotherham organiser and frequent candidate Marlene Guest, was shown expressing doubt about the numbers of Holocaust victims while the third, a party regional organiser, Lynne Mozar, who we have already encountered, was shown arguing in the street with a white female opponent of her campaign against a local mosque.16


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Following its transmission, the Voice of Freedom’s editor, Martin Wingfield, revealingly declared in his blog that the ‘three ladies featured’ were ‘fine ambassadors’ for the party.17 One correspondent on a dissident BNP blog, however, denounced the show: Who on earth sanctions people like Marlene Guest to talk to camera crews, NG I suppose … Yet again we never learn from past mistakes and here we have female members talking about the holocaust. Why don’t they get sensible women on these programmes like some of our female councillors?18 So how far the party has genuinely modernised still remains open to question. But during the early twenty-first century even the possibility of changing the gender of the leader of the party was raised. Interviewed by the Observer in 2004, Nick Griffin’s daughter, Jennifer, declared that ‘The only problem the BNP has is with its image’ but branches had ‘young people like me … The party’s future is with women and with families … We will make it more acceptable and success will follow.’ ‘One day’, she declared, ‘I want to lead the BNP’ (Observer 16 May 2004). Discussion of such a possibility took place in the period that followed. The most important of the websites viewed by many activists was the American site, Stormfront, and in 2005, a thread on its Britain forum discussed whether the BNP should have a female leader. Not all the participants were from Britain but many were, and it is noticeable how many participants were open to the possibility, sometimes even proposing particular activists (but not, it should be noted, suggesting the Chairman’s daughter).19 In early 2010, an article appeared citing an interview of ‘one of its senior officials’ by Matthew Goodwin to suggest a female leader and ‘a feminised BNP’ was possible (see Prospect April 2010). The BNP website, however, denounced a report in the Daily Mirror which quoted a ‘traitor’ former party officer claiming that Nick Griffin wanted to install his daughter as party leader while retaining the real power. This, he declared, was a lie and when he had told the BNP Advisory Council that he intended to resign as party leader in order to concentrate on building a nationalist alliance in Europe, he had specifically said that Jennifer would not be his successor. She was ‘very efficient’ and ‘highly trusted’ but this did not mean, he said, ‘that she is party leadership material’.20 To conclude, I would like to reflect on how these efforts to organise women in the modern-day BNP compare with the oldest female grouping on the extreme right, the British Housewives’ League. Formed in 1945, the League gained extensive publicity and membership for its campaign against rationing in post-war Britain. After the Attlee government, it became a shadow of its former self, but it long continued to talk in the language it put forward in the late 1940s. It opposed ‘over-control by the State’, and while rationing is no more, much of its later energies were put into opposition to the Common

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Market. It declared support for South Africa and denounced the rise of the permissive society in Britain, providing a platform for both the vice-chairman of the executive committee of Mary Whitehouse’s National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association and the much publicised opponent of the provision of contraception to young girls, Victoria Gillick. In each of these policies the Housewives’ League shared ground with the modern BNP – it denounced the European Community and the permissive society, and defined itself as fighting totalitarianism. But, as we have seen, the modern BNP’s stance remains racial nationalist. Whether we can apply this definition to the Housewives’ League is far more arguable. Led by and formed of women, the Housewives’ League’s culture was very different from that of the NF or BNP. Its newsletter included recipes – the League campaigned on the quality of food – and its most important national gathering long combined one or two outside speakers with lunch and a ‘bring and buy’ sale. (In the late 1960s its newsletter even suggested that attendees ‘after a cup of tea, will disperse before the busy evening traffic begins’.) Crucially, during its development the Housewives’ League became closely linked with an anti-Semitic extreme-right organisation, the British League of Rights (in 1972, it reached an arrangement to share offices). The British League of Rights formed part of the Crown Commonwealth League of Rights, and Don Martin, who would eventually become the British League’s leader, long resided in Australia before returning to Britain. He had been a member of the Australian League of Rights and later married the editor of the Housewives’ League newsletter. But the Housewives’ League spoke in very different terms from the League of Rights. The British Housewives’ League did not invoke a national revolution but evoked the past, harking back to an older form of women organising that differs from their role in such groups as the BNP. Organised in a womenonly grouping, the issues they took up connected with those of non-racist groupings, engaging in activities and speaking in a language at some distance from the more prominent neo-fascist groupings. My last point is that when we consider women on the extreme right, we should consider their role in overtly racial nationalist groupings, a term which, as we have seen, still fits the modern-day BNP. But if, amid the furore over the English Defence League, allies and rivals, and the extent to which the UK Independence Party can canalise opposition to multiculturalism and Islam we are concerned with the extended experience of women on the British extreme right and its possible future, we would also be well advised to note the ways in which a male-led anti-Semitic organisation found a pre-existing women’s group to work with that did not have the characteristics of either classical or neo-fascism.

Notes 1 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014].


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2 html#axzz2EAYSPvjf; [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 3 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 4 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2013]. 5 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2013]. 6 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2013]. 7 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 8 E2%80%93-dramatic-new-leaflet-launched [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 9 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 10 For the quote from the BNP website, see Searchlight no. 341, Nov. 2003. 11 For the ProFam website, see [Accessed 8 Feb. 2013]. 12 html [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 13 +why/3200557.html [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 14 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 15 For Graham’s and Jones’ expulsions, see http://enoughisenoughnick.blogspot. [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. For the other named positions, see Searchlight no. 355, Jan. 2005; no. 413, Nov. 2009. 16 BNP Wives, Sky 1. This is presently available on YouTube. 17 ssadors.html [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 18 html [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014]. 19 [Accessed 8 Feb. 2013]. 20; uk-news/bnp-leader-nick-griffin-grooms-231615 [Accessed 10 Jul. 2014].

References British National Party (2010) Democracy, Freedom, Culture and Identity: British National Party General Election Manifesto 2010. Welshpool: British National Party. British National Party (n.d.). Folk and Nation – Underpinning the Ethnostate, Voting Members Booklet 01. Worcester: British National Party. British National Party (2008–2009) People Like you Voting BNP. British National Party (2005) Rebuilding British Democracy: 2005 General Election Manifesto. Powys: British National Party. British National Party (2010) Democracy, Freedom, Culture and Identity. British National Party General Election Manifesto 2010. Powys: British National Party. Copsey, N. (2008) Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Durham, M. (1998) Women and Fascism. London: Routledge. Fielding, N. (1981) The National Front. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Goodwin, M.J. (2011) New British Fascism: Rise of the British National Party. London: Routledge.

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Linehan, T. (2012) ‘Comparing Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and Asylophobia: The British Case’, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 12(2): 366–386. Richardson, J.E. (2011) ‘Race and Racial Difference: The Surface and Depth of BNP Ideology’, in Copsey, N. and Macklin, G. (eds) The British National Party. Contemporary Perspectives. London: Routledge. Tyndall, J. (1998) The Eleventh Hour: A Call for British Rebirth. Welling: Albion Press.


British neo-Nazi fiction Colin Jordan’s Merrie England – 2000 and The Uprising Paul Jackson

Introduction Comedic novellas are, perhaps, not the first type of cultural production that springs to mind when talking about white nationalist and neo-Nazi milieus. Phenomena such as White Power music, or non-fictional polemics sketching out the need for a racial revolution, or even esoteric statements on the core values of a variant of a faith such as Odinism, are likely to be more prominent in one’s mind as examples of the average cultural output of white supremacists. Yet we can find a tradition of fictional literature developing within the neo-Nazi scene too, which is also of great relevance when analysing the cultural dynamics of such clandestine worlds. Probably the most famous example of neo-Nazi fiction is Andrew McDonald / William Pierce’s The Turner Diaries (Wilson 2014), alongside its follow-up Hunter – both of which offer the ideologically sympathetic reader, who is likely to gloss over the poor quality of the prose, a licence to believe in, and become ever more concerned by, the alleged Jewish world conspiracy that underpins neo-Nazi ideology. Such a sympathetic reader may even be incensed enough by the messages these fictional fantasies project to act on this licence to believe in a global Jewish conspiracy destroying the white race; perhaps even commit the violent actions that are idealised in such texts. Indeed, it appears that American figures such as Bob Matthews of The Order,1 and subsequently Timothy McVeigh (for more on this topic, see Wright 2007), as well as British extremists such as David Copeland, did view The Turner Diaries text as influential,2 among other writings. Weighing up the exact level of impact of a single piece of cultural production on such activists is of course inherently problematic, but nevertheless Pierce’s writings do appear to have been a relevant cultural reference point to such violent activists. Moreover, Pierce is not alone here. Other American neo-Nazi activists have also turned to fiction as a device to help evoke the fantasy of revolution, most notably, David Lane and his book K.D. Rebel (for more on Lane, see Michael 2009). With such examples in mind, the topic of this chapter is a focused examination of a further instance of such neo-Nazi fictional discourses: Colin Jordan’s Merrie England – 2000, published in 1993, and his follow up work, The Uprising,

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from 2004. Both texts offer detailed elaboration of Jordan’s extremist views, and the latter at least evokes the typically fascist myth of nationalist revolutionaries redeeming society from decadence. To analyse these two works, both published late on in the ‘career’ of one of post-war Britain’s leading neo-Nazi activists, my chapter will begin by briefly revisiting Jordan’s own biography, before sketching out a methodology for analysing such extremist cultural products. This will highlight the ways in which these discourses, though clearly fictional, can be seen as texts designed to give legitimacy to neo-Nazi ideals steeped in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and visions of violent racial purification. Indeed, it will be argued that such texts give licence to hold extreme views, which, at the very least, help to make violent action appear morally desirable and even justified. Finally, with this methodology in place, it will then examine each novella in turn, stressing that, though interrelated examples of texts offering such a licence to hate, the two books do offer some contrasting qualities too. While Merrie England – 2000 operates primarily as a satirical reflection of the decline of racial consciousness and the victory of a politically correct state, in a manner broadly akin to George Orwell’s 1984, The Uprising offers a more programmatic message based on the theme of a nationalist revolutionary elite being the only force able to overthrow a corrupt regime. Consequently, the latter text, broadly akin to The Turner Diaries, offers a clearer, potent licence to go one step further than merely cultivating prejudicial views, and to actually carry out terrorist violence.

A brief history of Colin Jordan The son of a postman and schooled in Warwick, Colin Jordan came of age in the England of the 1930s. In 1955 he published his first book, Fraudulent Conversions, an anti-Semitic critique of communism, and then in 1957 his profile rose as he formed the White Defence League, one of a new wave of neo-Nazi organisations inspired by the ideology of the inter-war Imperial Fascist League (IFL). Highlighting this connection with the inter-war IFL, Jordan secured funding for his activities from the estate of Arnold Leese, who himself died in 1956 (for more here see, Thurlow 1998: Ch. 8). Jordan’s White Defence League was active in the Notting Hill Riots of 1958, before merging with the National Labour Party in 1960 to form an earlier incarnation of the British National Party (BNP). Following internal differences, Jordan and a fellow neo-Nazi activist John Tyndall left the BNP, and formed the National Socialist Movement on 20 April 1962. Jordan also helped found the World Union of National Socialists, an early attempt at creating a worldwide neoNazi movement. This meeting also set out the principles of a new ‘Universal Nazism’ in the notorious Cotswold Declaration (Kaplan 2000). During the 1960s, National Socialist Movement members were active in a number of racially motivated attacks, while Jordan himself was also again imprisoned for distributing racist literature. The year 1967 represented a crucial turning


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point in British far-right politics, as the National Front was formed, bringing together a variety of nationalist groupings (Thurlow 1998: Ch. 9). Tellingly, following his release from a prison sentence in 1968, Jordan decided to remain outside the National Front and formed a new, uncompromising organisation, the British Movement, which unlike the National Front was clearly neo-Nazi. Again underscoring Jordan’s proclivity for political violence, the British Movement also developed its own, short-lived paramilitary grouping, the National Socialist Group. Jordan’s role as a leader of the British Movement lasted until he was prosecuted for stealing women’s underwear from a branch of Tesco’s in 1975, which irreparably damaged his credibility in neo-Nazi circles. Thereafter, he retired from active engagement with such vanguard movements, yet continued to develop his profile as a neo-Nazi publicist. This included publishing the deeply anti-Semitic periodical Gothic Ripples. In this period Jordan also contributed to the ideological arguments promoting neo-Nazi inspired violence, for example in the mid-1980s he contributed an article to the League of St George’s publication League Review setting out the need for not only a more open, moderate form of activism, but especially a violent, revolutionary vanguard (Gable 2011: 19). Moreover, in Gothic Ripples Jordan expressed a range of opinions on ‘cultural’ issues, for example expressing a profound dislike of White Power music. When we turn to his collected writings, National Socialism: Vanguard of the Future, we can find some key texts that help us to see his core ideological viewpoints. Jordan firmly believed that neo-Nazism represented a higher calling. For example, in an essay he reproduced regularly elsewhere too, ‘National Socialism: A Philosophical Appraisal’, Jordan claimed that National Socialism was ultimately a faith, one defined by an attitude that ‘Sets a meaning and purpose of cosmic dimension to life as a personal fulfilment’. The cosmic dimension is significant here as, for Jordan, national or ‘folk’ communities are merely a constituent part of the wider ‘white race’. This notion of race was itself given further, metaphysical significance via reference to the cosmic forces of nature. So in this variant of neo-Nazi political philosophy, white people are linked in a continuum spanning the individual, to their folk community (i.e. nation), to their race, to the wider cosmos. Moreover, true National Socialists need to be aware of this wider loyalty to the white race and such higher forces, not merely to their nation. This myth-making helped to give gravitas to his other arguments endorsing violence to overthrow the democratic state, and we also see that Jordan’s views on political tactics are developed in these collected writings. Here as elsewhere, Jordan rejected the nationalist populism to be found in far-right parties that engaged in electioneering. He claimed that all democratic forms of action were influenced by a corrupted system, and so populist nationalism was part of a conspiracy to pacify the white race. Nationalists who developed electoral tactics inevitably compromised their views, and so a slow conversion to a non-revolutionary agenda could all too easily set in. Indeed, he felt that the conversion of the masses to their authentic folk and racial consciousness

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could only occur after the democratic political system had been brought down and discredited. As he stressed: All the signs are that, unless and until there is a complete breakdown of the old system to administer sufficient of a jolt to the masses to bring them to their senses, they will not come to support National Socialism in sufficient numbers to enable acquisition of power. (Jordan 1993b: 84) Thus, a revolutionary vanguard was the only way in which the required elemental political change could be developed. While he argued that the present society was likely to enter into major crisis in the near future, this process also needed to be helped along via the active effort of an ideologically pure, violent elite. This force was described as follows: Since we need the breakdown of the old order to build the new, the more spanners we can throw in the works of the present system, the better. Its systematic sabotage in every possible way is purposeful commendable demolition for the real National Socialist revolutionary, who appreciates things have to get worse before they get better, and that an existing decrepit structure has to be torn down before a new and better edifice can be put in its place. (Jordan 1993b: 89) The paramilitary elite that such texts idealised would comprise only those who were true believers in the racial ideology, as he saw it. Its members needed to consider their National Socialism as faith, and a higher cause, just like him. Thus any member of the vanguard had to: Purge his mind of all attachments to the existing state and system and society, abstracting himself to the upmost from the grip of this alien world so as to be in total rebellion against its decadence, becoming a fragment of the future. (Jordan 1993b: 105) Moreover, while Jordan developed such ideas in his many non-fiction essays, and in the pages of Gothic Ripples, as we will see below he also sought to set them within a fictional register. National Socialism: Vanguard of the Future even finished with a short story, ‘Train of Thought’, echoing themes developed in the novellas analysed below. Jordan saw fiction as a useful propaganda tool, and viewed culture as crucial to developing the correct milieu for a neo-Nazi revolution. By the 2000s, Jordan continued to strive for a high profile voice within neoNazi and white power circles, promoting such extremism until his death in 2009. For example, he gave financial support to the British People’s Party,


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formed in 2005, which grounded itself in many of his ideals, as well as those of others endorsed by Jordan, such as David Lane. Jordan also developed a series of interviews to promote his ideas to the wider National Socialist community, distributed as CDs.

Neo-Nazi cultural production: licensing hatred and promoting purification Before moving onto closer analysis of Merrie England and The Uprising, it is important to comment on how we can critically analyse such fictional texts in a manner as to will allow for identification of key tropes that reveal them as discourses which, in particular, evoke a typically neo-Nazi licence to hold extreme views and help justify violent action. While the nebulous field of ‘fascism studies’ has undergone a ‘cultural turn’ in recent years, for the most part this has been applied to analyses of inter-war fascisms rather than post-war incarnations of the ideology.3 Moreover, despite the renewed interest in examining the variety of cultures created by fascist movements and regimes, defining the core qualities of ‘fascist culture’ remains highly problematic. Still clearly relevant here are the interventions of the ‘new consensus’ positions of the late 1990s, which attempted to offer some clarity regarding the aims and purpose of fascism as a discrete ideological force grounded in an extreme nationalist, revolutionary counterculture (Griffin 1993). Despite on-going debates that seek to critique such approaches (Paxton 2004; Woodley 2010), Roger Griffin’s formulation of fascism as ‘populist, palingenetic ultra-nationalism’ has notable qualities to commend it as a viable approach for research, especially for the analysis of fascist cultures and discourses. Most significant is Griffin’s appreciation of the notion that fascist cultures, including their neo-Nazi variants, can be defined by their cultivation of a myth of revolution, or palingenesis. This theme of fascists being defined by their pursuit of a new order and alternative modern world, embedded in a discourse replete with references to mythology and the pursuit of higher causes, has also been highlighted by other figures concerned with the quasi-religious aspects of fascism, such as Emilio Gentile (2006). Moreover, Gentile’s theme of fascist cultures operating as ‘political religions’, blurring revolutionary politics with a narrative of secular redemption to create a politicised faith, can be found in what we have discussed so far with reference to Jordan’s non-fictional writings. Indeed, like many other fascists, Jordan set his approach to Nazism within a cosmic dynamic. Consequently, it is unsurprising that we can find Jordan praising David Lane’s writings, the latter being a key proponent of Wotanism, a typically neo-Nazi variant of Odinism that combines politics with a pagan faith. Another of the central voices examining the clandestine cultural milieus of post-war fascism has been Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. He again stresses the role of quasi-religious tropes within post-war neo-Nazism in particular.

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Goodrick-Clarke’s work emphasises that this variant of the wider phenomenon of post-war fascism is set within: Powerful ideas of anti-Semitism as a form of world-rejecting gnosis, Aryan paganism as a global religion of white supremacism, and Hitler as a divine being within a cosmic order [which] together compose an unholy theology of the Aryan myth. Seen in this light, neo-Nazism has all the characteristics of an international sect with a religious cult. There are devotional practices, initiates and martyrs, prophecies and millennial expectations, and even relics. (Goodrick-Clarke 1998: 5–6) Focusing on recognition of the faith-like qualities of neo-Nazism, much of Goodrick-Clarke’s study was concerned with the impact of the mystical worldview promoted by Savitri Devi on this milieu. Tellingly, Devi was another figure who also influenced Jordan. Indeed, she was another of the inner circle present at the 1962 summer camp that Jordan co-organised, and which saw the signing of the Cotswold Declaration. Moreover, GoodrickClarke’s approach stresses that the combination of politics and faith found in such cultures represents the ‘fatal attraction of neo-Nazism and Hitler cults for their followers’, and so, by examining such milieus through a lens sensitive to their quasi-religious nature, ‘we may understand their perennial capacity to transmute religious energies and hopes for cultural revival into anger and violence’ (Goodrick-Clarke 1998: 6). Indeed, this reflection on fascism as an ideology driven by a deeply mythical vision setting out a political project that idealises national purification and redemption, and so promotes violence, has been developed by other voices within fascism studies. For example, Michael Mann (2004) styles fascist politics as one that sees itself steeped in an existential battle with a scapegoat community constructed as irredeemably ‘other’. For Nazis and neo-Nazis, this is undoubtedly ultimately Jewish people, though all non-whites are also deemed alien, and racially inferior, by the ideology. This sense of existential battle with an evil ‘other’ within fascist politics is also inherently militant, and primarily concerned with overthrowing such a force deemed ‘evil’. For fascists, achieving an (ultimately unobtainable and utopian) fantasy of elimination of this ‘other’ will then enable the ‘in’ community to become purified, even redeemed, once more. Just as inter-war Nazis styled Jews as uniquely threatening and evil, we can see this focus on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories echo into the post-war era too. Jordan’s significance lies in his continued, high profile position as a neo-Nazi ideologue who remained steadfast in his promotion of an extreme variant of anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi fascism in post-war Britain. Mann also stresses the idea that fascists focus on ‘cleansing’ the nationstate. However, this is a theme ultimately less clearly articulated within Jordan’s international perspective, which as we have seen identifies with forces


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such as ‘the white race’ as higher than the national, or ‘folk’, community. Indeed, the issue of fascism being defined as extreme nationalism alone, taken as an essential feature of the ideology, can also be seen as a problematic aspect of Griffin’s focus on the term ‘ultra-nationalism’ within his influential definition of the phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is helpful to stress that Griffin’s employment of the prefix ‘ultra’ here is also used for a specific purpose: to highlight a specific type of confrontational, nationalist ‘imagined community’ (see Anderson 1983), one that is diametrically opposed to liberal values. At its core, Griffin’s terminology allows us to see that fascism gravitates around a highly radicalised, and anti-liberal, form of identification between an ‘in’ community and a scapegoat, ‘out’ community. A final voice that is important to develop here, especially for considering the impact of fascist cultural production, is Aristotle Kallis, who offers a further perspective concerned with examining the extreme cultural milieus generated by fascisms. In particular, he has developed the theme of fascist cultural production as a phenomenon giving what he calls a ‘licence’ to develop extreme desires and fantasies (Kallis 2009). He stresses that these licences are cultural products that, in certain contingent contexts, can then be turned into a praxis that crosses moral boundaries and leads to violence. Indeed, for Kallis fascist violence must somehow first be made desirable before it can become a reality, thus examining the ways in which such desires are cultivated is a crucial area of research. Within post-war neo-Nazism, although we are not examining the extremes of fascist violence found developing during the Second World War that regularly included genocide, we do find counter-cultural milieus, epitomised by the organisations we find in Jordan’s own biography, in which the boundaries between cultures promoting violence, and actual violent activity, are regularly crossed. Moreover, the idea of ‘licence’ is somewhat looser than the legalistic notions of ‘inciting’, ‘encouraging’ or even ‘assisting’ violence, and so causality between culturally constructed licences, and subsequent action, is inevitably more complex. Therefore, licensing extremism and violence through cultural production does not necessarily involve specifying clearly defined, discrete violent activity. Rather, it can be used to help identify a wider milieu in which violent outcomes are more shrewdly being ‘talked up’, and made to seem ever more desirable, by radical ideologues. In particular, such licences will develop cultures that: promote extreme views that break culturally accepted taboos surrounding the undesirability of political extremism; develop a sense of injustice being committed by designated scapegoat figures; reduce the moral barriers towards carrying out selected violent activity (for example by evoking a sense of higher justice or larger ideological order of things that one should ultimately offer allegiance to), and so endorse the value of violent solutions over non-violent ones; and, finally, identify designated targets for violent activity. So, with Griffin’s and Mann’s theme of fascism as an ideology steeped in myths of revolution and purification being directed towards the ‘in’ community at the expense of the ‘out’ community; Goodrick-Clarke’s idea of

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neo-Nazism as a milieu that reinterprets Nazism by turning it into an international, clandestine cultic milieu; and Kallis’ notion of fascist cultures giving licence to hold extreme views which in some circumstances will lead to violent praxis, we can turn, finally, to Jordan’s fiction. While The Uprising can be seen as narrating Jordan’s solution to the existential crisis facing contemporary society, we will start with his first novella, Merrie England, which rather offers Jordan’s extreme, yet at least ostensibly satirical, diagnosis of modern Britain. Merrie England – 2000 The first notable feature of Merrie England is its opening ‘dedication’ to Gerald Kaufman, a Jewish MP who, Jordan claims (pp. 1–2),4 ordered a raid on his home while writing the book. For Jordan, Kaufman’s actions epitomise the alleged hidden Jewish conspiracy to undermine free speech that he sought to satirise in his book. Indeed, he later makes mention of this event in the narrative itself. Finally, he stresses that the book is not in breach of Section III of the Public Order Act of 1986, which sets out the offence of promoting racial hatred. Jordan opens with a claim that Merrie England is not an illegal text, but has been suppressed by a corrupt state. With this recurrent trope of telling the reader they are engaging with dangerous material as an opening strategy, the first chapter then sets the tone for the story itself. We follow the book’s central protagonist, Annie, as she takes her dog, called ‘Nigger’, for a walk. She then ‘inadvertently’ offends a black car mechanic by calling after the dog. The representation of a black male is clearly designed to style him as threatening and ‘other’, so he is described as possessing ‘furious eyes’, and immediately launches into a tirade of abuse, while also kicking Annie’s dog. The police swiftly arrive on the scene, and again the narrative stresses that both officers are non-white: ‘one was evidently an Indian of some sort, his head swathed in a turban, and the other a dark man of indeterminate breed with large ear-rings and a pointed beard and hair down to his shoulders’ (pp. 5–6). So Jordan is keen to style these officers as typical of the new non-white ‘Afro-Asian’ police, who only respond to racist crimes with any urgency. Drawing on texts such as 1984 and A Clockwork Orange, Annie is then taken to the sinister Ministry of Harmony for re-education. Echoing language from the Nazi regime, Jordan describes this process of eliminating racial prejudice in white people as the ‘final solution for the elimination of folk-feeling in Whites’ (p. 7) – as we will see, the reference point of the Holocaust was crucial for Jordan’s far-right satire. The aim of such re-education, we also learn in this opening chapter, is the mixing ‘of all humanity to produce the world man and woman, and eventually the world unisex’ (p. 8). In other words, the Ministry of Harmony promotes a blurring of identities that represents the precise opposite goal to Jordan’s own neo-Nazism, which of course seeks racial purity. Typical of Jordan’s cultivation of a comedic style for evoking the absurdity he views in this process of


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re-education, Annie is even banned from washing her white clothes separately from her non-whites, part of the culture of extreme political correctness that Jordan sees infusing this imagined, alternate Britain. Readers are subsequently shown that Annie’s path to re-education is facilitated largely by the television, which broadcasts a wide array of extreme propaganda promoting racial mixing, dubbed ‘integration series’, which are, essentially, designed to remove lingering traces of her racial consciousness. Moreover, politically correct documentary series engage with topics such as the evils of the British Empire, while also, in an ultra politically correct spirit, erroneously claim that the achievements of the (white) Ancient Greeks in fact originate from (black) Africa. Exposure to such propaganda gives Annie extreme headaches, given the amount of mental effort they cause her as they remove her ‘racial consciousness’ (p. 10). Meanwhile, echoing the book’s dedication to Kaufman, the Minister for Harmony is presented as Jewish, and descended from a family who lived ‘in the Hebrew quarter of Lodz’ (p. 11), a trope, used as a pejorative, found in his second book too. This minister is styled as a shadowy figure who adopts the pseudonym ‘John Bull’ in public, and manipulates the Prime Minister from behind the scenes. Throughout the subsequent chapters, readers are given a sense of how Jordan locates the onset of contemporary decadence within twentieth-century history. For him, the impact of the Second World War was crucial. He dubs the period immediately after 1945 as ‘the Great Change’, and this era saw ‘democracy’s directors’ (elsewhere described as ‘dictators’) crush ‘the contemporary folk revival of the Aryans’ (p. 14). Telling of the conspiracy theory ideology informing the novella, in the post-war world Tel-Aviv became the centre of the ‘World Conscience’. Moreover, other tropes familiar to readers of 1984 abound in the novella. For example, books are regularly disappearing, while corrupt politicians lie to the public and manipulate society into conformity via rigged opinion polls. School education is also discussed in some depth in the book. We find that, in order to remove their white racial consciousness, children are subject to activities such as performing the ritualistic ‘circle of sameness’ (p. 16), telling of how the school day is designed to eliminate individuality and promote a passive, herd mentality. To ensure maximum racial integration, children are bussed to different schools, resulting in them missing many classes, and so standards decline. School tests are dumbed down, and rigged, to mask what Jordan saw as the innate inferiority of black children. Yet while black people are presented as simply mentally inferior, Jewish people are styled as considering themselves superior to other elements of the non-white population. Both are clearly presented as ‘other’, and need to be removed, but Jordan describes Jews as figures promoting the dominance of a ‘coloured’ identity over a white one, while also insisting they are an elite within the ‘coloured’ community. White people, meanwhile, are shown as existing at the bottom of the ladder of racial identities in this satirical vision, forced to perform humiliating rituals of penance for the alleged sins of their forefathers.

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Further evoking the domination of Jewish concerns, a chapter is devoted to the topic of the Holocaust, the occurrence of which is presented as the central lie that holds the whole regime together. This theme is kept to the forefront of the population’s mind as the ultimate sin of the white race. To add to the effect, Jordan narrates that the death figures from the Nazi genocide are regularly revised upwards by the Ministry of Harmony, while an ever more extreme memory of the Holocaust is promoted in other ways too. For example, Jordan imagines a situation where carrier bags in supermarkets are printed with phrases such as ‘Remember Auschwitz’. Moreover, at 11.00 each morning, people engage in a ritual of remembrance ‘not for some long forgotten armistice in some war of 1914–1918, but because of the extermination of the Jews in the World War for Democracy of 1939–45’ (p. 36). Annually too, the traditional May Day celebrations have been replaced with pageants remembering the Holocaust, where people re-enact the Nazi genocide, some by dressing as victims, others as Nazi guards. Moreover, contrasting with The Uprising, in this cautionary tale which depicts the victory of multicultural decadence, the ultra-nationalist resistance is successfully curtailed. Echoing Jordan’s critique of more moderate forms of nationalist activism, which he viewed as compromised and ineffectual, the British National Party is destroyed in the mid-1990s through a mass lobotomy of all it members (p. 43). Developing the trope of absurdity to ridicule attempts to eliminate extreme nationalist cultures, he even describes how legislation is passed that outlaws the fascist salute, setting out exacting stipulations on acceptable and unacceptable angles for hand gestures to be used for greetings. The closing chapters of the novella then set out the more general decline of society, for example again stressing how criminality has become rife. A dwindling economy is critiqued as another way to control the masses by the corrupt, political elite. The ideology of the new order is characterised as a mixture of communism and capitalism, ‘Commu–Capitalism’ (p. 45), a synthesis of two variants of the modern ‘disease’ of materialism. People take a drug called Harmonine that inflicts pain to help encourage the suppression of prejudicial thoughts; modern music and dance culture is also styled as a further form of bread and circuses to entertain the masses. The country has become populated by an array of new age soothsayers, and modern society is described as returning to a pre-civilised era. The book finishes its dystopian projection into the (at the time Jordan was writing) near future, culminating in the year 2000. Epitomising the trend to replace white national heroes with black, non-British icons, on New Year’s Day we see Nelson’s Column replaced with a statue of Nelson Mandela, the latter repeatedly referred to as a terrorist throughout the book. Then the final pages describe the state using a new machine to beam rays into Britain that can control the minds of white people, forcing them into total submission to the all-powerful state. The Jewish political elite, meanwhile, possess a suppressor device, and so Merrie England ends with the Jewish control of the nation becoming total (p. 49).


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To return to our three broad themes for analysing such neo-Nazi cultural production, we can first see that the book revolves around a striking binary between purity and impurity, framed as nothing less than an existential conflict. For Jordan, the ‘racial consciousness’ that Annie, the central protagonist, still possesses at the outset of the book symbolised a final vestige of white racial purity, while all around her are aligned ‘destructive’, politically correct forces. Moreover, the purpose of such a satirical cautionary tale is ultimately to heighten the awareness of the presence of ‘the other’ in the mind of the reader, while making appear absurd forces promoting cultural diversity. Implicitly given its satirical approach, the text also cultivates in the sympathetic reader a desire for achieving a reality where such ostensibly crazy forces are no longer present. As such, one of the novella’s core aims is not merely to diagnose a crisis of racial purity and Jewish domination, but also to ask the reader to imagine an alternative, equally extreme possibility, one where the aligned forces of multiculturalism are no longer engaged in such an existential battle to eliminate the white race. While the fascist binary of purity and impurity is clearly evoked, what is less clear from this first fictional work is the notion of a cultic milieu developing among nationalist protagonists. Indeed, such activists are hardly discussed in the text. Nevertheless, in Merrie England’s preface, we can see how Jordan sets the book within his wider theories promoting the higher force of a neo-Nazi racial consciousness. Here, he stresses that the book is motivated by his concern for ‘his homeland and his folk as once they were and should again become’ (pp. 2–3), while his ire is primarily directed at ‘the renegades of his own race’. Indeed, he stresses that it is those who have betrayed their own national community who are to blame: ‘immigrants of other races, have only taken advantage of the treachery of our own renegades’. So again we can see that he certainly sets this within his theme of racial purity and impurity, and in terms of change in the real world, he remains hopeful for a redemptive meta-narrative for the white race. Finally, in terms of the book licensing the extremist positions held by likeminded activists, we can begin to explore this point by briefly examining how others within the neo-Nazi milieu received the book. One strikingly positive commentary came from Dominic Campbell in The Scorpion, whose review presents us with a flavour of how Merrie England could be interpreted among the converted. He stresses that the book: Reveals a truth which our reason may have otherwise succeeded in hiding from us, protesting, ‘no, no that isn’t right’; or, ‘that’s a terrible exaggeration’. Deft use of satire is the outstanding quality of George Orwell’s 1984, a satire written on more levels than most readers have appreciated, when at the time it was written the belief that the British would ever accept the political tailoring of their language or the enforcement of metrication seemed very fanciful, not to be taken too seriously. There are echoes of 1984 in Jordan’s Merrie England … It is written in the same

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line of political satire, extrapolating certain tendencies in society and imagining that we have not long to go now before we have arrived at a point where the tendencies have become have omnipresent facts of life.5 The text is clearly a reference point for other commentaries on fascist fiction too. For example, Troy Southgate compared Merrie England less favourably to Alex Kurtagic’s Mister as follows: [Kurtagic’s is] a world in which the most grotesque Benetton poster has spilled its guts all over the street and where the kind of degenerative societies portrayed in William Pierce’s The Turner Diaries and Colin Jordan’s Merrie England seem rather tame by comparison.6 More recently, we can find references to Jordan’s dystopia from activists such as contributors to the Stormfront message board. Typically positive statements regarding the text from this central neo-Nazi message board include this taken from 2009, shortly after Jordan’s death: ‘RIP Mr Jordan … The booklet “Merrie England 2000” was truly prophetic’.7 Finally, in more recent times, Günter Deckert of Germany’s National Democratic Party stressed to an IONA London Forum meeting in 2012 that Merrie England was a key text for him while serving time in prison, helping him keep his ideology alive (Gable 2012; see also Macklin, in this volume). Assessing the overall impact of the book on this complex and clandestine world is a hard task, however from such indicative sources we can certainly see that Jordan made an impact, and found a lasting audience, with his first fictive text. Yet whereas Merrie England evokes the crisis that neo-Nazis believe is unfolding, it only ultimately implied that there needs to be a sustained alternative. To see how Jordan set a solution in fictive form, we need to turn to his follow-up work, The Uprising. The Uprising In presenting its more open licensing of terrorist violence as a solution to the decadence of the ‘Commu-Capitalist’ state, it is important to note first that The Uprising (pp. 1–2) is dedicated to Bob Matthews of American terrorist group The Order. Notoriously, Matthews died in a house fire at the end of a shootout with the FBI in 1984. This reference point has become important in the book’s reception, as we will see. The opening dedication also highlights the influential roles played by two further figures from The Order, David Lane and Richard Scutari. The latter again epitomised the turn to neo-Nazi mythmaking as he became a promoter of a polytheistic religion based on Norse mythology. A final figure mentioned here is Tyneside-based Third Positionist activist Wallace Wears, cited as Jordan’s benefactor, again linking Jordan’s views with wider neo-fascist networks. A Preface written in 1998 then sets out how the book is intended merely as a piece of fiction, and the story is ‘not a


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personal incitement by the author to “racial hatred” or to violence’. This section of text also stresses that the oppressive nature of the current British state is creating the conditions that will inspire the resistance movement depicted in the subsequent narrative. Following this, ‘A Postscript’ dated October 2003 adds an account of how ‘Britain’s Thought Police’, that is Special Branch, tried to suppress publication of the book in the UK, but that the text found an outlet in America. Finally, this opening section concludes with a quote from Mein Kampf, which reads: ‘If, by the instrument of government power, a people is being led towards its destruction, then rebellion is not only the right of every member of such a people – it is their duty.’ So, as with Merrie England, the reader is left in no doubt that he or she is reading an extremist publication, itself part of the rhetorical style calling for a sympathetic audience to empathise with Jordan’s revolutionary cause. The book itself is divided into a series of chapters that perform two tasks. The first is to narrate the growth of a fictive revolutionary vanguard, the British Freedom Force, set in the (at the time Jordan was writing) near future of 2006. The second is to describe a series of set pieces where the British Freedom Force take to task a variety of political and social institutions that Jordan feels need to be singled out for special attention. As with Merrie England these are often developed in Jordan’s extreme, yet comedic, style, as we will see. But first, the opening chapter, ‘The Justice of Revolt’, again echoes Jordan’s post-war meta-narrative arguing that, from 1945 onwards, Britain had become victim to a ‘Coloured occupation’ that has: Allowed the Jewish minority in our land – a segment of the Jewish worldwide, religious-racial entity in whose interests the war by the West against a liberated Germany of Aryan resurgence had been so largely fought – steadily to increase its power and its exercise of it. Hence that alien minority had come to constitute a veritable ruling force behind government. (p. 4) The first chapter also depicts the execution of Martin Hammond MP, the Home Secretary, by a member of the fictional BFF. Tellingly we are told Hammond was not his real name – his ancestral home was in a Polish ghetto where he had answered to the name of Julius Silverstein. Despite being guarded by the new State Security Police (SSP), the ‘travelling tyrant from Lodz’ was killed by a BFF activist codenamed Cedric, who also killed several officers in this assassination operation. The act of shooting is itself described as pulling ‘the trigger of the British justice of revolt’; while the deaths are all deemed necessary to eliminate both the ‘alien’ Jewish Home Secretary and other ‘accomplices of the monstrous and murderous regime’. Jordan is keen to stress elsewhere too that killing such ‘traitors’ of the white race is a legitimate act. The account of this operation ends with Cedric escaping the initial murder scene, before being tracked down by the SSP, and finally killing

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himself in a major fire-fight with the state. Echoing elements of Bob Matthews’ real-life death, Cedric dies while the building he is in is set ablaze. The book then goes on to narrate the successful coup staged by the British Freedom Force, building on the heroic example evoked by Cedric’s martyrdom. The second chapter continues, detailing the cultural dynamics of the clandestine BFF, stressing the need for the revolution to be led by a charismatic leader. Jordan dubs this character ‘The Herald’, and depicts him as ‘a man of magically transfixing eyes … capable of captivating the beholder and listener with irresistible imagery encapsulating the essence of a holy cause’ (p. 12). This discussion also sets out the cellular nature of the BFF, and its initially humble origins. Telling of his negative portrayal of non-whites and his belief in their propensity to act violently with little provocation, one early stunt includes the BFF putting up posters advertising a new winter state benefit for recent migrants in an area of Birmingham of ‘intense Coloured settlement’. Quite improbably, this has the immediate effect of sparking a riot when the non-white victims of the BFF deception realise they have been duped. Other early tactics include BFF pirate radio broadcasts, and even developing cyber-attacks on the state’s computer systems, such as spamming and developing viruses. It is important to stress that Jordan develops these messages by employing a language of carrying out justified warfare, while also rejecting party political campaigning in favour of the nationalist cause. As he puts it: Political warfare, positively pursued in guerrilla mode and not just talk, was the distinctive purpose of the BFF … The unimaginative nationalists in the conventional parties, captivated by their ingrained veneration of majorities in the masses derived from the illusion known as ‘democracy’ propagated by the exploiters of that illusion, had always decried militant, political warfare as impracticable fantasy. (p. 21) Moreover, Jordan idealises a type of militant activism where people ‘emerged from a carefully maintained cover of conventional life, struck, and then disappeared back into that cover’ (p. 22). The BFF were acutely aware that mass support for the revolution would come after its success, not before it. It is worth stressing that such encoding of terrorism in a language of legitimate warfare is a feature of other far-right activists who promote such violent tactics, such as Anders Breivik. As the chapters proceed, the text veers into a series of more disjointed vignettes detailing attacks on symbolic targets, such as a Jewish journalist who clearly resembles Gerry Gable from Searchlight. In the fictive world of The Uprising, Solomon Abel publishes an anti-fascist magazine called Stoplight, and is violently intimidated into ceasing his anti-fascist campaigning. Elsewhere, a newspaper editor who disseminates what Jordan deemed proJewish propaganda; a gathering of homosexual men; teachers who promote


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Marxism; and even a couple engaging in a mixed race relationship, are all singled out for such vignettes – each one refracting an example of what Jordan perceived as modern racial impurity through the lens of his quite sadistic imaginings. For example, the character Wendy Woodall, the heavily pregnant ‘nominally White woman’ of Jordan’s symbolic mixed race couple, is kidnapped and put in a monkey enclosure in a zoo by the women’s unit of the BFF, as a public warning to ‘other sluts’ who might similarly favour black men over white men as sexual partners. Meanwhile, her black male partner is castrated in the same ‘operation’, and again publically humiliated by the BFF (pp. 40–1). So in such discussions, violence and humiliation are styled as forms of what Jordan regarded as ‘poetic justice’ for those engaged in acts of racial impurity, a key way in which the text attempts to make such improbable violent actions appear, at least in principle, desirable. Indeed, such extremism is set within a language of promoting decency in a world that fails to uphold standards, and tellingly throughout the story we are informed that the British Freedom Force seek to develop their own, countervailing system of revolutionary justice. This trope of revolutionary justice legitimising humiliation and violence, expressed throughout the text, is perhaps most clearly presented to the reader early on, in an attack on a British judge. We are first told of how the judge convicted a BFF activist, Merlin, who had been captured on a raid on an army depot. The judge in the case is described as ‘the wigged dispenser of alien “justice”’ (p. 24), and is depicted as actively revelling in his sentencing of Merlin, thus further evoking his corrupt nature. Later he is named as ‘Judge Greenbaum’, thus conferring on him a Jewish identity too. In the following pages we first read that the BFF free Merlin while he is in transit to prison, before the terrorist vanguard stage their own ‘trial’ of the judge. They break into his house in the dead of night and mount a makeshift court around his bed before waking him up. Then Merlin and others conduct their alternative prosecution. Inevitably, the judge is found guilty of ‘complicity in the system of oppression’, is whipped six times by each BFF member present as his punishment, and then is placed on ‘strict probation’ (i.e. he would be killed if he ever convicts another BFF figure in the future (p. 26)). What is particularly notable about this short discussion is the way in which it highlights a language of exacting a ‘higher’ sense of justice on what is framed as a corrupted legal system. This sense of enacting ‘justice’ is a common rhetorical strategy developed by Jordan. As such, we can see how the book evokes a licence to carry out violent activity by stressing in the narrative that such action is justified by such a legitimising, higher cause. This trope emerges strongly in other sections, such as when Jordan narrates how a variety of people are killed in a BFF car bomb attack. As the text here concludes: What can be said with absolute certainty regarding their death and dismemberment is that in all cases this overdue administration of justice by

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the BFF was most thoroughly deserved by criminals working for the downfall and death of our nation. (p. 72) In the closing chapters, Jordan completes the narrative of takeover, with the BFF developing ever more advanced and complex operations. They carry out attacks on television masts to block out the mainstream media, demolish a power station, and target the telephone network. Moreover, the BFF acquire an experimental microwave weapon, which they eventually use to paralyse the computer systems in Whitehall. The end game for the ‘decadent’ regime begins with the assassination of the Israeli Prime Minister, Yehudi Begin, described as both a relative of Menachim Begin and a figure who killed British civilians in Palestine before Israel’s independence in 1948. Begin himself is first humiliated at the opening of a major new Holocaust monument in Leeds, which the BFF sabotage, and then his plane is shot down by a terrorist armed with an SA-7 shoulder-mounted rocket launcher that had also been captured by the BFF (pp. 85–6). The penultimate chapter then describes a devastating attack on the ‘House of Treachery’, Jordan’s pejorative term for the House of Commons. Here, a BFF suicide mission kills 38 MPs, including the Prime Minister, and injures hundreds more. With the country in disarray, a mere 510 BFF activists, split into 85 units, then mount their final coup the following day. Within a few hours, this elite seizes control of a demoralised nation, who by midday become passively accepting of their new rulers as they take charge. Then, in the closing passages that linger on the initial hours of takeover, Jordan’s narrative details how ‘The Herald’ reveals his true identity as Richard Right. Right denounces the old regime as ‘tyrannical dictatorship’, run by a Jewish plot, which had allowed a ‘coloured invasion’ of Britain. Contrastingly, the new Britain will be racially purified and will be: Reserved for its own folk, and therefore not an open house for Coloureds and Jews who would no longer hold citizenship and enjoy its benefits, and would thus be made to go elsewhere. It would be a land whose folk were restored to racial health and national dignity, respectfully worthy of their past, and devotedly working for a glorious future. (p. 104) As the book concludes, Jordan’s narrative stresses that the British people themselves begin to undergo a re-awakening of their own national consciousness. Thus, from the point of the BFF’s revolution onwards, the ‘other’ is eliminated, and the nation is now on the path to purification and redemption. To return to our core themes, first we can see that the binary between the ‘impure’ and the ‘pure’ is clear from this narrative. Indeed, though clearly improbable, the book’s conclusion ends with a vision of successful fascist purification, and its closing passages are steeped in the type of prose that Griffin and others describe as palingenetic, that is presenting the fantasy of


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achieving the much-desired sense of communal rebirth. Moreover, what was present in the text of The Uprising, and which was lacking from Merrie England, was an articulation of the cultic milieu that figures such as GoodrickClarke have located within neo-Nazism. Especially via the various depictions of a revolutionary vanguard itself, the story’s structure offers Jordan opportunities to develop this theme in a way that was not possible within the limits of Merrie England’s satirical approach. Common features of such a cultic milieu include charismatic leaders, the idealisation of higher forces, and heroisation of a chosen few, and we can find clear evidence of these tropes in the book. We have already seen Jordan’s evocation of charismatic leadership in the character The Herald, whose force is described as ‘holy’. We have also already noted the evocation of a higher form of justice, used to legitimise violence and even killing – tropes developed throughout the novella. Elsewhere too, Jordan develops this sense of righteousness in other ways, such as encoding attacks on Jewish figures and the state within the framework of Robin Hood mythology: the BFF steal from the corrupt rich to help free the racially oppressed poor. Moreover, the theme of heroic martyrdom for the fallen ‘heroes’ is also regularly developed in the text, which is worth reflecting on in some further depth. It demonstrates the theme of the cultic milieu that glorifies violence and imbues such action, and especially a violent death, with greater, metaphysical significance. From the outset, the Viking ideal of Valhalla as a resting place for the fallen is alluded to, especially in the death of the opening BFF martyr figure, Cedric. Here, Jordan idealises Cedric’s iconic suicide, in a fire that he started, as follows: ‘an exceedingly brave British patriot … arranged his own Viking-style funeral pyre as a climax of sacrifice to the cause he held so dear’ (p. 10). Jordan goes on to stress that this story of heroism becomes a key part of the BFF mythology, evoking a ‘courageous spirit of devotion’ and is dubbed the ‘saga of Cedric’ in the text. This gives Cedric – whose fictive death clearly plays on the real-life case of Bob Matthews – immortality, a feature he also stresses is only offered to true heroes of the cause. Elsewhere too, we find a language of cultic heroism deployed when BFF figures die in service. To give another example, the activist who mounts a suicide attack on the House of Commons, Peter Hanley, is described as ‘having tempered his will to the state of fixity and intensity of a Viking beserker of old, so that he could be disregardful of discomfort and oblivious to distraction’ (p. 97). So once again we see the evocation of a ‘hero’ dying for the cause as crucial to the idealisation of BFF activism. Therefore, in this text, we can find much evidence of Jordan encoding neo-Nazi terrorism within a cultic milieu. Finally, in terms of gaining a sense of how Jordan’s views may have acted as a licence endorsing the views of others, the book led to positive comments from a range of reviewers. Blood & Honour magazine carried a review of the book that focuses particular praise on Jordan’s negative portrayal of Jews, while also revelling once more in the theme of terrorist violence and martyrdom. As this review stresses:

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In the very first chapter a Bob Mathews-style figure assassinates the … Jewish home secretary and is then ‘martyred’ in a huge shoot-out as he’s holed up in a ‘safe house’ in London. The author wastes no time in pouring scorn on coloured immigration, the state of the nation and – through ‘Cedric’ … denounces Jewish politicians. The home secretary is described as ‘bent-beaked, the backward slope of his Ashkenazi skull conspicuously vertical’ and Jews as the ‘entity in whose interests the war by the West against a liberated Germany of Aryan resurgence had been so largely fought’.8 Curiously, the reviewer is also critical of the literary style, suggesting that using the present rather than past tense would have added to the tension of the book. More generally, the Blood & Honour movement use Jordan’s memory in other ways too. His writings are republished on Blood & Honour related web spaces, and clearly he is an ideologue promoted by this crucial neo-Nazi movement. In the USA, meanwhile, we can see an interest too. For example, one-time New Order activist Martin Kerr reviewed the book for www.nsm88records. com, a website disseminating much White Power material, especially CDs. Kerr’s commentary stresses the mixture between humour and seriousness of intent in Jordan’s writing, as an effective aspect of the book: The author is clearly a strong believer in poetic justice, and the BFF repeatedly engages in operations which are inconceivable from a military standpoint but hilarious nonetheless. Imagine something like Monty Python meets Adolf Eichmann. Moreover, Kerr for one clearly sees through the veiled nature of endorsing such activity in the Preface, and understands Jordan’s underlying message as saying that the present time is the right one for armed insurrection. As he continues: From the standpoint of the contemporary White Nationalist movement, the most controversial aspect of The Uprising is the underlying notion that violent revolution is the best option open to it. Jordan takes pains in the Preface to stress that the story he is telling is ‘imaginary’ and should not be taken as ‘a personal incitement … to violence.’ One cannot help but notice, however, that the book is dedicated to Bob Mathews, founder of ‘The Order’, a group which drew its inspiration from The Turner Diaries, a previous work of White revolutionary fiction. Kerr’s review also concludes with a typically ambivalent comment on Jordan’s thesis. He underscores the point that not all activists within the American white supremacist milieu would agree with Jordan’s analysis on the current need to carry out terrorism at this juncture. Thus, implicitly Kerr endorses the


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potential for violence at some point, though the question of whether now is the correct time for such action is critiqued. Consequently, the review essentially stresses that Jordan’s relevance lies in his part within a wider discussion on when to carry out violence, though ultimately not whether such violence is, in principle, acceptable at certain points in the lifetime of the white nationalist movement. As he concludes: For our part, however, we think that now is not the time for armed insurrection, not while so many opportunities to advance the cause of Race and Nation exist within the framework of existing law. But we encourage everyone to read The Uprising for himself or herself and draw his or her own conclusions.9 Finally, it is worth stressing that other US websites, such as Tom Metzger’s The Insurgent (located at also promote the book and Jordan’s ideology. In its webpages, one finds a dedication to Jordan dating from 2009, following his death. Again evoking an international cultic milieu, this stresses: Colin Jordan was an honorary member of the NEW ORDER and recipient of its highest award, the Loyalty Badge. He was a close friend of the current head of the World Union of National Socialists, Matt Koehl. NOW, GOOD AND FAITHFUL WARRIOR, ENTERVALHALLA!10 Moreover, The Insurgent’s web space offers a further section dedicated to reproducing a selection of Jordan’s non-fiction, as well as PDF file reproductions of both Merrie England – 2000 and The Uprising. Finally, again related to Metzger, YouTube also hosts a Fourth Position Radio discussion from January 2013 where Metzger talks about why he finds Jordan’s ideas important, as well as his critical views on Jordan’s theme of promoting a Nazi-style centralised totalitarian state following a white nationalist revolution.11 Here, as with other reviews and commentaries, Jordan’s extremism is not necessarily endorsed wholesale. Rather, he is presented as one of the major, iconoclastic ideologues that the wider neo-Nazi and white nationalist community should read to help consolidate and develop their own views and positions on such issues, especially the use of violence.

