This was a short comment piece I wrote for the always interesting The Conversation following the arrest of serving British Army members that were alleged to be members of the proscribed neo-Nazi group, National Action. Based around my research into the group, the piece offers some basic insight along with some broader points to think about. In its original form, it can be read by clicking here.
The first few paragraphs from the comment piece are reproduced below.
National Action: what I discovered about the ideology of Britain’s violent neo-Nazi youth movement
The arrest of five serving members of the British army on September 5 under suspicion of being members of the banned neo-Nazi group National Action sends a worrying signal about the recruitment of young people to extremist ideology.
National Action was proscribed using terrorism legislation in December 2016 – the first time in British history that belonging to a far-right group had been outlawed. It is now a criminal offence to be a member of the group, invite support for it or help organise any meetings. It is also a criminal offence to wear clothing linked to the group, and to carry or wear its symbols or insignia.
The group was banned following an assessment that it was “concerned in terrorism”. A few months earlier, the only statement made in court by Thomas Mair – the convicted murderer of former Labour MP Jo Cox – was “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain”, a slogan that featured prominently on the group’s now defunct official website.
I carried out research on National Action before the group was banned and much of its public profile was removed.
Unlike other more prominent British far-right groups, such as the English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First, National Action is committed to “traditional” Nazism. Describing itself as a National Socialist movement, the group glorified Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich, routinely using quotes from Mein Kampf alongside Nazi images and symbols on its banners and publicity materials.
From this emanated overt expressions of antisemitism, homophobia, racism and discrimination against disabled people, among others. From the words of its leaders and also on its website, the group spoke candidly about the need to “save” Britain, “our” race and “our” generation, along with a stated aspiration of establishing a “white homeland” in Britain.
Continue reading here.