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The Year Hate Went Mainstream

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 14 February 2017, 20:52


In a year dominated by the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and the election of Donald Trump, there were mixed fortunes for Britain’s far right. For them it was a year of further marginalisation, convictions and bans punctuated only by extreme acts of violence – such as the horrific murder of Jo Cox.

2016 was also a year where a new far-right threat became more evident, one that was at the heart of the ‘fake news’ phenomenon played out largely on social media and to an international audience.

That’s according to our new 76-page report, State of Hate 2017, the most comprehensive look at far-right extremism in the UK and across Europe.

Violence in 2017

The year started with a violent confrontation in Dover, where fascists and anti-fascists clashed at a National Front march, which led to the jailing of over 50 far-right activists. It ended with the leader of the anti-Muslim outfit, Britain First, being sent to prison and the nazi grouplet National Action (NA) banned as a terrorist organisation by the British government.

2016 started with a violent confrontation in Dover, where fascists and anti-fascists had a four-hour clash at a National Front march.

2016 started with a violent confrontation in Dover, where fascists and anti-fascists had a four-hour clash at a National Front march.

While some dismissed the banning of NA as a PR stunt - the first time a far-right movement had been proscribed since World War Two - the truth is that the authorities felt compelled to act as a result of NA’s increasingly violent rhetoric and emerging evidence that some activists were trying to encourage younger recruits to carry out acts of terrorism.

However, while the ban has effectively shut down the organisation, the people within it and the networks in which they operate continue.

Far-right and radical-right parties

UKIP continued to marginalise traditional far-right parties, with groups like the British National Party (BNP) struggling to maintain any significant presence.

While some within far-right circles hoped that the EU Referendum result would lead to the collapse of UKIP and open a space for a racial nationalist party, this has failed to materialise.

However, all is not well for UKIP either. Former leader Nigel Farage and millionaire backer Arron Banks are increasingly operating parallel to the party. Meanwhile, the Brexit vote result has seen a drop in UKIP’s electoral support as some of its voters obviously feel “the job is done”, while others believe that Theresa May’s government has assumed much of UKIP’s agenda.

More significantly, UKIP is in a financial mess, struggling to raise funds and facing EU demands to pay back misused funds.

With UKIP likely to struggle to defend the 121 wards – achieved during the party’s first electoral breakthrough in 2013 – in the 2017 county council elections, success in the forthcoming Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election has become vital for both new leader Paul Nuttall and his party.

It is abundantly clear that there will be compromises over Brexit and this, coupled with rising economic anxiety and probable inability of the government to reduce immigration substantially, could lead to mounting disenchantment and anger. With the Labour Party currently in turmoil, it will be a UKIP-type party that benefits.

Whether that party is actually UKIP remains to be seen.

The “Alt-Right”

2016 saw the emergence and increasing impact of British alt-right and far right bloggers and vloggers.

Among these is Milo Yiannopoulos, who is heavily involved in the far-right-friendly Breitbart News network, and Battersea-based vlogger Paul Watson, who is enmeshed in the conspiracy website InfoWars. Watson, with 451,000 Twitter followers and 717,722 subscribers on YouTube, was one of the main figures behind fake news/conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton having debilitating health issues in the run up to the US election, including the disgusting “Is Hillary Dying?” hoax. His videos were viewed millions of times and were even taken up by Fox News.

While the Alt-Right is generally a US phenomenon, a similar trend has been growing in the UK under the name New Right. One of its expressions, The London Forum, is now regularly attended by over 100 people and new groups have formed in the South West, Yorkshire and Scotland. Last year, saw expansion of the Forum network into America.

Also intervening in the US elections was former Britain First leader Jim Dowson. From his new Hungarian office, in the centre of Budapest, Dowson set up a series of US-focused websites with the sole intent of denigrating Hillary Clinton and promoting Donald Trump. He also developed ties with Russians who had connections to people in the Kremlin.

