Socialist Worker

Is everything going to be alt right for racist Ukip?

Alt right figureheads and racist street movements coming into Ukip could mean a revival for the struggling party, writes Tomáš Tengely-Evans

Issue No. 2610

On the Free Tommy demo earlier this month

On the "Free Tommy" demo earlier this month (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Supporters of jailed Nazi Tommy Robinson are fighting over the corpse of Ukip in the hope of resurrecting it as the party of the British far right.

High-profile online figures on the alt right have joined Ukip in recent weeks.

For instance Paul Joseph Watson of US-based far right conspiracy website InfoWars announced he had joined to “take it over in a soft coup”.

If this is successful, it could take Ukip in a different political direction. Its new joiners’ agenda goes beyond elections.

Like many figures on the US alt right, the likes of Watson gained a mass online audience through alt right news websites or YouTube channels.

Now they want to build a far right movement on the streets—and will spend serious cash to make it happen.

InfoWars founder Alex Jones—who claims US Democrats and communists are secretly organising a “white genocide”—donated £20,000 to Robinson. It has likely helped Robinson fund his far right rallies.

Other Robinson supporters who’ve joined Ukip include internet personalities “Count Dankula” and “Sargon of Akkad” (see top right).

These changes in Ukip largely flow from the party’s electoral decline.

Anti-racist opposition and infighting meant Ukip was already on the down before the vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

And by positioning the Tories as the party of a right wing Brexit, Theresa May was able to win back many Ukip voters.

Emerging

Facing wipeout in the local elections in May, Ukip’s latest leader Gerard Batten looked to emerging racist street movement Democratic Football Lads Alliance (see below

Labour and union leaders say, ‘Protest against the Nazis’
Labour and union leaders say, ‘Protest against the Nazis’
  Read More

).

Senior party figures began speaking at protests organised by the racist street movement.

At Robinson’s free speech rally last month, Batten told the crowd, “If you want to defend your country then you have to organise politically.

“I would like you to join Ukip.”

 

And since Robinson’s jailing, Batten has thrown his lot in with the fascists. At a 15,000-strong “Free Tommy” rally earlier this month, Batten asked a baying crowd of fascist and racist thugs to “join, support and vote Ukip”.

His identification with Robinson means that some fascists see Ukip as a potential home.

And the demonstrations indicate that Ukip’s membership is changing too.

The stuffy racist old men don’t go on the Robinson rallies. Instead there’s a new crop of well-heeled youth waving Ukip flags and wearing party pin badges.

These developments don’t mean that Ukip will now inevitably become a fascist party or see renewed electoral fortunes.

While Batten appeals to far right street thugs, his aim is still a party focused on elections.

Other far right parties, such as Anne Marie Waters’ Ukip-breakaway For Britain, are competing for support on the streets.

But the alt right’s turn to Ukip points to a dangerous development—that the renewed far right street movement could look to building an electoral wing. Anti-racists have to be ready to respond to it.


Website attempts to publish anti-racist’s address

A leading local member of Ukip in Scarborough is targeting socialist and anti-racist campaigner Kim Hunter for getting a far right event cancelled.

Tim Thorne published a picture of Kim with an address beneath on the right wing website North Yorks Enquirer.

It said, “If you notice any refugees in need of urgent assistance send them Hunter’s home address.”

Due to a blundering case of mistaken identity by Thorne, this was actually the address of a former Lib Dem council candidate who has nothing to do with Kim.

Kim told Socialist Worker, “Thorne’s intention is not to be accurate, but to intimidate people.

If marauding fascists throw something through the window, it’s because this website has given them a nod and a wink.”

Stand Up To Racism supporters organised to stop right wing internet dweller “Sargon of Akkad” from speaking at the Scarborough Spa venue on Saturday of last week.

Kim said, “He calls himself a ‘liberalist’ or ‘centrist’ and poses as a commentator of the stupidity of politics. Yet he only speaks at far right rallies.”

She added, “There was a shit storm after the event was cancelled, with people demanding their money back.”

After that the North Yorks Enquirer published its piece targeting Kim.

The same website includes a gushing report by Thorne from the demonstration in support of Nazi Tommy Robinson earlier this month.

Kim said that building anti-racist activity is “seriously important for individuals to be safe from this sort of campaign.

“Otherwise you get isolated.”

The North Yorks Enquirer article is further evidence that fascists and racist populists are working together.


  • Mark Meecham—a YouTube “comedian” known as Count Dankula—is another new Ukip member. Meecham was fined £8,000 in March for teaching his dog to give the Nazi salute whenever he said “Sieg Heil” or “Gas the Jews”.

He spoke at Tommy Robinson’s rally last month.

Carl Benjamin, who goes by the You Tube moniker “Sargon of Akkad”, soon followed Meecham into Ukip.

He is another prominent Robinson supporter who made his online name attacking the Black Lives Matter movement and feminism.

  • Raheem Kassam is a key mover behind the lash up between Tommy Robinson, the US alt right and Ukip.

Kassam started out on the right wing of the Tory party. At university he was a Conservative Future board member and supporter of Islamophobic group Student Rights. But Kassam joined Ukip and quickly became Nigel Farage’s chief strategist.

After Farage quit, Kassam shifted further right and co-founded right wing website Breitbart London.

  • The Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) are the bridge between the fascists and Ukip’s leadership.

The DFLA has increasingly tied itself to Ukip.

Tommy Robinson has gone from being formally rejected on their demonstrations to the group’s main focus.


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