You are viewing blog items for November 2012.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 29 November 2012, 16:26
In just a few hours' time the polling stations will close in the three parliamentary by-elections taking place today. Labour are expected to win comfortably in Croydon North and Middlesbrough but Rotherham is expected to be a much closer affair.
Rotherham should be a safe Labour seat but a combination of a disgraced MP, an appalling official cover-up of child sexual exploitation and then an internal selection meeting which ignored the wishes of the local party and imposed a candidate who had only recently joined the party, Labour were nervous from the beginning.
And then there was the fostering scandal, when it was revealed that a local couple had children removed because they were members of UKIP.
Since then, the talk has all been about the anti-EU protest party. Its leader, Nigel Farage, successfully used the uproar over the fostering scandal to hit back at critics who dismissed UKIP as racist whilst simultaneously milking the media attention.
This has been a nightmare for both the British National Party and the English Democrats, both of whom had hoped to do well in this by-election. For the BNP, who are nervously looking over their shoulder at the newly formed British Democratic Party, Rotherham was an opportunity for them to reassert themselves as the dominant force on the far right. For the English Democrats, this election was a chance to build on their second place in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in South Yorkshire and in the process replace the BNP as a right wing alternative.
Now, both the BNP and ED will be happy just to retain their deposits. And in the case of the English Democrats that would appear very unlikely. The right wing and protest vote appears to have gone over to UKIP in huge numbers, though whether it is enough to win the seat will be known in a few hours time. Most people predict a Labour victory, though only because of their lead in the postal votes, most of which were returned before the fostering scandal broke. A UKIP victory will obviously be hugely damaging for Labour but it will really get the Conservatives nervous as it will propel the anti-EU party into British domestic politics. It will also signify the political death of the BNP and its pretenders on far right as UKIP will become the official opposition of the political mainstream.
While Rotherham will be yet another disappointing election for the BNP and the ED they will both be privately cheering for a Labour victory.
Posted: 29 Nov 2012 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 29 November 2012, 14:23
Kevin Scott, one of the leaders of the British Democratic Party and a longtime BNP organiser, has had his invitation to speak at a debate at Cambridge University withdrawn.
Scott was among a panel of speakers at The Cambridge Union Society for a debate on hate speech, but he was uninvited after a campaign by NUS and student groups. Well done to everyone involved.
Posted: 29 Nov 2012 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 26 November 2012, 18:32
Malala Yousafzai is a 14-year-old girl from Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls to be given access to education. Fortunately, she survived and is recovering well at a hospital in Birmingham. She is also determined to continue to press for education for all.
HOPE not hate and the Islamic Society of Britain has produced this short film about her and the inspiration her story has given us all.
I would like to say a big thank you to the people signed our Get Well Malala book. Over 8,500 people sent in messages of support.
Posted: 26 Nov 2012 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 24 November 2012, 08:09
I would like to say a massive thank you to the 409 people who donated to our leaflet appeal. A surge of donations last night, plus some more this morning, has met that we not only met our target but have raised an amazing £4,103.
Our initial plan was to print 100,000 of our new 'The Truth about Grooming' leaflets but this additional money will allow us to either print extra or, more likely, do some more focused community outreach work in one or two areas where grooming is acting as a divisive local issue.
We were disturbed to see a number of current and former miners on a recent EDL march in Rotherham. Some of these miners had been through the year-long strike back in 1984/5 and a couple had even been active against the National Front and British National Party. Some of our local HOPE not hate supporters have been in contact with one or two of these people and have discussed the possibility of meeting to discuss the issue. Our agenda will be, of course, to convince them that people do genuinely care about the issue and that groups like the EDL or BNP have not got the answer.
Likewise, we are in discussions with a couple of Muslim organisations about doing some joint work within Muslim communities in order to raise awareness of the problem of grooming and to create a culture where people are more confident about speaking out against it.
Child sex abuse affects all communities and the perpetrators are drawn from all ethnic backgrounds and religions. However, we need to be prepared to confront this issue wherever and whenever it arises. There have been a number of high profile trials involving British Pakistani men and we are aware of several more coming up over the next 12 months. While we have to be sensitive to the issue and explain how the abusers of children are drawn from all communities we cannot shy away from dealing with specific forms of abuse, such as on-street grooming by gangs.
HOPE not hate is about overcoming hatred and bringing communities together. The issue of 'grooming' is one of the most serious threats to community cohesion we face at the moment as it invokes deep reactions and can lead to racial stereotyping. For too long good people have stayed silent on this issue and as a result the poisonous lies of the BNP and EDL have taken hold in local communities. This is why we are wanting to take this issue on. We want to dispel these racist lies but we are also keen to working with others to help create a culture where 'grooming' is unacceptable and seen as the work of a tiny criminal and sick minority.
If we can do this then we can remove the toxicity of the issue. Thank you once again to everyone who donated to our leaflet appeal.
If you have any views on the grooming issue, suggestions about what we should be doing or would like to get involved then please email me at email@example.com or leave a comment here.
Posted: 24 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 24 November 2012, 07:42
Thank you very much to everyone who donated to our appeal to raise money for the printing of leaflets about grooming.
As a result of a deluge of donations yesterday evening we have actually raised £3,938.00 from 396 people.
This is really terrific and will enable us to distribute the leaflets in all the areas where the far right are exploiting incidents of grooming.
Posted: 24 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 23 November 2012, 19:38
We are just £80 short of our £2,500 target. If you have not already done please do donate to help us produce 100,000 leaflets to address the issue of grooming
Posted: 23 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 23 November 2012, 17:07
Two days ago we launched a bid to raise £2,500 to help pay for 100,000 leaflets about the sex exploitation of girls by grooming gangs. We felt we need to address the issue head on but also debunk some of the racist myths being punted out by the BNP and EDL.
So far we have raised £2,228. That's brilliant but we still need another £272 to get the leaflets printed.
A huge thank you to everyone who has donated but a big please to others who are in a position to help us reach our target by midnight tonight.
We have seven hours to raise £272, please donate here
Posted: 23 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 23 November 2012, 12:23
What will it take for UEFA to really act against racism in football? Spurs fans and players were subjected to antisemtic chanting during last night’s game in Rome but so far UEFA have refused to speak out, saying that will only comment if the incident was mentioned in the official match report.
The incidents in Rome were all too predictable. Last month, Lazio were fined £32,500 by UEFA for the antisemtic chanting by their fans at the match against Spurs in north London in September.
But these fines mean nothing to a club whose fans have a horrendous history of racism and outright support for fascism going back to the days of Mussolini. Lazio attracts the bulk of its support from the outskirts of Rome and the towns and villages in the surrounding countryside – the same areas which provided the bulk of support for Mussolini.
There is a strong crossover between sport and politics in Italian society and during the 1990s the majority of fascist (or post-fascist) councillors on Rome’s city council came from the Curva Nord, the end where the Lazio hardcore fans – the ultras – occupy.
Roma, by contrast, has traditionally attract the support of Rome’s working class and as a result their fan base has historically leant to the left, though in recent years this has changed. A fascist element has emerged within the Roma support and some reports suggest it was hooligans from this group that were behind the attack on the Spurs fans.
Hardly a match goes by at Lazio without some fascist flag being waved or slogan being chanted. There have, however, been a number of high profile incidents. Among them are:
- Twenty years ago Lazio signed the black Dutch international, Aron Winter, and he was greeted on his first day at training with graffiti telling him he was not welcome, next to a spray-painted swastika. He eventually won some of the fans over but not before he had to publicly deny any Jewish ancestry.
- In 1999 the Lazio ‘Ultra's’unfurled a fifty foot banner in their section of the stadium which read: “Auswitz is your town, the ovens are your houses.”
- The following year, in 2000, the then-Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira and other black Arsenal players were abused throughout a Champions League game. In the same game Vieira was also repeatedly called "nigger" by Lazio's Serb defender and fan idol Sinisa Mihajlovic. Mihajlovic later apologised.
- In the same year, the Curva Nord unveiled a banner in tribute to Željko Ražnatović, known as Arkan, a Serb criminal and paramilitary leader, who was convicted of genocide against Muslims committed during the Yugoslavian wars.
- In 2005, a few days after Pope John Paul II died, Lazio was playing Livorno, whose hardcore fans are linked with far left politics. As soon as the minute's silence for the dead Pope was over, Lazio fans started chanting "Livorno Jews" and "Duce, Duce" - the nickname of Mussolini.
- During another game the same year, Lazio fan and Mussolini apologist Paolo Di Canio, now manager at Swindon, celebrated a goal for the club by running to the Curva Nord and giving a fascist salute after scoring against Roma.
