Socialist Worker

Don’t line up with those who will crush protest

Issue No. 2775

Police break up an anti-capitalist protest in Central London.

Police break up an anti-capitalist protest in Central London. (Pic: Underclassrising/Flickr)


Led by home secretary Priti Patel, the Tories want to prevent any effective form of protest that stands in the way of their racist, profit-driven leadership.

They know there is a potential at some point for mass opposition to their rule. Their solution is more repression in advance.

It’s been an appalling week for the police with shattering revelations about how they allowed a rapist and murderer to find comfort in their ranks. Yet the Tories’ reaction is to hand the police more powers.

Home secretary Priti Patel is going beyond the measures originally put forward in the protest-smashing police bill.

New court orders will be introduced to ban “eco-activists” from travelling around the country to join “disruptive” protests. The same measures will be used against other activists the authorities regard as troublemakers.

A new law is to be introduced making it a criminal offence to interfere with national infrastructure including roads, airports—and printing presses.

It’s a specific measure to defend the media that spout pro-system propaganda.

Thousands protest in Manchester at the Tory party conference
Thousands protest in Manchester at the Tory party conference
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When Extinction Rebellion temporarily halted pro-Tory press sites, it raised the subversive idea of a direct challenge to who owns and controls the media. The Tories want that crushed.

The right to protest is fundamental.

Protest at its best is often disruptive, inconvenient for some, blocks traffic and upsets the rhythm of ordinary life. It has to be defended.

If that’s taken away, then only polite promenades through empty streets would be allowed.

Workers’ picketing stops traffic, causes disruption and angers some of its targets. It has to be defended. Catastrophic climate change is not some side issue that can be safely shelved. It’s here now and it threatens all our futures.

Those who block roads demanding action are right to go beyond the facade of democracy that presently exists.

Yet almost nobody is speaking out against the Tories’ elimination of basic rights.

The Labour Party opposes only the detail of the measures. By its silence, it encourages Patel.

And the trade union leaders act as if this was nothing to do with their members. But what they do to Insulate Britain today can be used against militant workers later.

Patel said this week that migrant crossings over the Channel drive her “mad with chronic anger every single day”. There will be more repression soon.

Patel told the Tory Telegraph newspaper, “I’m here to do a tough job, I apologise to no one for that, quite frankly.”

Everyone who believes in the right to oppose the rich and powerful should not apologise for defending all those who protest and are in the Tories’ sights.


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