HOPE not hate

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Campaigners wanted

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 30 January 2012, 18:34


The HOPE not hate campaign is looking to hire two new organisers to help us in the forthcoming elections. One will work on our London campaign, to ensure the far right do not get elected onto the London Assembly, while the other will work on our local election campaign in the rest of the country.

Both posts are for three months.

If you have some campaign experience and would like to work on the HOPE not hate campaign, please click through here:

http://www.w4mpjobs.org/JobDetails.aspx?jobid=33226

 Posted: 30 Jan 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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A review of the year

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 30 January 2012, 16:24


Our printers have just dropped off copies of our 2011 Annual Review, and what a lovely document it is. It is the first time we have produced a report on our work and I have to say that in putting it together even I was amazed with how much we were able to achieve in the last twelve months. It goes through our campaigning successes, our excellent research, our training and our international work.

The Annual Review is a fantastic introduction to HOPE not hate but it is also a tribute to all those who have contributed so much to help us over the past year.

 Posted: 30 Jan 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Holocaust Memorial Day

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 27 January 2012, 10:07


Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and we've given over this blog to Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Holocaust Memorial Day

Even walking around the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau, it’s hard to begin imagining the evil which was committed there or to visualise the sheer scale of what took place. At Birkenau rows of crude huts into which hundreds of human beings were forced, stretch further than the eye can see. The numbers involved are so well-documented that they can almost seem to lose meaning: over six million people killed during the Holocaust, more than one million at Auschwitz-Birkenau alone. The systematic murder of Jews, Roma and Sinti and the appalling persecution of gay people, the disabled, trade unionists and other minority groups. The only way we can begin to comprehend the vastness and depravity of this chapter in our shared history is by focussing instead on the individuals and families whose futures were stolen in the name of a racist ideology.

Looking at the Holocaust through the lives of individuals naturally prompts enormous sadness, yet it also holds a small glimmer of hope, when we learn about those rare men and women who took great risks to speak up and speak out against injustice. Take Sophie Scholl, the Munich University student who as part of the anti-Nazi White Rose movement wrote pamphlets urging others to resist fascism – and who was executed for treason aged just 21. Or Hans Litten, the lawyer whose cross-investigation of Hitler exposed the violence of Nazism to the world in the early 1930s. Or even Marlene Dietrich, the great German actress who paid for Jewish friends to flee occupied Europe and made numerous anti-Nazi broadcasts.

These were people who refused to be subsumed by the tide of hatred engulfing their society – and who spoke up instead for peace and tolerance. These men and women provide both a template of courage and an extraordinary legacy, which Hope not Hate carries today through the activists who take to the streets to oppose racism and prejudice. Those who campaign tirelessly to ensure that fascism is never allowed to gain a foothold in our society should be applauded, because their vigilance safeguards values that all of us should cherish.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, the day on which Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated, perhaps we should turn our thoughts from bleak images of concentration camps and visceral horror of gas chambers. Maybe instead we should remember the once colour-filled lives of those who were murdered and mourn the fact that they were taken from us. We should take a moment to celebrate the Holocaust survivors who moved here after the war and enriched modern Britain. And we should recommit ourselves to following the legacy of men and women like Sophie, Hans and Marlene – by never giving in to bigotry and by always speaking out against hatred.

Karen Pollock MBE is Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust

 Posted: 27 Jan 2012 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Sign 'em up

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 26 January 2012, 15:51


In preparation for May's London elections the HOPE not hate campaign is organising a weekend of action in the capital on 25/26 February. Our focus will be on a voter registration drive to ensure maximum turnout in the elections.

More details will be put up here soon.

To get involved in our London campaign, visit:

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/make-london-better

 Posted: 26 Jan 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Getting to grips with racism in football

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 21:12


Hardly a day goes by without another story about racism in football. A couple of days ago we heard about a Chelsea fan getting arrested on his way back from a game in Norwich. This follows the club having to apologise for racist chanting amongst a section of its fans during a recent match in Belgium. Today we hear that nine Charlton fans, aged between 20 and 30, were arrested for singing songs in support of Gary Dobson, one of the men who was recently convicted for killing Stephen Lawrence, on their way back from a match at Fulham.

With Liverpool player Luis Suarez banned for eight matches for racially abusing Manchester United player Patrice Evra, and Chelsea and England captain John Terry facing charges for abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand, it is time the football authorities stepped up its efforts to rid the game of racism.

