The “law” won't protect women - only uprooting this social system will!

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
16 March 2021

After last Saturday’s “Reclaim these streets” vigil for Sarah Everard, against men’s violence towards women, police violence hit the headlines.

    The mainly middle class women who came together in Clapham via social media, got a shock when police waded into them so aggressively, up close and personal. Under the pretext of upholding a law meant to protect against Covid transmission, the cops broke it.

    Yet police violence is something that black youth experience every day when stopped and searched. It’s endemic: last year, according to the Independent Office for Police Conduct, there were 18 deaths in, or following, police custody, 3 suspects shot and killed, 24 deaths related to police chases, and 54 “apparent suicides” following police custody. Plus another 107 “other” deaths after contact with the police.

    What else is this, except being “man”handled, beaten up, or murdered outright by cops who know they’re protected by the system? And they are. Police don’t get convicted for killing their “suspects”. Think of Mark Duggan. Or Jean Charles de Menezes, who, on Cressida Dick’s orders, was shot 7 times because police mistook him for a terror suspect. Dick may have been called to resign over last Saturday’s incident. But despite her role in the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, she was promoted to Met Chief.

    And, now Home Secretary Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - having its 2nd reading in the House - will give cops even more powers. It will also increase custodial sentences, and add new ones, e.g., for defacing statues! As those who (futilely) call for “law reform” to protect women, pointed out: the word “statue” appears 8 times in this Bill, and the word “woman” not once! Evidently this Bill is Patel’s “revenge” against Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion protestors, who were able to outwit her “men (and women) in blue” last year!

    The role of the police and the law in this society has always been to protect the propertied rich from the poor and propertyless, while they bully, beat up, and act against the poor - and particularly black poor - with impunity. The same Bill even creates a new offence of “residing on land without consent in or with a vehicle”, specifically targeted against Travellers... and pensioners in campervans?

    While there may be no point in begging for “reform” of a system whose aim is to defend the social order of the rich, there is every reason to join forces to defend our class, women and men of all ethnicities together, until such day as we can achieve the social revolution which will finally liberate all of us from all of these forms of oppression.