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Posts Tagged ‘Police

Socialist Worker on Rozzers’ Undercover Infiltration of the Left in anti-Vietnam War Protests.

with 5 comments

Protesting against the Vietnam War in London, March 1968 | Kmflett's Blog

“The incompetence of the British left is notorious, and officers must take care not to get into a position where they achieve prominence in an organisation through natural ability.””

Coppers’ Report.

where they achieve prominence in an organisation through natural ability.”


Hat -tip to David W and to the Cdes of the SW.


How the spy cops were set up to infiltrate the left

Simon Basketter looks at documents from the undercover cops inquiry that show how the spies mobilised against the anti-Vietnam War movement

Up to 25,000 people took part in a protest outside the US Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square on 17 March 1968.

Parliament and the press fumed with growing paranoia as the revolts of the year entered Britain.

The Guardian reported, “The demonstrators seemed determined to stay until they provoked a violent response.”

The Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Service demanded more information on the coming revolution.

One cop claimed, “We underestimated how many were coming. We were ill-equipped at the time and couldn’t bring enough men in to control it consequently when the violence erupted. We were amateurs then.”

Note this,

By the time the October 1968 Vietnam demo came round, Dixon predicted less trouble than had been seen in March.

The VSC was led by the orthodox Trotskyists of the International Marxist Group.

It also encompassed the International Socialists and some members of the Young Communist League.

They wanted the march to be peaceful and finish at a rally in Hyde Park. Maoists wanted a more direct confrontation in Grosvenor Square.

In the end the VSC march went off peacefully.

Excellent stuff though oddly they do not mention the quote that heads the present post.

More here:

These are extremely serious issues:



Much of the detail about the Vietnam protests and infiltration is already known

A brief history of political policing in Britain – Centre for Crime …

http://www.crimeandjustice.org.uk › sites › files › Spycops in… 2018.

Spycops in context: Beneath the undercover policing scandal

From 1968 to 2008, the Metropolitan Police ran a secret unit – the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) – dedicated to full-time, long-term undercover infiltration of a wide array of radical political organisations. From 1999-2011, the Association of Chief Police Officers joined in with its own nation-wide squad, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU).

In the report there is mention of infiltration in the VSC (Vietnam Solidarity Campaign, anarchists, ‘Maoists’ the RSSF (Revolutionary Students),and the IMG,


“This study paper is based on experience gained over the
last four months: it does not pretend to explore all the
problems posed when Police officers are utilised for the
close infiltration of extremist organisations, but attempts
to lay down basic principles for that type of operation.
Appendix ‘A’ gives the suggested layout of an organisation
to be set up for the purpose: Appendix ‘B’ describes in
outline how officers currently employed in this way are

Written by Andrew Coates

November 11, 2020 at 11:47 am

Tribune Attacks ‘Starmarism’, Morning Star speaks for “whole Left” against Sacking of Long-Bailey.

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Sir Keir Starmer: Who is Labour's new leader? - Cambridgeshire Live

“A safer pair of hands, a less disruptive force, than even the Tories.” – Tribune.

How Keir Starmer Sabotaged Rebecca Long-Bailey

The Editor of Tribune, Ronan Burtenshaw is beside himself, “From her earliest days as shadow education secretary, Keir Starmer set about undermining Rebecca Long-Bailey – because her socialist politics and loyalty to trade unions were incompatible with his leadership.”

The socialist politics Rebecca Long-Bailey represents has no place within Starmerism, as the other Left members of the shadow cabinet will realise in due course. His political project is to present Labour to the British establishment as a safer pair of hands, a less disruptive force, than even the Tories.

The chief of the re-vamped and US-owned journal, announced as a monthly in 2018, now reduced to a quarterly appearance,  also asserts,

To many onlookers, Rebecca Long-Bailey’s sacking might have seemed strange. After all, she was fired for sharing an interview by someone else in which they made a claim which was only marginally incorrect. (The Israeli police do, in fact, train the US police and encourage the use of “excessive force” against those who “pose little or no threat.”).

He concludes,

Starmer’s determination to be seen as sensible by the business and media elites is also incompatible, in any longer-term sense, with unity with the Left. It is not possible to present yourself as unthreatening to capital with principled socialists as part of your coalition. And so, they were always going to be sidelined – it was a matter of time.

It would be interesting to see what plans, and with what troops,  Burtenshawn has to threaten capital and to challenge the “powerful”, and all those business and media “elites”.

The would-be general of the revolt concedes,

Such an approach might win an election.

So what is he wittering on about?

That Starmer might succeed without toppling the statues and moments of capital?

