This paper is meant to discuss how the British National Party and France’s National Front resemble fascism. This paper provides the examples how fascism is seen in parties’ rhetoric and beliefs.
The British National Party
That fact that the British National Party possesses fascist basis is undeniable. This party was established in 1982 under the control of John Tyndall, a Nazi supporter whose association with far right dated the 1950s. A previous chairman of National Front and an editor of a fascist periodical Spearhead, John Tyndall, was on the record as asserting “Mein Kampf is my bible” (Merkl, Weinberg, 1993).
Being resigned from National Front after losing a fight against his competitor and previous close co-worker Martin Webster, John Tyndall created his group the New National Front. He founded the BNP on a foundation of a mixture between the New National Front and the small fascist groups, the British Democratic Party and the British Movement. Tyndall stayed at the control of the BNP till 1999, when he was checked for the place of the chairman.
Nick Griffin, who cautiously cultivated “fairness” of the public person nowadays, has comparable conditions to Tyndall. Griffin was a national organizer for National Front in the 1970s, and in the 1980s, he was impacted by Roberto Fiore, the leader of Italian fascist organization NAR, who escaped to Britain to avoid a trial over the 1980 bombing of the railway station in Bologna. During the 1980s, Griffin was a major figure endorsing a NAR-motivated “Third Positionist” ideology, which claimed to offer a substitute to communism and capitalism. Griffin advocated a “political soldier” approach that opposed the 1970s NF’s purposes of mass connection and electoral success in favor of creating the elite units of professional fascist “revolutionaries” (Goodwin, 2011).
Griffin was, in fact, inspired by the instance of Jean-Marie le Pen’s National Front, who has won crucial electoral hold up in France by isolating herself from the fascist basis and taking on a character of a conventional right-wing party. Simultaneously, as he suggested the modernization of the BNP’s representation, Griffin made it obvious that the party’s basic politics had not altered and that its core membership should maintain committed to fascism. In 1999, the article for magazine Patriot Griffin outlined to the party’s activists own plans for the “modernization” of the party.
Out of a public eye, the party’s “cadres” do not conceal the fascist sympathies. In a 2002 documentary called “Young, Nazi, Proud Mark Collett”, a head of the party’s youth unit and protégé of Nick Griffin, was behind the closed doors filmed declaring “Hitler is going to live forever” (Goodwin, 2011). Collett authorized Griffin’s opinion that an explicitly Nazi movement was unsuitable to England in the 21st century.
As a converted Nazi, Griffin was till his latest political turn a shameless anti-Semite. In 1997, he wrote a pamphlet called “Who are the Mindbenders?” that asserted the British individuals had been persuaded by Jewish-controlled mass media. It was a characteristic obsessed fascist fantasy concerning a globe dominated by tricky Jews. Naturally, in 1998 Griffin was convinced of provocations of the racial hate and got a two-year jail sentence. The charge appeared from his work “The Rune” in which he treated the Holocaust as the “Holohoax”. Griffin wrote: “Genuine revisionists will not be fooled by the novel interweave to the sorry story of the Hoax of the 20th Century” (Goodwin, 2011).
Nevertheless, one of the most distinguished characteristics of the BNP’s alteration under Griffin’s control has been his attempts to stay away from public demonstrations of anti-Semitism. Strangely, the party even has a councilor of Jewish family – Patricia Richardson who took the position in Epping Forest. She justifies a connection to the party on the reasons the “current party is dissimilar to a previous party”, which is exactly the message that Griffin wishes to communicate to the electorate.
The mask disappeared again in 2006 when Liam Birch, the party’s applicant in Plymouth council election, was uncovered as having written purely racist utterances on the Internet blog where he referred to “supposed” gassing of Jews by Nazis and declared the pipe of a focus camp crematorium, which was called “Soviet replica”. Birch added: “The Jews declared battle on Nazis, and not the other way round”. It is obvious that the open downplaying of anti-Semitism by the party is merely one more tactical maneuver, which does not impact the party’s basic ideology. Anyway, a change in stress from anti-Jewish to the anti-Muslim discrimination is not a proof of a rejection of fascism.
The National Front
Britain is not the only country where fascist ideas are still alive. In France, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front is endorsing a sect of nationalism and racial purity, the reinstatement of the “nation” (in an ethnic meaning of this word), the setting up of a controlling government on the excuse of combating felony, radical reduces in income tax, the come back to the financial protectionism, sending females back into the home, and the exclusion of three million foreigners to make more working places accessible for French populace. According to 1996 research, “more than only one in four French individuals could agree with the concepts of the National Front” (Davies, 1999).
As successors of Pétainism and war partnership, fed by melancholy for the period when the Algeria was a fraction of France, the party (the single large party not to possess the roots in the Resistance), in spite of a facade of morality, did not hide own xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism. Naturally, it is the open reversal of the principles of the Republic.
As a child from the rightwing Roman Catholic origin, Le Pen sold the periodicals of Action Francaise, the association whose establisher, Charles Maurras, has been regarded as one of the origin fathers of European fascism (Cheles, Ferguson, Vaughan, 1991). Maurras’s participation started in leading rightist hooligans against the followers of French Jewish officer, Alfred Dreyfuss. Maurras spent some time in jail for the fascist actions during the Nazi occupation and the Vichy regime. Le Pen, after promoting Action Francaise, became the president of the student association, the group of “corporatists” of the right (“corporate” state was associated with Mussolini’s government), engaging in street struggles with Communists (Davies, 1999).
Le Pen established the National Front party in 1972 and started to chase for the presidency, though he got in court on many occasions for breaking German and French regulations by laughing at the fascist killing of Jewish human beings during the Second World War, recognized as the Holocaust (Le Pen described it an unimportant part of World War II).
His party started to obtain votes in the political global reactionary environment of the 1980s, blaming financial stagnation on the left and immigrants. Whilst National Front has never been capable to obtain the power of the dissimilar fascist leagues in the country, against whom Popular Front was created, it has preserved in French politics. Le Pen is 77 today, supporting his daughter-heir, who has, like many other “traditional” neo fascist organizations in Europe, sought to rationalize and update the party’s image to call for the current racist reactionary mass.
In summary, it is appropriate to use the statement made by Nigel Copsey in the work “Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy” (2004), in which he asserts, “even if the image and tactics have altered… there has been little change of the party’s fundamental ideology” (Copsey, 2004). He wrote these words about the BNP; however, they may be applied to the National Front in France too.
That fact that the BNP under Griffin’s control has openly dispensed with Nazi accouterments of the past does not necessarily mean it has evolved in some type of post-fascist party, as has debatably been the instance of Le Pen’s Front National. This is not to say such a development is theoretically not possible, but the BNP’s organizational and ideological ancestry in English Nazi movement is so profound that any similar evolvement should be treated as an extremely long-standing outlook.