Greg Johnson Interviews Benjamin Raymond, Part 1
What follows is the transcript by Donna Hancock of the first part of Greg Johnson’s interview with Benjamin Raymond of National Action. To listen in a player, click here. To download the mp3, right-click here and choose “save link as” or “save target as.” To subscribe to our podcasts, click here. Video here.
Greg Johnson: I’m Greg Johnson. Welcome to Counter-Currents Radio. My guest today is Benjamin Raymond from Great Britain. Ben, welcome to the show.
Ben Raymond: Thank you very much, Greg.
GJ: I first heard about you when I saw a video shared on Facebook — a YouTube video. It was a morning current affairs program and it was a segment called “radicals.” You were being interviewed by a young woman named Catrin Nye, and she was asking about you and your group — National Action — and I was very impressed because she asked you, “Do you consider yourself a racist?” You were very, very calm about that and said, “Yes, I’m comfortable with that,” or something to that effect. She asked if you were a “Nazi” and you seemed very, very comfortable in saying, “Yes, I’m a National Socialist.” I thought your manner sold the points very well, and I thought that was admirable, because I think a lot of our people make a mistake when they act very defensive or nervous about these sorts of things, and you just calmly went on with your points. So I thought that was really very impressive.
So the next I heard of you was at the London Forum. I was introduced to you, and I didn’t put the two people together until a little later. But anyway, you’ve been on my map since then, and I thought it would be great to just give you a call and try to get to know you a little better and also get to know your group, National Action, a little better. So, just to begin, can you give us a little bit of biography — where you were born, where you grew up, your education and things like that?
BR: Sure, I’ll try to be as succinct as I can. I was born in West Sussex which is on the South coast of England. My father was a Catalonian folk singer. I spent the first few years of my life in Spain, and it’s left me with a slight accent, so most people I speak to in the British Isles usually think I’m from America or South Africa or Australia. It’s not a thick accent but it’s a slight twang. I went to a Christian school, like a Church of England school, but I think like most people of my generation I don’t think I was ever religious, and secondary school as well. I think what’s important to understand about European schools — and it applies to British schools as well — is that a lot of the teachers or most of the teaching in class have a lot of Trotskyite leanings. And the town that I’m from — which is Bognor Regis — is today still 98% white. I don’t think I ever saw a non-white until I was a teenager, so we were actually very gullible. We took in a lot of this stuff, but I saw there were these inconsistencies that started to bother me about the world I was growing up in, particularly the Left. It talks about social and economic injustice, but I don’t understand why they were always attacking the far Right and people they regarded as racist, who I kind of identified as people who have the least amount of power in society, the lowest representation. Many of them, it appeared increasingly to me, were sincere people with legitimate concerns even if I didn’t agree with them at the time. They were treated awfully. I also, growing up, always wanted to be an artist, but I saw what the art scene was like and how it was geared toward a very specific ideology that I just couldn’t really understand.
For me, a very major turning point was when I was about sixteen and I read Mein Kampf for the first time. I came into it with all of the prejudices that had been put to me, but even though I would say about 90% of the message went over my head it presented this world view that I found myself identifying with. I found that the strength of the message was very sympathetic because in our society we don’t really encounter people with a very strong level of conviction in what they believe in. Someone like Adolf Hitler, he was a man with . . . how do I put it? — he had like a grudge against the world, and to me that was very powerful. So I went to university, and I graduated, and I started to get involved in Right-wing politics. And the first thing that struck me was that very little about what attracted me to the movement was really present. How do I put it? There’s almost like two personalities or two currents within the far Right. For instance, you have Fascism. It’s a very Romantic movement. It’s empowering. But quite a strong theme within British nationalism was like the conspiracy theory angle. This is kind of universal within all far-Right movements, but it’s kind of a world view that puts you in a place of weakness where you have no strength and no ability to fight what is an overpowering system. You know, it’s incredibly depressing. The same is applied to the way they take up this “victim” angle. There’s nothing compelling about this, and it just seemed to me to project weakness when you come to a movement that is supposed to be about strength.