Conclusion The central contention of this chapter has been that Colin Jordan’s neo-Nazi fictional writings have both offered sympathetic activists a licence to entertain extremist views, and suggested that they should act upon these, violently if necessary. In particular, it has asserted that such licences act in a number of ways: promoting extreme views breaking culturally accepted taboos that view political extremism negatively; setting political violence within an ideology

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that evokes a higher moral cause; promoting positively violent solutions over non-violent ones; and, finally, offering identification of targets designated for violent activity. In Jordan’s prose, we can see all of these features. Both texts under assessment here have revealed tropes that juxtapose features of mainstream society, such as multi-cultural and multi-ethnic communities and laws regarding freedom of speech, as phenomena out of kilter with the positions that the author asks his readers to empathise with. The trope of calling on the reader to support a culturally taboo viewpoint is epitomised by the initial texts found in both volumes, which both stress that the state has tried to ban Jordan’s books. Moreover, Jordan’s fictive style either implies or states that neo-Nazism is a morally superior way of perceiving the world, a theme also achieved by evoking the cultic, quasi-religious themes that Gentile, Griffin, Goodrick-Clarke and others identify as typical of fascist, and especially neo-Nazi, milieus. This notion of higher forces legitimising taboo positions is significant as it helps to undercut cultural boundaries that regard such viewpoints as extremist and invalid. We can also see that both novellas try to conjure an alternative moral world in which mainstream society is bent on destroying the higher force of racial consciousness, and the white race. Examples of this recourse to an alternative, neo-Nazi mythology are more strongly evident in The Uprising, and are most clearly found in sections discussing the violent actions of the British Freedom Force, setting this within a language of heroisation and sacrifice, charismatic leadership and carrying out revolutionary justice. Nevertheless, the narrative of Merrie England still evokes the need to carry out such action by presenting the reader with what Jordan saw as the horrors of the victory of the alleged Jewish conspiracy. This too revolves around a binary between the pure white race and the impure forces of multiculturalism and democracy. And so the negative ending of Merrie England is presented as a cautionary tale, should extreme activism fail. Finally, we can also see the theme of targeting categories for violence here. For Jordan, this could stretch to all people who are deemed traitors to the white race, not just people deemed ‘other’ because they are not white. Jewish people are styled as the most threatening and sinister, while Asian and especially black people are presented as inferior examples of humanity, and likely to descend quickly into mob violence. Moreover, Jews are evocatively killed at several points in The Uprising, as are white people who support their activities, such as the (presumably white) State Security Police officers who try to protect Martin Hammond, the Jewish Home Secretary killed in the opening chapter. Thus it seems that, for Jordan, there are scenarios where it could become desirable to kill all those who are not part of the vanguard, if their deaths are deemed necessary for the revolutionary vanguard’s coup to succeed. What also seems to come through from Jordan’s endorsement of violence is the promotion of its symbolic value: violent activity becomes desirable not merely because it eliminates the powerful, but also because it can send out symbolic messages to the public.


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In principle, then, Jordan’s fictions suggest that violence against a wide variety of people could be deemed legitimate, if carried out as part of the violent overthrow of the democratic order. Overthrowing the Jewish conspiracy was a crucial component of the revolutionary’s way of life. This Manichean battle gave Jordan’s world meaning, and allowed him to develop a potent, redemptive meta-narrative that fantasised about the elimination of this force deemed ‘other’ by his neo-Nazism. This existential, quasi-religious battle defined the sense of struggle that, for Jordan, was a principal feature of National Socialism, even if this struggle was futile. This sense of mission and struggle echoes with Goodrick-Clarke’s comment on religious energies being transformed into violent fantasies by post-war neo-Nazism. As Jordan himself stressed in an interview with the Portuguese magazine Justica & Liberdade: For the real National Socialist (which I hope I measure up to) the struggle is the great purpose of life. Even if it could be proved beyond the slightest doubt that we will not succeed and are doomed to failure, it would still be a necessity of life for the real National Socialist to fight for the cause to the utmost, and to inflict as much punishment as possible on the enemy.12

Notes 1 Bob Matthews is a figure picked up by a range of British National Socialists. For example, National Socialist Movement Britannia reproduce a rousing speech by Matthews on their website: uk/2010/12/hail-bob-mathews-hailthe-order.html [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 2 David Copeland highlighted this influence in his confession, where he stated: ‘If you’ve read the Turner Diaries, you know the year 2000 there’ll be the uprising and all that, racial violence on the streets. My aim was political. It was to cause a racial war in this country.’ See the transcript for the BBC Panorama programme ‘The Nail Bomber’, reproduced at: programmes/panorama/transcripts/transcript_30_06_00.txt [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 3 This interest has spawned many important studies. Examples range from analysis of avant-garde art and fascism, such as Mark Antlif ’s Avant-Garde Fascism: The Mobilization of Myth, Art and Culture in France, 1909–1939 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007); to renewed concerns with fascist music, such as Anton Shekhovtsov’s article ‘Apoliteic music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and “metapolitical fascism”’, Patterns of Prejudice 43(5)(2009): 431–457. 4 The book is hosted online by the Internet Archive: 30/items/MerryEngland2000/MerryEngland2000.pdf [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. For the purposes of this chapter, I will cite page references from this version of the novella. 5 See: [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 6 See: review_troysouthgate.html [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 7 For this thread, see: [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 8 For the full review, see: issue31p9.html [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013].

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9 For the full review, see: html [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 10 See: [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 11 For this recording, see: [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. 12 For the full article, see: [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013].

References Anderson, B. (1983) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. Gable, G. (2011) ‘An Ongoing Trail of Terror’, in Gable, G. and Jackson, P. (eds) Lone Wolves: Myth or Reality. Ilford: Searchlight. Gable, G. (2012) ‘Iona Welcomes German Nazi Criminal’. Available at: www.sea [Accessed 6 Jun. 2013]. Gentile, E. (2006) Politics as Religion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Goodrick-Clarke, N. (1998) Hitler’s Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth, and Neo-Nazism. New York: New York University Press. Griffin, R. (1993) The Nature of Fascism. London: Routledge. Jordan, C. (1993a) Merrie England – 2000. Harrogate: Gothic Ripples. Jordan, C. (1993b) National Socialism: Vanguard of the Future. Aalborg: Nordland Forlag. Jordan, C. (2004) The Uprising. Milwaukee, WI: NS Publications. Kallis, A. (2009) Genocide and Fascism: The Eliminationist Drive in Fascist Europe. London: Routledge. Kaplan, J. (2000) ‘World Union of National Socialists’, in Kaplan, J. (ed.) Encyclopedia of White Power: A Sourcebook on the Radical Racist Right. Walton Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. Mann, M. (2004) Fascists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Michael, G. (2009) ‘David Lane and the Fourteen Words’, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions, 10(1): 43–61. Paxton, R. (2004) The Anatomy of Fascism. London: Penguin. Thurlow, R. (1998) Fascism in Britain: From Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts to the National Front. London: I.B. Taurus. Woodley, D. (2010) Fascism and Political Theory: Critical Perspectives on Fascist Ideology. London: Routledge. Wilson, J. (2014) ‘Toxic Rhetoric: The Language of The Turner Diaries: A Novel’, in Feldman, M. and Jackson, P. (eds) Doublespeak: The Framing of the Radical Right Since 1945. Stuttgart: Ibidem-Verlag. Wright, S.A. (2007) Patriots, Politics and the Oklahoma City Bombing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


When popular culture met the far right Cultural encounters with post-war British fascism Nigel Copsey

Introduction Unlike the previous (and other) contributions to this volume, my concern lies not in the cultural production of post-war British fascism per se but rather, in the forms in which domestic post-war fascism has been represented in popular culture. Here, I am speaking about the ‘dominant’ culture that British (neo) fascists unfailingly malign as inanimate, shapeless, sordid, sick and quintessentially decadent. I suspect that even venturing to address such a question will invite some scepticism. Let us be honest, the corollary to viewing British fascism as politically irrelevant is to deprive it of a place in Britain’s popular culture. That the far right has been marginal to the course of British history seems so self-evidently true that many scholars would never consider the broader question of its cultural impact. Why bother wrestling with such an unimportant subject? Indeed, on those rare occasions when mainstream cultural engagement with British fascism comes in for consideration, that Britain’s right-wing extremists have impinged on popular culture passes by largely unnoticed. One reason for leaving British fascists out in the cold is that, supposedly, fascism has never been part of our national story: Precisely because [American and] mainland British culture have no experience of fascism or any other form of totalitarianism or dictatorship that could be retrieved through family history, testimony or recollection, the only way to access it is by engaging another country’s history. In the case of ‘Fascism’, the past is truly a foreign country. (Rau 2013: 8) A moment’s reflection will suffice to expose claims that Britons have had no cultural experience of domestic fascism. Obviously there has been no experience of fascist dictatorship or, for that matter, fascist occupation (if we exclude the Channel Islands). And yet there is no shortage of family histories, testimonies and recollections by British fascists (and anti-fascists) from both the inter-war years and the post-war period. The volume of this literature, for something so ‘trivial’, is surprising.1

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Although there has been a noticeable (and welcome) shift in the recent scholarship, scholars of British fascism have traditionally fought shy of venturing beyond explanations of British fascism’s political failure. Struggling to see much beyond the ballot-box, historians are perhaps as guilty as political scientists in failing to engage the scholarly imagination (see Lunn 1996). Two decades ago, Tony Kushner (1994: 30) bemoaned the fact that ‘no serious attempt has been made to explore the relationship between neo-fascism in Britain and popular culture’. Two decades later, and little has changed. But if slight attention has been directed to the relationship between British fascism and popular culture in the period since 1945, the nature of that relationship in the inter-war period also remains under-explored. Since it falls outside the scope of this particular volume, regrettably, I will have to put cultural representations of inter-war British fascism to one side.2 My aim with this chapter, then, is solely to examine representations of postwar fascism in British popular culture. Moreover, my interest lies exclusively in fictional representations: in literature, on stage and finally, on screen.

‘Not the sort of book you want to buy your old granny’ Representations of post-war British fascism in popular literature are closely bound up with the emergence of young-adult, mass market (pulp) fiction. It is within this low-brow literary genre that more contemporary manifestations of Britain’s far right, especially its neo-Nazi/skinhead strands, find their representation. In part this development has reflected changing perceptions of how contemporary fascism manifests itself in the post-war period. As Mike Cronin pointed out some time ago: Sir Oswald Mosley and John Tyndall are separated by half a century, the images which their movements provoke are very different (Mosley’s Blackshirts as opposed to Tyndall’s skinheads), and the former was openly fascist, while the latter has largely hidden his fascist thinking behind electoral politics. (Cronin 1996: 9) Yet this development has also reflected shifting consumer trends in modern publishing, that is to say, the arrival of more youth-oriented, mass market paperbacks that dealt with contemporary social issues in grittier, more accessible, true-to-life style. This, of course, takes me into the realm of youth culture – recently scorned as ‘largely a noxious invention of the post-1960s marketing industry’ by one BNP writer (Identity, no. 99, Feb. 2009). Let me begin with Gillian Freeman’s The Leader, first published in 1965. Charting the misfortunes of Vincent Wright and his fictional Britain First Party, Freeman’s interest lies not with Mosley and historical events during the heady 1930s but with reflecting the 1960s far right in an era immediately pre-dating the formation of the National Front (NF). This was a time


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characterised by the existence, alongside Mosley’s Union Movement and A.K. Chesterton’s League of Empire Loyalists, of a coterie of neo-Nazis (the ‘Spearhead’ elite corps) living out their far-fetched putschist fantasies in summer camps surrounded by southern English countryside, dressed in grey shirts, armbands, Sam Browne belts and jackboots. It was the period, par excellence, of the ‘lunatic’ far right (see Thayer 1965). Freeman’s The Leader, published by the New English Library as a mass market paperback in 1967, offers readers a gritty account of an asthmatic bank clerk (Vincent Wright) who rises to the position of leader in the neoNazi Britain First Party (which, incidentally, also participates in military-style manoeuvres in rural England). The story is ultimately one of political and personal despair. The Britain First Party is an abject political failure and it unravels following a schism. After a splinter group (the Great Britain Party) is formed, a desperate Wright takes an overdose (he survives). The popular view of the time (and one that still remains with us today) is that contemporary fascist groups struggle for traction beyond a handful of supporters, many of whom are little more than cranks with rather odd psychological makeups. This (complacent) thinking seems indebted to psychological theories of fascism, not least to notions of the ‘authoritarian personality’ popularised by Theodor Adorno (the idea that there is a ‘fascist personality-type’ which can be measured through an ‘F-scale’ test, where ‘F’ stands for Fascism) (see Billig 1978). Wright, for example, is a contemptibly inadequate loner. He still lives with his mother at 35 years of age, and is psychologically dependent on the words of a psychic. On the other hand there is much more to Freeman’s novel than merely a sad portrayal of some would-be British führer. In fairness to its author, The Leader both reflects and anticipates some significant strategic initiatives on Britain’s far right: the deliberate inclusion of a Jewish member in order to cast off accusations of anti-Semitism; the moderation of language in certain settings so as to not alienate more respectable opinion; and the exploitation of pop culture in order to appeal to young people. And so we are introduced to the ‘Britain Firsts’ (Britain’s first neo-Nazi pop group). The first verse of their song, ‘Get with the New Way’, was the one that Vincent Wright particularly enthused about: Get with the new way of living good Jew boy we don’t need you and never could My baby don’t want a black man lover man So get back to the shack quick as you can Before we send you away from here. (p. 120) If Freeman’s novel – recently adapted to the stage3 – ultimately represents British fascism as a derisible failure, Robert Muller’s After All, This is England, conveys a rather different message. First published as The Lost Diaries

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of Albert Smith, by Jonathan Cape in 1965, and later published in mass market paperback format in 1967 by Penguin, it offers an almost week-byweek account of how an indigenous fascist movement succeeds in seizing power in late 1960s England. The novel’s title evokes a sense of exceptionalism – ‘it can’t happen here, after all this is England’ – and yet Muller, who came to Britain in 1938 as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, challenges this assumption with an altogether different scenario. The context is one of a Labour government, imperial decline, mass unemployment, immigration, and a wave of terrorist ‘Vigilante’ attacks, which are blamed on the far left (but are, it seems, deliberately orchestrated by the far right in order to create widespread insecurity). The result is growing support for a newly formed ultra-patriotic British Movement, which following the defection of thirty-two right-wing Tory MPs, subsequently becomes the British Action Party (BAP). Calls are made to ban the BAP and yet the Labour Prime Minister, unaware of the possible dangers, dismisses the BAP’s significance, since ‘British democracy had deep roots’, he says, ‘and could survive these momentary tea-cup tempests’ (p. 124). His complacency is, of course, misplaced. After capturing twenty-seven seats in a general election the BAP becomes the minority partner in a coalition government with the Conservatives. The rest of Muller’s dystopian vision is then heavily derived from the experience of the 1933 Nazi seizure of power: the end of coalition government; a Reichstag-style fire that sends the Palace of Westminster up in flames; a ban on opposition political parties; arbitrary arrests; the gagging of opposition newspapers; the introduction of ‘emergency powers’; racial decrees; and the abolition of local government. The analogy is clearly to the rise of Hitler in Germany. Narrated through the five diaries of Albert Smith, a 41-year-old grocery store manager, Muller’s story is centred on the fictional South East coastal resort of Seabourne where Smith is branch secretary of the British Movement. Sentenced to prison for inciting racial violence, Smith is later released under a political amnesty introduced by the Conservative–BAP coalition. Once the BAP seizes total power Smith ends up as a functionary in a local concentration camp (the camp ominously boasts an ‘underground shelter’ and ‘cans of something called cyclone-B’) (p. 358). Yet there is little reference to historical context here. It is clear from the novel that Hitler did happen but at no point does Smith reflect on the Nazi experience, nor is there any real acknowledgement of Britain’s post-war anti-fascist consensus. With its direction of travel pre-determined by the experience of the Nazi seizure of power, and published before the emergence of the National Front, its readers must have considered its apocalyptic plot all too improbable. As with Freeman’s novel, British fascism finds representation as a middleand lower-middle-class movement (in keeping the widely held belief at that time that the social composition of fascism was overwhelmingly middle class). Moreover, the personality of Smith (like Vincent Wright) is that of a psychological misfit. Smith wears a moustache and horn-rimmed spectacles; he consults a


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psychiatrist; he is a peeping Tom; a homophobe with repressed homosexual tendencies (his son is exposed as homosexual); he is also a petty, frustrated, and insecure male chauvinist who becomes totally obsessed with moral decadence. He sees his local town ‘crawling with drunken teenagers on holiday, and their transistor sets are blaring out blatantly sexual pop music, encouraging immodest and immoral behaviour. We’re becoming a nigger state. It makes me sick’ (p. 84). On his traumatic encounter with Soho, his diary entry reads: Pornography. Nudity. Perversion. Niggers with hands in their pockets tempting foolish old men into cellar ‘shows’. The pictures outside, which I scanned briefly, gave a pretty good indication of the depravity that awaited them inside. Stinking syphilitic blacks, Jews, Greeks and God knows what human dregs and rubbish everywhere – the swill of humanity. And all in England’s green and pleasant land! (p. 96) What makes Smith really seethe with anger, we are told at the beginning of the novel, is the ‘gross inefficiency’ of a misplaced comma in a local street sign: ‘every time I pass the sign I feel I want to get out of the car and scratch out the comma with a knife. Nobody seems to care these days; it just makes me see red’ (p. 22). And Smith just has to tell ‘Dr B’, his psychiatrist (convinced that he is a Jew he soon dispenses with Dr B’s services, whom he suspects just takes him for ‘a nut-case or something’)! (p. 53). If the fictitious world of After All, This is England seemed far-fetched, especially against the backdrop of late 1960s Britain, then much more realistic in content was Richard Allen’s true-to-life depiction of Britain’s original skinheads of the late 1960s/early 1970s. Although far-right organisations are not specifically referenced, Allen’s concern is nonetheless with a young adult, white working-class constituency that would later attach itself to far-right politics. Allen’s pulp fiction Skinhead, first published in 1970 by the New English Library, was a commercial success – it had sold over 165,000 copies by 1972.4 Such was the frank and open portrayal of skinhead subculture that Richard Allen received thousands of complimentary letters from his readers, many of whom were convinced that Allen was a young skinhead himself. In actual fact Richard Allen (the ‘Charles Dickens of skinheads’) was the pseudonym of 55-year-old Canadian pulp fiction writer James Moffat.5 The central protagonist in Skinhead is Joe Hawkins, a 16-year-old violent skinhead. He is leader of a skinhead gang from East London, supports West Ham United Football Club, engages in football hooliganism and hates immigrants: Like most East End skinheads – and, for that matter, population – Joe detested the influx of immigrants into what had always been a pure Cockney stronghold … They were impositions on the face of a London that should always be white, Cockney, true-British. (p. 20)

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Britain’s popular media had first picked up on the skinhead phenomenon in 1969, and had already drawn attention to skinhead violence (see The Times, 3 Sep. 1969). Aside from football hooliganism, and attacks on ‘hippies’ and ‘Hells Angels’, skinheads had attracted public notoriety with their physical assaults on Pakistanis, particularly in East London where the term ‘Pakibashing’ had been coined (see The Times, 3 Apr. 1970, 14 Apr. 1970). In Skinhead, Joe Hawkins violently assaults a young Pakistani student, ‘“Bloody wog!” Joe snapped, kicking the Pakistani in the face, knocking him backwards across the pavement’ (p. 34). Without doubt, as one of Richard Allen’s obituary writers accurately described it, Allen’s oeuvre was ‘outrageously racist’ – although this was an era when some forms of racist language were more socially acceptable (see the Independent, 25 Nov. 1993). We learn, for instance, that for one skinhead (Billy), ‘The stink of blacks made him sick. He hated spades – wished they’d wash more often or get the hell back where they came from’ (p. 18). Elsewhere in the narrative, a Jewish skinhead (Hymie Goldschmidt) is referred to as ‘non-Jew’ since he had rebelled against his family’s dedication to the accumulation of money. We are told that in all his business dealings Hymie’s father, ‘acted on the belief that an Englishman was a sucker and that the Jew-boy was supreme when it came to making money’ (p. 69). Even so, Hymie still didn’t totally fit in, for another skinhead, Don, ‘could have chopped the hook-nosed bastard to bits …’ (p. 70). Responding to criticism that Skinhead glorified violence – the book was cited in legal proceedings as ‘partly to blame’ for one episode of ‘Paki-bashing’ (The Times, 14 Jan. 1971) – Allen always maintained that his intention was never to incite violence but only to reflect contemporary social trends. In 1992, in one of his final interviews, Allen remembered how ‘One chain of booksellers removed every copy of the books from sale and others, including a female Member of Parliament, took me to task for my writings. Quite a few moral guardians complained, but I ignored them all.’6 If truth be told, Allen sympathised with skinheads, whom he saw as white working-class patriots, fighting for their lost heritage: I could understand their rebellion and that’s what it was all about. They saw immigrants ‘invade’ their homelands, swamp the rag-trade with cheap labour, move into council flats and houses, and become owners of corner shops. So they objected by the only way they knew how – by putting the boot in!7 For his dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts, skinhead literature begins and ends with Richard Allen. Skinhead was followed up with a slew of novels written by Allen with the words ‘skin’ or ‘skinhead’ in their titles. Yet none had as much impact as the first. Eventually selling over a million copies, Skinhead was adopted as an educational tool in English literature classes in one East London secondary school. Much further afield the education authority in Queensland, Australia, made it recommended reading.8


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It should be acknowledged, however, that Allen’s sympathetic portrayal of racist skinhead youth has been challenged by subsequent authors working within the same genre. In England Belongs to Me by Steve Goodman, published in 1995 (and in German in 1996), we are taken back to the streets of London in the Queen’s Jubilee year of 1977. Here we encounter a young skinhead (Derek) and his punk girlfriend (Suzi). The anti-hero (Simon) is a violent neo-Nazi skinhead, and former mercenary, recruited by an American diplomat to lead a group of skinhead foot-soldiers in a more extreme version of the National Front – the Great Britain Party (GBP). The underhanded purpose of the GBP, which is financed by the ‘American Aryan Fellowship’, is to divorce the NF ‘from any political attacks we have ordered, but it will also have an additional benefit of making the National Front all the more middle of the road in comparison’ (p. 57). The attacks that take place include a violent assault on an anti-racist student union meeting, and a violent assault on a NF official. The leader of the GBP is Ralph McLare, a former NF campaign official who had been expelled from the NF for making a ‘Hitler had the right idea’ speech during a by-election in 1973. McLare is obviously an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist (the GBP leader openly declares in a media interview that the Second World War had been the fault of the Jews). For Derek, the GBP (which clearly evokes the 1970s British Movement led by Michael McLaughlin) was dragging the ‘skinhead name through the mud’ (p. 133). Leroy, a former black skinhead explains to Derek that, ‘The paki-bashing ting were just a trend in certain areas … don’t forget that the music of the skinhead is black – them that loses sight of that, lose sight of what they are!’ (p. 133). Towards the end of the novel, Leroy introduces Derek to two left-wing anti-fascist militants. But Derek refuses to become their pawn: Not all skinheads support the GBP and not all racists are skinheads either. You bastards are fucking using us as much as the GBP are. You’re fighting for liberty? What about my liberties? You say you’re fighting oppression and ignorance? From where I’m standing you’re all the fucking same! (p. 210) Goodman, a skinhead since 1972, had investigated the neo-Nazi scene ‘to see if it was for me, I went to a few meetings, gigs and a festival out in the middle of nowhere’, but it had been his longstanding musical taste in reggae that had ultimately prevented him from succumbing to neo-Nazism. ‘Okay I’ll accept that “Paki-bashing” did occur’, Goodman has written, ‘yet was on a casual basis which has become a larger urban myth than truth of the matter’.9 More recently, John King, best known for his football ‘hoolie’ fiction, has rubbished the association of skinheads with far-right racists in his novel, Skinheads (2008). As one surprised reviewer wrote: Settling down to read about this unique and well-documented subculture, I find very little to tally with my own view of skinheads; they aren’t neo-Nazis,

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they aren’t hell-bent on securing ‘rights for whites’ – they’re not even, in truth, particularly violent.10 Yet elsewhere within the skinhead genre, we find references to Britain’s fascist right that come no closer than in Children of the Sun, Max Schaefer’s culturalhistorical novel that explores the theme of homosexuality within the milieu of British neo-Nazism. Published in paperback in 2010, this acclaimed debut novel, which spans the period between 1970 and the early 1990s, intersperses narrative text with actual cuttings from far-right periodicals and newspaper reports, recreating real-life episodes in the history of Britain’s far right. One such episode is a White Power concert, held in 1984, at the Suffolk farm of Nick Griffin’s parents. Here we meet Nick Griffin in his more radical days, speaking about the new direction of the National Front: So whose job will it be? It could never have been the old National Front. They didn’t have an ideology, they just knocked together whatever mishmash of policies made their supporters happy. The BNP’s no better, just smaller. Tyndall doesn’t have a revolutionary bone in his body. But we do – the new NF leadership. We’re a new generation. We’re revolutionaries. For the first time in its history the Front really knows where it’s going. (pp. 185–6) ‘Strange book, but I’m in it. Not for prudish’, BNP leader Nick Griffin would later tweet.11 Although centred upon the real-life figure of Nicky Crane, a neo-Nazi, street-fighting poster-boy, the book features two fictional protagonists: Tony, a neo-Nazi gay skinhead, and James, a screenwriter. Both protagonists become obsessed with Crane, and through their shared obsession their narratives intertwine. An elite member of the British Movement during the late 1970s, Nicky Crane’s picture had featured on Strength thru Oi!, the controversial punk album first released (and later withdrawn) by Decca Records in 1981. After serving a prison sentence for racist violence Crane went on to provide security for Ian Stuart Donaldson’s White Power band, Skrewdriver, and later, in 1987, Crane and Donaldson launched the neo-Nazi ‘Blood and Honour’ network. Yet Crane was also leading a double life as a gay skinhead (he claimed that his connections with the London gay scene were just part of his security work). After openly admitting his homosexuality in 1992, Crane was disowned by the neo-Nazi fraternity (he would die of an AIDS-related illness in December 1993). Recognition that Britain’s post-war far right has at times accommodated homosexuality despite being venomously anti-gay forms a major theme in Schaefer’s novel. It is worth noting, for instance, that the Anti-Nazi League had been dubbed ‘ANAL’ by the far right because, as one BNP writer put it, ‘The white element of the ANAL consists largely of queers with chips on their


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shoulders, who know they must oppose us as their only chance of survival’ (Spearhead, no. 303, May 1994). For John Tyndall, homosexuality was a perversion that should be forced back into the closet. Yet for many years Tyndall had been prepared to accommodate Martin Webster, a well-known homosexual, as the National Front’s National Activities Organiser (1969–83). As for Ian Stuart Donaldson’s response to Crane coming out as gay on the Channel 4 programme Out, broadcast on 27 July 1992: I actually used to stick up for him when people used to say that he was queer, because he convinced me that he wasn’t. I always used to ask him why he worked at these gay clubs, telling him that he’d get a bad name. He used to say that it was the security firm that he used to work with, that they used to give him the job there. I accepted him at face value, as he was a Nationalist … I want nothing to do with him whatsoever. He’s dug his own grave as far as I’m concerned.12 Any assessment of this body of post-1945 fiction, with the exception of Richard Allen’s graphic yet nonetheless affectionate representations of skinhead racism, will find critical portrayals of Britain’s far right. This is unsurprising given the hostile view of fascism held by the overwhelming majority in British society. In the wake of the Holocaust and the deaths of over 400,000 Britons during the Second World War, anti-fascism was now so ‘deeply embedded in popular consciousness’ that it had become ‘a defining characteristic of national culture’ (Thurlow 2000: 2). As we have seen, these fictional representations reference common themes: racism; anti-Semitism; social class; violence; authoritarian personality types; and homosexuality. If in some cases this literature evoked pre-established assumptions – fascism as the expression of lower middle-class radicalism; fascism as the consequence of individual psychological disorder – at other times it has offered more nuanced readings – in terms of British fascism’s uneasy relationship with homosexuality. Whilst it is impossible to measure the cumulative impact of this literature on public opinion, it would be wrong to suggest that this subject matter has been passed over by popular culture. For, in reaching a wider and more diverse readership than standard academic histories of British fascism, particularly younger readers, it no doubt added to the store of popular knowledge of Britain’s post-war fascists.

British fascism on the stage When it comes to on-stage representations, my obvious point of departure has to be Destiny – David Edgar’s much-admired ‘state of the nation’ play that explored the rise of the far right in 1970s Britain. Premiered in September 1976 by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in a side theatre in Stratfordupon-Avon it was then transferred by the RSC to the West End stage in May 1977 where it played to some 20,000 people. As David Edgar (2005: vii)

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points out, timing was all important: ‘The play hit town at an ominous moment – the National Front had just won 119,000 votes in London local elections, and over 10 per cent of the votes in Leicester and Wolverhampton.’ Destiny’s run at the Aldwych Theatre, amid the political fall-out that these local electoral results engendered, became something of a national event (it occasioned a violent picket-line protest by a National Front offshoot, the National Party). Yet of far greater significance was that in early 1978, possibly four million viewers saw the BBC1 TV adaptation, thereby extending its reach to a much larger and more diverse audience. Furthermore, Destiny’s success encouraged further anti-fascist political theatre too, such as Peter Terson’s anti-NF play, England My Own (performed by the National Youth Theatre in 1978), which also attracted the attention of the far right. One actor recalls: One night, we got invaded by the National Front. There was a guy in the audience orchestrating the trouble and, on his whistle, they started a riot. They didn’t actually know what they’d taken on because the NYT then, as now, wasn’t full of arty types. It was full of tough, almost yobby actors who kicked the s*** out of the NF. (see Daily Express, 22 May 2007) Edgar’s attention had been first drawn to the far right when reporting for the Bradford Telegraph and Argus newspaper. Covering meetings of a local antiimmigrant pressure group, the Yorkshire Campaign to Stop Immigration – it later merged into the National Front – Edgar had taken note of the increasing resonance of anti-immigrant politics in the wake of Enoch Powell’s two controversial speeches on immigration in 1968. The immediate catalyst behind Destiny, however, had been the 16 per cent of the vote that NF candidate, Martin Webster, had netted in the West Bromwich parliamentary byelection of 1973 (the first time that the NF had saved its deposit). Drawing comparisons with 1930s Germany, Edgar (2005: viii) held that the loss of the British Empire had given rise to ‘a similarly bewildered, angry, vengeful sense of defeat and betrayal as the loss of the First World War had in Germany’. What’s more, Edgar believed that the Conservative Party was suffering inexorable decline (the play was devised during the downfall of the Heath government). For that reason, he thought, big business might now be tempted into bankrolling a far-right party prepared to put an end to industrial strife. And so Edgar imagined that there was a real possibility that the NF could become a serious contender for power (Edgar later admitted that he had overestimated the strength of the NF and underestimated the resilience of the Tory Party, which under Margaret Thatcher proved ‘able and eager to reassert British national pride’). Destiny is set around a parliamentary by-election campaign in the fictional town of Taddley (Dudley?) in the West Midlands. The seat is contested by a far-right party, the Nation Forward Party, and in the course of events the


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far-right candidate – a former British Army Sergeant who served in India at the time of independence – captures 23 per cent of the vote (beating the Liberals into third place). As for the class basis of Nation Forward’s vote, Edgar leaves it open and in so doing avoids stereotypical representations of the far-right voter as lower middle-class (this reflected an increasing recognition that the NF’s emerging strongholds of support were mainly in racially sensitive workingclass areas with high immigrant populations). At the declaration there is some uncertainty as to where the Nation Forward voters had come from. It seems likely, however, that the far right had appealed to sufficient numbers of traditional working-class Labour Party supporters for the Tory candidate to narrowly win. Nation Forward is quite obviously a National Front clone. Like the NF, the leadership coterie is driven by a fascistic worldview that remains true to anti-Semitic conspiracy theory (see Woodbridge and Linehan, in this volume). As Maxwell, general-secretary of Nation Forward, explains: You know, there are those who still laugh when we talk about conspiracy. Even when we look at those people who are promoting immigration. Even when we look at those supposed guardians of free enterprise who talk about detente and sell their grain to bolster Bolshevism. There are people, still, who laugh at the idea of conspiracy. A world-wide conspiracy. (p. 43) So when Dennis Turner, the Nation Forward candidate and dispossessed lower-middle-class racist, expresses reservations about the anti-capitalist tone of his election address, Maxwell, keeper of the sacred flame, replies that it is not simply a case of being more Tory than the Tories, ‘We are not merely hard-line patriots. We are not, certainly, ersatz Conservatives with a particular distaste for immigration. We are British Nationalists, with a cogent and distinct world-picture of our own. You see?’ (pp. 49–50). For sure, exposing the NF as a front for Nazis was Edgar’s central political objective. As Edgar reflected in 2005, that the NF was a literal front for Nazis ‘now seems self-evident, but at the time it was not, particularly to socialdemocratic and liberal thinkers who saw the identification of the NF with Hitler’s NSDAP as a grandiose Leftist fantasy’ (Edgar 2005: x). But Edgar was also a political activist as well as playwright; he spoke at over fifty events organised by anti-fascist campaigners during the 1970s (see Reinelt and Hewitt 2011). His message was a consistent one throughout: do not be fooled, the National Front is not an extreme Tory anti-immigration pressure group but a Nazi organisation. According to Edgar (2005: xi), this headline message, championed by popular anti-fascist organisations like the Anti-Nazi League, had ‘seeped into the common sense of the nation’ by 1979. It was as part of this broader anti-fascist campaign that Destiny had made its contribution, above all the TV adaptation, which reached beyond the packed

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theatre house in London’s West End to working-class sitting-rooms across the country. This brings us to the point that extending beyond distinctly liberal middleclass theatre-goers in order to directly inform communities affected by the far right is a key challenge for this type of political theatre. More latterly, a number of plays have addressed the rise of the BNP, playing to more workingclass audiences in communities where the BNP had made some significant electoral gains. One noteworthy example here is Anders Lustgartern’s A Day at the Racists, acclaimed as the ‘best new political play of recent times’ by the Jewish Chronicle’s John Nathan (Jewish Chronicle, 11 Mar. 2010). First performed in early 2010 on London’s theatre fringe in a venue located in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (not noted for its far-right presence), it subsequently transferred to the Broadway Theatre in Barking – at that time a BNP heartland – to coincide with the 2010 General Election campaign. This slice-of-life drama, set in a thinly disguised Barking, tells the story of Pete Case, a working-class former shop steward and Labour Party supporter who, despite having fought the NF at the Battle of Lewisham in 1977, turns to the newly ‘modernised’ BNP. Underscoring the capacity of the far right to re-invent itself, Case is persuaded by the BNP’s selection of a mixed-race Asian woman (Gina White) as its prospective parliamentary candidate. Feeling betrayed and abandoned by New Labour, Case becomes Gina White’s election co-ordinator. White’s sponsor, to the infuriation of the BNP’s oldschool regional organiser (Tony McDonald) is BNP leader, ‘Rick the Prick, the one-eyed wanker’ (a thinly veiled reference to Nick Griffin) (p. 29). Rick (Coleman), the party leader, is portrayed as a political opportunist, hell-bent on selling-out in order to enter the political mainstream. ‘I’ve seen it all now’, McDonald rails, ‘The Yanks have a nig-nog president, the BNP have a Paki candidate and Red Case strolls into my office’ (p. 32). For Coleman (Griffin), the point about Gina White is that she establishes the party’s credibility as a modern, non-racist political force: ‘Because of her, people have an opinion of us they’ve never had before: Reforming. Courageous. Electable’ (p. 70). Nonetheless, a more sinister side is revealed when Coleman admits to exploiting McDonald’s appetite for violence so as to grab some media attention for the BNP’s campaign: ‘You can always rely on a little bit of violence to tickle the jaded palate of middle England’ (p. 71). For Case, the violence (which impacts on him personally after his son’s black girlfriend is physically attacked by McDonald) causes his dramatic break with the BNP. In the closing sequence Case regrets his enthusiasm for the BNP and confesses to his son that ‘I’m a stupid, stupid fucker, Mark’ (p. 72). Performing in the very constituency that BNP leader Nick Griffin was contesting was undoubtedly brave. On the other hand, it is unlikely that this cultural intervention had any tangible effect on the election result itself (Griffin’s hopes of winning the parliamentary seat were dashed when he was roundly beaten into third place). For a start, the performance at Barking’s Broadway, a community arts venue, was a one-off event. Second, the theatre’s seating capacity is limited


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to around 350. Third, as journalist Jo Caird has rightly pointed out, ‘Theatres across the county, even those in the most disadvantaged locations … tend to be patronised by already open-minded members of their local communities; it’s not often that this includes potential BNP supporters.’13 This point is borne out by reports of the audience discussion following the play (Lustgarten remarked in this discussion that he felt the greater threat was the emergence of a right-wing populist figure in the style of Geert Wilders rather than the BNP).14 Needless to say, we live in the present and not the 1970s when Play for Today could command TV audiences in their millions. And so, to once again quote Jo Caird, ‘The stark truth is that it’s not easy to reach the type of people the producers would most like to get to. There’s only so far that theatre can go.’15

Representations on little and big screens An obvious point perhaps but one that is worth repeating nonetheless: the size and diversity of television and film audiences far exceeds that of the theatre. In considering reach, it is worth bearing in mind that prior to the onset of multi-channel TV, three terrestrial channels, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV, held a captive audience (Channel 4 did not begin transmission until late 1982). In the early 1980s, before eventually (and sadly) disappearing from television schedules altogether – the final Play for Today being broadcast in 1984 – teleplays could still attract sizeable viewing figures. And when it comes to fictional representations of modern-day British fascism on-screen, two memorable if shocking TV plays of that era stand out: Trevor Griffiths’ Oi for England, originally broadcast in April 1982 on ITV; and David Leland’s Made in Britain, also originally broadcast on ITV (in July 1983). Their socialrealist subject matter – skinhead racism – was set in strong relief (you have been warned: obscenities abound!). Set in the basement of a slum Victorian house in Manchester’s Moss Side district – the scene of serious rioting in July 1981 – the protagonists in Oi for England16 are four unemployed, alienated and disenfranchised young skinheads: ‘Finn’, ‘Napper’, ‘Swells’ and ‘Landry’. In an attempt to break away from their bleak everyday existence of ‘no job, no prospects’, the four skinheads have formed an Oi-punk band (their equipment having been apparently obtained through looting). As the band rehearses, and gives vent to its ire, we hear the sounds of rioting outside. Their chance of an escape comes in the form of the ‘Man’ (a middle-aged, well-dressed and superficially respectable fascist). After watching the band rehearse in the basement, he offers them thirty pounds to play at an outdoor skinhead festival. We learn that the ‘Man’ is an acquaintance of Napper (the two having met in a far-right skinhead pub ‘off the Oldham road’). The ‘Man’ reveals that: On the night of May the 6th – local election night … Moss Side will see its biggest concert ever. Half a dozen bands, twenty thousand kids from

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all over the area … Doleboys like yourselves, school over years back, job not yet begun. English, Working-class. White. Sicker bein’ kicked around, ignored, shat on, pushed to the bottom of the midden, up to their necks in brown scum, the diarrhoea their rulers have seen fit to flood this England with. Their England. Made on the backs, made by the sweat and bone of the white working class, generation after generation. This England, run BY foreigners, FOR foreigners, Jews, Arabs, coons, Pakis, wogs from all corners of the earth. Chocolate England. (p. 25) But one band member, Finn, recoils. Mindful of his (foreign) Irish roots, Finn also remembers seeing one of his grandfather’s photographs of a Nazi concentration camp. While Finn proclaims that he is English, he protests that ‘I don’t wear a swastika for nobody’ (p. 10). He is all too aware that behind the ‘Man’s’ mask of respectability lies a manipulative and loathsome fascist (appropriately modelling bleached blonde hair). Ill-feeling between the band members quickly ensues with hostilities becoming fixed on relations between Finn and Napper. In stark contrast to Finn, Napper comes across as an impulsive and violent racist: I’m WHITE. I’m proud of it. I think it’s the best thing ter be. I agree with the man. I ain’t tekin’ second place to no nigger ’n’ Yids in me own country. If ’e’s’ a Nazi, so am I. I just think I’m English. What’re you? Fuckin’ MICK, that’s what you are. (p. 29) We learn that Napper had earlier mugged an older Asian man, stealing his wages (thereby sparking the race riot which is taking place on the streets outside). With the band splitting in acrimony, it all becomes too much for Finn. Left alone, and with Irish folk music playing on a radio cassette in the background, Finn first smashes up the radio before destroying the band’s musical equipment in a ‘deadly, speechless fury’ (p. 38). In truth, the play’s underlying message might have been clearer. The problem is that the narrative is left unresolved – why Finn smashes the equipment is not articulated. Although the screenplay undoubtedly drew attention to the potential for fascist mobilisation among disaffected white youth (in a period when Britain had been experiencing mass unemployment and innercity riots), it all seems to boil down to a choice between financial temptation and morality. As one (rather unconvinced) reviewer put it, the play’s message ‘might be while skinheads do not have hair (or, if you remove the obscenities, much of a vocabulary) some have hearts, but I would not swear, if you know what I mean, to this’ (The Times, 19 Apr. 1982). It may be that Oi for England had suffered from the rapidity of its production schedule: the aim was to maximise impact by ensuring performance at a time when the 1981 riots were


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still fresh in popular memory (see Tulloch 2006). To its credit, originally devised for stage performance in youth clubs and community centres, the play was later performed to youth audiences in working-class areas of London, Birmingham, South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. That said, these audiences were not necessarily won over by any anti-fascist or anti-racist content; often audiences were just left confused; some did not even realise they were watching a play (see Garner 1999). You in a bad mood, Harry? You think you’ll get away with it? TREVOR: What? HARRY: What?! Nicking from Harrods! TREVOR: Why not? HARRY: Was it full of skinheads the day you went, was it? TREVOR: It was full of wogs. HARRY: How many other skinheads did you see during that week at the shop? 17 TREVOR: It was full of wogs, why not me? Wankers! TREVOR: HARRY:

The conversation above appears in the opening sequence to Made in Britain. Trevor (played unforgettably by Tim Roth) is a 16-year-old racist skinhead who has been sent by a magistrate to a residential assessment centre after being caught both smashing the sitting-room window of a Pakistani resident (Mr Shahnawaz), and stealing cassettes from London’s upmarket Harrods department store. Harry (Trevor’s social worker), alongside the centre’s superintendents, try (but spectacularly fail) to reform him. Assigned to room-share with an impressionable and unintelligent black adolescent (Errol), Trevor absconds, and steals a car. On his return, he attacks the centre’s canteen manager. Placed in a basement detention room, Trevor then rails that ‘Blacks in here are as thick as shit, with no brains, you know it!’ before expressing his belief that ‘Every Paki is gonna get a brick through his window. And shit, and piss, and petrol, wait till it starts’.18 Released from detention, Trevor later steals the centre’s transit van and returns (with Errol) to Shahnawaz’s street in order to throw more bricks through his hapless victim’s window: Not that one … not that one … where the fuck is it? Here it is – Mr. Shahnawanker! Fucking Paki bastards! ERROL: Fucking Paki bastards! TREVOR: Get fuckin’ out! You dogs! Animals! ERROL: Paki fuckin’ bastards! TREVOR: Fucking Paki bastards! We don’t want you here, get out, Britain is white! Fuckin’ white! ERROL: Fucking sand-nigger bastards. TREVOR: Fucking get out, you bastards! Fucking Paki bastards! We’ll put you in the fucking gas chambers! Fuck off back to the Punjab! 19 ERROL: You baboons! Get back to the jungle! TREVOR:

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The play ends with Trevor in a police cell, apparently beyond rehabilitation. Notwithstanding the deeply offensive racist language, this hard-hitting teleplay unsettled its audience in other respects too. If nothing more, it challenged stereotypical representations of young neo-Nazi skinheads as mindless thugs. Despite the fact that Trevor has a swastika tattoo between his eyebrows, he comes across as intelligent and at times articulate. And yet we might take issue with the character of Errol who only serves to reinforce rather than confront Trevor’s racism. When Errol reveals that he struggles to read, Trevor’s curt reply is: ‘You fucking baboon.’ Errol’s willing participation in the racist attack, together with the racist language that he expresses, is farcical and yet disturbingly plausible. Moving on, and with regards to cinematic releases on the big screen, an alternative representation of contemporary British fascism appears in the backcloth to the much-acclaimed 1980s movie My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). Nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay, this film, written by Hanif Kureishi, is centred on a homosexual relationship between a young Pakistani (Omar) and an old childhood friend (Johnny). Set in urban south London, the entrepreneurial Omar revamps an old laundrette and offers Johnny a job as his assistant. But Johnny has been leading a small street gang of unemployed NF-supporting youth (one of whom wears a Young National Front T-shirt). Surprisingly, the gang is not comprised of skinheads of Trevor’s ilk; they dress more in punk-style attire. As his relationship with Omar develops so Johnny abandons his former companions. One gang member (Genghis) challenges Johnny, ‘Why are you working for these people? Pakis! … I don’t like to see one of our blokes grovelling to Pakis.’20 On the day that the refurbished laundrette opens, we learn that Johnny had marched with the NF through Lewisham. Tensions come to a definitive head at the end of the film. After coming to the defence of Omar’s ‘flashy’ Asian business associate, who is physically attacked outside the laundrette by Johnny’s former gang mates, Johnny is violently set upon by Genghis. The closing shot is of Omar wiping away the blood from Johnny’s torso. Both commercially and critically successful, My Beautiful Laundrette attributes a threatening street presence to British fascism. For sure, this was a period when the (Young) National Front would openly boast of their involvement in violent incidents in the pages of their paper, Bulldog. But while the Home Office recorded more than 7,000 racial attacks in 1984, the NF hardly featured on every inner-city street-corner (in terms of membership numbers the NF in late 1984 was probably at its weakest since its formation). Meanwhile, the theme of homosexuality, as it relates to the far right, is left unexplored. It is unclear whether Johnny’s gang are aware of his sexuality. If they are, this is not the problem; the problem is that Johnny is willing to work for ‘Pakis’ when, as Genghis reminds him, ‘They come over here to work for us. That’s why we brought them over, okay.’21 No discussion of my subject would be complete without reference to Shane Meadows’ critically acclaimed, and largely autobiographical film, This is


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England (2006). Set in 1983 in an unidentified and bleak town in either the Midlands or further north, it tells the story of a 12-year-old boy (Shaun) who, having lost his father in the Falklands war, finds a surrogate family in the form of a local skinhead gang. Loyalties are tested and the gang splits when ‘Combo’, an older skinhead, is released from prison and tries to impose his leadership and far-right politics on the group. Combo takes his part of the group, including Shaun (who now sees Combo in terms of a surrogate fatherfigure), to a National Front meeting in a remote and rather grubby countryside pub. What follows is a true-to-life depiction of a back-room far-right meeting: a well-dressed NF leader addressing a small and entirely male gathering (and not just skinheads), ‘We’re not cranks. Some people say we are racists. We’re not racists, we’re realists. Some people call us Nazis. We’re not Nazis … what we are is Nationalists!’22 Returning from this meeting, emboldened by all the NF rhetoric about reasserting English patriotic pride, Combo then leads his ‘troops’ into acts of racist intimidation (threatening young Muslim children playing football and an attack on an Asian newsagent’s shop). All rather distressing, but by far the most shocking scenes occur towards the end of the film when Combo beats ‘Milky’, a black skinhead, into a coma with Shaun watching on in absolute horror. The bitterness towards Milky is fuelled by more than just Combo’s crude racism. Lurking behind it is a back-story about Combo’s dysfunctional family upbringing. Combo’s anger is also driven by his visible resentment at Milky’s secure and happy family life. As Meadows explains, Combo was ‘not getting upset with him because he’s black: he’s getting upset with him because he’s fucking black as well’.23 Like My Beautiful Laundrette, This is England was both a critical and commercial success. It originally opened in 62 cinemas across the country and this figure had increased to 150 cinemas by the fourth week of its release. Winning the Best British Film Award at the 2008 BAFTAs, it earned some £1.8 million at the box-office (£2.5 million internationally). If This Is England in part reflected an attempt to rehabilitate skinhead youth culture by portraying one set of skinheads as apolitical and non-racist, it also reminds us that for many other skinheads, like Combo, it was all about giving vent to a visceral pride in race and nation. Nowadays, far-right skinheads, at least on Britain’s shores, have become a dying breed. In 2007 when contemplating the emergence of the ‘respectable’ BNP where jack-booted skinheads were notable by their absence, one Asian writer tellingly commented that This Is England ‘recalls a time when you could recognise a racist; these days it is less simple and more dangerous’ (see the Guardian, 13 Apr. 2007). Fictional representations of British fascism in the twenty-first century will do well to reflect on these changing times. As we have seen, the subject of post-war British fascism has occupied the attention of a number of creative writers, occasioning a series of fictional representations, in literature, on stage, and on screen. The nature of these representations has been overwhelmingly hostile, at times hard-hitting, often

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explicit, and in many cases, true-to-life. Drawing upon motifs that are commonly associated with the far right in the public sphere (racism; anti-Semitism; violence) while also engaging with issues such as contested loyalties and identities, this work has reflected although sometimes challenged prevailing assumptions (not least in the depiction of skinhead culture). But I would not want to read too much significance into these various representations. I am not suggesting for one moment that these cultural interventions occupy any central place in post-war British popular culture. Nonetheless to entertain the belief that British fascism has been so phenomenologically insignificant that it has been entirely ignored by this culture is surely a mistake. Indeed, let us not forget that there are other cultural fields, such as the popular media, where representations of post-war British fascists have also featured. One might recall the media clamour following the victory of a BNP candidate in a local council by-election in Tower Hamlets in 1993; or, alternatively, the media’s disparaging response to Nick Griffin’s performance on BBC’s Question Time in 2009. Without necessarily agreeing with Tony Kushner (1994: 41) that representations of home-grown fascists feature so prominently in contemporary British culture, they have, undoubtedly, made their ugly (and often obscene) presence felt.

