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Loud and proud

Passion and politics in the English Defence League

Hilary Pilkington

‘Loud and proud’: Politics and passion in the English Defence League is a study of grassroots activism in what is widely considered to be a violent Islamophobic and racist organisation.

The book uses interviews, informal conversations and extended observation at EDL events to critically reflect on the gap between the movement’s public image and activists’ own understandings of it. It details how activists construct the EDL, and themselves, as ‘not racist, not violent, just no longer silent’ inter alia through the exclusion of Muslims as a possible object of racism on the grounds that they are a religiously not racially defined group. In contrast activists perceive themselves to be ‘second-class citizens’, disadvantaged and discriminated by a ‘two-tier’ justice system that privileges the rights of ‘others’. This failure to recognise themselves as a privileged white majority explains why ostensibly intimidating EDL street demonstrations marked by racist chanting and nationalistic flag waving are understood by activists as standing ‘loud and proud’; the only way of ‘being heard’ in a political system governed by a politics of silencing.

Unlike most studies of ‘far right’ movements, this book focuses not on the EDL as an organisation – its origins, ideology, strategic repertoire and effectiveness – but on the individuals who constitute the movement. Its ethnographic approach challenges stereotypes and allows insight into the emotional as well as political dimension of activism. At the same time, the book recognises and discusses the complex political and ethical issues of conducting close-up social research with ‘distasteful’ groups.

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Transgressing the cordon sanitaire: understanding the English Defence League as a social movement

Hilary Pilkington

introductory chapter sets out an approach to understanding activism in the English Defence League (EDL) from within social movement studies. It places the EDL alongside populist radical right rather than classic ‘far right’ movements on the political spectrum and outlines a provisional rationale for characterising it as an anti-Islamist movement. Prefacing the theoretical discussion in subsequent chapters of the book, it contextualises claims by the EDL that the organisation is ‘not racist’ but ‘against militant Islam’ within contemporary theories of ‘race’ and racism and in

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Andrew Knapp

aftermath of the 2002 elections. The conclusion will assess both the UMP’s longer-term prospects, and its more general impact on the French party system. France’s divided right For most of the Fifth Republic, three things have divided the French right: real differences of ideology and policy; opposed organisational cultures; and the logic of presidential competition. On the other hand, although the right-wing electorate is far from homogeneous, divisions among voters had rather little impact on divisions between the parties – and voter demand was eventually to be

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Tommy Robinson's barmy army?

The past, present and future of the English Defence League

Hilary Pilkington

EDL was founded on 27 June 2009 as a response to street protests against British troop homecoming celebrations2 in Luton by an offshoot of the Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, led by Sayful Islam (Copsey, 2010: 8). It built on long-standing tensions in the town, which has a population that is 18 per cent Muslim and a history of Islamist recruitment and activism (2010: 8), and drew on links not with traditional far right parties but a number of ultra-patriotic ‘anti-Jihadist’ organisations evolving from within the football casual subculture

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Passion and politics

Hilary Pilkington

meanings individuals in movements of the populist radical right attach to their activism. It is also to suggest that such studies have political as well as academic value. Ethnography: a choice between politics and knowledge? Traditional studies of the far right tend to forefront the analysis of ideological frames and organisational effectiveness and take little account of the people who maintain such movements; individuals appear largely in the form of agglomerated socio-demographics of ‘supporters’ or ‘voters’ or as an undifferentiated mass following a charismatic

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Human rights and the borders of suffering

The promotion of human rights in international politics


M. Anne Brown

This book argues for greater openness in the ways we approach human rights and international rights promotion, and in so doing brings some new understanding to old debates. Starting with the realities of abuse rather than the liberal architecture of rights, it casts human rights as a language for probing the political dimensions of suffering. Seen in this context, the predominant Western models of right generate a substantial but also problematic and not always emancipatory array of practices. These models are far from answering the questions about the nature of political community that are raised by the systemic infliction of suffering. Rather than a simple message from ‘us’ to ‘them’, then, rights promotion is a long and difficult conversation about the relationship between political organisations and suffering. Three case studies are explored: the Tiananmen Square massacre, East Timor's violent modern history and the circumstances of indigenous Australians. The purpose of these discussions is not to elaborate on a new theory of rights, but to work towards rights practices that are more responsive to the spectrum of injury that we inflict and endure.

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Alistair Cole

, facilitating the exchange of policy ideas and personnel. In their own very different ways, the Greens and the FN learned a similar lesson in the 1990s. The organisational capacity of the French Greens has been strengthened by the strong links maintained with voluntary associations (not just environmental groups). In the case of the FN in Orange and Toulon, the far-right municipalities created a network of parallel associations under the tutelage of the town hall (McAna, 2001), somewhat along the lines of traditional Communist-run municipalities. These practices have positive

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The FN split

Party system change and electoral prospects

Gilles Ivaldi

organisation and intra-bloc competition, two additional factors must be taken into account. The dispute between the two main factions led by Le Pen and Mégret, and the consequent split of the FN in early 1999, had weakened the whole extreme right and reduced its ability to weigh significantly on the outcome of elections. In 2002, the FN has provided proof of its ability to take over the whole far-right camp at the expense of the MNR, and should be in a position to benefit from this situation of political hegemony in the near future. With Mégret and his followers departing

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Part III: The Netherlands

‘Nederland voor de Nederlanders!’

Cas Mudde

). The ‘Besluit Ontbinding Landverraderlijke Organisaties’ (Resolution concerning the Dissolution of Treasonable Organisations), which was signed by Queen Wilhelmina in London on 17 September 1944, led to the ban on the NSB and some thirty other (National Socialist) organisations (Van Donselaar 1993: 88). The decree was also supposed to keep the country free from the extreme right by explicitly stating that future organisations which sought to promote the goals of the banned organisations would also be banned (Bank 1998). Attempts to build extreme right groups were not

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The UDF in the 1990s

The break-up of a party confederation

Nicolas Sauger

less than 50,000 member, putting themselves at risk of being overtaken by some new initiative, such as Millon’s which managed to garner 30,000 members in the space of a few months. Can the creation of the UMP thus be interpreted as a reconciliation of the right and French society? So far, the organisation has not gone down this road. Above all a parliamentary body with no real membership, the UMP elite appears to have little legitimacy given their lack of democratic mandate to their hegemony. The birth of the UMP has thus only been the first stage in a more