- In March 2012, the Brazilian Roma player Juan was subjected to 'monkey chants' throughout the second half of his side's 2-1 defeat. He admitted afterwards that the disgraceful behavior of some of those standing on the Curva Nord had left him in a state of shock.
- September 2012, Lazio was fined Lazio 40,000 euros (£32,500) by UEFA following racist chanting by their fans during a Europa League game at Tottenham last month.
And these are just a few of the incidents.
At the very least Lazio need to be made to play future European matches behind closed doors but really UEFA should make an example of the club and ban them from competitions until they get their act in order.
This summer UEFA made a big play on its commitment to challenging racism. Unfortunately, its actions never seem to match its words. We wait and see what UEFA decide to do against Lazio with interest.
Posted: 23 Nov 2012 | There are 8 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 23 November 2012, 10:57
Angela Sinfield knows only too well what ‘child sex grooming’ actually means. For two years her daughter was used and abused by numerous men. She was just 12 years old when it began.
It is almost impossible to imagine what Angela and her daughter went through. Their relationship fell apart and Angela was forced to put her daughter into care in another part of the country to break the cycle of abuse. But Angela would not let the matter lie and she went on to secretly film the grooming gangs for a Channel 4 programme and campaign for the law to be strengthened.
So you can imagine her anger when she found out that the BNP were using her daughter’s story for their political ends. She had cooperated with a Channel 4 documentary – anonymously. Now she read in horror as the BNP published her name and quoted her as though she supported their political cause.
“I have never met with Mr Griffin, I have never had anything to do with the BNP and would never have anything to do with the BNP,” she told me. “They are not a political party, they are just a bunch of racists.” For Angela the grooming was never a question of race but misogyny and criminality.
Help us tell Angela’s story
Angela’s story is so powerful I want people in communities affected by grooming gangs to hear it. And to her credit she is prepared to tell it.
On Wednesday I wrote to you saying that we wanted to print 100,000 copies of a leaflet about the Grooming issue. I’m delighted to say that we raised £1,800. But that still means we need to raise another £700 by midnight tonight.
Can you help us tell the truth about grooming
Interviewing Angela and her daughter was one of the most difficult I have ever done. Yet I was inspired with their braveness and determination to help others. We need to deal with Grooming – wherever it raises its head – but we also need to rebut the racist lies peddled by the BNP and EDL.
Please help us do that by donating to our leaflet appeal.
Posted: 23 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 22 November 2012, 14:53
The Chairman of British First, Paul Golding, is being investigated by police after he put the home address of Sue Berelowitz, the Children's Commissioner, on the internet last night.
He was immediately contacted by police and told to remove the address but it seems that the police are not prepared to let the matter end there.
Golding is emerging as a growing force on the force right as his confrontational approach is proving attractive to some in the English Defence League.
The quick and understandable reaction of the police will unfortunately only encourage Golding to be more provocative in the future, knowing that he will get a response and so publicity. It is for this reason that we need to take them on on their issues rather than leaving the field clear for Golding et al to organise.
Posted: 22 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 21 November 2012, 20:36
We've just had our 200th donation towards our 'The Truth about Grooming' leaflet appeal. We've had an amazing response and have so far raised over £1,700.
Grooming is an issue we cannot ignore. We need to address some difficult issues but we also need to debunk the myths pushed out by the likes of the BNP and EDL.
To counter the racists we are producing a new leaflet: The Truth about Grooming.
Please help us print 100,000 of these leaflets. We need to raise £2,500
Posted: 21 Nov 2012 | There are 6 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 21 November 2012, 12:55
The grooming of young girls by older men is a disgusting and inexcusable crime. Not surprisingly this issue has generated a lot of anger.
Yesterday, the Office of Children's Commissioner released a report which claimed that there were 2,409 victims of child sexual exploitation in the 14 months to October 2011. But, the report says, the true number is likely to be far higher.
Paedophilia and sex abuse reaches across all communities and involves men from all ethnic backgrounds. However, groups like the BNP, EDL and the National Front would like us to think it is just a ‘Muslim’ crime and that white girls are being targeted because of their race. In fact, there is little else they are campaigning about right now.
Blaming Islam or the Muslim communities for the actions of a few criminals is absurd. Yes, there are some British-Pakistani men involved in on-street grooming but this has more to do with misogyny than race.
We are producing a new leaflet to debunk the racists’ lies
Our new leaflet, ‘The Truth about Grooming’, does just that. We have a mother of a girl who was groomed condemning the BNP for exploiting the issue. We have people in the Muslim communities speaking out. And we explain what really needs to be done to protect young girls.
We need to raise £2,500 by Friday to print 100,000 leaflets and deliver these in the communities the BNP and EDL are targeting.
Can you chip in a fiver towards the cost?
Our leaflet explains how groups like the BNP and EDL offer no solutions but merely want to use the issue to attack all Muslims. Their lies and distortions will only make the problem worse. They care nothing for the victims of these crimes.
There have been a number of high-profile trials grooming involving British Pakistani men and unfortunately over the next year there will be several more. We need to be ready to rebut the racists’ lies. We have to deal with misogyny in all communities – including the British-Pakistani community – but we also need to explain that the perpetrators of child abuse come from every corner of society.
Grooming is considered a sensitive issue. It shouldn’t be. We too need to speak out and address the problem or we will only have ourselves to blame when racist groups benefit. More importantly, our silence will not help the young girls who are the real victims in all this.
Posted: 21 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 21 November 2012, 11:29
I read this morning that Sharia4Pakistan is likely to announce a fatwa on Malala Yousufzai for allegedly mocking "key symbols of Islam such as hijab and jihad."
Malala Yousufzai is still in a Birmingham hospital receiving treatment after she was shot in the head by the Pakistan Taliban for campaigning for equal education for girls.
Sharia4Pakistan is actually run by Anjem Choudary, the British-based Islamist extremist who was behind the now banned Al-Muhajiroun, Al Ghurabaa and Islam4UK groups.
Many people consider Choudary as a clown, and indeed in many ways he is. He courts publicity, says deliberately inflammatory statements and loves nothing better than high profile stunts which he knows will shock and horrify the British press.
The news that Sharia4Pakistan is considering issuing a fatwa against Malala Yousufzai says as much about their view of her story as it does about raising media interest in their forthcoming launch in Islamabad on 30 November.
Of course it is debatable whether this event will actually go ahead. The event was due to be held at Islamabad’s Lal Masjid mosque but its deputy head, Maulana Amir Siddique, denied the mosque would hold such a conference. Among the speakers advertised are Sheik Omar Bakri, currently residing in Lebanon, and Anjem Choudary himself. Whether either will actually travel is highly unlikely given that both might be worried that they will not be allowed to leave the country.
According to sources close to Choudary he is even too scared to travel to several European countries at the moment for fear of being arrested or even not being allowed back into the UK.
Choudary certainly fits neatly in the clown box and perhaps that is where he is best suited. But dismiss him and his group at your peril as a significant number of those Muslims who have been convicted of terrorist-related offences in the UK have had a direct connect to Choudary and his various front groups.
For a profile of his network, visit this page:
Posted: 21 Nov 2012 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 18 November 2012, 10:34
So the Conservative Party have appointed Lynton Crosby to run their next election campaign and obviously hope he can reverse the party’s current fortunes. He certainly has a track record of winning elections, but at what cost?
Crosby is known at pushing populist issues around immigration and crime and creating ‘wedge’ issues to differentiate political parties and split the opposition. In Australia, where he is from, Crosby masterminded John Howard’s numerous election victories but often by running what many considered were racist and inflammatory campaigns. In the 2001 Australian General Election Howard’s government ministers falsely claimed that seafaring asylum seekers had thrown children overboard in a presumed ploy to secure rescue and passage to Australia, and Howard, in the final days of the campaign, launched a slogan that later grew notorious: "We decide who will come into this country."
This was similar to Michael Howard’s “Are you thinking what we are thinking?” campaign slogan in the 2005 General Election, and which included a series of posters, billboards, TV commercials and direct mail pieces with messages like "It's not racist to impose limits on immigration" and "how would you feel if a bloke on early release attacked your daughter?"focused on hot-button issues like dirty hospitals, landgrabs by "gypsies" and restraints on police behaviour.
Crosby was once again advising.
However, new allegations have been raised over his behaviour during the recent London Mayoral elections, where he advised Boris Johnson. According to reports in the Daily Mail, “Mr Crosby said Mr Johnson should concentrate on traditional Tory voters instead of ‘f****** Muslims’. The source added: ‘He definitely used that phrase’ and said: ‘Lynton’s view was that chasing the Muslim vote and other ethnic groups was a waste of time – and he frequently expressed himself in very strong terms. Some people found it very offensive.’”
