“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The strange world of the Kibbo Kift.

The British political fringe holds a fascination for many people. Some have made a lifetime commitment to tracing and detailing the family tree of various Trotskyist organisations.  Others have become experts in the genealogy of  extreme right wing groups and burn the midnight oil looking for suspected neo-nazi connections. Of all the unusual organisations in the shadowy world of the political margins few can be quite as odd as The Kindred Of The Kibbo Kift. Founded by one John Hargrave, The Kift was a splinter group from, of all things, Baden Powell's scout movement. This unusual combination of camping, pseudo-Saxon folklore, woodcraft and Social Credit, would eventually split into The Greenshirts (who famously lobbed a green painted brick through the front window of 11 Downing Street) and the other part of the movement that aligned with the Labour Party.

The Labour faction would in turn evolve into what Alexei Sayle once described as "the paramilitary wing of the Co-Op", the Woodcraft Folk. The Greenshirts would fall foul of the 1936 Public Order Act that banned the wearing of political uniforms and would re-form as the Social Credit Party before disappearing altogether. The Woodcraft Folk are still going strong as far as I know but the nearest thing to Social Credit now is the citizens income policy of the Greens. The archives of Kibbo Kift are held in The Museum of London.
I also stumbled across this very interesting and detailed history of Kibbo Kift. Well worth a look


Dr Llareggub said...

That is fascinating. But this is the stuff out of which the working class was made. Really enjoyed reading on this topic.

Jason Toynbee said...

Remarkable stuff - don't know how you manage to stumble so productively Ray

armoze said...

Another of your brilliant shafts of light on Labour history. Our friend's son (now 22) went to Woodcraft and told us that they spent much of their time sitting around smoking. After that, we all called it the Woodbine folk!