Police are not workers in uniform


THE Police Federation has demanded that the Home Secretary resign after her refusal to backdate their 2.5 per cent pay award, and has decided on a national ballot to demand the right to strike.

The police are angry with the present Labour Party Home Secretary. She regards the police as part of the ‘public sector’, and is the first home secretary to overrule the recommendations of the police arbitration tribunal, which has always seen the police as a special case.

Likewise, the demand of the Police Federation is also a first. It is the first time that it has openly entered politics and made a call for a senior member of the government to resign.

This intervention follows that of Police Commissioner Blair into political matters, when earlier this year he openly lobbied MPs and told them that the police wanted them to legislate so that they could hold ‘terrorist suspects’ for up to 90 days before they have to either be charged or released.

The police are however not the only section of the capitalist state that has entered the political arena.

The Brown government has been under a constant assault from numerous army ex-chiefs of staff, and a number of political colonels, demanding that military expenditure be massively increased and accusing the government of treachery to the soldiers in the field for not doing this.

The forces of the capitalist state are restive and feel that the bourgeois parties who up till now have run capitalism in Britain are losing their grip in a situation of capitalist crisis.

It is only a matter of time before groups of policemen and military officers get together and decide that the solution to the problem is for the army and the police, who know best, to run the country.

They will see it as their duty to arrest the treacherous government and either place another party in power, or else imitate the Greek Colonels of the 1970s by taking power themselves.

This is why, while we have no objection to the police having a union or the right to strike, we must emphasise that the police are not workers in uniform, but a part of the sharp end of the capitalist state whose job is to maintain capitalism by any means necessary against the working class.

The current British police force, in case it has been forgotten, spent a number of years breaking the heads and injuring miners and printers, between 1984 and January 1987, on behalf of Thatcher and Murdoch.

Also, the 1918 and 1919 police strikes to gain the right to strike and the right to unionise in no way inhibited the police from attacking the working class with considerable viciousness during the nine days of the general strike in 1926.

As well, the Macpherson inquiry, by a learned judge, found that the Metropolitan Police, as a body were ‘institutionally racist’.

Internationally, the existence of police unions in France has not stopped the French police force engaging in violent attacks on the French working class.

In fact what the Police Federation is demanding is recognition from the government of its special status, as a vital part of the capitalist state, and that its families should be fully looked after by the government, so that it can do its duty suppressing the working class in the coming period of capitalist crisis, free from the worries of ordinary people.

The Marxist position remains that while the police are welcome to the right to strike and to unionise, the police force remains part of the capitalist state, whose job is to maintain the rights of the capitalists by oppressing the working class.

The Marxist programme is that for the working class to take the power and establish socialism it first of all will have to smash the capitalist state, disbanding its army, and its police and secret police forces, so that the bosses and bankers can be expropriated and socialism established.

News Line opposes all the revisionist and Stalinist movements who are desperate to declare the police workers in uniform and legitimate members of the popular front that they are trying to build as a barrier to workers power.

The police are part of the capitalist state and one of the principal barriers to socialism, which have to be broken up by a socialist revolution.