The Right Club

The Right Club

In May 1939 Archibald Ramsay, the Tory MP for Peebles and Southern Midlothian, founded a secret society called the Right Club. This was an attempt to unify all the different right-wing groups in Britain. Or in the leader's words of "co-ordinating the work of all the patriotic societies". In his autobiography, The Nameless War, Ramsay argued: "The main object of the Right Club was to oppose and expose the activities of Organized Jewry, in the light of the evidence which came into my possession in 1938. Our first objective was to clear the Conservative Party of Jewish influence, and the character of our membership and meetings were strictly in keeping with this objective."

Members of the Right Club included William Joyce, Anna Wolkoff, Norah Dacre Fox, Joan Miller, Norah Briscoe, Molly Hiscox, A. K. Chesterton, Francis Yeats-Brown, E. H. Cole, Lord Redesdale, 5th Duke of Wellington, Duke of Westminster, Aubrey Lees, John Stourton, Thomas Hunter, Samuel Chapman, Ernest Bennett, Charles Kerr, John MacKie, James Edmondson, Mavis Tate, Marquess of Graham, Margaret Bothamley, Lord Sempill, Earl of Galloway, H. T. Mills, Richard Findlay and Serrocold Skeels.

Unknown to Ramsay, MI5 agents had infiltrated the Right Club. This included three women, Joan Miller, Marjorie Amor and Helem de Munck. The British government was therefore kept fully informed about the activities of Ramsay and his right-wing friends. Soon after the outbreak of the Second World War the government passed a Defence Regulation Order. This legislation gave the Home Secretary the right to imprison without trial anybody he believed likely to "endanger the safety of the realm" On 22nd September, 1939, Oliver C. Gilbert and Victor Rowe, became the first members of the Right Club to be arrested. In the House of Commons Ramsay attacked this legislation and on 14th December, 1939, asked: "Is this not the first time for a very long time in British history, that British born subjects have been denied every facility for justice?"

On 20th March, 1940, Archibald Ramsay asked the Minister of Information a question about the New British Broadcasting Service, a radio station broadcasting German propaganda. In doing so he gave full details of the wavelength and the time in the day when it provided programmes. His critics claimed he was trying to give the radio station publicity. Two Labour Party MPs, Ellen Wilkinson and Emanuel Shinwell, made speeches in the House of Commons suggesting that Ramsay was a member of a right-wing secret society. However, unlike MI5, they did not know he was the leader of the Right Club.

By this time Ramsay was being helped in his work by Anna Wolkoff, the daughter of Admiral Nikolai Wolkoff, the former aide-to-camp to the Nicholas II in London. Wolkoff ran the Russian Tea Room in South Kensington and this eventually became the main meeting place for members of the Right Club. In the 1930s Wolkoff had meetings with Hans Frank and Rudolf Hess. In 1935 her actions began to be monitored by MI5. Agents warned that Wolkoff had developed a close relationship with Wallis Simpson (the future wife of Edward VIII) and that the two women might be involved in passing state secrets to the German government.

In February 1940, Wolkoff met Tyler Kent, a cypher clerk from the American Embassy. He soon became a regular visitor to the Russian Tea Room where he met other members of the Right Club including Ramsay. Wolkoff, Kent and Ramsay talked about politics and agreed that they all shared the same views on Jews. Kent was concerned that the American government wanted the United States to join the war against Germany. He said he had evidence of this as he had been making copies of the correspondence between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Kent invited Wolkoff and Ramsay back to his flat to look at these documents. This included secret assurances that the United States would support France if it was invaded by the German Army. Kent later argued that he had shown these documents to Ramsay in the hope that he would pass this information to American politicians hostile to Roosevelt.

Kent was concerned that the American government wanted the United States to join the war against Germany. Kent later argued that he had shown these documents to Ramsay in the hope that he would pass this information to American politicians hostile to Roosevelt.

On 13th April 1940 Wolkoff went to Kent's flat and made copies of some of these documents. Joan Miller and Marjorie Amor were later to testify that these documents were then passed on to Duco del Monte, Assistant Naval Attaché at the Italian Embassy. Soon afterwards, MI8, the wireless interception service, picked up messages between Rome and Berlin that indicated that Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence (Abwehr), had seen the Roosevelt-Churchill correspondence.

Soon afterwards Anna Wolkoff asked Joan Miller if she would use her contacts at the Italian Embassy to pass a coded letter to William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) in Germany. The letter contained information that he could use in his broadcasts on Radio Hamburg. Before passing the letter to her contacts, Miller showed it to Maxwell Knight, the head of B5b, a unit within MI5 that conducted the monitoring of political subversion.

On 18th May, Knight told Guy Liddell about the Right Club spy ring. Liddell immediately had a meeting with Joseph Kennedy, the American Ambassador in London. Kennedy agreed to waive Kent's diplomatic immunity and on 20th May, 1940, the Special Branch raided his flat. Inside they found the copies of 1,929 classified documents, including the secret correspondence between Franklin D. Kent was also found in possession of what became known as Ramsay's Red Book. This book had the names and addresses of members of the Right Club and had been given to Kent for safe keeping.

Anna Wolkoff and Tyler Kent were arrested and charged under the Official Secrets Act. The trial took place in secret and on 7th November 1940, Wolkoff was sentenced to ten years. Kent, because he was an American citizen, was treated less harshly and received only seven years.

Archibald Ramsay was surprisingly not charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act. Instead he was interned under Defence Regulation 18B. Ramsay now joined other right-wing extremists such as Oswald Mosley and Admiral Nikolai Wolkoff in Brixton Prison. Some left-wing politicians in the House of Commons began demanding the publication of Ramsay's Red Book. They suspected that several senior members of the Conservative Party had been members of the Right Club. Some took the view that Ramsay had done some sort of deal in order to prevent him being charged with treason.

Herbert Morrison, the Home Secretary refused to reveal the contents of Ramsay's Red Book. He claimed that it was impossible to know if the names in the book were really members of the Right Club. If this was the case, the publication of the book would unfairly smear innocent people.

The government found it difficult to suppress the story and in 1941 the New York Times claimed that Ramsay had been guilty of spying for Nazi Germany: " Before the war he (Ramsay) was strongly anti-Communist, anti-semitic, and pro-Hitler. Though no specific charges were brought against him - Defence Regulations allow that - informed American sources said that he had sent to the German Legation in Dublin treasonable information given to him by Tyler Kent, clerk to the American Embassy in London."

Archibald Ramsay sued the owners of the New York Times for libel. In court Ramsay argued that if there had been any evidence of him passing secrets to the Germans he would have been tried under the Official Secrets Act alongside Anna Wolkoff and Tyler Kent in 1940. The newspaper owners were found guilty of libel but the case became a disaster for Ramsay when he was awarded a farthing in damages. As well as the extremely damaging publicity he endured, Ramsay was forced to pay the costs of the case.

During the summer of 1944 several Conservative Party MPs in the House of Commons called for Ramsay to be released from prison. William Gallacher, a member of the Communist Party, argued that he should remain in detention. He pointed out that Ramsay was "a rabid anti-Semite" and that "anti-Semitism is an incitement to murder." He asked "if the mothers of this country, whose lads are being sacrificed now, are to be informed by him that their sacrifices have enabled him to release this unspeakable blackguard." When Gallacher refused to withdraw these comments he was suspended from the House of Commons.

Ramsay was released from Brixton Prison on 26th September, 1944. He was defeated in the 1945 General Election and in 1955 he published his book The Nameless War.

Ramsay died in 1955 and it was not until 1989 that the Red Book was found in the safe of Ramsay's former solicitors. The book included the names of 235 people. Unfortunately a lot of the names were in code. However, it did contain the names of several senior Tories including a large number of MPs and peers of the realm.

There was not the smallest doubt that there was an international group of Jews who were behind world revolution in every single country at the present time. That fact a great many people in this country were inclined to pooh pooh, but it was more or less generally accepted over the whole of Europe. People had come to the conclusion that a menace did actually exist, and that the Third International was unquestionably mainly controlled by Jews. They did not agree in this country with Hitler's methods with regard to the Jews, but he must, she said, have had his reasons for what he did. Did it not strike them that a man of Hitler's ability would not turn out an enormous section of the people from his country, and have half of Europe howling at him, unless he had some reason for doing so? The dictator States had discovered the terrible menace that they were facing at the present time.

Captain Ramsay rose to terminate the meeting. We have heard, he said, a most inspiring speech from Mr Chesterton. I am not an apostle of violence, he went on, but the time has arrived for action, and I solemnly state (with slow deliberation) that if our present method fails I will not hesitate to use another. The Jewish menace is a real menace. The time at our disposal is getting short. Take with you, said the Captain dramatically, a resolution in your hearts to remove the Jew menace from our land.

The main object of the Right Club was to oppose and expose the activities of Organized Jewry, in the light of the evidence which came into my possession in 1938. Our first objective was to clear the Conservative Party of Jewish influence, and the character of our membership and meetings were strictly in keeping with this objective. There were no other and secret purposes. Our hope was to avert war, which we considered to be mainly the work of Jewish intrigue centred in New York.

Is the attempt to destroy the Nazi regime, upon which our bellicose idealists are so furiously bent, worth the destruction of Christendom and the setting of an impossible burden upon the shoulders of the blameless youth of the future in its attempt to reconstruct an orderly Europe? It is a grave responsibility, of which even Herr Hitler seems aware. For there can be no hope of fruitful victory in a continued war.

There is a good deal in Hitler's speech which contains a core of real sense. We are as a nation profoundly ignorant of the Slavic mentality and the Slav incapacity for decentralised civilisation. We always fall into the danger of idealising the Easterly nations. The Germans, however brutal and casuistic their methods, have long experience of these people and it is for them to learn how to achieve a modus vivendi with them not for us to teach them. The return of the Russians to the Baltic States is far more ominous than any German expansion.

There is now little or no possibility of an industrialised nation like Germany meeting a second defeat without going Bolshevist. We shall thus have a solid Bolshevist bloc from the Pacific to the Rhine. Nor, if it is a long war, is the tide of anarchy likely to stop there. What people want is a lead for the future. They want to believe in short that we are ready to relinquish the false conception of Versailles, provided that Germany will abandon 'Hitlerism', by which we mean not its form of internal government but the system of brutal foreign aggression that Hitler has sponsored in answer to Versailles.

This pact of Hitler's with Russia is an ideological blow of the worst description, and no amount of explaining away that he was driven to it is much comfort to me. Hitler has done a marvel, but he is no longer one.

From two independent sources we learn that the activity of the Right Club is centred principally upon the contacting of sympathisers, especially among officers in the armed services, and the spreading by personal talks of the Club's ideals. There is talk of a military coup d'etat, but there seems to be lack of agreement among members on the question of leadership. Sir Oswald Mosley they regard with suspicion.

The Right Club, which bore certain similarities to Admiral Sir Barry Domvile's organization, the Link had been founded in 1938 by Captain Archibald Maule Ramsay, Unionist member for Peebles since 1931 Its members - about three hundred altogether, peers and MPs included-professed a belief in the ideal of an Anglo-German fellowship, as well as nurturing vigorous anti-Semitic feelings. Captain Ramsay was a friend of Sir Oswald Mosley. The Ramsays had a house in Onslow Square, but the club usually held its meetings in a flat above a little restaurant in South Kensington. This restaurant was the Russian Tea Rooms.

Early in 1940 M (Maxwell Knight) decided I was ready to go ahead with the task he had set me. I had already met FRS Aims (Marjorie Hackie) one of the other agents involved in the business (a Casey middle-aged lady who will always remind me of Miss Maple), and it was arranged that she should take me along to the tea-shop one evening, presenting me as a friend other son who was serving with the RJR. The restaurant was on the corner of Herringbone Gardens, directly opposite South Kensington tube station. It was owned and run by an émigré White Russian admiral and his wife and daughter. These people, whose name was Wolkoff, had been dispossessed as a consequence of the Bolshevik revolution - Admiral Wolkoff had been the Tsar's naval attaché in London at the time - and understandably took a fervent anti-Communist line Anna, the daughter, in particular, had come to revere the policies of Nazi Germany. From its inception, she had been among the leading activists of the Right Club.

We appeal to the working men and women of Great Britain to purchase the new Defence Bonds and Savings Certificates thus keeping the War going as long as possible. Your willing self-sacrifice and support will enable the war profiteers to make bigger and better profits and at the same time save their wealth from being conscripted. Lend to defend the rights of British manhood to die in a foreign quarrel every 25 years. Don't be selfish. Save for shells and slaughter. Forget about the slums, the unemployed, the old age pensioners and other social reforms your money could be invested in. Just remember that your savings are much more wisely spent in the noble cause of death and destruction. Be patriotic. Come on, the first million pounds.

How did these people (members of the Right Club) set about obstructing the war effort? They used to sneak about late at night in the blackout, groping for smooth surfaces on which to paste the pro-German, anti-Semitic notices they carried. There were certain precautions one could take to lessen the likelihood of being arrested. Anna instructed her helpers to keep to the dark side of the road, paying particular attention to shadowy doorways where an alert policeman or air-raid warden might lurk, and to carry out the sticking while continuing to walk. These guidelines were issued to each member in the form of a printed sheet. Passersby who observed the Right Club's papers adhering to lamp posts, telephone kiosks, belisha beacons, church boards and so on, were informed that the war was a Jews' war. This was the Right Club's famous 'sticky-back' campaign. They also used greasepaint to deface ARP and casualty station posters. Jeering at Winston Churchill when he appeared on cinema newsreels was another of their practices. None of this could be said to constitute a serious threat to Londoners' morale; but there were, as it turned out, more sinister aspects to the organization.

Land of dope and Jewry

Land that once was free

All the Jew boys praise thee

Whilst they plunder thee

Poorer still and poorer

Grow thy true-born sons

Faster still and faster

They're sent to feed the guns.

Land of Jewish finance

Fooled by Jewish lies

In press and books and movies

While our birthright dies

Longer still and longer

Is the rope they get

But - by the God of battles

'Twill serve to hang them yet.

Germany has committed the unforgiveable sin of refusing to borrow money from the international financiers and they must be punished. Fools, why do you submit, why do you allow the fat bellied millionaires to send you out to kill and be killed by your brothers, the Germans, who are good fellows.

Captain Ramsay asked the Minister of Information whether his attention has been drawn to the nightly talks at 10.50 on a short wave-length of 51 metres broadcast by a new station, whose signature tune is 'Loch Lomond', to the effect that international Jewish finance and Continental freemasonry are pursuing a policy of world domination by wars and revolutions and credit monopoly; whether he proposes to reply to this propaganda; and whether he will confer with the British Broadcasting Corporation to demolish these arguments objectively instead of avoiding the issues by merely labelling them as German propaganda.

Walk on the dark side of the road. Prepare your sticker in advance; it will stick the better and you will not miss your object. Don't stop walking while sticking if possible. Look out for dark doorways; police usually stand in them at night. Stick on Belisha Beacons, lamp posts. Church boards, hoardings, bus stops, phone kiosks. Don't stick on walls as the glue is not strong enough for rough surfaces.

As danger signal talk of the weather, for instance. Colder from the East means someone is approaching from the right. Read your road indication by torch-light and memorise at least two streets in advance.

Take turns in sticking, lookout and route reading. As we leave this house we do so in pairs at a few seconds' interval and are strangers until we meet at midnight at Paradise Walk.

Captain Ramsay denied that he was pro-Hitler. There appeared to be a curious view that if a man was anti-Jewish and anti-Communist he must be pro-Hitler. After the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1917, Captain Ramsay formed violently anti-Communist views. He had been trying for 20 years to fight Communism. A few years ago he formed the opinion that those behind Communism were Jews, and he became very violently anti-Jewish. He believed very firmly that the Jews were the enemy of England and Europe. Captain Ramsay had never been to Germany and he knew very little about it. What he knew of Nazism he did not approve of. His only point of contact with Nazism was its anti-Jewish policy, but he strongly disapproved of the cruelty inflicted by it on individual Jews.

Here was a man who was known to a wide circle of friends, many of whom seemed to be no better than himself, to be grossly disloyal to this country, and to be an associate, as he was, of thieves and felons now convicted. Captain Ramsay's whole picture of himself was of a loyal British gentleman, with sons in the Army, doing his best to help this country to win a victory in her life-and-death struggle. Captain Ramsay was, however, a man of no character and no reputation, and was perhaps very lucky only to be detained under the Defence Regulations.

I do not think it would be in the public interest to publish the names of the members of this organisation, or to state which steps have been taken from the point of view of national security. Appropriate steps are taken to watch all kinds of people about whom there may be grounds for suspicion. About many members of the Right Club there are no grounds for suspicion, and about many people who were not members of the Right Club there are grounds of suspicion. To publish the names of people who are being watched would be most unwise: to publish the names of people who are not being watched would be unfair. Secrecy is the essence of any system of supervision.

Captain Ramsay asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that, under the chairmanship of Sir Victor Schuster, the Radio Music Council has been overburdening the music programmes for the Forces with renderings characteristic of Oriental and African races and whether he will ensure that programmes shall contain a greater proportion of music characteristic of the white races and especially those inhabiting the British Isles.

Tom Driberg asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now publish the complete list of members of the Right Club, the activities of which were the subject of police enquiries.

Herbert Morrison: No, Sir. For reasons which I have explained on a previous occasion I do not think that it would be fair or in the public interest to publish this list, but I can give an assurance that appropriate steps are taken to watch any individual against whom there are grounds of suspicion.

