Searchlight Luminary on Board of Academy Trust

sonia

The rupture between the Hope Not Hate (HnH) and Gerry and Sonia Gable’s Searchlight magazine over a year ago now certainly caused some confusion amongst anti-fascist activists, not least because HnH has very creditably declined to talk about the circumstances; and has instead got on with the core business of building opposition to the far-right.

I receive both magazines, and one clear contrast is that Hope Not Hate understands that the cuts from the Conservative led coalition government create a feeding ground for despair, and that a positive political message needs to be taken into communities that feel abandoned by the professional political class.

The more narrow focus of Searchlight excludes criticism of the Tory government. It is reasonable to ask whether this because Sonia Gable is a member of the Liberal Democrats, and indeed a former Lib Dem candidate.

Of particular interest to the left might be Sonia Gable’s seat on the board of The Forest Academy Trust.

I understand that this used to be Bob Crow’s old school, and that the RMT was involved in the campaign to prevent it becomming an Academy. Furthermore, Bob Archer, who works with Gerry Gable was one of the people who led the NUT campaign. How Sonia Gable being on the board of the Academy aligns with Searchlight’s relationship with unions like RMt and NUT is anyone’s guess.


BTW, was everyone as bemused as I was to see the front page of Searchlight recently given over to a tribute to the lamented Julie Waterson of Anti-Nazi League fame, given the spiteful tone of Searchlight’s previous attitude to Julie. For example see this article by the Gable from 1992
: Searchlight-April-1992-pages-14-15[1]. Searchlight seem to be reinventing themselves as friends of the far left, for example their participation in the UAF protest outside the Greek embassy recently.

132 comments on “Searchlight Luminary on Board of Academy Trust

  1. Jellytot on said:

    was everyone as bemused as I was to see the front page of Searchlight recently given over to a tribute to the lamented Julie Waterson of Anti-Nazi League fame, given the spiteful tone of Searchlight’s previous attitude to Julie.

    I, for one, wasn’t that bemused as the ‘friends’ becoming enemies who go onto become ‘friends’again dynamic is a often observed one in parts of the Left and seems to happen a bit around Searchlight.

    I agree that HnH have conducted themselves with not a small measure of public grace over this and for that we should be thankful. They have also used this period when the fascists are at a low ebb in terms of their general support and level of organisation to propose some new and interesting proposals which seem to really learn the lessons of the recent past and look to the future and the new political landscape that we are all likely to face on this front.

    Searchlight magazine has done some sterling work over the years and Mr. Gable in particular needs to be especially commended for his now 50 year devotion to the cause. As he is now in his mid-70’s he can face retirement proud of his considerable achievements.

    I viewed the split with a heavy heart. However, I am also realistic in realising that, in recent decades, Searchlight have felt the need to have a larger organisation to attach themselves to (which is fine for a small magazine) and, given the split, the UAF seemed the only realistic choice for them.

    That it meant doing an almost complete “one eighty” over a short term in terms of their tactical outlook was problematic for us observers but understandable to us old hands on the Left who I’m sure looked on with wry smiles.

    Given the competition for, amongst other things, funding, things of course might get nasty but, hopefully, we can draw a line under this and HnH can continue maintaining a diplomatic and graceful (public) silence and get on with some of its important work.

  2. Well Andy,
    I can remember a time when you leaned on Searchlight for support. What has happended to you? Jellytot is right people can changed their political positions. I am not going to try to defend my wife and comrade’s position , she can do that for herself, if she wants to be bothered by your sniping and your avoidance of looking at the evidence and facts about Hope not hate.
    The ward we live in is virtually unwinnable by Labour, she was asked if she would for democracys sake stand as a Lib-Dem as a paper candidate and at the same time she signed up as a member. This was before the coaliition.Since then she has done nothing in terms of activty and has not been a member for some time.
    All the same you raise some important questions, but before that what do you mean we do not attack the Coalition, now if it is true that you read the magazine your might just recall our attack on the attempts to destroy the Criminal Justice System, maybe you did not like us laying part of the blame on the Labour Party who have gone along with the privatisation and pushed for it whilst they were still in power. Nick Lowles could not wait to jump on the bandwaggon and go campaigning for Labour candidates Police Commissioner candidates.
    You do not appear to notice where a 100,000 pounds has come to Hope not hate from in the last two years.
    The attempted coup to take over Searchlight as he strengthen his links to the Right of the Labour Party and some City Slickers and the appointment of a woman who was a Labour Parliamentary candidate at the same time as being somebody the US State Department wanted to protect as a source.She boasts of keeping a large files on me. I wonder who she does that for?
    The personal abuse being handed out by Lowles and co about Sonia and me is not just about us .Labour Friends of Searchlight was set up with Frank as its chair. This must have upset somebody on the new HNH management team, maybe it was somebody whose husband works for a Health Privatisation oufit, so Frank without being told was dropped in favour of John Cruddas MP not exactly on the left of the party.
    Around five years ago Lowles told me we should stop campaigning for that Ethical and Political Cornerstone of the Anti-Fascist Movement the No Platform Policy, now he has raised it again, after I challnged him he tried to wriggle but not successfully because the AF movement are really starting to question his non-delivery last year.
    It might explain why he is so close to the right of centre Extremis group the home of his favourite academic Dr Matthew Goodwin of Nottingham University who last year invited Robin Tillbrook to address his students, silence from Lowles on this one. Tillbrooks outfit theEnglish Democrats allow its members to address the open nazi British Movement.
    All the same at a recent meeting in the House of Commons put on by Nick and new chums including Cruddas and Goodwin who a few days later was allowed to attend a BNP National Organisers conference in Coventry. I think this must be a first, these meetings as I am sure you know are closed to even some of their own members.
    The Commons meeting was also attended by the Tory MP who runs Conservative Friends of Hope not hate. So while you are on about Academies
    you might take note he is Gove’s Parliamentary Privet Secretary.
    Finally Lowles really insulted decent people everywhere by saying Holocaust Memorial Day should not be political, well as a elderly survivor (Who I think might be a Tory voter) said to me at a memorial meeting if this is not F**king political what is? Unlike every speaker and at several national and local events I attended in the last week everybody emphised the shared war time sufferings of the Left, Gays, Trade Unionists, People of various faiths and the Roma and those classed by the nazis through disablity of being fit to live but also those who have suffered in post war genocides. Has Lowles himself forgotten his trip to Rawanda and how moved he claimed to be have been by it.He only spoke about the mass murder of the Jews.
    I don’t know about me suffering from dementia I think Lowles has had a Political transplant and what they have given him has nothing to with anti-fascism.
    Someone suggested to me after your posting that all this could be to do with your trying to climb up Lowles posterior connected to your aspirations you have in the direction of the Labour Party, but you maybe climbing aboard a political Titanic.
    You might ask Lowles who on his team leaked private correspondence between Him and myself to Larry O’Hara and I aam sure all the movement are aware of what he is.
    Salud

    Gerry

  3. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Have you noticed how Gerry Gable successfully managed to dodge even addressing the main subject of this story?

    His wife is on the board of an academy school, something his best friend and comrade Bob Archer has campaigned vigorously against.

    I would imagine Bob Archer is feeling total and abject betrayal on reading this. Well done SU for making this post and pointing out the hypocrisy of Gerry & Sonia Gable.

