Posts Tagged ‘Anti-Slavery Society’

Daniel Hannan on Norris McWhirter, Supporter of Fascism

April 6, 2014

McWhirter

Norris McWhirter, Founder of the Freedom Association and probable supporter of the anti-Semitic and racist League of Empire Loyalists

The extreme Right-wing Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan, amongst his other attacks on the Left and the NHS, criticised the comedian David Baddiel for his film criticising Norris McWhirter in his online Telegraph column. Baddiel had made the terrible offence of comparing the Freedom Association, which McWhirter founded, to the BNP. Guy Debord’s Cat has also posted a detailed critique of Hannan’s comments, ‘Hannan: McWhirter is a Decent Man (Because I Say So)’ at http://buddyhell.wordpress.com/2010/12/24/hannan-mcwhirter-was-a-decent-man-because-i-say-so/.

In fact Baddiel’s comment about the Freedom Association being similar to the BNP has more than a little truth in the context of McWhirter’s extreme Right-wing political views. There is evidence that McWhirter was a member of the League of Empire Loyalists, a Fascist, anti-Semitic organisation that formed the National Front along with the BNP, the Greater Britain Movement and Racial Preservation Society. Even if he was not formally a member, McWhirter and his brothers subscribed to Candour, the League’s magazine, which attempted to spread its highly conspiracist view of the decline of British civilisation due to a global Jewish conspiracy. It was the same view as that of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, with the exception that the Nazis obviously focussed on Germany rather than Britain.

McWhirter and the Aldermaston March

The February 1989 issue of the Freedom Association’s newsletter, Freedom Today, printed a photograph of a car containing Norris McWhirter and his elder brother, Kennedy, surrounded by a crowd of angry CND protesters at the first Aldermaston March in 1958. The photograph was supposed to show the violent nature of peace marchers. According to the Times the McWhirters had appeared at the march in a car shouting at the crowd through a loudspeaker. They told the demonstrators that they were each guilty of increasing the threat of war and voting with their feet for ‘Soviet imperialist domination’. They then turned into a field, where they got out and attempted to display their own placards. They then scuffled with some of the marchers, and were forced to get back into the car. The marchers then started to rock it. The police eventually appeared, and managed to get the McWhirters and their car out of the crowd and away from the demonstration.

McWhirter and the LEL

Norris McWhirter stood as the Conservative candidate for Orpington in 1964. However, it looks very much like that if they weren’t formal members of the League of Empire Loyalists, they supported them sufficiently strongly to take part in some of their stunts. George Thayer in his book, The British Political Fringe: A Profile, published in 1965 stated that as the League supported nuclear weapons they ‘made a habit of harassing the Aldermaston marches’. Rosine D’Bouneviallel, a member of the League with custody of their records, confirmed that the incident was one of the LEL stunts. She did not state that the McWhirters were members of the League, but did say that they subscribed to candour.

See ‘Kennedy McWhirter 22/10/23 – 3/11/89’ in Stephen Dorril, ‘Gone but not Forgotten’, in Lobster 19: 10-13 (11).

A.K. Chesterton and the League of Empire Loyalists

The League of Empire Loyalists was founded in October 1954 by Arthur Keith (A.K.) Chesterton, a cousin of the writer G.K. Chesterton, and one of the ideologues of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. Its members including the future leaders of the National Front and related Fascist organisations, John Tyndall, Martin Webster, Colin Jordan and John Bean. It Strongly campaigned against any infringement of British sovereignty, including British involvement in a future EU or federated Europe, as well as the UN, NATO, SEATO and CENTO. It also demanded that Britain should not relinquish its Empire, but should continue to maintain and strengthen it. It also demanded that Non-White immigration to the UK should be stopped.

