National Action (NA) is the product of the political and ideological demise of the British National Party (BNP).
Following the birth of the Islamophobic street movement, the English Defence League (EDL), the BNP’s former leader, Nick Griffin, privately lamented that his party was suffering a decline of militancy and of young leadership.
The BNP’s youth wing (Young British National Party), which had changed its name numerous times over the years, provided Griffin with some impetus for remodelling the party’s “cadre” and he openly encouraged its members to attempt to seize control of BNP branches and bodies that were growing either stagnant or irrelevant as the party started to vanish from the political landscape.
The BNP’s abysmal failure to capitalise on the brutal murder, in May last year, of soldier Lee Rigby, and Griffin’s demoralising attempts to make amends with the erstwhile “Zionist conspirators” of the EDL during that summer were a watershed.
Some of the disaffected - frustrated with what appeared to be a blatant attempt by the new BNP leadership to wind down confrontational activities - reacted by branching out in a seemingly autonomous movement that paints itself as some kind of “Identitarian”, ultra-nationalist street gang, copying similar movements in Europe.
NA is heavily aligned with a plethora of groups, including both the North West Infidels and the South East Alliance, that are clinging to Griffin’s coat-tails.
Politics and ideology
Politically, NA advocates self-styled “revolutionary nationalism”, heavily influenced by its forerunners in a similar group named “Resistance” that grew out of the YBNP under its leader, Kieran Trent, in 2012 but never got off the ground.
The group has produced several readable if confused documents on its ideas and ideology and has made large-scale use of professional social media and web forums.
Early press coverage of NA overestimated both its size and academic provenance, even though it had a habit of acting provocatively around university campuses where it had members, including one of its founders, Alex Davies, who was busy failing a philosophy degree at Warwick University around the time the group first came to prominence.
Publicity hungry, NA has geared up its activities in the last six months by causing confrontations on demonstrations or by targeting individuals and premises. In November 2014, a series of homes belonging to NA activists in Liverpool were raided by police and one member, Garron Helm, was later jailed for threatening Jewish MP, Luciana Berger.
Other fascist outfits in Europe, Russia and the USA influence the group and its publicity-seeking provocations. Davies, for example, told the Daily Mirror earlier this year: “I don’t want to say what I’d like to do to Jews - it’s too extreme.”
Lurking in the background is Larry Nunn, a former BNP organiser from the Northampton area. Nunn is better known in the far right as “Max Musson” and is the main figure behind a website, Western Spring, that energetically promotes vile far right extremism.
In August, people aligned to a number of groups in and around National Action and Western Spring staged a training and survival camp called the Sigurd Outlaw Camp where they trained in martial arts and undertook weapons practice with knives.
- Formed: 2013
- Leaders: Alex Davies, Ashley Bell, Mark James and Benjamin Raymond
- Members/Activists: 30+
- Areas of Activity: London, Birmingham, Leeds, Coventry and Liverpool
- Ideology: Nazism, visceral racism, antisemitism, anti-Communism and white supremacy
Alex Davies: Recently removed from Warwick University, Davies has become a public figure for the group mainly as result of a sting operation carried out against him by the Daily Mirror.
Ashley Bell: more commonly known as Tommy Johnson, appears to have made his way into the far right via the “Straight Edge Movement” which refuses to take drugs, tobacco or alcohol whilst listening to punk music. Around the same time, he is rumoured to have tried his hand as a Hunt Saboteur in Yorkshire. Based in Leeds, in the last few years he has fallen in with both the British Movement and the National Front (NF), though he is currently persona non grata with the NF after accusations were made against him of theft from the movement. He has been referred to as the leader of National Action and is thought to be one of those behind its founding document.
Benjamin Raymond: aka Benjamin Noyles is one of the main activists in National Action. He previous far right activity was the Integralist Party which also called itself the Green Shirts. Has also spent time in the comical New British Union. Returned to the UK in January of this year after living in the United States. A huge fan of the American Renaissance Party of North America, Raymond/Noyles is the moderator of some of the more obscure nazi internet forums too.