Resisting Hate – A Year Down the Line

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Resisting Hate – Just ordinary people doing what’s right.

As most of our readers and supporters will know – Resisting Hate started out in 2016 as an online protest group in response to Islamophobic Twitter hate group Bluehand. We began as a parody organisation, intentionally copying the #Bluehand branding to cause confusion and to disrupt the online recruitment of haters to ‘James Bond’s’ clique of Islamophobes. And oh my word did we cause some chaos!

In November 2016, in the wake of the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump, the five founder members of, what was then termed ‘New Bluehand,’ decided to rebrand our organisation to oppose hate on a broader scale.  We had seen an increase in hate toward many different communities based on faith, colour, gender, orientation, race and health status and we wanted to use our group as a force for the good to combat these prejudices.

We built a Resisting Hate website (kudos to our tech guy who built and established all our rebranded technology in the space of 48 hours with no sleep) and we now have over 170 articles written by our members and guest writers which discuss and document many aspects of hate crime and its consequences. We also launched our ‘Good, Bad and Ugly’ gallery to highlight key figures in hate speech and hate crime on both sides of the Atlantic. Judging by the angry response we have had from the haters we have featured to date, it is safe to say our website is having an impact…

We launched a presence across several social media channels and have built up a strong following on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in particular. Recently we added a Tumblr channel to our social media platforms.

We founded a second Facebook page (managed by our infamous founder Halal Kitty) called ‘Mock the Right’ which is set to top 20,000 followers by the end of the year. The reach across our combined social media pages is regularly in excess of 1 million people and we have built up a contacts network of likeminded groups and individuals who also help to share our positive anti hate messages.

In addition to the work we broadcast on our own channels, I was given the opportunity to publish our group articles on Huffington Post which has further helped bring the attention of the public to the necessity of standing up to hate.

We have grown as a group, welcoming new members, both nationally and internationally, on a weekly basis and building a support network for people already working as activists on their own. Our Twitter DM groups have increased, giving all our active members access to shared information and hate fighting techniques. Many of our new members have brought positive energy to the group and given us different ideas and tools to work with. I understand two of our younger members are establishing the RH name further in the gaming world. Watch this space!

We established an email reporting channel where we could send out key information about haters to enable our members to take action. This has been a very positive endeavour and Resisting Hate can be credited with removing numerous haters from social media platforms.  We expanded our website recently to add a Members section where we can update those who support us with the specific results and statistics to show the results we are getting as an organisation.

Resisting Hate had a presence at both the 2016 and the 2017 Annual Anti Hate awards and one of our founders had the honour of a nomination this year. Shaking hands with Nasser Kurdy was probably the highlight of the whole year for me.

I was delighted to be invited to sit on the East Midlands advisory board for respected anti hate organisation Tell Mama UK who do such excellent work to combat Islamophobia. We have also had the pleasure of working with other anti-hate organisations and have supplied key information on haters to both these organisations and to several UK police forces. Founder ‘Old Wolf’ in particular has some key projects on the go that may well result in some high profile arrests before the year is out.

High profile Halal Kitty has managed to acquire a bounty on his/her head (we always keep Kitty gender neutral for safety reasons – even most of our members are not sure if Kitty is male or female) – offered by Britain First after one of our many mole accounts leaked rather a lot of sensitive information about Golding, Fransen, Blunn and the rest of the motley crew at Britain First.

We have appeared on the radio – speaking on The Voice of Islam and Beat 103.6 and have also been interviewed by several academics involved in researching the subject of hate crime.

As we go forward into our next year I am expecting further hurdles. Our accounts are being mass reported by far right trolls, myself and our members regularly receive death threats, there has been talk of suing the group for libel… I fully expect us to lose various platforms at various times and I imagine the abuse against those of us who fight hate will only intensify. However we have achieved our key objective of organically growing an anti-hate organisation with no public or government funding and we have inspired hundreds of people to take a stand against hate.

There are two points I particularly want to make as a result of this. Firstly (obviously) we are always interested in expanding Resisting Hate and we welcome enquiries from interested parties. Please do contact us.

But more importantly I want to highlight one of the #Resistance slogans that I feel really sums up our group and the work that we do –

An avalanche is just snowflakes with team work

All it takes to make a difference in the world is to believe in yourself and to find others who share those beliefs. We are making a difference because we believed that we could and we gave it our all. If you agree with us that hate has no place in our society then now is the time to stand up and be counted. It may not be our group you join – there are hundreds of reputable organisations dealing with hate and the tragic consequences it leaves in its wake. Take your pick and fight for what you believe in.

Become part of the avalanche and let’s end hate for good.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Cheerleaders of Terror

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 Another deadly, despicable terrorist attack takes place with Islamic extremist terror organisation ISIS the main suspects and the worldwide far right cannot hide their celebrations. Donald Trump is at his most shaky since his election as media attention is switched from the Trump administration’s alleged collusion with Russia towards Muslim bans and “extreme vetting”.

Whilst 99.99% of worshippers of the Muslim faith do not support ISIS, Islamophobes everywhere are logging onto Twitter and Facebook with the sole intent of spewing toxic hatred against every Muslim, no matter now liberal and peacemaking. Within minutes of the press announcement following the New York terrorist murder, death threats pumped out with vitriol against all Muslims. Every hater on the net was soon busy blaming an entire faith for the actions of a tiny minority.

All it takes to stir professional bigots such as Pamela Geller, Douglas Murray, Katie Hopkins, Paul Golding and Tommy Robinson into action, is a tragic report of a suspected terrorist incident. No sooner are ambulances on the scene, the extreme rightwing scapegoating begins in earnest, deliberate trolling from notorious haters designed to bully, harass and marginalise Muslim minority communities throughout the Western World and to drive a wedge between America, Europe and the Middle East. So ready is the anti-Muslim propaganda machine to swing into action, far right rabble-rousers have often turned up at scenes of non-terror related incidents wrongly believing them to be terror-related.

No-one is faster off the mark than Donald Trump. Not even Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lemon), who has a nasty habit of appearing at the scene of suspected terror incidents to thrust cameras in police and ambulance crews’ faces whilst bodies are still warm. Seeking to blame all Muslims for everything wrong in the world, Trump and belligerent bosom buddy Steve Bannon shamelessly capitalise on the anguish of victims with outpourings of vengeful bigotry.

