Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Politics of Bishop Richard Williamson

It would be impossible to discuss the activities of the "Catholic fascist" faction of Derek Holland and John Sharpe, detailed in earlier posts, without mentioning Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX. Nor are many supporters of the Society of St. Pius X scandalized at such exposure at this point, since they have been religiously and politically scandalized by that cleric's pronouncements over the past twenty years (as seen on many online forums). Whether one agrees with the SSPX or not, it is clear that Bishop Williamson has been an extremist and divisive force in Catholic tradition.

Based on the facts available, including correspondence with Bishop Williamson (in the 1990s), it is clear that he was fully aware of Derek Holland's politics but refused to distance himself from the "Catholic" neo-fascists. Instead he seems to have done all he could to insure that Holland (writing under a pseudonym), and later John Sharpe, would be prominently featured in The Angelus magazine and that the Angelus Press would sell many of the materials put out by the neo-fascist Legion of St. Louis/St. George Educational Trust. While still involved with the ITP in the early 90s, former members heard the bishop's name authoritatively invoked by "Catholic" fascists to justify their program. Even now, Bishop Williamson is regularly cited by racialist, radical nationalist and anti-Semitic groups online. Is it "guilt by association"? At the very least it's a scandal that he seems totally unfazed by.

Bishop Williamson also wrote a forward to John Sharpe's LSL booklet on Islam. This is despite the fact that former US District Superior Rev. Peter Scott repeatedly warned against Sharpe and his activities. As recently as August 11, 2005, Fr. Scott stated on a traditionalist forum: "I strongly regret the naturalism of John Sharpe, Derek Holland and their friends associated with the ITP [International Third Position]. By pretending to use a political, right wing, economic solution to the problems of the world, they have fallen into naturalism, and betrayed the Catholic cause." Nevertheless, in a letter on (July 25, 2005), John Sharpe notes with approval that the bishop had met with Derek Holland in a trip to Ireland, while glossing over Holland's connection with the German NPD's extremist politics (for more information, see the Wikipedia entry).

There can be no doubt that Bishop Williamson's religious and political stances are closely allied, since he has persistently taken an apocalyptic view on both subjects. He is channeling the energies of some traditionalists – understandably concerned with the current problems in the Church – into the wrong direction. For their part, they may think he is simply taking a "strong line" theologically. But is it possible that his de facto split with the rest of the SSPX and refusal to work with Rome is driven by non-religious motivations?

There is no question of exaggerating the problem, although Bishop Williamson is careful to avoid explicit pronouncements. He has a way of pulling his punches even while he desensitizes his readers to fringe views. Yet the pattern of soft-sell extremism is so persistent it is impossible to overlook. It can no longer be written off as mere "eccentricity." The fact that so many people agree on this point, even if they disagree on other issues, demonstrates just how far-out the bishop has gone. The following outline provides links for more information:

Anti-Semitism - "Jewish conspiracy obsessed" would be putting it mildly. The best documentation is a pro-Williamson outline of his pronouncements provided originally by the Feeneyite British racial nationalist Tom Sparks. It includes the bishop's assertions that "not one Jew killed in the gas chambers" and that Hitler was "liberating Germany from [Jewish] control." See: Thomas Sparks Quotes SSPX Bishop Richard Williamson On "The Jews". Christopher Blosser addresses these same concerns (and provides a number of related links) on his blog. During his tenure as rector at the seminary in Winona, he had the reading shelves stocked with "holocaust revisionist" literature like The Revisionist and The Barnes Review as well as neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel's Power Report.

Racialist views - Bish. Williamson recommends the racialist South African Aida Parker Newsletter in his September 1, 2002 newsletter. His excessive concern for the "white race" is discussed in his November 2005 newsletter. When at Winona the bishop displayed copies of The David Duke Report, put out by the well-known American white supremacist leader.

Oklahoma Bombing Conspiracy Theory - Touched on in his May 5, 1995 newsletter; Bish. Williamson repeatedly stated in his sermons that the Oklahoma bombing was secretly carried out by the US government. (This theme would be replayed in his 9/11 conspiracy theories.) The Oklahoma theory appears again in February 1, 1997.

