A typical Englisc nationalist.
A few times on this blog I've mentioned organisations or people who belong to a certain movement: a specific branch of English nationalism, one marked by heavy racial prejudice and many eccentric political and historical views.
These people often identify themselves using the archaic spelling "Englisc". Because of this, I will be identifying their movement as Englisc nationalism.
I thought it was time that I wrote a series of posts analyising Englisc nationalism and tracing its history across the past fourteen years. To start with, here is a quick introduction to the movement and what it stands for...
Englisc nationalism is centred on the Anglo-Saxon ethnicity. Members of the movement resent the label "British" as it lumps them in with the Scottish and Welsh.
More specifically, the movement is centred around the pre-Norman period of English history, which Englisc nationalists regard as a golden age. The movement aims to revive the Old English language and the worship of Woden (Englisc nationalists are often strongly anti-Christian). Often, members of the movement will argue that a lot of the political woes of modern England can be traced back to the Norman conquest. They favour the white dragon flag to the cross of St. George on the grounds that the latter is a post-Norman, Christian introduction with little symbolic connection to English history - although they still often use it in a "better than nothing" sense. (For similar reasons, they tend to prefer St. Edmund's Day over St. George's Day).
I remember coming across one Englisc nationalist on YouTube who argued that Old English should be the country's official language and that the currant monarch should be replaced with the closest living descendent of Harold II. I do not know exactly how common these positions are within the movement, but they are emblematic of its overall obsession with the pre-Norman era.
The above views can be seen as all part of a desire to find a "pure" England, one free of foreign taint. As should be expected, this also manifests itself in racism.
The Englisc nationalist movement is rife with racism, although exactly which races are targets of hatred will vary from person to person. White supremacy is a common position amongst Englisc nationalists; many believe specifically in Germanic supremacy and are contemptuous of whites who fall outside this category (particularly the Scottish, Welsh and Irish).
An obvious question which some may ask of Englisc nationalists is how they can hold such dislike of immigrants and descendants of immigrants when their movement celebrates the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain. This question is easy to answer when we consider that many people in the movement consider Anglo-Saxons to be superior to the Celts. Here is Mark Taylor, a prominent activisit within the Steadfast Trust, describing the pre-Saxon inhabitants of Britain as "abject" and therefore deserving of conquest:
People in the movement often refer to non-whites (and sometimes non-Anglo-Saxons in general) as "orcs". For an explanation of this, here is a quotation from S.A. Swaffington's book Anglo-Saxon Monsters:
"When the Normans conquered England in 1066, the English referred to their conquerers as 'Orcs', a non-politically correct term for someone who isn't seen as human."
Are they Nazis?
Englisc nationalism should not be treated as a subgroup of neo-Nazism: after all, their golden age is pre-Norman England, not the Third Reich. People in the movement are not necessarily Nazis, and will often point this out when called out on their bigotry (as though yelling "we're not Nazis!" somehow absolves them of the charge of racism). However, some Englisc nationalists are indeed Nazi sympathisers - I will be providing examples during the course of this series.
The red herring
Englisc nationalists have a fig-leaf which they use to cover the racism of their movement. Ostensibly, their aim is to make sure that the Anglo-Saxon ethnicity is officially recognised (for example on census forms, the ethnicity categories of which currently do not contain check boxes for "English").
This is not, in itself, a racist position. However, it is abundantly clear that the Englisc nationalist movement is riddled with bigotry - this series of posts will provide more than enough examples.
When confronted with their racism, Englisc nationalists will often try and twist the discussion into an argument about "recongising Englisc ethnicity". A good example is this discussion from a message board called Subvert Central, in which several people express disapproval of the racist views of the Anglo-Saxon Foundation forum - this post being typical:
"I know a lot of people who are interested in and actively promote english folk music, anglo-saxon literature, cricket, real ale etc but have got no time for anyone banging on about racial purity and similar drivel. They're into stuff bcause it's good and interesting, not because it's part of some great national identity that's being eroded by marxism, liberalism, mixed race marriage, europe, colour TV, Rhianna, queers, polski skleps etc"
One of the ASF members joins the conversation with this post:
"No, our idea of English heritage is seeing us recognised as a unique people with an ethnic identity that is our own - an idea that a moron like you no doubt has no problem with when it comes to other cultures. Still, never mind, we're used to bigots like you who see English identity as a civic one -i.e. that anyone born in England is English. No doubt your acceptable idea of English heritage is to see us forever shit upon. Now go away little girl because you don't have the mental capacity to understand the subject in hand. Besides, I have no desire to converse with anti-English bigots, therefore I won't. Bye bye Anglophobe."
