The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 17th August 2007
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protest - HEAVY HANDED POLICING BACKFIRES
by Daphne Liddle
THE GOVERNMENT is planning to use its most draconian
anti-terror legislation against a broad coalition of groups – under the
umbrella organisation Camp for Climate Action – who are assembling at a
campsite close to Heathrow Airport for a massive but peaceful
demonstration this weekend.
Estimates of the number of protesters expected from all over Britain
and Europe vary from 1,500 to 3,000 – a modest number for a national
demonstration. But around 1,800 police will be deployed who have been
told by the Government to use powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism
Act 2000 against the demonstrators.
These powers include stop and search even if police have no
reason to suspect a person.
“That’s unbelievably heavy handed,” said camp spokesperson Anna
Jackson, “They’re using the most draconian legislation on the statute
book, and I hope they can be embarrassed out of it.”
Protesters include members of the Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds, a variety of environmental groups and local
villagers whose homes are threatened by plans to expand Heathrow and
build a fifth runway.
The camp is supposed to be a model of eco-friendly communal
living, with electricity supplied by solar and wind power.
Some papers claim to have infiltrated the campers and have
published scaremongering leaks. In particular the London Evening
Standard front page carried a banner headline claiming: “Militants will
A Camp for Climate Change spokesperson responded saying: “This
story did not contain a single source or even attempt at a source.
“We don’t know who is feeding them this stuff and the suspicion is that
we are the subject of a smear campaign. We are challenging BAA [the
airport operator] to come clean.”
BAA denied planting the scare story but expressed anger that the
protesters’ plans might disrupt the airport at the height of the
No one yet knows exactly what form the protest will take. The
campers assume they are infiltrated and are therefore delaying
Anna Jackson said: “We really can’t say what the direct action
will be – there are no leaders in this camp. It’s 100 per cent
democratic, run through consensus.
“It will be down to individuals’ judgement as to what they think
is the best way to take action.
“It’s inevitable that the authorities are going to be in these
meetings, coming into the camp and infiltrating – we can’t stop them
coming in. But the camp is a lot more than just mass action.”
Clearly the intent of BAA, the police and the Government is to be
as intimidating as possible to discourage people from taking part in
But this is proving counterproductive as the media – at the
height of the silly season and little else to fill news bulletins – has
been giving the protest a lot of coverage before it has even begun,
ensuring that awareness of the issues involved is being raised all
The protesters point out that 20 million litres of fuel are
consumed at Heathrow every day and 31.3 million tonnes of carbon
dioxide are generated there every year.
One of those attending will be the chair of Bournemouth and Poole
Greenpeace, Richard Hillyard. He says he will be joining the Heathrow
campaigners on Friday.
“Heathrow and BAA are being targeted because it’s a major UK
airport and campaigning there will get a lot of attention, but it is
really a statement against the expansion of many local UK airports,
Bournemouth included,” he said.
“If aviation expands at the rate the Government wants, then every
other industry would have to be zero carbon, which in reality has no
chance of happening.
“Greenpeace is trying to mobilise the focus on binge flying,
trying to get the message across that there’s no need to fly internally
in this country just because it’s cheap.”
He says public transport needs to be drastically improved to give
people a real alternative.
And they hope that this is the message that makes the news,
rather than a battle with the police.
But at the same time the state is delivering another message –
ordinary peaceful protesters are the real targets of anti-terror
Brown’s hundred days
AUGUST HAS COME round again
and the bourgeois media try to fill their columns with silly season
gossip now that Parliament is in recess. Devastating floods and a
foot-and-mouth outbreak have at least spared us too many great white
shark sightings and learned discussions about the weather have to now
take global warming into account. But speculation on an early election
is growing as Brown’s star rises and the Tories slump in the opinion
Though we can take some satisfaction at the fact that working people
have seen through Cameron’s spin, the fact that Labour has a 10 point
lead over the Tories simply because it is no longer led by Tony Blair
is a warning to all those campaigning to defeat the right-wing within
the labour movement.
Whether Gordon Brown calls a snap election in the autumn after the
conference season or, as seems more likely, waits till next spring is
irrelevant. The key issue is what will appear on the Labour manifesto
and whether there’ll be any departure from the class-collaborationist
policies of the last 10 years of “New Labour” government.
If the first weeks of the Brown government are anything to go by
the answer is very little. The Government clearly intends to continue
the privatisation of the health service and what’s left of the public
sector as a whole.
All the past Labour governments of the 20th century, and remember the
first was in 1924, have been led by right-wing social democrats and
they always sought to align themselves with the bourgeoisie. In the
post-war period Attlee, Wilson and Callaghan introduced reforms
beneficial to the working class that were also broadly acceptable to
the ruling class as a whole. Blair, however allied himself only with
the most venal and reactionary elements within the bourgeoisie who
believe that British imperialism can only be protected in servile
alliance with the United States and turned his back on those in favour
of European integration.
Brown wants to return to the traditional post-war bourgeois consensus
to restore the trans-Atlantic “bridge” between American and
Franco-German imperialism that was the pivot of British foreign policy
under all past Tory and Labour governments since 1945 until Blair came
No worker benefits from this one way or the other. Billions will still
be spent on replacing Trident with new weapons of mass destruction.
British troops will still play the sepoy for imperialism in Afghanistan
and Iraq. Pensioners will continue to struggle to survive on their
meagre pensions and millions of workers in Britain will fight to keep a
roof over their heads, while rich parasites head off for their season
in the sun.
The rich have their agenda and so have the working class. Most workers
know what sort of world they want. Unfortunately many of them believe
it’s unattainable and that they are powerless to bring about change.
That’s what the ruling class think and that’s what they want us to
We have to prove them wrong by stepping up the mass anti-war campaign
for an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all British troops
from Iraq and Afghanistan. We have to prove them wrong by building the
fight-back in the unions and the Labour Party that the union’s largely
We have to prove them wrong by building a militant communist movement
based on Marxism-Leninism that elevates the communist ideal and the
socialist cause that will, sooner or later, end the exploitative and
oppressive capitalist system once and for all.
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