Alex Davies

Alex Davies is the co-founder of National Action (NA), the British neo-Nazi organization banned in 2016 as a terrorist group. NA was the first far-right group to be proscribed in the United Kingdom since World War II.“National Action becomes first extreme right-wing group to be banned in UK,” Gov.UK, December 16, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-action-becomes-first-extreme-right-wing-group-to-be-banned-in-uk. Davies and Benjamin Raymond created NA in 2013 based on a neo-Nazi ideology and belief in an oncoming race war between whites and minorities.James Rodger, “How neo-Nazi group National Action targeted Britain's disaffected youth,” Birmingham Live, July 18, 2018, https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/how-neo-nazi-group-national-14923511. In 2017, the British charity Hope Not Hate named Davies one of its top 12 most influential far-right activists.Steven Hopkins, “National Action Still 'Active' And 'Poses Serious Terrorist Threat' Despite Ban, Report Claims,” Huffington Post UK, February 15, 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/national-action-still-active-and-poses-serious-terrorist-threat-despite-ban-report-claims_uk_58a2c549e4b03df370d9b204. On June 25, 2021, Davies was charged with membership in a proscribed organization, and on April 19, 2022, Davies stood trial at the Old Bailey to deny allegations of continued membership in NA.National Action: Neo-Nazi group co-founder to stand trial,” BBC News, June 25, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-57611048; Lizzie Dearden, “Alleged National Action co-founder denies membership of neo-Nazi terrorist group,” Independent, October 29, 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/national-action-founder-alex-davies-trial-b1947696.html.

NA specifically targeted university students and other youth for recruitment. In 2014, NA’s website declared: “To be on our side, a nationalist must be openly racist and openly anti-Semitic. There is no legitimate reason to not be a racist or an anti-Semite in 2014. The battlefield today is race.”Simon Wright and Ben Glaze, “Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK,” Mirror (London), June 7, 2014, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exposed-rise-hitler-loving-national-action-3659759#.U-YgoeNdVrI. From 2013 to 2016 NA members performed Nazi salutes at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, held a Miss Hitler contest, and defaced a statue of Nelson Mandela in London.Steven Hopkins, “National Action: How Neo-Nazi Group Went From An Open Joke To An Alleged Army-Trained Terror Threat,” Huffington Post UK, September 5, 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/national-action-who-are-the-neo-nazi-group_uk_59ae84ace4b0dfaafcf26829.

In 2011, the United Kingdom’s Prevent program identified then-16-year-old Davies as vulnerable to radicalization.Rohit Kachroo, “Founding father of banned white supremacist group National Action identified as being at risk of radicalisation at 16,” ITV, July 25, 2018, http://www.itv.com/news/2018-07-25/founding-father-of-banned-white-supremacist-group-national-action-identified-as-being-at-risk-of-radicalisation-aged-16/. That year, Davies joined Young BNP, the youth wing of the British National Party (BNP), but found it to be “in disarray.”Simon Wright and Ben Glaze, “Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK,” Mirror (London), June 7, 2014, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exposed-rise-hitler-loving-national-action-3659759#.U-YgoeNdVrI. Davies left the group in 2013 to form NA with Raymond.Simon Wright and Ben Glaze, “Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK,” Mirror (London), June 7, 2014, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exposed-rise-hitler-loving-national-action-3659759#.U-YgoeNdVrI. A 2014 Prevent assessment identified Davies as “the driving force” behind NA.Charlie Bayliss, “Revealed: How self-styled ‘intellectual’ behind banned supremacist National Action mob was on government ‘at risk of radicalisation’ watch list at age of 16,” Daily Mail (London), July 26, 2018, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5994415/Man-National-Action-mob-government-risk-radicalisation-watch-list-age-16.html. According to the report, Davies “simply considered black and Asian races inferior to white people.”Charlie Bayliss, “Revealed: How self-styled ‘intellectual’ behind banned supremacist National Action mob was on government ‘at risk of radicalisation’ watch list at age of 16,” Daily Mail (London), July 26, 2018, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5994415/Man-National-Action-mob-government-risk-radicalisation-watch-list-age-16.html. Davies spent seven years in the Prevent program, though he largely refused to work with program officials during that time.Charlie Bayliss, “Revealed: How self-styled ‘intellectual’ behind banned supremacist National Action mob was on government ‘at risk of radicalisation’ watch list at age of 16,” Daily Mail (London), July 26, 2018, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5994415/Man-National-Action-mob-government-risk-radicalisation-watch-list-age-16.html.