Mr Crosby’s outburst came earlier this year as Mr Johnson’s aides discussed whether to devote more attention to wooing the ethnic minority vote in his battle with Labour’s Ken Livingstone.
Conveniently, there appears to be collective amnesia on this as both Crosby and Johnson, when pressed, cannot remember these words being used. However, their choice of words is as close to an admission as one can get without admitting it as this claim would have been fiercely denied if it had not been said.
But there is a wider issue here. For several years David Cameron has been trying to rid the party of its ‘nasty’ image – an image created partly by Crosby himself. With the Conservatives slipping in the polls and the Government in apparent disarray this is obviously of secondary importance to winning the next election.
Crosby’s appointment also represents a victory for hardliners within the Conservative Party, some of whom are annoyed at the liberal drift within the political leadership and growing concern over the rise of UKIP and its ability to do to the Tories what the BNP did to Labour.
Given Crosby’s track record, his hiring will also probably result in the abandoning of a strategy which has been devised by Conservative Party Central Office over the past twelve months to appeal to minority communities. This was motivated by a desire to demonstrate its more moderate, centrist face but also a realisation that it is unlikely to win a majority after the next General Election without increased support from particularly the British Asian communities.
Indeed, it has drawn up a list of 15 constituencies across England where the votes of minority communities are essential to the Conservatives winning. All are currently held by Labour and CCO believe that without victories in these constituencies an overall election victory is unlikely.
Crosby’s appointment will not make this job any easier. Indeed, if past performance is anything to go by he perhaps thinks that the Conservatives can simply appeal to their base with strong talk on law and order, immigration and Europe and stop the haemorrhaging of votes to UKIP and they will squeeze back in. Of course it is a strategy that might well work but society will be a worse place for it. And – significantly – the Conservatives will once again earn the title of the Nasty party.
Comments from Crosby like “f***ing Muslims” are likely to haunt David Cameron but he will only have himself to blame.
Posted: 18 Nov 2012 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 17 November 2012, 11:48
Over 25 people have turned up for our Day of Action in Rotherham today to deliver our HOPE not hate newspaper. Others, who could not make it today, have offered to take some bundles and deliver them in their spare time.
I'll hopefully have a more detailed report later.
Posted: 17 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 17 November 2012, 10:50
Thursday's election results should remind us of the continuing electoral threat from the far right. While the BNP has crumbled since its devastating defeat in Barking and Dagenham in 2010, the conditions which gave rise to the BNP remain and, if anything, are growing.
The election results on Thursday demonstrate this. While the BNP performed poorly, polling just 2.9% in the parliamentary by-election in Manchester Central and 1.7% in Corby, other right wing parties did relatively well in the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections. Kevin Carroll, co-founder of the English Defence League and deputy chairman of the British Freedom Party, received 10.3% in the Bedfordshire Police, with the vote in Luton signifcantly higher.
The English Democrats, meanwhile, saved their deposit in five counties, with David Allen coming in South Yorkshire with 15.6%. Others to save their deposit were party leader Robin Tilbrook (Essex), Stephen Goldspink (Cambridgeshire), Steve Uncles (Kent) and Paul Rimmer (Merseyside).
HOPE not hate has long believed that UKIP was likely to be the major beneficiary of the BNP’s collapse and this appeared to be the case in these elections. While we do not define UKIP as a ‘far right’ party its voters share many of the same views on immigration and multiculturalism as BNP voters and so it becomes an attractive alternative. UKIP stood in 24 of the 41 PCC elections and saved their deposit in every one. Their highest vote was 16.4% in Cambridgeshire, followed by 16.1% in Humberside and 16% in Derbyshire.
The 11.5% UKIP vote in South Yorkshire, coupled with the 15.6% gained by the English Democrats, means that 27.1% of those who voted picked a right wing party.
UKIP gained 350,597 votes in the 24 PCC elections it contested, 7.3% of the national vote. This was ahead of the Liberal Democrats even though UKIP stood less candidates.
The very low turnout and the success of so many Independents are also indicative of the continuing antipathy of many people towards mainstream political parties, a key factor which helped the BNP during its successful years.
There is clearly still a strong appetite for far right and anti-immigration politics and that is why we need to guard against complacency and continue to campaign vigorously. This is what HOPE not hate did in these elections. In Bedfordshire, HOPE not hate supporters, with the help of Luton UAF and Quakers, delivered 28,700 leaflets across the county. We put out 16,000 leaflets in Manchester Central, including one to every property in the Ardwick ward where the BNP polled just 1.8% in a council by-election. In Corby we delivered 4,000 leaflets to a ward where the BNP had been active.
We are now turning our attention to Rotherham, where there is a parliamentary by-election on 29 November. The BNP is hoping to do well here, based largely on previous passed good results and the ‘grooming’ scandal, but they will face competition from the English Democrats and UKIP. An EDL organiser is standing but without any party affiliation on the ballot paper, though we do not expect him to really feature in the election.
HOPE not hate has produced a tabloid newspaper for this election which starts going out today. We have printed 20,000 newspapers so if anyone wants to help put them out please contact Paul at Paul@hopenothate.org.uk
Posted: 17 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 17 November 2012, 09:40
Last night I heard the sad news that Julie Waterson had passed away after a long battle against illness. Julie had been a member of the Socialist Workers Party for 30 years and between 1991 and 2004 led the Anti-Nazi League.
It was in this role that I got to know Julie well. She was uncompromising and led from the front. In 2002 she led the campaign against the BNP in Burnley while I focused on Oldham. We would meet up every night in Manchester to discuss the day's developments and agree the priorities for the following day.
Julie was dedicated to building a better world and she will be badly missed. Our condolences go out to her family and friends.
Posted: 17 Nov 2012 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 16 November 2012, 09:47
The British National Party was humiliated in Manchester yesterday. They polled just 2.9% in the Manchester Central parliamentary by-election and an even poorer 1.8% in Ardwick ward council by-election.
This is a real embarrassment for Nick Griffin as he was hoping for a more respectable results given that Manchester has one of their few functioning branches.
I would like to thank all the HOPE not hate supporters who between them handed out over 16,000 leaflets in the ward. A special. Thanks must go to Jason and Pete for their sterling efforts.
All eyes now turn to the Rotherham parliamentary by-election, which will be held on 29 November. As well as the BNP, there are candidates from the English Democrats and UKIP. There is also an EDL organiser standing though he left his party affiliation blank. Conveniently.
We have a Day of Action in Rotherham tomorrow so I would encourage any of our supporters in South Yorkshire to give us a hand. We have produced 20,000 copies of a tabloid newspaper which I think will really do the job.
To get involved in the Rotherham campaign please contact Paul, at paul@hopenothate
Posted: 16 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 15 November 2012, 12:11
As voters across much of England and Wales go to the polls today for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections and three parliamentary by-elections, HOPE not hate is turning its attention to the Rotherham by-election, which will be held on 29 November.
We have a campaign day organised for Saturday so we are urging all our South Yorkshire supporters to help out. We have produced a fantastic tabloid newspaper for the campaign.
This is an important election for the BNP. Given the talk of a new party, the BNP needs to demonstrate it is still a viable force and Griffin hopes Rotherham will provide the boost it needs. It has done well here in the past and it will hope to tap into public anger over the council and police failings over grooming.
Last night HOPE not hate reported that an EDL activist was also standing though he had convenientely left his political allegience empty on his nomination papers.
Anyway, our Day of Action details are here:
The Unity Centre
St Leonard's Road
Rotherham S65 1PD
Please try to attend
Posted: 15 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 12 November 2012, 11:25
We are entering the final few days of the our campaign against Kevin Carroll in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. I've just had this note from Matt, our campaign organiser, outlining what we have got planned and I thought I would share it with you.
There have been a few people who questioned whether it was right to campaign against Carroll for fear of giving him publicity. Obviously they don't really know what is going on out here, or indeed our targeted campaign strategy, otherwise I doubt they would take this line. Carroll is out campaigning every day and his glossy leaflet hardly makes reference to his allegiance to the British Freedom Party, much less his position as deputy leader of the English Defence League. He simply tries to present himself as the law and order candidate.
Informing people of his real views and links to the violent EDL is the reason why our campaign is so important.
The local news followed Carroll around and it was clear that attitudes towards him changed when his EDL links was known.
This sudden about-turn very much justifies and highlights the importance of our campaign.
