How to deal with police harassment - Glasgow Defence Campaign
Glasgow Defence Campaign addresses May Day march, Dundee 2011
Len McCluskey gives message of support to Glasgow Defence Campaign, May Day rally in Glasgow
The Glasgow Defence Campaign, established by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters in Glasgow following targeted harassment and political policing at the hands of Strathclyde police, continued to build support during May Day rallies in Glasgow and Dundee and across the wider trade union movement.
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. McCluskey noted the work done by the Glasgow Defence Campaign and sent a message to Strathclyde police: “Keep your sleazy hands off our kids!”
Dundee Trades Union Council, which supports the GDC, put forward a motion which was passed unanimously at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trade Union Congress in Ayr on 20 April 2011. The motion read:
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 and Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters have played a leading role in opposing police harassment of anti-cuts activists and as a consequence have faced arrest, conviction, detention, restrictive bail conditions, house visits and constant harassment at the hands of Strathclyde police. We welcome the growing support for the campaign against political policing and refuse to be intimidated. The struggle against the cuts continues.