anti racism tracking
I would very much like to thank Seussterhoff for this article; if you aren't following this Twitter account, you really should be.
* * *
The alt-right is like a box of chocolates - or, in the words of Dr. Umberto Eco, ""fascism was a fuzzy totalitarianism, a collage of different philosophical and political ideas, a beehive of contradictions." Therefore, in the spirit of tarring the alliance/cross-contamination between PEGIDA, Yellow Vests, hate preachers, Wolves/Soldiers of Odin, Northern Guard, and their good buddies with the same brush, I present Eco's fourteen hallmarks of fascism.
Eco, for the record, grew up in Mussolini's Italy. He got to know fascism firsthand. I've often found his fourteen points a useful reference for analyzing groups and movements that are prone to going off the rails. And I see every one of those fourteen points, to some extent, in the Canadian alt-right.
References: Eco's 1995 original (partially paywalled); OpenCulture's summary; Paul Bausch's point-form summary.
My thanks to the good people of ARC Collective for inviting me to expand on my Twitter thread about this. And while the screencaps may not be the world's best or most pointed examples of all the points below, the vast majority of them came from less than half an hour of casual browsing on the Facebook page of Derek Storie, a prominent Yellow Vest.
#1: The cult of tradition....
...."nourished by...syncretistic, occult elements."
I've got a pagan friend who's prone to rage about all the ways the alt-right has appropriated and twisted Norse and pagan heritage - throwbacks to romanticized days when men were MEN and so forth. The iconography is everywhere:
Note one-eyed Odin, a reference to sacrificing for hidden truths. Ravens, incidentally, reference similar ideas, with a slant toward uncovering secrets and omniscience.
'Syncretism,' for context, is about blending the appealing bits of various cultures and traditions. Observe:
Middle is a Norse valknut symbol, with as many historic and modern interpretations as you can shake a stick at. Very watered-down, basically meaningless apart from its occasional association with white supremacy. Top right is Norse. Top left, in the words of my heathen symbologist friend, is a "Medieval Christian Icelandic 'runesign' most neo-pagans don't realize is Christian." Bottom is a Celtic triskelion. The logo is just one big syncretic mishmash. Neo-pagan or pseudo-Norse iconography like this is all over their social media.
And that's only one small example of their veneration for skewed tradition and heritage. Think about how many of them fly the Red Ensign, Canada's old flag from colonial times, and what they mean by that.
Think, too, what they mean when they try to appropriate and possess the Canadian flag: they're trying to radicalize it as a symbol and position their critics and targets as un-Canadian. Cult of tradition all over the place.
#2: Modernism is the enemy. "The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity."
Read more »
Keean Bexte, Associated With Members/Supporters of ID Canada Hate Group, Harassing Congresswomen Attacked By Trump
NOTE 1: Wait just a little while, and Trump can be relied on to be completely unreliable as he reverses his reversal and defends the racist chant now.Phew! Holy run-on sentence Batman!
Anywho, on to the point....
Once again, meet one of Rebel Media's latest propagandist personalities Keean Bexte. Before I get into the meat of the issue, let's address the elephant in the room.
Yes, he actually chose to look like this:
I mean.... damn dude!
Your mother let you out of the house looking like that, did she? I mean, mine loves me enough to tell me that if I sported that haircut like that I should probably just shave it all off because I would look absolutely ridiculous.
And do you actually own another t-shirt? I legit looked at a number of photos of you and this one was rather ubiquitous:
Is it your dress t-shirt? You're "report'n" t-shirt? Did you loose a bet that requires you to wear it continuously for a year? Do you think that t-shirt is the source of your strength like Sampson's hair (sorry, I know that hair is sort of a touchy subject). Do you wear the t-shirt to prevent nipple chafing? Does it promote nipple chafing (I won't judge your kink, man)?
THESE are the questions the people really want answers to Crutchie!
If you know Bexte, you do so likely for one or more of a number of reasons. He was a member of the Calgary Wildrose executive who was involved in some Roger Stone-esque dirty trickery in his effort to support Jason Kenney's campaign for leadership of the United Conservative Party. He managed to get a resolution at the Conservative policy convention eliminating birthright citizenship in Canada to pass before leaving the party in a huff because he didn't get his way over dairy products. He is suspected to have been one (if not the one) to have promoted a men's rights "documentary" by claiming that everyone knows that "feminism is cancer" and then create another online persona to take the blame for the email.
Those who read this blog are also aware of his links to Fireforce Ventures (an online store exposed by Ricochet which glorified the racist regime of the former Rhodesia and made liberal use of racist epithets) as well as a number of individuals associated with both Alberta conservative campus politics and the hate group ID Canada (formerly Generation Identity Canada):
- University of Calgary Conservative Club Members Linked To FireForce Ventures
- More Members and Associates of Calgary University and College Conservative Clubs Linked to "Alt-Right" Racist Ideology
With a pedigree like that, it was only a matter of time before Ezra Levant, who has jumped started the careers of alt-right and alt-light figures such as white nationalist Faith Goldy, propagandist Lauren Southern, hate group founder Gavin McInnes, career criminal Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, former British Nationalist Party's Jack Buckby, serial liar Jack Posobiec, and Laura "My Life Is Meaningless Without Twitter" Loomer amongst others:
- The Cozy Relationship Between Rebel Media Personalities (Past and Present) and White Nationalist Generation Identity/ID Canada
The whole "Omar married her brother to commit immigration fraud" slander seems to have begun in 2016 though it was quickly and definitively debunked:
That of course hasn't stopped the likes of Bexte and others from continuing to promote this slander (one can see it continually being referred to in screen shots posted in the article yesterday) as evidenced by the past several days:
NOTE 2: More on Avi Yemini who Bexte retweeted:
- Tommy Robinson's Australian wingman, Avi Yemini, has pleaded guilty to unlawful assault and admitted throwing a chopping board at his former wife's head, the Herald Sun reports.— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) July 18, 2019
In the world of racist misogynists like Bexte, a woman (and in this case a woman of color) refuses to talk to or acknowledge him is all that is the real crime.