Tom Driberg: Is the right honorable Gentleman aware that this club existed for the specific purpose of spreading anti-Semitism; and, in view of the fact that anti-Semitism is one of the classic weapons of Nazism and Fascism, is it not time to let the light of day in on the proceedings and personnel of this very shady secret society?

Herbert Morrison: I still think that it would be unfair to publish the list. It is a list which has been compiled by a private individual. It may be correct, or it may not. There may be people who went on that list, with or without the opinions to which the honorable Member referred, and to publish lists of this character would, I think, be an improper use of the information which comes to the Home Office in all sorts of ways, and from all sorts of directions.

Emanuel Shinwell: If there should be any truth - I am not suggesting that there is - in the allegation that some honorable Members of the House, past and present, were members of this club and were supporters of its subversive activities, is it not desirable in the public interest and in the interest of members as a whole, that the list should be published?

D. N. Pritt: He (Archibald Ramsay) has now disclosed that one of the reasons why he was interned was his connection with the Right Club, and has described it as having close connection with the Conservative Party and having Conservative members.. Is it not fair to the Conservative Party to publish, not an inaccurate, but an accurate list of those persons known to the Home Secretary to be members of the Right Club.

Herbert Morrison: What the honorable and gallant Gentleman says is one thing, but I cannot agree that that should bind me. One of these days I might be asked in this House if I will publish a list, for example, of secret members of the Communist Party. I am not sure that my honorable and learned Friend would say that it was right for me to publish it.

From 1940 through to 1945, a grand total of 1,826 persons were interned under Defence Regulation 18B. Of a total of 747 BU members detained under Defence Regulation 18B 1(A), upwards of 96 were women... There was a massive influx from 131 18B prisoners on 31 May 1940, to 1,428 by 31 August 1940, of whom some 600 were members of the BU or like organizations such as the Right Club, the Imperial Fascist League, The Link and the Nordic League. Olive Hawkes, Norah Elam, Muriel Whinfield and Diana deLaessoe had already been detained when 37 more women were scheduled on the order of 30 may 1940, and by October 17 1940 another 30 women were added to the 18B prison population.

The Red Book is the membership list of the Right Club, a secret organisation founded in May 1939 by Captain Archibald Ramsay MP. Unlike the populist British Union of Fascists lead by the charismatic Sir Oswald Mosley, the Right Club was exclusive.

Its members were aristocrats and Members of Parliament, academics, civil servants, clerics and rich dilettantes. Some of the men had distinguished themselves in the 1914-18 war and saw themselves as patriots. But they were also virulent racists who supported Hitler's treatment of Germany's Jewish population. Many were Nazi sympathisers. From King Edward VIII downwards, there was a widespread view that only a powerful Germany could hold back the threat of Bolshevism, and that Britain should be supporting Hitler, notpreparing to attack him.

The existence of the Red Book first emerged in 1943 during a heated debate in Parliament. By then, it had already been seized by MI5. For 40 years, the ledger was believed to have been lost and its whereabouts was much speculated upon. Some believed it was held by a secret clique of the extreme right awaiting a fascist revival. And the racist right did treat it with a respect akin to ancestor worship.

Running my finger down the list, written with a fountain pen in Ramsay's hand, the names still resonate: Arthur Wellesley the 5th Duke of Wellington, the Second Baron Redesdale, The Earl of Galloway, Lord Ronald Graham, Princess Blucher, Sir Ernest Bennett, Prince Turka Galitzine and Britain's most notorious Second World War traitor, William Joyce, later known as Lord Haw-Haw as he broadcast propaganda from Germany. The book also lists donations. Sir Alexander Walker, then the head of the Johnnie Walker whisky dynasty, is shown to have donated the princely sum of £100.


A Brief History Of FC Barcelona

One of the most popular football clubs in the world, FC Barcelona or ‘Barça’ as it’s known by fans, is also one of the most successful clubs in the history of the sport worldwide. We look back at the history of this sporting success story.

The origins of the club date back to the turn of the 20th century, when a Swiss football aficionado named Hans Gamper placed an advert in a local paper expressing his wish to organize football matches in the city. Soon, the first Barcelona team was formed and in 1909 they acquired the Camp de la Indústria pitch, their first stadium and home of the club. From very early on the club represented much more than just a sports team, but a symbol of Catalan identity and pride.

The team switched its official language from Spanish to Catalan in the early 20th century and for many, membership to the team was a sign of membership to the wider Catalan community. To this day the club’s motto is ‘Més que un club‘ which means ‘more than a club’. Unsurprisingly perhaps, there is an ongoing rivalry between FB Barcelona and Real Madrid who confront each other regularly in matches known as ‘El Clásico‘.

The period surrounding the Spanish Civil War was a time of decline and trouble for the club, with many of its players and supporters either involved directly or indirectly with the events of the war. Many of the key figures of FC Barcelona at the time were openly against the Falangist movement and in a remarkable attack, the pro-independence club president Josep Sunyol was murdered by Falangist soldiers. The Catalan language, flag and other symbols were all banned during the Francoist dictatorship, and this resulted in its name being forcibly changed to ‘Club de Fútbol Barcelona‘ or CF Barcelona until 1974.

However, even under political duress, the team and its supporters continued to represent a pro-independence, anti-Franco spirit, captured by events such as one day in 1951 when the thousands of supporters who had watched the match refused to take the tram back to the city, preferring to walk in the rain instead in support of the local tram-workers who had staged a strike against the authorities.

Despite the political and social instability of the time, the team enjoyed national success during the 1950s but suffered in the 1960s, owing to the fact that they had recently paid for the construction of the emblematic Camp Nou stadium. This left them with little funds with which to acquire new players. However from 1970 onwards the club had a revival of fortunes and in the following years Barcelona signed some of the world’s greatest players, including Johann Cruyff who was signed in 1973 and won the Ballon d’Or twice with the team and Diego Maradona who was signed in the 1980s for a record-breaking £5 million.

Arguably, no era was more significant for the club than the 1990s and the moment Johan Cruyff returned to the team as manager. In the late 1970s the club had invested in an old farm house known as ‘La Masia‘ which was to be the training ground and home for the club’s youth program, and the arrival of the first set of graduates corresponded with Cruyff’s return. These graduates included Pep Guardiola, who later would go on to be one of the club’s most successful managers himself. This team, guided by Cruyff revolutionized the way Barcelona would play football. Their philosophy is known the world over as ‘Total Football’, a style of play in which players have complete freedom to move across positions while the underlying structure on the field is maintained by others who replace him.

This has become Barcelona’s most unique and recognizable trait, although other clubs have begun to copy the style. Under Cruyff, the team won four successful La Liga championships (1991-1994), the 1992 European Cup, the 1990 Copa del Rey and a number of other large competitions which would result in Cruyff being considered the most successful Barcelona manager of all times. His legacy could still be felt when he passed away in early 2016, as supporters and football fans across the world paid homage to him in and out of the stadiums.

FC Barcelona has continued this success ever since, winning 24 La Liga, 28 Copa del Rey and five UEFA Champions League competitions. They continue to attract some of the world’s greatest players including global superstars like Andrés Iniesta, Xavi (Xavier Hernandez), Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar (Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior).

One of the features of FC Barcelona that undoubtedly contributes to the team’s local popularity and widespread support is the fact that the club is one of the few in the world to be owned by the club members themselves. Unlike many big European clubs which are owned by rich investors, FC Barcelona is owned by the 170,000 or more members, known as ‘soçis‘, who elect the president. The club only operates with the money it earns through games, merchandise, television rights, etc. and were recently ranked the fourth richest football team in the world. It has one of the largest social media followings of any sports team in the world and is the most popular ‘second favorite team’ in Europe. The club’s history, its wider cultural symbolism and its record-breaking performance throughout the years have undoubtedly earned it a place among the few great sports teams of all time.


1970s

The vision of Trophy Club originated with John McMackin of Fort Worth law firm Mcgown, Godfrey, Decker, McMackin, Shipman, and McClane. Mr. McMackin was instrumental in convincing the recently retired Ben Hogan to design a golf course and two-story clubhouse that would house Mr. Hogan&rsquos championship trophies. In 1972, Ben Hogan and Fort Worth law firm Mcgown, Godfrey, Decker, McMackin, Shipman, and McClane began acquiring 2500 acres of land required for the project.

In 1973, Houston developers Johnson-Loggins approached the Westlake City Council about constructing a housing development around a first-class golf course. In 1975, Denton County Municipal Utility District (TC MUD 1) Number 1 was created to provide water and sewer services for the area. Johnson-Loggins sold the development to Gibraltar Savings and Loan in 1975 after two years of involvement with the project. In 1976, the first bonds were sold to pay for TC MUD 1.

In 1977, the real estate development consisted of an 18-hole golf course, community swimming pool, tennis courts, and a clubhouse. Ben Hogan withdrew his support after not receiving financing to build a two-story clubhouse facility, which was his vision from the start. Trophy Club&rsquos namesake was derived from the notion that the country club would house Hogan&rsquos PGA trophy collection.


Conflict Between Organization and Members.

It is to be expected that disputes will arise between an organization and some of its members, and that First Amendment principles may be implicated. Of course, unless there is some governmental connection, there will be no federal constitutional application to any such controversy.661 But, in at least some instances, when government compels membership in an organization or in some manner lends its authority to such compulsion, there may be constitutional limitations. For example, such limitations can arise in connection with union shop labor agreements permissible under the National Labor Relations Act and the Railway Labor Act.662

Union shop agreements generally require, as a condition of employment, membership in the union on or after the thirtieth day following the beginning of employment. In Railway Employes’ Dep’t v. Hanson, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of such agreements, noting that the record in the case did not indicate that union dues were being “used as a cover for forcing ideological conformity or other action in contravention of the First Amendment,” such as by being spent to support political candidates.663 In International Ass’n of Machinists v. Street, where union dues had been collected pursuant to a union shop agreement and had been spent to support political candidates, the Court avoided the First Amendment issue by construing the Railway Labor Act to prohibit the use of compulsory union dues for political causes.664

In Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Education,665 the Court found Hanson and Street applicable to the public employment context.666 Recognizing that any system of compelled support restricted employees’ right not to associate and not to support, the Court nonetheless found the governmental interests served by an “agency shop” agreement667 — the promotion of labor peace and stability of employer-employee relations—to be of overriding importance and to justify the impact upon employee freedom.668 But the Court drew a different balance when it considered whether employees compelled to support the union were constitutionally entitled to object to the use of those exacted funds to support political candidates or to advance ideological causes not germane to the union’s duties as collective-bargaining representative. To compel one to expend funds in such a way is to violate his freedom of belief and the right to act on those beliefs just as much as if government prohibited him from acting to further his own beliefs.669 The remedy, however, was not to restrain the union from making non-collective-bargaining-related expenditures, but was to require that those funds come only from employees who do not object. Therefore, the lower courts were directed to oversee development of a system under which employees could object generally to such use of union funds and could obtain either a proportionate refund or a reduction of future exactions.670 Later, the Court further tightened the requirements. A proportionate refund is inadequate because “even then the union obtains an involuntary loan for purposes to which the employee objects”671 an advance reduction of dues corrects the problem only if accompanied by sufficient information by which employees may gauge the propriety of the union’s fee.672 Therefore, the union procedure must also “provide for a reasonably prompt decision by an impartial decisionmaker.”673

In Davenport v. Washington Education Ass’n,674 the Court noted that, although Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson had “set forth various procedural requirements that public-sector unions collecting agency fees must observe in order to ensure that an objecting nonmember can prevent the use of his fees for impermissible purposes,”675 it “never suggested that the First Amendment is implicated whenever governments place limitations on a union’s entitlement to agency fees above and beyond what Abood and Hudson require. To the contrary, we have described Hudson as ‘outlin[ing] a minimum set of procedures by which a [public-sector] union in an agency-shop relationship could meet its requirements under Abood.’ ”676 Thus, the Court held in Davenport that the State of Washington could prohibit “expenditure of a nonmember’s agency fees for election-related purposes unless the nonmember affirmatively consents.”677 The Court added that “Washington could have gone much further, restricting public-sector agency fees to the portion of union dues devoted to collective bargaining. Indeed, it is uncontested that it would be constitutional for Washington to eliminate agency fees entirely.”678

And then, in Knox v. Service Employees International Union,679 the Court did suggest constitutional limits on a public union assessing political fees in an agency shop other than through a voluntary opt in system. The union in Knox had proposed and implemented a special fee to fund political advocacy before providing formal notice with an opportunity for non-union employees to opt out. Five Justices characterized agency shop arrangements in the public sector as constitutionally problematic in the first place, and, then, charged that requiring non-union members to affirmatively opt out of contributing to political activities was “a remarkable boon for unions.” Continuing to call opt-out arrangements impingements on the First Amendment rights of non-union members, the majority more specifically held that the Constitution required that separate notices be sent out for special political assessments that allowed non-union employees to opt in rather than requiring them to opt out.680 Two concurring Justices, echoed by the dissenters, heavily criticized the majority for reaching “significant constitutional issues not contained in the questions presented, briefed, or argued.” Rather, the concurrence more narrowly found that unions may not collect special political assesments from non-union members who earlier objected to nonchargeable (i.e., political) expenses, and could only collect from nonobjecting nonmembers after giving notice and an opportunity to opt out.681

Doubts on the constitutionality of mandatory union dues in the public sector intensified in Harris v. Quinn.682 The Court openly expressed reservations on Abood‘s central holding that the collection of an agency fee from public employees withstood First Amendment scrutiny because of the desirability of “labor peace” and the problem of “free ridership.” Specifically, the Court questioned (1) the scope of the precedents (like Hanson and Street) that the Abood Court relied on (2) Abood‘s failure to appreciate the distinctly political context of public sector unions and (3) Abood‘s dismissal of the administrative difficulties in distinguishing between public union expenditures for collective bargaining and expenditures for political purposes.683 Notwithstanding these concerns about Abood‘s core holding, the Court in Harris declined to overturn Abood outright. Instead, the Court focused on the peculiar status of the employees at issue in the case before it: home health care assistants subsidized by Medicaid. These “partial-public employees” were under the direction and control of their individual clients and not the state, had little direct interaction with state agencies or employees, and derived only limited benefits from the union.684 As a consequence, the Court concluded that Abood‘s rationale—the labor peace and free rider concerns—did not justify compelling dissenting home health care assistants to subsidize union speech.685 The question that remains after Harris is whether the Court will, given its open criticism of Abood, overturn the 1977 ruling in the future, or whether the Court will continue to limit Abood to its facts.686

In Ysursa v. Pocatello Education Ass’n,687 the Court upheld an Idaho statute that prohibited payroll deductions for union political activities. Because the statute did not restrict political speech, but merely declined to subsidize it by providing for payroll deductions, the state did not abridge the union’s First Amendment right and therefore could justify the ban merely by demonstrating a rational basis for it. The Court found that it was “justified by the State’s interest in avoiding the reality or appearance of government favoritism or entanglement with partisan politics.”688

The Court has held that a labor relations body may not prevent a union member or employee represented exclusively by a union from speaking out at a public meeting on an issue of public concern, simply because the issue was a subject of collective bargaining between the union and the employer.689