Perhaps he could ask his close allies:

The Morning Star, totally independent of the Communist Party of Britain, which called to boycott Labour and voting for any party in last years’ European election,  said of the Long-Bailey’s dismissal,

Sacking Rebecca Long Bailey is an attack on the whole left

Attempting to dismiss references to the relationship between the Israeli and US security forces as “an anti-semitic conspiracy theory” is a cynical bid by the Board of Deputies to warn people off attacking the Israeli government at a time when its plans to annex the West Bank are arousing widespread condemnation.

Using it as an excuse to sack Long Bailey looks like a cynical bid by Starmer to drop a shadow minister whose refusal to attack teaching unions and parrot his irresponsible push for schools to fully reopen more quickly showed up the weakness of his opposition to a Conservative government whose mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic has cost tens of thousands of lives.

In other words Starmer acted against Long-Bailey because of his own failings, an inability to stand up to a Cabinet which is causing tens of thousands of deaths. Not only is the Labour leader unable to stand up to the mismanagement that is leading to people dying, his “cynical” move is against trade unionists in the teaching profession and in line with a further “cynical bid” bu the Board of Deputies to prevent people attacking Israeli plans for the West Bank.

Some might suggest that this looks a bit like a conspiracy!

Today the paper which likes to speak on behalf of the “whole left” says,

Editorial: Covid-19 is still a crisis – but Labour isn’t grappling with it

Where’s Labour? Hinting that it is now ready to drop the radical Green New Deal programme developed by the previous leadership.

Keir Starmer’s spokesperson says that new climate commitments will be written “in four or five years’ time,” that is in line with the parliamentary electoral cycle which he assumes is immune from external factors.

That shows no desire at all to try to work with, let alone lead, those fighting to transform this crisis into an opportunity for far-reaching change in the present.


The Morning Star believes that Brexit is an “opportunity” for a ‘people’s’ then a ‘socialist’ Brexit.

Now it seems to think that Covid-19 and the Green New Deal are further opportunities to begin “far-reaching changes”.

With such an abundance of fruitful chances, how many more opportunities can we deal with?

Fact Checking.

The furious Tribune boss and his friends in the Morning Star has yet to respond in full to this:

Did Israeli secret service teach Floyd police to kneel on neck?

Channel Four FactCheck.

It seems Ms Peake’s original claim is based on an article in the Morning Star from 1 June, which states: “At least 100 Minnesota police officers attended a 2012 conference hosted by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the second time such an event had been held.”

The article has been shared over 40,000 times on Facebook, according to analytics provided by the website Crowdtangle.

This description appears to be supported by a report from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) at the time of the event. By the MPR account, the conference took place in Minneapolis and was “put on by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the FBI and Minnetonka police”. (Minnetonka is the neighbouring city to Minneapolis).

Which techniques were taught?

The Morning Star piece alleges that those attending the 2012 conference “learned the violent techniques used by Israeli forces as they terrorise the occupied Palestinian territories under the guise of security operations.”

The article does not explicitly claim that Israeli forces taught American police to kneel on a person’s neck at the conference.

The only link to this tactic in the story is made by an activist, Neta Golan, who told the paper: “When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee as he cried for help and other cops watched, I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique of leaning in on our chest and necks when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006.”

Ms Golan is quoted as saying: “it is clear that they [Israel] share these methods when they train police forces abroad in ‘crowd control’ in the US and other countries including Sudan and Brazil.” The information in square brackets is from the Morning Star’s copy.

The article mentions a 2016 report by Amnesty which lists US police forces that have “all traveled to Israel for training” and “thousands of others” that “have received training from Israeli officials here in the U.S.”

After yesterday’s controversy involving Maxine Peake and Rebecca Long-Bailey, Amnesty International told the New Statesman: “the precise nature of the training offered to US police forces by Israeli officials is not something we’ve documented”.

They added: “Allegations that US police were taught tactics of ‘neck kneeling’ by Israeli secret services is not something we’ve ever reported”.

Beyond the speculation of one activist, there is no information in the Morning Star article that would support the claim that the specific practice of kneeling on a person’s neck was taught to US police by Israeli forces.

Or indeed Jim’s latest post which signalled a justified scepticism about anything that appears in the Morning Star, wholly independent of the CPB and owned by the co-op that it is,

Long Bailey, ‘antisemitic conspiracy theories’ and the dangers of believing what you read in the Morning Star

It is quite possible to feel sorry for RLB – and to doubt that she is personally an antisemite – whilst recognising that she’s been an idiot and that Starmer, operating in the real world, had no choice but to sack her (not least because the EHRC’s report into antisemitism in the party is on its way, and expected to be highly critical).

Others have noted the flaws in the article Long-Bailey retweeted,

Rebecca Long-Bailey’s sacking: such a fine line between stupid and clever

George Chesterton.

