This is an excerpt of my most recent book, “Monster Of Their Own Making: How the Far Left, the Media, and Politicians Are Creating Far-Right Extremists”
Chapter Eight: Reclaiming the Narrative on Extremism
Anti-racism groups have lost their way. The days of lynching are long gone, laws that stop racial segregation and discrimination have been in place for decades, and in many ways, they are no longer even necessary. Laws apply equally to everybody, and opportunities are not denied to a person on account of their race (unless they’re white and trying to get an internship at the BBC). Instances of real racism in everyday life are met with derision and contempt from most normal people.
Anti-racism groups today resemble the last of the gold diggers in California in the mid-to-late 1800s, searching desperately for the last remaining nuggets of gold and ore they can sell and make a buck from. Groups like the SPLC now serve a substantially reduced role, and instead of tackling the challenges that I would argue they legitimately have a responsibility to tackle, they desperately seek big stories that suggest white society continues to oppress black and ethnic minority people.
This shift in focus has encouraged and invigorated far-left extremists all over the West, and even promoted racism against white people—that is, a hatred for white people and white society.
Why, then, are we allowing these extremists and frauds the luxury of dominating the narrative on political extremism?
The Extremism Narrative Is Controlled by Extremists
Far-left extremists have established themselves as the custodians of the issue of extremism and the narrative surrounding it. Conservatives and moderate liberals alike have utterly failed to respond to this, with conservatives assuming a defensive stance and liberals ignoring it completely. It is insane that far-left extremists in the UK and the US are allowed take to the streets in violent protest and create hate and harassment campaigns against political opponents under the guise of “anti-racism” while so few people challenge them on their claims.
The media never asks whether their reasoning is sound. Nobody seems to even consider the possibility that these people might not be telling the truth. Just the fact that they assert themselves as “anti-racism” makes the matter extremely difficult to talk about. Of course journalists don’t want to ask them whether what they are doing is right or whether their intentions are pure; they would just accuse the journalist of being a racist. It’s not a position anyone would want to be put in.
In the United States, the SPLC is one of the largest and most influential groups that campaigns against racism, hatred, and bigotry. It is joined by other organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) who use their considerable funds and sway to set narratives in the television, media, film, and arts industries.
The SPLC was founded in 1971 and existed initially to file civil suits for monetary damages for the victims of the Ku Klux Klan and similar white supremacist organizations that were terrorizing nonwhite people. It was a noble cause, but with the Ku Klux Klan so small in 2019, the SPLC has turned its focus to politically charged court cases against right-wing
political activists. Either the SPLC doesn’t realize that initiating court cases like this and smearing the wrong people as “far right” is actually creating the monster they purport to fight, or they’re doing it on purpose precisely because they want and need somebody to fight. With over two hundred employees and hundreds of millions of dollars crossing their palms each year, there is certainly an incentive for these people to maintain their control over the extremism narrative.
In fact, since the election of Donald Trump as president, the organization has seen its Twitter following double, and its Facebook followers increased from 650,000 to over a million. President Trump has not been the driving force behind this growth. Instead, it’s the repeated and false claims that the president and his supporters are neo-Nazis and white supremacists. If there is a new white supremacist threat out there, the people are obviously going to turn to the organization that straightened out the KKK back in the day. The constant smearing of regular people as neo-Nazis is abhorrent, but for the SPLC it’s all just good business.
Could that be why the SPLC has labelled over 1,000 organizations in America as “hate groups”? The levels to which these people will stoop are shocking, and their tactics were exposed to more people than ever when they labelled Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist.” Nawaz has spent years educating the public about Islamic extremism through his think tank Quilliam and his national radio show. If anything, he is often criticized by the conservative right for not being honest enough about Islam, so what exactly makes him an “anti-Muslim extremist”? Well, nothing, it turns out. Nawaz sued and won $3 million in settlement, along with an apology from the SPLC.
In the UK, HOPE not hate and a plethora of far-left extremist groups work alongside each other to promote the narrative that everyone to the right of the Conservative Party’s most “moderate” MPs are “far right.” I put “moderate” in quotes because, in reality, the most moderate Tory MPs are very socially liberal. The Conservative Party does maintain some truly conservative MPs, though even they are regularly referred to as the “far right” of the Tory party by the official opposition and mainstream press.
HOPE not hate enjoys support from the Conservatives, Labour, and a number of other political parties elected to Westminster here in the UK, but their extremist and radical roots seem to be consistently ignored by their signatories. The organization was established in 2004 by Nick Lowles as a project of Searchlight, an “anti-fascist” magazine in the UK for which Lowles also worked as an editor. Searchlight was founded by Gerry Gable, a veteran far-left activist who has spent his life chasing neo-Nazis, making false claims about conservatives, and committing crimes—all in the name of extreme-left convictions. Gable is notorious for his obsession with his cause and has spent the last decade or more bickering with other factions of the “anti-fascist” movement.