Let us make absolutely no bones about this – The extreme right’s intent is every bit as deadly as ISIS. The end game of White Nationalists and Islamophobics alike is a “clash of civilisations” (the latest term for the far right’s lusted for race war) – A final battle of biblical proportions which will result in the mass slaughter of (mostly brown or black-skinned) Muslims living in Western societies, and deadly, possibly even nuclear warfare between the West and the Middle East. Such a battle (though most certain not to come to fruition) is the racial fantasist’s wet dream, the blood lust for genocide – the ultimate far right snuff fantasy.

For the extremist far right mindset, the “clash of civilisations” is God’s will, and will ultimately result in the death of Jews as well as Muslims, plus everybody else who does not repent and follow Jesus Christ at the eleventh hour. (The irony of course being that these bigots are as far from being Christians as it is possible to be.)

The first lie out of the traps, used by Islamophobic bigots after each and every ISIS-linked terrorist attack is that the far right are relatively peaceful compared to Islamic extremists. As if anyone has forgotten about Auschwitz…

In the revisionist cloud-cuckoo land of the alt right, today’s Nazis are nothing to do with yesterday’s Nazis, even though many Islamophobic Twitter profiles openly glorify the Waffen SS, and share phrases and memes venerating Adolf Hitler.

Just because ‘only’ one person was killed at Charlottesville, fascist defenders continually play the numbers game, trying to portray their deadly allegances to genocidal hate as “better than ISIS”. You do not need to be a first-class historian or mathematical wizard to understand that Islamic extremists have not, and will never match the total death toll of Adolf Hitler and his genocidal regime.

Stephen Yaxley Lennon is unashamably remunerated to troll hate – a fact that Twitter should be aware of, but refuse to take action on. At a time when paid Russian trolls fall increasingly under the spotlight, other, more racially-charged purveyors of hate such as the Luton Liar, continue to be shown the green light from @twittersupport no matter how false and inflamatory their dialogue is. Yaxley-Lennon has been temporarily banned in the past, not for bigoted content, but for personal harassment. Much like ex Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulus who lost his account for the same reason. Unfortunately it appears that once you receive the “blue tick” from Twitter, your extremist political output is beyond censor. The only way you will lose your account, is not for denying the genocide in Myanmar, or telling lies about the faith of Islam in regards to paedophilia, but purely and simply for engaging in personal abuse. (Fortunately a lot of the far right do this on a regular basis so still get suspended rather a lot).

Every so often, from time to time, Twitter management will go to press with a promise to get tough on hatred and extremism, and hardened optimists still get taken in by such false promises. It is amazing PR for the company to pretend they will get tough with haters, when in reality, for the greatest of offenders, it is always business as usual.

Even when Katie Hopkins tweeted about wanting a Hitlerite “Final Solution”, Twitter failed to remove her from the platform, despite thousands of complaints and a campaign by Resisting Hate members.

When push comes to shove, the most popular haters, be they Richard Spencer, Pamela Geller, Tommy Robinson, Paul Golding, or Katie Hopkins, will never lose their accounts because each time their fans log onto Twitter for updates, significant revenue is accrued by the company (similarly with Facebook). No matter how disgusting, prejudical, or hate-crime inspiring a prime user’s account is, controversy generates big money, which is the main reason why multiple “Terms of Service” breaches for the top verified accounts are deliberately ignored by website moderators.

Violent, or even deadly hate-crimes don’t happen within a vacuum. Especially not in today’s technological age. Whilst printed media is still a factor in nurturing destructive prejudice against minority groups (as is family-nurtured racism, peer pressure bigotry, and just hanging out with a bad crowd in the bar who loathe anyone who happens to be non-white) – the ubiqitous nature of online hatred, in particular via social media, most definitely shapes the mind of the hate-crime offender from any starting point, nurturing raw bigotry and intolerance, and shaping attitudes towards a siege mentality where violent action, (although rarely called for by the professional bigots themselves), becomes a self-justifying necessity in the paranoid mindset which has been successfully-programmed to believe Muslims, refugees, foreigners and non-white people are “swamping” and “taking over” unless “drastic action” is taken.

Horrific terror attacks, like the one that happened in New York, are outrages of absolute evil. The nihilistic slaughter of New Yorkers going about their every day business, cycling home from work or study to be mown down by fanatics, is horrendous beyond belief. If it hadn’t been for the quick-thinking actions of the security forces, the death toll could have been even greater, which is a deeply chilling thought.

Despite Neo Fascist lies that antifascists support terrorist organisations like ISIS, the truth could not be further from this. ANTIFA fighters pushed back Islamic extremists from Rojava and continue to have an impact in the fragile situation currently playing out in Syria. Everything that religious murderers stand for is rejected by anarchists and antifascists a hundredfold. The skewed philosophy of deadly intolerance towards anyone who doesn’t share their religious beliefs actually puts ISIS firmly into the same deadly dogmatic category as National Socialists. ANTIFA have proven to be up for the challenge of combating hate from any quarter, something that the beer-bellied drunken football hooligan bigots of the EDL have never once attempted to do.

Also quick to scream abuse at passing Muslim families the ‘soldiers’ of the “Taliban Hunting Club” would run a mile if they ever came face to face with actual extreme Islamists. As would the ‘hard football lads’ of the FLA.

In the spirit of unity and reconcilliation, aware of how far-right Twitter trolls always accuse ordinary Muslims of “doing nothing to stop terror” in the wake of any terrorist attack, a group of peace-loving female Muslims approached John Meighan (leader of the FLA) asking him for assurances of their welcome and safety if they joined in a future FLA march. This was an admirable overture of solidarity and highlighted by our own organisation, Resisting Hate. Sadly, this hand of friendship was overwhelmingly rejected by the FLA leadership who blocked all requests for unity on site. Instead they chose to ‘combat’ the ISIS threat by allowing far right speakers to deliver Islamophobic lectures on non-terror related rants such as the non-Islamic practise of FGM, and the equally non-religious extremist-inspired child abuse that occured in Rotherham.

Opposing terror, for the FLA, just as with the EDL, simply means the continued demonisation of all Muslims.

A previous Resisting Hate article highlighted the plans of senior FLA officials to create mayhem when crowd numbers reach a significant size.

Worldwide, the amount of Muslims who agree with, and support the actions of ISIS and Al Qaeda are miniscule. However it is always the ordinary, law-abiding vast majority who suffer for these events beyond their control. Ordinary Buddhists living in the west, with no allegiance to the Myanmar regime, are quite rightly not tarnished with the genocide against the Rohingya people, however it is always, without fail, the ordinary, everyday non-problematic non-white man or woman in the street who is confronted by racist bigots, and assaulted or abused for their (assumed) race or religion.

