You are viewing blog items for February 2014.
posted by: Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop | on: Thursday, 27 February 2014, 15:09
Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop
Central and Eastern European migrants living in UK are self-organising ahead of the 2014 EU elections. When asked why did they not work together at the last EU elections, their leaders unanimously agree that coordinated support for the campaign was triggered by the unprecedented hate media which scapegoated them for all the ills in British society and by the Prime Minister’s proposals to stop in-work child benefits for migrants working in Britain and redefining altogether what a “worker” is.
The Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian communities in the UK have also been joined by some of the UK’s largest and more established European diasporas — the Italians, the Spanish and the Germans — all of whom feel very strong about the need to stand up and help defeat Eurosceptic, populist or xenophobic candidates and parties in the May election. There are talks about engaging the French, Greek, Hungarian and Slovak communities as well. In all, these angry and frustrated EU nationals account for 2.4 million EU migrants contributing to the British economy and society, people willing to come out and vote for HOPE, for Our Britain.
The Federation of Poles in Great Britain have already engaged the Polish community with letters stating: “This may be your last chance to vote in Britain” and “Your future and that of your family, community and friends may depend on it”.
Oana Romoncea, a spokesperson for the Romanian community told HOPE not hate: “In the past few weeks, the Romanian Cultural Centre has approached over 100 key contacts in the Romanian student organisations, diasporic media, churches and cultural organisations in the UK asking them to mobilise for voter registration and turn out. This year's European Parliamentary elections will find the largest number of Romanian citizens living, working or studying in another EU country. It is essential that these Romanian citizens are aware of their right to vote in the country where they are currently residing and are familiar with the necessary procedures for voter registration. This information will enable them to exercise this key democratic right of taking part in elections”.
The Federation of Poles in Great Britain have officially joined forces with the Romanian Cultural Centre in London, the Federation of Italian Associations in the UK and the New Europeans civil project to mobilise EU citizens residing in the UK to vote in the Local and European elections. The EU Migrants Voter Registration Drive launch took place last night.
But even before this, there were signs of the Romanian and Bulgarian migrant communities self-organising against the tidal wave of hate coming their way. At the end of last year, Dr. Tommy Tomescu and Mr. Emil Rusanov set up the Alliance Against Romanian and Bulgarian Discrimination (AARBD). Dr. Tomescu, a Romanian dentist working in the UK since 2010, feels that the British people are very tolerant and an open minded society, but that the media and too many politicians “decided that is best to act in their self-interest and obtain a short political gain, even if on the long term they will hurt the UK interest by portraying the country as an unfair place. The history has shown us that the politicians which are having as an electoral strategy the denigration of a group of people will end losing on the long term.”
The campaign has received significant media coverage and support from the two communities, but has also been approached by other Central and Eastern European communities who want to protest together against the discrimination they are all facing. However, there is evidence of far-right Polish elements wanting to climb on board the campaign. This is a chilling reminder of how active right wing extremist forces are across Europe, both in terms of political parties and grassroots movements, with less than 3 months to go until the elections. It highlights just how important the voter mobilisation and turn out of all those who want to Say NO to hate and fear, and choose HOPE, in Britain and Europe, really is.
Posted: 27 Feb 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 14 February 2014, 12:34
We are sorry to inform HOPE not hate supporters that the lecture that Czech Roma organiser and activist Ivanka Concova was scheduled to deliver at the Wiener Library on 18 February has had to be cancelled because of injuries sustained when Ivanka was attacked by racists.
3 March 2014:
It has been reported by Ivanka Concova that she was not the victim of a racist attack but that the incident in which she suffered injuries was a case of common assault.
Posted: 14 Feb 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 12 February 2014, 18:00
In 100 days our country will vote on UKIP's xenophobic agenda. That means we have just 100 days to fight the lies and fear they're peddling.
We've created a 100-Day plan stop them from filling the European Parliament with their anti-migrant and scapegoating agenda, and this plan has a role for each of you.
So, here are the top 5 steps of the Plan (believe it or not the full list is longer):
1. Fight the headlines -- UKIP's anti-migrant scare tactics already fill our newspapers, and they're only getting worse. Your donation supports our rapid rebuttal team whose job it will be to expose their lies.