Unabomber Theology - Adopting the survivalist, technophobic views of Theodore Kaczynski, which are so appealing to the "back to the land" neo-fascists (like the Third Position), Bish. Williamson states that: "principles [anarchism? revolution?] are more important than personalities, and the message is, strictly, for good or ill, independent of the messenger. The author of the Unabomber's Manifesto might have since become a Saint without its contents being changed by one word." See his June 6, 1996 newsletter.

US and Israel to Blame for 9/11 - The first of many writings/speeches implicating the US and Israel as the "real" culprits behind the Al Qaeda terror attacks: October 1, 2001 newsletter. Initially, like so many other fringe spokesmen, Bishop Williamson denied that al Qaeda had anything to do with the attacks. In a speech in Bordeaux in October 2001 he stated that "the bombing of [the Taliban] Afghanistan is not intelligent... it is not just to bomb these countries.... Nobody has proven that Bin Laden was behind the attacks, no one has shown proofs, Bin Laden denies it." Left-wing terrorist sympathizer William Blum has gained attention as "Osama's Pen Pal." Yet there is little noticeable difference between his treatment of al Qaeda's actions (and America's "guilt") and those of Bishop Williamson, who actually made conspiracy theory literature (e.g., Exposing the WTC Bomb Plot) part of seminary reading at Winona.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Pattern of Infiltration

This final segment on the Third Position provides further background on neo-fascist infiltration by the "Political Soldiers," both in theory and practice.

When the International Third Position (ITP) emerged in 1989 as a result of a final disastrous split in the turbulent NF, it eschewed the old mass membership for a small, tight-knit network which would build a new "counter-power" and achieve its aims through influence and infiltration rather than street activism. There was some logic behind this. The success of the rallies and marches that dominated the NF in the 1970s had suddenly collapsed with the 1979 elections that swept Margaret Thatcher into office. The conservatives stole some of the NF's thunder as a "protest vote."

The 1989 break-up resulted in the creation of two groups. Holland and Griffin (leading the neo-fascist wing) headed the new International Third Position while Pat Harrington (leading the liberal "centrist" wing) formed the Third Way. In the same year that the ITP was formed, Derek Holland and other comrades decided to put their "counter-power" ideas into practice by creating a nationalist commune on inexpensive land purchased in the French countryside. This endeavor, known as "News from Somewhere," which I participated in briefly in 1991, straggled along for many years but by 1995 had collapsed.

This period also saw the establishment of the "Catholic" wing of the movement headed by a quarterly journal called Catholic Action (later renamed Catholic Order). It was intentionally aimed at traditional Catholics with a mixture of genuine Social Teaching and covert fascism and anti-Semitism. The ITP also created a "Catholic charity" called the St. George Educational Trust (SGET) [see earlier post] as an unofficial ITP affiliate. It was part of their Marxist style "entryism" by which they sought to recruit potential sympathizers or influence other groups in their direction.

Efforts to infiltrate traditional Catholicism by means of the St. George’s Educational Trust is confirmed by former ITP member Troy Southgate, who split with the movement to form the National Revolutionary Faction: "The ITP… tried to influence traditional Catholics grouped around The Society of St. Pius X…" ("Transcending the Beyond, From Third Position toNational-Anarchism").

