Searchlight Magazine

Editorial: An earthquake or a tremor?

Years ago The Sun could claim they had won elections for a right-wing Conservative Party. Now it could be said that four main factors boosted the UK Independence Party’s fortunes.

Firstly, the BBC failed to learn from the time they claimed that putting the British National Party leader Nick Griffin on Question Time would destroy his party. In fact in the general election a few months later the BNP won over 560,000 votes. Over the past year Nigel Farage has hardly been off our screens and only rarely have the print media attacked his policies. Instead the three main parties have been encouraged to pander to UKIP’s views on immigration, although it is unclear quite what UKIP’s policy is.

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Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 20:02

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White genocide and the British far right

At the time of writing, UKIP have just made major election gains, clearly in part stealing the thunder of the British National Party. Moreover, they are tapping into a wider sense of disillusionment with mainstream politics, and a fuzzy sense that a traditional British identity is under attack from forces such as immigration and the European Union. For the most part though, their upper echelons reject the sort of openly white nationalist discourses associated with the extreme far right.

Meanwhile, on the outer fringes of the British far right there are more radical messages, responding in part to the more guarded, more acceptably mainstream themes promoted by UKIP. One turn among the more radical sectors of the British far right scene has been to employ a hysterical language of saving white people from a cultural genocide. White people coming under sustained attack from liberal and multicultural politics is a developing message among the more radical sectors of British far right movements, such as the remnants of the British National Party as well as elements within the Traditional Britain Group. We can even detect this theme in fringe elements within UKIP.

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Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 18:09

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Man in the middle: Richard Spencer

Meet the young American at the centre of a growing new international network of white nationalists.

University-educated, well-to-do, and full of youthful energy at 36 years-old, Richard B. Spencer has risen through the American white nationalist ranks in a remarkably short period. Thanks to an inheritance of the movement’s past, he has the infrastructure to try and re-shape the movement’s image and direction.

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Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 18:38

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Blessed are those that hunger after extreme-righteousness: clerical extremism and fascism

There are a number of reasons for the failure of fascist groups after the Second World War. Obviously, association with antisemitism and genocide ensured fascism’s pariah status amongst the electorate. Additionally, the presence of mainstream parties willing to occupy the political space of fascist groups limits severely any fascist party. Witness, for example, how Britain’s mainstream parties have shifted their position on immigration and asylum when they have deemed it necessary to do so. Yet, fascism is apparently a persistent political phenomenon. Throughout the post-war period, fascist groups have continuously emerged throughout Europe, and elsewhere. Indeed, the recent milieu has proved fertile ground, with fascist groups such as Golden Dawn in Greece and the Front National in France achieving electoral success.

It is unsurprising, therefore, that academics’ interest in fascism continues. However, determining which group or individual is ‘fascist’ has proved difficult because reaching a consensus on the definition of fascism proved elusive. There are a number of reasons for this. Association with the atrocities of the Second World War meant that post-1945 fascist groups eschewed the word ‘fascist’ for their party name and description, which makes their identification harder. Fascist ideology lacks the coherence found in other ideologies such as liberalism and socialism, instead espousing seemingly contradictory policies from the left and right of the political spectrum. Moreover, fascism’s failure, and its followers’ adherence to the ‘führer principle’, results in frequent leadership challenges, which undermines their unity and makes it arguably the most fissiparous phenomenon in politics.

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Editorial: 50 years of fighting fascism and racism

The day I started work with Searchlight in May 1964 was a day I will never forget. I had been hired by a consortium of some old friends joined by an interesting alliance led by Reg Freeson, the Labour MP, and supported by several people from the left who have passed away over the past fifty years. What was startling was who else was working with them in a coalition to work towards the passing of the first race relations legislation in Britain. They included the Conservative MP Norman St John-Stevas, David Steel, leader of the Liberal Party, and a number of trade unionists.

And my first day in the job as research editor of Searchlight was also the day my second son was born.  

You will have noticed that this issue of Searchlight looks very different from our usual magazine. This is because it replicates – albeit with many more pages – the format of the publication we produced back then and reproduces the best front cover of those early publications.

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Last Updated on Monday, 18 August 2014 17:29

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