Dowson, with former BNP leader Nick Griffin, spent much of 2016 building an international network of far-right parties, militia groups and religious extremists. Most worrying have been his growing links with people and organisations with links to the Russian state.

Similarly, the presence of Polish far-right groups – such as National Rebirth of Poland and Polish C18 and pro-Ukrainian paramilitaries in the UK such as the leaders of the Misanthropic Division – brings a new level of extremism and experience to British far-right activists.

Assault on liberal democracy

The Trump administration’s mainstreaming of anti-muslim hatred, the increased political impetus of far-right parties in parts of western Europe, the activities of alt-right activists spreading prejudice and fake news online and authoritarian regimes becoming more confident in central and Eastern Europe, all show we are living in very dangerous and uncertain times.

These right-wing forces, coupled with Russia’s continued attempts at interference in world politics, are challenging the foundations of the liberal democracy that was largely created as a result of the horrors of WWII.

Human rights, equality legislation and the collective will to intervene to stop genocides and human suffering around the globe are all now being challenged.

The British far right is still a bit part player in this wider picture but, in its many guises, it is still dangerous. The threats lie in increased far-right violence and terrorism, to the vloggers and social media networkers of the Alt-Right who will have an increasingly influential role on the shape of events.

2016 was the year of Brexit and Trump’s election. 2017 could turn out even more tumultuous.

Download our new report State of Hate 2017

 Posted: 14 Feb 2017 | There are 11 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Colin Robertson’s Woes

posted by: Joe Mulhall | on: Sunday, 5 February 2017, 10:11


Far-right vlogger Colin Robertson

Far-right vlogger Colin Robertson

Far-right vlogger Colin Robertson, better known as Millennial Woes, has said he may leave the UK due to increasing opposition and scrutiny. In a recent YouTube video he explicitly named HOPE not hate as a cause of his anxiety saying:

‘I think I should leave Britain […] I know that I am going to be watched a lot more closely because HOPE not hate, which is also part funded by George Soros, have said they are going to scrutinize the Alt-Right.’

To the public at large Robertson remains an online irrelevance but he has received a level of infamy in some circles after his involvement with America’s leading ‘alt-right’ organization, the National Policy Institute (NPI), was made public. Robertson attended and spoke at NPI's ‘Becoming Who We Are’ conference at the Reagan Building in Washington, DC in November 2016. The event garnered international media attention after footage emerged of supporters giving Nazi salutes and shouting ‘Hail Trump’.

Having long operated in the shadows as Millenial Woes his real identity was recently exposed and it emerged he makes his racist YouTube videos from his parents’ home in Linlithgow, Scotland.

It is likely his comments about HNH were sparked by our recent announcement of a new investigative unit designed to monitor, challenge, probe and analyse the growing threat posed by the radical and populist right which will include the so-called ‘Alt-Right’ and its propagandists like Robertson.

Whether he actually intends to leave the UK or whether this is just another attempt to manufacture his image as a martyr is unclear but the fact that he left a link to a funding website under the video perhaps gives an indication of his real motivations.

 Posted: 5 Feb 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Antisemitism on the rise

posted by: Jemma Levene | on: Thursday, 2 February 2017, 12:20


Photo via CST, credit, James Lillywhite/Twitter

Photo via CST, credit, James Lillywhite/Twitter

Today the Community Security Trust, the Jewish charity monitoring antisemitism and protecting the Jewish community, released its Antisemitic Incidents Report 2016, which reveals a record number of antisemitic hate crime incidents recorded by them. The report lays out that 21% of British Jews had suffered antisemitic harassment in the past 12 months. Other antisemitic incidents include violent assault, damage and desecration of property abusive behaviour, threats, and mass-produced antisemitic literature.

The report states: ‘It is likely that there is significant under-reporting of antisemitic incidents to both CST and the Police. And that the number of antisemitic incidents that took place is significantly higher than the number recorded in this report’. This underreporting is reflected in the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which suggests under 20% of incidents are reported to the police.