  4. Manzil on said:

    Hope Not Hate says Searchlight is run by anti-NUT Lib Dem academy directors. Searchlight says Progress and the Tories are running Hope Not Hate. The world recognises this is just a personal slanging-match that refuses to keep from interfering with the actual tasks of anti-fascism.

    Does anyone remember when UAF was the principal target of online vituperation?

  5. Jellytot on said:

    @2Larry O’Hara

    God…Is he still about ?!

    Regarding the rest of Gerry Gable’s contribution: As a suppoter of HnH’s general outlook and direction, I’m happy to have a wider political debate about ‘no platform’ and the future prospects of fascism and anti-fascism in the perculiar political landscape that is modern Britain. However, the rancorous and internecine, “he said, she said” kinda stuff I’ll leave to others.

  6. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Manzil:
    Hope Not Hate says Searchlight is run by anti-NUT Lib Dem academy directors.

    I haven’t seen Hope not Hate comment anywhere about the Gables or Searchlight. Hope not Hate have kept silent when Gerry & his gang have been pumping out smear after smear.

  7. Manzil on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: I haven’t seen Hope not Hate comment anywhere about the Gables or Searchlight. Hope not Hate have kept silent when Gerry & his gang have been pumping out smear after smear.

    Okay then. Andy, in defence of HNH. You get my point.

    I could not give two shits about this bust-up. It’s completely unnecessary. Even the areas of disagreement (no platform, for instance) don’t preclude cooperation where they agree.

  8. Sonia Gable on said:

    Typically of Andy Newman, he has not bothered to find out any facts before launching his gratuitous attack on me.

    The Forest Academy (TFA) is in a unique position because its sponsor is a Redbridge local authority school, Beal High School, not a private company or consortium of businessmen. Beal is a very highly regarded school in the community and was recently graded outstanding by Ofsted.

    Hainault Forest High School, the predecessor to TFA, went into special measures for the second time in May 2010. I was a governor at Beal at the time and we agreed to the local authority’s proposal that Beal should go into partnership with Hainault to help deal with the variety of problems that had resulted in its status. At that time my term of office as a governor at Beal was coming to an end, Hainault was short of community governors, and I volunteered to move to Hainault.

    The partnership was proceeding well and in fact benefiting both schools: giving help often benefits the giver as well as the receiver. However under the present government schools in special measures are forced to become sponsored academies or to close. We felt that closing the school would not benefit the community as Redbridge is short of school places and there was no other non-denominational secondary school in the far north of the borough. Rather than have Michael Gove impose academy status with a business sponsor and lose the benefit of the partnership with Beal, we put together a proposal for Beal to become the sponsor of a new academy to succeed Hainault. Gove agreed, though I understand that such an arrangement is no longer open to other schools. We thought long and hard about this, as no one involved would have chosen academy status, but it was the best outcome for the children and the local community. Beal itself has not become an academy and is currently in the process of expanding its provision.

    There was a public meeting held to object to the academy proposal, but no real campaign, probably because everyone realised there was no choice and that the arrangement with Beal was different. Also, both the head and the governors of TFA insisted that teachers’ pay and conditions should remain the same as in local authority schools and that the school would continue to have the ethos of a community school. A recent Ofsted monitoring inspection reported that the school was making reasonable progress in raising standards for all pupils. We have some way to go but our aim is to get TFA graded good.

    As for the LibDems, I joined several years ago when that party was probably to the left of New Labour and am no longer a member. For the record I voted Green in the London elections last year but am not a member of any party.

    Where does Newman get the idea that Searchlight excludes criticism of the Tory government? That is certainly not the case.

    With regard to Jellytot’s comment, Searchlight cooperates with other antifascist organisations but we have not attached ourselves to UAF and have certainly not changed our “tactical outlook” in order to do so. When Nick Lowles was editor, he set the editorial line. After he left, writers expressed their own views, which differed from his. My views have not changed: I continue to support socialism, freedom, justice, peace, and taking responsibility for oneself and one’s actions.

  9. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Bob Archer didn’t appear too keen on your Academy here Sonia ?

    Strike fears as two Redbridge schools consider becoming academies
    Tuesday, May 17, 2011

    http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/strike_fears_as_two_redbridge_schools_consider_becoming_academies_1_895150

    A bid by two secondary schools to free themselves of council control and become academies has sparked the threat of industrial action.
    A majority of teachers at Hainault Forest High School, Harbourer Road, Hainault, have voted for an official ballot on whether to strike in opposition to plans for their school to become an academy in January.
    They will now meet with governors to talk about the proposals in more detail before any vote on industrial action.
    It is also understood students at the school have started an anti-academy petition.
    Meanwhile, the Recorder has learned Canon Palmer Catholic High School, Aldborough Road South, Seven Kings, is also looking at becoming an academy.
    Academies are free of local authority control and put schools in charge of key spending decisions.
    So far only one borough school: Chadwell Heath Academy School, Christie Gardens, Chadwell Heath, has taken up the school model promoted by the government.
    Hainault Forest High associate headteacher Will Thompson said Beal High School, Woodford Bridge Road, Redbridge, was being lined up as sponsor of the academy if the proposals go-ahead.
    He said: “The sponsorship arrangement would not see any change in how the school is run and mean a continuation of the partnership arrangement between the two schools which has been in place since March 2010.
    “This collaboration has already led to noticeable improvements in morale and enthusiasm for learning as well as offering inspirational leadership and additional support for Hainault Forest High School.”
    But speaking out against the plans, Redbridge National Union of Teachers president Bob Archer, said there was a need for a “proper consultation” among governors, staff and parents.
    He added: “We are against academies. We want local authorities running schools with the best possible democratic controls.”

  10. Paula Spears on said:

    Does Mr Gable not even realise the article about the BNP conference states that Matthew Goodwin watched it online?

    A Google search of Sonia says that despite their question about the criminal justice system she sends working class people to jail every week.

    Does this now mean that her blogs supporting militant action were in some kind of way entrapments?

  11. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable: As I said, at a time when the LibDems were to the left of Labour.

    But if you support Socialism, why join the Lib Dems and stand as a candidate? They aren’t and never have been socialist. Sounds like you are all over the place to me.

  12. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Paula Spears: A Google search of Sonia says that despite their question about the criminal justice system she sends working class people to jail every week.

    That is a very good point Paula. Are the readers of Socialist Unity aware that Sonia Gable is a sitting magistrate?

  13. Jellytot on said:

    Off topic slightly but the anti-Israeli cartoon in the 1982 issue of SW (referenced in Andy’s Searchlight link in the main article) is pretty hair-raising given the recent hue and cry over the Gerald Scaife’s fairly innocuous effort.

    No Left group would publish anything that strong today.

  14. Sonia Gable on said:

    Paula Spears: A Google search of Sonia says that despite their question about the criminal justice system she sends working class people to jail every week.

    Did you search on google or in a fairytale book?

  15. secret factioneer on said:

    Is there a point to this nasty piece? Apart from sucking up to Lowles, that is.

  16. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable:
    Lachlan Matrix,

    There was no strike.

    That’s as maybe, however it doesn’t sound as if your friend Bob Archer is particularly happy with your academy school.Does he know you are a director Sonia? Is Bob Crow aware as well ?

  17. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix,

    1. Are you suggesting their is anything wrong with being a magistrate? Are people not entitled to a fair trial and to being sentenced by their peers?

