Monday, 2 May 2011

Rise again!

Belated May Day greetings to all National Anarchists, other Revolutionary Nationalists and the wider anti-globalist current. May Day is OURS - the folk. It doesn't belong to any particular ideology, movement or socio-economic group, and, without denying the validity of all the great social struggles since the rise of industrialism and before,  May Day and the collective consciousness it represents was around a long time before those anarchists in Chicago.

In England, at least, those who would deny English identity have sneered at our folk tradition. It's all an invention apparently. A concoction of Victorian nostalgia. Of course, there's a modicum of truth to this. What we are talking about here is the English folk revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. There's nothing wrong with revivals. The Irish, Scottish and Welsh had them in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Strangely, the anti-English seem perfectly at ease with this. "Morris dance is all made up" our detractors say. Except that a mob of Morris Men actually popped in to say "Hello" to Cecil Sharp when at his mate's house in 1899, and in doing so sparked his valued promotion of the activity. Englishmen had been prancing about like that since the fifteenth century - all Cecil did was help fan the flames.

Others have contended that folk song was all popularised for commercial gain through Broadsides by latter day Simon Cowells. Yes, these sold like hotcakes from the sixteenth century onwards, but there is no evidence of songs being written expressly  for commercial gain. They already existed, sung heartily in one locality, then sold for a penny later, further afield. Mass communication has got a lot to answer for. Look through the sleeve notes of your average folk CD (I've got a fair few of 'em - there comes a time in a man's life when his ears just aren't up to the gentle ditties of the likes of Dead Kennedys and Subhumans) Folkies love doing their homework: variants of many an English tune can be traced back 300 or 400 years, sometimes more. Even when the anti-English can justly claim "That song's only nineteenth century!" Okay, four or five generations not good enough?! We've just had a Royal Wedding. Berrocscir's Banner notes that the monarchy is a divisive subject not least within Nationalist circles. Putting that to one side, your editor's eyebrows were raised when even the conservative press were crowing: "All this pomp and ceremony is only down to the Victorians, you know!" I say again - Four, five, six generations not good enough?!

Marxists and others have also suggested that folk song has been manipulated into fitting some twee bourgeois ideal. Now, I like a good rebel song as much as the next man. There are a few in my collection with very subversive, rebellious social commentary (I still think Chumbawamba's English Rebel Songs was one of the best slices of vinyl they ever did) These songs obviously reveal the real social injustices of the day. But most folk songs are filled with gossipy subjects like love, lust, infidelity, murder and loss. Drunkeness, the working day, family crises, dashing heroes and rotten villains - usual everyday stuff like that. The stuff folk want to hear. These things can't be subverted to suit a point of view, they just are. They are common human experiences that cannot be politicised. 

Maybe it is because folk custom is by nature nationalistic and tribal, that the Left have, over the last fifty years, embraced it in order to claim it as their own. The Communist Party even had Centre 42, its own folk club and cultural centre. Why all this interest in something as insular and backward as English identity? But then the Left have always been good at dressing things up as something they are not.

Cultural revivals are exactly that - they resuscitate rather than invent. Look at the English folk tradition and you'll find that there was always something there, even if it lingered, however faintly, in folk memory before being taken up enthusiastically once more. Revivals are a reaction to rapid social change: In the past a reaction to Industrialism and more recently in opposition to multiculturalism and globalism. As far as National Anarchists are concerned both causes are good reason enough.

A growing nostalgia has been with us in England since the Victorian era. Look at the enduring appeal of suburban mock-Tudor houses. The very fact that popular architecture (despite the ghastly modernist interregnum of the 60s and 70s!) and clothing often hark back to earlier styles implies a folkish yearning for identity and tribe. Revival is a product of an instinctive anti-global urge, a rearguard action in the national collective consciousness. It is a folkish phenomenon kick-started in the community, organic and from the bottom-up. Corporate interests only get involved when such activity crosses their radar.

May Day and it's invigoration in recent years, is one such example of English cultural revival. Newly revived, our task now is to cement and preserve it.