HOPE not hate

Political

You are viewing blog items for December 2016.

Share on FacebookTweet this
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

Share on FacebookTweet this
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

Share on FacebookTweet this
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