Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/885/22058
Political policing: Met spy targeted socialists
Chris Newby, Socialist Party London
The political role of the police - sending undercover officers into democratic socialist organisations - is back in the news.
The Guardian and BBC have reported on 'Carlo Neri', of the 'Special Demonstration Squad', who infiltrated the Socialist Party.
Newsnight on 18 December concentrated on the emotionally abusive relationship 'Carlo' conducted with a woman known as Andrea from 2002. As with many other cases, this happened under false pretences. See socialistparty.org.uk 'Police finally own up to spies' relationships with target women'.
It is right that the women who were victims of this horrendous tactic are finally being heard. But at the same time, the mainstream media is playing down the anti-democratic role of the police. Police sent 'Carlo' into the Socialist Party at a time of heightened protest.
The Socialist Party's Dave Nellist was a target of police spying while a Labour MP. He said:
"We do not accept that infiltration, as the Metropolitan Police have implied, is a thing of the past. Surveillance of peaceful protesters has increased dramatically in the recent period. We demand to know what today's 'Carlo Neris' are doing."
'Carlo' was active in the Socialist Party in Hackney, east London from early 2001. At that time, the Hackney branch of local government union Unison was campaigning against cuts and attracting national publicity. Socialist Party members were playing leading roles in this.
He was also a steward on various anti-racist demonstrations. And in July 2001, he joined us on the anti-G8 protests in Genova, Italy.
Socialist Party member Lois Austin, a core participant in the Pitchford Inquiry into political policing, said:
"There was no purpose to infiltrating us. Far from being secretive we publicly advertised our events. The police could have read our leaflets and newspapers, or attended our public meetings, to find out what was going on."
The trade union and labour movement should organise a democratic, public inquiry into police infiltration. Police must be made democratically accountable to workers and the community.
Read our full press statement:'Police infiltration of the Socialist Party'
In The Socialist 20 January 2016:
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