Our lives against justice and rights - Antagonism

Leaflet produced for a demonstration against the 1995 Criminal Justice Bill.

Submitted by Spassmaschine on July 23, 2009

This leaflet was produced for a demonstration against the Criminal Justice Bill. The demonstration ended in a riot. Although the bill was passed into law, the movement of opposition to it was an important episode in the formation of the "anti-capitalist movement".

The Criminal Justice Bill (CJB) is the latest in a long line of openly repressive legislation brought in by the Conservative government. In the early 80's a lot of legislation was directed at Trade Unions. This forced the unions to take a greater part in preventing effective struggles by workers. Partly due to the marginalisation of the unions (which aren't anticapitalist but are anti-Tory, a bit) and the relative defeat of workers, the most important struggles under the Tories have been fought away from places of work (e.g. the anti Poll Tax movement). This is one reason why repressive legislation in recent years has been directed at strengthening police action, especially in cases of 'public order'. The CJB continues this trend but also targets specific struggles and oppositional lifestyles eg hunt sabs, anti-road movements, squatters, travellers and ravers. This legislation is a very specific attack on combatative elements of the proletariat.

The government wants this legislation to neutralise the anti-roads movement which has become an expensive break on its road building programme. The attacks on squatters and travellers are attempts to force these people into the housing market (pushing up rents), and also the jobs market (pushing down wages). Attacking rave culture is also partly an attempt to force people into a more profit-friendly normality. All the targeted groups are also hate figures for middle class tory voters, and their loyalty is encouraged by this kind of legislation.

Many left wing and liberal groups have jumped on the anti CJB bandwagon. These people encourage pathetic, dreary tactics like writing to MP's and campaigning for better laws, or for civil rights, or for a written constitution. (They also want us to give them our time and our money.) But all of these things are only helpful to liberals and leftists, not to those attacked by this and similar legislation. These tactics help politicians and journalists and lawyers; they don't help proletarians, that is, people without power or wealth.

The liberals and leftists want us to campaign for various rights which would be guaranteed by law. They don't want us to actually do the things these rights are supposed to allow us to do. They want a right of assembly; but they don't want working class people to actually get together for they're own purposes. They want a right to freedom of movement, but they don't want us going just where we want. They want a right to free speech, but they don't want to hear what we think of them.

Instead of asking politicians for this or that right, we should just get on and do what we want. We shouldn't beg for the right to assembly but just gather where and when and for what purpose we want. We shouldn't ask for the right to protest or to strike, we should just use whatever forms of struggle are most effective at beating our enemies.

Many people who oppose the CJB support the ideology of Non-Violence, and argue that we should not use violence under any circumstances. Some of these people are just naive and don't realise that the bosses and state will use violence against us whenever they see fit (whether we use violence or not). However some of these people are not naive. When riot police attacked part of the last anti CJB demonstration many nonviolence types did their best to prevent marchers from fighting back. When push comes to shove these people actually support police violence and oppose rebel violence. We do not "advocate" violence, in the way that these people advocate non-violence, that is, as a tactic to use in every situation. But there are times when it is best course to take.

People who are targeted by this law shouldn't bother with politicians, parties and campaign groups. The most important thing to do is try and ignore the law and carry on with the struggles and festivals that the CJB tries to destroy. In the long run we need to find a way to link up all the different struggles against different aspects of capitalism in a class based movement. A unified struggle which aims to destroy this society and replace it with global community based not on rights but on life really lived.

This leaflet was produced by some anarchists who can be contacted at:
B.M. Makhno
London WC1N 3XX
Taken from the Antagonism website.