Socialist Worker

Cops’ march signals a ruling class in crisis

Issue No. 2302

When police officers march against a Tory government it shows that the usual order of things is breaking down.

The cops are natural allies of the Tories. And they expect to be protected from cuts.

When former Tory prime minister Margaret Thatcher attacked the trade unions she was always careful to keep the police onside.

Yet today the Tories’ austerity plan has led them to confront the very people they rely on to crush working class opposition.

Police officers were set to march on Thursday of this week against attacks on their pay and pensions. Prison and probation officers will join them.

The police are not part of the working class. They are employed by the ruling class to keep workers down and to protect the property and power of those at the top of society.

We can see the true role of the police during protests, riots and every working class struggle.

This is not 1919, when some cops struck during a wave of revolutionary struggle (see 1919: Britain in Revolt). The police today do not deserve any of our support.

But the fact that police officers are marching reflects the deep crisis the government finds itself in.

The Tories may now have to worry about the consequences of opening up another front.

The sight of the police using slogans that echo those of trade unions will not be comfortable viewing for the government—or for anyone on the left.

But such turmoil and division within the state can help deepen the Tory crisis—and weaken an already vulnerable government.

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What We Think
Tue 8 May 2012, 16:29 BST
Issue No. 2302
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