National Action, a self -proclaimed neo-Nazi nationalist youth movement, opened a ‘whites only’ food bank in Glasgow, and have expressed plans on expanding this scheme into Edinburgh and other Scottish cities.
According to their website, National Action pride themselves on using “demonstrations, publicity stunts, and other activities” to spread their message. The organisation set up the stall in front of the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow in late August 2016. Providing aid to the city’s Caucasian homeless, the group was eventually dispersed by the police, however no legal action was taken due to a lack of evidence against the group.
The Student spoke to Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour party leader, about the effect these groups have on urban communities in Scotland.
“I think [the food banks] are particularly scary because what they’re seeking to do is to exploit a very vulnerable group of people on the grounds of race or nationality…I think we should all unite to eradicate food poverty full stop, and in so doing fight against fascism every step of the way,” Dugdale told The Student.
However, when questioned about how to disband schemes such as those set up by National Action, Dugdale did not advocate explicit actions against the group.
“We should not take any action that jeopardises someone’s ability to access the food and the services that their family needs,” she said.
Dugdale did express a need for the people of Glasgow and all Scottish cities to stand together against groups such as National Action and to support the all-inclusive food banks and charities that the city offers.
“I think there is now a big case for rallying around all the other foodbanks in Glasgow, making donations to them, making sure people who need help are getting access to the help that they need and then we can all unite to take on the neo-Nazi forces behind this despicable service.”
National Action have claimed that they set up this food bank, and other demonstrations, in order to achieve their political aims, which are stated as: “building community via social activity” to “grow and spread [their] message” and appeal to the “socially alienated people in this country”, according to their website.
Jill Stephenson, Modern-German History professor at the University of Edinburgh, spoke to The Student about the many similarities she sees between National Action’s food bank scheme and the actions taken by the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
Stephenson told The Student that during their rise to power, the Nazis “tried to win support by opening soup kitchens for the needy [and] collecting clothing and boots from sympathisers to kit out the destitute.”