I recently had a conversation with a close friend, let’s call her Sarah. Sarah is a professional, and has worked within the Jewish community for many years. Her three children go to Jewish schools, and travel by bus to school. She recounted a recent Friday night dinner where her eldest son laughingly told the family that while he was standing at the bus stop with a bunch of friends, all in their school uniform, which includes a kippah (skull cap), a man driving a lorry slowed right down and made obscene gestures at the boys. They were the only people at the bus stop, and they were all visibly Jewish.

Sarah was a bit taken aback by this. She told me she had not really thought about her children having to confront street antisemitism up until that point. But the next part of the conversation really shocked her. Her 12-year-old joined the conversation:

“You think that’s bad? You should have heard what happened to me last week!”

He recounted that he and friends his age had been playing football in the backyard of a synagogue when a group of much older boys came up to the fence and shouted to them, telling them that Harry Potter was better than the Jews because he survived the Chambers. Shocked, Sarah asked her son what happened next, had they told an adult, maybe involved the CST guard on the front gate of the synagogue? He shrugged, and said they just ignored them and carried on playing.

The wakeup call for Sarah was that her children have had Streetwise training from the CST, and know about antisemitism. When she asked them, they were able to verbalise what they should have done, and even understood that it would be important for the CST and police to know about the incident at the synagogue. Whether it just wasn’t ‘cool’ to be seen to react, or whether this kind of verbal abuse is the norm for Jewish children, they chose not to report it or even to tell anyone about it.

The other reason that antisemitic sentiment in Britain can never be accurately measured is that the vast majority of Jewish people are not visible targets. There are small parts of the Jewish community who choose to follow a very visible dress code, such as the Charedi communities in north and northwest London and north Manchester. In addition, boys attending Jewish schools may choose to continue wearing their kippot outside of school grounds.

Other than that, the vast majority of Jews are not visible targets for street antisemitism and therefore we can never know whether racist opportunists would commit more verbal and physical abuse to Jews if they were only able to identify them!

The CST report is a timely reminder that unfortunately antisemitism is growing, and like all forms of hate, must be acknowledged and challenged.

The full report can be found here.

 Posted: 2 Feb 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Fake news and radical right will soon be under increased scrutiny

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 27 January 2017, 14:16


HOPE not hate will shortly be launching a new investigative unit to challenge, probe and analyse the growing threat, and lies, posed by and from the radical and populist right.

We’ll be turning our focus on the cesspool inhabited by an array of far-right sites, populist political parties and movements, and some of the new kids on the block attempting to rebrand old hatreds (‘alt-right’, etc).

Our new team will be made up of experienced journalists and researchers, backed by a digital unit.

‘Fake News’

Now, more than ever, we need to forensically analyse the so-called populist and radical right and their modus operandi.

It’s not enough to just expose the violent haters – which of course we will continue to do.

We have to be able to shine a light on those who poison communities, poison the airwaves and choke social media with their rhetoric, as organised hatred takes on new forms in this new era. We have to drag out those lies into full view and, by doing so, help those that believe them understand the falsehood which sits behind them.

In a world where black can seem white, when the stock-in-trade is in fake news, now more than ever: truth matters.

Dispel

Dispel will be the blog that accompanies our new investigative unit.

It will focus not just on the UK, but also international issues, monitoring the likes of the ‘alt-right’-friendly Breitbart and Arron Banks’ new Westmonster blog, as well as some of Britain’s most virulent right-wing commentators.

We will take on, expose and counter the growing influence of key online rightwing bloggers such as Millennial Woes and Prison Planet, as well as social media propagandists such as former Britain First leader Jim Dowson, who HOPE not hate and The New York Times revealed had run a “constellation” of pro-Trump websites and Facebook pages ahead of the US elections.

