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Global white unity

An interesting area for further exploration is to expand beyond Anglo-American links and to show how this was just one part of an increasingly transnational approach being adopted by racial nationalists in the postwar period. The basis of this extensive cooperation between racists on both sides of the Atlantic centred on an increasing belief that their race transcended the nation state. They found common cause based on white or pan-Aryan unity, thus the situation in America and the arrival of non-white immigrants in Britain were for them two fronts in the same global war. However, this war went beyond just Britain and America. As one UM activist put it in a letter to Citizens’ Council, ‘This racial matter is becoming a world-wide problem. . . . One would think, then that as people in the South have lived in contact with the negroes for centuries, their views would be sought’.227 Thus, their belief in a global racial struggle meant many also found common cause with the white communities in Africa. Chesterton for one drew parallels between the events in America and the struggle in parts of White Africa, arguing that ‘the emotions of Arkansas and the other Southern States are identical with those of the Union of South Africa, the Rhodesians, Kenya and other countries where White and Black live side by side’.228

The NRP in America was in agreement, stating in their Bulletin that, whether it was the ‘illiterate background of the Puerto Ricans in America, the Jamaicans in England and the jungle savages of South Africa’, they all were believed to ‘breed slum conditions, crimes and violence, dope-peddling and a tremendous increase in juvenile crime in all major cities where these savage immigrants settle’.229 As a result of such views many on the far right, even in America, defended imperialism, a system predicated on white rule. As Thomas Noer has shown, segregationists felt ‘African independence was a clear premonition of the calamity that would follow racial equality at home’.23" For example, the White Sentinel argued that anti-colonial commentators ‘forget that chaos, bloodshed, slavery, cannibalism, ignorance, poverty, famine and disease existed long before the White man arrived. The natives were better off under white rule’.231 Thus, Segregationists in America sought to use the problems in newly independent African nations as a defence of continuing white rule in America.

The 1950s saw the rise of anti-colonialism in Africa, the arrival of non-white immigrants in Britain and the blossoming of the civil rights movement in America. For racists and segregationists these epiphenomena were no coincidence but rather the result of an international conspiracy.232 For some, such as A.K. Chesterton, the source of the conspiracy was secret Jewish power. Again his views were shared by the NRP, who believed the same powers were at work behind the ‘racial problems’ on both sides of the Atlantic. The same Jews who were said to be utilising ‘the mass immigration of Negroes and Puerto Ricans’ in American industrial cities were also behind the ‘wave of negroid Jamaican labor which is pouring into Great Britain’. For them it was a global struggle seeing the secret hand ofjewish power at play wherever white and black people came into conflict, which they believed was proven by the Jews being ‘foremost in the struggle against the Apartheid (segregation) policy of the South African government’.233 For those racists also obsessed with antisemitism, their fight for their race saw the two enemies as inseparable.

The globalisation of their racial struggle mirrored aspects of the civil rights and Black Nationalist movements who also perceived their struggle as part of a global conflict.234 Both white supremacists and African American civil rights leaders were looking at decolonisation to draw ideas and inspiration from the opposing sides in the struggle. White segregationists in America borrowed the global emphasis from the civil rights movement and emulated their conceptualisation of the struggle as a global battle.235 Just as civil rights campaigners called for unity against white supremacy, segregationists and the racial nationalists, in both America and Britain, began to call for global white unity. This may, in part, explain why Anglo-American links between racist activists steadily increased throughout the late 1940s and 1950s and then flourished in the 1960s during the height of the civil rights struggle and the decolonisation of Africa.

While such ideas require further study, one can be more certain in regard to the central proposition of this chapter. While the war did mark something of a break in Anglo-American far-right cooperation, the immediate postwar years were a period of reconnection when links increasingly flourished. Thus, it is time to re-evaluate our understanding of the period with it now being evidently clear that the number of links and the extent of cooperation was much more extensive than is at present believed. In short, from the moderate revisionists such as Fuller and Hart through to the rabid antisemites such as Leese, there was almost no area of the British far right during the immediate postwar period that did not in some way have links to America. Furthermore, the nature of the transatlantic relationships was symbiotic, with ideas and cooperation travelling both ways.

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