Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/31608

Posted on 6 November 2020 at 15:06 GMT

Socialists, including Labour MP, spied on by police and security services

Nearly six years after it was set up the Undercover Policing Inquiry has finally begun, albeit in an extremely limited and inadequate way. The Inquiry has not released the names of the big majority of the organisations spied on, nor has it given us the real - or even the cover - names of the majority of spies. The 'non-state core participants' - those who were spied on - have in almost all cases still received none of the police files relevant to them.

Even so, some things are clear. In his opening statement to the Inquiry, James Scobie QC, representing five core participants including Socialist Party members Dave Nellist, Lois Austin and Hannah Sell, lambasted the "political policing" of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) which saw as many as "over a thousand" organisations infiltrated of which "only the tiniest fraction, perhaps only three were from the right wing".

Those spied on included Dave Nellist, a Labour MP for Coventry South East and supporter of the Militant Tendency (now the Socialist Party). Scobie explained that, "whilst he was a serving MP, M15 contacted the West Midlands Police Force and having being tasked to infiltrate Militant they targeted Dave Nellist."

Scobie also pointed out that, "This is not the only example of M15 operating covert surveillance of organisations within which Militant supporters had won elected positions. When cabinet papers from 1984 were released under the thirty year rule they revealed that Cabinet Secretary Lord Armstrong, at the behest of M15, presented a paper expressing concerns about the election of Militant supporters in the civil servants' trade union CPSA."

"The result was the establishment of the Orwellian-sounding 'Interdepartmental Group on Subversives in Public Life', with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher recorded as stating that the civil service should be 'very ready to sack subversive trouble makers...' This was government-sanctioned victimisation of democratically-elected trade unionists."

At the previous day of the Inquiry Oliver Sanders QC, representing the majority of Undercover Officers whose victims are the subject of the Inquiry, made clear that the SDS were acting under the direction of MI5 and reported to them.

Scobie concluded by calling for, "an end to all political policing. For a police force which is democratically accountable to the communities that they should be serving."

These are not just historical issues. At the same time as the Inquiry meets, the government is proposing a bill which protects the next generation of undercover policing infiltrating the workers' and socialist movement. The 'Spycops' Bill would give state agents immunity from prosecution if they commit crimes while undercover. They will be allowed to do so, for example, against trade unionists in order to maintain 'economic well-being'. What does that mean but protecting the 'economic well-being' of employers who feel their profits are threatened by workers' strike action?

The Mitting Inquiry provides an opportunity to campaign for answers about the extent of the spying, the consequences, and who was responsible for it. Most importantly, it gives an opportunity to publicise the role of state agencies during the last 50 years in acting to defend the existing capitalist order and the measures they were prepared to take in order to do so.

ENDS


Info for press

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 






Related links:

Police:

trianglePolice attempt to intimidate Newcastle protesters

triangleVote 'yes' in the PCS DWP ballot

triangleIrish police aid strike-breaking at Debenhams store in Dublin

triangleProtests continue against proposed anti-protest laws

triangleNews in brief

Socialist:

triangleNew law ignores economic barriers to escaping domestic abuse

triangleDefend the right to protest - to resist bosses' attacks

triangleWhy you should join the Socialist Party

trianglePlaque dedicated to Tony Mulhearn

Socialist Party:

triangleFour Socialist Party members elected to NEU executive

triangleSparks block Cardiff building site against deskilling

triangleTo get Socialist ideas out there, we need to have the funds

Dave Nellist:

trianglePreparing to build a working-class force for May's local elections

triangleNorth London TUSC: Planning for the May 2021 elections

Militant:

triangleHow militant trade unionism defeated the 1971 Industrial Relations Act

Policing:

triangleReport condones vigil police violence - democratic community control a necessity

State:

trianglePoverty increasing. Welfare state in crisis. Do we need a new Beveridge Report?

Press:

triangleContact tracer speaks out: privatised system 'in chaos'

Hannah Sell:

triangleThe struggle for a new mass workers' party

MI5:

triangleSpooks step up surveillance of left

CPSA:

triangleTrade union conference to force secret police disclosure

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

5/5/21

Women

New law ignores economic barriers to escaping domestic abuse

5/5/21

Housing

Cladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again

5/5/21

Cuts

Fight the rotten establishment

5/5/21

Sleaze

Capitalist sleaze and cronyism

5/5/21

Local government

Can the 'Preston model' beat the cuts?

5/5/21

NHS

Hands off our NHS

5/5/21

Mental health

Covid, capitalism and mental health

29/4/21

SWP

Socialists and elections - a response to the SWP

28/4/21

Elections

What councils can do to protect the environment

28/4/21

Welfare state

Poverty increasing. Welfare state in crisis. Do we need a new Beveridge Report?

28/4/21

Post Office

39 'postmasters' cleared - now clear the rest

28/4/21

TUSC

Vote TUSC to oppose sleazy capitalism

28/4/21

NHS

Private sector is stealing the NHS

28/4/21

Football

No trust in billionaire football owners - kick them out and reclaim the game

28/4/21

Tenants

Generation eviction

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999