politics

The Impossible as Motivation

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”

– Antonio Gramsci

Like all disaffected individuals who supported the Conservatives in 2019, I too find solace in the work of a certain Italian Marxist philosopher and his insights. The simplicity of that quote often speaks to a dormant impulse in the human condition, the belief that things really can change; that, when everything is said and done, we will win. We must, as President Trump once said: “…treat the word ‘impossible’ as motivation.”

In the history of Great Britain, this nation has faced many challenges and many dark days. Those dark days still lay ahead, for that can be assured. Those obstacles within our national politics seem numerous: civil servants, fifth columnists, various media establishments and even entire political parties which claim to represent the interests of the country. Out of this election, it is plain as day. Labour will win, through sheer dullness and the fact that Sunak has clearly given up and not even attempted to try during this race for his own premiership. The reason why people do not like Sunak is because, at his core, he represents ultimately why people do not like Conservatives or politicians in general. They are mostly losers who want to be liked and be seen as important by others; they want to be winner but have never fought truly for anything in their lives. It is for this reason, they are not worthy of any votes or seats. It is not because they have fought and failed, it is that they have never even tried or put up a fight.

From this, the only cure that needs to be given is that of Zero Votes and Zero Seats. Vote Reform now, Cummings later. This can be summarised as voting Reform now to give the Conservatives zero seats, thus ending them (at least, as much as possible) as a political force within Great Britain. Out of this, we should unite around a different right-wing party, one that genuinely seeks to change the direction of the country and prepared to ask and answer the questions that matter. Why are we having these problems? Why are people struggling to buy a house? Why is this country declining?

Following on from this, it is clear that Farage is here to stay and can become a massive nuisance for the administrative state, the state that is allergic to change and remains prestige-orientated. As such, Farage is not the man who will do these things; he is a media personality, not someone who is interested in the nitty gritty of continuing (starting with Brexit) a decade-long (if not century-long) process of fixing the foundational issues of this country. Farage is an Einstein in an Oppenheimer world, it would seem.

Farage understands the need for generating a new excitement around a political issue, he understands that nothing is impossible, even that the mere usage of the word should be taken as motivation. Indeed, his lifelong struggle to get Britain to leave the EU is one such endeavour which, even at the best of times, felt like an ultimately impossible task until it wasn’t. This is not dissimilar to Trump, a figure who isn’t sensitive to the nuance of details, but fundamentally understands the broad picture, why things needs to change, and how to go about doing it.

As such, one hopes that if Reform becomes akin to UKIP, they can become a political force that asks the big questions that the majority of the population want asked. Additionally, Reform should be able to shift the Overton window on a series of issues, bringing them to the forefront of politics from outside of the mainstream political parties. These should range from immigration, the economy, the housing crisis, and the need to dismantle the administrative state.

This being said, like UKIP and the Brexit Party before, when Reform has kicked through the door, it should again vanish. By the end of the decade, Reform should be as important as UKIP is in 2024. Reform should not be here to stay in the long term. Now that it seems possible that Reform will replace the Conservatives, just as the Labour replaced the Liberals throughout the 1920s, allowing them to fully turn their guns on Labour, exposing them as being no better. Of course, Labour is not up to the task of governing and will almost certainly do damage to Britain. Given that Starmer is a wet lettuce of a man, unlikely to last long in post, they’ll have plenty of material to work with.

From this, Reform can generate space for something to be built for the 21st Century, something with real long term vision and purpose. Insert “assorted weirdos” reference here. Indeed, it is rather fitting that the two individuals that are attempting to offer real alternatives to the current issues facing this country are the same two which brought Brexit home (twice if you count the 2019 general election). Now we could realistically see this occur again. Farage’s media personality pushing the core issues into the forefront of British political life, while Cummings dominates the nitty gritty of how to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and securing the real victories. Additionally, both men want the complete destruction of the gate keeping Conservatives and are radically anti-establishment and Westminster, something the vast majority of the electorate share.

Although Cummings has modelled his work on Singapore’s People’s Action Party (I would encourage all to read ‘From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000’), and its stewardship under Lee Kuan Yew, it is another Southeast Asian leader that he should also look at too. Ho Chi Minh (hear me out), and his leadership of North Vietnam, can be summarised as that of revolutionary self-belief and determination. The clinical and principled nature of Singapore, combined with the zealous optimism of Vietnam, would propel the country back into a forward-thinking, functioning 21st Century nation state. It should be hoped that, when Cumming’s Party is ready and the door has been blown open by Farage’s Reform, it too should move into place. A tech-focused, big tent, anti-establishment party that seeks to radically fix the core issues within the country. Radically reduce immigration, tackle the wealth disparity and tax avoidance, and dismantle the permanent administrative state.

In conclusion, Politics is Never Over. Things have returned to being interesting – we could witness another realignment in our national discourse. This should be motivating for people like Farage and Cummings. We can smell blood right now on both Starmer and Sunak, so we must take this chance to end the declinist duopoly once and for all, and scramble to build something in its place thereafter. As Farage stated in a mere four words: “We’re just getting started.”


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A Brief History of US Student Politics

‘Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?’

These chants outside of the White House haunted Lyndon B. Johnson throughout his presidency. He would sit in the Oval Office with his head in his hands as the chants wafted through the walls. When his son-in-law Charles Robb sent in a tape from Vietnam, Johnson buckled against the table and looked as though he was in tears. For the loud Southern Jackson, who took great pleasure in towering over and intimidating others, this seemed like quite a big deal. 

This is not about Johnson, however. This is about the students who protested him and the Vietnam War. This is about the students who protest now and any time.

An American Education

Harvard University was founded in 1636 and is classed by many as the oldest institute of higher education in the United States. Throughout history, the Ivy League colleges (Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell) have been considered the most elite, though others have made quite the showing. Between them, the Ivy League colleges have educated fifteen US presidents. They’ve also educated many Supreme Court Justices, Governors and members of Congress.

Throughout early American history, the Ivy League and other elite colleges were almost exclusively for white, wealthy men. Colleges for women did exist, such as the female equivalent of the Ivies, the Seven Sisters, though they came far later. Colleges for African-Americans also came later, such as Howard and Tuskegee.

Cornell began to accept women in 1870, but it took until 1983 for all of them to admit women, with Columbia being the last.

Minority men were able to attend earlier and more frequently, with Yale being the last to accept black students in 1964.

Despite more diversity in terms of the student body, Ivy League colleges see students of the wealthy 1% overrepresented. One in six Ivy students have parents from the top 1%, and they are 34% more likely to be accepted than students with the same scores but from less wealthy backgrounds. The children of these parents are also more than twice as likely to attend elite universities- the Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Duke and Chicago.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Whilst protests and activism were not unknown prior, the 1960s saw an explosion in it.

The decade was one of great social change, perhaps the greatest since the 1860s. Firstly, there was more of a focus on youth. TV, radio and movies began to cater to teenagers. Bands like the wholesome Beach Boys and sassy Beatles saw teenage screaming along. As incomes expanded, college enrollment doubled between 1945 and 1960, doubling once again by 1970.

There was also less social and cultural hegemony than before, something that Richard Nixon and his Silent Majority sought to exploit. The Civil Rights movement was at an apex as students sat at segregated café counters and took integrated buses to register African-American voters in the Deep South. Second-wave feminism saw women demand access to birth control, abortion and equality in the workplace. As students moved away from their generally conservative homes, many became embroiled in a more progressive political atmosphere.

Perhaps most impactful in terms of lives was the Vietnam War. Action in the Asian nation had significantly escalated, particularly after the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964.

Students in particular were opposed to the draft. College students could receive deferments, but they were in the target conscription demographic of being young and healthy and unmarried, though the marriage deferment ended in summer 1965. One of the most notable forms of protests saw students burning their draft cards.

They were also active in the protest movement as a whole. College campuses became hotbeds of political activity. Students also joined protests and demonstrations.

There were varied reasons as to why students in particular were opposed to the war. Some echoed the popular sentiment of many that it was war thousands of miles away that did not have anything to do with America. Others believed that American soldiers were killing innocent civilians. Some thought that the money would be better spent elsewhere or that war in general was wrong.

One college that became a centre of counterculture politics was UC Berkeley. The California university became a hub of activism and protests regarding Civil Rights, free speech and Vietnam.

Most of the decade saw passionate but peaceful protests in the area, but this changed. In April 1969, students at Berkeley set up an informal encampment in People’s Park, scuppering a plan to turn it into a public space. On the 15th May 1969, police arrived to turf the squatters out. This, combined with a nearby college protest, saw around 6,000 people turn out at the park. The police eventually opened fire, killing San Jose resident James Rector as he watched from the roof. Many others were injured; one man was blinded. California Governor Ronald Reagan called in the California National Guard.

There had been a notable protest at New York’s Columbia University a year before. Black student protestors had asked white protestors to protest separately, which they did, segregating it on racial lines. Some of the students occupied the administrative Hamilton Hall, holding Acting Dean Henry S. Coleman hostage.

In another protest that year, students at Morehouse in Atlanta held the board of trustees. One of those students was a young Samuel L. Jackson.

Sixties Assassinations

Adding to the students’ cynicism were the assassinations of four famous men, all of whom were generally admired by students.

The first was John F. Kennedy in November 1963. Kennedy had been a proponent of college education and had been a point of fascination for young people, mainly due to his relative youth compared to other politicians.

The second was Malcolm X, the firebrand minister for the Nation of Islam and advocate of civil rights. He was slain in February 1965.

The third was Martin Luther King Jr, the well-known minister who advocated for civil rights via peaceful means. He was killed in April 1968.

The fourth and final one was Robert Kennedy in June 1968. He had entered the Democratic race for president as an anti-war and liberal alternative to unpopular incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson.

Death At Kent State

One of the most tragic events of the student protest movement came in May 1970.

The Sixties was over and new president Richard Nixon had promised law and order. Meanwhile, America was expanding military operations in Vietnam by entering neighbouring Cambodia. This caused immediate controversy in the anti-war movement. Several hundred students at Kent State in Ohio were protesting this. Residents and police officers had been concerned about potential repercussions in the community, and the Ohio National Guard was called.

The National Guard attempted to disperse the crowd through tear gas and other means, but this failed. Protestors began to throw rocks and other projectiles at them before being herded away. Near a hill, some of the officers started to open fire. Four students- two men and two women- were killed. Nine others were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralysed.

Images of the event, including the famous picture of a horrified teenager standing over one of the bodies, caused even more riots and protests across the nation. 100,000 people marched on Washington a few days later, leading to Richard Nixon famously talking to protestors in the middle of the night at the Lincoln Memorial.

Post-Sixties

Whilst the chaos of the 1960s gave way to a relatively more peaceful 20th century, activism and protests still remained. College Democrats and College Republicans have both been popular hubs for the partisan-minded students. Politicians regularly attend speeches and rallies, especially when they’re supported by the students.

