July 14, 2009

Folk Against Fascism

The British National Party's manifesto encourages its members to insinuate themselves into the folk and traditional customs and events of Britain. This involves the appropriation of British folk music, customs and culture as a means of spreading their racist policies. They are selling traditional music through their Excalibur merchandising arm, despite the protestations of many of the artists included, who find their policies abhorrent.

The UK folk scene is a welcoming and inclusive one. Folk music and dance is about collaboration, participation, communication and respect. This group is being created to take a stand against the appropriation of folk culture by the BNP. They want to take our music. We will not let them.

From the BNP's Activists and Organisers Handbook:
"Community Activism means our activists getting involved in the affairs of their neighbourhood at all levels...We have had some major successes, for example, with local groups set up to encourage the celebration of St George's Day. Fun activities for children and families which are linked to our Christian heritage - such as Pace Egging in many northern towns - are particularly suitable candidates for revival as popular awareness of the growing power of Islam encourages support for and interest in our own religious and cultural traditions."
More from the Activists and Organisers' Handbook:
"Ideally our units will lead their communities in organising, or at least supporting, cultural events such as St George's Day celebrations (April 23rd). Most regions of the country have cultural events which are unique to that area, or county. For example, Padstow Hobby Horse (sic) in Cornwall, Arbor Tree Day in Shropshire, Garland King Day and the Well Dressing in Derbyshire, the Marshfield Mummers in Wiltshire, the Haxey Hood in Humberside, and countless others.

Some such celebrations, now very popular, have only been revived in recent years - the Hastings Jack in the Green and Whittlesea Straw Bear festivals show just how big such things can get. Why not do some research to see if there's a lost local tradition you can inspire a team of enthusiasts to revive?"
One of the things we need to be particularly aware of is the English Fair Fund. This exists to "give grants to help local community groups celebrate St George's Day."

Another racist organisation, The Steadfast Trust, provides community grants for "English-themed" events and St George's Day celebrations, and has already co-opted folk music within this strategy.

So, you're a folk musician or in a morris side. Someone in your town or village asks you to come and play at their St George's Day festival, and, in the spirit of community, you agree. Later, the BNP or the Steadfast Trust releases a press statement telling of all the wonderful St George's Day festivals it has supported this year, and lists all the artists/dance sides who took part. And there's your name.

Just like the artists who find their music being sold on the Excalibur/BNP website and are powerless to do anything about it, you become part of their marketing strategy, and there's not a lot you can do.

So if you are asked to play at any St George's Day events next year, ask who is supporting them. Find out where the money is coming from. Or, even better, start your own St George's Day event, and make it one that actively welcomes ALL of England's communities. Don't let them win.

Folk Against Fascism


Anonymous said...

It gets worse.

Now there's someone posting on GA's blog as "Alibion" (??) calling the Beloved Nick "Mr Griffen". Show some respect, peeps.


Anonymous said...

you lot believe your own lies now ! times are changing and the law abiding BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY will win through and you lot will be disbanded and put in prison to do hard labour for your treason and anarchist traits.

Avi said...

How about Doo Woppers against fascism?


Anonymous said...

The strategy is an insidious one which has already worked in Sandwell, where the local authority has withdrawn funding for a St George's day parade due to BNP involvement.

All that is needed is for a couple of BNP supporters to turn up at one of these 'indigeneous' events and the whole thing gets tainted with association with the far right, whether deserved or not.

This leads to grant-giving bodies withdrawing support, which is immediately exploited by the BNP propaganda machine in terms of victimisation and discrimination against 'indigenous' people.

So the local authorities are damned if they do, and damned if they don't. They can either continue to support events which take on an increasingly far right aura, or they can cut funding and play into the BNP's hands - producing resentment and victimhood where none previously existed.

Antifascist said...

'How about Doo Woppers against fascism?'

I think not.

'you lot believe your own lies now ! times are changing and the law abiding BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY will win through and you lot will be disbanded and put in prison to do hard labour for your treason and anarchist traits.'

Sorry, I allowed that drivel through just for the phrase that gave me the biggest laugh this week; 'the law abiding BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY'. Jeez.

Anonymous said...

How can someone like Dave Strickson like doowop?
He and his fellow travellers in the BNP would outlaw black music given half a chance.
The likes of John Tyndall only liked brass bands and Wagner (probably because the musicians were white and therefore okay in their little fantasy world).
Strange that on You Tube he has a number of postings for various clips of reggae bands posted by 'Thurrock BNP'.

Black people and Black music have made a tremendous contribution culturally towards the life of this country.
Those people who voted for the BNP in June 2009 or are on the fringes need to realise that the BNP would ban all types of black inspired music - doowop included if they ever had a chance to take over the levers of power.

Anonymous said...

Or even Iron Maiden fans against fascism as their 'emblem' Eddie the Trooper always carries a Union Jack and for the BNP, there's cheap political capital to be made from that! My local BNP organiser is an Iron Maiden fan, strangely!

As for the other anonymous comment, even reading it conjures up a fake German accent! Committed to democracy or the Fourth Reich? You decide.

Paul Newman said...

Anti-fascist folk song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niIlhnGpZhs