In fact this really brings me to the main point of the article here. As Canadian Trump supporters, members of Rebel Media have been acting as one of this country's primary propaganda avenues. Bexte himself is a fan of Trump and after the current occupant of the Oval Office posted his racist tweet Bexte decided to jump on the train:
The question he continues to ask in the video is of the "have you stopped beating your wife?" variety. Bexte, a person for whom acting in bad faith seems as natural as breathing, isn't at all interested in an answer. He wants a reaction as evidenced by this exchange with journalist Emily Leeham whom he berated along men who had accompanied him at a Linda Sarsour speaking engagement in Winnipeg. The telling moment occurs at about the 1:00 mark:
Keean Bexte from the Rebel Media other local men cornering me while asking inflammatory questions to get an emotional response. This is how the Rebel Media works. Video taken April 26, 2019 outside the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Winnipeg. Please share. pic.twitter.com/zvm6PDpk1M— Emily Leedham (@Emily_Leedham_) April 28, 2019
Like Ms. Leeham, the four Congresswomen dealt with Bexte in the best way possible (and really, he should be used to women ignoring him by this point in his life). He's also disingenuous as hell since he himself makes it clear he's prefectly fine with violence and threats of violence as illustrated here when he defends border agents who posted rape and murder fantasies about Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on social media:
Bexte after all really isn't a journalist:
He's an agenda-driven propagandist who already has a narrative that he's going to push:
Now because Rebel Media is, in this writers ever so humble opinion, less a journalist endevor than it is primarily a business profiting from the anger and hate it stokes, Bexte and Ezra Levant (if not Levant personally than as part of Rebel Media's business model) have as they do bought a domain name and created a petition where the supporters can (a) impotently sign to voice their anger based on half truths and lies which won't actually accomplish anything but will make the signer feel as if he or she is doing something concrete and (b) provide Rebel Media marketers with personal information and email address that can be used to contact the signers and solicit donations.... allegedly. And of course there also has to be some sort of public stunt involved too:
He also received a visit from former (if short-live in his tenure) Rebel alum Jack Posobiec:
It should be noted that Posobiec is a nutbar who:
- Was an early promoter of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
- Orchestrated the discrediting of anti-Trump protesters by planting a person holding a sign that read "Rape Melania" amongst the group.
- Had hired a pair of neo-Nazis (one of whom was later arrested on gun charges after having lauded the murder of 11 people during the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting) to help make a film about the murder of Seth Rich (based on yet another conspiracy theory) while working for Rebel Media.
- etc, etc, etc....
Let that fact sink in there.
The campaign Bexte is engaged on is patently dishonest, but it does conform with the current toxic political environment on the right and as such will get an audience in those circles:
When should we start taking bets on when Bexte starts going down the same path as Goldy?
Just kidding. He's already well on his way:
The film was produced in response to horrors of a global war still fresh in the memories of the American public in which a man who had been a failure through most of his life but who had a gift for public speaking and manipulating public was able to achieve power in part by dividing citizens of his adopted country into Aryan übermensch and untermensch who's citizenship and humanity were stripped from them.
Now 71 years later, another demagogue is using (not reading because he proudly doesn't read) the same playbook:
In some ways this isn't a surprise. American politicians have for years used racist dog whistles to rile up their supporters, the Southern Strategy and Ronald Reagan's reference to "welfare queens" being two cases. And Donald Trump has a long history of racial animus; the refusal to rent to African-American tenants in the 1970s for which he and his father, the Central Park jogger case, his claims in 1989 that African-Americans had an advantage over whites, a 1991 book quoting him as suggesting Black Americans were lazy and that the only people he wanted counting his money were Jews whick also plays on stereotypes, his attacks on Native Americans during an effort to prevent tribal competition with him in the gambling industry, his birther attacks on President Obama, his claim that a judge couldn't be objective in a case he was being sued in because of his Mexican-American heritage, his efforts to stop Muslims from entering the United States and the lie that Arab-Americans were seen celebrating the 9/11 attacks, and so many more.
This was a man who, immediately upon entering the presidential race in 2015, labeled Mexican migrants as rapists and criminals, though he did allow that there MIGHT be some good people.
The racial animus is what in part attracted the bulk of Trump's supporters. When it was reported that he didn't want immigrants from "shit hole countries" his supporters began parroting that line while at the same time denying that he said it. So it can't be at all surprising when these same supporters embrace the overtly racist "go back where they came from" line while denying that it is racist but also assuming that the four congresswomen are foreign and Muslim (two of the four are) because of the colour of their skin.
The Canadian far-right who admire Trump have embraced this same xenophobic and exclusionary rhetoric:
Kevin "The Poodle" Johnston, fresh off being on the receiving end of a multi-million dollar defamation judgement for his attacks on a Muslim-Canadian businessman for which he is unrepentant and doubling down, and long time white supremacist (and promoter of the recently outlawed Blood & Honour/C18 terrorist group) Paul Fromm aren't the only two examples of course:
Similar posts can be found on the Yellow Vests Canada, Northern Guard, and a host of other far-right Facebook groups. Some of the most vile of the rhetoric can be found on the profile of Georges Hallak, a Quebec racist, Islamophobic, theocrat who ARC has discussed in detail and in passing in past articles:
Hallak is a huge fan of Trump and of course embraces the same xenophobia about immigrants and refugees despite himself being an immigrant from Lebanon:
The response to this post might be the most telling regarding the character of the far right:
It is hard to get through to people who believe that Donald Trump has class, but I do digress.
The term "stochastic terrorism" has been used to describe Trump's tweet and other similar examples targeting political opponents, critics, and those he feels are not sufficiently loyal to himself. Stochastic terrorism has been defines as, "the public demonization of a person or group resulting in the incitement of a violent act, which is statistically probable but whose specifics cannot be predicted."
Given the reaction of the far-right in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere, it seems to be an apt term:
Hallak and his friends also gets in on the dehumanizing and dangerous rhetoric....
