Church is community and community building is a central goal of Anglo Saxon Anglicans. A key aim for us is to help build and strengthen traditionalist communities of indigenous Anglo Saxon English people and empower them with a positive sense of identity and purpose. We aim to build an English Church which is the spiritual home of the Anglo Saxon English people rather than seeking to minister to everyone who happens to live in England. We will support and be a part of wider efforts to build such communities, offering them a traditionalist and identarian spiritual home.
Whilst we will build and strengthen our own communities, we will not turn our backs entirely on modern England and Britain. We will continue to play a role in wider society and ensure that the voice of the indigenous English is heard.
The need for Anglo Saxon English Communities
Anglo Saxon Anglicans believes that the indigenous English people not only exist as a definable group, but that we have a right to preserve and celebrate our identity and culture. However, in our modern world, this is becoming difficult, if not impossible, without some degree of separate living. We have been used to very homogenous communities for at least a thousand years and are not well prepared for dealing with modern notions of diversity. If we are to preserve our distinct identity and culture we must start thinking and acting differently.
England is a small country and is densely populated. Despite this, successive Governments have pursued a policy of growth and mass immigration despite widespread and consistent public opposition to it. This has led to huge changes throughout much of the land. Indeed, parts of England are now no longer recognizably English, especially to older people who remember how things were not that long ago. Change has been particularly rapid in the main urban centres, a great belt of land from the industrial cities of the north, through to the West Midlands and down to London. This is where the great majority of England’s citizens live. It is also the least ‘Anglo Saxon’ part of the country.
Some people welcome these mixed communities, but the great majority seem to vote with their feet in an exodus of ‘white flight’. Indeed, research shows that people tend to be happier in homogenous communities and become less social and more distrustful in mixed ones. There are therefore sound reasons for community building along ethnic and religious lines. There really is something ‘Orwellian’ about the current ideas of tearing up traditional communities, introducing large numbers of entirely different people into them and then talking about improving community cohesion through greater diversity!
The question, though, is how we do this? How do we develop such communities and communal structures? Some people talk about building separatist English communities, using places like Orania in South Africa as a model. There is undoubtedly a place for these, but for now at least England is not South Africa and this should not be the only model of community building. There are still many, many towns and villages which have a mainly Anglo Saxon English identity. Furthermore, England is our homeland, our sacred soil. Community building cannot just mean retreating into isolated enclaves or reservations and excluding ourselves from society as a whole. England belongs in its entirety to the English and we have a right, even a duty, to live anywhere in it.
There is no single ‘one size fits all’ model. Different people have different lifestyles, aspirations and needs and so a number of community development models are needed. England already has many established English communities and community structures that we can still be a part of and seek to regain influence within. Alternatively, or as part of a twin tracked approach, we will need to develop new ones. Some of these will be explicitly religious, others more secular in which we work with the wider Identarian English community.
Others do it, so why not us?
We are not suggesting something that is not already commonplace amongst many ethnic and religious groups. The Amish, Hutterites, Jews and Parsis (Zoroastrians) all practice this approach to some degree or other. Indigenous peoples of North America and Australasia are seeking to strengthen their communal identity. Major religious groups throughout the Indian Sub-Continent practice a high level of self-segregation and frown on mixed marriages. There are less well known groups all over the world, such as the Yezidis of Iraq, the Samaritans of Israel and the Tartars of Russia, that do the same. Furthermore, many, many countries do not allow mass immigration as they wish to remain mono-ethnic societies.
Recent immigrants and many ethnic groups that have been settled in England for generations make great efforts to maintain their identity and customs. They collect together to form strong geographic communities or make efforts to hold regular events that reinforce communal identity. Even when such groups move out of their original areas of settlement into the suburbs, they tend to follow each other and form new communities, often based around places of worship.
Starting with the Family
It is often said that the English tend to look inwards to our homes where it is warm rather than to social events in the great outdoors. This is true in the colder months of winter, but is not so true of the warmer months of late spring and summer. In fact, English people can be quite sociable and enjoy a good get-together!
In days gone by, the extended family would form the basis of community life. In Anglo Saxon times it was not uncommon for entire villages to be related to each other rather as is the case with the Amish of today.
