I’ve been trying to write about Ian Tomlinson and finding it difficult. Partly because I’ve already written many of the things I want to say, partly because there is already some excellent commentary on what happened, but also because I have no interest in adding to the torrent of liberal outrage.
My problem is one of anger, not just at the decision by the CPS not to charge Simon Harwood, the cop who killed Ian Tomlinson, but anger that our response never goes beyond liberal outrage. Social networking sites and the media are full of angry people, but their anger never materialises on the streets.Time and time again the cops kill people and get away with it, but we don’t fight back. The decision not to prosecute, whilst sickening, was not shocking – why should we expect anything less? Coming five years after the police murdered Jean Paul de Menzes, why would this case be different?
There has been a rush to blame various bodies and people, and they are all to blame in one way or another. The failure of the CPS to bring even an ABH charge is abhorrent – even if they had been within time to bring an assault charge it would have been a clear mockery when the injuries and nature of attack are so clearly compatible with an ABH charge.
However, it was the police who killed Ian Tomlinson, it was the police who tried to cover it up, and it is the police, from the thugs on the ground, to those who gave the orders who should be the focus of our rage.
G8 and G20 summits across the world have seen repression, from the bloodied streets of Genoa to recent events in Toronto. Every time a summit comes to town, basic freedoms and rights are disregarded in order to protect the global elite.
It’s time to wake up –these institutions do not exist to protect us but to subjugate us. They give us enough to believe we live in a free and democratic society whilst protecting capital and those who defend it. What is the use of having rights if the state determines when and where we can exercise them? We are given the right to protest when we’re no threat, but refused the right to even assemble when it’s most critical.
These are not rights, they are an outrage. This is not the time for words. It is the time for action.
“Police everywhere, justice nowhere!” –
Remember Ian Tomlinson and all other victims of police brutality.
Friday, 30 July, 12 noon
Office of Department of Public Prosecution, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge Road, SE1 9HS