So much has been done over the last twenty years to reduce racism within the game it is important there is no let up now. This morning I was part of a group who met Sports Minister Hugh Robertson to discuss possible racism and violence at the forthcoming Euro 2012 championships. While racism is not the problem it once was in the English game, it is a serious and growing problem in Poland.

 Posted: 25 Jan 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Gearing up for the next fight

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 20:06


We have had a fantastic response from our HOPE not hate supporters to our appeal for help. Last week we asked for volunteers to help us defeat the BNP in its remaining few heartlands and ensure that they, and any other far right group, did not get elected onto the London Assembly.

Over 900 people filled in the survey, which given the inactivity of the BNP is amazing.

* 61% offered to campaign against the BNP and other far-right groups in the forthcoming elections

* 17% offered to volunteer for the HOPE not hate campaign

* 38% wanted to get involved in our Research Team

* 55% expressed an interest in getting involved in a positive anti-racist project in their local community.

The majority of respondents were women.

We are beginning the process of contacting everyone but in the meantime I would like to that everyone who filled out the survey. Whoever poses the most serious threat in the forthcoming elections the HOPE not hate campaign shall be ready!

 Posted: 25 Jan 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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From Voting to Violence? New evidence on far right supporters

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 23 January 2012, 12:25


A new report will be published in early March looking at the views and motivations of supporters of the British far right.

Written by academics Dr Matthew Goodwin and Professor Jocelyn Evans, this report will be based on a survey of over 2,000 far right supporters and will be the most authoritative study to date. The report will be launched at an event held at Chatham House, on 8 March, at which I will be speaking.

http://www.chathamhouse.org/events/view/181377

I am also delighted to announce that the report will be published by Searchlight Educational Trust and will be the first of what we hope will be many joint projects we undertake with academics over the next few years.

 Posted: 23 Jan 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Bye Bye BNP

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 19 January 2012, 14:17


Today we launched our 2012 campaign slogan, 'Bye Bye BNP', with our central aim of preventing the BNP from getting re-elected onto the London Assembly and defeating their councillors who are up for re-election this year. We also asked our supporters to tell us how they could help and I'm delighted to say that almost 500 people have already responded.

The BNP is in a bad way but we should not become complacent. In these difficult economic times the prospects of racist scapegoating is strong and in many areas of the country the BNP still retains a strong vote. However, in this threat is an opportunity. This year we have the chance to remove most of the remaining BNP councillors. This is especially exciting in Burnley as it was here that the BNP first made its electoral breakthrough in 2002 and where, a year later, they were the second largest group on the council. Wiping the BNP out of councils like Burnley and Amber Valley should be reason enough to get involved. If we are successful in defeating the BNP this year it will go a long way to riding our communities of this evil poison - for now anyway.

We are also offering our supporters the chance to get more involved in HOPE not hate, both as volunteers but also in participating in anti-racist community work. Hundreds of people have already indicated that they would like to do this. Several people have also told us about specific skills they have to offer, from IT to journalism, martial arts instructors to poets. There is a role for everyone at HOPE not hate.

We will be contacting everyone who filled in a survey about how they can help over the next week but in the meantime if you have not already filled out the survey please do so.

http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/page/s/bye-bye-bnp

 Posted: 19 Jan 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Defeating racism in the community

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 17 January 2012, 18:49


Whilst campaigning against the BNP in Barking & Dagenham over the last few years we promised not to forget about local people once we had helped defeat the racists at the ballot box. I think the article from the Barking and Dagenham Post proves that we have kept to our word.

Three years ago we began a community project in the borough which sought to bring people together through sport. We also conducted some more intense intervention work with young people in Barking. Our work has been recognised and written up in the local newspaper.

http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/news/article/2088/football-helped-to-drive-bnp-out-of-barking-a

We are continuing to work in Barking & Dagenham today. We have developed an anti-racist project with two schools in the borough and this summer we will be using cricket as another method to bring young people together.

HOPE not hate is about defeating racism and organised intolerance at the ballot box and in the community. I think this report reflects our strategy and the hard work of people like my colleague Matthew Collins, who oversaw the football project and the intervention work.

 Posted: 17 Jan 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Barking Demo Report

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 14 January 2012, 16:55


The EDL's roadshow of hate made an unwelcome return visit to Barking and Dagenham today. There were considerably fewer in number than the last march in Dagenham, Chadwell Heath, when EDL members brutally assault two asian youths in front of journalists.

Only around 100 EDL turned up and very few from the local Divisions in the borough. There were plenty from East Anglia and Essex including the Essex Infidels, and a few from the so called EDL 'angels'.

