Leaflet distributed by the CWO at various Kill the Bill protests happening around the UK.
The heavy handed police response to a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard and the protest in Bristol against the new Police and Crime Bill have again drawn attention to the role of the police in society as it exists today.
All over the globe the pandemic has sharpened class divisions. In societies divided against themselves, the fight against the deadly virus has also become an opportunity for states to introduce and test out new measures aimed at curtailing certain freedoms previously held dear.
This should not come as a surprise. “Democracy” as it exists under capitalism is in fact the political expression of the dictatorship of capital, one that provides us with the fig leaf of electing our own “superiors”. Freedoms are granted and taken away when necessary, in the interest of upholding the current system. The protests we have seen over the past few years – in response to the environmental crisis facing humanity, the murder of George Floyd in the USA, etc. – have become a nuisance to the state. By extending already existing powers, it now seeks to make it easier to silence inconvenient dissent.
The struggle we face is not about democracy vs. a looming dictatorship. It is against an economic system – capitalism – which can and will adapt itself to any political shell.
Although it has galvanised public opposition, the problem is not the Police and Crime Bill or even the police itself. For as long as society is divided into classes, institutions such as the police will stand over and above the mass of society. These institutions exist to protect the property of the ruling class and uphold “social peace” (i.e. the daily expropriation of surplus value from the working class, the lifeblood of the system).
Single issue protests can, at best, tinker around the edges. What we need is a mass movement independent of all the institutional parties and trade unions. One that can give birth to structures which answer directly to the needs of the working class – a real workers’ democracy. One that can not only improve and defend our communities but also pose a political alternative to a system which everyday creates more exploitation and oppression in order to keep itself afloat among ever greater crises.
Today, as ever, the choice remains the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large or the common ruin of the contending classes.
For a higher quality JPG see: leftcom.org