Book Review from the July 2012 issue of the Socialist Standard
Policing the Crisis. Class War. 44 pages. £1.
This is a pamphlet published this May Day by the anarchist group known for the photographic series 'hospitalised coppers' and pictures of the “Working Class Fights Back” at the 1990 Poll Tax Riot.
The section 'Police Crimes Against the Working Class Movement' is a historical survey of the police and the working class in Britain. Minority class property is why the police exist; the police force is part of the executive arm of the capitalist state, and as such, the enemy of the working class, even if that’s from where its members are recruited.
The pamphlet reproduces Dave Douglass’s 1986 Come and Wet This Truncheon which details police 'crimes' against the striking miners, their families and communities during the year-long strike. This makes sobering reading. If read in conjunction with The Secret War Against the Miners by Seamus Milne which details MI5 and Special Branch operations against them, it is quite clear the state is used by the capitalist class against the working class to further its own economic interests.
Like Bakunin, Class War accepts Marx's class analysis and his economic theories about capitalism. Class War describes how “force is necessary by capitalism to move the developing situations towards a new balance of class relationships more favourable to them. It is never death or pain free”.
As capitalism has become more 'unfettered' since the 1980s, the capitalist state has relied more on its enforcers to ensure the new economic relationships are ‘accepted’, and significantly, although statistics claim crime is going down, the prison population has doubled in size in the last thirty years. Today we have austerity economics imposed on us and dissent is ruthlessly dealt with; the police threaten to shoot protesting students; last summer's social breakdown in the inner cities has resulted in obviously political sentences for ‘rioters’; and the concept of ‘pre-crime’ is now used to prevent any dissent against the bourgeois consensus of the Royal Wedding, Jubilee and the Olympics.
Class War are heirs to Bakunin with their emphasis on the 'propaganda of the deed': direct action philosophy, and opposition to taking part in capitalist elections (although Ian Bone, anarchist publisher of Class War, was involved in Bristol local elections in 2003, and Class War plan to stand a candidate for Mayor of Hackney in 2014).
As socialists we reject Bakunin's love of conspiracy, insurrection and his cult of violence. Marx once described 'anarchy' as the ultimate aim of the proletarian movement when classes will be abolished and the power of the state disappears. He can even be said to have anticipated that other historical anarchist Kropotkin in aiming at an anarchist communism which is a stateless, moneyless, wageless society and not a worker's state.