I think there’s an inherent contradiction in Fascism. On the one hand it’s a very social movement, but on the other hand, for the same reason it attracts people who are also — for want of a better word — incredibly autistic. So you have people whose vision of the world, for instance, they want marching columns of people and all these different colors, because they have a very simple mindset. So for the same reason they like something like Sonic the Hedgehog they like Fascism, this world of order and sobriety. It’s a clash of two different mentalities, a positive and a negative. I see that within mainstream politics like the British National Party — which I’ll get into later — is this negativity was the most preeminent factor behind it.
I also came in at a time when the London New Right had just gotten started, and that was around 2005. The aim of the London New Right was to create this intellectual movement which is based on what is called deconstruction. So they believe that by exploring culture from a specific viewpoint that would promote their viewpoint. But the problem with deconstruction is you can bloviate as much as you want to, but if you can deconstruct anything to be implicitly white, then the values somehow get lost. So this is quite important for me, because the first kind of political activity I was involved in was to join and eventually run a group called the Integralist Party of Great Britain, and I used this as a platform to kind of make a point, because I saw people were putting out — this was around 2008-2010 — were putting out what you’d call this culture war but from a very ambiguous point of view which is, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, a really present factor in Right-wing politics as a way of self-defense. They put ambiguity out. If you’re looking to discourse, it’s something the Right-wingers do. They will say, “Liberals — they’re the real racists!” It’s in every single aspect of the Right-wing.
GJ: Yeah, they use euphemisms, basically.
BR: Right, right. So the point I wanted to make was I could get completely random people that I could find, and I got them to submit their own essays to the group’s publication, Attack. And the message that was in it would be very radical and just more intelligent than what was being put out already. And it was, in a way, kind of a precursor to the image-board culture that’s kind of taken over the movement to quite a large degree. Like, if I were to say to you ten years ago that the mainstay of the movement ten years afterwards would be like Holocaust jokes and visceral racism, no-one would have believed you. But this is kind of how it’s worked in like . . . the thing about an image-board is it operates on the basis of like Social Darwinism, like weak messages, weak narratives. They can’t really survive the chomp. It’s only the extremes that come forward. And I felt that to create a group you need people who are very committed and very extreme, and I’m going to present some examples of that effect later. But it was these elements and ideas that came into . . . or these experiences that came into the creation of the Integralist Party when I first spoke to its principal organizer, Alex Davies, which was formed in late 2013.
GJ: One question, just define “image-board.”
BR: An image-board would be . . . an image-board is basically a website where you post messages with an image attached. I think most people would know something like 4chan, but there was quite a lot of them. If I were to give you a very brief history . . . originally 4chan website had a news section called “New,” and that was expelled or expunged from the board. That went on to become 4chon.net. And that is where basically every single running joke of the alt-Right came from, from the Wyatt Mann cartoons — everything that you are familiar with originated here; then when the political board was reopened that became into the mainstream. The only significance of this is size of the audience. Like I would say many of our most capable organizers and supporters were recruited directly off these websites, which is an important change because the problem with our movement is we’re not very good at recruiting people from outside it. A lot of the groups that exist in the UK are generational. I’ll be able to get into that a little bit later, but if that clarifies your definition of an image-board . . .
GJ: Right, so you’re talking about discussion forums that deal primarily in memes.
GJ: You’re talking about the Integralist Party. This is bringing us up to 2013, so just continue on from there.
BR: Okay, so I began working with Alex Davies, and what we decided to do was basically rebrand nationalism. The problem with white nationalists is, God bless them, they’re not very inventive with the way they present themselves. This requires a lot of context so I may as well give it. We had about ten years of having an electoral party, the British National Party. Nick Griffin took over; I believe it was around 2001. He brought in a lot of his own ideas, which was based on a very clean presentation, the embracing of kind of patriotic virtues, and primarily point-scoring. And the way that strategy worked would be played out in the infamous Question Time debate, when that image met the reality of actually having a chance to have a platform and debate with an adversary, and the entire thing crumbled under scrutiny. And the reason it crumbled was because all he cared about was having a morally superior position. After the program he argued, “Well, this was a success because I went in with the intention of being the underdog and that is what I got out of it.” But people are not attracted to weakness and weak leaders, and this has been a major factor behind the creation of National Action.
