COPS campaign

COPS campaign   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Amnon Cohen, North London Socialist Party

63 people attended a public meeting on the Spycops undercover policing scandal, organised by Hornsey and Wood Green Labour Party in protest at the abstention of right-wing Labour MPs on the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) bill.

Workers spoke about being blacklisted for many years due to political and trade union activity, and two women spoke about being deceived into intimate relationships by undercover police officers. The CHIS bill will mean that, when undercover police officers engage in illegal activity like this in the future, they will be immune from prosecution. This is why it is utterly disgraceful that Labour MPs were instructed to abstain on the vote in parliament and only 34 voted against.

The chair refused to take questions on the role of the local MP who abstained on the bill, and the need to introduce mandatory reselection. But John Dunn, from Orgreave Truth and Justice campaign explained the need for the Labour Party to grow a spine and oppose the government on this issue. Socialist Party member and core participant in the Spycops enquiry Lois Austin managed to force her way into the meeting, despite the reluctance of the chair. She gave the meeting some much needed political context, explaining the role of the state in attacking the left and how the labour movement needed to organise to counter these measures.

No contributions from the floor were allowed at the meeting. People were allowed to submit written questions as messages to the chair. The undemocratic way that the meeting was organised contrasted with Socialism 2020, where participants were encouraged to make rounded-out contributions from the floor. The meeting demonstrated that the Labour Party is not now a democratic forum in which to discuss how to defend workers’ rights or defend us from police repression. This will require a new party of the working class.