“National anarchism”?!?

Scott Harrison
“National anarchism” is an oxymoron.

“National anarchists” — such as Scott Harrison (above) — claim to have something to do with anarchism.

This is a lie.

“National anarchism” is, in reality, a recent ideological development on the far right. Its chief protagonist in the English-speaking world is Troy Southgate (UK). On Southgate, see: ‘Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’, Graham D. Macklin, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol.39, No.3, September 2005.

Two more recent articles which address ‘national anarchism’ are ‘Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists’, Spencer Sunshine, Public Eye, Vol.23, No.4, Winter 2008 and ‘National Anarchism: California Racists Claim They’re Anarchists’, Casey Sanchez, Intelligence Report, Summer 2009.

In brief, ‘national anarchism’ has evolved as a response by elements of the far right to the apparent popularity of anarchism among yoof — especially in terms of opposition to ‘globalisation’ — and signifies an attempt by white racists and fascists to appropriate elements of anarchist ideology, organisational modes and symbology in order to advance their own cause. In this context, it should be remembered that fascism has always been a syncretic ideology and movement. That is, fascists are happy to attempt to incorporate seemingly contradictory impulses within the one ideology/movement — such as anarchism and nationalism — if this is thought to bring about political advantage.

The most successful example of this form of cultural appropriation may be found within the German far right. On this subject, see: ‘When Nazis go Pop… New strategies of the extreme right in Germany’, RAGGACORE, LFO DEMON, November 12, 2004.

The vast majority of ‘national anarchists’ come from the far right. In Australia, their chief ideologue is Welf Herfurth, a German-born Australian resident, former member of the NPD, and a range of other far right political formations. He is a Holocaust denialist, and a close comrade of Frederick Toben, a revisionist historian. Herfurth has stated that his chief ideological inspiration is Troy Southgate and, like Southgate, he has established a front group, known as the ‘New Right’. Some indication of the nature of the ‘New Right’ (UK) may be found by examining the list of speakers it has invited to address its meetings.

In 2008, Herfurth, together with a local (Australian) bonehead named Douglas Schott (who is a member of the neo-Nazi RAC band ‘Blood Red Eagle’), attempted to form the Australian franchise of US-based bonehead organisation ‘Volksfront’; both Herfurth and Schott have previously been organisers for ‘Blood & Honour’.

In 2009, Andrew Yeoman, the leader of BANANAs in the Bay Area, is scheduled to speak at the Sydney Forum (September 26/27).

BANANAs and other ‘national anarchist’ groupuscules attempt to attach themselves to anything, and anyone, they believe might prove useful — the point is not to protest any ‘issue’, but to be public, and visible. That said, their general preference is to attach themselves to ‘progressive’ causes.

The number of adherents ‘national anarchism’ can call upon is tiny — in Australia, they number no more than a few dozen.

Clearly indicating to ‘national anarchists’ that they are not welcome at public events is a worthwhile tactic — how this can or should be communicated to them is of course up to those concerned. In Australia, a quiet word has sufficed.

‘National anarchists’ are deeply implicated in other fascist, racist, and white supremacist projects. Their political potential is very limited. However, such attempts to dress fascism in anarchist drag are provocative (to put it mildly), and to the extent that anarchists, in particular, allow fascists to do so, they will thoroughly deserve it when members of the general public come to identify anarchism with racism. Or to put it another way: lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

Future posts will provide profiles on groups and individuals who have attached themselves to ‘national anarchism’…

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