Sunday, February 01, 2009

Why the BNP is Left Wing (And Fascist)

In a Tweet earlier this morning Plaid Cymru AM Bethan Jenkins described a comment by Michael Rock., chairman of Conservative Future, that the BNP is "left wing", as a "disgrace". I looked up Rock's comments and can't really see how any sane person could disagree with them. His full blogpost is HERE.
The consistent miss-labelling of extremist parties is very damaging to liberal democracy, as it creates false tensions and misaligns people with causes they do not understand fully. I’ve yet to meet a Tory who believes in clamping down on free-trade and the nationalisation of private companies. The BNP are both racist and fascist: all fascist parties have left wing tendencies as they predominantly believe in nationalisation, collectivism and forbid free expression, which makes fascism the very antipathy of right-of-centre politics.

I can understand why those on the left don't wish to be branded in the same political mindset as the BNP. Now they know how those of us on the right feel. But the fact remains that BNP beliefs DO have more in common with Socialism than with Conservatism - centralised command control, trade tariffs, state owned businesses ... I could go on. I struggle to think of a single issue which joins the BNP and mainstream conservatism. The Nazis were called National Socialists for a reason. Fascism is invariably described as a creed of the right. It isn't. As with the BNP, fascism has far more in common with the left, at least in political theoretical terms.

I say this not to whip us some "you're more fascist than me" type argument between left and right, but merely to explain to Bethan Jenkins why I am bemused by here disgust.

75 comments:

molesworth 1 said...

The left/right axis has never functioned properly to describe political extremes.
The authoritarian/libertarian prism provides more illumination.

Andrew Allison said...

I agree with you Iain, however, I think Molesworth has a point.

Battling Brummie said...

Well said Iain. Whilst you are on the subject, have you noticed how Central and Eastern European communist parties are invariably described as "conservative" on the BBC. Its probably sub-conscious but it reflets a reflexive left:good / right:bad mindset. It is also deepely damaging to political discourse.

Faustus said...

Absolutely right, Molesworth 1.

The "right-wing" Nazis were, after all, the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei.

Tony

DocRichard said...

It's not so much a left/right axis as a left/right circle. Extremists tend to transmogrify into their polar opposites. All these terms tend to be unstable, because of their highly charged emotional content. The Nazis were National Socialists, but they hated the Communists, partly because they hated everyone, and partly because communists were international-type socialists (though in the event,the real international socialist got an ice pick in his head courtesy of the faction which was less international. All very confusing).

Anyway, we are all socialists now, since the bank bailout. Aren't we?

Poltroon said...

The Nazis started off with left and right wings. The left wanted the state to take over business etc. After the Night of Long Knives the left were purged so that the party could get into bed with business, the military and the old pre-democratic authoritarian elites.

The BNP obviously express many populist left wing sentiments.

strapworld said...

Just typical of these uneducated left wingers! They just need reminding of the full title of Hitler's Nazi Party!

The National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), which established a totalitarian dictatorship!

That is what the BNP are all about. And they are as left wing as the Welsh Nationalists and the Labour Party!

Mind you the most hilarious story is that the BNP have complained about Jo Brand - the comedienne - for a joke she made about the published members list!! poor darlings.

Perhaps we should organise a whip round is Jo is charged!

Pete (WestBrom Blogger) said...

I agree Iain, the BNP does appear to have far more in common with socialism. I have always been confused that people have accepted the description of the BNP as far right.

I think molesworth has a point as well.

strapworld said...

Battling Brummie...the real concern to us all should be these former communist countries are represented in the EU by the same 'leaders' wearing a new suit of clothes. Communists? Of course not!! But I bet they find the EU to their liking.

For the life of me, I just cannot understand the Tory party love affair with the EU!

Gordon said...

I read somewhere (I think on a comment here a while ago, but can't be certain) that the BNP were campaigning on council estates with the line "we're the labour party your parents used to vote for." - That seems pretty leftwing to me

Mr Mr said...

