On Saturday the 31st of October over 40 anti-fascists travelled to Sevenoaks to oppose a hike organised by Patriotic Alternative (PA), a fascist political organisation that has been building influence on the far right. PA have been using invite only hikes to build an activist base. Crews from across the country, including Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism, London Anti-fascists, and other anti-fascist groups, arrived in Sevenoaks and moved to confront the PA South East Regional Organiser when an opportunity arose. The confrontation made it clear that, despite the pandemic, anti-fascists will not let fascist organising go unanswered.
Overall, the action was a success. Out of the 30 attendees invited to go on the hike only 6 actually made it. The hike was the first joint activity between PA’s London and South East regional groups and marks the second occasion in 2 months in which anti-fascists disrupted a London PA event.
Patriotic Alternative is fascist organisation founded last year by ex-BNP activist Mark Collett. PA have primarily built a base online amongst those who consume far-right livestreams, podcasts, videos or otherwise populate the nastier side of the internet. In the months since their founding they have organised a number of conferences, stickering sessions, activist meetups, and a ‘White Lives Matter’ banner drop to coincide with international Indigenous People’s Day.
PA’s long term success is uncertain. Since their founding, offline activity has been lacklustre and their actions have generally failed to grab attention. A recent action coordinated to coincide with Indigenous People’s Day was marred when a small group of anti-fascists ambushed the London group in Trafalgar Square and made off with a banner. The organisation is, however, indicative of a shift in the UK far right away from civic nationalism, in which belonging to a nation depends on subscribing to a particular culture, and towards a more explicitly racist ethnonationalism, in which belonging to a nation is dependent on being white. Patriotic Alternative have a motivated set of activists, and more importantly have co-opted an network of far-right content creators.
One thing should be clear. Anti-fascists will continue to monitor, expose and disrupt the far right. In the months ahead the ongoing economic crisis will present opportunities for fascists to organise and we should look towards continued coordinated action and cooperation across the anti-fascist movement.