British terrorist state persecutes communists on ‘anti-terror’ pretext

It is the effectiveness of our message that has made our party the particular target of the zionist lobby and British state machinery.

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The campaign of persecution of prominent and effective anti-zionist campaigners in Britain appears to be stepping up a gear – a sure sign of the government’s panic over their loss of control over the narrative regarding events in Gaza, and its consequent exposure as a backer and facilitator of genocide.

Back on 25 November, four comrades of the CPGB-ML had been arrested at the national Palestine solidarity demo for manning a stall containing a book about the history of zionism (published nine years ago and well known to the police). They were told that the book (or possibly just its cover) might constitute an ‘incitement to racial hatred’, for which reason they were held in isolation for 24 hours before being released on bail pending further investigation.

While imprisoned, their families were subjected to 3.00am raids, during which police seized phones, laptops and party literature. When they were set free the following day, it was on the condition that they should not sell or distribute leaflets or pamphlets, deviate from the main routes of any march or “carry swastikas” (!) The cases are pending until February.

Then, on Saturday 13 January, while proceedings were being brought against Israel in the International Court of Justice on charges of genocide, and while British bombers attacked Yemen to try to subdue its active support for people of Gaza under attack, another huge London demonstration in solidarity with Palestine was again targeted – this time not in a hunt for ‘antisemites’ but for ‘terrorist sympathisers’.

Comrades from the CPGB-ML were in attendance, along with around hundreds of thousands of British workers. The march, spirited and militant, was another determined demonstration of solidarity and support for the Palestinian people, and an expression of disgust at the complicity of the shameless and rapacious British government and ruling class.

Given the particular role of British imperialism in the present massacre, as well as in perpetrating and facilitating a century of colonial crimes in Palestine (which created and continues to use zionism in order to subdue the people of the region and maintain imperialist control over its resources, especially oil), our comrades felt a moral obligation and duty to join the protest, despite previous persecution.

Addressing the crowd (see video above), Comrade Ranjeet explained that while his bail conditions prevented him from handing out leaflets or other materials, he was nevertheless not going to stop showing his solidarity with Palestine. He pointed out that the powerful information that is contained in our party’s analysis is the reason for our being singled out in the way we have been, and is what is needed to bring the solidarity movement to an understanding of its true role and potential.

Ranjeet explained that “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is not a message of hatred, but of peace. It sums up the viewpoint of all those who defend the universal human and national rights of the Palestinians, looking forward to the day when they are liberated from decades of illegal occupation, apartheid supremacism and genocidal butchery. It calls, not for the death of individuals, but for the death of the present Israeli system of institutionalised racism, ethnic cleansing and colonial terror.

Zionists working hand in hand with the British state

Our message and our comrades were very well received by the marchers, but, unbeknown to us, a rabid zionist organisation, hiding behind an innocuous sounding website called ‘Harry’s Place’ had ‘spotters’ at the event who were hand in glove with the government in wanting to fuel the false narrative that marching for Palestine is ‘antisemitic’ and ‘pro terror’.

As with so many words in the political lexicon, these are terms that have been weaponised by western governments over the last two decades in an attempt to silence, de-platform and criminalise opposition to zionism and to the settler-colonial zionist state of Israel.

The connection between the British state and its zionist proxies in the middle east was clearly highlighted by the events of last Saturday, since the rabid zionists at Harry’s Place clearly have a hotline to the Metropolitan police. Having located our party stall and seen the effectiveness of our intervention, they reported to the Met using Twitter – posting a picture of our leaflet, posting pictures of our comrades handing them out … and even posting a map showing where our stall was to be found.

Their Twitter feed (@hurryupharry) is instructive as it reads like a set of orders – orders that were obediently carried out just as soon as the demonstration had finished passing along the Embankment and our party comrades were left alone to pack up their stall.

Once there was no one around to witness or interfere, some fifty officers descended on our comrades, surrounding them and confiscating their literature. The three chosen for arrest from amongst those present were the same three whose photos had been posted by Harry’s Place on the Met’s Twitter feed. The leaflet that was seized (which we have given out at every Palestine demonstration since October) was the one objected to by Harry’s Place. And the justification for our comrades’ arrest was on the grounds that Harry’s Place had indicated: that our leaflet was “supporting Hamas, a banned organisation” and we were therefore in breach of the Terrorism Act.

Three comrades were arrested, taken to Hammersmith police station and held for 28 hours, during which time their homes were raided by large squads of anti-terror police. The legislation used to justify our comrades’ arrest (an extension of the ‘anti-terror’ law that was first enacted at the time of the Irish liberation war in the 1970s) gives the government very wide ranging and draconian powers to act against its own citizens – if we allow them to establish the precedent of using it freely against us.

