Direct Facebook action

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Facebook not fashbook!

Facebook not fashbook!

 A post over at Harry’s Place a few days ago about BNP idiocy and Facebook reminded me of my anti-fascist efforts on the social networking site.

It all took place about two years ago. I recall being extremely irritated by the proliferation of pro-BNP groups on Facebook. The spread of their bad speling, their CAPS LOCKED RANTING, and of course their nasty political views was enough to make this patriotic Brit’s blood boil.

I wanted to engage with the people joining such groups. Obviously some of them were ideological fascists who couldn’t be reasoned with. I remember that, for example, the American white supremacist Preston Wiginton frequently left comments on the walls of the BNP groups (isn’t it disgusting how these foreigners come over here and get involved in our far-Right movements – send ’em all back, says I!).

But I also know that many of those who are drawn to the BNP, especially young people on Facebook, don’t really know what they’re getting involved with. The BNP is not a party that proudly informs its supporters of its own history. After all, being established by a lunatic with a passion for wearing Nazi uniforms does not make a great founding myth. So I am of the view that it is possible for some BNPers to one day ‘see the light’, as it were. Indeed, the experiences of people such as Chris Brennan, Maureen Stowe, Corinne Tovey-Jones and Matthew Collins suggest there is always hope. 

The problem with my plan was that BNP groups do not tend to be very welcoming of open discussion. There would inevitably be BNP members whose main purpose in life is seemingly to swear a lot on the internet and send weird threatening messages to anyone challenging their worldview. To be fair it must be said that one of the BNP Facebook administrators was commendably tolerant of free speech – it’s not surprising that he soon left the BNP in the great split of December 2007!

So what was I to do? I wasn’t able to put into practice my lovely ‘anti-fascism through education’ plan. But something needed to be done to confront the fash. It was time for direct action.

I set up a Facebook account under a fake name. Obviously I had to pick a good traditional British name. Calling myself Mohammed might have presented difficulties. I then requested permission to join the BNP groups. Once my membership had been accepted my aim was to ingratiate myself into the BNP community.

This was easy: all I had to do was occasionally log in to the fake account and leave racist messages full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors on the walls of the BNP groups. Gradually I developed a character and life story for my far-Right alter ego. His girlfriend had left him for a black man – a devastating personal blow that alerted him to the importance of preserving the white race. He claimed to have lost his job when his Jewish employer found out about his political views, which naturally confirmed in his mind the existence of the ZOG conspiracy. His weekend hobbies included getting involved in football violence. He also subscribed to fundamentalist religious views (essentially an excuse for me to test my Biblical knowledge against members of a party that claims to want to keep Britain white and Christian – I came up trumps).

He was, basically, an all-round nutter who was right at home with the BNP.

I wanted to see how far I could go in terms of political extremism before others would object. Worryingly, I could go quite far. I started to posit that Nick Griffin was compromising too much when it came to denying the Holocaust. Few complaints. I then started to question the BNP’s electoral strategy; shouldn’t the main focus be on taking power and defending rights for whites with “well-directed boots and fists”, as Griffin himself had once said? Only mildly chastised; some agreed with me.

After around three months of such merry banter I was confident that I had earned the trust and respect of the BNP Facebook crowd. I sent messages to the admins of the various groups I had joined to offer them my assistance in deleting comments left by “red scum and other race traitors”. Would they like me to become an admin? These offers were accepted and I soon found myself in a position of considerable Facebook power.  

Indeed.

Indeed.

Like Frankenstein, I eventually realised that the time had come to destroy the horrible monster I had created. On becoming admin of the multiple BNP Facebook groups my online persona decided that he wasn’t really cut out for this fascism lark after all. He changed the images on the Facebook groups to ones that BNP supporters find less appealing, such as the one on the left. He then sent a message to all the group members (a few hundred people) explaining that a new preacher at his Church had taught him the evils of racism and had given him a detailed overview of the reasons why decent folk should not support an organisation like the BNP. Finally, for good measure, all the members were expelled from the Facebook groups.

There’s a strong case for arguing that my actions were pointless and immature. However, it gave me some valuable insights into how BNPers think. I doubt that many BNP supporters were instantly convinced by my creation’s arguments against the party, but hopefully an element of doubt was introduced into at least some of their minds. And if I have managed to contribute, even in a modest way, to the paranoia of the far-Right which leads them to habitually suspect each other of being MI5/Searchlight moles and potential traitors then that is surely a good thing.

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One Response to “Direct Facebook action”

  1. More on Preston “Strongest Skinhead” Wiginton (ooo so macho!) « Frank Owen’s Paintbrush Says:

    […] revolutionary activity seems to focus on spreading race hate over the internet. I remember when I was in the habit of joining BNP facebook groups he would also be making wall posts advising impressionable young Brit nationalists on how […]

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