August 02, 2009

The BNP’s real concern is race, not Islam

Here’s what I said in a recent piece for eGov monitor that is causing a lot of fuss in certain quarters:
"There are a number of factors involved in the rise of the BNP as an electoral force, and I do not think that a sudden conversion of large numbers of white Britons to hardline racist sentiment is one of them. The question of Islam is one factor. Recently, I have been accused by the usual suspects of not bothering to properly examine the BNP’s anti-Islamic rhetoric because I don’t take anti-Muslim bigotry seriously enough or don’t really care about it. At worst, it has been implied that I am an anti-Muslim bigot myself or, to use the catchphrase, an ‘Islamophobe’.

This approach indicates a complete failure in understanding of the true nature of the BNP’s anti-Islam campaign, and the fact that writers who are supposedly anti-fascist should choose to attack a report aimed at exposing racism is disappointing to say the least. The reality is that Griffin and co don’t really care about Islam. Griffin may be an odious figure, but he’s not a complete idiot, and he knows very well that Britain is not on the verge of turning into an Islamic State.

Following his strategy for making the BNP electable, Griffin has tried to steer the party towards populist issues, picking up on fears and resentment among the electorate in an attempt to use such issues as a Trojan horse for his underlying racist agenda. The truth is that the BNP hates Muslims because they are predominantly brown skinned. In ‘white nationalist’ ideology, everything ultimately boils down to an obsession with race."
Just to clarify for those who seem to think the babbling of Bob Pitt and iENGAGE should have made me change my position, let me reemphasise the fact that I still stand by it. I have written on this topic on a number of occasions so I feel no need to ‘justify’ myself, but for ease of understanding, here’s how I see it:

Imagine you’re a ‘white nationalist’ leader who has spent his entire ‘political’ career in the wilderness. You’ve tried and tried to make white people see the ‘evils’ of ‘race mixing’ and the hidden hand of ‘the Jew’, but have had no success. Finally, you realise that the only way to get any chance of power is to tone down the rhetoric and rebrand yourself as a populist nationalist. In order to shake off the ‘fascist’ label and thereby to hopefully win votes you decide to start using words like ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ instead of writing about your love of the SS and talking about using ‘well-directed boots and fists’. In order to appeal to white Britons who are worried about the effects of immigration but who are not ideologically racist, you stop talking about ‘racial purity’ and start talking about ‘identity’ instead.

This doesn’t get you very far and you really need an ‘issue’ around which to campaign. Nothing is forthcoming but then comes 9/11 and then 7/7. You note the rise in hostility towards Muslims and you also notice that on a parallel track a hatred for asylum seekers is becoming more common. Now, you’ve decided that the only way to get power and to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Britain through a process of mass deportation of non-white citizens is to appear more moderate and in touch with ordinary people’s concerns. So, with the rise of anti-Muslim feeling, you decide to jump on the bandwagon.

“But,” your old comrades say, “the Jew is the real enemy, not Muslims.” You try to reassure them that the new tactics are the only way forward and that for now the anti-Semitism needs to go back into the closet. After all, you tell them, “The proper enemy to any political movement isn’t necessarily the most evil and the worst. The proper enemy is the one we can most easily defeat.” You go on to tell these fellow ‘white nationalists’ that “there is a piece of plain realpolitik that those who attack the BNP stance on Islam should also take into account,” which is that:
“They are perilously close to entrenching themselves in political dead ground from which there can be no escape. Instead of working to take advantage of the biggest crisis that the genocidal multi-culti ‘experiment’ has ever faced, they are in danger of turning themselves into a despised, powerless and doomed cartoon caricature - a composite of Tokyo Rose, Lord Haw Haw and Jane Fonda. Truly, they are living examples of the old adage that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, and then as farce.”
You find some success with this approach, and you also note how successful anti-Islam campaigning is turning out for other neo-fascists on the Continent who have had a similar ‘conversion’ to ‘moderation’. For tactical reasons, you bite the bullet and reach out to Jews - “They can’t call me a Nazi then,” you think, “plus, they control the media anyway so I may as well try to please them.” In addition to this, you think, by adopting a superifically pro-Jewish stance you can also make use of the very language that has haunted you all your life - ‘anti-Semite’, ‘Jew hater’, ‘fascist’, ‘Nazi’ - and throw it at Muslims. After all, who could think that you’re the bad guy when you’re sticking up for the Jews and defending Western civilisation against those who would destroy it?