Chesterton, Anti-Semitism and Fascism

Chesterton split from Mosley and the BUF in 1938, and supported the British war effort against Nazi Germany. He was thus, unlike Mosley, never charged with treason. He was, however, extremely anti-Semitic. Apart from the BUF, he was also a member of the Nordic League, whose membership also included Serocold Skeels, a known Nazi agent, and William Joyce, Lord Haw Haw. Like the Nazis, the Nordic League also demanded the extermination of the Jews, and Chesterton fully shared their vile views. Chesterton later wrote a pamphlet attacking the leader of the BUF, complaining that Mosley had been deceived by the leader of one of the other factions within the BUF, which itself had become a parody of German Nazism. The pamphlet was published by the National Socialist League, the similarity of whose name to Hitler’s party was certainly not accidental. After the War Chesterton retreated from the genocidal implications of earlier extreme anti-Semitism, through his opposition to Nazism and friendship with individual Jews like Joseph Leftwich. He denounced the racial anti-Semitism of Houston Steward Chamberlain and the Nazi ideologue, Alfred Rosenberg, and demanded that those responsible for the death camps should be hanged. Like Mosley he also strenuously denied that he was a Fascist after the War.

Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories and the LEL

Chesterton was a professional journalist. He was the deputy editor of the Fascist magazine, Truth, from 1944 to 1953. In 1953 he was also literary adviser to Lord Beaverbrook, and founded the anti-Semitic newspaper, Candour. Chesterton was strongly influenced by the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of Father Denis Fahey, A.N. Field, Douglas Reed, C.H. Douglas and Nesta Webster. He believed that Jewish financier and bankers, controlled by Bernard Baruch and Paul and Max Warburg, had been responsible for funding all the social unrest around the globe from the Russian Revolution onwards. The Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks agreements, along with the World Bank, Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and United Nations were part of a plot to establish a global Jewish ‘One World’ superstate and destroy the British Empire. In his 1965 book, The New Unhappy Lords, Chesterton made it clear that he believed that global Communism was merely a subordinate branch of this international conspiracy. Moscow and Peking were, he declared, merely ‘branch offices’, while the headquarters of the conspiracy was in New York. Despite his denial that he was a Fascist, and disapproval of political violence, this is very much the same conspiratorial view as Hitler’s, except that it was updated to include the new, post-War supranational organisations.

Political Stunts

The League attempted to spread its vile ideas not by marches or demonstrations, but through a series of disruptive stunts. Amongst these were the blowing of bugle horns at Conservative party conferences. When Krushchev and Bulganin arrived at Victoria Station as part of their d├ętente peace tours of the West, the League’s members shouted that Anthony Eden had shaken hands with a murderer. They also gatecrashed the 1958 Anglican Lambeth Conference disguised as Greek Orthodox bishops. As racist imperialists, they also disrupted meetings of the Movement for Colonial Freedom and the Anti-Slavery Society.

Whatever Hannan says about McWhirter, it is clear that he had some extremely unpleasant Right-wing views, which could fairly be described as Fascistic. If he was indeed a subscriber to Candour, as claimed by the keeper of the LEL’s records, then he was clearly at least one of their fellow travellers. He may not have formally joined the League out of a desire to maintain his membership of the Tories. After their disruptive antics at the 1958 Tory party conference led to fighting between the conference’s stewards and members of the Leagues, the Conservatives took strong measures to throw out League sympathisers. The Freedom Association has also supported brutal and repressive extreme Right-wing dictatorships, so Baddiel actually was right to compare the Freedom Association to the BNP and attack the noxious views of its founder. And by his own support for McWhirter, Hannan has also shown how extreme his own political views are.

For further information on the League of Empire Loyalists, see Kevin Koogan, ‘The League of Empire Loyalists’ in Lobster 46, Winter 2003, pp. 26-9, and Richard Thurlow, Fascism in Britain: A History, 1918-1985 (Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd 1987).