Disproportionate and unreasonable state force used to quell dissent

A group of our party comrades and friends, including family members, gathered outside Hammersmith police station the next day (Sunday) to demand the release of those detained. Standing peacefully outside the station with his young son, Comrade Ranjeet was identified by another zionist spotter, who promptly informed the police that someone they should be talking to was outside.

So although Ranjeet had done nothing wrong the first time he was arrested (on grounds of ‘inciting racial hatred’ by standing near a book about zionism), and although he had not breached any of his bail conditions following that first arrest, after he had been pointed out to the police as a person of interest, a group of around ten officers swooped down the steps from the station and violently grabbed him – as if in fear of what he was about to do – arresting and detaining him for another 24 hours, this time on terror charges.

Not only did they not allow him even to make sure his five-year-old son was away from the roadside and safely in the charge of one of his comrades, but when he objected to this inhumanity, the police response was to refer him to social services for putting his children at risk. Thus are the workers intimidated with implied threats: the state has many means at its disposal to force its critics into silence; they can lock you up, close down your bank accounts, deprive you of housing; they might even confiscate your children!

While he was detained at Hammersmith, police once more raided Ranjeet’s house, sending between ten and 20 armed officers, who insisted on all the occupants (his wife, three children and a friend) standing outside for an hour while the house was ‘made safe’. (By locating and demobilising the bomb factory that he, as a terrorist, was probably keeping there?)

In the end, they confiscated more leaflets and a printer. Presumably as evidence of complicity in the terrible crime of producing a leaflet aimed at educating the public. Printers were confiscated from all the addresses raided by these brilliant detectives, who didn’t seem to have noticed that the leaflet in question was printed in colour while all the printers they carted off were black and white.

Let us reiterate that, to date, although seven of our comrades have been arrested on spurious grounds of the need to investigate hate speech and support for terrorism, no charges of any sort have been brought. What’s more there are no reasonable grounds for such charges. We are neither ‘terrorism supporters’ nor ‘antisemites’. Quite the reverse.

We oppose the state terrorism of our rulers (and their proxies in Israel, Ukraine, Syria and elsewhere); and we oppose the antisemitism, islamophobia and every other type of racism that the British ruling class intentionally creates and stirs in order to divide the people and manipulate them into fighting one other. We oppose the barbaric crimes against the people that are daily being committed by the lords of finance capital, based in New York, London, Paris and Berlin. We want to replace their hellish rule with a world freed from exploitation, racism and war; one in which the masses of the people can live as complete and dignified human beings.

There are no grounds for charging us with any crime, either legally or morally. Our leaflet does not support ‘Hamas terrorism’ but the right of the Palestinian people to resistance (a right explicitly recognised half a century ago by the United Nations). We do not choose the organisations through which the Palestinian people direct this resistance; that is not our job. Our job is to explain to the British people why resistance to colonial rule is both inevitable and necessary.

If a case is brought, it will not be because the gifted sleuths of His Majesty’s constabulary have unearthed a smoking gun, but because of political decisions that are being taken regarding use of the law to feed a failing narrative. It will be further proof that the government is desperately seeking for ways to demobilise the Palestine solidarity movement, and in particular to separate the masses who are taking part in that movement from those who are trying to bring to it the knowledge that would give it direction and real power.

If a decision to prosecute is taken, we will prepare a vigorous defence on all fronts: legally, morally and politically – and we have no doubt that the mass of the Palestine solidarity movement will be with us.

Even without any charges being brought, we can see very clearly a pattern of state harassment against our party, no doubt dictated at the governmental level in accordance with the messages of the (sacked) former home secretary Suella Braverman, who sought from the outset to label the protests in support of Palestine and against the ongoing genocide as “hate marches”, demanding that the police should be directed to crack down on them with a heavy hand.

We will not back down

For the present, the four comrades arrested last Saturday have been released on bail ‘pending investigation’. They will be informed at the end of March whether the Crown intends to bring any prosecution. Their bail conditions are that they should not attend or organise any demonstration, “planned or unplanned”, and that they should not step foot in the borough of Westminster. Our solicitors will be seeking to have these sweeping and disproportionate conditions overturned, since they have no connection to any potential crime but are merely aimed at stopping us fulfilling our primary function of engaging with the movement and speaking in public.

While our comrades have been arrested merely for expressing their solidarity with a people under horrific and criminal attack, they have been arrested by a state that is fully complicit in these crimes: in the founding and ongoing genocide for 75 years of the Palestinian people; in creating the mythology of zionism; and in continually waging war against all the peoples of the middle east, the most recent of these being their illegal and barbaric attack on the resistance in Yemen.

So who are the real criminals here? Who are the real terrorists???

We invite all those who claim to be on the side of free speech in Britain and in support of the rights of Palestine, to make their voices heard. It is quite evident that this targeting of our message that “Palestine has the right to exist – and therefore the right to resist” is at the centre of the attempted criminalisation and dissipation of our mighty movement.