We got very angry with the way that . . . the previous ten years there have been many Right-wing projects that have come forward and they have been repressed quite violently, no matter how much they moderate their message. So you had a very sincere and concerned — what you’d call . . . I would even call him a multiculturalist “figure” — Tommy Robinson, who was the head of the English Defence League and he was portrayed as this neo-Nazi thug. There was a group on university called the National Culturalists, whose basic premise was, “We believe that all cultures are equal, but cultures have a right to defend themselves,” and it was vaguely nationalistic. But they were completely run off the campus without putting up like any kind of a fight. You know, on the campuses in particular, which is the main thing we wanted to target as a student organization, they’ve banned things like the Nietzsche Society, and they’ve even banned UKIP at one point. It’s like no matter how hard we try to appease the enemy they’ve never ever taken us up on any of our offers, so this appeasement strategy doesn’t work. So we felt we need to take an opposite approach.
GJ: I don’t know about using the term “appeasement” for the simple reason that maybe these people are being sincere. I mean, maybe they’re sincerely moderate.
BR: Well, the thing is, the way the argument is put to us is you’re correct. You have organizations like the English Defence League which don’t even regard themselves as being “Right-wing.” They believe that they are centrist or center-Left. But within the Right-wing there’s a common argument that we must play politics, that there is this meta-political angle where we have to present ourselves in a certain way and we will be accepted, but “wink-wink, nudge-nudge, this is what we really believe.”
GJ: Right, we call those “mainstreamers,” you know.
BR: Right, the damage is that sometimes they do sincerely believe it. And that can happen on every single level. So that is why there are hundreds of Right-wing groups that exist. They all hate each other on an ideological level, because they can’t agree. They go, “Oh, this guy is too extreme, and this guy is too moderate!” and they shelve themselves off, whereas if you look to the Left they’re entirely unified. Like, as a group there is complete cross-fertilization. They see themselves as a single movement. And they can’t be shamed into throwing their more extreme elements under the bus. If you tried to put that to them they’d laugh at you. I’ve seen this quite regularly with Right-wingers though. They’ll try to bring up something moderate like the crimes of Communism and go, “Oh, don’t you think that was so awful as well?” And to them it’s like a total absurdity, because it doesn’t in any way invalidate their position. And I think the Right needs to have the same approach, like a unity of the Right. And a unity of the Right comes from a situation where the Right-wing just realizes that it cannot promote its cause by throwing people under the bus, or in fact by attacking Leftwards pays off more than attacking Rightwards, if that makes sense.
GJ: Yeah, I agree with that.
BR: That would explain for instance like the candidacy of Donald Trump. I remember he was asked quite recently, “What do you think of all these neo-Nazis who support you?” and he just said, “Everyone loves me.” Now if that had been like even a moderate far Right figure in like Western Europe, they would absolutely use that as a free opportunity to signal. He saw that there was nothing to gain by signaling. It’s a strategy. The guy himself, as I understand it, is probably extremely moderate.
GJ: He’s an extreme centrist in his actual policies, you know.
BR: But it’s about attitude. It’s about what actually people will cling to. And what we want is a situation where these attacks they use on us no longer have any effect. Like somebody has to stand up and actually fight for these on some level.
GJ: Right, I agree with that. I do not like what we call “mainstreamers” in America. By “mainstreamers” I mean basically people who will come to you and they’ll say, “We agree with what you radicals believe, but we think you need to tone it down a bit and play towards the center,” and things like that. Now, if people really are centrists, if they really have these convictions, it doesn’t matter to me. But the people who are insincere about these things and are basically telling other people to be insincere and to play along with them, I think the whole dynamic is wrong. Because the trouble with the whole political set-up in the West today is there is an in-built Leftward drift and when people on the Right start trying to accommodate their message to people in the center that’s basically capitulating to the Leftward drift.
And when you ask yourself, “How did this Leftward drift get started?” it’s because people on the far Left do not capitulate towards the center. They constantly demand that politics moves their way. They do not move towards the center, they move the center towards them. And the Right is not going to change anything until we get outside of the mentality that we have to move towards the center and actually realize that the whole point is to get the center to move towards us, and the way to do that is not to abandon our principles or hide our principles but to persuade people that our principles are true.
BR: Hmm, now what exactly do you mean by “persuading” people?