Other groups were targeted as well. In the late 1980s, the Political Soldiers sought to work their way into the violent Welsh nationalist group "Meibion Glyndwr." According to a report in The Times:
There are growing suspicions among police and Welsh nationalists that the extremist group Meibion Glyndwr (Sons of Glendower) is being infiltrated by the so-called Tripoli Faction of the National Front. The Sons have claimed responsibility for a series of arson attacks on estate agents throughout the country, the most recent of which occurred two weekends ago when fire-bombs were planted in premises in London, Liverpool, Stockport and Sutton Coldfield.... For propaganda purposes, it has been targeting areas of high unemployment among the young, notably the valleys.... Leaflets distributed in the streets call on the jobless young to "join the national revolution and fight for a spiritual rebirth" ("A Front for the Front," The Times, March 29, 1989).
A decade later, the same people in the ITP tried to enter Scottish politics, attempting
to infiltrate the Scottish National Party. The far-right group, calling themselves Scottish Phalange, are linked to the International Third Position.... The Phalange claim to have activists within the SNP, spreading their extreme views.... The organisation says they plan to use the elections to the Scottish Parliament to "agitate within the SNP".... It is headed by a former senior member of the National Front, Derek Holland ("Racists Target Nats: The Fascist Organisation Scottish Phalange Have Launched an Attempt to Infiltrate the Scottish National Party," The Daily Record, October 3, 1998).
The contortions the Political Soldiers have undergone to pursue this infiltration tactic sometimes result in amusing contradictions of their own party line. For example, with the outbreak of the Balkans Conflict in the early 1990s, the ITP supported Croatia (namely, its revival fascist parties), and bitterly denounced Serb atrocities against the Bosnians. A story from The Observer in 1993 told of how
Thousands of small posters appeals for donations to "Emergency Aid for Croatia" have appeared near the Houses of Parliament in London, and in Cardiff, Newcastle and Belfast.... The only clue to the identity of the appeal’s organisers is three letters "ITP" in the address on the poster. "ITP" stands for International Third Position... (The Observer, January 4, 1993).
Ironically, a few years later, when President Clinton was waging war on Serbia amid the Monica Lewinski scandal, the movement found itself endorsing the same Orthodox Serb nationalists they had opposed a few years earlier, all in the name of anti-Americanism.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Strange Ecumenism: The Pagan/Christian Fascist Front

In the early 1980s a radical nationalist journal called Rising was published by Third Positionists associated with the British National Front. Though authored anonymously, it was heavily promoted (and likely written) by Roberto Fiore and Derek Holland. It drew its inspiration from the Italian radical nationalism of Terza Posizione which, in turn, was influenced by the esoteric fascism of Julius Evola and the neo-pagan philosophy of Oswald Spengler. It involves a gnostic belief in a "higher spiritual tradition" which underlays all religions, from which radical nationalists try to derive a "moral" justification for their apocalyptic fantasies.

A re-issue of Rising is now sold by the International Third Position (ITP) and its offshoots ( and the England First movement). The ideas expressed in the series were also the direct inspiration for Derek Holland’s Political Soldier, which is considered the handbook of the Third Position movement. What is overlooked is that even as Holland and Fiore targeted "traditional Catholics" with their brand of neo-fascism, they continued to endorse views that these normal Catholics would find repugnant. It is also noteworthy that the ITP's Legionary Press shares the same address as the St. George Educational Trust—Forest House, Liss Forest, Hampshire, GU33 7DD, England. The St. George Trust is a sister organization to the Legion of St. Louis.

Excerpts from Rising: A Booklet for the Political Soldier (collected essays, nos. 1-5, published 1981-2, reprinted by the Legionary Press, 1998):

Our revulsion at the sight of mixed race couples is an indication of an instinctive “racial awareness.” We must be careful, however, not to let this question go only so far as our initial physical revulsion. [We must have] a racial doctrine based upon spiritual and political thinking... (p. 8).

It is clear that Spengler’s philosophy of history is immensely valuable to the ideological pillars of Nationalism, for it becomes obvious that a peaceful and harmonious world is contingent on recognizing that the human species is divided into a variety of widely differing and contradictory Cultures—frank and sincere acceptance of these differences necessarily leads to understanding and mutual, cultural respect: the highest form of Nationalism involves reciprocal, cultural respect (p.40).

As Julius Evola makes clear in The Aryan Doctrine of Fight and Victory.... It is the power of ideas, essentially spiritual, that motivate the finest peoples’ to build.... the militancy of Islam contributed greatly to the seventh century Arab civilization.... Spirituality can take on diverse forms as pantheistic ancient Greece demonstrates (p. 51).

At a higher level than the cultural, the spiritual is by definition something which does not die or pass away. It is something divine that is to be found in Man. It is something hidden, which must be rediscovered and purified, and which once rediscovered cannot be destroyed.... According to all traditions—Roman paganism, Christianity, Islam—this spirit is eternal.... Each race has a way through religion, tradition and customs to rediscover its roots and its spirit. If these paths are mixed, confusion ensues; the search for the Way becomes difficult if not impossible, and men are lost... (p. 61).