Walk through any American, European or British city, and you will struggle to find many, if any, apologists for Islamic State terror, and yet, if you read Twitter, follow Facebook, or listen to Donald Trump’s comments on TV, you would not believe this to be the case. Click on the White House-approved far right conspiracist site InfoWars, and they will tell a totally different story, as will Breitbart and Prison Planet (fake news organisations who create false facts to push their intolerant anti-Muslim agenda.)

In Britain Muslims wearing religious dress, or spotted in the close proximity of mosques or other Muslim religious buildings have been subject to hate crimes, especially in London and Manchester following a surge in far right activity related to the spike in terrorism. People just trying to go about their ordinary, everyday lives feel the brunt for acts of evil which they absolutely do not support.

Such people do not deserve to suffer fall-out from the actions of extremists whose tenuous faith link is condemned outright by British Imams.

When Tommy and Katie tweet far right lies about Western Muslims celebrating murderous terrorist attacks (lies no more grounded in truth than #pizzagate) the consequences can be deadly. The so-called “revenge attack” carried out by a van driver from Wales is a stark warning that radicalised far right terrorists can be just as deadly as ISIS.

For Western Muslims, discrimimination is becoming an everyday fact of life. Be it discrimination at work, abuse in the street, or being targeted for being non-white and in control of a vehicle (stop and search!) Settled Muslim communities collectively shudder each and every time a bomb goes off, or a vehicle ploughs into crowds, fully aware that they, as non-terrorists will be in the firing-line for hate. All these people want to do is live their lives free from the stigmatisation that comes with being members of a visible faith group. Instead they are constantly vilified by a rabid rightwing media and an increasingly toxic social media landscape.

The longer social media is allowed to spread hatred and lies, the more intense this discrimination becomes.

After the horrific Manchester concert bomb, bigoted Twitter users tweeted disgust that the Greater Manchester Police were making an effort to protect Muslims from hate crimes. A common fascist response was that the GMP were “taking the piss”, and that Manchester’s Muslims had brought physical attacks and mosque-burnings “on themselves” for the deadly bomb they had absolutely nothing to do with. The myth of culpability with extremists sadly persists for Muslims, and is likely to feature in the aftermath of the New York attacks also. The more Donald Trump pontificates about banning Muslims, the more ordinary law-abiding US Muslim families will suffer.

The overwhelming longing for Western Muslims everywhere, is to live lives free from hate, however, the antagonistic mindset of the ISIS terrorist perversely admires the Islamophobic far right for creating hate. Reciprocal anti-Muslim hatred stirred-up in response to terrorist acts is admired by the leadership of ISIS as much as the deadly acts of terrorist killing itself. Every Muslim hated and discriminated against following “revenge” for an ISIS killing, is ultimately viewed by the terrorist organisation as a possible future recruit. The goal of ISIS is to drive a wedge between multicultural communities.

When haters fight terror with hate they doing exactly what ISIS want them to do.

If a significant number of US or UK Muslims secretly supported ISIS, they would actually be encouraging their own persecution. Both ISIS and the fascist right oppose multiculturalism, people of different faiths living peacefully side-by-side, which is why ISIS have made a nasty habit of striking during election campaigns in the hope they could boost the fortunes of intolerant rightwingers. Remember back to the timely French and UK election bombs…

Any far right thug who thinks going on the rampage, ripping off headscarves, burning down mosques, beating-up and killing Muslims, is “revenge” against ISIS, think again. Besides becoming a category A criminal who will ultimately end up serving a predictably long sentence behind bars, you are also doing the terrorists’ job for them.

Actual revenge should be inflicted upon actual culprits, not innocent people who worship mainstream Islam.

By helping alienate otherwise peaceful and well-adjusted Muslims, you are encouraging disillusionment that ultimately prolonges the caliphate, and ensures terrorist attacks commited against the West will continue into the future. Not that Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins or Tommy Robinson care less about alienating whole Muslim communities, and any future repercussions to public safety. They are too busy cheerleading hate.

NO PASARAN!

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Adam Kennaugh – Fascist Tory Clinician

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Adam Kennaugh is a neo-fascist extremist Conservative Party member, registered clinician, school governor and hospital clinical director, specialising in opthalmic (eye) disorders in children, and is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine. He serves as a school governor, and has done so, for the past 15 years.  Now living in Nottinghamshire, he stood for election in the Weaste and Seedley By-election in Salford, Greater Manchester, 10 October 2013.

Managing the hospital while sharing the abhorrent views we have screenshot below makes him a danger to the public.

The Tory Party’s “Dr Mengele” has tweeted calling for (foreign) thieves to be hung, their bodies dissected like rats, and body parts served to Muslims as halal meat.

Both his clinical career and his politcial career need to be ended. We cannot have haters like this treating the public. His horrific views put him at odds with the medical professional and the vulnerable people he represents at his hospital.

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Why We Need To Stop Spreading Hate

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A guest writer for Resisting Hate

It is hard not to notice that there are a lot of groups and messages of hate around today. There is a link between this hate and the increasing abuse and violence. Hate breeds hate, breeds more hate…

As most of the hatred I see and hear about is primarily aimed against Muslim people, I will mostly focus on that, but the sentiments in this article are equally applicable to other persecuted groups and individuals too, including immigrants, other races, different cultures, minority faiths, the poor, the disabled, LGBTQ, transgender, the homeless and many others. Sadly the list is long.

Much of this abuse and hatred is perpetrated by people or organisations claiming to be patriotic and who claim to help society. But their actions and words are not patriotic and in truth they are actually doing harm to our society. When haters do what they do they make the job of the police, the military and the emergency services so much harder. They are putting our services, our communities and our loved ones in harm’s way. Each message of hate contributes to inspiring every act of abuse and violence that endangers the safety of groups and individuals.

Allowing hate to divide our communities is playing right into the heart of terrorists. It contributes to their long term aims of chaos and disorder. Reactionary bigots who spread hate are helping to accomplish one of the terrorists major goals, namely to divide and conquer.

Every hater who demonises an innocent individual is contributing to the risk of radicalisation. Some of these people being radicalised are adults, some are teens but for children growing up being exposed to hatred, the influence is massive. Hate is the perfect recruitment tool for terrorism – See, they do hate you, they do hate your family and they hate your God.

