As rioting continues throughout London this week, in response to a supposedly unprovoked shooting by a cop in the Tottenham area of the city, local police are struggling to control the violence. One of their methods for controlling the violence: ask citizens to report any anarchists they may come across in their neighborhoods.
In a recently issued counter-terrorism notice issued by the Westminster Police, the definition of an anarchist is illustrated, along with the recognizable “Circle-A” symbol that is most often identified with anarchy. The notice gives marching orders to any wannabe anti-anarchist whistleblower in what to spot:
Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police.
The pamphlet also went on to include Islamic terrorists in its watch-list as enemies of the community. Needless to say, it has many London-based anarchists (which are surprisingly numerous) feeling persecuted for their political philosophy by the city, especially since a majority of them do not promote violence as a principle of the anarchist cause, unlike the terrorists they are being compared to in the recent police notice.
Regardless of what your personal beliefs are, the mere act of believing them is free speech, and should not be subjected to a culture of McCarthyist-style witch-hunts in the face of turmoil. The real criminals are the ones that are actually going around burning and looting homes and stores, not the writers or the intellectuals that refuse to participate in violent outbursts. Britain may have different standards of what is acceptable speech compared to America, but going after a specific group of people for having a philosophy the state finds disagreeable is a misguided, statist approach to a serious crisis.Published in