However, the nuclear family is the building block of modern communities and should be the starting point in encouraging people to live more community orientated lives. Until relatively recently, the immediate and extended family was the basis of most people’s social life. For many it still is, but it has certainly weakened over the last few decades. These days many families rarely sit down together to eat a meal, which is of course much more than just eating food. The days when most families played board games together, went on family trips, played sports or had a sing song by the piano are mostly long gone. Even sitting down as a family and watching television together is less common than it used to be.
Busy parents who work full time are more concerned with their children going to various ‘classes’ than interacting as a family. Teenagers will spend their time with their friends ‘hanging out’ rather than with their parents and siblings. This isn’t the case for everyone and in itself is not a bad thing, but there is certainly less emphasis on family orientated activities now than there used to be. The balance in many cases seems to be wrong.
Traditionally, our communal life revolved around Church, Fetes and Garden Parties, Sports, Dancing and the Pub. Historically these activities were often undertaken together as part of great days of celebration, usually feast days of the Church calendar. In days gone by there would have been more use of bonfires than today, plays that re-enact events from the bible or from village life, and general larking around! Some of these activities were held on particular days and some are either still enjoyed today or are being revived. Folk activities associated with the Church calendar are set out in the ‘Feasts and Festivals’ section.
So, as a starting point we need to encourage more family activities, whether this is eating together more, doing more activities together or just being in the home together more often. Building from this we need to encourage more activities within the community. Anglo Saxon Anglicans therefore advocates community centred Churches which offer much more than religious services. Furthermore, we need to make sure that when our children go to classes and activities, these are associated with our community and when they hang out with friends, these are from their own community.
Developing Community Groups
There are therefore sound reasons for community building along ethnic and religious lines.
To be effective, a community must have a structure and groups within that structure which enable it to operate and express itself. These can be national, regional or local. They may be civic societies, schools, history or social clubs, dining clubs, charities or political groups that promote Anglo Saxon English interests. They may be based around an activity, such as an annual fayre, a cultural or sporting event, discussion and learning groups or music and art groups and concerts.
Anglo Saxon Anglicans aims to provide one important element of this. For us, the focus is on the Church. An ethno-religious ‘folk Church’ can play an important role in developing these groups and activities. It can provide a focus for people to meet up not just for worship, but also for fellowship in terms of social events, religious and secular discussion groups as well as outings and other activities. Church buildings can include space for social and educational activities as well as for worship.
Social events could include Church suppers or lunches, barbeques in either a communal location or at someone’s home, camping weekends with various activities and music or other cultural events. The Church could provide courses in Anglo Saxon history, culture and language and so on as well as instruction in its own religious tradition. These could be held as night school classes, weekend classes and could be tailored to young people to give them a better grounding in their English identity. These could even evolve into Church schools providing the full range of child and adult learning.
Some people do like to live in isolated settlements, maybe an isolated cottage in the deep countryside or simple farmsteads of a single or smaller extended family. Others may gravitate to small villages to live more simple lifestyles and to enjoy the countryside. Most people, though, will continue to live in the larger towns and cities simply because that is where they have always lived, where they can afford or where the work is. We therefore need to develop support structures that help us to network with each other.
Living in a particular geographic location used to make you a part of that community. However, a place is no longer necessarily the basis of a community. That said, there are still plenty of place-based English communities, particularly in rural England, but many residential areas in the larger towns and cities are now a much more complex patch work of different peoples. Within such areas, distinct and definable communities are often based around ethnic groups and recent immigrants. The indigenous English population has still to learn to view itself in this way. The Jewish community in Stamford Hill, London is a good example of a well-established ethno-religious community. No one seems to criticise their right to organise along ethno-religious lines, which is essentially all we are promoting at ASA.
A ‘loose’ place-based community is where people live in the same general locality, but not close enough to say they live in the same neighbourhood. They may live in different parts of the same town or city. Such people can interact with each other fairly easily and will have common ties to the place in broad terms; such as being Londoners or Brummies. But they do not all live in the same immediate neighbourhood and will live mainly amongst people from outside our particular group. Networking for these places will involve having institutions and events in locations that people from wide areas can get to.
