Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nick Griffin is a Nazi, and the BBC should balance its presentation of this fact

Nick Griffin has stated "I am not a Nazi", and this statement has been flagged prominently on BBC News.

Is this true?

Nazi is a contraction of the German for National Socialist.
Griffin is a Nationalist. The clue is in the title of his British National Party.
So is Griffin a socialist also?
It is easier to say what he is not than what he is.
He is definitely not a Marxist. But where does his ideology find itself on the individualist / socialist spectrum?
He is definitely not a libertarian, and they tend to associate with individualism.
He is definitely not a mainstream Tory/NuLabour/LibDem politician, who are all clustering around the individualist/authoritarian quadrant of the political compass.

Does he believe in the importance of a social group? Yes, he does. The social group he values is those who he deems to be in possession of the "British Gene" - a non-scientific shorthand that he uses for Celtic/Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian (and, presumably Roman/Italian) genes. This "British" social group is the one that he believes has a "superior right" to live in these islands. Note that he avoids the accusation of racism by declaring that "white Britons" have a "superior right" to be citizens of this country.

In this restricted, quasi-tribal sense, Griffin is indeed a socialist.

Specific confirmation of this view is found in the BNPs 2005 manifesto: Page 35:
Axiom 11: Owners should work, and workers should own.
If ordinary Britons increase their savings rate and invest the money in
British industry, it will over time transpire that they are the owners of
British industry. This has been called “pension-fund socialism,” and it
combines the efficiency of capitalist private ownership with socialism’s
ideal of worker ownership of the means of production. It also gives
workers an incentive to care about the long-term health of the companies
British National Party they work for, as they are part owners. It is also a pro-nationalist policy, as it tends to bring the ownership of British industry into British hands. The
BNP supports the gradual assumption of worker ownership through their
pension funds.

Since he is both a nationalist and a socialist, it is reasonable to infer that he is a national socialist, and is therefore a Nazi.

This inference is borne out by the Political Compass placement of the BNP, at the authoriarian extreme, but slightly left of centre on the social/individualist scale.

Political Compass says:
It's muddled thinking to simply describe the likes of the British National Party as "extreme right". The truth is that on issues like health, transport, housing, protectionism and globalisation, their economics are left of Labour, let alone the Conservatives. It's in areas like police power, military power, school discipline, law and order, race and nationalism that the BNP's real extremism - as authoritarians - is clear.

Griffin said he is loathed by the Nazis, because he has taken the BNP from being an anti-semitic party to one that can win parliamentary elections. To be loathed by Nazis does not prove that he is not a Nazi, since Nazis, like Marxists, are prone to schisms. Griffin's strategy has been to modernise or "respectabilise" the BNP, so that his position might be accurately described as "crypto-Nazi".

The BBC news has had up a flag advertising Griffin's claim "I am not a Nazi" for a long period during this evening's news.

In the interests of truth and balance, the BBC should give equal prominence to the argument that proves Griffin to be a liar and a Nazi.

We can make representations to the BBC here.


weggis said...

The trouble is Doc, that the term "Nazi" has obtained a pejorative meaning due to the events of WWII.

Just as it is now impossible to disassociate the dictionary definition of "Nigger" from its pejorative meaning in the normal use of langauge, so too it is with the term "Nazi".

Your post does not address this.

DocRichard said...

Hi Wedgie
I did this post precisely because it is too easy to throw words like "fascist" and "nazi" around, as emotive attacks on the person. So I have done a careful linguistic analysis, and have shown that there is a good logical basis to characterising the BNP as a Nazi party.

People are entitled to feel threatened by and angry with the BNP, and that came out in Question Time, but the Green Party should stick to cool, logical reasoning at all times. Imho.

None of the above said...

Hi Doc

Until the professional politicians acknowledge the reasons for the recent rise of the BNP there will be no change and things may well get worse. The mainstream parties offer no hope to a large section of the population and then pompously claim people vote for the BNP because they don't quite understand what the BNP are about.

Although the Green Party do offer an alternative that should appeal to working class people, there is a problem in getting their support. Green politics is still seen as the preserve of the middle classes (and it is to a large degree) and this alienates many people. I would love to see the Greens make some advances as I doubt the socialist parties will ever get anywhere in Britain such is the fractured nature of the left and its traditional ridiculous infighting and pedantry. I hope the Greens can target these alineated people, choose a few candidates who might be able to bridge the gap and communicate with them and take the country somewhere good.

DocRichard said...

Hello again None of the above
Good points. You are right. We have policies on employment and benefits (Citizens' Income) that would benefit the working classes hugely, but the difficulty is in getting the message across through a media who are still, after 30 years, determined to classify us as solely concerned with hugging bunnies.

The answer would be for us to set up advice and advocacy clinics in deprived areas, but I doubt we have the resources for that.

Still, we are making steady progress in urban areas.

Dorothea said...

"the difficulty is in getting the message across"

"The answer would be for us to set up advice and advocacy clinics in deprived areas"

These comments illustrate to me why the Green Party frequently comes behind parties like the BNP in local elections in working class areas.

If you'll excuse me saying so, the approach you outline seems patronising and top-down.

A more successful (and fairer)approach, stm, would be to engage with people in disadvantaged areas on a more equal basis, inform yourself about what people's concerns are and recruit more "blue collar" people into the GP so that there is a better and more widely informed input into GP policies. That is what is currently lacking.

Too many 'professors' and not enough builders, that's one of the GP's major problems, imo.

DocRichard said...

Hi Dot
(may I call you Dot?)

There are good precedents for setting up advice and advocacy centres. Sinn Fein used to do it, and Islamic fundamentalists also use that approach to extend their community support.

It's not patronising, if it is approached in the right way. It is doing what our candidates would be doing anyway, if they were elected - holding surgeries. (not that anyone came to any of the surgeries I held when I was elected, but I was not in a deprived area.

This would contain what you rightly advocate, informing ourselves of the issues. But we should also take action, helping people to engage with the bureaucracy.

Unfortunately, it is as you say, academic, because we are too thin on the ground and too stretched to actually achieve it.

Dorothea said...

Just don't call me late for tea and cake as they say ...

Perhaps the point I'm making isn't clear. Let's unpack the concept, as the sociologists say.

Proposition 1: The Green Party is "hideously" middle class.

Surely this is indisputable?

As to the other groups you mention ... LOL ... Not sure that Sinn Fein and theocratic wingnuts are the best models - for anyone, let alone the GP.