The focus of this demonstration was Barking Town Centre. There was a huge police presence and despite efforts to reassure local residents and traders by Councillors the majority of Barking market stalls closed. Nevertheless the area was still packed with local shoppers, many who stopped to watch the parade of degenerate hate pass through. Many were appalled and others were equally baffled as to what exactly the EDL rabble were protesting against.

About ten local Councillors turned out to speak to local residents and voice their disgust at the EDL. The UAF arrived for a small but vocal counter demonstration of about 40 people. Later outside the town hall the voices of opposition were greatly swelled as many local residents and shoppers joined together to shout back at the EDL.

Kevin Carroll gave a short but incoherent speech, and the usual EDL jeers, chants, and faux intimidation ensued outside the town hall.

There were a few minor scuffles but the day will be remembered by the distinct lack of support for the EDL from locals.

Police have confirmed that there has been five arrests so far for public order offences.

 Posted: 14 Jan 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Setting a precedent

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 11 January 2012, 13:54


Five men are currently appearing at Derby crown court charged with stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. This is the first time that anyone has been prosecuted under new legislation that came into force in March 2010.

The men are charged with allegedly handing out leaflets, entitled The Death Penalty, which cal for gay people to be killed. They were also found in the possession of another leaflet entitled Dead Derby, which described homosexuality as a "vile, ugly, cancerous disease" and stated: "Gay today, paedophile tomorrow?"

In a police interview, one of the defendants simply claimed that the leaflet was not wrong but simply expressed what Islam said about homosexuality. He claimed the purpose of the leaflet was simply to raise awareness about homosexuality and not threaten anyone.

Homophobia is a hate crime and attacks against gays, lesbians and bisexuals have been ignored for too long. While the five men are pleading not guilty let us hope that this case is the start of greater action against this form of hatred and intolerance.

The case continues.

 Posted: 11 Jan 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Blood on their hands

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 11 January 2012, 09:37


A survivor at the site of a Tutsi massacre

A survivor at the site of a Tutsi massacre

The news that the current members of the Rwandan Government were not behind the assassin of former President Juvénal Habyarimana in 1994 is of no surprise to nearly everyone who has taken an interest in the country. The shooting down of Habyarimana's plane was the trigger for almost ten weeks of carnage, which left over 800,000 (mainly Tutsi) dead and a similar number of children orphaned.

With a population of just nine million, the level of killing and brutally has been one of the worst acts of genocide in recent decades.

Many of the Hutu perpetrators of this genocide have claimed in their genocide trials that their subsequent actions were simply a reaction to this assassination by Tutsi soldiers. Their claims were backed up by a French judge who, in 1997, came to the conclusion that the mainly Tutsi RPF was behind the attack. The judge's report led to the French Government to issue arrest warrants for the current Rwandan leaders.

The latest expert report in the crash, commissioned by the French Government, found that the former President's plane was brought down by nationalists within his own Government operating from the Kanombe military camp.

The new report is a severe embarrassment to the French, partly because they stuck of their previous line against all the evidence but also to opens questions about their own role in the Rwandan genocide. French military units helped train the militia which went on to cause most of the autrocities, including some who were based at the Kanombe base at the time of the missle attack on the plane, and then took away parts of the downed aircraft before UN investigators could get to the site.

The EU is increasingly flexing its muscle internationally on human rights issues. They could start by holding a proper investigation into the behaviour of several member states - namely France, Belgium and the UK - in their role in supporting the murderous Rwandan regime and later by preventing international intervention. Such an investigation is unlikely though, largely because there is blood on their hands.

 Posted: 11 Jan 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Justice at last

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 3 January 2012, 20:57


Finally, after eighteen years of waiting, two men have finally been convicted of killing teenager Stephen Lawrence. Gary Dobson and Steve Norris were found guilty after new evidence was presented to a court which linked them to the murder.

Stephen's death, in Eltham, south east London, transformed race relations in Britain and began to challenge institutional racism within the police and other public bodies. While large strides have been made in attitudes, including within the police force, racism remains a major problem in society, as the unprovoked killing of Anuj Bidve in Salford graphically illustrates. Black people are still more likely to be unemployed than their white counterparts and are eight times more likely to be stopped on the streets by the police.

Two men are now awaiting their prision sentence but several others who were involved in the murder remain at large and the quest for the justice must continue.

Our thoughts tonight go out to Doreen and Neville Lawrence who had to wait far too long for justice and we must recognise that even today's verdict would not had happened if it had not been for their persistence. We owe it to Stephen and his parents to continue to campaign against racism today.

 Posted: 3 Jan 2012 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments