The Far Right extremist charged with the sadistic murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in June has been given a whole-life sentence.
The 53 year-old Thomas Mair stabbed and shot the 41 year-old mother of two in broad daylight outside her constituency office in Birstall, West Yorkshire, just over a week before the UK’s EU Referendum vote. At the conclusion of his trial, it is confirmed he will spend the rest of his life in jail.
Although most right-wing media have tried to portray Thomas Mair as ‘mentally ill’, it is beyond reasonable doubt that he has a long track-record with Far Right groups and ultra-nationalist literature; it is also worth noting that he hasn’t been referred for any psychiatric evaluation by the court, suggesting that they don’t believe him to have any mental illness.
Mair – whose initial statement in court some time ago was reported to have been “Death to traitors” – is still being defended by some Far Right supporters on the Internet as a hero or a martyr.
This isn’t surprising, however, as it was evident from the Far Right reaction to Cox’s murder in June.
This is how ‘National Action‘ responded, for example: ‘#VoteLeave, don’t let this man’s sacrifice go in vain.#JoCox would have filled Yorkshire with more subhumans!’
‘Subhumans’ presumably refers to refugees.
This reaction to Cox’s murder was echoed by a whole legion of Far Right adherents or sympathisers online, not limited to the UK but in multiple countries, including white nationalists in the United States who, as far back as June, were linking Brexit to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. This Twitter account was one among many examples: ‘@BreitbartNews Funny stuff. it made my day to see a globalist lefty get killed. keep up the good work patriots. you deserved this, Jo Cox.’
To add irony to tragedy, it had emerged in July that, at the time of her murder, Jo Cox ‘was preparing a report on far-right nationalists and rise of Islamophobia’, according to some newspapers, including The Independent. We are told that the Labor MP was preparing a report for Parliament on the dangers of aggressive nationalist radicals and Far Right extremism.
According to The Independent, a video and the report were both planned to be launched on June 29th.
There is no question that Thomas Mair was a long-term Far Right activist whose activity was known even outside of the UK.
His connections and ideology inside the UK are more straightforward. The rabidly nationalist and intellectually-challenged leaders of ‘Britain First’ tried, panic-stricken, to distance themselves from Thomas Mair when Jo Cox was murdered. While I initially considered that the reports of Mair shouting “Britain First” before massacring the MP might’ve been a media add-on, the photo (below) seeming to show Mair with a Britain First banner is from as recently as 2015 and it makes sense, given the horrific event’s proximity to the EU Referendum vote.
Britain First, by the way, is hardly a small problem anymore: their Facebook page has well over a million followers – which is substantially more than any political party in the UK. Most of what Britain First is about can be gleaned here. And I don’t pretend that I didn’t get some small morsel of pleasure from watching the Britain First leaders squirm back in June and profess their lack of connection for Jo Cox’s killer: if only because these same people have made their entire career in profiting from Islamist terror incidents and demonising all Muslims for those incidents. They also refuse to acknowledge the existence of false-flag terror attacks when it involves Muslims, but were insisting right away that Jo Cox’s murder must’ve been a false-flag carried about by the state.
I actually won’t dismiss out-of-hand the possibility that Mair might’ve been somehow goaded by a Deep State operative into the killing, the same way that Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was (see here, here and here): but Mair’s extremist, Neo-Nazi credentials are fairly clear at any rate (unlike Mateen, who seemed to have no pre-existing ideology that would’ve lent itself to terrorism) and he also seemed to take some relish in the horrific act (you don’t stab and shoot someone that many times in full view of the public if you’re carrying out a simple hit).
It has been a major concern of mine for a long time that the media and popular consciousness has been switched off to the rise (and dangers of) the Far Right, not just in any one country but across the West.
Through all these years of obsession with Islam and Islamist extremism (some of it valid, much of it exaggerated), most major media outlets seemed to forget that Neo-Nazi extremism was still a thing too and it is only sporadically, like when Anders Breijvik happened, that they seem to pay attention.
It was only in the wake of the Brexit vote, and to some extent in the lead up to Donald Trump’s US election victory, that mainstream media began discussing or paying any attention to the growth of Far Right extremism, ultra-nationalist groups and Neo Nazis. Some of this belated attention on the subject was no doubt used to help demonise or drag down the ‘opposition’ (as in Trump or Leave); which, if anything, made it a cynical media ploy rather genuinely sounding an alarm that needed to be sounded.