.... while throwing in some Canadian content:
The "non-citizens" in the Canadian government are naturalized citizens who aren't white, thus are not and never will be truly "Canadian" in the minds of these posters.
And if Trump's xenophobia is criticized by the Canadian prime minister, the "patriots" on the III% Alberta militia page have an answer.
Threaten to break away from the country and kill the prime minister in support of the racist foreign leader:
Of course, we know that if Trump's tweets do have their (I presume) desired effects....
This is one of the single most racist moments in modern American political history. As Trump began attacking my friend Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the crowd began chanting “SEND HER BACK, SEND HER BACK.” It’s utterly despicable and dangerous. We are here. We are in THAT time. UGLY. pic.twitter.com/6M0PBXe4Lr— Shaun King (@shaunking) July 17, 2019
People will be assaulted, attacked, perhaps even killed as a result of Trump's racist incitement. Hate crimes have increased. A terrorist killed 11 in a synagogue as revenge against "invaders." When will your rage be exhausted? How many of us must suffer for you to feel great?— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) July 18, 2019
People are saying Trump’s rhetoric will “get someone killed” like the President’s rhetoric hasn’t already got people murdered.— Solomon (@Solomon_Selby) July 18, 2019
....we already know the same people profiled in this article will claim it as a false flag.
Recent initiatives on school exclusions miss the point, ‘alternative provision’ has been transformed into a business opportunity.
According to A. Sivanandan, ‘the adult occupies the world of the child far more than the child occupies the world of the adult.’  Nowhere is this statement truer than in the realm of education. The British education system makes or breaks poor working-class children. The ones who just about survive generally achieve five GCSEs (previously at grade C, now grades 4 or 5) at key stage 4, the supposed golden ticket into the world of work, even if that work is precarious and low paid. While the rest, the broken, those who are routinely excluded or permanently expelled, leave school with nothing. The only golden tickets these young people will go on to hold are scratch-cards. A gambling analogy is not far-fetched. Access to a good, meaningful and inclusive education is a postcode lottery as the practice of exclusions is heavily concentrated in cities. What is more, the geography of British school exclusions tells us that young Londoners are at higher risk of exclusion and entering the ‘alternative provision system’.
The failings of the Timpson Review
Privately educated former Conservative MP, Edward Timpson, was recently commissioned by the government to explore the practice of school exclusions in England. In particular, he was tasked with digging into racial disparities; ‘why some groups of children are more likely to be excluded including … children from particular ethnic groups’. The specificity of the task was launched in response to findings from the Race Disparity Audit, but despite this, as the Runnymede Trust pointed out, the review did very little to update already existing knowledge, that black Caribbean boys and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children are at the sharpest end of exclusionary practices across the country.  And the report’s recommendation that the education sector and those affiliated to it should ‘collect and share data to help understanding of how exclusion is used in local areas, assess and act to reduce disparities, with particular reference to certain ethnic groups’ also falls seriously short of addressing the issue. For families on the front line, dealing with increasingly neoliberal, marketised and ultimately, tyrannical education policies , which disproportionately affect racialised communities, Timpson’s review is just another example of the government paying lip service to a problem.
Where do the excluded go?
Theresa May’s ‘indictment’ in 2016, that the ‘burning injustice’ of racialised school exclusions was preventing Britain from ‘transform[ing] into a Great Meritocracy’ has left working-class parents and young people screaming into the void. The issue of school exclusions, is not limited to who is being excluded, but also, where the excluded are sent and the impact this has on their lives. May might have talked convincingly about the ‘scandal’ of the British education system, but it is on her watch that we have seen the significant expansion of the alternative provision sector.
Over the past three years, the sheer number of children that have been removed from mainstream schooling has soared. An investigation conducted by Schools Week found that local authorities up and down the country have increased spending on privatised alternative provision, with an extra £7 million being siphoned off from diminished council budgets between 2016 and 2019. ‘Last year Ofsted also warned MPs’, argues Schools Week, ‘that private companies were profiting by offering illegal AP [alternative provision] that gave pupils “a very limited educational experience.”’ What we are witnessing is a small sector being transformed into a system – the ‘alternative provision system’ – that is increasingly influenced by the market and privatised. And, with this going on behind closed doors, we should think carefully before blindly welcoming recent parliamentary and think-tank expressions of interest in addressing school exclusions, and consider what future government policies may be adopted in their wake.
What is next for alternative provision?
In 2017, think tank The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) published Making the Difference: Breaking the Link Between School Exclusion and Social Exclusion, in which the case was made that redesigning the alternative provision sector would address ‘Britain’s social mobility failure’. On the back of the report, a new charity The Difference was launched earlier this year, to ‘improve the outcomes of vulnerable children by raising the status and expertise of those who educate them’ (read Oxbridge and Russell Group graduates). While hiring very privileged graduates to teach society’s most marginalised young people is problematic in itself, in that they are unlikely to stay , we should also be concerned about other, less overt issues.
To start with, the IPPR in its report boasted, ‘some of England’s largest multi-academy trusts have already endorsed the development of The Difference and expressed a desire to partner with the programme’. Multi-academy trusts (a conglomerate of schools) epitomise the neoliberal turn in British education, hallmarked by parlous deregulation and opaque policies that allows a good many of Britain’s ‘schools’ to be run as businesses for private profit. The irony is that IPPR critiqued the then current alternative provision sector for exactly the same problems (lack of regulation, unclear policies etc.) that multi-academy trusts are known for!
But endorsement for The Difference has also come from cross-party politicians, including the House of Commons Education Committee and Edward Timpson, with the former saying in a recent report ‘we consider that the work by The Difference is a step towards improving relations between mainstream schools and alternative provision’, and the latter writing the preface to the IPPR report. While these may suggest that politicians are taking the education of excluded children seriously, we should be wary this does not turn into just another opportunity to subcontract the management of serious social problems out to the private sector. In fact, a senior educator at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in London warned IRR News in a discussion that ‘the increased scrutiny of PRUs is linked to the potential academisation, and therefore privatisation of the alternative provision system’.
