Thursday, April 03, 2008

Summary of Derek Holland Interview

The following is a response by Matt Anger, creator of Fringe Watch. Mr. Anger is a former acquaintance of Derek Holland, the European nationalist writer and intellectual, who has just been interviewed on the subject of the Middle East by Judith Sharpe of the "In the Spirit of Chartres" (ISOC) committee (see previous post).

Judith Sharpe speaks of "allegations" about Derek Holland. Well, there are the facts, which aren't alleging anything. Derek Holland was Chairman of the National Front (NF) and later a leader of the International Third Position (ITP). He still associates himself with the Political Soldier book, published originally by the NF and recently reprinted by Mr. Holland's associates in the European neo-fascist movement. A new Swedish version has been released with his approval.

The only part where "allegations" come in, perhaps, is where we refer to these activities as extremist. Let's leave off that label for a moment. It is safe to say that the ITP—as well as its predecessor and successor movements—publicly identifies itself with fascism, national socialism (Nazism), and similar ideologies. They are frequently sympathetic to Marxism as well. This is obvious in the case of Final Conflict (with the interesting domain name of, a belligerent skinhead fanzine set up by the ITP in the early 90s. The Third Position movement endorses political revolution, youth cults/cultural subversion, and racialist policies. I think it's safe to say that most people (not just "a few," as is claimed) draw the proper inferences.

If there are any allegations, they come from Mr. Holland. He derides opponents as "cowardly" for being anonymous. This is an interesting attitude. Third Positionists often write under pseudonyms. Mr. Holland has authored some major works of radical nationalist literature under the name of Liam Connolly. I also recall that it was standard practice in the ITP never, or very rarely, to disclose names. Anyone going back through their old publications will be struck by the lack of bylines or the use of fake names.

But why don't we address the topic of the Middle East? Actually, it's Mrs. Sharpes' fault. She does Holland a disservice by mentioning the political controversy up-front, and so one finds it odd that they spend so much time defending Holland's right to discuss foreign policy views before they even tell us what they are.

Should we listen to the message, rather than the messenger, as Holland asks us to? The problem is that Holland and John Sharpe, and their comrades, have never been particularly candid about their other activities. Yet neither will they disavow them. There is the Legion of St. Louis, set up by John Sharpe, promoting its anti-Semitic views (see related commentary). The site is now anonymous. Perhaps Holland will complain to his friend about this.

Mrs. Sharpe and Derek Holland lament the current controversy, saying there is no need for it. But controversy doesn't "just happen." People go looking for it. As for the stated foreign policy and economic positions of John Sharpe and Holland, we're not really interested in them. After all, there are plenty of other non-controversial anti-war commentators and proponents of Distributism we have never bothered to criticize. We we do criticize is the attempted marriage of Catholic faith and oddball political hobbies. If Sharpe, et. al should decide to drop the pretense of advocating Catholic Social Teaching, then we will, quite simply, drop the subject.