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19 May 2021

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We will not pay the cost of Covid! Defend the right to protest

Young Socialists contingent on the demo against war on Gaza, 15.5.21

Young Socialists contingent on the demo against war on Gaza, 15.5.21   (Click to enlarge)

Amy Sage, Bristol North Socialist Party

Despite the public outrage it's sparked, the government is ploughing on with the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill - which would seriously impede our right to protest.

It's ironic that a bill designed to stifle protests has sparked countless demonstrations across England and Wales, and is likely to again if the Tories attempt to push it any further.

There is no doubt about their motives behind the bill. It is a pre-emptive strike against the anger that is likely to explode onto the streets in the coming months: anger against the government's appalling handling of the pandemic, rising unemployment, austerity, sleaze and corruption.

The right to protest is an inalienable one. Without mass movements, the working class would not have managed to secure many of the rights we benefit from today. The right for women to vote, the right of non-property owners to vote, the eight-hour working day and five-day working week, and more besides, were all secured through mass protests and struggle. Taking away our ability to protest is a threat to every aspect of our lives.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is also part of a broader attempt by the Tories to use the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to expand the powers of the state and undermine our democratic rights. Another proposal in the Queen's Speech is to introduce a photo ID requirement for general elections. This requirement could risk hitting older, disabled and homeless voters disproportionately as they are less likely to have such documents (see page 5).

However, rather than strengthening its position, such proposals simply highlight the weakness of the Tory government and its capitalist supporters. Johnson and Co. are clearly afraid of the opposition they will provoke as they attempt to make us pay for the cost of this pandemic.

Even if this bill passes, the working class will not stay silent in the face of austerity, unemployment and homelessness. We will not sit back and allow the ruling class to erode our democratic rights.

Since the start of the pandemic, the government has made U-turn after U-turn; let's use our right to protest to force another one!

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In The Socialist 19 May 2021:


Build a mass movement to end Israeli state terror

Tens of thousands march against Israeli state terror

What we think

Johnson's Tories and Starmer's Labour have nothing to offer workers

Starmer moves against Unite - No to the attack on Beckett


What's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

Capitalism responsible for stark global Covid vaccine inequality

Workplace news

NHS: Scottish vote shows unions must fight for 15%

Unison: Elect reps who will back strike action

PCS elections - incumbents win, but solid vote for Broad Left Network

DVLA workers suspend strike for talks

Huge victory at Go North West as Unite defeats 'fire and rehire'

London Metroline strike against 'remote sign-on' goes ahead

CWU members' resolve to strike still firm as union enters talks

Strikes round-up

Campaigns news

Glasgow mass action defeats Home Office deportation attempt

Students and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

Mulivaikkal Remembrance Day 2021

Socialist Party black and Asian members discuss history

Help fund our bold socialist presence

We will not pay the cost of Covid! Defend the right to protest

Brighton marches to defend Moulsecoomb Primary School


Spycops inquiry continues to expose historic attacks on democratic rights

New voter ID laws: Electoral fraud - Tory style

News in brief

Readers' opinion

Readers' opinion


Home   |   The Socialist 19 May 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

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Article dated 19 May 2021

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