Each act of hatred means another serviceman or woman has a much higher risk of being killed. And not just service personel but the person in the street too. Each of these hate acts puts all of us at a greater risk of being involved in an attack.

Hate crimes negatively impact on resources for policing, the emergency and medical services and society in general. As we approach a winter that will put massive strain on our NHS we simply do not have the additional resources to put into the inflating issue of tackling hate crimes. The repercussions of hate are further reaching than is first apparent.

With each abusive message or violent act haters further alienate the very communities whose cooperation is vital for intelligence and the support to combat it all. Community support and assistance is crucial in the fight against terrorism.

The spread of hate plays a pivotal role in the growth of terrorism. Without hate as a reaction

Terrorists would lose one of their biggest recruitment tool and justification for their actions.
Terrorists would lose their ability to divide us as individuals, as communities, as groups and as a country.
Terrorists would lose their ability to chew up our resources.
Terrorists would lose their “purpose in life”.

Put simply terrorists want haters to do their jobs for them and keep pulling the country apart.

So to those who align themselves with hate groups, those who act with violence or abuse and those who post messages of hatred, YOU are assisting terrorism. And YOU are causing further harm to your people and your society.

This is not patriotism. You are weakening the very country you claim to serve.

Of course, stopping the hate will not stop terrorism or violence immediately. We have a lot of bridge building to do first – gaining trust and becoming more inclusive, welcoming and supportive to others. And there are some (on all sides) who are just ignorant and will always stay spoiling for a fight. But, over time if we can change our culture to be one of respect rather than hate the divides will heal and our united communities will succeed together in the fight against terrorism.

We need to be brave

We need, REALLY NEED to build a more tolerant, inclusive, caring and fairer world.

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Disharmony in 140 characters

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Cliché after cliché. Reverse racism was today’s. Was everyone brainwashed? Is it racist for a black woman, that has suffered exclusion, name-calling, and online abuse, to remark that Britain has a problem with racism? Is it acceptable, to sit in a room, in Britain, complaining about people’s racism against white folk? Did India’s caste system preceding colonialism somehow excuse racism from colonialists to the ‘savages’ of yesteryear? Had we stepped back to the Heart of Darkness?

“Africans would have been better off being kept by the British”.

Can people not see the language they use, the tone they take, the attitudes they hold, with any sort of realism or objectivity? Life in 140 characters; the brutality of it. The simplicity. The bipolarity. Nothing complex exists. Cliché follows cliché. Opinion follows opinion. Why must we live in a world where people’s views must only reach 140 characters?

“Niggers in a woodpile” is “casual”, a mild reprimand. Shame.

The oppression. The brutality. What have The Romans ever done for us?

“We built them schools”. Sure, but for who? Why? What life is it for them?

“Them”. Sigh.

“They”. It’s always “they”. Why not us?

“Uncivilised”. What on Earth? What makes painting and writing more civilised than a proverb or inscription? White and black, dark or light, but what of the shades in between? The beautiful shades. The differences, the colour. What makes a sacrifice less humane than a murder or a crusade? Who decides what is civilised?

“But the dictators are worse”. Worse for whom? Death or slavery? White or black? Who created the dictators? Things Fall Apart as the villagers wrestle, but wrestling is power, right? Wrestling for pride or the entertainment of children; who are the savages?

“Brainwashed” with no pledge of allegiance. No national anthem. Knives and forks are civilised, manners too, but guns? What of civilised guns? Civilise the savages; which savages? Are we back in time?

Retaliation is condemned, but what of the initial actor? Laud them, defend them. Oil and guns and tea and trade. But we must defend our shores. Which shores? All of the shores?

“They hate the British”.

Diversity. Culture. Love and peace. Why must we fight and resist each other? Why must we create disharmony in 140 characters?

 

This article was first published here

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Haters React To Attack in The Louvre

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As you will no doubt have heard, there was an incident at the Louvre today which involved a man attacking a soldier with a knife, with the press now reporting he shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he did it.

As usual, this has brought morons out in force over various social media platforms. As you can see below, these not only deal with “Muslims” being the problem but also some comment that there are too many people from Pakistan in Paris along with the usual comments about people in Muslim clothes and more.

What gets me is that these people are clearly too self centred and stupid to realise that it is their actions which are partially responsible for what happens. Yes, I know that some people will be already radicalised without any input from bigots, but if your average friendly Muslim is wandering down the street or reading his Twitter timeline and sees abuse levelled at all Muslims, then it will be easier for them to be influenced by someone with an ulterior motive. This is the problem also with the actions that Trump is taking in America which is marginalising Muslims and normalising anti-Muslim feelings and abuse.

This is not ok. This is not what I’ve come to expect from people in the 21st century. We are supposed to be civilised people, we are meant to be open minded and have cooperation with people regardless of colour, faith or sexuality. We are also meant to respect the law regardless of the situation. If the man is wounded to neutralise him then he can be arrested and face their punishment as anyone committing a crime would…….not wishing someone was “shot in the face” regardless of their crime. The abuse levelled at people by narrow minded idiots really annoys me more and more every time I see it. There is no way that we should accept that this abuse is normal and that is why I do what I do in this group. We will keep on fighting against bigotry in all it’s forms.

I hope that the people who made these comments, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or on the Brietbart website see their posts. They need to see that their small minded ways will not be tolerated by me, my colleagues, my friends, followers other pages and you who are reading this now. I hope that they feel ashamed, but if not, I hope that they see that their comments are going to be passed around beyond their small minded followers and that the world at large will see them for what they are.

Far from feeling let down by my fellow man, I will use this to dig deep and fight harder against what I know to be wrong. I will not give up what I do while people like these ones below feel free to spout their ignorance and I really hope that you keep fighting with us.

Halal Kitty

Halal Kitty is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate, and a regular contributor to the group’s activities on Facebook and Twitter.

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So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

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Guest article from an associate of Resisting Hate who wishes to remain anonymous.

Last year I was assaulted and heavily injured, my crime, wearing a Remain button and having a slight accent, luckily my dog who was roaming in the bushes heard me scream and saw the attacker off, which stopped him from doing more damage than “just” a fractured cheekbone and a few long lasting bruises from being kicked while being down.

My attacker was a sturdy white guy, dressed in jeans and a bomber jacket, heavily tattooed and he kept telling me that the EDL would take care of me, because apparently I’m a “benefit thieving foreign cunt”.