Notes 1 For examples of this literature, see Trevor Grundy, Memoir of a Fascist Childhood, London: Heinemann, 1998; John Bean, Many Shades of Black, London: New Millennium, 1999; Richard Reynell Bellamy, We Marched with Mosley, London: Black House Publishing, 2013; Morris Beckman, The 43 Group, London: Centerprise Publications, 1992; Dave Hann and Steve Tilzey, No Retreat, Lytham, Lancs: Milo Books, 2003; and Sean Birchall, Beating the Fascists, London: Freedom Press, 2010. 2 This will be explored more fully in Nigel Copsey, Re-thinking Britain’s Far Right (forthcoming). 3 Adapted by Sam Spinks, it was performed at York’s Drama Barn in November 2013. 4 See ‘Skinhead – Farewell’, Bookmark, BBC 2 (originally broadcast 23 Mar. 1996). 5 Allen (Moffat) had both researched and written Skinhead in just over a week. The prolific Moffat was the author of 400 paperback novels before his death, in 1993, at the age of seventy-one. 6 See ‘Return of Joe Hawkins’, copy of interview with Richard Allen that appeared in issue seven of Skinhead Times (1992) and reprinted in The Complete Richard Allen, Volume Three, Dunoon: ST Publishing, 1994, p. 280. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid., p. 279. 9 Available online at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014]. 10 Available online at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014]. 11 Available online at x-schaefer.html?showComment=1318628665794#c6830918302997136428 [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014].


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12 See Diamond in the Dust: The Ian Stuart Biography (publisher unknown, 2011). Available online at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014]. 13 Jo Caird, ‘Can theatre beat the BNP?’, available online at: stage/theatreblog/2010/mar/05/theatre-bnp-arts [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014]. 14 Available online at: +at+anti-BNP+play [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014]. 15 Caird, ‘Can theatre beat the BNP?’ 16 In 2010 Oi for England was performed on stage in a new production by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. 17 Transcribed by author from Made in Britain (written by David Leland) Carlton DVD, 2012. The script to Made in Britain is also available online at: https://sites. [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014]. 18 Ibid. 19 Ibid. 20 Transcribed by author from My Beautiful Laundrette, Channel Four DVD (2008). 21 Ibid. 22 Transcribed by author from This is England, Optimum Releasing DVD (2007). 23 Interview with Shane Meadows, available online at: interviews/shane-meadows-on-this-is-england [Accessed 28 Apr. 2014].

References Allen, R. (1994) Skinhead, Complete Richard Allen, Vol. Three. Dunoon: ST Publishing. Billig, M. (1978) Fascists: A Social Psychological View of the National Front. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Cronin, M. (1996) ‘Introduction: “Tomorrow We Live” – The Failure of British Fascism?’, in Cronin, M. (ed.) The Failure of British Fascism: The Far Right and the Fight for Political Recognition. London: Macmillan. Edgar, D. (2005) Destiny. London: Methuen. Edgar, D. (2005) ‘Introduction: Thirty Years On’, in Edgar, D., Destiny. London: Methuen. Freeman, G. (1967) The Leader. London: First Four Square/New English Library. Garner, S. (1999) Trevor Griffiths: Politics, Drama, History. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Goodman, S. (1995) England Belongs to Me. Dunoon: Low Life/S. T. Publishing. Griffiths, T. (1982) Oi for England. London: Faber & Faber Limited. King, J. (2008) Skinheads. London: Jonathan Cape. Kushner, T. (1994) ‘The Fascist as “Other”?: Racism and Neo-Nazism in Contemporary Britain’, Patterns of Prejudice, 28(1): 27–45. Lunn, K. (1996) ‘British Fascism Revisited: A Failure of Imagination?’, in Cronin, M. (ed.) The Failure of British Fascism: The Far Right and the Fight for Political Recognition. London: Macmillan. Lustgartern, A. (2010) A Day at the Racists. London: Methuen. Made in Britain (2012) (written by David Leland) Carlton DVD. Muller, R. (1967) After All, This is England. Harmondsworth: Penguin. My Beautiful Laundrette (2008) (written by Hanif Kureishi) Channel Four DVD. Rau, P. (2013) ‘Our Nazis’: Representations of Fascism in Contemporary Literature and Film. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Reinelt, J. and Hewitt, G. (2011) The Political Theatre of David Edgar: Negotiation and Renewal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Schaefer, M. (2010) Children of the Sun. London: Granta. Thayer, G. (1965) The British Political Fringe: A Profile. London: Anthony Blond. This is England (2007) (written by Shane Meadows) Optimum Releasing DVD. Thurlow, R.C. (2000) Fascism in Modern Britain. Stroud: Sutton Publishing. Tulloch, J. (2006) Trevor Griffiths. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


Subcultural style Fashion and Britain’s extreme right Emily Turner-Graham

Introduction A 2012 comedy skit on the German satire television show Extra-3 makes clear universal public perceptions of how to recognise members of the extreme right.1 Attending an adult education class about ‘staying on the right path’ (pun intended), four skinheads pile into a classroom. They are dressed in the now stereotypical uniform of jeans tucked into black lace-up boots, either khaki or black bomber jackets and their heads are shaved. There is a fifth skinhead but, in keeping with another stereotype, he is muddled by the sign directing him to the class and leaves again, shaking his head in dumb confusion. The teacher is the comic creation, Johannes Schlüter. First of all, he encourages the class to wear black hooded sweatshirts by the clothing designer Thor Steinar, which are praised as ‘very Germanic’. The recent provocative wearing of Thor Steinar T-shirts by members of the extreme right National Democratic Party (NPD or Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschland) in the Saxony state parliament is put forward as evidence of Steinar’s extreme right credentials. Next, the teacher’s assistant – a man dressed as Adolf Hitler – brings in a Lonsdale brand sweatshirt. Schlüter points out that one’s bomber jacket can be zipped up in such a way as to reveal only the ‘NSDA’ of Lonsdale – that is, the first four letters of the German acronym of the Nazi party, NSDAP. The comic aspect comes in when the rumours that Thor Steinar is actually now owned by a Dubai-based company are repeated; the display of the full acronym of NSDAP can only be achieved by wearing a T-shirt celebrating Daphne, the Nazi chicken (‘Huhnsdaphne’) who lays brown eggs, and the important difference between a Nazi rally (‘Naziaufmarsch’) and a tattoo of Hitler on the backside (‘Nazi aufm arsch’ – Nazi on the arse) is discussed. The most commonly identified clothing of the extreme right, therefore, is clearly ‘the skinhead look’. A shaved head, a Lonsdale brand T-shirt or polo shirt, a bomber jacket such as the tartan-lined Harrington, skinny-leg blue jeans held up with braces, or camouflage pants and, of course, the all-important Doctor Martens boot, laced halfway up the leg (12 or 14 holes) or even

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further (18 holes). As this comic clip shows, it is certainly true that this style still has its fair share of dedicated followers across the Continental extreme right, but it has in many ways been superseded or, at least, updated and mainstreamed. So it is across the English Channel too, in the homeland of many post-war youth subcultures, not least the skinhead look itself. Just as many Austrian and German political commentators now observe the extreme right in pinstripes (to enhance their respectability and obscure their true agenda),2 so too many in the English extreme right, such as the British National Party (BNP), have moved away from obvious and stereotypical sartorial indicators and towards suits, jeans and T-shirts. Long gone are the days, for example, of BNP leader Nick Griffin heading party gatherings in a White Power T-shirt.3 Now he is rarely seen out of a suit and a recent video clip on the BNP website featured him cosily hosting a cooking segment, making stew in a nicely appointed and homely kitchen and dressed in a benign striped rugby top.4 The mainstreaming of the extreme right has been taken a step further by the English Defence League (EDL) and key adjunct organisations such as Casuals United. Evolving as they have from a number of England’s football hooligan ‘firms’ (groups), the EDL and their ideological kin have brought the popular and anonymous look of the modern everyman in jeans, hooded sweatshirts (hereafter hoodies), peaked caps, trainers and other assorted sportswear firmly into the political sphere. In both their conservative suits and their hoodies, the English extreme right has at once managed to camouflage itself within mainstream society while also thus bolstering its cause and updating it to reflect the current demographic.

Continental comparisons: Germany The English extreme right, as we shall see, has been far more successful in mainstreaming its appearance in this way than its Continental counterparts. Although the German extreme right has also largely adopted the universal youth uniform of hoodies and jeans, they have also taken on a considerable array of extreme right clothing labels within that overall model. The blank slate that this basic outfit offers has been nullified, therefore making Germany a useful comparative case. Thor Steinar is a key clothing label there, but there is also Ansgar Aryan,5 Consdaple, Pitbull and Max H8.6 Ansgar Aryan, for example, offers for sale a T-shirt that proclaims ‘Hunting Season – Teutonic Brand’. The masked figure accompanying the slogan holds a chainsaw and on its blade reads ‘eighty-eight’ – well-known neo-Nazi code for ‘HH’ or ‘Heil Hitler’.7 Another T-shirt shows a Ku Klux Klansman and the caption ‘Ansgar Aryan White Lightning Corp … Out of the Dark[,] Into the Light’.8 In among the sizeable variety of slogans, another T-shirt calls for ‘Volksgemeinschaft instead of New World Order’, combining both the Nazi-era word for the national (racial) community and the current extreme-right term for the ‘One World Government’, which apparently presides over us all, thus


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bringing historical and contemporary extreme-right beliefs together in a neat continuum and making the notion of lineage clear.9 Other T-shirts and hoodies celebrate German ‘heroes’ of the Second World War and an assortment of what Ansgar Aryan regard as key historical moments in Germany’s history. All thematically similar, this is but a taste of the extreme-right language and imagery available on Ansgar Aryan’s garments. Thor Steinar offers a far more toned-down but nonetheless rightist catalogue.10 There are no heavily tattooed, pierced and aggressively posed models here (though they are often blonde and blue-eyed). The clothes are very much in the vein of what we will soon examine as cladding England’s extreme right – and, indeed, on most young people throughout the Western world. T-shirts, hoodies, jackets and woollen beanies are their mainstreamed stockin-trade. But, once again, it is the slogans on those garments that mark Thor Steinar out as outfitters to the extreme right, covering a wide symbolic pantheon of both the historical and contemporary extreme right. A T-shirt showing an advancing tank is captioned ‘House visit’.11 Another T-shirt references völkisch artist Fidus, with an upstanding figure captioned ‘Victory of Light’.12 One more T-shirt shows the image of a Viking (that much racialised figure) and the slogan ‘Freedom – Voice of the Blood!’ (with all that ‘blood’ suggests in a racialised context).13 A sweatshirt is coined the ‘Varg’ model. Featuring a wolf (‘varg’ is Norwegian for ‘wolf’), in this milieu, it also obviously references the notorious extreme-right musician and murderer Varg Vikernes.14 Another sweatshirt calls for ‘Riot … Vengeance of the Betrayed’.15 Various hoodies are militaristically tagged ‘Steinar Division 44’,16 ‘Steinar Viking Division’17 or ‘Steinar Nordic Division’, the latter replete with Thor Steinar’s controversial runic insignia.18 There is ample use of the historically contentious word ‘Nordic’ as well as continual reference to the Vikings and use of runic script. The two highly controversial rune symbols drawn from the runic alphabet preferred by the Nazis (the Armanen Futharkh) – the Tiwaz and the Sowilo- runes – were banned from use in 2004 due to the fact that they bear too much resemblance to symbols used by the Nazis. Yet the Tiwaz (used as the badge of the Nazi Stormtroopers) and the Sowilo- (used as the insignia of the SS) runes continue to be a part of Thor Steinar clothing in 2014.19 As such, Thor Steinar has attracted widespread scorn and controversy in Germany. Their shops are consistently picketed and attacked and any chance of widespread brand appeal (should they have sought it) has been conclusively voided (as has already been observed) by a group of NPD members of the Saxony Landstag who, in 2012, provocatively wore Thor Steinar T-shirts in their state parliament.20 Thus, through the likes of Thor Steinar, though the elements of the modern casual uniform have been adopted – T-shirt, hoodie and jeans – the extreme right message printed on those T-shirts and hoodies rather than the benign medium is key. Worn thus, they serve to isolate rather than assimilate extreme-right supporters, making them in many ways no different to the

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easily recognised boots and braces of the White Power skinhead. In England, however, it’s unlikely that Thor Steinar or its more extreme wardrobe mates would be widely known or worn.

This is England This is not to say that branded garments and subsequent brand associations don’t exist in England. There is currently an especially significant crossover between sections of the Casuals scene and the extreme right, due primarily to the long interconnection of Casuals with football hooliganism, the latter of which has proved to be a fertile breeding ground for the politically extreme. It seems that those with a pre-existing propensity for violence and fierce territorialism could more easily take on the beliefs of the far right. As such, even a brief perusal of YouTube clips from the EDL21 or associated groups such as Casuals United, The Infidels or the CXF (Combined Ex Forces)22 for example, or Facebook pages of BNP members shows the part currently played by Casuals-influenced branded sportswear in composing a key extreme right ‘look’ in England.23 Unlike their subcultural ancestors (Mods, Skinheads), though, it is not unheard of for these brands to be worn outside these scenes as well, thus contributing to the greater capacity for mainstream camouflage. As one ex-football hooligan observed, ‘when it isn’t a match day, it can be hard to spot [who is a football hooligan]. We aren’t all skinheads waving a bicycle chain about. Not anymore.’24 What is ‘Casual’? Before an in-depth investigation of how this look has come to be currently represented within the English extreme-right scene, it must first be briefly considered how this look evolved as well as its essential component parts. The Casuals subculture had its origins in Britain in the late 1970s, growing essentially out of the football hooligan movement. British football had always intersected with fashion subcultures, from the Teddy Boys in the 1950s, the Mods in the 1960s, the Skinheads of the late 1960s and early 1970s to the Mod revivalists from the late 1970s on. Football hooligans of the 1970s were easily spotted by police with their traditional Skinhead attire of Doctor Martens boots, braces, tartan-lined Harrington jackets and shaved heads, as well as their football team colours. But when English fans began to travel to the Continent to follow their clubs in the late 1970s, European designer sportswear (which they had often acquired by nefarious means) was thus introduced into the United Kingdom’s football hooligan scene. Lacoste polo-shirts and Adidas trainers replaced boots and braces. The police were still associating hooliganism with the Skinhead look and so many were able to use the nondescript appearance of sportswear to their benefit.


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As well as rendering its wearer largely anonymous, the look was also mostly conservative. In the 1980s, the highly brand-conscious trend favoured traditional labels like Pringle and Burberry as well as ‘smart casual’ names like Stone Island, Henri Lloyd, Lyle and Scott, Fred Perry and Ben Sherman. Sportswear brands like Adidas, Lacoste, Kappa and Slazenger made up the initial version of the look. Interestingly, Pringle and Burberry had long been associated with the aspirational middle classes, the landed gentry and beyond. Initially at least (Burberry especially has since accrued other associations), they resonated with the cachet of class and money.25 Indeed, the adoption of any of these labels required considerable cash outlay, suggesting a confidence in the essentially working-class Casuals movement as well as a usefully mainstreaming blurring of social lines. So too brands like Pringle and Burberry suggested a peculiarly British mode of dress. In fact, Burberry still describes itself as an ‘iconic British … brand’.26 As the police became more aware of the Casuals look and the brands associated with it, some brands fell away or were altered. Some Casuals, for example, removed the very recognisable Stone Island compass logo from their sleeves.27 But the core of the look – sportswear and also ‘smart casual’ – has remained. Although there are, of course, variations to be acknowledged and qualifications to be made, a discernible lineage can be seen from the English subcultures of Mod, Skinhead and Casual. The Casuals were an extension of the Skinheads in as much as the Casuals brought a specific subcultural look to their often violent and illegal activities (see Copsey, this volume, for a discussion of Skins and mainstream culture). Equally, in their initial conception, they were also a hybrid of the ‘Peacock’ and ‘Hard’ Mods of the 1960s in bringing an aesthetic precision to a bleak and hyper-masculinised subcultural world.28 The essence of this notion is captured in this quote from the short film It’s a Casual Life, written by former football hooligan and so-called ‘yob laureate’ Dougie Brimson: You should have seen this geezer. Geared up to fuck, and dripping arrogance he was. Diamond Pringle jumper, Lois cords, Adidas trainers and a proper wedge haircut. Layered. Not that stupid fucking mushroom style like the Scousers used to have. This geezer was the absolute bollocks. And he knew it. I didn’t know he was a face until later. The face, really. But straight away I knew, I wanted to be like that. By the time I was fifteen I was. A Casual.29 The novel Awaydays, based on author Kevin Sampson’s own experiences as witness to the football hooligan scene of the early 1980s, similarly captures the peculiar juxtaposition of subcultural aestheticism, hyper-masculinity, violence and regional territorialism: We trot out of Halifax station, all the Juniors up front, as usual. The initial surge lasts all of a minute, damped down immediately by the cold,

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persistent drizzle and the complete lack of Halifax heads. These new gold Lois jumbos of mine are giving me murder, cutting into my hips and gut. I could’ve got my proper size, a 30 waist, but they were a little loose, didn’t quite show my arse to best effect … I undo the top button of my cords to give me some relief and jog up the hill after the crew. It must be shite supporting Liverpool or Everton, having to stay one step ahead of Chelsea and Arsenal and Man U. We don’t have so much trouble looking better than Scunny. Or Halifax. There’s a dozen lads at the top of this steep road … [t]hey stand in awe for a moment, as though it’s the Romans coming, then leg it back towards the town centre. Marty turns to us … “COME ’EAD!” he bellows. (Sampson 2009: 97–8) The high aesthetic of the Casuals look peaked in the late 1980s. There was a revival in the mid-1990s but by then the look had become much more of a uniform. To again quote Brimson: See, I reckon that’s been the biggest change, you know. Back in the 80s, we respected lads for their gear … Now they just stick a Stone Island jumper and a Prada cap on a Barclay Card and all of a sudden they think they’re fucking supermen. It’s bollocks! The thing is, it’s not what you wear but how you wear it. You can’t buy that. It’s up here [taps head]. You’ve gotta learn it. So all these silly fuckers have ended up looking the same. Because gear ain’t a statement for them, it’s a fucking uniform.30 As James Treadwell also observes, the Casuals look was becoming little more than ‘purchased sartorial resistance’, lacking in any form of originality or genuine conviction (Treadwell 2008: 117–33). Stripped of any of the individuality it may once have had, it was becoming the perfect blank canvas for political overlay. Indeed an increasingly mainstreamed version of the Casuals look became especially popular when it was integrated into the rise of the musical genre known as Britpop in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Casuals style (or a genus thereof) thus became associated with national identity, albeit primarily in the popular sense of the catch-all moniker of the time, ‘Cool Britannia’. The key Britpop bands, Blur and Oasis, adopted an essentially mainstream version of the look – as can be seen particularly in the video for Blur’s song ‘Parklife’.31 Union flags were variously and numerously displayed – echoing, in some senses, the use of the Union flag by 1960s Mod heroes The Who. It is interesting to note that the highly contentious brandishing of a Union Jack by The Smiths’ lead singer Morrissey in 1992 was much less well received.32 By the mid-90s, it would seem, a certain brand of British cultural nationalism had been made acceptable by Britpop’s Casual(s) everyman persona. What many people in fact failed to understand was that the kitsch, musichall vision of England and English identity that Damon Albarn depicted in many of Blur’s lyrics and certainly in their overall aesthetic were actually


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intended to be an ironic examination of national identity. Instead their ‘mockney’, jack-the-lad image was revered and imitated. Their representation of Britain and its national identity ultimately took on a cartoonish (and perhaps less widely revered) quality with the songs ‘Country House’ and ‘Charmless Man’. Oasis, by contrast, presented themselves as the real (working-class) deal. ‘One nation, one enemy, one firm’: Casuals and the extreme right33 The Casuals subculture – particularly those Casuals involved in football hooliganism – has long been associated with the extreme right (Garland and Treadwell 2010). It is important to note that not all Casuals or all football hooligans are by definition extreme right in their political allegiances. What can be said is that the development within the extreme right of ‘counter-jihadist’ groups over recent years has given this alliance added impetus and Islamophobia has proved to be a forceful agitator. Indeed, the EDL evolved from a coalition of several football hooligan ‘firms’, and ex-EDL leader and EDL founder Stephen Lennon more commonly goes by the name Tommy Robinson – the same name as a prominent football hooligan in the ‘Men in Gear’ football crew, who follow Luton Town Football Club. British anti-Islamic group Casuals United (and associates such as The Infidels and the CXF) twin the Casuals look very firmly with an extreme-right standpoint. Founded in 2009, they are closely associated with the English Defence League. The essentially innocuous uniform of the Casuals – polo shirts, jackets or parkas, jeans, trainers and baseball caps – has become a usefully blank canvas onto which such groups can express their opinions. Equally in their uniformity – rather than in high fashion articulation – they have found strength. Dressing alike brings cohesion, indeed a militaristic style unity that fashion alone never can. This point is especially made in a dress code directive for a memorial parade for murdered British soldier Lee Rigby, as detailed on the Facebook page of Combined Ex Forces Northern Infidels – ‘CxF NI will be attending this event, dress will be CxF NI T shirts (and regt [regiment] beret/head dress if you are ex military)’.34 On a basic level, hoodies and T-shirts can, of course, act as a platform for a public statement of beliefs or as a means of evangelising for one’s cause. The EDL are no different – the garments that they offer for sale on their website are at least a partial visual catalogue of their beliefs. A number of EDL apparel items and accessories are emblazoned with their name joined with a red-and-white St George’s flag. Flags, face coverings, gloves and keyrings with the distinctive markings are available35 while on other sites selling similarly themed garments, T-shirts, hoodies, neckties and coffee mugs are also in stock.36 The St George Cross, which had its origins at the time of the Crusades, has long been associated with England. St George is regarded as England’s patron saint and the Cross is part of the Union flag. Equally, the popular legend that St George fought a dragon (and won) has obvious appealing parallels for the extreme right (see Woodbridge, this volume).

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It is interesting to also note the similarity of the St George Cross to the symbols of the medieval crusaders, the Knights Templar, as used by the Norwegian extreme right terrorist and mass killer Anders Behring Breivik on the cover of his notorious 2083: A European Declaration of Independence37 and its equally infamous accompanying video.38 Breivik’s direct reference to the EDL in his manifesto caused considerable controversy at the time of the Norway massacre in 2011.39 Despite protestations from the EDL that they support women’s equality and even the protestations of EDL women themselves that they are ‘independent’,40 a classic example of the sort of ‘separate spheres’ gender notion for which the extreme right has long been well known is in evidence here: there are black hoodies for men and pink hoodies for the ‘EDL Angels’ (its female members).41 Thus, like so many extreme-right women, they are encouraged to remain within the traditional boundaries of femininity (literally ‘the angel in the house’; see also Durham, in this volume) while also taking their place alongside their menfolk on the streets – the triangular face coverings advertised on the same page of the EDL online shop stand testimony to this.42 Making clear that a man’s place is definitely on the streets, one EDL T-shirt bears the image of a group of figures in hoodies, their faces anonymous and partially obscured by St George flag face coverings. The caption reads ‘English Defence League coming to a street near you’. This provides a sense of community and belonging to their supporters but, of course, fear to their targeted foes. This image of faceless, hooded men clearly makes the connection between the Casual look and the extreme right, as does the conjuring up of the suggested notion of the EDL as a ‘firm’ – that is, an organised group of football hooligans. Casuals United’s clothing makes the connections between the Casuals subculture, hooliganism and the extreme right clearer still.43 The key Casuals United slogan, ‘Casuals United No Surrender’, is emblazoned on T-shirts and hoodies, with the standard figure of a well-built, faceless man in a T-shirt and peaked cap with his arms defensively crossed. The figure on ‘The Infidels on Tour’ hoodie strikes a similar pose, dressed in stereotypically Casual garb of hooded parka with goggles and Burberry-style scarf covering his face.44 The anonymity of the figure – especially with the goggles – lends the image an eerie, militaristic tone. Other T-shirts and hoodies borrow in post-modern style from the Casuals’ cultural and subcultural ancestors, bringing a unique meaning to the original symbol. The Mod red-white-and-blue target is variously superimposed or captioned with ‘EDL’, the titles of the well-known Jam songs ‘Going Underground’ and ‘Town called Malice’, the EDL chant ‘Whose streets?’ (to which the response is ‘Our streets!’), and a lone figure with face covered and arms outstretched in a hooded parka. While quoting the Jam song titles references the Mod (Revival) scene from which that band emanated, it also gives them a revised meaning. The song


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‘Going Underground’ in fact mocks the average existences lived out in English towns – the very lives on the streets the EDL so vociferously seeks to defend – with lyrics like: Some people might say my life is in a rut, But I’m quite happy with what I got People might say that I should strive for more, But I’m so happy I can’t see the point. Something’s happening here today A show of strength with your boy’s brigade and, I’m so happy and you’re so kind You want more money – of course I don’t mind To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes And the public gets what the public wants But I want nothing this society’s got…45 Yet, the rebellious stance that much of the extreme right (in both England and beyond) has attempted to steal away from the Left could also be read to considerable validating satisfaction in: You choose your leaders and place your trust As their lies wash you down and their promises rust … And the public wants what the public gets But I don’t get what this society wants I’m going underground …46 ‘Town called Malice’ paints a similarly bleak picture of the English small town life that the EDL and their associates cling to: Better stop dreaming of the quiet life – Cos it’s the one we’ll never know … Cos time is short and life is cruel – Rows and rows of disused milk floats Stand dying in the dairy yard … It’s enough to make you stop believing … In a town called malice … Struggle after struggle – year after year The atmosphere’s a fine blend of ice – I’m almost stone cold dead … The ghost of a steam train – echoes down my track It’s at the moment bound for nowhere – Just going round and round …47 The Casuals United T-shirt depicting a Casual with arms outstretched primarily recalls the typical hooligan’s provocative street-fighting stance (best encapsulated by the well-worn colloquial phrase ‘C’mon, if you think you’re

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hard enough!’) but it is also suggestive of another of the Casuals’ subcultural ancestors in its replication of the oft-used ‘skinhead crucified’ pose.48 In these cross-references, Casuals United seek to give their cause historical gravitas and continuity. The Casuals look, as interpreted by the extreme right, is now one largely without the individuality of the early Casuals, though elements of diluted pastiche from its various sartorial ancestors remain. Rather it has become a uniform, and that uniform is sufficiently bland for their message to be superimposed onto it, though without the overt aggression seen on the Continent.

Generation Identity, the Immortals and a conclusion Of relatively recent times, the extreme right Generation Identity youth movement has gathered pace in Europe and the United Kingdom and in its image we can see further examples of a Casuals-style uniform taking hold (see Jackson 2013/2014: 6–19). Putting itself forward as a response to their parents’ generation (and thus the generation of today’s politicians and officials), ‘the 68ers’, Generation Identity purports to represent the antithesis of everything that the left-leaning, counter-cultural 1960s stood for. Our generation are the victims of the May ’68ers who wanted to liberate themselves from tradition, from knowledge and authority in education. But they only accomplished liberating themselves from their own responsibilities.49 Génération Identitaire was founded in France in 2002, and it now has branches in Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and the United Kingdom.50 Of late, it has been given greater structure and impetus with the writing of Markus Willinger’s Die identitäre Generation: Eine Kriegserklärung an die 68er (Willinger 2013a), which has also been translated into Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ’68ers (Willinger 2013b). Willinger’s polemic is written in a style that is both straightforward and eloquent and it neatly defines the core set of ideas behind the extreme right’s contemporary youth voice. As such it is accessible to a wide audience. Notably, the image on the cover of Willinger’s book shows a young man and woman, one in a peaked cap and the other in a polo shirt and hoodie. Again these clothing items are employed to represent the current extremeright ‘look’, to blend extreme-right ideas in with the mainstream milieu and so to appeal to young people. So too, it should be noted, the ideas expressed by Generation Identity are in considerable correspondence with the EDL, Casuals United and their associates. Our history, our homeland, and our culture give us what you have taken from us. We don’t want to be citizens of the world. We are happier with our own countries. We don’t want the end of history, for our history


E. Turner-Graham doesn’t give us cause to complain. We don’t want a multicultural society, where our own culture is left to burn in the melting pot. While you’ve chased utopias your entire lives, we want real values. What we demand actually exists; to possess it is our ancestral right. We desire nothing more than our inheritance, and won’t tolerate your withholding it any longer.51

One final example makes clear that the uniform of today’s extreme right in England and beyond is a nondescript one, even a blank one, onto which any message can then be wrought. Die Unsterblichen (the Immortals) are a group from Germany. As befits a youthful organisation, their sinister ‘flash mob’ gatherings have been amply filmed and distributed on the Internet.52 Dressed in black hoodies and jeans with white masks covering their faces, the Immortals walk the streets of German towns at night, carrying lit torches and banners with slogans like ‘Once you have gone, let no one forget that you were German’ and ‘Democracy brings death to the People’.53 These displays are disturbingly reminiscent of the Nazi torchlight parades of the 1930s. It should be noted, however, that some of the more cultish labels have sought to distance themselves from their extreme-right associations. Fred Perry put forward (left-wing) musician Paul Weller to rock and indie audiences as their ‘face’, while tennis player Andy Murray promotes their sportswear line.54 So too, Lonsdale launched an advertising campaign proclaiming ‘Lonsdale loves all colours’.55 It has also sponsored gay pride festivals.56 White Power Skinheads have simply turned to other, more sympathetic brands to get their message across (Consdaple serves the same purpose as Lonsdale). The Casuals of the extreme right still wear brands which, for the most part, continue to be mainstream,57 and there is a strong and increasing trend within the extreme right for clothing to be bland, benign and anonymous. Like the myriad extreme-right blogs and microblogs currently online, a number of people can now hold radical opinions but within an essentially mainstream framework and with a degree of anonymity. As Michael Weiss, a German expert on image and appearance within the extreme right, expressed it, ‘[the] problem is that many of these people no longer stand out’.58

Notes 1 [Accessed 22 Nov. 2013]. 2 ssungsfeindlich-t24734-s15.html [Accessed 10 Jan. 2014]. 3 The photograph from 1983 of Griffin in a White Power T-shirt has been widely circulated but it can be seen at 01/nick-griffin-in-white-power-t-shirt.html [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 4 [Accessed 10 Jan. 2014]. 5 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 6 The Le crepuscle des dieux, an online shop, carries all of these labels. www.lecrep [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014].

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7 ml [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. There are a number of codified numbers within the extreme-right scene. HH corresponds with the eighth letter of the alphabet, hence 88 = HH = Heil Hitler. 8 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 9 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 10 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 11 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 12 [Accessed 30 Jan. 2014]. 13 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 14 [Accessed 30 Jan. 2014]. 15 [Accessed 30 Jan. 2014]. 16 [Accessed 30 Jan. 2014]. 17 [Accessed 30 Jan. 2014]. 18 [Accessed 30 Jan. 2014]. 19 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 20 ‘Sächsischer Landtag: NPD-Abgeordnete sorgen mit Thor-Steinar-Kleidung für Eklat’, 13 June 2012, zieren-in-sachsen-mit-thor-steinar-kleidung-a-838591.html [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 21 See, among the many examples, demonstration footage set to the song ‘EDL – We’re coming down the road’,; www.;; [All accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 22 ‘EDL, Casuals, CXF and Infidels standing together’, ZFwz13np6t0 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 23 Kevin Layzell is a prominent youth activist with the YBNP (Young BNP), www.face [Accessed 13 Jan. 2014]. 24 Donal Macintyre, Hooligans, [Accessed 20 Jan. 2014]. 25 See Clare Bothwell, ‘Burberry Versus The Chavs’, BBC News, 28 Oct. 2005, http:// [Accessed 30 Jan. 2014]. 26 [Accessed 21 Jan. 2014]. 27 [Accessed 14 Jan. 2014]. 28 Peacock Mods took the Mod obsession with appearance to new aesthetic heights, embracing the colour and flamboyance of 1960s psychedelia, while the Hard Mods reverted to a strongly masculine working-class image. 29 ‘It’s a Casual Life’, a short film written by Dougie Brimson and performed by Richard Driscoll, 2003, [Accessed 14 Jan. 2014]. 30 ‘It’s a Casual Life’. 31 [Accessed 14 Jan. 2014]. 32 Morrissey waved and wrapped himself in a Union Jack flag at a London concert in 1992. He did this while standing in front of a large backdrop image of 1970s


33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55

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skinheads. His actions caught the attention of a group of extreme-right skinheads in the audience, as well as the ire of most others present. See a variety of reports from New Musical Express, 22 Aug. 1992, 776922/feature-nme-22-august-1992 [Accessed 31 Jan. 2014]. This phrase is featured on the back of Casuals United sweatshirts, along with the St George cross. See for example [Accessed 31 Jan. 2014]. It echoes the Nazi slogan ‘Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer’. 16391 [Accessed Jan. 2014]. [Accessed 23 Jan. 2014]. [Accessed 23 Jan. 2014]. See -european-declaration-of-independence/ for a downloadable PDF of the Manifesto. [Accessed 23 Jan. 2014]. See the video at [Accessed 23 Jan. 2014]. See Tommy Robinson’s BBC rebuttal of any connection with Anders Behring Breivik at [Accessed 23 Jan. 2014]. See ‘Coventry Gert’s’ 2011 speech at [Accessed 21 Jan. 2014]. [Accessed 15 Jan. 2014]. A YouTube video combining a song about the nationalistic importance of St George’s Day with an array of images of scantily clad women provides an interesting statement on EDL perceptions of gender. [Accessed 31 Jan. 2014]. ‘The Angel in the House’ refers to the Victorian notion that woman’s ideal role was a domestic one. [Accessed 15 Jan. 2014]. ‘The Goggle Parka’ was originally designed by the Italian clothing company CP Clothing. It is obviously favoured by the Casuals for its capacity to render its wearer anonymous when the hood is down over the face. Paul Weller, ‘Going Underground’, performed by The Jam, 1980. Lyrics from [Accessed 15 Jan. 2014]. Ibid. Paul Weller, ‘Town called Malice’, performed by The Jam, 1982. Lyrics from www. [Accessed 15 Jan. 2014]. [Accessed 15 Jan. 2014]. [Accessed 28 Jan. 2014]. [Accessed 28 Jan. 2014]. Willinger quoted at 5975-generation-identity-chapter-1 [Accessed 28 Jan. 2014]. Isha Sesay, ‘Germany’s flashmob neo-Nazis’, CNN, data/2.0/video/world/2012/08/13/german-neo-nazi-group.cnn.html. There are a number of YouTube clips of Die Unsterblichen. See, for example, ‘Die Unsterblichen in Stolpen’,[Accessed 28 Jan. 2014]. Kate Bowen, ‘Fashion Labels Worn by Europe’s Skinheads Restore Their Reputation’, Deutsche Welle, 16 Feb. 2010, es-skinheads-restore-their-reputation/a-5226933-1 [Accessed 31 Jan. 2014]. Tony Paterson, ‘Lonsdale Faces Ban Over “Neo-Nazi Associations”’, Independent, 22 Mar. 2006, [Accessed 31 Jan. 2014].

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56 Kate Connolly, ‘British firm Lonsdale tries to lose Nazi image’, Telegraph, 2 Oct. 2004, [Accessed 10 Nov. 2013]. 57 Though there is an awareness of the symbolism of certain brands. See Sarah Robertson, ‘News Analysis: “Chavs” Stain Clothes Icons’ Image’, 3 September 2004, [Accessed 31 Jan. 2014]. 58 ‘The Truth About 88: New Book Reveals Secret Meaning of Neo-Nazi Codes’, Spiegel Online, [Accessed 31 Jan. 2014].

References Garland, J. and Treadwell, J. (2010) ‘No Surrender to the Taliban: Football Hooliganism, Islamophobia and the Rise of the English Defence League’, British Society of Criminology conference paper. Jackson, P. (2013/2014) ‘Traditional Britain: The New Revolutionary Conservatives’, Searchlight, December–January, pp. 6–19. Sampson, K. (2009) Awaydays, 3rd edn. London: Vintage. Treadwell, J. (2008) ‘Call the (Fashion) Police – How Fashion Becomes Criminalised’, British Society of Criminology conference paper. Willinger, M. (2013a) Die identitäre Generation: Eine Kriegserklärung an die 68er. Books on Demand. Willinger, M. (2013b) Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ’68ers, English translation. London: Arktos Media.


British, European and white Cultural constructions of identity in post-war British fascist music Ryan Shaffer

Introduction This chapter explores constructions of fascist self-identity through the cultural medium of music. As we shall see, this music has not possessed a consistent identity. Rather, it has oscillated with themes of ‘Britishness’, ‘Europeanness’ and ‘whiteness’. Music is a powerful medium that post-war British fascists have used to recruit members and finance political operations (see Shaffer 2013; see also Spracklen, in this volume). While neither the National Front (NF) nor British National Party (BNP) could control its young members or hold a monopoly over the creation and distribution of music, both groups have promoted music with particular messages of identity. Through their music the fascists have described themselves to domestic and foreign listeners as British, European and white, reflecting broader changes in their self-identification. Beginning with the 1980s and the NF’s Rock Against Communism and White Noise initiatives, we examine how the NF spearheaded the dissemination of ‘white’ identity through music to domestic and then foreign audiences. We then move on to consider the likes of Blood and Honour, exploring how the 1990s BNP became associated with a more violent and offensive brand of neo-Nazi music. In the final section, and in line with internal changes within the BNP, we examine more recent attempts to ‘clean up’ fascist music, and promote narrower British and English identity using classic folk. Significantly, looking at developments in fascist music over the last three decades reveals patterns in the construction of fascist self-identity.

The National Front and ‘White Noise’ Modern fascist music draws from a history of British extremism where the British Union of Fascists used music to mobilise support (Macklin 2013: 430–57). In 1979, British fascists established the first serious post-war music outreach campaign. Originally founded in 1967 under the leadership of A.K. Chesterton, the National Front was created to ‘repatriate’ non-white immigrants, establish ‘suitable’ alliances with non-communist countries to protect

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‘national sovereignty’ and ‘create a national movement to give guidance for the healthy mental and physical development of British youth’ (National Front, 1967). In 1972, John Tyndall became chair of the NF and the surge of youth joining the party led him to create the Young National Front in 1978 (author interview with Joseph Pearce, 9 Nov. 2009). The following year, the NF launched Rock Against Communism (RAC) to ‘fight back against leftwingers and anti-British traitors in the music press’ with ‘concerts, roadshows and tours’ (Bulldog, no. 14, Mar. 1979). The first concert in London was described by the NF’s youth paper as having ‘rocked the music establishment’, and earned scorn from the ‘three major papers’ who called them ‘fascists’ and ‘Nazis’ (Bulldog, no. 15, 1979). However, the NF underwent internal upheaval after all 303 candidates in the May 1979 General Election lost their deposits (Spearhead, no. 140, Jun. 1980; interview, Richard Edmonds, 15 Sep. 2011). By the end of the year, Rock Against Communism was moribund as the fascist movement faced internal power struggles and Tyndall resigned from the National Front leadership. At the start of the 1980s, the future of fascist music was in serious doubt. In 1983, the NF re-launched Rock Against Communism. The key to the revival of Rock Against Communism was having Skrewdriver, a skinhead band that broke up in 1978, reunite. Ian Stuart Donaldson (known simply as Ian Stuart), the band’s singer, joined the NF in 1979. By 1982 Young National Front leader Joe Pearce convinced Stuart to put the band back together, and Skrewdriver was described to NF supporters as ‘the only original skinhead band that never sold out to the establishment’ (Bulldog, no. 31, Jan. 1983). In 1983, the National Front established White Noise Records to release music that mainstream companies would not, and its first release was Skrewdriver’s White Power EP, quickly selling out of its first pressing (Bulldog, no. 36, Aug. 1983). Borrowing the title from a book by George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, the song became a popular anthem not only to British nationalists, but also to white youth abroad. With a chorus that called for ‘white power for Britain’, the lyrics also appealed to foreign racists opposed to multicultural change with lyrics like: ‘I stand and watch my country, going down the drain’ (Skrewdriver, n.d., circa 1988). The NF’s message of ‘whiteness’ was spread to radicals in other countries through music, forging a common identity. Specifically, the NF boasted that copies of White Power were sold in Germany, Holland, Sweden and the United States (Bulldog, no. 36, Aug. 1983). One year later the NF described how, ‘[a]ll over the world, more and more white music fans are turning to the world’s number one racist rock band [Skrewdriver]’ (Bulldog, no. 38, 1984). For instance, ‘hundreds of Americans are queuing up to buy Skrewdriver tapes and t-shirts’ and an interview in The Spotlight, an American newspaper operated by the Liberty Lobby, resulted in Stuart receiving ‘hundreds of letters from patriotic white Americans’.1 In Germany, interviews with Stuart were published in small circulation magazines and more than a thousand copies of the Voice of Britain and White Power were sold as well as dozens


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purchased by people in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland and Sweden. Responding to interest from foreign activists, the NF discussed skinheads abroad, including events in Sweden involving ‘racial clashes … between immigrant gangs and groups of white youth including many skinheads’ (Rocking the Reds, n.d.). It then noted, ‘[s]everal immigrant families have been threatened with violence and the Ku Klux Klan-style flaming crosses have been placed in front of their homes’. The British fascists’ message went from being nationally minded to having a wider European identity, which reflected foreign contact and a larger audience. Due to international popularity, Skrewdriver signed a contract with Rock-O-Rama, based in West Germany, and released a new album titled Hail the New Dawn (Bulldog, no. 39, 1984; Bulldog, no. 40, 1984). By middecade the Rock Against Communism genre became centred on ‘whiteness’, a vague description that American and European fascists rallied around. For example, Skrewdriver played a ‘white Christmas’ concert with ‘nearly five hundred people’ in attendance to listen to new songs ‘Europe Awake’ and ‘Hail the New Dawn’ (Bulldog, no. 37, 1984). At a concert in England, the audience listened to songs with international white themes. In ‘Europe Awake’, Stuart sang: Europe what have they got to do to make you come alive. What has happened to the heritage that once was yours and mine. A capitalistic economy, the communists roam the streets. The old people aren’t safe outside, what solution do we seek. Europe awake, for the white man’s sake. Europe awake before it’s too late. Europe awake now. (Skrewdriver n.d., circa 1988) Conflating ‘whiteness’ and Europeanness became a prominent theme. The song ‘Hail the New Dawn’ was about ‘Europe’ fighting for freedom against communists and the ‘white’ man’s victory (Skrewdriver n.d., circa 1988). ‘Europe Awake’ became a slogan of the NF, which was used to recruit members by telling youth, ‘[i]f you’re of British or European stock, and proud to be white, why don’t you join us and help us fight for national revolution’ (New Dawn, no. 3, 1985). White Noise Records released a compilation album titled This is White Noise that included ‘White Working Man’, a song by the Die-Hards, and the album also featured Brutal Attack, who reunited in 1983 and who ‘sign[ed] up with White Noise Records and play[ed] Rock Against Communism concerts’ (Bulldog, no. 40, 1984; Bulldog, no. 38, 1984). Brutal Attack continued writing about these ideas, including songs titled ‘White Pride/White Passion’ and ‘European Unity’. The NF adapted to the themes in the music, which was reflected in changes to NF publications and concert production. Nationalism Today, an NF magazine in the 1980s, had a section about the ‘White International’, which

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Pearce explained was an idea ‘to build a network of connections with likeminded groups and organisations around the world to operate internationally’ (author interview with Joseph Pearce, 9 Nov. 2009). In 1985, New Dawn replaced the NF’s youth magazine Bulldog and explained that it was ‘taking a much more positive stance’ and now emphasised ‘racial pride and unity’ (New Dawn, no. 1, 1985). Bulldog previously featured a section called ‘RAC News’, but New Dawn’s new music section was titled ‘White Noise’ and boasted about growing by ‘leaps and bounds in the last 18 months’ (New Dawn, no. 1, 1985). At the same time, the NF was hosting outdoor ‘White Noise’ festivals in Suffolk on land owned by the parents of Nick Griffin, starting in 1984 (Skrewdriver, 2004). Within just two years ‘the biggest and best Rock Against Communism festival’ took place with 600 people who ‘danced and drank together in racial solidarity’ (New Dawn, no. 2, 1986). The National Front capitalised on whiteness by starting the White Noise Club in 1986 to meet the growing international demand for British fascist music. Patrick Harrington and Derek Holland, specifically, created the White Noise Club, which was in charge of organising concerts, publishing White Noise and selling music, posters and T-shirts to European youth (author interview with Patrick Harrington, 29 May 2010). Ian Stuart celebrated its creation and remarked, ‘I’m also pleased to hear that the officers of the White Noise Club are looking seriously into the possibility of a European tour in 1987 taking in something like 8 or 9 countries’ (White Noise, no. 1, 1986). Quickly the NF was appealing to an international audience and the third issue of White Noise announced it was promoting ‘music for Europe’ with a map of Western Europe on its cover (White Noise, no. 3, 1986). Harrington said that the NF had sold a minimum of 10,000 records and developed a network of contacts via small underground magazines and fans throughout Europe (author interview with Patrick Harrington, 29 May 2010). Peaking with 5,000 White Noise subscribers, these contacts acted as ‘talent scouts’ that brought foreign bands and news to the editors’ attention. The White Noise Club was significant not just for the music, but the distribution of British merchandise throughout the ‘white world’ and the promotion of international skinhead travel. The club sold not only tapes, records, patches and T-shirts, but videos, allowing youth in other parts of the world to witness what a British skinhead band looked like, how the audience behaved and fashion at the concert (White Noise, no. 4, 1987). Sex was also an aspect of the publication, offering readers images of ‘white’ beauty, such as ‘a 19 year old Italian beauty’ associated with the Veneto Fronte Skins who ‘will be in London throughout the summer’ (White Noise, no. 5, 1987). The National Front’s concerts started interchange and dialogue between young activists throughout Europe who gathered in England to listen to music. In 1987, White Noise reported that the fourth White Noise Summer Festival had ‘dozens of our cousins from France, Germany, Belgium and Austria’ showing ‘these festivals are now an international event’ (White Noise, no. 4, 1987). The concert hosted British bands like Skrewdriver and Brutal


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Attack, but also included Legion 88, a French band, promoting ‘white’ music. At the concert, Ian Stuart explicitly encouraged the youth to network by noting the international nature of the audience and telling concertgoers at the end of Skrewdriver’s performance, ‘if anybody is staying around, the beers will be carrying on serving for another couple of hours’ and the audience is ‘welcome to sit around and talk’ (Skrewdriver n.d.b). In 1987, fascist identity became more transnational and free from political party constraints due to personality differences and accusations over money. Significantly, that year Ian Stuart started Blood and Honour, an organisation with a self-titled magazine, that moved away from National Front control. Criticising the financial arrangement, Harrington was accused of ‘opening an account in Skrewdriver Services name’ and claimed ‘if you don’t want to pay for thieves’ meals in Kensington restaurants, don’t send your money for Skrewdriver goods to B.C.M. Noise’ (Blood & Honour, no. 1, Jul. 1987). Harrington described the split as rooted in Stuart ‘not needing the NF’ to help produce the music. With Rock-O-Rama, Stuart could distribute his music without the party (author interview with Patrick Harrington, 29 May 2010). Moreover, Harrington elaborated by remarking there was ‘an economic motive justified politically’. The name Blood and Honour came from the title of Skrewdriver’s 1986 album released on the Rock-O-Rama label, and was also the Hitler Youth motto. In contrast to the NF’s imagery, Stuart’s organisation embraced fascism and Nazism more explicitly, and Blood & Honour featured the Nazi swastika on its cover (see Blood & Honour, no. 11, n.d.). With Stuart’s focus on fascism and creating music, his organisation had the freedom to be more controversial and provocative than the NF, which retained an interest in contesting elections. Blood and Honour developed a transnational European identity without promoting views from a single political party. In the first issue, Ian Stuart said Skrewdriver ‘have a lot of support from nationalist parties all over the white world’ and named ‘Sweden, Germany, Holland and … the United States’, but that they also received ‘good support from Denmark, Norway, Belgium, France, Italy, Finland, Canada, Hungary, Poland, South Africa, Austria, Bavaria and Australia’ (Blood & Honour, no. 1, Jul. 1987). The magazine published positive letters from readers in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and the United States (Blood & Honour, no. 5, n.d.). It gave readers insight into performance and audience reception with international concert reviews, such as a concert with hundreds gathering in Italy to watch Brutal Combat from France, and Peggior Amico and Nomia Dresda, both from Italy (Blood & Honour, no. 6, n.d.). Another concert in Italy with British skinhead band No Remorse and an Italian band playing ‘Europe Awake’ was described as a ‘step towards European [u]nity’ (Blood & Honour, no. 10, n.d.). No Remorse went on to perform in the United States and Canada, where they were treated ‘as brothers in a world-wide family of racialists’ (Blood & Honour, no. 11, n.d.). At the same time, the organisation promoted foreign magazines from Australia, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United States (Blood & Honour, no. 6, n.d.).