    2. Like every magistrate, I have no personal power to sentence anyone, we sit in benches of three.

    3. I don’t even sit “every week”.

    4. I always argue against sending anyone to prison if there is any alternative.

  18. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable:
    Lachlan Matrix,

    1. Are you suggesting their is anything wrong with being a magistrate? Are people not entitled to a fair trial and to being sentenced by their peers?

    2. Like every magistrate, I have no personal power to sentence anyone, we sit in benches of three.

    3. I don’t even sit “every week”.

    4. I always argue against sending anyone to prison if there is any alternative.

    I wonder if some of your new found friends would agree?

  19. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: That’s as maybe, however it doesn’t sound as if your friend Bob Archer is particularly happy with your academy school.Does he know you are a director Sonia?

    The article quoted at comment 12 was written in May 2011 before the school became an academy. Have you asked Bob his view of the school currently?

  20. secret factioneer on said:

    Dear god – AN, seriously, is this kind of vicious hatchet-job what your blog is for?

  21. StevieB on said:

    Difficult to know whether to laugh or vomit at the suggestion of Hope not Hate’s “grace” in the conflict with Searchlight.

    HnH have decided to set itself up as an “anti-extremist” campaign where some Muslim organisations are characterised as the other side of the same coin to the BNP fascists and EDL Islamophobes. Searchlight does not agree with this, and is continuing as part of the anti-fascist movement. All the political virtue in this clash lies with Searchlight.

    This particularly “graceful” article illustrates the point entirely. The anti-fascist movement cannot be based on people’s attitudes to the education system, the Coalition’s austerity policies, the war in Afghanistan, etc. The movement’s integrity rests upon being prepared to campaign against the fascists by any means necessary. To give effect to this means defending those being attacked and scapegoated by the fascists – today, particularly Muslims, but also black communities, Jews, LGBT, disabled, Roma, etc. The movement is then an alliance of those who both oppose fascism but also defend our diverse society.

    HnH want to campaign against some Muslim organisations who are likely to join at times in anti-fascist activity. That is more important to HnH than the unity of anti-fascists.

    Perhaps Andy thinks this article demonstrates that Searchlight has moved to the right, and hence the split with HnH. If so, can Andy explain what is left-wing about campaigning against Muslim organisations? If so, can Andy explain what is left wing about HnH’s insistence that Muslim men are more likely than other men to engage in child abuse? If so, can Andy explain why an anti-extremist campaign is an advance on anti-fascism?

  22. If I was still in the Labour Party I would have voted for Dianne Abbott for leader.

    Just saying.

  23. Anti-EDL on said:

    This was bound to happen eventually. The Gables’ have been throwing stones at Hope Not Hate for long enough. Still HNH remains silent. This must be to their credit.

    A read of either the Searchlight web blog or the magazine is evidence enough that the two sides in this split had to separate. One did it with some dignity and the other side slid down a dark plug hole and landed in a decade or two previous. It has been a painful decline for Searchlight.

    As Andy has pointed out the sudden decision by Searchlight to attach itself to UAF is curious, but not a great surprise. Neither Searchlight nor Hope Not Hate ever had a great reputation on the ultra left. This was to their credit in regards to fighting fascism. Searchlight has never in its ‘for nearly 49 years’ had a great record on fighting racism. That is a sad truth but often one that had been conveniently overlooked.

    Like a lot of others I truly do wish this whole affair had never happened but also like many others I have been around for long enough to know that Searchlight has been skating on thin ice. The left has, to a degree, behaved quite well whilst this painful separation and death played out.

    Andy, if you have any sense of decency perhaps it would be right to do Gerry Gable a comradely service of removing his comment from here. It merely confirms what people have said about him for long enough and there is no guarantee it really is him.

    Once again the fash have been fed more ammunition by sheer stupidity. How disappointing it is that some have to just keep on feeding racist vultures in pretty much the same way they have also done with a similarly sad situation currently engulfing the SWP.

    The remaining dignity of the anti-fascist movement died here tonight.

  24. Anti-EDL on said:

    StevieB. Those Muslim Organisations do not represent Muslims at all. I reject that they are Muslim at all. Are you seriously saying an anti-fascist should stand shoulder to shoulder with such people?

    I always had thought Searchlight was above that sort of nonsense if not much else.

    Your trying to change the subject would normally be commendable. In this instance you merely keep feeding trolls.

  25. Jellytot on said:

    @30Difficult to know whether to laugh or vomit

    Laughing’s better IMO.

    @30HnH want to campaign against some Muslim organisations who are likely to join at times in anti-fascist activity.

    Name me a single instance when anjem choudary’s merry band of performing seals have ever opposed fascism? Indeed their dumb-headed demos against the British Army in Luton provide a pretext for the formation of the EDL.

  26. So Sonia Gable is calling the NUT liars in her attempt to bamboozle everyone in comment 10?

    Or did she simply forget to tell everybody who ran the campaign against an academy this news?

  27. Sonia Gable on said:

    Sandra Lewis: “I was at a well attended UAF meeting last night ..” wrote Ms Gable yesterday

    It was a public meeting, anyone could attend. That does not equate to attachment.

  28. Sonia Gable on said:

    James: So Sonia Gable is calling the NUT liars in her attempt to bamboozle everyone in comment 10?

    Where did I call the NUT liars?

  29. Did you inform the NUT when they ran their campaign of the unsubstantiated facts you have given in comment 10?

  30. Sandra Lewis on said:

    Let Mr Gable write or speak as much as he wants. it is more than their TU woman is allowed to do after she said she did not agree with smears against antifascists. His account of when Mrs Gable joined the Liberal Dems does not appear to match her own.

  31. Sandra Lewis on said:

    gerry gable:
    she was asked if she would for democracys sake stand as a Lib-Dem as a paper candidate and at the same time she signed up as a member.

  32. Sonia Gable on said:

    James: Did you inform the NUT when they ran their campaign of the unsubstantiated facts you have given in comment 10?

    Most of what I wrote in comment 10 occurred after the initial opposition to the move to academy status, but I was in frequent contact with Bob Archer and informed him of what was happening.

    The facts are not unsubstantiated. Everything that occurs in governors’ meetings is minuted and Ofsted reports are published online.I suppose you don’t know that or you would not post such a stupid comment.

  33. Sandra Lewis on said:

    As for the LibDems, I joined several years ago when that party was probably to the left of New Labour

  34. Sandra Lewis on said:

    .I suppose you don’t know that or you would not post such a stupid comment.

    does your husband know that?

  35. Sonia Gable on said:

    Sandra Lewis: His account of when Mrs Gable joined the Liberal Dems does not appear to match her own.

    Gerry did not state when I joined the LibDems. Are you capable of reading what is actually on your screen or do you only read what you want to see?

  36. I was deeply saddened by the split between Searchlight and Hopenothate. As an active anti-fascist, I was confused why an organisation and individuals who I had been proud to be associated with could act in such a manner. However since the split, it has been very noticeable how one side has kept a dignified silence whilst the other has used their publication to snipe. For what it’s worth, I have continued to work with Hopenothate because I believe that their more progressive campaigning style has been one of the fundamental reasons why the fascists are once more in decline (if only on a temporary basis). I have done so while making no criticism of the Gables; people whom I have far too much respect for, to do so.

  37. Sonia Gable: To blame for what? I haven’t blamed him for anything, nor he me.

    Silly Bob then? He campaigns against an academy and you go out and form one.

  38. Sonia Gable on said:

    James: Silly Bob then? He campaigns against an academy and you go out and form one.

