HOPE not hate


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Online Abuse - Can we really Reclaim the Internet?

posted by: Freya Ballard | on: Thursday, 28 July 2016, 13:39

Reclaim the Internet

Reclaim the Internet

HOPE not hate Research Intern Freya Ballard reports on the recent Reclaim the Internet conference. HOPE not hate is committed to this new initiative to work out solutions to defeating online hate.

The internet is an essential part of modern life and can be a positive source for promoting change, connecting individuals and ideas. Despite this many people, especially women and minority groups, find the internet can also be a source of abuse when they participate in public debate. Sometimes these abusers are critical of their views but often individuals find themselves subjected to misogynistic or xenophobic threats and harassment.

While many believe that abuse should be ignored or abusers blocked, the internet is a public sphere from which many people cannot remove themselves for a range of personal and professional reasons. More importantly, individuals should not have to; all members of a free and open society should be able to express themselves online without fearing abuse and harassment.

Reclaim the Internet is a campaign created to combat this abuse and ensure the internet is a space in where voices of all opinions and backgrounds can be heard safe from threat. On July 18th the campaign launched with a conference which brought together media and technology corporations, campaign groups, trade unions, politicians and the legal sector to discuss ways in which we can tackle online abuse. These included representatives from Facebook and Twitter as well as Hope not hate and cross-party MP’s including Yvette Cooper and Maria Miller.

Recently The Guardian revealed that of their top ten contributors receiving the most abuse within the comment sections of articles, eight were women and two were black men. Online abuse can be an effective tool to exclude minority groups from public discourse both on and offline. While abusers often argue that free speech should allow them to say whatever they want, online harassment laws still apply and it is clear steps must be taken to combat it.

Visible abuse online can push individuals away from areas of interest and prevent them from reaching their potential; a seventeen-year-old member of GirlGuiding’s advocacy team recently revealed that she had been dissuaded from entering politics as a career after witnessing the level of misogynistic abuse that female MPs are subject to on twitter. Online abuse of female MPs has been a particularly notable issue recently; Labour MPs have petitioned the party to be more active in fighting the problem as Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, presented 96 pages of abuse she received. Twitter is the most visible platform for misogynistic abuse; a study by Demos recently found that in a three-week period over 10,000 targeted misogynistic tweets were sent on the site to 6,500 users.

Examples of the abusive tweets that female MPs have been subjected to

Examples of the abusive tweets that female MPs have been subjected to

Young girls are particularly vulnerable to online abuse, with GirlGuiding uncovering the fact that 45% of 11-16-year-old girls have experienced cyber bullying, in part due to the high levels of social media use among young people. Crucially for these young people online interactions are a huge part of their social lives and the damage caused by abuse can have lasting consequences.

While the path to end online abuse and cybercrime is not clear, Reclaim the Internet’s conference emphasised the need for a broad approach as well as collaboration between different stakeholders. While social media platforms can clamp down on abusers and the police force can allocate further resources towards prosecuting those who break the law online, this alone will not stop cyber abuse.

Education, especially focused on young people, is necessary in order to combat abuse at its source. While a threatening or abusive tweet can be easily deleted or blocked the greatest challenge will come from teaching people the values of respect that are important for free and open discussion in society. Online debate can promote positive, meaningful change but for this to become a reality it is crucial that no voice is silenced due to fear of harassment and abuse.

While Reclaim the Internet is still working on its official platform it is a movement that, as hate crimes rise, has the potential to be hugely significant. The conference showed that there is a widespread desire from change amongst a range of groups to combat the abuse faced online and that the momentum exists among everyone from activists, politicians and law enforcement to enable positive action against online abuse.

 Posted: 28 Jul 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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How the EU Referendum has divided Britain

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Wednesday, 20 July 2016, 06:35

It will probably come as no surprise to you that Britain is a more divided country as a consequence of the EU Referendum campaign. But now we have the evidence.

Research commissioned by HOPE not hate and conducted by the pollsters Populus, has found an increasingly polarised society.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of those polled believe Britain is more divided as a result of the Referendum vote and more people think there are more tensions between communities than when asked the same question in February.

I've written up our polling research. You can read it here:


To respond to this growing division in society HOPE not hate is launching a #MoreInCommon campaign in order to bring our communities back together and we have designated the weekend of 3/4 September to hold events across the width and breadth of the UK.

The highlight of this weekend will be a large community festival in Batley & Spen, where Jo Cox was the local MP.

There also will be events across the UK, some large-scale, like a food festival in central Bradford, but others much smaller and more localised initiatives, like a community picnic in Greenwich.

Our latest Fear and HOPE report shows the urgency of the #MoreInCommon camapign. Those most opposed to immigration and a multicultural society were the most pessimistic about the future when we conducted our 2016 Fear and HOPE poll in February.

Now, having overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU, these people are now the most optimistic about the future. By a huge margin they believe that both their economic fortunes are going to improve and that the Government will be able to drastically limit immigration.