Footnotes

601 NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, 357 U.S. 449, 460–61 (1958). 602 357 U.S. at 460 Bates v. City of Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516, 522–23 (1960) United Transportation Union v. State Bar of Michigan, 401 U.S. 576, 578–79 (1971) Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169, 181 (1972). 603 NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, 357 U.S. 449, 461, 463 (1958) NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S. 415, 429–30 (1963) Cousins v. Wigoda, 419 U.S. 477, 487 (1975) In re Primus, 436 U.S. 412, 426 (1978) Democratic Party v. Wisconsin, 450 U.S. 107, 121 (1981). 604 See “Maintenance of National Security and the First Amendment,” infra. 605 NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson, 357 U.S. 449, 460 (1958). 606 357 U.S. at 461. 607 361 U.S. 516 (1960). 608 364 U.S. 479 (1960). 609 Louisiana ex rel. Gremillion v. NAACP, 366 U.S. 293 (1961). 610 NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Flowers, 377 U.S. 288 (1964). 611 377 U.S. at 308, 309. 612 NAACP v. Button, 371 U.S. 415 (1963). 613 371 U.S. at 429–30. Button was applied in In re Primus, 436 U.S. 412 (1978), in which the Court found foreclosed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments the discipline visited upon a volunteer lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union who had solicited someone to use the ACLU to bring suit to contest the sterilization of Medicaid recipients. Both the NAACP and the ACLU were organizations that engaged in extensive litigation as well as lobbying and educational activities, all of which were means of political expression. “[T]he efficacy of litigation as a means of advancing the cause of civil liberties often depends on the ability to make legal assistance available to suitable litigants.” Id. at 431. “[C]ollective activity undertaken to obtain meaningful access to the courts is a fundamental right within the protection of the First Amendment.” Id. at 426. However, ordinary law practice for commercial ends is not given special protection. “A lawyer’s procurement of remunerative employment is a subject only marginally affected with First Amendment concerns.” Ohralik v. Ohio State Bar Ass’n, 436 U.S. 447, 459 (1978). See also Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, 433 U.S. 350, 376 n.32 (1977), and see the comparison of Ohralik and Bates in Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Ass’n v. Brentwood Academy, 551 U.S. 291, 296–98 (2007) (“solicitation ban was more akin to a conduct regulation than a speech restriction”). 614 Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen v. Virginia, 377 U.S. 1 (1964). 615 United Mine Workers v. Illinois State Bar Ass’n, 389 U.S. 217 (1967). 616 United Transportation Union v. State Bar of Michigan, 401 U.S. 576 (1971). 617 401 U.S. at 578–79. These cases do not, however, stand for the proposition that individuals are always entitled to representation of counsel in administrative proceedings. See Walters v. National Ass’n of Radiation Survivors, 473 U.S. 305 (1985) (upholding limitation to $10 of fee that may be paid attorney in representing veterans’ death or disability claims before VA). 618 E.g., NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., 458 U.S. 886, 907–15 (1982) (concerted activities of group protesting racial bias) Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169 (1972) (denial of official recognition to student organization by public college without justification abridged right of association). The right does not, however, protect the decision of entities not truly private to exclude minorities. Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160, 175–76 (1976) Norwood v. Harrison, 413 U.S. 455, 469–70 (1973) Railway Mail Ass’n v. Corsi, 326 U.S. 88 (1945) Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609 (1984). 619 City of Dallas v. Stanglin, 490 U.S. 19, 24, 25 (1989). The narrow factual setting—a restriction on adults dancing with teenagers in public—may be contrasted with the Court’s broad assertion that “coming together to engage in recreational dancing . . . is not protected by the First Amendment.” Id. at 25. 620 468 U.S. 609 (1984). 621 481 U.S. 537 (1987). 622 487 U.S. 1 (1988). 623 468 U.S. at 621. 624 481 U.S. at 546. 625 487 U.S. at 11–12. 626 468 U.S. at 626–27 (citations omitted). 627 468 U.S. at 628. 628 The Court in Rotary rejected an assertion that Roberts had recognized that Kiwanis Clubs are constitutionally distinguishable, and suggested that a case-by-case approach is necessary to determine whether “the ‘zone of privacy’ extends to a particular club or entity.” 481 U.S. at 547 n.6. 629 487 U.S. at 15. 630 514 U.S. 334 (1995). 631 515 U.S. at 580. 632 515 U.S. at 580–81. 633 530 U.S. 640 (2000). 634 530 U.S. at 644. 635 530 U.S. at 648. 636 530 U.S. at 650. 637 530 U.S. at 651. 638 530 U.S. at 653. 639 530 U.S. at 653. In Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, Inc., 547 U.S. 47, 69 (2006), the Court held that the Solomon Amendment’s forcing law schools to allow military recruiters on campus does not violate the schools’ freedom of expressive association because “[r]ecruiters are, by definition, outsiders who come onto campus for the limited purpose of trying to hire students—not to become members of the school’s expressive association. This distinction is critical. Unlike the public accommodations law in Dale, the Solomon Amendment does not force a law school ‘to accept members it does not desire.’ ” Rumsfeld is discussed below under “Government and the Power of the Purse.” See also A NDREW KOPPELMAN AND TO-BIAS BARRINGTON WOLFF, A RIGHT TO DISCRIMINATE?: HOW THE CASE OF BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICAN V. JAMES DALE WARPED THE LAW OF FREE ASSOCIATION (Yale University Press, 2009). 640 Kusper v. Pontikes, 414 U.S. 51, 56–57 (1973) (citation omitted). 641 393 U.S. 23 (1968). 642 E.g., Rosario v. Rockefeller, 410 U.S. 752 (1973) (time deadline for enrollment in party in order to vote in next primary) Kusper v. Pontikes, 414 U.S. 51 (1973) (barring voter from party primary if he voted in another party’s primary within preceding 23 months) American Party of Texas v. White, 415 U.S. 767 (1974) (ballot access restriction) Illinois State Bd. of Elections v. Socialist Workers Party, 440 U.S. 173 (1979) (number of signatures to get party on ballot) Citizens Against Rent Control v. City of Berkeley, 454 U.S. 290 (1981) (limit on contributions to associations formed to support or oppose referendum measure) Clements v. Fashing, 457 U.S. 957 (1982) (resign-to-run law). 643 Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 30–31 (1968) Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. 134, 142–143 (1972) Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724, 730 (1974) Illinois State Bd. of Elections v. Socialist Workers Party, 440 U.S. 173, 183 (1979). 644 Thus, in Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724, 736 (1974), the Court found “compelling” the state interest in achieving stability through promotion of the two-party system, and upheld a bar on any independent candidate who had been affiliated with any other party within one year. Compare Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S. 23, 31–32 (1968) (casting doubt on state interest in promoting Republican and Democratic voters). The state interest in protecting the integrity of political parties was held to justify requiring enrollment of a person in the party up to eleven months before a primary election, Rosario v. Rockefeller, 410 U.S. 752 (1973), but not to justify requiring one to forgo one election before changing parties. Kusper v. Pontikes, 414 U.S. 51 (1973). See also Civil Serv. Comm’n v. National Ass’n of Letter Carriers, 413 U.S. 548 (1973) (efficient operation of government justifies limits on employee political activity) Rodriguez v. Popular Democratic Party, 457 U.S. 1 (1982) (permitting political party to designate replacement in office vacated by elected incumbent of that party serves valid governmental interests). Storer v. Brown was distinguished in Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983), holding invalid a requirement that independent candidates for President and Vice-President file nominating petitions by March 20 in order to qualify for the November ballot state interests in assuring voter education, treating all candidates equally (candidates participating in a party primary also had to declare candidacy in March), and preserving political stability, were deemed insufficient to justify the substantial impediment to independent candidates and their supporters. See also Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut, 479 U.S. 208 (1986) (state interests are insubstantial in imposing “closed primary” under which a political party is prohibited from allowing independents to vote in its primaries) California Democratic Party v. Jones, 530 U.S. 567, 577 (2000) (requirement of a “blanket” primary, in which all registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, may participate, unconstitutionally “forces political parties to associate with—to have their nominees, and hence their positions, determined by—those who, at best, have refused to affiliate with the party, and, at worst, have expressly affiliated with a rival.”) Clingman v. Beaver, 544 U.S. 581 (2005) (Oklahoma statute that allowed only registered members of a political party, and registered independents, to vote in the party’s primary does not violate freedom of association Oklahoma’s “semiclosed primary system” distinguished from Connecticut’s closed primary that the Court struck down in Tashjian). 645 New York State Bd. of Elections v. Lopez Torres, 128 S. Ct. 791, 797–98 (2008) (citations omitted). In Lopez Torres, the Court upheld a state statute that required political parties to select judicial candidates at a convention of delegates chosen by party members in a primary election, rather than to select candidates in direct primary elections. The statute was challenged by party members who had not been selected and who claimed “that the convention process that follows the delegate election does not give them a realistic chance to secure the party’s nomination.” Id. at 799. The Court rejected their challenge, holding that, although a state may require “party-candidate selection through processes more favorable to insurgents, such as primaries,” id. at 799, the Constitution does not demand that a state do so. “Party conventions, with their attendant ‘smoke-filled rooms’ and domination by party leaders, have long been an accepted manner of selecting party candidates.” Id. at 799. The plaintiffs had an associational right to join the party but not to have a certain degree of influence in the party. Id. at 798. 646 Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party, 128 S. Ct. 1184, 1189 (2008). This was a 7-to-2 decision written by Justice Thomas, with Justices Scalia and Kennedy dissenting. 647 128 S. Ct. at 1192. 648 128 S. Ct. at 1193. The Court saw “simply no basis to presume that a well-informed electorate will interpret a candidate’s party preference designation to mean that the candidate is the party’s chosen nominee or representative or that the party associates with or approves of the candidate.” Id. 649 A ballot could avoid confusion by, for example, “includ[ing] prominent disclaimers explaining that party preference reflects only the self-designation of the candidate and not an official endorsement by the party.” 128 S. Ct. at 1194. Justice Scalia, joined by Justice Kennedy in dissent, wrote that “[a]n individual’s endorsement of a party shapes the voter’s view of what the party stands for,” and that it is “quite impossible for the ballot to satisfy a reasonable voter that the candidate is ‘not associated’ with the party for which he has expressed a preference.” Id. at 1200. 650 Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347 (1976). The limited concurrence of Justices Stewart and Blackmun provided the qualification for an otherwise expansive plurality opinion. Id. at 374. 651 Branti v. Finkel, 445 U.S. 507, 518 (1980). On the same page, the Court refers to a position in which “party membership was essential to the discharge of the employee’s governmental responsibilities.” (Emphasis added.) A great gulf separates “appropriate” from “essential,” so that much depends on whether the Court was using the two words interchangeably or whether the stronger word was meant to characterize the position noted and not to particularize the standard. 652 Justice Powell’s dissents in both cases contain lengthy treatments of and defenses of the patronage system as a glue strengthening necessary political parties. 445 U.S. at 520. 653 497 U.S. 62 (1990). Rutan was a 5–4 decision, with Justice Brennan writing the Court’s opinion. The four dissenters indicated, in an opinion by Justice Scalia, that they would not only rule differently in Rutan, but that they would also overrule Elrod and Branti. 654 O’Hare Truck Serv., Inc. v. City of Northlake, 518 U.S. 712 (1996) (allegation that city removed petitioner’s company from list of those offered towing business on a rotating basis, in retaliation for petitioner’s refusal to contribute to mayor’s campaign, and for his support of mayor’s opponent, states a cause of action under the First Amendment) Board of County Comm’rs v. Umbehr, 518 U.S. 668 (1996) (termination or non-renewal of a public contract in retaliation for the contractor’s speech on a matter of public concern can violate the First Amendment). 655 Democratic Party v. Wisconsin ex rel. LaFollette, 450 U.S. 107 (1981). See also Cousins v. Wigoda, 419 U.S. 477 (1975) (party rules, not state law, governed which delegation from state would be seated at national convention national party had protected associational right to sit delegates it chose). 656 Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 60–84 (1976). 657 424 U.S. at 64 (footnote citations omitted). 658 424 U.S. at 66–68. 659 424 U.S. at 68–74. Such a showing, based on past governmental and private hostility and harassment, was made in Brown v. Socialist Workers ’74 Campaign Comm., 459 U.S. 87 (1982). 660 424 U.S. at 74–84. 661 The Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 73 Stat. 537, 29 U.S.C. §§ 411–413, enacted a bill of rights for union members, designed to protect, among other things, freedom of speech and assembly and the right to participate in union meetings on political and economic subjects. 662 Section 8(a)(3) of the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, 61 Stat. 140, 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(3), permits the negotiation of union shop agreements. Such agreements, however, may be outlawed by state “right to work” laws. Section 14(b), 61 Stat. 151, 29 U.S.C. § 164(b). See Lincoln Fed. Labor Union v. Northwestern Iron & Metal Co., 335 U.S. 525 (1949) AFL v. American Sash & Door Co., 335 U.S. 538 (1949). In industries covered by the Railway Labor Act, union shop agreements may be negotiated regardless of contrary state laws. 64 Stat. 1238, 45 U.S.C. § 152, Eleventh see Railway Employes’ Dep’t v. Hanson, 351 U.S. 225 (1956). 663 351 U.S. 225, 238 (1956). 664 367 U.S. 740, 749–50 (1961). Justices Douglas, Black, Frankfurter, and Harlan would have reached the constitutional issue, with differing results. On the same day that it decided Street, the Court, in Lathrop v. Donohue, 367 U.S. 820 (1961), declined to reach the constitutional issues presented by roughly the same fact situation in a suit by lawyers compelled to join an “integrated bar.” These issues, however, were faced squarely in Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1, 14 (1990), which held that an integrated state bar may not, against a members’ wishes, devote compulsory dues to ideological or other political activities not “necessarily or reasonably related to the purpose of regulating the legal profession or improving the quality of legal service available to the people of the State.” 665 431 U.S. 209 (1977). 666 That a public entity was the employer and the employees consequently were public employees was deemed constitutionally immaterial for the application of the principles of Hanson and Street, id. at 226–32, but, in a concurring opinion joined by Chief Justice Burger and Justice Blackmun, Justice Powell found the distinction between public and private employment crucial. Id. at 244. 667 An agency shop agreement requires all employees, regardless of union membership, to pay a fee to the union that reflects the union’s efforts in obtaining employment benefits through collective bargaining. The Court in Abood noted that it is the “practical equivalent” of a union shop agreement. 431 U.S. at 217 n.10. 668 431 U.S. at 217–23. For a similar argument over the issue of corporate political contributions and shareholder rights, see First National Bank v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765, 792–95 (1978), and id. at 802, 812–21 (Justice White dissenting). 669 431 U.S. at 232–37. 670 431 U.S. at 237–42. On the other hand, nonmembers may be charged for such general union expenses as contributions to state and national affiliates, expenses of sending delegates to state and national union conventions, and costs of a union newsletter. Lehnert v. Ferris Faculty Ass’n, 500 U.S. 507 (1991). A local union may also charge nonmembers a fee that goes to the national union to pay for litigation expenses incurred on behalf of other local units, but only if (1) the litigation is related to collective bargaining rather than political activity, and (2) the litigation charge is reciprocal in nature, i.e., other locals contribute similarly. Locke v. Karass, 129 S. Ct. 798, 802 (2009). 671 Ellis v. Brotherhood of Railway, Airline & Steamship Clerks, 466 U.S. 435, 444 (1984). 672 Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, 475 U.S. 292 (1986). 673 475 U.S. at 309. 674 551 U.S. 177 (2007). 675 551 U.S. at 181, citing 475 U.S. 292, 302, 304–310. 676 551 U.S. at 185, quoting Keller v. State Bar of Cal., 496 U.S. 1, 17 (1990), and adding emphasis. 677 551 U.S. at 184. 678 551 U.S. at 184 (citations omitted). 679 567 U.S. ___, No. 10–1121, slip op. (2012). 680 Id. at 17 (Alito, J., joined by Roberts, C.J., and by Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ.). 681 567 U.S. ___, No. 10–1121, slip op. (2012) (Sotomayor, J., joined by Ginsburg, J., concurring). 682 573 U.S. ___, No. 11–681, slip op. (2014). 683 Id. at 8–20. 684 Id. at 24–27. 685 Id. at 27. 686 In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the Court was equally divided on the question of whether to overrule Abood, signaling that Abood’s continued viability may be a subject of future debate at the Supreme Court. 578 U.S. ___, No. 14–915, slip op. at 1 (2016). 687 129 S. Ct. 1093 (2009). 688 129 S. Ct. at 1098. The unions had argued that, even if the limitation was valid as applied at the state level, it violated their First Amendment rights when applied to local public employers. The Court held that a political subdivision, “created by the state for the better ordering of government, has no privileges or immunities under the federal constitution which it may invoke in opposition to the will of its creator.” Id. at 1101, quoting Williams v. Mayor of Baltimore, 289 U.S. 36, 40 (1933). 689 Madison School Dist. v. WERC, 429 U.S. 167 (1976).