Alternative provision in London
Another, arguably more acute issue is the increasing size and influence of the alternative provision system in London. With young people in London expelled from mainstream schooling at almost double the national rate we have to ask ourselves why is this specific to London? In terms of policy and legislation changes in mainstream schooling, there were two key moments. The introduction of the London Challenge, a school improvement programme that was launched under New Labour in 2003, aimed at increasing the performance of London secondary schools.  Then subsequent changes made by the Conservative-Liberal coalition government which passed the Academies Act 2010 made it easier for all publicly funded schools in England to become private academies. While no statistics are available on the number of London schools that have been converted into academies, any Londoner will tell you that they now dominate the capital’s educational provision. (What happened to free market choice?) Furthermore, since academies are not beholden to local government and enjoy greater administrative autonomy over matters of spending, teaching and organisation, this has also given rise to a wider do-as-you-like culture, allowing them to exclude and off-roll pupils at will.
With mainstream schools now judged almost exclusively on their examination results, this system produces winners and losers, and the losers are almost always poor children, seen to possess no academic value in an increasingly marketised education system. So what happens to them? They are abandoned. Sent to the lower sets, excluded, expelled and then carted off to alternative provision, where they are said to ‘underachieve [in their GCSEs] on a spectacular scale’. The disposability of working-class children’s education is scandalous, but it does not stop there.
Educational disenfranchisement, knife crime and imprisonment
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, has recently, in the context of a rise in the capital’s knife crime, condemned the government for failing to fully acknowledge the impact that the practices of school exclusions and off-rolling are having on serious violence in the capital, attributing ‘a fragmented education system in which local authorities have little control over academies and free schools’ as a significant factor. Knife crime has not appeared out of thin air, it is the manifested violence of the violated. A violence born out of deprivation, desperation and defilement. Dispossessing a great swathe of young people of their right to a proper mainstream education runs in tandem with the politics of our time that is producing a highly disenfranchised surplus population.
It is no mere coincidence that 89 per cent of ‘imprisoned’ young people (aged 12-18) in Britain have reported being excluded from school.  The writing is on the wall: exclusions, compounded by alternative provision, fuel serious youth violence, which, in turn, leads to higher rates of incarceration. But who is being locked up? Predominantly, poor black, Asian and minority ethnic boys. In January 2019, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons found 51 per cent of boys in young offender institutions and 42 per cent of children in secure training centres were from BME backgrounds.  It is worth remembering that the proportion of incarcerated BME young people is almost four times the proportion of the UK’s entire BME population (14 per cent). 
The government is making a weak attempt at the moment to examine school exclusions as a catalyst for serious youth violence and knife crime, often resorting to semantic debates about ‘causation’ and ‘correlation’. Whether it is causal or correlative is neither here nor there; we know there is a deleterious connection. Facile explanations are not wanted by parents and young people. A recent reminder from London-based Drill artists Skengdo & A.M and Drillminister of a cross-section of state failings: ‘how they [the government] gonna ask what the ends need? Then after, they don’t do a thing. Then they wanna act all clueless…’. 
As the notion of a Green New Deal rapidly spreads as an answer to capitalism in US and UK media and political circles, our lead article in July 2019 asks if Green capitalism can propose a real solution to the ecological crisis and the human crises of poverty, austerity, immigration and racism.
Green capitalism and the large scale investment in environmental technologies ‘neither breaks with neoliberalism, nor can potentially reverse environmental disaster’, argues Jerry Harris, an authority on global capitalism, in his lead article on ‘The future of globalisation’.
Rather than providing a radical solution, the merging of sustainable development to neoliberal ideas of growth markets is a form of ‘sustainable accumulation’ through which ‘global investments and regulations are presented as planetary environmental solutions’.
Harris is determined that: ‘The Left must play a decisive role in pushing capitalism towards a deep structural transformation, linking the ecological crisis to the human crises of poverty, austerity, immigration, and racism […] We can’t stop the exploitation of the planet without stopping the exploitation of humanity’ – and this must be pushed by social movements from below.
In a similar vein, leading educational theorist Henry A. Giroux argues in his piece in the July issue on ‘Neoliberalism and the weaponising of education and language’ that ‘the struggle against neoliberalism has to begin with a struggle for education’. Giroux highlights the wave of resistance against neoliberal approaches to education that are taking place through strikes and walkouts in the US.
Two other articles, one by Victoria Canning on women and asylum in northern Europe and another by Mark Payne on Slovak Roma school students navigating the educations system in Sheffield, reveal the devastating impact of neoliberal policies on human rights and education respectively.
- The future of globalisation: neo-fascism or the Green New Deal by Jerry Harris
- Neoliberalism and the weaponising of language and education by Henry A. Giroux
- Degradation by design: women and asylum in northern Europe by Victoria Canning
- School life on the margins: Slovak Roma pupils negotiating education by Mark Payne
- The Kashmir conflict and human rights by Sabzar Ahmad Bhat
- The Common Wind: Afro-American currents in the age of the Haitian Revolution by Julius S. Scott (Anita Rupprecht)
- Insurgent Empire: anticolonial resistance and British dissent by Priyamvada Gopal (John Newsinger)
- The Hawthorn Archive: letters from the utopian margins by Avery F. Gordon (Eddie Bruce-Jones)
- Making All Black Lives Matter: reimagining freedom in the 21st century by Barbara Ransby (Jenny Bourne)
- Media, Crime and Racism edited by Monish Bhatia, Scott Poynting and Waqas Tufail (Sophia Siddiqui)
- A world turned upside down? Socialist Register 2019 edited by Leo Panitch and Greg Albo (Liz Fekete)
- Into the Tempest: essays on the new global capitalism by William I. Robinson (Jerry Harris)
- Learie Constantine and Race Relations in Britain and the Empire by Jeffrey Hill (Chris Searle)
- The Skull of Alum Bheg: the life and death of a rebel of 1857 by Kim A. Wagner (John Newsinger)
Order the July 2019 issue of Race & Class for £5 here
View the whole issue online here
SPLC sues Trump administration over new rule that makes migrants who pass through other countries ineligible for asylum
4 July: A study by the University of Essex, based on analysis of six live trials of facial recognition technology by the Metropolitan police in Soho, Romford and the Westfield shopping centre in east London, finds that matches were correct in only a fifth of cases, leading to wrongful stops and breaches of privacy, freedom of expression and the right to protest. (Guardian, 4 July 2019)
8 July: Stop and search has almost doubled in eight of England’s largest forces in the last two years, according to data analysed by the Guardian following freedom of information requests to Greater Manchester, the Metropolitan police, Merseyside, Northumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Thames Valley, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. (Guardian, 8 July 2019)
9 July: In a case brought by Just for Kids Law, the High Court rules that the police recruitment and use of child spies to infiltrate ‘county lines’ drug gangs and other criminal and terrorist organisations is not unlawful and does not breach human rights. (Guardian, 9 July 2019)
11 July: Three police officers are referred to the Met’s central east command professional standards unit after being filmed by onlookers striking a man of Moroccan origin and pinning him down while he shouted ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘my heart’ and appeared to have a seizure during a traffic stop in Poplar, east London. Tower Hamlets council express concern that the case has not been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct. (Independent, 11 July 2019)
11 July: A public inquiry chaired by Thomas Teague QC into the police shooting of Anthony Grainger, who was unarmed, concludes that Greater Manchester police were entirely to blame for his death in Cheshire in March 2012, owing to serious failings and a ‘cavalier attitude’ within its firearms unit. Corporate manslaughter charges are now being pursued by lawyers representing Grainger’s partner. (Guardian, 13 July 2019)
12 July: An east London police officer recorded on video striking a handcuffed black teenager with a baton in Romford in April is placed under criminal investigation for a potential disciplinary offence related to the grounds of the stop and search. The Guardian reports that four other officers are under investigation over a separate stop and search incident in north-west London in October 2018 when a man was sprayed with CS gas while on the ground. (Guardian, 12 July 2019)
15 July: Government figures reveal that half of all law centres and not-for-profit legal advice centres in England and Wales have closed in the past six years because of cuts to legal aid and local authority funding. (Guardian, 15 July 2019)Knife crime and related issues
15 July: The home secretary announces a new legal duty for public health bodies to help prevent knife crime by sharing data, intelligence and knowledge. The duty does not require doctors, nurses and teachers to report children feared to be involved in violence, as originally proposed, because of widespread resistance. (Independent, 15 July 2019)
15 July: London mayor Sadiq Khan cites statistics from London’s Violence Reduction Unit to show how youth violence is linked to deprivation, social exclusion and austerity. (Guardian, 15 July 2019)ASYLUM, MIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP Asylum and migrant rights
3 July: The government blames Brexit for its continuing failure to introduce legislation enabling compensation to be paid to the victims of the Windrush scandal, 15 months after prime minister Theresa May’s apology and promise of compensation, and a fortnight after the death of another victim, cricketer Richard Stewart. (Guardian, 4 July 2019)
6 July: After Kindertransport survivors receive €2,500 in reparations from the German government for their ordeal, one recipient, Dame Steve Shirley, donates her cheque to Safe Passage, the charity helping child refugees reach sanctuary in the UK, and calls on others to do the same. (Observer, 7 July 2019)
12 July: After a three-year ordeal, Eritrean refugee Medhanie Tesfamariam Berhe is released from prison as a Sicilian court confirms that he was the victim of mistaken identity when he was arrested in a joint Italian-British operation and wrongly accused of being a leading international human trafficker. Berhe’s relatives call for damages for his wrongful detention following extradition from Sudan, and an investigation into the framing of an innocent man allegedly by Sicily’s top prosecutors. (Guardian, 12 July 2019, 2 stories)Borders and internal controls
30 June: The frozen body of an unidentified man who hid in the wheel arch of a plane from Nairobi to London falls into a garden in Clapham, south London, on the flight path to Heathrow. Aviation officials later indicate he could have been a Nairobi airport worker. (BBC News, 1, 3 July 2019)
7 July: A secret programme by the Home Office to deport rough sleepers using sensitive personal data acquired from homelessness charities is denounced by civil liberties groups as bypassing privacy and data protection laws. (Observer, 7 July 2019)Citizenship and status
12 July: Hundreds of undocumented migrants mostly from West Africa, known as the ‘black vests’, storm the Panthéon mausoleum in Paris and demand the right to remain in France. (BBC News, 12 July 2019)
13 July: In Ireland, a High Court judge overturns a decision by the justice minister to refuse citizenship to a Nigerian woman because she is not ‘of good character’, having been cited as a witness in a child neglect case. (Irish Times, 13 July 2019).The Libyan crisis
3/4 July: 53 migrants are killed as a missile hits a hangar housing around 120 refugees and migrants at the Tajoura detention centre, situated close to a militia HQ. US diplomats block a move to set up an independent inquiry which potentially could lead to war crimes charges. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)
12 July: In the run-up to the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Human Rights Watch, AI and ECRE issue a joint statement calling on EU states to facilitate the evacuation of detainees in migrant detention centres in Libya to safe spaces, including in Europe, and to issue a clear call to the Libyan authorities to close down the detention centres. (Reliefweb, 12 July 2019)Reception and detention
7/8 July: Italian police use tear gas to break up protests after Sahid, a 32-year-old undocumented Bengali migrant, dies in an isolation unit at the Centre for Permanence and Repatriation detention facility in Turin. Fellow detainees say that the young man had been sexually assaulted at the facility prior to being placed in solitary confinement for fifteen days. (Are You Syrious, 7-8 July 2019)
8 July: A study by the data mapping project After Exploitation finds that in 2018, the Home Office held over 500 people in immigration detention after deciding that they were likely victims of trafficking, breaching the department’s own guidance. (Guardian, 8 July 2019)Deportation
9 July: Activists claim that two people were beaten unconscious as German police attempted to repel 500 people spontaneously demonstrating against the deportation of a Kurdish man from their Leipzig neighbourhood, who were dispersed with pepper spray. (Perspektive Online, 9 July 2019)
13 July: Are you Syrious reports that since 9 July Afghan families facing deportation, with the support of Life without borders, have staged a peaceful sit-in at the Norra bantorget in Stockholm city. (Are you Syrious, 13 July 2019)Crimes of solidarity
6 July: Thousands of people march in Hamburg, Bonn, Münster, Frankfurt, Oldenburg, Bremen, Berlin, Munich and Cologne in support of the German NGO vessel Sea-Watch 3 and its captain Carola Rackete, after her arrest in Italy. (Deutsche Welle in English, 6 July 2019)
8 July: Following the example set by Sea-Watch 3, the Italian-flagged Alex, run by NGO Mediterranea, defies the Italian interior minister and disembarks forty-one refugees at the port of Lampedusa. The captain is placed under investigation for aiding illegal immigration and the NGO is fined €16,000 as Salvini tweets ‘Jackals!’ ‘They should go to prison!’ (Guardian, 8 July 2019)ELECTORAL POLITICS
5 July: At a Conservative party hustings event in Darlington, Boris Johnson says ‘too often there are parts of our country, parts of London and other cities as well, where English is not spoken by some people as their first language and that needs to change’, prompting speculation as to whether he is calling for immigrants to learn English or for the repatriation of all non-natives. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)
5 July: The European Network Against Racism claims a pattern of discrimination against non-white EU parliamentarians after Magid Magid, British Green party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, is asked to leave the Strasbourg parliament on his first day. The European parliament says no member of staff was involved. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)
12 July: The far-Right Freedom party of Austria suspends one of its elected representatives, who has not been named, following the deployment of a police tactical unit to deal with an incident in which the 57-year-old local politician in Bergheim flew into a rage and fired 29 pistol shots indiscriminately from his balcony. No one was injured. (Deutsche Welle in English, 12 July 2019)
13 July: As it emerged that many Golden Dawn voters switched allegiance to New Democracy in the Greek general election, the Central Board of the Greek Jewish Communities calls on the new transport and infrastructure minister Makis Voridis to ‘repudiate his dark anti-Semitic past’. (Times of Israel, 13 July 2019, Haaretz, 9 July 2019)
14 July: Yiannis Lagos, recently elected to the European parliament for Golden Dawn and currently facing charges related to the murder of rapper Pavlos Fissas, has defected from the party, whose policies he says he no longer agrees with, to sit as an independent. (Times of Israel, 14 July 2019)
8 July: Brent Council adopts the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) definition of Islamophobia, which states that ‘Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness’. (This is local London, 9 July 2019)ANTI-FASCISM AND THE FAR RIGHT
5 July: A Newsnight investigation finds that far-right online abuse disproportionately targets female politicians, citing widespread abusive and misogynistic language, including threats of sexual assault, across mainstream and fringe social media platforms. Cases include abuse directed at Katharina Schulze, leader of the Greens in Bavaria, and at Sibeth Ndiaye, a government spokesperson in France. (BBC News, 15 July 2019)
5 July: Vox party activists including Jordi de la Fuente head a demonstration at the town hall and then an attack on a migrant minors’ hostel in Masnou, Barcelona, inciting violence against the residents, after a young person from the centre is arrested on suspicion of attempted rape. Four people are injured in the attack on the hostel. (Catalunya Radio, 5 July 2019 (2 pieces)
6 July: German police stop the bands Sturmwehr (Storm Forces) and Unbeliebte Jungs (Unpopular Boys) from playing prohibited tracks at a festival in Themar, Thuringia. Anti-fascists had staged protests against the far-right rock concert. (Deutsche Welle in English, 6 July 2019)
7 July: A study by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue finds that the extreme rightwing ideology of ‘the great replacement’ that inspired the Christchurch mosque killer has been promoted so effectively by the far Right that it has entered mainstream political discourse. (Observer, 7 July 2019)
7 July: The neo-fascist Golden Dawn, previously the third-largest parliamentary grouping in Greece, scores just 2.98 per cent of the vote in the Greek general election and is left with no seats. But the newly-formed Greek Solution scores 3.7 per cent of the vote and wins 10 seats. (Guardian, 8 July 2019, Ekathemerini, 8 July 2019)
8 July: Madrid’s Gay Pride mobilises with the message ‘not one step back’ in protest at the far-right Vox party’s attack on LGBTQI rights. The centre-right Ciudadanos (Citizens) and the Popular Party are barred from the parade owing to their support for Vox in the Madrid and Murcia regional assemblies. (El Pais in English, 8 July 209)
10 July: Shelter Scotland expresses concern after Generation Identity Scotland Alba targets white homeless people in the centre of Glasgow for food packages parcelled up with its branding and logo. (Daily Record, 10 July 2019)
10 July: Sir Mick Davis, chief executive of the Conservative Party and former Jewish Leadership Council chairman, condemns as a ‘betrayal of Jewish values’ the screening in front of a largely Jewish audience of Katie Hopkins’ anti-Muslim documentary Homelands at the Pillar Hotel in Hendon, hosted by Sharon Klaff and Ambrosine Shitrit – well-known Israel advocates and founders of Campaign4Truth. (Jewish Chronicle, 10 July 2019)
11 July: Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, is given a nine-month sentence after being found guilty of contempt of court for breaching a reporting ban and encouraging ‘vigilante action’ and ‘unlawful physical’ aggression against defendants in a sexual exploitation trial at Leeds crown court. Reacting to the sentence, supporters hurl smoke bombs and fight with police outside the Old Bailey, before marching on Parliament, blocking roads, tearing down EU flags and verbally abusing and physically intimidating journalists. Four people are arrested. Earlier in the week, Robinson broadcast an appeal for asylum to the US president, claiming he could be killed in prison. (Guardian, Metro, 11 July 2019)
15 July: Northern Italian police investigating Italians who have fought in eastern Ukraine detain three men after uncovering a huge stash of automatic weapons, material featuring Nazi symbols and a three-metre missile. One of those arrested is Fabio Del Bergoli, who in 2001 was an electoral candidate for the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party. (Guardian, 15 July 2019)
15 July: Hans-Georg Maaßen, the dismissed former head of Germany’s intelligence agency, has drawn criticism for his use of Twitter to spread conspiracy theories after he shared a blog from the extreme-right Journalist Watch that claimed that a German TV broadcast on the arrest of Sea Watch captain Carola Rackete was a ‘piece of propaganda’ . (Guardian, 15 July 2019)
16 July: Following an investigation, the Electoral Commission announces that the now-defunct far-right party Britain First must pay a fine of more than £44,000 for electoral breaches, including undeclared donations and failure to provide proper accounts. (Guardian, 16 July 2019)EMPLOYMENT AND EXPLOITATION
10 July: Analysis by the Office for National Statistics reveals that workers of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage have the lowest median hourly pay of any ethnic group, with Bangladeshi workers earning 20.2 percent less than white British workers. London has the largest pay gap between white and ethnic minority groups, at 21.7 percent. (Guardian, 10 July 2019)
11 July: Cleaning staff at Birkbeck, supported by Unison, win their campaign to bring outsourced cleaning back in-house, which will give them more workplace rights. (Birkbeck Unison, 11 July 2019)
15 July: New research by the charity Unlock into the impact of criminal records on employment for BAME people shows that more than three-quarters of people surveyed (78 percent) felt their ethnicity made it harder for them to overcome the problems they faced as a result of having a criminal record. (HRM magazine, 15 July 2019)
HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
5 July: The Council of Europe Committee of Social Rights requests the Italian state to take immediate measures to protect the housing rights of Roma and end the destruction of Roma camps and forced evictions which trample procedural safeguards and fail to provide families with adequate alternative housing. (Amnesty International press release, 5 July 2019)
10 July: Hackney council is accused of ‘gross negligence’ by direct action group Sisters Uncut for its continued failure to rehouse two families living in Marian Court which is soon to be demolished. The council allegedly offered one family a vandalised property covered with threatening graffiti, in an area where they previously faced Islamophobic abuse, and offered a viewing to the other family on the same estate where a violent ex-partner lives. (Hackney Citizen, 10 July 2019)EDUCATION
5 July: Freedom of information requests made by the Guardian to 131 universities show that students and staff have made at least 996 formal complaints of racism over the past five years, of which 367 were upheld, resulting in at least 78 student suspensions or expulsions and 51 staff suspensions, dismissals and resignations. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)
5 July: The family of Shukri Yahya Abdi, a 12-year-old refugee schoolgirl who drowned in the River Irwell, Bury, say that Shukri was bullied at school, and a petition calling for an investigation into the school’s anti-bullying policies has amassed more than 20,000 signatures. The family, originally from Somalia, call for a further investigation into her death and criticise the police’s characterisation of the death as an accident and their lack of communication with the family. (Guardian, 5 July 2019)
9 July: UK exam board Edexcel has included more BAME authors, including Malorie Blackman and Benjamin Zephaniah, in its English GCSE syllabus following calls for the curriculum to be more ethnically diverse. (Voice online, 9 July 2019)
9 July: Figures released by the police show that bullying incidents in schools in Aberdeenshire and the Highlands in the last two years reached the level of ‘hate crimes’, with four incidents linked to race and one in which a disabled pupil was bullied. (Press and Journal, 9 July 2019)
10 July: An eight-year-old schoolboy has been awarded £3,500 in compensation by Tower Hamlets council after teachers wrongly assumed the name on his T-shirt was an Isis terrorist and reported him to social services. (The Huffington Post, 10 July 2019)
15 July: Kirklees Council approves plans for Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield to be closed following imposition of special measures and a poor Ofsted inspection, and nine months after a teenage Syrian refugee was filmed being attacked by another pupil at the school in October 2018. A petition against the proposal has been signed by more than 1,250 people. (BBC News, 15 July 2019)MEDIA AND CULTURE
5 July: Lesbian and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSM) place alternative pro-refugee and anti-homelessness ads on buses along the Pride Route questioning why the Home Office, the Metropolitan police and global corporations are able to participate in this year’s Pride while ‘marginalised groups’ can’t afford to participate.’ (Guardian, 5 July 2019)
9 July: The Muslim Council of Britain publishes a study of coverage of Islam and Muslims in British news outlets, which cites the Mail on Sunday as having the most negative coverage of all, with 78 percent of its stories featuring Muslims having negative themes, above an already-high industry average of 59 percent. (Guardian, 9 July 2019)
11 July: The Labour party makes a formal complaint to the BBC about its ‘unbalanced’ programme ‘Is Labour Anti-Semitic?’, warning that it could be viewed as an attempt at undue influence into the EHRC investigation into the Labour party’s disciplinary and complaints procedure. The BBC has failed to investigate Islamophobia amongst Conservative party members, it points out, adding that John Ware was an ‘unsuitable’ choice as producer, given a series of articles and programmes on the Muslim community, including the 2005 Panorama programme ‘British Muslims: A Question of Leadership’, which has been described as ‘McCarthyite’. (Labour List, 10 July 2019)SPORT
10 July: Arsenal FC complains about ‘unacceptable racial abuse’ of Jordi Osei-Tutu – on loan to the German side VfL Bochum – at a cup fixture against St. Gallen, with the Swiss club suggesting that they are not going to take any further action. (Goal.com, 10 July 2019)RACIST VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT
3 July: In a case brought by anti-racist group Licra, six men are found guilty of planning an attack on a Roma camp in Paris in March following fake news posted online that Roma were kidnapping children in the north-eastern suburb of Bobigny. Two sentences were suspended, while the remaining four were sentenced to five to six months in prison. (New York Times, 3 July 2019)
10 July: Beirut Today reports that the condition of Daniel Ezzedine, a 17-year-old German exchange student of Lebanese descent, has improved since he was left with life-threatening injuries and placed in an induced coma following a mob attack in Canterbury. An anti-racist crowdfunding campaign has meant that his family, who are Lebanese nationals in Germany, could afford to come to the UK to stay by his bedside. (Beirut Today, 10 July 2019)
11 July: At Dunfermline Sheriff Court, a 50-year-old man is given a community payback order for acting in a racially aggravated manner towards a nurse who was examining him at a police station in April 2019. (Dunfermline Press, 11 July 2019)
12 July: Police remove two women from a Thomas Cook flight from Turkey to Gatwick after they allegedly call three Muslim men ‘terrorists’ and a ‘threat’ to safety. (Independent, 14 July 2019)
12 July: A woman apologises for posting racist comments on social media after a six-year-old girl tried to bring a ceremonial religious knife into school in Rotherham. (Rotherham Advertiser, 12 July 2019)
15 July: Joan Ellis, a Labour councillor for Cockermouth’s Christchurch ward, calls on Allerdale council to publicly condemn racism after a woman and her children were subjected to racist abuse in Workington town centre earlier this month. (News and Star, 15 July 2019)
Unlike Sears' last appearance in April, I had no illusion that this would be the end, but I also didn't expect it to feel like a new beginning either.