New Labour and the BNP also share the same literature.

"British jobs for British workers"

Obnoxio The Clown said...

I agree entirely, Iain.

Batteredstrat said...

The BNP are quite clearly a socialist party, distinctly wedded to some of the old fashioned ideology of the pre 1997 Labour movement. They also try to challenge NuLabour by purporting to be the party of the little man, white and working class and beaten down by changes in society.

At the same time they are deeply rooted in nationalist tendencies, seeking to link immigration and the uncertainty it has brought in some areas to social deprivation.

Nationalism + Socialism.

Left or right, as Molesworth 1 suggests, is inadequate to describe such a party.

That the liberal press and BBC/Sky often seek to break use such simple tags is purely to associate conservatism and the BNP, and like all such simplifications is bound to mislead. (In this case deliberately so).

RN said...

Care to make a comment Ms Chris Paul?

Dave H said...

“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property..."

(Adölfchen 1927)

Sounds like the paradigm of Fascist extremism was in fact a typical leftie.

BTW it always struck me as wrong that while BNP membership causes so much frothing at the mouth, SWP or CPGB membership is regarded as just a bit of harmless idealism. For all the rest, the BNP do at least say they are committed to democracy, not revolution followed by totalitarianism.

After all, do you suppose an SWP member in the police wouldn't be prejudiced towards the shiny-new-Audi-driving community?

PhilC said...

Gordon: that was a BNP election slogan. But in local elections parties will tailor their messages to fit the audience. It doesn't mean they actually believe they are old style Labour. It's what they believe will win them votes. (cf any Lib Dem campaign)
A single issue which joins the BNP and mainsteam Conservatism?
Fear of the organised working class: they're both anti-union.

JuliaM said...

"BTW it always struck me as wrong that while BNP membership causes so much frothing at the mouth, SWP or CPGB membership is regarded as just a bit of harmless idealism."

Yup. Just another example of double standards (a subject on which I'll be posting tomorrow).

Try going to your local university with a 'Hitler' t-shirt.

Then, when the bruises have healed and you can walk again, go there (assuming your ASBO permits it) with a Che or USSR hammer and sickle t-shirt....

Doug said...

This has been obvious to most rational people for decades. The state we are in is due to the BBC expropriating the word to further their political agenda.

Man in a Shed said...

The National Socialists and Communists in Germany would often make common cause in their early days. ( I can remember seeing a picture of a tenants rent strike with Nazi and Communist flags flying out of windows on a block of flats ).

I'm fed up with the extreme "Right Wing" tag used by lefties in the media, especially when Fascism is a left wing concept and the closest to a fascist party of the three main stream UK parties is Labour.

Labour supporters tend to be the most slavish followers for the party line and leader these days. ( How could any respectable freedom loving party have allowed the coup by Gordon Brown and coronation ? )

Akheloios said...

The Nazi party was fanatically nationalist, glorifying the German people and state. They were only concerned with non-Germans when they posed an obstacle to greater German objectives. The Jews, Slavs, Russians etc. were dehumanised simply because they were not German. Nationalism was a right wing ideology, as opposed to the left wing internationalism of Communism/Socialism.

The BNP is also rabidly nationalistic, vilifying immigrant communities as a threat to the BNP's ideals of Britishness.

It's the rabid Nationalism of both the Nazis and the BNP that cause them to be described as right wing, not the economic model they use.

PhilC said...

JuliaM: Prince Harry did it and doesn't seem to have affected his job prospects.

John M Ward said...

The two-dimensional "political compass" model is indeed more illuminating, as an extension of the other single-axis model that a couple of commenters here have mentioned.

Although I don't agree with the exact placements of all the parties in the diagram of this that I found, and posted on my own 'blog, it is broadly correct and clearly shows the BNP left of centre.

RonB said...

BNP in fear of organised labour? I don't think so, the BNP have their own trade union.
The BNP want an organised white working class marching to their tune, similar to Labour.
The BNP is a political threat to Labour hence the latters wish to associate the BNP with Hitler and gas chambers. With the BBC et al helping with the spade work.

