- League of Saint George
The League of St. George is a
Neo-Naziorganization based in the United Kingdom.
The League was formed around 1974 as a political club by
Keith Thompsonand Mike Griffinas a breakaway from the Action Party, founded by British fascist, Oswald Mosley. The League sought to continue what it saw as a purer form of the ideas of Mosley than those offered by then leader Jeffrey Hamm. [ Ray Hill& Andrew Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", London: Grafton, 1988, p. 184] In the 1970s the League became a political home for the more intellectual adherents of "Neo-Nazi" ideology, particularly those who, looking back to the pan-European Waffen-SS, wanted a united Europe with a European-derived population, a continuation of Mosley's Europe a Nationpolicy. Alongside this the League also followed Mosley's lead in endorsing Irish republicanism, something of a change from their contemporaries in the British far right who reserved their support for Ulster loyalism. [Hill & Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", p. 185] The League was never intended to be a political party, but more of a social, intellectual, and cultural organization, albeit with the ultimate political aim of promoting European people and their culture. Intended as an exclusive club for what were seen as the leading minds on the British far right, its membership tended to be restricted to around 50-100 members. [ Glyn Ford, "European Parliament Committee of Inquiry on Racism and Xenophobia - Report on the Findings of the Inquiry", 2.12.27] The group often had a torrid relationship with the far rightparties, and indeed the National Front barred its members from joining the League in 1977. [S. Taylor, "The National Front in English Politics", London: Macmillan, 1982, p. 100]
Adopting the emblem of the
Arrow Cross, the League sought to forge links with like-minded groups in Europe, and took part in international Neo-Nazirallies at Diksmuidein Belgium, where they forged links with the " Vlaamse Militanten Orde" and the National States' Rights Party. [Hill & Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", pp. 195-6] Eschewing the route of electoral politics, the League instead sought to set itself up as an umbrella group for National Socialists of any affiliation, although the League did work closely with first the British Movementand then the British National Partywhen it was founded (with Thomspon and John Graeme Woodattending the party's inaugural meeting whilst claiming to speak for the League). [Hill & Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", pp. 165-6]
Steve Brady, a former activist in the short-lived National Party (and who retained close links to the
Ulster Defence Associationdespite the League's avowed support for Irish republicanism), was appointed International Liaison Officer in 1978 and helped to oversee the development of links with groups internationally such as the " Faisceaux Nationalistes Européens" of France, founded by Mark Fredriksen, and Italy's " Nuclei Armati Rivoluzionari" (NAR). [Hill & Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", pp. 185-9] The group also gained supported in South Africaamongst some leading supporters of the Herstigte Nasionale Partywho were responsible for funding the League during the early 1980s. [Hill & Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", pp. 255-6]
The League went into hiatus in the early 1980s after an episode of
ITVcurrent affairs show " World in Action" exposed their attempts to set up safe-houses for suspected Italian terrorists [ [http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/features/century/cbf.php?include=page8 A Century of British Fascism] ] , based on information given by Ray Hill, who had been active in the League.
Following these revelations the group became less active, but did not close down altogether. Their magazine, "The National Review", received some attention in far right circles in 1986 when
Colin Jordanpublished an article calling for the development of an underground struggle. [Ford, "European Parliament Committee of Inquiry on Racism and Xenophobia - Report on the Findings of the Inquiry", 2.12.25] This article was credited with attempts to revive the British Movementand to set up other groups to carry out Jordan's ideas. [Ford, "European Parliament Committee of Inquiry on Racism and Xenophobia - Report on the Findings of the Inquiry", 2.12.26] .
In 1996 it was wrongly alleged in "Searchlight" that members of the League had recruited mercenaries for a mission in
South Africaorganised by Constand Viljoenwith the aim of assassinating the country's leaders and damaging its infrastructure. Ultimately the plan was foiled by the South African secret service and by a change in strategy by Viljoen, who abandoned his Afrikaner Volksfrontin order to lead the Freedom Front[ [http://www.axt.org.uk/antisem/archive/archive1/southafrica/safrica.htm 'South Africa'] ] .
It continues to exist under other leadership to this day. Previously publishing a regular magazine, "The League Review", which had a comparatively wide European readership, it now publishes a quarterly journal, "The League Sentinel" [ [http://www.allnationalist.com/leaguesentinel.htm League Sentinel] ]
The group was featured in
Bill Buford's " Among the Thugs" where the author commented to a member that his ideas of leaving urban life and returning to the soil recalled those of the Pol Potand the Khmer Rouge. [ [http://www.jochnowitz.net/Essays/Thugs.html Review of 'Among the Thugs'] ]
Leading members of the League have included
Dagenham-based John Harrison, millionaire Robin Rushton, Griffin, who maintained links to elements of the PIRA and Roger Clare, who has also been active in South Africaand New Zealand. [ [http://www.bernardomahoney.com/forthcb/ootdie/articles/ftgib.shtml Fascism Today - Groups in Britain] from Bernard O'Mahoney's site] Ian Souter Clarence, the former head of Column 88, was a member [Hill & Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", p. 198] , whilst both publisher Anthony Hancock and National Front and National Party veteran Denis Piriewere also closely associated with the group. [Hill & Bell, "The Other Face of Terror", pp. 205-6] ,
Previous Leagues of Saint George
The group should not be confused with an earlier charity of the same name founded around the time of
World War Ito build bungalows for disabled war veterans. [ [http://www.bedfordshire.gov.uk/CommunityAndLiving/ArchivesAndRecordOffice/GuidesToCollections/WorldWarOneHomeFrontRecords.aspx World War One Home Front Records] ]
The League of St George's Shield, sometimes known as the League of St George, which was instrumental in the refoundation of the
Swabian Leaguein 1488 [ [http://www.swabia.org/History52.htm Swabia History] ] is also unconnected to the modern group.
*R. Hill & A. Bell, "The Other Face of Terror- Inside Europe’s Neo-Nazi Network", London: Collins, 1988
* [http://www.leaguestgeorge.com/ The League of Saint George website]
* [http://www.stevenbooks.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk/page6.html Brief history of the League]
* [http://www.canterbury.u-net.com/page6.html David Turner's homepage (contains debate on the origins of the League)]
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