The first point – echoing the sentiments of so many charming hard-left voices of the past five years that anyone who didn’t like Jeremy could “fuck off and join the Tories” – is all very well for Peake, but for a shadow cabinet minister to put a tick by such a knuckleheaded suggestion, even after the crushing defeat, betrays a lack of nous that would make Chris Grayling blush. According to Peake, Labour voters who didn’t vote for Corbyn should “hang their heads in shame”. Perhaps the electorate should apologise. But again, couldn’t Long-Bailey see what this self-harm had achieved? People literally had fucked off and voted for the Tories.

He concludes,

 ..let’s get this straight: Long-Bailey is praising an article in which an actor bad-mouths her new boss.


Update, some reverberations:

Some Socialist Thoughts on the George Floyd Protests.

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Beyond this – largely – excellent statement how should the left react to the US protests?

The populist Jacobin carries this article.

We live in an Orwellian era, in which working-class people pilfering convenience store goods is called “looting.” Rich people stealing hundreds of billions of dollars, on the other hand, is just well-functioning “public policy.”


Headlines this morning are all about looting — specifically, looting in Minneapolis, after the police killing of an unarmed African-American man was caught on video. In the modern vernacular, that word “looting” is loaded — it comes with all sorts of race and class connotations. And we have to understand that terms like “looting” are an example of the way our media often imperceptibly trains us to think about economics, crime, and punishment in specific and skewed ways.

Working-class people pilfering convenience-store goods is deemed “looting.” By contrast, rich folk and corporations stealing billions of dollars during their class war is considered good and necessary “public policy” — aided and abetted by arsonist politicians in Washington lighting the crime scene on fire to try to cover everything up.

To really understand the deep programming at work here, consider how the word “looting” is almost never used to describe the plundering that has become the routine policy of our government at a grand scale that is far larger than a vandalized Target store.

It is far from clear that this offers much of a way forward.

What exactly is gained by saying, well they loot a lot more than the poor?

I doubt if those running, or using, the corner shops round here like the idea of people pillaging their shops.

Nobody, however, can doubt the depth of the crisis in the US which this piece in Jacobin trivialises.

These are just some thoughts on what is happening.


From the US Louis Proyect offers a wider perspective on the protests – to trying to locate them as agents of social change –  and the potential direction of the unrest across the country.

Are riots revolutionary?

“…..the left has to grapple with the problem of riots from now on since the capitalist class and its cops are now calculating that its goals can be met by sacrificing a few buildings. A Target store can always be reconstructed but once socialist ideas are implanted in person’s mind and he or she begins acting on them, there’s no turning back.”

The shape of the double riot is clear enough. One riot arises from youth discovering that the routes that once promised a minimally secure formal integration into the economy are now foreclosed. The other arises from racialized surplus populations and the violent state management thereof. The holders of empty promissory notes, and the holders of nothing at all.

While Clover acknowledges the difficulties of bringing these two elements together, that isn’t the major problem. The major problem is that while both participants in the “double riot” may disrupt society for a time in one or more places and play a role in broader movements for social change, neither group has much social power, or indeed staying power, over the long haul. Their very separation from production underlines their relative social weakness.

Furthermore, youth are divided by class with different aspirations and possibilities even today. Are frustrated graduate students with diminishing prospects for university tenure, or those seeking their MBA, in the same position as the less-educated youths trapped at McDonald’s or worse?

More importantly, even together youths and those in the active reserve army are a minority of the broader proletariat, even of the racialized proletariat, and even insofar as young people as a generalization are part of the proletariat at all or share its experience.

Is Clover looking at revolution won or a commune realized by and for a minority? Is this a First World urban version of Regis Debray’s 1960s guerrilla “foco,” albeit writ large and minus the central discipline? What about the democratic majoritarian political vision of socialism from below, the political form of which was suggested to Marx by the place-specific Paris Commune?

These are considerations relevant to the protests in the US. though the idea that class struggle now takes place in the street, against the forces of law and order, and can take direct action beyond – outside – work (that is, avoiding trade unions), was one of the strands of thought  in Britain’s 1980s Class War Federation.

Nobody, except a gibbering Trump and his friends can see any active intervention on the left in promoting the violence around these protests.

Or can detect this,

Attorney General William Barr said that peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd are being “hijacked” by “anarchic and left extremist groups” that are using antifa-like tactics to promote violence.

This is just one example of a hallucinatory picture of the protests:

But as Proyect notes, some on the left, in the US and elsewhere,  do have a strategy that of the Black Blocs and ‘autonomists’- small and marginalised that they may be.

Cheerleaders rather than actors who are they?

