More on Hope not Hate

January 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm (anti-fascism, Anti-Racism, anti-semitism, Guest post, Pink Prosecco)

Guest post by Pink Prosecco

There was a lively response to my earlier piece on Hope not Hate’s magazine – which made me reflect that it’s a pity anti-fascists seem to dissipate so much of their energy fighting each other rather than the far right. The magazine’s been going nearly a year now, and whenever it comes through my letterbox I look with interest at the contents page to see which issues are being flagged, and wonder just how much handwringing went into the selection process.

There’s a quite complex dynamic at work here. Hope not Hate’s main selling point is its combative stance towards the EDL, the BNP and similar groups. And, for the moment, the main enemy of these nationalist groups is Islam. Yet for some time now Hope not Hate has also had extremist, theocratic Muslim groups and individuals in its sights.

Hope not Hate’s stance brings some welcome nuance – and moral backbone – to these sometimes polarized debates. There’s no better antidote to people like Robert Spencer (I’m sure he has objections to the term Islamophobe so I’ll just call him a cunt) than this combination of reasoned and robust attacks on extremists combined with nuanced pieces by and about Muslims with a range of views: Julie Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Britain celebrating the Olympics, Sara Khan, the Director of Muslim women’s human rights group Inspire, reflecting on the grooming issue, and a cheerful story about Muslim/Christian interfaith work in Blackburn.

Hope not Hate is tough on haters of all kinds in this issue. The creepy Mosquebusters campaign is profiled in a good piece by Dave Porter. I was aware of this attempt to prevent planning permission being obtained for mosques, but didn’t know about one particular underhand tactic used by planning lawyer, Gavin Boby:

“He threatens councilors and officers that if they allow a mosque application to go through, they could be held liable personally in law because of their approval of a religious doctrine which advocates violence.”

There’s a chilling report from Norway about the way a journalist, Nina Johnsrud, was targeted for investigating a story about a planned anti-Semitic attack:

“In June 2006 someone most probably belonging to Jihadist circles fired four rounds at her house, and in September the same year someone fired multiple rounds at the Oslo synagogue with an automatic weapon. While Arfan Bhatti was convicted as a ‘mental accomplice’ for the synagogue shotting two years later , the shooting at Johnsrud’s home remains unsolved.”

And there’s an interesting article by Nick Lowles about Holocaust revisionism which will probably displease Lowles’s enemies on the far left and the far right in roughly equal measure.

5 Comments

  1. Rudi said,

    Stangely silent on Zionism though that HnH lot. Why is that?

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Just out of interest, Rudi, how would you define “Zionism”?

  3. Jimmy Glesga said,

    Robert Spencer has had the Islamists sussed for years. The proof is in the actions of the Islamists for decades. The suicidal nutters are bombing and killing innocents as I write. Anyone that refers to Spencer as a cunt needs to loosen the curlers from the head.

  4. Pink Prosecco said,

    Rudi – you remind me that I had been going to remark that many of Lowles’s opponents fall into two camps – those who think he’s a Zionist and those who speculate that he’s Jewish. So obviously very different types.

    Jimmy Glesga – that’s a bit like saying that there’s no problem with Gilad Atzmon because Israel’s policies leave a fair bit to be desired.

  5. Malte Brigge said,

    Hope not Hate produce some good articles now again (although they often tend towards the rhetoric of moral outrage rather than close analysis and so their cultural material, especially as this relates to art, music and literature is second rate – I have read Walter Benjamin misquoted and that is always a bad sign in my book). White Riot by Lowles pitched itself as a ‘shocking expose’ along the lines of the gangster and hooligan insider memoir. It had some interesting facts and observations but at the level of style it was utterly predictable and therefore failed to engage at a deeper cultural level. It actually deploys some of the vulgar ‘sensationalism’ that often blights our culture general. Hope not Hate also mobilize and organise effectively using resources largely provided by the wider labour movement.
    The inhibition in my enthusiasm comes from the fact that despite having spent the whole of my young and middle adult life actively opposing fascism and the far right, I never once envisaged that this activity would become a busines franchise and a source of pseudo-professional prestige – in other words, a salaried accupation.I find this aspect mildly disturbing. I may be quite wrong of course and Lowles and his ‘staff’ may well be admirable volunteers.

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