A ‘close’ place-based community is where people do live within the same neighbourhood or village. This may be parts of a town, village or even a street or two in which everyone, or nearly everyone is part of the ethno-religious community. These have the advantage of creating the most cohesive communities and may form the basis of agrarian or semi-agrarian communities along the lines of the Amish or Hutterites.
In practice, there is a large grey area as you move from a very loose based model where people have to travel great distances to meet up and a very close based model where the entire occupants of a place are made up of the same community.
There is a place for utopian communities of various kinds, whether these are modelled on those of the Amish and Hutterites, the Israeli Kibbutzin and Moshavim or on the Afrikanner settlement of Orania in South Africa. These communities could have a mixed use economy as opposed to being solely agricultural and could offer various degrees of communal living. They would have the advantage of forming the basis of a strong community of like-minded people and able to offer an alternative, ‘back to the land’ lifestyle with a safer and more laid back pace of life. They could be religious-based communities, for instance traditionalist Anglican, secular, or a mix of both. Some form of organisation would almost certainly be needed to oversee their development and management.
There is a need to ensure that the development of communities, especially close place based communities, are carefully coordinated to provide locations where strong holds can take root. Otherwise, there is a danger of different groups going off starting up settlements willy-nilly which are isolated from each other and do not coordinate necessary infrastructure and services. Rather than being developed in line with a carefully worked out plan, they create haphazard new social groupings which work against each other more than they support each other.
In time, a strategic plan should be drawn up to identify opportunities to create communities and encourage people to move to them. Local organisations should concentrate on investment in such areas, developing social infrastructure such as schools and church buildings that will encourage members to gravitate to these areas. This plan also needs to consider how physical and social infrastructure should be provided within existing areas to help people who do not live in close place based communities to come together and form relationships with each other. This should be a co-ordinated plan with the wider identarian community.
To this end, there is a need for a body to develop such a plan and to oversee its implementation. This should cover housing, economic, agricultural, social, cultural, religious and all other aspects of civil life. Clearly, none of this is really possible until some form of English Community body is established and begins to attract real world members. This must be the immediate priority.
It is important that the identarian, indigenous English community does not disengage from public life within the state. To do so would further disenfranchise our people. We need to fight our corner and promote our interests. Following on from thinking of the English as an ethnic tribe, we need to encourage the notion of tribal voting. Our interests have often been ignored because we do not vote tribally.
Whilst Anglo Saxon English people have a right to live anywhere within our land, there is a case for developing and reinforcing ‘strong-holds’ within which we have the numbers to influence the political scene both locally and nationally. Above all, we need to encourage ethnic English people to start voting for candidates that address issues of concern to us and voting tactically to get rid of those that don’t.
There is, in practice, no one size fits all approach to community building. Neither, for most people, will it be a case of being prescriptive as to where they live or how they engage with each other. The challenge for developing an ethnic based community is to, on the one hand, develop mechanisms that enable existing like-minded people to come together to form non place-based communities and, on the other, to facilitate, support and encourage the creation of place-based communities as well.
Strategically important towns and cities should be identified as growth locations for the community. These may be towns with a historical importance to the English people; York, Winchester and Canterbury for instance. A plan to identify opportunities for building communities within smaller towns and villages should be drawn up to provide infrastructure such as schools and church buildings that will encourage people to move to these areas.
A pre-requisite for all of this is to develop an umbrella organisation that can put it into practice. We need some form of ‘English Community Corporation’ that overseas everything else. This will be non-partisan and non-political, but will provide guidance and coordination to all identarian movements and support the development of both place-based and non place-based communities and communal infrastructure. It would have the essential task of developing, consolidating and representing an indigenous English identity and a will to form ethno-centric communities. A religious body such as ASA would sit under this organisation, providing one element of the wider process of community building.
This may be a bit ‘pie in the sky’, but it is useful ‘horizon scanning’ for things we do need to start thinking about and building. First steps are likely to be simple, but it is important that we have a plan from the early days, that we keep this under review and above all that we work together.