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By the early 1990s, Ian Stuart was the foremost figure of the worldwide skinhead movement and performed throughout the United Kingdom as well as in Sweden and Germany (Blood & Honour, no. 9, n.d.). The European Parliament reported that while British exports had dropped, the ‘field’ that it had ‘done remarkably well’ in was ‘spreading the racist and violent subculture of the skinheads’ (Committee of Inquiry on Racism and Xenophobia 1991: 46). While disseminating fashion and music occurred with live performances, it also happened through magazines where individuals could read about style and see images captured at concerts. One reader from Poland wrote to Blood & Honour, explaining: ‘I found your address from an Italian zine’ and told the editors ‘Skrewdriver are considered to be number one by Polish skinheads’ (Blood & Honour, no. 9, n.d.). The organisation announced, ‘[a]ll over Europe and America the skinhead movement is on the rise … the skinhead press has gone into overdrive with an up surge in skinzines’ (Blood & Honour, no. 14, 1992). The lack of a coherent ideological platform allowed a range of hardline neo-Nazis and far-right youth to subscribe with a common identity, whereby readers could find what they wanted to accept in the magazine that dealt more with music than politics. In 1991, Blood & Honour wrote, ‘[a]ll over the world the white race is being driven to extinction’ (Blood & Honour, no. 12, 1991). It explained, ‘[y]our letters are our inspiration, your subscriptions are our security for the future of our movement, your presence at our gigs underlines the strength of our cause.’ By the 1990s, a community of white youth existed in the minds of Rock Against Communism fans, and events mirroring British efforts appeared in the United States and Germany. International events became more common with the August 1992 Aryan Festival in the United States featuring British and German bands while Skrewdriver performed with Dirlewanger, a German band, in London (Blood & Honour, no. 14, 1992). Blut und Ehre, the German edition of Blood & Honour, was established and only available for purchase via mail from London to prevent German authorities from stopping its production (Blood & Honour, no. 14, 1992). Initially, Skrewdriver’s songs focused narrowly on Britain, such as ‘White Power’ that called for ‘white power for Britain’. However, the themes expanded with songs like ‘Europe Awake’, ‘White Warriors’ and ‘If You’re White’ by Skrewdriver, ‘European Unity’ by Brutal Attack, and ‘European Skinhead Army’ by No Remorse. What started off as an effort by the National Front’s White Noise Club to unite youth under the message of ‘whiteness’ turned into an organism with several tentacles touching dozens of countries with countless bands centred on ‘whiteness’. While the efforts and ideologies were never uniform, the marginal world of fascist youth pushed forward under a common identity driven by international demand for rebellious music.

Blood and Honour: beyond the nation In the 1990s British fascists adapted to the changes in the music scene and political outreach, and the skinhead movement emerged as the main driving


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force behind transnational fascist identity. Ian Stuart remarked about the large numbers of ‘skinheads queuing up’ when the band performed throughout Europe, and said it demonstrated the grassroots nature of youth in different countries supporting fascism (Last Chance, no. 14, 1992). As the music scene reached new heights of popularity in the early 1990s, the British National Party had its first candidate elected. The two events were not unrelated, but as the music grew in popularity the BNP set out to improve their image and electability that was seemingly hampered by neo-Nazi youth. In 1993 skinhead music and British fascism experienced several transformations, with the music getting banned in some countries and fascist skinhead icon, Ian Stuart, dying in a car accident. Earlier that year, German police confiscated a large inventory of music from Rock-O-Rama forcing it to close and this impacted upon extremist music distribution channels by paving the way for the rapid expansion of Resistance Records from North America (New York Times, 2 Jul. 1995; Bushell 2010: 253). The BNP, which eclipsed the National Front in the late 1980s as the largest fascist party in Britain, had its first candidate elected to office. In September 1993, Derek Beackon defeated Labour and Conservative candidates in Millwall, which prompted the major parties to denounce the BNP as the public worried about the party’s growing support (Spearhead, no. 297, Nov. 1993). That same month, Ian Stuart died in a Derbyshire car accident, which hurt the Blood and Honour organisation and slowed the publication of its magazine. In April 1994 Blood & Honour (B&H) mailed its magazine with a tribute to Ian Stuart, and included a letter that cryptically announced that a ‘new group will now publish B&H, with a new approach and better finance, they will be publishing on a regular basis’ (letter, ‘Ian Stuart Forever in our Hearts’, Blood & Honour, 1994). That same year skinhead culture became an important part of fascist identity in North America with the establishment of a United States division of Blood and Honour. Eric Davidson launched Blood & Honour USA in California and by the next year had distributors selling copies in Australia and Canada (Blood & Honour USA, no. 4, Jan./Feb. 1994). It served as an important outlet for youth who wanted information about racist and fascist music releases in the United States as well as publishing exclusive interviews conducted by German interviewers with British musicians (Blood & Honour USA, no. 4, Jan./Feb. 1994). The American magazine contained interesting international contours, even featuring Ian Stuart on its cover two years after his death, which demonstrated how important he remained (Blood & Honour USA, no. 13, Aug. 1995). Indeed after Ian Stuart’s death, Davidson said there ‘was an explosion of the racial white rock and roll scene’, which ‘is advancing forward at unparalleled speed’ (White Aryan Resistance 1993). However, Blood & Honour USA’s position as the leading fascist youth magazine was eclipsed when George Burdi founded Resistance Records and Resistance magazine in Toronto. Burdi founded the label to release an album of his band, RaHoWa, and being a highly motivated activist devoted his time to writing, editing and

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publishing Resistance magazine, which promoted racist music. The label’s popularity surged due in part to the closure of the larger European labels and thousands of copies of the magazine were circulated, which helped Resistance Records sell tens of thousands of albums worldwide (author interview with George Burdi, 12 June 2012). Resistance magazine was a much slicker, more professionally designed publication than Blood & Honour, and went on to be more successful and cemented Resistance Records as the largest fascist music label in North America. In the early 1990s, the BNP set up a stewarding organisation, which changed the face of international skinheads. The BNP’s membership and electoral success grew after its ‘Defend Rights for Whites’ campaign in the East End led by Eddy Butler in reaction to a white student being assaulted by Bangladeshi classmates in Bethnal Green (author interview with Eddy Butler, 16 Sep. 2011; Copsey 2008: 57). The BNP held a series of marches and the family of the boy reluctantly joined when no other groups came to their aid. Butler and the BNP targeted specific locales with campaigns in areas that suffered from racial strife, which in turn would also raise ‘our national profile and hence our attractiveness’ (Spearhead, no. 281, Jul. 1992). Ultimately, the organisation sought to be a ‘rights organisation’ for white people and increased their electoral share through press coverage, and these efforts helped the successful election of Beackon in September 1993. The dark aspect of these gains was the creation of Combat 18 (C18), made up of former 1980s skinheads who frequented pubs. Combat 18 (referring to the first and eighth letters of the alphabet for Adolf Hitler’s initials) was started in 1992 with brothers Charlie and Steve Sargent. Matthew Collins, a former National Front activist, described how the ‘C18 crew consisted of all the well-known Nazi football hooligans from London, dressed to the nines in expensive gear, snorting drugs off the tables and drinking bottled beers’ (2011: 286). The organisation grew out of demand for security as BNP opponents became more active in the wake of the electoral gains. The BNP raised money for protection, and even the police worried that BNP gains would cause violence (Spearhead, no. 296, Oct. 1993; Daily Express, 18 Sept. 1993). Ironically, the first leader of the BNP stewarding group was none other than Beackon himself (author interview with Eddy Butler, 16 Sep. 2011). Shortly after his election it was reported that Beackon was referred to as ‘Daddy’ by thugs, in an article that discussed a photograph that shows him ‘amid a mob of BNP and C18 toughs policing a rally’ as well as another photo where he is near Charlie Sargent who is ‘regarded by neo-Nazi watchers as the head of C18’ (Daily Express, 24 Sep. 1993). Combat 18 members became involved in skinhead music and ultimately controlled Blood and Honour. Hours before the September 1992 Skrewdriver concert in London, fascists and anti-fascists violently clashed at Waterloo Station, later referred to as the Battle of Waterloo. According to Blood & Honour, ‘skinheads and nationalist youths came from all over Europe to attend one the biggest events staged by Blood and Honour’ (Blood & Honour,


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no. 14, 1992). Showing a more diverse selection of music besides their own fascist themes, the band performed numerous cover songs with their own spin, including ‘Johnny Be Good’, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’, ‘Paranoid’ and they dedicated songs to the American Ku Klux Klan. Ian Stuart also praised Charlie Sargent publicly for helping the event go forward: I’d like to dedicate this next number to a new group that sprung up on our streets. I think the reds just found out about them. I’ve known a lot of them for a long time and they are very good blokes. I’d like to dedicate this number to a new group called Redwatch and especially to a little bloke called Charlie [who] looks like a school boy, but I’ve never known anybody less like a school boy. This is for Redwatch and they’re doing a fucking good job. (Skrewdriver 1994) Stuart let Charlie become more involved with Blood & Honour as the publications were infrequent and subsequently Charlie served as editor of the magazine. After Stuart’s death, Will ‘The Beast’ Browning and Charlie Sargent established C18’s control over Blood and Honour by forcing out competitors, like Paul Burnley of No Remorse (Lowles 2001: 104).2 The new Blood & Honour described itself as ‘represent[ing] a true voice of the unheard – White Youth of Britain, Europe and the White World’ and on another page a banner read, ‘Blood and Honour – Britain’s National Socialists’ (Blood & Honour, no. 16, Spring 1994). The Sargent brothers began writing crude magazines, which spread racist and fascist ideas when Charlie became editor of The Order and Steve edited Redwatch and Putsch using the pseudonym Albion Wolf (Lowles 2001: 27, 93). These publications became notorious for promoting hatred and inciting people to commit acts of violence, including the overthrow of the government. Combat 18 and the new Blood and Honour marked a shift to a more radical fascist identity. Butler said it was a natural reaction to the BNP’s tactical changes and explained that when the BNP ‘was trying to go legitimate … they [C18] didn’t want to go legitimate and in a way it is a natural consequence’ when ‘you mix with people whose motivations are not idealistic you’re going to always have those problems’ (author interview with Eddy Butler, 16 Sep. 2011). Redwatch, for example, contained contact information of perceived Combat 18 enemies resulting in intimidation of opponents. Charlie and Gary Hitchcock met Harold Covington, a national socialist from North Carolina, who provided them with a mailing address for C18 to reroute mail and prevent British authorities from intercepting the letters (author interview with Eddy Butler, 16 Sep. 2011; World in Action 1993). The magazines preached violence over voting, for example: ‘[i]f the BNP won at Millwall your children are still going to be schooled with ethnics dont [sic] forget … by entering the electoral approach you are entering the ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government] system and a system that is 100% against

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us will not let us win in it’ (Putsch, no. 7, n.d., circa 1993). In the final issue of Putsch (subscriptions to which were then handed to The Order), an editorial reflected on its three years of existence: ‘I can recall the first issue had a press run of just 60 copies, today over 60 copies go to America each issue alone, so we’ve come a long way and built a strong base of support in that time’ (Putsch, unnumbered, Mar. 1996). The international subscribers would read quotes from Hitler, ideas about creating a ‘white homeland’, regular reports on minority assaults and the ‘coming’ racial holy war (see Putsch, no. 21, n.d., circa 1994; Putsch, no. 26, Jun./Jul. 1994). Following Stuart’s death, Combat 18 started a record label to help fund its activities and its first release was Skrewdriver’s posthumous 1994 album Hail Victory (‘Sieg Heil’ in German). For the first time since White Noise Records, British fascists had a serious record label that filled the demand left when Rock-O-Rama closed. Browning, specifically, developed ISD Records (Ian Stuart Donaldson’s initials) and went on to press about 35,000 CDs, which earned at least £100,000 profit (Lowles 2001: 107, 119). Unlike the earlier White Noise Records, ISD Records promoted heavier, faster and more incendiarythemed music. The operation was simple. Browning filled CD orders for distributors, and Charlie promoted and sold some CDs through The Order and Blood & Honour magazines (Lowles 2001: 107). For example, No Remorse’s Barbecue in Rostock was released by ISD Records in 1996 and Blood & Honour featured the album on its cover (Blood & Honour, unnumbered, 1996). The album marked a lineup change with Browning replacing Paul Burnley on vocals, and the title was a reference to German neo-Nazis burning down immigrant housing in 1992 (Lowles 1998: 42). The songs were equally offensive and demonstrated an evolution in fascist identity. For example, the song ‘Zigger, Zigger, Shoot Those Fucking Niggers’ contains lyrics about C18 murdering minorities: 3

C18 you’re just a killing machine, whatever it takes you know what I mean. Don’t try and mess with the master race, ’cause if you do we’ll smash your face. Zigger, zigger shoot those fucking niggers. Zigger, zigger shoot those fucking niggers. Zigger, zigger shoot those fucking niggers. Zigger, zigger shoot those fucking niggers. (No Remorse 2010) During C18’s control of Blood and Honour many concerts were hosted to unite international extremists under fascist iconic identity, rather than focus on ‘whiteness’. The first significant concert was the September 1994 Ian Stuart Memorial in Kent with bands from Italy, France and Britain, and the crowd of hundreds came from Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom (Blood & Honour, n.d.). This was followed by


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another memorial concert in 1995, a St George’s Day concert in 1996, an Oswald Mosley tribute in 1997 as well as smaller concerts throughout the country that saw hundreds of radicals gather in one location to listen to music with fascist, racist and violence themes. While police confiscated CDs produced by the label, suspicion about Browning keeping profits led the Sargent brothers and Browning to have a falling out.4 The mailing address was moved to Denmark for the purposes of continuing music production without interference from authorities (Blood & Honour, no. 10, n.d., circa 1997). In 1998, Charlie Sargent and Martin Cross were found guilty of killing Christopher Castle in a dispute with Browning over money (The Law: The Newspaper of the Essex Police, no. 292, Feb. 1998).5 Despite the music’s popularity with youth, the BNP leadership was unhappy with the violent neo-Nazi skinhead identity. In a five-page article, John Tyndall wrote about Combat 18’s publications making ‘references to members of ethnic minority groups’ that ‘far exceeded in the extremity of their language anything’ that caused Tyndall or John Morse to be convicted under the Race Relations Act (Spearhead, no. 319, Sep. 1995). He continued by describing how the group’s objectives, including the overthrow of the government and violence, were ‘doing the enemy’s work’ by ‘sowing seeds of disaffection among BNP activists’. Moreover, he asserted that C18’s ‘policy of violence’ and ‘the slightest connection on the part of the BNP with Combat 18 would … imprison our leaders and close us down’. The BNP wanted C18 to tone down its rhetoric and Richard Edmonds even met with C18 leadership to encourage them to temper their approach, but C18 continued its violent rampage (author interview with Richard Edmonds, 15 Sep. 2011). Similarly, Butler wanted C18 to focus their efforts on less counter-productive efforts and accept BNP methods that had helped them win the Millwall election, but this earned him an attack in response (author interview with Eddy Butler, 16 Sep. 2011). The most famous violent act was the death of Stephen Lawrence in April 1993 and led to undercover police recording C18 ‘meetings’, including one with Gary Dobson, who was later convicted of the murder (The Record, 4 Jan. 2012). Following Cross and Sargent’s murder convictions, the leadership of Blood and Honour changed and became friendlier to the BNP and its electoral politics (Blood & Honour, no. 13, n.d., circa 1998). At the same time, the new anonymous editor described Blood and Honour as ‘an independent national socialist movement supporting all active N.S./nationalist parties/ groups in the white world’, including divisions in Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Scandinavia and the United States (Blood & Honour, no. 9, n.d., circa 1997). The magazine approved of the BNP’s 1999 election outreach, calling it ‘the biggest ever election campaign in Britain by a pro-White Nationalist party’ (Blood & Honour, no. 16, n.d., circa 1999). From its central organisation in London, Blood and Honour continued growing in the 1990s throughout the United Kingdom and overseas. In Britain, there were branches in East London, East Midlands, Coventry and Scotland (Blood & Honour, no. 18, n.d., circa 2000). The Scottish branch was led by

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Steve Cartwright, a BNP activist who gained international fame for his appearance in a documentary that took young fascists to Auschwitz (Spearhead, no. 293, Jul. 1993; Cousins and Forrest 1994).6 In the summer of 1999, Blood and Honour Scotland hosted the fifth annual ‘youth camp’ where Scottish history was taught and an ‘air rifle shooting tournament’ was held (Blood & Honour, no. 17, n.d., circa 1999). By the late 1990s, Blood and Honour had international branches in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Scandinavia, South Africa, Switzerland and Yugoslavia.7 The content of Blood & Honour magazine stressed common identity between fascists of different nations, which was reflected in print and at concerts. An activist of Blood and Honour Serbia reported that 800 people from Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Serbia and Slovakia watched the American band Bound for Glory perform at the Flash Club in Budapest (Blood & Honour, no. 11, n.d., circa 1998). The event, according to the author, ‘proved to be one of the best in Europe ever and showed a good unity amongst the European Skinhead Army’. In addition, it published reports about an Ian Stuart memorial concert in Germany with American bands Blue Eyed Devils and Chaos 88 (Blood & Honour, no. 17, n.d., circa 1999). Then in 2000, Blood and Honour hosted a ‘British–Italian friendship’ concert with bands including Brutal Attack and ‘Italy’s premier band Gesta Bellica … to celebrate their Aryan pride and show European unity in action’ (Blood & Honour, no. 19, n.d., circa 2000). Other articles discussed organisations in foreign countries, including national socialist activity and the ‘white power music scene’ in Greece, urging interested readers to contact the Golden Dawn (Blood & Honour, no. 11, n.d., circa 1998). The success of uniting extremists under Blood and Honour came at a cost, harming attitudes towards the already unpopular British fascists. The close association with Combat 18’s promotion of violence, C18 members’ connection to murders and assaults, and the sharing of bomb-making information convinced the public that C18 was a terrorist organisation. Then in 1999 a bombing spree by David Copeland that targeted minorities, including killing three people, was the coda of C18 and saw the demise of the group.8 The rise of the Internet marked further decline for Blood and Honour as fascist music consumers no longer needed information from the magazines to purchase music, contact bands and learn about fascist news. Yet, the most pressing issue was the BNP’s association with violent neo-Nazi identity.

Great White, Great Britain After Nick Griffin became chair of the BNP in 1999, the inverse of the National Front’s experience in the 1980s happened to the BNP in the 2000s. While the NF’s music division developed international links and identity in ‘Europeanness’ and ‘whiteness’, the BNP’s music efforts shifted to ‘Britishness’. At the start of the new millennium, Blood and Honour was losing ground to the Internet, while the British National Party in 2002 began making gains in


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a series of local elections. That is not to imply the BNP was uninterested in bonds beyond British territory. Indeed, the effect of a transnational outlook shaped by the European Union, the Euro and foreign models like the Front National in France also contributed to the British National Party’s approach and the party began thinking beyond non-functioning alliances with foreign groups. But the BNP’s interest in music marked a shift to emphasising Britain nationalism instead of pan-Europeanism. When Griffin became leader of the British National Party he began changing the face of the party to make it more electable and avoid ‘the inevitable media smear of “Nazi”’ (Griffin 1999a: unpaginated 6). The damage done by Blood and Honour to British fascism was not lost on Griffin and in his campaign for BNP leadership, he criticised Tyndall for approving brochures mailed to BNP members that promoted offensive skinhead bands, such as Swastika. Griffin stressed the need to ‘take advantage of the BNP’s internal market’ and use music to spread their message. Specifically, he stated: It’s clear much of what is now presented as the white music scene is so negative with Hollywood Nazi cultists that it’s worse than useless. If we’re to make use of the modern nationalist music scene then our own young people will have to create it from scratch, using homegrown heroes, images and traditional musical influences. I don’t expect we’ll see much progress along that road in just a year, but if the opportunity arises then I’ll spare some time to do what I can to help. (Griffin 1999b) Griffin’s remarks are quite revealing as they admit to his British audience that ‘Nazi cultists’ and the focus on foreign people in ‘white’ music, as opposed to ‘homegrown heroes’ was damaging. Consequently, parts of the BNP’s ‘modernisation’ efforts were to distinguish the party from violent neo-Nazis and rebrand the themes of party publications. When Griffin became head of the party the Tyndall era British Nationalist newspaper was replaced with The Voice of Freedom newspaper and a glossy magazine titled Identity. In its first issue, Identity published an article by Chris Telford, BNP member and guitarist for Nemesis, about starting a ‘nationalist’ cultural organisation. He asked, ‘[h]ow many times has it been said that “what we need is a British Carl Klang or a nationalist folk group”’ (Identity, no. 1, Jan./Feb. 2000). The British National Party leadership planned a new music operation and built its own recording studios and rather than focus on inflammatory music that the BNP did not want to be associated with, it established Great White Records to produce English folk music with a more mature sound (Macintyre 2009; Observer Music Monthly, 22 Jan. 2006). The effort reflected what White Noise Records and ISD Records did to bring in money, spread ideas and build a name as the source of fascist music. David Hannam, director of Great White and later BNP treasurer, said that profit from Great White would be used for the party’s ‘election funding and other projects’ (Macintyre 2009). Griffin,

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however, explained the importance of ideas by describing that ‘people will listen to a song over and over again and take all the words in, in a way that you would be very lucky to get one in 100 of them to listen to a speech. Music is a very effective way of getting our views across’ (Macintyre 2009). Like the skinhead record labels in the previous two decades, Great White Records sold clothing that promoted the label logo of a Great White shark (Identity, no. 86, Jan. 2008). The party hoped it would become a popular fashion symbol that would display the identity of British ‘whiteness’ and promote the record label to sympathetic people. Beyond cultural outreach, Great White Records was a business registered with the government and its Companies House records allow scholars to examine its operation. In December 2005, Hannam incorporated Great White Records and according to company records, Great White’s capital was divided in 1,000 shares at £1 and that month had 200 shares sold with Hannam and Nicholas Cass owning 100 each (Certificate of Incorporation of a Private Limited Company No. 56534 72 from, 2005). At first, Great White Records was a family affair with Griffin’s then 15-year-old daughter, Rhiannon, and even Griffin himself writing and singing songs (Sunday Mirror, 5 Feb. 2006). Referring to his own vocal tracks, Griffin said, ‘I’m on there just to show we want everyone to sing’ (Macintyre 2009). With the early family emphasis, the party had high hopes for success. Hannam remarked that if youth are ‘going to rebel we’d like them to do it our way and listen to our music’ and the party hoped to earn £100,000 with ‘any money raised’ going ‘directly to the BNP’ (Macintyre 2009). Great White Records was a concentrated effort to counter the negative international neo-Nazi skinhead image with a softer British identity. The songs released were not only different in tone and style from earlier fascist music, but had contemporary racist platforms set to old folk songs. According to the BNP, the themes included an ‘appeal to young Briton’s [sic] to join the patriotic ranks’, ‘celebrating the British Isles’, ‘an old English-Cornish folk song celebrating May Day’, ‘the domination of many of our cities and towns by foreign cultures alien to British culture’ and a song by Griffin about ‘the senselessness of war where European killed fellow Europeans in past wars’.9 The BNP also re-wrote songs to give them contemporary racial themes. For example, Griffin explained that a song titled ‘The Sun and the Moon’ was ‘originally from Cornwall about a disaster in a tin mine’ causing a young father’s death, but in the BNP’s version ‘he’s a victim of a racist attack’ (Macintyre 2009).10 While the NF’s music had focused on anti-communism, whiteness and proNazi themes, Great White Records’ songs denounced democracy and immigration in discussions of national and local issues. Joey Smith’s song ‘English Pride’ drew upon history with lyrics like ‘in 1805 I was on Nelson’s boat’ and ‘in World War Two, I kept the troops going’ (Joey Smith, 2008). Colin Auty sang about Savile Town, where he served as a councillor. Critics described how the ‘message behind the lyrics is that Savile Town is populated by


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foreigners who do not speak English’ (Yorkshire Post, 28 Mar. 2007). The song includes the lyrics: And I say Where is the chapel, where my grandma used to pray? Where is the alehouse, where my father drank each day? Where is the butchers shop, our mam would buy her pork? Where have all the white folks gone, who used to stop and talk? (Auty 2007) Great White Records also released albums that promoted music by several different artists, and earned foreign reviews. In 2007, it released West Wind, a compilation album with every song co-written by Griffin, including ‘51st State Lament’ which bemoaned American influences that saw a ‘goodbye to Old England’ (Great White Records, 2007). That same year, Resistance magazine reviewed Great White’s Time to Make a Stand as ‘mark[ing] a sea of change in patriot music forms’ (Resistance, no. 27, Spring 2007). Despite praise from an American reviewer, Great White Records did not cause a shift in fascist music style and identity. The British National Party’s attempts to rebrand British fascist music from skinhead neo-Nazi songs to British folk music were unsuccessful. Unlike the records produced by White Noise Records, the British-themed folk music produced by Great White Records had little demand. Eddy Butler remarked, ‘there is no market’ for that type of music as the people ‘who are nationalistically inclined don’t want to listen to that’ (author interview with Eddy Butler, 16 Sep. 2011). He described how the party gave organisers CDs to sell, but people did not want to buy them and to clear out space in BNP storage, Butler auctioned Great White music at the BNP’s Red, White and Blue festival and sold big boxes of CDs for about £2. The whole Great White operation, he explained, was a ‘massive money loss’. Indeed, documents from the Companies House database show the company had a mere £8 in assets while it took a loan of £4,002 in 2006 and documents filed in June 2009 dissolved the company (Statement of Abbreviated Accounts from, 2006). The remaining Great White Records merchandise was shifted to another entity and is currently being sold on the BNP’s Excalibur website.11 The BNP’s change in music focused more on English and British identity, but the party itself did not turn away from white or European identity. In practice, Griffin’s leadership marked a change in the BNP’s presentation of identity in music, but also in identification with foreign supporters. In 1999, the American Friends of the British National Party was started by Mark Cotterill, a Briton living in Virginia, to ‘render political and moral support to the cause of British nationalism, which is best represented by the British National Party’ (quote from Heritage and Destiny, no. 2, Fall 1999; author interview with Mark Cotterill, 6 Jun. 2010). Though the American Friends disbanded in 2001 and Cotterill later left the BNP, Griffin continued building

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relationships with foreign leaders. The BNP made electoral gains throughout the decade, culminating in Griffin and Andrew Brons getting elected to the European Parliament in June 2009. Using his position as a Member of European Parliament, Griffin formed the Alliance of European Nationalist Movements (AENM) in 2012 with Bruno Gollnisch from France’s Front National and Bela Kovacs from Hungrary’s Jobbik, which was recognised by the European Parliament giving it €289,266 in financial support (The Voice of Freedom, no. 127, 2012). In a review of the AENM’s first conference, the BNP’s official newspaper described the event as demonstrating ‘nationalists are not antiEurope, but we are all anti-EU’ (The Voice of Freedom, no. 129, 2012). The following year, Angus Matthys, a BNP councillor, travelled to Hungary to meet like-minded political activists for ‘youth leadership training’, which was partly funded by the AENM.12 When looking back at the last three decades of British fascism, the BNP’s music production and international alliances marked a notable change. Indeed, the music produced and promoted by the BNP focused more narrowly on British culture, but British fascism continues to transcend borders, including the creation of formal programmes with foreign extremists.

Conclusion Music serves as a map of how British fascists viewed themselves and sought to project identity to others. Understanding the history of fascist music not only provides access to political slogans and how fascism has transformed over time, but reveals fascist identity. After the Second World War, British fascists adopted a vague notion of white identity in music. Spawned first through the distribution of music and youth magazines that emphasised ‘whiteness’, the National Front openly embraced ‘whiteness’ and ‘Europeanness’. White Noise became an international club and a brand of music that paved the way for British co-operation with Continental fascists in the 1980s, but in the following decade, regular international concerts and contacts grew out of the National Front’s earlier efforts. By the 1990s, a more radical and violent breed of fascist identity emerged in London and the music associated with the BNP was disseminated around the ‘white world’. Blood and Honour spread new notions of identity built around fascist icons and violence, making gains in the United States, but the vicious and racist image damaged British fascists’ electoral prospects. When Nick Griffin became leader of the BNP, the party started a new music operation to paint a softer image of fascism and focus on English and British identity. Despite this concentrated effort to rebrand British fascist culture and raise money for the BNP, the newest form of fascist identity in music did not usher an image change. Since the rise of the Internet and electronic publishing, the circulation of music and print magazines has dropped as people no longer have to rely on magazines for news and mail order clubs for obscure musical taste. At the same time, countless domestic and foreign websites provide entertainment,


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including music, to billions of Internet users, making it difficult for fascist music and its producers to compete with all the choices consumers have. It seems unlikely that an ideologically driven record label can thrive in this environment. The identity created from the top-down approach of the BNP under Great White Records did not resonate because the types of people drawn to fascist music are usually rebellious youth. Traditional folk music with ‘indigenous’ themes in the 2000s does not appeal to the audience that seeks to overturn Britain’s history of democracy or sympathise with Britain’s Second World War enemies, rather the fascist music consumer is more likely to be interested in faster, heavier and more offensive songs. The ideology of British fascism goes against the mainstream and there is a disjuncture between this and ‘clean’ folk music that rebels against the postwar consensus. Fascist identity in music throughout the 1980s was rooted in ‘whiteness’ and resonated with alienated youth. These teenagers looked for a type of music that expressed rebellion and opposition to the direction society was going, which was promoted by the National Front. Blood and Honour’s more violent and offensive music further established British extremists at the forefront of the transnational movement with British skinhead icons, like Ian Stuart, uniting youth. While the BNP was unable to profit from fascist folk music in the 2000s, fascist organisations earned significant income and support from consumers of music in the 1980s and 1990s. Given the prominence of the Internet and changing demographics of Western European nations, it seems unlikely that fascist music will again take a prominent place in uniting fascists from around the world under a common identity.

Notes 1 The article reviewed Skrewdriver’s lyrical themes and wrote: ‘The White patriots are too disciplined and dedicated to the supposedly discredited values of the prewar past (race and nation), to merit the same freedoms of speech and press accorded the destroyers of Britain.’ It concluded by telling readers who want ‘to correspond with Ian Stuart’ to write the NF’s record label and listed the NF’s Croydon address (The Spotlight, 1984). 2 An undated tract by ‘original members of Combat 18’ described Browning’s falling out with and subsequent dislike of Paul Burnley of No Remorse. Harry O’Lara, Drowning Browning: Examining the Nature of the Beast (n.d.), unpaginated 2, 3. 3 Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG) asserts that a group of Jewish financiers control or directly influence the government. 4 Charlie Sargent, Martin Cross and Will Browning were charged with inciting racial hatred for the content of the CDs. The Order reported, ‘all three pleaded guilty. Comrade’s Sargent & Cross were both sentanced [sic] to 17 months prison, whilst Browning received only 12 months.’ The Order disassociated itself from ISD Records citing ‘parasitical’ practices (The Order, no. 18, Jan./Mar. 1997). 5 Blood & Honour reported: ‘Ex-Blood & Honour musician Martin Cross, formerly of bands Brutal Attack, Skrewdriver, Razor’s Edge, The Order and Empire was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. The same sentence was passed upon exBlood & Honour editor and supposed European Nazi leader/C18 leader Charlie Sargent’ (Blood & Honour, no. 12, n.d., circa 1998).

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6 According to the fourth issue of Highlander, the magazine of the Scottish division, ‘Blood and Honour Scotland was formed in March 1995 and in that time we produced 4 issues of previous ’zine “Blood & Honour Scotland” and a further 4 issues of “Highlander.” We have also organised 2 Scottish gigs, 3 summer camps, numerous socials and distributed thousands of W.P. CDs and a vast amount of literature’ (Highlander, no. 4, n.d., circa 1998). 7 For the issues that mention the individual branches, see Blood & Honour no. 18 (n.d., circa 2000); Blood & Honour no. 17 (n.d., circa 2000), Blood & Honour no. 16 (n.d., circa 2000), Blood & Honour no. 15 (n.d., circa 1999), Blood & Honour no. 14 (n.d., circa 1998), Blood & Honour no. 12 (n.d., circa 1998), Blood & Honour unnumbered (1996), and Counter Attack unnumbered (2000). 8 Nick Lowles discusses the decline of C18 following arrests of significant leaders, but connects the 2001 riots in Oldham to C18 associates (Lowles 2001: 322). 9 This is from the now-defunct Great White Records’ website. ‘Time to Make a Stand’, Great White Records, 2006; [Accessed 1 Dec. 2013]. 10 The BNP was critical of the press coverage comparing the song to three others that told their listeners to murder ‘white people’. ‘Music Quiz’, British National Party, 6 Feb. 2006; available online at [Accessed 1 Dec. 2013]. 11 For example, see: ‘Music’, Buy Excalibur, 2013; available online at www.buyexca [Accessed 1 Dec. 2013]. 12 Angus Matthys, ‘Youth Leadership Training: A Weekend in Hungary’, British National Party, 21 October 2013; available online at youth-leadership-training-weekend-hungary [Accessed 1 Dec. 2013].

References Auty, C. (2007) Truth Hurts. Great White Records, CD recording. Blood & Honour (n.d.) 1st ISD Memorial 1995 Kent England. Denison, TX: NS88 Videos, DVD recording. Bushell, G. (2010) Hoolies: True Stories of Britain’s Biggest Street Battles. London: John Blake. Collins, M. (2011) Hate: My Life in the British Far Right. London: Biteback. Committee of Inquiry on Racism and Xenophobia (1991) Report on the Findings of the Inquiry. Luxembourg: European Parliament. Copsey, N. (2007) ‘Changing Course or Changing Clothes?: Reflections on the Ideological Evolution of the British National Party 1999–2006’, Patterns of Prejudice, 4(1): 61–82. Copsey, N. (2008) Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Cousins, M. and Forrest, M. (1994) The Psychology of Neo-Nazism: Another Journey by Train to Auschwitz. Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities and Sciences, VHS recording. Great White Records (2007) West Wind. Great White Records, CD recording. Griffin, N. (1999a) Moving On, Moving Up: Campaign for British National Party Chair. Ilford: NG Election Campaign. Griffin, N. (1999b) Moving On, Moving Up: Campaign for British National Party Chair. Ilford: NG Election Campaign, cassette recording. Lowles, N. (1998) ‘ISD – The Money Machine, 1992–1998’, in Lowles, N. and Silver, S. (eds) White Noise: Inside the International Skinhead Scene. London: Searchlight.


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Lowles, N. (2001) White Riot: The Violent Story of Combat 18. Bury: Milo Books. Macintyre, D. (2009) Nazi Hate Rock. London: Five, DVD recording. Macklin, G. (2013) ‘“Onward Blackshirts!”: Music and the British Union of Fascists’, Patterns of Prejudice, 47(4–5): 430–457. National Front (1967) The National Front Objectives. London: National Front. No Remorse (2010) Barbecue in Rostock. 28 USA Records, CD recording. Shaffer, R. (2013) ‘The Soundtrack of Neo-Fascism: Youth and Music in the National Front’, Patterns of Prejudice, 47(4–5): 458–482. Skrewdriver (1994) Battle of Waterloo, place unknown: ISD Records, CD Recording. Skrewdriver (2004) Classic British RAC Volume 4: Skrewdriver Suffolk 1984. Denison, TX: NS88 Videos, DVD recording. Skrewdriver (n.d.a) Skrewdriver Cottbus, Germany 1991. Denison, TX: NS88 Videos, DVD recording. Skrewdriver (n.d.b) White Noise: Live in Suffolk 1987. White Aryan Resistance, DVD recording. Skrewdriver (n.d., circa 1988) Skrewdriver Song Book. Skrewdriver Services. Smith, J. (2008) Not Just About the Music. Great White Records, CD recording. White Aryan Resistance (1993) Race and Reason no. 379, place unknown: White Aryan Resistance, DVD recording. World in Action (1993) The Terror Squad. Manchester: Granada Television, television programme.


Nazi punks folk off Leisure, nationalism, cultural identity and the consumption of metal and folk music1 Karl Spracklen

Introduction Nazi Punks, Nazi Punks, Nazi Punks, Fuck Off Nazi Punks, Nazi Punks, Nazi Punks, Fuck Off You’ll be the first to go, you’ll be the first to go, you’ll be the first to go Unless you think (‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’, from In God We Trust Inc., Dead Kennedys, Alternative Tentacles, 1981)

In the 1980s, far-right activists attempted to infiltrate the punk scene in the UK and other Western countries with varying degrees of success: a white supremacist counterculture emerged around bands such as Skrewdriver (Brown 2004), but mainstream punks successfully rejected the far right’s intrusion onto their alternative, individualist, left-leaning music scene (Ward 1996). This chapter explores attempts by neo-Nazis and others influenced by far-right political ideologies to express their politics through the creation and consumption of two other forms of popular music: the extreme version of heavy metal called black metal – popularised in the 1990s following a series of Church burnings and murders in Norway (Kahn-Harris 2007) – and English folk music. In discussing the construction of whiteness, the infiltration of far-right ideologies and activists, and the construction of social identity in these music scenes, I will reference a third form of popular music that bridges the gap between black metal and English folk: Neo-Folk, an off-shoot of the goth and post-punk genres, which has had a long association with taboobreaking and flirtations with extremism. Following Spracklen (2009, 2011b) I will use Habermas’ (1984, 1987) framework of communicative and instrumental rationality to identify and explain the extent to which each scene has resisted infiltration from the far right. The reason for comparing the scenes is that both have attracted the interest of far-right activists. Black metal is a form of extreme metal typified by evil sounds and elitist ideologies: many bands draw on nationalist and fascist images and themes. English folk attempts to preserve and construct a national


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music for England, rooted in a mythicised past. Both music scenes are therefore attractive to far-right activists and ideologues seeking to use each music scene as a site of political action and commentary. Both scenes attract different far-right activists interested in the diverse range of symbols and ideologies each scene presents (English folk music is attractive to English nationalists downplaying their racism, Satanic black metal appeals to fascists interested in Crowley), but there are important points of contact between them. In the past fifteen years, some nationalist black metal bands such as Drudkh (from the Ukraine) and Forefather (from England) have taken an interest in folk music, inspired by the Neo-Folk scene and nationalist ideologies to seek ‘authentic’ national roots in folk music. From black metal to English folk via Neo-Folk is not as strange as it may first appear. Far-right activists drawn to black metal as angry teenagers, then, are likely to follow the trajectory of their favourite bands. As I will show, labels that sign black metal, Neo-Folk and ‘dark’ English folk acts have appeared to meet the demand for music with elitist symbolism and lyrical content. Black metal and its culture of extreme ideologies has been the subject of sustained critical analysis (Beckwith 2002; D’Amico 2009; Harris 2000; Kahn-Harris 2007; LeVine 2009; Lucas et al. 2011; Spracklen 2006, 2009, 2010a, 2010b; Vestel 1999). In this chapter, previous research (Spracklen 2006, 2009, 2010a) and new research into the discourses about black metal on an internet forum will be examined alongside ethnographic reflections and unstructured interviews to explore the tensions between black metal as a neotribe and black metal as a site of the construction of whiteness and white (racist, Aryan, heathen) identity. As an insider in the black metal scene, I use my knowledge to observe discussions on a black metal on-line forum about what it means to be a fan (being ‘kult’ or ‘true’). English folk music has been the subject of similar research into its association with authenticity, purity, tradition and nationalism (Boyes 1993; Gregory 2009; Harker 1985; Sweers 2005; Yarwood and Charlton 2009). Here I will present research on English folk music that has been collected in the same way as the published research on on-line communities of black metal fans (Spracklen 2006, 2010a, 2010b, 2011a). Observation of on-line forum debates about English folk music and the far right will be utilised, including debates on a folk music forum about links between neo-Nazis and a Neo-Folk label. In identifying the tensions between playful belonging and elitist ideology, it will be suggested that in black metal and in English folk an imagined, white community is being created that resists notions of postmodernity, globalisation and instrumental consumption. Before the discussion and analysis, however, it is necessary to situate the research in a theoretical framework, and to provide some account of methods.

Theories of leisure and whiteness This research is grounded in leisure theory, and in particular the work of Spracklen (2009, 2011) in applying a Habermasian framework of communicative

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and instrumental rationalities and actions to understanding the tensions between utopian theories of individualised, postmodern leisure (Blackshaw 2010; Rojek 2010) and dystopian theories of increasing constraint and control (Bramham 2006). At the same time, researchers of popular music have theorised the development of neo-tribes as the effect of postmodernity on practices of consumption and identity formation (Bennett 2006; Hodkinson 2002). Habermas (1984) says communicative rationality leads to the establishment of the public sphere, in which our leisure choices help us construct civic (and civil) society. In modernity, each of us belongs to the lifeworld, that part of modern life that emerges from the public sphere. All of us have the education and the reasoning to be able to think for ourselves, to construct with others a mutually beneficial world for our culture and society to thrive. What counts is the level of freedom such activities provide us, and the level of flexibility to change and adapt those activities to suit our decisions and deliberations. Being able to think for ourselves, being able to find solace in leisure, being able to choose to make our own meaning from leisure, these are fundamental markers of humanity. But that lifeworld is in danger from the approaches of instrumental structures and organisations – the State, bureaucratisation, commodification, hegemonic capitalist power and globalisation – that threaten to colonise the lifeworld and destroy it altogether (Habermas 1987; Spracklen 2009). What I am interested in here is the way in which leisure choices in consuming black metal and English folk music are used to construct exclusive, white identities – whiteness associated with individualism and elitism in the case of metal, and whiteness as a product of Englishness in folk (see also Shaffer, this volume). I am interested in the ‘beating of the boundaries’ (Appelrouth 2011; Cohen 1985) – who is allowed to define belonging in the black metal scene and in the English folk scene. Whiteness throughout this chapter is used to represent a particular, hegemonic but invisible power relation that privileges (and normalises) the culture and position of white people (Daynes and Lee 2008; Dyer 1997; Garner 2006; Gilroy 2000; Long and Hylton 2002). The whiteness of white people can never be essentialised – there is no such thing as a white race and there is no such thing as a black race (Daynes and Lee 2008). However, blackness and whiteness, the agency of choosing to identify with one or the other, and the instrumentality of defining those who do not belong as one or the other (the Other, as it were), are part of what Daynes and Lee (2008) call the ‘racial ensemble’, tools used in boundary work, the formation of cultural capital (Bourdieu 1986) through communicative agency and instrumentalised consumption. Where whiteness differs from blackness is in its link to the dominant side in historical inequalities of power and the useful instrumentality of universalising white cultural norms as universal norms (see Linehan, this volume). Because whiteness is so privileged, Fanon (1967) argues that blackness becomes marginalised, and black people who try to become part of the mainstream are forced to adopt a ‘white mask’ to be accepted. In leisure, blackness is inevitably Othered as exotic, and the whiteness of everyday


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leisure forms is made invisible (Hylton 2009; Long and Hylton 2002; Long and Spracklen 2010).

Methods In this chapter I will utilise the methodological tools of Discourse Tracing (LeGreco and Tracy 2009) to analyse on-line and in-print debates about identity, community and the two music genres of black metal and English folk. Discourse Tracing involves the messy capture of disparate qualitative data and auto-ethnographic reflections, and drawing from the analysis the traces of dominant discourses. The data from interviews and on-line debates about black metal was collected in previously published work (Lucas et al. 2011; Spracklen 2006, 2009, 2010a). The data collected here about English folk music is new, as is the comparative analysis between the two and the ethnographic reflections across both scenes: as a middle-aged, long-haired white man with a Viking beard I can easily fit in to both a metal gig and a folk concert. Spracklen (2006, 2010a, 2010b) used the on-line forum at to collect data over three 12-month periods. Opinions posted by members of the forum in the public areas of the forum were examined and searches undertaken to identify relevant threads and posts that discussed extreme ideologies. The researcher lurked but did not interact with any posters, publicly or privately. In the data collection on English folk music, my familiarity with the scene led me to the website of fRoots magazine, and its publicly accessible forum. Following the same approach as Spracklen (2006, 2010a, 2010b) I lurked on the forum for eighteen months between October 2009 and March 2011 (a period including the General Election in the UK, when the British National Party (BNP) was attempting to mobilise support to win a first seat in the House of Commons – see Rhodes 2011), noting the number of threads relevant to this chapter and collecting the postings made (sometimes going back in time before I started the research) about the infiltration of English folk by the far right, the launch of the campaign Folk Against Fascism, and the particular case of Neo-Folk. In total, 39,030 words were collected and analysed across ten substantial threads, with an uncounted number of other threads sampled. The substantial threads were identified as important places where fans and musicians involved in English folk could express opinions about issues associated with the intrusion of the far right. Alongside this on-line data capture, my ethnographic reflections and reading of the two scenes’ print literature then triangulated the debates through the Discourse Tracing approach: finding patterns, significances, myths, symbols and narratives in different discourses about black metal and English folk music.

Black metal – previous and new research Previous research has explored black metal as a Habermasian communicative action in the wider metal scene (Spracklen 2006, 2009, 2010a, 2010b, 2011a).

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The black metal scene is clearly historically associated with whiteness (Aryan, Nordic, European) and heteronormative masculinity. It is also a globalised, globalising scene, with bands and fans across the world (Harris 2000; LeVine 2009). Black metal is a genre associated with a particular sound, image and ideology: ‘evil’ tritones and dissonances; corpsepaint, spikes, forests, snow, Satanic symbols, heteronormativity (Spracklen 2010b); and individualism expressed through Satanism, nationalism, misanthropy or heathenism. Fans on the forum on-line make a distinction between the sound and the ideologies present (Spracklen 2006, 2010a): they claim to be able to appreciate the music for its aesthetic or emotional qualities, while ignoring or distancing themselves from the extreme ideologies of the lyrics and imagery. This distancing is reflected in the research with black metal fans undertaken by Lucas et al. (2011) and Kahn-Harris (2007): fans claim to enjoy the music while expressing a commitment to a vaguely libertarian philosophy of allowing musicians to be free to express their disdain for the modern world in whatever ideology they wish. For the black metal fans in Lucas et al. (2011) this freedom is linked to the wider metal scene’s embrace of individualism and resistance against the corporate mainstream. None of the fans in this previous work identified politically with the far right or with Satanism, beyond the playful embrace of Satanic symbols and the wearing of Thor’s Hammers (appropriated by the far right but also genuine expressions of neo-heathenism: see Von Helden, 2010). My own unstructured interviews with fans and scene insider reflections for this chapter suggest an absence of organised neo-Nazi involvement. Nonetheless, some bands and labels are associated with National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) or far-right/neo-Nazi ideologies, or more obscure white/ethnic supremacism. My fans were comfortable buying music from labels that champion a range of far-right politics through absolute libertarianism to radical conservatism. Controversy is crucial to establishing boundaries in black metal between it and the shocked mainstream. Varg Vikernes of Burzum, for example, has continued to express far-right, white supremacist opinions, despite serving many years in a Norwegian prison for the murder of his fellow black metaller Euronymous of Mayhem (Spracklen, 2006). The fans I spoke to were also aware of the controversy over English black metal band Winterfylleth, a band that flirts with the imagery and ideology of conservatism and English nationalism. One of its members openly posted racist comments on the web and was sacked for it (Lucas 2010), but the band has continued to describe itself as ‘English Heritage Black Metal’ and to declare the need to defend Englishness (Lucas et al. 2011). Winterfylleth secured a record deal with a big independent metal label after the controversy and appeared on the front cover of both extreme metal monthly magazines. Ironically, then, the Habermasian freedom of choosing to be controversial through embracing the communicative ideologies of black metal helped this band join the instrumentalised, commercialised music industry. This flirtation with fascism in black metal is not unique in rock music. Neo-Folk emerged in the 1980s from the post-punk, industrial, goth scene.


