The recent students' protest in London and the expected comments from most of the media and the millionaire controllers of society, for the full weight of the law to be brought down on those nasty protesters who didn't play be their rules, should remind us that the desire for repression is alive and well in this “mother of democracy”.
Most people have an opinion of what repression is and it is normally seen as something to do with an outrageous violation of rights and it usually happens somewhere foreign and under a dreadful dictator but not here in our “mother of democracy” This illusion is based on the failure to grasp that repression is part and parcel of any class society. In our society, as in any class society, there are those who rule and those who are ruled. It is the state’s function to maintain this structure protecting the privileges of those who rule against the desires of those who are ruled, to do this a combination of coercion and accommodation will be applied. In its drive to maintain the status quo the state will have to continually repress any social movements that attempt to break the rule-ruled, empowered-dis-empowered nature of our society, repression is a necessary and permanent part of the state apparatus.
The military and the police are two of the main bulwarks of the state and recent years have seen a change in the way that the state deals with dissent. Crime is no longer seen as something done by individuals, it is now a “war-on-crime” this in turn has brought a militarization of the police, armed police on the streets is now seen as commonplace and it is not just small arms, the police can call on ever more powerful fire power. The introduction of the community police has been an attempt to turn the ordinary people into the eyes and ears of the state allowing the state to be more pre-emptive in its approach to dissent.
The state also infiltrates all organisations of protest and dissent, monitoring and provoking where it feels it would be beneficial to the survival of the state. Infiltration and provocation are not new, we can go back to what is known as the 1820 insurrection, when government agents provoked an uprising in order to deal more severely with its dissenters. The same principles are applied today. The state’s ever changing forms of repression also attempts to link protest to its “war-on-terror” creating a fear among the people and allowing it greater scope to deal with any form of protest or dissent. This is repression of the desires of the ordinary people for change
In today’s class society repression comes in many varied and subtle ways and to change society for the benefit of all we must confront that repression where ever it is present. We must see protest as our way of taking control of our lives and changing society for the good of all future generations.