The struggle which engages us is a total struggle.... No quarter may be given, no quarter will be given.... Even if the Army of Political Soldiers that fights a rearguard defence of Britain and of Europe were to be reduced to but one National Revolutionary, yet would we live, for each and every Political Soldier embodies a Spiritual Ideal that defies the agents of Death to the point of Death (p. 62).
This sort of bizarre political ecumenism is not surprising if one considers that fringe Catholics subordinate faith and morals to radical agendas while seeking political alliances at any cost.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Political Soldier: Part II

Mr. Holland’s second book in the projected Political Soldier trilogy (mentioned in previous post) was published in 1989 as Thoughts on Sacrifice and Struggle. Never as successful as its predecessor, the second volume appears to have been suppressed, for reasons that are not entirely clear. It is, however, a continuation of the same theme with a more detailed development of the intellectual basis of Third Positionist/National Revolutionary ideology. Like Marxists, the Political Soldiers treat the "capitalist" as the chief culprit in their neo-fascist politics of envy. As conservative thinker Kenneth Minogue puts it:
The ideologist distinguishes himself from the generality of mankind in his role as a critic of society. Others are intermittently critical of vice, abuse and injustice, but the ideologist engages in a continuous process of criticism of the very rules and conventions [of society].... [T]he ideological critic discovers oppression where the generality of mankind finds only an accepted condition of things (Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology).
Mr. Holland’s idea of "spiritual struggle" is reminiscent of the Marxist inspired Liberation Theology phenomenon of the 1970s—a fuzzy pseudo-mysticism. The quasi-religious themes are distinctly reminiscent of the immanentist millenarian creeds discussed by conservative philosopher Eric Voegelin, which place the eschatological struggle for good and evil here on earth (in that respect being akin to Communism). "To the Political Soldier," says Holland, "it must be said: we stand before the Apocalypse! Gird yourself and prepare for battle!"
The materialists and relativists, the tyrants of the modern world, fear Death because for them Death is the End. But for us, revolutionary warriors, Death is not the End, but the Beginning. It is the doorway through which the Political Soldier alone can pass, for it leads to the world of the Elect - of those who fought on the Way of Truth, who sacrificed and struggled, and who merited their Just Reward.
As a point of interest, Derek Holland did not originate the concept most closely linked to his name, though he undoubtedly perfected it. The terms "Political Soldier" and "New Man" come from the syncretist and pantheistic fascist writings of Julius Evola, transmitted to British nationalists like Holland by Roberto Fiore and the Italian Terza Posizione movement. A recent follower of Evola helps put Holland's political "traditionalism" in clearer context:
[P]rimordial Tradition can be applied to all or nearly all existing religions if you do not focus on the dogmas, but rather on the way the fighting spirit is to be embodied. Christian chivalry does not differ much from the Jihad fighters or the Samurai, outside of the large distinctions in their religious mythology ("Tradition, Religion, and Modern Europe: Synthesis Interviews Martin Schwarz," Synthesis, 2001).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Political Soldier: Part I

This is a continuation of Fringe Watch's study of neo-fascist infiltration of Catholic and paleoconservative circles, last mentioned in the post on "The Third Position: The New Nationalism and the New Racialism."

Derek Holland's Political Soldier has been a best-seller in radical nationalist, Third Positionist circles since it first appeared in 1984. The 24 page pamphlet is crucial to understanding the pseudo-spiritual direction in which neo-fascists have trended, including their desire to co-opt Christian (including Catholic) social issues through a strategy of infiltration.

An energetically written piece of agitprop The Political Soldier paints an exciting picture of a "spiritual struggle" for "national revolution." The Political Soldier borrows occasional phrases from religious authors like G. K. Chesterton and Thomas à Kempis. Nevertheless, what is not said about religion is just as important. In 1994, Derek Holland added a new preface to the tenth anniversary edition, dropping in references to "sin," "faith," and "God." Yet nowhere does he discuss the Christian faith itself, since he clearly so much at odds with it.