Anyway, this is what Matt has told me:"We're swinging into the last few days of the campaign to stop Kevin Carroll and the EDL/British Freedom Party from running our police force. I won't be happy unless Carroll and the BFP not only get trounced on Friday, but lose their £5000 deposit too, which would be a financial disaster for them.
"Every Imam in Luton received a HOPE Not Hate briefing about Carroll, and the importance of voting in the elections, to use during last Friday's afternoon prayer meetings. And the Bishop of Bedfordshire used his Sunday sermon to warn of the danger of Carroll and the EDL, urging his congregation to vote on Thursday as a way of keeping them out of power. In a small-turnout election like this, mobilising the faith community could have a real impact.
"We started off with 30,000 leaflets and we are now down to our final 4,000. That's 4,000 potential voters to be turned away from voting for racism, violence and conflict in Bedfordshire.
"We'll be hitting our target areas of Dallow, Farley and Saints hard in the last few days, so if you can spare a few hours between now and Thursday to help please do get in touch or come to our HQ:3 Union St Luton LU1 3AN Today (Monday): 1pm & 6pm Tuesday: 1pm & 6pm Wednesday: 1pm & 6pm Alternatively, email Matt at Matt@hopenothate.org.uk
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 11 November 2012, 23:00
I spent a fascinating hour on a plane this morning sitting next to a woman who was truly horrified that her fellow countrymen and women had voted Barack Obama back in.
“How could they do it?” she repeatedly asked. “I’ve stepped back from the building edge,” she told me in all seriousness. “The only thing that has got me through it is the knowledge that God is still above us all.”
I couldn’t help but be fascinated with her. Because through her spoken a significant chunk of American society.
“How can anyone vote for him?” she asked, more to herself than anyone else. “We don’t know anything about him. He claims to be American but he’s not. He claims to love America but really he is pro-terrorist.”
At times I thought she was going to cry.
Obama, according to her, has locked his records because he has something to hide. She criticises Donald Trump’s latest stunt – where he challenged Obama to release his college and passport applications – but says that Trump’s mistake was not to carry on researching Obama’s birthplace last year.
This woman was in her early fifties, has four grown up children and appears financially comfortable, if not affluent. She was deeply religious and believed that America’s decline is linked to a drop in moral values and a weakening of belief.
She was carrying Glen Beck’s latest book, gleans her information from Fox News because that is balanced and tells the truth. The rest of the media is liberal and left wing – and doesn’t tell the truth.
She believed that Obama only won because of ‘race’. His supporters guilt-tripped African-Americans and Hispanics to vote for him because of his colour. “America has got over its race problems,” she insisted, “but they have brought it all back.”
She is also angry that Obama played the politics of envy. “He constantly attacked the rich. He attacked those who make things and give people jobs.”
She was perplexed by the attitudes of Europeans. She couldn’t comprehend that people preferred Obama to Romney, were opposed to the Iraq war or are even critical of US foreign policy generally. “We help all these poor countries but they just hate us,” she said, angrily.
She could not understand why people should hate America and, quite shockingly, she had never heard of US drone attacks. She looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and curiosity.
In many ways she was a caricature of a right-wing evangelical Christian. But she was polite, friendly and convinced that her views were not just right but completely obvious. And so I write this blog not to mock her or her views but to try to illustrate just how polarised US society is and how Obama might have won the election but he will never win over the 48% of the nation who bitterly oppose him.
Follow me on twitter: @lowles_nick
Posted: 11 Nov 2012 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 11 November 2012, 14:14
Today is Remembrance Sunday and all over the country people are remembering the those who died in wars. Most of these events are solemn and dignified but not so in Luton this morning where Kevin Carroll, deputy leader of the English Defence League, made a complete fool of himself in a desperate bid to get some positive publicity ahead of Thursday Police and Crime Commissioner elections in which he is standing for the British Freedom Party.
Here is an account which was sent in to me from one of our supporters:
This morning at Luton' Remembrance Day Parade Kevin Carroll was lurking around, as expected.
At a quiet moment he shuffled forward and joined the party of veterans and representatives of the cadet forces. They clearly had no idea what he thought he was doing. The parade commander challenged him but he was adamant he'd be laying his wreath.
The image of the quiet dignity of the former personnel who fought fascism and Carroll remonstrating was pretty striking.
Anyway, he got to present his little wreath, but was now stuck in the middle of the service personnel crowd! What to do?! Cue nervous, furtive eyes and lots of looking around, trying not to look like a complete idiot.
All attempts at a dignified exit were scuppered however when the parade was called to attention and he was forced to.. march off with it! Suffice to say, he couldn't, much to the amusement of the crowd.
After a hundred yards or so, he managed to find an exit strategy. He stopped to instruct the police (he obviously thinks he runs them already) to prevent a disabled man who had laid the same white wreath for the last twenty years, from doing so.
Remarkably, he the man was actually stopped by officers, who took his name and address in front of his four year old son, who was distressed and couldn't understand (like us) what his dad had done wrong.
As I left, Carroll was remonstrating with senior police officers, as he was obviously disappointed that the chap wasn't being extraordinarily rendited to a nation with a sketchy human rights record. He was being filmed by one of his acolytes, so expect that to turn up on YouTube some time soon.
I don't know what all the other PCC candidates were doing, but I do know where Olly Martins was. A serving territorial who has recently returned from a UN peacekeeping mission, he was on parade with his unit in Central Beds.
Posted: 11 Nov 2012 | There are 8 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 10 November 2012, 17:46
Just got a great report from our campaign organiser in Bedfordshire, where we are campaigning against Kevin Carroll in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Carroll is standing for the British Freedom Party (BFP) and is deputy leader of the EDL. Not that you would know either as he glossy leaflet makes virtually no reference to the BFP, let alone the EDL.
Our campaign is really motoring there, with tens of thousands of leaflets out having already gone out.
Matt said in his report:
"Today went well. We were deep in the heart of EDL territory - Farley - (well, that's where EDL leaders Kevin Carroll and Stephen Lennon are from), and six of us covered almost the whole area this morning. This is the third ward we have completed in Luton, the others being High Town and Biscot. Parts of South and Barnfield wards have also been covered.
"Quite a few wards have been done in Bedford too, with the Quakers playing a really great role in getting the leaflets out.
"Just had a count. We've only about 6,500 leaflets left, which isn't so bad considering there's very little interest in the elections here.
"Anyway, I've also visited most of the main churches and mosques in Luton and Bedford and left a pile of leaflets, urging the ministers and Imams to make sure people receive them.We also made some really great inroads into the Muslim community up here.
"One of the key Imam's in Luton asked us to write a short briefing which he could use at his mosque in Friday prayers. He forwarded the briefing on to all the Luton Mosques, and many of the Imams included it in their Friday afternoon prayer meetings, which would have been delivered to a good few thousand Muslims. In an low turnout, this sort of engagement could have a really big impact.
"In addition to that, we also flyered a few of the main Bury Road mosques after Friday prayers, and spoke to the Imams who then invited us in for tea.
"We've also made links with the local Sikh community and we've been invited for dinner by the Bedford Sikhs!. All really positive stuff."
We have 6,500 leaflets to get out by Thursday. If you live in or near Bedfordshire and can spare an hour or two, please get in touch with Matt at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: 10 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 9 November 2012, 22:20
I'm over in Alabama at the moment and I had the pleasure of spending the day with the great folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center. I'll be writing more about my trip here tomorrow but in the meantime I thought I should share their report into reaction of the radical right to US elections.
The blog's author, Mark Potok, told me that the elections represented a major shift in the United States. In addition to Obama's re-election, several Tea Party supporting candidates lost Senate seats they should have won and three states voted in favour of same sex marraige.
Anyway, Mark's blog is well worth reading:
"For the Radical Right, Obama Victory Brings Fury and Fear"
When the word came in last night that Barack Obama and the Democrats had won national elections in a decisive victory, millions of Americans went to bed, satisfied that even if their candidate didn’t win, democracy had survived. The results made it clear that this election had in no way been stolen.
But not so at Ole Miss, which last month marked the 50thanniversary of deadly segregationist riots. Shortly after midnight, several hundred mostly white students protested furiously, reportedly yelling anti-black racial slurs and throwing rocks at passing cars. An Obama/Biden campaign sign was burned before campus police broke up the crowd in Oxford. There were apparently no arrests or injuries.
The reaction to the re-election of our first black president from the radical right — and that seemed clearly to include some University of Mississippi students — ranged from sputtering rage and name-calling to calls for a new Southern secession, mass emigration to Europe, or even the break-up of the United States. There was one thing large numbers seemed clearly to agree on: The changing racial demographics of our country, expected to lose its white majority by 2050, was key to the result.
