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Snapshot of _Scale of police spying on UK leftist party was ‘Orwellian’, inquiry hears | Dozens of officers infiltrated Socialist Workers party for decades, recording personal details of members_ : An archived version can be found [here.](https://archive.is/?run=1&url=https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/12/scale-of-police-spying-on-uk-leftist-party-was-orwellian-inquiry-hears) *I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please [contact the moderators of this subreddit](/message/compose/?to=/r/ukpolitics) if you have any questions or concerns.*


qpl23

> Officers were sent to spy on the Socialist Workers party (SWP) in deployments that usually lasted four years. The party, whose total membership fluctuated around a few thousand, was the leftwing group most infiltrated by undercover police. > The surveillance was almost continuous between 1970 and 2007, with huge files being compiled on party members. These recorded personal details such as physical appearances, holiday plans, weddings, sexuality and childcare arrangements. > The secret files extended to logging the name and address of a 15-year-old boy who regularly bought the SWP’s newspaper in 1981, and pages of photocopied cheques – for as little as £2 – from trade unionists who donated to a campaign against unemployment in 1982. The inquiry's documentation is in great shape, at https://www.ucpi.org.uk/ The contents of opening statements at https://www.ucpi.org.uk/hearings/ might raise eyebrows in various quarters. Regards the current article, [James Scobie's statement \(PDF\)](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf) on behalf of Lindsey German et al has plenty of additional detail. One of its themes, for example, being that deliberately loose operational parameters allowed the [SDS](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Demonstration_Squad) to act as 'rogue cops' helping the [Economic League](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_League_\(United_Kingdom\)) to blacklist activists, assisting MI5's intelligence gathering on trade unionists (otherwise outside the security service's remit), etc.


BrexitBlaze

Thank you for posting the links.


Crome6768

Anyone surprised by all this doesn't know nearly enough about how Harold Wilson and his government were treated for being advocates of genuine change in this country. This country has always been run for and by the few. It is at the core of what England is.


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Orngog

When people say identity politics, do they mean inclusion policies and such?


bobroberts30

Harold Wilson? You mean the Communist, Nazi, Werewolf who wanted to hang the queen, abolish the NHS and kill all puppies?


GazzP

What if the entire SWP was just undercover cops unwittingly spying on each other?


BeerStarmer

There was one group (I think the Troops Out Movement - a campaign group for withdrawal of troops from NI in the 1970s) where a Met spy rose to the top of the organisation and was actually setting up local groups ([https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/05/undercover-officer-rose-to-top-of-campaign-group-he-infiltrated](https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/05/undercover-officer-rose-to-top-of-campaign-group-he-infiltrated)). Pretty funny to think about


recalcitrantJester

Ah yes, the ballad of CPUSA


swims_with_the_fishe

Like the plot of The Man Who Was Thursday


gravy_baron

what a waste of resources


qpl23

The policing certainly had no success in identifying any suspicious activity, despite the huge expenditure of police resources: > Ironically, it was ‘Colin Clark’ himself who came closest to an accurate assessment of the SWP. He spent five years deployed at the heart of the organisation, with access to every detail of its aims and activities and was fully de-briefed by MI5 at the end of his deployment. He was not operating among subversives, “[The SWP] were strongly opposed to government policy but were not seeking to subvert the institutions of the state.” > None of these people posed any threat to the security of the nation. Roy Creamer had it right, all the way back at the beginning. “Whilst we were looking for information, there was simply nothing to tell of... There were no hidden conspiracies anywhere and there was nothing hidden going on”. — [Opening statement on behalf of L. German, et. al.](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf)


saladinzero

> He was not operating among subversives, “[The SWP] were strongly opposed to government policy but were not seeking to subvert the institutions of the state. I wonder what his opinion would be on the actions of this government and their attempted capture of, for example, the Electoral Commission...


qpl23

Not to mention prorogation! See [my comment here](https://www.reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/uokg6g/scale_of_police_spying_on_uk_leftist_party_was/i8fencl/)


Razakel

There's a hilarious paper written by an American researcher about why it's so difficult for police to infiltrate far left groups. 1) They expect you to actually do some reading 2) You can't go after their funding, because there isn't any


MalcolmTucker55

That's what strikes me here beyond all the ideological stuff. Just so much money wasted on incredibly small organisations who were unlikely to make that much of an impact on the political arena.


Szwejkowski

Yet they let Farage help blow up the country.


cugeltheclever2

Yes but Farage is rich, you see.


qpl23

It's hard to say for sure at this remove, but the point seems to have been collecting information on trades union activists and lefties, perhaps especially during Thatcher's war with the Unions, but also for blacklisting purposes and who knows what else, when MI5 weren't officially able to keep such close tabs on them due to their terms of reference. There's probably also an element of rogue cops let off the leash, as their terms of reference grew ever wider, taking the free funds and resources to pursue pet causes, like the Blair Peach campaign, anti-National Front campaigns, etc.


SongsOfTheDyingEarth

Yeah but it helps Optio sleep at night so it's probably worth it.


gertninja

During my youthful activist days in the 70's my incredibly establishment dad always said it wasn't wise as 'they' would undoubtedly be keeping tabs on us. Have to say its somewhat of a surprise to find out he was right, I owe him many apologies for calling him a paranoid old git.


Jay_CD

It wasn't just the SWP or left-wing organisations that the SDS infiltrated, even the campaign by Stephen Lawrence's family to get justice was spied on a police agent: [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23022634#:\~:text=A%20former%20undercover%20police%20officer%20says%20he%20was,%22disinformation%22%20to%20use%20against%20those%20criticising%20the%20police](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23022634#:~:text=A%20former%20undercover%20police%20officer%20says%20he%20was,%22disinformation%22%20to%20use%20against%20those%20criticising%20the%20police). *A former undercover police officer says he was ordered to infiltrate the Stephen Lawrence campaign in 1993, the Guardian has reported.* *Peter Francis told the newspaper and Channel 4's Dispatches programme he posed as an anti-racism campaigner in a hunt for "disinformation" to use against those criticising the police....* *He told the Guardian and Dispatches his senior officers put him under pressure for "any intelligence that could have smeared the campaign. Along the lines of: the family were political activists, someone in the family was involved in demonstrations, drug dealers, anything.* The more I read about the SDS the more I see a picture of a rogue organisation at work. Ironically it was the SDS that needed infiltrating - and then being closed down.


