| A lunatic Chaplin imitator|
and his greatest fans
|First as tragedy|
|Then as farce|
“”Tykes gassing Kikes is our motto.
|—Yorkshire branch of NA|
National Action is a neo-Nazi extremist organisation based in the UK that is officially considered by the British government as a terrorist organization. NA is known for its youth-focused recruitment strategy, including seeking students within universities. National Action has a predominantly-northern membership, with between 60 and 100 members concentrated in Yorkshire, according to The Sunday Times.
As of December 2016, the group is a proscribed terrorist organisation (the first far-right organisation to have been so): this means that it is now illegal to be a supporter of the organisation. However, those in the know such as Hope not Hate point out that this misses the point – what was really needed before proscription was a fair application of already-existing law.
“”The source of all of the conflict in society is all the different racial groups that have been brought here. They have been brought here to create a people who are deracinated and easier to control.
|—Benjamin Raymond, National Alliance leader|
The founders of National Action from 2013 were formerly involved with several far-right groups such as English National Resistance, Autonomous Nationalists UK and BNP-Youth (YBNP). One of the founders, Benjamin Raymond, had created a political party of his own called the Integralist Party based on the fascist ideology of Oswald Mosley. Members of National Action claim that these organisations are/were (some are defunct) not extreme enough, and that NA is "more radical than the BNP". Unlike the BNP, National Action is not interested in moderating its racist image to attract popular support. For example, a typical NA leaflet reads: "Cleanse Britain of parasites. The white man is on the march – white power", while National Action’s website contains very crude racist and anti-Semitic imagery and quotations by Adolf Hitler; one comment states: "To be on our side, a nationalist must be openly racist and openly anti-Semitic. There is no legitimate reason to not be a racist or an anti-Semite in 2014. The battlefield today is race". Its motto is also: "For a Free White Britain". Alex Davies, another founder of the extremist group has openly claimed NA wants to exterminate Jews. National Action therefore is watched by the British police anti-terror squad who regard them as a threat to national security. However it is unclear if Davies is being serious, since he has claimed his own intentions and those of National Action's are to "piss people off". NA also makes prolific use of social media such as Twitter, where it promotes anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Jooz being behind 9/11, and has promoted lone wolf terrorist attacks online.
Despite this background, Raymond still seems convinced that he can get decent, university-educated chaps to join NA and professionalise the far-right in the UK. In June, 2014, Alex Davies, a then first-year Philosophy undergraduate, was expelled from Warwick University for his racist views and comments about killing Jews. A current senior spokesperson for the organisation is Jack Renshaw, a former BNP Youth activist currently facing criminal charges over incitement to racial hatred.
Stirring up trouble
In October 2014, Garron Helm, a National Action member from Merseyside, was sentenced to four weeks in prison for sending an antisemtic message via Twitter to Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger. The following month, following Helm's release, 10 National Action activists were arrested in dawn raids on suspicion of conspiring to cause criminal damage to Berger's office; they were all bailed. National Action's campaign against Berger was supported by US-based neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, which offered advice on how to set up untraceable Twitter accounts in order to send abuse.
In August 2015, the group attempted to hold a "White Man March" in Liverpool. Strong opposition from the Anti-Fascist Network forced organisers to cancel the march before taking refuge in Lime Street Station. Tensions were raised by a letter to Mayor Joe Anderson threatening race riots; National Action claimed this was a forgery by an agent provocateur.
Run up to proscription
Following Brexit, National Action was linked to a propaganda campaign in West Yorkshire and Merseyside where Neo-Nazi posters were placed on lampposts. In November 2016, The Sunday Times reported that National Action was supporting Thomas Mair, the murderer of Batley and Spen Labour MP Jo Cox. National Action has altered its listing on Google to state: "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain!", a slogan Mair had said to a court when asked to give his name following Cox's murder.