“Welcome to a truly white minority world,” wrote one commenter on Stormfront, the world’s largest white supremacist Web forum, which is run by a former Alabama Klan leader. “The future is now. There is no denying this. The sun has set on humanity’s greatest era: 1500-2000. … [T]he only way to survive this war of annihilation is separatism. … [W]e have to choose regions or states.”
“We have truly fallen under God’s judgment,” wrote another. “You will never see another white man occupy the White House again.” Responded a third: “If you can immigrate to Europe you start making plans. … America will become largely a non-white population that is poverty stricken and all those government programs will soon disappear. It will happen. No more Medicare and no more social security.”
The loss of a white majority in the United States has helped drive a truly explosive growth of the radical right in the last three years, and that now seems likely to accelerate. Hate groups in recent years have risen to more than 1,000, and the number of antigovernment “Patriot” groups has shot up from just 149 in 2008 to 1,274, according to research by the Southern Poverty Law Center. For months now, groups on the radical right have increasingly fretted about a possible Obama victory. Now that that has occurred, the radical right may grow more dangerous still.
On Stormfront, given this reality, it wasn’t surprising to find talk of violence in the wake of the election. “I live in a liberal area so many of my ‘friends’ are shouting for joy,” lamented one poster at the racist site. “I don’t actually have many real friends and the ones I do have are scared and talking about arming themselves.”
Over at the conspiracist website Infowars, some reactions weren’t that different. “Now is the time to leave this country,” wrote a commenter using the name munglejonkeys. “[T]hey have brought about a communist takeover without firing a single shot. America will resemble Zimbabwe (economically) in a few years and there will be a huge shift in the welfare-dependent knob-slobs who thought that selling their souls for an Obama-phone was such a great deal. … All because white people didn’t oppose political correctness 35 years ago.”
Remarkably, similar sentiments seemed to crop up in what is taken as the political “mainstream.” Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, fearing an Obama victory, said last night: “The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff.” He added: “The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America any more.”
Donald Trump, the billionaire unrepentant “birther,” didn’t mention race. But he tweeted last night that the election was “a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!” He went on to characterize the Electoral College, which gave the race to Republican George W. Bush in 2000, as a “disaster for democracy.”
The anti-gay right reacted with fury, as well. In a long thread on the passage of same-sex marriage referenda at the antigovernment site Free Republic, commenters were apoplectic — and frightened. “Get ready for God’s wrath,” wrote one. “The people are choosing Satan’s finest.” “Fudgies win again,” wrote another. “Incidents of HIV [to] rise again.” And a third: “America is going to pay for its unbelief and its love of abortion and homosexuals. … And IT DESERVES IT.”
“SICK SICK SICK,” wrote still another. “What a filthy night this election is.”
In fact, as pointed out on CNN’s religion blog, the whole election was a “nightmare scenario” for conservative Christian leaders. Noting the approval of two same-sex marriage referenda, the re-election of a president who supported such marriages, and the rejection of hard-line anti-abortion candidates, CNN said the election results “seemed to mark a dramatic rejection of the Christian right’s agenda.”
“The historic nature of these results are hard to overstate,” Robert P. Jones, a pollster who specializes in politics and religion, told CNN regarding the referenda in Maine and Maryland. “Given the strong support of younger Americans for same-sex marriage, it’s unlikely this issue will reappear as a major national wedge issue.”
Non-Islamic domestic terrorism in the United States shot up in the wake of President Obama’s first election in 2008, spurred by fury over the “socialist” president and the racial change that he represents in the American population. Now, given the reaction from the radical right to last night’s election results, that seems likely to continue — or to get even worse, as racists and right-wing radicals seethe.
Joseph Farah, who runs the conspiracist “news” site WorldNetDaily, sounded typical. “I think things are going to get very tough in America over the next four years,” he said. “I expect more division, more stratification, maybe even the disintegration of the constitutional republic that was the envy of the world for so long. It’s time to hunker down. It’s time to prepare for the worst — economically, militarily, socially, culturally. The revolutionaries have won a major political victory. The America haters are running the country for another four years.
“That is not a pretty prospect.”
“OK, now we have all seen the writing on the wall, AGAIN!” wrote one person in a Stormfront post that seemed to capture the general feeling of helpless rage. “The question is, What are we going to do about it? What is our plan?”
Posted: 9 Nov 2012 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 9 November 2012, 14:38
"Just when you thought the race row in football couldn't get any worse".
Image courtesy of Paddy Power
Posted: 9 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 9 November 2012, 11:50
HOPE not hate will be out campaigning in the forthcoming by-election in Rotherham. We are calling a Day of Action of Saturday 17 November.
We are meeting at:
The Unity Centre
St Leonard's Road
Sign up to the event: http://action.hopenothate.org.uk/an-hour-for-rotherham
Rotherham has been in the news lately due to the issue of street grooming. The thugs of the English Defence League and National Front have both held marches in the town over the issue and our sources tell us that the BNP will make it the main focus of their campaign.
It is vital that we do not let the lies and distortions of the BNP go unchecked.
Street grooming is a serious and disgusting crime but the intervention of racist groups actually makes it harder to deal with the problem and provide the support and protection needed for our children. We need to explain to people that grooming is about misogyny and not race.
If you cannot make this date perhaps you would consider making a donation towards the . We need to raise £500 towards the cost of a tabloid newspaper. Can you chip in £5?
Lets make 17 November the day we send the race haters packing.
Posted: 9 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 8 November 2012, 00:11
By Eric O’Neill in Washington DC
Despite claims to the contrary, this election proves once again that white voters are signalling their willingness to trade in old-fashioned white supremacy for an inclusive American identity. Seconds after grudgingly predicting President Obama had won his re-election campaign, pundits quickly got to work on undermining his leadership. Stuck in a period reminiscent of the ‘60s, one television talking head after another proclaimed the President’s win as something dubious, simply because he did not win the majority of the white vote. They spoke with authority on the matter as if whiteness somehow provided a form of legitimacy on the election outcome and that other racial and ethnic background did not. Pitiful to watch and perhaps a sign that the media, along with the Republican Party, need to propel itself into the present if it hopes to remain relevant in the future.
Democrats haven’t won the majority of the white vote since the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. Why the media and Republicans expected Obama to validate his duties to the American people by doing something no Democratic Presidential candidate hasn’t done in nearly fifty years, smacks of the racial politics of old: a politic that seeks to create an unfair and unequal mandate for some, based on skin colour not historical precedence. Luckily for multiracial America there is a growing segment of whites who agree and are weighing in with their votes. Yes, Romney won the majority of the white vote but in the midst of a racially-charged campaign run by Republicans in hopes of derailing the first African American president, 40% of white voters unequivocally chose to cast their ballots for Barack Obama. In a country with a long history of racial discrimination and discord, that vote says something. In fact, Romney gained only 3% of votes over the total number of white votes that Republican John McCain won in 2008. This is interesting but not a seismic shift as claimed by pundits when one considers that 72 percent of the American electorate is white. At the end of the day it was simply bigoted investment with a very small return and although Republicans attempted to organise white voters into a virtually all-white political party, it was a failed attempt.
Many will argue that Romney has won more white votes than any other President but the fact is Obama continues to do better among white voters than either John Kerry or Al Gore were able to achieve in their respective campaigns. White male union members carried Obama in the state of Ohio. According to the AFL-CIO, Ohio union members increased their support for Obama by 5% over 2008. 83% of union members in Ohio are white.
Our Election Night and post-election polling in 2008 showed Obama winning 65% of the Ohio union vote, so even accounting for each poll’s margin of error, Obama currently is performing at least as well among Ohio members, if not better, than he did in 2008. Luckily for America it’s neither the media nor the Republican Party that drive this growing momentum towards a society where each person has access and opportunity. Instead a new American identity is taking root, one to which a large portion of whites are just as committed as everyone else.
It’s time to flip the script on whites and Obama.
Posted: 8 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 13:48
We came across this interesting video of a man abusing a gay couple on the train last weekend.
Posted: 7 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 06:05
By Eric O'Neill
It is now November 6th and President Barack Obama was declared the winner over 30 minutes ago. So what’s next? The Republican Party is left with no central leader to leader to lead the way forward. A clear divide exists between party extremists and the political realists who can do the electoral math. The Republican Party will now engage in an internal civil war. Already across the blogosphere white nationalists have declared war on the parties neo-conservative wing. Tea Party activists reeling from tonight’s defeats have already declared its intention of rebuffing the American public’s desire for political consensus.