In June 2014, an undercover reporter from the British tabloid the Mirror publicly revealed Davies as NA’s co-founder. While leading an NA rally in Liverpool, England, that month, Davies handed out fliers declaring: “Cleanse Britain of parasites. The white man is on the march – white power.”Simon Wright and Ben Glaze, “Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK,” Mirror (London), June 7, 2014, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exposed-rise-hitler-loving-national-action-3659759#.U-YgoeNdVrI. In an interview with the undercover reporter, Davies said that what he’d like to do to Jews is “too extreme” to say in public.Simon Wright and Ben Glaze, “Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK,” Mirror (London), June 7, 2014, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exposed-rise-hitler-loving-national-action-3659759#.U-YgoeNdVrI. He also declared that NA members were prepared to go to prison: “If we can stay out of prison we will. But you have to consider race-hate laws. They’re quite ambiguous, so it is possible some of us would go to prison. But we’re prepared for that.”Simon Wright and Ben Glaze, “Exposed: Rise of Hitler-loving National Action group who want to 'ethnically cleanse' the UK,” Mirror (London), June 7, 2014, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/exposed-rise-hitler-loving-national-action-3659759#.U-YgoeNdVrI; Lucy Sherriff, “Meet New Neo-Nazi Group National Action Which Just Wants To 'Piss People Off,’” Huffington Post UK, March 6, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/06/new-neo-nazi-group-national-action_n_4910260.html.

Davies had been a first-year philosophy student at the University of Warwick when the Mirror revealed his identity. He announced his withdrawal days after the public revelation of his name and student status. Students who knew Davies told Warwick’s student newspaper, The Boar, that Davies had not expressed fascist views to them or in interactions with minorities.Ann Yip and Samuel Lovett, “Fascist leader leaves Warwick,” The Boar (Coventry), June 18, 2014, https://theboar.org/2014/06/fascist-leader-leaves-warwick/. Days after the revelation of Davies’s identity, students held a mass protest on campus against racism.Harriet Pavey, “Warwick University Students Lead "Inspiring" Rally Against Neo-Nazis,” Huffington Post UK, June 13, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/13/warwick-uni-neo-nazi-demo_n_5491192.html. Davies returned to his home in Wales to work in a call center.Rohit Kachroo, “Founding father of banned white supremacist group National Action identified as being at risk of radicalisation at 16,” ITV, July 25, 2018, http://www.itv.com/news/2018-07-25/founding-father-of-banned-white-supremacist-group-national-action-identified-as-being-at-risk-of-radicalisation-aged-16/.

On June 16, 2016, Thomas Mair murdered British Labour Parliamentarian Jo Cox while shouting “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”Danny Boyle  Raziye Akkoc,  “Labour MP Jo Cox dies after being shot and stabbed as husband urges people to 'fight against the hate' that killed her,” Telegraph (London), June 17, 2016, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/16/labour-mp-jo-cox-shot-in-leeds-witnesses-report/. Though there is no direct link between Mair and NA, group members praised Mair and adopted his slogan on their website.Richard Vernalis, “Alleged Neo-Nazi 'had sick "chat s**t, get banged" poster of murdered MP Jo Cox,’” Mirror (London), March 15, 2018, https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/alleged-neo-nazi-had-sick-12190944. The U.K. government banned NA in December 2016 for its praise of Cox’s murder.“National Action becomes first extreme right-wing group to be banned in UK,” Gov.UK, December 16, 2016, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-action-becomes-first-extreme-right-wing-group-to-be-banned-in-uk. Following NA’s proscription, the group reportedly split into smaller subgroups under various aliases to avoid detection. Aliases include Scottish Dawn and NS131.Lizzie Dearden, “National Action: Banned neo-Nazi terrorist group still active in UK after finding loophole,” Independent (London), September 8, 2017, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/nazi-group-uk-national-action-banned-still-operating-loophole-soldiers-arrested-terrorism-plot-a7937206.html. Christopher Lythgoe assumed the leadership of NA, according to testimony at Lythgoe’s June 2018 trial.Nadia Khomami, “Two members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action jailed,” Guardian (London), July 18, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jul/18/neo-nazi-group-national-action-members-jailed. It is unclear when exactly Davies stepped away from NA as he was not among several alleged NA members arrested throughout 2017 for belonging to a banned organization.“Group of men charged in National Action investigation,” Greater Manchester Police, October 26, 2017, http://www.gmp.police.uk/content/TriageWebsitePages/712453C70CE1CF8C802581C5004FF9BB?OpenDocument; Lizzie Dearden, “National Action: 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales,” Independent (London), September 27, 2017, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/national-action-arrest-terror-terrorist-far-right-neo-nazi-police-counter-terror-soldiers-wales-a7969566.html.

