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National Tradition = Nationalism?

Spotted on Facebook:
Person A: can't understand why everybody isn't a morris dancer. You're missing out more than you could ever imagine!
Person B: The whole BNP/Nationalist association would be the first thing that puts me off.

erm... am I missing something here? BNP/Nationalist association?

OK, there are some utterly stuck up pretentious whatsits within Morris. I had one give me a long lecture on how Morris should look, including a fundamental criticism of the style of 2 of the sides I dance with (not entirely sure how he thought that would bring me round to his viewpoint), while I was "young an impressionable". Well, I suppose he certainly made an impression.

And, yes, being based on British traditions you are going to have a link to nationalism, but that's like saying having a bonfire on November 5th makes you a nationalist.

I'm fairly sure I know more left of centre Morris dancers than right of centre ones, let alone people that extreme on the right, but admittedly there are a large number of people in Morris I've never discussed politics with.

Of all the people who have sent me BNP propaganda (not entirely sure why people think a socialist would want BNP propaganda, but apparently I must give off that sort of vibe - somewhat worrying really), only one is a Morris dancer, so yes there are Morris dancing BNP supporters. However, saying that's a BNP association would be like saying there was an association between living in Farmhouses and the BNP, because Nick Griffin lives in one (at least according to Wikipedia he does).

The mind boggles...


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
13th Sep, 2009 18:18 (UTC)
Apparently the BNP and other similar organisations have recently been advising its members to get involved in things like Morris dancing. Folk Against Fascism has been formed recently to campaign against this. You can sign up for their mailing list on their website (though I've not received any mail yet from this; the campaign's still in its infancy) and they have a group on Facebook which gives some more information.
13th Sep, 2009 18:59 (UTC)
Oh, that's what that was all about.

I ignored it when it went around. I may strongly disagree with the views of the BNP, but I think they've got a right to express those views and most anti-facist things going around have always seemed to lean heavily to denying that right.

Their facebook page (which I've now looked at), highlights 2 major issues:

Firstly, the BNP encouraging their members to take part in English traditions and even revive traditions and St George's day celebrations, etc. I don't personally agree with the BNPs motivations for this, but I feel they're quite within their rights to do so and have no objection to this. I just won't take part in any of them.

The issues of funding events is an interesting one though. I shall certainly keep an eye out for funding from Steadfast Trust and the English Fair Fund and try to avoid events using it. With regards to the use of morris sides names who have performed at these events for publicity, is this something that's actually happened or just speculation?

Although I agree with them on the second point, the first point makes me unsure about where they stand on the speaking out against the BNPs views vs denying them the right to express those views fine line. As such I'm unsure whether I'm happy to support them.

Perhaps their website might make things clearer though when it comes along.
13th Sep, 2009 20:37 (UTC)
Well, that comment you report seems to suggest that people are already beginning to think "involvement in English folk customs = xenophobia/racism/far right views." My hope is that Folk Against Fascism can do some high profile publicity stuff to spread the word that the majority of people involved in the folk world don't think like this. People are free to hold views I disagree with, but I don't want the population as a whole to assume that because I'm out there dancing, I hold those views, too.
13th Sep, 2009 21:05 (UTC)
Fair point (although that may be partially due to person A sending links to FAF?)

...and by the looks of things, they're getting more press coverage than the original BNP campaign.

It seems that's all they're doing at the moment, so fairy snuff, I'll join the list/facebook group and hope they don't go all anti-platform (can always leave if they do).
13th Sep, 2009 20:58 (UTC)
Yes, this.
13th Sep, 2009 19:21 (UTC)
In the US the fascist/Nazi/white supremacist connections are more with Scottish dancing -- they tend to show up more at Scottish/Highland festivals, and don't know much from Morris dancing. (A small blessing.)
13th Sep, 2009 20:31 (UTC)
It quite interesting that the BNP seem to be focusing on English traditions with this.

Guess that must be where they're after the votes.
13th Sep, 2009 19:23 (UTC)
for some strange reason I'm tempted to suggest we add each other on facebook, partly to see what you post, and partly to see what you say about what I post :op

on this though, morris dancing.... I have nothing against any other form of culture, but lets be honest, in terms of being "cool", this is way down the list....
13th Sep, 2009 20:14 (UTC)
Most of what I post on facebook is feed from lj, twitter or other similar things, but you are welcome to add me if you like

13th Sep, 2009 20:34 (UTC)
lets just say that censored is me....
(Deleted comment)
13th Sep, 2009 20:16 (UTC)
From my experience of folk, your assumptions would be far more along the right lines.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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