THE very well paid police force – loaded up with housing and other benefits, on Wednesday bit the hand that has been feeding it.
This is the police force that the Brown government wanted to empower to hold ‘terror suspects’ for 90 days, without charge, now modified to 42 days. On Wednesday, at its Police Federation conference it exhibited calculated malice and threatening behaviour towards the Home Secretary.
Police Federation Chairman Jan Berry referred to Smith as a criminal.
Ridiculing Smith for her previous admission that she had taken cannabis in her youth, Berry elaborated: ‘Your recent crimes have been more for the serious fraud squad than the drug squad’.
Speaking about Smith’s appearance at the conference, Berry continued maliciously: ‘I am sure that you felt like reaching for a stab-proof vest and perhaps slipping into old habits and lighting up to calm your nerves.’ If young people said this to a police officer they would be charged!
She added that Smith had ‘betrayed the police force’.
The police are not part of the public sector. They are part of the capitalist state, whose job it is to maintain the capitalist order by all means necessary.
The operations of the Special Patrol Group during the Grunwick struggle, and the mass attacks of police and para-military units for the one year of conflict with the miners (1984-85) and then with the printers (1986-1987) are a matter of record.
Nearer to hand, a large number of people die in police custody annually, just ask the United Families and Friends Campaign, and some are killed by the police – just ask the relatives of Harry Stanley and Jean Charles de Menezes.
What is interesting about the Police Federation conference is that it showed the police rising up to attack its parliamentary masters from the right – we know that every police chief thinks that he can run the country better than any amount of politicians.
This uprising is taking place at a time when the capitalist inflationary boom is over and ahead are revolutionary struggles over who is to pay for the crisis, the bosses and the bankers with the ending of their system, or the workers and the middle class.
Faced with this sudden change, the bourgeoisie is beginning to think that its state forces will have to take the lead!
Not only do we now have political policemen, we also have political generals who have also lost confidence in parliament and have been seriously damaged by the defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They demand that the health budget and the defence budget be swapped, and that what is required is a government that will do this.
The political generals have a lot of admirers, even in the Labour Party, which wants to make it a criminal offence to ‘discriminate’ against a soldier in uniform!
The Smiths and the Browns are not the only political forces that have been courting the capitalist state.
The Stalinist Morning Star in its front page on Thursday was breathless with admiration at the way the police federation dealt with Smith. Its staff have very short memories that do not even go as far back as the military, police coup in Chile or the regime of the Greek colonels.
Clearly the Communist Party will be inviting rebellious policemen, judges and even police chiefs to join its ranks.
News Line and the WRP have no illusions in the capitalist state.
If the police want to have the right to strike so be it. But they must not be allowed into the TUC.
If the police go on strike we will support their right to do so.
In fact we will go one better. We fight for the disbandment of the police and the smashing of the capitalist state in the overthrow of the bourgeois order by a socialist revolution.
We must build up the revolutionary leadership of the WRP, so as to be able to take advantage of the opportunity that will present itself in the period ahead for the working class to take the power.