The terms cover a big range of groups and splinters of groups. One has come to some prominence in recent years. Disruption of capitalism through riots and sabotage as a political strategy has a lot in common with the ideas set out by  the French comité invisible (Invisible Committee).

Information and energy circulate via wire networks, fibres and channels, and these can be attacked. Nowadays sabotaging the social machine with any real effect involves reappropriating and reinventing the ways of interrupting its networks. How can a TGV line or an electrical network be rendered useless? How does one find the weak points in computer networks, or scramble radio waves and fill screens with white noise?

— The Invisible Committee, The Coming Insurrection,

The French site Lundi Matin is the present vehicle of this tendency (which has undergone considerable intellectual development since the above was published, some harking back to situationism, some to Italian 1970s autonomism, and many ‘post situationist’ ideas, about ecology and aesthetics. The journal has attracted writing from Jean-Luc NancyFrédéric LordonGiorgio Agamben, and Agustín García Calvo as well as the ‘controversial'(for his past support for the right to question the Holocaust) Serge Quadruppani.

The review’s revolutionary rhetorical style evokes Guy Debord, and, the virulence of French essayists like the 19th century polemicist  Léon Bloy

Those associated with Lundi Matin are said to have accompanied the Gilets Jaunes demonstrations, and, ignoring the often right-wing character, not to say conspirationalist even anti-Semitic, of a minority (often loud) of marchers, have tried to promote “insurrectionist” acts during them. The name ‘black bloc’, in this way, has become associated in the French media with some fairly serious acts of violent vandalism and attacks on shops by ‘casseurs’ (Literally, smashers).

As the leftist magazine Les Inkoruptibles indicated in 2016

Nous sommes les passants des rues, les mal-allants. Nous faisons pression en cortège, incontrôlés, déterminés. Nous sommes la Marge de la manifestation.

Lundi matin, le foyer insurrectionnel du web

This year they published (January):  LES GILETS JAUNES ET LA CRISE DE LÉGITIMITÉ DE L’ÉTAT.

The article notably celebrated the “refusal of forms of legal protest”, “systematic confrontation with the police.”a ” surge of insubordination”. The piece states, “The Gilets Jaunes” have courageously and determinedly carried out their acts of insubordination, including those considered to be the most violent by the authorities  

There is a lot more in the same vein: gilets jaunes.

In France there have been at most a few hundred, maybe a thousand or so on occasion, inspired by these ideas out on the streets. They may be visible but they are not able to do more than smash windows and fight a bit with the police.


It is more than doubtful that even these numbers exist in the US.

Just as important is to demolish the ideological claims of this current.

Looking at the way the second round of France’s local elections is going ahead this month, and the various quarrels and re-alignments taking place in French politics, it is hard to find any undermining of the state’s legitimacy at all.  Te only political beneficiaries of the Gilets Jaunes are right-wing forces, like Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National, who manage simultaneously to deplore acts of violence, and to voice demands for lower taxation and looking after “our people”, the Gilets Jaunes.

It is predictable that Lundi Matin will have none of Proyect’s considerations and reservations about the effectiveness and future political impact of  those protesting against police repression.

They will celebrate, as will others in other marginal sections of the left, confrontation for confrontation’s sake.

But there are no longer any “primitive rebels” as described by Eric Hobsbawm. You have to have a lot of imagination to see fighting riot police, and the over-spill into ransacking shops as “social banditry” as a precursor of a serious revolutionary uprising (Bandits. E.J. Hobsbawm. 1971.)

What is the sense of saluting looting or violence – violence against violence?

You feel the anger, but what else can be brought to this by the kind of Lundi Matin approach, or Jacobin whataboutery ? Does it prefigure a Paris Commune?

We can cheer-on as much as we like. Protests against police brutality and racism, against the US social system, are clearly heartfelt. But there is very little ‘socialist’ in clearing out shops and burning out buildings. They do not prefigure  a self-organised society. These acts, carried out by the young and fit do nothing that can draw in those unable, or unwilling to get the adrenaline buzz they create, or to gather  into a common endeavour for a better future won by a majority.

From this distance we should support progressive Americans and those fighting for African American rights – who no doubt also do not need lessons (as the Campaign group gratuitously  offers) in “anti-imperialism”. It is noteworthy that the same anti-imperialists who state that black lives matter, seem to think that (to give an obvious example) Syrian lives do not matter.

It is unlikely that the wider public, and popular masses, welcome smashing up local stores or breaking social distancing rules in potentially lethal close gatherings. Fighting the police is not the same as protesting against police actions.

Some may suggest that US national populism will whip up a wave of fear to bolster their own support.



Written by Andrew Coates

May 30, 2020 at 9:36 pm