You continue to lead a dual campaign. On the one hand, you appear largely obsessed with Islam and ridding Britain of Muslims, but on the other, you maintain your true racial beliefs. The fact is, you are still ‘wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples’. You see Muslims and asylum seekers as easy targets to begin with. With them, you can talk about culture and tax payers’ money being wasted. You don’t have to try to explain your ideologically racist worldview which revolves around beliefs about a well planned conspiracy by ‘international Jewry’ to destroy the white race through immigration and the promotion of race mixing.

Through this strategy you eventually find yourself elected as an MEP. Many white people who are not ideological racists or fascists have bought into your anti-Islam message. Many of these people are unaware of the fact that you want to start by deporting Muslims and then move on to deporting all non-white people from Britain. And lots more of them know about your past but think you’ve changed: “Look at the website, look at the magazines, it’s not about race any more,” they say.

The funny thing is, it’s not just your voters who think that. Even some left-wing and Muslim writers start to believe it, too.

Edmund Standing writing at Harry's Place


Anonymous said...

Which leaves us in a quandary.

Do we tackle them on their overt agenda of Islamophobia, or their covert agenda of racism?

So far we have concentrated exclusively on the latter. Isn't it time we started a campaign to confront the BNP's pernicious myths about Islam and Muslims?

Anyone looking at the BNP website, who was unaware of their history, would get the impression that they are the sole beleagered defenders of free society against the menacing ideology of Islamism.

The BNP is a moving target, and many of us are still shooting at where it was five years ago.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunatley that is exactley what msny, if not most BNP members see themselves as.

Fight on both fronts! Expose the core racialst philosophy of the BNP and educate people as to what Islam really represents.

It would help if there was less pussyfooting about violent hate mongers; both the nutzy and the jihadists.

Jail or deport the lot! Or in Lee Barnes case section him.

I have no doubt that a jury can tell the difference between free coment and incitement.

O(ld Sailor

Barbara said...

Anon @ 10.10am:
It would be good to see more engagement from the Muslim community disputing the 'pernicious myths' about Islam. As an agnostic I avoid religious arguments like the plague.
Underlying racism is core motivation to the BNP, but there is also the homophobia and misogynism that need attention.

So much hatred and prejudice to choose from -

Edmund Standing said...

Barbara, I agree. I'm an atheist and I can't say I'm overly impressed by the Qur'an 'in the raw' (not the Bible either, to be clear). However, I know there are liberal Muslims working to revise Islam for our time - the writers at 'The Spittoon' are a great example of this.

I'll oppose the BNP's racism 100% and any hatred they throw at people for their private religious beliefs, but I'm not qualified nor inclined to try to defend the Islamic religion itself from the BNP's attacks, unless I spot something I know to be untrue. We need more Muslims to get involved in anti-fascism and to demonstrate how the BNP is misinterpreting or misrepresenting their religion.

Jamie The Anti-Fascist said...

Great article, thanks LU

Anonymous said...

Having read the original report about the BNP blogs (where they can get away with saying things they'd never put on their main website), I'm surprised that the pagan Red Squirrel gets so much attention whereas the secularist and equally Islamophobic Green Arrow is only mentioned in passing.

The report seems to have a particular obsession with 'Odinists' and similar 'make-it-up-as-you-go-along' neo-pagan movements, as evidenced by its cover.