The SWP and their ilk are not a threat to Labour hence the silence and wear the T shirt if you wish.

Sceptical Steve said...

We've somehow omitted the role of Oswald Mosley in the formation of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s.

Already a senior member of Ramsay MacDonald's government after the 1929 election, Mosley "attempted to persuade the Labour Party Conference in October, but was defeated again. The memorandum called for high tariffs to protect British industries from international finance, for state nationalisation of industry and a programme of public works to solve unemployment. Thirty years later in 1961, R. H. S. Crossman described the memorandum; "... this brilliant memorandum was a whole generation ahead of Labour thinking." (Mosley's Wikipedia entry.)

Hardly what you'd call a typical right-wing free marketeer?

CountingCats said...

Not just the BNP, anyone who isn't at least a social democrat gets smeared -

http://www.countingcats.com/?p=1436

YMT said...

I was taught that the left/right spectrum is actually a circle with a hole a the bottom, the further you go left or right at some point the policies and ideas acutally start to converge although being polar opposite.

CherryPie said...

Great post I am always trying to explain that very point to people, who then look at me as if I don't know what I am talking about!

neil craig said...

If you accept that the true spilt is between statists & traditional liberals then it becomes clearer. The BNP are into big state solutions like Labour & LudDims & Greens.

Incidentally I fail to see how, even on traditional divisions the Greens get to pretend to be leftists - these idiots want to reinvent the middle ages & would make Lady Catherine de Burgh look radical left.

Andrew Ian Dodge said...

The BNP are national socialists and they always have been. Good to see a CF member clever enough to recognise this.

Tachybaptus said...

This YouTube clip from a recently aired Latvian doumentary (in English) shows some of the early Nazi posters. They demonstrate clearly that Nazism was simply a heresy of Marxism, and took over many Marxist ideas.

Chris said...

At last! I look forward to seeing Nick Griffin correctly listed in your next 'influential left wingers' list, Iain.

gordon-bennett said...

Here’s a website with more supporting arguments:

http://www.tfp.org/what_we_think/fascism.html

Bert Rustle said...

Whether by accident or design the only political party whose policies align with current scientific research on human behaviour and biology is the BNP. Read the academic research - a useful starting point is Linda Gottfredson’s page: http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/pubtopics.htm

Large quantifiable differences exist between races, including disease resistance, pharmaceutical response, lactose tolerance, testosterone levels, maturation rates and intelligence. In the latter case, the average IQ of an Ashkenazi Jew is around 110 compared to a Bantu of around 70. To put these two groups in the same class with the intention of each doing their best is hopeless - yet this is what we are doing.

Requiring that examination pass rates or employment success must be pro-rata with the sizes of population groups does contradict scientific observations, are not achievable and do give rise to false accusations of prejudice.

As for the ruling class who insist that the general public celebrate diversity and embrace difference – where do they live and exactly how are their children educated?

DavidNcl said...

DocRichard 's:

It's not confusing - that circle stuff is nonsense.

The BNP, the RCPB(M/L), NSDAP, the labour party and the deep greens are different expressions of deeply anti-individual and anti-market authoritarian collectivist thought (read some Popper or Hayek). I go on toi would suggest that the enviro babble, moral market bullshit of Cameron hews towards this school, and is also fascist in its direction if not its current expression.

And no, we're not all socialists now - though the Tories certainly are.

DavidNcl said...

Oops! Wrong paste buffer.

DocRichard 's:

It's not confusing - that circle stuff is nonsense.

The BNP, the RCPB(M/L), NSDAP, the labour party and the deep greens are different expressions of deeply anti-individual and anti-market authoritarian collectivist thought (read some Popper or Hayek). I'd suggest that the enviro babble, moral market bullshit of Cameron hews towards this school, and is also fascist in its direction if not its current expression.

And no, we're not all socialists now - though the Tories certainly are.

