Some nice man called John Eden has a great blog called uncarved (which has a terrific post on Ian Stuart‘s equally dead sidekick Nicky Crane). His latest post, UK reggae and the National Front, is the second of two posts on the Nutty Front (the first is Smash the National Front – part one). In the first of these posts, John reviews a number of publications on the NF, and remarks that the 1980s “…saw the Front moving increasingly towards elitism and terrorism when it became clear how marginal they were. A salutary lesson in how fascism operates in different ways at different points in history – and that this requires different tactics.” This theme is taken up by Robert O. Paxton in The Anatomy of Fascism, in which he identifies five stages or cycles in the progression of fascist movements:
1) the creation of movements;
2) their rooting in the political system;
3) their seizure of power;
4) the exercise of power and;
5) the long duration, during which the fascist regime chooses either radicalization or entropy.
More on that later maybe. In his second post, John also notes that “It is easy to forget… that fighting the NF wasn’t always big demonstrations like Lewisham 77, or concerts, or marches. It was a two way street with Enoch’s “rivers of blood” in the gutters. NF supporters were suspected of firebomb attacks on music venues like the Four Aces in Dalston, and Acklam Hall in Ladbroke Grove. Not to mention the petty intimidation and outright racist violence that was part of the everyday landscape in the 1970s. The “cultural war” of Rock Against Racism has to be seen alongside the groundwork of community organisations, politicos, “squadists”, and even everyday people who just had a chat with their mates when they were spouting bollocks.” Incidentally, uncarved has heaps more equally fascinating posts on music (principally punk/dub/reggae/ska) and politricks (including many on the subject of anti-fascism).
Speaking of the NF, one of its former leaders, Nick Griffin, is winging his way Down Under in December. His visit is apparently being co-sponsored by the British National Party and the Australian Protectionist Party, led (in NSW) by self-proclaimed International Man of Dysentry Mister Darrin Hodges. Wikipedia:
Nick Griffin became involved with the far right at the age of 15 when his father, Edgar Griffin, took him to meetings of the National Front (NF). By 1978, he was a local secretary for the NF.
In 1980, he became a member of the NF governing body, the National Directorate, when he also set up the NF Student Organisation. In 1980, Griffin launched Nationalism Today with the aid of Joe Pearce, editor of the NF youth paper Bulldog and twice imprisoned for incitement to racial hatred…
Griffin left the NF in 1989 in a split with Patrick Harrington. Harrington went on to form the Third Way. Meanwhile, Griffin joined with Derek Holland to form the International Third Position (ITP), which developed from the Political Soldier movement that had formed within the NF. Given the secretive nature of the ITP, it is hard to establish exactly when Griffin left, although he was still part of its leadership in mid-1993.
British National Party
While still a leader of the ITP, Griffin became involved with another far-right nationalist group, the British National Party (BNP). By 1993 he was speaking at BNP meetings and writing pseudonymously for BNP publications. In 1995, he officially joined the party.
For a time Griffin edited Spearhead, a publication owned by then party leader John Tyndall. Between 1995 and 1997, he was editor of The Rune, an anti-semitic weekly. In 1998, he was prosecuted in connection with the magazine.
In September 1999, Griffin was elected as head of the BNP. He embarked on a campaign to make the party “electable” by taking it away from Tyndall’s agenda. These changes included an emphasis on the need to dismantle multiculturalism, which the BNP claim has a destructive influence on both immigrant and British culture. This realignment was designed to position the BNP alongside successful European far-right groups, such as the French Front National. The campaign would also involve moves against Tyndall, who was expelled from the party for a time in 2002 along with his closest allies, Richard Edmonds and John Morse.
Under the BNP’s constitution, Griffin is solely responsible for the party’s legal and financial liabilities, and has the final say in all decisions affecting the party. While he routinely consults with various colleagues on matters which affect them directly, he is not bound to do so. Some areas of policy have been delegated to other BNP leaders, but Griffin has retained the right to make the most important decisions…
Old Punks Never Die! is another great blog, authored by Buenaventura Durruti’s cousin Benny. You can get heaps of punk d*wnl*ads on Benny’s site, as well as (vegan) recipes for Hummus, Mushroom & Pea Risotto, Smoky Cider Casserole and more besides.
And remember folks: punk is as punk does.