The Republican Party is now left stranded on an politically isolated island of its own making and white nationalists believe that the way forward is by strengthening the party’s race-based agenda. Dangerous signals have appeared which show these extremists have found a constituency ready and willing to follow these pied pipers of division. The majority of white voters cast their ballots against Obama and so did senior citizens (who are also majority white). African American’s have long abandoned the Party and it now appears that Latinos and women are doing the same. In Arizona, the ground zero of the anti-immigrant movement, 77% of Latinos have given their to Obama. Latino support for Obama in Florida grew from 47% in 2008 to 60% in 2012.
There is still much to do. Supporters of human and civil rights will need to assure that the Obama administration takes its issues seriously. Anti-bigotry activists will need to compete for the constituency that white nationalists and other extremists seek to organize in a last ditch effort to maintain Republican race-based and bigoted politics. We will also need to prepare effective responses to those extremists who will now seek to trade political voting for political violence.
It will be important in the coming weeks to denounce attempts to undermine the legitimacy of this election by white nationalists, extremists, and even the mainstream media. They will argue, perhaps subtly, that Obama’s election is somehow suspect because he did not win the majority of the white vote. This is rhetoric tied to the politics of old, rooted in a white supremacist past. It is an assumption rooted in a fifty year backlash against the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and its time has now past.
Yesterday was a long day and tomorrow may be even longer. However for a new growing multiracial electorate it’s morning again in America, one where the majority of voters are dedicated to moving forward, together.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 02:11
Just heard from my friends at the AFL-CIO in Philadelphia about their massive GOTV operation they ran today. Their supporters knocked on 78,000 doors across the city today. Pretty unbelieveable.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 02:06
By Eric O'Neill
American’s like to claim that we are the defenders of individual rights both home and abroad. However over the last twenty years organized bigots have taken up the habit of attempting to strip away the fundamental rights of others through the election process through what are called “ballot measures.”
Tonight is no different and there are a number of ballot measures that seek to deny people the right to live, love, and work.
In Maryland, migrant rights supporters have spent countless days defying xenophobic organization attempting to deny the children of immigrants the right to attend college and university. U.S. citizens and immigrant youth joined together to deny this latest attempt to isolate and punish children simply because of the immigration status of their parents.
The anti-immigrant ballot measure is losing badly at this point. African Americans and allies who have defeated white supremacy twice in the United States during the Civil War and then the 1960s Civil Rights movement are standing shoulder to shoulder with immigrants.
According to the black civil rights organization The NAACP, recent battleground polling of African Americans shows 71% strongly support these immigrant youth. 93% of African Americans support national legislation that would allow these immigrants youth to attend college. Nationally, only Latinos come close to this level of support.
The poll also showed that most African Americans also support marriage equality for gays and lesbians. As each state begins to register its political party support this evening, the election map will begin to resemble the slave supporting Confederacy vs. the Union. African Americans and there abolitionist allies were critical in expanding democracy then and it is clear that they will likely play a role again tonight.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 23:38
By Eric O'Neill
Often after months of watching very small minded politicians scapegoat low income workers, immigrants, women, and minorities for votes it is easy to forget just how large the United States is. For those in the Europe even more so. For instance one could fit England into the U.S. 39 times and continental Europe over four times. Now that’s quite a lot of land mass.
If you are watching the election’s in the United States you should settle in because several time zones will have to be crossed before any major decisions are known. It is less than one hour until the first polls close on the east coast and I thought it would be useful to share those states you should keep an eye on for at least the first few hours (all times Eastern Standard). At 7:30 P.M. turn your attention to Virginia. At 7:30 P.M. the polls close in Ohio and North Carolina. North Carolina should fall to Romney but keep your eye by how much.
Early report indicate that early and absentee votes by Democrats were 53% vs. only 38% for Republicans. This is significant and independent voters will clearly decide what happens there. At 8:00 P.M. the polls will close in New Hampshire and Florida. Both important battleground states. The votes will be close. Can you say “potential recount” close for Florida? At 9:00 P.M. Colorado and Wisconsin close their polls and the votes in those states could very well point the way to who is the next President of the United States.
Get comfortable as we could be in for a long night. As you wait be sure to follow the latest antics of the white nationalist American Third Position Party. Its candidate for President, Merlin Miller is on the ballot in New Jersey, Tennessee, and Colorado. While no chance of winning it is a test of their strength in those states.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 23:04
Citizens of Boonsboro, Maryland, driving along one of the US’s main highways have found themselves confronted with a big real estate signboard containing racist and derogatory sentiments about President Barack Obama. Located at the intersection of U.S. Route 40 Alt. and MD 67, the semi-literate sign read:
OBAMA wants all your daughters to have an Abortion & Paid for by taxpayers because Unfortunately his Teenage Communist PORN STAR MOTHER could not get one!!!
At the bottom, daubed in black paint were the words, “Da Bro gotta GO!”
The roadside sign also calls on people to vote for Mitt Romney, comparing Romney to the late and very unlamented President Ronald Reagan while claiming Obama is a loser.
Republicans in Boonsbury have accused Democrats of planting the sign and claimed it was a ploy to make Republicans look bad on election day. Democrats, though, believe the sign is the work of an extremist Tea Party fringe group operating in heavily Republican Western Maryland. They claim the sign is an attempt to promote Tea Party extremism through often debunked lies and old-fashioned racism.
Claims of taxpayer funded abortions have become a key ingredient of conservative politics and loony claims of President Obama being variously a Muslim, Communist, Fascist, Socialist, and Marxist have persisted since the 2008 campaign, despite having been debunked by every fact check and the application of common sense.
The sign in Boonsboro was still standing on the morning of election day, no one having claimed responsibility for it.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 22:09
Our friends over at the Southern Poverty Law Center have produced this guide to extremist candidates standing in today's US elections.
It's worth having a look. It includes some real charmers, such as white supremacists, Tea Party supporters, anti-gay agitators, Muslim haters and anti-immigrant activists.
We will try to follow their fortunes during the evening.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 21:47
Florida must be up there with some of the corrupt and incompetent regimes in the world when it comes to holding elections. The administration is constantly doing everything it can to dissuade people from voting, well at least those who are likely to vote against them, and in the off chance that people do manage to make it to the polling station they are made to wait up to nine hours.
Now there is a new problem.
It would appear that the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections office mistakenly sent out more than 12,000 automatic calls telling voters they could cast their ballots as late as 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Among those receiving a call was Carole Crist, wife of former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.
I'm sure this was a genuine mistake but coming after a long list of other problems and election-rigging I can only say that elections out here are a total joke. The people of Florida deserve better.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 21:25
By Eric O'Neill
It’s well after noon on election day. The temperature is starting increase on what was a cold and crisp morning. It also appears the thermometer is rising in the State of Arizona.
For nearly a decade Arizona has been known as the Mississippi of immigrant rights movement. Hundreds of migrants die within its desolate deserts, white supremacists and armed paramilitary groups regularly patrol its borders, and the federal government there enthusiastically enforces policies that force all Latinos (many who are not immigrant) to live in fear and isolation.
Arizona is a stain on American domestic human rights but today’s good news is that this evenings vote results may begin to weave a new narrative for the state. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, well known for his anti-immigrant stance is facing reelection today. Arpaio has won previous elections with a significant portion of the vote but this year polls find him in a close race to keep his position. Latinos and others in Arizona have had enough and have been mobilizing the vote to oust Arpaio.
The word on the street is that Latinos and human rights supporters have been voting in record numbers. So much so that anti-Arpaio sentiment may carry broader repercussion for the state and the nation. Years of anti-Latino and anti-immigrant bigotry may cost the Republican Party control of a critical U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Jeff Flake.
Apparently the Flake campaign is worried enough that they are sending false get out of the vote messages to Democrats with the wrong polling places included. Apparently voter suppression may be the only way that the Republican Party, now taken over by xenophobes and other bigots, is able to maintain its power.
Will Arizona join America 2012 or continue to play the role of Mississippi 1960? Stay tuned!
Posted: 6 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 16:38
By Eric O’Neill
Like many others, I went to cast my vote for President this election morning. My polling station is the first public school in the city to be built for African Americans in the 1800s. Very symbolic for me as I join the growing line to vote. Inside it is chaos. The person standing beside me in the hallway remarks that they have never seen so many people in line this early. She predicts that there will be lines down the block this evening and from the growing lines. I think she will be right.
While I was waiting to submit my vote, the first electronic counting machine broke down taking vote of the person ahead of me with it. He is frustrated when informed that nothing can be done until maintenance arrives to fix it. I predict it will be hours from now. He will have to take a new ballot and get back in line.
