National Action Rebranded: Neo-nazis are trying it on again

Banned neo-nazi group National Action (NA) is attempting to re-establish itself using the name National Socialist Network.

Despite being banned by the Home Secretary, Hope Not Hate reports that the neo-nazi youngsters are continuing to grab media headlines in much the same way as Combat 18 did in the 1990s. The group became the first right-wing political group to be proscribed by a Home Secretary, meaning it is illegal for anyone to recruit for it, be a member of it, or in any way support it. The group initially attracted the attention of the media with their stylised website and use of social media as well as their “White Man Marches” and later the involvement of their members in a number of criminal offences.

A sustained torrent of abuse was perpetrated against Jewish MP Lucian Berger in what the group creatively described as “Operation Filthy Jew Bitch” resulting in the imprisonment of NA member Garron Helm. He later went online to say he was proud of his actions and that his free speech was protected as “the first amendment (is) on our side” despite there being no first amendment in Britain.

The group also openly expressed online support for Thomas Mair, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, adopting his creed “death to traitors” as one of their mottos. More recently, last month a 17-year-old member of National Action from Bradford was given a three-year youth rehabilitation order being discovered with a homemade pipe bomb, amongst the standard bedroom full of flags and nazi memorabilia that seem to be a requirement for these online Aryan warriors.

Last week a report from Hope Not Hate revealed the group is planning to continue operations using the new name of National Socialist Network and that a website with this name has been registered in Panama. This comes in a week when the Home Office issued a report stating that the number of right-wingers arrested for “terrorist offences” has doubled in the last 12 months.

The figures also show that one in three terrorism arrest suspects is now white, up from a quarter in 2015. The increase in domestic terrorism came as arrests for international terrorism, including threats like Islamic State and al Qaeda, fell slightly and arrests for Northern Ireland-related terrorism remained largely unchanged. National Action remains the only far right group on the list of 71 proscribed terrorist organisations.

And now ITV has revealed a three-month long investigation into the group exposing members meeting for an “Aryan Survival Weekend” of fitness and combat readying themselves for “the race war.” NA Members were secretly filmed in street fighting training sessions and making statements about the death of MP Jo Cox. Speeches were also given by organiser Larry Nunn on creating what he called an “organised white society.”

This report follows in the wake of calls from MPs for Google to clean up YouTube by removing extremist videos, especially those related to National Action which can still be viewed. Yesterday at the Home Affairs Select Committee MPs called for “more to be done to stop the group reorganising under another name,” although they didn’t say exactly what.

Not much more could go wrong for the far-right this week, as Saturday saw the mass Stand Up Against Racism march attract some 30,000 supporters, 10,000 more than last year, whilst Facebook group Britain First’s counter demonstration received the attention of at least two anti-fascist groups, leaving them flagless and redfaced once again.

Whilst it is easy to laugh at the inept actions of the far right or the garbled online outpourings of the online fash “community” it is important that we remember the reason the threat is less than in mainland Europe is not due to government measures or proscribing organisations, it is due to working class solidarity and the actions of antifascists at street level, who have confronted the far right where ever they decide to pop up since the days of the National Front.

It is vital that this action continues and we continue to support those that are imprisoned due to their anti-facist actions. The far right maybe disorganised, but as we have seen before a sophisticated network is not a prerequisite for mass slaughter.


Pic: Former National Action members seig heil in front of a defaced statue of Nelson Mandela in 2014.

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