Uncompromisingly anti-police leaflet by London Autonomists circa 1984.
Some people would like to see the police made more accountable, more 'democratic'. Our attitude is a little simpler. We hate them.
All politicians, of whatever party, are united in their desire for a strong police force. Despite some feeble criticisms they always end up congratulating them for a 'good job done'. But when the police are portrayed as kindly and supportive, we know the reality is far different. Arrogant, brutal, repressive: we have every reason to see the law as an occupying force on our streets. And we have every right to deal with them as such.
Ever since they were set up in the middle of the last century, the police have been at the forefront in the efforts to control the working class. By protecting the wealthy from attack they have forced crime back into our own ranks. The true meaning of law and order is for us to vent our anger on each other instead of letting the rich and privileged take the full brunt of our instinctive class hatred. Racism and petty crime amongst people who should be fighting side by side, together with the shadowy control wielded by organised criminals over their own communities all add up to the old game of divide and rule. Whether knowingly supported or not, this policy is backed by every one of our so-called representatives.
With the collapse of the welfare state the leftist fantasy of "policing by consent" becomes more absurd every day. The attacks on our already pitiful living standards can only he made when backed by the strong arm of the law, It may be smashing up workers' picket lines and occupations, the onslaught against unauthorised gatherings of the young and unemployed, or raids into our housing estates and homes. How can we “consent” to this ? Only the cossetted middle class can pretend this doesn't happen - and that it won't happen on an ever wider scale.
We say that the Police Bill merely legalises what is already common practice on our streets. The Police Bill is a blatant threat to the working class. "Our" rulers are telling us that should we step out of line in any way they deem, they will set the full fury of the police onto us. And these are early days yet. what other repressive laws are they going to come up with as the crisis bites deeper? These new provisions are preparations that they are making for a stormy future. If we are serious we must make ours without delay and get ready to meet them on our own terrain, the streets.
By looking at the Police Bill in a wider social context, we can see that it is designed to meet a more violent class response to the deepening crisis in our cities. By making legal provisions for area saturation policing, this shows that their concern is no only the control of individuals but also the quelling of the first signs of urban revolt. They want to drive us off the streets and back into an isolated existence locked up in our own home pursuing a sterile privatised lifestyle, never questioning the system as it crumbles around us. They will not tolerate any life outside those activities and spheres of influence they organise and control.
But there is an answer: 1981 destroyed the myth of police invincibility. For a week the whole establishment was rocked to its foundations as town after town exploded with our reply to class society. Despite their shortcomings, these events marked the change from mere defensive reflexes to an offensive against the system. They set the tone for the future. The ruling class knows that. So do we. Let us get down to business.
“...bringing the police into the trade union movement could help avoid the situation where a remote & bureaucratic police force is so alienated from the people that it ceases to be an instrument of protection & instead becomes an instrument of oppression”
This piece of drivel was in Peter Hain's introduction to the book "Policing the Police".
THE RED ARM OF THE LAW
How is it that the Labour Party and the left are always in the driving seat of any campaign that seems to be against increasing police powers. The answer is so obvious that you could easily overlook it. When they're out of office, the Labour Party desperately needs to jump on whatever bandwagon will help it recruit new members and more importantly catch votes in the next general election. This is nothing new. They've been at it for years: the. People's March for Jobs, the Anti-Nazi league, Rock Against Racism. Each time they are squeezed dry and cynically discarded. This process can be seen working very smoothly with the peace movement as they protest about the very weapons that the labour government brought into the country in the first place. And how many campaigns was Berm involved in when he was a minister.
Given the Labour Party's opposition to the Police Bill, let's have a look at their past achievements in the field of law and order: The Prevention of Terrorism Act, arming the police with riot equipment (the shields were first used at Lewisham in 1977), strengthening elite units like the SPG. When in office the Labour Party has given the police every ounce of its support as they smash down those who fight back outside the cosy confines of their rigged publicity stunts. Are we meant to believe that some miraculous change of heart has taken place? Or are key going to continue in the spirit of Eric Heifer MP when as the police were routed on the streets in 1981 he said "Rioters and looters must be punished with all due severity."
When they talk about 'policing by consent' this is because they recognise that 'consent' has to be created in first place. The police on their own cannot do this. They need the help of social workers, teachers, community leaders. Oozing socialist sincerity, these soft cops try to make us accept our alienation as a natural part of everyday life. These new welfare state gentry have the nerve to think that they can lead us in struggle. In the inner cities they make up the left establishment; running the councils, forming police committees, and whatever they say, their true role lies in diverting our anger into the most irrelevant community schemes and projects, trying to make us embittered individuals feel closer to the system that divides and isolates us. The contempt with which we treat them in the political arena is only one face of the hostility we show them in the "caring, sharing, socialist network."
For the extreme left, their adventures into electoral politics have been a devastating disappointment and have only resulted in a series of lost deposits. They are now generally united in the belief that their progress is dependent on the electoral success of the Labour Party, despite its shortcomings ('vote labour without illusions'). Worming their way into the labyrinth of party committees, they hope to develop an alternative leadership within the party. As workers' distrust and discontent with the traditional leadership grows, they want to neutralise it by feeding it back into the Labour Party machinery and dissipating it in support for left-wing caucuses. Being part of an established institution, such as the Labour Party, and at the same time part of the militant left is not a contradiction. It's just a question of tactics. When it comes down to it, the extreme left has no intention of abolishing the police force. They merely want to give these 'workers in blue' the opportunity to obey the instructions of their own political gang. If they got to power we would have the same social fabric, with a socialist police force kicking our heads in with their socialist boots.
Although these different groupings are often in fierce competition, reformist and 'revolutionary' alike seek to ride to power on the back of our struggle. So they must try to control that struggle right from the start. We are the cannon fodder for their 'tactical advantages' to be safely put away in prison when no longer needed.
We have no need of these parasites. They leap from issue to issue, holding back those ready to put up a real fight and recruiting the more gullible amongst us. We've got to fight on our own terms, and let these vote cadgers wander in the wilderness of their own impotence.