    I see you are determined to twist everything for your own ends. I believe in drawing conclusions from the facts and evidence. You clearly believe in distorting the evidence to support your pre-determined view.

  39. Sonia Gable on said:

    James: Okay then. Who is telling the truth about your ConDem membership. You or your husband?

    There is no contradiction in our accounts.

  40. “James” you’ve posted using at least 3 names in this one thread. It’s pretty dishonest, don’t you think?

    Stick with one name or your posts will be deleted.

  41. Sandra Lewis on said:

    Sonia Gable: Gerry did not state when I joined the LibDems. Are you capable of reading what is actually on your screen or do you only read what you want to see?

    You stood as a candidate in 2010. Pretty obvious then when according to his account you joined. Or are you too stupid to read it\/

  42. Sonia Gable on said:

    Sandra Lewis: You stood as a candidate in 2010. Pretty obvious then when according to his account you joined. Or are you too stupid to read it\/

    I also stood as a candidate in 2006. Did you not bother to check?

  43. Paul Reissner on said:

    Nick Lowles described the decision to call off an Islamic Forum of Europe  conference in 2010 as a “victory for common sense”. 

    When the IFE was under attack by the EDL, Andrew Gilligan, Despatches and the Daily Telegraph, Nick Lowles went on to say, “The racist English Defence League has called off its planned protest in Tower Hamlets for Sunday 20 June after the Troxy cancelled a booking for a conference that was due to be addressed by radical Islamic clerics.”
    http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/archive/6/2010

    Those in the anti fascist movement who argue that groups like the EDL are the ‘opposite side of the same coin’ to so called ‘radical Islamic clerics’  confuse the movement.

    What other Muslims are too ‘radical’ for Nick Lowles to defend their right to meet in the face of threats from the EDL and others? How does his approach over the IFE conference expose the hollow claim of the EDL to be against so called ‘extreme Muslims’ and not all Muslims?

    Fascist groups are not caused by the activities of Muslims or any other group they choose to opportunistically target.  Groups like the EDL and the BNP are a product of racism.  

    Those that blame the victims of fascism for its rise divide and disarm  the movement in the face of the enemy.

  44. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    And as for Searchlight and The Gables attacking Hope not Hate on their stance regarding “No Platform” I enclose a link just taken from the Searchlight website

    http://postimage.org/image/kjthmqjxl/

    Excuse me for saying, but by allowing well known nazi Patrick Harrington a platform on your website isn’t No Platform Mr & Mrs Gable. Hypocrites !!

  45. Jellytot on said:

    @58Those in the anti fascist movement who argue that groups like the EDL are the ‘opposite side of the same coin’ to so called ‘radical Islamic clerics’ confuse the movement.

    Yes, it might confuse the “movement” however, it wouldn’t confuse the ordinary WC and lower middle class members of the public that our anti-fascist propaganda should be aiming to reach.

    In my experience, ‘Joe Public’ are quite quick to pick up on what they perceive as double standards.

  46. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: Excuse me for saying, but by allowing well known nazi Patrick Harrington a platform on your website isn’t No Platform Mr & Mrs Gable. Hypocrites !!

    Searchlight allows all comments except those that are libellous or offensive. Whether Harrington is a nazi may be open to dispute.

  47. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable: Searchlight allows all comments except those that are libellous or offensive. Whether Harrington is a nazi may be open to dispute.

    So you clearly do not understand the principal of No Platform yet you are prepared to attack others?

  48. Jellytot on said:

    @63Whether Harrington is a nazi may be open to dispute.

    But couldn’t he be reasonably described as a fellow traveller?……or an “errand boy” ? ;-)

  49. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: Not you, Searchlight
    ‘No platform’ outdated – my arse!

    An online comment which was not offensive, fascist or racist does not constitute giving a platform to fascism and racism.

  50. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable: An online comment which was not offensive, fascist or racist does not constitute giving a platform to fascism and racism.

    Oh dear, you haven’t a clue Sonia

  51. Jellytot on said:

    Harrington’s been trying to open up channels of communication to Left/Progressive forces for decades now.

    It’s a profound political error to indulge him.

  52. Sonia Gable on said:

    Jellytot,

    Harrington commented on an article that I wrote criticising him. There is no channel of communication, communication being a two-way process I think.

  53. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable:

    Harrington commented on an article that I wrote criticising him. There is no channel of communication, communication being a two-way process I think.

    Did you not reply? Don’t you even realise when you are telling lies ?

  54. It’s fairly simple. If a fascist posts on here, we delete the post. Even opening the door to them posting is dangerous, as they will use any platform to try to stir up hatred.

    By allowing Harrington to comment on your site, you’re allowing him to pose as reasonable and allowing him to spread the lie that his “union” is not connected to fascists. He doesn’t have to say anything overtly racist or fascist, and I’m not sure it’s wise that your criteria is that a fascist only needs to be “no platformed” if they’re actually gonna say offensive things.

    Fascists are experts at drawing people in by trying to appear reasonable. We don’t have to give them a platform here, so we don’t.

  55. Tony Collins:
    Right, and all 3 of you are sitting at the same computer…

    I’m amazed that in this day of age so many people don’t understand the concept of IP addresses (etc.).

  56. Jellytot,

    Whatever Harrington may or may not be these days is possibly of less relevance it was when I last came across him in Elm Park in the mid-late 1990s; as the money from Libya has almost certainly dried up since then.

    I presume Gadaffi was one of the “progessive forces” you accuse him of “cosying up” to?

  57. Jellytot on said:

    @77I presume Gadaffi was one of the “progessive forces” you accuse him of “cosying up” to?

    Certainly not.

    Harrington has always been an adherent to the political soldier variant of fascism that puts great store into political manoeuvring, the desire for hegemony and the treatment of politics in general as some sort of machiavellian chess game; a ‘war of position’ if you like. The fact that his ‘oh so clever’ little schemes have been a complete and utter failure is neither here nor there.

    Anyhow, he was notorious for posting on Left forums (including iirc Red Action’s), anarchist and Green ones in an attempt to open up new fronts and to ingratiate himself and his ideas.

  58. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    The Gables have had a very bad 24 hours.

    Sonia Gable is a director of an academy school.
    Sonia Gable is a sitting magistrate.
    Despite their moralistic stance, Searchlight frequently flout No Platform.Sonia Gable actually defends Patrick Harrington on this website.
    Sonia Gable was a Lib Dem member & candidate.

    Wonder what next might come out ?

  59. Jellytot on said:

    My views have not changed: I continue to support socialism

    Some geniune and non-rhetorical questions here:

    What’s it like being an open socialist inside the Liberal Democrats? Are there many of them? Do you meet others? What sort of reaction do you get from your fellow members? It just seems an odd organisation for a socialist to join.

  60. Tony Collins: If a fascist posts on here, we delete the post. Even opening the door to them posting is dangerous, as they will use any platform to try to stir up hatred.

    Really? When was that policy introduced?

    Check out this thread from 2007, where Andy defends his decision to allow BNP supporter Paul Morris (“Green Arrow”) to post comments on Socialist Unity, on the grounds that “Green Arrow hasn’t said anything here that is outwith the acceptable parameters of debate”.

  61. Bob: Really? When was that policy introduced?

    Since then. We have found from experience that it is better to ban them. We run a tighter ship on comment
    moderation nowadays.

