I'm repeating the third part to keep the whole in line with the thread topic, the cyberspace bit is a slight, but necessary digression
jakell » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:20 pm wrote:
As the BNP were slowly going from strength to strength during the 2000's, I sort of took my eye off the ball a bit and assumed they would plateau at some point. They had moderated their image somewhat, but couldnt do this much more without changing their core beliefs.
They came to my attention again in 2009, and to serious political observers, when they won two European Parliament seats, at this point they also received the traditional British welcome to the political big league...
Andrew Brons also got an EU seat, but no egg.
I said above that I took my eye off the BNP for a while, and this was mainly because my perspective got widened considerably by the subject of Peak Oil. What made me glance back in their direction was that Nick Griffin seemed to be the only 'politician' talking publicly about Peak Oil. This could have been written off as their characteristic bandwagon jumping, but their EU success in addition made me want to take a good look this time.
The phrase "a good look", is significant here, because I had become aware of a medium that enabled this in a way that hadn't existed before... internet presence. This was still in it's infancy back in 2002 when they made their first big leap, and even when it started to become more widespread, these particular folks were behind the curve.
I'm going to spend the next post in this series talking about cyberspace's potential to open up a useful new front in combating fascism, especially at it's core, and about how this had been woefully unappreciated by traditional anti-fascists....
On encountering the far right on the BDF, my attitudes and outlook changed as I went along ie I didn't have a thought out strategy on starting there and initially was just on a fact finding mission. I also saw the UK far right as being far more monolithic that it turned out to be, in other words, the view of your average anti-fascist who has only ever encountered them in polarised and hostile situations, and from which little new is taken away.
Even though I entered that arena with certain expectation, I'm going to give an overview from hindsight, because I learned a fair bit there in the end. My fondness for the number 3 means I naturally feel inclined to come up with 3 points, so if you are intending to tackle the far right in cyberspace the I would advise to:
1) Find a forum where the far right mingle with ordinary folks (BDF was perfect for this), because here you are likely to find allies (not strict antis who are often unsubtle and tend to get in the way) and see different flavours of the right too, like my 'British Nationalism vs White Nationalism' mentioned earlier. Forget one dimensional freakshows like Stormfront unless you are a masochist and want a farily swift exit with nothing achieved.
2) Have a persona where you can be yourself. This might be difficult for the allergic antis, but they're not likely to last long anyway. If you want to get proper 'bites', and actually learn stuff, you are going to be there for the long haul (well over a year, I was there four years). If you get cornered, tell them you are an anarchist, of course, it helps if you already are one, so my problem was lessened in this respect.
3) Be prepared to be intellectually challenged and hear some stuff that will affect you emotionally. this is not like standing on the street slinging poo from a safe distance (ie most AF activity), this gets up close and inside your head. If you are overconfident that these people are mere knuckledraggers and that you will have an easy ride, forget it, they will come from emotional, intellectual and personal angles and not play fair. Be cool, don't get flustered, and don't engage in to much speculation, deal with what they write, not with what you think they mean.
This last sentence is fairly good forum practice in general, but especially in a hostile environment. I'm going to leave it at three points now, but may have some more to add next time...