Of course, the objections made by the members of Subvert Central were not based on definitions of English ethnicity (although the discussion was subsequently steered in that direction); they were condemning the ASF for its bigoted attitudes towards non-whites, homosexuals and many other groups
This is a clear-cut case of Englisc nationalists using their call to "recognise English ethnicity" as a fig-leaf for their racism. They will often argue that anyone who criticises their movement is an anti-English racist - an obvious variation on the tired "anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white" tactic.
With that introduction out of the way, here is a chronological rundown of some of the key organisations in Englisc nationalism. This post will look at the early days of the movement, when not all of the attributes discussed above necessarily played a part.
Athelney (established 2000)
An English Nationalism, the most influential of Athelney's books and the Old Testament of the Englisc nationalist movement.
I wrote about Athelney in more detail here. It was a small publishing outfit that released its first titles in 2000 and was dedicated to books on English nationalism. Its still-active sister company, Anglo-Saxon Books (which was founded in 1989), is focused on more respectable books about early English history. Interestingly, the official website of Anglo-Saxon Books was located at Englisc.Demon.co.uk - possibly the first time the movement adopted this spelling.
From what I have read of them, Athelney's texts ranged in tone from embattled and belligerent anti-immigration screeds to rather quieter endorsements of social conservatism; the overtly racist ethos of "Englisc" nationalism was, if present, heavily played down. However, Athelney does appear to have laid the groundwork for the movement in a significant way. In particular, it published Tony Linsell's book An English Nationalism, which is often cited as an inspiration by people in the movement.
As I said in my post about the publisher, I do not know who founded Athelney. However, Tony Linsell was certainly a prominent figure. He was the only person to have more than one book published by the group - and the only one of its authors to also have a book released by Athelney's sister publisher, Anglo-Saxon Books.
Furthermore, this post from the Anglo-Saxon Foundation implies that Linsell is the bigwig at Anglo-Saxon Books:
Tony Linsell is a man who will pop up again and again in this history, as we will see.
Linsell's magnum opus is a book entitled An English Nationalism. The first few chapters are available online, if we do enough digging; in these sections, Linsell outlines his version of Northern European history.
Judging by these online excerpts, he first chapter of An English Nationalism is entitled "The Origins of the English". Instead of being a work of anthropology, this is actually an outline of the Germanic creation myth, showing how gods such as Woden and Thunor were descended from the Allfather. This is a fairly typical excerpt:
"Sun rises in the East, turning frost giants into stone, then hurries across the sky chased by a snarling wolf that catches her at the edge of the western sky and swallows her whole. Then Night rides out and covers the Earth until Sun, the companion of Day, escapes and once again casts her bright light over the earth. By Sun we measure a year."
Linsell then proceeds with what looks more like solid history:
"The people of Allfather lived in the Middle Enclosure by the waters of the Black Sea. Their language and mythology had a common root but with the passing of time they became many tribes... Two main language groups formed. From one came the Germans, Greeks, Latins (Romans), Celts, Tocharians, Hittites and Albanians. From the other came the Balts, Indics, Iranians, Armenians and Slavs. They came to call the Gods by different names and worship them in different ways but they all gave praise to Sun and Moon, and the Sky Father, and the Earth Mother."
However, this is still pretty shaky. By identifying the Proto-Indo-Europeans as "people of the Allfather", immediately after outlining the Germanic creation myth in which the Allfather figures prominently, Linsell implies that Germanic mythology is the wellspring of all other Indo-European mythologies, rather than a belief system which developed alongside those of the other branches.
The next paragraph is even more dubious:
"One of the tribes, the Aesir, migrated to the north-west and followed great rivers and passed through vast forests and marshes. They wandered for many generations and faced testing challenges and dangers together, and in doing so they became a more tightly knit community with a strengthened sense of common purpose. In the North they came to the land of the Vanir, a people who worshipped gods of the sea and of the earth. The Aesir found land for themselves and built houses, grew crops and raised cattle. After a long war between the two tribes a truce was agreed. The people prospered, had many children and became many tribes. Scania, the name of the land in which they lived, became the womb of nations."
Here, the book is spouting outright pseudohistory. The Aesir and Vanir are two tribes of gods in Germanic mythology, and yet Linsell is treating them as ethnic groups that actually existed at some point in human history. As he does not provide citations, I do not know for sure where he got this idea.
The only other writer I know of who has depicted the Aesir and Vanir in this way is Robert E. Howard, author of the Conan the Barbarian stories. Howard's tales are set in a fanciful prehistoric world based partly around various mythological systems; he borrowed the terms Aesir and Vanir for two tribes of proto-Scandinavian people. The difference, of course, is that Howard was writing pulp fiction fantasies to entertain his readership, while Linsell claims to be giving the true story of Germanic history.
