Thursday, April 28, 2011

This is a free country (not)

What on earth are the police doing arresting peaceful protesters ahead of the Royal Wedding? (http://bit.ly/iq0DRw) Those arrested include an actor who dresses up as an executioner (http://ianbone.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/patrick-macroidan-arrested-by-royal-wedding-cops/).

Do they think a gaggle of fairly ineffectual anarchists and some activists whose activism consists largely of street theatre are a threat or a potential embarrassment?

The antics of some of those who think radicalism means having a swear word on your t-shirt and a balaclava covering your face were an irritation on March 26th (and gave the police the excuse to detain and arrest the effective and responsible protesters of UK Uncut).

However, the "black bloc" lacks the capacity to pose any real threat tomorrow - and as for an embarrassment, well we are about to witness an entire nation come to a standstill to mark the nuptials of a future hereditary head of state and, last time I checked the time, it wasn't still the Middle Ages.

I would say we ought to be past being embarrassed.

Full marks to John McDonnell, MP, for speaking out against this nonsense (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1381517/Royal-Wedding-security-Scotland-Yard-swoops-squatters-plan-disrupt.html).

Civil liberties are never defended by supporting the popular, the sensible or the acceptable.

If people were planning stunts to disrupt the Royal wedding then, much as every republican will sympathise with their motivation, I would say that was a poor decision in terms of priorities.

There are better things to do right now to defend our public services and Welfare State.

However, to paraphrase Voltaire (or perhaps not - http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Voltaire), we may think the anarchos and their hangers on are pillocks but we should defend to the death their right to be so.

The trade union movement should always be in the front line of the fight to defend civil liberty and to oppose the abuse of the power of the state, because - since, ultimately, we organise the force that could change this rotten society for the better - every attack upon freedom that the state can get away with will become a weapon in the arsenal to be used against our movement should the occasion demand.

And that's the answer to the question I asked at the beginning of this post.

What the police are doing with pre-emptive arrests of essentially unthreatening individuals is testing out the measures they might one day want to use seriously against the serious opponents of this unjust society and its consequences.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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