GJ: Winning them over, changing their minds. There are a number of levels to persuasion. The best kind of persuasion would be to bring a person over and for them to have all the reasons and to be completely rational in their convictions and capable of arguing for these convictions themselves in persuading others. That’s the best kind of persuasion, because you give people the correct opinions, but you also give them rational foundations for these opinions, and they can go out and replicate their own conversion process. Not everybody’s capable of being converted that way, because it presupposes a certain level of intelligence and articulateness and, really, an ethical commitment to getting to the truth.
BR: Like 5% of the population are capable of embracing an emotional, like what you want to call it, a metaphysical or worldview. Whereas most of the population, as far as I understand it, are motivated more by social norms and strength and who’s in power which is why kind of having an artistic movement that undermines social norms is also very important.
GJ: Yeah, I would agree. The next level of persuasion would be basically giving people the correct opinions, but not really on objective foundations. Just because they identify with a person, they identify with an image, with a group, with a flag — whatever; it would be basically irrational persuasion towards a true opinion. And large numbers of people are capable of that kind of conversion. That’s why you need irrational appeals as well, and by “irrational” that’s not a put-down. I’m not talking about raving insanity. I’m just talking about things that appeal to the non-rational parts of every human soul, like our desire to believe or belong — things like that — and our aesthetic sensibility.
And then if you gain a significant enough percentage of the population through those two kinds of persuasion and you actually start making political headway then people will sort of jump on board, and you can persuade them simply by offering them stuff. So large numbers of people are sort of ideologically neutral, but if you are the person who can plausibly offer them three basic goods that everyone looks for from the political order — namely, prosperity and security and peace — then I think that you can bring those people over, and they’ll be persuaded as well. They’ll be persuaded to follow you, not because of their deep convictions, but just because of your ability to deliver things.
And I think nationalists can persuade people on all those levels because we really have won all the intellectual debates. People don’t know it yet, but we really have won all the intellectual debates. The Left is a total hollow colossus now. It’s a huge bloated presence in the culture now that’s basically hooked up to life-support. And we need to pull the feeding tubes out of it and put it out of its misery. And once we’ve done that, I think more people will be aware that they don’t have any intellectual status any more. We’ve won all the intellectual debates. We need to start winning people over in the media and the culture, and I think we are making beginnings in that direction, definitely. There’s been a huge amount of progress in that in just the last couple of years.
BR: I understand you probably want to talk about the group but just to continue this vein of conversation, you’re talking about a very small area like about the alt-Right in general. They have a formula that, let’s say, wins the debate. But it’s extended to a very small portion of the population. I feel it’s not so much a matter of persuasion. You talk about the “we.” “We” have won the debate, but what that “we” should mean in reality is “we the Right.” Well, the Right, if we were to look at every single Western country, doesn’t have a unified idea of what it is.
So, to go back to an earlier example like the English Defence League, was how people mobilized themselves in a kind of counter-revolutionary, Right wing fashion as they understood Right wing values to be which was, you know, a complete lack of values, because we have people who have sold us out ideologically over the last like decade to the point where we don’t know what we even believe any more. Like even people on the extreme Right, you know, it’s so hard to decode. What do you actually believe in? And how can we say we have won the debate when the Right itself does not have the same conviction or even understands what it is at the present time. Our aim should be to take the Right, and that is why our group is aimed exclusively towards the Right wing.
GJ: By saying that we’ve won the intellectual debates I simply mean on the most important issues, for instance the biological nature and reality of race and the fact that race matters. There’s no question that the race realist position is true. On the philosophical and historical and political questions of what diversity brings to a society, there’s no question that diversity is a negative. It’s almost always a negative. And every serious political thinker in the Western tradition — and also in the Far East for that matter — that I’ve surveyed would have laughed at the idea that a society can become stronger by increasing ethnic and religious conflict and differences in it. In terms of the Jewish question, I think we’ve won that debate. By “won” I mean we have the true position, that the alternative positions have been basically destroyed intellectually. And it’s just a matter of time and effort to get more people aware of that fact. So, on those important issues I think we’ve won.
