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Repression and war make us all less safe

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Issue 2480

The shock of the terrible deaths in Paris has led to an outpouring of international solidarity from ordinary people.

But governments in the West immediately used the attacks to push repression and more war.

Both will make more attacks more likely.

Despite austerity, money is no object when it comes to arming the state. David Cameron has given the Special Armed Services (SAS) £2 billion for new equipment.

London Met police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe wants to double the number of armed cops on the street at any one time.

The ruling class is whipping up an atmosphere of fear and threat. The Tories want to use the chance to drive through legislation and extra powers.

They hope that those who objected to Theresa May’s “snoopers’ charter” may feel pressure to keep quiet about new surveillance plans.

Anyone who speaks out against increased state powers is portrayed as supporting Isis. This echoes the mood after the 7/7 Tube and bus bombings in London in 2005, when 52 people died.

We were told that the police needed more powers and guns to keep the capital safe.

Two weeks later a young Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, lay dead in a tube train after armed police gunned him down.

This is what shoot to kill means. Some Labour MPs are baying for more armed police and for a new war.

They denounce even the mildest statements by Jeremy Corbyn about the dangers of greater police powers, or the threat of a new bombing campaign.

Part of the reason for Corbyn’s leadership victory was his stance against war. The Paris attacks make this position all the more vital to uphold.

State repression and ramping up imperialist interventions in Syria will not make our streets safer. More state powers will target Muslims.

New wars will mean more civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq.

Bitterness and anger at the injustice of imperialist attacks and rampant racism fuel Isis.

The “war on terror” launched by George Bush and Tony Blair in 2001 made the world a more dangerous place.


The roots of the violence of Isis lie in the aftermath of the West’s last wars.

The West’s intervention in the region is part of the problem not the solution.

It can seem difficult to see how individual activists can make a difference when faced with such a crisis.

But what individuals do on the ground has an impact. The mass anti-war movement against the war in Iraq won public opinion.

Blair will never escape his legacy as a warmonger.

So we have to keep up the arguments and, where possible, the activity to build resistance to Britain joining the bombing in Syria.

We also have to stand against the poisonous racism that is being driven from the top of society by the press barons and the Tories. The ruling class wants to divide us.

Ukip’s leader Nigel Farage has reached new lows with his attacks on Muslims and refugees, but he is not alone.

The racist backlash is being driven by the mainstream.

Muslims already report that Islamophobia is on the increase (see page 4). There is a great danger of this escalating further.

Within days of the Paris attacks one Muslim couple in Fife in Scotland suffered a violent assault by a gang of 15. The victims were taunted about Isis and Paris.

There are also calls for new controls on refugees, even though Britain has accepted too few already. But refugees are fleeing violence—they are not the cause of it.

We need to build grassroots resistance to violence, war and racism today. And we need to organise for the future to replace the system that breeds them.

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