John Edward Bean (born June 7, 1927) is a veteran British nationalist political activist, who has served in a number of movements down the years. In 2012 he became a founding member of the British Democratic Party.
Born on June 7, 1927 in Carshalton, Surrey, Bean briefly flirted with Communism whilst at school, calling for support for the Soviet Union. His initial fervour soon faded and by the time he began his National service in 1945 Bean was largely apolitical. Initially he was a trainee navigator in RAF Volunteer Reserve and later as a sailor in the Royal Navy, Bean was placed on HMS Bulawayo and spent much of his time docked in Trinidad until the finish of his naval days in June 1948. He briefly moved to India in 1950 to work as a chemist in a paint factory, although he failed to settle and returned to Britain six months later.
Upon his return, Bean began to attend meetings of the Union Movement, being attracted by the Europe a Nation policy and by the time Oswald Mosley had spent in prison for his beliefs. Bean soon became a leading figure in the UM stronghold of the East End of London, before being appointed to head up a branch in Putney in 1952. Despite these advancements, Bean grew disillusioned of the UM's chances of making any real headway and he left them altogether in February 1953. A brief stop-over in the local Conservative Party in Barnes that followed lasted only two months.
National Labour Party and BNP
After a spell on the sidelines he then linked up with Andrew Fountaine, who had been attempting to form his own party, the National Front, and began to produce a journal, National Unity. His work attracted the attention of A. K. Chesterton and, with the National Front idea failing to get off the ground, he decided to join the League of Empire Loyalists, serving as Northern Organiser and then in the HQ in London. Continuing to produce his paper, now called The Loyalist, Bean soon became frustrated at both the lack of political activity and the links to the Conservative Party that were the hallmarks of the LEL and so left in 1957 to set up the National Labour Party along with Fountaine.
The NLP gained a few minor results in elections but was always destined to be a small fringe movement and as a result Bean decided to merge his party with another LEL splinter group, the White Defence League in 1960 to form the British National Party. Initially gaining some support in London, the party soon ran into trouble when it became clear that Colin Jordan was emerging as the public face. A journalist commented in 1962 that Jordan was becoming the British Adolf Hitler, Bean jokingly responded to the Daily Mail reporter that that made him "the British Joseph Goebbels". Despite this, Bean, who had eschewed explicit National Socialism, soon clashed with Jordan and before long Jordan had left to form the National Socialist Movement, taking emerging figures John Tyndall and Denis Pirie with him. At the 1964 general election Bean stood as BNP candidate for Southall and obtained 3,410 votes (9.3%) which was the highest post-war vote for a minority party at that time. Another BNP candidate picked up nearly 2000 votes in Deptford. In 1966 he again stood for Southall but his vote fell to 2,600. With BNP membership only marginally increasing, Bean felt the need to try and create a nationalist front with like groups and arranged, with the help of Ted Budden, a private meeting with his old mentor A.K. Chesterton and a spokesman of the Racial Preservation Society. The result of the meeting was the founding of the National Front in 1967.
NF and political retirement
Bean became something of a peripheral figure in the NF, as the BNP element was somewhat sidelined. He held the post of Deputy Chairman of the Executive Directorate, a body which was largely subordinate to the Policy Directorate, until resigning in 1968. Still an NF member, he was recalled to positions of minor influence from time to time until 1972 when he largely ceased active involvement. Retreating into political retirement, his membership lapsed in 1977 and he emerged only briefly to lend some support to his old friend Andrew Fountaine's Constitutional Movement and to take part in the Countryside Alliance march of the 1 March 1998.
Bean in the BNP
Bean eventually ended his retirement after the political fall of John Tyndall and joined the British National Party under the leadership of Nick Griffin. He has since become an active official of the BNP (mostly on the administrative side) and was a candidate for the party in the 2004 European elections, where he was seventh on a list of seven candidates for the Scotland constituency. He formerly ran his own website but now writes a regular column for the main BNP website, and serves as editor of BNP magazine Identity (a role he still holds as of November 2009).
- Many Shades of Black: Inside Britain's Far Right (1999)
- J. Bean, Many Shades of Black: Inside Britain's far-Right, London: New Millennium, 1999, p. 3
- Bean, op cit, p. 21
- Bean, op cit, pp. 33-58
- Bean, op cit, pp. 62-3
- Bean, op cit, p. 89
- Bean, op cit, p. 93
- Bean, op cit, p. 96
- Bean, op cit, p. 119
- M. Walker, The National Front, Glasgow: Fontana Collins, 1977, p. 53
- Bean, op cit, p. 185
- Bean, op cit, pp. 209-214
- Bean, op cit, pp. 221-222
- Bean, op cit, p. 227