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Bands such as Death in June and Sol Invictus adopted fascist themes and imagery, and played with the notion of supremacy in a seemingly ironic way (Shekhovstov 2009). The Neo-Folk scene has continued to be a small countercultural moment, embracing paganism on the one hand and anarchism on the other, but at its core remain bands that are still associated with individuals with links to or histories of involvement in far-right politics: H.E.R.R., for example, have as a singer Troy Southgate, over the years an activist in many far-right groups including the National Revolutionary Faction (Macklin 2005; see also Macklin, this volume). The black metal fans on the forum and in my research are aware of Neo-Folk and many enjoy buying it and listening to it – and the monthly extreme metal magazine Zero Tolerance has regular reviews of Neo-Folk bands. Spracklen (2010a) explored the postings on the forum in 2007 to examine the extreme ideologies of the scene. National Socialism is one of the four extreme ideologies associated by the fans on the forum with black metal – as a sub-genre, it has its own bands, and draws on the flirtation with fascism, white supremacy and anti-Semitism expressed by bands like Darkthrone in the early 1990s. Some bands such as Hate Forest are (or were in that band’s case) explicitly associated with National Socialist Black Metal and far-right posturing and campaigning. Spracklen (2010a: 87) discusses a poll on the forum assessing posters’ approval of an association with National Socialist Black Metal: On 10 July 2007, after just under a month of discussions, and after the heated arguments had faded away, the poll showed a majority of the black metal fans agreeing with the statement that National Socialist ideology in black metal was stupid: 54% of respondents (31 where n=57). Only 16% believed that the ideology was ‘great’, seemingly approving of the music and its ideology; 14% believed NSBM was ‘entertaining’, a more ambivalent position to take; and 11% said that black metal was ‘supposed to be bad’, apparently supporting NSBM as an extension of the provocative nature of the scene. In addition, a further 5% believed that NSBM was ‘just a bit of fun’. This on-line poll, while clearly not representative of all black metal fans, was reflective of the ambiguity of NSBM in the wider scene, and perhaps the majority-held opinion of NSBM as something that is a provocation too far. It is also instructive to see that the people who did see a place for NSBM in black metal were not automatically in accord with its white (racist, Aryan, heathen) supremacist, romantic nationalist politics: the 11% who saw in it an extension of provocation and anticonformity; and the 5% who saw NSBM as a big joke on the anti-NSBM fans who took it all too seriously. For black metal fans, the essence of being a fan, in the imaginary and imagined community of black metal, is about a conscious, communicative decision to reject the instrumentality of pop and rock music. Following Habermas

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(1984, 1987), we can see that the elitism in the scene represents a communicative discourse: marginalising nationalism and fascism is more to do with the individualism and misanthropy of the scene rather than liberal activism. Far-right ideologies come with the territory of anti-Christian, anti-modern posturing, but a commitment to fascism and racism is seen as going against the essence of the scene’s nihilism: if you are going to hate everything and everyone, you cannot discriminate in your hatred. Black metal is music for nihilists of all countries and cultures, with thriving scenes in every corner of the world (Kahn-Harris 2007; LeVine 2009). This is why a majority of the fans on the forum, and those in my research, felt fascism and racism (and the activism behind NSBM) were not inside black metal’s boundaries of belonging: National Socialist Black Metal was inauthentic, though it was possible to like the feeling of some of the bands.

English folk music – new research on fRoots magazine The strap line for fRoots is: ‘Local music from out there’. The magazine could be imposing a view of ‘out there’ predicated on a notion of a set of insiders (us, the readers and the writers of the magazine) and a set of outsiders (the foreign, strange, exotic, Other). However, this does not seem to be the reading the magazine’s editor intends: out there is a wave of a hand in a vague way, a directionless placing of origin. What counts are the localness, the roots and the authentic tradition – not the actual locations. What is authentic is music that is associated with a communicative discourse (Habermas 1984): a rejection of commerce and fashions and an insistence on live performance, tradition and interaction. There are three dominating discourses used in the magazine and on the forum (all threads found in a public section of the forum called The fRoots Letters Board). First, there is a sense of an authentic folk/roots authenticity, identified in creative expression and adherence to a set of musical traditions (imagined or otherwise). In the version of authenticity championed by fRoots, it is perfectly acceptable and authentic for a musician to experiment with fusions and musical forms from other countries and cultures – so long as there is a sense of learning those musical traditions, and a spark of creativity that recognises the ingredients that make up any fusion. This discourse is related to the second discourse: the style of the magazine is musicological. Readers are expected to have some interest in, and knowledge of, musical styles and forms: readers are assumed to be well-educated in folk and roots, and to have a general music training that enables them to understand there are crucial differences (use of keys, scales, beats, melodies) in the way Western music (from classical to pop) is constructed and the way in which other styles of music are constructed. Third, there is a scholarly discourse that allows musicians and journalists to create relationships of sounds and traditions, which in turn inform the reader of history and context. In these discourses, then, fRoots creates an authenticity for roots music out of the assumptions of authenticity


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in the folk scene. The part of folk music that falls into the roots definition is deemed to be communicatively authentic. All other forms fall into the commodified world of the commercial pop music industry, which operates with the instrumental rationality identified by Habermas (1984, 1987). The first thread, titled ‘English Folk “Arthritically White”’, was an angry debate about an article in the Guardian on what notorious politicians might have on their iPods. Part of the original article about Nick Griffin, then leader of the BNP, was posted by Ian (16 January 2010, 2.48 p.m.). It read: No prizes for guessing the BNP chieftain’s favourite type of music. Yes, it’s that most arthritically white of genres – English folk. In particular, Griffin (who penned lyrics for an album of ‘patriotic’ songs entitled West Wind in 2007) is a fan of nu-folk poster girls Eliza Carthy and Kate Rusby. Championing Rusby on his blog as ‘an alternative to the multi-cult junk played incessantly on Radio 1’, the BNP leader apparently turned up at her gigs, wanting to ‘do something’. Griffin’s attempts to appropriate folk could be seen as an attempt to jettison the far right’s association with dodgy heavy metal (see: Skrewdriver), but his efforts have met with revulsion from the folk fraternity, who have formed Folk Against Fascism in response. In the meantime, Griffin has always got the BNP’s record label (Great White Records) and singer-songwriter Colin Auty (key track: Mr Griffin Says Hello!) to fly the BNP folkie banner instead. Apart from the confusion about Skrewdriver (not a heavy metal band), the article was correct in identifying the BNP leader’s love of English folk, which was evident in many other statements he had made. The article triggered an angry response from many of the forum posters, who insisted that folk was their music, not Griffin’s, and that English folk was the product of multiculturalism and left-wing revivalism in the 1960s, exactly the modern trends Griffin and the BNP rejected. Eliza Carthy, a relatively well-known folk musician, was cited a day after the original posting (via a link to the Folk Against Fascism web-site) strongly condemning Griffin and the BNP. At the time, she was touring with the band The Imagined Village, whose music draws on a range of musical styles including reggae, bhangra and dub. I saw her with the band in Leeds, and her anger about being linked to the far right was so intense she orchestrated and recorded (‘for the next album’) the audience chanting a simple but strong response telling Griffin and the fascists what we all thought of them. What sustained the thread beyond the outrage of the BNP attempting to co-opt English folk, though, was the comment about the ‘arthritically white’ nature of English folk. Numerous counter-examples of young folk musicians and folk fans were listed, but there were no similarly long lists identifying English folk musicians and fans from minority ethnic communities (Dogan Mehmet being the one exception mentioned). The whiteness of English folk

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was perceived to be a problem by a majority of the respondents, though some claimed this was because of its association with an Englishness that was rooted in a traditional past. Others said it was not a problem and argued that it was just a matter of taste. Some posters rejected the concept of Englishness altogether because of its association with nationalism and the Empire, but some equally defended Englishness and were determined to keep England’s symbols such as the flag of St George out of the hands of the far right. Folk fans were enjoying the use of Habermasian communicative reason and action: using the freedom of the scene to resist the far right or to re-claim some of the ideas about Englishness from the far right. In the second thread, ‘John Barleycorn Reborn/Coldspring/Neo-Folk’, posters debated whether the magazine should have any connection with a company that had links with bands and musicians from the controversial Neo-Folk scene. An independent label called Cold Spring Records (CSR) advertised in an issue of fRoots for bands to contribute to a second ‘dark folk’ album. Some fans on the forum questioned the editor for allowing CSR to advertise, pointing out that CSR released Neo-Folk and industrial music by bands with neo-Nazi associations (H.E.R.R.) or neo-Nazi pasts (Sol Invictus’ front man Tony Wakeford had been a member of the National Front in the early 1980s before he joined the band). Others questioned CSR and claimed it to be a ‘front’ for extremism. Others argued the opposite: some musicians on the forum explained they had contributed to CSR’s other ‘dark folk’ compilation album. This thread showed the tension between the communicative freedom of the scene and the instrumentality of the industry (Habermas 1987): some musicians saw CSR as an outlet for their own music. ‘Folk Against Fascism’ itself was the subject of the third thread, started by Ian on 8 June 2009, 4.06 p.m. The discussion started when the campaign was launched, with various links to the Folk Against Fascism web-sites, and a posting of artwork for the campaign. All the postings were supportive of the campaign, but the mood darkened when Andy Turner posted a message he had received from a morris dancer (posted 15 July 2009, 10.17 p.m., the message from the far-right morris dancer italicised by me, spelling mistakes in original): Both my own and the Magpie Lane MySpace sites display ‘Folk Against Fascism’ in our top friends. Has anyone else received a similarly badlywritten and threatening message from ker or am I privileged in having been singled out? Ignor the friedship request!!! I will advise everyone i know and perform with to stop buying music made by Andy Turner, Magpie Lane, Gecko or chameleon. whilst you are friends with a group who masquerade as Anti-fascist but who are infact just Anti-BNP. The British National Party introduce and


K. Spracklen encourage thousands of English folk to English folk customs, traditions and music every year. A large number of BNP members and supporters attend folk festivals and gigs up and down this country. It is possible that by remaining friends with ‘Folk Against Fascism’ your identity could appear on ‘RedWatch’, making public aparance less safe. You are a musician who’s tallent i admire, so i was bitterly dispointed to see you affiliated such a vile ideology. People who hold dear the customs and traditions of England often in turn hold dear our Ethnic identity because witout it the other cannot exist During a conversation with John Kirkpatrick in 1998 he told me of his concern that immigration will eventually ‘snuff out Englishness’.

RedWatch is a website identifying anti-fascists and other campaigners against the BNP, and those who work against racism or for equality more generally: it is a ‘hit list’ of people with contact details and has been linked to actual attacks by far-right activists against journalists and campaigners. The threat was clear enough but the musicians on the forum were keen to demonstrate they were standing up to fascism. Rather than back down, Andy Tuner and others on the forum took the opportunity to re-state their commitment to Folk Against Fascism. John Fitzpatrick also logged on and denied he had said anything about immigration and Englishness at any point. The communicative nature of the scene successfully rejected the attempt to co-opt English folk. ‘The New Leaked BNP Membership List’ thread started when the BNP’s membership database was passed to Wikileaks and stories were published in the UK press about the type of people on the list, which included a semiprofessional folk musician. Vic Smith (21 October 2009 12.09 p.m.) went to Wikileaks and posted the name of a self-styled ‘pagan’ BNP member whom he recognised as performing under the name Mark Ye Morris. Other BNP members were then found on the list who expressed an interest in folk music. This solicited a response by Cav (21 October 2009, 2.47 p.m.) who asked whether the publishing of such details was meant to prompt posters to ‘kill them? Write a strongly worded letter?’ Cav’s questions led to a discussion about Nick Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s Question Time and whether the BNP was a legitimate party. Some argued that there should be no platforms for racists and fascists, but others said the BNP was legitimate so the BBC had to give it a platform to express its views, however repellent. A fifth thread on a concert celebrating the involvement of gay people in English folk (‘Nowt so Queer as Folk’) led to some posters questioning whether sexuality was at all relevant to English folk music. Inevitably, comparisons were made about folk fans who believed the BNP should be allowed to play English folk music at their festivals and sell it through their websites. The arguments turned from homophobia to racism, with the majority of the posters arguing against the minority about the importance of confronting the far right. These were replicated in a sixth thread, ‘Is FAF politicising folk?’, where joaniecrumpet (posted 14 April 2010, 11.20 a.m.) said:

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I am pretty disappointed at some conversations currently being had on the morris discussion lists. For any morris dancers who are concerned at the idea of being involved in ‘political’ events, or who think that Folk Against Fascism should not be ‘politicising’ folk music and dance, let’s be clear: it is the BNP who are trying to politicise your music and your dance. THEY want to co-opt folk music, dance and culture as part of a very narrow and exclusive definition of Englishness, which suits their racist agenda. They are telling people that they are the only political party who cares about English identity, and telling their supporters that they are the only party who will protect, preserve and celebrate English traditions. That includes YOUR music and dance. If you do not want your dance to become part of that political agenda, there is a way you can voice your objection: support FAF. In the discussion’s final moments, the poster stanshall raised the history of English folk music (posted 17 April 2010, 5.17 p.m.) and argued that: We have to question that early collectors’ version of folk, since it was spearheaded by Cecil Sharp as overtly and explicitly ‘patriotic’ in its aims. No wonder Griffin thinks he can hitch a ride on the latest ‘folk revival’… Emphasising modern folk’s multi-cultural influences, the mongrel heritage, the essential hyphen in Anglo-Saxon, is something that will help see off the BNP. A seventh thread, entitled ‘Getting Britfolk to non-white audiences and musicians’, was instigated by concerns about the whiteness of English folk and the lack of black faces in bands and at concerts. Some posters responded by saying there were cultural reasons why it was difficult to attract minority ethnic British groups to folk music. Others said it was a complete non-issue and no-one should expect any particular group of people to participate in English folk (apart from, presumably, white English people). The original poster, MurkeyChris, replied by noting (posted 14 January 2011, 6.37 p.m.): I can’t help cringing when I take a friend to a folk event and the audience is exclusively white. It’s not something I see anywhere else in London, and whatever the reality, gives the impression that the folk scene is a rather backwards and unwelcoming place. The eighth thread, ‘Reggae Britannia’, turned into a discussion about multiculturalism, popular culture and authentic music styles when the poster Andy Turner (posted 15 February 2011, 10.17 p.m.) said: I support the idea of immigrants maintaining their language and culture (wish more indigenous English took a pride in their traditions). On the other hand, I approve of musical experimentation and integration when


K. Spracklen different cultures meet, especially if that’s a two-way street … Then I also believe that all British citizens should respect British values e.g. tolerance of other races and religions. And in practice anyone living in Britain needs to have a functional grasp of the English language, whatever they choose to speak at home.

This was followed by a debate between two posters, both of whom claimed to be socialists, about whether multiculturalism has worked or not in the UK. Both posters ended up saying the same thing about balancing tolerance with a commitment to liberal freedoms and human rights. The ninth thread, ‘Folk music, racism and political correctness’, began with the original poster asking whether it would be acceptable to publicly sing songs from the past that used offensive terminology and racialised humour, in ‘today’s politically-correct, racially-sensitive world?’ (Deborah Maskin, posted 15 March 2011, 5.36 p.m.). Des Bowring responded by complaining about the musician Sheila Chandra changing the words of songs ‘that obviously offended her delicate sensibilities’ (posted 15 March, 6.08 p.m.). Bowring’s concern was for the authentic nature of the folk tradition, the reproduction of songs passed down through time from the pure source of their rural English creation, a pure communicative endeavour (Habermas 1984) – but the suspicion of non-white artists and politically correct white folk fans changing that tradition is clear. Finally, Ian Anderson, the editor and founder of the magazine, had much to say about world music in a thread started to discuss the demise of an American reggae music magazine (‘The Beat RIP: world music and its lost soul’, response by Ian posted 22 December 2009, 2.09 p.m.). His anger with the current scene was clear, and it is worth quoting at length from his posting: As the world music scene has tried ever harder to become glossy, coffee table, and ape the corporate mainstream with its Thatcherite ‘fuck you, I’m only in it for myself and what I can get out of it’ mentality, it has lost a lot of its soul in the process and … its sense of community and the all important symbiosis that used to make it thrive … I had a lightbulb moment recently. The generation largely in charge of the world music scene, regardless of their politics, really are Thatcher’s children. They grew up – spent their teenage years – in the 1980s and those attitudes, subtly or unsubtly, infected everybody in their formative years. Whereas the folk scene had a lost generation and it coincides with that era: with exceptions of course, most folk scene people seem to be either well under 30 or well over 50. Anderson’s comments are interesting because of his key role in the scene as an editor and publisher. His magazine supports world music artists, but he is more ambivalent about the world music scene’s authenticity. It is not as authentically communicative in a Habermasian sense as the (English) folk

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music scene, which it overlaps. Anderson believes that the latter music genre has some connection with traditions, with roots and with communicative actions, which make the creation and reception of folk music less instrumental than other forms of pop music. Some world music falls into this authentic folk/ roots scene by virtue of its relationship to ‘genuine’ traditions. Anderson’s post attracts some criticism from a small number of posters who argue that world music does have decent people working in it who are motivated by the music and not making money. However, most of the posters agree with Anderson’s suspicion of world music as something instrumentally ersatz. One poster, Vic Smith, makes two important contributions to the debate. In his first post, he reflects on his experience of world music gigs: I like the majority of the people that I meet there, but there is always an element that are there to show how ‘right on’ they are, giving off that ‘Here’s me doing the right thing politically. I don’t give a monkey’s about the music or the tradition it comes from.’ (posted 22 December 2009, 11.37 p.m.) Across the forum there is a dominant discourse of authenticity in folk music, which is identified with boundary work: communicative actions around the meaning and purpose of musical creations, and the active engagement of fans in the establishment of folk/roots taste (Bourdieu 1986; Prior 2011). It is this discourse that contributes to the maintaining of the boundary between true ‘roots’ music (folk music) from pop. There is, politically, liberal-left scepticism of global capitalism, a desire to preserve English folk traditions but a strong rejection of English nationalism. Support of English ‘trad’ folk musicians is given alongside similar acclamations of support for world musicians who can demonstrate their commitment to preserving their own musical traditions and their own ‘authentic voices’. That said, the posters on the fRoots forum are also supportive of English folk musicians who play with the traditions of the scene, or who embrace hybridity to create new, communicative, fusion forms of roots music: Bellowhead, who incorporate jazz and Latin American rhythms in their music, are praised for their folk grounding and their commitment to re-working traditional English folk songs; and The Imagined Village project, a multicultural clash of traditional English folk with British Asian and black British music and musicians, is similarly praised for its grounding of folk in modern Britain’s diasporic hybridity (the band’s name cleverly adopting the academic framework of the imagined community). To summarise, then, on the forum there is a clear rejection of English nationalism and far-right politics. The left ideology of the Folk Against Fascism campaign is the dominant discourse (the inclusiveness of English folk) but there is also a minority residue of nationalism and concern with the pure or authentic nature of scene (especially in morris). There is some concern by some folk fans with Englishness in the desire to preserve traditions, often in opposition to some awareness by others of the whiteness of the scene.


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Conclusion Both music scenes can be understood to represent places where individual actors have space and freedom to resist commodification and to insist on their own arbiters of taste, of belonging and of exclusion (Prior 2011). However, both music scenes are reliant on the machinery of capitalism and the discourse of industrial production: metal and folk musicians make records and companies sell those records to fans who find their identity through the transactions of consumption. Such freedoms are also compromised by the hegemonic whiteness of both music scenes. Whiteness is tied up with elitism in black metal and Englishness in folk music, and both forms of whiteness make these scenes attractive to fascists and racists seeking to co-opt them. While English folk music has been quick to resist fascism co-opting its traditions, black metal is open to fascist involvement through its adherence to individualism. In both scenes, however, hybridity is rejected in favour of purity (of ideas, of traditions, of symbols of belonging and exclusion). Purity creates impermeable boundaries, which dissuade taste-makers and scene-setters from embracing hybrid forms, typified by mainstream heavy metal and the globalised pop of world music. Hybridity here is key to a critical understanding of the role of music in the construction of multiple identities, but such construction, while demonstrating the agency presupposed by Brah (1996), Solomos (1998) and others, is limited by the instrumentalised structures of Western society and the whiteness of Western national identities (Garner 2006). This leaves black metal’s true, ‘kult’ nature as elitist and nihilist, with the white face make-up of the corpsepaint a suggestion of the white mask of Fanon, the whiteness of the scene’s mythology and history; and leaves English folk music suffering the dissonance of rejecting fascism while policing the boundaries of a mythical English village in which white people dance around a maypole.

Note 1 This chapter was originally published as ‘Nazi Punks Folk Off: Leisure, Nationalism, Cultural Identity and the Consumption of Metal and Folk Music’, in Leisure Studies, 32(4), 2013: 415–25, Taylor & Francis Ltd,, reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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Blackshaw, T. (2010) Leisure. London: Routledge. Brah, A. (1996) Cartographies of the Diaspora. London: Routledge. Bramham, P. (2006) ‘Hard and Disappearing Work: Making Sense of the Leisure Project’, Leisure Studies, 25(4): 379–390. Bourdieu, P. (1986) Distinction. London: Routledge. Boyes, G. (1993) The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology and the English Folk Revival. Manchester: Manchester University Press. Brown, T. (2004) ‘Subcultures, Pop Music and Politics: Skinheads and “Nazi Rock” in England and Germany’, Journal of Social History, 38(1): 157–178. Cohen, A. (1985) The Symbolic Construction of Community. London: Tavistock. D’Amico, G. (2009) ‘Black Metal, Literature and Mythology: The Case of Cornelius Jakhelln’, Nordicum-Mediterraneum, 4(1): 25–53. Daynes, S. and Lee, O. (2008) Desire for Race. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dyer, R. (1997) White. New York: Routledge. Fanon, F. (1967) Black Skin, White Masks. London: Pluto. Garner, S. (2006) ‘The Uses of Whiteness: What Sociologists on Europe Can Draw From US Research on Whiteness’, Sociology, 40: 257–275. Gilroy, P. (2000) Between Camps: Nations, Culture and the Allure of Race. London: Allen Lane. Gregory, D. (2009) ‘Fakesong in an Imagined Village? A Critique of the Harker-Boyes Thesis’, Canadian Folk Song, 43(3): 18–26. Habermas, J. (1984) The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume One: Reason and the Rationalization of Society. Cambridge: Polity Press. Habermas, J. (1987) The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume Two: The Critique of Functionalist Reason. Cambridge: Polity Press. Harker, D. (1985) Fakesong: The Manufacture of British Folksong, 1700 to the Present Day. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Harris, K. (2000) ‘Roots? The Relationship Between the Global and the Local Within the Global Extreme Metal Scene’, Popular Music, 19(1): 13–30. Hodkinson, P. (2002) Goth: Identity, Style and Subculture. Oxford: Berg. Hylton, K. (2009) ‘Race’ and Sport: Critical Race Theory. London: Routledge. Kahn-Harris, K. (2007) Extreme Metal. Oxford: Berg. LeGreco, M. and Tracy, S. (2009) ‘Discourse Tracing as Qualitative Practice’, Qualitative Inquiry, 15(9): 1516–1543. LeVine, M. (2009) ‘Doing the Devil’s work: Heavy Metal and the Threat to Public Order in the Muslim World’, Social Compass, 56(4): 564–576. Long, J., and Hylton, K. (2002) ‘Shades of White: An Examination of Whiteness in Sport’, Leisure Studies, 16: 87–103. Long, J. and Spracklen, K. (2010) Sport and Challenges to Racism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Lucas, C. (2010) ‘White Power, Black Metal and Me: Reflections on Composing the Nation’, in Hill, R. and Spracklen, K. (eds) Heavy Metal Fundametalisms: Music, Metal and Politics. Oxford: ID Press. Lucas, C., Deeks, M. and Spracklen, K. (2011) ‘Grim Up North: Northern England, Northern Europe and Black Metal’, Journal for Cultural Research, 15(3): 279–295. Macklin, G. (2005) ‘Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’, Patterns of Prejudice, 39: 301–326. Prior, N. (2011) ‘Critique and Renewal in the Sociology of Music: Bourdieu and Beyond’, Cultural Sociology, 5(1): 121–138.


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Rhodes, J. (2011) ‘It’s Not Just Them, It’s Whites as Well: Whiteness, Class and BNP Support’, Sociology, 45(1): 102–117. Rojek, C. (2010) The Labour of Leisure. London: Sage. Shekhovstov, A. (2009) ‘Apoliteic Music: Neo-Folk, Martial Industrial and “Metapolitical Fascism”’, Patterns of Prejudice, 43: 431–457. Solomos, J. (1998) ‘Beyond Racism and Multiculturalism’, Patterns of Prejudice, 32: 45–62. Spracklen, K. (2006) ‘Leisure, Consumption and a Blaze in the Northern Sky: Developing an Understanding of Leisure at the End of Modernity Through the Habermasian Framework of Communicative and Instrumental Rationality’, World Leisure Journal, 48(3): 33–44. Spracklen, K. (2009) The Meaning and Purpose of Leisure. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Spracklen, K. (2010a) ‘True Aryan Black Metal: The Meaning of Leisure, Belonging and the Construction of Whiteness in Black Metal Music’, in Scott. N (ed.) The Metal Void: First Gatherings. Oxford: ID Press. Spracklen, K. (2010b) ‘Gorgoroth’s Gaahl’s Gay! Power, Gender and the Communicative Discourse of the Black Metal Scene’, in Hill, R. and Spracklen, K. (eds) Heavy Metal Fundametalisms: Music, Metal and Politics. Oxford: ID Press. Spracklen, K. (2011a) ‘Playing With Madness in the Forest of Shadows’, in Mackinnon, C., Scott, N. and Sollee, K. (eds) Can I Play with Madness? Oxford: ID Press. Spracklen, K. (2011b) Constructing Leisure. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Sweers, B. (2005) Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Vestel, V. (1999) ‘Breakdance, Red-eyed Penguins, Vikings, Grunge and Straight Rock N Roll’, Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, 7(2): 4–24. Von Helden, I. (2010) ‘Scandinavian Metal Attack: The Power of Northern Europe in Extreme Metal’, in Hill, R. and Spracklen, K. (eds) Heavy Metal Fundametalisms: Music, Metal and Politics. Oxford: ID Press. Ward, J. (1996) ‘This is Germany! It’s 1933! Appropriations of Fascism in New York Punk/Hardcore in the 1980s’, The Journal of Popular Culture, 30: 155–184. Yarwood, R. and Charlton, C. (2009) ‘Country Life? Rurality, Folk Music and Show of Hands’, Journal of Rural Studies, 25(2): 194–206.

10 The ‘cultic milieu’ of Britain’s ‘New Right’ Meta-political ‘fascism’ in contemporary Britain Graham Macklin Introduction This chapter explores the New Right (NR), a meta-political lecture and discussion group that meets regularly in central London to discuss a range of ‘esoteric’ ideas drawn from a variety of political and ideological tendencies that are traditionally, though not exclusively, associated with extreme rightwing politics. It presents a brief historical overview of the genesis of the group; the overarching themes to emerge from the approximately fifty meetings it has staged; and its location within the broader development of the ‘New Right’ tradition in Continental Europe. Before doing so, however, it is necessary to say a few words about how such groups ought to be conceived which will help us situate them within the wider constellation of extreme right-wing cultural activity both domestically and as part of the broader current of Nouvelle Droite thinking in Europe. Sects, cults and political grouplets of all sorts are, generally speaking, highly transitory and ephemeral phenomena. The NR, though it has achieved a certain longevity, remains the archetypal example of the groupuscule – a singular, fairly loosely conceived ‘node’ within a wider ‘amorphous, leaderless and centreless, cellular network of political ideology, organisation and activism’. Groupuscular organisation is in itself part of a fluid and on-going process of ideological adaption and mutation that has allowed ‘fascism’ to survive after Götterdämmerung, and herein lies its importance (Griffin 2003: 27–50). Politically, the NR is marginal – it is not a ‘group’ with formally constituted leaders, structures and membership. Political relevancy is not, however, the purpose of such meta-political grouplets. Where its physicality does matter is in its provision of what Simi and Futrell call, in a slightly different context, ‘Aryan free spaces’ – this being the metaphorical ‘free space’ in which likedminded individuals, in this instance extreme right-wing activists, racial nationalists, national socialists, historical ‘revisionists’, anti-Semites, ‘antiZionists’, pagans and ‘traditionalists’ to name but a few, can band together with one another and feel a measure of freedom and confidence to engage with marginal, ‘deviant’ beliefs and ‘oppositional identities’ that challenge


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mainstream cultural modalities, norms and values (Simi and Futrell 2010: 2–3). Partly in response to the stigma attached to their own views, NR groups react by attacking what they perceive as the ‘narrow intolerance’ of liberal, materialist society and the ‘false dogma’ of political correctness, believing instead, as George Orwell put it in his novel 1984, in ‘the freedom to say 2 + 2 = 4’ (Jeremy Bedford-Turner, e-mail to the author on behalf of IONA/ London Forum, 15 Aug. 2012). Another leading figure in the milieu describes its purpose thus: We like to think that the atmosphere at New Right meetings resemble [sic] the freedom of expression and dynamism that was apparent during the early fascist movement in Italy. Before, of course, Mussolini conveniently redirected some of these ideas (many of them formulated and inspired by the great Gabriele D’Annunzio) and converted fascism into the kind of monolithic statism that it is synonymous with today. Groups like the New Right, just like the early fascists, are extremely dangerous to the Establishment because they refuse to be pigeon-holed or defined as according to the parameters of mainstream parliamentary politics (or even their categorical extremities, for that matter).1 However, given some of the occult, esoteric, racist and anti-Semitic themes that have gained intellectual currency within the group a more accurate comparison might be with the Thule Society (which exerted an influence upon the early Nazi party) – rather than with the Italian Futurists (Goodrick-Clarke 2009). That said, the ideologically ‘open’ nature of such groups, their flexible and mutable approach to engaging with a range of ideas, displays what Richardson (1979: 139–66) calls ‘creative eclecticism’. This cultural and political environment, characterised by a lack of doctrinal parameters, beyond a commitment to certain core ‘eternal’ and immutable values (for instance ‘race’), represents a strength, particularly with the advent of the Internet which has facilitated the broad diffusion of esoteric themes which are easily accessed and incorporated within other belief systems by individuals who would otherwise have no direct contact with such groups; its meetings filmed and uploaded to the Internet to facilitate this diffusion (Heβ-Meining 2012: 383–407). In this respect NR represents a multimedia exercise; far more people will watch its meetings on-line than will ever physically attend them. More still will be influenced by reading its inter-connecting websites and the books it publishes (available through mainstream retailers like Amazon) or listening to the music produced by individuals associated with the NR project. It is this continual dissemination and transmission of ideas that lies at the core of the metapolitical struggle. In this sense, as one of its leading figures observes with a post-modern flourish, the NR serves as a ‘differentiated codex’ or ‘semiotic’ rather than a physical manifestation, enabling radical conservative thought ‘to return, maybe in a new guise’ (New Imperium, no. 4, Summer 2007).

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Yet, as a distinct ‘scene’, it is perhaps best understood as being part of a broader ‘cultic milieu’ – society’s constant cultural underground – which, it is argued, provides a heuristically valuable lens through which to understand and interpret the NR and similar groups. Participation in such a milieu, in which ideas are ‘fungible’, affords adherents opportunities to explore and debate thoughts, concepts and philosophies, to reject or assimilate them, in whole or in part, and to transmit onwards, to their own personal and political networks, a range of perspectives, beliefs and practices which all, in one way or another, explicitly reject the legitimacy of liberal and social democracy (Campbell 2002: 12–26). This chapter represents a tentative exploration of some, but by no means all, of the type of beliefs presented at NR meetings. It is not an ethnographic study of its adherents or the broader social and political networks to which they belong, and still less a comment on the processes of conversion, socialisation, opinion formation and identity construction that stem from participating within such social network ‘hubs’ (Franks et al. 2008: 264–74 for a technical discussion of the spread of extreme opinions). That caveat aside, however, it is nonetheless arguable that this ‘esoteric community’ – while only a segment of the broader ‘cultic milieu’ – represents a socio-cultural/political setting in which an often bewildering array of conflicting ideas and ideologies are made sense of by a community of ‘seekers’ united in their ‘quest’ for the ‘hidden knowledge’ and ‘forbidden truths’ they believe are deliberately denied to them by mainstream society (Jorgensen 1982: 383–407). If this represents the intellectual ‘pull’ factor, the political ‘push’ factor to propel such ideas beyond this milieu comes from the belief that previously taboo ideas can gain traction with other groups outside its confines because ‘the terms “left” and “right” are becoming increasingly superfluous [which] makes this task even more important’ (Troy Southgate, e-mail to the author, 10 Jul. 2012).

Developing the ‘New Right’ The NR began hosting regular lectures in January 2005. It was inaugurated by its organising secretary, Troy Southgate, a former National Front (NF) ‘political soldier’ who has metamorphosed into a ‘cultural agitator’ and ‘national anarchist’ – a form of third positionist fascism which Southgate defines as ‘post-Strasserite’ (Black Sun Invictus n.d.).2 The immediate context for the emergence of the NR was provided by the demise of Southgate’s ‘national revolutionary’ groupuscule, the National Revolutionary Faction, whose remnants came together with a loosely affiliated network of ‘Traditionalist’ groupings in December 2004. The focus for this convergence of interests appears to have been a book launch, organised by Southgate, in central London, for the second edition of Against Democracy and Equality (1990) by Croatian NR author Dr Tomislav Sunic who was joined for the occasion by Belgian NR ideologue Robert Steuckers, who runs the Euro-Synergies blog (Orange Bob 2004).


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This built upon discussions Southgate had with Jonothon Boulter, the group’s initial chairman, who shared his interest in the esoteric politics of figures like Italian traditionalist philosopher, Julius Evola, a major influence on sections of post-war Italian fascism, and Corneliu Codreanu, leader of the inter-war Romanian Iron Guard (Troy Southgate e-mail to the author, 25 Apr. 2006). Various other individuals attended these discussions, which were formalised in January 2005, ‘from a variety of intellectual, cultural and esoteric backgrounds’ united by their opposition to ‘liberalism, democracy and egalitarianism’ and who ‘fight to restore the eternal values and principles that have become submerged beneath the corrosive tsunami of the modern world’.3 Since 2006 Southgate has also edited the NR journal, New Imperium, but his political and cultural output is far broader. Beyond his numerous political writings on ‘national anarchism’, which fall outside the scope of the present chapter, Southgate’s counter-cultural output, largely published under his own Black Front Press imprint, has been prolific and includes biographies of Otto Strasser (2010b) and Friedrich Nietzsche (2012a), and a novella entitled Hitler: The Adjournment (2009). Many of his writings, which previously appeared on the now defunct Rose Noire website, showcasing his ideas on art, music and literature, have been reprinted as Le Salon: Journal Du Cercle de la Rose Noire and collected in other volumes (2011a and 2011b). Southgate has written or edited books on a range of counter-cultural subjects including black metal (2012b), neo-paganism (2011d; 2012f and 2014b) esotericism and the ‘radical tradition’ (2014a and 2011c) as well as editing Helios – The Journal of Metaphysical and Occult Studies which seeks to give an alternative counterpoint to an occult ‘scene’ that ‘has long been dominated and controlled by a self-appointed assortment of insipid propagandists with their own liberal agenda’ (2011e: 7). He also edits a series of anthologies entitled Thoughts and Perspectives, currently running to a dozen volumes, each featuring essays on prominent occult or traditionalist figures. Southgate also performs as a vocalist for a range of musical projects including the Dutch neo-classical ensemble Heilig Europa/Romeins Rijk (Holy Europe of a Rome Reborn – H.E.R.R.) through which he articulates and disseminates ‘cultural themes’. This forms part of a wider anti-materialist revolt against the ‘degenerative influence’ of consumer culture and is thus an integral part of Southgate’s ‘meta-political’ activism.4 It was at the first NR meeting on 16 January 2005 that Southgate met Jonathan Bowden, who was invited to speak on ‘The History of the New Right’. Bowden had been active in two extreme right-wing groups during the 1990s, the Revolutionary Conservative Caucus and Western Goals, both of which Southgate considered ‘reactionary’. Southgate regarded with similar disdain the British National Party (BNP), of which Bowden was cultural officer having joined the party in 2003 (e-mail to the author, 25 Apr. 2006).5 Perhaps unsurprisingly ‘my first impressions were fairly negative and Jonathan reminded me of an ambitious Tory politician’, Southgate recalled (e-mail to the author, 28 Nov. 2012). Despite first impressions, Southgate came to see

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that Bowden shared the same ‘revolutionary’ outlook. Though Bowden subsequently became NR chairman his initial involvement was contentious. One member accused him of abusing the group’s non-sectarian nature by ‘acting increasingly as ringmaster and master of ceremonies – and distributing their [BNP] newspaper free to all comers … in other words, attempting to recruit’.6 Southgate dismissed the accusation: I personally asked Jonathan (Bowden) to act as master of ceremonies, as I prefer to remain in the background a little more, as you know, apart from dealing with organisational and secretarial work online, of course. As for recruiting, we do allow people to sell their different publications at these meetings (including Alternative Green and The Rising Press, of course), but regardless of JB’s actions the New Right is not a BNP recruiting tool and differs from the Party in so many ways. As I always try to explain to people, the beauty about the New Right is that it offers a forum which is free of political sectarianism.7 Though Bowden was involved in a ‘purely individual capacity’ Southgate conceded that he found his BNP membership perplexing ‘because he doesn’t even believe in democracy. He is also an elitist.’8 Bowden saw no such contradiction in what he called the ‘exoteric–esoteric fissure’, however, though he would later resign from the party following a row with its leadership. Fascism and National Socialism, he argued, were ‘populist or mass expressions of revolutionary conservative doctrines’. NR thinkers including Steuckers, Sunic, Gottfried, de Benoist, Walker, Lawson and Krebs were ‘the inner elitism or vertical dimension amidst a general carnival. They are less the meat in the sandwich than the inner pagan and non-humanist core to ideas which the residuum cannot grasp unless they are put in a more basic form.’ Thus, Jean Raspail’s immigration apocalyptic, Camp of Saints (1973), was for the ‘masses’ while Count Arthur de Gobineau’s Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853 and 1855), which postulated a theory of the Aryan master race, was for elitist consumption. And so, while the NR functions as a ‘nucleus’ for illiberal thinking, its ‘spiritual’ purpose is to facilitate ‘transcendence or becoming’. By way of example Bowden recounted the words of a BNP activist: ‘If there’s nothing above you then there’s nothing to aspire to’ (New Imperium, no. 4, Summer 2007). Though Bowden addressed some thirty NR meetings (Southgate 2012d for an anthology of speeches), delivering talks on Julius Evola and Savitri Devi, he regularly focused upon ‘modernist’ literary figures, many noted for their misanthropy, elitism or sympathy for fascism, including Wyndham Lewis, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Yukio Mishima, H. P. Lovecraft, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Robinson Jeffers and his friend Bill Hopkins, one of the original ‘angry young men’ and author of The Divine and the Decay (1957), which one contemporary reviewer dismissed as ‘an adolescent power-fantasy’ in ‘openly Fascist form’ (Hough 1958: 86).9


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‘Politics is just a side-line, you see,’ Bowden told Southgate in response to a question about his own literary output; ‘artistic creativity is what really matters. As Bill Hopkins once told me, one man sat writing alone in a room can alter the entire cosmos. It’s the ability – through a type-writer or whatever else – to radically transform the consciousness of one’s time. Cultural struggle is the most interesting diversion of all’ (New Imperium, no. 4, Summer 2007). Elsewhere Bowden indicated that the ‘arts’, which he saw as ‘the dream space or the sub-consciousness … of the society’, was his ‘fundamental interest’. ‘I do believe in cultural inversion,’ Bowden stated; ‘that you can get into subconsciousness of the era that you’re in and begin to turn it around’ (Sunic 2013). Despite his avowed elitism Bowden, who described himself as a ‘cultured thug’, was equally fascinated by ‘low culture’ which he perceived to be ‘rife’ with Nietzschean and right-wing themes; for instance ‘heroic vitalism, Faustian adventurism, anti-egalitarianism, biological determinism, racial consciousness, biologically-based (and traditional) notions of the differences and proper relations of the sexes, etc.’ (Bowden 2013 for a posthumously published collection of his essays, lectures and interviews on such matters).10 Bowden’s active involvement with the NR was perhaps a logical evolution of his previous involvement with the Bloomsbury Forum, a self-styled ‘think tank’ that attracted dissident conservatives and extreme right-wing activists desirous of creating a physical and philosophical repositioning of the ‘radical patriotic right’ in order to ‘re-establish the native political tradition of which we are the inheritors’ (Bowden 1999: 180). Bowden’s sudden death in 2012 deprived the NR not just of its most regular speaker but of its most engaging intellect whose influence extended to US meta-political outlets like Counter-Currents. One obituary described him as an ‘incomparable theatrical showman’ and ‘oratorical shaman’.11 Indeed Daily Telegraph columnist Damian Thompson (2012), a school contemporary, recorded his passing, lamenting that despite squandering his talents on ‘boneheads’ Bowden remained ‘one of the most gifted intellectuals I’ve ever met’.12 The previous year a new group had emerged from within the NR called the London Forum and run by Jeremy Bedford-Turner, which began holding meetings in August 2011. Though anti-fascist sources have variously characterised this development as a ‘split’ or ‘breakaway’ (and personalities do seem to have played a part in the division), Bedford-Turner states that his group emerged simply because the NR ‘was no longer able to cope with the increasing number of attendees, so, amoeba-like, the New Right split into the London Forum and the New Right who meet on alternative months’ (Jeremy Bedford-Turner, e-mail to the author on behalf of IONA/London Forum, 15 Aug. 2012). The ‘split’ does not appear to have occasioned any broader disunity within the milieu. Participation in each group overlaps and they often share the same speakers, including Bowden who spoke at the London Forum’s first five meetings before his death.

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While there might not be any meaningful ideological division between the two groups the London Forum does perhaps afford a slightly greater weighting to speakers from abroad; engendering a broader connectivity with Continental traditionalist and ‘New Right’ networks. The London Forum also organises a ‘Cultural Outings Group’ under the rubric IONA (Islands of the North Atlantic), a name which harks back to a 1980s iteration of the ‘New Right’ organised by former NF activists, which ‘merely publicise events that may appeal to those who are concerned about/interested in European and European diaspora culture and civilisation’ such as ‘trips to exhibitions, museums, art galleries, the theatre, film screenings, opera, ballet, recitals etc. etc.’ (Jeremy Bedford-Turner, e-mail to the author on behalf of IONA/ London Forum, 15 Aug. 2012).

Ideological forms Turning now to the broad ideological contours of the ideas presented at NR meetings, the group initially stated on its (short-lived) website that it took its intellectual inspiration from five roughly hewn categories of political thought: the primordial traditionalists (Evola, Guénon, Eliade, Serrano); the Revolutionary Conservatives (Moeller van den Bruck, Spengler, Niekisch, Salomon, Jünger, Strasser, Thiriart); the Nouvelle Droite (Schmitt, de Benoist, Faye, Mohler, Steuckers, Krebs, Walker, Sunic); the Eurasianists (Dugin, Parvulesco, Gumilev, Zyuganov) and ‘Anarchism of the Right’ (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Gyp, Landauer and Southgate).13 However, with the exception of the Steuckers/Sunic book launch in December 2004, since its inception, the NR has shown little inclination to follow its professed influences, with the possible exception of its second meeting in March 2006 which was addressed by Alexsandr Dugin, the influential Russian traditionalist and ‘Eurasian’ geo-political theorist.14 In practice the overwhelming majority of its lectures have been more esoteric and meta-political in nature, including such topics as: Gnosis and the tradition of the Black Sun; Aryan Futurism; Wodenism/Odinism; Runic power; the Solar Race; Imperium Europa; Holy Europe and anti-Europe; the psychology of national revolution; transversal psychology; the occultism of Austin Osman Spare; the Aryan mysticism of H.P. Lovecraft; the regeneration of Man through Nature in the thought of Henry Williamson, Hans Blüher and the Wandervogel; the Church of Satan; the history of the 9/11 ‘truth’ movement, as well as histories of Norwegian fascism and the life of Sir Oswald Mosley. It is, however, possible to divine an undergirding set of ideological concerns that knit such a seemingly disparate set of ideas together. Racial origin represents a core theme for the group. Arthur Kemp and J.R. Bell, whose respective books, March of the Titans and British Blood and British Soil, are staple reading for racial nationalists, have both addressed the group. The ‘eternal’ truths believed to be inherent in ‘traditional’ or esoteric religions


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provide another focus. Initially the NR drew a speaker from the Christian Orthodox tradition, Father Andrew Phillips, editor of Orthodox England, but such participation was superseded by lectures on heathen religion and culture which reflects the broader Nouvelle Droite espousal of pre-Christian pagan culture. Southgate is a pagan and so too was Bowden. Southgate is a practising member of Woden’s Folk, an ‘English Folkish’ movement that seeks the revival of ancient pagan practices of Wodenism, through which the ‘eternal laws of Nature’ might be revived to ensure the survival of the ‘Folk’ and allay the ‘final decay of a once great land and empire’ rendered a ‘wasteland’ by mass immigration and materialism.15 Southgate’s previous Catholic Traditionalism had given way to an interest in Mithraism and occultism, which contributed to an evolving anti-Semitic critique of Christianity’s Judaic roots. Woden, whether viewed as Divine power, archetype, symbol or allegory, is ‘quintessential’, believes Southgate (2011d: 5), because he provides ‘an alternative to the Abrahamic religions and the alien creeds they espouse’. For Southgate (2012f: 174–79), the group’s Anglo-Saxon mythology is part of a broader ‘Primordial Tradition’ that preserves ‘our folk-memory’ and encompasses ‘ancient aspects of Indo-European spirituality’ that are ‘deeply Aryan in character’ and therefore ‘part of our collective psyche’. ‘Wulf Ingessunu’, leader of Woden’s Folk whose book, Wulf: The Collected Writings of an English Wodenist (2013), was published by Southgate’s Black Front Press, has spoken regularly at NR meetings, as have ‘Eowyn’ of the Odinic Rite and David Parry, a poet and ‘pagan priest of the Goddess Nerthus’. Dr Alexander Jacob’s address to the London Forum on ‘The origins of Indo-European religion’ fulfilled similar primordial criteria. This rejection of Christianity is implicit in the group’s interest in esoteric racial religions. NR attendees have heard lectures on Creativity from ‘Reverend’ Olivier Devalez, a tattoo artist and former skinhead who leads the French chapter of the World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) – a religious repackaging of National Socialism summarised by its slogan ‘RAHOWA’, an acronym for ‘racial holy war’. The group have also heard a talk on Cosmotheism, a pantheistic racial religion that proselytises that the white race can advance to a higher stage of evolution, ascending ultimately to Godhood, delivered by Larry Nunn, the then Northampton BNP organiser (Majority Rights 2008). Dr William Pierce, founder of the overtly neo-Nazi National Alliance who authored The Turner Diaries (1978), frequently cited as an inspiration for much contemporary extreme right-wing terrorism, was the progenitor of Cosmotheism. Pierce ‘had a great effect on me’ stated Nunn, who met him briefly in 1995 when he addressed the BNP annual conference. Nunn lamented that Pierce’s death in 2002 left Cosmotheism an ‘unfinished framework’ – albeit one subsequently developed through the writings of Wayne McLeod, Raymond Cattell and H. Millard.16 Without imposing artificial categories upon its adherents, if a difference between the NR and the London Forum can perhaps be divined it might be

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said to exist at the intersection of religious belief with occultism. While the NR has enjoyed talks on subjects like ‘The Church of Satan – a Non-profit Organisation’ and ‘Mythos and Sorcery of the Black Sun’, the London Forum has preferred speakers from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), a Catholic Traditionalist group founded in 1970 in opposition to the liberalising reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) which included revising the liturgy (SSPX remain committed to the Tridentine Mass) and improving relations with Judaism. These have included Baron Jonas de Geer, the Orkney-based head of its Swedish branch, and Bishop Richard Williamson whose denial of the Holocaust in 2009, at a moment when the Vatican was attempting to draw the SSPX back into the fold, created acute controversy (and saw Williamson’s conviction in Germany) which, ultimately, precipitated his own departure from the SSPX in 2012. Williamson currently leads The St. Marcel Initiative to fund ‘Catholic Resistance’ to further rapprochement with ‘Rome’.17 Williamson’s invitation to address the group on ‘The Existence of God: The pre-requisite for all politics’ was perhaps precipitated by a religious affinity with Bedford-Turner (NewRightReloaded2 2013).18 Religion and occultism represent a fault line with other extreme rightwing groups too. Final Conflict magazine, a part of the International Third Position (ITP) network which has Traditionalist Catholic connections, has long abhorred the occult dimension of Southgate’s politics and cautiously welcomed the ‘split’ with Bedford-Turner; though they soon questioned his bona fides too (Final Conflict 2011). Southgate’s occultism was equally controversial with other segments of the occult community who publicly challenged his ‘entryism’, noting that to ignore it could ‘irreparably damage the reputation and public standing of the whole field’ (Phoenix Rising Academy 2011a). This furore followed the publication of Southgate’s edited volume on black magician Aleister Crowley in 2011. Esoteric publisher Scarlett Imprint (2011) issued a statement deploring Southgate’s use of esotericism to further a racist, political agenda. ‘What is clear in magickal history’ the statement highlighted, ‘is that racial mixing has been incredibly beneficial.’ Two contributors, David Beth, a gnostic occultist and esoteric philosopher who heads the Fraternitas Borealis and Ecclesia Gnostica Aeterna, and ‘Vadge Moore’, former drummer for punk rock band The Dwarves, and a member of Beth’s group, La Société Voudon Gnostique, issued statements distancing themselves from Southgate’s politics (Beth 2011 and Moore 2011),19 while a third, Dr Georg J. Seig, who currently teaches at the University of New Mexico (and who contributed to the volumes Evola, Crowley and Nietzsche) parted company with the Phoenix Rising Academy, which offers distance learning courses on Western Esotericism, ‘due to differences of opinion’ resulting from his involvement with Southgate (Phoenix Rising Academy 2011b). Nor did Southgate’s endeavours automatically find favour with other Traditionalists. The Initiate, a Traditionalist journal edited by David Wingfield, was particularly scathing of the group’s overtly political roots and its current


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stance. He characterised the latter as fundamentally anti-American, proIranian, anti-Semitic and overly concerned with reviews of neo-folk and punk bands, which ‘is stretching even the broad definition of metapolitics as defined by the New Right’. The pro-Iranian leanings of the group, explored in detail below, were characterised not by Traditionalism or indeed with reference to the ‘ethno-pluralism’ of the French Nouvelle Droite, argued Wingfield (2008: 15–19), but rather by a crude sympathy for Islamist terrorism against Israeli and Jewish targets which fuelled ‘a profound anti-Semitism’. This, he maintained, was ‘alien’ to its principal ideological engine, the Groupement de recherche et d’études pour la civilisation européenne (Research and Study Group for European Civilization – GRECE) founded in 1968 by Alain de Benoist. ‘When all this is taken into account, it is hard to see how this group can claim to be following in the tradition of GRECE, de Benoist and the New Right at all’, concluded The Initiate. Southgate was ‘extremely surprised and disappointed’ by Wingfield’s damning review (‘The New Right – Troy Southgate Replies’, Heritage and Destiny, no. 36, Apr.–Jun. 2009), particularly since The Initiate was published by Integral Traditions Publishing (recently reincarnated as Arktos Media), who published Southgate’s own collected works, Tradition & Revolution (2007) and claimed he was ‘widely considered to be one of the most original and prominent voices in British radical politics today’.20 Wingfield’s verdict on the nature of one NR meeting was particularly illuminating: The attendees of the meetings are a mixture of old fashioned British nationalists, affected public-school types complete with blazers and mustard trousers,21 and, for want of a better term, pig-ignorant neo-Nazi skinheads. The overtly elitist agenda cultivated by Bowden and Southgate for the meetings ensures that the project of the NR is perpetually alienated from, and misunderstood by, its base of supporters. Both speaker and audience appeared seriously out of their depth during a lecture on British occult artist Austin Osman Spare at the tenth NR meeting. The hapless lecturer’s efforts were met by a mixture of stony silence and heckles. The enthusiasm of the NR’s supporters, if not its leadership, lies not in the direction of strictly cultural metapolitics but more towards right-wing politics of the most lurid and fantastic kind. (Wingfield 2008: 15–19)22 Wingfield was particularly perturbed by the popularity of Norman Lowell, a Maltese fascist and Holocaust denier who has often addressed NR events (as has his colleague Arlette Baldacchino). While the reviewer conceded that some of Lowell’s views conformed in some respects to general Traditionalist and ‘New Right’ thought, the majority were similarly ‘fantastic and far-fetched’. Lowell himself was dismissed for his ‘very poor understanding of political reality’, which ‘worryingly’ had not precluded his ‘enthusiastic acceptance’ by the audience.