    Bob: Check out this thread from 2007, where Andy defends his decision to allow BNP supporter Paul Morris (“Green Arrow”) to post comments on Socialist Unity, on the grounds that “Green Arrow hasn’t said anything here that is outwith the acceptable parameters of debate”.

    See the difference. I was saying this in the context of arguing I don’t think No platform is viable in the Internet age.

    Sonia is saying something very similar AND still saying she supports No Platform.

    Her position is inconsistent

  62. gerry gable: Someone suggested to me after your posting that all this could be to do with your trying to climb up Lowles posterior connected to your aspirations you have in the direction of the Labour Party, but you maybe climbing aboard a political Titanic.

    It is worth pointing out that this story was not sourced to me from hnH, or anyone associated with them.

    It came from a trade union contact, conceredn about the Academy angle.

  63. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Andy Newman,

    Andy, it is the normal modus operandi of Gerry Gable.
    Anybody who dares to speak out against him or his magazine MUST be working for or with someone else.
    Which is a little rich really, coming from someone who regularly hands over information to the state.

  64. Really? When was that policy introduced?

    Check out this thread from 2007, where Andy defends his decision to allow BNP supporter Paul Morris (“Green Arrow”) to post comments on Socialist Unity, on the grounds that “Green Arrow hasn’t said anything here that is outwith the acceptable parameters of debate”.

    So, what, you decided to post just to prove that I must be a liar?

    Seriously Bob, other than to sneer, what was the point of your post? How about instead of sneering, you engage me in debate and ask genuine questions? How about, if you think there’s been a change in our position, you simply say it’s good to see the change, instead of your “look here everyone, I spotted teh

    I’ve had exactly this kind of shit from you before. It adds nothing to the debate, it poisons the atmosphere, and it leads allies to end up hating each other.

    If you think there’s hypocrisy, why not just talk to us about it? Also, given the framework in which you posted, are you really saying that your political view is that no one can ever change their mind? Or are we to be held to a position taken almost 6 years ago forever?

    It fucks me off, cos you can do so much better. But clearly, your aim here is just to try to make us look bad. You didn’t feel anything Sonia said about Harrington being allowed to post was worth commenting on, but you felt it was important to search our archives in order to find a quote from the previous decade.

    I want you to look at your post and ask yourself what you were *really* trying to achieve. Cos for the last few years, we’ve been trying to really push the debating style in a different direction. In fact, we’ve been trying to move away from people believing they can just come here and sneer, and asking them instead to join in a spirit of open debate. We make loads of mistakes, obviously, and we have to try quite hard not to shout at people all the time. But we try, cos it’s our political instincts – we want to add to the debate.

    Now, Andy gave you a more courteous reply than I have. I’d like you to post more often, I’d like you to consider writing more for the site – and I’d like you to raise your eyes a bit: We’ve got a huge audience here who we can talk to and engage with. We don’t need you to post “ah…HA!” posts aimed at showing us up to be bad people. We already know how awful we are. Instead, what we could do with is constructive contributions from other progressive people. I’d like to not have to say this stuff to you again – but pretty much the last time you posted on here responding to me, it was also to insinuate that I’m a hypocrite.

  65. Tony Collins,

    I suspect it may be a question of “consistency” in some commentator’s eyes,Tony. Not taking a position,mind you, just thinking about why alot of posters are quick to make reference to past positions argued by the SU staff.

  66. Omar: I suspect it may be a question of “consistency” in some commentator’s eyes,Tony. Not taking a position,mind you, just thinking about why alot of posters are quick to make reference to past positions argued by the SU staff.

    Bob is a very good guy, and I suspect that is excatly what he is doing.

    Some other people do it because they don’t like me, and are trying to use it as a form of Internet bullying.

  67. Omar: I suspect it may be a question of “consistency” in some commentator’s eyes

    Bob is a very good guy, and I suspect that is excatly what he is doing.

    In terms of consistency, I can accept that completely, we should be consistent (and Andy is consistent in allowing himself to be debated with and to change his mind) – but again, there’s no need for this shitty “gotcha” approach to debate. Bob could’ve acted like an adult and said he sees inconsistency – except, for fucks sake, we’re talking about something written nearly 6 years ago. It’s like I said, in Bob’s non-pompous world, you’re not allowed to change your position over a period of 6 years.
    Except what he’s done here, he keeps doing. I like his other work, but he consistently comes on and sneers and tries to post “gotchas” at us.

    It’s really childish, and it’s quite clear that the guy doesn’t care whether or not he can help push an argument forward or not. No, for “Bob”, it’s much more important to show that he’s better than us.

    I don’t care if people think Bob is a good guy. I think Bob does some important stuff. But that doesn’t absolve him of responsibility not to be shitty on this site. FFS, he could’ve actually assumed good faith, instead of trying to prove that we secretly want fascists to post here (why else would he feel the need to post direct quotes? Couldn’t he have just said he hadn’t realised there was a change of posture? Couldn’t he have just accepted that we therefore must have changed our views over the years?)

    So look, the problem with Bob’s approach here – the “gotcha” approach – is that people will become less willing to openly change their minds ane be influenced, cos there’s always a Bob ready to pounce on them and remind them of stuff they said 6 years previously. And remember, the guy had nothing else to say at all. Nothing. He came here simply to point out what awful awful hypocrites we are.

    Bob could, obviously, grow up, but given that he’s now developed quite a habit of pulling this shit against John, Andy and me, it’s pretty obvious that he doesn’t give a fuck about actual debates or influence or changing things.

    Bob has made it clear that he simply wants to show that he’s better than everyone else. Again, there is no other reason to post direct quotes from nearly 6 years ago – if it was 2 weeks or 6 months ago, maybe. But Bob’s attitude is something different. How does he know we didn’t post several comments announcing the change of policy? He doesn’t know – this would mean he doesn’t care at all, cos again, there is no other reason to say “yes but what about this comment from 6 years ago?”. There were any number of ways that Bob could’ve done this in a non-sneery way, and any number of ways he could’ve responded to me. But he chose the gotcha approach, showing that if you change your mind on something, Bob will be on your case. See, I think this site is precisely the place where people can come and have their minds changed. And I don’t want it to be a place where people like Bob are ready to jump on you with a precise quote which shows that you’re a hypocrite when clearly there’s no hypocrisy there.

    Once again: There’s no problem asking people about changes of mind. There’s plenty wrong with what is now a consistent method from Bob – sneery gotchas, aiming to show us up.

    OK Bob, you’re better than everyone else. But I’ve got the delete key. I tried to give you a serious explanation of why I have a real issue with the way you post, and you could’ve talked to me about it. But you preferred to just carry on being childish. Fine, fine. This is exactly what you did to John Wight some months ago Bob, and when he called you out on it, you responded in the same childish way.

    It all adds to the many, many problems of the British left.

  68. Sonia Gable on said:

    Tony Collins argues that one can change one’s mind over a period of six years. As I did regarding the LibDems, OK.

    Lachlan Matrix seems to think that sitting as a magistrate is a bad thing. Isn’t it better that progressive people are magistrates, or should magistrates all be Tories who want to put everyone in prison? Or does he prefer justice to be dispensed by people selected by the central committee of the SWP?

  69. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: That would be the same Mr & Mrs Gable who have recently snuggled up to Comrade Delta and his crew ?

    See comment 27. Reading what is actually on your screen seems to be a problem for you.

  70. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable: See comment 27. Reading what is actually on your screen seems to be a problem for you.

    I regularly read postings by fascists such as Patrick Harrington on your website.