To bore you with some facts, I’ve never been on benefits, I’m an EU citizen who’s married to a British citizen, we own our own company and according to our accountant we are in the top 10% bracket, so yes, I do pay quite a bit of tax.

Another boring fact: I didn’t come here for the “better life” – my quality of life is considerably worse than it was before, I’m not trying to be rude but even after more than 10 years I do have trouble to adjust to the lack of things I took for granted in other EU countries. Timely medical appointments and treatment with an eye on prevention (not the fault of the NHS but due to the lack of funding), houses that are well insulated as standard (not only cheaper also environmentally viable) and have living space, quality public transportation for reasonable prices, a choice of healthy food that isn’t ridiculously expensive…

The reason I came here was my husband and the fact that for me there was no language barrier as there would have been for him, if he would have moved. Due to the nature of my business being international, it was easier for me to relocate so we bought a house together in the UK and from day one I paid tax here.

The first 9 years, it was mainly getting used to the time warp, I used to joke about that this is how my parents or grandparents possibly lived. Estate agents were shocked that I said I absolutely need a kitchen that can accommodate a dish washer, I was told to just do the washing up, I explained politely that we both regularly work 10 to 12 hour days, it is the 21st century and a dish washer is just a regular modern appliance I’m used to. I got some very strange looks. Next hurdle was a hallway, no, I don’t want the front door opening into my living room, several reasons, it’s a lack of privacy and cold in winter. Just to clarify, we weren’t looking in or around London, but in an affluent Northern area. We made clear that space is quite important, the UK concept of space is certainly different than the European one, here a full bedroom means the room is full if you put a bed in it…

I got used to a lot of things (even the weather) a banking system that’s archaic even the lack of customer service (!) I’m a social person and there isn’t a lot of culture available without massive travel. There are pubs but I’m not a big drinker and a bit of a health freak. Ordering a still water in your average UK pub will get you some strange looks, if you’re lucky you can order a tea or coffee. Quite different to the rest of the civilized world.

As an animal lover (we have several rescue cats and dogs) I got involved with local animal charities and then other charities, as I noticed the level of poverty in the UK was quite shocking and has become progressively worse due to massive cuts. I have moved around quite a bit in my life, not just countries but also continents, and always thought wherever I live I should contribute to the society, not just with tax but also with practical help.

You could say I was somewhat settled and had made the UK my home. Work regularly brings me to other European countries and the US, but this was “home”, then the talk about the referendum started and things changed dramatically.

As a responsible dog owner, I clean up after my dogs, if I see somebody’s dog fouling in a park or on the road and they don’t pick up, I politely offer them a “doggie bag”, pretending they must have forgotten them. In the past on occasion they might have told me to mind my own business, now I regularly get yelled at to “Fuck off back where I came from, this is England” – I guess I must look lost?

Not only did I get assaulted, I had people verbally abusing me, spitting in my face, telling me to “get out, we won”, my dogs were called foreign dogs (they’re all English rescues) and I should get “English dogs, this is England!”

On social media I was forced to drop my maiden name from all profiles due to serious abuse and threats (I’ll mention again, I was never on benefits or social housing), I had people tracking me down, posting my address with suggestions they would “visit” me, accusations that I must be a prostitute, a migrant maggot, a foreign slapper, even people telling me they’d like to punch me.

When I mentioned that I was assaulted (chillingly on the same day as Jo Cox was killed) I was told I wasn’t punched hard enough and why was I complaining as I was just “roughed up a bit, not even raped”. I was even accused of making the story up! (Yes, apparently the police and medical records too).

To sum things up, the UK doesn’t feel like my home anymore and hubby and I are looking to move somewhere where racism and xenophobia isn’t as rampant as it is in here. Naturally we’ll take our taxes with us.

To quote Douglas Adams: So long, and thanks for all the Fish.

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The Challenges Of Anti Hate Activism

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Being involved in anti hate activism in the year that will see Article 50 triggered in Britain, Donald Trump take the presidency in the USA and – potentially – several far right governments established in Europe is no walk in the park. Make no mistake, these are challenging times. Hate is encroaching into the fabric of our communities and although the “alt right” are far more of a minority group than the column inches devoted to them would suggest they are, they do present a very genuine problem in the world today.

It takes a certain kind of person to be effective in this kind of activism. A balance is needed between having the compassion to want to do something constructive in the fight against hate whilst simultaneously being resilient enough to take the abuse that goes with the territory. It can be a hard balance to achieve. Lose the empathy and you lose the motivation but become too empathetic and the sheer volume of hate out there can become overwhelming.

Abuse is probably the key issue facing anyone involved with anti hate activism. Although the most high profile forms of abuse would be the targeted campaigns against high profile figures (think ranty little fascist Joshua Bonehill imprisoned for his relentless anti semitic harassment of MP Luciana Berger) or perhaps the street mob violence against Antifascist protests, in the main the abuse takes place online from anonymous accounts.

Online abuse can take the form of personal harassment (body shaming, racism, Islamophobia etc.), “d0xing” (revealing the real life identity of an anonymous account), bullying and message attacks ranging from unpleasant comments to serious death threats. It can be problematic in the fact that it does drive some well intentioned people away – I have lost track of the times people have told me they support what our group do but don’t want to be involved as they couldn’t take the stress of the abuse. It is also a concern in the sense that we lose a lot of man hours due to being pestered by far right morons.

One of our founders talks of the very real threat of “fash fatigue” where people get ground down by the daily diet of hate they are exposed to on the internet. His recommendation is that anybody serious about anti hate activism takes at least one day off a week to keep themselves mentally fit for the work they want to achieve.

There are also practical issues which the anti hate activist will almost certainly encounter at some stage. Funding is a problem, there are limited resources granted to this sort of activism and the funding that is available will be (and to be fair, rightly) channelled into the most established and/or government approved organisations.  Time is also an issue as many anti hate activists will also have a day job to pay the bills. After a full day at work it can be a big ask to expect people to spend their evenings engaging with haters, writing articles, creating graphics and pursuing the anti hate agenda in their precious evening time.

Speaking to people involved with anti hate activism there is a clear frustration about the parameters that the work must be conducted within. The morality of using legally dubious tactics, albeit for a good cause, warrants an article on its own but most people working in this kind of environment face personal conflicts as to whether a bad deed can be justified by a good outcome. Individuals will all draw the line in different places but for most of us there is an irritation that there are methods of fighting hate we are honour bound not to use. While neither my group nor I personally advocate breaking the law I do find it hard to condemn those who are effective in bringing hate criminals to justice with the use of these tactics.

