Based in the United Kingdom, Blood & Honour is a shadowy international coalition of racist skinhead gangs. In the United States, two rival groups claim to be affiliated with Blood & Honour. One faction, known as Blood & Honour America Division, was "reestablished" in North America by the skinhead group Volksfront in 2005 and includes skinhead, neo-Nazi and Christian Identity adherents in its ranks. The other group, which became known as Blood & Honour Council USA, was affiliated until recently with the skinhead group, the Vinlanders Social Club, but now is mainly represented by two skinheads who run a racist music label in Ohio and a racist video company in Texas.
In Its Own Words
"Eventually there will be a race war and we have to be strong enough in numbers to win it. I'll die to keep this country pure and if it means bloodshed at the end of the day, then let it be."
— Blood & Honour founder Ian Stuart Donaldson
"To achieve all of this we, and our European comrades, must above all have faith. Our enemies are strong, and presently we are relatively weak in numbers, but unbeatable in spirit. We must realize that we, and our enemies, are engaged in a struggle for the survival of the European races. If we fail we will be destroyed along with European civilization; and we must accept in our hearts, that if victory is eventually ours we must deal with our enemies in the most ruthless fashion. If we do not destroy their cancer at the root we will have to face up to its reincarnation at a later stage. We must have faith in this, our battle to the death."
— Ian Stuart Donaldson, on Blood & Honour website
Blood & Honour (B & H) emerged from the 1980s skinhead music scene in England. The group was founded in 1987 by Ian Stuart Donaldson, (who eventually dropped his last name and became known as Ian Stuart), the lead singer for the seminal hate rock band Skrewdriver. The British group's formation was driven by disillusionment with the far-right National Front, where racist music groups had previously found a home. Stuart and other skinhead leaders rebelled against what they perceived as the National Front's growing racial tolerance. They also were tired of seeing the National Front use profits from racist skinhead music for the party's own benefit.
Blood & Honour was founded at a meeting organized by Stuart and attended by several prominent racist bands, including Brutal Attack, Sudden Impact, No Remorse and Squadron, and "representatives from political parties who would normally distance themselves from each other," according to the Blood & Honour Worldwide website. Blood & Honour, named for the slogan of the Hitler youth movement, published a slick magazine with a logo that featured a three-armed swastika. It also brought together racist groups that previously had been at odds and helped spur the growth of the racist skinhead movement beyond Britain. In the United States, former Klan leader Tom Metzger — a friend of Stuart's — played a key role in building up the movement.
After the death of Stuart in a car accident in 1993, the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 (C-18), which had originally served as a kind of armed security force for B & H, managed to gain control of Blood & Honour in England. Although Combat 18 initially maintained a tight grip on the organization, by 1996 many skinhead bands were accusing Combat 18 of profiteering from their music. This growing feud caused a split in the original Blood & Honour group. One faction remained loyal to the initial idea of promoting white power through music, while the other favored a more radical approach that included terrorism and assassinations.
This split followed the group to the United States, which saw the formation of two rival Blood & Honour groups, Blood & Honour America Division and Blood & Honour USA. Both claimed to fulfill Stuart's dream of a skinhead movement.
Blood & Honour America Division, seen as the white-power music scene devotees, consists of the skinhead groups Volksfront and Troops of Tomorrow, the Christian Identity groups Christian Guard and the Daughters of Yahweh, and the neo-Nazi White Revolution, among others. (Hammerskin Nation, the network of regional Hammerskin factions historically seen as dominating the U.S. racist skinhead world, has traditionally been allied with Blood & Honour America Division, but a rift developed between the two organizations in 2009 and the Hammerskins were removed from the Blood & Honour America Division's list of their officially sanctioned affiliates.) Blood & Honour America Division also specifies that it is not affiliated with Combat 18 and does not allow C-18 members at its events.
Volksfront recently purchased several acres of land, about an hour outside St. Louis, Mo., where they constructed the Samuel Weaver Memorial Hall in honor of Randy Weaver's son, who was shot and killed by federal agents during the infamous Ruby Ridge standoff in 1992. The land and buildings serves as national headquarters both for Volksfront and Blood and Honour America Division. The group held its 2008 and 2009 national meetings, or Althings, on the new property. The events have drawn many prominent white supremacists from Blood and Honour America Divison's supporting groups, including White Revolution and its head, Billy Roper; American Front skinheads and their leader David Lynch; and English skinhead turned B & H America member Del O'Connor.
