SOCIALISM & DICTATORSHIP
B W Hale suggests my letter criticising inappropriate use of dispersal powers by the police do not apply to the states that he mentions (Echo 8/12/14). On the contrary, my argument applies to all dictatorships.
To describe the USSR, Cambodia and China as ‘socialist’ suggests confusion as to what that word means; this is understandable given that the agencies of capitalism have for decades used these totalitarian states as a weapon to discredit socialism.
My letter to the Echo a few days ago said: ‘Socialism is nothing if not democratic from top to bottom.’ A description definitely not applying to the states mentioned.
As for ‘thanking my lucky stars’ that I don’t live in a one-party state, my lucky stars have nothing to do with it. The freedoms we enjoy today are due to the struggles of previous generations who fought for the right to vote, the right to free assembly, the right to strike and for a fair and just society. Rights being undermined by a ConDem government pursuing savage austerity and the maximisation of the wealth of their paymasters.
RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY
Last Saturday 29 November peaceful demonstrators against fascism in Bold Street, Liverpool, were given a dispersal order by a police officer which excluded them from the city centre for 48 hours.
This legislation was introduced to empower the police to deal with nuisances like noisy neighbours, people getting drunk in residential areas, etc.
Used in this context it is a violation of the right to freedom of assembly which was given impetus after the Peterloo Massacre when, on 16 August 1819, over 60,000 peaceful pro-democracy and anti-poverty protesters where attacked by armed government forces.
The declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations in 1948. It rose directly from the experience of Nazi suppression when assembly to protest the government was met with the death penalty. It represented the first global expression of human rights and was the culmination of decades of Labour Movement struggle for the right to demonstrate against injustice.
Saturday’s police conduct should be vigorously challenged by all Labour movement organisations as it seriously undermines the fight against cuts, poverty, racism and the extreme right.