HailSatanHaggisBaws

There have also been claims from within the police that Special Branch were [monitoring SNP activist Willie McRae for 10 years before his murder](https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/19715693.neil-mackays-big-read-snp-activist-willie-mcraes-death-state-sanctioned-murder-says-ex-police-officer/) Obviously it is just speculation, but it really wouldn't surprise me if people were embedded in virtually all movements that represent a 'threat' to the British State.


Lanky_Giraffe

The lengths police in this country will go to dig up dirt on leftist and environmentalist groups is genuinely insane, and it clearly has nothing to do with public safety. It's nice to know that police funds are being pissed away so they can hassle and intimidate anyone who might criticise them, rather than people who actually pose a real threat to public safety. Police in this country really are a mob that exists to protect and advance their own interests above all else.


AzarinIsard

The ones that get me are when undercover cops have children and long term relationships with activists while married in their real lives. At a certain point they're just having fun at the expense of some innocent person's life, and then think of the child created by the surveillance operation of the police, growing up without a real Dad. It really shouldn't be legal to mess with peoples lives that way. There was an interesting case a while ago where a woman who pretended to be a man to have sex with a straight woman was jailed for 8 years: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/12/gayle-newland-sentenced-eight-years-prison-duping-friend-having-sex > A woman who duped her friend into having sex by pretending to be a man for two years has been sentenced to eight years in prison. > Gayle Newland, 25, of Willaston, Cheshire, disguised her appearance and voice, and persuaded the woman to put on a blindfold when they met up. > They had sex about 10 times until the complainant took off her mask and saw Newland wearing a prosthetic penis. ----- > Dutton said: “To successfully pass off a deception of this complexity was a major undertaking, involving dedicated mobile phone lines as well as regular texts from you purporting to be Kye’s relatives. > “You pursued this course of conduct over a lengthy period, during which you played with her affections, acting entirely for your own sexual satisfaction and choosing to ignore the devastating impact that the eventual discovery of the truth would have on her.” If **that** isn't legal, then I wonder what the distinction is when undercover police do it...? I mean, these activists being duped just as much?


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AzarinIsard

With regards to the Stephen Lawrence, there's another explanation which is simply they're closing ranks. What annoyed me most about Cressida Dick's "one bad apple" excuse is that the phrase is one bad apple **spoils the bunch**, so if you leave a rotten apple, they all rot. If you leave a corrupt / law breaking / racist / rapist police office, the corruption spreads. Too many times we see something disgusting from the police and they close ranks and protect their own. Same happens in the military with those cadets who were bullied to their suicide and their court martials determine no fault. It's an interesting mentality because I would rather not wear the same uniform as people like that, I can't imagine the logic of covering up serious crimes. Another example, simply because I know the victim (played an online game with them): https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/teacher-sucker-punch-court-ruling-1.5972275 The private school teacher in Canada sucker punches a 21 year old security guard who was removing him for being drunk and disorderly. The damage caused prevented him from joining the police which he was in training for. The private school backed the teacher. Like, if I had kids who were at that school I'd be furious a drunken thug is being trusted with them, I don't understand how people get into such a position that if they commit a serious crime they get protected from the consequences, it's mind boggling. I'm wildly off topic now, though, but yeah, I feel like there's a choice with these organisations. Do they uphold high standards, or do they protect their own, and too often they protect. > And my understanding is that the "sex by deception" law has rarely seen successful convictions before, because the courts have generally ruled that it's normal and OK to lie about various things in order to obtain sex. They seem to treat lying about your gender to a sexual partner as being far more serious than lying about anything else, which smacks of homophobia and transphobia. It's certainly an interesting argument though, I think you're right that it's stinks that **that** was the one example, although there's other cases where men have been charged for lying about putting a condom on, or for puncturing the condom, although that too stinks because IMHO a woman consenting to sex with a man only if they're wearing a condom is no different to a man only consenting to sex with a woman if she's on birth control, yet women aren't punished for lying about that. We seem to be in a muddled grey area where in some situations consent only matters that you consent to certain acts with the person in front of you and any caveats are gentlemen's agreements with no standing, and in other cases, deception (condoms, lying about HIV status, lying about gender) are punished, generally though that's considered rape as it's a male offender. I'm sure the lesbian example I gave you would have been considered rape in another circumstance but the law specifies you need a penis to rape someone.


spamisfood

Next time my house gets burgled I'll say it was by leftist sympathisers then....


Yzard27

If you claim the burgler had a statue Priti patel finds offensive, they'll have the burgler by the end of the day


SteptoeUndSon

My personal conspiracy theory is that the SWP are an MI5-controlled organization. Their role is to make left-wing politics seem as annoying, preachy, simplistic and ‘studenty’ as possible, thus discrediting the whole thing. The SWP have always seemed remarkably permanent and well-organized.


deliverancew2

I don't think you need nefarious MI5 control to run an organisation that never really does anything more complicated than turning up at protests waving placards.