Dowson, who has become closely connected to prominent Russian political figures over the last two years, boasted of making it his mission to “spread devastating anti-Clinton, pro-Trump memes and sound bites into sections of the population too disillusioned with politics to have taken any notice of conventional campaigning.” His memes and articles were watched and shared millions of times.

Donald Trump’s election success and the anti-immigration campaign waged by Arron Banks’ Leave.EU highlighted the impact of social media in poisoning the political narrative.

Backed by Breitbart and other far-right blogs and commentators, the new far-right threat is whipping up an atmosphere of hate and – ultimately – undermining our democracies.

Hatred knows no national boundaries, thanks to social media, which is why we’ll also be collaborating with organisations in both the USA and Europe to assist with our investigations and rebuttals.

This is now a global fight

Donald Trump’s chief strategist, former Breitbart editor-in-chief Steve Bannon, told a small rightwing audience at the Vatican in 2014 that the West was facing a “crisis of capitalism” after losing its “Judeo-Christian foundation.”

He said that Breitbart’s mission was to create a global news agency to spread its message to an international audience.

Breitbart has written articles which are very positively inclined to the far-right Front National, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party and the anti-Muslim AfD in Germany. In the immediate aftermath of Trump’s election Breitbart announced it was expanding its media operation in the UK, France and Germany.

It is now our turn to do the same. And as we go forwards, I ask you to support our efforts. Stay turned for more developments. Dispel will correct the wrongs and and truth will have the last word.

 Posted: 27 Jan 2017 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Surviving Trump’s inauguration

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 19 January 2017, 17:32


In exactly 24 hours Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States of America. I’m sure, like me, you are horrified at the thought and scared about the future. You are not alone: 58% of Britons think the world will be a less safe place, while only 4% think it will be safer.*

Many of you might be tempted to sit at home with a box of chocolates or hide under the duvet. But some of you might want to show your opposition to Trump by doing something more pro-active, instead.

Here are six suggestions to survive Trump’s inauguration:

1. Post this up on your Facebook and Twitter pages

Hey @realDonaldTrump, did you get the message?
#HOPETrumpsHate Please share

Share on Facebook

Tweet this

2. Do a nice deed to someone you know (or someone you don’t)

3. Get active with HOPE not hate

4. Join the women’s march on Saturday

5. Become a Friend of HOPE not hate

6. Watch this video and remember you are not alone in opposing Trump

The inauguration of Donald Trump makes our world an incredibly dangerous place. But it should also start of the fightback. A fight for hope, not hatred.

If you believe another world is possible then let’s get through tomorrow and let’s make it happen

* Polling carried out by YouGov for HOPE not hate

 Posted: 19 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Women are tearing down the walls that divide us

posted by: Akeela Ahmed | on: Wednesday, 18 January 2017, 11:13


2016 was unfortunately marked by dog whistle politics, the rise of the Far Right, and an increase in hate crimes against women and minorities. We are living in increasingly challenging times, and when I speak to everyday grassroots women, they often tell me about their fears for their safety, anxieties about what the future holds, and report a sense that the most divisive elements of society have been emboldened on the back of political campaigns which have been dogged by xenophobic rhetoric. I was keen to participate in the Women’s March, so that I could mark the beginning of 2017 with positive action, which would unify and bring people together, irrespective of their background or views.

The Women’s March is taking place in many cities all over the world, on the 21st of January 2017, the day after President-elect Trump’s inauguration, and will be a global show of strength and solidarity of diverse communities marching for equality and the protection of fundamental rights for all. As a passionate believer in listening to and promoting diverse women’s voices, I couldn't wait to get involved with and support a global movement for everyone, organised and led by women. Women’s voices are fiercely needed now more than ever before, as during the US elections we have seen how women have been demeaned, patronised and are expected to put up with routine sexual harassment. Moreover, we are now living in a world in which for many women of colour and especially Muslim women, physical assault, verbal abuse and anti-Muslim hate attacks, are not only on the increase but have become a daily norm. Thus it is vital that women’s voices of all backgrounds, including minority groups, are meaningfully heard, and their experiences which are often intersectional in nature - that is they face multiple challenges such as racism, misogyny and ablism - are acknowledged and amplified.

We may not all agree on all issues, but when faced overwhelmingly with the prospect that our fundamental rights to exist are being threatened, it does not matter. Critically, many unified voices will be much more effective and powerful in sending a message to those who would seek to divide, that we will not allow a climate of fear and hatred to overcome us. And our message is clear: walls will not be built to separate us from our neighbours, Muslims are equal citizens and justice (social/political/economic) is a fundamental right for all.

It would be too easy to focus on the negative consequences of the new era of divisive politics that we now find ourselves in. This would however, only lead to despair and hopelessness, which in turn leads to fear, and this fear is exploited by the far right and other xenophobes.

It is my hope that by coming together in solidarity, across all boundaries of sexuality, ethnicity, race and religion, we will demonstrate that a united and just society is not a far away dream but a very real and tangible possibility. Change will happen when we join together to stand up to and fight for justice against misogyny, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and all forms of bigotry and hatred, taking our negative feelings of despondency and channeling them into positive affirmative action. So let’s come together to march on London, not in protest but in celebration of diversity, equality and peace.

There are further marches taking place elsewhere in the UK, including:

  • Bangor, Gwynedd
  • Barnstaple
  • Belfast
  • Cardiff
  • Edinburgh
  • Lancaster
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Shipley
  • Southampton
  • St. Austell
  • York

For more information on the London march see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/womens-march-on-london-tickets-29951554907?aff=es2

For other marches click here

 Posted: 18 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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MLK: Hope, not hate, will win the day

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 16 January 2017, 14:07


Today is Martin Luther King Day.

It is a time when much of America, and the wider world, celebrates the brave commitment to peace that drove Dr King throughout his life – and, indeed, cost him that life.

During King’s era of the Civil Rights struggles America was a divided country. Today it is more divided than ever.

Donald Trump is about to take office. He has talked about ‘making America great again’, yet his rhetoric has not often matched such lofty ideals.

Just two days ago, the President-elect launched a disgusting attack on veteran civil rights hero John Lewis, tweeting that he was “all talk”, after Lewis said that Trump was not a legitimate president.

A long-serving Congressman, John Lewis is the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington, led by Martin Luther King.

He was savagely beaten by state troopers during the historic 1965 march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

Like several other politicians, he has announced that he will not be attending Trump’s inauguration this Friday.

UK

The UK, too, is grappling with division.

Economic anxieties, worries about immigration, our future relationship with the European Union, pressures on housing, the NHS and social care are all rising. Communities face unprecedented pressures.

Politicians from the radical right have leapt in to the void, seeking to exploit these fears for their own political ends. The rise of such right-wing populism has shaken the political core of Europe.

Its politics is deceptively simple and based on the ‘blame game’: pointing the finger at the elites, at the media, ‘liberals’, immigrants and minority communities, seeking to turn the clock back to a mythical “better age”.

Don’t give in

As with Dr King’s time, it can be easy to give in to despair. There were those who lashed out against change then. Who responded with violence to the call for equal rights.

To opt for the easy choice and turn on our neighbours is a fool’s quest. It is a race to the bottom.

Yet it can be easy to feel cowed.

Now more than ever it is important to remember Martin Luther King and redouble our efforts to challenge prejudice and hatred; to build a society fit for everyone.

So as we prepare to witness the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, I want you to reflect on Dr King’s famous words:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

2016 was a difficult year; 2017 will be a challenging one. But it will also be a year of hope.

#MLKDay

 Posted: 16 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A look back over the year

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 31 December 2016, 10:02


In a year dominated by the Brexit vote, the murder of Jo Cox and the election of Donald Trump, HOPE not hate has been busier than ever. To celebrate our work, we have put together a few of our highlights from 2016.

