Passing through parliament at the moment is the governments latest set of measures to tackle terrorism. This is yet another toughening up of existing powers and represents no new direction to anti-terrorist policy. And if the previous policies clearly weren’t working what’s the point in increasing the harshness of them. But this new legislation is not about protecting people, it’s much more about our capitalist government having the power to do what it wants.
The most talked about aspect of the bill is the planned extension to the time that ‘terrorist’ suspects can be detained without being charged from 28 to 42 days. But alongside that there are other elements such as a terrorism register, increased powers to take documents, DNA and fingerprints, allowing the use of phone tap evidence, and most worrying of all perhaps is the power to ban the public from inquests (ie. Into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes).
All these measures are attempts to circumvent accountability and remove more and more freedom from people. It’s an attempt to expand New Labour’s license to do what they want and move in a direction of a police state. These attacks will require action by the labour movement to defeat and further actions to return the other rights that have been stolen from us in the name of the ‘war on terror’.
Rather than removing even more civil liberties there are several ways that terrorism can be combated. Firstly ending the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan that act as recruiting sergeants for right-wing political Islam. But more fundamentally, we need to put an end to the rule of profit and competition which led the US and UK to engage in these imperialist conquests and create a world in which we eradicate poverty and suffering.