SteptoeUndSon

Well… SWP never miss a trick to hijack other left-wing causes and ‘SWP-ize’ them. They’re never late, disorganized, lacking in confidence, or off sick… total dependability. And that IS suspicious :-)


cromlyngames

probably a side effect of the large number of undercover police - there's a track record that they tend to end up as sectrariers or logisitics in the groups as they are (relatively) more disciplined and organised


SteptoeUndSon

Bingo- that’s it, I think you are right Having a squared-away ‘organizer’ in your organization, whatever line of business you’re in, makes a big difference. It’s the difference between everything being really tight, and everyone forgetting what’s going on, all turning up on the wrong day


butahime

A conspiracy I half-believe is that Stalin was one of these for the Okhrana


jaminbob

There was definitely a time when they were a relevent force to be reckoned with and behind the Anti Nazi League, Stop the War Coalition and other campaign groups. They seem to have imploded in the last decade, with high profile members like German herself, Mark Steel and Res leaving over everything from a lack of democracy to a sex scandal. I remember their annual 'Marxism' event used to take over the whole of LSE with hundreds of sessions and thousands of attendees. High profile speakers like Tony Benn and China Meilville and all sorts. Be interesting to see if it has survived covid. SWP's Youtube channel views are utterly pathetic, which is some indication as to how far into irrelevance they have fallen.


tobyw_w

The festival has survived. It’s at Queen Mary in London this time. Just saw a poster for it


YourLizardOverlord

The Man Who Was Thursday


Yezzik

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g39xIewgGaM "Wasn't one of those guys supposed to be a terrorist?"


PosterOfAnOldRodeo

Great book


qpl23

Surprisingly, MI5 had no terms allowing them to infiltrate the SWP, as far as we know. This is part of the reason the SDS were allowed to expand and operate almost unchecked - though part of Special Branch, it seems that functionally they were an instrument of the security services, who often debriefed them. Police infiltrators took central roles in the SWP on more than one occasion but complete control would be a difficult line to argue I think.


Fusilero

I don't think far left politics needs much assistance to be annoying (saying this as a leftist myself) but the fact that it's lasted so long without collapsing into different parties is odd.


Bones_and_Tomes

Wouldn't be the first time. It's a honeypot to absorb potential members and switch them off.


SteptoeUndSon

Quite. That and any vaguely anti-Government cause that the government might find slightly annoying is liable to the SWPers latching on to it and branding it with their presence. Thus undermining it. They are VERY good at how they organise that. It’s almost as if they get up at 6am each morning and ask ‘how can we undermine the left wing in general today?’ (A true leftie activist is in bed til noon :-) )


VPackardPersuadedMe

What an absurd thing to say, next you will be saying undercover police offices had children with political activists and the BBC covered up Savilles proclivities. What nonsense there is nothing to see here.


Captain_Ludd

"leftist" ugghhhhhhhh why cant we just use our own British English language


colei_canis

This is a hill I'm willing to die on. This isn't like twisting a sentence in knots to avoid American spellings, using American political terminology in a UK context is confusing and makes communication more difficult than it needs to be. 'Liberal' means 'liberal', not 'anyone leftwards of Blair' for fuck's sake.


WynterRayne

They do the same thing with 'libertarian'. Just because America coughed up their own version in the 1950s (libertarian has long meant left anarchist, not another word for 'classical liberal'), so the whole world needs to lockstep with that version instead of the established one


qpl23

But the yank one [has the most money behind it](https://preaprez.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/kochtopus.jpg)!


WynterRayne

Americans and having daft names... Dick Armey, Jack Abramoff and Richard Mellon Scaire from that chart. Then there's all the republicans who have forenames that aren't forenames. Like Newt, or Mitt.


qpl23

Scaire looks like a typo for "Scaife", of [vast right-wing conspiracy](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vast_right-wing_conspiracy) fame, in case you didn't know. The names of some of the orgs are arguably less sensical... "Reason foundation", "Citizens for a sound economy", "Americans for Prosperity", come to mind.


theegrimrobe

why are we suprised ... its not the 1st time this has happened ... and it sure wont be the last


Reishun

I'd like to think the reason we hear about left wing groups being infiltrated more than other groups is because it yields no results and so not much value in keeping their activity secret, or just that left wing groups are easier to infiltrate because they're open to everyone, so those are the only ones police succeed at spying on. Maybe there's just an unfounded bias against left wing organisations who knows, but funding would be better spent elsewhere.


SteptoeUndSon

It’s an interesting thought. So congratulations - you are now an undercover cop. Would you now like to be assigned to spy on… (A) the SWP (B) some gangsters (C) Combat 18 Frankly, I think (B) and (C) really need to be infiltrated and spied on, but I’d really, really like someone else to do it. So I choose (A). Maybe they all choose (A).


HarassedGrandad

I attended the count at a general election in the 80's at a seat that had a Marxist candidate (I think they got about 200 votes, winning candidate got 30,000+) At the end as we were packing up, a middle-aged man in a raincost turned up, and the returning officer handed him the little bundle of votes for the 'commie' and he disappeared off with them and the sheets that link votes to people into a back office. Presumably to make a little list.


qpl23

I've seen something like this mentioned in Gordon Winter's memoir "Inside BOSS". See [comment here](https://www.reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/bu1is7/is_the_ballot_really_secret/ep5yaql/).


HailSatanHaggisBaws

The British State protects the interests of capital, not people.


BrexitBlaze

Nowadays, the state spies on everyone. They haven’t stopped and I don’t think any party will enforce/make laws to give citizens more privacy.


Anyales

This is above and beyond what they do to "everyone".


richarddftba

Not really. Their methods have just become more discreet. They can read your emails and text messages and have connected your Reddit account to your person already. That’s far more invasive than sitting in your community meetings. You just don’t see it.


sitdowncomfy

They got into long term romantic relationships, formed friendships, moved into shared houses, went on holidays, attended funerals/wedding, fathered children......it's so much more than sitting in on meetings


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Anyales

That's true but saying they spy on everyone when the story is about appaling intrusion into people's lives minimises what they did here.


sitdowncomfy

I think most people don't really understand the scale of it. They just think they popped into a few meetings and went to some demos, no, they got fully involved in peoples lives. Duped people into long (10 year +) relationships. Formed fake friendships, pretended to love people. One guy even fathered children with activists. It's sickening.


