LAST Saturday’s 500,000-strong TUC demonstration against the coalitions cuts policy has shaken the coalition, and given the capitalist state a lot to think about.
Such a huge mobilisation in the very early days of the struggle indicates that ahead, as the class struggle sharpens and becomes more angry and furious, are some very serious battles between the working class, defending all of its basic gains, and the capitalist state – the armed bodies of men and women dedicated to defending and maintaining the capitalist system and its ruling class.
The state requires more and new weapons and laws to prosecute this war for the ruling class.
In order to obtain these aids the ruling class is taking advantage of the conduct of a tiny group of anarchists, who broke a few windows and occupied a shop for a short time, at the same time as last Saturday’s massive demonstration was taking place.
First of all they tried to maintain that the mass demonstration had been hijacked by these few anarchists. This reached the point where the hysterical TV presentation of minor incidents led people outside the UK into thinking that very serious rioting was taking place in the capital and that London was burning down.
This absurd and hysterical position could not be maintained for long and soon gave way to another approach.
This was that with yet another royal wedding approaching, at great expense to the taxpayer, the handful of anarchists would seek to disrupt it, even halt it, instead of just treating it with the contempt that it deserved.
Also, that because of this ‘threat’ a new series of major anti-democratic measures, and even legal changes were necessary to prevent anarchist demonstrators mobilising.
Of course these, once established, could then be used routinely against all the mobilisations of the working class against the coalition regime and its savage cuts.
The home secretary has now entered the scene to ‘utterly condemn’ the behaviour of ‘thugs’ who ‘attacked police officers’ and ‘smashed property’.
Theresa May told parliament she had asked the police whether they needed more powers.
A ban on known hooligans at marches was one option, she said, and she would review police powers to remove scarves masking protesters’ faces.
May said that since the student demonstrations in December, the Metropolitan Police have been learning lessons ‘But there is more that can be done . . . I have asked the police whether they feel they need further powers to prevent violence before it occurs.’ This means powers to ban demonstrators or ban demonstrations!
If you ask the police if they need further powers and to name them you will not be disappointed, and no doubt she has already been given a list of the powers that are required.
May said: ‘I am willing to consider powers which would ban known hooligans from attending rallies and marches, and I will look into the powers the police already have to force the removal of face coverings and balaclavas.
‘If the police need more help to do their work I will not hesitate in granting it to them.’
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens has said that officers may be empowered to stop and search people without suspicion that an offence has been committed. As well, the police could also use ‘Section 60’ powers to force protesters to remove masks, or face arrest.
The former assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, now a News International employee, Andy Hayman, has called for ‘snatch squads’ and ‘dawn raids’.
The TUC must insist that the antics of a few, state-infiltrated, anarchist bands cannot be used to ban and take away basic rights that have been won over centuries of struggle.
If the authorities fear that a royal wedding is so unpopular that it will attract counter-demonstrators, it should be held in private.
In fact, the only way to defend the basic rights of the working class is through a socialist revolution to overthrow and smash the capitalist state, and to replace bankrupt capitalist society with socialism.