    My eyesight didn’t let me down then.

  71. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: Who says you are a progressive magistrate?
    Sorry, just because you claim that doesn’t make it true.

    You are welcome to sit in the public gallery of any adult court I am chairing and then base your comments on evidence.

    In any case, your questioning of whether I am am a progressive magistrate does not justify your initial assumption that sitting as a magistrate is de facto a bad thing. Why is it wrong to sit as a magistrate? If you were robbed in the street, would you say to the robber that’s fine, carry on and rob a few more working class people who can ill afford to lose their mobile phones and cash, victims of crime don’t matter?

  72. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable,

    That would be the same working class people you conveniently forgot about when you became a director of an academy school ?

  73. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: That would be the same working class people you conveniently forgot about when you became a director of an academy school

    You have a very short attention span. Read, or re-read, my comment 10. The children of The Forest Academy, probably 100% working class, are getting a better education now than two years ago because of the commitment of the staff and governors. Academy status has made no difference to that. Of course if you put a political principle before the interests of working class children …

    And you still haven’t explained why sitting as a magistrate is a bad thing.

  74. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable:
    And you still haven’t explained why sitting as a magistrate is a bad thing.

    And you still haven’t explained why Searchlight would attack others on their stance on No Platform whilst all the time entering into a debate with known members of the far right? Or did you casually forget Patrick Harringtons background and past?

  75. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix: Or did you casually forget Patrick Harringtons background and past?

    1. Patrick Harrington is no longer a member of any fascist party.

    2. You keep using the plural. With which members (plural) of the far right has Searchlight entered into debate?

  76. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Sonia Gable: 1. Patrick Harrington is no longer a member of any fascist party.

    So you are saying it is perfectly fine to enter into a debate with Patrick Harrington?

  77. Sonia Gable on said:

    Lachlan Matrix,

    You have unjustifiably attacked my active commitment to working class education and to justice, you ignore everything I say that you find inconvenient and refuse to answer my questions. I have to get up in the morning and see no point in prolonging this exchange any further tonight.

  78. Sonia Gable on said:

    Jellytot: People can make up their own minds by reading about Harrington’s scabby little “Union” here:

    http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/article/2461/beware-of-the-scab-union

    I linked to that HNH article in my own article about Solidarity, you might have noticed, but probably didn’t care. Harrington provided some helpful factual clarification in his comment, that’s all. There was no debate about fascist policy, etc, which would of course have been unacceptable.

    Presumably it’s OK for the HNH people to communicate with fascists to obtain information for their articles. Or is it one rule for HNH and another rule for us?

    I do hope Lachlan Matrix is not a Hope Not Hate supporter as he is so full of hate and he must be at serious risk of disappearing up his own contradictions.

  79. Tony Collins: This is exactly what you did to John Wight some months ago Bob, and when he called you out on it, you responded in the same childish way.

    Did I? I must admit I can’t remember that exchange with John Wight. Perhaps I have other things to think about.

    The point I was making is that you’ve got a cheek joining in the attack on Sonia Gable for allowing Patrick Harrington to post a comment on the Searchlight site on the grounds that “Searchlight allows all comments except those that are libellous or offensive”, when Andy has in the past defended the right of fascists to post on Socialist Unity on exactly the same basis.

    Rather than write “If a fascist posts on here, we delete the post. Even opening the door to them posting is dangerous, as they will use any platform to try to stir up hatred”, a more honest approach would have been to say: “We used to have a policy of allowing the far right to post comments at SU as long as they weren’t of an overtly racist or fascist character, but have since (at some point since 2007) decided this was a mistake.” But that would have seriously weakened your criticism of Sonia Gable wouldn’t it?

    The reason I got rather snappish about this is that I think the whole thing is an unwarranted attack on Sonia Gable. If Andy objected to her taking a position on the board of the Forest Academy Trust he should have contacted her and asked for an explanation. (Sonia Gable provides such an explanation at #10 and it strikes me as a reasonable one.)

    Instead, Andy chose to publish this attack without any attempt to check the facts, in what is evidently an attempt to assist Hope Not Hate by smearing Searchlight, with the aim of undermining their support in the trade union movement. It’s really disgraceful and I think Andy owes Sonia Gable an apology.

  80. And just to add, I think this is part of a wider problem with Socialist Unity. Lately it seems to have turned into a platform for witch-hunting sections of the Left with whom Andy disagrees.

    The piece on Workers’ Liberty was quite appalling (and I say that having very little in the way of political agreement with the AWL). Andy took an admittedly irritating sect and elevated them into a dangerous and malevolent cult, the strong implication being that they are not a legitimate part of the labour movement. A lot of the material on the crisis in the SWP appears to have the same purpose, and is often disturbingly close to the stuff that has been posted at Harry’s Place.

    So this attempt to smear Sonia Gable is unfortunately part of a general and rather unpleasant pattern.

  81. Bob: The piece on Workers’ Liberty was quite appalling (and I say that having very little in the way of political agreement with the AWL). Andy took an admittedly irritating sect and elevated them into a dangerous and malevolent cult, the strong implication being that they are not a legitimate part of the labour movement

    Bob, that was prompted both by appalling cult behaviour by the AWLin a trade union, the details of which I could not include; and by death threats to me, and more credible threats that I would be beaten up by an AWL member; combined by a cnstant stream of villification and lies about me at the AWL blog Shiraz Socialist,

    I genuinely beleive that this sort of behaviour is dangerous, and not part of labour movement traditions.

    Bob: A lot of the material on the crisis in the SWP appears to have the same purpose

    In light of the Delta affair, then I think some reflection on the type of organisation that could do this is entirely justified.

    With regard to Sonia, yeah I could have handled it in a more even handed way, but Bob, this is just a blog.

  82. Sonia Gable: Why do you object to progressive magistrates?

    Serious question – I was always under the impression that magistrates are severely restricted in how they can apply the law? That essentially their job consists of referring to the guidelines and applying them without regard for your own predilections, progressive or otherwise?

    I personally have no innate moral qualms about socialists serving as magistrates, so it isn’t an attack, I’m just genuinely curious whether there’s enough professional autonomy to justify participating.

  83. Sonia Gable on said:

    Manzil: Serious question – I was always under the impression that magistrates are severely restricted in how they can apply the law? That essentially their job consists of referring to the guidelines and applying them without regard for your own predilections, progressive or otherwise?

    I personally have no innate moral qualms about socialists serving as magistrates, so it isn’t an attack, I’m just genuinely curious whether there’s enough professional autonomy to justify participating.

    You raise a valid point which I will try to answer. We do have sentencing guidelines, that is important for consistency, so that defendants can expect to be judged by reference to the same criteria whichever bench they appear before. However there is a lot of room within them for our own professional judgement of the seriousness of the offence, of the circumstances in which it was committed and the nature of the person who committed it, and of what we can do in sentencing to try to help the person not commit further crimes. Even where all the factors we take into account indicate that a custodial sentence is inevitable, we can suspend it and that decision is ours. We can even go outside the sentencing guidelines if we have good reason to do so and explain our reasons to the court.

    Trial decisions can provide more scope for discretion than sentencing as it is for us to assess the evidence and decide whether a witness is credible. That includes police witnesses. For example a recent trial involved a young black man charged with assault. The alleged victim was a white police officer. The defendant had run away when the police officer tried to stop him to question him on the basis that the officer thought he might have been about to commit an offence or might have been carrying a weapon. The officer gave chase and told us that no one runs away from the police unless they have something to hide. The young man said he was fed up with being harassed. They gave us differing accounts of what happened when the officer caught up with the young man. We decided to believe the young man and found him not guilty. It would have been open to us to disbelieve him and find him guilty.

