Searchlight Magazine

Identity: the new nationalist idea

White identity, national preference, traditionalism and the “new world order” were the loosely related themes of a long afternoon meeting of the Iona London Forum. Jeremy “Jez” Bedford-Turner, the ex-soldier who organises the new right discussion group, brought in three overseas speakers to join Sam Swerling, the former Conservative councillor and former chairman of the Monday Club, on 10 August.

It was Swerling, now heavily involved in the British Democratic Party (BDP), the party formed by former British National Party MEP Andrew Brons, who kicked things off shortly after 1pm with a tour around various aspects of British nationalism. In a speech entitled “the doctrine of national preference”, he explained why national preference was the only principle for nationalism that made any sense, why the UK Independence Party would fail – something these people need to believe in – and how support for “soft nationalism” could be translated into support for “serious nationalism”.

He was followed by probably the most interesting of the speakers, a 21-year-old German called Markus Willinger of Generation Identity. Not a political party, Generation Identity is a nationalist youth movement that started in France and has spread to Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, and held a conference in Stockholm on 29 June. Its aims include protecting the European cultural heritage and opposing multi-ethnicity.

Willinger, who was described as one of the leading thinkers of the movement and is the co-author of its manifesto, told the audience that Europe was dying and change would not achieved merely by voting. Nationalists had to learn from the left and take action to put pressure on politicians. That meant occupying mosques, as they did in Poitiers last year, and occupying the headquarters of the Socialist party in Paris in May. He also recounted how over 100 asylum-seekers occupied a church in Vienna, then 20 “identitarians” occupied it as well. The 20 were forced out by police but a week later the police removed the asylum-seekers, which he counted as a victory.

2013-08-09-identityEducated and fluent in English, Willinger is currently the darling of the new right. As well as the Iona meeting, he has been invited to speak to a group of young nationalists who include former BNP supporters and some on the fringes of the ultra-Tory Traditional Britain Group (TBG), which shares similar cultural values and political concerns. Generation Identity is still small in the UK but around half a dozen of them attended a meeting in London in August held by Chris Roberts, a former BNP activist who looks set to become the London organiser of the BDP and a BDP candidate in next year’s council elections. Swerling too was at that meeting.

Arthur Kemp, the one-time ideological director of the BNP, is also taking a keen interest in Generation Identity and spoke at their secret camp in Essex earlier this summer.

Willinger urged the audience to buy signed copies of his book, unimaginatively called Generation Identity. The book is published by Arktos Media, the New Right publisher exposed in the February-March 2012 issue of Searchlight as linked to neo-nazis, Holocaust deniers and white supremacists.

Willinger will be back in the UK at a day-long conference of the TBG in central London on 19 October, where he will share the platform with people such as Sean Gabb, director of the Libertarian Alliance; Professor Paul Gottfried from the USA; Robin Tilbrook, leader of the tiny English nationalist party The English Democrats, now the political home of several former prominent BNP members; and Alex Kurtagić, a New Right activist who spoke at last year’s conference of the white supremacist American Renaissance and founded the publisher Wermod and Wermod (see Searchlight April 2012).

Also on the speakers list is John Kersey, a musician, historian and educational consultant, whose CV includes acting as the UK representative of the New York based Apostolic Episcopal Church and being “the sixth Mukungu of San Luigi in the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara”. That’s in Uganda apparently.

The TBG made it into the national media in August when its vice president, Gregory Lauder-Frost, called for the new Labour peer Doreen Lawrence and millions of ethnic-minority Britons to “return to their natural homelands”, which prompted Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP who was the guest speaker at this year’s TBG annual dinner in May –attended among others by Swerling – to entirely dissociate himself from the group.

The publicity has worried the TBG, which has also lost some regular contributors as a result of Lauder-Frost making wild accusations against them. The Facebook page for the October conference includes a warning that not everyone will be admitted and asks applicants for tickets to outline their political history and background.

Third up at the Iona meeting was László Virág, a Hungarian Traditionalist, whose talk rejoiced in the title: “The criteria of the right: the struggle between the right and the left regarded from a metahistorical viewpoint”.

Virág is an editor of Sacrum Imperium, the publication of the “Sword-Cross-Crown Alliance”, which describes itself as a “Traditionalist, Ultradextroconservative, Imperio-monarchist and Monarcho-legitimist Front”. An ultranationalist and antisemitic circle, it is not active as a political organisation. He was formerly an editor and contributor to other ultraconservative and monarchist periodicals such as Pannon Front and Northern Crown.

The final speaker was Ruban Rosiers from Belgium, on “Syria: the turn of the tide for the new world order”. Rosiers, a Vlaams Blok official until that party was banned in 2004 for being racist, believes that victory by President Assad marks an end for the US neoconservatives’ “campaign of worldwide regime change”. Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, visited Assad in June and shares similar views about the “Zionist” neocons’ project to take over the world, believing also that the English Defence League is run by the same Zionists and neocons.

Although most of the speakers droned on far longer than they were interesting, the meeting passed without incident, which is more than can be said for Bedford-Turner’s trip to Germany the previous weekend. Accompanied by four other British Nazis, he joined the 700-strong annual Nazi march to a building in Bad Nenndorf that housed a British Army centre where leading SS officers and Nazi party members were interrogated between 1945 and 1947, an activity to which Britain’s modern Nazis take exception. The British contingent consisted of the prolific antisemite Michèle Renouf, the veteran former BNP deputy leader and National Front activist Richard Edmonds, Peter Rushton, deputy editor of Heritage and Destiny, and Daniel Adcock a former priest and teacher who has lived in Germany for many years.

Unfortunately for them, antifascists occupied the area in front of their destination and 1,800 police were unable to shift them all afternoon, so at 7pm the dejected Nazis packed up and went home.

Edmonds has another cause for gloom: the National Front is falling apart after a series of Facebook attacks on some of its officers. Much of the stirring is down to Eddy Morrison, a fascist splitter extraordinaire. Edmonds took a keen interest in the formation of the BDP and may now join. The BDP has made little impact so far and is unlikely to fight next year’s European elections as it does not want to distract attention from the BNP’s expected poor result by doing even worse.

© 2013 Searchlight Magazine Ltd, PO Box 1576, Ilford IG5 0NG

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