As a rule, colleges tend to be on the left of the spectrum, in both faculty and students. Exceptions to this tend to be religious institutions like Bob Jones and Liberty University.

Issues that have arisen include the Iraq War, climate change, school shootings, race, gender, sexual assault and rape and military engagement in general.

The Current Protests

On the 7th October 2023, Israel was surprised by an attack by Hamas. People were murdered, missiles were fired and civilians taken hostage. In response, Israel had gone all out on Hamas. As a result, there have been numerous deaths and injuries in Palestine. Many people have been made homeless or have needed to evacuate from their homes. Some have flooded into neighbouring Egypt. Neither Palestine or Israel are safe.

Sympathy for the deaths of innocents have been widespread, but there is a huge difference in opinion regarding Israel. Protests have happened in major cities across the world, with the pro-Palestine side occupying most of that space. London for example has seen weekly protests since October.

The issue has become a massive one in America. Historically, the American government has been a strong supporter of Israel. Joe Biden has given assistance to Israel, but seems to want incumbent Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu out. Internally, there is debate amongst the legislative branch. Pro-Palestine and anti-interventionist politicians have come together to stop aid to Israel. Others wish to help it more.

It’s also been dynamite for college campuses. Coast to coast, north to south, university students have been protesting non-stop since October. The Ivy League colleges have been the centre of the protests, but other elite and notable colleges such as Stanford, Berkeley, Northeastern, NYU, Ohio State, and Emerson have seen student activism.

Students have been calling for an immediate ceasefire in the area. Regarding their own colleges, they ask for the institutions to break all ties to Israel, especially regarding financial gifts.

The protests themselves have been controversial. The shouting of ‘from the river to the sea’ is seen as a call to action against Jews, as well as the calling of a global intifada. Flickers of anti-semitism have allegedly been seen in these protests, despite the bulk of participants proclaiming they oppose Zionism, not Jews. Some Jewish students have participated in the protests, whilst others feel unsafe. Classes have been called off and students have been forced to study online.

Encampments have been put up on several campuses. Some have been cleared by police whilst others remain. These encampments are made up of tents, donated food and other communal activities, all of which are subject to rules. Whilst the protests remain mainly about Israel and Palestine, they tend to bend towards anti-capitalism and progressive ideology.

New York’s Columbia University has been the establishment most in the news. On the 17th April, a number of Columbia students started an encampment. Whilst the encampment was torn down by police the next day, it was rebuilt and protests continue. Students report difficulty getting to class. Arrests and suspensions have also been made.

Student Kyhmani James became the subject of media attention following comments regarding the murder of Zionists. He filmed a video of himself talking to the administration in an attempt to get his views across. Unfortunately for Mr. James, he has been kicked out of Columbia.

The Response

America’s 1st Amendment is very strict on the freedom of speech and assembly. That being said, law enforcement and university officials are more than a little tired of it. Students have been arrested, suspended and even expelled. Three college presidents have sat before Congress- Mary Magill of UPenn, Sally Kornbluth of MIT and Claudia Gay of Harvard. Magill resigned in December 2023, and Gay followed in January 2024 after a plagiarism scandal.

Some presidents have been tough. The University of Florida sent out a very clear letter to protestors telling them which behaviour was appropriate and what would get them kicked out. Florida State turned on the sprinklers. Northeastern University got the police to clear the encampment, saying that the use of ‘Kill the Jews’ crossed the line. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis promised to expel any protestors who joined mobs. Even Columbia, the home of the most infamous protests, allowed the police in to tear down the encampment.

It doesn’t look like this is going to go away anytime soon. What some call a win for free speech is what others call going ‘too far’. As parents look away from the Ivy League to less elite but still reputable universities, one wonders if it’s a case of rich kids with too much time on their hands and no problems of their own. Is it that or a genuine example of solidarity with Palestine? Whatever the case, America’s campuses remain on metaphorical fire.


Photo Credit.

What I’ve Learnt as a Revolutionary Communist

This article was originally published in November 2021.

I have a confession to make. 

A few months ago I was made an official member of the Revolutionary Communist Group after being involved as a participating supporter for about a month and a half. The RCG are, in their own words, Marxist-Leninist, pro-Cuba, pro-Palestine, internationalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist. They believe that capitalism is causing climate change, which they refer to as the ‘climate crisis’, and that socialism/communism is the only way to avert catastrophe.

They believe that the twin forces of imperialism and capitalism work today, and have been working for hundreds of years, to enrich the Western capitalist class by exploiting the labour of the proletariat and plundering the resources of the ‘Global South’. They publish a bi-monthly newspaper entitled ‘Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!’ which acts as an ideological core around which centre most of the groups discussions.

After two months of twice-weekly zoom calls, leafleting in front of busy train stations and protesting in front of embassies, I was finally invited to become an official member. I rendezvous-ed with two comrades before being taken to a door which was hidden down a dark alleyway and protected by a large iron gate – certainly a fitting location for a revolutionary HQ. Inside was an office and a small library stocked with all manners of communist, socialist and anti-imperialist literature including everything from Chavs by Owen Jones to The Labour Party – A Party Fit For Imperialism by Robert Clough, the group’s leader. 

I was presented with a copy of their constitution, a document about security and a third document about sexual harassment (the RCG has had issues with members’ behaviour in the past). It was here, discussing these documents for almost three hours, that I learnt most of what I know now about the RCG as an organisation and the ecosystem it inhabits. 

The RCG is about 150-200 members strong with branches across the country – three in London, one in Liverpool, Manchester, Norwich, Glasgow and Edinburgh and possibly more. In terms of organisation and decision-making they use what they call ‘democratic centralism’ – a sprawling mess of committees made up of delegates that appoint other committees that all meet anywhere between once every two weeks and once every two years. They’re also remarkably well funded, despite the fact that their newspaper sells for just 50p. They employ staff full time and rent ‘offices’ up and down the country. They draw income from fundraising events, members dues, newspaper and book sales and donations (both large and small).

Officially, the RCG is against the sectarianism that famously ails the Left. However, one zoom call I was in was dedicated to lambasting the Socialist Workers Party who, I soon learnt, were dirty, menshevik, reactionary Trots. We referred to them as part of the ‘opportunist Left’ who routinely side with the imperialists. 

The RCG doesn’t generally maintain good relations with many other major leftist groups. Central to RCG politics is the idea of a ‘labour [small L] aristocracy’ – a core of the working class who have managed to improve their material conditions just slightly and so work against the interests of the wider working class, suppressing real revolutionary activity in order to maintain their cushy positions. The RCG sees the Trade Union movement as the bastion of the labour aristocracy. They see the Labour party also as their greatest enemy – ‘the single greatest barrier to socialism in Britain’.

The RCG takes issue with the SWP specifically over their attitude to Cuba. They believe that most Trotskyists are too critical of socialist revolutions that have occurred in the past and so are not real communists – after all, no revolution will be perfect. The RCG’s issue with the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) is that they resent how the CPGB claims to be the main organisation for communism in this country and uses its coziness with the trade unions as a signifier of legitimacy. However, the RCG believes that this makes the CPGB not much more than an extension of the Labour party, which it despises. 

The CPGB-ML (Communist Party of Great Britain – Marxist-Leninist), on the other hand, are much closer politically to the RCG. They also share the same view on the Labour party. However, the CPGB-ML has recently taken a loud anti-trans position and so the RCG wants nothing to do with them.

Socialist Appeal are a group that has organised with the RCG in London before but the two do not get along due to, once again, the former’s (until recent) support for the Labour party every election. The RCG also shares views with Extinction Rebellion but XR now no longer wants anything to do with the RCG because of the RCG’s insistence on selling its communist newspaper at every event its members attend. The RCG insisting on trying to recruit members at every event it attends, including events co-organised with other groups, is a major source of friction and one of the reasons nobody wants to organise with them. It’s also one of the reasons why the RCG has stopped organising with LAFA – the London AntiFascist Assembly. 

LAFA, I was told, are a chaotic bunch. They staunchly oppose all forms of hierarchy and make decisions on a ‘horizontalist’ basis. In true anarchist fashion, there are no official leaders or ranks at all in LAFA and decisions are made sort of by whoever takes the initiative. Unfortunately this means that those who become unofficial leaders in the group are accountable to absolutely no-one because they are not technically responsible for anything, and naturally issues arise from this quasi-primitivist state of affairs. Ironically, this makes the London AntiFascist Assembly kind of based.

Interestingly, one organisation with which the RCG has never had any problems is Black Lives Matter. The RCG and Socialist Appeal were (apparently) the only two groups out on the streets in solidarity with BLM last summer – BLM even allowed RCG members to speak at their events. The RCG enjoyed quite a close and amicable relationship with BLM right up until BLM decided at the end of last summer to effectively cease all activity, with the reason given to the RCG being just that ‘the summer has ended’. Presumably, the bulk of BLM’s activist base either had to go back to school or just got bored. 

Although the RCG strictly prohibits any illegal activity at any of its protests, one clause of the constitution is ‘a revolution clause’ requiring members to leave their jobs and move house at the discretion of the RCG. I was told this clause has never been invoked and isn’t expected to be invoked for decades at least but is there in case a genuine communist uprising were to take place somewhere in the country and RCG leadership decided that it needed members to move into the area to help. The RCG is intent on staying firmly on the right side of the law for the foreseeable future – supposedly until class consciousness is raised to such a level that the time for revolution arrives. Whether or not history will pan out the way they think it will, only time will tell.  

Perhaps most curious was the group’s confused stance on lockdowns. They are fiercely pro-lockdown and pro-mask, but also highly critical of the government’s approach for reasons that are quite vague. Why a communist organisation would want to place unprecedented power in the hands of a government – a Tory government no less – that it thinks operates as the right arm of global capital is beyond me. When I brought this up, a lone voice of dissent in my branch, I was told I had made a ‘valid point’ and that the group needed to discuss the matter further, but that was it. The only explanation I could arrive at was that unfortunately the RCG, and I think the Left generally, are deep in denial about being anti-establishment.

The RCG’s modus operandi is the weekly stall: three or four communists will take a table and a megaphone to a busy location and try to hand out leaflets and sell copies of the FRFI newspaper. The idea was that people whose values loosely align with those of the groups could be contacted and organised by way of these stalls. The law of large numbers means that these stalls are curiously successful – one two-hour stall at the weekend can sell a dozen newspapers and enlist a handful of people to be contacted by the group at a later date. The process of collecting people and funnelling them down the contact-member pipeline is a slow one with a low success rate, but they’re relentless.