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Guns Will Make US Powerful. Obamacare Will Make Us Fat

August 7, 2013

The American Right has bitterly opposed Obama’s attempt to introduce a single-payer health service similar to those in Canada, Australia and Europe. The arguments used against it is that it has added increased bureaucracy to American healthcare. It is also claimed that American companies are also being penalised by the increased taxes needed to support it. The spurious claims that private American healthcare is superior to the socialised systems of Britain and Europe. Among the more emotive claims is that socialised medicine is somehow totalitarian, because the individual citizens in the countries that have it are supposed to be at the mercy of their government and their doctors. This argument runs that people no longer have any control over their lives, as governments and the medical profession demand that the adopt a healthy lifestyle and eating habits in order to keep medical costs low. This argument is itself specious, as it’s been a very long time since Americans have been free to ignore the advice of their own doctors. They are tied very much to the demands of the insurance companies that provide the cover for their healthcare.

One of the other arguments that the Right has used, and this is the one I intend to examine here, is that expenditure on Obamacare will critically endangers America’s military power and ability to defend freedom abroad. The Right-wing journalist and broadcaster Mark Steyn has particularly used this argument. Steyn used to write for a number of British papers, before he went to America to join Rush Limbaugh as one of the leading figures in American Right-wing journalism. The argument runs that at present, America is able to support a large military force, much of which is stationed overseas because its comparatively low government expenditure makes this affordable. During the Cold War and after 9/11, America’s forces have been actively defending the free world. This is in stark contrast to the military impotence of post-World War II Europe. Europe, according to Steyn, is crippled and decadent due to its commitment to maintaining a high level of expenditure on its welfare systems. They are therefore unable and unwilling to support military campaigns defending freedom across the world. This, warns Steyn and the Right, is what America will become unless Americans vote against President Obama, whom they deride as America’s first European president.

It’s an argument comparable to the quote from Goring about the desirability of military power over an increased food supply: Guns will make us powerful. Butter will make us fat. The only difference is that in this case, the American Right is demanding such sacrifices in order to defend democracy.

Now let’s examine the claim in more detail. First of all, many members of the present EU did not have much in the way of an overseas Empire. The main imperial nations were Britain, France, Spain and Portugal. Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark also had imperial colonies overseas, but they were much smaller than those of the first four countries. Germany lost its African colonies after the First World War. Spain’s colonies in Latin America broke away during a series of wars for independence in the 19th century. Belgium’s own imperial adventure in the Congo became a major international scandal due to the enslavement of the indigenous peoples to work on the Belgian crown’s vast sugar plantations, in which truly horrific atrocities were committed. Italy was a latecomer to imperialism. Its attempts to establish an empire in Africa in the 19th century resulted in some humiliating defeats by the indigenous peoples, such as at Adowa. This resulted in the downfall of the democratically elected regime and its replacement, for a time, with a military dictatorship. Its greatest attempts to establish itself as a major imperial power came with Mussolini’s dictatorship. This was done with great brutality and the infliction of horrific atrocities. It has been estimated that between Italy’s conquest of the country in the 1920s and decolonisation in the 1950s, about a third of the Tunisian population was killed fighting their occupiers. Despite the regime’s attempts to settle Italian farmers in Libya, bitter resistance remained and Italians were unsafe except in the coastal cities.

All the European powers were left exhausted by the Second World War, which stimulated nationalism and the demands for independence in their subject territories. One African or Indian nationalist commented on the way the experience of fighting with the British destroyed in the First World War destroyed their image of invincibility. Before the War the British had appeared to be supermen. Now, seeing them injured, sick and suffering like their imperial subjects, convinced Africans and Indians that they were the same as them, and could be defeated. George Orwell in one of his piece of journalism records watching a parade of Black troops in French Morocco. He states that standing there, watching them pass, he knew what was going through the minds of every White man present: How long can we continue to fool these people? Writing in 1910, the leader of the German Social Democrats, Karl Kautsky, observed the increasing opposition to European imperialism in Asia and Africa and predicted the rise of violent nationalist revolutions against the European powers in the occupied countries.

