As an academic, I have written works and given lectures on the psychological aspects of many social issues, including fascism and racism. Over the years, I have worked with several advocacy groups, most recently with Galway Anti Racism Network.
I regularly receive online harassment from different types of trolls, and often from Far-Right activists. Last night, I received an email suggesting that I am about to be attacked by a targetted campaign of harassment.
On Tuesday last, 26 November, I gave a short presentation at a Public Meeting in Galway organised by Galway Anti Racism Network, which was live-streamed. In explaining the importance of respecting racial identities, I stated that “there is nothing wrong with being a proud white person.”
The people who emailed me have now created a lame 11-second YouTube video emphasising this sentence, arguing that it must mean that I am a white supremacist.
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These people are claiming to be anti-racists, offended by my white supremacy. But they are no anti-racists. They are the full-blown Far Right, they are aping the language of anti-racism, and they are doing it very badly.
I am aware that, in recent months, other local anti-racism activists and politicians have been targetted by very similar campaigns of emailing, YouTube posts, and bogus petitions. In this sense, there is a wider context.
They have also posted a petition on the Change.org website, entitled “Remove Brian Hughes as Professor at NUIGalway.” Notably, the first person to sign the petition calls me a “good for nothing SCUM bag.” I think I’ve heard his name before.
Take a look at the narrative in their email:
Professor Hughes, re: this video of you: [YOUTUBE LINK]
You advocate violent boycott and race-paranoia in Galway on the basis of Irish history. You then betray Irish identity with your white pride allowances, which has little to do with anti-colonial Irishness. Your lecture could have protected debate, instead you sought diagnosis and expulsion of sinners against the one dogma. We need someone to fairly hear Irish ethnic advocacy in Ireland, than the usual colonial apologia couched in anti-racism. If you would organize a conference to counter-balance the Harbour Hotel event, we could correct the issues highlighted by your thoughts on white pride. We are not promoting the video or petition as yet, and hope to hear from you soon about organizing an event to contextualize excerpt thoughts you or we or any of us might have. [CHANGE.ORG LINK] [YOUTUBE LINK AGAIN]
We can chat at antiracismgalway@[EMAIL]
They somehow manage to claim that I “advocate violent boycott and race-paranoia,” (which is fabricated and truly bizarre) before “betraying” Irish identity with my “white pride.” They go on to refer to “diagnosis,” “dogma,” “apologia,” and all the “anti-colonial” aspects of my discourse.
They are imitating the language of academic anti-racism in order to imply that they are the true anti-racists, and that I am the one promoting racism. In fact, they are adopting the persona of a full-blown anti racism organisation, “ARGH”, in order to pull this off.
They end with an implied threat — they want me to organise a “counter-balance” event, or else they are going to go public on me.
Good luck with that.
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I’m no lawyer, but I can see a lot going on here that would interest a lawyer. Or even the police.
The links to the YouTube video and Change.org petition are incorporated in the email that was sent to me. In these situations, it is normally advised not to click on such links, as this serves to boost the traffic to the websites concerned, improves their digital footprint, and boosts their visibility to search engines. Therefore, I have posted a screengrab of the petition page above, and below is a link to a video file containing the YouTube post.
While I have your attention, here is a link to my post on Alt-Right/Far-Right manoeuvres in Oughterard. Strangely enough, this post received a spike of a hundred or so referrals from Facebook the night before last.
You know what they say. I must be doing something right.
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.