Interestingly though, I believe their decades-old activist tradition is actually one of their biggest weaknesses. Ironically, so-called progressives are stuck in the past. The RCG has a very minimal online footprint – it uses its profiles on twitter and Instagram only to post dates for upcoming events. The RCG have so much faith in their traditional method of raising ‘class consciousness’ (translation: spreading communism) that they’re losing the internet arms race and thus their grip on young people – their traditional base. The fact that the group has a large proportion of older members might have something to do with it.

However, Leftists are good at street activism – they’ve been doing it for decades. Leftist activist groups have ingrained in their traditions social technology – sets of practices, behaviours and attitudes – that have developed over time and that their opponents would do well to familiarise themselves with, like looking at the homework of a friend (or in this case, an adversary).

The RCG believes that it is one of very few, maybe even the only, Leftist group in Britain today committed to maintaining a substantial street presence. One of the conditions for membership, after all, is promising to attend at least one street protest a week. The RCG no doubt take their activism seriously, with a comrade even describing the group to me as being made up of ‘professional revolutionaries’. They believe that they are growing and will continue to grow in strength, propelled by financial and then ecological crises. They are very excited for the collapse of the Labour party, which they believe is all-but imminent, because they think it will cause swathes of the Left to lose faith in a parliamentary means of achieving socialism and take to the streets, where the RCG will be waiting for them.

My time as a revolutionary communist has been challenging but what I’ve learned is no doubt valuable. I strongly encourage others to do as I have, if only just for a few weeks or so. Join your local leftist organisation – pick a sect, any sect! Expand your knowledge, see a different perspective and gain skills you might not gain anywhere else. Speak to people with a completely different viewpoint from yours and learn how they think, you’ll be a slightly better and more knowledgeable person for it.

Quote: Leftists are good at street activism. They have ingrained in their traditions social technology that have developed over time and that their opponents should familiarise themselves with.


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Watch Out for The New Labour Playbook

Yes, Labour is still the party of identity fetishists, true-believer yet Dad’s Army-esque revolutionaries, end of times Gaia environmentalists, and public transport strike supporters, groomers, and much else, but so was New Labour. They just knew how to keep the lunacy contained, repackaged, and were desperate enough to try Blair.

Fortunately, Blair did a lot of damage to his own side, not just the country. Blair’s incrementalism didn’t manifest their objectives  quickly enough. They were willing to grumble and tolerate it until the Iraq War. From that point on, it became impossible to contain the lunacy; spiralling down through more and more left-wing figures, from Brown to Miliband and then to Corbyn. Consequently, they have tuckered themselves out.

The loss of monolithic public news and broadcasting will also make it much harder, New Labour’s ilk will try to come back. You can still see them. They haven’t gone anyway. They won’t just come from the party, they’ll come from all the people and organisations on their side. Blair himself is still knocking around. The advice comes regularly to ditch the overt progressive evangelism e.g. November last year, May this year.

There’s been a slow trickle of pieces which say things like “Labour need a big personality to take on the Tories”. They’re trying their best to manufacture this. Have you seen the attempts to make Wes Streeting out as if he’s interesting and not just another factory pipeline student union politician, in career background and mindset? Good grief. Progressives used to rob banks, fight guerrilla wars, and write their defiance in their own blood. Sure, threats should be taken seriously, and it’s unpleasant, but Wes, what are you doing sending limp tweets to old ladies?

Anyway, it’s good news! As it stands, the two go-getting types of the progressives are (at least, temporarily) inhibited: the energised, violent, “true believers”, are somewhat withered, and the “professional” sorts have a monumental amount of work to do. They are rebuilding, though, so keep an eye out.

If they can become credible on the following, they’ll be doing well: 1) Tough on Crime, 2) Pro Business, 3) Strong on Foreign Policy, 4) Strong on Defence, and 5) Solid on Our Public Services. It’s going to be difficult. A lot of Labour supporters don’t want to engage on those policy areas at all in the first place, let alone have workable answers to them.

The thing to watch out for is Blair’s two main tricks, which are closely related 1) talking out of both sides of their mouths and 2) presenting progressive solutions in their opponents’ terms.

Regarding the first trick, let’s use immigration as an example: one of the big progressive no-nos, a big right-wing concern, but which they really need to answer.

Just look at the headlines, which tell their own story. Blair admits he didn’t realise how many migrants would come to the UK after EU expansion. OK, but then he also says that immigration is good for the UK economy. Finally, he said that if you want to stay in the EU you have to curb immigration.

None of this is about lowering immigration based on principle or reflects right-wing concerns, or even the general popular reasons why people want it lowered. It’s about tactical necessity, in service of bigger picture goals – staying in the EU and reinforcing hegemony at home. Blair doesn’t admit he was wrong or that mass immigration has been damaging – he is talking out of both sides of his mouth! This helps him to try to flank his political opponents with positions which superficially appear to speak to right-wing concerns.

The reason he does this is very simple and not at all an original observation. In democratic politics it’s (sometimes) a viable strategy to go for (what you think is) the “centre ground”. Labour leaders who won – Ramsay MacDonald, Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson, and Tony Blair, all toned down the crazy in pursuit of the “sensible” and “moderate” centre ground.

Not that it seems to matter – progressives run all the main institutions and the nominal Conservative Party acquiesces and even adopts their agenda and aesthetic – but the key realisation of Blairism is that you must have power to do anything. Public support certainly helps reinforce the perception of complete hegemonic power and the justification for it.

Until Labour gets this by winning an election, the Conservative Party might just safely trundle along. God have mercy on you, Conservative Party. Govern! Or if you must insist on such dull imbecility, get out of the way. Go, all of you, retire to the House of Lords or wherever else you think gives you a veil of dignity, and whatever place can use the content, unaware, and immobile.

Anyway, if Labour doesn’t learn the lessons of Blairism, it risks being confined to 1) old style tax and spend and state power economics, 2) foreign policy which is anti-UK in one way or another, 3) marginal identity fetishism, and 4) screeching denunciation of anyone that dissents. This is because 1) misreads the lessons of the financial crisis, 2) misreads the proper responses to 9/11 and the Iraq War, 3) sees the progressives stuck in the tar-baby of the Culture War (which I am certain it will lose), and 4) just shows them to be unstable, and therefore as unfit to rule.

All of this would be a bit clapped out, but it would be safe and familiar for them, and do they even have the vision to see beyond? Reality and the general zeitgeist have moved on. Conservatives would do well to keep them stuck here.

There are ways out, and Labour seems to be doing a few of these things, though it’s hard to know if they really get it, half get it at someone else’s instruction, or if it’s accidental or coincidental. It’s also unclear how much any of the following will help them.

First, they seem to be hinting at a new progressive coalition i.e. Lib Dems, Greens, etc. tactical voting, selective standing of candidates, to avoid splitting the progressive vote. Will this work? Many use these parties as protest votes and you’d be surprised how many Conservative voters, for example, vote Green or Lib Dem at different elections, for all sorts of reasons, but who would never do it at a general election.

Second, watch out for Labour updating its policy agenda. Safe on this one so far. If they’re sensible it would stop being economically illiterate and suspicious of technology. It would also mean the progressives fully realising that corporations can be used and are willing to side with them if the conditions are right, no matter how temporary. The capitalists really will sell you the rope with which they’ll be hanged. It’s quite something!

Third, watch out for Labour re-discovering the mentality of government. The right needs to do this too, it must be said. The task is to amass power and to assume that (of course) it should be you governing. To do this the left will need some more self-discipline and less self-indulgence. The Labour Party’s sins are pride (how fitting!), envy, wrath, and gluttony. The Conservative Party’s sins are pride and sloth. This tactical swallowing of (some of) their pride doesn’t burden them to pursue policies people actually want. They’ll continue to insist that what voters want aligns with what the Labour Party wants, albeit overlaid with a veneer of sincerity and concern made possible with a more “moderate” leadership. New Labour was subtler still.

New Labour worked because people knew that Blair was prepared to discipline and channel the more insane parts of the Labour Party. Superficially, denial and discipline look very similar. It gave Labour the appearance of normality, reassured enough extra voters, and afforded them the cover of public acceptance to proceed with full-on nation-mutilating progressivism.

Watch out for the New Labour playbook. It will start with Labour controlling its incontinence. It’d be great if the Conservative Party got ahead of the problem by governing. Keep them busy responding to you, keep them too busy to get out of where they’re stuck.


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Time To Stop Being Conservatives

‘Conservative’, big and small ‘c’, is blah. Blah party, policies, politicians, polls, prospects, and that’s just the ‘p’ words.

Let’s deal with ‘party’ first. Perhaps you’ve already stopped being a Conservative. There’s plenty of debate among the duckies about leaving, destroying, destroying and rebuilding, long marching through, etc. the Conservative Party. Whatever, sure, broadly, one way or another, there should be a proper political force which reflects ducky views. More on this later.

The real question is this: should you even be a conservative, let alone a Conservative, any more? What is the virtue of being a ‘conservative’? It’s a small tactical mistake, with large consequences, but easily tweaked and fixed. The Conservative Party may present itself as conservative and full of people who are not. How has that worked out?

Policies. What on a practical political level has ‘being a (C/c)onservative’ got you for the last decade, or more? What is it getting you now? What does it look like it’s going to get you in the next decade…or more?

Politicians. Ultimately, it’s these guys to blame for the blah policies. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the Conservative Party has blah policies though. Just look at its politicians. I’ve written at length (see the May 2022 magazine) about how, basically, the Conservative Party doesn’t select for competence, it selects for loyalty, and how changing its composition is unrealistic. You’re just going to have to be stuck with a ministerial cadre which belly flops, marries pensioners, plays hide and seek, and gobbles knobs for public entertainment. Is it even accurate to say that these people present as ‘conservative’ while failing to govern as conservatives? In any case, why are you surprised that they’re failures, and why would you care to keep associating with them? It’s time to stop being conservatives.

Polls. When the presentation of ‘conservative’ is so beyond saving, all that’s left is the reverse. Be conservative, act conservative, but don’t care to present as a conservative. Keep all the principles, attract the people who have them, those who like to pretend they don’t because it’s not fashionable, and those who are merely superficially put off. It costs you nothing but, what, comfiness, pride, what? To ditch a label which gets you nothing practically or aesthetically?

Jake Scott is right. Conservatives aren’t cool. Isn’t it incredibly telling that I’m by far the coolest person he knows and I’m not a conservative? It’s why I’m telling you not to be too. It’s not just the young fogeys, Thatcher throbbers, port & policy chortlers, MP-selfie-profile-pictures – does that cover it? – it’s the concept itself.

