The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 4th March 2005
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by Daphne Liddle
THE GOVERNMENT’S draconian
Prevention of Terror Bill passed through the Commons on Tuesday with a
majority of only 14, after 60 Labour rebels voted with the Tories and
Liberal Democrats against the order.
They included former cabinet ministers Robin Cook, Frank Dobson, Clare
Short and Chris Smith. The vote was on a series of cross-party
amendments designed to ensure that all decisions on the proposed
“control orders” would be taken by judges and not politicians. The
amendments were defeated by 267 votes to 253.
The Bill will now go to the House of Lords. Home Secretary
Charles Clarke has promised them that he will make some concessions and
amend the Bill so that only the High Court can decide whether to impose
the most severe control orders. Leaving these decisions to politicians
would put far too much power in the hands of the government of the day.
But the Lords have little confidence in his promises. Shadow Home
Secretary David Davis is trying to table an amendment to force the
Government to reconsider the Act after eight months but Clarke is
saying he has made enough concessions already.
And Clarke needs the Act in place by next week, which is when he
will be compelled to free the remaining Belmarsh detainees in line with
a Law Lords ruling last year that it is illegal to hold them
indefinitely without charge or trial.
Clarke wants the new laws in place so that he can impose control
orders on these men as they are released, claiming that they are very
dangerous terrorists. If that were so, there should by now be some
evidence that could be brought before a court.
But Clarke and Blair are playing up the alleged dangers of a
serious terrorist attack for all they are worth.
Civil rights lawyers make the point that from the detainees’
point of view, it makes little difference whether they are locked up by
a judge or a politician if they don’t know why they are being locked
up, or what evidence there is against them, and have no opportunity to
In either case the “evidence” against them comes from faceless
intelligence agents – secret police spies. And the intelligence
services have made many mistakes.
Many politicians, lawyers and others from all political persuasions are
waking up to the fact that this is possibly the most radical assault on
bourgeois democracy in this country for centuries.
But there is much more to come. The identity card scheme will
involve a huge database containing detailed personal information on all
of us and allow Government agencies to monitor our every move.
The pressure to go over to all postal voting is an assault on the
And now the Government is to scrap the board of governors of the
Communists have always recognised that bourgeois democracy is a
sham and that when things get difficult the ruling class will happily
But it is the system they prefer to use. Usually they only resort
to dictatorships when they are losing control. Dictatorships are much
more expensive to run and they antagonise the middle classes and the
So why the assault on bourgeois democracy now? This is one part
of a divided ruling class attacking the rest. There is a war going on
behind the scenes.
There are massive divisions between those who want to see us as
part of a European super state and those who want to see us as the 51st
state of America.
The pro-Americans are led by Blair. That is why he feels he
cannot resign, because without him Bush would be isolated. The
Blairites are following the most right-wing and reactionary elements in
the US government who are gambling on a quick push for world hegemony.
When the Soviet Union fell they saw their chance but felt under
pressure to act fast before China, Japan and Europe became economic
powers too big for them to subdue.
The harder they push the more they alarm and alert the rest of
the world – including their capitalist rivals, the remaining socialist
countries, and more moderate capitalists in the US itself.
These draconian measures, though harsh, are a sign that the
ruling class is falling apart from within. There is every reason for
working class optimism and for us to get organised to make the most of
Blair’s creeping fascism
THE GOVERNMENT’S new
Prevention of Terrorism Bill got the kicking it deserved in the Commons
on Monday. At one point it almost went under when 60 Labour rebels
backed an opposition amendment that came within 14 votes of victory.
Ten former Labour ministers took the principled stand against the
latest attack on our civil liberties including four former members of
Opposition to this reactionary piece of legislation goes far beyond the
civil liberties lobby. It will be fiercely contested in Parliament but
only mass pressure from the labour movement can ensure that it never
sees the light of day.
The draconian laws being rushed through Parliament will sanction house
arrest and various other “control orders” – all without charge or
trial. If the Government gets its way it will soon be followed by the
introduction of the most intrusive compulsory identity card in the
world, giving the police and the security forces immense power over
every citizen in the land. This power will certainly be abused if the
past is anything to go by.
The original prevention of terrorism acts were used to hound the Irish
community in Britain and falsely convict Irish people on terror charges
during the last IRA campaign. Some 700 arrests were made under the new
repressive laws that followed the 11 September attacks on the United
States. Few of them were ever charged and even fewer eventually
The Government claims the target is “international terror” and the
“several hundred people” Blair says are plotting terrorist attacks in
Britain. That this is clearly not taken seriously by large sections of
the ruling class can be seen by the vocal opposition of the Tories and
Liberal Democrats to the new proposals.
But it is equally evident that one section of the bourgeoisie is
clamouring for it. They are the people Blair & Co believe to be the
dominant section of the ruling class. They are the war camp that
dragged us into the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are
the people who are sabotaging the Good Friday Agreement that brought
peace to the north of Ireland.
They are the people who would readily plunge us into more conflicts if
it suited the needs of American imperialism. They are the most venal
and aggressive sections of the bourgeoisie – the people who think that
British imperialism can only survive under the wing of the American
They don’t fear the random terrorism of Islamic fundamentalists that
the security forces, existing law and the state’s emergency powers are
more than adequate to deal with. What they fear is mass opposition to
their rule in the future and they want the power to crush it in the bud.
Fascist regimes always claimed to be restoring “law and order”. These
days Blair and his minions claim to be acting on behalf of the “public
interest” though the people are never consulted about what is
supposedly done in their name.
Back in 1918 Lenin said that: “Bourgeois democracy, which is invaluable
for educating the proletariat and training it for struggle, is always
narrow, hypocritical, spurious and false; it always remains democracy
for the rich and a swindle for the poor”.
Nothing has changed.
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