HOPE not hate

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Unity Comes To Southampton

posted by: Owen Jones | on: Thursday, 29 January 2015, 18:46


The 24th January saw a small, but dedicated, group turn out on a cold day in Southampton to demonstrate opposition to the show itself. The day took the form of a banner making session in the morning, followed by a short rally down Derby Road (where Channel 4/Love Productions “Immigration Street” has been filmed) to the location designated for the public meeting about the show.

Having inspected the stalls in place offering information on aftercare, designed to build resilience and minimise the almost certainly heavy social cost sure to be inflicted after “Immigration Street” is aired, local residents took their seats to hear several speeches about the importance of communities across the city remaining united at this time.

Hosted by local community radio champion Ali Beg from Awaaz FM, Alan Whitehead MP and representatives from Unite Community and the TUC all spoke well, before Councillor Satvir Kaur gave a rousing, passionate, address on the need for the city to stand up and be counted. And with nods and calls of approval greeting the heartfelt words of the animated Councillor Kaur, it was clear that that message was unquestionably received.

As residents and others departed the venue, no doubt to either find comfort in a warm location or to catch the final moments of Southampton FC’s FA Cup clash, those that attended were left in no doubt about the need to stand together, and create a positive future for their city.

To help us make a stand against the divisive television programme, Immigration Street, sign our petition to Channel 4 here:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/derby-road-immigration-street

 Posted: 29 Jan 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Never Forget, Never Again

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 27 January 2015, 17:04


Seventy years ago today Soviet troops entered Auschwitz. The world saw, for the first time, the true extent of National Socialist brutality.

The haunting images of the camps and of those who survived Hitler’s attempts to exterminate an entire race, and of anyone who was not “Volk”, should forever be a reminder of where hatred can lead.

Those are pictures we never want to see again.

I visited Auschwitz seven years ago and it is an experience I will never forget. The death camps were vast. The eerie silence when looking out from the towers was made even more sinister by the deep snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Not forgetting is one thing; ensuring it never happens again is quite another.

All too often, we still turn a blind eye. I have been to Rwanda and met survivors of 1994 genocide. We failed the test, both in Rwanda - where our leaders knew what was happening but decided not to intervene - and in other terrible conflicts before and since.

I know phrases like Never Again can sometimes seem little more than empty slogans: but they should not be.

Hatred creeps in easy, pushing through the cracks if let unchecked. Voices appear, calling for crackdowns and getting tough when times appear hard. But it is then that we must be at our most resolute. Only by uniting around shared values of equality, tolerance, respect, and fairness can we preserve hope.

That is why today, as we remember, I ask you to join with me in renewed resolve: to defend our values, to live and embody hope, so that the dark spectre of hatred never takes hold again.

Never Forget, Never Again.

 Posted: 27 Jan 2015 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Hope Street

posted by: Simon Cressy | on: Thursday, 22 January 2015, 10:22


On Saturday 10th January, the “HOPE Street” community event in Southampton took place with fantastic success. Designed as an opportunity to assist local residents in seeing their place within a positive future for the city, “HOPE Street” saw between 350 and 400 people burst into the event hall with smiles on their faces, and get stuck into what was on offer!

With interactive stalls from a wide range of community organisations and voluntary groups, a pottery workshop, arts and crafts, badge-making and free books, as well as, of course, plenty of live music and other entertainment, diverse communities from across Southampton descended on The Hub at City College for two hours of fun.

Although “HOPE Street” was also an opportunity for the people of Southampton to make a stand against community division of all kinds, such as that suffered by the people of Derby Road, who, over recent months, have had a magnifying glass trained over them courtesy of Love Productions and their “Immigration Street” show, organisers were keen to deflect the negativity surrounding the programme, instead stressing positivity as being the order of the day. That being said, “HOPE Street” organisers are also keen for the event to be a rallying-cry for the city, something that is echoed by many other groups in the city. The eyes of the nation will be focused on Southampton when the show airs, meaning that the importance of communities in the city remaining united is now becoming vital, not just for the people of Derby Road, but for new and settled communities across the country.

People of all ages and backgrounds crowded into the “HOPE Street” event, demonstrating the breadth and depth of the wish for HOPE and positivity in the Southampton community. Children were enthralled by some fantastic story-telling by Southampton local Mike O’Leary, before becoming covered in glue and glitter making sun placards at the arts and crafts stall! The young couples from the A&L Dance Academy captivated everyone with their confident performances, before ‘The Férec Brothers’ brought the house down with their incredible flamenco arrangement. All the while, the pottery workshop kept churning out mini masterpieces!

As “HOPE Street” drew to a close, one Southampton resident remarked: “There is never anyone in this part of town, so for THIS many people to have come here on a Saturday is incredible”. “HOPE Street” was a great start; now it is time for the city to shape its future.

 Posted: 22 Jan 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Understanding the UKIP threat

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 18:16


If UKIP were pigeons, Clacton-on-Sea #Banksy. Photo from flickr by  Duncan Hull

If UKIP were pigeons, Clacton-on-Sea #Banksy. Photo from flickr by Duncan Hull

It's been a very busy day at the HOPE not hate office, launching the first ever digital version of our magazine and dealing with dozens of media calls about our 2014 State of Hate report.

A few people have asked about why we ignored UKIP in our far right profile. It is, after all, growing and its inclusion would obviously have radically changed our analysis that the far right is declining.

Well, we didn't include UKIP quite simply because we don't consider it a traditional “far-right” organisation – not in the sense of the others we profile. It can be a thoroughly unpleasant and xenophobic organisation which whips up anti-immigrant sentiment. But on its own that is not enough to make it “far right”.

UKIP is not antisemitic, either; it does not believe in white supremacy or use violence as a political tool to achieve its goals: all traits common with more traditional far-right, white supremacist and fascist organisations. It is important to understand these distinctions.

Regardless of what we might think of its policies and ugly demeanour, UKIP is embedded within the democratic process of this country and politically has more in common with the right-wing of the 1960s Conservative Party than with Hitler's Nazis.

These distinctions matter, as I said, because our choice of definitions influences how we combat something. Treating UKIP simply as the “BNP-lite” ignores its appeal and is likely to lead to equally inaccurate approaches to dealing with the problem. We want people to see UKIP for what it is, not what it isn’t.

Nothing I have said above belittles the threat UKIP poses. The vile language and slurs of its activists, the lazy racism and xenophobia, and anti-Muslim prejudice, can have a deeply detrimental impact on communal harmony and on our race relations.

Nor does its omission from our State of Hate survey reflect a weakening of our resolve to take it on in the forthcoming General Elections: quite the opposite, in fact. As we clearly state in our HOPE not hate magazine, our 2015 campaign will be the biggest ever.

UKIP is a xenophobic and racist party and it’s on that basis we will take it on.

 Posted: 14 Jan 2015 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE not hate launches 2014 ‘State of Hate’ report

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 14 January 2015, 11:20


Today we’re launching our annual ‘State of Hate’ report, which we’ve bundled free inside the first ever digital edition of HOPE not hate magazine.

You can download the magazine right now (first edition is free) from here

2014 really was a dreadful year for the British far right. The BNP has collapsed, the EDL has splintered into competing violent factions, and Muslim haters Britain First are floundering after the departure of Jim Dowson.

So, for now, the organised far right is in disarray.

But we mustn’t be complacent. Whilst splits and infighting may hold back the haters for now, many of the BNP’s voting core have upped and moved over to UKIP. UKIP’s racism and xenophobia is not fascism, but it is championing intolerance and we must continue to expose it.

We also warn that EDL founder Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) is mulling a return to frontline anti-Islam activity, once his prison licence expires this summer. That’s a real danger. Without him, the remains of the EDL will continue to squabble.

The rise of young antisemites and neo-Nazis National Action is a cause for concern, too. They stalked Labour MP Luciana Berger online, issuing 20 death threats and thousands of hate-filled tweets last year.

