Each year, Hope not Hate publish their ‘State of Hate’ report, detailing the new and emerging threats we all face from far-right activism.
Hope not Hate publish this information each year to draw our attentions to these threats. In uncertain times, sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic and a tumultuous 2020, there is a notable, massive increase in visibility of, and support for, conspiracy theories, and an uprising over racial justice.
Despite the country being in lockdown for much of 2020, the far right managed to morph and take advantage of these challenging circumstances. While organisationally the British far right remains very weak and fragmented, the number of people who are coming across their ideas is growing exponentially and, as a consequence to the racist backlash to Black Lives Matter, we have seen the return of racial nationalism.
A year in lockdown has seen conspiracy theories thrive, overt white nationalism return, the demonisation of migrants and a slew of terror convictions.
- COVID-19 has quickened the demise of many traditional far-right groups while younger, more tech-savvy activists have thrived.
- 2020 has continued the move to a ‘post organisational’ far right, as traditional groups declined but more fluid online networks and individual ‘citizen journalists’ grew in number.
- The outbreak of the pandemic was met with a surge of anti-Chinese violence and racism.
- Journalists are increasingly being targeted for harassment and violence by the far right.
- The Government’s ‘hostile environment’ and inflammatory language has led to dozens of antimigrant protests & targeting of immigration lawyers.
- Nazi terrorism remains a threat, increasingly involving teens: 12 people were convicted last year.
- There has been an explosion in conspiracy theories during the lockdown.
- British conspiracy theorists generated massive online followings: before being deplatformed, David Icke had 780,000 Facebook followers, 900,000 on YouTube and 230,000 on Twitter. Stand Up X, an energetic conspiracy street movement, had 40,000 Facebook followers before being deplatformed and self-styled “truthpaper” The Light claims a 100,000 print run.
- Between 15-22% of Britons believe the main COVID conspiracies are true.
BLM and Racial Justice
- Hope not Hate polling highlights the true extent of racism:
- 40% of BAME Britons have experienced or witnessed racial violence in the past 12 months;
- 45% have experienced or witnessed racial abuse.
- Over half (54%) think Britain is institutionally racist, but 45% still believe that Britain is one of the least racist countries in Europe (26% disagreed).
- Two-thirds (65%) agreed that the debate around tearing down historical monuments has distracted
- from important discussions on racism in Britain.
A year on from BLM, exclusive polling of BAME communities finds more openness but worries that systemic racism is being overlooked and a lack of real change.
- There was a racist backlash to the BLM protests, with overt racial nationalism replacing previous far right attempts to moderate their language.
- Patriotic Alternative organised 66 events under the ‘White Lives Matter’ banner.
- Football hooligans and far-right activists organised 26 anti-BLM protests.
- There has been a major effort by many social media companies to de-platform extremists, but this has led to far-right activists and conspiracy theorists moving to unmoderated “alt-tech” platforms like Parler.
- HOPE not hate’s reporting was responsible for the removal of 75 QAnon Twitter accounts, with a combined 1.1 million subscribers.
- Instagram in particular is facing challenges in removing far-right material from their platform.
The information contained within this report details much of the worst about our society, but most people reject divison and hatred. There is a great piece from Hope not Hate about how we can all contribute to a hopeful future – you can read this by clicking here.