Is the killing of police officers worse than any other murder?

The recent killing of two police officers in Manchester was met by the almost inevitable calls for retribution, with Norman Tebbit, among others, calling the death sentence for cop killers.

Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone

Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes were police constables shot dead while answering a hoax call. But Dale Creggan, the accused, has also been charged with two other killings. David Short was found dead at his home in August, three months after his son Mark was shot. All four deaths are equal in their cruelty and the pain felt by their families is unimaginable. Although Tebbit and sections of the mainstream media are rather less scathing about the deaths of David and Mark Short.

David and Mark Short

This is nothing new. Politicians and the media only dish out sympathy where they see fit. The killing of five women in Ipswich a few years back is a perfect case. There was no calls for serial killer Steve Wright to be hung, that’s because his victims worked as prostitutes. Not a profession rated very highly by Lord Tebbit no doubt.

It must be open to debate whether the killing of police officers is more serious a crime than the killing of us ‘civilians’. Since 1990 1,433 people have died either in custody or while coming into contact with the police. During that time there has been no successful criminal prosecutions. This has included many high profile cases such as those of Sean Rigg, Jean Charles de Menezes, Ian Tomlinson and Mark Duggan. This is of course the extreme end of police violence. There have been many instances where the behaviour of the police is at the very least questionable. The Battle of Orgreave, the Battle of the Beanfield, The Guildford Four and Hillsborough to name a few.

So why does the murder of police officers warrant such vitriol? Well, it would appear that respect for the police, as well as magistrates, judges and the rest of the criminal justice system, are a cornerstone of our society. With that respect comes fear, fear of challenging the status quo, fear of stepping out of line. By holding the police service up as pillars of the community politicians and media are ensuring the continued control of the vast majority of the population.

There may well be some decent well meaning people in the police. But when they put that uniform on they are giving up any common sense, morals or independent thoughts they may have. “I’m just following orders” is often used as an excuse for appalling behaviour.

If the Police are to be seen as anything other than tools of the state then they need to start protecting the people from the state and not the other way round.


Rioter jailed…for over 1,800 years!

It’s a year on from the riots that swept across the country and some interesting statistics have been released.

A total of 1,292 naughty boys and girls have been jailed for their part in the riots, out of over 3,000 prosecuted. The average custodial sentence was 16.8 months, four times higher than the average term dished out for similar crimes under ‘normal’ circumstances. Unfortunately, the judges were sooo hyped by the headlines, that they dished out a sentence of 1,808 years to an unlucky 13-year-old Facebook-using hoodlum from Stow-on-the-Wold.

‘ang about sarge, they’ve got a banging knicker selection

If Twitter was anything to go by at the time, bored 20-something students were going to enter into an unusual pact with the country’s most notorious firm – ‘The Daily Mail Hit Squad’ – to take it to the scruffy ruffians taking part in the burnin’ an’ a lootin’.  Others predicted that millions of cops were gunna get murked. It was a nonevent on both sides.

But a man was jailed for 16 months for stealing an ice cream, taking just one lick before he was nabbed. Why wasn’t he as opportunistic as the other looters, why didn’t he finish the whole damn thing?! He doesn’t like coffee flavour. He wanted double choc chip.

A bloke also stole a single Nike Air Force 1 trainer in Slough. Apparently Pauline from down the road got the other one before him. Gutted.

International Workers Day 2012 – In Pictures

Here’s a few snapshots of May Day protests from around the world…

Anti-Workfare protesters close down stores on Oxford Street, London

Thousands join May Day rallies in Spain

Riot police flank revolutionary left-wing May Day demonstration in Germany

Protesters try and tempt police with doughnuts. Montreal, Quebec

Anarchists get stuck into stores in Downtown Seattle, USA

Flag waving anarchist gets water cannoned in Santiago, Chile

A lighter shade of policing. Bogota, Columbia.







May Day! International Workers’ Day is on the horizon

A fortnight today will see scores of marches, demonstrations, and other protest actions take place across the world, in recognition of May Day, or International Workers’ Day. Too few people know why May Day became International Workers’ Day and why we should still commemorate it.

It  began over a century ago when the American Federation of Labour adopted a historic resolution which asserted that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labour from and after May 1st, 1886.” It is widely seen as the commemoration of the 1886 Haymarket Massacre in Chicago, when Chicago police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight hour workday, killing several demonstrators and resulting in the deaths of several police officers, largely from friendly fire. To save going into too much length and detail here, you can read the full story of it’s history in this great piece on the Libcom website.

Marchers assemble for speeches at Hereford May Day Rally - 2011

Last year saw a May Day anti-cuts march through high town, with members of Hereford Solidarity League joining with members of the Anarchist Federation, Herefordshire Green Party and others. After taking a detour to give Vodafone a quick passing picket, the march ended at the Shire Hall, where a number of speeches were made on the history of May Day and the importance of working together to stop the ConDem cuts and defend our services. You can read our full report of the march here.

This year the ‘Bristol 1st of May Group’ are taking the lead, planning a number of protest actions to take place in Bristol. They have released a call-out to groups and individuals across the country to mark International Workers’ Day in their own way.

“Reclaim The Beach – May Day 2012
A National Call For Action

This is a national call-out for a week of anti-capitalist action, events and celebration throughout the UK in the first week of May 2012 to show resistance to capitalism and remember all those workers who lost their lives for a better life for us all.

Beneath the road, the banks, the shopping malls and prisons lies the Beach,
Behind the politicians, the bureaucrats, the cops AND the robbers lies Freedom,
Outside wage and debt slavery, false democracy, capitalism and state control lies our Future.

This call is for the parents who can’t buy the shopping they need,
For the migrant workers who wont take their bosses abuse,
For the people of colour sick of institutionalised racism,
For the disabled people marginalised and ignored,
For the elderly who can’t afford to pay their bills,
For the women exploited and objectified,
For the students in perpetual debt,
For all the workers and the unemployed; the downtrodden, and the alienated.

We call now for expression of justifiable rage.
We call to the unionised to remember your proud history of militant labour,
We call to the students and workers in struggle,
To all anti-capitalists, anarchists, communists, rebels, and revolutionaries.
We call for direct action, subversion and creativity,
noise, colour, courage and diversity of tactics.
Celebrate International Workers Day with Love and With Rage.

In the spirit of all who fought and died for the emancipation of the working class.
This is a call to reclaim the streets, the fields, the forests and the beaches.
To break from control, to liberate and to occupy EVERYTHING.
Together, we can achieve the impossible.

Bristol 1st of May Group”

You can view their website.