Tony Lecomber and BNP Strategy

For some time now, convicted bomber Tony Lecomber has been the most prominent advocate of the strategy of 'Euro-Nationalism' within the BNP. It was Lecomber, who in April I994, announced to the press that there, "would be no more marches, meetings, punch ups." Last year in Spearhead he explored the threat posed to BNP ambitions by AFA's sponsorship of the Independent Working Class Association. 'Know your enemy; know yourself' is a maxim of military and political strategy.

Which is why, in order to let militant anti-fascists see themselves as the far-right do, we have taken the unprecedented step of publishing the article In full. Our comment is restricted to this editorial.

In the article Lecomber advanced the notion that AFA have "no answer" to 'new nationalism', In order to further reassure his readers, he rather betrays this self confident projection with a small but significant falsification. He claims that AFA have conceded what is tantamount to 'defeat' with the following quote from Fighting Talk: "We cannot actually prevent them attempting to enter the mainstream." Sufficiently succinct for his purposes perhaps, except that the sentence continues "...we can still deny them their just reward for doing so by entering the mainstream ourselves."

The ill concealed apprehension that despite the new strategy the AFA nemesis might still spoil it resurfaces in the glossy and influential magazine, Patriot, of which Lecomber is editor. In a lengthy critique of the failure of the strategies of far-right since the 1930s, the lead article focuses in on the 'high rate of attrition resulting from red-blooded activism' particularly In recent years. And asks: "How many people around today have been active solidly for five years? Is this because they are unsteady under fire or because we are asking the impossible?" "We must avoid engaging in aggro - not through fear of the reds as some would emotionally have it, but because it is strategically for the best. Nor will we have been chased into doorstep politics by the police or red gangs, Rather we should adopt door step politics because it Is the best way to campaign'.
Directly addressing the fears of the dissident minority it states: 'The British public naturally support our aims, We have nothing to fear from reds knocking on doors, but the suggestion that we should attack those reds in their homes shows how warped thinking can become in our circles'.
Decoded, the Patriot sermon is explicit. It is saying that though we all deny it in public, reality is we have been forced by the unrelenting 'war of attrition' into a new way. In the short term this retreat has given us respite and a chance to regroup, in the long term it might well prove politically advantageous, as it has done on the continent. In any case there is no other option. But having been terrorised off the streets, to seriously suggest that we should take advantage of the 'phony peace' to attack and provoke those very 'terrorists' in their homes is self-evidently bonkers. That such a strategy is proposed by those who live furthest from the scene of the activism is all the more galling.
It is a genuine irony that the recidivist element in the far-right find a mirror image within militant anti-fascism. The minority who pour scorn in private on the need for a political strategy, who denounce it as an adulteration or diminution of the cause, instead of addressing the situation rationally, have instead embarked on a dual strategy of chasing shadows without. and character assassination within.

They flatly reject the notion that AFA have won 'the war'. And just as perversely, appear intent on ensuring that as few as possible pro-actively engage in winning the peace. Instead of focusing on where the mass of the far-right have regrouped they rent their hair and mutter darkly of betrayal at the failure to call national mobilisations to deal with a organisations representing no more than a few dozen.
Militant anti-fascism is effective anti-fascism. It is effective or it is nothing. With the collapse of the traditional Left both within and without the Labour party (the SLP has for instance recently lost 500 of Its 620 membership in London alone, while in the same period the BNP have added two dozen new branches) the responsibility on militant anti-fascism to be aware of the bigger picture, and hold the line increases ten fold. With a few notable exceptions, AFA nationally has not lived up to its responsibility. Far too many are still sitting back in expectation of 'another Waterloo'. It is time for us all to stand up and be counted.

Featured on the front cover is Tony Lecomber, a leading BNP member who for over a decade stood firmly in the physical force tradition of fascism. A former member of the Royal Greenjackets and territorial army, he first came to prominence after a failed attempt to bomb the headquarters of the Workers' Revolutionary Party in 1985 for which he was jailed for three years. Lecomber became a familiar face to Red Action activists in London after leading a failed attack on those leaving the founding conference of Anti-Fascist Action. During the BNP's 'Rights for Whites' campaign in East London, Lecomber became involved in a whole series of incidents with AFA members. On one occasion he received a beating that was later screened on prime-time TV. He developed the uncanny knack of always ending up on the deck; so much so that he was christened 'Tarmac' within AFA ranks. In 1991 he was again imprisoned for three years, this time for an attack on a Jewish school teacher. Despite being one of the architects of the race riots in Bermondsey and Dewsbury, he was one of the first to realise that in the battle for the streets between militant anti-fascism and the BNP only the latter could end as losers.

Reproduced from RA vol 3, Issue 3, Oct/Nov '98