But Thomas Mair – again, a man that some embarrassed outlets tried to downplay as a ‘mentally ill’ loner – is a perfect example of how dangerous the Far Right is: not just in terms of it breeding an individual willing to go out and brutally, even sadistically, murder a woman on the street, but in terms of how international and interconnected it is.
As Tom Pride reported, back in June, ‘Convincing evidence is being published outside the UK which shows Mair was such a long-term far-right political activist he was known even to the FBI for his political activities.’
He was also under surveillance from MI5 from as far back as 2000, with both agencies investigating the activities of Far Right or Neo-Nazi organisations.
According to the US-based Southern Poverty Law Center, ‘an FBI informer who infiltrated British far-right groups in the late 1990s and early 2000s has revealed he had several meetings with Jo Cox’s alleged killer and other Far Right activists in the UK – who, at the time, were establishing links with Far Right extremists in the United States.’
According to records obtained by the SPLC, Mair was also a committed supporter of the National Alliance (NA), which was the preeminent White Power/Neo-Nazi organisation in the United States for decades. The NA was described as being ‘explicitly genocidal in its ideology’; NA materials called for, among other things, the eradication of Jews and other races and the creation of an all-white homeland.
Mair is also known to have acquired literature on building improvised weapons, explosives, and incendiaries, according to records.
The same records also suggest the purchase of Ich Kampfe – a handbook written by Adolf Hitler and distributed to all Nazi Party members.
Mair was also a subscriber to ‘S. A. Patriot’, a South African magazine published by the pro-apartheid group called the White Rhino Club. He also appears to have been connected to the Springbok Club, itself a sister organisation to something called the London ‘Swinton Circle‘. Both are members of something called the ‘Patriotic Forum’.
The Swinton Circle, which connects right-wing ‘patriots’ and appears to have links to right-wing Conservative Party individuals, is a curious organisation, which among others things has proposed to ‘Deport immigrants to Africa’. Chairman Allan Barrie Robertson is also founder/editor of Tough Talking from the Right, a newsletter which, aside from entirely demonising refugees, migrants, Muslims and Europe, has also campaigned against gay marriage and against climate change “scaremongering” (all of which precisely can be defined as Breitbart and Steve Bannon territory).
Mair has also been shown showing loyalty to the infamous Europe-wide Neo-Nazi group ‘Blood and Honour’.
What this all demonstrates is that Mair, and many Far Right adherents like Mair, have long, preexisting embroilment in Neo-Nazi ideology and networks of extreme Far Right groups – and that things like Brexit and the EU are merely small parts of their overall worldview or agenda, which they latch onto as much as possible in order to gain legitimacy for their views. For example, there are a lot of White Nationalists and extremists in the United States who would’ve simply latched on to the Donald Trump campaign because it gave them a sense of legitimacy and allowed them a rare pathway into mainstream politics and discourse.
The pro-Brexit campaign in the summer was already being infiltrated by Neo-Nazi activists prior to Jo Cox’s murder, and not just in the shape of Britain First or the EDL. Away from the more respectable (I say ‘respectable’ as in being couched in politics and economics and not race or Aryan ideology) campaigns of Boris Johnson and co, influential BNP member Mark Collet was found out on the streets campaigning for Leave, for example, as was the prominent Brexit campaigner Eva van Housen, a woman best known for being covered in Nazi swastika tattoos.
The online response to the UK Referendum result demonstrated clearly that the White Supremacist upsurge is an international movement and not confined to small, localised concerns: and that Thomas Mair therefore should be properly viewed in that international context and not just as the small-town loner that right-wing newspapers like to pretend he is.
“This is VICTORY DAY, brothers,” wrote Andrew Anglin, the editor of the Far Right, anti-Semitic (and not even British) website, Daily Stormer, at the time of the Brexit result. “Nothing can stop us now. But the fact is, brothers: nothing ever could stop us. God and nature are on our side. The stars themselves declare our ULTIMATE VICTORY over the (((forces of darkness and evil))).”