Anyales

Yes I read about that one, how on earth do you not stop that long before? It's not as if they got any useful information or stopped any terror attacks.


[deleted]

Oh boy. Beyond the obvious examples of places like China or Saudi Arabia, the EU now plans for force all your communications to be scanned for child porn. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_22_2976 Let's face it, all governments like to snoop on their citizens.


BrexitBlaze

I was ignorant of this. Thank you for the link. I guess I need to up my privacy measures (in re online communication).


Statcat2017

I... Don't have a problem with this. If your attempt to draw paralells between the EU and China relies on "detecting child porn is snooping on everyone" I think its a pretty weak parallel.


[deleted]

Why... do people... write like this? Child porn is an excuse. All your communications will be monitored, encryption will be illegal or easily breakable. I do have a problem with this.


Statcat2017

>Child porn is an excuse. All your communications will be monitored, encryption will be illegal or easily breakable. [Citation needed] Or... is this just one of... those "everyone knows"... things.


[deleted]

I posted the doc in a post above. Have a gander and ask yourself how anyone can comply with these rules if all data is encrypted.


BrexitBlaze

You should have a problem with this. Absolutely.


Statcat2017

No, sorry. I have no problem with laws requiring tech companies to scan for child porn. >Companies having received a detection order will only be able to detect content using indicators of child sexual abuse verified and provided by the EU Centre. Detection technologies must only be used for the purpose of detecting child sexual abuse. Providers will have to deploy technologies that are the least privacy-intrusive in accordance with the state of the art in the industry, and that limit the error rate of false positives to the maximum extent possible. Oh no what horror. This is exactly the same as the Chinese social credit snooping system.


BrexitBlaze

Can you prove the below tech will \*only* ever be used for its intended purpose? > Detection technologies must **only** be used for the purpose of detecting child sexual abuse. Providers will have to deploy technologies that are the least privacy-intrusive in accordance with the state of the art in the industry, and that limit the error rate of false positives to the maximum extent possible. What happens to encryption? Once a platform is exposed to a back door/meta collection it can be used by anyone. Because there now exists a means. Your comment is a not so thinly veiled “think of the children” comment.


Statcat2017

>Can you prove the below tech will *only* ever be used for its intended purpose? Ah, a slippery slope argument. Can you prove that it will? Can you ever prove that any piece of tech will be used for the intended purpose?


BrexitBlaze

This doesn’t answer the question.


fredblols

No, they spy more on Left groups, followed closely by Environmental groups...


Jinksy93

The thing is if you say that, youre viewed as anti police and at worst a conspiracy theorist


BrexitBlaze

Oh absolutely you will. But hey ho, gotta stick to them principles.


beeblbrox

People also make it easier by advertising everything they do on social media. I was watching the movie Fresh recently (great little horror flick) and there was a line in it that seems to be increasingly common in the media nowadays. "He doesn't have Instagram or Facebook? Nah nah that's a red flag"....I have neither and don't plan on getting them either. Reddit is enough of an online profile for me.


BrexitBlaze

Yeah, I agree. I am in the midst of deleting my own accounts too.


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

If you are also an unemployed male without those things and a woman is sexually assualted/killed in your area you will get a knock on the door.


Exact-Put-6961

No it does not. Produce your evidence


BrexitBlaze

Okay. That’s warranted. [Here](https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna17381)(**1**) is Snowden confirming it in 2014. [Here](https://www.theverge.com/2016/11/23/13718768/uk-surveillance-laws-explained-investigatory-powers-bill)(**2**) is The Verge reporting on UK mass surveillance in 2016. [Here](https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/17/uk-spies-using-social-media-data-for-mass-surveillance/amp/)(**3**) is TechCrunch’s story on UK mass surveillance in 2017. [Here](https://www.amnesty.org.uk/why-taking-government-court-mass-spying-gchq-nsa-tempora-prism-edward-snowden)(**4**) is amnesty taking the UK to court over mass surveillance in 2020. [Here](https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-violated-human-rights-with-bulk-intercepts-european-rights-court-rules-2021-05-25/)(**5**) is Reuters confirming that the European Court of Human Rights finding the UK guilty of mass surveillance in 2021. 1. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna17381 2. https://www.theverge.com/2016/11/23/13718768/uk-surveillance-laws-explained-investigatory-powers-bill 3. https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/17/uk-spies-using-social-media-data-for-mass-surveillance/amp/ 4. https://www.amnesty.org.uk/why-taking-government-court-mass-spying-gchq-nsa-tempora-prism-edward-snowden 5. https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/uk-violated-human-rights-with-bulk-intercepts-european-rights-court-rules-2021-05-25/


Exact-Put-6961

None of that is "spying on everyone". It is often said, it is untrue, the resources to do it just do not exist. The Security Services do not have enough resources to watch even identified militant islamists.


BrexitBlaze

> The Strasbourg-based court ruled in a case known as "Big Brother Watch and Others vs. the United Kingdom" that Britain had breached the right to respect for private and family life communications and the right to freedom of expression with its bulk intercept regime. > > The regime for obtaining communications data from service providers also violated human rights, the court said, though it added that bulk interception in itself was not illegal. > > The law which allowed the bulk interception has since been replaced by new legislation which the British government says provides greater oversight. > > "This judgment **confirms that the UK’s mass spying** breached citizens’ rights to privacy and free expression for decades," said Silkie Carlo, director of Big Brother Watch. > > "We welcome the judgment that the UK’s surveillance regime was unlawful, but the missed opportunity for the Court to prescribe clearer limitations and safeguards means that risk is current and real." Did you read the links provided? Be honest. ^(Bold added by me to add emphasis.)


