27th June 1934. Social Credit and the Green Shirts.

Today in 1934 a green painted brick was thrown through a window of No.11 Downing Street by a member of the para-military Green-Shirt Movement.

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The Movement started in January 1931 with the unemployed of Coventry, when George Hickling formed a Legion of the Unemployed in Coventry wearing Green Shirts.

They were supported by the Kibbo Kift which ironically was a 1920s less militaristic alternative to the Scouts.

Kibbo Kift, which ran from 1920 to 1951, was a breakaway movement founded by Jack Hargrave, Scout Commissioner for woodcraft and camping.

He had become disillusioned with the trend towards militarism in the Scout Movement after World War I and was expelled by the Scouts’ founder Baden-Powell, under some obligation to his wealthy backers.

Kibbo Kift was archaic Kentish for ‘proof of great strength’ and was based on the woodcraft of the naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, a key member of early Scouting.

The new movement was for all ages and both sexes and attracted like-minded middle-class people of the hiking, camping, folk-dancing persuasion, fond of quaint rituals and spiritual exercises.

It attracted intellectuals such as the early suffragette Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence; sexologist, Havelock Ellis, H.G.Wells, Professor Julian Huxley and D.H.Lawrence as well as A.V.Roe the plane manufacturer, scientist Frederick Soddy, and ominously Oswald Mosley, later a Black-Shirt.

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For some reason all organizations become fissile, with a tendency to splinter and by 1924 the South London, Co-operative Lodge challenged Hargrave’s  autocratic leadership and seceded setting up as the Woodcraft Folk(1)

This move was also the result of Ramsay Macdonald’s desire to see Kibbo Kift as the Labour Party’s Youth Movement. Hargrave refused and so the Party distanced itself.

By the late 1920s Hargrave became pre-occupied with the radical economic theories of C.H.Douglas’ Social Credit, and in 1931 Kibbo Kift transformed into a propagandizing machine and politico-economic movement centred on the industrial cities.(2)

By 1932 the Movement was transformed from camping and hiking and Anglo-Saxon costumes into uniform wearing, marching propagandists, the Green Shirt Movement pushing for Social Credit, to become the Social Credit Party of Great Britain.

Two things stopped their progress: The 1936 Public Order Act against political uniforms and World War II. On May 10th 1941 their National HQ was bombed. In 1951 the movement, which never posed the threat of the Black Shirts, wound up.

(1) It still existed in 2013.

(2) Social Credit was an economic theory which said purchases should be subsidized by the government to produce lower prices or by distributing the profits of industry.

Ref: gwargamesp.fr.yuku.com. Images.

Ref: wikipedia.org/kibbo_kift.

Ref: kibbokift.org.

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About colindunkerley

My name is Colin Dunkerley who having spent two years in the Royal Army Pay Corps ploughed many a barren industrial furrow until drawn to the 'chalk-face' as a teacher, now retired. I have spent the last 15 years researching all aspects of life in Britain since Roman times.

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