Yeah, there’s a lot of disunity on the Right, and I think we have to work to some extent to unify the Right. We have to get the bad approaches to stand down or disappear and the good approaches to triumph. I tend to want to avoid intra-Right polemics because I think that’s sort of a time-wasting thing. I have limited time; I have limited resources. And for that simple reason I don’t want to spend a lot of time attacking people in my own camp because that’s time taken away from attacking the really target-rich environment of the mainstream. But I do hope that people will be attentively looking at different groups and looking at their performance and making up their minds. And eventually certain strategies will win out. They’ll win out just because they produce more and better material. They produce more and better actions. So, I think that the unification process that you would like to see happen is going to happen primarily that way.
I’m really strongly opposed to this, I call it a “rookie” move, that you see with a lot of people. They create their internet party, their internet website, and the first thing they do is launch a series of attacks against other groups. It’s the idea of, “Let’s begin with a purge. I’m gonna run up my little ideological flag, and then I’m gonna start firing on all the people who are very close to me,” with the idea of trying to peel off their supporters and their donors and win them over to the new group. I’ve been watching this happen for years now and generally what happens is it might actually persuade a few people to change teams, but I think more people actually just get disgusted and detached from the whole movement because they just think it’s a waste of their time. It’s sort of exhausting and just a lot of drama. Infighting is endemic to the Right, and I think a lot of people just leave. Another really bad form of this is the schismatic approach where there’s an organization or group and suddenly someone decides, “Well, I’m going to break off from this and take the rest of them with me.” Usually about 20% go with the schism-maker, and maybe another 20% stay with the original thing, but a huge number of them just give up because they get sick of it and exhausted with all the drama and infighting. So I do think this process of unifying things and getting people to work together more productively is an ongoing thing. I hope that it is coming about. I think the best way of criticizing other people, is just to do better than them.
BR: I couldn’t have put it better myself. That’s exactly what I was going to say, pretty much. I’ve always believed that you prove your point by your results and you never initiate . . . well you don’t really need to initiate with people on the other side of the argument because success is its own reward and they either go with it or they go under, in my opinion. You know, just having the pure Darwinism of politics will allow us to prove our point. But at the same time I feel there’s an ideological argument that could be made, so positions need to be attacked, and positions do get attacked just by implicitly, by standing for a certain strategy or a certain way of thinking you are effectively condemning the other side or the other strategy. There is a debate to be had there.
GJ: Yeah, I agree with that. Again, I have made positions on recent debates. Last year there was a blow-up between Ramzpaul and Andrew Anglin, and Colin Liddell got in on it, and I wrote a couple of pieces trying to state my views on the matter too. I try to avoid that, but if the discussion is raised to a certain level where it’s actually productive I think, I’ll try and take part in it. So, yeah, it’s a delicate thing though, because it’s easy for these things to be dragged down and to drag everybody else down with it. But if it elevates itself and it’s elevating for the cause, yeah we do need to conduct these sorts of discussions. I think they can be done profitably.
BR: I mean, it’s a matter of personalities, like I don’t mean individual personalities not liking each other but what individually motivates everyone who’s on the far Right because what it comes down to is contradictory motivations. There are people who are in here because they believe in something, and there are others here because they want to role-play, and role-play comes in many, many different forms basically. The way that we deal with it as an organization is, you know, like you said, organizations they split all the time. What we did was we set up National Action in such a way that it would repulse people with a negative attitude. To explain it, it’s like it’s an inherently informal organization, and if you cannot present yourself informally, then you are not genuine in your beliefs, if that makes sense. It’s a test. This conversation is slightly confusing because I’m not sure if it’s a political discussion or a biographical discussion about National Action and my involvement in it.
GJ: Well it’s both, I guess. We’ll get more into National Action . . .
BR: I just feel kind of bad using it as an example because you’re at quite a disadvantage if you can’t just like bring up examples of what you are or what you’re doing or what your strategy is and it’s, to put it this way, is to put it too succinctly, like it requires a lot more elaboration.
GJ: Right, well, let’s talk a little bit about National Action then. Let’s get more of that out there for our listeners. When did National Action come about? What is your role in it? What are its goals? Tell us about the size of the group — members, supporters, ideology and so forth.
BR: Okay, so National Action was formed as a National Socialist organization, and it was formed with the tireless efforts of our main organizer, Alex Davies. We already have quite a decent infrastructure in this country, which allowed him to attend lots of different groups and organizations to appeal to interested members — people who would be interested in joining such a group. People were attracted to the look of the organization. We embraced quite a lot of modern aesthetics, which is something that modern organizations have failed to catch up on.
