There’s a second National Day of Action (England & Wales) to #KillTheBill this weekend, against the Tories insidious new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – that threatens to reduce & control what’s left of our hard won rights to assemble, protest, march & much more (see this explainer from NetPol). There’s an expected 40+ protests over the weekend – you can see the full listing via this twitter thread by Collective Action, and there’s a handy map of locations & links here. Nearby to Bristol, you’ll find other protests at Bath, Newport, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Swindon & Taunton. Slightly further away there’s Barnstaple, Dorchester, Exeter, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Penzance, and Carbis Bay (location of this coming June’s G7 summit, this is situated between Hayle & St Ives). If there’s not one in your town, then DIY – have fun, stay safe, rage against the machine!
In reality we think this weekend’s protests will be a tad smaller & quieter than those on 3rd April, certainly in Bristol the momentum for Saturday appears to be less & the volume of callouts is lower. Why? Because many groups and individuals are already focusing around the country on mass protests on 1st May – May Day – a day to celebrate past struggles and the ones to come. A chance to link up the protests against the ever growing Tory clampdown on all and any forms of dissent…with the historic movements of workers for decent pay, conditions, the right to organise & unionise, that themselves have been under constant attack for the last 40 years. It could be massive, it needs to be massive. Because extra-parliamentary action is the only option left.
Why? Latest polls indicate the Tories have a 14 point lead over the increasingly irrelevant & poorly led Labour party (whose abandonment of it’s working class roots escalates daily). They also have a Parliamentary majority of some 80 seats, despite receiving less than 44% of votes cast, and under 30% of support from the total electorate of 47.5 million. Effectively a dictatorship then, with their MP’s majority they can ride roughshod over all and any opposition in Parliament. They can win despite minor rebellions in their own party; they can ignore and out-vote any amendments passed by the House of Lords. They can through the Parliamentary process do pretty much what they like, backed upby a willing mainstream media owned by just a few very rich individuals. It is therefore just a matter of time, probably in the autumn, before the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill becomes Law.
The task then is to build opposition to this Bill now, through regular protests, meetings & messaging – both locally organised ones and nationally called Days of Action – so that when the Bill becomes Law there is a vibrant mass movement in place that can make it unworkable in practice. They make the Laws, We break their Laws – it is the only way ordinary people have ever gained anything in this country: the right to organise, to assemble, to march & protest, to vote, to get decent pay & conditions at work, to free healthcare, decent housing, education for all, to a fair trial and legal representation, to win equal rights for women & people of colour & the disabled and the LGBTQI+ communities…the list goes on and on….and increasingly we are losing many of those rights we fought so hard to win.
So everyone to the streets? Well yes of course, but it’s not as simple as just marching en masse, and not all can or should march. We need a full spectrum of resistance – from letter writing, petitions, lobbying, networking…to marches, blockades, occupations, protest camps, strikes, sabotage & riots. In effect we need to become ungovernable – yet self-organised, self-governing, self-sufficient, self-sustaining, self-caring. The mutal aid networks that emerged spontaneously at the start of the coronvirus pandemic & lockdowns give us a glimpse of the possibilities (and they terrified the authorities!) – networks based on affinity & self-care, on streets, neighbourhoods, local communities, towns & cities. Providing everything from food & healthcare, to education, knowledge & skill-sharing, representation & decision-making, strategies & tactics, fun & games, music & laughter, for free. In essence autonomous self-government. Making the Government irrelevant.
A tall order you may think, it’s only one Bill? Well yes, for sure, but it’s not just ‘One Bill’! This Bill is merely the latest representation of the shift taking place – that increasingly puts us at the complete mercy of uncaring policiticans and bosses whose only concern is their own power & profit, however thier spin merchants & media friends tell us otherwise. These people and their economic & control systems do not show mercy, they do not care. What we see now is the continuation and escalation of the local, national & international class war that has raged for centuries, and right now we are losing, badly. Unless we turn it around, solely through our own efforts, then all our futures look very grim indeed.
#KillTheBill – build the opposition & resistance. Start now!