2. Spread the hope -- Britons deserve to know what a vote for UKIP really means. Just £15 will pay for 1,000 leaflets outlining their fear-filled agenda and £100 is enough to fund 500,000 online ads.
3. Empower the next generation -- Your support will fund Campus Call Outs at dozens of universities where we'll register and mobilise student voters.
4. Celebrate the real Britain -- Our diverse culture deserves to be celebrated. Help us fight anti-migrant rhetoric with a campaign that celebrates the many faces of real Britain.
5. Get out the vote -- Make sure everybody has a voice on Election Day. We're working with faith-based and community groups to ensure every eligible citizen is ready and able to cast their vote on May 22.
Together, we will defend multiracial Britain against UKIP's threatening politics and the media's lies. Donate to our 100-Day Plan now:
Thank you for your support,
Posted: 12 Feb 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 10 February 2014, 10:15
Just had this report in from our group in Leicester about work they did last week on campus:
"Last week the University of Leicester’s HOPE not hate Society were encouraging students to use their vote to keep hate groups such as the BNP out of office.
From a stall in their union, the society assisted students with filling out registration forms, provided details on local candidates and even convinced some students to join in the local campaign!
Even a young school boy on a university tour decided to take a leaflet, seemingly impressed with our message of a community standing together.
Apathy and resentment towards voting can be all too common, something the far right knows and routinely exploits. But to see so many people registering and hearing our message of HOPE was infinitely encouraging! In the European Parliamentary elections, where the average voter turnout is around 34%, just convincing people to go and vote can make a huge difference!
Whilst this is one step in a long campaign to oust the hate groups from British politics, this can definitely be seen as a positive sign that people are willing to say no to hate in Leicester!"
Posted: 10 Feb 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 7 February 2014, 20:33
As the Winter Olympics in Sochi begins, HOPE not hate joins with other freedom of expression, gay rights organisations and international authors in calling for repeal of Russia's oppressive anti-gay and blasphemy laws.
Some will say sport should never be mixed with politics, but as during the years of apartheid, sometimes sport becomes political – particularly when it is cynically used by oppressors as a means to gild their 'crown' and divert attention from repression and state-sanctioned hatred.
Like all sports fans, we hope that Sochi will go ahead: but we hope, too, that the peoples of the world will unite and make sponsors, and the Russian President alike, take note when we say "no to hate". Already US games sponsor, AT&T, has voiced its opposition to Putin's controversial "gay propaganda" restrictions.
Join us as the Games begin, and join past and present Olympians (in the Principle 6 campaign) who are calling for a repeal of Russia's anti-gay laws now.
Posted: 7 Feb 2014 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 7 February 2014, 18:22
After last week's really successful, if intensive, four day HOPE camp in Barcelona, which attracted 26 anti-racist leaders from across Europe, our organisers are back on the road this weekend.
Carlos Saavedra is currently in Greece with Burnley HOPE not hate organiser Jason Hunter, running training sessions for anti-fascists and migrant leaders. Tomorrow, Carlos sets off to Hungary where he will be joined by our organiser Elisabeth Pop, where they will together run a training session for a dozen leaders in Budapest.
Meanwhile, Hazel is in Spain, attending a weekend training event for Spanish anti-fascist and anti-racist groups.
Back in the UK, our North West team are holding a weekend of action across the region, with leafleting events in 10 local authority areas. Local HOPE not hate groups will also be out in the East and West Midlands and the Eastern region. Meanwhile, our Yorkshire organiser Paul, will be representations HOPE not hate at a meeting of Romanian organisations who are beginning to organise ahead of the European Elections.
Posted: 7 Feb 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Matthew Collins | on: Friday, 7 February 2014, 12:15
The British National Party (BNP), was rocked last month when one of their few remaining Scottish activists was sent to prison for torturing a number of women and an underage female that he had relationships with over a number of years.
They were all pregnant at the time that James Boyd attacked them. The BNP did not say a word about the shocking case, however. Not a word. They never do.
Scotland is hardly a happy hunting ground for the BNP. Another of their senior activists in the region is a notorious sex tourist who sickens even BNP members. He was recently sacked from his job at a night club because, well, he sickens most other people too.