Hostility to Jewish emancipation Edit

In 1830, Robert Peel spoke in Parliament in opposition of the emancipation of the Jews. [1] During this time, a Jew could not open a shop within the city of London, become a barrister, graduate from university, or be a member of Parliament. [1] Peel commented:

The Jew is not a degraded subject of the state he is rather regarded in the light of an alien - he is excluded because he will not amalgamate with us in any of his usages or habits - he is regarded as a foreigner. In the history of the Jews . we find enough to account for the prejudice which exists against them. [1]

Hostility towards Jewish entrance to parliament Edit

Prior to 1858, Jews were not allowed to become Members of Parliament (MPs) unless they were Christian, such as Benjamin Disraeli who was baptised as a child. [2] This changed in 1858, with the Jews Relief Act . [3] Conservative opposition to the Act included:

  • Conservative MP Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (Lord Salisbury) opposed Jewish inclusion in Parliament because, he said, a Jew, due to his religious convictions, would be opposed to 'all . (present MPs) were there to uphold', and would take a 'hostile' position towards Parliament. [4] 'expressed his horror at the possibility of seeing a Jew Premier in Parliament'. [5] 'intended no insult to the Jews in asserting that they were unfit to legislate or interfere in the affairs of a Christian nation'. [5] and Charles Law warned that every Jew in Parliament would 'displace a Christian' and accused the Jews of the City of London of conspiring to get John Russell elected and, therefore, having John Russell under their control. [5] opposed the bill 'on the ground that there was no pre-eminence or super-excellence in the Jewish race which would justify the house in relaxing' the rules about admittance. [5] claimed that 'the wealth of one distinguished Jew had been liberally lavished to obtain petitions in favour of the Bill' [5] and that behind the calls for Jewish Emancipation was a 'Talmudic conspiracy . to destroy the free constitutionand religion of ProtestantEnglishmen'. [6] saw the 'apathy with which this Bill had been received in the country as no source of congratulation, but as a very terrible sign of the corruption of the times'. [5] was of the opinion that 'Jewish emancipation would lower the tone of religious opinion in England'. [5] said that the Jews were of a 'separate creed and interest' and were 'not a citizen of this country, but of the world'. [5] said that Jews 'were unfortunately actuated by a love of money, which was highly discreditable'. [5] argued that Jews were 'a separate nation with a separate creed'. [5] , Richard Spooner, Frederic Thesiger, Alexander Raphael, Francis Scott, Henry Goulburn, Joseph Napier, [5]Cropley Ashley-Cooper (Lord Ashley), and Henry Home-Drummond, also opposed the bill and the inclusion of Jews. [4]

Antisemitic hostility towards Disraeli Edit

Benjamin Disraeli suffered prejudice from some Conservatives throughout his political career. [3] Disraeli was described by one backbench Conservative, Sir Rainald Knightley, [7] as 'that hellish Jew', and by some others simply as 'the Jew'. [3] Edward Smith-Stanley (Earl of Derby) excoriated Disraeli for holding beliefs he considered un-English. [8] [ failed verification ] Another Conservative said of him, 'he bears the mark of the Jew strongly about him . He is evidently clever but superlatively vulgar'. [3]

Disraeli's antisemitism Edit

According to Jonathan Freedland, 'Disraeli clearly internalised the anti-Jewish sentiment in which his society was drenched'. [9] This can be seen in Disraeli's novels, which contain antisemitic stereotypes [9] - he made a 'fundamental contribution . to modern literary antisemitism'. [10] According to Hannah Arendt and historian David Cesarani, 'Disraeli almost single-handedly invented the lexicon of modern racial anti-Semitism'. [8] [ failed verification ] Cesarani adds: Disraeli 'played a formative part in the construction of anti-Semitic discourse'. [8] [ failed verification ]

UK organised antisemitism Edit

Organised antisemitism in the United Kingdom can be traced to the proto-fascist [11] [12] paramilitary [13] group, the British Brothers' League (BBL), [14] [15] which was founded in 1901 by members of the Conservative Party, [11] [16] including MPs Howard Vincent and William Evans-Gordon, [11] and drew its membership from sections of the Conservative Party. [17] The BBL, the 'largest and best organised of all the anti-alien groups' of its time [16] was 'Conservative-led and . Conservative-dominated'. [18] It sought to pressure the government into stopping the arrival of poor Jews into Britain. [14] It was successful in that its pressure was instrumental in persuading parliament to pass the 1905 Aliens Act. [14]

William Evans-Gordon was elected to parliament in 1900 on an anti-alien platform [18] and began campaigning for changes to the government's immigration policies in his first year of office. [19] Within their parliamentary work, Evans-Gordon and other Conservative MPs obscured their antisemitism within advocacy for what might have been considered a reasonable immigration policy. [19] Within their discourse, 'immigrant' and 'alien' often meant 'Jew'. [20] [19] With four Conservative MPs in support at its inaugural meeting, the BBL was founded on 9 May 1901. [note 1] The next month, Walter Murry Guthrie called a meeting of east London Conservative Associations and out of this initiative another group was formed with the aim of pressuring the government to restrict immigration: the Londoners' League. [17] The Londoners' League worked with the BBL at a lower tier [21] and had a number of Conservative MPs and councillors as speakers, including Evans-Gordon, Samuel Ridley, Harry Samuel, Thomas Herbert Robertson, David John Morgan and Arnold White. [note 2] The BBL stirred up popular racism against Jewish immigrants who had moved to the city to find refuge because they had been displaced by pogroms in their home countries. [15] [22]

On the tier above the BBL was the Parliamentary Alien Immigration Committee. [17] The Committee was founded in August 1901 and comprised all the East End MPs (except the Liberal Party MP for Whitechapel, Stuart M. Samuel). [23] Based on the same ideas as those of the BBL, Evans-Gordon formed the Committee to work within parliament. [24] As a parliamentary pressure group, it urged the government to pass restrictive immigration controls. [23]

Progress towards the Aliens Act 1905 Edit

In 1902, Evans-Gordon was instrumental in setting up a Royal Commission on Alien Immigration, of which he was the chair [25] and a 'key member', submitting reports to the Commission. [19] The Royal Commission was a 'Parliamentary platform against Jewish migrants' [26] and concerned itself almost entirely with Jews. [27] Sympathies for the BBL 'stretched into the secretaryship of the Royal Commission on Alien Immigration'. [17] In February 1903, the antisemitic [28] [29] [30] Immigration Reform Association (IRA) was established, with Richard Hely-Hutchinson (Earl of Donoughmore) as president - a 'respectable' group within the anti-alien network and MPs who had been involved with the BBL continued their work through the Association, which played a prominent role in putting pressure on the government to pass restrictive immigration controls. [17] Working with Harry F. Smith, a Conservative Party agent, the IRA organised a major demonstration in November 1903, with the BBL providing a procession. [17]

In 1903, Evans-Gordon wrote The Alien Immigrant [17] (which was an expansion of the reports he had made to the Royal Commission) with the aim of influencing public opinion on immigration. [19] In this, he addressed the so-called "Jewish question", asserting that 'the settlement of large aggregations of Hebrews in a Christian land has never been successful', [31] and that the 'Hebrew colony . unlike any other alien colony in [Great Britain], forms a solid and permanently distinct block — a race apart, as it were, in an enduring island of extraneous thought and custom', to the extent that 'east of Aldgate one walks into a foreign town'. [32]

The Royal Commission on Alien Immigration reported its findings in August 1903, [26] which would inform the Aliens Act of 1905, [23] recommending strong, restrictive laws against alien entry into Britain. [33] In 1904, the Conservative Home Secretary Aretas Akers-Douglas brought a bill to parliament that would 'make provision with respect to the Immigration of Aliens, and other matters incidental thereto'. [34] Within the bill, 'alien' was 'an implicit reference to "the Jew"'. [35] Evans-Gordon was a primary author of the 1904 immigration bill. [19]

In 1905, the revised bill passed into law. [34] Evans-Gordon's speeches were 'the primary catalyst for the final passage of the 1905 Act'. [19] He became known as the "father of the Aliens Bill". [14] The 1905 Alien Act, while not mentioning Jews outright, appealed to racial prejudice against the Jews and was designed to stop the arrival of Eastern European Jews into Britain. [14] [27] The BBL had succeeded: [14] it largely was responsible, along with its supporting MPs, for the passing of the 1905 Alien's Act. [36]

William Joynson-Hicks MP Edit

In a 1908 by-election, standing against Winston Churchill (a Liberal at the time), the Conservative candidate, William Joynson-Hicks, was elected to Parliament as MP for Manchester North West. [37] During his election campaign he took a stance against the Jews, which continued throughout his political career, announcing that 'he was not going to pander for the Jewish vote. He would treat those who were Englishmen as Englishmen, but as to those who put their Jewish or foreign nationality before their English nationality, let them vote for Mr Churchill'. [37] He threw aspersions on his opponent, publicly saying Churchill's supporters were 'bogus deputations going to him from a few Jews who were not even on the register'. [37] Over time, Joynson-Hicks because 'embedded at the heart of the Toryism'. [37]

Parliamentary level Edit

National League for Clean Government Edit

The National League for Clean Government was a political reform movement, created partly in response to the Marconi scandal, [38] that directed antisemitism towards the Jewish plutocracy, [17] which it believed was conspiring to subvert British politics. [38] A number of its members and supporters were antisemites, including Conservative MP Rowland Hunt. [38] [17] At a meeting of the group in 1913, Hunt spoke about the 'influence' which controlled Britain and, in a 'thinly disguised reference to Jewish financiers', said, "We are really in danger of being ruled by alien votes and foreign gold. . The aliens and foreign plutocrats are driving out British blood". [17] [4] The cartoonist David Low commented on the meeting that the audience was left with the feeling of antisemitism. [17] [38]

Antisemitism during World War I Edit

During World War I, Joynson-Hicks associated with the ultra-nationalistic British Empire Union (formerly called the Anti-German Union). In a 'strongly anti-semitic' campaign, in which Jewishness and German origin were conflated, the Union demanded the internment and repatriation of "enemy aliens", many of whom were Jews. [37]

Joynson-Hicks and the Die Hards Edit

After World War I, Joynson-Hicks became an important member of the Die Hards, who were united 'by their national chauvinism, verging on xenophobia, and anti-Bolshevism', with some members (e.g., Henry Percy (Duke of Northumberland), George Clarke (Lord Sydenham), and the MPs Ronald McNeill, Charles Yate, Charles Taylor Foxcroft and Henry Page Croft) believing the conspiracy theory of a Jewish world effort to subvert Britain and its Empire. [37] Jew baiting was known among them. [39] Joynson-Hicks 'exemplified the Die Hard position', involving himself in matters in which Jews were concerned. [37] For example, he was involved in the hunt for 'aliens', which led to many Russian Jews being expelled from Britain, and the Die Hard ousting of Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State for India. [37]

Joynson-Hicks questioned the trustworthiness of Ango-Jewish MPs and civil servants. He spoke out against Sir Herbert Samuel when he was appointed High Commissioner for Palestine. [37] Joyson-Hicks also continued his involvement in extra-parliamentary antisemitic agitation. He was involved with groups composed of a 'comprehensive cross-section of anti-Jews': for example, George Clarke (Lord Sydenham), G. K. Chesterton, Nesta Webster, Rosita Forbes and Arnold White. [37] Sir Charles Yate, George Clarke (Lord Sydenham), Henry Percy (Duke of Northumberland) and several other anti-Zionist MPs produced the publication The Conspiracy Against the British Empire, a 'boiled-down version' of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. [37] Joyson-Hicks was in favour of self-government by 'the majority in Palestine' and proposal of a resolution to that effect, which was perhaps a result of his antisemitism. [37] At some point in his career, he commented that the Jewish immigrants to Palestine were 'the sweepings of the ghettos of Central Europe'. [4]

Macmillan and the "International Jew" Edit

Harold Macmillan wrote to a friend during the 1919 Paris peace talks that the government of Prime Minister Lloyd George was not 'really popular, except with the International Jew'. [40]

Chamberlain's and Joynson-Hicks' antisemitism Edit

Writing to his sister, Austen Chamberlain described former Conservative Party leader and prime minister Benjamin Disraeli as an 'English patriot [but] not an Englishman'. [41] [42] During Chamberlain's leadership, the Jewish Chronicle (07/06/22) described Joynson-Hicks as 'the most avowed and determined anti-Semite in the House'. [43]

Antisemitism towards Jewish 'aliens' Edit

In February 1923, Charles Crook, Conservative MP for East Ham North, brought a motion to the House of Commons that it was 'the utmost importance that a strict control shall be maintained over alien immigration'. [42] Crook wished to maintain the 'racial integrity of Britain' and was seconded by the Conservative MP for Manchester Hulme, Joseph Nall, who particularly wanted to exclude the 'alien revolutionary agitator'. [42] Crook and Nall were supported by Herbert Nield, Conservative MP for Ealing, in whose opinion Stepney had been 'positively ruined by the incursion of these aliens', evidenced by the presence of advertisements and notices in Yiddish. [42]

Antisemitism towards Jewish MP Edit

During the 1922 general election, the sitting MP for Putney, the Conservative Samuel Samuel, was opposed by an independent Conservative candidate, Prescott Decre. Samuel saw this opposition by Decre and his supporters as 'purely anti-Semitic'. [42]

Stanley Baldwin had strong ties to Joynson-Hicks, which can be seen throughout their political careers together - each vouched for the other in election campaigns Joynson-Hicks was instrumental in the 'destruction of the coalition and the old Conservative leadership which opened the way to Bonar Law and then Baldwin' and supported Baldwin in the passing of policy they worked together in the Treasury Baldwin promoted Joynson-Hicks to Home Secretary and Joynson-Hicks stood by Baldwin in defeat. [37] According to David Cesarani, Baldwin and Joynson-Hicks 'shared a discourse about England and Englishness' that included a definition of 'Englishness' based around 'a common language, heritage and racial character', and, on the other side of the coin, a dislike of other 'races', seen as 'less illustrious . other and 'alien'.' [37]

Baldwin became prime minister in 1923 and gave Joynson-Hicks a place in the Cabinet as Financial Secretary to the Treasury. This was 'noted by the Zionist press with anxiety'. [37] In August 1923 he became Health Minister. [44] There were also causes for concern for Anglo-Jewry in the way Baldwin's government came to power again in the 1924 general election. [37] That election saw an 'exceptionally dirty campaign' (most notoriously known for the Zinoviev letter, a forgery purportedly written by the Jewish head of the Communist International in Moscow, published by the Daily Mail to turn the electorate against the Labour party), and the Conservative campaign had a stream of anti-Jewish, anti-alienism underlying it. [37] Now and at other times in this period, 'anti-Jewish feeling was mobilized under the guise of anti-alienism, anti-Zionism and anti-Bolshevism by mainstream political figures'. [37] During the campaign, Baldwin and other Conservatives used the threat of aliens as one of their platforms. [37] In their campaigning, the term 'aliens' was 'used as a code for Jews'. [45]

In speeches like his party political broadcast on 16 October, Baldwin gave the all clear to Joynson-Hicks and other extremists [ who? ] in the Conservative party who had been engaged in xenophobic campaigning for decades. [37] He said, 'we cannot afford the luxury of academic socialists or revolutionary agitation . I think its high time somebody said to Russia "Hands off England" . I want to examine the laws and regulations as to entry of aliens into this country, for in these days no alien should be substituted for one of our own people when we have not enough work at home to go around'. [37] Baldwin's allies could now exploit prejudices against foreigners, 'aliens' and 'agitators'. [37] For Hoynson-Hicks, the concept of 'alien' and 'communist' blended, and throughout his political career his 'anti-alienism, his anti-Zionism, [and] his anti-communism all brought him into conflict with the Jews'. [37]

Home Secretary Joynson-Hicks Edit

After the Conservatives won the election, in November 1924, Baldwin made Joynson-Hicks Home Secretary (he was Home Secretary until 1929). David Cesarani ascribes this 'sudden [and] unexpected' political ascent - which, 'in the view of many at the time and since, [was] undeserved in terms of talent' - to the ideological affinity between Baldwin and Hoynson-Hicks. [37] Joynson-Hick's appointment worried the Jewish community, and not without reasons: his time as Home Secretary saw him in regular conflict with British Jews. [37] Joynson-Hicks became known as 'Mussolini Minor'. [37] His antisemitism caused him no harm during his time in office and he was emboldened in his antisemitism because he knew he had the general support of the Conservative party, 'the large majority of whom are anti-alien in the sense of generally disliking foreigners, and despising anyone who does not happen to have been born in this country with a long English lineage to boot'. [37] More specifically, too, the Conservative party contained a 'very noisy and active element' of antisemites. [37] '[A]nti-Jewish currents were evident at the centre of politics, even present at the Cabinet table'. [37] Writing to a friend shortly after the 1924 election, Chaim Weizmann commented, 'There is a new government . the Cabinet contains two or three reactionaries, anti-Zionists and even anti-semites'. [37] Within the government ranks, there was no 'dissent against [Joynson-Hicks's] activity . least of all from . Baldwin'. [37] Cesarani says Baldwin chose the right-winger Joynson-Hicks for his government because he considered him 'a desirable representative of elemental Toryism', a 'representative figure' who would 'enhance, rather than detract from, first, his electoral team, and second, his government'. [37]

Towards the start of his Home Secretary career Joynson-Hicks was visited by the right-wing organisation the National Citizens Union. [37] Joynson-Hicks told the group he would not allow a mass arrival of immigrants to Britain and that he would wouldn't hesitate to use his power to deport aliens. [37] Under Joynson-Hicks, the Home Office became 'the bane of the Jewish community' and 'the situation of Jewish aliens had deteriorated seriously'. [37] Jews who had not become British citizens were deported for misdemeanors but, when they applied for citizenship, were met with long, unnecessary delays with kept them in the precarious position of alien. [37] A group from the Board of Deputies of British Jews visited Joynson-Hicks at the Home Office in February 1925 to ask for an improvement to the regulations concerning aliens, 'the establishment of immigration boards to judge cases of aliens forbidden to land by immigration officers, some modification of the Home Secretary's power of deportation [and an] to end the delays in naturalization. Joynson-Hicks dismissed their requests. [37]

In November 1925, during parliamentary debates about the renewal of the Aliens Act, Joynson-Hicks was confronted about his actions by Labour MP John Scurr and Jewish Conservative MP Samuel Finburgh. Scurr said that the Aliens Act was being used 'against one section of the community, and particularly against the poorer members of the Jewish community'. [37] Samuel Finburgh highlighted that Jews who 'had been trying to get naturalized [were finding that] every possible obstruction was placed in their way'. [37] Joynson-Hicks responded by challenging Finburgh to give him a single example of when the Home Office had shown anti-Jewish bias, even though, Cesarani points out, Joynson-Hicks had entered and accepted a Home Office already discriminating against Jews in the applications for citizenship [37] [43] and, during his time in office, had received a memorandum on naturalization from John Pedder, the Home Office Principle Assistant Secretary, who regularly processed complaints from the Jewish community about Home Office action. [37]

When asked by a Jewish journalist, Meir Grossman, about the 'impression [that] has gain ground' that Joynson-Hicks was 'in general antagonistic to the alien population' and, more particularly 'in the exercising [of] his discretion as Home Secretary', was 'discriminating against Jewish applicants' for citizenship, Joynson-Hicks replied that he was upset by the accusation of antisemitism, insisted that he was fair. [37] However, his bias against the Jews was revealed when he went on to give the following example of the 'chief test' which he would apply before granting citizenship:

The chief test . is whether the applicant has, so far as can be judged, become an Englishman at heart and has completely identified himself with English interests. I will give you an example. If two brothers came to this country and one of them settles in a district where only aliens live, continues to speak his native language, marries a woman from his own country, sends his child to a school where only foreign children are kept, keeps his account in a foreign bank, employs only foreign labour, while the other marries and Englishwoman, sends his children to an English school, speaks English, employs British labour, keeps his accounts in a British bank, it is the second brother and not the first who will stand to obtain naturalization. [37]

