Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The British Constitution Group in Birkenhead

According to an anti-fascist comrade over the water, the gathering was "a strange collection." On Monday afternoon, several hundred people assembled outside a court in Birkenhead and attempted to arrest a judge. The protest occurred under the banner of the "British Constitution Group." But who are they?

My comrade told me that "most of the Liverpool BNP contingent" were there, along with "plenty of suits, plenty of hippy types with tie dye and dreadlocks, some urban commandos with camouflaged faces, and some eccentric David Icke types, one holding a banner saying 'judges are lizards!'" In terms of fascists, I can recognise Liverpool BNP's current branch fundholder Karen Otty from the videos on the Wirral Globe website.

It seems Liverpool Organiser and unhinged fruitbat Mike Whitby was there too, at one point being bundled away by police when attempting to enter the court.

The event itself was for Roger Hayes, an ex-member of UKIP, and his refusal to pay council tax. This is as part of the BCG's campaign of "lawful rebellion," whereby "a variety of actions may be taken that will eventually lead to the unequivocal recognition of our constitution and the acknowledgement of the reassertion of our national sovereignty."

Hayes' sophistry in court has made him a cult hero to the lunatic fringes of the libertarian right, particularly the "freeman on the land" movement. But their absurd idea - that you only have to declare yourself unbound by common law and the state (albeit begrudgingly) accepts this - has also seeped into the far-right. Hence the circular argument over the concept on VNN when Mike Whitby claimed to have used the tactic after being dragged away for throthing at the mouth and calling everyone "communist paedophiles."

What remains to be seen is whether more will come of this than one rather oddball protest. We know from the rantings on the Liverpool BNP blog, not least Peter Tierney's, that the rainbow of conspiracy theories that are attached to such movements have support on the far-right. It is thus safe to assume that if another event occurs fascists will be found somewhere amongst the crowd.

The BCG itself cannot be identified as a fascist grouping. It is certainly reactionary, and plays into nationalist sentiments with talk of "national sovereignty" and "acts of treason" by those "conspir[ing] to transfer our national sovereignty into the hands of foreign governance." But it's use of terms such as "the shadowy elite of the supranational and criminal banking cartel" play to the conspiracists in much the same way. It thus comes across as a bizarre cross between the Tea Party and the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Ultimately, there are two things we know for certain about the British Constitution Group. One, that it attracts the attention of fascists. And two, that it is a movement of reaction, diverting people's anger and energy away from the realities of class struggle. Both points make it worth keeping an eye on.