Answer Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill with a general strike to kick the Tories out

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THOUSANDS of workers and young people took to the streets at the weekend in mass ‘kill the bill’ demonstrations across the country against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The Tories made it clear when the bill was first unveiled last year that its purpose is to ‘strengthen police powers to tackle non-violent protests that have a significant disruptive effect on the public or on access to Parliament.’

Since then, the Tories have dropped in amendments that radically strengthen the police powers and create entirely new offences.

Labour peer and former director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, told the BBC Today programme: ‘That included new offences of attaching yourself, locking on, so vague it could criminalise people with bike locks or who link arms with each other on the street.’

She added that now the police ‘would be able to stop and search people without suspicion, not because they fear knife crime or terrorism, but because they fear noise and impact and disruption, which of course is inherent in any peaceful non-violent protest.’

So, under the new law, linking arms or even holding hands on a demonstration or picket line could be deemed as a criminal offence by the police, while stop and search is extended to anyone suspected of making a noise or causing a nuisance.

The bill was promised by Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel in the wake of the Extinction Rebellion protests and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020. But, all along, the real target of the Tories is the working class.

When the bill was first introduced last year, a Home Office ‘source’ told the Daily Mail: ‘The disruption caused by some Lefty protests has exposed an emerging threat to our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard-working majority.’

Today the Tories are not just worried about ‘Lefty’ protesters but a mass movement of the working class and youth which hates Boris Johnson, his Tory government and the entire capitalist system they represent that is attempting to impose the biggest cost of living crisis in history on their backs.

The Tories and the ruling class are reeling from the economic crisis that is driving up inflation, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has created a huge political meltdown for the ruling class and revolutionised millions of workers and young people.

Along with making all peaceful protest virtually illegal, it is directly aimed at outlawing strike pickets.

It gives the police the power to impose conditions on ‘assemblies’ (including union pickets) that will generate noise that may cause a ‘serious disruption to the activities of an organisation which are carried on in the vicinity.’

Every strike or picket line causes disruption to the bosses, so now the police are empowered to declare it illegal and break it up. The historic right of workers to strike is at stake.

With the Johnson government on the verge of collapse and British capitalism sinking under the weight of its greatest economic crisis, the whole of the ruling class is seriously considering moving towards a new dictatorial type of rule.

This new law provides the legal framework for the imposition of a police dictatorship over the working class and its trade unions. In this situation, the response of the TUC union leaders has been simply to call on the Tories to ‘reconsider’.

Last week Unison, the largest union in the country, called on its members to take action against the bill ‘which will hand police unprecedented powers’. The action they called for was for members to ‘Tweet your MP’ and sign a petition opposing the legislation.

This is not action, but the trade unions’ leadership deliberately trying to hold workers back while the Tories prepare to smash the unions, illegalise all strikes and demonstrations, and impose a dictatorship over the working class.

These leaders must be thrown out and replaced by a new revolutionary leadership of the WRP prepared to mobilise the full strength of the working class by calling a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers’ government and a workers’ state.

This is the way forward.

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