Neo-Nazis' international connections

Issue 

By Mikael Karlsson

In international neo-Nazism today, there are two major positions, the "first position" and the "third position".

The first are political parties like National Front in Britain, Front National in France, the Republicans in Germany, MSI in Italy, Vlams Blok in the Netherlands and Sverigedemokraterna in Sweden. "Umbrella organisations" like Liberty Lobby in the US and World League of Freedom and Democracy are in this group also, to name a few. The total number in the first category is large. The third position is more interesting, though.

Third position organisations are found in Sweden and other European countries. Sweden's history of neo-Nazism up to the mid-1980s bears comparison with Australia's, because the situation and development are similar.

In Australia, there are not huge problems with these organisations. Terrorist attacks on people or property are minimal, and neo-Nazi marches are driven away by anti-Nazis.

Sweden in the early 1980s also had few big problems with neo-Nazis. There were few fascist parties, mostly relics from the beginning of the century. The members were as old as the parties. They did not do much bar the occasional press release and demonstration. All this, however, was about to change.

No-one can say exactly when the change came. The Swedish equivalent to ASIO maintained for a long time that there was no change. Journalists and anti-Nazis say that the change came in the early 1980s.

Sweden was lucky enough not to have had terrorist action for a long time. Perhaps this was one of the reasons no-one was prepared when all hell broke loose in the early 1980s.

In 1980, the Bologna railway station in Italy was blown up by the Italian neo-fascist organisation NAR (Armed Revolutionary Cells); 85 people died and 250 were wounded. Italian intelligence started to hunt NAR members. Many fled abroad.

Roberto Fiore, the leader of an NAR cell, fled to London, where he was safe-housed by members of the National Front. Fiore helped his British comrades, among other things, to fire-bomb a left-wing bookshop and gave the British Nazis something they had wanted for a long time — a modern terrorist's knowledge.

The English National Front member Thomas Edwards (who acted as an unofficial representative of the National Front) lived in Sweden in the mid-1980s. Edwards met with the Swedish skinheads Goran Gustavsson and Peter Rindell, and is one of the key people in the founding of the organisation Rock Against Communism, RAC. RAC brought another Briton, Ian Stuart Donaldson and his band Screwdriver, to Sweden on several occasions.

RAC developed into Vitt Ariskt Motstand, Swedish for White Aryan Resistance, WAR, nicked from Tom Metzger's group of the same name in the USA.

Swedish WAR soon became a nasty ingredient in Swedish society. It took its politics from a US organisation, Silent Brotherhood . The FBI called it "The Order".

The Order assassinated the Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg in 1984, among numerous other acts of terrorism after its formation in the early 1980s by Robert Jay Mathews from Arizona. Its purpose was to create "Aryan" guerilla fighters to take on ZOG, the name used by neo-Nazis to describe governments, Zionist Occupational Government. This tag is based on the conspiracy theory that all governments are part of a huge Zionist world conspiracy.

The Order committed acts of terrorism and armed robberies and organised paramilitary training of members. On December 7, 1984, 200 heavily armed FBI agents surrounded a building housing members of the Order. After a fight lasting 36 hours, Mathews followers' surrendered; he was killed in the fight.

The Order is one of the groups that the Swedish WAR uses as an inspiration. Now most members of the Swedish WAR are in custody serving long terms for charges varying from murder to armed robbery. But new followers join the organisation all the time. After all this, the Swedish equivalent to ASIO has finally made a statement that maybe there is a problem.

David Greason, author of I was a Teenage Fascist, says contacts exist between groups in Australia and Europe. For instance, in Australia a group called World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD) is not a purely neo-Nazi organisation, but it is extreme right. It has member organisations in more than 100 countries worldwide and links with neo-Nazi groups like ARENA in El Salvador, Tecos in Mexico, MSI in Italy and CEDADE in Spain.

WLFD used to be called World Anti Communist League (WACL) and was formed as a merger between the Asian Peoples Anti Communist League (Asia) and Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (Europe) in 1967. At the end of the 1970s, the English Nazi and race biologist Roger Pearson was elected international president of WACL.

In mid-1980, the former US general John K. Singlaub was elected chairman, and he tried to reshape WACL a bit. The worst Nazi sects were expelled, but its ideas remained the same. During its international congress in 1990, the Belgian General Robert Close was elected chairman and it changed its name to the World League for Freedom and Democracy.

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