Pogo said...

Anyone who refers to the BNP as "right wing" has obviously not bothered to read its manifesto.

Paul Burgin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Burgin said...

I can see your point Iain (as a left-winger), but the Conservatives having individuals like Enoch Powell in their ranks (whatever he meant in his 'rivers of blood' speech), it is the effect one is thinking of, and which party was it whose leadership did not want to see economic sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s!
Perception can mean a lot and, whatever the motives, when it came to civil liberties it looked like the left where slightly ahead in playing all the right tunes.
Plus DocRichard is right in that if you go to the extreme in one direction, you'll end up being close to the other extreme

Bird said...

Someone suggested to the late Alan Clarke that he held fascist views.
He retorted: "I'm not a fascist. I'm a f*****g nazi!"
Good man.

Anoneumouse said...

In this, the Chinese year of the ‘Ox’ lets have some “more on” Reactionary Progressives

John Moss said...

Politics is more of a clock than a line, with Hitler and Stalin meeting at midnight.

In answer to Paul Burgin, Powell was an old fashioned Liberal, circa 1860-1880. They were quite happy back then with a bit of eugenics to keep the purity of the natioanl tribe, you know.

Sanctions against SA were resisted by Thatcher because they would damage an economy which employed millions of black people. She did not want an impoverished SA turning to violent revolution.

It was a Conservative Government that negotiated the settlement in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - and socialist/communist ones, (SA and UK), who let Mugabe get away with destroying that country over the last 12 years.

Yak40 said...

Dave H BTW it always struck me as wrong that while BNP membership causes so much frothing at the mouth, SWP or CPGB membership is regarded as just a bit of harmless idealism.

Exactly. The USSR is no more but we've yet to hear any calls from the left for "truth commissions" or even simple apologies for the atrocities perpetuated in the name of "socialism" in Russia, China etc, atrocities on a scale that made Hitler look like an amateur.

Colin said...

Worth also remembering that Saddam's mob - the Ba'ath Party, or to give them their full title: The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party derived many of the cornerstones of their philosophy from an assortment of left wing movements.

Similarly, Slobdan Milosevic headed up a delightful little institution called the Socialist Party Of Serbia. Again, founded and run along impeccably left wing lines.

I don't recall the word Socialist ever being used on the BBC or any other left of centre organ in conjunction with either of these characters.

troymolloy said...

I think it was on the Guardian website that I read, when the BNP membership/marketing list was published, a comment from a user who sincerely maintained that because of the racist element of their views, both the Nazis and the BNP were 'by definition' right-wing and that left-wingers could not be racist. Tee hee.

MikeSC said...

Nice to see such desperation on the Right that you're resorting to attacking proxies in place of the Left. As you well know the mainstream Left (and the vast majority of the extreme left) is and has always been anti-racist, which is the principle the BNP is criticised for- and the principle that associates it in people's minds with the Right.

Although the BNP's stance today is considerably less racist than the Tory stance from within living memory- "Want a n****r for a neighbour: Vote Labour" and all that- from the sixties, the time period when much of the current Tory party chose to join it.

Colin said...

MikeSC @ 7:08pm

Interesting.

Firstly, I can't see how a left wing institution can be a proxy for... er a left wing institution.

Secondly, according to you being on the left automatically makes you a good guy. That may go some way to explain our impeccably left wing government's ambivalence and in some cases outright hero worship, towards impeccably left wing monsters like Mugabe and Castro.

As for the left - including the extreme left being anti racist. I wonder how the people of Matabeleland or Bosnia feel about that?

Jimmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jimmy said...

It's hardly a "disgrace". The point is often made, but ultimately is confuses progressive values with mere populism. Everyone has their own definition of the Left, but it seems to be that any definition at the very least has to embrace the fundamental equality of all human beings. The BNP may support nationalisation but its not exactly their USP is it?

MikeSC said...

@Colin: Selective reading in action!

"Firstly, I can't see how a left wing institution can be a proxy for... er a left wing institution.
"

The BNP is villified for it's racism, not it's economics. By trying to conflate this villification with parties that share it's very slight left-wing economics is ludicrous, when the reason for the villification is a traditionally right-wing phenomenon.

"
Secondly, according to you being on the left automatically makes you a good guy. That may go some way to explain our impeccably left wing government's ambivalence and in some cases outright hero worship, towards impeccably left wing monsters like Mugabe and Castro."

More delicious righty hysteria- and some imagination thrown in. New Labour, if you'll read *their* manifesto, is not left wing. I can't stand Labour, but to say that they hero worship Castro and Mugabe is frankly ridiculous. It would be much more apt to assault the Tories according to their love in with Pinochet, but I'm not that stupid as to think that all right-wingers share the same opinions on all issues.

"As for the left - including the extreme left being anti racist. I wonder how the people of Matabeleland or Bosnia feel about that?"

Civil rights and anti-racism have been the domain of the left far more than the right, which opposed it at every step. I don't defend those members of the extreme left who are racist (like I said, the vast majority are not, however)- because I find that quality despicable. It is not a left wing quality- left winger who are racist in addition to their being left-wingers are the mutation, not the norm.

Grim Reaper said...

Take a look at Nazi Germany. They were racist as hell, and they had countless left-wing policies. Public works programmes? Ensuring that the media were almost entirely under their control? Plenty of Left-wing values there. The BNP aren't a million miles off.

MikeSC said...

"Take a look at Nazi Germany. They were racist as hell, and they had countless left-wing policies. Public works programmes? Ensuring that the media were almost entirely under their control? Plenty of Left-wing values there. The BNP aren't a million miles off."

Media control is authoritarian- not left wing. And correct me if I'm wrong- but aren't the Nazis hated for their non-left wing attributes? For example, their racist and warlike nature? Does "public works" rank alongside genocide (which is neither a rightwing nor leftwing phenomenon. It can be both, or neither.)?

Yak40 said...

the Tory stance from within living memory- "Want a n****r for a neighbour: Vote Labour" and all that- from the sixties,

One man in one constituency does not speak for an entire party. Jeez, look who replaced him, the ranter Faulds(sp).

MikeSC said...

"One man in one constituency does not speak for an entire party. Jeez, look who replaced him, the ranter Faulds(sp)."

Castro, Mugabe and Hitler are more qualified to represent the British left than a Tory is to represent the Tories?

I don't think the modern Tory party is particuarly racist- but it was in the past, when the left was anti-racist. It's serious revisionism trying to lump the BNP in with the Left, when it's economics are really incidental- their racism is the main issue. And it's a traditionally right wing stance they take on their main issue.

Grim Reaper said...

MikeSC said "Media control is authoritarian- not left wing. And correct me if I'm wrong- but aren't the Nazis hated for their non-left wing attributes? For example, their racist and warlike nature?"

Depends on whether you think it's only hard-line Right-wing nutjobs who are capable of racist thoughts, don't it? I happen to think there's a lot of racism on the Left. The anti-Semitism present on some Lefties always comes out when the issue of Israel v Palestine is discussed, for example.

MikeSC said...

"Depends on whether you think it's only hard-line Right-wing nutjobs who are capable of racist thoughts, don't it? I happen to think there's a lot of racism on the Left. The anti-Semitism present on some Lefties always comes out when the issue of Israel v Palestine is discussed, for example."

Read my previous comments. Hell, read the comment you bloody well quoted. I make it clear that racism is neither isolated to left nor right- it is also clear that it is traditionally in the domain of the right wing.

I'll ignore the obvious Israel/Palestine baiting- it's childish and looks like it was inserted only to divert the discussion. It's idiotic as hell to make it out like it's a racism issue.

Mr Grymme Harbinger said...

the similarities between fascism and environmentalism are also interesting - both are essentially reactionary socialist movements.

http://www.ecofascism.com/

Colin said...

MikeSc@7:39pm

" I can't stand Labour, but to say that they hero worship Castro and Mugabe is frankly ridiculous."

I can think of at least one occasion where the Harman, in the commons no less indulged in a bit of castro hero worship. In addition, many people would say they indulged mugabe for years.

"New Labour, if you'll read *their* manifesto, is not left wing."

Since when did manifestos have anything to do with it? Judge them by their actions. We currently have the most authoritarian left wing regime ever seen in Western Europe.

Ironically the word ver is putin...

MikeSC said...

Harman's three word remark is hardly indicative of New Labour- which I'm unconcerned with defending, frankly, anyway. It's still playing with fire- the Tories have a much worse record when it comes to allying themselves with dictators (Pinochet, South Africa's Nationalist party)- whereas New Labour have a three word remark from Harriet Harman, and a "some say" about Mugabe. The most disgraceful thing Labour did (on this subject) was let Pinochet go scott free.

"Since when did manifestos have anything to do with it? Judge them by their actions. We currently have the most authoritarian left wing regime ever seen in Western Europe."

This whole topic is about the BNP having centre-left economic policy in their manifesto.

And Labour's actions being left wing? Don't be ridiculous! Increasing deregulation, increasing privatisation, increasing use of the Private Finance Initiative in place of public work. Thatcher considers New Labour her greatest achievement not because she's turned Marxist- but because Labour has eradicated any trace of the left wing from mainstream British politics.

They're Keynesian now, to handle or mishandle this mess- which is centre-right. It's not Laissez-faire capitalism, but it's capitalism.

MikeSC said...

For the record- http://www.politicalcompass.org/ is the left/right yardstick I use. The BNP is slightly to the left economically- but very far up the Authoritarian axis (which is where the far-right label comes in).

The BNP are very, dare I say, conservative, in near enough every aspect other than the one you've cherry picked to judge them by. Economics is merely an afterthought for the BNP.

Thatsnews said...

Perhaps we could ask Bethan the following question?

Which party did former leading Labour Party member Sir Oswald Mosley found?
A) The Conservative Party?
b) The Cooperative Party?
c) British Union of Fascists?

What was the English name of the German Nazi Party?

The National Socialist Party.

So quite clearly, no link there, then.

Yak40 said...

Castro, Mugabe and Hitler are more qualified to represent the British left than a Tory is to represent the Tories?


Yes, in that those three led their parties whereas the Con candidate in question was running in one seat.
The main fight now is to maintain liberties in the face of creeping authoritarianism from HMG and the EU via directives, laws and the all enveloping fog of "PC" and endless appeasement of vocal alien minorities.

Paul Burgin said...

In reply to John's comments:

"Sanctions against SA were resisted by Thatcher because they would damage an economy which employed millions of black people. She did not want an impoverished SA turning to violent revolution.

It was a Conservative Government that negotiated the settlement in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - and socialist/communist ones, (SA and UK), who let Mugabe get away with destroying that country over the last 12 years."

-------------
Well its an interesting argument, the Conservative Government not allowing economic sanctions against a nation which oppressed many of its citizens and therefore keeping it working! Many of those who called for economic sanctions included Desmond Tutu.
As for the Lancaster House negotiations, and giving the impression that Zimbabwe was problem free under the Conservatives, what action did the Thatcher government take of the Matabenland massacres in the 1980s, and, if anything the UK has done more than some European countries to try and see an end to the oppression in Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe

gordon-bennett said...

@Paul Burgin

You might be interested in my practical experience. I lived in SA from 1976 to end of 1978.

One of the pillars of apartheid was the job reservation laws, intended to preclude blacks from certain jobs such as electrician, gas fitter, etc. However, because SA was increasingly prosperous and demand for these trades rocketed there was widespread breaking of the law and people turned a blind eye to it.

I have always felt that if SA had not been subjected to sanctions then as prosperity increased and demand for labour grew they could not have kept the lid on discrimination and as job discrimination fell by the wayside then so political discrimination would also fade and die.