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Lowell, a retired banker, martial arts expert and abstract artist who leads the Viva Malta group, outlined his racist, anti-Semitic ideology in Credo: The Book for the Very Few (1999). Credo regurgitates, undigested, the Nietzschean idea of the ‘thought-deed man’ and the will to creative power that alone can resurrect ‘Imperivm Europa’ from the ashes of the Holy Roman Empire. Its mainstay of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, attacks on the ‘Holy-Hoax’ of the Holocaust, and visceral anti-black biological racism culminates in a demand for a ‘final solution’ to the immigration question: the forcible expulsion of Jews and blacks from Europe to stop the ‘racial rot’ and return Malta (and Europe more generally) to the ‘sacred place’ it once was for the ‘white race’ (Lowell 1999).

The place of Holocaust denial and ‘anti-Zionism’ Lowell’s participation underscores a further set of prominent themes: Holocaust denial, historical ‘revisionism’ and ‘anti-Zionism’. Holocaust denial serves a deeply anti-liberal political purpose reflective of the ‘palingenetic’ myth of post-war fascism. As Nick Griffin, then BNP chairman, asserted in February 1996: For the last fifty years the vision underlying all the vile sickness of this Age of Ruins has been the so-called ‘Holocaust’ … The New World struggling to be born cannot do so until this lie is publicly exposed, ridiculed and destroyed … If nationalists don’t bury this deadly lie, nobody will. (Griffin 1996) The Holocaust is an impediment towards developing or asserting racial identity, argues Bowden, which can be obviated by ‘stepping over’ the issue and by ‘minimizing its importance to our form of humanity!’ (Bowden 2012). To this end David Irving, the doyen of ‘revisionist’ history has addressed the group on several occasions. Though the scathing verdict of Mr Justice Gray destroyed Irving’s mainstream credibility following his failed libel case against Penguin Books and Professor Deborah Lipstadt in 2000, his underground cachet has remained intact. Irving was the sole speaker at a NR meeting in December 2008, drawing over 100 people, a record attendance (Searchlight, Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014). The NR regularly draws other speakers from the ‘revisionist’ milieu including Lady Michèle Renouf, an Australian-born former model who emerged as Irving’s chief votary during his failed libel action, but who has since become a leading figure in her own right within the international ‘revisionist’ circuit, publicising the plight of incarcerated Holocaust deniers and travelling to Iran on several occasions, notably attending its Holocaust denial conference in 2006 (The Australian, 13 February 2009). Peter Rushton,


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deputy editor of Heritage and Destiny, who manages Renouf ’s Telling Films website; Adrian Davies, Irving’s former barrister; and Richard Edmonds, responsible for the infamous publication, Holocaust News, have all addressed the group on ‘revisionist’ topics.23 Sections of the extreme right-wing have a long history of identifying with the Islamic world (Michael 2006). The NR is no exception. In 2007, for instance, Dr Sahib Mustaqim Bleher addressed the group on the subject ‘Islam: Outdated Oriental Religion or Visionary Ideology of the Future?’ Bleher, a German convert to Islam, was general secretary of the (nowdefunct) Islamic Party of Britain (IPB), founded in 1989 following Ayatollah Khomeini’s ‘fatwa’ on Salman Rushdie for ‘blasphemy’ in his novel, The Satanic Verses (1988) (Independent, 22 Sep. 1996). The IPB conspicuously failed, however, to channel the fury accompanying the ‘Rushdie Affair’ into a political vehicle. Thereafter it concentrated on proselytising to non-Muslims, arguing that Islam was ‘superior to the failed ideologies of capitalism and communism’. This claim of a ‘third way’ has its own appeal for third positionists.24 This particular meeting highlighted the issue of the increased participation of BNP activists in the group. Three BNP councillors and several activists attended the meeting, leading to concern being expressed that the NR could be ‘taken over’ by the virulently anti-Muslim politics that pervades the Party.25 Southgate disagreed, stating that ‘the vast majority agreed with Dr. Bleher’s critism [sic] of Nick Griffin’s pro-Israel strategy’ and that: I picked Dr. Bleher precisely because it offered a great opportunity to directly influence the way average BNP members think. I believe it opened their eyes dramatically, or at least the vast majority. Some people also told me that the reasons the BNP security team turned up early on was because Griffin is becoming increasingly worried about the support we are attracting from people in his party. Somehow I don’t think the BNP would allow speakers like Alisdair Clarke, who is homosexual, Lady Renouf, who was banned from speaking to Croydon BNP, or Dr. Bleher. Jonathan Bowden also made the point that he – as a BNP member – will not submit to an official Party line that appears to frown on the New Right.26 Southgate’s reference to Clarke was ironic given than Bleher’s homophobia went further than that of the BNP which, while abhorring homosexuality, does not advocate, as did Bleher’s party, the death penalty for ‘a public display of lewdness’ by homosexuals (IPB 2002). Bleher, whose website links to Founding Myths of Israeli Politics (1996) by French Holocaust denier and Islamic convert Roger Garaudy which earned him a suspended prison sentence (Bleher 2008a), also applauded the 2006 Iranian Holocaust denial conference as ‘the most important milestone in their history since the Islamic Revolution’. This is because it challenged the ‘Holocult’ which, he claimed,

Britain’s ‘New Right’


prohibits ‘genuine historical research’ which, he believes, could undermine Israel’s moral right to exist (Bleher 2008b). Bleher also indulges in another form of denial, arguing that the 7/7 terrorist attacks were ‘politically motivated’ and that MI5 were ‘amongst the suspects’. This was advanced in an article written eight days after the murderous attacks on London’s transport network by four British-born Islamist suicide bombers which left fifty-two people dead and 784 injured; many seriously (Bleher 2005). Bleher also contributed to Southgate’s edited collection Mystics, Scholars and Holy Men (2014) which includes chapters from two other Muslim converts: Sean Jobst, who has written on Evola’s views of Islam and the role Islamic mysticism combatting ‘Modernist Decay’ (Jobst 2011: 126–139 and Jobst 2012: 157–185) and Claudio Mutti, a former Evolian-inspired militant imprisoned in Italy for terrorist activities, who converted to Islam in the 1980s and has since become one of the ‘focal points’ for a network of Traditionalists in Romania, Hungary, Italy, France and Russia (Mutti 2012: 107–36; and Sedgwick 2004: 260). The IPB founder, Musa David Pidcock, a Catholic convert to Islam, who similarly blamed 9/11 on the American government and Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, has also addressed the NR (Pidcock 2001). He is the author of an anti-Semitic opus, Satanic Voices: Ancient and Modern (1992), which attacks what he calls ‘Luciferian Zionism’. Pidcock’s work is influenced by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the conspiratorial anti-Semitism of Nesta Webster, who deserved a ‘very special mention’.27 Claims that 9/11 and 7/7 were an ‘inside job’ clearly have some intellectual currency within the NR, which also invited Kenyon Gibson, a former US naval intelligence officer turned Hemp campaigner living in London, to address the group on the history of the 9/11 ‘truth’ movement.28 In November 2007 the NR also heard from Scottish Islamic convert Dr Yaqub Zaki, deputy leader of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain, who has also cast doubt on the guilt of the 7/7 bombers, and stated he would be ‘very happy’ for Islamist terrorists to target No. 10 Downing Street (Daily Record, 22 Aug. 2005). Zaki previously described the Holocaust as a ‘myth’ during a meeting at the Wembley Conference Centre in 1998 to Al-Muhajiroun, the proscribed Islamist group founded by Islamist cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed (Daily Mail, 27 Aug. 2005 and The Times, 28 Aug. 2005).29 Renouf, who describes him as ‘my Scottish ally’, travelled to France with Zaki in 2009 to support French Holocaust denier Professor Robert Faurisson in his case against Robert Badinter, the former French Minister of Justice whom Faurisson unsuccessfully attempted to sue for libel.30 Zaki, writing under his former name, James Dickie, supported the Iranian government following the furore over its 2009 elections, widely alleged to have been rigged, stating, ‘as a democracy Iran puts Britain to shame … we are the victims of a consumerist culture that makes sure we swallow lies with the same voracity as we shorten our lives by munching Big Macs’, which is yet ‘another symptom of our national decline’ (Independent, 28 Jul. 2009).


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This peculiar ideological melange of Holocaust denial and 9/11 and 7/7 conspiracy theories finds another outlet through the work of Dr Nicholas Kollerstrom who addressed the group in 2010. Kollerstrom, an astronomer, had been dismissed from his honorary fellowship at University College London (UCL) two years previously after having claimed that the gassing of Jews was a scientific impossibility. Kollerstrom also claimed that Auschwitz-Birkenau was like a holiday camp where inmates relaxed by an ‘elegant’ swimming pool, watched water-polo matches and listened to orchestras.31 His essay, ‘The Walls of Auschwitz’, was reproduced on the Iranian Press TV website, with the preface: ‘the West punishes people for scientific research on [the] Holocaust but the same Western countries allow insults to prophets and religious beliefs’ (Kollerstrom 2008). The channel later broadcast an interview with him, brokered by Renouf, who regularly appears on Iranian satellite television networks including Press TV, Sahar TV and IRIB.32 Kollerstrom, who is also involved in the 9/11 ‘truth movement’, actively propagates the conspiracy theory that the 7/7 bombers were ‘innocent patsies’ (Daily Telegraph, 11 Jun. 2008) framed by MI5, the CIA and Mossad; claims he repeats in Terror on the Tube: Behind the Veil of 7/7 (2009), which serves as a ‘posthumous exoneration of four innocent young men, sacrificed and framed to shore up the rule of a crime cabal’.33 ‘Anti-Zionism’ emerges as another core NR theme. For Southgate ‘Zionism’ is ‘Jewish Imperialism’. Though claiming to support Jewish religious and cultural identity, ‘what we will not tolerate,’ he writes, ‘is the ongoing enslavement of our people by a minority of vampiric parasites intent on carving up the world’s resources in an attempt to create a single, global market’ (Southgate 2012e: 32–34). The nature of Southgate’s support for the Palestinian cause can be seen in his obituary for Yahia Ayyash, its leading bomb-maker, killed by Israelis in January 1996, who, he claimed, ‘remains an important symbol of Palestinian defiance and deserves to be remembered for the sacrifice he made on behalf of his Race and Nation’ (The Crusader, no. 6, 1996). Bowden meanwhile had called Israel a ‘cancer’ at the heart of the Middle East, a metaphor that implies the remedy of surgical excision (News of the World, 23 Aug. 2009). For most NR speakers, including figures like Martin Webster, the former NF national activities organiser (1969–1983), Israel is illegitimate. Renouf, for instance, has produced a film entitled Israel in Flagrante: Caught in the Act of Twistspeak, which ‘exposes the pious imposture at the rotten core of the Zionin-Palestine project’, addressing the NR on this theme in May 2006. On this occasion Renouf was followed by anti-war activist Dr James Thring, founder of the ‘Ministry of Peace’ and co-founder of Legal Action against War (LAAW), who led an attempt to have Tony Blair tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2004. Thring, the author of several books including Peace with Iran (2006), is an admirer of Ayatollah Khomeini whom he states, in a film about his Parisian exile, ‘aroused admiration of those seeking justice for Palestine when he spoke against dependence of [the] Shah’s regime on

Britain’s ‘New Right’



foreign powers supporting Israel’. He regularly appears on an on-line radio show hosted by former Klansman David Duke, author of Jewish Supremacism (2007) with whom he discusses ‘Zionist power’ and ‘Ziomedia’.35 Thring, who has addressed the group on several occasions, is a vociferous ‘anti-Zionist’ critic of Israel, which he describes as ‘an illegal, criminal, psychopathic, belligerent, apartheid entity bent on desecrating the Holy Land and destroying anyone or even any country that tries to seek justice for the Palestinians’.36 The suffering of the Palestinians, he claims, is: Worse than the holocaust, where fighter bombers were not used on civilians and which was over in 5 years … The Zionist regime must be arraigned. It should be dismantled and buried. Stalin gave Jews a homeland in East Russia, Birobidjan, where 200,000 have lived since 1928.37 Renouf has also addressed the group on her advocacy of resettling Israel’s Jewish populace in Birobidjan, the Jewish ‘autonomous oblast’ in Russia’s Far East officially decreed by Stalin in 1934, in which Yiddish culture could be pursued and preserved within a Soviet framework that was designed, ultimately, to neutralise Zionism. Renouf argues Birobidjan’s continued existence highlights ‘the fraud inherent in the Zionist project’.38 She returned to this theme with an address entitled ‘My project with Gaddafi about the UN and the Jewish Republic’, shortly after the death of the Libyan dictator in October 2011 (Collins 2011). This ‘anti-Zionist’ stance saw the NR addressed by Rabbi Aharon Cohen of the ultra-orthodox Hassidic Jewish sect Neturei Karta (Guardians of the City) which regards the ‘Zionist state’ of Israel as inimical to the interests of ‘Torah Jews’ for whom the ‘Messianic Era’ alone will herald the return of a genuine ‘Jewish state’.39 Neturei Karta’s anti-Zionism had previously led Cohen and several other Rabbis to participate in Iran’s ‘The Holocaust – Global Vision’ conference in December 2006 which was organised by Mohammed-Ali Ramin, Iran’s deputy minister of culture, after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had claimed the previous year that the Holocaust was a ‘myth’.40 The prominence of such conventional and recognisably extreme right-wing tropes – anti-Semitism, ‘revisionism’ and Holocaust denial – which represent regular themes for NR and London Forum speakers, highlight the group’s failure to live up to its intellectual pretensions; particularly in relation to its own five-point ideological taxonomy. While the preponderance of such themes no doubt inhibits its broader counter-cultural aims, its embrace of ‘anti-Zionism’, through which some of these ideas are refracted, undoubtedly opens a broader political constituency in which the group can disseminate its ideas. Indeed as the range of participants at its own meetings reflects, this has enabled the establishment of new coalitions and ‘free spaces’, based on the common denominator of antipathy towards Israel, which extends the reach of


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such groupuscules beyond traditional extreme right-wing networks into broader political milieus.

Conclusion: ‘New Right’ and Nouvelle Droite Through its lectures and educational/cultural activity, the NR, in its attempts to cultivate an intellectual/cultural elite, is following a reading of Italian Marxist intellectual Antonio Gramsci whose ideas about waging a ‘war of position’ is arguably central to the New Right model. Waging a countercultural struggle against what it conspiratorially believes to have been the aims of the ‘Frankfurt School’ of sociology, the spread of ‘Cultural Marxism’ has become an extreme right-wing obsession, easily grafted onto other preexisting modes of anti-Semitic thought (see also Richardson, this volume). For the NR meta-political endeavour is about the influence of cultural ideas upon politics and political structures. The NR seeks to influence the process in the same way they believe it has worked on the Left. Bedford-Turner observes that education needs to prefigure political engagement which, without a sound meta-political grounding, can simply nullify their efforts to influence political organisations (Jeremy Bedford-Turner, e-mail to the author on behalf of IONA/London Forum, 4 Jul. 2012). There are, however, several serious impediments to the group gaining true intellectual purchase across the extreme right-wing. First, its focus upon Judaism rather than Islam puts the group at odds with the anti-Muslim agenda of the BNP whose politics Southgate dismisses as ‘nonsense’.41 The group’s esotericism and elitism further militate against any form of broader engagement or influence. Southgate has made clear his own disregard for the BNP as a plebeian, populist ‘pressure valve’ for closet Tories and ‘small time drug dealers’ (The English Alternative, no. 9, n.d.). That aside, the involvement of individual BNP activists, Bowden being only the most obvious example,42 led Southgate to argue in 2008 that the group was ‘perceived as a threat to the BNP in some respects, not in terms of finance or manpower, of course, but in terms of managing to open up the minds of its membership’. Having eschewed electoral politics, Southgate outlined his hope that NR ideals ‘can trickle down into the BNP membership even more and perhaps even eradicate the strong emphasis the Party currently places upon the electoral system’.43 While this appears unlikely, former BNP chairman Nick Griffin has retained an interest in the ideas of the French Nouvelle Droite since the 1980s and in particular the ‘New Right’ ideologues Guillaume Faye and Robert Steuckers. In December 2006 Griffin attended the ‘Euro-Rus’ conference in Belgium. Among the many reasons he gave for attending was his desire to meet Faye again (having met him earlier in the year at the American Renaissance conference) as well as to meet Steuckers. Faye’s influence upon Griffin’s own political analysis of the ‘convergence of catastrophes’ facing Liberal democracy, which, he believed, would will bring the BNP to power, can be seen in

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the term itself; the title of Faye’s seminal text La Convergence des catastrophes (2004) (Griffin 2013).44 Thereafter, Griffin voiced concerns regarding an intellectual lacuna within the extreme right. ‘As part of the long-term programme of broadening BNP support and influence we need to engage in a War of Ideas with the liberalleft, especially at university level’, Griffin wrote. Recognising that Britain is ‘particularly backwards in this field’ Griffin mooted his interest in staging a similar conference in Britain ‘at which we can pull together the various strands of “New Right” and traditionalist thought which do exist in Britain’.45 Griffin’s concluding comment hints at the influence of the NR which is the only politically and culturally organised expression of such disparate ideological currents. However, NR meta-politics are perhaps too ‘esoteric’ to gain much purchase within the BNP activist base (let alone its voters) though the broader influence of the Nouvelle Droite upon the BNP’s own critique of ‘multiculturalism’, ‘political correctness’ and ‘cultural Marxism’ can be detected. This begs the question of how groups like the NR and the London Forum sit in relation to the wider European New Right (ENR) and, furthermore, to what extent do they represent a continuation of earlier ‘New Right’ thinking in Britain? The French Nouvelle Droite group GRECE, synonymous with its founder, Alain de Benoist, represents one of the most important innovations in post-war fascist thinking. It sought to redirect the extreme right’s political struggle into the cultural sphere as the most efficacious means of undermining the hegemony of liberal democracy. Briefly, its main themes include, as a counter-cultural current, a deep-seated aversion to the economism (capitalism), egalitarianism and equality of liberal, Judeo-Christian society, which, it argued, paved the way for entropy, decay and indeed totalitarianism. Instead the Nouvelle Droite called for a return to the ‘natural’ principles of hierarchy and aristocracy, welded to calls for a European-wide rebirth and a recognition of the continent as an organic entity rooted in pre-Christian polytheism. The Nouvelle Droite also developed a sophisticated cultural ‘differentialist’ racism – as opposed to the explicitly biological version espoused by ‘classic’ extreme right-wing groups (Bar-On 2007; Woods 2007).46 In this sense the ‘New Right’ is but a part of a broader intellectual tendency that emerged in the eighteenth century that has remained profoundly antithetical to Enlightenment values and indeed modern liberalism (Sternhell 2010). These illiberal impulses were personified in Britain by Edmund Burke, whose ideas were subsequently co-opted by the Conservative Party, severely limiting the political space for their extra-parliamentary articulation, unlike in France. These broader difficulties were compounded by the British extreme right’s failure to seriously engage with the themes, mediated through the Nouvelle Droite until 1979. It was not until two years later that Michael Walker, the NF central London organiser, founded National Democrat (renamed The Scorpion in 1983) to serve as a bridgehead for Nouvelle Droite ideas into Britain. Their impact, initially at least, was ‘negligible’ when


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weighed in the balance against other factors influencing the British extreme right’s development at the time (Copsey 2013: 287–303). Indeed as de Benoist laments: The NR has never really penetrated the Anglo-Saxon world. A journal like The Scorpion, to which I am very sympathetic, has never been completely part of our movement. While my books have been translated into a dozen European languages, very few of my articles have appeared in English, which is undoubtedly significant. (de Benoist 2012) Despite its attempt to intellectualise the extreme right, The Scorpion remained ‘impregnated’ with overt, racial ultra-nationalism and Holocaust ‘revisionism’ that were alien to de Benoist’s arguments, bringing about a rift between the two ideologues (Bar-On 2007: 144). The Scorpion was equally indebted to Evola, who was presented (between 1984 and 1986) ‘as the champion of a European spiritual and national revival against the liberal, multiracial quagmire of the United States’ (Goodrick-Clarke 2002: 68–70). Taking this influence into account, further grist is added to the proposition that, though there are certainly a number of similarities in their ideological concerns, the ‘New Right’ in Britain is influenced less by the politics of GRECE than by Evola and the metaphysical, esoteric and occult leanings of its founders and contributors. Southgate’s recent announcement of a new initiative called ‘Secret London’ – a bi-monthly forum which will invite guests from various occult and metaphysical backgrounds to speak before an invited audience on topics such as ‘Philosophy, Theology, Science, Civilisation, Art and Culture’ – would appear to confirm this pattern.47 There is a glimmer of continuity between these first flowerings of Nouvelle Droite ideas and Southgate’s endeavours. Southgate contributed a short review to one of the final issues of The Scorpion. More importantly, however, he inherited the mailing list of two smaller ‘New Right’ endeavours, Perspectives and its successor Radical Shift, from their editor, Richard Lawson who, during the 1970s, had edited the ‘Strasserite’ NF newspaper, Britain First. Lawson subsequently collaborated with Walker in organising a series of conferences under the rubric ‘IONA’ – the name recycled by Bedford-Turner’s group, signalling another nod towards past iterations – and engaged with figures like Steuckers and de Benoist (Searchlight, no. 178, Apr. 1990).48 As this short survey of the ideas given a platform at NR meetings highlights, the group serves as a junction box for a multiplicity of racist, elitist and anti-liberal political tendencies and ideas, which invites the obvious comparison that the group functions, in accordance with its own limited resources, as a tributary to a wider palingenetic project aiming, ultimately, at the racial and cultural rebirth of Europe. Despite sharing many of the ENR’s cultural and political assumptions, not least its disdain for the perceived materialism of liberal society, Southgate’s NR group is, as we have seen, less a manifestation

Britain’s ‘New Right’


of ENR thought, which underscores the limited impact the ENR has had upon the culture of the post-war extreme right in Britain, than it is a part of an esoteric ‘cultic milieu’ albeit one awash with recognisably extreme right-wing tropes.

Notes 1 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2008]. 2 Southgate (2010a) exonerates the organisations he was directly involved in of being ‘fascist’. Macklin (2005) offers an alternative interpretation. 3 [Accessed 18 Apr. 2006]. 4 [Accessed 22 Jan. 2006]. 5 ‘I don’t really have a great deal of interest in what the BNP is doing,’ stated Southgate. ‘Similarly, I don’t find a great deal of interest in the kind of music that the party is trying to encourage. Personally, I have a far more elitist approach and these days the sight of several hundred skinheads leaping around bare-chested at a white power concert doesn’t really fire my imagination. This kind of scene is very hedonistic and plebian [sic], there is no aesthetic backbone to it all and it doesn’t really contribute to European values. I also believe that to create superior individuals you have to change people’s behaviour and attitudes. This certainly isn’t happening in England and for me the BNP is simply a reformist and populist grouping which is seeking to appeal to the masses.’ 6 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2006]. 7 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2006]. 8 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2006]. 9 Bowden contributed an essay entitled ‘Hopkins – An Angry Young Man’ to Jonathan Bowden, Eddy Butler and Adrian Davies (eds), Standard Bearers: The Roots of the New Right (1999), pp. 156–76 and addressed the New Right on ‘Bill Hopkins – An Anti-Humanist Life’. Hopkins attended some early NR meetings, see, [Accessed 6 Oct. 2011]. 10 In a similar vein see Trevor Lynch [pseud. Greg Johnson], (2012) Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies. San Francisco, CA: Counter Currents. 11 For a tribute see Southgate (2012c). 12 ‘Alas, he was unable to discipline his brilliant mind, while also lacking the social skills to mingle with ordinary people,’ Thompson continued. ‘He could orate, dazzlingly, on Nietzsche, Marx or an obscure East German film director. He craved recognition, but could find it only by joining or inventing sectarian groups … One of his friends said this week that no one was better equipped to explain Heidegger to the masses. But the masses weren’t listening, and so Jonathan suffered the fate of so many extremist intellectuals before him, wasting his gifts on boneheads in the pub. He would despise this cliché, but may his troubled spirit rest in peace.’ 13 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 14 The New Right website has, however, self-consciously linked itself to a number of Continental ENR groups, including TeKoS-Delta-Stichting (Belgium), MetapoSOS-Studiecentrum (Holland), Nation and Kutlur (Norway), Nová Evropa (Czech Republic), Mesogaia-Sarmatia (covering Russia, the Ukraine and Bulgaria). There are also ‘New Right’ franchises in North America and Australasia.


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15 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. In 2007, the group established the English Movement, ‘to restore English Identity, and to preserve English Culture and English Tradition’, see, [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. One of the group’s regional ‘contacts’ was subsequently noted to be a BNP national officer, see Searchlight, no. 421, Jul. 2010. 16 [Accessed 19 Nov. 2009]. Nunn is now involved with the Western Spring blog, see, http://thebri [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014]. 17 [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014]. 18 Society of St. Pius X – District of Great Britain Newsletter, Aug. 2012 notes Bedford-Turner was received into the SSPX in June 2012. Southgate was previously an SSPX adherent too. 19 Southgate denies Beth was ‘duped’ and claims he was ‘fully aware of my political beliefs’, see ‘David Beth: Lies and Cowardice’, 19 October 2012, www.facebook. com/notes/troy-southgate/david-beth-lies-and-cowardice/500944679916337 [Accessed 13 Jul. 2014]. 20 See also, [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 21 In a message posted to the now defunct New Right e-group, 18 November 2008, Southgate asserted that these individuals were members of the Sheridan Club ‘many of whom have an interest in Futurism – and the Romanians, who have strong Evolian sympathies. Such people dress in the style of the 1920s and 1930s both deliberately and consciously, because they are making an effort to detach themselves from the modern world.’ 22 While refuting the accusation that neo-Nazi skinheads attend New Right functions – with the exception of one individual who was barred from attending again – Southgate concedes that, although he opposes them politically, New Right meetings feature stalls ‘selling literature produced by the British National Party (BNP), National Front (NF), Populist Party and British People’s Party (BPP)’. The NF and particularly the BPP certainly fit the ‘neo-Nazi’ bracket. 23 Renouf, Rushton and Edmonds have all been especially active in support of imprisoned Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, see, [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 24 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009] and The Times, 5 Jan. 1994. 25 Searchlight, no. 380, Feb. 2007 and [Accessed 13 Jan. 2007]. 26 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2007]. 27 For more see: [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 28 id=35%20 [Accessed 9 Apr. 2014]. Bishop Williamson has also claimed that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’ and that the Boston bombing was another ‘false flag’ operation, accusations that extend both his ideas and his person into other forms of networks, see, [Accessed 16 May 2013]. 29 Searchlight, no. 281, Nov. 1998 quotes Zaki stating: ‘David Irving has the right idea, destroy the Holocaust myth and you have destroyed Israel.’ 30 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 31; lls.html; and [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009].

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32 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 33 Similarly, Cotterell (2012) alleges Anders Breivik’s massacre was also a ‘false-flag operation’. 34 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 35 [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014]. 36 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 37 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 38 [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]. 39 [Accessed 9 Apr. 2014]. 40 [Accessed 9 Apr. 2014]. Anti-Zionism has been an integral pillar of revolutionary Iranian ideology since 1979, a position shared by the NF in the 1980s, and while the Islamic regime rejects corrupting Western influences, it has frequently proven quite open to borrowing its anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist motifs, fusing them with its own indigenous opposition to Israel (Litvak 2007: 250–267). The conference was perhaps the archetypal example of this process; attended by sixty-seven ‘experts’ from over thirty countries including Renouf (whose DVD Israel in Flagrante – Caught in the Acts of Turnspeak features contributions from Neturei Karta). Ahmadinejad personally opened the conference, and later met with delegates including Renouf, who presented him with a copy of her DVD Jailing Opinions and the Ernst Zündel documentary Setting the Record Straight. Renouf was subsequently appointed to the International ‘Holocaust’ Research Committee (IHRC) founded to perpetuate the work of the conference in undermining what Iran believes to be the moral basis of Western support for Israel. 41 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2006]. 42 Matthew Tait, the former the Buckinghamshire BNP organiser, also served as a New Right ‘youth section’ organiser, attempting to build ‘a credible, intellectual, alternative to Left-Liberalism on campus’. Tait is involved with the ‘Western Spring’ blog, and has also addressed the London Forum as well as the Traditional Britain Society (TBG), a right-wing groupuscule on the fringes of the Conservative Party. See [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]; tion-t2025.html [Accessed 18 Nov. 2009]; and Group [Accessed 9 Apr. 2014]. 43 [Accessed 30 Mar. 2008]. 44 Griffin also used the phrase to title an article in Identity, no. 68, Jul. 2006. 45 [Accessed 13 Feb. 2007]. 46 O’Meara (2004) and Sunic (2004) provide useful internal overviews of NR thought, the latter arguing that ‘the authors who represent or subscribe to the ideas of the so-called European new Right are basically pursuing the intellectual and philosophical legacy of earlier European conservatives such as Vilfredo Pareto, Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler and many others’. 47 ‘Secret London’, see [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014]. 48 Lawson was part of the ‘populist’ tendency within the NF that split to form the National Party in 1975. He subsequently edited Heritage and Destiny –‘the British Racial-Nationalist cultural journal’. In October 1995 Lawson was inspired to continue the counter-cultural struggle by Tony Wakeford of the neo-folk band Sol Invictus, himself a former NF member. The result was, a (now defunct) on-line ‘arts zine’ that covered a vast array of counter-cultural


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‘dark-edged’ and ‘avant-garde’ music including such genres as: neo-folk, neomedieval, ethereal, filmic, apocalyptic folk, dark folk, gothic-industrial, goth-rock, darkwave, dark-ambient, ambient industrial, dark metal, military bombast, electronic and noise not to mention medieval and renaissance, traditional folk and neo-classical.

References Bar-On, T. (2007) Where Have All The Fascists Gone? London: Ashgate. Beth, D. (2011) ‘A Quick Statement Regarding Black Front Press’. Available at: www. [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Black Sun Invictus (n.d.) ‘National-Anarchism, Tradition, & Revolution: An Interview With Troy Southgate’, [Accessed 4 Apr. 2014]. Bleher, S.M. (2005) ‘In Times of Terror the Truth Takes a Tumble’, 15 July. Available at: [Accessed 4 Apr. 2014]. Bleher, S.M. (2008a) ‘The Demise of Secular Dogma’, 8 June. Available at: http:// [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Bleher, S.M. (2008b) ‘Iran Revolution Ends the “Holocult”’, 17 December. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Bowden, J. (1999) ‘Hopkins – An Angry Young Man’, in Bowden, J., Butler, E. and Davies, A. (eds) Standard Bearers: The Roots of the New Right. Beckenham: Bloomsbury Forum. Bowden, J. (2012) ‘Revisionism: Left & Right, Hard & Soft’, 10 May. Available at: [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014]. Bowden, J. (2013) Pulp Fascism: Right-Wing Themes in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Popular Literature. San Francisco, CA: Counter Currents. Campbell, C. (2002) ‘The Cult, the Cultic Milieu and Secularization’, in Kaplan, J. and Lööw, H. (eds) The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalisation. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira. Collins, M. (2011) ‘“New Right”: Same Old Nasties’, 12 December. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Copsey, N. (2013) ‘Au Revoir to “Sacred Cows”? Assessing the Impact of the Nouvelle Droite in Britain’, Democracy and Security, 9: 287–303. Cotterell, R. (2012) Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon–Nazi–Mafia Terror Axis. Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive. de Benoist, A. (2012) ‘French “New Right” Philosopher Alain de Benoist on America’, 20 February. Available at: [Accessed 9 Apr. 2014]. Final Conflict (2011) ‘Split in New Right Leads to Non-Occultist Alternative’, 18 August. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Franks, D.W., Noble, J., Kaufmann, P. and Stagl, S. (2008) ‘Extremism Propagation in Social Networks With Hubs’, Adaptive Behaviour, 16(4): 264–274. Goodrick-Clarke, N. (2002) Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity. New York: University of New York Press. Goodrick-Clarke, N. (2009) The Occult Roots of Nazism. London: I.B. Tauris.

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Griffin, N. (1996) ‘“Populism” or Power?’, Spearhead, February. Griffin, N. (2013) ‘Deadline 2014: The Convergence of Catastrophes and What the BNP Needs to Do’. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Griffin, R. (2003) ‘From Slime Mould to Rhizome: An Introduction to the Groupuscular Right’, Patterns of Prejudice, 37(1): 27–50. Heritage and Destiny (2009) ‘The New Right – Troy Southgate Replies’, Heritage and Destiny, 36, Apr.–Jun. Heβ-Meining, U. (2012) ‘Right-Wing Esotericism in Europe’, in Backes, U. and Moreau, P. (eds) The Extreme Right in Europe: Current Trends and Perspectives. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht. Hough, G. (1958) ‘New Novels’, Encounter, 10(2): 86. IPB (2002) ‘Question Forum – Islamic View on Homosexuality’, 9 March. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Jobst, S. (2011) ‘Towards the Sufi Anarch: The Role of Islamic Mysticism Against Modernist Decay’, in Southgate, T. (ed.) The Radical Tradition: Philosophy, Metapolitics and the Conservative Revolution. Primordial Traditions. Jobst, S. (2012) ‘Islam and Tradition: Evola on Islam’, in Southgate, T. (ed.) Evola: Thoughts and Perspectives, Volume One. London: BFP. Jorgensen, D.L. (1982) ‘The Esoteric Community: An Ethnographic Investigation of the Cultic Milieu’, Urban Life, 10(4): 383–407. Kollerstrom, N. (2008) ‘The Walls of Auschwitz’, 18 May, Press TV. Available at:§ionid=3510303 [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014]. Kollerstrom, N. (2011) Terror on the Tube: Behind the Veil of 7/7 – An Investigation, 3rd edn. Joshua Tree, CA: Progressive. Litvak, M. (2007) ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Holocaust: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism’, in Herf, J. (ed.) Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism in Historical Perspective: Convergence and Divergence. Abingdon: Routledge. Lowell, N. (1999) Credo: A Book for the Very Few. Valetta, Malta: JPS Books. Lynch, T. [pseud. Greg Johnson] (2012) Trevor Lynch’s White Nationalist Guide to the Movies. San Francisco, CA: Counter Currents. Macklin, G. (2005) ‘Co-opting the Counter-culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’, Patterns of Prejudice, 39(3): 301–326. Majority Rights (2008) ‘Cosmotheism’, 17 July. Available at: index.php/weblog/comments/cosmotheism/ [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Michael, G. (2006) The Enemy of My Enemy: The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press. Moore, V. (2011) ‘News’. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Mutti, C. (2012) ‘The Doctrine of Divine Unity in Hellenic Tradition’, in Southgate, T. (ed.) Le Salon, vol. 1. London: BFP. New Imperium (2007) no. 4, Summer. NewRightReloaded2 (2013) ‘London Forum Bishop Williamson “God The Pre Requisite For All Politics” – 02 02 2013’. Available at: v=_ZUMXKwgDqM [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014]. O’Meara, M. (2004) New Culture, New Right: Anti-Liberalism in Postmodern Europe. Bloomington, IN: First Books. Orange Bob (2004) ‘Fascist Meeting in London’, 28 Oct. Available at: XMdez [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014].


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Phoenix Rising Academy (2011a) ‘Occultism and Fascism: Enemy at the Gates’, 14 June. Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014]. Phoenix Rising Academy (2011b) ‘Occultism and Fascism Part 2’, 28 June. Available at: Pidcock, M.D. (1992) Satanic Voices: Ancient and Modern. Milton Keynes: Mustaqim. Pidcock, M.D. (2001) ‘Pearl Harbour’, September. Available at: www.islamicparty. com/commonsense/33harbor.htm [Accessed 3 Jun. 2014]. Richardson, J.T. (1979) ‘From Cult to Sect: Creative Eclecticism in New Religious Movements’, The Pacific Sociological Review, 22(2): 139–166. Scarlett Imprint (2011) ‘Occultists and Fascists’, 10 June. Available at: http://scarletimp [Accessed 10 Apr. 2014]. Sedgwick, S. (2004) Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Simi, P. and Futrell, R. (2010) American Swastika: Inside the White Power Movement’s Hidden Spaces of Hate. Plymouth: Rowman & Littlefield. Southgate, T. (2009) Hitler: The Adjournment. Shamley Green: Wermod & Wermod. Southgate, T. (2010a) Nazis, Fascists, or Neither? Ideological Credentials of the British Far Right, 1987–1994. Shamley Green: Wermod & Wermod. Southgate, T. (2010b) Otto Strasser: The Life and Times of a German Socialist. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2011a) Adventures in Counter-Culture: Politics, Music, Film and Literature. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2011b) Further Writings: Essays on Philosophy, Religion, History and Politics. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2011c) (ed.) The Radical Tradition: Philosophy, Metapolitics and the Conservative Revolution. Primordial Traditions. Southgate, T. (2011d) (ed.) Woden: Thoughts and Perspectives, Volume Four. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2011e) (ed.) Helio-s: Journal of Metaphysical & Occult Studies, Volume 1. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2012a) Behold the Hammer: Nietzsche under Scrutiny. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2012b) Black Metal: European Roots and Musical Extremities. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2012c) (ed.) Bowden: Thoughts and Perspectives, Vol. 9. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2012d) (ed.) Jonathan Bowden – The Speeches: A Collection of Talks Given at the London New Right. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2012e) (ed.) National Anarchism: A Reader. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2012f) ‘The Symbolic and Practical Significance of the Centre: A Wodenist Perspective’, in Toynton, G. (ed.) Northern Traditions. Numen Books. Southgate, T. (2014a) (ed.) Mystics, Scholars and Holy Men. London: BFP. Southgate, T. (2014b) (ed.) Wulf: Collected Writings of an English Wodenist. London: BFP. Sternhell, Z. (2010) The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition. Yale, CT: Yale University Press. Sunic, T. (2004) Against Democracy and Equality: The European New Right. Newport Beach, CA: Noontide Press. Sunic, T. (2013) ‘Tom Sunic Interviews Jonathan Bowden (Transcript)’, 19 Dec. Available at: [Accessed 16 Apr. 2014].

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Thompson, D. (2012) ‘Even Russell Brand Understands That You Can’t Sell Cocaine Like Tobacco’, 27 Apr. Available at: son/100154180/even-russell-brand-understands-that-you-cant-sell-cocaine-like-tobacco/ [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014]. Wingfield, D.J. (2008) ‘The West Reborn? Reflections on the New Right’, The Initiate: Journal of Traditional Studies, 1(Spring): 15–19. Woods, R. (2007) Germany’s New Right as Culture and Politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

11 ‘Cultural Marxism’ and the British National Party A transnational discourse John E. Richardson

Introduction On 22 July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 men, women and children in a sequential bombing and mass shooting. Immediately prior to this atrocity, he released a 1,518 page document he had written and compiled, entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. Underlying his murderous extreme-right militancy was a nebulous concept – ‘Cultural Marxism’ – referred to and discussed in excess of 200 times across this so-called ‘manifesto’. However, this Weltanschauung is not unique to Breivik, nor was he the first to draw on this particular ideology. The ‘Cultural Marxism’ thesis was developed ‘by American thinkers, most of them white nationalists, to explain the rise of political correctness and anti-racist beliefs as well as the advent of multiculturalism’ (Beirich 2013: 96). It functions as a metatheory for a wide range of contemporary right-wing parties and movements, based both in the United States and across Europe. Essentially it positions objectionable social values and cultural outputs as epiphenomenal to wider social and cultural processes underlying the post-war liberal and social-democratic consensus. It relates more specifically to political correctness, and left-wing conspiracies purportedly intended to destabilise traditional values and institutions. Analysis of extreme-right and fascist culture needs to be mindful of discourses of fellow travellers, given the ways that they cross-fertilise and learn from each other. As Beirich (2013: 94) points out: Since the Second World War, a significant and growing number of American right-wing extremists have worked for or advocated a transnational approach to revolutionary politics. While these budding internationalists have included Klansmen and many other types of radical rightists, the most important have been neo-Nazis. This chapter examines this transnational discourse in two interrelated ways: first, I will trace the transnational roots of ‘Cultural Marxism’, and its uptake in the discourse of the British National Party (BNP); second, I will show how ‘Cultural Marxism’ is itself a transnational discourse, positing an internationalist

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conspiracy intended to undermine a naturalised organic national culture (see also Macklin, in this volume). A cultural struggle continues to lie at the heart of the political project of the BNP, and as part of this struggle, party officials and activists rail against cultural (and artistic) outputs they feel exemplify the degeneracy of liberal society. In some ways this preoccupation reflects a cultural shift in campaign strategies of British fascists – away from traditional ‘marching, leaflets and votes’ political activism towards something less quantifiable: a politics of cultural engagement. On the other hand, the BNP’s utilisation of the ‘Cultural Marxism’ thesis, and the conspiracy theory upon which it is based, could be viewed as a case of ‘old wine in a new bottle’. My discussion is prefaced by a commitment to applying, and hopefully developing, the approach taken by Michael Billig in his work analysing the discourse of the National Front (Billig 1978, 1985, 1988a, 1988b, 1990, 1991; Billig and Cochrane 1981). Billig (1978) points out that, as a rule, the methodology that political scientists have used to examine fascism, and hence to distinguish the fascist from the non-fascist, has been characterised by two features: synchronic methods of analysis; and (particularly latterly) the uncritical acceptance of the self-descriptions of (potential) fascists themselves. Preoccupied by examining manifesto content collected at a particular point in time, many studies of extremist political groups ‘tend to concentrate on the surface of the ideology, failing often to relate the ideology to the history and structure of the group in question’ (Billig 1978: 93). These ‘standard techniques’, he argues, are inadequate to deal with questions of underlying ideological commitments. More specifically, Billig (1978: 94) details the two most striking failures of political analysis of political extremism: First there is a tendency to study individual movements in isolation … A second, and related, tendency is to exclude historical dimensions from analysis. The researcher seems interested in the ideology and personal characteristics of the members only at one point in time. As in a photograph all movement is frozen in a single frame. … Neologisms such as ‘radical right’ and ‘super-patriotism’ are used, rather than the word ‘fascism’, which suggests an important historical continuity. Based on his historically contextualised discourse analysis, Billig’s (1978) work offers a highly adaptable definition of fascism, both ideologically and as a political movement. He argues that fascism is characterised by a shifting constellation of four general features. To be classified ‘fascist’, a party, movement, ideological programme (etc.) needs to possess all four characteristics, the first three of which are ideological: (1) strong-to-extreme nationalism; (2) anti-Marxism, and indeed opposition to any mobilisation of the working class as a class for itself; and (3) support for a capitalist political economy. Given the nationalism, fascist support for a capitalist political economy is usually of a protectionist, Statist or autarkic nature; at a minimum it is opposed to finance


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or international capital, and aims for mercantilism protected within the borders of the nation-state. ‘In this respect it differs from traditional laissez-faire capitalism, which seeks to reduce the activity of the state to a minimum’ (Billig 1978: 7). The fourth feature is absolutely key, given that it distinguishes fascism from ideologies of both the political right (whether traditionalism, paleo-conservative, populist and so on) and various political nationalisms: (4) these ideological commitments are ‘advocated in such a way that fascism will pose a direct threat to democracy and personal freedom’ (ibid.). Fascism’s base anti-egalitarianism produces a secondary quandary for parties and movements attempting to attract a mass membership or popular support. Fascism seeks to deny and, in its regime form, reverse the incremental progressive victories fought and won by ordinary people – many, though not all, from workers’ movements (Neocleous 1997; Woodley 2010). As a result, the true nature and consequences of the anti-democratic, antiegalitarian drive of fascism needs to be concealed in order that it can better to appeal to, rather than alienate, the populace. This concealment functions in various ways in fascist discourse, from outright lies through coded language, euphemism, vagueness and what Engel and Wodak (2009, 2013) refer to as ‘calculated ambivalence’. However, any amelioration of language used in order to appeal to a broader constituency of supporters (and, usually, voters) needs to be balanced against a conflicting objective: the party needs to signal its continued political extremism to its ‘cadres’ and longstanding devotees. The essence of the dilemma, therefore, is ‘the conflict between ideological purity and the desire for a mass base. The solution is the partial concealment of the ideology and the specific creation of propaganda designed for mass circulation, which may not accurately reflect the demands of the ideology’s inner logic’ (Billig 1978: 124). We have, then, a distinction between the surface and the core of the party’s ideological discourse. Where core themes, identities and arguments feature in mass circulating discourse, they will be variously euphemised, coded and presented in ambiguous or gnomic phrases, to speak to those who can discern their true meanings. In other words, the core ideological commitments are present in some mass circulating texts, but are frequently decipherable only by those who understand the codes (Richardson and Wodak 2009; Richardson 2013a). A successful analysis of contemporary fascism should therefore: Recognise the possibility that different levels of ideological sophistication might be contained within the same piece of propaganda. An ambiguous symbolism might embrace both the simplified grammar of gut feelings and the more complex grammar of an ideology. The social scientist, like the successful propagandist, must understand the rules of both grammars. (Billig 1978: 91)

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The remainder of the chapter is structured in three main parts. First, I will discuss the origins of ‘Cultural Marxism’ in the work of American conservative thinkers. Second, I will discuss the ways that Breivik adopted the concept, some of the assumptions he made about who or what it was referring to, and the implications of this. Third, I will examine the cultural project of the BNP and the ways that this relates to – and invokes – the ‘Cultural Marxism’ thesis.