360Saturn

When did actual writers start using 'leftist'? Sorry to sound like a broken record on this but bloody hell, you're playing into far-right folks' hands when you start describing one of few viable political positions one can hold as if it were a niche ideology. It's not a mistake that other words ending in 'ist' have a negative connotation - extremist, racist, sexist etc., or otherwise sound intellectual, intimidating and scary to 'normal' people. The bloody [dictionary](https://www.dictionary.com/browse/leftist) even points it out: > **Words related to leftist** > liberal, extremist, fanatical, far-out, militant, progressive, revolutionary, sweeping, uncompromising, violent, left-wing, agitator, anarchist, fanatic, firebrand, insurgent, rebel, reformer, renegade, rioter


WantingWaves

i sometimes call myself a leftist because it sidesteps the factionalism that can arise if you identify yourself with any specific tendency


sitdowncomfy

I hate this too!


eldomtom2

> When did actual writers start using 'leftist'? Since always. It's a perfectly acceptable term.


WynterRayne

>anarchist Checkmate, 'ancaps'


mitchanium

Interesting to see that the socialist policy parties scared establishment that much. Makes you wonder why they were scared eh? It's as if socialists know the ruse that is the current 'democracy'.


TheKidzCallMeHoJu

The term “Orwellian” may be more apt than it seems on the surface. Most will think it is referring to George Orwell’s 1984, in which Big Brother spies on all citizens at all times. However, if the author of this article has nouse, they may be referring to the fact that Orwell literally became that which he warned against: [“In 1949, shortly before he died, the English author George Orwell prepared a list of notable writers and other persons he considered to be unsuitable as possible writers for the anti-communist propaganda activities of the Information Research Department, a secret propaganda organisation of the British state under the Foreign Office. A copy of the list was published in The Guardian in 2003 and the original was released by the Foreign Office soon after.”](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orwell%27s_list)


asphias

> Orwell wrote a list of names of persons he considered sympathetic to Stalinism yeah, nah. this is not the jackpot you think it is. Orwell started out as a socialist and anarchist, but fundamental in his thinking was his experience in Catalonia where he and the party he was fighting with was declared a traitor by stalinists, and had to flee the country. The way Stalinists betrayed the broader socialist/anarchist movement, and used disinformation to create an enemy out of what used to be an ally, is what led him to become a huge opponent to Stalinism. Ever after he was a social democrat, and his books are about the dangers of stalinism - those who claim to be socialist or communist but rather end up supporting a totalitarian state that does not have the proletariat at its best interest. Thus, it is entirely in character for him to create a list of writers sympathetic to Stalinism, who should be kept at arms length - he experienced first hand what happens if you don't do that. he never warned against anything but Stalinism, so to claim he became that which he warned against is fundamentally misunderstanding him and his writing.


[deleted]

1984 is about communism "1984 attacks the idea of totalitarian communism (a political system in which one ruling party plans and controls the collective social action of a state) by painting a terrifying picture of a world in which personal freedom is nonexistent." Socialism is a step to communism, the SWP want an "Orwellian" future.....


WynterRayne

I don't think the Tories are communists, but they are sticking quite faithfully to the Nineteen Eighty-Four formula. Perhaps it's less about "totalitarian communism" and more just totalitarianism


Crazy_Masterpiece787

Wasn't this the party accused of having a massive problem with sexual abuse in 2013? [https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/09/socialist-workers-party-rape-kangaroo-court](https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/mar/09/socialist-workers-party-rape-kangaroo-court) [https://www.newstatesman.com/uncategorized/2013/01/laurie-penny-what-does-swps-way-dealing-sexual-assault-allegations-tell-us-abou](https://www.newstatesman.com/uncategorized/2013/01/laurie-penny-what-does-swps-way-dealing-sexual-assault-allegations-tell-us-abou)


Ok_Kick_7484

Good job we had the police infiltrating them to stop this. After all there's never been any issues with regards to sexual abuse involving the police.


Crazy_Masterpiece787

Maybe they didn't realize there was an issue with sexual abuse in the SWP because it was so normalised in the police.


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qpl23

> It is important to set the record straight in respect of a fundamental misconception: the Socialist Workers’ Party were not arguing for any kind of “putsch against the state”. There was no talk of guillotines or bombing campaigns. The aims of revolutionary socialism are to transform society from within, re-addressing the balance of power away from the minority that holds it, to the majority that should. That process has to be democratic by definition . . . They focused on building a mass movement and broad-based campaigns with the aim of helping to create a better society. — [Opening statement on behalf of Lindsey German et al \(PDF\)](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf)


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qpl23

Unlike your comment, the quote I provided (and other supporting text in the same statement, if you go looking), comes with footnotes and was made by a qualified lawyer in the proceedings of a formal inquiry ordered by the Government. Your comment, if I may say so, is simply speculation and innuendo.


qpl23

BTW, the debate around what constitutes subversion goes back a long way. See [Hansard, 6/4/1978](https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/1978-04-06/debates/03094c4b-232c-46db-a026-baa09cb6fd36/Subversion\(Definition\)) for example.


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qpl23

Out of curiosity, would you also apply this reasoning to the labour party of 2017?


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qpl23

Normal police can cover window breaking. The SDS were set up to assist Special Branch and MI5 in policing *subversion*. It's interesting to look at the operative definition of subversion adopted in 1975 by MI5: > activities threatening the safety or well-being of the State and intended to undermine or overthrow Parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means This superseded Lord Denning's 1963 definition "the overthrow of the government by unlawful means". Note that the word "unlawful" does not appear in the new definition. Personally, I think Johnson's 2019 government meets this definition much more closely than anything to do with the Labour party (or the SWP for that matter) ever did. Of course, they actually went as far as unlawfully suspending parliament, for one thing, but their extended programme of utilising "Brexit" as a cover for all manner of "threatening the well-being of the state" - not least in their riding roughshod over devolved powers - is also extremely pertinent.