I would say, for your American listeners, it was quite easy to do in the United Kingdom compared to how it would be done in the US because I feel the US has with this problem that it doesn’t have this single continuous movement. Like in most European countries we have a single Fascist movement that goes from the 1930s all the way to today. And it’s basically kind of still together, even if it’s in a nebulous form. It has this one single tradition where . . . I see a lot of the groups in the US where it’s they have to reinvent the wheel to begin with. So we were able to work off this history, work off existing groups and infrastructures; so, there’s already, you know, hundreds of these organizations around. They just simply hadn’t embraced 21st-century media, because we’ve had quite a long dark age.
Our main inspiration was how Europeans had been able to form large youth organizations. In particular my personal inspirations were the Russian nationalists: figures like Tesak and organizations that are fairly recent like White Rex. You have CasaPound in Italy. Nationalists in Europe have generally embraced the world of this modern militant look that is essentially kind of alien to British politics because we’ve been pursuing this entirely electoral route for the past 15 years without having a culture to go with it. So we had this kind of cultural paradigm that we owned for ourselves that provided an informal space.
And what we needed was kind of a youth movement because, although we had this intention of cooperating with all the key figures in all the organizations, in order to bring new people into the movement there needed to be a space in which young people could be around those who are the same age because usually what happens is, like you say, someone forms an internet party and it’s the same people who will join it and things don’t go quite as they want. You know, they have these very grand aspirations; they want to be the organization which they want to be in, you know, in five, ten years’ time, when what you have to do is be the organization you are now. You have to accept the situation you are in now.
So our very modest aims as an organization was, you know, we’re quite proud to say we got 15 people to attend such-and-such, because it represented some kind of progress, and more and more people would be coming in to it. At the moment it’s . . . I would say the organization is approaching, well, is in the three digits and we have quite a wide range of support, particularly the way in which we’ve been able to network with similar kinds of organizations. In Europe you have Slavic Union, Lithuanian Nationalist Youth Union, the Resistance Movement, White Rex in Russia. So that would cover, for your listeners, Poland, Scandinavia, Baltic states, and Russia as well.
We have a view of nationalism as well that is quite different. The Europeans or, I want to say, of the historic Fascist type idea of nationalism was not reactionary. It was one that was quite forward thinking, that was, say, more towards the idea of not identifying as white but the idea of defending white civilization as a whole, so not pursuing this kind of like narrow chauvinism, but trying to pursue the interests of . . . trying to raise the level of which our people and our civilization exist and bring a union between these different peoples in what you call like Imperium Europa. That vision of the European people united, because I feel that for hundreds of years we have been waving these different colored bits of cloth while our enemies have remained completely united; and while we’re facing this great struggle, you know, this great apocalyptic struggle that’s come upon the European people that will decide whether they live or die, or whether they see the next century or not, then it is our duty to have a world view that doesn’t really discriminate against them.
So the first identifiable factor about National Action as we came into 2015 was that we had interests within the Polish and the Lithuanian community in the country as well, and we were able to be in the same thinking and tradition as other Europeans. It’s about like the level which you think and you present yourself. There’s something quite artificial about wanting to go back 30 or 40 years, because nationalists believe they can just wave a flag like it’s 1914, and everyone will just come to them. That saying I think Americans have: build it and they will come, right? But people don’t think like that anymore. Those nationalist symbols have been co-opted. They don’t have the same meaning that they used to. So we kind of need a new symbol and a new idea of what nationalism is that gives us a future, because the past has failed us. What is the point of wanting to go back 50 years? It’s quite a humble aim, and it provides no guarantee for securing the future of the values that you’re claiming to express.
So we believe in kind of a high ideal which is not something you have with the existing quite narrow, patriotic culture. There’s even an increasing tendency within the United Kingdom towards I wouldn’t call them real, like, nationalists but the Secessionist movements, so with Scotland, England, Wales. But all these nationalist movements are communistic in their nature. They’re like the equivalent of, what you’d call it, the Nordic Green Left, like the ultimate expression of civic patriotism. So, for us, it is this idea of European identity, of white identity which is almost unheard of in our particular politics.