‘The spirit of rebellion is spreading everywhere in Asia and Africa, and with it is spreading also the use of European arms; resistance to European exploitation is growing. It is impossible to transplant capitalist exploitation into a country, without also sowing the seeds of revolution against this exploitation.

Initially, the expresses itself in increasing complications, colonial policies, and in a growth of their costs. Our colonial enthusiasts comfort us, with regard to the burdens the colonies now impose on us, by referring to the rich rewards the future will bring. In reality, the military expenses required for the maintenance of the colonies are bound to increase constantly from now on – and this will not be all. The majority of countries of Asia and Africa are approaching a situation in which intermittent uprisings will become continuous and will ultimately lead to the destruction of the foreign yoke. Britain’s possessions in East India are nearest to this stage: their loss would be equivalent to the bankruptcy of the English state’.

(Karl Kautsy: Selected Political Writings, ed. and trans. by Patrick Goode (London: MacMillan 1983), p. 77.)

Historians now consider that the Empire was a drain, not a source of wealth, for Britain after 1900. Britain’s gradual departure from its colonies was also a condition for the military and financial aid given by its allies, America and the Soviet Union, during the Second World War. In a series of meeting held with the British authorities and the British Anti-Slavery Society, the Americans demanded the opening up of Britain’s colonies to American trade. The Russians also demanded access to British colonial markets and Britain’s gradual withdrawal from her colonies. By and large Britain’s decline as an imperial power was peaceful, as her colonies were granted independence one after another, beginning with India and Pakistan, from the late 1940s to the 1970s. Nevertheless, Britain did fight a series of wars to retain control of some her colonies in the face of rebellion by the indigenous peoples in Kenya and Malaya.

The establishment of the welfare state in Britain certainly did add greater expenses to the government. However, Britain was unable to support its Empire due to the immense costs of the Second World War on one side and the demands by the formerly subject people’s for independence on the other. Moreover Britain was unlike America in presenting a convincing claim to be defending freedom. America’s own attempts to establish an Empire was confined roughly to the period around 1900. Britain, however, remained a major imperial power and could not present an entirely convincing claim to be defending freedom while denying its subject people’s self-government.

Steyn’s view that the establishment of a welfare state results in military weakness and a reluctance to engage with military threats on the world stage also breaks down completely with some of the other European nations. The origins of Germany’s welfare system lie in Bismarck’s legislation providing German workers with old age pensions, sickness and unemployment insurance. This was several years before the late 19th century Scramble for Africa, which saw the Kaiser attempt to gain colonies there. Furthermore, the use of military force abroad is associated in the minds of the German public with the horrors and militant nationalism of the Third Reich. This is the reason successive German administrations have found it difficult sending troops abroad, even if they were to be used as peacekeepers preventing greater atrocities from being committed by other warring peoples, such as in the former Yugoslavia. As for Italy, the BBC’s foreign affairs programme on Radio 4, From Our Own Correspondent, stated that the country was unwilling to send further troops to support the coalition forces after 9/11 out of fears for the damage terrorist reprisals would inflict on its priceless artistic, architectural and cultural heritage. The small size of many European nations, such as Belgium, the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands, also prevents them from sending vast numbers of troops comparable to those of America or Britain abroad. In the case of Belgium, there is also considerable amount of guilt over the horrors of the atrocities in the Congo, and it has only been in the past few decades that the country is facing up to its history in this area. After the Second World War the country, so I understand, simply wished to forget the whole affair. I don’t know, but like Germany, this may well colour any attempts to interfere militarily in another nation with the Belgian people.

In short, Europe’s gradual military withdrawal from the wider world has far less to do with the expense of maintaining a welfare state than with the economic exhaustion and social and political disruption of two World Wars, and the demands of its former subject peoples for self-determination. The European experience does not suggest that American military power will decline with the introduction of Obama’s single-payer health service, and certainly should not be used to generate opposition to it.