As the year draws to a close, we would like to thank you all for your continuing support and look forward to working together to meet the challenges of 2017.

Happy New Year

Nick and the HOPE not hate team


JANUARY

Our now annual State of Hate report gave the most detailed and accurate assessment of organised hate in the UK and was widely covered in the media. For the first time our report also covered Islamist extremism.

Our research led to many violent neo-nazis getting imprisoned after Nazis ran riot in Dover.


FEBRUARY

Five years after the first Fear & HOPE report, we commissioned a new study exploring the views and anxieties of the English. Read more.

HOPE not hate brought together hundreds of people for a community event in Birmingham in response to the launch of the new anti-Muslim group Pegida.

Our instant research on the Pegida demo helped destroy the movement before it began. Watch the video.


MARCH

HOPE not hate joined forces with ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s to run a voter registration campaign amongst young people in London.


APRIL

Over 300,000 anti-UKIP leaflets and postcards were distributed in Wales ahead of the Welsh Assembly elections. While UKIP still won seats on the Assembly, it was not as many as polls predicted.


MAY

To mark the 80th anniversary of the International Brigades who fought in the Spanish Civil War, HOPE not hate collaborated on a celebratory beer. Read more.


JUNE

Ahead of the EU referendum, HOPE not hate joined forces with Bite the Ballot to run a huge voter registration campaign which saw hundreds of thousands of people registering to vote. Find out more here.


JULY & AUGUST

In response to the murder of Jo Cox, HOPE not hate organises 120 #MoreInCommon meetings across the UK. Thousands of people volunteer to get involved and dozens of new groups are set up. Read more.


SEPTEMBER

Over 80 #MoreInCommon community events were held around the country to bring people together. See our videos here and here.

Five thousand people attended a Unity Rocks gig at Brixton Academy. Headlined by the Libertines, proceeds from the gig are going to a new anti-racist Educational Project we are launching in 2017.

Over 100 people attended our four-day 2016 HOPE Camp to learn anti-racist and community organising skills.

Welsh football manager Chris Coleman joins hundreds of local people at a friendly football game between local Polish and Portuguese migrants and Merthyr league team Quar Park Rangers organised by the local HOPE not hate group in memory of Jo Cox. Watch the video here.


OCTOBER

To mark the 80th anniversary of the battle of Cable Street HOPE not hate produced a special website. See it here.

HOPE not hate produced the most indepth and detailed report into Anjem Choudary’s links to the Islamic State. Read more here.

HOPE not hate’s research led to the cancellation of what was due to be Scotland’s largest ever nazi gig.


NOVEMBER

To coincide with US elections, HOPE not hate produced a special 56-page magazine, which included an undercover operation inside the most extreme KKK group. See it here.


DECEMBER

HOPE not hate brought hundreds of people together at a community event in Watford as part of our on-going campaign to bring different communities together around what they have in common. read more here.

HOPE not hate takes a stand against Farage’s lies and is backed by thousands of its supporters. read more here.

 Posted: 31 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Nigel Farage has attacked us at Hope not Hate. It’s time to draw a line in the sand

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 23 December 2016, 18:41


People are horrified by the toxic nature of our political debate’ … Hope Not Hate founder and national coordinator Nick Lowles (left) and campaign organiser Sam Terry. Photograph: Antonio Zazueta

People are horrified by the toxic nature of our political debate’ … Hope Not Hate founder and national coordinator Nick Lowles (left) and campaign organiser Sam Terry. Photograph: Antonio Zazueta

When Nigel Farage used a radio interview this week to publicly attack Brendan Cox, husband of the murdered Labour MP Jo Cox, he lashed out in the most unbelievable way. Just six months after Jo was murdered by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair, the former Ukip leader attempted to pin the extremist tag on Brendan Cox because of his association with the organisation I head, Hope not Hate.

Even by his standards, Farage’s comments were disgustingly offensive. Many were outraged, not just us.

After we demanded an apology from Farage, his most loyal supporters leapt in. Arron Banks, the millionaire businessman who bankrolled Ukip and the Leave.EU campaign, took to Twitter to call us a “vile organisation”. He outrageously claimed we had “organised a mass confrontation” against Farage.

Raheem Kassam, the British editor of the US far-right website Breitbart, and Farage’s former chief strategist, began crowdfunding to finance research on us. We have also received thousands of abusive and threatening tweets, Facebook posts, emails and phone calls.

This is how these people operate. They attempt to vilify, abuse and bully their opponents into silence. Whether it is Farage in the UK or Donald Trump in the US, they think they can demonise their opponents without any thought for the damage it causes or the anger and hatred it incites in their supporters. And it’s a David v Goliath struggle, where the other side portrays itself as the underdog yet in reality is backed by an online army and millionaires in the wings.

Farage dislikes us because we have shone the spotlight on Ukip and played a part in stopping him getting elected in Thanet. He and other Ukip elected officials and party members responded by calling us names and abusing us.

We began targeting Ukip in 2013 as it started adopting a more anti-immigrant stance, specifically whipping up scare stories with claims that 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians would come to the UK. Events since have proved we were right to do so.

When we tried to meet the party leaders to discuss the issue of its growing extremism, they failed to turn up to their own meeting. Not only that, the party’s conference then passed a motion banning any Ukip member from supporting Hope not Hate.

Over the next few years we exposed their racist and homophobic councillors, the strongly anti-Muslim views of some of its MEPs, as well as links to European far-right parties, and highlighted the lies and exaggerations in its election leaflets.

Of course Farage and supporters such as Kassam conveniently ignore the community campaigning we carry out across the UK. We rely on a network of thousands of volunteers up and down the country, bringing together tens of thousands of people to celebrate a shared sense of community across apparent cultural and religious divides.

From family fun days, picnics, food festivals and encounters between those of different faiths and none, we have enabled people to celebrate all that they have in common. Part of this work was our national #MoreInCommon campaign, launched in response to the murder of Jo Cox (with the support of her family) and to counter some of the negativity surrounding the EU referendum campaigning. We hosted 85 events across the UK, bringing communities together.

Earlier this year we stood fast with Birmingham’s Muslim community, creating a unity pledge with all the city’s main leaders, in response to a threatened far-right demo by Pegida UK.

Last summer we did the same with the Jewish and other community members in Golders Green, north London, dressing the entire area in gold and green ribbons, before a neo-Nazi march. In Merthyr Tydfil we organised a football match between the local team and Portuguese and Polish migrants as a bridge-building exercise.

As we have seen so graphically this year, the lies of the populist right have consequences. They toxify debate, bully people into silence and whip up an angry base. That’s why it’s time to draw a line in the sand, and why we have demanded a retraction and an apology from Nigel Farage. He cannot keep getting away unchallenged with his lies any longer.

But this issue is far bigger than just the words Farage used against us. It is about the politics of hope and hate. As Edmund Burke wrote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” So if you are horrified by the rise of the far right, whether that be rightwing populists or more traditional fascists, then we urge everyone to do what they can to support those, like ourselves, who want to protect communities from further division and hatred.

 Posted: 23 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Cyber hate after Jo Cox’s murder and the Brexit vote

posted by: Imran Awan/Irene Zempi | on: Friday, 16 December 2016, 21:43


Our report into cyber hate speech following Jo Cox’s murder and the Brexit vote was split into two parts and published on HOPE not hate’s website on Monday 28 November.

Part 1 covered cyber hate speech on Twitter responding to Jo Cox MP’s death. Part 2 looked at cyber hate responses on Twitter to the Brexit vote in the EU Referendum.