“The vote by Brits to exit the European Union is encouraging for White Separatists,” the ‘National Action’ Chairman Will Williams wrote on the day of Brexit. “‘Brexit’ was driven by nationalism and rejection of non-White refugees flooding into Great Britain.’ He goes on to talk about “responsible whites” wanting to live only among their own kind.
With a relentless stream of hate-filled, racist propaganda like that from Far Right or more palatable ‘Alt-Right’ platforms, and an equally relentless array of fear-mongering and divisive tactics from right-wing newspapers, it isn’t surprising that someone like Thomas Mair would be influenced into taking action. The weeks leading up to the EU Referendum in particular were a highly divisive, toxic time that in which right-wing media (both mainstream and ‘alt’) were amplifying racial, cultural and political tension and division.
As the excellent Undercover Info blog suggested at the time, ‘The media also share the guilt in Mair’s alleged crime – in particular the right-wing, jingoistic and xenophobic, refugee-hating press’.
And some of the extreme online response – both to Brexit and to the murder of Jo Cox – demonstrated just how extreme and dehumanising the Far Right world-view is. In that worldview – which this year the mainstream media has finally acknowledged the widespread existence of – someone like Jo Cox was entirely expendable and not deserving of sympathy or even life: she was simply a “Lefty” politician who advocated for remaining in the European Union, and therefore was a legitimate target for extreme violence.
And, in the context of the right-wing, xenophobic newspapers, the fact is that, even months after Brexit and Jo Cox’s murder, section of the press continue to follow a very divisive strategy and hardline nationalist language, as was evidenced by the way High Court judges were branded ‘Enemies of the People’ for interpreting constitutional law in favor of parliament having a right to examine the terms of Brexit.
Even after what happened in June, they’re still playing that game, still playing with that kind of language.
I suggest that the merciless murder of Jo Cox in June should remain a serious warning about the dangers of this perceived ‘rise’ of the Far Right (which Marine Le Penn in France has called the dawn of “a new world”) – a danger that people would be wisest not to continue to play down as being just a matter of ‘national pride’ or innocent patriotism nor even as some great ‘anti establishment’ fightback against a ‘New World Order’.
Because Thomas Mair wasn’t just a sad loner; he was the product of a covert international network of groups that have been waiting for their moment for many years.
I think the Far left is more dangerous and worrisome than the so called “Far Right”. In this case, I believe the perpetrator is mentally ill, and would have committed an act of violence whether or not they were involved with politics. The left wing media loves to use the term “home grown terrorism” . These actions are not motivated by ideology, as much as they are individual insanity, and are in contrast to the form of Islamic terrorism. Anything they can do to deflect from the migrant crisis.
Although we are all one race we come from, and still adhere to, a tribal system of existence which means we will always be reacting one way or another to our world and its events. There will always be a left, a right and a somewhere in the middle, which we will see as our tribe and want to be part of it. Our desire to be part of a group, for whatever reason, be it social, political, economic, religious etc, is a strong force. It all boils down to how convincing an argument the various groups make to get us on side.
Much of the drive towards a tribal allegiance arises from a sense of justice, or lack thereof. We are reacting to our feelings of being left out, ignored, picked on, and so we gravitate towards those groups who feel the same and proclaim to want to change the systems that make us feel this way. Sadly our seeking out of similar minded people often cuts us off from those that think differently, divides us, closes down open dialogue and negotiation, which can lead to conflict if we feel threatened.
Mair very obviously belonged to the far right tribe. He immersed himself in its ideology and probably did not look outside that bubble. He obviously viewed the current power structure as a threat and lashed out to make a stand. He probably felt there was no justice due to his tribe being in the minority within this power structure. None of this of course is justification for taking another’s life, I’m just trying to show how tribal dynamics played its part in this story.
Personally I think Mair is a dangerous symptom not the problem. The problem lies with not addressing inequality, exclusion and injustice. By tackling these things we are less likely to feel that our tribe is under threat and therefore less likely to react badly. We will always have tribes, its in our DNA, it’s how we survived for so long, but if we are to create peace either locally or globally we need to change the systems that create divisions. It may sound simplistic but the first thing we need to address is the economic inequality of our world which is designed to keep populations under control. It is built to be divisive through exclusion and therefore builds on a feeling of injustice, setting tribes against one and other. The world needs to set up a new economic and monetary system that prevents the majority of the wealth being extracted by the 1%. We need a system free from debt, which shares resources, both natural and created, fairly for all that can finally eradicate poverty and allow all people to flourish. Only when we flourish together will we feel a sense of justice, feel included and therefore less likely to lash out at each other.
