Carter Neil

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Shofar archives:

United Kingdom

The Skinhead phenomenon had its birth in the United Kingdom,
arising as a youth cult in the early 1970’s, and Britain is
still regarded as the fountainhead of the movement worldwide.
It was there that the Skinhead aspect and regalia developed –
shaved heads, boots, tattoos – designed to symbolize tough,
angry, rebellious working-class youths. (The steel-toed Doc
Martens boots, de rigueur for Skins everywhere, are
manufactured in Britain.) Along with the style went fixed
attitudes: an extreme nationalism, a brash male chauvinism, a
glorification of brute violence. Before long, a large number
of British Skinheads were also displaying hostility towards
non-whites, Jews, foreigners and homosexuals. Filling out the
format was “oi” music (“oi” is a Cockney greeting), which –
for the racist Skins – meant the threatening sound of “white

Present estimates of the number of British Skinheads vary from
some 1,500 to as many as 2,000. These figures represent a
slight decline over the past year or two.

Blood and Honour

The main Skinhead “organization” is Blood and Honour, a loose
sort of structure founded in 1987 by Ian Stuart Donaldson –
professionally (and hereinafter) “Ian Stuart” – a Skinhead
musician who was killed in an automobile crash in Derbyshire
late in 1993. Stuart’s band, Skrewdriver, has been for years
the most popular Skinhead group in Britain and throughout the
world. Under the name The Klansmen, the band has made records
for the United States market – one of their songs was titled
“Fetch the Rope.” Stuart always preferred being called a Nazi
rather than a “neo-Nazi.” He once told the London _Evening
Standard_: “I admire everything Hitler did, apart from one
thing – losing.”

Stuart’s legacy, Blood and Honour (its name is the translation
of an SS slogan) is a frenzied amalgam of racist lore and
music. Organically it has been described as not so much a
political organization as “a neo-Nazi street movement.”
Influencial among Skinheads throughout Europe and the United
States, Blood and Honour acts as an umbrella organization for
30 or more Skin rock groups, publishes a magazine (also called
_Blood and Honour_)[1] and runs a mail order service for
“white pride” paraphernalia, which is said to have thousands
of accounts.

The Skinhead bands affiliated with the Blood and Honour
movement have their own security guards. Not known for their
restraint, these guards often battle perceived enemies at
clubs where the bands perform and out in the street.

Since Stuart’s death, Blood and Honour has reportedly fallen
under the influence of Combat 18 (18 is a code for Adolf
Hitler’s initials), a violent neo-Nazi group that counts
Skinheads and football hooligans among its followers.

“You don’t become a member of Blood and Honour,” a BBC report
stated. “You support it by buying the records, carrying the
flag, wearing the T-shirts and the tattoos.”

And sometimes by other means…


Assaults on Asians (“Paki-bashing”) and homosexuals
(“fag-bashing”) have become standard forms of Skinhead
brutality, as have desecrations of synagogues and Jewish
cemeteries. A march through South East London protesting
racial violence recently was disrupted by Skinheads who pelted
the marchers with bricks and bottles. The Skins then turned on
the police whom they forced to retreat by attacking them with
stones and crash barriers.

On the night of September 11, 1993, 30 neo-Nazi Skinheads
marched through Brick Lane in the heart of a predominently
Asian neighborhood, breaking shop windows and menacing
residents. “We’re being deprived of what’s ours,” a young
Skinhead was quoted in the newspapers a few nights later, “but
we’re fighting back now!”

Many Skins have served time. Kev Turner, leader of the popular
Skin band Skullhead, for example, can boast a 20-month
sentence for assault. Another Skullhead regular, Neil Carter,
was jailed for nine months for his part in an attack on a
nightclub owner.

Football Hooligans

Skinheads are fanatical supporters of certain English soccer
(football) teams. Along with the more numerous football
hooligans – many of whom share their neo-Nazi views –
Skinheads are among the ringleaders of the racism and violence
that plague English soccer. Skinheads are frequently seen at
matches making Nazi salutes and taunting black players with
vicious racist barbs. Violence, however, is their specialty.
Joined by non-Skinhead members of Combat 18 and unaffiliated
hooligans, Skins attack other fans (both rivals and fellow
supporters) and run riot through stadiums, pubs and train
stations. While the mayhem is often spontaneous, there is
increasing evidence that soccer-related violence is sometimes
planned in advance and orchestrated by a few dozen
individuals, many of whom have a neo-Nazi agenda.