Long lines and ballot problems are being reported in key swing states such as Virginia and Florida as well. The NAACP, a national civil rights organisation, reports that “computer problems” are hampering people’s ability to vote in those states and it’s still morning. The stakes are high in today’s elections.
In 1992, white nationalist Patrick J. Buchanan told Republicans at their political convention that a “culture war” was occurring for the soul of America. The long lines forming outside voting booths this morning tells me that the rest of American finally agrees. Now we wait to see what they intend to do about it.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 13:12
If American voters follow the advice of Thomas Peterffy they will sleep easier tonight. You see, Mr Peterffy has spent £12m of his personal fortune putting out an advert on US TV warning people that the United States is heading towards socialism. And he should know. As the following advert graphically says Peterffy grew up in Communist Hungary and he sees parallels with Obama's America.
So there you have it, Vote Obama and get socialism!
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 6 November 2012, 11:05
“Obama, Obama”, shouted the kids on the school bus trundling up Grand Avenue. It was a common refrain when people spotted our Obama badges and clipboards. People cheered and smiled and almost all had a word of encouragement.
Florida is a key swing state, though one that has been leaning Republican for much of this campaign. An Obama win here would end any hope of a Romney victory. And it is this simple calculation that is propelling the Democrat machine to devote so much time and energy to winning the Sunshine State.
At the local Obama campaign office, in Coconut Grove, on the southern side of Miami, Clint welcomes all newcomers. He breaks away from his computer to introduce himself and explain the campaign.
“It is about direct contact with voters,” he says purposefully. “Evidence shows that talking directly to people increases their likelihood of voting by 7%.” But he also stresses that the type of conversation is important. “We need to get people thinking about when they are going to vote, what time they are going to vote. If we can do this then they are more likely to vote.”
It is a speech he must have done hundreds of times. He seems wired, devoid of sleep. In the corner of the room Matt appears more relaxed and chilled out. His long shorts and open shirt a contrast to Clint’s smarter but slept-in look. Wanda, the third staff member here, is supervising four people who are telephone canvassing.
This is just one of 102 campaign offices the Obama team have dotted across Florida. And their aim is the same – to get out the vote.
Clint explains the importance of early voting. It is not just to put the numbers on the board but it is an opportunity to get those people who might not turn out on Election Day to get to the polls and cast their vote. The Obama campaign calls them “sporadic” voters and it is a term that Clint uses repeatedly.
After a five minute role-play we are ready to go. In addition to our Voter lists we have numerous leaflets and sign-up sheets to give out, depending on the answers we get. The most important of these is the ‘Commit to Vote’ form which we ask people to sign. “It is like getting people to make a promise to us that they will vote,” Clint explains. It’s just another way, so their research shows, of making people more likely to actually go out and vote.
There is certainly not the enthusiasm or excitement of 2008 but more of a feeling that they have to vote out of necessity. Even self-interest. “He doesn’t care about people like us,” one woman says, pointing to the neighbourhood around her.
The neighbourhood has been described to us as a ‘project’ – an estate of mainly social housing. It is made up of mainly one or two bedroom bungalows with the occasional two storey apartment complexes. The area is almost exclusively inhabited by African Americans and some live in real poverty. Not one person voices any support for Mitt Romney.
Poverty, race and gender is propelling these people to support Obama. Getting them to the polls seems to be the issue.
Women appeared to be the most determined to vote, both young and old. There were young women, not yet out of their teens, who seemed genuinely excited to be voting for the first time. There were older women, many of whom graphically remembered the days before blacks were given full voting rights, who were equally determined to cast their votes.
Lillie Terrell is 102 but she is not allowing her age and frail state to stop her from voting. She invites us in and talks of the importance of voting. “I’m going to vote,” she says purposefully. “My boy is going to help me vote. It is so important.”
At another door a young woman looks at us suspiciously. The door is virtually off its hinges and the cry of a young child occupies her attention, meaning she has little interest in talking. She heads back inside after taking a leaflet only to reappear a moment later. “My momma wants to talk to you.”
A woman, in her mid-40s, appears. She is friendly and knows her stuff. Romney would be a disaster for them, she says. By them, she means for black people, for women and the poor. She tells her daughter that she has to vote in no ambiguous terms.
The gender gap
The Democrats have made much of anti-abortion remarks of the Republicans and this has certainly struck a chord with so many of the women we spoke to. In fact, we were impressed by the political awareness of almost everyone we spoke too but I guess that shouldn’t be surprising given the saturation coverage on the news and cable channels, the back to back commercials and the almost daily mailings voters receive in the post.
The focus on women’s issues, especially abortion, might go some way to explaining the enthusiasm gap we encounter between men and women. The men we canvassed supported Obama but there was not the same passion or desire to vote. For some, of course, it was simply because they could not. Last year Republican Governor Rick Scott introduced legislation which meant a life-long ban on voting for anyone convicted of a felony crime. In Florida, this means that 1.3 million people, out of an electorate of 18 million, cannot vote. It disproportionally affects the poor and black communities – two groups that are likely to vote Democrat.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union 5.3 million Americans with criminal records cannot vote in this election. We met one man, Edward, who came out of prison in 2004 and was able to vote for Obama in 2008 but new Scott’s new legislation means he is unable to this time. He is understandably angry and he feels disenfranchised from the whole system.
The key to Obama winning this election appears to be women, both in the numbers who vote but also in cajoling males in the household to vote. Time and again women told us that they would make sure their partners and sons voted, sometimes in no uncertain terms. When we called at a bungalow asking for 20 year old Vernon we were told he was out at work. Not to worry, his mother told us, as she washed dishes while keeping an eye on her grandchildren. “I’m gonna make Vernon vote,” she said. “I’m gonna make that boy vote.”
It was sentiments we heard time and again.
The Obama campaign is always on the lookout for more activists and part of the Commit to Vote form people are asked to sign is to volunteer for the campaign. A few sign up but in this neighbourhood it appears that many feel too intimidated to get involved in the campaign. Madonna is one such woman. She is actively supporting the Obama campaign but does not want to get involved with the Obama operation. Instead she decorates her open door and window with a mixture of campaign posters and hand-written slogans.
“If ‘YOU’ do not vote do not complain”, reads one hand-written note on her door.
Inside, she is writing more posters but this time on health issues.
Air war v Ground war
Our Obama badges catch people’s attention everywhere we go. Obama supporters smile and engage while Republican voters withdraw suspiciously but politely. It seems weird that not a single other person in downtown Miami appeared to be wearing any political badges or stickers. This is a big contrast to 2008 when it was hard to walk down a street without seeing someone else with an Obama badge, sticker or hat. It is a sign of the times and only exemplifies the difficult job the Obama campaign has in mobilising their base.
The Democrats boast the most advanced ‘ground campaign’ in US history and signs of it are everywhere. On Sunday, the Democrats claimed that they had spoken to 125 million voters since the 2008 elections, vastly outnumbering the 55 million contacts the Republicans claim. Their ground campaign alone is costing them $300m and in each key swing state they have many times the number of campaign offices than their Republican counterparts. In addition to the campaign offices the Obama operation boast of an intense micro-targeting operation which allows them to send tailored messages to specific voters.
“The Republicans rely on the air war,” say Clint, in a reference to the vastly better resourced advertising effort they and their Super Pac friends have. “We have the sophisticated ground campaign.”
I just hope that for all the sophisticated targeting voters have not got so overwhelmed by all the campaign material, phone calls and door knocks that they have received that they are not turning off.
Race – never far away
In Macy’s department store, in downtown Miami, it is women again who are willing to engage. As I buy a pair of jeans, the woman behind the counter talks excitedly about rushing home every evening to watch MSNBC. She is really concerned about the threat to women’s rights under a Romney presidency.
Her views are shared by Michelle, another Macy worker. She is of Latino heritage and is equally appalled by the views of Republicans over abortion. She says that she is still undecided but will probably vote for Obama. She worries about the state of the economy but then recites her husband who tells her that it was too much to expect Obama to turn around the economic mess he inherited in just four years.
What more worries her is race. “There is still a lot of racism around here,” she says. “I see it around me. I see it everywhere. America is still a racist country.”
And this seems an underpinning factor in this election. For all Obama’s talk in 2008 of post-racial America the truth seems quite the opposite. A poll, released last week by Associated Press and conducted by GfK Custom Research, revealed that 51% of Americans expressed “explicit anti-black attitudes”. This compared with 48% who answered the same question in 2008. A greater number, 57%, expressed anti-Hispanic views, again up from 52% four years ago.
And race is never far from the surface in this campaign.
I will go into this in more detail in future blogs, and some of the racist actions and campaign tactics of particular candidates, but for now I would like to end by looking at some of the voter suppression tactics being used here in Florida. It is truly extraordinary that in a country that boasts of its democratic principles its elected politicians can gerrymander and seemingly cheat their way to victory. Sometimes this is done openly, through legislation, and on other occasions it is done through secret front groups and anonymous organisations. Either way, the end result is to limit the ability of their opponent’s supporters to vote. And invariably African American and Hispanic voters are the main targets.
I’ve already mentioned how Republican Governor Rick Scott changed the law to prevent felons from ever voting. That is just the beginning of his shenanigans. He has reduced early voting from 14 days to just 8, and most importantly removed the chance of vote on a final Sunday. In 2008 Obama won Florida by turning out the African American community in huge numbers. One of the most successful tactics used was the ‘Souls to the Polls’ campaign, where churches would bus congregations to the polls after Sunday service. And so to prevent this happening again, Scott simply scrapped Sunday voting.
People are now having to queue for up to nine hours to vote and of course the longest queues are in the poorest areas. At one polling booth, in a Democratic stronghold, so many people turned up to vote that the office staff were so overwhelmed they simply closed the polling station down.
But that is not all. Households with Hispanic sounding names in Florida have been getting seemingly official letters questioning their citizenship and reminding people that voting fraud could lead to imprisonment. In the area I was canvassing, African Americans were receiving phone calls telling them that they could now vote over the phone and so save them the trouble of going to the polls. The Governor’s office promises tough action if the identity of those behind these abuses are found but no-one is holding their breath.
This picture is being repeated in other parts of the country too. People are getting told to vote on Wednesday, while others are being directed to different polling stations. Again, the target of most of these cases are African Americans and Hispanics. In several states it has been reported that Tea Party activists will be stationed at polling booths in heavy African American areas supposedly to prevent voter fraud.
CSI New York star Hill Harper dropped in to the Coconut Grove campaign office a few days ago to drum up support and enthusiasm for Obama. He was an old school friend of Obama’s and has been active on the campaign trail in recent weeks. “In 2008 it was historic,” he told the crowd. “In 2012 it is personal.”
The voters go to the polls today and we will soon know who the next President of the United States will be. The people of Coconut Grove, who I canvassed, will be hoping that it is President Obama. However, nothing in these elections can be taken for granted. In addition to Mitt Romney, and the hundreds of millions of dollars that is flowing into the coffers of the Super Pacs, these voters are up against a system that is stacked against them. And it is a system where racism and big money thrive.
The polls show Obama with a slim lead. I hope they are right. But we shouldn’t celebrate victory just yet as his opponents really will do just about anything to win.
Posted: 6 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 5 November 2012, 19:28
Hnh is again displaying the poppy – the UK’s symbol of collective remembrance – in memory of the 535,000 civilians and members of the armed services of the Commonwealth who gave their lives in the struggle against fascism, antisemitism and racism in WWII.
We honour their sacrifice by continuing the war against all forms of hate and prejudice and intolerance today.
Posted: 5 Nov 2012 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 4 November 2012, 13:36
Yorkshire HOPE not hate is calling a day of action on Saturday 17 November in Rotherham ahead of the parliamentary by-election, which is likely to be held 29 November.
In addition to the far right candidates, we are also likely to see Respect standing, with Yvonne Ridley being rumoured to be their candidate.
More details about our day of action will be released very soon.
Posted: 4 Nov 2012 | There are 4 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 4 November 2012, 12:59
Today’s Sunday Mirror carries a fascinating poll which reveals fans' disgust at football's racism and violence.
“Supporters say they are fed up with behaviour of millionaire stars on the pitch and abusive people in the stands,” say the Sunday Mirror.
Two-thirds back new measures to deal with footballers who direct their foul-mouthed abuse at referees and to punish those guilty of violent behaviour or blatant cheating but a worryingly 57 per cent of fans think racism will NEVER be removed from football.
Almost two-thirds of respondents supported harsher action against those found guilty of racism.
To read the full story:
Posted: 4 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Sunday, 4 November 2012, 11:07
Nick Griffin last night announced that the BNP candidate for the forthcoming Rotherham by-election is going to be Marlene Guest.
As I wrote in my blog yesterday, the BNP is seeing the forthcoming by-election as its best short-term hope of reversing its sliding fortunes. An MP forced to resign after being caught fiddling expenses, deep-rooted economic deprivation and a scandalous cover-up of sexual abuse of young girls give the BNP plenty of ammunition for the campaign.
While the BNP is also contesting Manchester Central and Corby, it is Rotherham that we will be hearing Nick Griffin talk most about over the coming weeks.
However, they might not have it all their own way. HOPE not hate understands that there will be plenty of other far right groups standing, including the English Democrats and possibly even Britain First.
Posted: 4 Nov 2012 | There are 6 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 3 November 2012, 13:55
I spent this morning campaigning up in Luton where anti-fascists were out delivering leaflets against British Freedom Party candidate Kevin Carroll, who is standing in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
Of course most people would never have heard of the BFP so our strategy has been to link Carroll to the English Defence League, of which he is deputy leader. I think our hardhitting leaflet helped do just that and we had a great reception on the doorstep.
There were 14 of us out in Luton today and we covered the bulk of one ward. Another three people took boxes of leaflets to put out in their own area, including one man who has promised to do the whole of one ward himself.
There was another team out in Bedford today and several others, dotted around the county, have offered to distribute bundles of between 500-2,000 in their localities.
There was a really good spirit of comradeship today and it was great to see HOPE not hate activists working together with UAF activists.
Elsewhere, we had another 15 people out in Manchester, campaigning against the BNP in a council and parliamentary by-election. So far Jason and his team have put over 5,500 leaflets in just two days.
If you would like to get involved in our campaigns in Bedfordshire, Manchester or Corby then please drop me a line at email@example.com
Posted: 3 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 3 November 2012, 05:49
Nick Griffin's BNP is under real pressure at the moment, especially with the latest news that Andrew Brons is about to launch a rival far right party. The BNP is contesting three parliamentary by-elections but they are unlikely to make any serious impact. Poor results will only further depress their activists.
However, an impending parliamentary by-election in Rotherham might just come in the nick of time.
Caused by yesterday's resignation of Denis MacShane, the Rotherham election is likely to be the BNP's best hope of a respectable result. MacShane's resignation was triggered by a complaint over his expenses put in by the BNP; the BNP have a base in the area and once had two councillors; and, probably most importantly, Rotherham has hit the headlines recently over a scandalous child sex grooming cover-up.
Obviously the by-election hasn't been called yet but I'm guessing that it will be later this year as the Labour Party will want to get it out of the way as soon as possible.
Of course, what will be most interesting is if Andrew Brons' new party, the True Brits, would stand as well. That really would throw down a challenge to the BNP. I would hazard a guess that they will chicken out of a contest as the political damage of them getting electorally thumped by the BNP will do them no good in the long term. However, if they are serious about replacing the BNP as the main far right party then they have to gamble on electoral contests such as these.
I've already been in contact with HOPE not hate in Yorkshire and we will be running a serious campaign here. More information on this soon
Posted: 3 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 2 November 2012, 21:58
HOPE not hate activists are out and about around the country this weekend. We got off to a flyer in Mnachester this afternoon where we delivered 2,650 leaflets in Ardwick ward. The BNP is contesting this ward in a council by-election and it also fits into the Manchester Central parliamentary by-election.
Another 1,300 leaflets were taken by supporters who live in Hulme and Moss Side, two more wards in Manchester Central.
Over the next ten days HOPE not hate activists will be looking to deliver 25,000 leaflets across the Manchester Central constituency.
Posted: 2 Nov 2012 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 2 November 2012, 17:04
As the Andrew Brons camp look set to announce their new fascist party, Nick Griffin is trying to put a positive spin on the BNP conference which is being held in Blackpool this weekend.
Griffin is claiming that it is going to be bigger and better than last year and that there is going to be some very exciting news announced.
While that "exciting" news might be actually made by the Brons camp, Griffin is promoting the pack the few delegates turning up will receive. They might well be disappointed though, as the pack seems it is simply a sample of recent leaflets and a couple of tacky items from the merchandise rack. Hardly the stuff worthy of Britain's fourth largest political as Griffin still likes to boast.
Let's hope, for Griffin's sake, that his delegates don't go home with material from supporters of the new party as it seems they will be in Blackpool too.
Posted: 2 Nov 2012 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments