Hope Not Hate’s efforts to bring down fascist organisations in the UK are admirable. I’m sure Nick Lowles, the main force behind the campaign, was pleased with the wipe-out of local BNP council seats in the recent elections. For his efforts in these results, I commend him.
However, my initial response to seeing his blog post on 30 March “Let’s stop the racist pornographer” was derision. Of course I agree that Steve Squire, owner of a sex shop and alleged seller of date rape drugs is not a suitable person to be in the London Assembly. But on reading other posts Lowles has placed on his blog, I found his sudden feminist sensibilities a little hard to believe.
Just under a year ago, he posted another article: “Jenny Griffin’s a busy girl”. The photo he used was equally titillating. Probably for Myspace, a teenage Jenny had taken a pic of herself from above in her underwear and some heavy eye makeup. I read on, via Facebook, not knowing very much about Nick Griffin’s daughter. The article was not about her. She was mentioned in two or three sentences during the six paragraphs about upcoming BNP election bids.
I complained about the irrelevant and offensive use of the picture. Other women also expressed their discomfort with the picture.
We were challenged thus: Why are you defending her? What’s the fuss about? She isn’t a woman, she’s a nasty fascist who deserves everything she gets. We should use every weapon in our arsenal against these racist scum. We aren’t taking it down. It stays. Why are you still making a fuss? You’re missing the point. You’re distracting from the real issue of taking down the BNP.
We insisted. We pointed out that this wasn’t the way we wanted to win.
Lowles eventually took the picture down, making clear it was under duress and grudgingly done. I suspect he would do it again.
I shouldn’t be surprised that a blog affiliated with the Mirror took this kind of tack, but I was shocked at the attitude we encountered from fellow anti-oppression warriors. They genuinely didn’t get it.
Whenever I see pictures of BNP women taken on protests, it is often followed by comments about their appearance, and nasty, animalistic insults. I no longer “like” Hope Not Hate on Facebook.
There is no hierarchy in who should be free from oppression. We don’t defer one group’s emancipation while we defend someone else’s freedom. We don’t treat our enemy as subhuman to make it easier to hate them.
If I have to wait in line for my rights at the revolution, I don’t want to come.