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Tank the “Do-Tank”: On Tommy Robinson’s Progressions into White Nationalism

Aaron Patrick Flanagan • Nov 07, 2013

Tommy Robinson Arrested on EDL demonstration (photo accessed via Creative Commons)

Occasionally, we come across reformed bigots who realize they must prove the sincerity of their individual conversions. Tommy Robinson — former leader of the cabal of drunks, drug addicts, football hooligans, et al that still constitutes the fractious English Defence Leauge (EDL) — recently renounced his title as clown prince of that generally coked-up horde, claiming the movement had been overrun by too many Right-wing extremists.

Duh, as it always was. Yet, this caused some to pause for the necessary proof of sincerity.

Such waiting is fruitless, though, as Tommy demonstrated via an interview posted to the news site of the international anti-Muslim movement, Dispatch International, on 11/4. In the piece, Tommy reveals his plan to launch “a ‘Do-Tank’ not a ‘Think Tank’,” and that his new organization will provide the plan to avert an otherwise inevitable “race war.” In doing so, Robinson puts forth anti-immigrant rhetoric that for decades has been offered by more straight-forward white nationalist bigots:

“We could go on demonstrating in the streets for the next 20 years until there is a race war. I don’t want a conflict because it is our estates that are going to burn. It will be our families that are going to be attacked. We need to give it one more last chance before that happens [….] White working class children in this country are the biggest underachievers in school. They are doing even worse than Muslim kids. That has come from an attack on their culture. They don’t know who they are. They don’t know where they come from. That has all been bred out of them. We have got to give them pride in who they are and pride in their community. You shouldn’t be ashamed for one minute of who you are.” [Emphasis paper’s own.]

Peter Brimelow, the British immigrant who runs the virulently anti-immigrant hub of white nationalism, VDARE.com, here in the United States, captures these same anxieties in his 1995 opus Alien Nation. Here, he discusses his argument for a moratorium on immigration to the US:

“But then it occurred to me: Suppose I had proposed more immigrants who look like me [instead of a moratorium]. So what? As late as 1950, somewhere up to nine out of ten Americans looked like me. That is, they were of European stock.

And in those days, they had another name for this thing dismissed so contemptuously as ‘the racial hegemony of white Americans.’

They called it ‘America’.”

Tommy calls it “England.”

This loss of “racial hegemony,” read “native white identity,” that Brimelow so directly bemoans is one of the major factors that Tommy feels could lead to “a race war.” After all, Tommy, ever the accredited and award-winning social scientist, proves that “white working class children” are flunking out of school because of “attack[s] on their culture,” i.e. a traditionally white Britain. Tommy’s “Do-Tank,” it seems, will directly address such crises. And by addressing them, Tommy is rolling out the old white nationalist handbook that Martin Webster and John Tyndall of the National Front used to stoke tensions in towns like Leicester and Bradford in the 1970s and 80s, and that Nick Griffin and the British National Party used to seize upon anxieties in towns like Oldham, Dagenham, and Burnley in the 1990s and 2000s — white working class people should fear the coming tide of immigration that will consume and destroy their families and culture.

These were the same anxieties that John Tanton, the father of the modern anti-immigrant movement here in the United States, sought to capitalize on when he declared:

“I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

Some have wondered aloud recently, and usually rhetorically, about whether or not Tommy has progressed beyond his simplistic hatred of Muslims and Islam. In a way, he has.

The Dispatch International writers who interviewed him note that Tommy realizes he “needed to leave the Nazi ‘morons’ who had taken over parts of the movement and choose a different path.” And he is, now echoing the “educated” white nationalists who have for decades sought to use the issue of immigration to access cultural mainstreams through the codification of bigotries that are immediately recognizable within other political contexts.

From this, we can see what Tommy truly intends to do, and it’s up to all those who wish to exist peacefully in a multi-racial Britain to ensure that his efforts and those of all extremists duly tank.

For more, visit HOPE not hate.

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