Monday, 23 January 2017
Hope not Hate's wrong turn continues
One of the most important organisations that campaigned against the Neo-Nazi and Fascist far-right over the years was Hope not Hate led by Nick Lowles. Despite their break with the more focused Searchlight Magazine many people continued to follow and support their campaigns which included cooperation with the Daily Mirror against the BNP.
Hope not Hate was a major factor in the demise of Nick Griffin and his hateful little party. But then things started going wrong.
A few years back the organisation campaigned for the banning of Pamela Gellar and Robert Spencer from coming to the UK. At the time I supported their campaign publishing Hope not Hate's campaign material, That was something I came to first question then regret. This was an attack on free speech.
Belatedy I took their material down but continued to support the group until HnH decided to include a campaign against UKIP, which given the background of their work ended up lumping millions of people with concerns about immigration with the extreme right.
I thought this was the wrong thing to do mainly because there was then and is now a need for a genuine debate on immigration without everyone who raises genuine concerns about numbers and integration problems being shouted down as "racist" by the far-left.
There is nothing inherently racist about controlling a country's borders or deciding who can and cannot live here. the states first duty is to it's own citizens. Immigration will never stop as such but can be controlled and frankly rightly so. Just look at what happened in Germany. Unfettered immigration was a disater not just for them but for the EU as a whole and was a contributory factor in the Brexit vote.
Hope not Hate also started campaigning against hate preachers like Anjem Choudary. Fair enough but also started attacking secularists who were criticising Islam and campaigning against Sharia.
My support for Hope not Hate ended with these issues. A pity because there remains so much to do as the Neo-Nazi movement retreats in isolation and prepares far more violent actions both here and abroad.
Today I received a hysterical e-mail from Nick Lowles asking us to "Join the Resistance" against Donald Trump. I don't support the man but this campaign is just another sign of Hope not Hate losing focus about what it was set up to do. In diversifying beyond core issues of anti-fascism, Lowles and his team are confusing the issue.
Trump is not Hitler neither is Farage. Pair of right-wing plonkers maybe, but their followers cannot be won back in the manner the left propose. These millions are mostly ordinary people with genuine fears and worries. Labelling them fascists won't make them listen.
It's time for the left to grow up. Not that's gonna happen any time soon.