If being synonymous with sex monsters and race-mixing sex-tourists was not enough for the BNP in Scotland, they also spawned the uniform wearing plonker Gary Raikes.
Back in 2012 their then Scottish organiser David Orr, was forced to stand down after claiming his electoral incompetence was due to the authorities moving the date of the elections to confuse him. He managed to hang on to the title for another year almost until somebody else there wanted the job.
Posted: 7 Feb 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 6 February 2014, 10:04
Former Nick Griffin lackey and ex-Sevenoaks BNP councillor Paul Golding has been desperately trying to raise his profile again.
In fact, he’s been trying to copy his arch-rival Anjem Choudary, the Islamist extremist who we’ve exposed in our report Gateway to Terror, by running what he falsely calls a ‘Christian Patrol’ in London’s historic East End.
That’s if you call Christianity drinking beer on the street, looking for a fight, and harassing bemused passers-by with incoherent, Islamophobic rants dreamed up in your bedsit.
In a laughably sad, yet hate-filled video, Golding and a few of his drunken pals from the shambolic, Muslim-obsessed Britain First filmed themselves swigging cans of Stella and shouting into the faces of locals on Brick Lane last Friday, before driving around in army-style snatch Land Rovers (before running away from mosque worshippers). This was in an (apparent) attempt to pass themselves off as ‘Christians’, looking for a fight with so-called ‘Muslim Patrols’.
Presumably no-one told Golding that the (all three of them) members of the Muslim Patrols, who harassed several people in the area last January, were all arrested and imprisoned some time ago: partly thanks to the swift effort of local Muslims and the East London Mosque (and no thanks to Golding or the EDL, who also seem obsessed with the area). As Golding knows well, because he spends enough time stalking him, the Muslim Patrols were linked to Choudary’s hate group al-Muhajiroun, and not to any mosque.
Quite what the local Christians make of this sordid stunt is another matter. Many have excellent relations with the local mosques and Muslim community, and don’t need to turn up worse for wear and shaking their fists at the sky in order to pray.
Golding and his backer Jim Dowson, the former anti-abortion extremist, Loyalist and BNP bankroller who was most recently causing trouble at the flag protests in Northern Ireland, must be hoping the media takes notice of their sordid activity. Britain First has been disappearing into irrelevance, alongside the BNP and EDL, as the British Far Right collapses and its vote transfers into parts of UKIP. Despite their attempts to write to mosques and label them as ‘Muslim groomers’, no-one (apart from their band of Nazi rejects, too extreme even for former EDL leader Stephen Lennon) is listening.
The sad truth for Golding and Dowson is that violence turns voters off. Extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric has led to a surge in anti-Muslim attacks over the last year: attacks which usually affect Muslim women more than men, and have led to three bombs against mosques and a murder. And it can end up with a Breivik. It’s pretty clear from his recent videos that Golding holds something of a flame for Anjem Choudary, too (with whom he seems obsessed, filming himself harassing his brother, etc). He’s already on bail for protesting outside Choudary’s house.
We say that the two extremists need each other more than we – the many normal Britons – need them. No self-respecting Christian or Muslim would want anything to do with either Choudary or Golding. Without each other, they would be irrelevant. We’ve already ensured that Golding’s inspiration, the Muslim-hating Pam Geller and Robert Spencer in the USA, are banned from entering the UK.
HOPE not hate will stand firm with the local communities in east London in rejecting this hatred. We will ensure that the threat of violence, and thuggish intimidation, however cartoonish, won’t work for Britain First – which by its pathetic actions is actually putting Britain ‘last’.
Posted: 6 Feb 2014 | There are 5 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop | on: Wednesday, 5 February 2014, 14:41
Guest Blog by Elisabeth Pop
Few people know that the Government has passed the Electoral Registration and Administration Act last year, with terrible consequences on the ability of some electors to engage in the democratic process. From this summer, Individual electoral registration will replace the registration as a household. It will require every elector in Britain who wishes to exercise their right to vote to apply individually to join the register. The Government itself and various watchdogs agree that up to a quarter of the electorate might thus slip under the radar.
One particularly vulnerable group of voters are students and young people, those aged between 18 and 24 years old, who are already a demographic partially disengaged from the electoral process – a ComRes survey has recently found that 24% of 18 to 21 year olds had never registered to vote and as many as 800,000 young adults could have already been disenfranchised across the UK.