There is a danger when fighting hate that the anti hater may become the very thing they oppose. Many Antifascists and anti hate activists are so vehemently committed to their ideals that their entrenched position against the far right can lead to opening their own hearts to hatred. I would liken this to the example of extremist animal rights activists, so blinded by their genuine (and very worthy) motivation to save animals that they go too far and adopt aggressive and dangerous methods of activism that threaten and endanger human life.

It is hard to take a moderate approach when dealing with people who spend all day on the internet spouting some of the stuff we see on a regular basis.  We come across organised attempts to attack individuals and communities, haters gloating over murdered public figures, memes mocking Holocaust survivors, jokes about “gassing” and “ovening” Jews, fake news to undermine and discredit Muslim communities and racist, sexist, xenophobic, Anti Semitic, Islamophobic, homophobic and disability discrimination abuse. One might argue that hatred of this magnitude deserves much the same back. However I feel strongly that anti hate activists need to retain the moral high ground. When we fight fire we fire we become the very thing we are trying to eradicate. Frustrating as it can be for those desperately wanting to make an impact the best way to fight hate remains through reasoned discussion, education and the legal system.

I’d draw a literary parallel between an individual entering the world of anti hate activism for the first time and Lewis Carroll’s Alice going through her looking glass. It is a complete perception shift and a mirror into an alternate reality that exists by the side of but not fully part of the real world. This is particularly relevant in relation to the internet where social media sites have made it possible for people to have a voice without having to put their name to it. The big danger of course is that there is no going back. The way you view the world will have changed forever. As Emile Autumn sagely observes “Awareness is the enemy of sanity. Once you hear the voices, they never stop.”

When the social conscience is awakened there is an inherent danger that the mundane ceases to matter. Often I see colleagues and associates mocked for the hours they spend logged into Twitter and Facebook, engaging, debating and fighting with haters. It can be almost a kind of guilt complex, that every minute spent doing something other than fighting hate is a minute wasted. Rationally this isn’t true of course and on a practical level it is just as important to keep physically, mentally and spiritually healthy by having a well-rounded life. But I do understand why some people who take that step into the murky world of fighting hate find logging off their computer almost impossible at times.

I think for me, speaking personally, the challenge I find the hardest is coming to terms with the understanding that I could always do more. Every time I give to charity, write an article that helps raise anti hate awareness, get a hate account suspended on Twitter I become aware that more could be done. I could give more, I could fight more, I could do more.

I cannot help but recall to mind the portrayal of Oscar Schindler at the end of Spielberg’s epic film when he becomes painfully aware that no matter how many lives he had saved he could have made more sacrifices and saved others. I think those of us who log on day in and day out to do what we do can really identify with that. We may never succeed in changing the world but we will never have to live with the regret of wishing we had tried to have a go at it.

 

 

Image from Electron Dance

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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The Rise Of Anti Hate Activism

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Newton told us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and although the science behind that may elude the author of this article, the premise doesn’t. The third law of motion is surprisingly apropos to the wave of Anti Hate activism on social media.

Online hate was initially confined in the main to anonymous message boards like 4Chan and specialised hate forums like Stormfront which catered to an extremist minority of a shared ideology. As hate views became slowly popularised, partly through groups like Britain First and their 1.5 million Facebook followers and partly through a changing tide in world politics, the wave of hate spread from small isolated sites to enter the mainstream world of social media.

It was as a reaction to this increase in online hate that started anti hate groups and anti hate activists to mobilise against the growing voice of hate which most frequently took the form of racism, Islamophobia, Homophobia and Anti Semitism.

At a recent seminar I attended, the lecturer described the far right as “groupuscular” by which he meant they are a structure of small mainly unconnected groups who share a common ideology but with no umbrella organisation or hierarchy. The same can be said for anti hate activism which broadly falls into four separate categories which it may be beneficial to briefly define.

  1. Individual activists. Individuals with strong personal convictions who speak up and challenge hate on social media. Often some of the best memes (which play a massive part on social media in getting people engaged with issues) have come from individuals who have had their imagination sparked by topical trends.
  2. Informal alliances. Groups with no inherent structure but who are composed of individuals who have formed organic alliances. These individuals generally tend to be anonymous. They have little to no accountability due to this anonymity so often use tactics to fight hate that more formal groups would be unable to get sanctioned.
  3. Structured informal groups. This is where Resisting Hate would fit in. Organised tactics, specific vision and plan, brand awareness but no government/private funding. These groups tend to be independently managed with varying degrees of anonymity and open membership.
  4. Formalised anti hate groups. These usually have a strong recognisable brand and reputable funding sources with public figures involved and high accountability. A good example of an anti hate group like this would be Hope not Hate.

The challenges faced by the different types of anti hate activists vary substantially. For an individual activist it can be hard to get their views heard above the melee. They are also likely to be very dependent on one or two social media accounts, the loss of which can have a devastating effect on the impact they can make (and we all know how much Twitter enjoy suspending non far right accounts…)

Our group often work quite closely with the informal alliances category, most of whom prefer to be addressed by their pseudonyms. The challenge for these groups is credibility and reach. They have the ability to get information, often through non legal methods like hacking and social engineering but what they do not have is the infrastructure to get that information to a wider audience themselves or, due to their need for anonymity, the contacts in media to do it for them.

The fourth category, the formal group are expected to be totally open with regard to their daily workings. Their behaviour and the behaviour of those associated with them has to be exemplary. Their accounts are published and scrutinised by the media, their figureheads are well known enough for any scandals to hit the headlines and they often have to reframe their views to make them palatable and accessible to the mainstream media and Parliament.

The primary challenge they face is doing the day job in a completely transparent environment. The frustrations of this can be red tape, delays and targeted opposition from organisations with differing views. Although these groups do often receive both public and private funding it is rarely enough to meet the running costs and it is not unusual to see formal groups resorting to crowdfunding and donations from individuals to make ends meet.
Groups like ours in the third category probably face more challenges than any of the others. We do not have the funding available to the formal groups and although we share their aspirations of reaching a wide audience with self written articles, art work and infographics this can be harder without a regular source of income.

We do not have public figures who can guarantee that an article they write will be published in the press but we do have founders open enough with their identity and who are enough of a thorn in the side of the far right to receive regular threats of personal violence. Sadly, unlike the bigger formal groups, we do not have widespread access to police protection.