Prospects. Alright, this is a bit flimsy, and I’m done with this ‘p’ gimmick. ‘Conservative’ keep you trapped in a progressive paradigm, limiting your prospects. You are conservative relative to their progress. Sure, they’re progressive relative to what you want to conserve, but is that really how it’s taken in the zeitgeist? It doesn’t work the other way around. ‘Conservative’ doesn’t sound like you want to keep what’s what. It sounds like there’s one of two broad choices you can be, left/right, Conservative/Labour. What is it to present as the ones who just want to stick where you are and do nothing? “But there’s plenty I want to build and fix and do to make the UK excellent”, you say. Good! I hear you. In fact, a line from The Mallard’s own Wednesday Addams in her review of Peter Hitchens’ new book stood out to me. “He mourns not for a pristine past, but a future that never was”. Does the word, name, presentation, etc. of ‘(C/c)onservative’ ever connote that idea too? Would anyone associate the word or concept of the future with ‘(C/c)onservatives’ on Family Fortune? Whatever, this is a small tweak too.

Don’t just mourn, don’t be one of those people who seem to enjoy self-pity, wallowing in the ‘man among the ruins’ thing. Even if it’s not so negative, don’t just be twee, oh the green and pleasant land, God save the King, blah. Find and keep what’s valuable, think about how to conserve it, but also how to bring it into the future. While you’re at it, adjust your attitude toward the future. Hitchens is an old man, so whatever, maybe it’s forgivable that all he can do is mourn for a future that never was. But you can act for a future that will be. It will. And you have to totally unironically, unreservedly believe that. Make it a matter of truth!

Jake Scott is right again. Stop pretending as if you are living in a liberal pluralist society in which different ideologies are just different options in a marketplace. I’m not sure this is quite what he meant, but it’s my take: some ways of doing things are better than others. Whether that’s economic, educational, social, whatever. There are better and worse ways of running a country. The progressives are objectively shit.

Truth. You are not a conservative, you are not right wing, even, you just believe in the truth. Twitter has been in the news, let’s use that as an example. The now dismal, disgraced, and now discarded Vijaya Gadde, could not even begin to conceive that Twitter had biased rules against conservatives on defining ‘misgendering’. It’s because her opinion wasn’t just an opinion. It was the truth. Of course, she was wrong. You are the ones with the truth. This is going to get tiresome referring to the same Jake Scott video, but he is right again. If anything he isn’t radical enough. On some things there just is no battle of ideas. There is no debate on insanity. Not in the real world, at least, maybe stuffed away in university philosophy departments where the debate can keep going for 3,000 years without resolution and not interfere with anything that matters.

Anyway, the truth is also that broadly conservative ideas about a whole range of topics are held by most of the country. Brexit was the big one, already proven. Next could be anything from immigration to British values, house building, tax, or all of them if only there was a proper political force prepared to go for it. More on that right at the end. In the meantime, what you believe is true and it will come to be, because you are going to make it happen.

This article hasn’t come out of nowhere, exactly. There does seem to be some buzz around the idea of ‘sensible centrists’. Is that the right branding? Not sure about it, but the concept is onto something which is good politics.

TL;DW, examples from the linked video: 1) it’s extreme to import hundreds of thousands of people to the country, the sensible position is to set immigration by what the country needs, 2) it’s extreme to let crime go rampant and obsess over the relatively small problem of one or two racist police, the sensible position is to be tough on crime, or 3) it’s extreme to hire thousands of people to obsess over a small number of people getting offended, to the tune of billions, rather than just not cater to that hysterical timewasting minority.

It’s not an entirely new idea, but popularising it in ‘right-wing’ circles is valuable, and so is the formula, which is new. The proof that it’s good is that it has been done before. How far back do you want to go? Curtis Yarvin presents Caesar as an imperially purple (red/blue/Republican/Democrat) end to chaotic fighting between extremes – a sensible centre. More recently Vote Leave presented the ‘leave’ option as a sensible left and right-backed, cross-party, non-UKIP, sensible centre which was merely taking back control from an extreme EU, where actually remaining would be the less certain, more dangerous, crazy option.

Does the UK feel stable, well-governed, on the right and true path, today? Is the UK sensible or extreme? See the appendix below if you need any help. Everything is totally fucking awful. It doesn’t even have to be! It could just be well governed instead. You’re not a conservative, you just want a good government.

Today, it is governed by Conservatives. It has been backed by conservatives or otherwise simply just not replaced by conservatives, and in any case conservatives have been totally contaminated by the idea of Conservatives. On top of all of this, when you have the truth on your side, what is there even to be gained by being (C/c)onservatives? Again, see the appendix below for some sense of the scale of the problem.

I’m not sure what exactly is next. Rallying around any sort of name or group or identity, especially if it isn’t totally solid and ready, presents a target. For now it’s enough to simply reject the idea that you are a conservative, or right-wing, especially when asked or characterised as such.


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On Conservatism and Art

A few weeks ago, another tweet claiming that it was impossible for conservatives to make art made the rounds of Twitter. Like too many in the mainstream culture, its sender erroneously assumed that because art inherently involves edgy innovation, and since conservatives categorically hate and/or fear both extremes and change, art must be the obvious property of the left. The thread received enough attention that I don’t need to invite more here. The Mallard hosted a Space on the topic—not necessarily on whether its message had merit (quote threads were rife with examples contradicting it, from Dostoevsky to Dali to Stevie Ray Vaughan), but rather to discuss the question of how conservatives could most effectively make art. 

Of course, among other topics we discussed the relationship between art and politics. A point made by many was the fact that, when discussing art and conservatism one should at least attempt to be clear about their terms. Furthermore, as mentioned in the conversation by Jake Scott, one must differentiate between political conservatism and metaphysical conservatism; the confusion of the two has, as the above stereotype shows, led to much confusion on the subject of conservatism and art that, so far as I can, I will attempt to nuance here. 

A refrain one hears, usually from activists on the left, is that all art is political. Such assertions are often met with frustration, generally from convervatives but also from people not explicitly on the right but who just want to be left alone when it comes to politics (and who, for such a response, are subsequently branded as right-wing by those who interpret all of life through an unconditional, against-if-not-actively-for ideology). However, the former are not wrong; all art can be interpreted as political—because all art is metaphysical.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, art is, among other things, a concretization of abstract values. When one looks at a painting, listens to a song, takes in a sculpture, walks through a building, or reads through a novel, one is engaging with the values that the artist has given a local habitation and a name (as always, Shakespeare said it best—MND V.1); this necessarily involves, though it need not be fully bound to, the artist’s metaphysical worldview.  

Consider the two literary schools that dominated the nineteenth century and that can generally be placed within Western culture’s pendulum-like sway between the Platonic and Aristotelian: Romanticism and Naturalism. A Romantic whose work assumes that there are things higher than the material world that give this life an infinite meaning will create very different art from a Naturalist who believes the material world is all that exists and that any attempt to say differently is an artifice that will unintentionally or cynically mislead people into accepting suffering as a value. Nothing in these examples is overtly political, but one can see (indeed, we’ve had over a century of seeing) the different politics that would come from each view. This is because politics, as an expansion upon the more fundamental realm of ethics, begins with metaphysical premises from which the rest flow. Different directional degrees will lead maritime navigators to very different locations; how much more will different primary assumptions about the nature of reality and humans’ place in it?

Let’s look at an example from an author who was cited in that thread as a conservative: Dostoevsky. Rather than counter the rising atheist-socialist egotism of mid-nineteenth-century Russia with a political textbook (which, granted, would have been banned under the Tsar’s censors, who eschewed all explicitly political works—hence why the Russian novel had to take on so many roles), Dostoevsky depicts and undermines the burgeoning philosophy in the character of Crime and Punishment’s Rodion Raskalnikov. 

However, though the ideas in debate had (and are still having) political effects, Dostoevsky is not merely speaking politics in Crime and Punishment. He understood that politics was a function of one’s primary assumptions about reality—about one’s metaphysics—and their effects on one’s individual psychology. He also recognized, as Raskalnikov’s unconventional bildung shows, that one’s stated politics may actually conflict with the metaphysics underlying their beliefs. Hence, for all Rodion’s stated atheistic egotism, he finds himself preventing a woman from committing suicide, giving all his spare cash to those with less than he, and being fascinated with the downtrodden but resilient (because Christlike) Sonia. 

In Crime and Punishment and his other masterpieces, Dostoevsky juxtaposes the new generation’s radical ideas not against other ideas (i.e. on the radicals’ terms) but against the background of the broader Orthodox-Christian Russian psyche. Raskalnikov’s working out of the contradiction between his would-be Napoleon complex and his subconscious worldview (if not the fabric of reality at large—Dostoevsky rarely simplifies the distinction between the two) mimics the author’s own similar progression not only from a socialistic politic to one more consistent with his deeper Orthodox convictions but, in his view, one from madness to sanity. 

While to read Dostoevsky solely through a political lens is to not read him at all, his writing does point to the inherent relationship between an artist and the politics of his or her historical context. The norms, laws, and cultural debates of a given generation are interconnected with the art then produced, which can reinforce, undermine, or, in the case of most pre-2010s consumer art, quite simply inhabit them (which, true to form, the aforementioned leftist activist would accuse of being a complacent and complicit reinforcement). 

However, as this political layer is often based in the times, it usually passes away with them. In the coming Christmas season, few people will read A Christmas Carol with Social Darwinism in mind, though Dickens was, in part, critiquing that contemporaneous viewpoint in Ebeneezer Scrooge. Perhaps works like Dickens’s Carol were necessary to ensure Social Darwinism did not succeed—that is, perhaps their politics served the purpose intended by their authors. Nonetheless, today A Christmas Carol is virtually useless, politically (at least, for Dickens’s immediate polemical purposes), which is the beginning of a work’s infinite usefulness as art. What is left is the more general story that, for all intents and purposes, made modern Christmas. Contrary to what politivangelicals and literature majors who read through a new historicist lens (*raises hand*) might try to maintain, this is not a lessening but an enriching; it is the separation of the transient from the enduring—of the metaphysical from the physical. 

One implication of this view of art as concretized metaphysics, and one which was mentioned in our Space conversation, is that not all art that labels itself “art” qualifies as art. If the explanation of a piece contains more discernible meaning (i.e. is bigger) than the piece itself—that is, if no values have been concretized so as to be at least generally recognizable—then, sorry, it’s not art (or if it is, it’s not concretizing the values its creator thinks it is). Often the makers of such “art” believe the paramount aspect of a piece must be its radical message—the more disruptive and cryptic, the better; this conveniently offers the maker a pretext to skip out on, if not directly subvert, style and aesthetic skill, to say nothing of selectivity. It goes without saying that this is a major part of the oft-lamented degradation of aesthetics in Western culture, from “high art,” to architecture, to animation. Why devote rigor to style and skill when the point is to signal that one aligns with the correct message?

