“Preparing for a Global Conflict”: South African Far Right Set Sights on US and Europe

21 06 19

Tennessee’s Montgomery Bell State Park continues to be a go-to meeting spot for the international far right. As HOPE not hate reported last month, it hosted the seventeenth annual conference of the American white nationalist organisation, American Renaissance (AmRen). Alongside activists from across the US far right, were British and French attendees.

On 28-30 June it will be the site of the Nationalist Solutions conference, hosted by the white nationalist groups the American Freedom Party and the Council of Conservative Citizens. The conference has previously hosted members the international far right and amongst its speakers this year are Simon Roche, spokesman for the Suidlanders, a South African group who have extreme links, promote a form of the “white genocide” conspiracy that there is a deliberate plan to kill white people (or “replace” them through immigration).

The Suidlanders have been forging closer links to the American and European far right in recent years. Roche has appeared on multiple international far-right vlogs, including that of alt-right figures Stefan Molyneux and on Red Ice TV, attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and spoke at the 2018 AmRen conference.

Most revealing was Roche’s appearance on the podcast of the American nazi, Christopher Cantwell, in 2018 (Roche had previously been on the show in 2017). The Suidlanders spokesman stated that he had visited the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial organisation, and had received funds from identitarian group Identity Evropa, the League of the South and nazi group Vanguard America.

He also stated that the Suidlanders were “proud to associate” with Afrikaner Weerstandbeweging, a South African nazi paramilitary, and that despite more recent disagreements, “our leaders do speak to each other from time to time.”

At the upcoming Nationalist Solutions conference, alongside Roche, speakers will include a variety of white nationalists and other extreme racists, including author Tom Sunic, Michael Hill of the neo-Confederate group the League of the South, James Edwards of The Political Cesspool podcast, Rachel Pendergraft of the KKK-tied Knights Party, former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, and the far-right’s favoured go-to antisemitic academic Kevin McDonald.

Roche claims that he will also be returning to the US again in the coming months, though it is clear that the Suidlanders have set their sights firmly on gathering further support now from the European far right.

“Take this flame from the South and ignite the North”

In a video released on 17 June Roche asked followers for donations to help fund a trip to Europe in September. Partly, this is due to their success (alongside fellow South African group AfriForum) in already having mainstreamed somewhat the white genocide trope in the US over the past year. Yet, Roche has claimed that, “a few exceptions aside”, the shift to focusing on Europe is due to the “better contacts and better opportunities” awaiting them on the continent, which are more than the group “ever had in the USA”.

Roche details that they have “almost 100 contacts of organisations and people who are strongly sympathetic to our cause”, including activists and party leaders. In France alone, he has “something like 25 separate invitations”. Whilst In the coming months, he also claims the Suidlanders will also host visitors “at different times for a total of thirty-eight days”.

Of course, such claims should always be taken with a pinch of salt and Roche admitted in an interview with Mark D. Young of South Africa’s Politics Web earlier this month that, “the truth is we did not make a lot of money out of the [previous] USA trip”. Nonetheless, his two upcoming US trips will be financed by not just the Suidlanders but by sympathisers in the US as well

Petr Bystron of Alternative Fur Deutschland (left) and Gustav Muller, leader of the Suidlanders in South Africa, September 2018

Moreover, the Suidlanders were hosted by the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the European Parliament in December 2018, with particular assistance coming from Polish Law and Justice party MEP Tomasz Poręba and Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD) MEP, Petr Bystron. The Suidlander’s closeness to Bystron, who is also the AfD Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, was first reported on last year when it was revealed that he had done weapons training with them in September 2018 whilst in South Africa.

Roche and the Suidlanders clearly recognise the potential of the white genocide narrative to rally the international far right as the foregoing demonstrates. Referring to the Suidlanders’ efforts to spread their message to sympathisers elsewhere, Roche told viewers in his donation-drive video that “we must take this flame from the south and ignite the north”.

The Westerner Needs to Start Preparing for a Global Conflict”

The narrative that there is an impending genocide against white South Africans has grown in popularity amongst the far right. The claim is usually advanced by them pointing to the murders of white farmers as an indicator, a phenomenon referred to as “Plaasmoorde” or “Farm Murders”. The Suidlanders and other groups claim that white farmers are being systematically murdered by non-whites in an attempt to claim white-owned land (white people make up 8% of the population but own some 72% of private land).

However, the notion has been well-debunked. As Gareth Newham of the Institute of Security Studies, a research organisation based across Africa which focuses on human security, told CNN: “There is no evidence that a group of people are killing farmers for political purposes. There is no evidence that they are doing it because they are listening to political leaders. It is happening because of crime.”

According to CNN there were 62 murders on South African farms in the 2017-18 financial year, around 0.3% of the 20,336 murders in South Africa during the same period, leading Newham to conclude that “There is no epidemic of farm murders in South Africa. There is an epidemic of murders.”

Nonetheless, it retains popularity, and the Suidlanders are evident in their efforts to invite interest from abroad by attempting to draw parallels between this false narrative and those perpetuated by the far right around the globe. On the organisation’s website is a section titled ‘The Future of the West’, that focuses on non-white immigration into Europe. They declare that, “South Africa’s present is the west’s future if it continues down its current path”, and in a reflection of their domestic, divisive paranoia they call on “the westerner” to start “preparing for a global conflict”.

By Simon Murdoch


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