American White Supremacist Groups Have History of International Conflict
Victory in Cotterill's "white fight" may seem far away, but he has a plan. He wants to help build up the British National Party (BNP) from its relatively weak position into a major political force in the United Kingdom, along the lines of extreme-right parties like France's National Front or Austria's Freedom Party.
American extremists have been willing to accept or at least try out this electoral strategy because the BNP is so clearly racist to its core.
"It is now time to give Americans of British heritage ... the opportunity to hear a real racial-nationalist message from the old country," one Scottish organizer explained to an audience at an AFBNP meeting. "That message is coming from the BNP and the BNP only."
In Britain, the BNP bars non-whites from membership and advocates "voluntary resettlement" of "non-white immigrants."
A former BNP member, David Copeland, killed three people and injured over 100 others in a 1999 London bombing campaign against blacks, Muslims and gays. The party has distributed lists of people who are supposedly part of a Jewish conspiracy. BNP leader Nick Griffin is a former member of Britain's neo-Nazi National Front and a founder of the neofascist International Third Position.
"I look forward to the day," says Griffin, "that Britain returns to being a White, Christian country."
Money and Politics in Great Britain
What the BNP needs most is money. Merely to run for parliament, British candidates must put down a deposit of £500 (about $800). If they do not poll at least 5% of the vote, the government keeps the deposit.
Further, under current media rules, political parties must field candidates in 50 parliamentary districts to qualify for free television and radio air time; they cannot buy ads as in the U.S.
Thus, minor political parties like the BNP — which has never had a member elected to parliament — have a strong need for deposit money just to get off the ground.
Thanks to the AFBNP, that money is now flowing. Each of the AFBNP's members pays $10 or more in dues every month.
Since the founding of the AFBNP in January 1999, there also have been 19 meetings, averaging 80-100 attendees who pay $10 to get in and then donate an average of $10 more. AFBNP organizers have bragged about miscellaneous checks, including ones for $10,000 and $16,000.
Since 1999, then, the AFBNP probably has raised $85,000 — and very likely much more.
That is enough to have a real effect on BNP fortunes, and the party knows it. It was no coincidence that BNP leader Nick Griffin made a fundraising trip to the United States a month before Britain's May 2000 parliamentary elections.
"Racially aware Americans can now contribute financially to future BNP campaigns," a Scottish BNP organizer explained to an American audience, "and know that their money is going to a worthy course — the fight for the very survival of white people in the British Isles."
With the Tories, Briefly
Mark Cotterill grew up in a world of ethnic turmoil. A Protestant reportedly born in Northern Ireland in 1961, Cotterill later moved to England, where he distributed illegal literature for the paramilitary Ulster Defence Association.
From 1978 to 1992, as the South West England organizer for the neo-Nazi National Front, he was very close to Britain's racist Skinhead movement during a period of sustained international growth and wild street violence.
Cotterill's first attempt at "entryism" came in 1992 when he joined Britain's Conservative party, comparable in views and stature to the U.S. Republican Party. Even with the Tories, Cotterill continued for months to campaign for the National Front.
A Loyalist magazine he edited during this period ran a cartoon advocating "ethnic cleansing" of Catholics in Northern Ireland. The next year, Cotterill was photographed laughing with neo-Nazi Combat 18 leader and convicted murderer Charlie Sargent.
Nonetheless, Cotterill was actually elected to a local council seat — until the Conservatives dumped him and prevented him from taking office.
Crossing the Ocean
Despite this radical history, Cotterill has been successful precisely because of his ability to build consensus. His networking in the United States began in 1993, when he visited neo-Nazi William Pierce at his National Alliance headquarters in West Virginia.
"I managed to talk to Dr. Pierce in depth," Cotterill wrote later. "I had 3 of the most interesting and enjoyable days of my life there, and I hope to make a return visit in the near future."
In 1995, Cotterill moved to the United States. He was the U.S. distributor for the British far right publication Right Now! and corresponded with future BNP leader Nick Griffin. He developed a friendship with former Klansman David Duke.
And using the pseudonym Mark Cerr, Cotterill served as the youth organizer for the Council of Conservative Citizens until he resigned following the December 1998 exposure of his identity in a special edition of the Intelligence Report.
A Party is Born
It was just after that incident that the AFBNP was born. In the Summer 1999 issue of Heritage and Destiny, Cotterill explained that the publicly owned British Broadcasting Corporation had recently raised the minimum number of districts in which parties must run candidates in order to receive free air time.
"The new conditions mean that the BNP must redouble its efforts, particularly with regard to fundraising," wrote Cotterill. "To help the BNP reach its target, an American support group for the party has been set up. 'American Friends of the BNP' was formed in January by a number of expatriate Britons."
Cotterill later indicated that one of the inspirations for the AFBNP was Noraid, the Irish Northern Aid Committee, which has reportedly raised millions of dollars from Irish-Americans for the Republican cause.
In any case, the AFBNP was successful from the beginning, quickly becoming a nexus for cooperation between American extremists. At several AFBNP meetings, donations were split with other hate groups.
Meetings have even featured speakers from foreign political parties besides the BNP, including Germany's neofascist NPD party and the Danish Racial Nationalist Movement. Cotterill also has met privately in the United States with top officials of France's neofascist National Front.
The AFBNP "is already showing the ability to bring together Americans from various different groups," Cotterill wrote in the BNP's British newsletter. This could "only help to bring some much needed unity to a fragmented and therefore nationally ineffective movement within the USA."