By the way, this merits a general exhortation: if you don’t like a piece of art (a building, a sculpture, a Netflix series, etc), it might not be because you, rube that you are, have no taste or understanding; it might be because it’s simply a pile of shit—which, it bears mentioning, has been tried to be passed off as art. You are under no obligation to concede the inferiority complex such pieces try to sell you in their gnostic snake oil. Because the point of art is to communicate abstract human values, one does not need a degree in art, nor in philosophy, to understand and enjoy good art. Indeed, contrary to the elitism assumed in modern art taste, it may be the mark of good art that the average person can understand and enjoy it without too much explanation; such a work will have fulfilled art’s purpose of bodying forth the forms of things unknown but which are nonetheless universal.

The unintentional defaulting or the intentional subverting of the role of aesthetics in art by the modern and postmodern culture unwittingly reveals a possible door for conservatives who wish to make art. Rather than playing into the stereotype by simply making reactionary art with explicitly opposite meanings, “conservative art” (or, more preferably, conservatives who simply want to make good art) must begin with a return to aesthetic rigor. Just as the early church’s response to heresies was not to accept the premises of the heresies’ mind-body split but, rather, to restore the body-mind-spirit unity depicted in the Gospel and the Trinity, so the current response to artistic heresies—which involve a similar, if not the very same, split—is to reunite the physical and metaphysical. 

We must not ignore the messages of our art, but we should allow them to follow the literally more immediate role of the aesthetic experience. Indeed, we should seek to develop enough skill in conveying abstract themes and ideas through our medium such that little explanation is necessary. As conservatives, especially, we do not need to maneuver things so our audience takes away a certain message. Either the values we are trying to capture will speak for themselves, or we will learn that we need more practice. Above all, unless knowingly engaging in polemics, we should not (or at least try not to) approach art as a sermon. Doing so runs the risk of proving too much, besides turning off audiences who have probably had enough messaging and rhetoric. Instead, use your ethos, pathos, and logos to present their corresponding virtues of Goodness, Beauty, and Truth, and let the aesthetic experience stand as the message. As Jake Scott recently tweeted, underscoring his January article cited above, when making art, forget politics—seek to create heritage.

As always, it’s the conservative’s task to take his or her advice first. While I do currently have a polemical novel in pre-publication process with a clear message against the canceling in academia of Shakespeare and the tradition he represents, in A California Kid in King Henry’s Court, my serial novel for The Mallard’s print magazine, I have tried to focus solely on the aesthetic experience of the story. 

The title is, of course, a throwback to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain’s comedy of an American who, having been knocked on his head in a factory, awakens in Arthurian England and subsequently seeks to industrialize the chivalric country, all the while becoming, himself, as much an object of Twain’s satire as medieval chivarly. My semi-autobiographical serial novel takes an opposite tack: a kid from California, having derived from Tolkien and Shakespeare a love for England’s literary past, attends modern Oxford and finds it far different from what he expects. The joke of each episode is usually on the fictional narrator, Tuck. However, though I’m a far less subtle satirist than Twain (really, my work is parody, not satire, since I am starting from a loving desire to enjoy the book’s subject, rather than a satirical desire to debase it), I’ve attempted to do something similar to Twain: unlock the dramatic and comic potential of Americans’ English past while still poking fun at elite pretensions, whether those of the narrator whose knowledge of literary references is irrelevant outside of academia, or of a modern England that keeps shattering the narrator’s romanticized ideas of Anglo tradition. 

While, beneath the parody, one of A California Kid’s thematic goals is to explore the deeper relevance of the English literary tradition, my main objective has simply been to make readers laugh—which, taking a cue from Monty Python’s discussions of comedy, starts with making myself laugh. If readers walk away from the episodes appreciating Shakespeare or Tolkien, so much the better, but it is only a secondary end to the primary one of telling a hopefully worth-reading story. 

Over the past half-century the postmodern anti-tradition has become the predominant tradition. The task of breaking open a way forward from the metaphysical assumptions of that structure—of liberating people from them—is now the job of conservatives, which, yes, does include everyone who does not want to wholly jettison, deconstruct, or “decolonize” the past, however politically or philosophically they self-identify. However, our goal should not be to merely preserve the past against the current attack and atrophy. The left’s view of art as a vehicle for political messaging can be traced back over 150 years to, among other sources, Nikolay Chernyshevsky, literary rival of Dostoevsky and writer of the utopian polemical novel What is to Be Done? As I tell my US History students, if you want to know why a generation pursues certain politics, look at what they were reading twenty or thirty years before; according to Dostoevsky biographer Joseph Frank, Chernyshevsky’s novel was the favorite book of a young Vladimir Lenin. 

Conservatives must take a similarly long view of art. We must strive, as much as we are able, to make works that will last not just for a given generation, but for several. Yes, we must look to the works and artists whose work has aesthetically endured and whose metaphysics have transcended their own times—and then we must create our own. The messages, insofar as they are necessary, will follow, the greatest of which being that the aesthetic experience is the point of the art. This has always been the point, not because of any inherent politics or lack thereof in art, but because it is the nature of art to simultaneously look backward and forward in its concretization and preservation of values. The same can be said of conservatism, which I take as a sign that we, rather than the left, are best equipped to produce the future of art. Like our philosophy, ours is not simply an art of return, but of resurrection and legacy.


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A Sensible Centrist’s Guide to Hope Not Hate

Hope Not Hate is a self-described “anti-fascist” pressure group based in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 2004 by communist-affiliated Nick Lowles after the antecedent group, Searchlight, of which Lowles was a co-editor, abused its charitable status by engaging in political activism.

This group markets itself as a “charitable organisation,” that claims “non-sectarian” and “non-partisan” status but is free as a private limited company to disseminate biased political messaging, maintain close ties to Labour, other far-left NGOs, and cooperate with the British civil service.

By leveraging their claimed neutrality, Hope Not Hate has been able to disseminate exclusively anti-right-wing editorial content under the guise of a broadchurch “anti-extremist” mission. To do this, it employs motte-and-bailey argumentation that blurs any distinction between “anti-extremism” and “anti-fascism”.

They conflate these two terms and seamlessly switch between them depending on the situation and context. This muddying of the waters allows the organisation to effectively ignore any and all other forms of “extremism” such as the genuine threats to life posed by radical Islam, which by an overwhelming margin, remains the most significant domestic threat to the UK.

Differences over this state cooperation led to the official divorce between Searchlight and Hope Not Hate in 2011. However, principally, these two organisations remain ideologically synchronous, and each continues to maintain a far-left bent, a facet well reflected in Lowles’ track record of Zionist, communist, and anti-national collaboration.

In early 2019, shortly before the suspension of Labour MP Chris Williamson, Lowles offered his support to and called for the party to adopt policy from the Jewish Labour Movement, formerly known as Poale Zion. It is a Marxist-Zionist movement that precludes non-Jews from full membership.

Despite touting democracy as a core value, Hope Not Hate has previously collaborated with “Best for Britain,” an anti-Brexit campaign that sought to overturn the result of the 2016 EU referendum, before rebranding as an “internationalist” political group.

Additionally, there is a prolonged history of cooperation between the various arms of the state and so-called ‘research organisations’ like Hope Not Hate and Searchlight. They have received funding from a variety of sources, such as NGOs, trade unions, and even directly from the Home Office; funding rubber-stamped directly by the Conservative government; funding used to bitterly slander them in a humiliating display epitomises the self-flagellant nature of the Tory government, entirely submissive to these kinds of organisations.

One must ask, why? Why has Hope Not Hate been receiving government funding from the Home Office? To answer this question, we must establish that the transparent function of Hope Not Hate acts to delegitimise critical voices and attack unorthodox, non-regime-compliant sentiment through overt defamation and libel of opposition by peddling politically charged, partisan ‘reports’ and ‘investigations’ under the false guise of science.

A likely theory is that Hope Not Hate serves as a cutout for MI5, as there is a clear-shared incentive between the organisation and the UK’s intelligence machinery. By collecting information on private citizens, compiling it, and then repackaging and disseminating said information in the form of these dossiers and reports, a task that would fall outside their remit as an arm of the civil service, the shared incentive becomes clear. While the specific nature of their government fund remains unclear, it is ultimately irrelevant so long as those mutual interests remain in place.

Of these reports, Hope Not Hate’s most recent is the latest in a series of annuals titled “State of Hate,” which invoke ersatz, nonsensical claims about many influencers in the mainstream and online right whose alleged threat is underpinned by a manufactured notion of ‘the rising tide of far-right extremism’.

One notable target of Hope Not Hate’s vitriol is Neema Parvini, also known by his online handle ‘Academic Agent’, a published author, academic, and recent GB News feature who has been subject to a series of serious claims in the March report, which unjustly characterises his views as “extreme” and portrays him as a “far-right activist” who is “aligned with the scientific racism community”.

These claims are asserted wholly without evidence and serve only to directly contradict Dr. Parvini’s published works, who on the topic of race writes: “The evidence overwhelmingly suggests, despite typical variations in physical and mental abilities within groups, biologically speaking, people everywhere are essentially the same in their natural capacities, even if not wholly identical.” Further clarifying, “people vary much more within groups than between groups.” (Shakespeare’s Moral Compass, p. 55).

This issue is also addressed in Dr. Parvini’s latest work, ‘Prophets of Doom’, where he offers an alternative interpretation of de Gobineau’s Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaine, where the previous unscientific racial categorizations are replaced by poetic ideals entirely decoupled from notions of scientific racism.

These are the only two instances where Parvini nominally addresses the topic of race across a literary corpus comprising eight books in a career spanning 14 years of mainstream publication. In short, this is but one example of many poorly sourced, libellous, and defamatory claims published by Hope Not Hate that are entirely spurious and thoroughly illegitimate.

The 137-page report features an array of public figures, from “right-wing” Tories (as opposed to regular centrists and even left-leaning ones) to the most unserious and delusional of political players and pundits in the conspiracy theorist sphere. This is a not-so-subtle and underhanded tactic of false association that attempts to instil a cognitive bias in the reader. It sets out to discredit and delegitimise the opponents of these far-left-adjacent organs.

The publication make scant effort to separate elected members of parliament from former members of proscribed terrorist organisations, however the fact that both are contained within the same report is an inherently disingenuous tactic, and it is these groupings that are then paired with frequent appeals to the scientific sensibilities of their readership, leveraging first-hand survey findings and trendy, in-vogue design choices that lend a false sense of legitimacy to an otherwise entirely disreputable publication.

However, it is Hope Not Hate’s own survey findings that underscore a much deeper truth about how ignorant the political class is of prevailing thought; it exemplifies how they are becoming increasingly at odds with the British public, 48% of those surveyed agreed more than Britain’s multicultural society isn’t working and different communities generally live separate lives. The same percentage said they would favour having a “strong and decisive leader” over the existing liberal democracy, and 43% of Britons agreed the country is in a state of decline. They also claim a staggering 27% agreed that “globalist elites are encouraging immigration into Europe as part of a plot to weaken European identity.”.

