The Perma-Ban of Richard Spencer

According to Traditional Britain, Theresa May, Home Secretary until three days ago and now leader of the Conservative Party following David Cameron’s resignation, has issued a lifetime ban on Richard Spencer from entering the UK. Spencer is a leading American White Nationalist with a varied career as an author, leading contributor to American Renaissance as well as a host on the Red Ice internet radio station. Spencer spoke at the 2013 Traditional Britain conference in London, giving a “Eurosceptic-sceptic” speech in which he saw the EU as the basis for a European Identity and the infrastructure of a “racial and civilizational European super state on the continent”, which should dispel the cultural meme in Britain that all Remainers are egalitarian. Spencer’s banning from the UK may produce an empty space on an event schedule for some British far-right meet up, but is ultimately self-defeating. The gesture is a fitting representation for the self-destructive establishment: outdated, effete and contradictory.

Spencer would have come to the UK to do precisely what he and other White Nationalists have done in the past: receive an applause for a half-hour speech, sell signed copies of books and pose for selfies with a handful of young fans. Spencer would not have come to lead or support a Neo-Nazi putsch or even indulge in a spot of “Paki bashing”. The more intelligent supporters of Spencer’s ban may even agree, countering that the banning manages the risk of him spreading his “hateful” (pro-Remain, yet inconvenient) ideas. But any conference featuring Spencer as a speaker cannot function as a centre from which his ideas would be spread to the outside world. Due to the threat of violence and intimidation of venue owners by violent Trade Union- and Socialist Worker Party-supported Communist/Anarchist groups such as “Unite Against Fascism” or “Anti-Fascist Action” (a.k.a. “Antifa”), far-right meet ups are kept secret and attendance is strictly by invitation only. The result would have been a conference in which Spencer would have preached to an already converted audience and would have struggled to spread a single talking point outside the four walls of the venue. Far-right conferences are treated as social events by their attendees, a chance for various Nationalists, Traditionalists and Socially Conservative Libertarians to drink a beer with their heroes and set the world to rights.

Even after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox the threat of organised violence from the so called far-right is minimal to non-existent. Tommy Mair, an isolated madman that cleaned himself with Brillo pads, remains a tragic aberration. Even genuine Neo-Nazis in the UK do not deserve their monstrous reputation. They are mostly content to post offensive things on Facebook and to chant hurtful slogans on their marches if they are feeling naughty. The argument here is not that they are peaceful but that the vast majority of their violence is directed against their own in internal feuding or as acts of self-defense against violent White Communists and Anarchists. Last weekend a National Action mob travelled across London, bypassing all the Jews, Muslims and Homosexuals they would have encountered on the way to confront one of their own, an alleged traitor, in a West End pub. The violence of the Dover protests last year, to cite another example, was not instigated by the Southern Alliance or affiliated groups, but by Antifa Communists and Anarchists, who arrived masked, in coaches, to tear up paving slabs to hurl at the marching alleged fascists. Unsurprisingly, the Southern Alliance protestors defended themselves, and in subsequent protests attacked members of Antifa on sight, much to their indignation. If one were to remove the violent Antifa element from a Dover protest you’d get something that resembles one of the PEGIDA UK marches in Birmingham or Rotherham, a controversial but peaceful affair with no arrests made on the protesting side. Instead of addressing the root cause of violence on these marches and protests, the Conservative Party establishment has found overlapping interests with the Trade Unions and Socialist Workers Party.

Banning Spencer from the UK is also tactically ineffective. The primary vehicle by which Spencer has gained followers and spread his ideas has been the inexpensive, available and unregulated internet, not the conference hall. In the past, using physical bans to contain the controversial ideas of figures like Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party, has only raised their profile and galvanized and added to their popularity. Despite being banned by the Labour Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in 2009, Wilders is more popular than he has ever been and the Anti-Islamic scene has only grown. A more effective restriction on Spencer would be to limit his UK internet presence, but following Germany and China’s example may be a tad too obvious for the British people. Whether May genuinely doesn’t understand the situation or has issued the ban as a little gesture to one of the groups that hates Spencer is unclear. The only certainty is that it will pseudo-martyr Spencer’s ideas and cause many to seriously wonder if they might actually be correct.

In Spencer’s speech at the 2013 Traditional Britain Conference, he presented the bleak view that force, violence and exceptionalism are the primary source of state power, not universal values. If May were truly worried about the threat such an idea poses to the stability of our rainbow-colored multi-faith love utopia she would understand and refute it but I suppose this is too much to ask from a busy Tory leadership candidate. Instead, she chose to prove him right.