Neo-fascist Connections

A number of hard-core Skinheads have been active in several
neo-fascist groups that have long tried to control the
Skinhead scene. Most prominent among these are the racist and
anti-Semitic British National Party (BNP), and the
aforementioned Combat 18. The BNP participates in elections
and enjoys small pockets of support in areas of London,
Yorkshire, and Lancashire. Combat 18, with a core of between
100 and 150 members, is committed to violence and harassment
rather than political gains. While Skinheads formerly
identified with the BNP – and reportedly assisted in some of
its initial modest electoral success – they have increasingly
switched their allegiance to Combat 18 in recent years.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

The message of the Skinheads booms from their music. It is
violent, racist, paranoid, and “Nordic.” All of the bands seem
to catch the spirit of one called British Standard when it

The Iron Guard of Europe
Has risen from the grave
They march along as one now
A New Order they must save.

Skrewdriver’s “White Rider” brays:

You feel love for your people
Disdain for the fools
The enemies led by the Zionist tools…

_Last Chance_, a now-defunct British skinzine, recently
reviewed the first Skrewdriver album to be recorded after Ian
Stuart’s fatal car crash in late 1993: Tunes such as “Hail
Victory,” “vampire,” and “White Noise,” would, it said, “bring
a tear to many eyes.”

Another auto accident – this one in March 1992 – killed three
of the four members of the group Violent Storm, whose home was
Cardiff, Wales. They were on their way to Heathrow Airport for
a flight to Spain, where they were scheduled to perform at a
Skinhead concert that featured other British bands. The lone
survivor, “Billy,” later joined “Miffy,” “Clarkey,” and
“Stinko” in a new band, Celtic Warrior, to “sing about the
things we feel are important” – such as the “evils of
Zionism” and the struggle for “our race.”

The visions of the Skinhead mind are starkly reflected in some
of the bands’ names: Brutal Attack […], Battle Zone, Razor’s
Edge, No Remorse (this last referring specifically to the
memory of the Holocaust). The recurrent theme of British
Skinhead music is that only a race war, with the inner cities
as battlegrounds, will bring about the reclamation of British
soil. “White Warriors,” epitomizes this:

Fighting in the city,
It’s a matter of life and death,
It’s as easy as black and white,
You’ll fight till your last breath…
When the battle is over,
And the victory is won,
The White man’s lands are owned
By the White people,
The traitors will all be gone.

The steamy enthusiam of Britain’s Skinheads is kept at a high
pitch by an abundance of zines published by a huge amateur
underground network. The zines, such as _Blood and Honour_,
_Boots and Braces_, _Truth at Last_, _British Oi!_, _Offensive
Weapon_ and _Aryan Warrior_, are mostly crude, slapdash
photocopy productions comprising events calendars, ads,
interviews, fan photos, letters, Skin gossip, etc. and
abounding in Nazi and Odinist imagery. They also serve as
effective links with their brethren on the Continent and
across the globe.

Whether or not the reports of a slow decline in Skinhead
numbers are accurate, it is generally agreed by those who
monitor their activities that the Skinheads of Britain
represent no mere passing fad – as the very longevitiy of the
phenomenon shows. Having weathered 20 years of ebb and flow,
it continues to poison young minds, perpetrate group violence
and sing its vicious joy to the bewitched. (Anti-Defamation
League, 73-76)

1. Similarly named publications have also appeared in
California and Sweden.

Work Cited

Anti-Defamation League. The Skinhead International: A Worldwide
Survey of Neo-Nazi Skinheads. New York: Anti-Defamation League,
1995. Anti-Defamation League, 823 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY

Newsgroups: alt.skinheads,alt.politics.white-power,alt.politics.nationalism.white
Subject: ADL: Skinhead International; United Kingdom
Summary: The ADL’s “Skinhead International: A Worldwide Survey
of Neo-Nazi Skinheads”
Followup-To: alt.skinheads

Last-Modified: 1995/09/19