Socialist Worker

Unite to smash the system of the real thugs

Issue No. 2747

Police van in Bristol following attack on protesters

Police van in Bristol following attack on protesters


There is a minority group of thugs in Britain that spread violence and misery. It consists of the Tories and the police.

Such forces, their media friends and far too many Labour representatives rushed to condemn the furious protests in Bristol this week as being started by “thugs”.

We should remember the Tories’ murderous mishandling of a virus has cost the lives of almost 150,000 people.

Their solemn injunctions this week to remember the victims are nothing more than a hypocritical attempt to deflect from their failings.

Deaths

As for the cops, the charity Inquest reports, “There have been 1,780 deaths in police custody or otherwise following contact with the police in England and Wales since 1990”.

The rage of protesters is wholly justified—and we need more of it. It’s false that taking to the streets and resisting the police weakens a campaign.

George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis would have been just another appalling statistic were it not for the furious protests that followed. Burning down police stations helped thrust the Black Lives Matter movement into public awareness.

As lockdown eases, the pent-up rage in society needs a militant focus. Those who denounced the protesters’ actions in Bristol want this rage sedated.

Just like the Tories’ police bill, they want protests to be quiet and polite. And that often means ineffective.

Pepper spray, dogs, batons and horses—police were the real thugs in Bristol
Pepper spray, dogs, batons and horses—police were the real thugs in Bristol
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Parliamentary politics is utterly failing to reflect the feelings in society. Labour’s Keir Starmer would have waved the police bill through parliament were it not for mobilisations after the killing of Sarah Everard.

Beating the police bill requires a firm focus on action outside parliament. It means keeping up protests, and not backing off from criticism by false friends such as Starmer.

The reckoning with the Tories and the cops has to go much further than a few damaged police vans.

Working class people, especially working class black people, have been callously left to die by the Tories during the crisis.

The government praised workers for their role in holding society together. Now it tells them they have to face wage cuts, unemployment and a return to “business as usual”.

Workers must use their collective power to defend the right to protest. There also has to be far more strikes to impose working class interests.

This is not a time to parrot myths about a supposedly unifying “national interest”. It’s time both for anger and determined organisation to fight back.

The brilliant protests over the last two weeks should be the start of a spring and summer of rage against the Tories, the cops and their entire violent system.


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