11 June 2009

Which Wing?

A lot of internetting about whether Brussels’ shiny new Hitler wannabes are far-left or far-right. Some detailed and rather scary, some zany metaphors, some pragmatic, some self-entitled and demanding and one spot on. Predictably, all the left-wingers are claiming that the BNP are extreme right-wingers and all the right-wingers are claiming they’re extreme left-wingers. The left-wingers also seem to be arguing it as well as claiming it. But generally, everyone’s chucking in those all-important caveats about how the BNP have a mixture of some right-wing and some left-wing policies before hitting their usual opponents over the head with them.

At the root of this debate is the inability to define left- and right-wing. Each side has its own criteria for the divide, based on its own rhetoric and core values. The modern, libertarian-leaning, capitalist right, despite flirtation with traditions and identity and so forth, defines itself largely in terms of freedom, almost exclusively freedom from large government. It therefore sees the left as controlling and statist. The left, as ever, defines itself in terms of equality and sees the right as maintaining and encouraging inequality. What we have with the racist authoritarians of the BNP is quite a conundrum. Their beliefs, if not their policies too, basically amount to state-enforced inequality. We’ve got a party that openly embraces the two concepts that left and right most abhor. So it’s expectable for both sides to try and push the British definitely-not-Nazi Party off on each other. But defining the split exclusively in your own terms is not just silly and ineffective, it’s also getting unbearably tedious.

Aside from that, their ‘left-wing’ policies – nationalising the railways, bringing the troops home and something that looks a bit like homesteading – are generally fairly moderate. Their “extremism” is largely expressed in their attitude to immigration, crime and Islam. So perhaps “centre-left-cum-far-right” would describe them better. Even the BNP’s moderate rhetoric betrays it. Their bugbears are Marxists and political correctness. When anti-fascist protesters delivered Nick Griffin’s breakfast directly to him, it was mostly Labour he alleged to be conspiring against him. Richard Barnbrook has dedicated his life to never shutting up about the ‘liberals’ and they smear their opponents as unpatriotic, self-hating and active supporters of anything we fail to hate sufficiently. So even if right-wingers consider them left-wing, I expect the BNP would disagree rather strongly. Must be left-wing then.

1 comment:

  1. There's a similar variety of "we're not with him" feet-shuffling surrounding the Holocaust Museum shooting.
    Here: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-722-Conservative-Politics-Examiner~y2009m6d10-Holocaust-Museum-shooter-von-Brunn-a-911-truther-who-hated-neocons-Bush-McCain
    Via here: http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/22143.html