It may sound like I am advocating some form of communism but I’m really not, communism was too easily corrupted at the top by greed and power lust with the sole aim of controlling the masses rather than actually helping them. I think I’m promoting something more akin to Gaddafi’s Libya or the Zeitgeist movement. Both of these systems think outside the box and realise we are simply repeating the past mistakes over and over again. No real progress is being made; we are repackaging old systems creating an illusion of change. We’re being kept on a see-saw of left and right, rich and poor, included and excluded, with the inevitable reactions against whichever one has the perceived upper hand at the time. We need to build new systems that will allow us to live together, side by side, in our tribes without feeling threatened or oppressed.
“The trouble today (1960) is that the communist world understands unity but not liberty, while the free world understands liberty but not unity. Eventually the victory may be won by the first of the two sides to achieve the synthesis of both liberty and unity.” – Salvador de Madariaga (1886-1978) Spanish writer
The late Spanish writer, were he alive today, might be talking about striking a capitalist-socialist balanced (synthesis) model of government. Economist Henry George was one of the most popular men on Earth decades ago after writing about the economic model of a “single tax” or land tax, and had a large number of admirers including the great Russian writer (War and Peace, Anna Karenina) Leo Tolstoy.
Henry Steele Commager had this to say about George’s wildly popular 1879 book “Progress and Poverty”: “Few other books and certainly no other economic treatise exercised a comparable influence in the world at large.”
If interested, people can find “Henry George School of Social Sciences” channel on YouTube for detailed presentations on how Henry George’s land (single) tax works, examples where it has been established with verified encouraging results in many cities and municipalities, while showing great promise as a much improved economic model worthy of serious and wide consideration. The “single, land tax” model represents the “new system that will allow us to live together” that you mentioned.
Thanks Jerry: I love that you just showed up and plopped a measurable solution on the table, with directions and references – instead of just whingeing about the Far Right like I was doing.
That’s a really great comment, Kat, thanks. And I agree wholeheartedly with most of what you’re saying. And also that the ‘tribes’, as you put it, are probably being deliberately played off against each other in a divide-and-conquer game to stop common people uniting properly. And that’s kind of what I was getting at in a previous post about the protests in America and specifically how the original Occupy protest movement really should’ve or could’ve been an important moment, as it wasn’t sectarian or tribal but was purely about the 99%/1% equation. But for whatever reason, that movement didn’t seem to accomplish anything or go anywhere. Instead, the ‘resistance’ has simply fractured again into tribal paradigms, where, for example, people on the Left who want social justice and progress are NEVER going to unite with people on the Far Right – and nor should they.
I also think that, as much as we might want to oppose or resist our perceived ‘enemies’ at the top of the pyramid, we have to be careful not to automatically support or accept whoever else happens to fighting that battle too: because not everyone is fighting for the same reasons or the same outcome. And I do not subscribe to the whole ‘enemy of my enemy is my friend’ thing: I have no tolerance or sympathy for people on the Far Right or people who subscribe to those kinds of ideologies. As far as my sensibilities are concerned, they are just as much the enemy as the supposed corrupt system they think they’r fighting against – and probably more so, in fact.
In terms of communism/socialism or Zeitgeist/Gaddafism, I think Jerry Peacemaker is right: what we should – and probably will eventually – evolve towards is a perfect synthesis between Democratic Socialism and moderate Capitalism, with no sacrifice of liberty. Some of the Scandinavian countries seem to be particularly good at that, and people like Bernie Sanders have openly suggested them as a model. It’s worth remembering also the President Roosevelt wasn’t a million miles away from that kind of thinking either and is even regarded by many as having been a Socialist.
To end on a positive note, I feel like that is probably the natural direction we’re going to evolve in politically, because popular consciousness – especially among young people – seems to already be on that trajectory.
The problem – among many problems – with the ‘Far Right’ is that they have absolutely no interest in any of that, nor in the common good.