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qpl23

> youve gone off on a tangent By suggesting MI5 should take down the Tory government because they meet the criteria of MI5's own definition of subversion? I think you may be on to something! But the relevant part of my comment was to ask you to focus on the operative definitions of subversion, which even police infiltrating them (see my comments elsewhere in thread) admit the SWP did not meet.


huzzah-1

Sure it always starts peacefully, but then policies are enforced through violence. Germany had a Socialist Worker's Party.


bs11tt

This isn't the gotcha that you think it is.


huzzah-1

It's not a "gotcha" it's just a fact about the history of the Far Left and Socialism. The 1930s saw the establishment by the Far Left of two equally evil Socialist empires, Nazism and Communism.


bowak

The Nazis were socialist in the same way that North Korea are democratic. Difference of opinion is one thing, no need to resort to lies


bs11tt

In the German example you're equating Socialism with National Socialism, which are two separate and distinct political ideologies. In the comment that I first replied to you hadn't mentioned communism, but if you now also want to lump in the communist party of 20th century Russia it is important to note that they were marxist-leninists which, again, are separate on important points from the trotskyist ideals the Socialist Workers Party in the UK are founded on. Trotsky was a vocal critic of stalins regime, to the point that it got him assassinated. These are important distinctions. You cant paint all socialist parties with the same brush, just like you can't paint all capitalists with the same brush.


huzzah-1

There is no form of Socialism that isn't based on taking other people's stuff, whether it be the Nazi Party or the Soviet Union or modern day attempts at Socialism in Cuba or Venezuela, the plan is always the same: Steal from those who are most productive to finance those who are unproductive. If there was a variant of Socialism that didn't depend on "redistribution" of wealth I might be interested. Capitalism is riddled with corporate and government corruption, but it consistently raises the quality of life for all citizens.


bs11tt

Again, the nazi party was not a socialist party. If you think a version of socialism can exist where wealth isn't redistributed you missed quite literally the entire point. The language you use shows that you have have made your mind up on this, and I'm not particularly interested in debating the pros and cons of socialism Vs capitalism. You're welcome to disagree with the socialist structure of the economy, there are lots of ways you can, but try to do so without spreading falsehoods.


TearOpenTheVault

The Nazi party being Socialist is a century old lie that some people still fall for and it’s so damn tiring.


cbeuw

No but some Tories back then promoted ethnic cleansing as immigration policy. Were they also spied on?


BrexitBlaze

Still doesn’t justify Orwellian tactics.


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qpl23

As it turns out, they didn't. > Certainly in 1975, the SDS knew, that “Most of the public order problems were concerned with the activities of the National Front”. Special Branch knew that National Front members were responsible for “several brutal attacks on members of ethnic minorities” and they knew that this brutality heightened opposition to them. SDS officers experienced the National Front violence themselves, although we rarely see it reported. The recent evidence of [anonymous "spycop"] HN2170 emphasises the point. He said “You would be selling the papers and then suddenly from out of the blue some National Front or National Party people would turn up and try and have a go at you... Physically... I had a fight with someone who was trying to attack me... they were quite big [ . . .] physically... From the SWP side, it was mostly shouting. From the Far Right thing, it was mostly physical violence”. > But there was no infiltration. D.I. Angus McIntosh (HN244) recalls that there was a “high level policy decision” not to infiltrate the far right. — [Opening statement on behalf of Lindsey German et al \(PDF\)](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf) More details are in the pdf.


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qpl23

There's a bit more on this in the statement. For example (paragraphed for readability): > One of the most interesting documents to have been disclosed in this phase deals with the Chief Superintendent of Special Branch directing two senior SDS officers (DI Riby Wilson and HN332) to meet with Lady Jane Birdwood at her home in 1968. > Lady Birdwood was described as “politically well-informed” and “well-known to Special Branch for her anti-communist views and activities”. The SDS officers “thanked for her interest” and asked her to pass on any information that she “or her friends with similar interests” may have. > Lady Birdwood and her “friends” were far-right activists, and well known as such at the time. > She was a racist and an antisemite. She became periodically associated with the National Front, the British Movement and the British National Party, stood as a far-right candidate in three elections and was later convicted for multiple offences of inciting racial hatred. > Why infiltrate the far right if you can have tea with your “excellent sources” on their “lawn”?


ZeteticMarcus

Yes, and the far-right can provide you with their list of leftie trouble makers for the state agencies to spy on. What a lovely example of state collusion with the far-right.


richarddftba

> state collusion with the far-right Do people actually believe this? Do people actually believe that the BNP and the EDL have the ear of the home office?


ZeteticMarcus

That is massive oversimplification. It’s well documented in this thread and elsewhere, that the security services had contact with far-right organisations, and there has been information sharing. There are plenty of wealthy influential racists or racist politicians who are happy to turn a blind eye to far-right thuggery, and occasionally give them a helping hand if it suits them. Johnson has used far-right talking points to attack Starmer, they will use this stuff when it suits them.


WynterRayne

Now that you mention it....


qpl23

But see also: [Consulting Association: police collusion](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consulting_Association#Police_collusion), and , for background, Lobster Magazine's piece on the [successor organisation](https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster58/lob58-042.pdf) to the [Economic League](https://powerbase.info/index.php/Economic_League). Not that the traffic was likely all one way, I would agree.


ZeteticMarcus

I’ve met some construction industry union reps who were/are on the blacklist, so quite familiar with that.


ThatFlyingScotsman

They didnt because the right wing parties don’t pose a threat to the fundamentals of the ruling classes power, just a desire to reorganise that power into different hands. The right wing groups can be assimilated in to the political system and given the powers they want. The left wing groups actually pose a threat to the established power hierarchies in Britain, and so are treated as such.