With this in mind, some of Linsell's arguments elsewhere in the book strike a distinctly ironic note. Take this, for example:
"Such propaganda has had much success in recent years amongst young romantics who like to see the Celts as nice peace loving people who lived in harmony with nature. Celts are also often incorrectly credited with being the founders of Druidism and having constructed the ancient earthworks and stone circles of Britain. The need to believe this nonsense springs in part from a search for roots. Celtic mania has been rolling along unopposed for such a long time that criticism of it is much resented."
While Linsell is quite right to criticise pseudohistory spread in the cause of Celtic nationalism, he is apparently oblivious to the fact that he himself is spreading pseudohistory in the cause of English nationalism. His bizarre ramblings about Aesir and Vanir have about as much to do with actual history as Braveheart.
After discussing his rather eccentric version of North European history, Linsell discusses politics, and spends a good deal of his time making blanket comments about "liberals". He is fond of straw man arguments, this being fairly typical:
"The hatred that some settlers have for the English is combined with the communal self-hatred and guilt of English liberals to produce a steady flow of anti-English propaganda. The English are mostly ignored but they have to be mentioned from time to time for the purpose of maintaining the tarnished image. Among the many insults there is always the allegation of innate English racism. We are all racists and there is no point denying it. The English are not and cannot be victims; they can only be oppressors. Ethnic good - English bad. These attacks are curious because they produce the following logic.
a) The English are inherently racist and responsible for the ills afflicting ethnic minorities.
b) The members of ethnic minorities living in England are
c) The members of ethnic minorities are racist and responsible
for the ills afflicting ethnic minorities."
Linsell does not bother to provide any specific examples of liberals who have made this argument.
On the topic of racial segregation, he has this to say:
"Many people find any form of separatism extremely offensive but it is difficult to understand the moral argument for believing that wanting to keep races separate is bad but wanting to mix them up is good."
These excerpts from An English Nationalism contain three obvious keynotes: attacking liberals as a principal source of the world's ills, defending racial segregation, and spouting a curious semi-mythical account of English history. In time, these would also become keynotes of the Englisc nationalist movement as a whole.
Steadfast Journal (established around 2001)
Steadfast was a journal dedicated to English nationalism. I have not been able to find exactly when it began; according to this post its sixth issue came out in December 2002, and as it had a rough quarterly schedule it seems reasonable to suggest that it began in 2000 or 2001. Its website can be viewed on Archive.org.
Tony Linsell... again.
The aforementioned Tony Linsell was one of Steadfast's founders, as evidenced by his bio in the Athelney book Views from the English Community:
He was also in charge of the journal's editorials, which would logically imply that he was the editor.
Linsell was not the only linking factor between Steadfast and Athelney. Other people to write for Steadfast and/or its website include John Lovejoy (author of Athelney's book The Deculturalisation of the English People), Robert Henderson (one of the contributors to Athelney's Views from the English Community) P. Scrivener (author of Athelney's English Witness to their Darkest Hour) and T.P. Bragg (author of Athelney's The English Dragon). In other words, everybody who ever wrote a book for Athelney, with the possible exception of the poet Raymond Tong, also wrote for Steadfast at some point or another.
Other Steadfast contributors include Patrick Harrington, a man with a history of involvement in both the BNP and the National Front.
Steadfast published similar kind of material to Athelney - but on at least one occasion, it took a step much further.
This website has an archive of an interview that was published on an incarnation of the Steadfast website which is now defunct, and unavailable on Archive.org. The interview is between Tony Linsell and an unnamed spokesman for a group called English National Resistance.
Here are some excerpts from the question-and-answer session:
Linsell: The organisation to which you belong is called ENR – for English National Resistance – but you seem to see your primary identity as White. Is being English important to you?
ENR: We are part of the White race but we have our own unique heritage and culture, so yes being English is important but we also need to make it abundantly clear that to be accepted as English you can never ever be anything other than White. The media would have us believe that Frank Bruno, Emile Heskey, Lewis Hamilton or Jordan’s son are all English but this mentally ill modern concept of being English needs to be challenged and destroyed.
Linsell: If you are successful, and the ruling elite feels the need to mention the ENR, its members and activities are bound to be condemned. How do you feel about that prospect?
ENR: That isn’t a problem and is fully expected by us as time goes on and we get bigger. I feel it really won’t be worth their while to run hit pieces or smear campaigns on us because nothing they can do will hurt us, the publicity and attention is just going to garner more interest among young people.
Linsell: Are you optimistic about the future for England?
ENR: That depends what you mean, for the current form that ‘England’ takes I have absolutely no hope for and do not want to save it. We live in a debased multicultural hell where ‘England’ equates to stocking up on crates of Carling just in time to watch eleven non-Whites kick a football around in your name while your daughter gets diversified in the local clubs by enrichers.