The anti-alien legislation, as described and used by Joynson-Hicks in this way, was antisemitic. [37] [46]

In the 1930s, the Conservative Home Secretary refused to meet a delegation from organisations combating antisemitism. [41]

Winston Churchill's conspiracy theories Edit

After the 1924 general election, Winston Churchill joined the ranks of the Conservatives (previously, he had been a Liberal but ran as a Constitutionalist during the election). Churchill was a Zionist and held both positive and antisemitic opinions of Jews [47] [48] however, even some of his positive views were based on antisemitic stereotypes. [4] [47] For example, Churchill commented: [4]

Some people like Jews and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are beyond question the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has ever appeared in the world. [note 3]

In 1914 and 1920 Churchill had been accused of Jew baiting. [49] After World War I, Churchill believed communism to be under the control of "international Jewry", which was "a world-wide conspiracy" dedicated to "the overthrow of civilization and the reconstruction of society". [49] He expressed this in a 1920 Illustrated Sunday Herald article entitled "Zionism versus Bolshevism: A struggle for the soul of the Jewish people", [49] which pitted good, Zionist Jews against the evil of Jewish controlled Bolshevism. [47] In the article he cited favourably Nesta Helen Webster, the right-wing, antisemitic conspiracy theorist [4] and was 'tainted heavily with imagery' from the antisemitic fabricated text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. [47] The Jewish Chronicle castigated Churchill for the article. [47]

Churchill had also told Lloyd George that the Jews were 'the main instigators of the ruin of the Empire', that they had played 'a leading part in Bolshevik atrocities', [49] that the presence of Jews in radical groups was due (in Lebzelter's summation of Churchill's view) 'to inherent inclinations rooted in Jewish character and religion', and that a government should not have 'too many' Jews in it. [50] He said Britain need beware the 'international Soviet of the Russian and Polish Jew' and that he had found evidence of a 'very powerful' Jewish lobby in the country. [49] His antisemitism was shared by his wife, Clementine, who wrote to him in 1931 that she could understand 'American Anti-Semitic prejudice'. [49] It has been suggests that Churchill learned to keep his antisemitism quiet for political advantage. [49] [51]

Involvement with Oswald Mosley Edit

Oswald Mosley founded the January Club, a social and dining club, in 1934 to attract Establishment support for his British Union of Fascists movement, [52] which had increasing levels of antisemitism. [53] Conservative MPs and peers who became members included John Erskine, William Montagu-Douglas-Scott, Stafford Northcote (4th Earl of Iddesleigh) and Edward Spears. [11]

The Conservative led government of the 1930s responded with a lack of concern to Nazi Germany's persecution of Jews, looking on the 'Nazi actions as an internal affair of a foreign country', even after the Nuremberg Laws were enacted in September 1935. [54]

The Cliveden Set Edit

The Cliveden Set was an upper class group of politically influential people who were 'in favour of friendly relations with Nazi Germany'. [55] Prominent members included the Conservative MP Nancy Astor (Viscountess Astor), her husband Waldord Astor (Viscount Astor), [4] and Edward Wood (Lord Halifax). In 1936, Waldorf Astor attended the Nuremberg rally at Hitler's invitation. [56] The same year, the Set wrote to Prime Minister Baldwin in support of Hitler's invasion of the Rhineland. [57] Nancy Astor was "fiercely" antisemitic [58] and "chronically suspicious of Jews", believing in the "anti-Semitic fantasy of Jewish power". [4] She discouraged her husband from employing Jews at his newspaper, The Observer [55] and suspected Jews were behind what she saw as "appalling anti-German propaganda" in New York newspapers. [4] Astor would mimic Jewish businessmen. [4] She made "frequent outbursts against Jews". [4] When speaking to fellow Conservative MP Alan Graham in 1938, Astor's used much antisemitic language, including informing Graham, "Only a Jew like you would dare to be rude to me". [55] She said of Chaim Weizmann that he was "the only decent Jew I have ever met". [4] Nancy Astor believed that Nazism would solve "problems associated with Communism and the Jews". [55] Writing to US ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, Astor advised that it would take more than Hitler giving "a rough time" to "the killers of Christ" before she would support launching "Armageddon to save them". [59] According to David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London, the Viscountess blamed antisemitism on the Jews: at an event held by a wealthy Jewish family, she said, "Did I not after all believe there must be something in the Jews themselves that had bought them persecution throughout all the ages?" [60] Lady Astor's son, Jakie Astor, said that "the Jews" were one of his mother's "dragons to slay". [61] Astor received an endorsement from Churchill as she stood for election. [56]

Parliamentary level Edit

In the run up to World War II, 'within the ranks of the governing Conservative party and its allies in the press (especially the pro-Nazi Daily Mail) there was an at-times ill-disguised noxious mix of snobbery and anti-Semitism'. [62]

Chamberlain's antisemitism and Truth Edit

Conservative leader and Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had a dislike for the Jews. [54] [63] According to R. B. Cockett, 'it is in the pages of Truth that Chamberlain's real political sympathies and prejudices can be found political sympathies that were often in striking contrast to the official political postures adopted by his own government'. [64] The Conservative newspaper Truth, [65] secretly bought and overseen by Chamberlain's friend and former MI5 officer Joseph Ball (now director of the Conservative research department), had been obtained as an attempt 'by a caucus within [the] British government to influence events anonymously via the control of a newspaper'. [64] The paper was a 'Conservative propaganda organ', [66] pro-Chamberlain, antisemitic and racist. [64] The paper praised Hitler and attacked Chamberlain's enemies, 'a collection of persons and ideologies that would have closely resembled any hate-list that Hitler might have cared to draw up. Chief among these were the Bolsheviks/Communists and Jews'. [64] Both Truth and Chamberlain accused people who questioned Chamberlain's attempts at appeasement with Nazi Germany of being 'unEnglish', 'Jewish/Communist traitor[s] of the true English cause', or having been misled by 'Jewish-Communist propaganda'. [64] The Daily Mirror, which was a critic of Chamberlain, was accused in Truth of being manipulated by a secret, subversive Jewish interest and Fleet Street at large was said to be a 'Jew-infested sink', led by the Jewish publisher Victor Gollancz. [64]

Truth also attacked Jewish figures directly. George Strauss MP were accused of cowardice because they did not join the armed forces during World War I (Truth paid Strauss damages for this libel), and Truth carried out an antisemitic character assassination on Leslie Hore-Belisha after he resigned from office as Minister of War in 1940 at Chamberlain's request. [64] The paper had been attacking Hore-Belisha since 1937. [64]

Truth saw the potential war with Germany to be a "Jewish war", fought in Jewish interests, which it opposed. [64] It became the voice of those of had argued with Chamberlain for appeasement with Nazi Germany. [64] It employed Major-General J. F. C. Fuller (Oswald Mosley's former military adviser), who wrote against claims that the Germans were using concentration camps. The paper ignored the antisemitic pogroms carried out by the Germans in November 1938. [64] In November 1938, after the Kristallnacht, Chamberlain wrote to his sister, saying, 'No doubt the Jews aren't a lovable people I don't care about them myself but that is not sufficient to explain the Pogrom'. [54] [67]

Churchill's Liberty article Edit

In June 1937, Churchill was commissioned to write an article for the American magazine Liberty on the so-called Jewish problem. [47] Churchill gave his ghostwriter Adam Marshall Diston some suggestions on what to write and then Diston ghostwrote the article. [68] Churchill made some handwritten marks on the draft [69] and the article was sent for typing without correction. [47] The article repeated the popular idea that Jews brought antisemitism on themselves by remaining distanced and separate from the rest of society, [69] [70] [48] [47] and it repeated offensive stereotypes of Shylock and his "pound of flesh", Jewish usurers, and "Hebrew bloodsuckers". [47] In part, the article, entitled 'How the Jews can Combat Persecution', [47] said:

The Jew in England is a representative of his race. Every Jewish money-lender recalls Shylock and the idea of the Jews as usurers. And you cannot reasonably expect a struggling clerk or shopkeeper, paying forty or fifty per cent interest on borrowed money to a "Hebrew bloodsucker" to reflect that, throughout long centuries, almost every other way of life was closed to the Jews or that there are native English moneylenders who insist, just as implacably, upon their "pound of flesh". [47]

In the end the article was not published, despite Churchill's repeated efforts to sell it. [47] According to Richard Toye, 'Churchill was entirely happy to put the article out in his own name and thus take responsibility for the views it expressed'. [68] In 1940, Churchill declined an offer to have the article published, [47] his office stating that it would be 'inadvisable to publish the article . at the present time'. [70]

Archibald Maule Ramsay MP and the Right Club Edit

On 13 January 1938, Archibald Maule Ramsay, the Unionist MP for Peebles and Southern Midlothian, gave a speech to the Arbroath Business Club in which he observed that Adolf Hitler's antipathy to Jews arose from his knowledge "that the real power behind the Third International is a group of revolutionary Jews". [71] His United Christian Front (formed in 1937) aimed to combat attacks on Christianity from 'the Red Menace' - he believed that Bolshevism was Jewish. [72] Ramsey was influenced and made use of The Rulers of Russia by a Roman Catholic priest from Ireland, Father Denis Fahey, which contended that of 59 members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1935, 56 were Jews, and the remaining three were married to Jews. [71] Ramsay was sympathetic to Nazi Germany: in September, he wrote to The Times to defend the right of the pro-German Sudetenland to self-determination. [71] On 15 November 1938, Ramsay was invited to a luncheon party at the German Embassy in London, where he met British sympathisers with Nazi Germany, including Barry Domvile. [73] In December he introduced a Private Member's Bill called the "Companies Act (1929) Amendment Bill", which would require shares in news agencies and newspapers to be held openly and not through nominees. [71] In his speech promoting the Bill, Ramsay said the press was being manipulated and controlled by "international financiers" based in New York City who wanted to "thrust this country into a war". [71]

In December 1938, The Fascist (journal of the Imperial Fascist League) declared that Ramsay had 'become Jew-wise'. On 10 January 1939, Ismay Ramsay, Archibald's wife, gave another speech to the Arbroath Business Club, [71] at which she claimed the national press was "largely under Jewish control", [74] that "an international group of Jews . were behind world revolution in every single country" [72] and defended Hitler's antisemitism, [74] saying he "must . have had his reasons for what he did". [71] The speech was reported in the local newspaper and attracted the attention of the rabbi of the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation, Dr Salis Daiches, who wrote to The Scotsman challenging Mrs Ramsay to produce evidence. [74] [72] Ramsay wrote on her behalf citing Father Fahey's booklet, [72] and the resulting correspondence lasted for nearly a month [74] - including a letter from 11 Ministers of the Church of Scotland in the County of Peebles repudiating the views of their MP. [71] Some members of Ramsay's local Conservative Association in Peebles were not pleased by what they considered negative publicity however, the Peebles Conservative Association expressed its 'solidarity and unanimity' with Ramsay and he received an 'enthusiastic welcome' at local Conservative meetings. [72] On 27 April he spoke to a branch of the (antisemitic) Nordic League (of which he was a member [72] ) in Kilburn, attacking Neville Chamberlain for introducing conscription "at the instigation of the Jews" and claiming that the Conservative Party "relies on . Jew money". [71]

In May 1939, Ramsay set up the Right Club, to fight so-called Judeo-Bolshevism. [72] Ramsay said that "The main objective [of the Right Club] was to oppose and expose the activities of organised Jewry". [75] The logo of the Right Club, seen on its badge, was of an eagle killing a snake with the initials P.J. (which stood for "Perish Judah"). [76] Members of the Right Club included well-known antisemites like William Joyce (AKA Lord Haw-Haw), [77] Arnold Leese, A. K. Chesterton (who had left Mosley's BUF in 1933 because Mosley had not been antisemitic enough for him [47] ), [76] along with Conservative peers and politicians, like James Graham (at the time, Marquess of Graham), William Forbes-Sempill (Lord Sempill), [47] David Freeman-Mitford (Lord Redesdale), Gerard Wallop (Lord Lymington), [76] and John Hamilton Mackie. [77] At its early meetings, Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington) (one of Churchill's friends [47] ) took the chair. [76] The Right Club held closed meetings in the House of Commons. [47] Ramsay distributed copies of the antisemitic periodical The Truth to MPs. The paper was a Conservative Party publication and was edited by an antisemite. [47]

During the time Ramsay was launching the Right Club, he spoke at a meeting of the Nordic League at the Wigmore Hall at which a reporter from the Daily Worker was present and reported Ramsay as saying that they needed to end Jewish control, "and if we don't do it constitutionally, we'll do it with steel" – a statement greeted with wild applause. [78] The popular magazine John Bull picked up on the report and challenged Ramsay to contradict it or explain himself. Ramsay's local constituency newspaper, the Peeblesshire Advertiser, made the same challenge and Ramsay responded by admitting he had made the speech, citing the fact that three halls had refused to host the meeting as evidence of Jewish control. [71]

On the second day of the Second World War, 4 September 1939, Ramsay sat in the library of the House of Commons and, on House of Commons headed notepaper, write a parody of Land of Hope and Glory, which contained the following lines: [47]

Land of dope and Jewry
Land that once was free
All the Jew boys praise thee
While they plunder thee .
Land of Jewish finance
Fooled by Jewish lies
In press and books and movies
While our birthright dies.

One 12 September 1939, Hugh Grosvenor (Duke of Westminster) read out an antisemitic anti-war statement at one of the Right Club's meetings. [47] The statement said that the war (later known as the Second World War) was 'part of a Jewish and Masonic plot to destroy Christian civilization'. [47] The statement was circulated to a number of Cabinet ministers, including Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain. [47] The following day, after several ministers complained to Churchill about the Duke of Westminster's 'indiscretion', Churchill wrote a note to the Duke, but did not address the antisemitic elements of speech rather, Churchill's concern was with the Duke's opposition to the war. [47]

The Right Club spent the so-called Phoney War period at the start of the Second World War distributing propaganda in the form of leaflets and "sticky-backs" (adhesive labels containing slogans), with Ramsay later explaining that he wanted "to maintain the atmosphere in which the "Phoney War", as it was called, might be converted into an honourable negotiated peace". [71] In addition to Ramsay's Land of dope and Jewry rhyme, the slogans included "War destroys workers" and "This is a Jews' War". Some of the leaflets asserted "the stark truth is that this war was plotted and engineered by the Jews for world-power and vengeance". [71]

On 20 March 1940, Ramsay asked a question about a propaganda radio station set up by Germany which gave its precise wavelength, [79] which was suspected by both his allies and opponents as a subtle way of advertising it. [71] On 9 May he asked for an assurance from the Home Secretary "that he refuses to be stampeded . by a ramp in our Jew-ridden press". [42]

Ronald Nall-Cain Edit

In April 1939, Ronald Nall-Cain (Baron Brocket), who joined various anti-Semitic organisations, attended Hitler's 50th birthday celebration. [75]

Antisemitism towards Leslie Hore-Belisha Edit

Around the start of 1940, senior Conservative parliamentarians, including Harold Macmillan and Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (Viscount Cranbourne), [15] led an antisemitic [80] attack on Secretary of State for War Leslie Hore-Belisha, the influence of which led Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to remove him from office in January 1940. [42] [81] A week after Hore-Belisha was dismissed, Ramsay distributed in the House of Commons copies of Truth (a magazine connected to Neville Chamberlain [82] ) which made allegations about Hore-Belisha's financial activities. [51] Ramsay also put down a motion which cited the regretful reactions of many newspapers to Hore-Belisha's sacking as evidence of Jewish control of the press. [71] [54] Subsequently, Hore-Belisha was blocked from taking office as Minister of Information because of antisemitic [80] pressure led by the Foreign Secretary, Edward Wood. [81] Edward Stanley (Lord Derby) commented to the French Ambassador, "I hope you and your people do not take M[onsieur] Hore-Belisha to be a true Englishman". Henry "Chips" Channon, a 'great friend of Leslie Hore-Belisha', referred to Hore-Belisha as 'the Jew boy' ('[but] I am fond of him', the added). [80] Channon also described Hore-Belisha as 'an oliy man, half Jew, an opportunist, with the Semitic flair for publicity'. [42] [83] During this time there was antisemitism 'in the corridors of power'. [80]

Grassroots level Edit

Antisemitism towards Jewish election candidates Edit

Daniel Lipson, Mayor of Cheltenham, was rejected by Cheltenham Conservative Association as their potential election candidate in the 1937 by-election because of antisemitism within the association. [84]

According to Colin Shindler, during Winston Churchill's political life, there was 'ingrained anti-Semitism in the Conservative Party'. [85]

1945 general election and the Hampstead 'anti-alien' petition Edit

In August 1945 The Jewish Chronicle reported that 'antisemitism on the part of [Conservative] party supporters had led many local political associations not to select Jewish candidates'. [41] During the election campaign of that year, Conservative candidate Wavell Wakefield said that Jewish refugees should be repatriated to solve London's housing crisis. [86] During the campaign, too, the Daily Herald accused the Conservatives of making antisemitic remarks about Professor Harold Laski (political theorist of the London School of Economics and chair of the Labour Party's National Executive Committee). [86] In 1945, the local Hampstead Conservative group began agitation against Jewish immigration. [86]

