So, the Metropolitan Police have been convicted of breaching health and safety laws! And once again the British bourgeoisie are making use of Jean Charles de Menezes, the electrician from Brazil who was shot on 22nd July 2005. The shooting of one poor man on his way to work has served the state well - first to follow up the fear of terrorism by spreading further terror in the wake of the London bombings two years ago. Now the verdict has been the occasion for hours and pages of media hype about how the police are protecting us from terrorism.
The verdict is, of course, meaningless. The police force is fined, but it will not be strapped for cash. Quite the reverse, after all the reminders we have about how much we need them to protect us from terrorism, they will get as much money as they need. But an innocent man has been killed and Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, must "accept responsibility" according to Stockwell MP Kate Hoey and various opposition politicians, meaning he should resign. This brings us to another use being made of this case - while the British state is strengthening itself, for instance with more armed police, more draconian detention powers for terrorist suspects, it is making sure of its democratic credentials by showing that every part of the state, even the police, can be called to account. Whether one Commissioner is replaced by another or not will not make a jot of difference to the police or the state.
Whatever the media and politicians may tell us, the police cannot protect us from terrorism any more than any other part of the state. Their job is to maintain the peace within the capitalist system, to defend capitalism. And what is the cause of terrorism? Most of it is related to or inspired by various conflicts going on around the world, and in Britain today that would be mainly the so-called ‘war on terror'. And the nature of these conflicts is imperialist, they are conflicts caused as each nation tries to expand at the expense of its rivals. This is the nature of capitalism. To defend capitalism the role of the police and state is to maintain the very conditions that give rise to terrorism. Only when the working class is able to destroy the bourgeois state and start to put an end to capitalism will we be safe. Alex 3.11.07