    I would emphasise that our judgement has to be professional and not based on prejudice. We receive professional training and our competence is regularly appraised by other magistrates who are trained for that purpose. Acting as a magistrate is not a box-ticking exercise.

  84. On the issue of allowing comments by fascists, by the way, I very much agree with the change in policy at Socialist Unity. I think it was a mistake for Searchlight to allow Patrick Harrington to post on their site, just as it was a mistake for SU not to delete a comment by the BNP blogger “Green Arrow” back in 2007.

    I don’t think all comments by the far right should necessarily be banned, though. A few years ago I was working for London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, who posted a piece on his blog about the BNP contesting a council by-election in Camden. Their candidate – a total fruitcake named Edith Crowther – submitted a response which we decided to allow. This was because it was so off the wall (she wrote “I realised long ago that the BNP is the British equivalent of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whom I admire and respect and who have great courage. That is why I joined”) that we thought it was far more damaging to the BNP if it was posted.

    So “No Platform” has to be interpreted in an intelligent and flexible manner, I would say. But that doesn’t abrogate the general principle.

    To take another example (to which Gerry Gable refers in his comment piece that has already been linked to), last year an organisation called the Muslim Debate Initiative (which has a policy of providing the far right with a platform, in order to engage them in debate) invited EDL leader Stephen Lennon to address a meeting at London’s Conway Hall.

    Both Searchlight and UAF condemned this and called on the Conway Hall management to cancel the booking, as did Camden Trades Council and local MP Frank Dobson. Eventually Conway Hall concurred and the event was called off.

    (Islamophobia Watch was invited to attend the meeting by the MDI, who offered to reserve us a place in the “VIP section”! I emailed back declining the invitation and urging them to reassess their policy of providing a platform to the far right. I expanded on my reasons for doing so in a piece for IW.)

    The one anti-fascist organisation that didn’t join the opposition to Lennon’s presence at Conway Hall was Hope Not Hate. They raised no objection to an event that would certainly have brought a gang of EDL thugs into Camden, a multi-ethnic borough with a 12% Muslim population. At the time I thought maybe that was just an oversight. However, the incoherent article that Nick Lowles wrote for Hope Not Hate magazine questioning No Platform shows that there was more to it than that.

    You’d be hard pressed to find many people on the left or in the labour movement in Camden who would agree with HNH on the Conway Hall/Stephen Lennon issue.

    I think Searchlight is correct in seeing this as part of a general rightward lurch by HNH. Another example was that dreadful article by Nick Lowles on so-called Muslim/Asian grooming in Hope Not Hate last year. Liz Fekete of the IRR posted a good reply to it here.

    I must admit that I completely misjudged the HNH/Searchlight split. I anticipated that Nick Lowles, who I saw a pragmatist who wanted to keep the support of the labour movement, would shift his organisation away from the some of the more cranky and indefensible positions previously associated with that tradition.

    On the contrary, things just seem to have got a whole lot worse at HNH, whereas Searchlight has developed in a much more positive (if rather erratic) direction.

  85. Manzil on said:

    Bob: Another example was that dreadful article by Nick Lowles on so-called Muslim/Asian grooming in Hope Not Hate last year.

    I keep seeing references to this article. Is it actually available online?

  86. Manzil: I keep seeing references to this article. Is it actually available online?

    No, I’m afraid it’s not. It was pubished in the November-December 2012 issue of Hope Not Hate. If I have a spare minute I’ll scan it and post it online.

  87. Manzil on said:

    Bob: No, I’m afraid it’s not. It was pubished in the November-December 2012 issue of Hope Not Hate. If I have a spare minute I’ll scan it and post it online.

    Much obliged, if you could. £20 for a subscription is a good fortnight’s food shopping for me! :)

  88. Lachlan Matrix on said:

    Matt:
    I hope we have heard the last of this matrix character. He has been appalling.

    Why have I been appalling? Because I have my own opinion that doesn’t match up with yours or the Gables ?

  89. Jellytot on said:

    @119Here is the Nick Lowles grooming article. Not a brilliant scan but just about legible.

    Thanks from me, as well, Bob. I will take a read and comment on it and a few others things in #114.

  90. We do live in strange times politically – when even Andy Newman and Socialist Unity readers are catching up with what Anarchists and Greens were saying about Searchlight a generation ago.

    At this rate, a critique of Hope Not Hate and Progress should arrive some time in 2034.

  91. “But if we are to prevent the likes of the English Defence League and National Front from benefiting from this then we need to prove to the public that we are concerned about these stories of grooming by both gangs and individuals and we are going to do something about it.”

    This is from the Nick Lowles article.

    What I fail to understand is why this this appalling crime is an issue for anti-fascists as anti-fascists. People either believe that the ethnic and community origins of the perpatrators is relevant or they don’t.

    If the perpetrators are over-represented in certain communities then there is a job to be done withing those communities of addressing the problem.

    There is also a wider political question regarding the resource and other issues in protecting the victims and potential victims.

    But these are not jobs for anti-fascist organisations as such.

    I have no axe to grind btw. I have often agreed with HnH.

  92. Jellytot on said:

    @125What I fail to understand is why this this appalling crime is an issue for anti-fascists as anti-fascists.

    It is a very problematic one, I agree.

    The fascists have been banging on about this issue for years and there is evidence that there propaganda around it did get some traction in some localised communities.

    The relatively high vote for Guest in last years Rotherham byelection is evidence of this – The BNP vote since 2010 has been almost uniformly derisory; at Rotherham it wasn’t and this was due to them pushing the ‘grooming’ issue in a typically racist manner.

    Now, when faced with issues like this there is a tendency amongst some in the Left to say absolutely nothing; it’s a difficult subject that doesn’t fit into the worldview that BME communities are inherently virtuous and that any vices are to be laid at the door of White racism.

    Now such a viewpoint can be largely agreed upon and policed in the almost hermetically sealed community that is the Far Left simply by shouting down and deploying the “R” word when needed, however when arguing within communites being targetted by the fascists such arguments will be quickly found seriously wanting.

    “Joe Public” can be quite resistant to Left jargon and the neat little consensus that ticks all the PC boxes.

    What I think that HnH are trying to do is detoxify this issue and making their anti-fascist propaganda more effective. Their intentions seem to be well meaning.

  93. Jellytot: a difficult subject that doesn’t fit into the worldview that BME communities are inherently virtuous and that any vices are to be laid at the door of White racism.
    Now such a viewpoint can be largely agreed upon and policed in the almost hermetically sealed community that is the Far Left simply by shouting down and deploying the “R” word when needed, however when arguing within communites being targetted by the fascists such arguments will be quickly found seriously wanting.
    “Joe Public” can be quite resistant to Left jargon and the neat little consensus that ticks all the PC boxes.
    What I think that HnH are trying to do is detoxify this issue and making their anti-fascist propaganda more effective. Their intentions seem to be well meaning.

    I have no doubt that their intentions are well meaning, and I agree with what you say about PC boxes and left jargon, but that’s a wider question than anti-fascism.

    All anti-fascist should say as anti-fascists is to condemn the EDL, NF etc for using it as an issue.