We have to be more cautious than the anonymous groups when it comes to staying on the right side of the law and need to be constantly aware that a public association with people who may make the choice to cross over that legal line could be damaging to the legitimacy of our brand.
However, that said, we also have the most opportunities of any of the groups and it is the informal structured groups like ours (and the many others out there) who glue together the interdependency for the informal organisation of anti hate activism as a whole. What we provide is the bridge between the informal alliances and the formal groups. We can legitimise information from the informal alliances, independently research it and pass it to our contacts in the formal groups. Equally we can take key priorities from the formal groups and ask our contacts in the informal alliances to help us obtain information that the formal groups would simply not have access to.

There is a real interconnectedness between the informal structured groups. In most industries groups with such a similar ideology and strategy would be seen as competitors but in the world of anti hate the exact opposite is true. We work together. We share each other’s posts and tweets and help to get one another’s messages out. Although this is still going back to that earlier definition of “groupuscular” as in there is no formal mechanism behind the working together, the linked social conscience gives every group a voice beyond that of its own reach. Again this can really benefit the informal alliances as their association with the informal structured groups can get their hard won information to the audience it deserves. And again it benefits the formal groups, some of whom may have a strong infrastructure in their own right but who by their very nature are not part of that unspoken union between the informal structured groups and benefit from reaching the wider audience that the interlinked groups can achieve.

I think the key message is that all these different forms of anti hate activism are relevant and valuable in the battle against hate. Each brings something different to the table, different tactics, different perceptions, different abilities. Each has evolved through necessity and the changed political and social landscape that has brought hate speech into the open. The unifying factor of a desire to see a hate free world is a strong indication that in the anti hate field of comradeship over competition we can allow ourselves to hope that these people willing to work together for a common good will achieve the ends they seek.

Image Credit: Liverpool Echo

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Janus

Claiming 2017 Back From The Haters

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There is little need to recap the chaos of 2016. Certainly to anyone with a social media presence or who reads the newspapers the horrors have been all too evident. From an increase in worldwide terrorism to the shock Brexit referendum through the rise in Nationalism, evidenced by support for hate groups like Britain First and National Action, and culminating in the election of a fascist to the American presidency – 2016 was not a good year for humanity.

The worry for many is that 2017 will bring more of the same. Trump takes up his seat in the White House in January, The Netherlands have a strong candidate for hate – Geert Wilders – in their March elections and the equally abhorrent Marine Le Pen, the fascist leader of Front National in France has promised a referendum on the French exit from the EU “Frexit” if she comes to power in April. Social media giant Twitter is still failing to tackle the massive wave of hatred posted on its platform, there are daily incidents of racist attacks on our streets and the Metropolitan police has advised that in the wake of the Berlin atrocity a UK terror attack is “highly likely.”

On the face of it things look pretty bleak but there is a big difference between Jan 2016 and Jan 2017. This time we are prepared. Last year caught most of us on the hop. I had the odd nagging worry that the Brexit vote might be closer than I would feel comfortable with but I never seriously entertained the idea that Britain would actually vote to leave the EU. As for Donald Trump becoming the President of the USA, that was so farfetched a year ago as to be laughable. We simply didn’t consider the possibility that people would listen to far right rhetoric and that was our mistake. We underestimated the need for change and the desperation of those who would turn to anyone, even far right haters if they promised that change. We overestimated the integrity of our media and unwittingly allowed fake and misleading news to be consumed by the people who would vote in the crucial 2016 elections. Perhaps we even overestimated some of the people themselves. We put the future of our countries in the hands of many whose only source of political knowledge came from the likes of the Sun newspaper and who in many cases were unwilling to put the work in to seek out a deeper understanding of the consequences a post Brexit pro Donald Trump world would bring.

We are perhaps now Coleridge’s sadder and wiser men. It has taken the events of 2016 to bring us to the point where we now acknowledge and understand the far right to be the dangerous adversary it is. We have learned our lesson in the hardest way possible but the hope is that we have learned it in time. A Facebook meme commented: “The Holocaust started with words not actions” and this is deeply relevant to where we find ourselves at the start of 2017. We know where the path to hate will take us. We know how easily it is for those well versed in the art of hate rhetoric to take power. We understand the danger of allowing silence to be mistaken for complicity in atrocity. Everything we ever learned from history has been played out right before our eyes on the stage of 2016.

The important thing now is what we do with this knowledge. Although there have been some last ditch attempts to stop Brexit going through and prevent Donald Trump from becoming President these are now looking very much to be fait accompli. One thing our far right haters have got right is that we will achieve nothing by crying over the legacy of 2016. We need to use what we have learned constructively to mitigate the damage limitation and stop it spreading.

Voters in the Netherlands, France and Germany will have a positive opportunity to fight back at the polls. But it isn’t enough just to vote. If you are a politically aware person with a good understanding of the carnage the likes of Le Pen will cause, educate others. Write posts about it and put them on social media for your friends to see. Discuss it at dinner parties. Talk about it with your work colleagues. Help others to see the parallels between the polls in your countries and the far right hate victories of 2016. If you are not politically aware and one of the “taking our country back” brigade be honest with yourself. Do you actually know enough to vote? If you don’t then get out there and take responsibility for looking at unbiased sources of information to bring you to an informed point of view before you step inside the polling booth.

For Britain and America the vote ship has already sailed. But those of us who support humane and liberal values are very far from being defeated. What we need to focus on now is putting good into the world. Build bridges between communities. We need to make minority groups feel they do belong in the countries they live in, despite what the hate press and divisive politicians say. This doesn’t have to be on a grand scale, even eye contact and a smile can help eradicate the invisible barriers that the far right hate has erected.

We need to stand up and oppose division and hate rhetoric. Report the hate you see on social media platforms, complain to the newspapers when you see inaccurate and divisive reporting. Write to your MP and sign petitions to make your voice for good clearly heard. Support groups like Hope not Hate who fight fascism and, if you can afford it, donate to charities who offer support to victims of hate crime.

Uphold the values you stand for in every aspect of your life. Challenge prejudice wherever you encounter it and be willing to explain why it is wrong and why it hurts people. Educate rather than intimidate people into an appreciation of why it is wrong to discriminate against individuals and communities.