If these figures are to be believed, this demonstrates in full the ever-growing misalignment and disconnect between an alienated population and their elected representatives. This was recently exemplified with yet another attack by Hope Not Hate that resulted in the immediate suspension of Beau Dade from the Reform Party following a hit piece in response to an article on reducing immigration. This shows even the mechanisms intended to contain right-leaning sentiment are failing and becoming increasingly visible. We now find ourselves in a situation where the most ‘right-wing’ mainstream party will instantly bend the knee to an organisation with the less-than-subtle intention of undermining their growing electoral prospects.

Through its actions and associations, Hope Not Hate is an organisation has shown to be deeply problematic, apparently existing to aid the British security state in delegitimising uncontrolled political opposition. It spreads falsehood, disinformation, and makes frequent use of deceptive linguistic tooling to those ends. At a deeper level, it serves to suppress the ongoing re-emergence of a more explicit English identity steeped in deep-rooted ethnocultural precedent; a process which contradicts the aspirations of the current elite, both in their prioritisation of minoritarian interests over the democratic will and international interests over the national interest.


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The Burkean Dilemma – and The Need for Constitutional Vandalism

Cast your mind back to your infantile beginnings on the internet – do you remember when a mix of teenage dissent and good taste brought you upon hours and hours of Peter Hitchens clips? The talking points remain engraved in my brain at least. Scorning Elizabeth Truss for being a Liberal Democrat, lamenting the decline, smugly enjoying being the most right-wing man in the room; these old YouTube clips are foundational for many of us. It is through this canon that many reading, I’m sure, found themselves on the Right. Thereby the ideology of Hitchens and the most searing of his convictions have necessarily branded our  convictions – and made sour many aspects of reformation. 

Ironically, the Burkean is a Tory in its most visceral, honest conception. There is no mistaking the conservatism of this sort, it conserves – it is the noun made verb with very little impurities included. You know the lines, ask why the fence is there before you knock it down. You know the policies, maintain the Lords, maintain the Monarchy, maintain above all; the Constitution.

The Constitution of England is a truly beautiful phenomena; it is our unique testament unto this world. No other people over millennia could produce such a sprawling web of good governance and sound law. Furthermore, the fact it was never sat down and written, but came forth from our historical experiences over a thousand years further adds to its splendour. Through the test of time, it has not only secured this nation but irrigated the unique liberties afforded within it. 

It is the Constitution, and adoration for it, that makes a Tory. These sentiments are in-born, and felt from a young age before one has even been acquainted with the exacts of the Constitution. Hence, Enoch Powell as a young boy would take off his cap entering the chamber wherein the first Prince of Wales was born. Such a thing is but second nature to an inherently Tory character, it is an inseparable feature of their character to revere what has come before them – thereby their politics becomes a ritual of removing one’s cap and bowing. 

It is natural then that not just a principled opposition but a genuine disgust is exhibited when the foundations of our governance and law are tinkered with. It is felt that to damage the beams built over thousands of years that have maintained Britain’s Constitution is to risk a cave falling in on itself, and a millennia’s effort being destroyed in the process. Therein, the Tory is daunted to even mutter the name Blair. 

Removing privileges of the Lords and creating an American-style Supreme Court would likely have been enough to make Enoch Powell croak ten times over – and to this day continues to drive Peter Hitchens into the ground, and it’s clear to see why. The whole Blairite infrastructure continues to allow the spectre of New Labour to linger endlessly. Almost any attempt to combat mass immigration is smashed by some grotesque machination of an early 2000s civil servant. 

We have been shown time and time again that the subversive elements of our political class have no regard for these ancient precepts. It is no vice to bend the very structure of this nation in order to inject Liberalism through it. It is for this reason, that we on the Right find ourselves within a Burkean dilemma.

Our base instincts warn us against any constitutional reform. Whether we even express this fact outwardly, this feeling that what has worked for millennia should not be fiddled with is, as mentioned, a petit-pathology of ours. However, if we are to combat a force willing to bend these rules, then we doom ourselves if we do not adapt to this landscape. There is no virtue in taking off our caps to a nation in flames, safe in the knowledge that it was the good timber set alight. 

The Blair Cabal was willing to entrench a vapid, corrosive anarcho-tyranny within the fabric of this country, and Starmer will only bolster it as he takes up the torch. On these matters, we must unfortunately get our hands dirty. 

Let us use the debate regarding first-past-the-post as an example. Our nature appreciates this institution, it works reasonably well and has done since we thought voting would be a jolly good idea. However, as the Tories and Labour are both infected with the corrosive modernity of our day – what good is the thing? Reform, despite their best efforts, poll in some indications third in terms of vote share, yet are projected to gain not a single seat. The classic UKIP effect, a deliberate design of our voting system to ensure that radical sorts and ruffians can’t steer us on a path of destruction whenever a good demagogue comes about. This is a sound principle . . . when England was a nation of civil, well-mannered people. Hitchens reminds us – ‘there is an inch between Labour and the Conservatives, but it is within that inch we all live.’ This principle rings true when the key debates of a society concern marginal tax rates and the exacts of social spending. It rings a tone of death for a nation embroiled in the debates of our day. 

This constitution of ours is unique to us. It could not have come about among any other people, no other nation has matched our wonderful system of civil existence, and those that came close certainly did not happen upon it as we did. The English Constitution is nothing without the Englishman, thereby if the Englishman be doomed then so be his systems of governance and law. 

If we can determine that the threats that face us are existential, then the truth of the matter is we must bite the bullet and do away with some of these constitutional features. What good is maintaining first-past-the-post if we are to be a minority within our own homeland by the middle of this century? Why would some among us sooner see the passing of the Englishman than the reformation of what he has produced?

It is the nature of our folk that produced these things; if we lose our nation we lose everything. If some of our dearest institutions must be cleared out it is a price worth paying for our survival. If a fence in the forest impedes us, we have no time to consult a passerby on the reason for its presence when behind us a bear looms. 

The Burkean dilemma is this – the Constitution or England. First-past-the-post or our survival. The House of Lords or English children with a future to look forward to?


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Islam as Arabism

‘Here the initiative individual […] regains his place as a formative force in history. […] If he is a prophet like Mohammed, wise in the means of inspiring men, his words may raise a poor and disadvantaged people to unpremeditated ambitions and surprising power.’

– Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History

That Islam is a sociopolitical ideology as well as a religion hardly requires demonstration. It included a political component from its very inception, since tradition has it that Muhammad was the Muslims’ worldly ruler as well as their spiritual leader. The caliphs succeeded him (‘caliph’ means ‘successor’) in that capacity: they, too, were political and religious rulers in one. If the caliphate had not been abolished in 1924, non-Muslims would likely be much less blind to Islam’s political side.

This political side is too rarely acknowledged. However, even less attention has been paid to the ethnic aspect of Islam’s politics. Hardly any commentators seem to mention the undercurrent of Arabism present in the Mohammedan creed – yet once one has noticed it, it is impossible to ignore. Islam is not just any ideology; it is a vehicle of Arab imperialism.

Some readers may not readily see any such ethnic element, but others will likely find it obvious. In Algeria, for instance, Islam is widely taken to be a facet of ‘Arabdom,’ which is why proud Berbers tend not to be passionate Muslims. It is not just non-Arabs who believe that Islam and Arabdom are intimately linked. Consider that Tunisia’s ‘Arab Muslim’ character is mentioned in the preamble to the country’s constitution. Likewise, Morocco’s constitution states that Moroccan national identity is ‘forged by the convergence of its Arab-Islamic, Amazigh and Saharan-Hassanic components.’ Such language underscores the essential connection between Arab identity and Islam. What follows is a brief overview of some aspects of this connection.

The Traditions

The traditional accounts of Islam’s early history, including the hadith, contain plenty of naked Arabism. In this context, we can largely set aside the question of whether these accounts are reliable. For the most part, it scarcely matters whether the traditions are true or fabricated; it only matters that they are believed.

Perhaps the most infamous racist hadith is the one in which Muhammad describes black people as seeming to have raisins for heads. The saying in question is Number 256 in Book 89 of volume nine of Bukhari’s anthology: ‘You should listen to and obey[…] your ruler even if he was an Ethiopian (black) slave whose head looks like a raisin.’

Some Muslims try to divert attention from the questionable physical description and onto the statement’s supposed egalitarianism. They claim this passage expresses a progressive sentiment that people of any race could be worthy rulers. However, one should bear in mind the context: the next two hadiths likewise extol obedience to rulers. For example, Number 257 has Muhammad say: ‘A Muslim has to listen to and obey (the order of his ruler) whether he likes it or not, as long as his orders involve not one in disobedience (to Allah).’ The common theme in these stories is the requirement to submit to those in power. Against this backdrop, the hypothetical Ethiopian ruler is clearly mentioned in order to emphasise how absolute this duty is: it applies even if the ruler belongs to an inferior ethnic group. Similar examples of racism in the hadith and other Islamic sources are listed by Isaac Marshall.

As Robert Spencer shows in Did Muhammad Exist?, early Arab politics under the Abbasid dynasty was marked by references to Muhammad’s example to promote various causes, notably including ‘the rapid expansion of the Arab Empire.’ This sometimes included strong ethnic undertones. As Spencer notes, Muhammad was reported to have said that Muslims would conquer ‘the palaces of the pale men in the lands of the Byzantines’ and to have announced: ‘the Greeks will stand before the brown men (the Arabs) in troops in white garments and with shorn heads, being forced to do all that they are ordered.’ Why mention the Byzantines’ lighter complexion? Presumably, this served to underscore their ethnic distinctness (non-Arabness) and, by implication, their inferiority. As for the second quote, it clearly portrays Muhammad as having wished for the Arabs specifically, rather than Muslims of any ethnicity, to dominate the Greeks.

According to tradition, having garnered only a handful of followers in Mecca, Muhammad achieved his first major success in Yathrib (later Medina). This milestone was made possible by an ethnic conflict between Arabs and Jews in which the former deemed him useful for their cause. ‘The Arabs of Yathrib,’ explains Ali Sina in Understanding Muhammad and Muslims, ‘accepted Muhammad readily, not because of the profundity of his teachings, […] but because of their rivalry with the Jews.’ It was in Medina that Islam’s trademark Jew-hatred truly began to burgeon.

Over a millennium later, the resources of Muslims worldwide are still being drained in service to an Arab struggle against Jews in Israel – and Islam is the tool through which those resources are extracted. Of course, not everyone in the Muslim world is content with this arrangement. In Iran, which is now a mostly non-Muslim country, protestors chant: ‘Forget about Palestine, forget about Gaza, think about us.’ Likewise, the Moroccan Amazigh Democrat Party (a Berber organisation now renamed ‘Moroccan Ecologist Party – Greens’) stands for both secularism and ‘normalizing relations with Israel.’ The more a group is free from Islam, it seems, the less need it feels to sacrifice its own interests in order to help Middle Eastern Arabs re-conquer Israel.

