On November 15 of last year, I wrote this about the controversy over whether anti-jihadists should support the Vlaams Belang party or not:
But there is cultural defense and then there is a white supremacism that is based on some idea of racial superiority and inferiority, and has via Hitler a historical link to genocide. They are not the same thing, and a distinction needs to be made between the two. If VB and SD have really made a clean break with the past, make it a complete one: let them deal with the ties to LePen and Haider, and make a distinction between cultural defense and white supremacism that is completely clear and distinguishes their position from the neo-fascists.
Instead, it seems as if the VB has gone the other way. "Right-wingers gather against 'Islamisation,'" from The Australian (thanks to Tanguy):
SEVERAL European far-right parties announced a new organisation aimed at fighting the "Islamisation" of Europe.
The group dubbed "Cities against Islamisation" was presented to the media in the northern Belgian city of Antwerp by Filip Dewinter, head of the far-right Belgian party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) along with Austrian FPOE leader Heinz-Christian Strace and Robert Spieler of the regionalist Alsace First group.
Parties from Britain (the British National Party), Denmark, Germany and Italy were also represented at the launch of the group which has a road-sign-style crossed-out mosque as its logo.
The goal -- fighting the Islamization of Europe -- is laudable. The problem is the BNP. The BNP is an unabashed racial/ethnic party. Its membership statement says:
Membership of the British National Party is open to those of British or kindred European ethnic descent. While we welcome contact and co-operation with nationalists and patriots of other races, and with the many non-whites who also oppose enforced multi-racialism, we ask them to respect our right to an organisation of our own, for our own, as we respect and applaud their measures to organise themselves in like fashion.
The BNP says it is a party for indigenous Britons, but is not white supremacist or hateful. From a Q&A on the BNP site:
iii. Do you believe that blacks or other races are inferior?
No, we have never claimed any such thing. We simply believe that the different races are different, just as men and women are different, and as such they cannot be directly compared.
iv. If you believe that the races are different then you are racists.
Not at all. The definition of a racist is someone who hates people of other races. We do not hate anybody. Anyone who says the BNP is racist is either misinformed or a liar.
Yet even taking them at their word that they are not race supremacists in the National Socialist mode (although there does seem to be a good deal of contrary evidence), I think that their race-based approach is wrong in a number of ways.
1. It's the wrong way to fight the global jihad. The jihad is not a race, Islam is not a race, Muslims are not all of one race. The issues between the Islamic world and non-Muslims are not racial. They are about religious supremacism. Bringing in race just confuses the issue, and allows jihadists and their de facto allies among the Eurabian elites to claim that this whole thing is about racism.
2. To form one group for indigenous Britons and invite people of other ethnicities to form other similar groups reduces virtually every issue to the one non-negotiable issue of race and ethnicity, discourages cooperation, and thus encourages Balkanization, works against the idea of representative government, and obscures the common values of Judeo-Christian civilization that are shared by people of many races and ethnicities.
3. This approach hamstrings and marginalizes the anti-jihad movement. Many people who oppose the Islamization of Europe will never join with a race-based party to do so. Hugh Fitzgerald and I have often commented here over the years about the tragedy in Europe: the mainstream political parties have completely abdicated any responsibility to deal with the Islamization of Europe, thus leaving the field open to groups like the BNP who obscure the issue with racial politics.
4. Many, many people have written here, and will no doubt write again in response to this post, that the BNP is the only party in Britain that is doing anything to resist Islamization, and thus deserves the support of all those who believe there is something worth defending in Western non-Muslim civilization. I don't think that is any sounder an argument than the claim that we must support Hizballah because it builds schools and runs charities when not lobbing rockets at Israeli civilians.
Also, people I respect have pointed out that European culture is being overwhelmed and transformed by out-of-control Muslim immigration, and there is nothing wrong with defending it from that. I agree. But while culture has a racial component, culture and race are not identical. To reduce culture to race on a continent that has seen six million sacrificed to the idolatry of race and blood is not, in my view, the right way to defend European culture -- and there must be articulated a sane and moral alternative that is clearly distinct from that and rejects it utterly. Geert Wilders in the Netherlands has managed to mount a strong stance against Islamization while, as far as I know, avoiding dalliance with racial groups. While I am not a European and am conscious that Europeans will probably charge me with naivete and ignorance, I still don't see why it can't be done in Britain, Belgium, and elsewhere. Such dalliances inevitably raise the specter of neo-Nazism and white supremacism, and allow the mainstream parties to pretend that Europe faces a choice between becoming Eurabia and reviving the gas chamber. There are other ways, there have to be other ways, to deal with this.
The anti-jihad movement, if it is to become mainstream in Europe or the U.S., must articulate a positive vision of defense for the human rights of all people against the ways in which those human rights are contravened under Sharia, and avoid being diverted into side issues and non-issues, or formulating the problem incorrectly. Vlaams Belang, for all its talk about abjuring its past and moving into the mainstream, by allying with the BNP has taking a step in the opposite direction. Europe deserves better, and I hope a better choice will emerge.
As I have said before, I completely disavow all racist and neo-Nazi ideas. I also disavow all race-based approaches to the jihad threat, for the reasons explained above, and will not work with the VB or the BNP. I hope other anti-jihadists will find those arguments compelling and follow suit. In the recent bitter controversy between Charles Johnson and a group of counterjihadists over the nature of the VB, it does appear quite clearly from this new alliance, if it wasn't already, that Charles was right. The VB needs to do much more, and much more clearly, if it really wishes to avoid appearing to oppose Islamization solely on racial grounds. This angry, ugly rift between people I love and respect has disheartened me greatly. I hope now that it can be healed, and that out of it will come a more clearly defined sense of who we are and what we are trying to do.
UPDATE: I am told by sources in Europe that the BNP is not part of this anti-Islamization group. The Brussels Journal lists these groups that were actually there:
Yesterday politicians from several Europeans countries convened in Antwerp, the stronghold of the Flemish secessionist Vlaams Belang party, to establish the international organisation “Cities against Islamization” (CaI). Apart from the Vlaams Belang, the following three parties have joined the organisation: the FPÖ (Susanne Winter’s party, Austria), Alsace d’Abord (a regionalist party from Alsace, France) and Pro Köln (Germany).
The BNP's not being part of this new group, however, does not contradict The Australian's report that the BNP was at the meeting. If they were there, it would be good for the VB to explain why the BNP was there, and why the BNP didn't join. It would also be good now for the Vlaams Belang to renounce and distinguish itself clearly from BNP-style racialism, if it indeed hopes to become a broad anti-jihad party. I hope it will do so.