As the Israeli ruling class escalate their genocidal war on Gaza, the British state has stepped up its war on pro-Palestine activists.
Sir Mark Rowley, chief of the Metropolitan Police, has indicated that “new tactics” will be used to arrest “hate protesters”. This chimes with Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s scandalous comments about Palestine demonstrations being “hate marches”.
The Met is clearly under political pressure from the Tories regarding their policing of these demos. Officers have been instructed to clamp down on “troublemakers”, with Rowley vowing to do “everything we possibly can to take dangerous people off the streets”.
Last Wednesday, myself and two other IMT comrades experienced these “new tactics” first hand. Our faces were put up on the Met’s social media accounts, alongside those of eight other activists, with the following text: “This person is wanted for racially aggravated alarm, harassment and distress.”
The graphic reads “DO YOU KNOW THIS PERSON?”, alongside an appeal for people to contact ‘Operation Brock’ with any details. The posts were shared thousands of times, with threatening messages issued against us in the comments and replies.
This was a clear attempt to cow and criminalise not only us, but the entire Palestine solidarity movement, in advance of further huge protests. But these repressive tactics will not work.
Confident that we had not broken the law whilst peacefully protesting, we went down to a local police station the following morning, in order to complain about this blatant intimidation.
The deeply-disgraced Met is clearly whipping up a politically-motivated manhunt on behalf of the British establishment. Yet their officers were perplexed by the contradictory information they were receiving from on high.
We spoke to several officers that were entirely clueless as to whether or not we were to be arrested or charged. One was in genuine shock, naively claiming that: “We don’t do things like that here.”
As the hours passed by, it became obvious that this was a PR stunt organised by Met HQ, designed to simultaneously appease Tory headbangers and silence Palestine activists.
The Met had pinned their tweet thread of grainy ‘wanted’ shots on X (Twitter). But on the ground, their officers were totally unaware as to how to proceed with the three of us.
A combination of incompetence and idiocy had led to us being politically targeted. But it was all bark and no bite.
🚨 BREAKING – The Met Police, under pressure from the Tories, are trying to attack comrades of the International Marxist Tendency with spurious allegations, because we have been boldly calling for revolutionary solutions at Palestine demonstrations.
Article will follow soon. pic.twitter.com/q1OWazpq5F
— Socialist Appeal (IMT) (@socialist_app) November 3, 2023
We waited six hours for the investigation to be kicked upstairs to two detective sergeants who were vaguely aware of this charade. It was then revealed that we stood charged of racially aggravated harassment, under section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act – an offence that is punishable by a fine.
And what was the evidence? A picture of us demonstrating, posted on a website purporting to be fighting antisemitism that we had never heard of. Importantly, there were no videos of us saying any of the slogans that the police actually questioned us about.
On this basis, there were no legal grounds for our arrest, or for making any formal changes against us.
In a statement that we prepared with our lawyer, we rejected the Met’s ridiculous accusations outright. And we called out these shenanigans as a flagrant political attack, launched on the most spurious basis.
The two detective sergeants feigned an apology for this entire farce. And the Met has since taken down our images.
But none of this alters the fact that our faces were plastered all over the internet by the Met – with the help of right-wing rags like the Daily Mail, and with no genuine cause for suspicion.
This could have posed a serious threat to our lives and livelihoods. And the original thread remains, putting other activists at risk.
Intifada until victory!
The government’s recent spate of egregious attacks on basic democratic freedoms reeks of desperation. Their directives to the police – the armed protectors of British capitalism – come from a place of weakness, not of strength.
The latest conflict in the Middle East has come at a terrible time for the ruling class in Britain. The Tories are mired in their own political crises. Trust in the police, the media, and every other pillar of the establishment is being undermined and eroded by scandal after scandal. And the class struggle is intensifying, with workers and youth increasingly being drawn into battle.
Anger over the war on Gaza, and British imperialism’s role in these atrocities, is feeding into all of this turmoil. The Palestine solidarity movement shows no sign of waning. Demonstrations are growing from week to week. And the Tories and their mouthpieces are proving to be impotent in the face of such mass action.
The lies of the bourgeois press are failing to cut through. Ordinary people are not fooled by the capitalist media’s torrent of propaganda and spin. The repressive clampdown on protestors, meanwhile, is only provoking greater outrage against the entire establishment, revealing clearly whose side they are on.
We, the communists of the IMT, stand unconditionally on the side of the Palestinian masses, who are being butchered by Netanyahu’s murderous, rotten, corrupt, terrorist government.
Unlike the warmongers in London, Washington, or Tel Aviv, we strive to see meaningful peace between peoples. But as Lenin explained:
“…the struggle for such a peace cannot be waged by repeating general, vapid, benign, sentimental, meaning less and non-committal pacifist phrases, which merely serve to embellish the foulness of imperialism.”
The communists of the IMT have been threatened, intimidated, and subject to slanderous attacks in the capitalist press. But we will not be silenced.
We proudly stand for a revolutionary solution to the conflict. That is why we will continue to raise the slogan: Intifada until victory! For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
— Jorge Martin ☭ (@marxistJorge) October 28, 2023