Blood & Honour USA, originally advocating a more militant approach, has been allied with several regional skinhead groups that were not Hammerskins, and sought to formalize this anti-Hammerskin stance by creating a coalition of skinheads, neo-Nazis and even Klan members called Council 28. (Twenty-eight represents Blood and Honor, since the numerals two and eight correspond with the alphabetical placement of the letters B and H.)
The inaugural meeting of what would eventually become Council 28 occurred on Nov. 15, 2003, in Logan, Ohio. Dubbed a Blood & Honour Unity Gathering, the event took place on property owned by Kevin Kislingbury, a member of Blood & Honour USA. The participants came from four skinhead groups: the Keystone State Skinheads, the Ohio State Skinheads, the Hoosier State Skinheads and Blood & Honour USA, all non-Hammerskin organizations.
A second, larger gathering was held a year later, on Nov. 20, 2004. In addition to the four original skinhead groups, the meeting included the Scioto Skins, the Imperial Klans of America, and the neo-Nazi groups Christian Defense League and the National Socialist Movement. Although many Klan groups often don't associate with skinheads, the Imperial Klans of America most likely attended because its imperial wizard, Ron Edwards, is the father of Blood & Honour USA member Steven Edwards.
The coalition officially christened itself the Blood & Honour Council, or Council 28, at a meeting on Oct. 22, 2005. The invitation-only event was organized by the Vinlanders Social Club and Kislingbury, who once again hosted the gathering at his property in Logan, Ohio. Many of the Vinlanders' co-founders had been associated with the Outlaw Hammerskins, a rogue crew formed to defy Hammerskin Nation.
In attendance were some 60 members of skinhead groups from at least eight states: Blood & Honour Ohio, Blood & Honour Texas, the Ohio State Skinheads, the Keystone State Skinheads, the New Jersey Skins, the Canyon (Arizona) State Skinheads, the Hoosier State Skinheads and the Maryland Skins. Also represented were racist music labels such as Label 56, run by a member of the Maryland State Skinheads; the Imperial Klans of America's White Rider Records; ISD Records, headed by Kislingbury; the National Alliance's Resistance Records; and the racist video company NS88 Videos, run by Blood & Honour USA's Texas coordinator Bart Alsabrook.
At the meeting, skinhead leaders decided to join forces with the National Alliance in order to use the neo-Nazi group as their political arm. They also compiled a list of enemy individuals and groups that included then-National Socialist Movement coordinator Bill White, whom they accused of being an "admitted informant," and all members of Volksfront. The council proposed adopting "more mainstream lyrics" in addition to its blatantly racist ones, with an eye toward making money off concerts for the general public. In addition, some 15 skinheads passed the mead horn, a ritual in the racist variant of the Odinist religion.
The newly formed Council 28 became instrumental in helping the Imperial Klans of America — then one of the largest Klan groups — organize its 2006 Nordic Fest, a white power festival held on the IKA's property in Dawson Springs, Ky. Two new groups were inducted at the meeting: the Confederate State Skins and the Florida State Skins. More notably, a brawl erupted between a handful of members of the National Socialist Movement and roughly 50 skinheads. Subsequent Nordic Fests have been poorly attended, though it's unclear whether the decreased turnout is a result of that incident or a civil lawsuit filed against the IKA in 2007 by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
By 2009, it was unclear whether Council 28 was still active, since the state skinhead crews that created the council stopped using the Blood & Honour name. This was the result of a truce declared between the Hammerskins and Vinlanders in 2007. In the truce announcement Vinlander co-founder Brien James wrote, "[W]e as Vinlanders are not going to use the name Blood and Honour any longer. We are going to change our support patches and other logos to reflect this very soon. We still support our friends who run ‘Blood and Honour USA.' They have been good to us as friends, and brothers, and we will always stand by them. We will just not participate in, or carry on, a conflict that started overseas, and is more senseless than the one we are ending with the HSN."
In 1998, four members of the Tampa, Fla., chapter of Blood & Honour USA — Charles Marovskis, Kenneth Hoover, James Robertson and Corey Hulse — allegedly killed two homeless men in Florida. Both Marovskis and Hoover pleaded guilty to two federal charges of second-degree murder. Robertson pleaded innocent and remains in prison on a separate murder conviction. As of late 2009, Hulse had not been captured. Police say the skinheads beat the homeless men to death because they were considered inferior and because the skinheads wanted to boost their status within the movement.