The following excerpts are illustrative:

[W]hat is needed above all else is a fundamental shift in attitude towards struggle, towards life, towards destiny; that there cannot be, and will not be, any serious change in the overall direction taken by the countries of Europe until the New Man, like a giant on the horizon, capable of moulding and inspiring a New Social Order...

... Europe does not have a monopoly on Political Soldiers and all peoples and cultures have the potential to produce this type of man, each fitted to his peculiar circumstances. Take for example the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in the Iran of the Mullahs.... Their belief in their Cause is so strong that they will run through minefields unarmed to attack enemy positions.... This power drove the Yankee war machine out of the Lebanon - whilst U.S. troops were fighting for job security, a wage packet and a pension, their opponents in the Revolutionary Guards were fighting for an Ideal, an independent Iranian Iran.

It is the task of the Political Soldier to promote the Will to live by revealing the true nature of life - as opposed to the materialist nightmare of this century which is mistakenly taken to be "life" - and by living this life. In order to do this the Political Soldier must undergo a Spiritual Revolution, an inner revolution which guides, directs and pervades his life.
The last public pronouncement by Holland on the Political Soldier appears in the March 2002 issue of Deutsche Stimme, the journal of the NPD (a rough translation of "Theory and Strategy: The Path of the Political Soldier" is available via Google). He remains connected to Third Position politics via the St. George Educational Trust which was founded by the ITP in the early 1990s and which is affiliated with the Legion of St. Louis.

Friday, January 20, 2006

More on Derek Holland and IHS Press

This blog has examined the extremists connected with John Sharpe's Legion of St. Louis (LSL) and IHS Press. Already mentioned is the fact that the LSL offers anti-Semitic titles, and that International Third Position (ITP) leader Derek Holland, a sympathizer with anti-American Arab governments – who traveled to Libya in 1988 and Iraq in 1990 – is a member of IHS Press's board of directors.

It was not simply that Derek Holland and John Sharpe found themselves to be kindred spirits when they met up in Europe in the late 1990s. The ITP has long been involved in a scheme of Marxist style "entryism" – with the aim of co-opting groups which profess non-mainstream views (not extremist per se) in the hopes of bringing them under their neo-fascist umbrella. For years they made little headway.

But a breakthrough came with the ITP's St. George Educational Trust (SGET) set up in the early 90s as a "Catholic charity" organization (an investigation of the group by the UK Charity Commission took place in 1997). It has to be understood that within European "revolutionary nationalism" there are two trends: one, professedly neo-pagan and even anti-Christian; the other, espousing a selective religiosity (not unlike the Klan and "Christian Identity" racialists in the US). But when push comes to shove, all such extremists put aside personal differences to unite in their hatred of Jews, non-whites and the United States. It is the totalitarian tendency which trumps everything else.

The problem with Sharpe's activities is not just a question of overlapping ideas, but of overlapping resources. A look at my library shows that the SGET, whose books are sold by the LSL, has the same mailing address as the ITP’s Legion Books at Forest Place in Hampshire, England.

The SGET/LSL pamphlet Catholic Action: Uses, Abuses and Excuses is written by Derek Holland under the pen name of "Liam Connolly." The article "Why Catholics Are Cowards" by Liam Connolly was published by the LSL and SGET in the booklet Faith and Fear. It first appeared in the Christmas 1998 issue of Candour, an anti-Semitic newsletter run by the ITP (now operating in the UK as "England First").

Another fact that puts Sharpe's Neo-Conned anti-war series (put out by IHS Press/Light in the Darkness publications) into perspective is that Derek Holland, through the ITP, is associated with the neo-nazi German NPD (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands). Holland spoke at their events in 1999 and 2000. It turns out that the NPD is also linked to al-Qaeda via Ahmed Huber, a Swiss extremist who converted to Islam in the 1960s (see Financial Times story). The ITP and its cronies actively sympathize with violent activity against the US.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Third Position: The New Nationalism and the New Racialism

Key to understanding the post-war political fringe re developments that took place in Britain in the 1980s. Specifically, these developments grew out of the British National Front (the activities of NF leaders, Derek Holland and Roberto Fiore, have been noted earlier). These developments helped set the "new nationalists" apart from the Nazi political dinosaurs who, to the young Turks of the movement, droned on endlessly about immigration and the cranial capacities of difference races. The achievement of the intellectually inclined nationalists seemed meager at first. In terms of sheer numbers, the NF membership plummeted. But over time the self-styled national revolutionary elite proved the most successful in breaking into new circles, especially those with religious affiliations.

