Pioneers of World Wide Web Fascism: The British Extreme Right and Web 1.0

Jackson, Paul

This chapter explores the ways that, around the turn of the millennium, British fascist organisations, such as the British National Party (BNP), and leading ideologues, such as David Irving, developed websites as part of their activism. It uses the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to engage in a ‘web history’ of this early online activism by British fascists. It argues that websites could sometimes be used to help present British fascist politics as more respectable, as in the case of the BNP, or alternatively as a way to allow activists access to the fringe cultic milieu of British fascism, steeped in conspiracy theories, overt neo-Nazism and other ideas deeply oppositional to mainstream perspectives. It concludes that although typically amateurish and poorly resourced, British fascist groups were often eager early adopters of Web 1.0 and argues that a deeper understating of this early ‘web history’ offers important context for those studying contemporary forms of extreme right online activism.