15 June 2012

Supressing more than protest in Britain

Civic and political freedom in Britain is declining. More and more political activity is considered a nuisance or a threat and something to be controlled.

Many have argued that the state is attempting to suffocate dissent and protest, but what is worse, the suppression political activity.

Police, government and state action is indeed directed at suppressing protest (i.e. people who shout or hold placards to emphasise their point), but state surveillance is also more widely deployed against people who engage in political activity more generally.

For instance, people fall victims to police FIT photographing, not only because they demonstrate, but because they attend meetings. Police informers infiltrate not only street protests, but attend the most sedate of meetings to gather information. Teachers and youth workers are encouraged to report ‘anything of interest’ said by their students or charges to the police.

Little comes to light of the probably extensive police surveillance of the internet and telephone communication, because, unlike the monitoring of demonstrations and meetings, the victims have no means of finding out about it. For the most part, people-on-line are merely exchanging opinions; yet many of them will now have police records.

Almost certainly the vast majority of people on police records, not only have never committed a crime, but have never or have rarely engaged in street protest. What they have done, like me now, is sought to communicate politically and so have been branded as domestic extremists worthy of police surveillance.

Sadly the only protection people have is that the large numbers of people now on record as domestic extremists make the active surveillance of everyone a logistic impossibility.