To stop a generation of voices from being lost, the National Union of Students has today joined forces with Bite the Ballot to empower all young voters to vote through the first ever National Voter Registration Day (#NVRD), which aims to get 250,000 people signed up to the electoral roll.
You can read more about it here http://bitetheballot.co.uk/nvrd/
HOPE not hate is in the process of organising dozens of events across the UK between 3 and 7 March during our HNH Campus Call Out Week. We believe it is extremely important to help students register to vote and to fill the gap left by mainstream political parties. After seeing politicians’ promises so blatantly broken on tuition, the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance and now, proposals to remove job seekers’ benefit entitlement from young people, no wonder Toni Pearce, NUS President, thinks young people are likely to have had their faith in voting undermined.
By helping students and young people regain their voice in the electoral process and by mobilising them to registering en masse, we too hope this generation can populate the political landscape of the UK with a powerful force that politicians will ignore at their peril.
Have you registered to vote? If not, just spare 3 minutes of your time and follow this link https://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register_to_vote/electoral_registration_applica.aspx
Posted: 5 Feb 2014 | There are 3 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 4 February 2014, 17:54
HOPE not hate is pleased to announce that it will host, in conjunction with the prestigious Wiener Library, a meeting on the situation facing the Roma population in the Czech Republic.
The meeting will take place on Tuesday 18 Feb 2014, commencing at 6.30pm and the guest speaker will be Ivanka Conková.
Ivanka Conková is an independent Czech Roma educationalist and activist living in Prague,the capital of the Czech Republic.
Trained as a teacher at the University of Pilsen, Ivanka also studied at Prague's Theatre Academy. Now an organiser in the Roma community, she works for the NGO Konexe and is centrally engaged in the 'We Block! Project' which opposes neo-fascism and anti-Zyganism.
In parts of the Czech Republic, the Roma population lives in a state of siege due to nazi and racist gangs. The town of Ostrava, in particular, has been the scene of pogroms where Roma people have been subjected to terror by violent racist mobs.
In her lecture at The Wiener Library, which is her first in the UK, Ivanka will report on the frightening situation faced by Roma in her community.
Admission is free but booking is essential as space is limited.
To register for the event, please go to http://www.wienerlibrary.co.uk/Whats-On?item=119 and follow the links.
Posted: 4 Feb 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Guest blog by Elisabeth Pop | on: Monday, 3 February 2014, 16:10
Guest Blog by Elisabeth Pop
The EU elections are just around the corner and the threat of racist, fascist and xenophobic parties from across Europe jointly securing the highest number of votes at the fast approaching EU elections is both very real and extremely worrying.
Consequently, HOPE not hate has brought together, for a strategic meeting and training, non-party campaigners, civil rights activists, experienced community workers and journalists from the UK, Spain, Sweden, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Belgium and Greece.
The HOPE not hate & Movement Mastery training was delivered by Carlos Saavedra, National Coordinator of United We Dream. Carlos and his organisation were instrumental in persuading President Obama to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented young Latinos in the US – the DREAM Act.
The HOPE Camp focused first of all on a joint strategy to mobilise voters to take a stand against the rhetoric and politics of racist, fascist and xenophobic parties across the EU. This pan-European progressive strategy, tailored to the individual context of the EU nations present at the camp, will hopefully reduce the number of far right, racist and populist MEPs that will secure seats in the European Parliament come 25 May.
We also shared best practice stories on how organizing against odds can work, how we can form teams, build groups, tell stories of hope, instead of letting hate and fear write history and shape local communities and national policies in our place. But more importantly we all left with a clear strategy on how to empower progressive voters and mobilise apathetic ones with less than four months to go until the EU elections. This is just the first step in gaining confidence to organise in some challenging contexts, such as Greece and Hungary, but also a reminder to us all of how important it is to stand up to fear and hate and kick start social movements across Europe that celebrate diversity and offer hope now, and in the years to come.
We will keep you updated on the progress of actions and campaigns undertaken part of the HOPE for Europe movement and on how the HOPE not hate message and practice is growing roots in people’s hearts and minds, across Europe.
Posted: 3 Feb 2014 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments