Before I was in business, knew how to value a building or write anything of scholarly value, I was an anti-racist.
I was lucky to be part of a collection of like-minded people who came of age at the time of probably the most progressive government since the 1960s; the 1997 Labour Government was a friend in thoughts and deeds.
Within this campaigning group, several took steps into politics, some into the areas of policy and others like me disappeared into the private sector and academia. I look back with a degree of pride at the positive influence of some of our campaigns:
- The UK is a more tolerant country than in the mid-1990s and blind racism is not acceptable.
- The radical Islamists that once roamed free on campus to incite hatred, have been exposed and their activities are banned from the mainstream (other than the BBC who see it as their right to prove balanced debate by promoting racists).
- The murderers of Stephen Lawrence have been jailed.
- Educational institutions accommodate the religious rights of minorities and anonymous marking is commonplace.
- Holocaust deniers and Fascists are not given open platforms on campuses.
At the student level our methods were simple and quite naïve, we produced posters and ran speaker events to generate awareness, but our wider goals were clear; we sought to expose hatred and combat injustice with the ultimate aim of creating a fairer, more harmonious society for those who wished to participate in it.
Any student of marketing will cite the AIDA model of marketing. (There are advancements and derivatives of this model, but let’s keep it simple.)
The AIDA acronym represents the four target steps of customer engagement with a marketing campaign.
Phase 1: Awareness: Attract the attention of the target
Phase 2: Interest: Once you have the target’s attention, tell them the benefits of the product/campaign, in effect “sell the story”.
Phase 3: Desire: Tell the target why this product/campaign is important to them and their needs.
Phase 4: Action: Conversion or engagement.
More recent thinking about marketing focuses around the creating of movements, where dress codes, language, slogans and indeed the feeling of belonging are encouraged.
There are several case studies in this from American Apparel to Livestrong to Coca Cola. Once formed, the advocates and influencers within the movements show total dedication, offer support to members and commitment to the cause, which in turn leads to an emotional response from other the members of the group – which as any marketer will tell you, is the holy grail of marketing.
The purpose of all campaigns, whether to buy soap powder or to cause change in society is to generate action. The more powerful the “desire” is, the greater the action.
Bringing French Anti-Semitism to Britain
I am not an expert in French politics but undoubtedly the economic problems are prevalent and there is an alarming rise in racism and in particular anti-Semitism. Events have included beatings, murders, desecrations of Jews and Jewish targets and the shootings at the Toulouse school in 2012.
The concept of scapegoating Jews (and in this case I include Zionists as Jew proxies) in periods of economic hardship is not new, particularly in Europe.
The person who shoots the gun is rarely the one who buys bullets.
Nicholas Anelka justified his expression of the quenelle to be in support of banned anti-Semite Dieudonne, who is building a movement based on left-right-Islamist fuelled hatred agenda against Jews across France, which has led to violence against Jews. This movement has taken theory and practice used by marketers, including AIDA, celebrity endorsements and fascist strategies for empowerment.
What the FA, WBA or even Anelka himself may or may not know is that his public endorsement of the quenelle is on par with the gateway Holocaust denial of David Irving and the anti-immigrant bias of the BNP; all these are tools to initiate awareness of issues (or pseudo-facts) with the ultimate outcomes being hatred and violent acts against minorities.
Anelka’s quenelle is the first step in creating awareness of this new racist movement coming to the UK.
The response, particularly by the FA and the management of WBA in response to Nicholas Anelka’s actions over the past week has shown a complete lack of awareness and rank ignorance of what is going on.
Anelka’s statement is deliberate.
The strategy must be exposed and condemned.