It would take a long time (50 years?) but in that time the blacks would also have learnt how to run a local council, provincial administration and eventually national government and they wouldn't have the corrupt chaos they have today, just like in Zim.

Jimmy said...

Now that's what I call right-wing.

phoenix said...

Tweet says__
"all fascist parties have left wing tendencies as they predominantly believe in nationalisation, collectivism and forbid free expression"

Does this not perfectly describe Labour. Racist against White English, Nationalising banks and excluding people from employment is they say politically incorrect things?

Eben Marks said...

94 Reasons why the BNP are left-wing!
1)They want to nationalise stuff
2)...
3)Er
4)That's about it

Iain Dale said...

Yeah? try this for size...

http://www.longrider.co.uk/blog/2009/02/02/unpleasant-fellow-travellers/

Gregg said...

But the fact remains that BNP beliefs DO have more in common with Socialism than with Conservatism - centralised command control, trade tariffs, state owned businesses ... I could go on.

Even leaving aside that those are policies not beliefs, I think you might want to try, Iain, because of those three, only one (state-owned businesses) is particularly associated with Socialism. Centralised command control has been advocated by all political strains at one time or another, except anarchism. And trade tariffs is a traditional Conservative policy. In the UK, trade tariffs defined the Conservative Party for the first century of its existence, only falling by the wayside under Churchill, whereas they have only featured in Labour's platform for around five years of its first hundred. The BNP's policies accord with traditional Conservatism, indeed with the polity of the Conservative Party itself before it came under the influence of ex-Liberals like Churchill.

As to the one of your examples that actually is associated with Socialism - under Socialism, state-ownership is based entirely on democratic control. That isn't the case with fascism historically. Whether you believe it is the case with the BNP depends on how strong you believe their commitment to democracy is. Is it your contention that the BNP is a genuinely democratic party, Iain?

The difference between policy and belief matters. The right and left might, under certain circumstances, propose the same policy. This has frequently happened. But the competing beliefs behind that policy continue to define political grouping. So, those who supported the introduction of welfare to emancipate the workers were not in the same part of the spectrum as those who supported it to prevent revolution. So, do you think the BNP supports state-ownership of business, to the extent that it may, because it believes in the emancipation of the workers (and given that it wants to do the opposite of emancipate a lot of those workers, I doubt it), or simply because it believes such a policy will help it gain power (especially in an era when the three main parties all reject that policy)?

The issue of democratic control is the defining difference between left and right. The left believes in a bigger state because it brings power under democratic control; while policies such as state-ownership may not fulfil the Socialist goal of giving power directly to the people, they at least make those with power accountable. Whereas the right believes in a smaller state because it delivers power (back) into the hands of a small number of unaccountable plutocrats. Which of these two - putting power in the hands of everyone, or concentrating it in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable cadre - do you honestly think accords more closely with fascism historically, and with the likely outcome of a BNP government? Being absolutely honest, which party, which political stream, has traditionally been defined by its desire to get or retain power, and which (the past ten years aside - and can anyone honestly tell me New Labour isn't an aberration?) has been more inclined to give away any power it gets? Now do you see why everybody with any grasp of history and politics, brackets the BNP on the far right?

Richard Martel said...

You know, it isn't exactly hard to look up the definition of words these days. But given that apparently so many people on this blog (including the author) can't seem to find a dictionary, I'll do it for you.

Main Entry:
fas·cism
Pronunciation:
\ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi-\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
Date:
1921
1often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

The last time I checked, the BNP wasn't the one rigging elections. Nor were they for anything but democracy. Perhaps next time the author can use a dictionary if he wants to avoid looking like a complete buffoon.

Here's a look at what actual facism looks like -
http://bnp.org.uk/2009/02/the-islamification-of-britain-muslim-gang-attacks-christian-church-in-rochdale/

Alex said...

The Nazis were called National Socialists for a reason

Yes. Yes.