In October 1945, an antisemitic petition was drawn up, with the help of Waldron Smithers's (Conservative MP for Orpington) Fighting Fund for Freedom, by residents of Hampstead, requesting 'that aliens of Hampstead should be repatriated to assure men and women of the Forces should have accommodation upon their return' from World War II. [86] The petition was signed by the antisemitic Conservative mayor of Hampstead Sydney A. Boyd and four of Hampstead's Conservative councillors, with the rest of the Conservative members of the council in favour of the petition. [86] Hampstead's Conservative MP, Charles Challen, promised to give the petition his 'unstinting support' [86] [35] and he asked a number of questions in the House of Commons on behalf of the petitioners over the following months. [86] When the petition was complete, Conservative Councillor J. A. Hughes passed it to Challen who, 'rather than repudiate the sponsors for their antisemitism', delivered it to Parliament. [86]

Rural and urban antisemitism Edit

Surveying the period from 1945, after the end of the Second World War, until 1988, Geoffrey Alderman says that 'anti-Jewish prejudice was rampant in some Conservative associations in rural areas', and that 'it was by no means confined to the countryside'. [18] At a civic reception held in 1945 to confer upon Sydney A. Boyd the status of Honorary Freeman of the Borough, the Conservative Mayor of Hampstead made a number of 'cheap anti-Semitic gibes', including the suggestion that Swiss Cottage needed a 'British Consul'. [86] Sometimes after the Second World War, Ramsay called for the reinstatement of the 1275 Statute of the Jewry passed under King Edward I. [87]

In 1946, Charles Challen led a protest against construction to turn a former Congregationalist church into a synagogue - it was 'a thinly veiled anti-Semitic attack which effectively objected to appropriation of a formerly "English" space by Jews'. [35] In October 1948, Douglas Peroni (former treasurer of the Hampstead branch of the British Union of Fascists and chair of the fascist Hampstead Literary Society, and leader of the Hampstead branch of Oswald Mosely's Union Movement) established 'an active fascist group' within the local Hampstead parliament. [86] The local Conservative group reached an accord with the fascists on the issue of Jewish immigration. [86]

Andrew Fountaine Edit

Andrew Fountaine was selected as prospective parliamentary candidate by the Chorley Conservative Association in 1948 [82] or 1949. [88] At the Llandudno Conservative Party Conference the same year, Fountain gave an antisemitic speech. [88] [82] The Conservative's Standing Advisory Committee on Candidates disavowed him, [88] meaning he failed to gain approval at a national level. [89] However, come the 1950 general election, there was no 'London-sponsored' replacement for Fountaine [90] and the Chorley Conservative Association did not try to find a replacement either, [82] so he ran as a locally nominated Conservative candidate. [82] [25] [15] Later, Fountaine left the Conservatives. [25]

League of Empire Loyalists Edit

In 1954, the antisemitic, far-right ginger group the League of Empire Loyalists was founded and led by Arthur K. Chesterton, a former leading figure in the British Union of Fascists, [91] who had served under Sir Oswald Mosley. The pressure group was composed of 'right-wing Conservatives, [92] particularly retired military men, and a few pre-war Fascists'. [91] Conservatives who were part of the group included Edward Martell and Andrew Fountaine.

Antisemitism towards Keith Joseph Edit

In 1956, Keith Joseph was elected as an MP but he faced challenges from antisemitic forces within the Conservative party, which at the time had a 'reputation for being unwelcoming to Jews'. One of the people who interviewed him 'for inclusion on the party's candidates list' commented, "As a Jew, I suppose he is not every constituency's man and, therefore, his placing would need care" and, indeed, Joseph faced 'local mutterings against picking a Jew to represent the party'. Within the parliamentary party, Joseph was considered 'something of an outsider' and 'lamentably exotic'. [93]

Parliamentary level Edit

Macmillan's antisemitism Edit

Harold Macmillan's diaries were 'spattered with abuse of other public figures, often tinged with anti-semitism'. [94] Gerald Kaufman was someone Macmillan referred to antisemitically in his diaries. [95] Macmillan 'often made snide jokes about Jews and Jewish politicians'. [40] On another occasion, he called Leslie Hore-Belisha 'Horeb Elisha', thereby highlighting his Jewish ancestry by referencing Mount Horeb and the prophet Elisha. [40]

Local level Edit

Involvement with antisemitic groups Edit

In 1958, the Conservative Party Council of the Bournemouth constituency nominated James Friend to be the constituency's prospective parliamentary candidate. [96] Jewish members of the council resigned because, they alleged, Friend had 'close links with the anti-Semitic League of Empire Loyalists and has engaged in anti-Semitic activities'. [96] Friend had given the inaugural meeting of the League of Empire Loyalists' local branch. [96] Douglas Hogg (Lord Hailsham), chairman of the British Conservative Party, reportedly made a personal inquiry into the matter. [96]

Grassroots level Edit

Golf Club antisemitism Edit

In 1957 'prominent Conservatives' [18] who were in control of the Finchley Golf Club were baring Jews from joining. [18] [97] This, according to Alderman, was the 'most blatant example' of 'anti-Jewish prejudice . rampant in some [parts of the] Conservative associations' in post-war Britain [18] it resulted in 'an angry wave of Jewish anti-Tory protest' in the Finchley area. [97]

'Zionist influence' investigation Edit

In 1971, when Edward Heath was Prime Minister and the Foreign Office was headed by Alec Douglas-Home, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched a secret investigation to 'evaluate Zionist influence in the US and Europe'. [98] The findings 'echoed anti-Semitic notions of Jewish financial power, dual loyalty and undue political influence'. [98] The report was concerned with power and influence of 'Jewish money' and the 'Jewish lobby' and 'appeared to treat the people and organizations involved in British Zionism not as British citizens exercising their democratic rights, but as agents of foreign pressure on the government', 'reflected a belief that Diaspora Jewish interests were separate from, and even inimical to, those of the countries in which they lived'. [98]

Antisemitism towards Gerald Kaufman Edit

The Labour MP Gerald Kaufman was critical of the arms delivery embargo the Conservative government imposed on Israel during the 1973 attack by Egypt on Israel. Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home told Kaufman that his (Kaufman's) 'loyalty appeared to be to Israel and not to Britain'. To Kaufman, 'It was a clear anti-Jewish insinuation'. [41] [95] On another occasion, Charles Taylor told Kaufman to "Get back to Tel Aviv". [95]

Parliamentary level Edit

Alan Clark MP Edit

In 1981, Alan Clark (Minister of State for Trade, 1986–1989 Minister for Defence Procurement, 1989–1992) told Frank Johnson that he, Clark, was a Nazi. He wrote in his diary: 'I really believed it [i.e., Nazism] to be the ideal system, and that it was a disaster for the Anglo-Saxon races and for the world that it was extinguished'. [99] On 31 March 1982, Clark made the following diary entry:

Today I asked an offensive question about Jews. It is always thought to be rude to refer to 'Jews', isn't it? I remember that slightly triste occasion, watched from the gallery, of my father being inaugurated into the Lords and my rage at Sidney Bernstein, who was being ennobled on the same afternoon and would not take the Christian oath. As loudly as I could I muttered and mumbled about 'Jews' in order to discomfit his relations who were also clustered in the gallery.

I had hung it around the Forgeign Secretary's visit to Israel . It is always fun to see how far you can go with taboo subjects. [41]

On 26 December 1986, while Minister of State for Trade, Clark described in his diary the colour of someone's gold Rolls-Royce as 'Jewish racing yellow', adding that apparently that is what 'the colour is termed in the Mess at Knightsbridge'. [100] [101]

Hamilton's Nazi salute Edit

On an August 1983 parliamentary trip to Berlin, Neil Hamilton made a Nazi salute 'with two fingers to his nose to give the impression of a toothbrush moustache' when outside the Reichstag. [102] The salute was reported on 30 January 1984 in a BBC Panorama programme, "Maggie's Militant Tendency". Hamilton sued the BBC for libel, claiming that he had no recollection of making the salute. [102] The BBC pulled out of the case and Hamilton was awarded £20,000 in damages. [102] However, after the case collapsed, Hamilton admitted in a Sunday Times article to having made the Nazi salute. [102]

Antisemitism towards Jews in the cabinet Edit

There were a number of Jews in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet, all of whom experienced antisemitism from their colleagues. The antisemitism may have been involved in the resignation of two Jewish cabinet members. [103] Harold Macmillan commented that the Conservative cabinet 'was more old Estonian than old Etonian', which was 'a none-too-subtle way of putting Nigel Lawson, Leon Brittan or Michael Howard in their place'. [41] Leon Brittan resigned as Trade and Industry Secretary in January 1986 over the Westland affair. Jonathan Aitken wrote of Brittan's resignation: "Soon after a poisonous meeting of Tory backbenchers at the 1922 Committee he fell on his sword. It was a combination of a witch hunt and a search for a scapegoat – tainted by an undercurrent of anti-Semitism. [. ] I believed what should have been obvious to anyone else, that he was being used as a lightning conductor to deflect the fire that the Prime Minister [Margaret Thatcher] had started and inflamed". [104] In the discussion over who should replace Leon Brittan after he was removed from the cabinet, John Stokes [41] commented that the 'replacement should at least be a "proper red-faced, red-blooded Englishman"'. [97] The Jewish Board of Deputies sensed an antisemitic slur in the words, as did Brittan's non-Jewish wife Diana Brittan. [105] Other antisemitic comments were made about Brittan by his fellow Conservatives: 'But these came from members who would make slighting remarks about almost anyone with a background different from their own', Conservative MPs commented. [105]

Edwina Currie also received antisemitic comments from 'certain red-faced, red-blooded Englishmen on the Tory backbenches'. [97] Former MP Anna McCurley reported that Currie, despite being a member of the Church of England, was labelled a "pushy Jewess". [103] An advisor to John Moore commented that the Conservative backbenches were "riddled with prejudice of every kind", with "anti-Semitism [being] secondary to the male chauvinism" in the case of Currie. [103] John Marshall also said that there was antisemitism in the Conservative party at this time. [103]

Grassroots level Edit

Antisemitism towards Jewish election candidate Edit

In 1982 Michael Howard finally became election candidate for Folkestone after having been rejected by about 40 constituency parties because of antisemitism within those parties. [106]

Links to the NF Edit

During the 1983 general election a Conservative Party candidate who had formerly been a member of the National Front ran for election in a marginal constituency, Stockton South. The Board of Deputies of British Jews distributed flyers in the constituency to inform people of this. The SDP won the seat, but only very narrowly. [4]

Widdecombe's 'something of the night' comment Edit

In 1997, during the Conservative leadership election of William Hague, Shadow Foreign Secretary Ann Widdecombe spoke out against Michael Howard, under whom she had served when he was Home Secretary. She remarked in the House of Commons that there is "something of the night" about Howard, who is of Romanian Jewish descent. This remark was considered by some to be antisemitic. [106] [107] [108] [109]

Nazi salutes by OUCA members Edit

In 2000, four Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) members were expelled for making Nazi salutes. [110] The New Statesman reported that a member of the OUCA committee at the University's 2001 Freshers' Fair greeted new students by saying, "Welcome to OUCA – the biggest political group for young people since the Hitler Youth". [111] Another prominent member was dismissed from the Oxford University Student Union's executive for "marching up and down doing a Nazi salute". [111]

Johnson: editor of The Spectator and parliamentary candidate Edit

A few months before the 2001 general election in which he first entered Parliament as a Conservative MP, Boris Johnson, then editor of The Spectator, published an article by Taki Theodoracopulos in which Theodoracopulos (usually known as Taki) wrote about the Jewish world conspiracy and declared himself to be a "soi-disant anti-Semite". [112] [113] [114] Johnson did not sack Taki, [112] [114] despite protest by the magazine's owner, Conrad Black. [112]

Antisemitism on the frontbench Edit

In October 2004, a Conservative frontbencher said, "The trouble is that the [Conservative] party is being run by Michael Howard, Maurice Saatchi, and Oliver Letwin - and none of them really knows what it is to be English". [115] Another report said 'a junior frontbencher . was musing about how the party was now being led. Saatchi, Michael Howard and Oliver Letwin were in charge: could they know how Englishmen felt?' [116]

Parliamentary level Edit

Membership of European Conservatives and Reformists Edit

In 2009, prominent Jewish community leaders – including chief rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich, Rafał Pankowski of the Holocaust campaign group "Never Again", Rabbi Barry Marcus of the London Central Synagogue, the Parisian European Jewish Congress and others – expressed concern over Conservative Party membership of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, to which the Conservative MEPs belonged. [117] The chair of the group was Michał Kamiński of Poland's Law and Justice party, who was, in the words of a New Statesman writer, "widely seen on the Continent as anti-Semitic". [117] Kaminski is a former member of the neo-Nazi National Revival of Poland party (NOP). [117] Another leading ECR activist, Dr Roberts Zīle of Latvia's National Alliance party, caused concern due to his party's alleged role in commemorative events for Latvian Waffen SS units. [118] The Conservative Party's "alliances with far-right, anti-semitic political parties on the continent" had become a concern for US politicians. [119]

Burley's Nazi-themed stag do Edit

In 2012, Conservative MP Aidan Burley was sacked from his role as ministerial aide because he organised a Nazi-themed stag do in 2011. [120] [118] [121] Burley supplied an SS uniform and insignia to the groom, who was fined £1,500 by a French court for wearing the costume and ordered to pay €1,000 to an organisation representing families of those who had been sent to death camps during World War Two. [120] A Conservative Party report on Burley's behaviour, authored by Conservative peer Lord Gold, released in 2014 said Burley was not racist or antisemitic but that he had acted in a 'stupid and offensive way'. [120] Ian Austin [120] and The Mail on Sunday accused Burley of providing misleading information to the inquiry. [122] Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative leadership stood in support of Burley. [120]

Cameron and the use of 'yid' Edit

During a 2013 row over Tottenham Hotspur fans' use of the slurs Yid and Yiddos, David Cameron defended the fans' use of the words, saying Spurs fans should not be prosecuted for using them. [123] [124] This was in opposition to newly released guidelines from the Football Association and contrary to the Crown Prosecution Service's and the Metropolitan Police's use and defence of the Public Order Act 1986. [123] Journalist Stefan Fatsis wrote that Cameron was giving an excuse for people to 'propagat[e] racial and ethnic slurs and stereotypes' [125] and Cameron was criticised by lawyer Peter Herbert for condoning and legitimising antisemitism. [123] [124] In the following year, the Metropolitan Police stated that Tottenham fans would not be arrested for chanting the word, unless a complaint was received. [126]

Rees-Mogg and the Traditional Britain Group Edit

In 2013, Jacob Rees-Mogg was guest-of-honour [127] and gave the keynote speech at a dinner of the racist Traditional Britain Group (TBG). [128] The Antisemitism Policy Trust highlighted Rees-Mogg's attendance at this party in their Antisemitism and the Conservative Party dossier. [118] Before the dinner date, the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight contacted Rees-Mogg 'to try to dissuade him from speaking at the dinner', but it was 'to no avail'. [127] At the time, the vice-president of the group, who sat next to Rees-Mogg at the dinner, was Gregory Lauder-Frost (TBG vice president [129] ), formerly political secretary of the Conservative Monday Club (when Lauder-Frost was a member, the Monday Club was 'a pressure group within the Tory party' - it was 'later banned by Iain Duncan Smith [in 2001] because of its views on race' [130] ). [128] Speaking to an undercover Hope Not Hate researcher in 2017 about Vanessa Feltz, Lauder-Frost said, 'She's a fat Jewish s**g, she's revolting, revolting. She lives with a negro. She's horrible'. [128] At the time Rees-Mogg spoke at the dinner, the TBG's President was Merlin Hanbury-Tracy (Lord Sudeley), a member of the Conservative Party, a Conservative peer, and former chairman of the Conservative Monday Club. [127]

Mercer's 'bloody Jew' comment Edit

In May 2014, Conservative MP Patrick Mercer was recorded by journalist Daniel Foggo saying, during the course of an anecdote, that an Israeli soldier looked like a "bloody Jew". [131] Mercer stepped down as MP after an investigation and report by the House of Commons standards committee into his links to lobbying and paid advocacy. [131]

Bridgen's "Jewish lobby" Edit

In October 2014, Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen said, in a speech in the House of Commons, that "the political system of the world's superpower and our great ally the United States is very susceptible to well-funded powerful lobbying groups and the power of the Jewish lobby in America". [132] Following condemnation by organisations, Bridgen stood by his remarks. [118]

Attacks on Ed Miliband Edit

Conservative attacks on the Labour leader Ed Miliband in 2014 [133] and 2015 [134] [135] have been criticised as coded antisemitism. Francis Beckett claimed that some attacks on Ed Miliband and his father, the academic Ralph Miliband, were antisemitic. Beckett concluded that "we have been conned into believing that anti-Semitism is now a disease of the left. In reality, it is still found mostly in racism's historic home: on the right." [136]

Local level Edit

In April 2015 a Conservative local council candidate was suspended for saying she could never support "the Jew" Ed Miliband. [137] [138]

Grassroots level Edit

In 2011, one officer of the Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) stated that some association members at weekly meetings sang a Nazi-themed song that included the lines 'Dashing through the Reich / killing lots of Kike'. [110]

In October 2014 UCL Conservative Society was ordered by UCL's Student Union to apologise for creating a "toxic environment" in which discrimination, including antisemitism, was the culture. One accusation was that a member of the society said, "Jews own everything, we all know it’s true. I wish I was Jewish, but my nose isn’t long enough". [138] [139] [140] The society denied the accusations. [139] There is no evidence the Conservative party investigated the incidents. [138]