Gable was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, worked on the party’s Daily Worker newspaper, and later become a trade union organizer for the Communist Party. He even stood for election as a Communist, and only left the party because of their opposition to Israel’s existence.
Searchlight was and is one of the worst examples of “anti-fascist” activism. Its influence on the modern Antifa movement should not be downplayed or forgotten. Gable’s extremism and the criminal activity in which he and his followers engaged was motivated somewhat by delusion, but also by a genuine desire to defeat Nazism in all its forms. Gable was Jewish,
and having been born in 1937, the horrors that the Jewish people suffered during the twentieth century were more relevant to him than they are to most people today. Perhaps his commitment to the movement really was an honest desire to defeat the extremism that murdered millions of Jewish people, but that doesn’t mean we should forget his own extremism. His righteous quest for justice never came to an end, and like the SPLC, I believe he and his followers continue fighting for a combination of financial reasons, delusion, and a desire to completely crush their political opponents. This is extremism.
I believe Gable is an unstable man, and while his influence in the “anti-fascist” movement has dwindled as years have gone by (he is now in his eighties), his tactics are still extremely popular and his protégés have gone on to run some of the biggest extreme-left “think tanks” and campaign groups in the country.
HOPE not hate appears to be, for all intents and purposes, a rehashed Searchlight Magazine that has been more successful in terms of fundraising and its ability to appeal to a mainstream audience. The organization has obtained the support of all sorts of celebrities, has the ear of many Parliamentarians, and throws annual events with high-profile speakers and attendees in which it reveals the previous year’s research. The annual “State of Hate” report reads like a personal blog written by activists expressing personal grievances to members of the far right. They include real neo-Nazis, but they also include disparaging remarks and personal attacks on people who could more accurately be described as democratic populists, culturists, and civilizations, i.e., people who wish to maintain the freedoms we enjoy in our Western civilization.
What’s interesting is that HOPE not hate does seem to understand what most of the country is thinking; it’s just that they seem to think most people in the country are racist. In a report titled “Modernising and Mainstreaming: The Contemporary British Far Right,” HOPE not hate researcher Joe Mulhall makes the first mistake of conflating angry populists concerned about radical Islam and immigration with neo-Nazis and far-right extremists. Interestingly, his own report admits that most of the British public seem to agree with the policy proposals and convictions of what he calls the “British far right” but doesn’t question his own hypothesis based on the information he presented. In the concluding paragraph of his report, Mulhall admits:107
What this polling worryingly shows is that much of the platform of the contemporary British far right chimes with wider societal beliefs. Whether it be Islam and Muslims, free speech, or a sense of betrayal by an “elite,” the central campaign points being used by the far right have widespread support.
Concluding that much of the platform of the modern “British far right” chimes with wider societal beliefs logically means this organization believes (or should therefore believe) that much of the UK supports extreme politics. This is clearly not the case. Any rational person of sound mind would conclude that the British public is looking for something new in politics and searching for an answer to a problem. If so many people are searching for a solution to a problem, would it not be more productive to examine the problem, rather than condemn millions of people as racists and extremists?
The fact that this report was commissioned by the British government under the Commission for Countering Extremism is even more concerning. The British government asking left-wing radicals for their objective views on the far right is like asking a vegetarian for their objective views on the best cut of steak. It is utterly farcical.
The research produced by organizations like HOPE not hate and the SPLC is not just used by our governments, but also by left-wing talking heads in the UK and US media to push a false narrative about extremism. This compounds the problem and makes it even more difficult to challenge these activists and commentators without also being condemned as racist. With an army of political commentators and activists pushing biased reports (or written propaganda pieces) and false narratives professionally published by far-left organizations, the boundaries of what constitutes “extremism” have been changed and set in stone.
In the UK, columnist Owen Jones leads an army of online activists and street protesters who wave Communist flags108 and sing “The Red Flag”—just like Labour Party leader and veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn. His friend and fellow political commentator, Ash Sarkar, proclaimed live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain “I’m literally a Communist!” as if it was the most normal and acceptable thing in the world.
In the US, Linda Sarsour is considered by many to be a strong voice against extremism, bigotry and hatred, despite her very clear links with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, Antifa runs amok, beating people up in the streets, shutting down events, and behaving just like the neo-Nazi skinheads of the 1980s—though arguably even worse. For some reason, the media and the politicians are perfectly willing to consider this street militia an authority on extremism, while people like me who have seen far-right extremism up close and personal are sentenced to a life of mockery, derision, and exclusion. So much so, that the process of writing this book has been, while somewhat cathartic, rather depressing. I want to make a difference on this issue, but I fully expect to continue to be sidelined and ignored by conservatives as well as liberals for my unforgiveable sin of joining a radical political party as a teenager.
The narrative on extremism must not be controlled by extremists. We cannot expect this extreme political partisanship and radical, often violent, politics to go away any time soon as long as the far left is given free rein to define the parameters of extremism and continue to provoke the far right.