The reason, by the way, is that that was the directionless splinter-group Corporal Hitler's Army Intelligence handler, Hauptmann (Captain) Karl Mayr of Wehrkreis IV headquarters, ordered him to infiltrate in the winter of 1918-1919, because it looked like a good prospect to destabilise the leftist regime (the Räterepublik) in Bavaria.

Fixed it for you!

Oleuanna said...

sorry to interrupt the constant argument of the BNP being right or left wing. But can we please stop giving them so much air time and work together to just f**k them off the planet?

I am Enoch Powells' f2 generation black and am still confused as to whether the English want me here or not.

I need to lessen this confusion by ridden the world of the ever occurring fascist onslaughts, continuing against the marginalised in this country.

It would be nice to pop out for bread without the guilt....if you don't mind....

And yes of course i'm left..nice and far left...hence the unease of this particular white bread sandwich you are all insisting upon......

p.s can the libertarians hurry up and get into office...it strikes me that it would be such a smug place to work!

Jonah said...

Oleuanna said...
"sorry to interrupt the constant argument of the BNP being right or left wing. But can we please stop giving them so much air time and work together to just f**k them off the planet?"

Not wanting to be an apologist for the BNP, but speak up for so called "free democracy", surely it is correct and appropriate to have political parties that represent the views of different sections of society? (as long as the party stays within the law)


If the BNP were banned then the people who feel that they represent their views will be further alienated and will also feel more victimised - potentially creating a more dangerous situation.

Regardless on whether you agree with what the BNP say or stand for, they are a legal political party and as such have a place in British politics (NB note the use of the word British not English).

It is a tendency of the authoritarian "far left" to suppress groups/political movements that are in opposition to their points of view..... be careful as myopia is not the sole reserve of the so called "far right"!

Anonymous said...

Egalitarianism is as the root of this. Because it conflicts with human nature, egalitarian ideology can only ever be imposed through increasingly authoritarian measures.

Most people have a strictly limited view of just how much they and their family should be required to surrender in the interests of income distribution.

This limit does change to reflect sophistication; the middle classes will surrender more than the working classes because they know they benefit from the social wage more than most sectors of society. (Tax credits extend to almost £70,000 of annual income and middle class suburbs always get the nicest health centres, libraries, theatres etc). But there is still a limit.

Support for the BNP is a reflection of this lack of sophistication. The working class believe - rightly or wrongly - that they are losing out to immigrants and react accordingly. The middle classes have, until now, been relatively relaxed about this aspect and have not turned to the BNP in any sort of numbers.

It was middle class support for Hitler that brought him to power. (Remember he won a free election). And they turned to him when their economic interests - damaged by the cost of post war reparations etc - persuaded them that it was time to do so.

We have had a left wing surge or consensus since the end of the Second World War because both main parties have pacified the middle classes with a steadily increasing social wage (Gordon Brown doubled NHS spending in a single parliament) and economic growth, and the properity it brings, has persuaded them that they could afford the taxes that came along.

Maggie came to power - breaking the consensus briefly - when the popular feeling began to be that the social wage received wasn't worth what we were being asked to pay for it.

I don't think the middle classes will ever turn to the BNP; they might go along with UKIP especially if UKIP talks the tax cutting game.

But, unlike a politician, I coud be wrong...

chezvegas said...

The reason that the BNP are far-right rather than far-left is quite simple and a bit historical.

We all thank God for the enlightnement, with its new ideas like individual rights, liberal democracy, secularism and internationalism. Most modern progressive political ideologies, from Marxism across social democracy to neo-liberalism (which is what many of you call conservatism) were born from these new ideas.

Nazism and fascism sought to turn back the clock, they rejected all enlightenment ideas in favour of traditionalism, dictatorship, nationalism, protectionism. This is ultimately a right-wing path to take and it is still what the BNP stands for today.

Simon Wilson said...

If the BNP is a party of the left, why does it only ever make alliances with parties of the right, including in the London mayoral elections where BNP members were instructed to give Boris Johnson their 2nd preference votes?