Patriotic Alternative is a far-right, neo-Nazi group founded in 2019 and focused on what they label as the “demographic decline of native Britons in the United Kingdom, the environmental impact of mass immigration and the indoctrination and political bias taking place in British schools.” (1) Patriotic Alternative is the UK’s largest fascist organisation, with an estimated 200 to 250 core activists, yet with a significantly larger online audience (2). Its founder and current leader is Mark Collett, a British white supremacist and previously a prominent activist, as well as the Director of Publicity in the British National Front (BNP) (3). The organisation has regional groups in every region of the United Kingdom, and is in the process of setting up a group in Northern Ireland (1). There is also a branch of the Patriotic Alternative in Scotland which is led by Kenny Smith, a former BNP activist (4).
History & Origins
Patriotic Alternative was founded in September 2019 by Mark Collett (1). Collett is a longstanding neo-Nazi militant originally from Rothley, Leicestershire in the East Midlands of England, although he is now based in Pontefract, Yorkshire, in the North of England. Collett began his political career in the National Front, Britain’s oldest fascist party (5), and then transitioned to the British National Party (BNP) after falling out with his National Front colleagues. He became the leader of the BNP youth wing, and later became their director of publicity. Collett was then arrested alongside the BNP leader Nick Griffin for inciting racial hatred following a 2004 BBC documentary in which he described asylum seekers as “cockroaches”.
During the leadup to the 2010 general election in the UK, Collett was questioned by police due to Nick Griffin (a British white supremacist) making allegations that Collett was plotting to kill him. He denied the accusations, was released without charge, and left the BNP shortly after. He was then involved with other far-right groups, such as the English Democrats and the now banned National Action. He also ran a pro-Brexit stall in Yorkshire prior to the EU membership referendum in the UK. In 2017, Collett self-published a book outlining his anti-Semitic ideology, and in 2019 he performed as a speaker at the Scandza Forum in Copenhagen, which he cites as the inspiration for Patriotic Alternative. By the time Collett founded Patriotic Alternative, he was already a well-known figure in far-right British politics (6). Patriotic Alternative has since expanded across the UK (1), but the majority of Patriotic Alternative’s leadership is still based in Yorkshire, England (6).
Ideology & Goals
The Patriotic Alternative is heavily focused on their belief that the ‘indigenous peoples of the United Kingdom’ may eventually become a minority in the country; to this end they aim to pass a ‘Nation State Law’. The group also seeks a complete halt to immigration into the UK, except under what they deem to be exceptional circumstances, such as diplomats, highly-skilled people in urgent demand, and people with a ‘shared ethnic and cultural background who can prove British ancestry.’ (7) Patriotic Alternative’s central ideology is the ‘White Genocide’ conspiracy theory, which alleges that Jews are orchestrating a demographic shift as part of a sustained campaign, in order to weaken ‘indigenous’ British people to better control them. Collett and other members believe that Jewish subversives within British institutions are encouraging immigration and miscegenation, promoting feminism, LBGTQ+ rights and other progressives ideas to cause division in white communities and lower white birth rates (6).
Patriotic Alternative’s content and output is carefully constructed to conceal their underlying radical far-right, neo-Nazi ideology and hardline antisemitism, with Collett saying in 2019 that they aim to “package” the message “in a way that will make it saleable” (6), and repeatedly recommending Mein Kampf to his audience (2). Furthermore, many members of Patriotic Alternative are former members of National Action, a Nazi terror group banned under the UK’s 2016 anti-terror legislation (6). Despite having been banned, the latter has continued to function underground (8).
Approach to Resistance
Patriotic Alternative have adopted a multi-faceted approach to building a far-right community. They use a range of traditional campaigning and online activism, such as leafleting, and running family-friendly events and fitness clubs to cultivate outreach (6). The group also focuses on attracting media attention and has started to try to influence electoral change in British elections: in the 2021 local elections across Britain, Patriotic Alternative set a target to distribute 100k leaflets and grab headlines during the month prior to election day, with the aim of pushing political discourse towards demographic change (9).
While the group does not participate in co-ordinated violence, it instead takes part in online harassment campaigns and acts of street protests. Although Patriotic Alternative crafts their public image to be family-friendly, many of their prominent members have been involved in online harassment campaigns against LGBTQ+ people and ethnic minorities. ‘Anglo Josh’, the Patriotic Alternative media officer for the English region of the West Midlands, led a contingent to the Tommy Robinson demonstration in January 2022. Under the pseudonym ‘Skelly’, he also led online harassment campaigns as part of a group of online neo-Nazis, and has created racist and anti-semitic video content (2). Additionally, the leader of Patriotic Alternative Scotland was convicted of firearms charges in 2022 (4).
Relations & Alliances
Patriotic Alternative contains many former members of the BNP and National Action. The BNP is a far-right fascist political party in the UK, while National Action was a violent far-right organisation that has since been banned. As well as these connections, Patriotic Alternative is linked to a US fascist and white supremacist organisation called the Creativity Movement, which was founded in 1973 (10). The Creativity Movement and Patriotic Alternative do not have an official public alliance, but there are common members amongst the two groups, as well as amongst National Action. Patriotic Alternative also has links to other, smaller far-right organisations in the UK, such as the Scottish Defence League, Pie & Mash Squad, and the British National Socialist Movement (BNSM) (1).
Works Cited (Chicago-style)
(1) - Patriotic Alternative, ‘About’. Accessed December 15, 2022.
(2) - Lawrence, David. 2022. ‘Patriotic Alternative: what you need to know about the Nazis exploiting the media’. Hope Not Hate. Accessed December 13, 2022. https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/04/26/patriotic-alternative-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-nazis-exploiting-the-media/
(3) - ADL. 2018. ‘Mark Collett: Britain’s Alt Right Social Media Propagandist’. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.adl.org/blog/mark-collett-britains-alt-right-social-media-propagandist
(4) - Briggs, Billy. 2022. ‘Patriotic Alternative leader guilty of firearms charges’. The Ferret. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://theferret.scot/leader-far-right-patriotic-alternative-scotland-court-guilty-firearms-charges/
(5) - Hope Not Hate. 2022. ‘Far-right roundup – National Front Leader Quits Britain’. Accessed December 30th, 2022. https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/03/02/far-right-roundup-national-front-leader-quits-britain/
(6) - Davis, Gregory & Lawrence, David. 2021. ‘Patriotic Alternative: Britain’s Fascist Threat’. Hope Not Hate. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://hopenothate.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/patriotic-alternative-report-2021-11-v3.pdf
(7) - Patriotic Alternative, ‘Our Plan’. Accessed December 15, 2022.
(8) - The Crown Prosecution Service. 2022. ‘Member of proscribed group jailed for three years’. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/member-proscribed-group-jailed-three-years
(9) - Davis, Gregory & Lawrence, David. 2022. ‘The far right target the local elections: candidate overview’. Hope Not Hate. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://hopenothate.org.uk/2022/04/07/local-elections-2022-what-we-know-so-far/
(10) - Southern Poverty Law Centre. 2022. ‘Creativity Movement’. Accessed December 15, 2022. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/creativity-movement-0