If this doesn't happen - as it's unlikely to - then these voters will be very angry and let down and they will be looking for someone to blame.

So we must be ready and our #MoreInCommon campaign is the perfect way to start . On Thursday I will explain more about our weekend of action in early September and how you can get involved and together we can start healing the divisions in society.

In the meantime, please read our report into our divided Britain.


 Posted: 20 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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David Hopper – a grievous loss

posted by: Graeme Atkinson | on: Sunday, 17 July 2016, 12:52

Dave Hopper (second from left) at 100th anniversary of the disaster at Senghenydd Colliery in 2013 when 439 men and boys were killed

Dave Hopper (second from left) at 100th anniversary of the disaster at Senghenydd Colliery in 2013 when 439 men and boys were killed

Yesterday, we lost Dave Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association (DMA).

Dave, a supporter of HOPE not hate, represented so much. A marra to the marrow, he was cut from the hard rock above Durham’s deep seams of coal and was everything admirable about Durham pitmen: proud of his heritage, personally generous, unselfish, full of solidarity with others, anti-racist, internationalist, unflinching, loyal and stubborn in the cause of the working class and the mining communities.

His hostility to capitalism was relentless and limitless and his commitment to socialism, was boundless. He didn’t like fascism much, either, as was demonstrated by his presence at anti-fascist protests in the north east and by when, without hesitation, he and the DMA locked horns with Sunderland AFC after its, thankfully, shortlived appointment of the self-declared fascist Paolo Di Canio as club manager.

The awesome history of the Great Northern Coalfield, especially Durham, ran through Dave's veins and lived through them. We shall not see his like again.

I did not know Dave Hopper well but knew him enough – in the first place meeting him through a shared love of the Durham miners’ club, Sunderland AFC – to say this:

Dave Hopper’s loss is grievous. He was unique as a trade union leader, head and shoulders above those who make intrigue their life’s purpose. Dave was different. He knew he was answerable to better judges: his union, its members, the mining community and the working class.

When coal mining ended at his own pit, Monkwearmouth, in 1993, where he and others had led the momentous and bitter struggles of 1984-1985 and beyond, Dave and his comrades in the DMA and the Durham Mechanics determined that our traditions and memories were not just going to be allowed to fade.

And, they didn’t. Dave, his comrades and the DMA applied themselves intelligently to this huge task.

We see the results today. The DMA is still alive.

We saw the results just over a week ago: the Durham Miners’ Gala was the biggest and most successful since the halcyon days of the Durham coalfield. The pits are no longer there but their banners are, a magnificent expression of steadfastness and remembrance.

So much of this was down to Dave Hopper and we shall forever be in his debt.

In other circumstances, the final march of the brave heroes and heroines of the International Brigades through Barcelona on 1 November 1938, Dolores Ibárruri (“La Pasionaria”) bade them farewell with the words: “You can go with pride. You are history. You are legend. You are the heroic example of the solidarity and the universality of democracy… We will not forget you.

Dave Hopper, too, made history and will always be a legend. And we shall certainly never forget him.

With sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones.

Salud, Dave!

Graeme Atkinson for HOPE not hate

 Posted: 17 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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“For optimism. Always.”

posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 15 July 2016, 14:53

I woke up this morning to hear the awful news of yet another terrorist attack in France. 84 more families will today be grieving.

Today, Jo Cox's funeral will be finally taking place. Another family grieving. Another great loss.

It is easy to lose hope with each passing tragedy. It becomes tempting to think that all of our good work can be so easily undermined and overturned by one act of violence or terrorism.

But that is what those who spread hatred want and that in itself should motivate us to redouble our efforts.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been amazed at the resilience of the British people and their determination to overcome fear and hate in their communities. Record numbers of people have been turning up to our #MoreInCommon meetings, most getting involved for the first time.

Dozens of new HOPE not hate groups are forming across the country and, more importantly, events are already being organised to bring communities together.

We have dozens more meetings happening over the next few weeks. Please sign up to one near you:


Even if you nearest meeting has happened, please still sign up. In some areas we already follow up planning meetings taking place so we can easily plug you in with your local group.

Over 260 people have also contacted us offering to help set up meetings in towns where events have so far not been organised and setting up more meetings all the time.

Let me know if you would like to help set up a HOPE not hate meeting in your area.


Next week we will be suggesting ways we can all bring our neighbours and communities together.

But today, let's pause for a moment and think about those who have lost their lives to terror. Please spare a thought for Jo Cox's family and also for the families of all those who died last night in France.

I'd like to end this email by quoting a tweet sent out this morning by my good friend Kirsty McNeill, a close friend of Jo Cox.

"For optimism. Always. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard." - Kirsty McNeill, Jo's friend

If you agree with Kirsty's words, then please sign up and get involved.




 Posted: 15 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments