1.i have just heard again,via televiion news that the state will make another attempt to etablish legislation or a protocol to expect college staff effectively to spy on students,not imply to monitor behaviour but to re-read essays in the erach for sign of radicalisation.
2.this undoubtedly primarilly focussed on ilamic radicalisation but could inevitably be ued to identify anyone deemed radical,extreme,perverse or even simply odd,difficult or out of step.
3.this is not simply practically diffficult but raises isues about ethics,our so-called freedoms and much more.i wont go through alll the difficulties but there are many.
4.but i cant help but sugget that this is an intensification after porevious failures of related if not similar efforts.
5.probably a lot of us have been here before.i grew up into my teen and into adulthood when it became a badge of honour to believe or present that our telephones had been tapped.i believe there were more than everal occassions when friend,comrades or associates were stopped and asked about me or others.i am also aware that race and religion have been ued to target people before-black people harrased by police using various laws missapplied.i know that previou anti-terrorism legilation inclduing the 1976 pta/prevention of terrorism act had been used to arret,and effectively dissappear a scottish acquaintance for more than a weekend as he sounded irish.some employees were also questioned on the ferry to ireland on their way to a completely unrelated tudent event in belfast again a suspicious terrorists.of course my examples completely overlook the guildford 4,birmingham 6,and the systematic oppression of the irish and black communities.
6.then when reference i made to secret police and ocial control elsewhere,a in the days of the tazi and old soviet block there was always a lot of tutting and denial that it could happen here.i imply ask what is the difference?i defend neither the stazi nor uch practice a i again being proposed now in britain.
7.i alo learned the dangers of certain types of legislation from the past.i learned in my early education as a ssocialist about how some legilation argued for by the state for one purpose can then be twisted into omething else.hence 1930s public order legilation argued for to control the fascist right has actually been used more against the anti-fascists at the time and since,gthen againt the wider left and now is used more widely in a more simply criminal context.
8.conpiracy legislation has also been used to widen uch a net,in both a criminal context and a political context.i believe that would take me straight back to the irih trouble as i believe the birmingham 6 and guildford 4 were alo charged with conspiracy and the bwnic 14/british withdrawal from northern ireland campaign defenfdent were certainly charged with conpiracy when there advice to soldiers conscientiouly or otherwise troubled by service in ireland and helped to leave military ervice wa viewed as coniracy to cause incitement to dissaffection.the state lost the argument,the trial collapsed.
i would also however,make a point which relates to my own profesional practice.as a revolutionary socialist training to be a social worker in the 1970s,that experience took place in the context of many ideas being open and subject to question and debate,which broadly took shape in britain in the 1960s and 1970s around the development of a theme of the possibility of a radical social work.at it moderate end thi took the form of concern about the negative impact of change on well intended welfare provision,and at another of concern with particular practices,techniques and strategies humanise or radicalise an inadequate ocial provision.a third strand engaged the revolutionary socialists who deny that there are any esentially revolutionary practices although thi does not deny the importance of reform as a mean but not and end nor of the pathbreaking posibilities in the class struggle.
10.that current primarilly around the magazine case con contributed to the growth of miltant trade unionism in welfare proviion as a means,which also in it success alo contributed toit own demise.
11.i learned oem other related things,which included never exploiting client/ervice users as vehicles of our own political ideas,epecially where those service users could for example be in the hands of someone who whatever their ideas,at ease with or against the state,might still experience that ocial worker refuing money or taking a child into care.i think we all learned something of the relationhip of ideas to social practice.
12.i like to think then that there is a coherence in my thinking in working in the criminal justice system in working for example with racist offenders although i would not claim that my ideas fit neatly and seamlessly together.
13.let me clarify what i mean.as an anti racist,socialist committed to a more egalitarian outlook i might well act to physically stop fascists and racists,and challengeing the racist ideas at every time and opportunity.this is likely to debate more in the percieved interest of third parties inclduing victims and the public and may involve shutting down the racist,when any dicusion becomes a waste of time and effort with that bigotted viewpoint.in the professional context of dealing with racist opinion or with thoe convicted of racially aggravated or motivated offence i do not have the right to take them on in the same way.expression of such bigotry in front of third parties would be shut down apart from dicussions about the offending attitude or behaviour.discussion of uch issues might be systematically and repeatedly approached,though this does not neccessarilly involve the same urgency as on the street.
14.thi may comd down at times to indicating indifference to the attitude but a foccussed cending to the behaviour.the individual can think what they like but cannot act on it.
15.to bring this back to (islamist)radicalis,i find myelf in strange company.i may be critical of the ideas,and in the wider socio-political context might want to argue with them,but whilst actual terror i not only a criminal offense but is damagingly offfenive across the community,what anyone think is not.when a young woman was sentenced to prison for writing possibly bad and negative poetry in praise of islamic martyrs who may or may not have been convicted suicide bombers/terrorists,i or anyone ele might reject such effort but even an ex tory/conservative member of parliaent,matthew paris recognised that thinking is not acting.
16.some chritian mysticism,based on the words of jesus christ does require us to censor our thinking in order to guard and limit our behaviour and gto bring humility toour judgement of others,but if we as a comunity agree to criminalisation of thought itself,and the possible imprisonment for thoughgt crime then we run the risk of us being next,along with anyone who think differently or in a manner that doe not fit.hitory is littered with the victimisation for thought crime including the inquiisition and stalinism.indeed the former was the educator of the eciond.
17.we also deprive ourselves of the means to remove our rulers and oppressors who do convict us of thought crime butr would also be convicted by their action and behaviour.
7.i would make another pointfear