The British website ITV confronted Davies in July 2018 in Wales, shortly after Lythgoe was sentenced to eight years in prison for membership in NA. Davies responded to questions about his motivations by saying that everything was already a matter of public record.Rohit Kachroo, “Founding father of banned white supremacist group National Action identified as being at risk of radicalisation at 16,” ITV, July 25, 2018, http://www.itv.com/news/2018-07-25/founding-father-of-banned-white-supremacist-group-national-action-identified-as-being-at-risk-of-radicalisation-aged-16/.

On June 25, 2021, Davies was charged with remaining a member of NA after it was banned. Davies appeared at the Old Bailey by video link and was released on bail.National Action: Neo-Nazi group co-founder to stand trial,” BBC News, June 25, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-57611048. On October 29, 2021, Davies appeared by video at the Old Bailey to plead not guilty to his charges.Lizzie Dearden, “Alleged National Action co-founder denies membership of neo-Nazi terrorist group,” Independent, October 29, 2021, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/national-action-founder-alex-davies-trial-b1947696.html. Although NA was outlawed in 2016, Davies allegedly remained a member of the group between December 2016 and September 2017.“'Co-founder' of neo-Nazi group National Action appears in court to deny being member after it was banned,” Lizzie May, Daily Mail, October 29, 2021, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10145155/Co-founder-neo-Nazi-group-National-Action-appears-court-deny-member.html. He was accused of being a recruiter for the organization.“National Action co-founder was offered job with BT, jury hears,” BBC News, April 26, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-61232087.

Davies stood trial at the Old Bailey on April 19, 2022. According to media sources, the court heard that Davies had traveled to Buchenwald, Germany in April 2016, where he took a photo in a concentration camp while brandishing a Hitler salute. According to prosecutors, Davies “was steeped in a violent and fanatical ideology” and had been “continuously scheming to advance an unflinching terrorist agenda.”Lizzie Dearden, “Co-founder of neo-Nazi terrorist group performed Hitler salute inside concentration camp, court hears,” Independent, April 20, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/national-action-buchenwald-alex-davies-b2061849.html.

Additionally, it was revealed that NA members would meet across Britain and engage in “fight training days.”Lizzie Dearden, “Co-founder of neo-Nazi terrorist group performed Hitler salute inside concentration camp, court hears,” Independent, April 20, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/national-action-buchenwald-alex-davies-b2061849.html. The trial also played footage from the February 2016 “Battle of Liverpool”—a demonstration where nationalist organizations descended on St. George’s Hall in Liverpool’s city center. In the footage, Davies and NA co-founder Ben Raymond, shouted “gas them all” through a megaphone that was directed at a large group of people giving Nazi salutes and throwing objects.“National Action co-founder was offered job with BT, jury hears,” BBC News, April 26, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-61232087.

Although Davies denies remaining a member of NA after it was proscribed, he is alleged to have set up NS131 in the spring of 2017. N1S31 is reportedly a spin-off neo-Nazi group that served as an alias of NA. Furthermore, prosecutors claimed that with Davies acting as a “recruiting sergeant,” he had vetted young neo-Nazis for both groups. Allegedly, NA members had worked to “place its people covertly in positions of authority” and in one instance, they recruited a teenager named Ben Hannam who went on to join the Metropolitan Police.Lizzie Dearden, “Co-founder of neo-Nazi terrorist group performed Hitler salute inside concentration camp, court hears,” Independent, April 20, 2022, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/national-action-buchenwald-alex-davies-b2061849.html.

Court documents also revealed that in a series of messages between Davies and his American partner, Alexandra Whitcombe, Whitcombe had encouraged Davies to “start with a blank slate” following NA’s proscription, to which Davies responded he wanted “a professional image that is more focused on promoting an ideology.”“National Action co-founder was offered job with BT, jury hears,” BBC News, April 26, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-61232087. The trail remains ongoing.

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