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Posted on 15 March 2010 at 12:00 GMT

Letter to The Observer

Dear Sir

As an activist with Youth Against Racism in Europe and Militant Labour in London in the mid-90s, and now with Militant's successor, the Socialist Party, I remember "Officer A" (your cover story, 14 March) well.

The combination of thinning hair on top and a pony tail at the back would be hard to forget.

What I don't recognise is the picture of our campaigns as secretive and violent. Having myself been bashed about by the police at the big Welling demo against the BNP, and in light of your revelations, I'd say that secrecy and violence was the prerogative of the police.

Officer A called himself Peter and joined Militant from a group at Kingsway College called the Revolutionary Internationalist League.

They were not then "up and coming", never having more than six members.

Public knowledge

We didn't organise in secret, so "Peter" wouldn't have found out anything that wasn't going to be public knowledge.

Police resources might have been more economically expended by buying a copy of Militant every week and turning up at our public meetings.

Was the observational role described by Officer A his full mission? We were at pains to point out that defeating racist and fascist groups is a political task.

It needs patient activity in working class communities, not argy-bargy on the streets. I recall that "Peter" wasn't as convinced of our position as he could have been and tended to favour street fighting.

Provocateur

Perhaps he was sent in partly to act as provocateur?

You say that "Peter" found himself conflicted and in sympathy with campaigns against police brutality.

I remember him as a diffident individual who appeared unhappy in his own skin. Now I know why and the reason for his disappearance in Mid-1997, telling us that he was moving to Greece and donating the meagre contents of his rather grotty flat on the Holloway Road to be sold to raise funds.

Certainly, "Peter" seems to have come out of this the worst, being misused by his police bosses, as his subsequent ill health would show.

Successful campaign

One has to have some sympathy for him.

Our campaigns weren't disrupted by "Peter" and didn't end because of police infiltration. They had a successful conclusion, with the BNP unable to openly organise in London for about a decade.

It was only thirteen years of New Labour that managed to boost the BNP again. That's the real scandal, and one that requires the building of a political alternative to racism that will fight for working people, thus undercutting the BNP and its ilk.

With regards
Greg Randall

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Related links:

Youth Against Racism in Europe:

triangleNew Socialist Party pamphlet: Fight racism, fight for socialism

triangleNewcastle: Socialist Party defies ban to counter the far-right

triangleNewcastle: countering the fascist menace

triangleCops bid to hide spy trial

Police:

triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

triangleIrish capitalist state: rotten to the core

triangleOrgreave campaigners' Halloween 'Death of Justice' march

triangleThe "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody

Militant:

triangleThe Socialist Party is being evicted - we need you!

triangleNHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: From Militant to the Socialist Party

BNP:

triangleWhy I joined: "I hope that more and more people are going to join the Socialist Party and the fight to end inequality"

Labour:

triangleSave Salford nurseries!

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