Parliamentary level Edit

Former aide for Theresa May Edit

In February 2018, May's former aide, Nick Timothy, co-wrote a story for The Daily Telegraph which described Jewish philanthropist George Soros's funding of the anti-Brexit campaign as a "secret plot". [141] [142] This was criticised as antisemitic by journalists Hugo Rifkind and Dan Hodges, as well as former campaign director to Tony Blair Alastair Campbell, and American-British author and playwright Bonnie Greer. [141] [142] In response, Timothy tweeted: "Throughout my career I've campaigned against antisemitism, helped secure more funding for security at synagogues and Jewish schools". [141]

Boris Johnson Edit

In January 2017, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with Steve Bannon, who was at the time Donald Trump's chief strategist. Johnson was accused by the Jewish Labour Movement chair of hypocrisy for meeting Bannon, someone who, according to the JLM chair, "enabled right wing antisemitism to seep into the mainstream", while also criticising Labour's approach to antisemitism. [143]

Support of alleged European antisemitic political parties Edit

At the start of April 2018, foreign secretary Boris Johnson was criticised by opposition politicians and campaign groups for congratulating Viktor Orbán on his re-election as Prime Minister of Hungary, in part because of concern about "anti-Semitic undertones" to Orban's campaign. [144] [145] Later that month, a number of Jewish organisations called on the Conservative government to confront European political parties that had fuelled antisemitism, particularly those the Conservatives were affiliated in the European Conservatives and Reformists group with, like Latvia's National Alliance, Poland's Law and Justice Party, and Hungary's Fidesz Party, with its leader Viktor Orbán. The organisations asked the Conservatives to withdraw their membership from the group until it is free of all racism, including antisemitism. [146]

In September 2018, British Jewish leaders condemned the Conservatives because, in a vote to remove Hungary's voting rights at the European Council, the party defended Hungary's far-right Orbán government despite its 'vivid antisemitism'. [147] Hungary was accused of corruption, 'violating press freedoms, undermining judicial independence, and waging an antisemitic campaign against a leading Jewish businessman' (i.e., George Soros). [148] The Conservatives, who were the only governing conservative party in western Europe to vote against the move, [148] were accused by David Hirsh of 'cosy[ing] up to an antisemitic and racist strong-man regime', 'pandering to Jew-hate'. [149] They were seen, including by one of their own politicians, of defending Orbán 'in a bid for backing in Brexit talks', [147] [149] of pretending not to recognise antisemitism 'in the hope of gaining some advantage in return'. [149] According to The Jewish Chronicle, the vote 'was truly shameful and a dark day for the party led by Mrs May'. [150] Later that month, Orbán wrote to the Conservative Party thanking them for their support in the vote. [151]

Labour Party Chairperson Ian Lavery called on Theresa May to 'explain and apologise for her Party's behaviour'. [152] After the vote, 'a series of high-profile Conservatives' refused to condemn the vote, which, according to an editorial in The Jewish Chronicle, was 'even worse' that the vote itself, adding that 'it is vital that antisemitism is called out — wherever it is found'. [150] One of the Conservatives who refused to condemn the vote and Orbán's antisemitism was Michael Gove. [149] When asked to condemn Orbán, Gove said he would not "go down that route, play that game". [149] The following month, the Conservatives were condemned again by Jewish leaders because Conservative politicians continued to refuse to condemn Orbán. One of them was Brexit minister Martin Callanan. The Jewish Chronicle said that this was occurring at the same time that the Conservatives were criticising Jeremy Corbyn over antisemitism in the Labour Party. [153]

Appointment of Roger Scruton Edit

In November 2018, the Conservatives were condemned for appointing Roger Scruton as chair of a new Housing and Architecture Committee because, in the words of Labour MP Luciana Berger, he "peddl[ed] antisemitic conspiracy theories" regarding Soros. [154] [155] Labour MP Wes Streeting expressed concerns over Scruton's links with Orbán. [154] The government defended Scruton. [156] Scruton was sacked as Government adviser in April 2019 after a New Statesman interview in which he repeated comments similar to those previously made. [157] Dawn Butler, shadow women and equalities minister, said Scruton's language was that of 'white supremacists' and that he should have been sacked when he had made his comments previously. [157] Historian Dominic Green disputed these claims, saying that Scruton was taken out of context and that attacks on him were attempts by the Labour Party to deflect from their own anti-Semitism problems. [158]

Suella Braverman's "Cultural Marxism" comments Edit

The Conservative MP Suella Braverman came under fire in 2019 for saying her party was "engaged in a fight against Cultural Marxism" supposedly being led by Jeremy Corbyn, with the phrase interpreted by commentators as referring to a theory pushed by various far-right voices that Western culture has supposedly been undermined by mostly Jewish students of the Frankfurt School. When asked by journalist Dawn Foster why she was "pushing a far-right term used by Anders Breivik", Braverman said she was "only trying to prevent further attacks on 'British genius'". [159]

Jacob Rees-Mogg Edit

In March 2019, Rees-Mogg retweeted a speech by the leader of the far-right German political party Alternative for Germany (AfD). The AfD marched with neo-Nazis the year before and had been condemned by members of the German Jewish community as "racist and antisemitic", "no party for Jews", and a "danger to Jewish life in Germany". Following criticism, Rees-Mogg defended his decision to promote the AfD leader's speech. [160]

Local level Edit

Candidates Edit

In 2017 a Birmingham Conservative council candidate left the Party after abusive tweets from 2013 and 2014 came to light they included the mentioning of "foreign Jew agents". [161]

A few days before the 2018 local elections, three Conservative council candidates were revealed to have made antisemitic comments. The candidate for the Fen Ditton and Fulbourn ward, Cambridgeshire, had commented that he was "Sweating like a Jew in an attic". [162] The candidate for Stevenage Borough Council referred to the Jewish symbol the Star of David as the "Mark of the Beast". [163] The candidate for the Barnes ward of Sunderland City Council wrote, "I can honestly say that this morning was the first time I've had to scrub off a Hitler tash with a toothbrush after a night out". [118] [164] [165] [ unreliable source? ] They were all suspended. [166] [163] [165] After winning his seat, however, the candidate for Sunderland Council - Anthony Mullen - was reinstated. [118]

In the spring of 2019, when on a parliamentary candidate short list for Hackney North & Stoke Newington and Hackney South & Shoreditch, Councillor Ben Seifert was told by a party member not to run because he is Jewish and "you can have too many Jews". Seifert left the Conservative party in September 2019. [167]

Grassroots level Edit

Activists Edit

In March 2017, a Conservative activist tweeted that it was time for Europe-wide purge like the Spanish Inquisition. This caused concern for Jews because the Inquisition 'consisted of a state-organised pogrom predominantly targeting Jews with torture and cruel murder, for example being burned at the stake. The Alhambra Decree of 1492, commanded all Jews in Spain to convert to Catholicism or leave the country'. The Welsh Conservative Party released a statement distancing themselves from the activist, [168] but took no further steps. [169]

In November 2017 Hope not Hate reported that Conservative Party activists were members of a Facebook group called Young Right Society, which was 'awash with antisemitic, Holocaust denying and racist material'. [170] [171] [172] One of the group's administrators, Jack Hadfield, was a member of the Warwick Conservative Association. [172]

Conservative Future Scotland's and Bruges Group's conspiracy theories Edit

The antisemitic conspiracy theory "Cultural Marxism" was evident in the Conservative Party during 2018. In Scotland in July, the chairperson for the youth wing of the Scottish Conservatives, Conservative Future Scotland, was accused of antisemitism after using the phrase. The Scottish Green Party MSP Ross Greer wrote to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson asking her to treat the issue seriously because, according to him, the 'conspiracy theory [was] quite literally created by the Nazis to demonise Jews as the enemy within'. [173]

The idea of "Cultural Marxism" emerged again at the Conservative Party Conference in October. Copies of a booklet called Moralitis: A Cultural Virus, by Robert Oulds (director of the Bruges Group) and Niall McCrae, were available at a Bruges Group meeting. [174] The booklet espoused right-wing conspiracy theories with antisemitic origins, including "Cultural Marxism" and the Great Replacement. [175] [174] Two Jewish organisations, the Campaign Against Antisemitism and the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, called for an investigation into the 'racist' booklet. [175]

University Conservative society Edit

At a Plymouth University Conservatives party in October 2018, some society members were pictured, according to the Daily Mirror, wearing clothing with homemade slogans on them, such as "Jude" (German for Jew) with a Star of David, and wearing a Hitler-style moustache. [176] Plymouth's Students' Union suspended the society pending an investigation Conservative Campaign Headquarters launched an investigation and said it would suspend any party members involved. [176]

Parliamentary level Edit

During a parliamentary debate on Brexit on 3 September 2019, Jacob Rees-Mogg called two Jewish Conservative MPs, including Oliver Letwin, [177] members of the Illuminati, [178] which, according to Michael Berkowitz, professor of Modern Jewish History, who commented on the incident, is one of the "most poisonous antisemitic canards in all of history . frequently used as justification for violence". [179] Antony Lerman suggests that this is "dog-whistle antisemitism and at the same time a chase for votes to shamelessly exploit Jewish fears". [180] Early the next month, Rees-Mogg was criticised for referred to Jewish financier George Soros as "the remoaner funder-in-chief". This was seen by some as a perpetuation of an antisemitic conspiracy theory [177] and was condemened by Lord Alf Dubs (who called for Rees-Mogg to be sacked) as a comment "straight from the far-right's antisemitic playbook". [181]

In 2019, Crispin Blunt MP accused the Chief Rabbi of Manchester of demanding "special status" for Britain's Jews. Blunt was later rebuked by the Jewish Leadership Council, which stated he should "clarify if he supports the concept of freedom of religion, a cornerstone of liberal democracy". [182]

In 2019, the Conservative MP for Hastings and Rye, Sally-Ann Hart, was under investigation by the Conservative Party for antisemitism and Islamophobia. Hart "liked" a Nazi phrase on Facebook and "shared" an antisemitic slur. [183] [ needs update ]

The MP for Ashfield, Lee Anderson, was reported to be under investigation by the Conservative party for antisemitism in December 2019. [184] [ needs update ]

In February 2020, John Bercow, the Jewish former Speaker of the House of Commons and Conservative MP, claimed that he had experienced 'subtle' antisemitism from members of his own Conservative Party, and had never experienced any antisemitism from Labour MPs. [185]

In November 2020, following an interim report on the connections between colonialism and properties now in the care of the National Trust, including links with historic slavery, a letter to The Telegraph signed by 28 Conservative Parliamentarians as the "Common Sense Group" accused the National Trust of being "coloured by cultural Marxist dogma, colloquially known as the 'woke agenda'", [186] terminology described by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, Jewish Council for Racial Equality, anti-racist charity Hope Not Hate and the Campaign Against Antisemitism as antisemitic. [187] [188] [189]

The Board of Deputies of British Jews called on the Conservatives to discipline Daniel Kawczynski after the MP spoke at a far-right conference [190] alongside Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán, Giorgia Meloni from the Brothers of Italy party, closely associated with Mussolini's fascism, [191] Ryszard Legutko, a Polish Law and Justice MEP, and Marion Maréchal of the Le Pen family, a politician in France’s National Rally. [192] At the conference, Kawczynsk praised Orbán and Matteo Salvini. [193] The Board of Deputies and the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism asked the Conservative Party to investigate Kawczynsk's appearance at the conference. [192] Muslim Council of Britain spokesperson Miqdaad Versi said, "It is unacceptable that anyone holding the position of MP speaks at a nationalist conference alongside Islamophobes and antisemites," and said it was "disturbing" that the Conservative Party whip appeared to have known the MP was going to speak at the conference but chose to take no action. [194] Kawczynski's plan to attend the conference had been reported on prior to the event, shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne commenting, "It's disgraceful that just days after Holocaust Memorial Day Daniel Kawczynski is planning to share a platform with antisemites, Islamophobes and homophobes". [195] Jewish journalist Rivkah Brown said that "Kawczynski is a symptom of a disease endemic within British Conservatism," [193] and The Scotsman columnist Euan McColm said the failure of the Conservative Party to discipline Kawczynski showed they weren't serious about antisemitism. [190]

In May 2021, the Board of Deputies raised concerns "regarding antisemitic rhetoric, Holocaust revisionism and a number of other issues with Downing Street" ahead of a meeting Boris Johnson hosted with Hungarian leader Viktor Orban. [196] MP Alex Sobel said, "Viktor Orbán is a renowned antisemite, fuelled violence against the Roma, clamps down on the LGBT and Muslim Communities. He suppresses basic democratic norms and press freedom. However Boris Johnson is rolling out the red carpet. MPs of all parties should be calling this out." [197]

Antisemitic events Edit

Nancy Astor statue Edit

In the third week of the 2019 United Kingdom general election, a number of Conservative politicians – including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former Prime Minister Theresa May, and Rebecca Smith, the Conservative candidate for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport – attended the unveiling of a statue of former Conservative MP and first woman elected to the House of Commons Nancy Astor, with May unveiling the statue. This was controversial as Astor is considered by some historians and campaigners to have been antisemitic. [198] [199] [200] [201] [202]

Parliamentary candidates Edit

In 2019 Ryan Houghton, who was standing in the Aberdeen North constituency for the 2019 general election, was suspended for alleged anti-semitic comments made in 2012 online in a free speech debate. Houghton discussed freedom of speech and comments made by Holocaust denier David Irving. [203] Houghton retained the Conservative candidacy for Aberdeen North after his suspension due to statutory rules regarding ballot papers. [204] Houghton was subsequently cleared by an independent investigation commissioned by the Scottish Conservative Party and readmitted with no further sanction. [205]

H Amjad Bashir, who was standing in the Leeds North East constituency for the 2019 general election, was suspended from the Conservative Party after The Jewish Chronicle reported on his claim that British Jews who visited Israel were returning as "brainwashed extremists". Bashir retained the Conservative candidacy for Leeds North East after his suspension. [206] Richard Short, candidate for St Helens South and Whiston, questioned on Twitter whether journalist Melanie Phillips, who appeared on the BBC's Question Time, was being more loyal to Israel or Britain. [207]

Local level Edit

Mohammad Aslam, councillor for the Bradley ward in Pendle, shared a post saying the "Gaza massacre is the price of a Jewish state". He further claimed in an article that the then Labour MP, Ruth Smeeth, was "funded by [the] Israel lobby". Another post Cllr Aslam shared - later deleted - included the image of a bloodied child and a description of the Israeli government's actions as "Radical Jewish Terrorism". [208] Sharon Thomason, Conservative council candidate for the May 2021 local elections, tweeted an antisemitism message to Warrington North's Labour MP Charlotte Nichols, who is Jewish, the previous year. In a statement in early February 2021, MP Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader and party chair, said, "Given Sharon Thomason made these comments before she was selected as a candidate, and this statement was raised with the chair of the local Conservative Association in Warrington before she was selected, the Conservative Party must explain why the promotion of Nazi ideology almost a year ago does not prevent someone from being selected as a Tory candidate". [209]

Bias against "Jewish names" Edit

A 2020 LSE study, in which was measured local government officials' responsiveness to email correspondence, Lee Crawfurd and Ukasha Ramli found that "bias against both Muslim and Jewish names is greater from Conservative Party councillors than Labour Party councillors". [210]


ACLU Today

The ACLU has been active on a number of recent issues, including affirmative action, gay rights, and protections to immigrants and internet users. The ACLU takes roughly 6,000 court cases annually and counts more than 1.6 million members, including 300 staff attorneys.

The ACLU is a vocal opponent of mass surveillance under the Patriot Act. In the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Act gave the government expanded authority to monitor the phone and internet activities of United States citizens.

In 2017, the organization challenged the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s controversial attempts to ban travel from several Muslim-majority nations. In the two-day period following Trump’s executive order, the ACLU received more than 350,000 online donations totaling roughly $24 million. The non-profit typically raises about $4 million a year online.


The Men Who Still Love “Fight Club”

David Fincher’s “Fight Club,” from 1999, has become a focal point for the exploration of postmodern masculinity, white-male resentment, consumerism, and gender relationships. Photograph from 20th Century Fox / Everett

Twenty years ago this fall, David Fincher’s “Fight Club” went into wide release, drawing moviegoers into a tale of disaffected American men who chase authenticity by pummelling the shit out of one another in poorly lit basements. In the course of the film, these men expand into low-grade pranks and vandalism, and eventually form a terrorist cell called Project Mayhem that plants bombs in skyscrapers. The film, based on a relatively unknown 1996 novel by Chuck Palahniuk, took the top spot at the box office its opening weekend, but then quickly fizzled. On DVD, however, it found a second life, selling millions. Today, men still quote “Fight Club,” still discuss what the movie really means, and still dress like its characters for Halloween. In the debates surrounding the release of Todd Phillips’s “Joker”—another movie about lost men rising up—“Fight Club” was one of the most reached-for comparisons. The movie has become part of the contemporary mass-cultural canon through which large numbers of men try to think through masculinity.

