Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Trade Union support builds for the GDC and against political policing

Dominic O'Hara of the Glasgow Defence Campaign spoke at Dundee Trades Union Council May Day march. To applause, he pointed out that the resistance which working people and trade unionists are beginning to show to the cuts will inevitably come up very quickly against the police and other state forces. Dominic encouraged that resistance, stating that the working class will not accept being made to pay for the crisis of the ruling class' system.


At Glasgow's May Day March, hundreds heard Len McCluskey, president of the Unite union, support the Glasgow Defence Campaign and its battle against political policing. He spoke of the determination of the Scottish revolutionary John MacLean to fight for free speech and quoted the famous words of MacLean at his trial in 1918 when he was sentenced to five years penal servitude for his opposition to the imperialist war. Speaking of the thuggish behaviour of the London Metropolitan police over the last year, McCluskey sent the same message to Strathclyde police: “Keep your sleazy hands off our kids!”

Dundee Trades Union Council, which supports the GDC, had put forward the motion which was passed unanimously at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trade Union Congress a few days ago. We include the text of this resolution below and urge all contacts to take this into their union organisations- and all other organisations, community campaigns and political groups.  We also include a model resolution for this. Please let the GDC know of progress in this. The GDC can provide a speaker for meetings and everyone is urged to take up this offer to assist in spreading the opposition to political policing and the cuts.

Dominic is himself a member of the Unite union since his battle with the fast food multinational KFC. He took a principled stance against unpaid and compulsory overtime and was illegally sacked for this action. Then, Strathclyde police were hesitant about interfering with the solidarity pickets organised by activists in the Govanhill area of Glasgow. Despite conspirational car park chats between the cops and the local KFC manager who urged them to act to clear the pickets- the local community was informed about KFC's bullying and encouraged to boycott this low pay- crap food outfit's profitable operations.

Now, as we know, Strathclyde police have stepped up their political policing campaign in the southside of Glasgow and elsewhere. GDC supporters are learning every day of the determination of the cops to stifle and stall resistance to repression and limit and control legal political expression. The GDC though is more determined and will continue to organise and gather support from all organisations and individuals.

This week GDC comrades are meeting to discuss the legal campaign against Strathclyde police's repressive actions. The GDC is not a criminal or illegal organisation. The resistance to the cuts is not a criminal campaign. The GDC is seeking the views of all supporters on calling for a legal and public inquiry into Strathclyde police and its campaign of political policing.

Last week’s STUC congress in Ayr unanimously passed the following motion from Dundee TUC, condemning the recent spate of political arrests of student activists in Glasgow, and the attacks on the right to protest more generally:

That this Congress expresses its concern at recent actions by some police forces in Scotland, which appear to be designed to intimidate anti-cuts activists, particularly young people and students, as opposed to fulfilling any legitimate law and order function. These include incidents such as those at Vodafone and the Hetherington in Glasgow.
1) notes the public concern expressed on these cases by, amongst others, John Pilger, Ken Loach and Peter Mullan
2) Recognises that some form of non-violent direct action is a legitimate tool of political campaigning
3) recalls its existing policy concerning local authority impositions on the routes and timings of legitimate protest marches
4) resolves, in the context of heightened and possibly long-term political opposition to government policy, to call on the General Council to raise these concerns with the Scottish Government and local authorities and to exhibit appropriate solidarity with those it considers targeted by these tactics.

Glasgow Defence Campaign

The Glasgow Defence Campaign has been established in order to defend people's rights to free speech and political organisation. The campaign arose out of the direct experience of  Strathclyde police attempting to prevent campaigning against the cuts in Glasgow. We seek support from all organisations, groups and individuals: trade unions, community, student, civil rights, legal, religious and political.

The Glasgow Defence Campaign welcomes the support expressed in the speech made by the General Secretary of the Unite Trade Union, Len McCluskey, at this years May Day March in Glasgow. The GDC also welcomes the motion unanimously passed at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trade Union Congress. The GDC expresses its thanks to Dundee Trade Union Council for raising the motion and welcomes the concern shown by these labour movement organisations at the recent behaviour of police across Scotland. As the motion states: this “...appears to be designed to intimidate anti- cuts activists...”. Glasgow Defence Campaign can assure its wide range of supporters, amongst which we include Dundee Trades Union Council, that intimidation may be the aim of the state authorities but they have only succeeded in making all more determined to unite to defend our rights to protest.

Can we ask all supporters of the GDC to consider raising the following model resolution through their Trade Union branches, community, student, civil rights, legal, religious and political organisations and to send on the details to us in order that we can add that support to our campaign. Thank you.

“The Glasgow Defence Campaign has been established to oppose political policing and defend democratic rights in the struggle against the cuts in Glasgow.

We condemn the recent police attacks on the right to protest experienced by anti- cuts activists across Scotland.

We condemn all the tactics employed by the police in their campaign against protest: street stops, repeated requests for personal details, door stepping visits to homes at unreasonable hours, attempted interviews with minors without parental permission or legal support, false charges and police perjury, police intimidation in court, repeated police approaches to legal protest activity.

We further condemn the restrictive bail conditions imposed on those charged which prevent knowledge of the undemocratic actions of the police from being brought fully before the public.

We support the Glasgow Defence Campaign and all other campaigns and individuals fighting to challenge unjust use of the law to intimidate protest.

We note the Glasgow Defence Campaign is seeking the views of all supporters on calling for a legal and public inquiry into Strathclyde police and its campaign of political policing.”

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