National Action neo-Nazi Terror Group: Connections to Neofolk Scene

On Monday, November 12th, 2018 the last of three trials against members of the neo-Nazi group National Action ended with convictions of three people, including Daniel Bogunovic and a couple, Claudia Patatas and Adam Thomas. They will be sentenced on December 14th.

National Action was a British openly neo-Nazi group founded in 2013. The group cultivated a militant image and notoriously carried a banner with the slogan “Refugees not welcome” and the hashtag #hitlerwasright at public demonstrations. Since December 2016 the group has been proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000. Since then, however, they have continued to organise under different covers. They are believed to have prepared for a “race war”, plotted an assassination, and advocated violence against and extermination of Jews and “non-whites”. They also celebrated the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox. Following investigations and arrests, several court cases have led to convictions for membership in a terrorist organisation and other offences. Several members were sentenced to prison terms of up to eight years (various news sources here, here and here)

While the press was very much concerned with the fact that Patatas and Thomas gave their baby son the middle name Adolf, that they had a swastika-shaped cookie cutter and that they were dressing up in Ku Klux Klan outfits, the connection to the far right Neofolk music scene remained overlooked.

For the BBC story providing a more detailed overview of the National Action case click on screenshot:

A tumblr blog called harsherreality  has collected evidence that Patatas was a  “close associate of Death In June’s Douglas Pearce, Sol Invictus’ Tony Wakeford, Allerseelen’s Gerhard Hallstatt, fascist publishers Michael Moynihan and Troy Southgate and a host of neo-folk musicians and activists – most of whom publicly deny their fascist involvement.” [Read more →]

Lewisham ’77 – Myth and Anti-fascist History

Fourty years ago this summer [2017], one of the most decisive events in 1970s UK anti-fascism took place in South East London.

On 13 August 1977, the far right National Front (NF) set off on a march from New Cross to Lewisham in what was intended to be a major show of strength. Lewisham NF organiser Richard Edmunds had promised the NF’s ‘biggest-ever rally… Everybody will know that the Front is marching’, while national organiser Martin Webster had talked of the march as part of its racist and anti-communist struggle: ‘The Reds have had it all their own way and the only way you can fight Communism is to confront it. We believe that the multi-racial society is wrong, is evil and we want to destroy it’. Earlier that year the NF had won over 119,000 votes in the Greater London Council elections and, although it did not succeed in winning any seats, the party had cause to believe that it was a growing force.
In the event, thousands of people mobilised to oppose the march, and as it started from New Cross there was hand to hand fighting as anti-fascists broke through police lines and seized NF banners. The local paper reported:

‘Suddenly the air was filled with orange smoke, and a hail of bricks, bottles and pieces of wood fell onto the Front from demonstrators and householders leaning out of their windows… At one point the Front marchers stopped. Half the marchers remained in Pagnell Street, afraid to walk into the hail of missiles… One young man, perhaps 16 years old, rushed into the Front ranks and grabbed a flagpole from one of them, broke it in half and held the pieces up while the crowd cheered. Others hurled dustbins and fence stakes into the Front column from close range’ (Kentish Mercury 18.8.77). In later clashes in Lewisham town centre, police used riot shields for the first time in England as they confronted anti-fascists and local young people. [Read more →]

Angry White People – Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right by Hsiao-Hung Pai (Book Review)

Hsiao-Hung Pai: Angry White People
Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right
With a Foreword by Benjamin Zephaniah
Zed Books, London 2016
ISBN 978-1-783606-92-4

Angry White People: Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right by Hsiao-Hung Pai (Zed Press, 2016) is not quite the overview of contemporary UK fascism that its subtitle suggests. The familiar far-right brands of the British National Party, National Front, and their various offshoots barely figure. Instead, the main focus is on the phenomenon of the English Defence League, which seemed to have exploded out of nowhere in 2009 and over the next few years mobilised anti-Muslim street protests across England. The group still exists today, though it has lost much of its early momentum and some of its founding activists along the way.
Pai’s avowed aim is to try to understand ‘what personal and social circumstances are leading these men and women’ to join a movement ‘based on prejudices and myths’, bringing to the subject the ‘outsider’ perspective of a 1990s migrant from Taiwan who is not distracted by social niceties from asking direct and awkward questions. This includes displays of chutzpah or just plain cheek such as knocking on the door of a house flying an England flag and asking its inhabitant to explain himself and walking into the pub reputed to be the EDL’s favoured drinking hole and requesting to speak to its leader, ‘Tommy Robinson’ – real name Stephen Lennon. As a result she does secure what seem to be some fairly unguarded and revealing conversations with a number of EDL supporters, including a couple with Robinson himself.

The EDL’s carefully curated image of being a non-racist organisation simply opposed to ‘Islamic extremism’ is belied by racist remarks about Muslims in general, informed by an incoherent and paranoid world view that fears some kind of impending Muslim domination of the UK. Robinson tells her: ‘Wherever Islam is, there is a military operation to implement sharia law. This country will be exactly the same. Five per cent of the population is Muslim. When it becomes 20 per cent, that’s when there will be a war’.

Robinson struggles to explain why he feels English and not British, or to reconcile his politics with his part-Irish background. In addition to complaining about Muslims, he complains about immigration more generally and even about Welsh workers getting building work in his home town, while at the same time acknowledging that ‘Everyone in this town is an immigrant’, his family included. Meanwhile, a rank-and-file activist complains about ‘pakis’ while obsessing about his desires for ‘oriental’ women. So far, so stupid, but if the far right could be defeated by exposing their irrationality and logical inconsistency, they would have been vanquished long ago. [Read more →]

UK Anti-Fascist Roundup

Extreme right wing groups in Britain have so far failed to capitalise on popular revulsion at the killing of a soldier by presumed Islamists in South London earlier in the year. Lee Rigby was hacked to death in Woolwich in May 2013, with his alleged killers then staying around to explain their act to passers by before they were arrested.

The British National Party has been riven by splits, and the anti-Muslim/pro-military English Defence League has been seemingly stagnating. Both clearly hoped that the killing would give them a burst of renewed energy, and indeed a few days later the EDL did manage to turn out at least 1500 people on the streets of Newcastle.

However, the BNP’s proposed march from Woolwich to Lewisham Islamic centre was banned, and went ahead with a small turnout in Whitehall in central London – the area close to Parliament. The EDL were also restricted to Whitehall when they held a protest on May 27th. The EDL’s subsequent attempt to march on East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets on September 7th was also severely restricted, with the police preventing a crowd of between 500 and 700 EDL supporters getting anywhere near their target. [Read more →]