US origins ‘Cultural Marxism’ originated in the USA, appearing in conservative and radical American literature in the early 1990s.1 The term appears to have been coined by Michael Minnicino,2 though it is really in the work of essayist William Lind, of the Free Congress Foundation (FCF), that the thesis was developed and popularised. Work on ‘Cultural Marxism’ is directed towards exploring and explaining the historical origins of political correctness and its apparent deleterious effects on American culture. Accordingly, political correctness developed directly from the work of the Frankfurt School, both in Germany in the 1920s and in America once the scholars were forced to flee Nazi Germany. As Cox (1999: 20) argues: ‘Lind shows that the intellectuals at the Frankfurt School set out to translate Marxism from economic to cultural terms with the aim to destroy traditional Western values.’ ‘The method’ Lind has argued, ‘involved manipulating the culture into supporting homosexuality, sex education, egalitarianism, and the like, to the point that traditional institutions and culture are ultimately wrecked’ (Southern Poverty Law Center 2002: 6). Lind’s work on ‘Cultural Marxism’ was given prominence and institutional backing by the FCF, founded in 1977 by the late Paul Weyrich. Its website claims that in the 1980s the ‘FCF pioneered a “cultural conservatism” project designed to rally conservatives in defense of traditional values’.3 A search for ‘Cultural Marxism’ on the FCF website currently returns zero articles, though this certainly wasn’t always the case. In 1998 Weyrich criticised Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen for adhering ‘slavishly to the line laid down by the Frankfurt School’ (cited in Berkowitz 2003). Accordingly, ‘Political Correctness is an ideology … that … demands we all accede to many lies: that men and women are interchangeable, that there are no differences among races or ethnic groups within races (when those groups are taken as wholes, as PC demands) [and] that homosexuality is normal’ (ibid.). As Blahut (1999: 21) states in his article conclusion: ‘That the ideas of the Frankfurt School have infiltrated into all levels of our culture is the reason for our national decline’. One particular preoccupation of American commentators working up their theory of ‘Cultural Marxism’ (also called cultural communism) is sex education, which is viewed and categorised as part of a wider offensive against men (see Durham, in this volume). Presenting their history of the longue


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durée – that is, a partial history of the twentieth century – they view the current thinking on sex and sexual equality as the direct product of two men: ‘the diseased mind of a man named Gyorgy (George) Lukacs’, a proponent of ‘sex education beginning in kindergarten’ (Blahut 1999: 20); and ‘Eric Fromm, a Freudian psychologist [who] believed strongly in matriarchy. Fromm says women are forced into roles created by the oppressive Western culture. … That theme now underlies radical feminist thought’ (Blahut 1999: 21). Similarly, Atkinson (1999) argues: ‘The transformation of American culture envisioned by the “Cultural Marxists” is based on matriarchal theory. That is, they propose transforming American culture into a female-dominating one. … This dogma was the precedent for today’s radical feminist pronouncements appearing in nearly every major newspaper and TV program, including the television newscasts.’ Atkinson was virtually alone among these theorists of ‘Cultural Marxism’ in that he still wrote about the ‘transformation of American culture’ in the future tense – it was something ‘envisioned’ and ‘planned’ by cultural Marxists, not as yet achieved. In a later chapter, he argued that radical feminism was still ‘ascendant’ and that ‘the feminization of American culture … continues to intensify’ (Atkinson 2004: 2): The transformation of American culture envisioned by the cultural Marxists goes further than pursuing gender equality. Embodied in their agenda is ‘matriarchal theory,’ under which they purpose [sic] to transform American culture to be female-dominated. (Atkinson 2004: 5) The futurity of the ‘Cultural Marxist agenda’ is certainly not the case for the chief proponents of the thesis, wherein ‘Cultural Marxism’ has moved beyond a simple envisioned ‘commitment to destroy Western civilisation’ to a point that its ideological programme has been ‘enormously influential’ in reshaping contemporary America (Blahut 1999: 20). By 2007, Lind was categorical: In the 1950s, America was a great place … How did that America become the sleazy, decadent place we live in today? … It didn’t just ‘happen’. In fact, a deliberate agenda was followed to steal our culture and leave a new and very different one in its place. The story of how and why is one of the most important parts of our nation’s history – and it is a story almost no one knows. The people behind it wanted it that way. (Lind 2007) Lind’s work, both written and in the form of a VHS video produced and distributed by FCF, ‘gives examples of the PC movement, who perpetuates it and their motives. It shows that PC has a political movement behind it, and that the real motives are far from being benevolent ideals of equality and protecting people from hurt feelings’ (Cox 1999: 20). In this article, Cox

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doesn’t explain much more about this shadowy ‘political movement behind’ PC or, in fact, what their ‘real motives’ are. The solution to the riddle is left out in favour of emphasising this vague sense of dread and threat to Us and Our interests. Other articles are less reticent about naming the perpetrators.

N e w Color Edition! Just Off the Press . . .

The Communists Lost The Cold War.

But They're Winning The Culture War. Now ifs time for us to resist


communism WHAT IS IT? WHERE DID IT COME FROM? WHY IS IT SO DANGEROUS? WHY DOES IT MATTER? Figure 11.1 Cultural Communism, Spotlight, 1999 (extract)


J. E. Richardson

Occasionally, the conspiracy is alluded to and reworked, as in Figure 11.1, from an advert in Spotlight (5 July 1999). The top of the image reproduces an obviously anti-Semitic cartoon featuring a standard hook-nosed caricature, but replaces the usual six-pointed Star of David on the man’s head with a five-pointed star. However, the anti-Semitic substance of the conspiracy is referenced explicitly and openly in some articles. For example, an interview with Lind – originally broadcast on Spotlight’s weekly call-in forum Radio Free America (13 Dec. 1998) – was published in Spotlight under the headline ‘Subversion of Western Traditions Traced to Marxist–Jewish Clique in Germany’ (Valentine 1999: 12–14). A few years later, the links between Lind’s Free Congress Foundation for Cultural Conservativism and neo-Nazi conspiracy theorists had become better established. On 15 June 2002, Lind ‘gave a well-received speech before some 120 “historic revisionists”’ at a ‘major Holocaust denial conference put on by veteran antiSemite Willis Carto … “These guys” he explained, “were all Jewish”’ (Southern Poverty Law Center 2002: 6). The theory quickly took hold in commentators and organisations across the right-wing ideological spectrum, from fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, paleo-conservatives (like Lind), and racist ‘conservative’ organisations like the Council of Conservative Citizens, through to Klan leaders, militia, National Socialists and other supporters of Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG) conspiracies. The power of the thesis appears to rest in the combination of several factors: first, the exposé of an apparent ‘hidden history’, and the attendant cachet or prestige that individuals may experience in learning about, understanding and sharing this so-called ‘insider knowledge’. Second, the intrusion of an allegedly un-American political ideology into America and, specifically, that this un-American ideology is Marxist in origin and aims. Third, the widespread and deliberate use of intellectual tools (including propaganda and ‘brainwashing’) by elite forces, against the interests of ‘the people’; fourth, the role of foreigners (usually labelled aliens) in this indoctrination and subversion; and, specifically, the insinuation of foreign Jewish infiltration. Thus They are foreign, internationalist, Jewish, Marxist, elitist intellectuals working against Us, American (that is democratic, nationalist, Christian, capitalist, non-elite, Mom-and-Apple-Pie) ordinary people. As Richard Lichtman (Wright Institute) has put it, ‘the Frankfurt School’ is: A convenient target that very few people really know anything about. By grounding their critique in Marxism and using the Frankfurt School, [cultural conservatives] make it seem like it’s quite foreign to anything American. It takes on a mysterious cast and translates as an incomprehensible, antiAmerican, foreign movement that is only interested in undermining the US. (cited in Berkowitz 2003) It rests on a variation of the classic international conspiracy theory (Byford 2011). It covers its anti-Semitic overtones through reference to Communists,

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


Marxists, Germans and PC-multiculturalists, but simultaneously provides enough detail of the supposed ringleaders of the conspiracy that interested individuals (and those already primed with a conspiratorial mind-set) can very easily discover that most of this tiny group of people were, in fact, Jewish. So, the essence of the thesis claims that Jews are responsible for ‘political correctness’ in order to bring down America, or sometimes ‘Western Civilisation’ as a whole.

Anders Behring Breivik Breivik’s lengthy ‘manifesto’ was also founded on this ‘Cultural Marxist’ conspiracy – however, the emphasis on the effects of the conspiracy shifted somewhat in his particular iteration. Race, ‘politically correct’ anti-racism and supposed differences between Black, White and Latino Americans did feature as prominent themes in the originating work of Minnicino, Lind, Weyrich and Atkinson. However for these men, the most significant threat that ‘Cultural Marxism’ posed was in ‘de-Christianizing’ America through advocating sexual freedom, sexual equality and rebelliousness against the family. Breivik also sees himself as a Christian warrior. Yet in his particular version of ‘Cultural Marxism’, the principal threat to Christian values in Western Europe comes not from sex and women but from what he calls an ‘existential conflict’ with Islam. As Beirich (2013: 89) shows, Breivik ‘called for a new Knights Templar to wage guerrilla warfare against the Multiculturalist Alliance through a constant campaign of shock attacks’. His manifesto predicted a coming war that would kill or injure more than a million people as he and his small group of warriors seized ‘political and military control of Western European countries’ and forcibly put into place ‘a cultural conservative political agenda’. Breivik drew liberally on a variety of writers in his Declaration of Independence, paraphrasing, quoting and plagiarising sources examining both the apparent intersecting interests of international capital and Marxist multiculturalism and the effect that this infernal war was having on Western society, politics and culture. The result is an uneven and, at points, contradictory scattergun, citing anti-Muslim screeds written by American bloggers such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer – who together co-founded the organisation Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) – mainstream media sources, neo-liberal and conservative think-tanks (like MEMRI), alongside racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, as refracted through nationalist websites from both sides of the Atlantic (like and There are 77 mentions of ‘Cultural Marxism’ in Declaration of Independence; in addition, there are 294 mentions of ‘Cultural Marxist’ and many more of political correctness and multiculturalism – which, he repeatedly argues, should be viewed as the same thing. He is quite clear (again, repeatedly so) that Europe is suffering a process of Islamisation; the root cause of this is also repeatedly stated:


J. E. Richardson You cannot defeat Islamisation or halt/reverse the Islamic colonization of Western Europe without first removing the political doctrines manifested through multiculturalism/cultural Marxism. (Breivik 2011: 5) Multiculturalism (cultural marxism/political correctness), as you might know, is the root cause of the ongoing Islamisation of Europe. (p. 9) It is essential to understand and acknowledge that our current immigration policies/the Islamisation of Europe is actually a secondary ‘illness’. It is a result of the doctrines of multiculturalism. … Changing our immigration policies or stopping the Islamisation is simply not possible without first dealing with the core problem which is cultural Marxism/cultural relativism/multiculturalism. (pp. 1236–37)

This apparent ‘Islamic colonisation of Western Europe’ is therefore the symptom of a twin process, with two groups of actors: first, there are those introducing, policing and promoting ‘Cultural Marxism’. In Breivik’s words: Many of our political and cultural elites, including politicians, NGO leaders, university professors/lecturers, writers, journalists and editors – the individuals making up the majority of the so called category A and B traitors, knows [sic] exactly what they are doing. They know that they are contributing to a process of indirect cultural and demographical genocide and they need to be held accountable for their actions. (p. 761) Second, there are those who are ultimately responsible for allowing and encouraging this to happen. So, he argues: The ECtHR [European Court of Human Rights] have [sic] become an institution designed to protect and serve the foundations of European political correctness/cultural marxism/multiculturalism. The ECtHR in Strasbourg is therefore a racist and genocidal political entity that only serves to create and offer ideological justification to given multicultural doctrines under camouflage of being ‘humanistic’. It is no more than a tool, an ideological sledgehammer used by cultural Marxists. (p. 338) His argument swirls around itself, in ways that are often contradictory and question begging. For example, sometimes academics or the mass media are Cultural Marxists; on other occasions they are dupes doing the work of Cultural Marxists. Sometimes the cause is Cultural Marxism, on other occasions,

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


Cultural Marxism appears to be the ideological tool to re-educate and emasculate the white European man, so ensuring the racial domination of another group. And who are these ‘racial others’? At points, his explanation veers very close to anti-Semitism, specifically in the form of historical revisionism and ‘Holocaust industries’ conspiracies. So, he argues, the apparent absence of German ‘patriotic’ groups, ‘confirms the miserable state of German patriotism. This again is directly linked to the severity of the German cultural Marxist indoctrination campaigns (the American military presence and the paralysing Jewish Holocaust religion is a part of this picture)’ (p. 735). More specifically, in answering the question ‘are the current Jews in Europe and US disloyal?’, he draws a distinction between the unacceptable ‘multiculturalist (nation-wrecking) Jews’ and the acceptable ‘conservative Jews’ (p. 1162): Aprox. 75% of European/US Jews support multiculturalism while aprox. 50% of Israeli Jews does the same [sic]. This shows very clearly that we must embrace the remaining loyal Jews as brothers rather than repeating the mistake of the NSDAP. … There is no Jewish problem in Western Europe (with the exception of the UK and France) as we only have 1 million in Western Europe, whereas 800 000 out of these 1 million live in France and the UK. The US on the other hand, with more than 6 million Jews (600% more than Europe) actually has a considerable Jewish problem. This distinction – wherein there is a ‘Jewish problem’ in France, the UK and the USA as a direct result of the apparent size of the Jewish population – is unlikely to counter the accusation that he regards the presence of Jews as inherently undesirable. Indeed, later in the Declaration of Independence he specifically states ‘as conservatives, we cannot and should not pretend that all aspects of National Socialism are bad’ (p. 1226). Yet on other occasions he specifically denounces Nazism and Holocaust denial, stating that no member of his ‘Knights Templar’ organisation can ‘be a Nazi-sympathiser or support white supremacy ideologies as those are considered hate ideologies’ (p. 1073). Later he outlines four ‘hate ideologies’ which ‘we reject and distance ourselves from’ (p. 1237), wherein ‘National Socialism’ is simply defined as ‘anti-Jewish hate ideology’ (ibid.). And yet, elsewhere, in a neat solution to both Lebensraum and the demographic ‘Jewish problem’, he argues that the Nazi Party ought to have implemented a ‘Madagascar option’ and simply deported Jews to make Germany Judenrein: If the NSDAP had been isolationistic instead of imperialistic (expansionist) and just deported the Jews (to a liberated and Muslim free Zion) instead of massacring them, the anti-European hate ideology known as


J. E. Richardson multiculturalism would have never been institutionalized in Western Europe. (p. 1435) [Hitler] could have easily worked out an agreement with the UK and France to liberate the ancient Jewish Christian lands with the purpose of giving the Jews back their ancestral lands. The UK and France would perhaps even contribute to such a campaign in an effort to support European reconciliation. The deportation of the Jews from Germany wouldn’t be popular but eventually, the Jewish people would regard Hitler as a hero because he returned the Holy land to them. (p. 1162)

His inconsistent attitude towards National Socialism appears to be in part the result of his cut/paste approach to using published texts and in part a reflection of his restricted understanding of Nazism itself. It is his radical reduction of Nazism to two features – Judenhass and Lebensraum – that allows him to simultaneously reject National Socialism and yet accept many of its precepts, as long as they are applied within national borders. So, while he claims to oppose fascism and imperial expansionism, he does support the use of: Military coups [to] overthrow all multiculturalist (cultural Marxist) regimes in Western Europe within the year 2100 and replace them with governments supervised by a ‘patriotic guardian tribunal’ consisting of cultural conservatives/nationalists. The doctrines of multiculturalism (cultural Marxism) and Islam will be banned as a hate ideology. The traditional Western European model for constitutional democracy (massdemocracy) will be reformed. Areas related to ‘security and culture’ (immigration, security, cultural identity, traditions) will be supervised by the guardian tribunal which has the right to veto. The rights of media companies, independent journalists and globalist companies to influence and shape politics will be considerably restricted. (pp. 832–33) Freedom of thought and political association would also be proscribed in his utopia: ‘Individuals who have historically supported a cultural Marxist/ multiculturalist view should be replaced by cultural conservatives and/or reeducated’ (p. 1303). Across the programmatic portions of the Declaration he demonstrates support for mass concentration and murder of political opponents, eugenics as the basis of racial ‘improvement’ of society, removal of workers’ organisations, the wholescale restructuring of the education system to serve the ideological aims of ‘revolutionary conservatism’, removal of press freedom, emergency powers enabling a ‘conservative Guardian Council’ to veto any Bill where ‘primary values are threatened’, among other fascist policies. Despite his repeated denials, Breivik is unquestionably a fascist.

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


The British National Party’s cultural project As Beirich (2013: 98) shows: There is a relatively integrated circuit of white nationalists who speak on both sides of the Atlantic … In the early 2000s, the BNP had an American fundraising arm called the American Friends of the British National Party (AFBNP). The AFBNP brought together dozens of prominent American racists at events held specifically to raise funds for the BNP. Given this networking and interaction, it would be unusual if a sharing of ideas, arguments and political strategies had also not occurred. Like every other British fascist party seeking power through the ballot box since the Second World War, the BNP has adopted a ‘dual style’ of political communication: ‘esoteric appeals’ are used to communicate the truth to party insiders and grossly simplified ‘exoteric appeals’ are used to address both the mass membership and the electorate (see Taylor 1979: 127). Nick Griffin is on the record arguing explicitly for this Janus-faced communications policy in an article he wrote in 1999 just before he became leader (see Richardson 2011, 2013b for a discussion). The remainder of this chapter is structured in accordance with this ‘dual style’ of political communication, examining three levels of discourse aimed at, or consumed by, different political audiences (or at least, interlocking and overlapping political audiences): the voting public; the new recruit and other individuals interested in learning more about the party; and the party insider and cognoscente. First, like all political parties, the BNP produces texts which are distributed to the public without our consent. These exposure texts – including genres like leaflets, posters, newspaper adverts and party election broadcasts – arrive in our life regardless whether we wanted them to or not; they are free, and require no choice or opt-in. In such texts, there are very few references to culture, cultural identity and the wider cultural conflict with which the BNP is engaged. Leaflets, posters and other forms of political advertising tend to lead on the core political issues of the BNP, the core political identity or brand of the party and the symptomatic political problems that the BNP believes will be solved under a future BNP government. Culture and (multi-)cultural struggle tend to only make an appearance in leaflets that include a 10-point programme, and then in ways that are vague, populist, tokenistic and fixated on St George’s Day and flag. Figure 11.2, excerpted from the 2008 GLA election leaflet, represents an unusual example of such a 10-part list – unusual because the party used first person narrative accounts of policy concerns. In the final exemplar of party policy, a talking head named ‘Builder Ken Seager’ vocalises an argument that we should celebrate St George’s Day rather than Ramadan or Eid. In keeping with the way that these 10-part lists typically function in BNP leaflets, we see a monocausal fixation with immigration and non-British people: that They


J. E. Richardson

STUDENT Samantha White "I'm definitely voting BNP in future. They are the only party who want tax breaks for working families. They will raise the threshold for paying income tax to £15,000 a year which will make a real difference to my family."

STUDENT Samantha White "I'm voting BNP because they are the only party who care about the Irish. Our jobs are under threat from economic migrants and only the BNP will stop this. The BNP value the Irish community and will defend our interests."

STUDENT Samantha White "I'm voting BNP because they are the only party that wants to get us out of Europe. We pay over a million pounds in tax every hour to Brussels. Imagine how many nurses and police officers we could employ with that money?"

STUDENT Samantha White "I vote British National Party because I'm proud of my country and our heritage. We should celebrate things like St. George's Day and other British festivals like St Andrew's Day instead of Ramadan and Eid."

Figure 11.2 ‘People Like You’, Greater London Authority election leaflet, 2008 (extract)

are here, causing problems, and stopping Us enjoying Our lives in the way that We assume We are entitled to (see Richardson 2008 for discussion). The categories We and They are unelaborated (which allows them a get-out defence that they weren’t being racist) and, significantly, so too are the reasons for this – in other words, the cause of Britain’s political problems is absent, in favour of emphasising the symptoms of political decline. Goodwin (2011) shows that the first source that potential new recruits go to when they want to find out more about the BNP is their website. Given the apprehension most recruits feel in contacting the BNP, or attending a meeting, the website ‘assumes a central role in the recruitment process [… and] was often seen as an important tool through which they could explore the BNP, its policies and goals’ (Goodwin 2011: 135). In contrast to the BNP’s exposure texts, a central argument of news and discussion on the website is that political problems have a cultural foundation – a cultural cause in the form of the mainstream media. For the BNP, the mainstream media promote multiculturalism; they cover up or ignore the problems of race mixing; and so they act against the interests of Us, the white majority. Dave Baxter (2007: 17), writing in the party magazine Identity, argues for example that it is ‘the sphere of mass popular culture’ rather than the ‘exhausted and shrinking political arena’ which ‘exerts the most influence over our people, creating and enforcing a culture of conformism and mindless acceptance of its twisted and inverted values’. In a later issue, John Maddox (founding his argument on a similarly outmoded ‘hypodermic needle’ model of media influence) claims ‘The mass media in Britain today is a coarse, dumbed-down, sex- and “celebrity”-obsessed, morality-free, Christianity-baiting, unpatriotic, slavishly politically-correct disgrace’ (p. 27), which is directly responsible for encouraging ‘low conception rates, record abortion numbers, mass immigration, high

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


Tuition Fees Debacle: £4 Billion Cut off University Budget, but £20 Billion Spent on Illegal Wars The controlled media has refused to compare the £4 billion university budget c u t News Item-BNP News-10/12/2010 -13:18 -0 comments Egyptian Copts Appeal to BNPMEP for Help After Renewed Attacks by Islamists ... which are routinely covered up by the politically-correct controlled mass media. In a statement released by Mr Griffin's... News Item-BNP News- 08/12/2010 -19:45 -0 comments Whites Blamed Because Black Students Fail to Get into Oxbridee ...exclusion" at Oxford and Cambridge. The controlled media lost no time in rebroadcastingthe statistics, with lurid... News Item-BNP News-07/12/2010 -16:17 -0 comments Hypocrite Hague Condemns Iranian Sharia Law, But Tories Want that legal System in Britain ... is astonishing because in this country our politically controlled police are told to ignore honour violence because of "cultural and ... News Item-BNP News-09/07/2010 -19:35 -43 comments

Figure 11.3 Extract from the BNP’s ‘controlled media’ corpus, generated 28 July 2011

immigrant birth rates, [and] record British emigration’ (p. 29). This, he concludes, ‘will result in self-genocide within the next few generations’ in accordance with the plans of ‘our intellectual and ruling elites’ (ibid.). Turning to the website, it is interesting to note the terms of reference used, because here the party rarely uses the noun phrase ‘the mainstream media’, preferring instead ‘the controlled media’. Figure 11.3 details a small part of the sizeable corpus of articles available on the BNP website that refer to ‘the controlled media’, and shows some of the ways that the term is invoked: As this list suggests, BNP writers are unhappy with a range of stories and topics reported in ‘the controlled media’. The full corpus includes articles alleging that the controlled media covered up ‘the conviction of Trotskyite and David Cameron-endorsed violent UAF thug Martin Smith’;5 ignored ‘Britain’s deficit to GDP ratio’;6 and exaggerated ‘climate change theory … to scaremonger Western nations into a renewed bout of higher taxes and deindustrialization’.7 However, the greatest emphasis is placed on the function of the mass media vis-à-vis race, immigration and Islam. The ‘twisted and inverted values’ of ‘the controlled press’ are apparently reflected in two simultaneous strategies that reveal their ‘anti-white’ bias: negative stories about Black people, Muslims or immigration ‘are routinely covered up by the politically correct controlled mass media’ while negative stories about White people are emphasised and exaggerated.8 Accordingly, stories about ‘black


J. E. Richardson

immigrant-origin gun crime’ and ‘the Third World gang warfare that is engulfing several UK cities’ are ‘ignored’;9 ‘shocking statistics’ about ‘failed asylum seekers’ are buried;10 and, in contrast, ‘bizarre’, ‘sinister’ and ‘vicious anti-white racism’ is ‘repeated, without question, in the pages of the controlled media’.11 With regard to Britain’s Muslim population specifically, apparently the mass media have ‘deliberately focussed on the symptoms, and not the causes of the Islamist terrorist threat in Britain today’12 – though just what these causes are, is not discussed. This issue of absence – and specifically, whether a phrase, idea or argument is not discussed in BNP discourse or only absent in certain contexts – is crucial to consider. While the phrase, ‘the controlled media’, is entirely absent from the exposure texts it forms a significant pedagogic role in the news reports on the website. It acts like a bridge between exoteric ideas and texts (aimed at a non-aligned or unacquainted audience) and the esoteric ideas and texts that circulate between initiates and party insiders. It provides a metaargument, or overarching theory, within which other arguments are located, and from which these arguments draw strength and coherence. But a discussion or elaboration of who is doing the controlling is absent in these articles. After all, to be controlled there needs to be a process in which that control is achieved, or realised; the ‘controlled media’ need to have a controller – someone, or something, that is attaining this control, keeping this control, and perhaps some rationale for them doing this. The news articles on the BNP website do not solve this riddle. When we examine texts that the public needs to locate and pay for themselves – inter alia books, newspapers, magazines or music, produced or distributed by the party, or those written by others and circulated between party members – the who and why of ‘the controlled media’ start to be fleshed out, but only in more summative and reflective genres on sale or circulating among members. The primarily news-based format of Voice of Freedom rarely contained such elaboration, which perhaps explains why this publication tended to be sent to new recruits following a request for an information pack (Goodwin 2011). The magazine Identity frequently did elaborate on the conspiracy, though here too the referential terms were vague, euphemised and metaphorical, and the argumentative strategies an odd combination of extreme monocausality – it is all the fault of a single group, or a single unholy alliance of the enemies of the nation – but which only refer to these enemies in vague or analogous terms. A paradigm example is the article ‘Tolkien’s warning on international finance’ (Harper, 2010a), which uses The Lord of the Rings as an inroad to discuss A.K. Chesterton’s ‘incisive views on democracy and the media’ (p. 31). In this article, Alastair Harper claims that The Lord of the Rings is an allegory on the evils of ‘International Finance’ and ‘Usury’ (both terms notably capitalised), and that the gold rings of the stories, ‘forged in the fire of Mount Doom’, should be read as ‘symbols of International Finance and its power to completely control the mass media and politicians worldwide’ (p. 31).13

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


However, even here, the code is unelaborated. The article gives very little contextualisation regarding A.K. Chesterton nor does it say what quoting him implies; we’re not told that he was the first leader of the National Front or that he was a leading member of the British Union of Fascists and National Socialists before the Second World War, or that he was a lifelong anti-Semite (Baker 1996; see also Woodbridge, in this volume). He is, instead, simply described as ‘a cousin of the celebrated late 19th century poet Gilbert Keith Chesterton’ and the editor of ‘the nationalist journal Candour’ (ibid.). The article quotes Chesterton arguing: The main mark of modern governments is that we do not know who governs, de facto any more than de jure. We see the politician and not his backer; still less the backer of the backer; or, what is most important of all, the banker of the backer. None of these categories is elaborated further – in fact the quote suggests that they could not be elaborated further, because Chesterton does ‘not know who governs’. But he knows that it is someone, and it’s someone we’re not being told about. This is indefeasible reasoning; the conspiracy is elevated to an ontological status; and though, by its nature, it is unprovable (the backers of the backers and the bankers of the backers of the backers are presumably too clever and powerful to allow themselves to be discovered), like an iceberg, there is enough of the conspiracy showing to suggest the shape of that which is concealed. Of course, these articles do not exist in a political vacuum. The BNP is not the first fascist party that has warned of the ‘controlled’ press, nor of the evils of ‘International Finance’, nor of the alleged undue influence of an international elite group. These terms have a foundational status and fundamental importance to fascist discourse, being referred to and discussed incessantly since the 1930s. For example, one of hundreds of articles alleging that Jews controlled capitalism and Communism alike was included in the first issue of the BUF intellectual journal, Fascist Quarterly: The advent to power of the Democrats in America, under the influence of the great Jewish financial forces typified in the names of Baruch, Schiff and Morgenthau, was quickly followed by American recognition of the Soviet Government. The Jew Litvinov was a welcome negotiator to the Yiddish lords of the American political scene. … At the same time the whole barrage of the democratic Press in the West (controlled, as it largely is, both in England and in France, either by camouflaged Jewish capital or by Jewish executives) was concentrated against ‘Japanese imperialism’. (1935: 12, emphases added) Jumping forward, as late as 1996, the catalogue for the BNP Book Service still sold the conspiracy text The New Unhappy Lords by A.K. Chesterton. This


J. E. Richardson

book asks the question ‘Are these master manipulators and master-conspirators Jewish?’, and takes over 200 pages to answer: Almost certainly ‘yes’. Whether or not One World is the secret final objective of Zionism, World Jewry is the most powerful single force on earth and it follows that all major policies which have been ruthlessly pursued through the last several decades must have had the stamp of Jewish approval. (Chesterton 1965: 204) It is the existence of this rich, unbroken tradition in fascist argumentation that removes the need for each contemporary text to spell out in an explicit and detailed way who ‘the controllers’ are, and how they use the twin evils of international finance and Communism to advance their infernal plans. The use of unelaborated concepts (‘International Finance’ and race-neutral ‘immigration’ being key here) and describing processes with deleted agents (control, dominance, manipulation, etc.) consequently serves two functions in fascist discourse – one semantic and one political. Semantically, indexing this longstanding discursive tradition means that precise meanings of terms like ‘international financiers’ do not have to be given in contemporary texts; their meanings are created intertextually, having been built up over the decades in the layers of prior (fascist) texts. Politically, invoking unelaborated concepts also helps solve the dilemma referred to at the start of this chapter: language is ameliorated in order to appeal to a broader constituency of supporters while the party simultaneously signals its continued commitment to fascist politics to its ‘cadres’ and longstanding devotees. Awareness, edification and continuation of this rich textual tradition is therefore a significant feature of fascist political culture.

The British National Party and ‘Cultural Marxism’ ‘Cultural Marxism’ took some time to filter through to the consciousness of the BNP ideologues, but by 2007 there was a notable rise in articles invoking and discussing the thesis. Most of these presented the argument in ways that presupposed both its veracity and its acceptance as an explanation for Britain’s social and cultural decline. One important article, written by John Bean (2007: 21), starts by stating ‘political correctness has grown to such dominance in Britain and the West that it threatens to kill all independent thought’ – the use of has and it threatens without modal qualification reveals that these processes are presupposed to exist and are not raised as matters for consideration or debate. The reason for the dominance of ‘political correctness’ lies in its origins: The Marxist-inspired Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany … they believed that the only way for Communism to advance

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


was to help (or force, if necessary) Western Civilisation to destroy itself. … The Frankfurt School decided that one way to achieve this was to change the West’s speech and thought patterns by spreading the idea that vocalising your beliefs is disrespectful to others and must be avoided to make up for past inequities and injustices. (ibid.) The thesis was quickly adopted by a range of writers and presented as a foundational truth. In a letter published in Identity, one reader wrote: ‘Multiculturalism (originally planned by the German Marxists who set up the Frankfurt School in the 1920s) is simply a means of destroying Western traditions’ (Musgrave 2008: 24). And, in accordance with the axiomatic belief ‘that multiculturalism is a Jewish conspiracy’ (Copsey 2007: 74), this novel way of conceptualising political correctness and Marxism was quickly accommodated within the broader international conspiracy between (Jewish) Communism and (Jewish) international capitalism (see also Copsey 2008). In essence, if the BNP’s exposure texts present the symptoms of Britain’s decline – principally, though not exclusively, refracted through race and immigration – and the ‘controlled media’ represent the cultural disease, with ‘Cultural Marxism’ the BNP had found a way to discuss the pathogen without explicit reference to Zionism or Jews. Echoing the tactic of the American paleo-conservatives who coined and developed the theory, Harper (2010b) argued that the issue is not whether there are any links between Cultural Marxism and global capitalism but rather that these links are not commonly known about – an argumentative strategy that, again, simply presupposes the conspiracy exists: What is not sufficiently, if at all, publicised, is that the idea of globalisation is insidiously in tandem with political correctness, itself reincarnated Marxism. … Moral, cultural and national boundaries and the very family itself stand in the way of globalisation and cultural Marxism, the latter being the proper definition of political correctness. (p. 44) All around them, the writers for Identity were suddenly seeing evidence of ‘the success of the Gramsci programme of the early sixties, when the Marxists realised that as the West would never fall to a Communist revolution of the working class, education and the media must be infiltrated until only the Marxist view is held’.14 Whereas previously Nick Griffin wrote in vague and oblique ways about ‘our [political] Masters’, ‘a dogmatic liberal ruling class’ and ‘the Masters of the media’ (2003: 4–8), now the education system was, unquestionably, under the control of ‘Marxist and neo-Marxist teachers’ teaching ‘political correctness and revisionist history’ (Roberts 2008: 18); the BBC was a victim of ‘the Long March Through the Institutions’, taken over ‘by those who had come to accept Gramsci’s views’ (Heydon n.d.: 37); and ‘our political establishment has been hijacked by this liberal-Marxist ideology’


J. E. Richardson

(Golding 2008: 8). Cultural Marxism was eagerly grasped as a way of unifying and euphemising a conspiratorial, anti-Semitic political history and reformulating it as an established political history – or, at least, a historic narrative supported by certain verifiable rudiments. Specific authors, Schools, books and arguments were picked out and slotted into an integrated, international conspiracy in which capitalist globalisation ‘shares with the Trotskyite creed’ a ‘need to destroy all institutions and traditional restraints which stand in the way of International Finance and its ultimate World Empire’ (Harper 2010b: 44). A very small number of articles have also appeared on the BNP homepage specifically discussing ‘Cultural Marxism’, neo-Marxism and the Frankfurt School. In ‘Understanding the Frankfurt School’, a short article which functioned to promote a clip from BNP-TV, ‘Nick Griffin analyses how this neo-Marxist ideology is helping to destroy Britain’ through conspiring to ‘systematically assault traditional institutions of the West, and, later, through mass immigration’.15 The international (Jewish) conspiracy between Marxism and capitalism is indexed, but unelaborated, at two points in the article. First, alleging that ‘the School has spawned an even greater unholy alliance, that between the revolutionary Marxists and big business’; and second, in a lengthy quote from Griffin reproduced on the article: If you want to understand what is going on in our world, especially in Britain … you have to understand the naked greed of big business and its ability to buy politicians and buy the political elite, and you have to understand how the Frankfurt School and the far left are working with these people to destroy all that we hold dear. This doesn’t mention Jews, or claim that Jews are the common enemy in this unholy alliance, but it is hearable as this, given the ways that British fascist discourse historically positioned Jews as the key architects of both Communism and international finance (Byford 2011; Copsey 2008; Richardson 2013a). An advantage (for analysts) of web 2.0 is that readers can respond; they can orientate to and elaborate on points raised in articles, including points left vague or strategically ambivalent. Figure 11.4 captures the tenor of the discussion thread underneath this article. The comment, from someone calling themselves ‘ethnosocialist’, is the second post in the thread, and orientates exactly to the unelaborated identity of the conspirators. Teasing out the assumptions and implications of the first sentence in the comment provides us with the following: Classical Marxists – reject the Frankfurt School – NOT following a Jewish agenda [rejecting the Frankfurt School means you are not following a Jewish agenda] [therefore following the Frankfurt School entails following a Jewish agenda].

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


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Quite a few classical Marxists, those who are NOT following a Jewish agenda, reject the Frankfurt School. I found this interesting PDF on the internet entitled "The Frankfurt School versus Marxism" by David North (2008), in which the author claims the Frankfurt school Is rather against Marxism, subverted Marxism, and represents the forces of capitalism. "the influence of the Frankfurt School was consolidated in universities and colleges where so many ex-radicals found tenured positions. From within the walls of the academy, the partisans of the Frankfurt School conducted unrelenting war - not against capitalism but rather aqainst Marxism" I haven't read all of the essay as it seems boring waffle but this Information that Marxists are highly divided on the Frankfurt School is good news. I put that together with the fact many Marxists recognise that immigration by foreign workers is an assault on indigenous workers' waoes and workina conditions. This is to be encouraaed. ' 1 ir-jnth . ago

- i : ••-• l : : p f ; l _

Figure 11.4 An ‘ethnosocialist’ comment

This comment – which could have been deleted by the website moderator – explicitly reveals what was left strategically absent in Griffin’s interview: that the Frankfurt School is part of, or reflects, ‘a Jewish agenda’. Logically, this additionally parses the meaning of the ‘unholy alliance … between the revolutionary Marxists and big business’ referred to higher up the article. Since this alliance was spawned by the Frankfurt School, it is also part of a Jewish agenda. And the fact that ‘ethnosocialist’ can conclude this despite not having actually having read all of the essay he believes proves this (‘as it seems boring waffle’) reveals the extent to which this is an article of political faith for him.

Conclusion The ‘Cultural Marxism’ thesis did not originate in Britain, nor is it invoked solely by the BNP. Since the conspiracy theory was first coined by American ‘cultural conservatives’, it has been re-interpreted, adopted and circulated by a wide range of right-wing individuals and political groups. Since 2004, for example, the Austrian Freedom Party has been publishing conspiratorial assessments of the Frankfurt School and the Cultural Revolution through its educational institute, the Bildungsakademie.16 In 2013, Miles Windsor – the Chair of the activist group Conservative Grassroots – argued that the split in the UK Conservative Party over same-sex marriage is evidence that ‘Cultural Marxists, who have been working behind the scenes for decades in Britain, have broken both marriage and the Conservative party’.17 And, as I have discussed, Anders Behring Breivik used a version of ‘Cultural Marxism’ to


J. E. Richardson

underpin his mass murder. The theory, it seems, is increasingly acting like a lightning rod for many on the political right-wing. With regard to the BNP, I offer the following concluding points on the ways that they orientate to cultural conflict generally and ‘Cultural Marxism’ specifically. First, as with so many aspects of their discourse, we should not take the relative absence of culture in their most widely disseminated materials as evidence that it is an issue of minor importance to the party. Looking to their more specialised, detailed and esoteric literature, we can see that a cultural struggle permeates much of their discourse, and specifically a struggle against the cultural forces of the left – cultural Marxists, multiculturalists and their willing dupes in the controlled media – who the BNP positions as the true enemies and obstacles of their political programme. The BNP’s exposure texts deal almost exclusively with symptoms of social and political decline – what the party sees as the problems of society, distilled down as a series of programmatic political commitments. The second level of discourse deals with the disease causing these symptoms – and here cultural factors are presented as having a causal influence. Primary among these are the mainstream media and the political culture of the country, as represented in the three largest British political parties. However the BNP rarely uses the noun phrase ‘the mainstream media’; they instead use the controlled media, a referential strategy which logically entails an agent or a force in control or doing the controlling. According to the BNP website, in particular, the ‘controlled media’ deliberately focus on the symptoms rather than the causes of Britain’s problems. The third level of discourse provides the answer to this riddle: ‘Cultural Marxists’ are identified as the pathogen causing the disease and, when specific people or organisations cannot be (or are not) identified, their putative ideology ‘Cultural Marxism’ is instead proposed as holding a hegemonic influence over the mass of the population. ‘Cultural Marxism’, in this Weltanschauung, acts as a floating signifier. It is a discursive will-o’-the-wisp, and as such its meaning shifts according to the rhetorical, political and contextual conditions of its use. While always prefaced by a conspiratorial interpretation of society, politics and history, the chimeric aims and motivations of ‘Cultural Marxists’ vary between iterations. For some individuals and parties Cultural Marxism means a political movement intended to undermine Christian values and instead impose an atheistic materialism; for others it means a political movement intended to undermine the White Man (the gender-specific noun here is intentional); for others, it is both these things and more, because the ostensible goals of undermining Christian values and the White Man can be fitted into a broader meta-narrative involving complete hegemonic control over Us. Control is central to the thesis – control over Us, contrary to Our interests, and a controller who profits from Their dominance – and processes of undermining (‘Christian values’, the White Man, etc.) are the first stage on the path to achieving this power. Thus, at root, ‘Cultural Marxism’ is presented as a conspiracy to undermine – to militate against an established, traditional, accepted (and acceptable) way of

‘Cultural Marxism’ and the BNP


life and, in its place, to impose a so-called ‘politically correct’ alternative which is against the best interests of the (White) majority. The argument and the rationale behind it assume a nativist organic link between a national community and a group of people with a natural right to shape the present and future culture of this community. It is these people, alone, who should have the power to educate, to enculture, to disseminate, to establish and to support their own cultural hegemony. Any challenge to this assumed power – any challenge to their right to speak for, on behalf of or about any other group in whatever manner they deem acceptable – is recast in apocalyptic terms as the end of civilisation as a whole. Let us imagine for a moment, however, that the ‘Cultural Marxism’ project – political correctness – is actually real. Let us imagine that it is possible to synthesise and aggregate the principal aims and objectives of ‘Cultural Marxism’, in all its various permutations, and present this as a coherent whole. When viewed in toto, ‘Cultural Marxism’ is little more than a need to acknowledge that we live in multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural societies; that all people should enjoy civil liberties within society, regardless of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or political viewpoint; and that, as such, we all need to try to avoid being racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory, and correct ourselves when we slip up. It is, essentially, an acknowledgement of our shared humanity. It is this egalitarian principle that political reactionaries of all stripes cannot abide, and it is the fight for principles of equality – of access, opportunity and outcome in all spheres of life – that they continue to oppose.

Notes 1 I’d like to thank Martin Durham for alerting me to some of the texts I discuss in this section. 2 See Michael Minnicino, ‘The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and “Political Correctness”’, Fidelio, Winter 1992. Available at: 91-96/921_frankfurt.html [Accessed 5 Jul. 2013]. 3 See [Accessed 5 Jul. 2013]. 4 On this point, Beirich (2013: 90) writes: ‘The anti-Muslim author Robert Spencer, who runs the Jihad Watch website, was cited by Breivik 64 times in his manifesto and excerpted extensively. … Along with Spencer, Breivik also drew inspiration from anti-Muslim American blogger and close Spencer ally Pam Geller. She, along with Spencer, established Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) … Geller has spoken glowingly about the EDL and invited members of the group to New York, to one of her protests. The relationships between Breivik, Spencer, Geller, the EDL, SIOA, etc. reveal a thickening web of connections between individuals and groups on the extreme right in the United States and Europe.’ 5 BNP News, ‘Controlled Media Covers Up Conviction of Cameron-Supported UAF Thug’, 12 Sep. 2010. Available at: [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013]. 6 BNP News, ‘Ireland’s Debt Crisis: But What About Britain’s?’, 23 Nov. 2010. Available at: ain%E2%80%99s [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013].


J. E. Richardson

7 BNP News, ‘Hysterical Exaggerations and Outright Lies: How the “Climate Change” Hoax is Collapsing Under its Own Falsehoods’, 17 Nov. 2010. Available at: Cclimate-change%E2%80%9D-hoax-collapsing-under-its-own-f [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013]. 8 BNP News, ‘Egyptian Copts Appeal to BNP MEP for Help After Renewed Attacks by Islamists’, 8 Dec. 2010. Available at: n-copts-appeal-bnp-mep-help-after-renewed-attacks-islamists [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013]. 9 BNP News, ‘Police’s Specialist Black Gun Crime Unit Faces Disbandment as Shootings Continue’, 23 Nov. 2010. Available at: E2%80%99s-specialist-black-gun-crime-unit-faces-disbandment-shootings-continue [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013]. 10 BNP News, ‘8,000 Failed Asylum Seekers Get Permission to Stay in Britain Every Month’, 14 Oct. 2010. Available at: kers-get-permission-stay-britain-every-month [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013]. 11 BNP News, ‘The Latest Slur: White People Blamed for “Asylum Seeker” Deaths’, 28 Oct. 2010. Available at: sylum-seeker-deaths [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013]. 12 BNP News, ‘Once Again, Controlled Media Hides the Truth Behind Heightened Terrorist Threat on Our Streets’, 27 Oct. 2010. Available at: once-again-controlled-media-hides-truth-behind-heightened-terrorist-threat-ourstreets [Accessed 14 Aug. 2013]. 13 The Lord of the Rings is an enduring preoccupation for British fascists. In an earlier article, Nick Griffin (2004: 4) argued that there are ‘unmistakable parallels between the threat posed to Tolkien’s fictional West by armies of monstrous Orcs … and the real-life challenge posed to our civilisation and identity by mass Third World immigration’. 14 Identity [no author] (2009), ‘Pupils Told “All Whites Are Fascists”’, Issue 102, p. 7. 15 ‘Understanding the Frankfurt School’. Available at: standing-frankfurt-school [Accessed 2 Sep. 2013]. 16 See [Accessed 2 Sep. 2013]. 17 Miles Windsor, ‘David Cameron has caused a crisis in conservatism’, The Spectator, 21 May 2013. Available at: vid-cameron-has-caused-a-crisis-in-conservatism/ [Accessed 2 Sep. 2013]. I’d like to thank David Smith for alerting me to this example.

References Atkinson, G.L. (1999) ‘About the Frankfurt School’. Available at: http://frankfurt [Accessed 15 Apr. 2013]. Atkinson, G.L. (2004) ‘Radical Feminism and Political Correctness’. Available at: [Accessed 8 Jul. 2013]. Baker, D. (1996) Ideology of Obsession: A.K. Chesterton and British Fascism. London: I.B. Tauris. Baxter, D. (2007) ‘The Media: Number One Enemy’, Identity, 74: 16–18. Bean, J. (2007) ‘The Marxist Origins of Political Correctness’, Identity, 74: 21. Beirich, H. (2013) ‘Hate Across the Waters: The Role of American Extremists in Fostering an International White Consciousness’, in Wodak, R., KhosraviNik, M. and Mral, B. (eds) Right Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

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Berkowitz, B. (2003) ‘Cultural Marxism’ Catching On, Intelligence Report, 110 (Summer). Available at:,0 [Accessed 12 Apr. 2013]. Billig, M. (1978) Fascists: A Social Psychological View of the National Front. London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch. Billig, M. (1985) ‘Prejudice, Categorization and Particularization: From a Perceptual to a Rhetorical Approach’, European Journal of Social Psychology, 15(1): 79–103. Billig, M. (1988a) ‘The Notion of “Prejudice”: Some Rhetorical and Ideological Aspects’, Text – Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse, 8(1–2): 91–110. Billig, M. (1988b) ‘Rhetoric of the Conspiracy Theory: Arguments in National Front Propaganda’, Patterns of Prejudice, 22(2): 23–34. Billig, M. (1990) ‘Psychological Aspects of Fascism’, Patterns of Prejudice, 24(1): 19–31. Billig, M. (1991) Ideology and Opinions: Studies in Rhetorical Psychology. London: Sage. Billig, M. and Cochrane, R. (1981) ‘The National Front and Youth’, Patterns of Prejudice, 15(4): 3–15. Blahut, F. C. (1999) ‘Reverberations of Hegel, Freud are Felt in Twentieth Century America and Europe’, Spotlight, 1 Feb.: 20–21. Breivik, A.B. (2011) 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. Byford, J. (2011) Conspiracy Theories: A Critical Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Chesterton, A.K. (1965) The New Unhappy Lords. London: Candour Publishing. Copsey, N. (2007) ‘Changing Course or Changing Clothes? Reflections on the Ideological Evolution of the British National Party 1999–2006’, Patterns of Prejudice, 41(1): 61–82. Copsey, N. (2008) Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy, 2nd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Cox, J. (1999) ‘Cultural Communism at its Roots’, Spotlight, 5 July: 20. Engel, J. and Wodak, R. (2009) ‘Kalkulierte Ambivalenz: Störungen und das Gedankenjahr: Die Causen Siegfried Kampl und John Gudenus’, in de Cillia, R. and Wodak, R. (eds) Gedenken im Gedankenjahr. Innsbruck: Studienverlag. Engel, J. and Wodak, R. (2013) ‘Calculated Ambivalence and Holocaust Denial in Austria’, in Wodak, R. and Richardson J.E. (eds) Analysing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text. New York: Routledge. Fascist Quarterly (1935) ‘The Philosophy of Fascism’ (Notes of the Quarter), 1(1) January. Golding, P. (2008) ‘Democracy in Decay’, Identity, 96: 8–10. Goodwin, M.J. (2011) New British Fascism: Rise of the British National Party. Abingdon: Routledge. Griffin, N. (2003) ‘Knowing Who We are and Where We have to Go’, Identity, 30: 4–8. Griffin, N. (2004) ‘Stand, Men of the West’, Identity, 40: 4–6. Harper, A. (2010a) ‘Tolkien’s Warning on International Finance’, Identity, 103: 30–31. Harper, A. (2010b) ‘The End of Globalisation’, Identity, 103: 44–51. Heydon, T. (n.d.; circa 2009) ‘Coming Next on the BBC: Sex With Babies?’, Identity, 102: 36–38. Lind, W.S. (2007) Who Stole Our Culture? Available at: [Accessed 6 Sep. 2013]. Maddox, J. (n.d.; circa 2009) ‘Before the Deluge’, Identity, 100: 26–29. Musgrave, R. (2008) ‘Speakers’ Corner [Readers’ Letter]’, Identity, 96: 24.


