Monday, 27 September 2010

THE 1990s, COMBAT-18, AFA & THE SWP

Red Action in action - Blood & Honour rendezvous, Hyde Park, May 27th, 1989

Exclusive by Not-A-Dinner-Party for Sons of Malcolm

In 1990 activists from Anti-Fascist Action attacked a meeting of
fascists in Kensington Library. Fascists were held in the room and
beaten severely. This was part of an ongoing campaign by AFA to smash
the far-rights ability to openly organise.

As a result of this action, the BNP launched it's own security wing,
Combat 18.

C18 was formed specifically to target the far -left. And they were
pretty successful. All around the UK leftists, the SWP in particular
came under the cosh, with their paper sales/stalls attacked on pretty
much a weekly basis. In one notorious, but far from unique example, a
SWP meeting in Glasgow was attacked as attendees left. There were
about 30 SWP members present and a handful of C18/BNP. Despite
greatly outnumbering C18, the SWPs did nothing - leaving their
people, including their local organiser, to be beaten unconscious
while they all stood around screaming in terror or running away.

The local organiser was beaten to a pulp while all of his comrades
legged it. His filofax was stolen with the names and address of
hundreds of SWP members. This led to SWPers being targeted,
threatened and attacked in their homes nationwide, including leading
members. The SWP never admit to any of this, peddling the myth that
their ANL Mark 2 "beat the nazis" with shrieked slogans and lollipop
placards alone, but the fact is they got seriously hammered. Week
after week after week. And they did nothing about it, just kept
sending their members out to get beaten on paper-sales with no means
to defend themselves (they just didnt have the type of members
capable of it and the very few they had who could were
suspended/disciplined if they even attempted to fight back).

C18 believed, just as the English Defence League do now, that the
Left was a soft target, that they could attack them with impunity.
And in the main they were correct.

However, the thing was then, just as now with the EDL, C18 could not
take any serious opposition and were battered in pretty much every
confrontation with AFA. This is despite C18 outnumbering AFA on a
national level. AFA nationwide never had more that 50 central
fighters and a periphery of a couple of hundred tops. TheBNP/C18 had
several hundred with a periphery of football hooligans that was
around a thousand or so (Chelsea Headhunters and Rangers ICF in
particular).

The security services took a very close interest in these
developments and their involvement in Combat 18 is not in any doubt.
In the early 1990's both police Special Branch and MI5 were competing
to prove their relevance in the post-cold war period. Both ran agents
in C18. Charlie Sargent, working for Special Branch led one faction.
The Sargent faction believed in mass street actions with hooligan
firms united on the streets against the Left, Republican marches etc
(much like the EDL now). Wilf Browning, working for MI5, led the
"terrorist" faction which wanted to be an elite group that would
launch an armed struggle, starting with a bombing campaign and
selective targeting of Leftists, politicians and other "race
traitors", linking up with fascist terrorists across Europe and the
US. It is not hard to see how both factions strategic orientation
would suit the agenda of their respective state sponsors.

C18 was roundly defeated on the streets by AFA in a long and violent
street war, a side effect of which was to lead to Browning's/MI5
faction getting the upper hand within the group. In the ensuing
faction fight Seargent stabbed to death a member of Brownings
faction. The Seargent/SB faction collapsed as police interview tapes
of Seargent stating he was working for SB were leaked by the
Browning/MI5 faction and Browning/MI5 took control of Combat18. How
the Browning C18 faction gained access to the tapes was the cause of
some speculation on the far-right and was seen by many as evidence of
Browning's own security service dealings.

However, C18 was by this time a dead duck. Beaten on the streets by
AFA and torn apart by murderous fueding and security service rivalry.

Nevertheless, as its final swan song Brownings/MI5 C18 went on to
send out a few letter bombs (including to AFA and Red Action), which
gave the security service the excuse to finally shut them down, with
raids, arrests and jailing, C18 all but disappeared into obscurity.
Combat 18 still exists but is mainly in Europe and Russia, its
British activists tending to keep their heads down and living off
their fading notoriety. Perhaps ironically, it was actually a member
of the rump Seargent faction that went on to carry out the most
deadly fascist terrorist campaign in England, David Copeland, the
London Nail-bomber.

Most of the hooligans still active who were associated with C18 in
the 90s are now associated with the EDL, and continuing animosity
between the factions led to the EDL being attacked by the Browning
C18 in a pub in London last year.

Both factions of C18 had strong links to and cross membership with
the Loyalist paramilitary groups, particularly with Billy Wright's
LVF and Johnny Adairs UDA/UFF 'C' Company faction and about the only
place C18 is still active in the UK is in the 6 counties where the
name is occasionally used by Loyalists as a cover name for racist
attacks on the new immigrant communities.


LINKS:
On Combat-18: Memoirs of a Streetfighting Man (The Independent)
On Red Action: Charge o f the New Red Brigade (The Independent)









Doc-Films on AFA:







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