The first sign that “Fight Club” might inspire men to do anything other than quote “Fight Club” on their Facebook walls came in the mid-two-thousands, with the rise of the “seduction community.” These were groups of men searching together—sometimes in live seminars, but increasingly via online Listservs—for an objectively reliable set of techniques that would maximize their chances of getting women in bed. These groups had existed below the cultural radar for decades, well before “Fight Club.” In 2005, they received a new level of attention when Neil Strauss published “The Game,” a memoir/investigation about his time living in a Los Angeles group house devoted to the refinement of seduction techniques. Strauss attempted to engineer his own transformation from, in the lexicon of his housemates, “AFC” (average frustrated chump) to “PUA” (pickup artist) to “PUG” (pickup guru). Though the book ended with him taking a critical view of the PUA experience, its publication—plus a wave of bemused media coverage—brought new legions of curious men to pickup artistry and, by extension, to a world view that framed interactions between men and women as a scientifically hackable quest for maximum sex with minimal emotional investment.

In the years that followed, I became a regular lurker on message boards not just in the PUA world but also across the networks of male resentment to which pickup artistry frequently functioned as a gateway drug: “men’s rights” activists, the anti-feminist hive called the Red Pill, incels, the amorphous “alt-right.” Browsing through this world, I saw “Fight Club” references and offhand worship of Brad Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden, all the time. Tyler is an alpha male who does what he wants and doesn’t let anyone stand in his way “Fight Club,” then, was a lesson in what you had to do to stop being a miserable beta like the film’s other main character, a frustrated white-collar office worker played by Edward Norton.

There was little discussion on these boards of how Tyler is ultimately revealed to be a hallucination who exists only in the Norton character’s mind: a projection cooked up by his subconscious to yank him out of an existential malaise of alienating corporate work, condo payments, and IKEA catalogues. In the final scene, Norton’s character “kills” Tyler, implicitly recognizing—and picking—a path between mindless middle-class consumerism and the nihilistic will to power of the terrorist. This act is crucial to the movie’s most articulate defenders: proof that “Fight Club” functions as a critique of Tyler, not a valorization. But when I saw this element of the film acknowledged online, it was usually presented as a thematic flaw, or a sop to the demands of big-studio moviemaking. No one was naming himself after Norton’s character. In fact, Norton’s character doesn’t have a name.

Over the summer, I talked about the enduring influence of “Fight Club” with Harris O’Malley, who runs a dating-advice Web site called Paging Dr. NerdLove. O’Malley offers dating advice “to geeks of all stripes”: relationship tips geared toward fans of video games, comic books, sci-fi, and the like, formulated with an eye toward steering people away from the appeal of PUA-type misogynistic snake oil. In the e-mails he receives and the one-on-one coaching sessions that he gives, O’Malley told me that “Fight Club” comes up so regularly that he has come to expect it. A lot of people who contact him for advice, he says, are “young disaffected men who feel they’ve done everything they were told to do, but nothing is happening. And it’s slowly starting to dawn on them that the rewards they were promised are never going to appear, certainly not in the way they were promised. ‘Fight Club’ and ‘The Matrix’ seem to provide a lot of meaning. They’re both about social malaise, and they’re both about people waking up.”

In one of the most-quoted scenes of “Fight Club,” Tyler bemoans the sunken fate of masculinity in late capitalism:

Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. Goddammit! An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars—but we won’t. We’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.

In theory, O’Malley said, “Fight Club” was a cautionary tale about where the adrenaline rush of “waking up” can take you. Tyler starts by preaching empowerment and authenticity but ends up sowing violence and terror, demanding cult-like subservience from the men he claims to be liberating. Despite this, O’Malley said, “I do meet a lot of people who feel like they should be more like Tyler.” They also talk about the appeal of joining a band of brothers united by purpose. “Fincher does his job too well,” O’Malley said. “He sells why it was tempting to fall for the cult of Tyler. But he doesn’t quite show the horror of where that gets you. Or, for some people, that’s not the part of the movie that sticks.”

Recently, when I checked out Palahniuk’s novel from my local library, the librarian, a woman in her thirties, visibly struggled to hide her displeasure. She had bad memories, she explained, of an ex-boyfriend who badgered her not just to watch the movie and read the book but also to acknowledge its genius. Experiences like these seem to be fairly widespread, and are referred to often on social media. Of course, “Fight Club” (both the book and the movie) has its share of female fans. But it’s also a symbol for certain insistent myopias of masculinity. The story has just one female character of any significance: Marla Singer (portrayed in the film by Helena Bonham Carter). The nameless narrator pines for Marla, though we never see him getting to know her well Tyler uses her for acrobatic sex followed by emotional neglect. What does it mean for a man to tell his girlfriend that this, of every movie in the world, is his favorite, or the one with the most to say about gender today? Among women who get in touch with Dr. NerdLove, O’Malley told me, “It’s kind of, like, Yeah, if his favorite author is Bret Easton Ellis, his favorite movie is ‘Fight Club,’ and he wants to talk about Bitcoin or Jordan Peterson—these are all warning signs.”

Over the summer, I had a series of phone calls with “Fight Club” enthusiasts: the type of superfans with “Fight Club” tattoos and pets named after “Fight Club” characters. In my conversations with this completely unscientific sample of men with fierce attachments to the film, their focus was overwhelmingly on the movie’s first act: on the nameless protagonist’s sense of ennui and adriftness his mistaken assumption that endless work hours or the purchases that they enabled him to make will bring him meaning his intertwined currents of emptiness and longing. One man described how “Fight Club” helped him toward the realization that he didn’t have to work all the time, and didn’t have to worry so much about what other people thought about his life choices. Another talked about how the movie helped motivate him to specialize in existentialism when he pursued a master’s degree in psychology—and, eventually, to write and self-publish a novel about a bitter office worker who, instead of joining Project Mayhem, goes into therapy. At first, the office worker hates therapy, but eventually his sessions help him work his way to a new level of honesty about the disconnect between what he wants from the (imperfect, inherently limiting) world and how he is actually living.

To my mind, stories like these—stories of men driven to take some ownership of their fate, but without seeking out opportunities to inflict pain on others—are more interesting and vital than anything in “Fight Club.” But how many people would want to watch these stories? Sitting in the theatre watching “Joker,” I felt only despair. The movie presents us with Arthur Fleck, a mentally ill social outcast—a white man, perhaps inevitably—so neglected and maltreated by the world that his recourse to violence is all but guaranteed. If jumping from one movie to another were possible, he would be a great candidate for Project Mayhem. But, just as “Fight Club” admits that Project Mayhem is a misguided bridge too far without showing more than a sliver of interest in alternatives, “Joker” presents a world so broken that a nihilistic, existential lashing out—coupled with a hateful grin for the world that forced your hand—has become the only way for a lost man to assert his humanity. By the end of October, “Joker” was already the world’s highest-grossing R-rated theatrical release of all time.

The New Yorker Recommends


Just the Right Shoe

Just The Right Shoe were a range of hand-painted miniature cold cast porcelain figurines, collectible boxes and musicals have won their designer Raine several awards including in the US the ‘Rising Star of the Year’ award from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers presented at the 1999 Rosemont shows, and in the UK in 1998 the ‘Best New Collectible of the Year’ award presented by the British Guild of specialist china and glass retailers.

Pictured right: Touch of Lace

Just the Right Shoe depicted mainly shoe miniatures from different historical periods. These shoes are historically accurate, so as well as forming a unique collection, also show an historical timeline of the shoe.

A ‘Just the Right Shoe Club – The Perfect Fit’ debuted in October 1999, with the club becoming the fastest growing collectors club in 2000. The Charter Year ran until December 31, 2000. The club had its own online newsletter Shoe Scoop and magazine inStep.

The range was extremely successful for a number of years and production moved from Collectible World Studios to Willitts Designs.


The historical roots of the George Floyd protests in Nebraska

Someday a historian will write a Nebraska History article examining the George Floyd protests in our state. Right now we’re still reading fresh headlines and watching newly-posted videos. We’re still dazed from a montage of peaceful protests, confrontations with police, and late-night chaos in the streets of Omaha and Lincoln. We are still too close to these events to see them with the clarity of history.

But we know that we are seeing history in the making. And we know that the present situation didn’t arise solely from recent events.

Just as obviously, it didn’t arise strictly from local events. When an unarmed African American man is murdered by police in Minneapolis, and in response people take to the streets across the United States and in cities as far away as London, Berlin, and Rio de Janeiro, you know that you’re looking at the tip of a very large iceberg.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture has recently launched Talking About Race, “a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way these forces shape every aspect of society, from the economy and politics to the broader American culture.”

This post isn’t nearly as ambitious, but it’s meant as a Nebraska resource for similar conversations. Here I want to look briefly at some aspects of African American history in Nebraska and link to some of our online resources. This is not a full summary of Nebraska’s black history, merely a quick sketch of the deep roots of present-day injustices, as we understand them at present.

If you read just one thing about the roots of civil unrest in Nebraska, make it this: Ashley Howard’s award-winning Nebraska History article about the 1960s uprisings, “‘And Then the Burnings Began’: Omaha’s Urban Revolts and the Meaning of Political Violence.”

That said, let’s go back further in time.

Photo: This is the earliest known photograph of African Americans in Nebraska, taken in Brownville in 1864. History Nebraska RG3190-285x

People have lived in Nebraska for thousands of years, but its history as an organized US territory begins with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The law repealed an earlier law banning slavery in this part of the country, and was so controversial that it is considered one of the major events leading to the Civil War.

In other words, Nebraska Territory was born in controversy over slavery. Slavery was legal here until the territorial legislature abolished it in 1861—overriding the governor’s veto to do so.

Thirteen years later, the State of Nebraska was born in a controversy over voting rights for black men. Our original proposed state constitution restricted voting rights to white men. That wasn’t unusual at the time. But Congress rejected Nebraska statehood until voting was open to all men (but not women). Read more and see snippets of original documents on p. 8 of this PDF.

The voting rights controversy of 1867 is how we got our state motto, “Equality Before the Law.” It was an optimistic time. Most white Americans—even most abolitionists—held deeply racist views, and yet the war ended with burst of idealism among northern Republicans. To be fair, expanding the vote was also shrewd politics, a way of creating millions of Southern Republican voters. But many Northerners, including this Nebraska man, rejoiced that the reunited nation was moving quickly toward full racial equality.

It didn’t last. Southern black voters were terrorized by “Redeemers” and the Ku Klux Klan, while Northern defense of civil rights faded quickly. J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City (remembered as the founder of Arbor Day) was on the losing side of the abolition and voting rights arguments, but as the years passed, Morton’s racist opinions proved to be more mainstream than those of 1860s Radical Republicans.

Photo: The Shores family, Custer County homesteaders, Nebraska, 1887. History Nebraska RG2608-1231

To be an African American settler in Nebraska meant facing all the usual frontier hardships in addition to the unnecessary burdens of prejudice, a story told in Todd Guenther’s “The Empire Builders: An African American Odyssey in Nebraska and Wyoming” (PDF). It meant sending your children to segregated schools in Nebraska City (PDF), or serving in a segregated army at Fort Robinson (PDF).

Nebraska’s African American population remained small until the Great Migration of the early twentieth century. Millions of Southern blacks moved to northern cities in search of better jobs and more freedom. But the turbulent year following the end of World War I saw a violent backlash against African Americans, including the 1919 lynching of Will Brown in Omaha.

Even within the law, a black man stood little chance when accused of a crime against whites. Despite the flimsy case against him, Charles Smith died in prison for the 1917 murder of Claude Nethaway’s wife, even though it looked like Nethaway himself was the murderer.

The 1920s saw the rise of the second Ku Klux Klan, which at one time claimed 45,000 Nebraska Klan members. Civil rights leaders in those days might work a lifetime only to find conditions worse than when they started, as in the inspiring but ultimately tragic story of Omaha’s Rev. Russel Taylor (PDF).

And yet, Nebraska’s African American community persisted. Many of us learned in school of the “Harlem Renaissance” of the 1920s, but Harlem’s flowering of black culture was part of a nationwide movement. The photography of Lincoln’s John Johnson (PDF) was one part of this assertion of black dignity and self-determination.

Photo: Mildred Brown and some of the DePorres Club members. History Nebraska RG5503-8

Following World War II, the Civil Rights Movement didn’t arise all at once, but developed piece by piece in various communities. Joe Ishikawa spent time in a US internment camp for Japanese Americans before moving to Lincoln. When, as a city employee, he discovered that the municipal swimming pool banned African Americans, he quit his job and joined local black leaders in a successful protest.

The story of the Lincoln pool is remarkable for what it reveals about Northern segregation. Not one city official defended the policy—but no one wanted to change it, either, claiming fear of public opinion.

“It’s always other people,” Ishikawa remembered thinking. “I haven’t met an honestly prejudiced person yet.”

In Omaha, meanwhile, publisher Mildred Brown was mobilizing her newspaper, the Omaha Star, against local discrimination. Brown played a key role in a multiracial coalition known as the DePorres Club. Among other accomplishments, the DePorres Club led a successful bus boycott (PDF) four years before the one in Montgomery, Alabama.

Other local civil rights groups won important victories in the 1950s and 1960s, but certain fundamental injustices remained: housing and job discrimination, unequal schools, and unequal policing—all of which bring us back to Dr. Howard’s article, “And Then the Burnings Began.” The nationwide failure of leaders and businesses to respond to nonviolent protest led to the “long hot summers” of the late 1960s.

Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald provides another view of this crucial period in his recent book, 24 th and Glory: The Intersection of Civil Rights and Omaha’s Greatest Generation of Athletes.And longtime World-Herald photographer Rudy Smith documented everything from the late-1960s turmoil, to the 1970s school busing controversy, to daily life in The Black Experience Through the Lens of Rudy Smith. Both books were published with the support of History Nebraska.

This is only a partial survey of Nebraska’s African American history. It follows the story up to about fifty years ago, and even then with major gaps. (See also this special issue of Nebraska History, and this PDF of African American Resources at History Nebraska.) The idea is to show something of the long struggle for equality and to provide links to our most helpful resources.

But there’s something else, something that may only become clear as you start clicking links and diving deeper into the sources. Perhaps the most tragic thing about all this history—aside from the fact that it happened at all—is how much of it is still unresolved, how much still seems relevant in the troubled year of 2020.


History of Voting

The Electoral College votes are divided among the states. Each state gets two votes for its two Senators and a vote for each of its Representatives in Congress. The number of congressional representatives varies from state to state depending on the state's population.

If a candidate wins the popular vote (a vote cast by a citizen) in a state, they win that state's Electoral College vote. It is possible, mathematically, to win the popular vote and lose the presidential election if the candidate does not win enough Electoral votes.

1789: The U.S. elects George Washington as its first President.

1820&ndash1830: As states join the union they create their own state constitutions outlining who is allowed to vote. Eligible voters are mostly white males who own property. A small number of free black men are allowed to vote but no women either white or black.

1840: Women begin to organize to petition for suffrage, or the right to vote. (Find out more about women's suffrage with the Scholastic Research Starter.) Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Stanton are two of the most famous leaders of the Suffragette Movement.

1848: Wisconsin enters the union and has the most liberal voting laws. They allow people living here from other countries the right to vote if they had lived in Wisconsin for one year and plan to become citizens of the United States. But even in Wisconsin, women do not have the right to vote.

1850: Groups like the "No-Nothings" create literacy laws that state that those who wish to vote must pass a literacy test. Since many blacks and immigrants cannot read or write they are denied the right to vote. This was an attempt to keep the vote in the hands of the white male population.

1860: The Democratic party divides into Northern and Southern wings. South Carolina secedes from the United States after Abraham Lincoln is elected President.

1861&ndash1865: The American Civil War

1861: Jefferson Davis is elected President of the Confederate States of America.

1866: The 14th Amendment to the Constitution is passed by Congress. It states that men age 21 and over who are residents of the United States have the right to vote. Any state preventing these rights will lose electors in the Electoral College. Women still do not have the right to vote.

1869: Congress passes the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. That amendment grants all men the right to vote regardless of race, color, or if they were formally slaves. The Amendment does not give women the right to vote.

In Wyoming Territory women are given the right to vote, and those rights continue after Wyoming becomes a state in 1890.

1870: Utah territory gives women the right to vote.

1877: After the presidential election of 1876, the Electoral Commission gives disputed Electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes, despite the fact that Samuel Tilden wins the popular vote.

1878: An act to amend the Constitution and give women the right to vote is introduced into Congress but does not pass.

1890: Many states begin to use secret ballots so that voters cannot be bullied into voting for candidates they do not support.

1893: New Zealand women receive the right to vote.

1896: Idaho grants women the right to vote.

1911: California gives women the right to vote.

1917: Canadian women receive the right to vote.

1920: On August 18, Congress passes the 19th Amendment to the Constitution giving women the right to vote.

1928: Women in the United Kingdom and Ireland receive the right to vote.

1944: Women in France receive the right to vote.

1950: Women in India receive the right to vote.

1964: On January 23 Congress passes the 24th Amendment to the Constitution outlawing poll taxes. Poll taxes, or tax fees for voting, have been used to discourage poor people from voting.

1965: The Voting Rights Act is signed by President Lyndon Johnson. The act enforces the 15th Amendment by explicitly stating that obstacles, such as literacy tests or complicated ballot instructions, are against federal law.

1971: On July 1, the 26th Amendment is passed by Congress lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. The law is meant to resolve the disparity that 18-year-old men are old enough to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam War, yet did not have the right to vote.

1975: Congress expands the Voting Rights Act to protect the voting rights of those people who do not speak or read English.

1990: The Soviet Union holds its first elections.

1994: First multiracial election in South Africa takes place. Until now, only white people have been allowed to vote.