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Neocleous, M. (1997) Fascism. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Richardson, J.E. (2008) ‘“Our England”: Discourses of “Race” and Class in Party Election Leaflets’, Social Semiotics, 18(3): 321–336. Richardson, J.E. (2011) ‘Race and Racial Difference: The Surface and Depth of BNP Ideology’, in Copsey, N. and Macklin, G. (eds) British National Party: Contemporary Perspectives. London: Routledge. Richardson, J.E. (2013a) ‘Racial Populism in British Fascist Discourse: The Case of COMBAT and the British National Party (1960–67)’, in Wodak, R. and Richardson, J.E. (eds) Analysing Fascist Discourse: European Fascism in Talk and Text. New York: Routledge. Richardson, J.E. (2013b) ‘Ploughing the Same Furrow? Continuity and Change on Britain’s Extreme-right Fringe’, in Wodak, R., KhosraviNik, M. and Mral, B. (eds) Right Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse. London: Bloomsbury Academic. Richardson, J.E. and Wodak, R. (2009) ‘Recontextualising Fascist Ideologies of the Past: Right-wing Discourses on Employment and Nativism in Austria and the United Kingdom’, Critical Discourse Studies, 6(4): 251–267. Roberts, M. (2008) ‘Racism in Education’, Identity, 96: 18–19. Southern Poverty Law Center (2002) ‘Mainstreaming Hate’, Intelligence Report, 107 (Fall 2002): 6–7. Available at: browse-all-issues/2002/fall/mainstreaming-hate [Accessed 12 Apr. 2013]. Taylor, S. (1979) ‘The National Front: Anatomy of a Political Movement’, in Miles, R. and Phizacklea, A. (eds) Racism and Political Action. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Valentine, T. (1999) ‘Subversion of Western Traditions Traced to Marxist-Jewish Clique in Germany’, Spotlight, 11 Jan.: 12–14. Woodley, D. (2010) Fascism and Political Theory: Critical Perspectives on Fascist Ideology. Abingdon: Routledge.


1984 (Orwell, G.) 93, 94, 96, 178 2083: A European Declaration of Independence (Breivik, A.B.) 135, 140n37, 202, 209, 211 Abel, Solomon 99 abortion 71–2, 73, 75, 80 Action periodical: cultural history and heritage 30, 31; cultural regeneration 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18–19, 21, 22, 24 From Admiral to Cabin Boy (Domvile, B.) 35 Adorno, Theodor 110 After All, This is England (Muller, R.) 110–12 Against Democracy and Equality (Sunic, T.) 179 Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud 191 Albarn, Damon 133 Alderman, R.K. 22 Alfred the Great 44, 45 alienated youth, fascist identity in music and 158 Allen, Richard 112, 113, 114, 116, 125n6 Alliance of European Nationalist Movements (AENM) 157 The Alternative (Mosley, O.) 10, 30 alternative past, construction of 41–3 American Friends of the British National Party (AFBNP) 213 American neo-Nazi activism 86–7 American Renaissance 81 Amin, A. 50 Amin, A. and Thrift, N. 50 Anderson, B. 92 Anderson, Ian 172, 173 Anglo-Rhodesia Society 53–4

Ansgar Aryan 129–30 Anti-Communist League 53–4 anti-determinism and defiance of history 29–31 anti-egalitarianism 204 Anti-Nazi League (ANL) 66; dubbing as ‘ANAL’ 115–16 anti-urbanism 19–20 anti-Zionism 177, 187–92, 197n40 Antlif, Mark 106n3 Appelrouth, S. 163 Arktos Media 186 arts and culture 20–24 Atherly, Gillian 14 Atkinson, G.L. 206, 209 Attlee, Clement 82 The Australian 187–8 Austrian Freedom Party 221 Auty, Colin 155, 156, 168 Avant-Garde Fascism: The Mobilization of Myth, Art and Culture in France, 1909–1939 (Antlif, M.) 106n3 Awaydays (Sampson, K.) 132–3 Ayyash, Yahia 190 Badinter, Robert 189 Baker, D. 217 Baldacchino, Arlette 186 Baldwin, Stanley 22 Banks-Smith, Nancy 23 Barbecue in Rostock (No Remorse album) 151 Bardey, G. 11 Barnbrook, Richard 80 Barrès, Maurice 10 Baxter, D. 214 Beackon, Derek 148, 149 Bean, John 32, 70, 125n1, 218 Beckman, Morris 125n1



Beckwith, K. 162 Bedford-Turner, Jeremy 178, 182, 183, 185, 192, 194 Beirich, H. 202, 209, 223n4 Bell, Eileen 19, 21 Bell, J.R. 183 Bellamy, Richard Reynell 125n1 Bennett, A. 163 Bergson, Henri 3, 8 Berkowitz, B. 205, 208 Bernstein, Lord 23 Beth, David 185 Bevan, Aneurin 22 Bilderberg Group 38 Bildungsakademie 221 Billig, M. and Cochrane, R. 203 Billig, Michael 35, 79, 110, 203, 204 biology, history as 38–41 Birchall, Sean 125n1 Bismarck, Otto Eduard Leopold 15 Black, Harvey 16, 17 black metal 161–2, 164–7, 174; boundaries of 165; fascism, flirtation with 165–6; ideologies associated with 166; pop and rock, rejection of instrumentality of 166–7; sounds and ideologies, distinction between 165 black shirts, symbolism of 5 Blackshaw, T. 163 Blackshirt 8, 9, 15, 20 Blahut, F.C. 205, 206 Blair, Tony 190 Bleher, Dr Sahib Mustaqim 188, 189 Blood & Honour 102–3, 146–7, 158n5, 159n7; beyond the nation 147–53 Blüher, Hans 183 Blur 133–4 BNP Wives (Sky TV) 81, 84n16 ‘Book Clubs’ literary societies 41 Boothby, Lord 23 Bothwell, Clare 139n25 Bourdieu, Pierre 163, 173 Bowden, Jonathan 180, 181, 182, 184, 187, 188, 190, 192, 195n9 Bowen, Kate 140n54 Bowring, Des 172 Boyes, G. 162 Bradford Telegraph and Argus 117 Brah, A. 174 Bramham, P. 163 brand consciousness 132 Breivik, Anders Behring 6, 99, 135, 140n39, 202, 205, 209–12, 210, 221 Brimson, Dougie 132, 133, 139n29

Britain Awake 12 Britain First 194 British Blood and British Soil (Bell, J.R.) 183–4 British Housewives’ League 4, 82–3 British Movement 4 British National Party (BNP) 2, 3, 4; cultural history and heritage 27, 28, 29, 32–3, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40–41, 42–3, 44–5, 46, 47n4; cultural struggle and political project of BNP 202–3, 205, 213–14, 215, 216, 217, 221–2; BNP TV 220; controlled media agenda 214–17, 219, 222, 223n5, 224n12; ‘Cultural Marxism’ and 203, 218–21; immigration, perceptions of mass media on 215–16; International Finance, evils of 216–18, 220; Islam, perceptions of mass media on 215–16; Janus-faced communications policy 213–14; recruitment, website and 214; identity, cultural constructions of 142, 148–9, 150, 152–3, 153–4, 155, 156–7, 157–8, 159n10; Great White initiative 153–7, 158, 159n9; meta-political ‘fascism’ 180, 181, 184, 187, 188, 192–3, 195n5, 196n15, 196n22, 197n42; music scenes, infiltrations of 164, 168, 169–71; popular culture and post-war fascism 109, 115, 119–20, 124, 125; space, cultures of 53; subcultural style 129, 131, 139n23; women in culture of BNP 68–9, 69–70, 71–2, 73–4, 75, 76; ‘family-friendly’ BNP, mainstreaming of 78–83; women, Islam and 77–8 British Nationalist: identity, cultural constructions of 154; women in culture of BNP 73 British Union of Fascists (BUF) 3, 4; cultural regeneration 8, 9, 11, 13–14, 15, 17–18, 19–20, 22, 24; identity, cultural constructions of 142–3; space, cultures of 52–3, 54 Britons Publishing Society 35–6 Brock-Griggs, Anne 17 Brons, Andrew 64, 157 Brown, T. 161 Browning, Will ‘The Beast’ 150, 151, 152, 158n1, 158n4 ‘Builder Ken Seager’ 213 Bulldog: identity, cultural constructions of 143, 144; popular culture and post-

Index war fascism 123; women in culture of BNP 78 Burdi, George 148, 149 Burke, Edmund 193 Burnley, Paul 150, 151, 158n2 Bushell, G. 148 Busher, Joel 2 Butler, Eddy 149, 150, 152, 156, 195n9 Byford, J. 208, 220 Caird, Jo 120, 126n13, 126n15 Cameron, David 78, 215, 224n17 Camp of Saints (Raspail, J.) 181 Campbell, Dominic 96, 179 Cape, Jonathan 111 capitalism: ‘abstract space’ of 51; contradictions of 53; music scenes and machinery of 174 Carthy, Eliza 168 Carto, Willis 208 Cartwright, Steve 153 Cass, Nicholas 155 Cass, Nick 75 Cass, Suzy 81 Castle, Christopher 152 It’s a Casual Life (Dougie Brimson short film) 132 Casuals subculture 131–4, 134–7; aesthetic of Casual look 133; Mods and 132; Skinheads and 132 Casuals United T-shirt 136–7 Cattell, Raymond 184 Céline, Louis-Ferdinand 181 censoriousness 28 Chandra, Sheila 172 Chesterton, A.K. 36, 37, 38, 54, 61, 110, 142, 216, 217, 218 Chesterton, Gilbert Keith 217 Children of the Sun (Schaefer, M.) 115 Churchill, Winston 15, 44 cinema representations of post-war British fascism 123–5 civilization, future and 31 Clarke, Alisdair 188 ‘Clash of Civilisations,’ Huntingdon’s notion of 34 Clemenceau, Georges 15 A Clockwork Orange (Burgess, A.) 93 clothing of the extreme-right 128–9; see also subcultural style Codreanu, Corneliu 180 Cohen, A. 163 Cohen, Rabbi Aharon 191


Cohen, Richard 205 Colby, Robert 32 Cold Spring Records (CSR) 169 collective political identity, street processions and 56 Collins, M. 46, 54, 191 Collins, Matthew 149 Combat 18 (C18) 149–53 Connolly, Kate 141n56 Consdaple 129, 138 Conservative Grassroots 221 conspiracy theories 4; cultural history and heritage 34–8, 40; cultural struggle and political project of BNP 208–9 consumerism, denunciation of effects of 70 La Convergence des catastrophes (Faye, G.) 193 Copeland, David 86, 106n2 Copsey, N. and Macklin, G. 2 Copsey, Nigel viii, 1–7, 2, 4, 63, 64, 65, 66, 79, 108–27, 125n2, 132, 149, 194, 219, 220 Cotterill, Mark 156 Council of Conservative Citizens 208 Counter Currents website 43 Coupland, P.M. 5 Cousins, Frank 22 Cousins, M. and Forrest, M. 153 Covington, Harold 150 Cox, J. 205, 206 Crane, N. and Donaldson, I.S. 115 Crane, Nicky 115 Credo: The Book for the Very Few (Lowell, N.) 187 Cro-Magnon Man 59 Cronin, Mike 109 Cross, J.K. 22 Cross, Martin 152, 158n4, 158n5 cross-fertilisation, fellow travellers and 202 Crowley, Aleister 161, 185 The Crusader 190 ‘cultic milieu,’ society’s constant cultural underground 179 cultish labels, distancing from extreme-right associations 138 cultural capital, formation of 163–4 cultural history and heritage 3, 27–47; cultural interventions 1, 119–20, 125 ‘Cultural Marxism’ 202–3, 209, 210–11, 222, 223; indoctrination campaigns 211; political correctness and 202,



205, 209–10, 218–19, 223; US origins of 205–8 cultural nationalism 42, 133 cultural regeneration 3, 8–25; Action 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18–19, 21, 22, 24; The Alternative (Mosley, O.) 10; anti-urbanism 19–20; arts and culture 20–24; Blackshirt 8, 9, 15, 20; Britain Awake 12; British Union of Fascists (BUF) 8, 9, 11, 13–14, 15, 17–18, 19–20, 22, 24; cultural identity, struggle for revival of 8–9; culture, arts and 20–24; Daily Express 22, 23; Daily Mail 22, 23; Daily Mirror 23; Decline of the West (Spengler, O.) 9; East London Blackshirt 12, 19; East London Worker 19; energetic leadership, need for 25; The European 8–9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19; A Fall Like Lucifer (ITV) 23; The Frost Programme (Rediffusion TV) 11, 21, 22; Guardian 22, 23; Jewish Chronicle 22; A Kind of Exile (Anglia TV) 22–3; manhood 13–14; movement stuck in past, perception of 25; My Life (Mosley, O.) 22; national life-cycle, Spengler’s conception of 8, 9; national re-ordering 9–13, 24; Nationwide (BBC TV) 22; Observer 22, 24; Social Justice 12, 13, 20, 21; The Tactics of Resignation (Alderman, R.K. and Cross, J.K.) 22; Today (Thames TV) 22; Tonight (BBC1 TV) 23–4; traditional values, lack of respect for 8; Tyranny: the Years of Adolf Hitler (ITV) 10–11; Übermensch (Superman), Nietsche’s concept of 8, 13; Union 8, 11, 14, 19, 20; Union Movement (UM) 8–9, 10, 12–13, 14, 15–16, 16–17, 18–19, 19–20, 21, 22, 24, 25; Constitution of the Union Movement 11; Policy of the Union Movement 12; The Voodoo Factor (ITV) 21; will to power, Nietsche’s concept of 8; women 17–19; Yesterday’s Witness (BBC2 TV) 22; youth 15–17 culture: centre-stage in ER strategies 46–7; contestation about term 1; history as 41–3; regeration of arts and 20–24; see also cultural regeneration

The Culture of Fascism: Visions of the Far Right in Britain (Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T.) 1–2 CXF (Combined Ex Forces) 131, 134 Dack, Janet viii, 3, 8–26, 30 Daily Express: cultural regeneration 22, 23; identity, cultural constructions of 149; popular culture and post-war fascism 117; women in culture of BNP 80 Daily Mail: cultural history and heritage 44; cultural regeneration 22, 23; meta-political ‘fascism’ 189; women in culture of BNP 77 Daily Mirror: cultural regeneration 23; women in culture of BNP 82 Daily Record 189 Daily Telegraph: meta-political ‘fascism’ 182, 190; women in culture of BNP 79 D’Amico, G. 162 D’Annunzio, Gabriele 178 Darwin, Charles 60 Davidson, Eric 148 Davies, Adrian 188, 195n9 Davies, Mrs Polly 23 A Day at the Racists (Anders Lustgartern play) 119–20 Daynes, S. and Lee, O. 163 de Beauvoir, Simone 70 de Benoist, Alain 181, 183, 186, 194 de Gaulle, Charles 23 de Geer, Baron Jonas 185 de Gobineau, Count Arthur 181 Deckert, Günter 97 The Decline of the West (Spengler, O.) 9, 30, 33 Defense de l’Occident 78 Delaney, D. 61 design, history as 34–8 Destiny (David Edgar play) 116–19 Devalez, Olivier 184 Devi, Savitri 91, 181 Dickie, James 189 digital age 75 discourse analysis, historical content in 203–4 Discourse Tracing 164 The Divine and the Decay (Hopkins, B.) 181 Dobson, Gary 152 Doctor Martens boots 128–9, 131 domestic fascism in Britain, literature based on experiences of 108–9, 125n1

Index Domvile, Admiral Sir Barry 35, 36 Donaldson, Ian Stuart (‘Ian Stuart’) 115, 116, 143, 145, 151 Dorril, S. 16 Driscoll, Richard 139n29 Duffy, Cathy 73 Dugin, Alexsandr 183 Duke, David 28, 191 Durham, Martin viii, 4, 6, 17, 68–85, 135, 205, 223n1 Dworkin, Andrea 70 Dyer, R. 163 East London Blackshirt 12, 19 East London Worker 19 Eatwell, R. 35, 63 Ebanks, Sharon 73 Edgar, David 116, 117, 118 Edmonds, Richard 143, 152, 188 Edwards, Sharron 79, 81 Eichmann, Adolf 103 election manifestos of BNP 73–4, 77–8 The Eleventh Hour: A Call for British Rebirth (Tyndall, J.) 27, 33, 37 Eliade, Mirca 183 Engel, J. and Wodak, R. 204 England Belongs to Me (Goodman, S.) 114 England My Own (Peter Terson play) 117 The English Alternative 192 English Defence League (EDL): EDL T-shirts 135; subcultural style 129, 134–6, 137–8, 139n21, 139n22, 140n41 English folk music 161–2, 167–73, 174; ‘arthritically white’ 168–9; authenticity 167–8, 173; fRoots Letters Board 167; gay people in 170–71; history of 171; ‘Leaked BNP Membership List’ 170; musicological style 167, 169; non-whites in 171; racism, political correctness and 172; ‘Reggae Britannia’ 171–2; relationships of sounds and traditions 167 English National Party (ENP) 53–4 Erikson, Nick 74 ‘ethnicity’ 41, 65, 68–9 ethno-nationalism 68–9, 76 ethno-socialism 220–21 ‘Europe-a-Nation’ solution to decline 39 The European 8–9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19


European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) 210 European Economic Community (EEC) 38 European New Right (ENR) 193, 194–5 Evola, Julius 180, 181, 183, 194 extinction of white people, challenge of 32–3 Extra-3 (German TV satire) 128 extreme ideologies, black metal and culture of 162 extreme-right (ER) 27, 28, 29, 32, 34–5, 36, 38, 41–2, 46, 47; activistm 177–8; ‘look’ of, motivational aspect of 137–8; public perceptions of 128; women 135 A Fall Like Lucifer (ITV) 23 Fanon, Frantz 163 fascism: black metal and flirtation with 165–6; cinema representations of post-war British fascism 123–5; classification as ‘fascist’ 203–4; contestation about term 1; culture, centrality within dystopian project 1; domestic fascism in Britain, literature based on experiences of 108–9, 125n1; fascist identity, transnationalisation of 146; meta-political ‘fascism’ 5–6, 177–98; music scenes, infiltrations of 5, 161–74; neo-Nazi fiction 4, 86–107; political failure of fascism in Britain 109; popular culture and post-war fascism 4–5, 108–26; representations of post-war British fascism 109–16, 124–5; stage representations of postwar British fascism 116–20; television representations of post-war British fascism 120–23; see also meta-political ‘fascism’; popular culture and post-war fascism Fascist Quarterly 217 ‘fathers’ rights’ movement 74, 75 Faurisson, Robert 189 Faye, Guillaume 183, 192, 193 Featherstone, David 52 feminisation 81 feminism 69, 70, 72, 74–5, 76, 78, 80, 81 fictional fantasies, messages of 86–7 Fidus (völkisch artist) 130 Fielding, N. 68 Final Conflict magazine 185 Flavelle, Paul 38 Flockhart, Alf 14



Folk Against Fascism (FAF) 164, 168, 169, 170, 171, 173 Forster, Chris 214 Founding Myths of Israeli Politics (Garaudy, R.) 188 Fountaine, Andrew 63 Franco, Francisco 16 Frankfurt School 205, 218–19, 220–21, 223n2, 224n15 Franks, D.W. et al. 179 Fraudulent Conversions (Jordan, C.) 87 Free Britain 36 Free Congress Foundation (FCF) 205, 206–7 freedom of thought, proscription of 212 Freeman, Gillian 109, 110, 111 Friedan, Betty 70 Fromm, Eric 206 Front National in France 154, 157 fRoots magazine 164, 167–8, 169, 173 Frost, David 11, 22 The Frost Programme (Rediffusion TV) 11, 21, 22 Gable, Gerry 88, 97, 99 Gaddafi, Muammar 191 gaol today, power tomorrow 28 Garaudy, Roger 188 Garland, J. and Treadwell, J. 134 Garner, S. 122, 163, 174 Gately, Kevin 57 Geller, Pamela 209 gender: gender division, denunciation of 75–6; gender gap in voting patterns 80; ‘separate spheres’ of 135 Generation Identity: A Declaration of War Against the ’68ers (Willinger, M.) 137–8 Generation Identity extreme-right youth movement 137–8 genetic differences, temporal and spatial dimensions to 60–61 Gentile, Emilio 90, 105 Germany, style comparison with 129–31, 138 Gibson, Kenyon 189 Gillick, Victoria 83 Gilroy, P. 163 girl power 81 Goheen, P.G. 58 Golding, P, 220 Gollnisch, Bruno 157 Goodman, Steve 114

Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas 90, 91, 92, 102, 105, 106, 178, 194 Goodwin, Matthew 2, 80, 82, 214, 216 Goodwing, Celia 19 Gothic Ripples 88, 89; cultural history and heritage 38–9 Gottfried, Paul 181 Gottlieb, Julie 15, 17 Gottlieb, J.V. and Linehan, T.P. 1–2, 8 Grade, Lew 23 Graham, Sadie 72, 81, 84n15 Gramsci, Antonio 192, 219 Gray, Mr Justice 187 Greater British Movement (GBM) 53, 54, 66n2 Greater London Authority (GLA) 213–14; mini-manifesto for 74 Green, Reverend Brian 59 Gregory, D. 162 Griffin, Jackie 77, 81 Griffin, Jennifer 82 Griffin, Nick 3, 9, 51, 64, 128, 138n3, 168, 170, 171, 177, 187, 188, 192, 193, 213, 219, 220, 221; cultural heritage, history and 33, 34, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46; identity, cultural constructions of 145, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157; popular culture, far right and 115, 119, 120, 125; women in culture of BNP 69, 70, 73, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82 Griffin, Rhiannon 91, 92, 100, 105, 155 Griffin, Roger 90 Griffiths, Trevor 120 groupuscular organisation 177, 191–2 Grundy, Bill 22 Grundy, Trevor 14, 15, 16, 125n1 Guardian: cultural history and heritage 44; cultural regeneration 22, 23; music scenes, infiltrations of 168; popular culture and post-war fascism 124; women in culture of BNP 77, 79 Guénon, René 183 Guest, Marlene 81, 82 Gumilev, Nikolay 183 Gyp (Sibylle-Gabrielle Marie-Antoinette de Riquetti de Mirabeau) 183 Habermas, Jürgen 161, 163, 166, 167, 168, 169, 172 Hagen, J. 54 Hail the New Dawn (Skrewdriver album) 144

Index Hail Victory (Skrewdriver album) 151 Ham, Rubi 214 Hamm, Jeffrey 14, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24 Hammond, Martin 98, 105 Hanley, Peter 102 Hann, D. and Tilzey, S. 125n1 Hannam, David 154, 155 Hansen, Pauline 79 Hardy, Thomas 52 Harker, D. 162 Harold, Michael 21 Harper, Alastair 71, 216, 219, 220 Harrington, P. and Holland, D. 145 Harrington, Patrick 145, 146 Harrington jackets 128, 131 Harris, K. 162, 165 Harvey, David 50, 51 ‘hate ideologies’ 211–12 hatred, licensing of 90–104, 104–5 Hayes, Florence 14 Haylock, J. 18 Heald, Tim 22 hegemonic whiteness 174 Helios - The Journal of Metaphysical and Occult Studies 180 Hereward the Wake 45 Heritage and Destiny: identity, cultural constructions of 156–7; meta-political ‘fascism’ 186, 188 heroism, history as 44–6 Heß-Meining, U. 178 Hetherington, K. 52 Heydon, Tim 33, 34, 219 Highlander 159n6 Hindenburg, Paul 15 Historical Association 43 Historical Revisionism 35 history: anti-determinism and defiance of 29–31; biology, history as 38–41; convolution of historical themes 27; crises and opportunities of 33; culture, history as 41–3; defiance of 29–31; design, history as 34–8; discourse analysis, historical content in 203–4; engagement with 29; of English folk music 171; heroism, history as 44–6; philosophies about 28; ‘right’ kind of 28–9; see also cultural history and heritage Hitchcock, Charlie 150 Hitchcock, Gary 150 Hitler, Adolf 10, 11, 16, 22, 91, 111, 118, 149


Hitler: The Adjournment (Southgate, T.) 180 Hodkinson, P. 163 Holmes, Colin 2 Holocaust denial 35; cultural struggle and political project of BNP 208, 211; role in meta-political ‘fascism’ of 187–92 ‘Holocaust industries’ conspiracies 211 Holocaust News 188 Holy Europe of a Rome Reborn (H.E. R.R.) 180; music scenes, infiltrations of 166, 169 homophobia 112, 170–71, 188–9, 223 Hopkins, Bill 181, 182, 195n9 Hough, G. 181 Hunter (Pierce, W.L.) 86 Huntingdon, Samuel 34 Husbands, Christopher 62 hybridity, multiple identities and 174 Hylton, K. 164 identity, cultural constructions of 5, 142–59 Identity magazine: cultural history and heritage 33–4, 38, 40–41, 43, 44, 45, 46; cultural struggle and political project of BNP 214, 216, 219; identity, cultural constructions of 154, 155; popular culture and post-war fascism 109; women in culture of BNP 68, 69, 70–72, 74, 77, 78–9 ideologies: black metal, ideologies associated with 166; extreme ideologies, black metal and culture of 162; ‘hate ideologies’ 211–12; ideological discourse of BNP, distinction between surface and core of 204; ideological forms 183–7; ideological ‘openness’ 178; ‘race,’ ideological obsessions with 40–41; racial ideology, spaciality and 49–50; sounds and ideologies, distinction between 165; Weltanschauung, ideology of 202, 222 Imagined Village project 173 immigration 12–13, 18–19, 20, 22, 24, 50, 56–7, 103, 111, 117–18, 155, 184, 187; Breivik’s attitude towards 210, 212; consequences of 71–2, 73; monocausal fixation with 213–14; objections to 68–9, 169–70; threat of 62



Imperial Fascist League (IFL) 87 Independent: cultural history and heritage 44; meta-political ‘fascism’ 188, 189; popular culture and post-war fascism 113 indigenous traditions, defence of 29 individualism, adherence to 174 indoor public spaces, political denial of 54–5 Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (Gobineau, A. de) 181 The Infidels 131, 134 The Initiate 185–6 Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt 218–19 Insurgent website 104 International Marxist Group (IMG) 64–5 International Socialists (IS) 64–5 International Third Position (ITP) network 185 Internet, consumer choice and 157–8 IONA/London Forum 178, 182–3, 192 Ironside, Virginia 22 Irving, David 187 ‘Islamic Colonisation of Britain’ 73–4 Islamic Party of Britain (IPB) 188, 189 Islamisation 209–10 Israel in Flagrante: Caught in the Act of Twistspeak (Michèle Renouf film) 190 Jackson, Paul viii, 4, 39, 86–107, 137 Jacob, Alexander 184 Jam song titles 135–6 James, Clive 23, 24 Jeffers, Robinson 181 Jenkin, Patrick 14 Jenks, Jorian 19, 20 Jewish Chronicle: cultural regeneration 22; popular culture and post-war fascism 119 Jewish ‘conspiracy,’ victory of 105 ‘Jim Crow’ attitudes 61 Joan of Arc 46 Jobbik in Hungary 157 Jobst, Sean 189 Joint Committee Against Racism (JCAR) 66 Jones, Bev 80, 81, 84n15 Jordan, Colin 4, 39, 40, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106; brief history of 87–90 Jorgensen, D.L. 179

Judenrein (‘clean of Jews’) 211–12 Jünger, Ernst 183 Justica & Liberdade 106 Kahn-Harris, K. 161, 162, 165, 167 Kallis, Aristotle 92, 93 Kaplan, J. 87 Kaye, Bea 34 K.D. Rebel (Lane, D.) 86 Kemp, Arthur 41, 47n2, 183 Kemp, B.C. 31 Ken Seager 214 Kennedy, President John F. 18 Kerr, Martin 103 Khomeini, Ayatollah Ruhollah 188, 190 A Kind of Exile (Anglia TV) 22–3 King, John 45, 114 Kirkpatrick, John 170 Klang, Carl 154 Knights Templar 135 Kobayashi, A. and Peake, L. 60, 62 Kollerstrom, Nicholas 190 Kovacs, Bela 157 Krebs, Pierre 181, 183 Ku Klux Klan 129, 144, 150, 208 Kureishi, Hanif 123 Kurtagic, Alex 97 Kushner, Tony 109, 125 Landauer, Gustav 183 Lane, David 68, 72, 86, 90, 97 Last Chance 148 The Law (Newspaper of Essex Police) 152 Lawrence, Stephen 152 Lawson, Richard 181, 194 Layzell, Kevin 139n23 Le Bon, Gustave 3, 8 The Leader (Freeman, G.) 109–10 leadership, need for energy in 25 League of Empire Loyalists (LEL): popular culture and post-war fascism 110; space, cultures of 53, 54, 66n1 League Review 88 Lebensraum (‘living space’) 211, 212 Leese, Arnold 2, 38, 39, 87 Lefebvre, Henri 50, 51, 53 Legal Action against War (LAAW) 190 LeGreco, M. and Tracy, S. 164 leisure and whiteness, theories of 162–4 Leitner, H. 61, 65 Leitner, H., Sheppard, E. and Sziarto, K.M. 63, 65

Index Leland, David 120, 126n17 Lennon, Stephen 134 LeVine, M. 162, 165, 167 Lewis, Wyndham 17, 181 liberalism as ‘suicide note’ 33–4 Lichtman, Richard 208 lifeworld 163 Lind, William 205, 206, 208, 209 Linehan, Thomas viii–ix, 4, 8, 9, 19, 20, 49–67, 78, 163 Lipstadt, Professor Deborah 187 Litvinov, Maxim 217 London Corresponding Society 52 London Evening Standard 79 Long, J. and Hylton, K. 163, 164 Long, J. and Spracklen, K. 164 The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien, J.R.R.) 216 The Lost Diaries of Albert Smith (Muller, R.) 110–11 Lovecraft, H.P. 181 Lowell, Norman 186, 187 Lowles, Nick 150, 151, 159n8 Lucas, C. 165 Lucas, C. et al. 162, 164, 165 Lukacs, Gyorgy (George) 206 Lunn, K. 109 Lustgartern, Anders 119, 120 Lux, M. 57, 65 Lynch, Trevor 195n9 Lynn, Vera 44 McDonald, Andrew 86 MacDonald, Ramsay 22 Macintyre, Donal 139n24, 154, 155 Macklin, Graham ix, 2, 5, 11, 12, 18, 97, 142, 166, 177–201, 203 McVeigh, Timothy 86 Maddox, John 214 Made in Britain (David Leland TV play) 120, 122–3 ‘Magna Carta Day’ 45 MLeod, Wayne 184 Mandella, Nelson 95 manhood 11, 13–14, 70 Mann, Michael 91, 92 Mao Zedong 23 March of the Titans: A History of the White Race (Kemp, A.) 41, 183–4 masculinity 13–14, 15, 20; cultures of 4, 9; heteronormative masculinity 165; hyper-masculinity 132–3 Maskin, Deborah 172 Massey, Doreen 50, 60


matriarchal theory 206 Matthews, Bob 86, 97, 99, 102, 103, 106n1 Matthys, Angus 157, 158, 159n12 Max H8 129 Meadows, Shane 123, 124, 126n23 Mehmet, Dogan 168–9 Mein Kampf (Hitler, A.) 98 Mendel, Gregor 60 mercantilism 204 Merrie England - 2000 (Jordan, C.) 86–7, 90, 93–7, 98, 102, 104, 105, 106n4 meta-political ‘fascism’ 5–6, 177–98 Metzger, Tom 104 Michael, G. 188 Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) 209 Millard, H. 184 Mills, H.T. 10 Minnicino, Sir Michael 205, 209, 223n2 Mishima, Yukio 181 Mister (Kurtagic, A.) 97 Mitchell, M. 53 Mod (Revival) scene 135–6 ‘Modern Renaissance,’ need for 34 modern space, concept of 50–51 modernity, music scenes and 163 Moffat, James 112, 125n5 Mohammed, Omar Bakri 189 Mohler, Armin 183 Morrissey 133, 139–40n32 Morse, John 152 Mosley, Alex 16 Mosley, Diana 8, 10, 18 Mosley, Max 16 Mosley, Oswald 2, 3, 30, 31, 39, 41, 52, 109, 152, 183; cultural regeneration 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 31, 41 Mosley - Right or Wrong? (Mosley, O.) 30 Mosse, George L. 1, 20 motherhood 76 Mothers Against Knives 80 Mothers Against Paedophiles 79–80 Mozar, Lynne 79, 81 Muller, Robert 110, 111 multiculturalism 3, 73, 83, 96, 105, 168, 171–2, 193; consequences of 72; cultural struggle and political project of BNP 202, 209, 210, 211–12, 214, 219 Multiculturalist Alliance 209 Murkey, Chris 171



Murray, Andy 138 Musgrave, R. 219 music scenes, infiltrations of 5, 161–74; black metal 161–2, 164–7, 174; boundaries of 165; fascism, flirtation with 165–6; British National Party (BNP) 164, 168, 169–71; capitalism, music scenes and machinery of 174; Cold Spring Records (CSR) 169; cultural capital. formation of 163–4; English folk music 161–2, 167–73, 174; history of 171; musicological style 167, 169; non-whites in 171; racism, political correctness and 172; Folk Against Fascism (FAF) 164, 168, 169, 170, 171, 173; leisure and whiteness, theories of 162–4; National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) 165, 166–7; Neo-Folk 161, 162, 164, 165–6, 169 Muslim Paedophile Gangs 77 Mussolini, Benito 16, 178 Mutti, Claudio 189 My Beautiful Laundrette (Hanif Kuraishi film) 123, 124 My Life (Mosley, O.) 22 mysogyny 74–5 Mystics, Scholars and Holy Men (Southgate, T., Ed.) 189 Nathan, John 119 ‘nation,’ National Front (NF) and idea of 68 ‘national decadence,’ concerns with 30 National Democratic Party 54 National Front (NF) 4, 5–6; cultural history and heritage 32, 36, 37, 38, 40, 42, 43; identity, cultural constructions of 142 143–4, 145, 146; Rock Against Communism (RAC) initiative 142, 143–4, 145, 147; White Noise initiative 142–7, 151, 154–5, 156, 157; meta-political ‘fascism’ 179, 183, 190, 193–4, 196n22, 197–8n48, 197n40; neo-Nazi fiction 88; popular culture and post-war fascism 109–10, 114, 115, 117–18, 119, 123–4; space, cultures of 49–50, 63, 64–6; processions 54–7, 57–9; racial politics of, spatialisation of 59–62; spatialisation of 52–4, 64 national life-cycle, Spengler’s conception of 8, 9

national re-ordering, cultural regeneration and 9–13, 24 National Revolutionary Faction 179; music scenes, infiltrations of 166 ‘National Socialism: A Philosophical Appraisal’ (Jordan, C.) 39–40, 88 National Socialism, Breivik’s inconsistent attitude towards 211–12 National Socialism: Vanguard of the Future (Jordan, C.) 88–90 National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) 165, 166–7 National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) 211–12; subcultural style 128–9 National Socialist Movement (NSM) 4, 87–8; space, cultures of 54 National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association 83 Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschland (NPD) 128, 130, 139n20 Nationalism Today 144–5 Nationwide (BBC TV) 22 Neely, B. and Samura, M. 61 ‘negro crime,’ concerns about 78 Nelson, Horatio 44, 46 Neo-Folk 161, 162, 164, 165–6, 169 neo-Nazi fiction 4, 86–107; American neo-Nazi activism 86–7 Neocleous, M. 204 New Dawn (NF youth magazine) 145 New Dawn (White Noise Records albums) 144, 145 New Imperium 178, 180, 181, 182 New Nation: cultural history and heritage 42; space, cultures of 55, 56, 59–60, 64 New Right (NR) 177–9, 179–82, 183–6, 187–91, 192–5, 195n9, 197n46; development of 179–83; Nouvelle Droite and 192–5 The New Unhappy Lords: An Exposure of Power Politics (Chesterton, A.K.) 36–7; cultural struggle and political project of BNP 217–18 New York Times 148 News of the World 190 Niekisch, Ernst 183 Nietzsche, Friedrich 3, 8, 13, 180, 183 North, David 221 Nouvelle Droite 183, 184, 192–4; thinking in Europe of 177 Nunn, Larry 184

Index O’Brien, John 54 Observer: cultural regeneration 22, 24; women in culture of BNP 80, 81, 82 Observer Music Monthly 154 O’Connor, Matt 74 Odinism 86 Oi for England (Trevor Griffiths TV play) 120–22 O’Lara, Harry 158n2 ‘Orange Bob’ 179 The Order 150, 151 O’Reilly, K. and Crutcher, M. 55 Orrin, Elsie 17, 19 Orthodox England (Phillips, A., Ed.) 184 Orwell, George 87, 96, 178 Out (Channel 4 TV) 116 Parry, David 184 Parvulesco, Jean 183 past, restoration of ‘heroic’ past 44–6 Paterson, Tony 140n55 patriotism, ‘national pride’ and 27–8 Patterns of Prejudice 106n3 Paxton, R. 90 Peace with Iran (Thring, J.) 190–91 Pearce, Joseph 143, 145 Pearce, William 4 Peel, Bertram 10 Penrose, M. 47n3 ‘permissive’ culture, concern with 76 Perry, B. and Blazak, R. 60 Perry, Fred 138 Perspectives 194 Phillips, Father Andrew 184 Phoenix Rising Academy 185 Pidcock, Musa David 189 Pierce, William 86, 97, 184 Pirow, Oswald 12 Pitbull 129 place-based political struggles 51 Play for Today (BBC TV) 120 political association, proscription of 212 political extremism, failures in analysis of 203 political failure of fascism in Britain 109 political marginality 177–8 political movements, spatialising of 52 political power, control over space and 66 political struggles, street-based 49; see also street processions political symbolism 45 popular culture and post-war fascism 4–5, 108–26; After All, This is


England (Muller, R.) 110–12; British National Party (BNP) 109, 115, 119–20, 124, 125; Bulldog 123; cinema representations of post-war British fascism 123–5; National Front (NF) 109–10, 114, 115, 117–18, 119, 123–4; political failure of fascism in Britain 109; representations of postwar British fascism 109–16, 124–5; television representations of post-war British fascism 120–23 population growth, attacks on 71 postmodernity 162; effect on consumption and identity formation 163 Pound, Ezra 181 Powell, Enoch 53, 117 Prior, N. 173, 174 PROFAM group 79–80 Prospect 82 protest marches 56–7 The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion 189; cultural history and heritage 36, 37 Pugh, J. 50 purification, promotion of 90–104 Putsch 150–51 Question Time (BBC TV) 125, 170 ‘race’: ideological obsessions with 40–41; racism and 68–9; role in history as biology 38–41 Racial Holy War (RAHOWA) 184 racial ideology 49–50 Racial Preservation Society 53, 66n2 radical feminism 206 Radical Shift 194 Radio Free America 208 Ramin, Mohammed-Ali 191 rape 74–5 Raspail, Jean 181 Rau, P. 108 Raven, A. 10 Raven-Thomson, Alexander 31 rebirth of West? 32–4 The Record 152 Redwatch 150 RedWatch website 170 regeneration 42–3; see also cultural regeneration Reinelt, J. and Hewitt, G. 118 Renouf, Lady Michèle 187, 189, 190



representations of post-war British fascism 109–16, 124–5 Research and Study Group for European Civilization (GRECE) 186, 193, 194 Resistance 148–9, 156 restoration of ‘heroic’ past 44–6 Rhodes, J. 164 Richardson, J.E. and Wodak, R. 204 Richardson, John E. ix, 1–7, 2, 6, 21, 35, 77, 178, 202–26 Richardson, J.T. 192 Riches, S. 46 Rigby, Lee 134 ritual exercises, street processions as 56 rival spacialities 51 Rix, Arthur 40 Roberts, M. 219 Roberts, Winifred 19 Robertson, Sarah 141n57 Robinson, Tommy 134, 140n39 Rocking the Reds, n.d. 144 Rockwell, George Lincoln 143 Rojek, C. 163 Romanian Iron Guard 180 Roth, Tim 122 Row, Robert 20 Rusby, Kate 168 Rushdie, Salman 188 Rushton, Peter 187 Salomon, Erika 183 Le Salon: Journal Du Cercle de la Rose Noire 180 Sampson, Kevin 132 Sargent, Charlie 149, 150, 151, 152, 158n4, 158n5 Sargent, Steve 149, 150, 152 The Satanic Verses (Rushdie, S.) 188 Satanic Voices: Ancient and Modern (Pidcock, M.D.) 189 Saunders, Robert 20 Scarlett Imprint 185–6 Schaefer, Max 115 Schlüter, Johannes Schmitt, C. 183 Schopenhauer, Arthur 183 The Scorpion 96–7, 193–4 Scutari, Richard 97 Seales, C.E. 55 Searchlight: cultural history and heritage 44; meta-political ‘fascism’ 187, 194, 196n25, 196n29; neo-Nazi

fiction 99; women in culture of BNP 75, 78 Sedgwick, S 189 Seig, Dr Georg J. 185 Serrano, Andres 183 Sesay, Isha 140n52 Shaffer, Ryan ix, 5, 142–60, 163 Shah 190 Sharp, Cecil 171 Shaw, Fran H. 18 Shekhovstov, Anton 106n3, 166 Silverstein, Julius 98 Simi, P. and Futrell, R. 177, 178 Skidelsky, R. 12, 22, 23 skills and creativity, ‘white man’s heritage of ’ 28 Skinhead (Allen, R.) 112–13 skinhead culture 148–9 skinhead look 128–9, 131 skinhead movement 147 Skinheads (King, J.) 114–15 Skrewdriver (White Power band) 143–4, 146, 147, 149–51, 158n1, 158n5, 161, 168; popular culture and post-war fascism 115 Smith, Joey 155 Smith, Martin 215 Smith, Vic 170, 173 Social Justice 12, 13, 20, 21 social movements, spatialising of 52 social networks 179 socialisation 70–71 Socialist Workers’ Party (SWP) 64–5 Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) 185, 196n18 Solomos, J. 174 Sorel, Georges 3, 8 Southgate, Troy 5, 97, 166, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 188, 189, 190, 192, 194, 195n2, 195n5 Sowilo- runes 130 space, cultures of 3–4, 49–66; capitalist ‘abstract space’ 51; definition of space 50–52; immigration, threat of 62; indoor public spaces, political denial of 54–5; marches, structure of 57; modern space, concept of 50–51; place-based political struggles 51; political movements, spatialising of 52; protest marches 56–7 Spearhead: cultural history and heritage 27, 29, 32, 37–8, 40, 42, 45; identity, cultural constructions of 143, 148, 149, 152, 153; popular culture and

Index post-war fascism 116; space, cultures of 54, 56–7, 58–9, 61, 63; women in culture of BNP 69–70, 77–8, 79, 80 Spencer, Robert 209 Spengler, Oswald 3, 8, 9, 19, 30, 31, 32, 33, 39 Spinks, Sam 125n3 Spotlight 99–100, 207–8 Spracklen, Karl ix, 5, 142, 161–76 Spurr, Michael 14 St George, appropriation of 134–5 St George’s Day, politicisation of 46 stage representations of post-war British fascism 116–20 Stalin, Josef 191 Stanton, Robert 31 Steinar, Thor 128, 129, 130, 131, 139n20 Steinar Division 130 Sternhell, Z. 193 Steuckers, Robert 179, 181, 183, 192, 194 Stewart, Desmond 18 Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) 209 Strasser, Otto 180, 183 street processions 49, 54–5, 56, 57–9 Strength thru Oi! (Decca Records) 115 Stuart, Ian (aka Donaldson, I.S.) 145, 146, 148, 150, 151, 158, 158n1, 169 subcultural style 5, 128–41; Ansgar Aryan 129–30; brand consciousness 132; British National Party (BNP) 129, 131, 139n23; Casuals subculture 131–4, 134–7; aesthetic of Casual look 133; Mods and 132; Skinheads and 132; clothing of the extreme-right 128–9; cultish labels, distancing from extreme-right associations 138; extreme-right ‘look,’ motivational aspect of 137–8; extreme-right women 135; Generation Identity extremeright youth movement 137–8; Germany, style comparison with 129–31, 138; Casuals and the extreme right 134–7, 140n33; skinhead look 128–9, 131; Sowilo- runes 130; St George, appropriation of 134–5; Steinar Division 130; Thor Steinar youth cultures, UK as homeland for post-war creativity 129 Sunday Mercury 79 Sunday Mirror 155 Sunic, Tomislav 179, 181, 182, 183 Sweers, B. 162


The Tactics of Resignation (Alderman, R.K. and Cross, J.K.) 22 Tait, Matthew 197n42 Taylor, S. 63, 64, 66, 213 television representations of post-war British fascism 120–23 Telford, Chris 154 Terror on the Tube: Behind the Veil of 7/7 (Kollerstrom, N.) 190 Terson, Peter 117 Thatcher, Margaret 66, 117, 172 Thayer, G. 110 Thiriart, Jean-François 183 This is England (Shane Meadows film) 123–4 This is White Noise (White Noise Records album) 144 Thomas, James 23 Thompson, Damian 182 Thor Steinar T-shirts 128, 130–31 Thoughts and Perspectives (Southgate, T., Ed.) 180 Thring, James 190, 191 Thurlow, R.C. 2, 30, 41, 59, 87, 88, 116 Time to Make a Stand (Great White album) 156 The Times: meta-political ‘fascism’ 189; popular culture and post-war fascism 113, 121; women in culture of BNP 73–4, 77 Tiwaz runes 130 Today (Thames TV) 22 Tonight (BBC1 TV) 23–4 Tradition & Revolution (Southgate, T.) 186 ‘Traditional Family Unit,’ promotion of 74 traditional values, lack of respect for 8 ‘Trafalgar Club’ 45–6 Treadwell, James 133 Trilling, D. 2 Tulloch, J. 122 Turner, Andy 169, 170, 171 The Turner Diaries (Pierce, W.L.) 4, 86, 87, 97, 103, 106n2, 184 Turner-Graham, Emily ix, 5, 128–41 Tyndall, John 3, 27, 28, 32, 33, 37, 40, 42, 47n1, 53, 54, 56, 63, 64, 69, 70, 73, 76, 81, 87, 109, 115, 116, 143, 152, 154 Tyranny: the Years of Adolf Hitler (ITV) 10–11



Übermensch (Superman), Nietsche’s concept of 8, 13 Union: cultural history and heritage 31; cultural regeneration 8, 11, 14, 19, 20 Union Movement (UM) 8–9, 10, 12–13, 14, 15–16, 16–17, 18–19, 19–20, 21, 22, 24, 25; Constitution of the Union Movement 11; Policy of the Union Movement 12 Unite Against Fascism (UAF) 215 United Nations Organisation (UNO) 38 Die Unsterblichen (the Immortals) 138 The Uprising (Jordan, C.) 86–7, 90, 93, 95, 97–104, 105; British Freedom Force (BFF) in 98–9, 100–101, 102, 103 ‘Vadge Moore’ 185 Valentine, T. 208 van den Bruck, Moeller 183 Verrall, Richard 40, 64 Vestel, V. 162 Vikernes, Varg 165 Vikings, references to 130 violence, legitimacy of 106 ‘Vocabulary for the Politically Aware’ (Spearhead) 40 Voice of Britain 143–4 The Voice of Freedom: cultural history and heritage 46; cultural struggle and political project of BNP 216; identity, cultural constructions of 154, 157; women in culture of BNP 69, 73, 78, 81, 82 Von Helden, I. 165 The Voodoo Factor (ITV) 21 Wagner, Wilhelm Richard 13 Wakeford, Tony 169 Walker, Michael 181, 183, 193, 194 Ward, J. 161 Washington Post 205 Watts, Lee 43 Wears, Wallace 97 Webster, Martin 54, 56, 116, 117, 190 Webster, Nesta 3, 36, 189 Weiss, Michael 138 Weller, Paul 138, 140n47 Weltanschauung, ideology of 202, 222 West, rebirth of ? 32–4 Weyrich, Paul 205, 209 White, Samantha 214 White Defence League 4

White Nationalist Conference in America (2004) 28 White Noise Club 145 White Noise magazine 145–6 White Power music 86 White Power T-shirt 129, 138n3 Whitehouse, Mary 83 ‘whiteness’: hegemonic whiteness 174; leisure and whiteness, theories of 162–4; music scenes and 163–4; NF message of 143–4, 145, 147, 151–2, 153–4, 155, 157–8 Wikileaks 170 Wilders, Geert 120 will to power, Nietsche’s concept of 8 Williamson, Bishop Richard 185 Williamson, Henry 19, 20, 183 Willinger, Markus 137, 140n51 Wilson, J. 86 Windsor, Miles 221, 224n17 Wingfield, David 185, 186 Wingfield, Martin 82 Woden, Wes Hal 184 Wolf, Albion 150 Women Against Islamification 77 women in culture of BNP 4, 68–84; abortion 71–2, 73, 75, 80; ‘familyfriendly’ BNP, mainstreaming of 78–83; women, Islam and 77–8; ‘fathers’ rights’ movement 74, 75; feminisation 81; feminism 69, 70, 72, 74–5, 76, 78, 80, 81; gender division, denunciation of 75–6; gender gap in voting patterns 80; Mothers Against Knives 80; Mothers Against Paedophiles 79–80; multiculturalism, consequences of 72; Muslim Paedophile Gangs 77; mysogyny 74–5; ‘nation,’ National Front (NF) and idea of 68; ‘permissive’ culture, concern with 76; rape 74–5; women and cultural regeneration 17–19 Woodall, Wendy 100 Woodbridge, S. and Linehan, T. 118 Woodbridge, Steven ix, 2, 3, 8, 27–48, 134 Woodley, D. 90, 204 World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) 184 world music scene 173–4 Wright, S.A. 86 Wright, Vincent 109, 110, 111 Wulf: The Collected Writings of an English Wodenist (Southgate, T.) 184

Index Wyndham, Blaise 55 Yarwood, R. and Charlton, C. 162 Yeats, W.B. 181 Yesterday's Witness (BBC2 TV) 22 Yorkshire Post 156 Young National Front 143 youth: alienated youth, fascist identity in music and 158; cultural regeneration and 15–17; Generation Identity extreme-right youth movement 137–8; New Dawn (NF youth magazine) 145;


youth cultures, UK as homeland for post-war creativity 129 Zaki, Yaqub 189 Zero Tolerance 166 Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG) conspiracies: cultural struggle and political project of BNP 208; identity, cultural constructions of 150–51 Zyuganov, Gennady 183

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