Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Action! Race War to Door Wars: Review

I have just finished reading a book by a prominent nationalist and former bodyguard to Nick Griffin, Joe Owens. I thought I would write a review for anyone who hasn't read it.

The book describes in sometimes graphic detail Joe's violent life in Liverpool from his early days in the National Front in the late 1970's to the BNP in the 1980s and the lead up to the Toxteth riots, the most violent rioting the UK has ever seen. Joe quickly learned how to fight and defend himself from an early age in order to survive, in what is perhaps the UK's most violent city with a myriad of criminal gangs, and mostly black, dominating Liverpool fighting turf wars for control of the highly lucrative drugs trade. Motivated by his father's political views, Joe became interested in nationalist politics from quite an early age and joined the National Front. He would regularly find himself in violent clashes with “anti-fascist” groups while selling nationalist newspapers in the street as an activist. He did not shy away from these clashes, on the contrary, he positively thrived on it and seemed to enjoy violence. Violence and fighting became a way of life for Joe and he was in and out of prison for various offences. The police took a dislike to him and he was constantly hounded and framed for crimes he didn't do, including a couple of murders for which he served time as a category A prisoner, before being cleared and released. Joe thinks some of this may have been politically motivated.

After a break from politics and working as a doorman in the emerging club scene in Liverpool during the 1990's. Joe worked his way up in the door security business and eventually ran his own security firm but found himself again drawn into increasignly violent conflicts. This time with violent gang thugs and rivals fighting for control of club doors. His growing criminal record made it harder for him to work as a doorman and eventually Joe decided to go back into politics and re-joined the BNP under Nick Griffin, having previously been involved in the 1980's when John Tyndall was leader.

Joe was able to deploy his extensive experience and skills in personal security from his years working the club doors into providing security for the BNP and eventually became Nick Griffin's personal bodyguard. He describes close scrapes where he protected Nick Griffin from potentially very dangerous situations, at a time when Nick Griffin was somewhat compliacent about his own personal safety. One such incident he recalls is the visit of the French National Front leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen to the UK which was hosted by the BNP and turned out to be a disaster. A violent UAF mob surrounded and tried to attack Griffin and Le Pen while leaving a hotel. Bundled into Joe's car, they were very lucky to get away unscathered, had it not been for Joe's quick thinking and intervention.

Unfortunately due to internal disputes and what many may consider a terrible judgement by Nick Griffin, Joe was snubbed as security chief for the BNP in favour of Warren Bennett, and was eventually alienated and pushed out of the BNP completely. This despite his solid background as a true nationalist, his generousity and dedication to the party was obviously a bitter pill to swallow for Joe. He had even worked unpaid for a while when he acted as Nick Griffin's personal bodyguard.

As a fellow nationalist I found the book a fascinating and enjoyable read. Particularly the insight into the early background of the nationalist movement and what people like Joe Owens were up against back then. Thirty years on and nothing much has changed really. The violence has lessened, however the anti-fascists are more or less exactly the same, using the same tactics as Joe describes from 30 years ago. Although the violence he describes is often shockingly brutal and at times very sad, his bravery and determination are admirable. He also has a great way of recalling stories and using humour to see the irony in things.

Some might dismiss Joe a mindless thug, and no doubt opponents are quick to call him such. However, reading his book it's clear the man is articulate and politically seasoned. People should not be quick to dismiss him and should look beyond his violent past. In his book he presents some inteligent reasoning on politics and is not only perceptive on the struggles the BNP faces but offers insights into what the nationalist movement needs to do, to go forward. Definitely one for the reading list for nationalists everywhere.

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