The History

Islam’s history shows it to be, from its beginnings, fundamentally intertwined with Arab identity. In Arabs: A 3,000-Year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires, Tim Mackintosh-Smith provides such manifold examples of this pattern that it would be plagiaristic to reproduce them all here. Drawing on Muslim historian al-Baladhuri’s description of the Arab conquests of the seventh century AD, he writes that the Taghlib, despite being Christian, were made exempt from the ‘poll-tax’ which unbelievers must pay under Islamic law. The reason was that the Taghlib were Arabs, and could thus make the case that they were different from the ‘conquered barbarians’ to whom the tax was normally applied. ‘Islam in its expansive period had as much to do with economics and ethnicity as with ethics.’ During the later centuries of Islam, other groups – most notably, the Ottomans – appear to take the lead in the Muslim world. Nevertheless, ‘the centuries of “invisibility” in fact conceal an Arab expansion almost as remarkable for its extent as the first eruption of Islam,’ though this second phase occurred ‘through the Arab world’s back door, into the Indian Ocean.’

For Mackintosh-Smith, Islam should be viewed ‘as a unifying national ideology, and Muhammad as an Arab national hero.’ It may be worthwhile to mention, in this context, the theory that Muhammad never existed and was instead a character popularised decades after his supposed death. Robert Spencer summarises the case for this position in Did Muhammad Exist?. Despite dating Islam’s emergence to the early eighth century, Spencer notes that two inscriptions from Arab-ruled lands during the second half of the seventh century refer to some watershed moment which had occurred in 622. As he states, this is the traditional date of the Hijra, when Muhammad supposedly fled from Mecca to Medina. Interestingly, one of the inscriptions was made 42 years (on the lunar calendar) after 622, yet it purports to have been written in ‘the year 42 following the Arabs.’ Why the odd phrasing? Spencer argues that, in 622, the Byzantines inflicted a heavy defeat on the Persian Empire, sending it into decline. The Arabs were quick to take advantage of the resultant ‘power vacuum’ and soon conquered Persia. Consequently, he speculates: ‘What became the date of the Hijra may have originally marked the beginning of the Arabians as a political force to be reckoned with on the global scene.’ If this idea is correct – and it certainly makes sense of the strange phrase ‘the year 42 following the Arabs’ – then the very year with which the Islamic calendar begins, 622, may originally have been commemorated in celebration of Arab military expansion. This would also make it all the more ironic for anyone conquered by Arabs, and especially Iranians, to be a Muslim.

Still, the conquest of non-Arabs by Arabs is sanctified in Islam even if one utterly rejects the thesis Spencer propounds. Since the expansion of early Islam – and much of later Islam – was inseparable from Arab expansion into surrounding territories, being Muslim practically forces one to look back with approval on the conquests of non-Arabs by Arabs. (The spread of other world religions did not involve a comparable dependence on armed subjugation.) As Raymond Ibrahim has written, ‘the historic Islamic conquests are never referred to as “conquests” in Arabic and other Muslim languages; rather, they are futuhat—literally, “openings” for the light of Islam to enter.’

Throughout Islam’s history, jihadism and Islamic expansionism have gone hand in hand with Arab supremacism. This has perhaps been most apparent in Sudan and Mauritania, where Islamism has long been inextricably linked to racism and genocide against, and enslavement of, non-Arab blacks. Serge Trifkovic makes this point powerfully in The Sword of the Prophet, highlighting the irony of black Muslims in America who consider Islam a natural part of African heritage.

In addition to the racism already found in Islamic scriptures, the slave trade which has flourished under Islamic rule and been legitimised in conjunction with jihad ideology has also spawned racialist justifications. Trifkovic comments: ‘The Muslims’ view on their two main sources of slaves, sub-Saharan Africa and Slavic Eastern Europe, developed into the tradition epitomized by a tenth-century Islamic writer:

“The people of Iraq […] are the ones who are done to a turn in the womb. They do not come out with something between blond, blanched and leprous coloring, such as the infants dropped from the wombs of the women of the Slavs and others of similar light complexion; nor are they overdone in the womb until they are […] black, murky, malodorous, stinking, and crinkly-haired, with […] deficient minds, […] such as the Ethiopians and other blacks[.]”’

Islam’s Arab Character

Despite claims of divine revelation and the notion that the Qur’an existed from the beginning of time, Islamic doctrine is wholly permeated by mediaeval Arab culture and the paganism of pre-Islamic Arabia. Thus, Samuel Zwemer notes that the belief in jinn reflects a ‘substratum of paganism.’ Nor is this belief peripheral to Islam; numerous verses in the Qur’an discuss these supposed spirits and Muhammad is claimed, writes Zwemer, to have been ‘sent to convert the Jinn to Islam as well as the Arabs.’ It is also a well-known fact that the pilgrimage to Mecca goes back to pre-Islamic paganism.

The creed’s ethical teachings, furthermore, are deeply shaped by its origins among mediaeval Arabs. In many ways, it represents an alien culture imposed on other peoples by Arab conquest. One might object that Europe is Christian and Christianity is likewise an alien influence on it, having come from the Middle East. Yet Christianity’s Middle Eastern origins have been greatly exaggerated. It is a fundamentally European religion, having arisen in the Roman Empire and been shaped by Greek philosophy from its fount. Even pre-Christian Judaism had been heavily shaped by Hellenic thought, as Martin Hengel showed in his classic Judaism and Hellenism. In any event, Christianity is far less intrusive than Islam, which seems intent on micro-managing every aspect of the believer’s life.

An obvious example of how Islam imposes alien values on the societies it conquers is the role it mandates for women. Apostate Prophet, a German-American ex-Muslim of Turkish descent, avers that ‘the Turks […] treated their women much, much better before they converted to Islam.’ Current scholarship appears to bear this notion out. One author concludes that, in pre-Islamic times, ‘Turkish women ha[d] a much more free life than women of other communities and that women within Turkish communities [during that period] can be seen as sexless and they can take part in men’s positions.’ This is obviously far different from women’s role in Islamic societies. The difference was famously demonstrated by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, founding member of the ruling Islamist group, the Justice and Development Party (AKP). On the occasion of the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr, Arınç urged Turks to pay greater heed to the Qur’an and stated that women should ‘not laugh in public.’ If conditions in Turkey are not as bad as in other Islamic countries, where practices like female genital mutilation are common, that is in large part thanks to the secularising revolution of Kemalism.

However, to say that Islam’s ethics fully reflect the norms of pre-Islamic Arabia would be unfair to the Arabs of the time. For instance, Ali Sina argues that, ‘prior to Islam, women in Arabia were more respected and had more rights than at any time since’ (Understanding Muhammad and Muslims). Even within the context of that undeveloped region, it seems that Islamisation represented a step back.

Islam’s Arab character has serious practical consequences which work to Arabs’ relative advantage and other groups’ relative disadvantage – although, naturally, adherence to Islam represents a net disadvantage for all groups. As Hugh Fitzgerald observes, Islam makes people ‘pray five times a day in the direction of Arabia (Mecca), ideally take Arab names, read the Qur’an in Arabic, and sometimes even construct a false Arab ancestry (as the “Sayeeds” of Pakistan).’ The requirement to fast throughout the day during Ramadan appears tailored to the Arabian Peninsula and is ill-suited to life in certain other regions. Moreover, Islam proves highly effective at funneling money from the whole Muslim world into Arabia. The required pilgrimage to Mecca earns Saudi Arabia ten to fifteen billion US dollars per annum; added to this are another four to five billion gained through ‘the umra, a non-obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca.’ ‘Pilgrimage income,’ adds the same source, ‘also accounts for the second largest share of [Saudi] government revenue after hydrocarbon sales.’

Will the Awakening Come?

‘Although Islam presents itself as a universal religion,’ writes Robert Spencer, ‘it has a decidedly Arabic character’ which has consistently aided ‘Arabic supremacists’ in Muslim areas. As stated, Islam is detrimental to all people, but it seems especially absurd that any non-Arab would be a Muslim. Hopefully, the other nations ensnared by this ideology will find the backbone to break free of it sooner rather than later.

Some such stirrings, though faint, can already be seen. As of this writing, Apostate Prophet’s video Islam is for Arabs has garnered nearly 200,000 views in five years. We have noted the distaste for Islam among many Algerian Berbers, and a similar pattern has been recorded in Morocco: ‘for some Berbers, conversion [to Christianity] is a return to their own roots.’ Should this trend continue, it could, in theory, become quite significant. As of 2000, Arabs constituted only 44% of Morocco’s population, just under the combined share of Arabised Berbers (24%) and other Berbers (21%).

Iran is an even more promising case. As mentioned, it appears that most of the country’s population is no longer Muslim. National pride seems to have played a part in this spectacular sea change, as evidenced by the popularity of Zoroastrianism among some Iranians. Perhaps Iran, once liberated, could act as a model for other non-Arab Muslim countries with a sense of dignity.

The national issue may not prove potent enough to de-Islamise societies completely. However, that may not be required. A major tipping point could be achieved simply by reaching a point at which criticism of Islam can no longer be stifled. Islam’s success depends on fear to prevent people from opposing it. Thus, in environments where adherence to it is not socially enforced – for instance, in Western societies –, deconversion rates tend to be high. Anywhere the compulsion to obey Islam is defeated, the main battle will have been won.


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Right Place, Right Time, Wrong Movement

During an interview for the H. L. Mencken Club, writer Derek Turner described political correctness as a ‘clown with a knife’, combining more petty nanny state tendencies with a more totalitarian aim, thereby allowing it to gain considerable headway as no-one takes it seriously enough. In a previous article, the present author linked such a notion to the coverup of grooming gangs across Britain, with it being one of the most obvious epitomes of such an idea, especially for all the lives ruined because of the fears of violating that ‘principle’ being too strong to want to take action.

The other notion that was linked was that of Islamic terrorism, whereby any serious attempts to talk about it (much less respond to it in an orderly way) is hindered by violating political correctness – with both it and Islamic extremism being allowed to gain much headway in turn. Instead, the establishment falls back onto two familiar responses. At best, they treat any such event with copious amounts of sentimentality, promising that such acts won’t divide the country and we are all united in whatever communitarian spirit is convenient to the storyline. 

At worst, they aren’t discussed at all, becoming memory-holed in order to not upset the current state of play. Neither attitude does much good, especially in the former’s case as it can lead, as Theodore Dalrymple noted, to being the ‘forerunner and accomplice of brutality whenever the policies suggested by it have been put into place’. The various ineffective crackdowns on civil liberties following these attacks can attest to that.

