American White Supremacist Groups Have History of International Conflict
AFNPB members would love to see an American racial nationalist party along the lines of the BNP. For several months last year, they thought they had found one in the Reform Party, with the presidential candidacy of right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan.
Spearheaded by the AFBNP, white nationalists around the country pursued a loosely coordinated plan to nominate Buchanan and turn his campaign towards explicit racial nationalism.
"Whatever Buchanan may or may not say to the liberal media, we all know that deep down he is a genuine Nationalist," wrote Mark Cotterill in the Winter/Spring 2000 issue of Heritage and Destiny.
"For the first time in many years we have the opportunity to see a Nationalist party take off in America. Let's not miss that opportunity!"
AFBNP members had attended at least two Buchanan fundraising events, the first as early as December 1999. Reform Party leaders from Florida and Virginia spoke at AFBNP meetings in February and March. Mark Cotterill and several other racists volunteered at the Virginia Reform Party offices.
Also involved in the Buchanan campaign were the racist, yet pseudo-mainstream Council of Conservative Citizens and the explicitly revolutionary neo-Nazi National Alliance. An open connection between these groups would have been highly unlikely but for their common ties to Mark Cotterill and the AFBNP.
Overall, white racists were deeply involved in the Reform Party in California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Yet an explicitly racist Reform Party was not to be. Buchanan's campaign threw out Cotterill and other racist volunteers after their presence was exposed by the Center for New Community and other groups.
Adding insult to injury, as the racists perceived it, Buchanan nominated a black woman, Ezola Foster, to be his running mate. Cotterill felt nothing but scorn for the woman he called "the Negress."
"Buchanan is now part of the problem, and not part of the solution," Cotterill wrote in the next issue of Heritage and Destiny. "The whole notion of trying to infiltrate someone else's movement and hijack it was a bad idea, as the Buchanan/Reform Party case proved.
"Instead, what Middle America needs is a vehicle openly dedicated to White survival and White interests through legal political struggle, which is to say, what is needed is an American version of the British National Party."
Votes and Firebombs
While the AFBNP was trying to infiltrate the Reform Party in the United States, the money it was raising was paying for BNP electoral campaigns — and indirectly, perhaps, racial violence — in Britain.
Before this year's June 7 parliamentary elections in Britain, race riots broke out in economically depressed northern England between poor whites and immigrants from South Asia. Businesses were firebombed, several people were stabbed and dozens were injured.
Calling for a boycott of Asian businesses, the BNP blamed the Asians for the violence and claimed the rioting showed "the failure of the multiracial society."
The British anti-fascist publication Searchlight reported that BNP leaders met with a group of white hooligans in the hours before one of the worst riots.
Authorities accused BNP organizers of helping to instigate the violence, and BNP leader Nick Griffin was even banned from entering the city of Burnley.
In that racially polarized atmosphere, the BNP achieved its best results ever, averaging 4% in all the districts it contested (and breaking the crucial 5% threshold in five towns). Griffin, running in Oldham, the town where the rioting began, did better than any other BNP candidate.
The party's three best results, including Griffin's 16%, were in the districts where violence occurred.
Foreign Agents and the Law
Cotterill and the AFBNP have enjoyed a series of political and financial successes, but it is not clear how long their activities will continue. The AFBNP's fundraising is in apparent violation of American and possibly also British law, although neither country has publicly taken action as yet.
The U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 specifies that any "agent" or "representative" of a "foreign political party" who "solicits ... money, or other things of value for" that foreign political party must register with the Department of Justice and provide detailed records of income and expenses. Penalties for noncompliance are five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Fittingly, FARA was passed by Congress just before the Second World War to keep tabs on the large number of German Nazi Party propagandists operating in the United States. Cotterill's activities appear to be exactly the sort that FARA was meant to cover.
The BNP is a "foreign political party" and Cotterill is listed as a "Key Party Official" in a recent BNP statement. But, according to a spokesman for the Department of Justice's FARA office, neither Mark Cotterill nor the AFBNP itself are registered under the act.
Cotterill may have other problems. He has said publicly that he is married to an unidentified American woman, which could guarantee his immigration status. But there has been no sign of any woman living in his Falls Church apartment, and Cotterill has told a number of associates that he has immigration problems.
Further, in November 2000, the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act became law in the United Kingdom. Regulations concerning political donations are quite complex, and Cotterill claims that Americans can each legally send the BNP up to £200 (over $300) annually.
But the Crown Government's official summary of the act says that it "imposes restrictions on the sources of donations so as to prohibit foreign and anonymous donations to political parties." The law also appears to bar donations by foreigners to individual candidates for office, an interpretation that the AFBNP rejects.
'Our Fitting Memorial'
Whether or not Mark Cotterill and his group are allowed to continue operations, the American Friends of the British National Party is not an aberration on the political landscape. The AFBNP is merely the best example of the larger trend on the extreme right that rejects older nativist ideas for white racial solidarity across national borders.
One article in the AFBNP's Heritage and Destiny titled "Race — The Only Real Foundation for Nationalism," explained the racist dream.
"In the very long run, ten thousand years or more perhaps from today, no one will know or care what we said about Northern Ireland or the European Union," the publication said.
"Quite possibly no one will remember us or even Britain. But if the people of that far-off day can look about them and see other white people, some with hair the hue of sunlight on ripe cornfields and some with eyes the blue of midsummer's heaven, then we will have our fitting memorial."