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OBV Statement – The right to defend Black communities

OBV Statement

We can only speculate as to why the ‘anti-fascist’ and ‘liberal’ blog site ‘Harry’s Place’, sought to smear Operation Black Vote for defending a section of the Black community against an armed police raid on their place of worship.

We reported and promoted a rally against a heavily armed police raid on the Nation of Islam’s-NOI- mosque in Brixton. The police claimed they were unaware that it was a place of worship and explained that their intelligence had led them to believe there was a cannabis factory there. Given that most people in the area have been acutely aware that it is the NOI mosque-this assertion doesn’t speak much for the Met’s intelligence, unless, as some argue, this was ultimately all about police intimidation.

Whatever the case may be, the police were forced to apologise for their heavy handed behaviour- behaviour that does little to build police/community relations in Brixton.

For ‘Harry’s Place’ to unleash an unprecedented attack on OBV, for defending our community, speaks more about them than us. But for the record OBV will not be bullied or intimidated by any individual, organisation, or state apparatus, much less by a group of grubby pseudo, anti-fascists and liberals.

Perhaps the real reason behind this attack is a scurrilous attempt to build up an erroneous image that OBV, and particularly deputy Director Ashok Viswanathan and myself are anti-Semitic. This is the image they would like to portray of us in the build up to a forthcoming trial of one of the blog’s contributors, commentators and friends, Terry Fitzpatrick.  Following a complaint to the police by OBV director, Simon Woolley, he has been charged with racial harassment.

Fitzpatrick-who has been barred from a number of blog sites for his abusive manner, has over a number of years spewed bile, lies and racist threats towards a number of prominent Black people. Although, like ‘Harry’s place’, Fitzpatrick calls himself an ‘anti-fascist’, his ongoing racist slurs clearly demonstrate the repugnant racist nature of the individual. Furthermore, for a number of years, and until this legal case was brought against Fitzpatrick, ‘Harry’s Place’ had been a safe haven for his rabid views.

Under the guise of free speech, ‘Harry’s Place’ has provided a platform and sanctuary for Fitzpatrick and his racist views, and with this attempted smear they have further shamed themselves and their principles by running an article that has sought to conflate, OBV’s defence of a community against police brutality, with comments made by individuals within the NOI in the USA.

Again, for the record, Operation Black Vote has a long track record of cooperation, collaboration and honest dialogue, with Jewish groups, here in the UK and that will continue.

But more importantly to our communities, whatever religion or non religious group you belong to: As OBV’s standing and influence grows, we will come under increasing attack from those that either deny race inequality exits, and or know that it does and seek to maintain the status quo. Today it’s a grubby rather insignificant blog, masquerading as democrats whilst providing cover for bigots, but tomorrow it could be a far more powerful entity.

One thing is for sure, the day OBV stops fighting racial injustice will be the day we close our doors for good.

Simon Woolley

OBV Director and co-founder

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