Now, the goals of our organization we present quite moderate: we try to focus on short-term goals. So, the main one is getting media attention, trying to get our particular message out as being a more dominant narrative within the far Right. So we have a message that is always very clear, very concise, and doesn’t require elaboration.
GJ: So then, let me summarize what I’ve heard so far. National Action is an action group — it’s action-oriented. You do protests and things like that. You are pan-European in your sensibility. You try not to get caught up in the sort of petty, nationalist disputes between European ethnic groups.
BR: Uh, yes, like um . . . just as an example, like the conflict between the Ulstermen and the Irish, for example.
GJ: Right, right. Yeah, those are divisive.
BR: They are very present existing factors within mainstream British nationalism.
GJ: Right. So you also are taking cues from youth organizations and movements on the continent. You mentioned CasaPound. Do you look at all at the Generation Identity movement?
BR: Yes, I was particularly impressed by a demonstration they had recently where they had these guys holding “refugees welcome” signs, and they’re kneeling on the floor with these guys dressed as ISIS with a knife beheading them.
GJ: Yeah, that was pretty impressive.
BR: Now those kinds of stunts are impressive. It’s been very interesting to see the development of Generation Identity. The only thing I will say is quite regularly these movements on the continent have been suppressed, much like all the groups I was talking about in Russia like Tesak and Wotan Jugend, even Demushkin’s party. Generation Identity, after they occupied the mosque and the Socialist Party headquarters, they went underground for quite a long time. But the type of activity they engage in is the same kind of infrastructure we’re trying to build as well. But that would be one facet of what we’re trying to establish. With them it’s more the style. So they understand the importance of embracing a modern style, the same with CasaPound, who some might say are questionable ideologically.
GJ: Well, they’re kind of evasive ideologically.
GJ: That’s my thing about them. In a way I see that with the Identitarians too. They travel very light ideologically. They simply say things like, “France is for the French. These other people need to leave,” and it’s hard to argue with that. It’s a very simple position. It’s hard to argue against it. And beyond that, they simply have to be judged by their actions. And their actions are to engage in protests and political pranks to try and draw attention to the contradictions of the system, draw attention to the destruction of France by immigration and so forth, and I think it’s very successful.
The CasaPound people: their banner is remarkably similar in its style and colors to the National Socialist banner. It’s red with a white circle in the center, and it has this tortoise pattern on there as opposed to a Hakenkreuz. And yet, when you ask them about their political views and ask them whether they’re anti-Semitic just because they use Ezra Pound as their symbol and things like that, they’re almost like these music scene types, edgy music scenesters. They’re really evasive when you try to pin them down as to why they use this kind of symbolism. And I think maybe, again, we have to be somewhat indulgent with that. Because they’re trying to avoid getting in any kind of legal trouble, and then you just have to look at their actions. The trouble with CasaPound, though, is they’ve also supported non-whites running for offices and things like that in their own homeland, so it is kind of confusing to know what they’re really about. But I think their actions generally point towards them being an outgrowth of radical Italian nationalism, and they’re trying to organize a community. They’re a community organization, and I think that’s really valuable. Do you consider yourself engaged primarily in building a nationalist community?
BR: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is, and to build a nationalist community you need to have people who want that kind of — for lack of a better word — brotherhood between all the different members and supporters, and that is what we’ve successfully built in this country now is people who are very close and tight-knit with each other and are providing infrastructure. So what we offer are self-defense classes and “regular” camping and other kinds of social activities in addition to demonstrations and political meetings and things of that nature.
GJ: That’s very valuable. How do you think that activity will lead to positive change — political change — down the road?
BR: The positive political change will be in the ideological lessons that people have learned. So if you’re going to be involved in Right wing politics for any amount of time you will benefit from it, simply from practical experience. But we began with this very specific program of what we’d like to see, how we’d like our leaders to speak, how we want young people to present themselves, to not be afraid, to not be ashamed, to know that what they are doing is 100% the right thing. That is what we’ll benefit from in the future. And the close-knit social networks that have come out of that will pay off massively in the future, and over the coming years, as will be visible.