The threat from lone wolves remains, too. Whilst the traditional far-right groups are crumbling, events in France and Germany, coupled with the rise in antisemitic as well as anti-Muslim prejudice, suggest that there are tinderbox conditions right now.

Please take time to read the report (and magazine) and let us know your thoughts. You can access the magazine here

 Posted: 14 Jan 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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To the Jewish communities of France

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 9 January 2015, 19:02


Tonight we tender our sincerest commiserations to the Jewish communities of France and our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those murdered by terrorists at the supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jews of France in the face of all hate politics, whether emanating from the Front National and other fascists or the murderous Islamist extremist gangs.

Their activities are a direct challenge to the democratic values that we all stand for and cherish.

The HOPE not hate team

 Posted: 9 Jan 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Let's not give in to those who hate

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 8 January 2015, 08:53


Let's not give in to those who hate

Let's not give in to those who hate

I'm writing to you this morning to reflect on the terrible events yesterday in Paris, when 12 people lost their lives at the offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

We have been left shocked and revolted by the brutality of an attack. The 12 victims, along with many others wounded, were seemingly slaughtered by zealots who shared the fanaticism of groups like the Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda.

It is such hate groups that we at HOPE not hate seek to expose, just as we do to the far-right racists and white supremacists who profit from their suffering. In the latest issue of our magazine we report from northern Iraq on the plight of those who have fled the Islamic State and explain why anti-fascists must take a stand. Similarly, our reporting on the hate recruiters from al-Muhajiroun has been second to none.

Charlie Hebdo was well-known for its satirical cartoons and articles, a few of which caused deep offence to some. Yet as one British Muslim tweeted today, those who kill for mere reason of offence have done far more to damage their faith and community relations, than anyone with a pen or cartoonist's brush.

So today we hang our heads and mourn, and offer our sincere condolences for the families of those killed. Tomorrow, I want to ask you to stand with us as we move to expose the people and ideologies behind militant jihadism, as well those who would seek to harm Muslims in response.

Yet let us not fool ourselves: a new page has been turned and things could get very difficult in the coming days and weeks.

Anti-Muslim protests are likely to gather pace across Europe, community relations will be tested to their limits and violent attacks could well increase. Under the guise of free speech, it's likely that the haters will emerge - from both sides - seeking to drag us all down into the quagmire of their hatred and a world which they would happily turn to ash.

Let's make sure that doesn't happen.

Just as importantly, we must call out and expose the actions of those Islamist extremists who actively or indirectly provide support for the brutal ideology of the militant jihadists. We must expose the very ideology itself and provide no tolerance for those who call for the murder of gays, non-believers, and apostates.

None of this will be easy and there will be many calling for harsh measures and simple black-and-white solutions. But now more than ever it's vital to defend the notion of a society where we ALL fit, where the language of hate, exclusion and zealotry finds no hold.

So let us remember those who lost their lives in Paris by promising to re-double our efforts to stand up for equality, tolerance, democracy and respect.

Nick

p.s. Agree with what I've written? I'd be interested in your thoughts

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/charlie-hebdo

 Posted: 8 Jan 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Coming soon: HOPE not hate issue #17

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 7 January 2015, 17:25


The new issue of the HOPE not hate magazine is out at the beginning of next week. It features an eyewitness account of the human suffering caused by the Islamic State and explains why militant jihadism is an ideology anti-fascists must oppose.

 Posted: 7 Jan 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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HOPE not hate statement on Charlie Hebdo attack

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 7 January 2015, 12:42


HOPE not hate would like to offer its sincere condolences and solidarity with the staff of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, following the murder of 12 people (and the wounding of several others) at their offices in Paris this morning.

We are shocked and revolted by the brutality of an attack not only on journalists, and police, but on the notion of free speech itself.

Charlie Hebdo is well-known for its often satirical cartoons and articles, some of which caused deep offence to some. However, there is absolutely nothing which can then be used to justify such horrendous killings.

These killers have harmed not only innocent civilians going about their work but the very notion of a shared society that we are all striving to build.

Let us not give them the justification for their actions by further hatred; let us instead stand firm together while we mourn.

 Posted: 7 Jan 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments