|Real Preachers of Hate||The most vicious intolerance is found among the anti-nazis, says Edward Hatton|
Hate Filled Reds
We are told that nazism is once again on the march in Europe. The recent success of so-called far-right political parties has inevitably evoked many such sensationalist reactions from journalists, and perhaps none more so than in the case of BBC correspondent Angus Roxburgh's Preachers of Hate, which evokes the image of SS Jackboots pounding throughout the continent. Roxburgh's book uses the term neo-nazi sweepingly, to encompass just about everybody from the SS-praising Jorg Haider to homosexual libertarian Pim Fortuyn. They, and the groups they apparently embody, are all lazily accused of being modern nazis - key players in the politics of hate.
Of course, one of Roxburgh's problems is that he is unable, or unwilling, to define what far-right or nazi actually mean, allowing him to use these emotive terms entirely unquestioned. So perhaps we should think for a moment about this point. What defines nazism for most people? I would suggest it is the projection of hatred and fear onto certain groups, scapegoating these groups; the smearing and dehumanising of opponents; and suppression of free speech and the desire for a One-Party State. Now, if this is so, then nazism would indeed seem to be on the march, but this is not embodied in Haider or Fortuyn. It is embodied in the anti-fascist movement, which has been marching through Europe (including Britain) evoking fear and stirring up hate wherever it goes.
The Nazis are famously reputed to have dehumanised their opponents. Jews were compared to a plague of rats in a film by Dr. Goebbels. Schoolchildren were taught in an equally notorious story book that the Jew was The Poisoned Mushroom. But in Britain the Anti-Nazi League, the magazine Searchlight and many in the Labour Party portray their opponents in an equally dehumanised fashion. Referring to the latter as nazis clearly has this purpose in the context in which the term is understood. Even though the BNP, for example, is clearly not nazi - because nazism was a German ideology of the 1930s - associating the BNP with Nazism, and by extension the various atrocities of which the Nazis are accused, massively assists in dehumanising the BNP's members. They are portrayed not as individuals but simply as an indisputably evil collective force.
Quite apart from the nazi label, various figures on the left use highly emotive language in referring to the BNP. Roy Hattersley termed the BNP evil on a recent edition of Question Time. And how often has the Anti-Nazi League been recorded chanting scum at members of the BNP? BNP members are portrayed as not human but as filth. And there is only one logical thing to be done to filth!
The second way in which the anti-nazi movement dehumanises its opponents is subtler. It involves deliberately alienating the BNP from those whom they wish to prevent voting for the party: the sprawling middle class. This includes just about everybody from office managers to barristers. As such, they make numerous false allegations against those they oppose. They suggest that only uneducated and often unemployed people living in deprived areas vote for the BNP. Roy Hattersley made exactly this claim on the edition of Question Time from Burnley to which I have referred, despite the fact that there were high BNP votes in many middle-class areas of Oldham, Burnley and elsewhere at the 2001 general election and in subsequent local government elections. Such an allegation cleverly manipulates the well-known phenomenon of Rank Concession Syndrome - that people will emulate their perceived socio-economic superiors and reject the lifestyle of those they believe to be failing. Hattersley's viewers would obviously, and perhaps over-simplistically, associate unemployment with failure!
The criminal cry
Hattersley's next argument was that many people in the BNP are criminals. This would again invoke Rank Concession Syndrome for many of his viewers. But what he fails to point out is that most of the crimes committed by BNP members have amounted only to breaches of the law in pursuit of political motives, sometimes involving the use of freedom of speech in a society in which freedom of speech has been a sacred national tradition (though now a crime in certain respects). Hattersley also suggested that top BNP members have convictions for violent behaviour, again forgetting the violence against which they frequently have to defend themselves from the far left.
Hattersley's final tactic was simply to claim that if you vote BNP you have been brain-washed by the far right and you are an insecure person. Of course, no-one would wish to feel that either of these things applied to themselves, so that the intended effect was to alienate them from the BNP. In the process of all this, of course, Hattersley was essentially alienating many ordinary people, implying that they are incapable of having an intelligent opinion. Moreover, the refusal of politicians like Hattersley to debate with the BNP is intended only to assist this dehumanisation process further - his opponents become a dark, shadowy group with whom it is dangerous even to talk!
The Nazis, of course, were regarded by many as projecting their own insecurities - in a time of national crisis - onto the Jews. The Jews were scapegoated for everything from unemployment to the degradation of the national character. But do not anti-nazis project their own hatreds onto their political opponents? Recently, the ANL in Guildford used threats of violence against members of the public to cancel a BNP hustings.
We have already explored the accusations of nazi, evil, and scum and the way in which anti-nazis refuse to debate with their opponents but simply seek to lock them up for speaking their minds. One councillor in Wiltshire said he wouldn't want to be in the same room as a BNP member. The BNP are essentially blamed for anything for which their opponents can find to blame them. One commentator argued that racist attacks had increased in Burnley since a BNP councillor was elected. But these attacks would almost certainly have occurred regardless. Such an accusation is thus, again, scapegoating and totally irrational. The Jews were legally persecuted for their race and religion in Germany; the opponents of the anti-nazis are persecuted for their patriotic views today. In both cases, of course, the legal system prevented, and prevents, them from fighting back.
Indeed, much of this loathing derives from the insecurities of the anti-nazis themselves. Who are the Anti-Nazi League? Overwhelmingly, they are white and middle-class. They are also, in a socio-economic sense at least, failures. They do not belong to the affluent middle-class, but are mainly what they might themselves call wage-slaves: teachers, nurses and so on; and they are politically on the left. They dislike being white and British, I would suggest, because of the tremendous sense of post-colonial guilt with which today's young people have been inculcated through their education. And, needless to say, they dislike their lack of affluence, their lack of self-determination and their relative lack of achievement. The BNP, therefore, embodies all of the aspects of themselves that they despise. It is unashamedly in favour of preserving the British Nation - its culture, its own special way of life and once again ensuring that we are proud, not guilty, to be ourselves.
A great deal of the BNP's support is from honest, working-class, white people whose position reflects an aspect of the lifestyle of the anti-nazi that he loathes. Moreover, the BNP challenges the identity of the anti-nazi by highlighting the utter failure of his left-wing ideology to help anybody in the working-class anywhere. Even some of those in Britain's de facto underclass are likewise beginning to vote nationalist, challenging the certainties of the anti- nazi. No wonder, then, that the anti-Nazi, insecure in terms of his ideology, economic position and national identity, projects his self-loathing onto the BNP!
Violence and suppression
And like the real Nazis, the anti-nazis are attempting to achieve a One-Party State. They use violence in place of democracy. They suppress freedom of speech. They smear and imprison their opponents. They even interfere with the democratic process by, almost unbelievably, marching against the democratically expressed will of the people and rioting in the streets, as we saw in the wake of Jean-Marie Le Pen's first-round success in the French Presidential Election. Some - such as Dutchman Volkert van der Graff - will even go as far as murdering their opponents; despite the fact that the victim in this case, Pim Fortuyn, clearly had the backing of a vast number of the Dutch electorate, van der Graff assassinated him. Many anti-nazis will argue that they believe in freedom of speech but they still shout for the BNP to be banned!
I have even heard some anti-nazis question whether the kind of people who vote BNP should be allowed to vote at all. One of them mooted the idea that one shouldn't be allowed to vote without a university degree. If the BNP were suppressed, Britain would effectively become a One-Party State. The three main parties are, at least in theory, agreed on the desirability of a multi-cultural society. So without the BNP where would the voice of dissent and opposition be? On many issues our so-called anti-nazis are essentially of one voice and one party. And like the Nazis of legend, they have an absolute intolerance of anyone who dares to disagree with them.
Angus Roxburgh is quite right in one thing. The politics of hate is indeed a significant force in modern Europe - from the left-wing fringes to the heart of the Labour Party. The hate of the anti-nazi movement is central to modern European politics. Europe is stalked by a modern version of the nazi movement (or at least as it was perceived), which dehumanises its opponents and is so intolerant of them that it won't even debate with them. This movement uses violence, imprisonment and murder against those with whom it disagrees. And it has no respect for democracy or free speech. It scapegoats and it projects its own insecurities and hatreds onto a minority. Such a movement is dangerous, and it must be fought relentlessly. Thankfully, that fight is succeeding. Once again freedom, democracy and pride in history and nation are on the march all over Europe, including here.