The Third Positionists of the National Front wanted the student youth support hitherto monopolized by the Marxists. "Social Justice, Ecology and Racial Purity" were called the three pillars of the "new nationalism." The NF even took up the cause of militant "animal liberation." The party advanced a remarkably eclectic program drawn from such sources as the Distributism of Chesterton and Belloc, the agrarian utopian-socialism of William Morris, Muammar Qaddafi's Green Book, the Romanian fascist Iron Guard, and Strasserite National Socialism. Despite the confusing permutations over the years, certain key concepts have remained in steady use—"national revolution," "against capitalism and communism," "beyond left and right," etc.

NF theorists formulated strategies that have become commonplace amongst other far right groups. They can be largely credited with the "new racialism" whereby neo-fascists sought to shed an overtly Nazi racist image. They no longer advocated "race hate" but "racial separatism." In 1987, under the direction of the triumvirate of Derek Holland, Nick Griffin and Pat Harrington, the NF provoked shock and interest with headlines proclaiming solidarity with "black nationalists" like Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. Little came out of it and the NF could only garner the backing of some insignificant, three-man organizations like the Pan-African International Movement. Part of the problem was that black separatists could be as bigoted as their white counterparts, and they may have felt white nationalists were just angling for good copy.

By the mid-1980s the NF had gone through a number of purges. In 1980, NF Chairman John Tyndale was ousted, and over time the old-guard neo-Nazis were eliminated in favor of the more radical revolutionary nationalists. The period 1985-6 saw a further split between the "ideologues" and the "street activists." For a time this led to a confusing state of affairs in which there were actually two rival NFs. But the smaller and more elite "Political Soldier" wing eventually came out on top. Even after the NF collapsed in 1989, giving rise to the International Third Position (ITP), the Political Soldiers set the tone for neo-fascist subversion in the years to come.

Monday, January 09, 2006

E. Michael Jones and the Jews

Author E. Michael Jones, publisher of Culture Wars, represents one of the foremost proponents of "religious" anti-Semitism in Catholic circles. Any normal Catholic, or conservative aware of the Church's invaluable moral leadership, will find such a connection obnoxious.

Jones has subtly disseminated his Jewish conspiracy-obsessed message to right-of-center Catholics since the late 1990s. An excellent discussion of this drift into extremism is detailed in an open letter by former Culture Wars editor John J. Reilly. Jones' shifting allegiances are all the more ironic since he claimed the moral high ground in his diatribes against traditional Catholics in the mid 90s, when his magazine Fidelity accused the latter of involvement in neo-Nazi politics. Some of the accusations were true. What is oddly amusing is that Jones tried to link traditionalists with the "holocaust revisionist" IHR (Institute for Historical Review) and only a few years later, he was a featured essayist in the Barnes Review, a spin-off of the IHR, run by racist "populist" publisher Willis Carto.

For those who really feel the need to delve into the feverish swamp of conspiracy mania, a sampling of Jones' worldview can be found in "The Revolutionary Jew and His Impact on World History" (Culture Wars, September 2003).

Jones may differ superficially from the hard-core racialist anti-Semites in that his Jewish fixation is "religious." But all this really does is to make hatred palatable to people who might have some remaining Christian scruples. It is hardly surprising that Jones' message is admired by virulent racists like the Vanguard News Network (see the post of "Shamir on the Jewish Question," reprinted from Jones' Culture Wars, September 2005). In 2004, the Catholic League issued a forthright expose of E. Michael Jones' soft-sell anti-Semitism in The Catalyst ("Playing Fast and Loose With Theology," July-August 2004).