  94. Jellytot: What I think that HnH are trying to do is detoxify this issue and making their anti-fascist propaganda more effective. Their intentions seem to be well meaning.

    Even if that’s true, then the way Lowles is going about it is stupid beyond belief. At best you could say it shows such a lack of political judgement that it makes Lowles entirely unfit to lead an organisation committed to opposing racism and fascism.

    He is using the same sort of reasoning that you get from the Labour right – when they assert, for example, that the way to undercut far-right propaganda against migrants is to accept the central argument that immigration is a big problem and promise to crack down on it. The left (or the vast majority of those claiming to be on the left) have consistently argued that, instead of undermining racists and fascists, such an approach legitimises their arguments. The Labour right responds by accusing us of refusing to confront facts and failing to take account of people’s legitimate concerns about immigration. In doing so, they further reinforce right-wing propaganda about the left being involved in a PC-motivated cover-up of the threat posed by migrants.

    Similarly, Lowles seems to think that the way you undercut the far right’s propaganda about Muslim/Asian grooming is to concede that they have a point. Just like the Labour right on the issue of immigration, he criticises the left for failing address people’s legitimate concerns about on-street grooming. He mentions that internet groomers are overwhelmingly white, but shows no interest in examining why there should be a moral panic over over the former and far less attention given to the latter. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if Muslims were over-represented among online groomers, then that would be the issue the media generally and the right-wing press in particular, along with the far-right racists who take their ispiration from them, would be arguing was the most important threat to vulnerable young women.

    Liz Fekete’s indignant response to Lowles is worth reading. She obviously has difficulty crediting that a supposed anti-racist could put forward the arguments that Lowles does. Fekete points out that the right have always tried to racialise crime in order to demonise minority communities. She draws a parallel between the “Muslim grooming” hysteria today and the “black muggers” hysteria in the 1980s. In both cases you have the right promoting a moral panic about a particular type of crime in which it can be argued (often on the basis of manipulated statistics) that a particular minority community is over-represented among the perpetrators.

    Regarding the “black muggers” propaganda of the 80s, Fekete asks: “would we have said, ‘yes the National Front has a point, young black men are muggers – it’s in Jamaican culture, to be violent. Look here are the stats.’ No, as anti-fascist/anti-racist educators, we tried to show how racialised moral panics were created and how statistics could be used to bolster them.”

    It’s interesting that (so far as I’m aware – HNH supporters will no doubt correct me if I’m wrong) Lowles has so far failed to reply to Liz Fekete’s open letter, even though it was posted on the IRR website the best part of three months ago.

  95. gerry gable on said:

    This is a very busy time at the moment for Anti-Fascists. The British Democratic Party launch on Saturday and the BNP already have a National Speaker tour being conducted by their boss Nick Griffin.It has a amusing side to it as Griffin furious about the rival group launching in Leicester this Saturday has decided to hold his peopl talk for his deminishing gang of followers in the same City, however I could not let pass the remark about Anarchists and the Green as some kind of wrong doing in the pages of Searchlight, way back.
    Yes we did a number of stories about the infiltration of some Anarchist groups. For anybody who has followed the stories of the infiltration by the Police of all sorts of groups over many years ranging from Peace, Enviromental, anti-war, animal rights groups. I think this more than bears out what were were warning against.
    As for the Greens readers might recall our report on turning up at a annual Green Party conference and asking why one of their key note speakers was Anna Bramwell the Young Members Organisers of Monday Club , who also active in the Enock Powell support group Powellite run by a ex-spook Bee Carthew.
    Anna’s husband Roy was a hard line nazi and a slum landlord. There was uproad and she had to leave Greens AGM. Another person present who peddled himself as a Roma, whilst also being a member of the National Front.
    Anna went on to write a number of books about Hitlers ideas on Green matters and one book that was widely reviewed on Adolf’s Ecological Minister. For some odd reason shrouded in mystery Anna ended up working for the Overseas Aid and development body at their Paris office.
    Searchlight had been working with one of the German Green Partys MEP’s where a whole Lands(State) group had to be shut down by the National Party because it was knee deep in nazi infiltrators.
    I read recently on the Hope not hate site that the Ogreave Miners support group had told Griffn to take a hike when he offered his support. Hnh claims that this was because they were able to warn the Miners, thats more like it, but they forgot to mention that at the height of the Miners strike when Griffins then Political Soldier wing of the NF a similar offer of assistance was uncovered through our sources inside the Political Soldiers and literaly at five to midnight we stopped them organising a fund raising meeting for the striking Miners in London.
    This was only one of several infiltration attempts to get inside working class groups at that time, the whistle was blown on them all.
    So when people drop in throw away lines about Searchlight, Green and anarchists the posters should know what they are talking about.
    Salud.
    By the way I was with my Comrade Bob Archer this morning and he is outraged by the ill informed attacks on Sonia and the Academy School where she serves as a Governor.

    Salud
    Gerry

  96. Sonia Gable on said:

    Bob,

    Good points, Bob. I would add that the reason Lowles uses the same sort of reasoning as the Labour right is that right-wing Labour, in particular the Progress group, is where he and his colleague Ruth Smeeth stand politically.

    To those who have said that Hope Not Hate have maintained a dignified silence, that is because their response has been to reach for their aggressive lawyers.

  97. Jellytot on said:

    @128At best you could say it shows such a lack of political judgement that it makes Lowles entirely unfit to lead an organisation committed to opposing racism and fascism.

    Bob

    I think Lowles is eminently fit to lead an organistion committed to opposing racism and fascism.

    He has proven to be one of the more dynamic and proactive campaigners in this area in recent years….indeed, if he wasn’t I would doubt that the avalanche of criticism and sniping from rivals would be a lot less than it is. However, I really do think that there should be enough political space for the approach of a group like HopenotHate and of UAF/Searchlight. The situation in the early 90’s was clearly ridiculous when you had ARA, ANL,YRE and AFA all competing on similar ground but today there surely is room for two campaigns with a different approach.

    HopenotHate’s call for bans on certain high profile EDL activities did get traction with local stakeholders including important figures like Lutfur Rahman. Their work in Dagenham in the lead up to the 2010 GE gained resonance too. HnH’s campaign materiels may seem basic to seasoned Left-wing campaigners who operate at a very high political level but they have proven effective when intervening with the electorate and surely that should be the acid test? Like I said, there should be space for HnH to exist and prosper. That they should be regarded as a threat, of course, should not be a surprise. There is an ignoble tradition in Britain of anti-facsist attacking each other for a variety of reasons, some legitimate, others not. This latest spat between Searchlight and HnH does have the air of two divorcees contining to bicker long after the ink on the Decree Absolute has dried (although most of the abuse seems to be coming from one direction)……and who the “children” are in this comparision is open to question….Labour Movement funding perhaps? ;-)

    All that stated, I can certainly see where you are coming from with your comments in #128 and I can see the possible pitfalls in the approach you illustrate. I essentially agree with HnH and the only thing I could imagine making me to reassess my position would be an overconcentration by them on Islamist radicalism (or other types of minority extremism) in Britain to the detriment of targetting White fascists – but that doesn’t appear to be happening.

  98. All I know is there is more to come which will finally blow Searchlight’s little lie machine out of the water.

    I wonder if those who have plenty to spill will wait until Gerry has passed so he may have some dignity or will they go full steam ahead with a hole range of gory details on the filthy lives of the Zionist apologist and his far-right judge wife?

    Hope Not Hate had better duck for cover too.