However, while there is no serious current political challenge to radical Islam, there was for a time a serious enough alternative movement that was, and despite it not being completely mainstream, certainly left its mark.

That was Britain’s Counter-Jihad movement, a political force that definitely lived up to the name for those who could remember it. Being a loud and noisy affair, it protested (up and down the country) everything contingent with Islamism, from terrorism to grooming gangs. It combined working-class energy with militant secularism, with its supposed influences ranging as far as Winston Churchill to Christopher Hitchens. It was often reactionary in many of its viewpoints but with appeals to left-wing cultural hegemony. It was as likely to attack Islam for its undermining of women’s and LGBT rights as for its demographic ramifications through mass immigration.

While hard to imagine now, it was the real deal, with many of its faces and names becoming countercultural icons among the British right. Tommy Robinson, Anne Marie Waters, Paul Weston, Pat Condell, Jonaya English, as well as many others fitted this moniker to varying degrees of success. It had its more respectable intellectual faces like Douglas Murray and Maajid Nawaz, while even entertaining mainstream politics on occasion, most notably with Nigel Farage and UKIP (especially under the leadership of Gerard Batten) flirting with it from time to time.

While being a constant minor mainstay in British politics for the early part of the 21st century, it was in 2017 when it reached its zenith. The numerous and culminating Islamic terrorist attacks that year, from Westminster Bridge to Manchester Arena to the London Borough Market as well as the failed Parsons Green Tube bombing had (cynically or otherwise) left the movement feeling horribly vindicated in many of its concerns. Angst among the public was high and palpable, to the point that even the BBC pondered as to whether 2017 had been ‘the worst year for UK terrorism’. Douglas Murray released his magnum opus in The Strange Death of Europe, of which became an instant best-seller and critical darling, all the while being a blunt and honest examination of many issues including that of radical Islam within Britain and much of the continent itself – something that would have previously been dismissed as mere reactionary commentary. And at the end of the year, the anti-Islam populist party For Britain begun in earnest, with its founder and leader in Anne Marie Waters promising to use it as a voice for those in Britain who ‘consider Islam to be of existential significance’.  

In short, the energy was there, the timing was (unfortunately) right and the platforms were finally available to take such a concern to the mainstream. To paraphrase the Radiohead song, everything (seemed to be) in its right place.

Despite this, it would ironically never actually get better for the movement, with its steep decline and fall coming slowly but surely afterwards. This was most symbolically displayed in mid-2022 when For Britain folded, with Waters citing both far-left harassment and a lack of financial support due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis in her decision to discontinue. This came shortly after its candidate Frankie Rufolo quite literally jumped for joy after coming last in the Tiverton and Honiton by-election, the last the party would contest. All the movement is now is a textbook case of how quickly fortunes can change.

What was once a sizeable movement within British politics is now just as much a relic of 2017 as the last hurrah of BGMedia, the several jokes about Tom Cruise’s abysmal iteration of The Mummy (half-finished trailer and film alike) and the several viral Arsenal Fan TV videos that have aged poorly for… obvious reasons. Those in its grassroots are now alienated and isolated once more, and are presumably resorting to sucking a lemon. Why its complete demise happened is debatable, but some factors are more obvious than others.

The most common explanation is one the right in general has blamed for all their woes in recent years – what Richard Spencer dubbed ‘The Great Shuttening’. This conceit contended that reactionary forces would eventually become so powerful in the political arena that the establishment would do all it could to restrict its potential reach for the future. This was an idea that played out following the populist victories of Brexit and Trump, largely (and ironically) because of the convenient seppuku that the alt-right gave to the establishment following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017, leading to much in the way of censorship (on social media especially) with that event and the death left in its wake being the pretext. 

Needless to say, it wasn’t simply Spencer and his ilk that were affected, confined to either Bitchute or obscure websites in sharp contrast from their early 2010s heyday. Counter-jihad was another casualty in the matter, with many of its orgs and figureheads being banned on social media and online payment services, limiting the potential growth that they would have had in 2017 and beyond. In turn, the only access they now had to the mainstream was the various hit pieces conducted on them, which unsurprisingly didn’t endear many to these types of characters and groups.

But if they couldn’t gain grassroots support (on social media or off it), it might be for another obvious reason for the collapse: the movement itself was not an organically developed one, of which made its downfall somewhat inevitable. This is because much of the movement’s main cheerleaders and backers were that of the conservative elite (or Conservatism Inc., for pejorative purposes), on both sides of the Atlantic, rather than the public at large. For Tommy Robinson in particular, the movement’s unofficial figurehead for the longest time, this was most apparent. 

On the British end, it was a matter of promoting Robinson in differing ways. At best, they tactfully agreed with him even if disagreeing with his behaviour and antics more broadly, and at worst, they promoted him as someone who wasn’t as bad as much of the press claimed he was. That he had friendly interviews in the Spectator, puff pieces written for him in the Times, all the while having shows from This Morning and The Pledge allowing right-wing commentators to claim that he was highlighting supposed legitimate contentions of the masses demonstrated much of this promotion.

American conservative support came through similar promotion. This mostly came during his various court cases in 2018 and 2019, whereby many major networks framed him as a victim of a kangaroo court and a political prisoner (all the while failing to understand basic British contempt of court laws as they did so under ‘muh freedom’ rhetoric). However, most of the important American support was financial. This often came directly from neoconservative think tanks, mainly the Middle East Forum which gave Robinson much financial support, as did similar organisations. To what end is unknown, but given the war-hawk views of some involved (including MEF head Daniel Pipes), it is reasonable to assume something sinister was going on with that kind of help. 

This in turn compounded another central reason as to the movement’s collapse: the genuine lack of authenticity in it as a whole. This is because the movement’s pandering to secularism and left-wing thought as expressed earlier are acceptable within mainstream political discourse. This sharp contrast between the inherently left-wing Robinson and Waters and their ideologically reactionary base made the movement unstable from the get-go. Much of it was a liberal movement designed to attack Islam as undermining the West as defined by the cultural revolution of the 1960s, not a reactionary one attacking that revolution as a whole as well much to the chagrin of its supporters. 

Counter-jihad was therefore just simply a more radical version of the acceptable establishment attack on Islamism. As Paul Gottfried wrote in a recent Chronicles column, ‘Those who loudly protest that Muslims oppose feminism and discriminate against homosexuals are by no means conservative. They are simply more consistent in their progressive views than those on the woke left who treat Islamic patriarchy indulgently’. It is for this reason that the mainstream right were far kinder to counter-jihad and Robinson in the early 2010s than the likes of actual right-wingers like Nigel Farage and the Bow Group under its current leadership. 

It is no surprise then that a movement with such inauthentic leadership and contradictory ideology would collapse once such issues became too big to ignore, with Robinson himself being the main fall guy for the movement’s fate. With questions being asked about his background becoming too numerous, the consistent begging for donations becoming increasingly suspect and people eventually getting fed up of the pantomime he had set up of self-inflicted arrests and scandals, his time in the spotlight came to a swift end. His former supporters abandoned him in droves, all the while his performance in the 2019 European Elections was equally dismal, where he came in below the often-mocked Change UK in the North West region, to audible laughter. Following his surprise return to X, formerly Twitter, and his antics during Remembrance Day, scepticism regarding his motives, especially amongst people who would otherwise support him, has only increased.

Now this article isn’t designed to attack British Counter-Jihad as a movement entirely. What it is meant for is to highlight the successes and failings of the movement for better attempts in the future. For one example, as other have discussed elsewhere, when noting the failings of the 2010s right, having good leadership with a strong mass movement and sound financial backing is key. 

Those that can get this right have been successful in recent years. The Brexit campaign was able to do this through having moderate and popular characters like Nigel Farage, eccentric Tories and prominent left-wingers like George Galloway be its face, all the while having funding from millionaires like Arron Banks and Tim Martin, who could keep their noses mostly clean. The MAGA movement stateside is a similar venture, with faces like Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Tucker Carlson being its faces, with Peter Thiel as its (mostly) clean billionaire financier.

The British Counter-Jihad movement had none of that. Its leadership were often questionable rabble rousers, which while having some sympathy among the working class, often terrified much of the middle England vote and support needed to get anywhere. Its grassroots were often of a similar ilk, all the while being very ideologically out of step with its leadership and lacking necessary restraint, allowing for easy demonisation amongst a sneering, classist establishment. The funny money from neocon donors clearly made it a movement whose ulterior motives were troublesome to say the least. 

Hence why counter-jihad collapsed, and its main figurehead’s only use now is living rent free in the minds of the progressive left and cynical politicians (and even cringeworthy pop stars), acting as a necessary bogeyman for the regime to keep their base ever so weary of such politics reappearing in the future. 

However, this overall isn’t a good thing for Britain, as it needs some kind of movement to act as a necessary buffer against such forces in the future. As Robinson admitted in his book Enemy of the State, the problems he ‘highlighted… haven’t gone away. They aren’t going away.’ That was written all the way back in 2015 – needless to say, the situation has become much worse since then. From violent attacks, like the killing of Sir David Amess, to the failed bombing of Liverpool Women’s Hospital to the attempted assassination on Sir Salman Rushdie, to intimidation campaigns against Batley school teachers, autistic school children accidentally scuffing the Quran and the film The Lady of Heaven, such problems instead of going away have come back roaring with a vengeance. 

In turn, in the same way that the grooming gangs issue cannot simply be tackled by occasional government rhetoric, tweets of support by the likes of actress Samantha Morton and GB News specials alone, radical Islam isn’t going to be dealt with by rabble rouser organisations and suspicious overseas money single-handedly. Moves like Michael Gove firing government workers involved with the Lady of Heaven protests are welcome, but don’t go anywhere near far enough.

Without a grassroots org or a more ‘respectable’ group acting as a necessary buffer against such forces, the only alternative is to have the liberal elite control the narrative. At best, they’ll continue downplaying it at every turn, joking about ‘Muslamic Ray Guns’ and making far-left activists who disrupt peaceful protests against Islamist terror attacks into icons.

As for the political establishment, they remain committed to what Douglas Murray describes as ‘Rowleyism’, playing out a false equivalence between Islamism and the far-right in terms of the threat they pose. As such, regime propagandists continue to portray the far-right as the villains in every popular show, from No Offence to Trigger Point. Erstwhile, the Prevent program will be given license to overly focus on the far-right as opposed to Islamism, despite the findings of the Shawcross Review.

In conclusion, British Counter-Jihad was simply a case of right place, right time but wrong movement. What it doesn’t mean is that its pretences should be relegated or confined to certain corners, given what an existential threat radical Islam poses, and as Arnold Toynbee noted, any society that doesn’t solve the crises of the age is one that quickly becomes in peril. British Counter-Jihad was the wrong movement for that. It’s time to build something new, and hopefully something better will take its place.


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