March ban aimed at trade unions, youth and students

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THE news that the Tory Home Secretary, Theresa May, has issued a blanket ban on all marches and rallies in five London boroughs represents a fundamental attack on the democratic rights of the working class.

Ostensibly, the ban has been introduced because of the plans by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) to march through Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Islington and Hackney on 3rd September.

The ban, which lasts for 30 days, is not however restricted to outlawing the provocation planned by the EDL – it covers all demonstrations, including demonstrations by students or trade unionists, protesting against the policies of the coalition government.

As such, it is far from being some kind of ‘victory’ over the EDL those liberals and reformists who have been calling for a ban are now claiming.

What is being witnessed is the use of the EDL and fascist groups as stalking horses for the capitalist state.

Any demonstration by workers and youth called to oppose the government policy of dumping the crisis of capitalism firmly on their backs can be made illegal by the simple method of the EDL or British National Party calling a demonstration for the same date and in the same area.

Doubtless, the state will liaise with the leadership of the EDL to co-ordinate such bans.

Indeed, the ban will not prevent the EDL from mounting a provocative ‘static’ protest in these areas, what it will do is increase the already sweeping powers of the police to attack workers and youth fighting the government.

The claim by May and police that the ban is a result of police intelligence that the EDL march will lead to violence is equally spurious – they have never worried about EDL attacks on working class communities in the past, in fact they have bent over backwards to accommodate these backward, lumpen elements.

On countless occasions the EDL have been allowed to march and demonstrate without going through the labyrinth of police approval that working class organisations are forced to navigate their way through before being legally allowed to exercise their democratic rights to protest.

Similarly, there was no great outcry from the state when the links between the EDL and the notorious Norwegian fascist killer, Anders Breivik, who boasted of his admiration for and connections with leaders of the EDL.

On the contrary, the founder and leader of the EDL, Stephen Lennon, was invited onto the prestigious BBC Newsnight programme to proclaim his abhorrence of violence – a claim that was severely undermined by the fact that on the very day of the interview he had been convicted by a court in Luton of violence and football hooliganism.

Not that this concerned the BBC or the state.

As far as they are concerned the EDL has a useful role to play, they have offered themselves up to the capitalist state as willing storm-troopers in the civil war against the working class.

To demand that the state defend workers and youth from these fascist elements is nonsensical and dangerous.

It attempts to deceive the working class about the true nature of the capitalist state and promote the belief that the state is somehow ‘neutral’ and only concerned with the maintenance of law and order.

The only ‘law and order’ the capitalist state wishes to maintain is to keep the working class firmly in its place and it is fully prepared to use extreme violence, either by the police or degenerate fascist bands, to achieve this end.

For the working class the only way to defeat this threat of violence from the fascist gangs and the capitalist state is through the socialist revolution to smash capitalism forever and replace it with socialism.