Whatever you are willing and able to do to fight hate is of absolute critical importance in 2017. The far right are not going away, they are engaged in a battle to win the hearts and minds of the populace and we must not let this happen. We must not be the good men who saw the evil and did nothing, we must not be the people who turned their backs until it was too late and who had nobody to speak up for them when the hate finally turned their way.

We must not be our naïve selves of 2016 who believed hate would never take a foothold in our societies. It did and now we need to stop it.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Twitter is Not Tackling Hate Crime

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Warning – some extremely offensive Tweets quoted in this article

As anybody involved in online anti hate activism knows from bitter experience, the backing of social media platforms (and Twitter in particular) is sadly lacking when it comes to tackling the racist, sexist, Islamophobic, Anti Semitic and downright offensive behaviours exhibited on the platform on a daily basis.

Our group Resisting Hate have a policy of reporting the key offenders to Twitter. We frequently flag up tweets which include inflammatory content and we also report individuals who use the Twitter platform to abuse and bully others. In particular we target far right hate groups who use organised tactics to spread and publicise fascist views and images.

Unfortunately our success in this area is very limited. Frequently Twitter reply to our reports with the explanation that the reported individuals are not breaking Terms of Service and are therefore within the permitted use of a Twitter account. Some of the most extreme hate tweets we have reported in have been allowed to stay on the platform and the accounts have remained free to spread their hate.

Our group is not the only anti hate group experiencing this problem. We frequently report abusive individuals to a wide range of more established anti hate groups and all, without exception, report back the same thing – Twitter is not taking the policing of far right hate content seriously.

We believe that as owners of a social media site Twitter have a moral obligation not to allow their systems to be used to promote hate agendas.
I am therefore taking this opportunity to illustrate some of the tweets that I can confirm for a fact have been reported by my group and others but which (currently) remain allowed by Twitter.

If you agree with Resisting Hate that the following are unacceptable I would urge you to make your voice heard to Twitter and message them on @support or @twitter to tell them hate has no place on a progressive social media vehicle.

 

 

 

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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Leap In Hate Crime Post Brexit

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In order to understand and ultimately prevent the behaviours that cause divisions in our society it is sometimes necessary to look at how those behaviours evolved and why some people in our communities behave the way they do.

The trigger for the recent revival of racism, Islamophobia and prejudice in the UK was the Brexit referendum when the country voted to come out of the European Union. Over 17 million people voted to leave the EU, many of whom were happy to quote slogans about “Taking our country back,” and “Keeping Britain for the British.” The public face of the campaign on both the Leave and the Remain side was one of national identity, identifying as an independent country or as part of the wider European community. From the very beginning the referendum was associated with the concepts of unity and division, the concepts that would go on to cause conflicts not just between Britain and the EU but among the people of Britain themselves.

Having endured several years of Tory austerity, by the time of the June referendum individuals and communities were starting to feel the pinch of wages not keeping up with inflation and the significantly reduced spending on public utilities. This increase in poverty led to a resentment of other cultures and the view that “they” (immigrants, Muslims, the Polish, the Jews, black people etc.) were using resources that some native Brits felt should only be available to “British” people.  This economic downturn contributed to the frustrations of people in financial difficulty and fuelled a discontent which was to sow the seeds of disharmony between communities in the UK.

This fear was tapped into and utilised exceptionally well by UKIP with the blatant lie that the funds employed to stay in the EU would be diverted to the NHS. Post referendum we now know this to be a lie but it does serve to illustrate the concerns of the people at the time the referendum took place. A fundamental reason why so many people did vote leave was in the belief that it would lead to a boosted economy and a better standard of living for those in the UK.

UKIP also channelled the nationalistic fervour of some UK citizens. It is perhaps no surprise that nationalism tends to be more prevalent among working class, poorer, less educated people who made up a large proportion of the leave voters. For people out of work or in unfulfilling jobs nationalism can provide a sense of worth and identity. For people already starting to resent who they see as outsiders in their country nationalism can be a dangerous step toward far right fascism. This can clearly be seen with the rise of far right hate groups such as Britain First, the EDL and Pegida, all of whom have gained support over the past five years.

While Britain was struggling to make ends meet the media was also busy adding fuel to the rising flames of discontent in the country. The Daily Mail seemed unable to print a headline that didn’t feature the word “Muslims” and even the BBC were happy to give the impression that the terrorist supporter Anjem Choudhary was a spokesman for the Islamic faith. Social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook were slow to remove far right propaganda accounts which allowed hate to spread directly and unchecked into news feeds. The Murdoch empire not only refused to curtail bigotry but actually employed Katie Hopkins to spout it all over The Sun newspaper. Murdoch also backed Sun writer Kelvin Mackenzie for harassing a female Muslim journalist about her personal choice of clothing.

It was interesting to notice that many of the areas with a large Brexit vote were areas with very few ethnic minorities. The more diverse areas – London of course – but also some of the major Northern cities were much more open to the idea of staying in the EU. The rationalisation of bigotry toward perceived “foreigners” was also in a minority in these more diverse regions. This does suggest that a lot of bigoted hatred is fuelled by the uncertainty and fear of the unknown from those not living in multicultural areas. For the people who do mix in diverse communities there was much more of a willingness to integrate and less fear of different cultural influences.

In the months running up to the referendum there was a lot of publicity given to the growing concerns about the dilution of the British culture, in particular the Christian church and “traditional British values.” Speaking to some of the leave voters about the cultural rather than the political implications of the vote it struck me time and time again what a factor the fear of cultural dilution had played in the decision making of many. Unfortunately a lot of the examples given to support cultural dilution tend to once again be the fantasy of the media. The “Winterval” urban myth persists to this day to the extent where Theresa May had to announce in Parliament that she was still all in favour of Christmas. But these myths and rumours continue to permeate, encouraging the false belief that “immigrants” are coming not to coexist with British culture but to eradicate it.

The consequence of the climate created by a problematic economy, growing nationalism, a sensationalist media, a mistrust of other cultural communities and right wing political groups like UKIP taking full advantage of all of the above was to create the perfect conditions for a catalyst that would bring “socially acceptable” bigotry into the British public mainstream. The EU referendum acted as that trigger.  The vote to leave the EU gave the growing discontent a voice, translated fear and worry into hate and hate crime and legitimised prejudice and discrimination in a way we have not seen in the UK since the 1980s.

Brexit did not make people bigots it gave existing bigots in a challenging climate a license to behave in a bigoted way.

Roanna is one of the founder members of Resisting Hate. She is the author of the majority of our articles, and also publishes a blog on Huffington Post UK

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