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From: The Socialist issue 856, 20 May 2015: Cut rents not benefits

Search site for keywords: Democracy - Tories - Strike - Terrorism - Capitalist - Arms - Freedom of Information Act

Fight Tories' new 'anti-extremism' law

Mark Best

The Tories plan to announce a raft of new 'anti-extremism' powers for the state in the Queen's Speech on 27 May alongside their proposed scrapping of the Human Rights Act.

Looking to pass measures floated before the general election, but opposed by the Lib Dems and even some Tories, home secretary Theresa May has set her sights on "extremists" who "do not break existing laws."

Restrictions on free speech, both in public and online, could be used against groups and individuals who "create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism".

For a party which has presided over five years of vicious cuts and is promising more to come, to claim they are fighting those causing "harassment, alarm or distress" is rank hypocrisy!

These plans come hand in hand with the so called 'Snoopers Charter' requiring internet and phone companies to keep detailed logs of usage for a year. At the same time changes are planned for the Freedom of Information act, to make it easier for officials to withhold information from the public.

They want to increase the scrutiny of the general public by those in power and hide what those at the top are up to!

These measures brought in under the guise of fighting terrorism are able to target any organisation or individual deemed to be engaging in "harmful activities" for the "purpose of overthrowing democracy".

Past anti-terror legislation, brought in under Labour as well as the Tories, has been used against protestors demonstrating against arms fairs and on environmental issues. The police have spied on anti-racist campaigners and socialists.

The Tories have made clear that they are gearing up for an assault on trade union rights, Margaret Thatcher famously called the striking miners "the enemy within" and a threat to liberty.

It's not hard to imagine that the capitalist class would argue that significant strike action would constitute a threat to public order, because it threatens what drives the capitalist class, their profits.

Similarly their definition of "extremist" could easily be extended to socialists and anyone who opposes the status quo.

The way to defeat these unjust laws or render them meaningless is to fight back and resist them. The non-payment campaign which defeated the Poll Tax in the early 1990s proves this.

Individual whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden have a role to play in bringing to light the abuses of those in power, but it is only through our collective strength that they can be stopped.

Attacks on the rights to strike and demonstrate must be met with organised opposition, including demonstrations and if necessary strike action.

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