Your Ward News editor hate trial could be re-opened as judge delays sentencing | CBC News https://t.co/vmJgxPTuuO via @cbcnews— The Lawyer's Daily (@lawyersdailyca) July 16, 2019
Determined to "have his day in court," Sears compiled a 79 page submission, with a 29 page addendum, dealing mainly with what he perceives as violations of his Charter rights. Justice Blouin determined none of these had any merit, however, he was willing to entertain the possibility that Sears did not have a fair trial due to his lawyer, Dean Embry's, decision not to call any witnesses.
Blouin, who is set to retire at the end of August, is widely quoted as telling Sears and the court that:“My overarching obligation is to ensure a fair trial. I’m allowing Mr. Sears an opportunity to satisfy me that this is an exceptional case and I should re-open this trial or declare a mistrial at this late date. [Sears has] made the argument that Mr. Embry basically threw the case. That’s an issue I’m going to have to decide.’’Sears now has two weeks to put forward a list of potential witnesses, their credentials, and what they would add to the proceedings. According to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, Sears intends to call Embry as a witness, along with "experts" in satire, and a former YWN columnist who is apparently an Ethiopian Jew. Blouin will then have to decide whether to reopen the case, declare a mistrial, or press on with sentencing.
The standard "I'm not a lawyer, but..." caveat applies here, however, it is my understanding that satire has only successfully been used as a defence in Canada for copyright issues. Other racists, including Gary Schipper from the Heritage Front days, have tried to lean on humour as a defence in the past, but without success. If Blouin does reopen the trial, I'm very interested to see how they determine who can be considered an expert in satire for this case, and whether anyone could possibly argue about Sears' intentions regarding his hate-filled rants in YWN without relying on a psych evaluation.
While this circus plays out, St. Germaine's sentencing is also up in the air.
B'nai Brith Canada attended court today with regard to Your Ward News, but neither editor James Sears nor publisher LeRoy St. Germaine were sentenced today, for different reasons.— B'nai Brith Canada (@bnaibrithcanada) July 15, 2019
St. Germaine, who is Metis, had his lawyer present the findings of his Gladue Report, which showed that due to the trauma suffered by his father, and the challenging upbringing St. Germaine experienced as a result, these factors should be taken into account for sentencing, and that alternatives to a custodial sentence should be considered. A source who was in attendance said that there was a discussion of having a Victim Offender Reconciliation Meeting, however, that has yet to be decided.
St. Germaine, who we learned has only a grade 8 education, and a criminal record from the 1980s for "break and enter, theft, assault causing bodily harm and assaulting a police officer," (DiManno), had an opportunity to deliver his own allocution. While I'm hoping to find more details, he appears to remain angry and unrepentant, and is quoted as saying:
“I believe in free speech. And I think I’ve done my due diligence in checking Mr. Sears’s material. Besides, there were only some 200 complaints made against the paper over the years, during which 6 million plus editions of the Your Ward News were distributed. If it offends people, for the number of people reading to the number being offended was a wide gap.”There is some good news, however. St. Germaine has apparently decided to permanently cease publishing YWN and plans to disassociate himself from Sears. He presents such a mixed message of being both unrepentant and yet ready to move on that it is hard to predict what the judge will finally decide with regards to sentencing.
Clearly, Justice Blouin will have a lot to consider prior to reconvening on August 1st. He is probably quite looking forward to retiring, given the headaches this case is causing. Hopefully he will be motivated to finally sentence these two, since most people, including me, would like this circus of a case to finally end. Sears' stalling tactics and theatrics have an impact on the identifiable groups and individuals targeted by the hate rag:
FSWC encourages the court to reconsider this latest turn of events and take into account the many people, including Holocaust survivors, victimized by Your Ward News.https://t.co/bqLVbsExdD— FSWC (@CanadianFSWC) July 16, 2019Sears and St Germaine have been found guilty. It is my hope that before the summer is over, those targeted by YWN will find some closure and peace.
Federal magistrate judge recommends $14 million in damages to Jewish woman targeted in neo-Nazi harassment campaign
Virginia Judge Hands Down Life Sentence, Plus 419 Years, in Case of James Alex Fields Jr., Calls Attack An Act of 'Terror'
Saturday 13 July
Anti racists horrified by disturbing death threat stunt by Alt Right group Generation Identity today at Tower of London Alt Right group Generation Identity (GI) have today enacted a mock execution of Stand Up To Racism activists, using the anti racist campaign’s own ‘Migrants and refugees welcome’ placards in a deeply disturbing public stunt outside the Tower of London. … Read the rest