Monday, 31 August 2009

Here be dragons

The White Dragon flag of the ethnic English has been gaining in popularity among some English nationalists in recent years, with several groups, including the autonomist English National Resistance , adopting it. However, it's a bit controversial this one, it has to be said. While some have enthusiastically taken it to their hearts, other positively foam at the mouth at the mention of it. The latter claim there is extremely tenuous evidence for the authenticity of the emblem. Only Nennius and Geoffrey of Monmouth vaguely mention it in passing.

The sadly off-line English Dragon site was very thoroughly researched and proposed the theory that the White Dragon is synonymous with the Golden Wyvern of Wessex and Berrocscir's Banner doesn't refute this view. Wessex was the only Anglo-Saxon territory to remain unconquered, gaining the title The Cradle of England. It would appear reasonable then, that the Wessex Wyvern extended its brief to the whole of England during the 10th Century. It is mentioned twice in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (at the Battle of Burford in AD 752 and again at the Battle of Ashingdon in 1016) and it is also depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.

What the anti-dragon camp fail to recognise is that just because something has little basis in actual fact does not prevent it from entering a collective national identity. Myths and semi-myths are scattered throughout England's history. The White Dragon may be convoluted, but why should that prevent it from use as a badge for today's English patriots? Robin Hood and the story about Alfred burning the cakes may or may not be truthful. Harold's arrow and Edith Swanneck finding his birthmark could all be rubbish. Did Pope Gregory really comment on the angelic looks of the English slave children? We don't know for sure and never will, yet it has passed into English history and has helped to define a nation.

The point is that badges and totems represent what people want them to represent. Those English Nationalists that fly the White Dragon are claiming it as their own. Its authenticity may be dubious to say the least, but its appeal gives it meaning today.

A few years ago the Marxist-Leninist Weekly Worker, when commenting on the rise of English nationalism, rejected the resurgence of the Cross of St George on the grounds that it was a Royalist emblem - YES, THEN,when it was bought back from the Holy Land! Three hundred years ago it lost a battle with the Union flag, and today the English commons see the CoSG as truly theirs. It has become a symbol almost of defiance and has changed its meaning. In 1381 the 'Mad Multitude' of the Peasant's Revolt flew the CoSG along with the Royal Standard, according to some to display their ultimate loyalty to the crown - But this is to do with the medieval mindset more than anything else: after all, the King was appointed by the Almighty, was he not? But could it be that the insurrectionists of 1381 carried both flags to signify the unity of the crown and the commons - the Cross of St George representing the latter? It's possible that in the 14th century the English commons were taking the CoSG as their own and in the process changing its meaning. Let 10,000 flags fly - including the White Dragon. There's nothing to stop the 21st century English commons adopting it. Look at the widespread popularity of the new-ish county flags - do they have a pedigree spanning a thousand years? No, yet the English have taken them up. When it comes to the identity of a a people, myths are just as powerful as reality.

Civic nationalism isn't this blog's bag, but that doesn't mean that those of us with a more tribalistic interpretation of nationalism should shun the civics entirely. If civic nationalists play their part in opposition to internationalism and globalism, they are worthy allies in the fight.

A new splinter group has emerged from the ranks of English civic nationalism: the English Radical Alliance - a breakaway from the 18 month old Free England Party, who themselves split from the numerically much larger English Democrats. What's interesting about the ERA is their promotion of Distributism (a 'Third Way' economic system in contrast to both Capitalism and Communism, favoured by some National Anarchists, other nationalists and others still) and their highlighting of the importance of the English radical tradition - something too often overlooked by English nationalists of all hues.

Berrocscir's Banner will monitor the progress of these new English Radicals with interest and in the hope that they will become a welcome force in the anti-globalist milieu.