The one thing about National Action was how fast certain things managed to appear in conjunction with the organization. So it starts out as this very small group of students doing these protests, travelling from across the country to attend them, and within a year you had major operations like the Sigurd camps. If you want some clarification, their project is quite similar to a thing you have in the US called Operation Werewolf — or the Wolves of Vinland, I believe they’re called. It’s the idea of going out into nature, physical fitness, self-improvement, and community. With the Sigurd thing it was set up by or was benefitted from the training from Denis Nikitin who’s the head of White Rex in Russia which is a large mixed martial arts circuit. He also attended CasaPound as well on the way. Just to give you an idea of how interlinked all these are.
It’s on this basis that I would say we are a European movement. That’s not just rhetoric; it’s the reality of what we have. So we have projects like Sigurd. Other things have also come out of the woodwork. You have Western Spring, which is a nationalist think-tank. You had, just before the formation of National Action, you had London Forum which now hosts some of the best speakers, I think, of any nationalist platform in Europe. I’d say equivalent to NPI or AmRen. You also have projects like White Independent Nation which is a financial property-buying/letting organization. Having infrastructure within the space of a year we now have what you call regional organizations — people who meet regularly on a regional basis. That would be in Scotland, North-West, Wales, and London.
GJ: So, where are your members most concentrated within the United Kingdom?
BR: They’re most concentrated in the North-West, principally because that’s where we’ve had the best organizers and where we have also had outside services. So people get interested who let’s say, run gyms, things like that. You have lots of guys who drive up there, and you have more people who can meet potential recruits. They’re very good at capitalizing on people who come in. But like I said, we’re also strong in Wales, in Scotland, and in London as well.
GJ: Interesting. So, back to this question: how do you envision this changing the political realm because, ultimately, community-building, alternative networks, and things like that are great. But ultimately we need to have political power? How do you think nationalists are going to gain political power and how do you think that what you’re doing is going to contribute to that?
BR: Okay, so as I said, the core problem we have is the Right wing, its lack of unified message, lack of ability to manifest itself, to be able to take charge of crisis. Because crisis is an important factor, like with Golden Dawn. You had these guys who had the right ideology, the right organization in the right place at the right time, and they were able to exploit that to its maximum effect. The same thing happens in many Western European countries. You’re not going to have the same response. What you are going to have is going to be controlled more or less by the enemy. It’s going to be same-old, same-old, the same compromise politics. So we have to start from the beginning but, as I’ve always understood it, the problem which you outlined beautifully is that you have people who will set up political parties, and they pretend they’re the organizations they are in 20 years’ time. The first thing they decide on putting out is a manifesto before they have, you know . . .
GJ: A second member.
BR: A second member or a spreadsheet or a donation. And no wonder the thing folds. So we have to be humble in our aims but capitalize on those aims quickly, and ultimately movements are about quality not quantity. So to give an example of this would be something like the Nordic Resistance Movement in Scandinavia, which I think is a very good model to take. They were formed, I believe, in the early ’90s and only just this year in Sweden have they formed a political party. Now that party has been formed in the wake of dozens of parties being created and folding, being created and folding. And they fold because their organization is poor, and the people in it distrust each other, don’t have it proved to themselves what their aims and goals really are. It’s important if you’re going to play the political game you have to play to win. So you need that infrastructure. We cannot do that with the current Right wing, so we have to build that from scratch.
But there’s nothing that can stop a group of people who are absolutely determined and ideologically committed. If there’s any one thing I’d say to endorse my group is we have almost no attrition so people who’ve joined the group have, by and large, stayed in the group and have not left. Despite all of the persecution that we’ve faced, from mass arrests through visits from the police, we’ve never folded as an organization. You think, okay, if that’s funded, if it’s organized and it’s engaged in politics that kind of — if you want to take the vanguard strategy — that kind of thing is the only thing that can win in a political situation against our enemies who are themselves dis-unified and weak. It’s just a case of kicking in the barn door, and the whole opposition will completely crumble in how they deal with this. Just look at Greece. Look how many different oppositions they’ve been through over the past few years. We need to be completely strong and united. Everything is about trust in politics. If the people you’re working with you know will never betray the ideas they are standing for then you’ll never face any problems, because the guy who you’re standing next to is not going to fall or turn over to the other side. It’s as bad as facing ten of your opponents in front of you, to lose a guy who’s behind you.
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