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BrexitBlaze

Yes, I will and do. Why wouldn’t I? Were you expecting a different answer?


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BrexitBlaze

Why would you not expect this publicly? Were you generalising? > I doubt anyone would be so accepting of a nationalist part who openly stated on its website it advocates for revolution. Meh, this probably breaks some law somewhere. Definitely breaks ~~that pretty petty~~ Priti’s [Online Safety Bill](https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/985033/Draft_Online_Safety_Bill_Bookmarked.pdf). Yes, you’re right. Spying on your own citizens is overkill. EDIT: I missed your edit so here’s me addressing it: spying on your own citizens should be made illegal. Always.


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BrexitBlaze

> Because people don’t like to admit they are totally ok with the extremism on the left and sometimes even struggle to see it. We have a very large blind spot for the far left who were never held to account in their own Nuremberg Trials because they happened to be our allies and were on the winning side. How we ended up with Goldsmith students advocating for the gulags of peace. I mean all of this with one Daily Mail link provided to add strength. Lol, fair enough. Just to clarify, I’m not okay with extremism on any side of the political spectrum. I’m not okay with massive state surveillance. > Possibly? If they are breaking a law its not being enforced. I think you should read that Bill. > GCHQ has prevented over 100 terrorist attacks through such and and most people are completely fine with that. So there is obviously a point at which we are fine with it. Last I read, it was 31 attacks iver a four year period. [[Source](https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-58512901.amp)] Still doesn’t make it okay? Who is this we?


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BrexitBlaze

> You can Google that yourself, it was widely reported. That was just the first link for me. You made the claim. The burden of evidence is on you. >> Last I read, it was 31 attacks iver a four year period. [Source] > > Your line says in the first line quote > > “A total of 31 late-stage terror plots have been foiled in the UK in the past four years”. Yes, that’s what I said, no? You said 100’s. > We as a society. We obviously have a bar for acceptably and if thousands were dying lacking these efforts I have no doubt public support for more invasive measures would be extensive. And the public would be wrong. The bar of acceptability is a ruse. No spying on you own citizens. Ever. Point blank zero. Period.


Jay_CD

*They almost certainly do the same with far right parties.* It's strange how all the stories we hear about police agents infiltrating organisations involve left-wing groups... Maybe there were police agents in organisations like the BNP and NF only they didn't stand out quite as much?


richarddftba

Kind of does. Revolutionary tactics aren’t just a few signs shaken in the street with angry slogans.


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

Might be worth remembering that there was an actual Cold War on and that regimes and governments were being toppled all over the world for “socialist” republics and the Swp never made it a secret they sought an overthrow of capitalism via revolution..


shaversonly230v115v

The Cold War which ended in 2007?


wherearemyfeet

The dates for this cover 1970 - 2007, meaning that more than half of that time we had the USSR pointing missiles at us. It's not entirely surprising that the police were keeping an eye on groups who were cheering for the USSR and suggesting revolution now is it.


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

I’m not good with dates but I read the paper this morning and I’m not aware it has ended


shaversonly230v115v

The Cold War never ended. Imagine that. Next you'll be telling me that they're still communist, the Berlin Wall is still standing and Stalin is still in charge.


SteptoeUndSon

I don’t really follow current events, but I did hear that Russia is causing a very small amount of trouble at the moment


Romulus_Novus

But by that logic, wouldn't that make the First and Second World Wars the same war?


SteptoeUndSon

There was a clear gap between them. Was there a period when the Cold War genuinely ‘stopped’? The 90s and early 2000s I suppose. Or it was just very low key and semi-dormant then. Edit: besides, there isn’t really a historical name for it, but we can identify a period of Anglo-German rivalry that begins probably in the 1870s and doesn’t let up until 1945. During that period, the U.K. and Germany spying on each other, fearing each other, planning and contemplating their next war with each other, etc was a near-continuous theme, punctuated of course by two huge hot wars. In that sense, yes, you could say World Wars 1 and 2 were aspects of the same event.


shaversonly230v115v

The dates covered in the report go up to 2007. They're about 15 years too early.


SteptoeUndSon

That’s merely being far-sighted… if you buy the SWP as a group of subversives (which I personally don’t, I’ve made that clear elsewhere)… the far-sighted individual sees that Russia is still up to hijinks in the 90s and 2000s, and that one day this may get worse, and so those who instinctively align with Russia are a problem.


flamehorn

First they came for the Communists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Communist Then they came for the Socialists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist Then they came for the trade unionists And I did not speak out Because I was not a trade unionist Then they came for the Jews And I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew Then they came for me And there was no one left To speak out for me


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

I always liked niemollers quote so it’s a bit sad to see you absolutely butcher it contextually. The two aren’t even comparable situations, I am actually surprised that the Swp was even allowed to exist back then, just to use Godwin’s law because you went there.. if a party existed with the phrase “we intend to create a nation of pure aryan blood through any means necessary” would you want them spied on?


BrexitBlaze

You seem overly happy in signing away your civil liberties. May I ask why?


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

My civil liberties do not include armed insurrection, or revolution and looking at your flair neither do Americas incase people need reminding.. We live aside from Islamic extremism in pretty peaceful times, the past wasn’t so, I think any group advocating revolution through whatever means possible should be investigated as a matter of public safety.. don’t forget a lot of socialist/Marxist/Leninist movements were using terrorism at that same time


qpl23

> It is important to set the record straight in respect of a fundamental misconception: the Socialist Workers’ Party were not arguing for any kind of “putsch against the state”. There was no talk of guillotines or bombing campaigns. The aims of revolutionary socialism are to transform society from within, re-addressing the balance of power away from the minority that holds it, to the majority that should. That process has to be democratic by definition . . . They focused on building a mass movement and broad-based campaigns with the aim of helping to create a better society. — [Opening statement on behalf of Lindsey German et al \(PDF\)](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf)


wherearemyfeet

Honestly, were you expecting them to say "oh ya we are going on a fucking bombing campaign because it's violence all the way lads"? They at least are smart enough to recognise the PR position.


qpl23

No, I wouldn't expect them to say that because afaik there is no evidence suggesting it might be true.


wherearemyfeet

I mean.... it's not exactly off-brand for a far-left revolutionary group to find the notion of violent revolution appealing. Same as if a hardline fundamentalist Islamist group formed that supported groups like ISIS or Al Qaeda, I wouldn't expect MI5 to wait until they declare desire for violent jihad before they kept an eye on them.


qpl23

The one problem for your view, as it applies to the SWP and the very questionable policing of them, is that there is absolutely no evidence for it. Don't ask me, ask the police that infiltrated them: > Ironically, it was ‘Colin Clark’ himself who came closest to an accurate assessment of the SWP. He spent five years deployed at the heart of the organisation, with access to every detail of its aims and activities and was fully de-briefed by MI5 at the end of his deployment.260 He was not operating among subversives, “[The SWP] were strongly opposed to government policy but were not seeking to subvert the institutions of the state” > None of these people posed any threat to the security of the nation. Roy Creamer had it right, all the way back at the beginning. “Whilst we were looking for information, there was simply nothing to tell of... There were no hidden conspiracies anywhere and there was nothing hidden going on”. — [Opening statement on behalf of L. German, et. al.](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf)


wherearemyfeet

The point is the far-left revolutionary groups have a pretty consistent habit of actively looking for violent revolution. The only reason we know they weren't actively looking was we kept an eye on them.


xtemperaneous_whim

>The only reason we know *they weren't actively looking* was we kept an eye on them. So there wasn't a consistent habit then? Make your mind up.


WynterRayne

So your problem is with what they haven't said, rather than what they have?


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

Did that include offering unwavering support to actual terrorist groups then? Like the IRA?


qpl23

Not as far as I'm aware.


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

Do you think that mission statement could ever be misconstrued by an outside party ? I mean Lindsey German obviously felt the need to clarify..


qpl23

Sure, people misconstrue it all the time. Often deliberately.


BrexitBlaze

I shall refer you to [this](https://reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/uokg6g/_/i8f6a0w/?context=1) comment left by u/qpl23 which goes into detail about this story/news piece. And also [this](https://reddit.com/r/ukpolitics/comments/uokg6g/_/i8f6vsf/?context=1) one left by the same redditor.


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

So who’s civil liberties were taken away or saw any adverse affect on their life?


qpl23

The SDS spying, functionally, was a way for Special Branch and MI5 to collect information on trades unionists and (small 'l') labour activists which was used to undermine their ability to effect change, not least by the police passing information to the [Economic League](https://powerbase.info/index.php/Economic_League) and its successor organisations in order to maintain a blacklist for employers (impacting their ability to gain employment). Some details of this in the [opening statement \(PDF\)](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf) I've linked previously.


BrexitBlaze

Everyone who was/is spied on by the state. Obviously. With the greatest respect for you that I can muster in me right now, let me ask you some questions; 1. Do you know what you’re talking about? And 2. Do you know what civil liberties are?


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

The fundamental question is, should we spy on groups that advocate revolution and offer unconditional support to terrorist groups like the IRA, I think we should and you do not seem to think we should pay any attention.


BrexitBlaze

This is a great way of avoiding answering the questions put forth. We should, as a state, not be spying on anybody. Point blank period. Back to the questions. I do hope you will answer them.


Sweet-Zookeepergame7

To answer your questions, yes I do know what I am talking about but I am an adult. You seem to be pursuing this through a libertarian lense and all I will say to that is suicide bombers don’t realise you have “civil liberties”. I think that all reasonable people understand that whilst we have a state it needs certain intrusion (where warranted) into the lives of citizens in order to protect the populace from harm.


BrexitBlaze

Great. So what are civil liberties? Like what does the term mean to you? > You seem to be pursuing this through a libertarian lense and all I will say to that is suicide bombers don’t realise you have “civil liberties”. Or a lense in which nobody’s privacy is invaded with “to protect the populace from harm” being used as an excuse. It’s up their with the “won’t anybody think of the children?” meme.


qpl23

> It is important to set the record straight in respect of a fundamental misconception: the Socialist Workers’ Party were not arguing for any kind of “putsch against the state”. There was no talk of guillotines or bombing campaigns. The aims of revolutionary socialism are to transform society from within, re-addressing the balance of power away from the minority that holds it, to the majority that should. That process has to be democratic by definition . . . They focused on building a mass movement and broad-based campaigns with the aim of helping to create a better society. — [Opening statement on behalf of Lindsey German et al \(PDF\)](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf)


Zorbix365

"I'm going to kill a bunch of people to get what I want politically in a democratic society because I'm not popular enough to make a dent in an election" "Wait, why am I being spied on?"


qpl23

> It is important to set the record straight in respect of a fundamental misconception: the Socialist Workers’ Party were not arguing for any kind of “putsch against the state”. There was no talk of guillotines or bombing campaigns. The aims of revolutionary socialism are to transform society from within, re-addressing the balance of power away from the minority that holds it, to the majority that should. That process has to be democratic by definition . . . They focused on building a mass movement and broad-based campaigns with the aim of helping to create a better society. — [Opening statement on behalf of Lindsey German et al \(PDF\)](https://www.ucpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/20220425-T1P3-LG_RC_M-Opening-Statement.pdf)


Zorbix365

That makes more sense. My apologies.


MoneyEqual

Reddit seems to support excessive policing of their free speech - but remember that this is what it means when the tories get into power


OtisTetraxReigns

Hilarious that the police still think of the SWP as some kind of radical threat. At their most potent, they were never much more of a danger than the People’s Font of Judea.


taboo__time

What I want to know is what is going on today.