This powerful statement sums up the real nature of the recent revelations concerning the use of undercover police to penetrate and manipulate various protest movements. It was made by one of the women with whom various agents of the Special Demonstrations Squad (SDS) deliberately established relationships in order to gain wider acceptance in the protest movements they wanted to infiltrate. The motto of the SDS was “by all means necessary” and this sums up the general attitude of the capitalist state to maintaining its dictatorship. Human feelings and dignity mean absolutely nothing to the ruling class and their servants.
On 16 December last year in Kazakhstan, in Zhanaozen, a town with a population of 90,000 about 150km from the Caspian Sea, the forces of order carried out a real massacre by opening fire with automatic weapons on a rally of 16,000 oil workers and town dwellers who had come to show their solidarity. The workers had been protesting against lay-offs and the non-payment of back wages. There were at least ten deaths, according to the official figures, but in fact there were probably many more, perhaps up to 70 killed and 700-800 wounded.
Following the riots in August the British judicial system swung into action. Prime Minister Cameron pledged that all would face the courts and those found guilty would face stiff prison sentences. Whether rioters or so-called ‘organisers’ or people sentenced for receiving stolen goods or those found guilty of inciting rioting on Facebook, they could all expect to feel the full force of the law.
The Xintang area of Zengcheng, in China’s southern Guangzhou province, annually produces 260 million pairs of jeans, 60% of China’s and a third of the world’s output for more than 60 international brands. Known as the ‘jeans capital of the world’ it is in some ways symbolic of Chinese economic development over the last thirty years. In June, demonstrations and clashes with the police in angry protests by thousands of workers against the treatment of a pregnant 20-year-old, hint at the reality experienced by workers in the heart of an ‘economical miracle’.
We reproduce here an article about the Bristol riots of 1980 from WR30. It was an elemental revolt by a whole sector of the population against bad housing, high unemployment, spiralling prices, the all-pervading boredom of life in today's cities. Above all, it was against the brutality and arrogance of the police, whose high-handed raid on a local café provoked the revolt.
On 21 April a huge police operation aimed at a squat in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol provoked an angry response from local people. Barricades were set up and the heavily tooled-up police found themselves facing not just a handful of squatters but a long night of skirmishes with the hundreds who turned up spontaneously to join the protest. This is not the first time that a police raid has sparked off a street battle in Bristol. In 1980 a militaristic ‘anti-drugs’ bust on a West Indian owned café in the St Pauls area produced similar results.
The revelations in The Guardian during January that exposed four undercover agents of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), and the outraged response to them from the ‘democratic’ media and politicians, are nevertheless worthy of attention. Concerns about the first agent – PC Mark Stone (aka Mark Kennedy) – were first made public in October 2010 on Indymedia, but it was the collapse of the trial in early January of 6 activists accused of conspiring to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station that grabbed the headlines. Apparently Stone, wracked with remorse, had threatened to ‘go native’ and give evidence for the defence.
Published here is a translation of the statement of a witness to the police repression meted out against students, youth and workers at a demonstration last month in Lyon, France against the pension “reform” and the attacks of the French ruling class. The French police have also picked up on their British counterpart’s tactic of “kettling”, particularly using it to prevent any collective reflection on the best means of struggle that is emerging in minorities of the working class fed up with being marched up and down and then sent home by the unions.
The best method for reviving the universities as true centres of learning is the one favoured by the Greek and French students who threw the campus gates open and organised their general assemblies so that everyone with an interest in resisting capitalism could take part in a genuine culture of proletarian debate.