This society needs to hurry up and collapse, and out of this chaos a new English nation will one day appear from the rubble – lead by those who were once hated and scorned by the old system and its minions. Only the strongest and most ruthless will be able to survive the collapse, and we hope that this new nation will be able to maintain its integrity long after it is reborn so this scenario we are living in will never happen again.
Linsell: I hope you will take it as a compliment if I say some of your words are much like those of Malcolm X, who I regard as a brave and able man. He urged Black Americans to lead a clean upright lifestyle with an emphasis on personal growth and responsibility. In crude terms he wanted each of them to stop grumbling, to get off their arse and do something positive. That included leading a disciplined and productive life and setting a good example to others, especially children. He wanted Black people to have pride in who they were as individuals and as a community. He advocated stable, long-term family structures where children were taught their history and culture and encouraged to bloom into confident positive people. Does the ENR have similar aims for White people in general and English people in particular? What sort of changes in attitude amongst the young do you want to bring about?
ENR: I’d say that’s a fair analogy, we would like to influence young people in order to show them that there is an alternative way of life that is much better and more rewarding than the degenerate activity most people are into. Changes we would like to see are rejection of multi-ethnic values and acceptance of integration.
For more information on the English National Resistance, see RationalWiki and its promotional videos here and here. Suffice to say that the group seems to have spent most of its time campaigning against interracial marriage and, to a lesser extent, homosexuality.
This is the kind of organisation that Linsell chose to promote through his journal.
Over time, the journal became one part of a larger operation. Steadfast evolved into a pressure group which, amongst other things, tried to establish community centres for people of Anglo-Saxon descent. Here is a letter that was printed on the Steadfast website in 2006:
I'm firmly of the mind that we English, despite being the largest ethnic group in these islands, desperately need communal centres of our own if we are to survive the "establishment's" desire to define us out of existence. By this I mean communal centres in their fullest sense, not simply places where English folk can meet up, but where our history, culture and traditions can be preserved and passed on to current and future generations.
There will undoubtedly be opposition to these proposals, a fact brought home to me in a recent conversation with Marge Barton, newly appointed High Sheriff of Tyne and Wear. Mrs Barton was mortified at the mere suggestion of such centres, which she believes would alienate the ethnic minorities (now there's a surprise). Given that many of these other ethnic groups already have their own centres shows the absurdity of such arguments, but I've no doubt there are countless other "Marge Barton's" up and down the country who would agree with her.
Steadfast N.E. has already tried to organise a regular venue for local members, sadly with no luck. We had to fight tooth and nail with Sunderland Library just to get a poster displayed on their Community Notice Board, so we know what we're up against. Nevertheless, someone has to take the lead, so why not Steadfast?
Steadfast is now defunct, but some of its activities are carried on by the very similarly-named Steadfast Trust.
Steadfast Trust (established 2004)
After Athelney and the Steadfast journal laid the groundwork for the Englisc nationalist movement, the Steadfast Trust - "the only charity for the ethnic English", as its website declares - seems to have been the first serious attempt to put these theories into practice. And yes, Tony Linsell was once again involved in getting it off the ground.
Tony Linsell. Gets around, doesn't he?Company Check has some information on the people involved with the charity. Here is RationalWiki's summary of the data:
"The Steadfast Trust was set up in 2004. Its first directors appear to have been Tony Linsell, Stephen Pollington and Jane Phillips; Phillips appeared on the Channel 4 documentary 100% English, in which she was identified as the founder of the charity. Steven Whateley and Paul Marson became directors in 2005.
Linsell resigned in 2005, while the others all resigned on 6 September 2006. On the same day, a new team of directors took over: Julien Crighton and Shelly Marie Donohoe."
A 2009 posting on the Steadfast Trust website quotes from the Steadfast journal, claiming that "Steadfast is an independent pressure group and is not connected to the Steadfast Trust". Despite this, there is a clear overlap between the two. Along with the involvement of Tony Linsell there is the fact that one of the Steadfast Trust's main concerns is setting up "English community groups" - the same concern expressed in the Steadfast letter quoted above.
The Steadfast Trust affirms its "Englisc" credentials.
If we get past the organisation's rather dubious assumption that the ethnic majority needs a charity to support it just as much as minority ethnic groups do, then at first the Steadfast Trust may look rather innocuous. After all, a brief look through its site suggests that it spends most of its time donating books on English history to schools, and there is no harm in that.
However, there is more to the charity than meets the eye. In the next post in this series I will look at some of the groups that the Steadfast Trust has ties to. And yes, there are some seriously dodgy things going on there...