The organisation is currently the most active in Yorkshire, where half of referrals to the government's anti-extremism strategy have been from the far-right. It has promoted the conspiracy theories that Jews were behind the September 11 attacks, and has labelled Cox as the "patron saint of [Asian] grooming gangs", according to The Sunday Times. At a secret meeting of the Yorkshire Forum, Jack Renshaw, a spokesman for the group said that they need to adopt a "killer instinct". According to him: "As nationalists, we need to learn from the mistakes of the national socialists and we need to realise that, no, you do not show the Jew mercy".
The group is to be the first far-right proscribed as a terrorist organisation under the Terrorism Act 2000, making it a criminal offence to support or be a member as of Friday 16 December 2016. In laying an order for National Action's proscription, Home Secretary Amber Rudd described the group as "a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology".
After being proscribed it used a range of pseudonyms and front organisations. Scottish Dawn was set up as its Scottish branch while NS131 (National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action) ran a website devoted to Nazi street art. Both of them were banned by the British government in 2017.
In June 2018, Jack Renshaw, allegedly a member of the group, pled guilty to planning to murder British Labour Party MP Rosie Cooper.
Ironically National Action has been attacked by other white supremacist, skinhead and neo-Nazi groups who view the organization as too provocative or extreme, which they regard will turn the British public away from voting for 'credible' (that is, "I'm not racist, but...") far-right political parties such as the BNP. NA has only so far received support from the more race-obsessed National Front and the Hitler-fanatical British Movement. There are recurrent debate threads on Stormfront whether NA tactics or the organisation itself is genuine.
Some white nationalist conspiracy theorists such as Dan Rayner have claimed NA is "Jewish infiltrated".
Other groups of the same name
"National Action" is a name neo-Nazi groups like using, e.g. an unrelated group of this name in Perth, Western Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
- Antipodean Resistance, NA's fellow Commonwealth country counterpart from the land down under
- Atomwaffen Division, NA's American counterpart
- Gadher, Dipesh (27 November 2016). "Neo-Nazis face ban after Cox murder". The Sunday Times. (subscription required).
- "National Action ban: HOPE not hate statement". Hope not Hate. 12 December 2016.
- Nye, Catrin (1 September 2015). "Radicals: The Proud Racist". BBC News – via YouTube.
- Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK.
- Meet New Neo-Nazi Group National Action Which Just Wants To 'Piss People Off.
- Warwick Students' Rally Against Neo-Nazi Group
- Fascist leader leaves Warwick
- Hamilton, Fiona (28 November 2016). "Hitler's only fault showing mercy to Jews, youth leader told secret meeting". The Times. (subscription required).
- Perraudin, Frances (21 October 2014). "Man jailed for antisemitic tweet to Labour MP". The Guardian.
- Collins, Matthew (March–April 2015). "National Action: Young, Nazi and Dangerous". Hope Not Hate (18).
- Traynor, Luke (8 November 2014). "Neo-Nazis target Jewish MP as police arrest 10 for 'anti-Semitic' protest". Daily Mirror.
- Dysch, Marcus (30 October 2014). "Neo-Nazi gave out internet abuse tips in campaign against Luciana Berger". The Jewish Chronicle.
- "National Action's Zack Davies guilty of attempted murder". Channel 4 News. 25 June 2015.
- "Liverpool: White Man March Neo-Nazis Cower In Station Depot After Being Pelted With Rubbish, Then Cancel Event". The Huffington Post. 15 August 2015.
- Hamilton, Fiona (28 November 2016). "Hitler's only fault showing mercy to Jews, youth leader told secret meeting". The Times.
- Elgot, Jessica (12 December 2016). "Neo-Nazi group National Action banned by UK home secretary". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- Banned neo-Nazi terrorist groups still recruiting as aliases of National Action, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, 29 Sep 2017
- National Action: Six alleged neo-Nazis appear in court charged with joining banned terrorist group, Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, 9 Jan 2018
- Six held in far-right group National Action investigation, BBC, 3 Jan 2018
- Man pleads guilty to plot to murder Labour MP Rosie Cooper, Nadia Khomami, The Guardian, 12 Jun 2018