This was a qualitative study* (analysis of a snapshot of views) rather than a quantitative study, which ’number crunches’ data to produce an empirical analysis.

The study was based on a sample of 53,000 tweets. Among the search terms we used to identity tweets were #refugeesnotwelcome; #defendEurope; #whitepower; #MakeBritainwhiteagain; #Stopimmigration; #DeportallMuslims; #Rapefugee and #BanIslam.

There are reports that have focused on Brexit which are quantitative in nature, such as this one by Demos or this from IRR looking at post-Referendum racism.

Despite the statistics regarding an upsurge in such hate incidents, we wanted to explore a sample from within our overall data set, regarding the language used over social media during this difficult period in the summer.

Our report provides a snapshot of these (qualitative) views, taken from among a selection of sampled tweets during June and July this year. Among the data captured were tweets which may now have been removed or deleted.

‘Deserved to die’

One of the themes we identified in our sample was the claim that Jo Cox had ‘deserved to die’ because she supposedly supported so-called ‘rape gangs’, and had been a ‘traitor’ who ‘got what she deserved’.

As far as the second part of our report highlights, looking at cyber hate responses to Brexit, we pointed out that experiences of xenophobic hostility led to communities feeling a sense of fear, insecurity and vulnerability. We also noted how social media was used to report offline incidents of hate.

Cyber hatred was also linked to an increase in offline incidents, and ‘trigger’ events (reactions to Jo Cox’s murder and the EU Referendum process) seemed connected to a rise in xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia on social media platforms.

The language of hatred online

As we have stated, our study wanted to explore the language of social media users at a crucial time in the summer, when decisions were being made about Brexit and an MP had also lost her life.

We make no apology for the way we studied this type of language and we feel we have clearly demonstrated there are links between offline hate and online hate speech, and the role users play online. We are proud of the fact that we have been able to highlight and shed light on the way in which some users, including the now-banned neo-Nazi group National Action, had celebrated and glorified Jo Cox’s death.

What’s also important to note is that there were many solidarity campaigns in relation to Brexit and Jo Cox (such as #MoreInCommon), but it was not part of our remit to focus upon these. We are confident that upon reading the full report people can examine our findings and understand the points we were making.

Initial media coverage

Some early media reports incorrectly stated that our report claimed there were 50,000 tweets celebrating Jo Cox’s death or praising her killer, sent by 25,000 users. We would like to clarify that our report did not make such a claim.

This claim was linked to one media story, based on an early and erroneous draft of a press release (which was corrected and updated shortly thereafter), sent during discussions with a journalist. A full copy of our report had previously been provided to this journalist.

All media, including this one, were subsequently sent a revised and corrected press release upon the report’s launch the following day. We later contacted the outlet to suggest it alter its original headline.

We recommend everyone to study our published report, to verify for themselves what we have found: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/cyber-hate/

Dr Imran Awan is a Criminologist at Birmingham City University | Dr Irene Zempi is a Criminologist at Nottingham Trent University

*What is qualitative research?

Qualitative research methods are primarily exploratory. The main idea behind qualitative research is helping social scientists gain an understanding of underlying causes and motivations behind specific areas. It’s important to note here that qualitative research methods use a small sample size, to help with more in-depth understanding.

Conversely, quantitative research methods are used to quantify a problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into useable statistics. As we have stated throughout our report we have focused on those qualitative interpretations and not numerical data sets. You cannot ‘compare’ the two, as they employ different data collection and data analysis methods.

We used a range of social science-based research methods, including automated monitoring and crawling of social media platforms. Data was coded and exported to provide a select sample of screenshots based on the samples studied. As the report was qualitative in nature, no mention of numbers (apart from among the 53,000 tweets used as a sample size) was discussed.

Drilling down through our sample size, we looked at Twitter users’ direct quotations in order to illustrate the themes emerging from the analysis, and provided evidence for these interpretations.

 Posted: 16 Dec 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments