Sunday, December 29, 2013

Notes on a fascist Christmas card

The BNP's 'white Christmas' card got a lot of press attention.  

The immediately ‘shocking’ thing about this, apparently, is the use of imagery that seems to be directly inspired by Third Reich iconography - the pale, golden-haired Aryan child of Christ representing both the native innocence of the rural fuckwits people, and the spiritual hopes of the race.  Of course it would not be the first time that fascists have appropriated a religious ritual because it seems to offer spiritual sustenance for white nationalism.  And sure, this is not insignificant.

However, in addition to the eye-rollingly obvious racial signification here, there is the Muslims-stole-our-Christian-festival shit-stirring implied here.  Chairman Griffin's pronunciamento on the festivities this year alighted on precisely this thematic.   The strategy here appears to be to appropriate language from the US culture wars (the ‘war on Christmas’) and articulate it with a reactionary ‘common sense’ about Muslims and their confederates ruining Christian festivals.  The United States is increasingly providing the European far right with its most successful ideologies - this is evident in Breivik's manifesto, which plagiarises relentlessly from the discourse of the American Right.  Yet, the BNP's leadership will have noticed - because who did not? - that the dominant cultural racism of the last decade segues fairly easily into straightforward somatic racism.  And the point, presumably, in associating this pretty standard boilerplate with a completely obvious 'dog whistle' about race, is to repeatedly make that segue as 'naturally' as possible.

I think this is partly about UKIP.  It’s clear that the BNP are fighting a losing battle to hegemonise the 'populist right' ground that they have been trying to occupy with their ‘moderate’ strategy since 2000 - in no small part due to the efforts of antifascist forces, which resisted their normalisation.  Following the high point of electoral success in 2009, the far right has been in a state of internal turmoil and schism since 2010.  For the BNP to continue fighting for that terrain, they evidently need to continue working on the material supplied by tabloid scaremongering, while ideologically hardening their message to lend them a certain distinctiveness.