TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE FIT TEAMS
30TH JUNE 2007 (1:30 onwards, University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1)
A call for solidarity outside the next DISARM DSEi public meeting and every time there is a Forward Intelligence Team presence at a meeting or on a protest.
At the last DISARM DSEi public meeting, as with every other public meeting called by the group since 2002, there were police in attendance from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT).
For anyone who doesn’t know, these are the cops who are paid to harass anarchists (and the Far Right, football fans and Islamic fundamentalists). They follow “known” people on protests and they stand outside public meetings taking photos and writing copious notes.
The personal is political. Over the last six years I have been harassed, wrongfully arrested, assaulted and driven to a nervous breakdown as a direct result of the treatment I have received from the FIT teams. I know people who will not attend meetings or protests because they can’t deal with the FIT teams. I do not want to watch another person being driven to the edge by their actions. I do not want to hear of one other person being discouraged from joining our actions because of their behaviour.
Once and for all we need to admit they are a problem. We’ve spent too long ignoring them, pretending they don’t have an impact on us because of a belief that once they know they’re having an effect, they will become more powerful. However they know they’re having an effect and this is why they’re persisting. They get away with what they do because we let them. And whilst we continue to ignore their presence, we will never tackle the problem.
I feel a lot stronger since I have admitted this vulnerability and I now feel a pressing desire to reclaim their power. We have seen their behaviour fuck up our friends. We have seen the very real impact their presence has had on our movement. Isn’t it time we attacked this disease,this cancer which has afflicted us for years?
If we were being systematically tortured by the State, we would protest. Mental abuse is just as important and it is vital to the strength of our actions that we challenge this. This call to action and discourse is an attempt to kick start that challenge.
Over the last seven years, everyone who has attended a public (state perceived) anarchist meeting in London will have had their details recorded. This has both enabled the police to build up profiles of us over the years and has also made many newcomers feel uncomfortable about joining our meetings. Many people carry on walking when they see thecops.
It is argued that our meetings are already infiltrated and it is therefore a distraction to focus on the police outside. However the psychological effect of having them outside our meetings is damaging; damaging to both the experienced activists who feel harassment at their presence and to the people who do not even step inside the meeting because they don’t want their photograph taken.
The cops are so comfortable outside our meetings they think they don’t need back up. Four cops and a photographer feel safe outside our meetings. We have become too accepting of our own repression and this must change. We hold large demonstrations on behalf of others, on behalf of comrades in foreign jails. We must extend this solidarity to ourselves. We need to start dismantling the chains of our own oppression.
At the last Disarm DSEi public meeting, two people were arrested after trying to hold up placards whilst the cops were filming. Many people attending the meeting were inspired by the action and many commented they were happy to have been able to attend without having their photographs taken.
This proposal calls for solidarity demos outside every public meeting where there is likely to be a FIT presence. Every time the FIT team harass us, we must react. We must show them we will no longer tolerate this treatment. We must rebuild solidarity amongst groups. We may not want to get involved in the organising of every campaign, but we can spare half an hour to stand outside a meeting in solidarity with those in attendance. If we can spread this level of solidarity throughout the different groupscurrently experiencing harassment from FIT teams, then we are in a place to build a stronger, more effective, community.
Having a few persistent people with banners is a good start. However we should be aiming to get to the stage where it is prohibitively expensive for them to police our public meetings. We need to get to the stage that when they try to follow us through our demonstrations, people automatically link arms and prevent them from doing so. We are safer to the State if we stay as disparate groups. We are at our most powerful when we work in solidarity with each other.
This proposal can only start to work if we act in solidarity with each other. What are you going to do?
Further Action:This proposal is only meant to be a starting point. If there are enough people interested, it’d be good to have a cross group meeting to discuss strategies et cetera. This proposal is a personal response, it’d be good if different groups wanted to come together and write a joint proposal. For further information, networking, ideas etc email defycops(at)yahoo.co.uk
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A blog has been set up with the aim of becoming a resource for people trying to resist the FIT teams. People are invited to add their experiences, ideas, photographs, information – www.fitwatch.blogspotcom. Anyone can add comments to the blog, but anyone can be added as an author who wishes to contribute regularly.
I feel sorry for the folks who get followed around, I have been one of the lucky ones so far, despite being photographed by FIT hundreds of times. Maybe its because I always use a cycle to get around which makes it difficult for them to follow. But just don't let them grind you down. If it all gets too much for you step back a little and let others take the heat. Its best not to become paranoid because then they are winning. At every opportunity report police transgressions to the Indymedia Newswire, preferably with photos or videos of them in action intimidating and abusing peaceful demonstrators.
How come photos of the FIT in action outside DSEi meetings lately haven't been published here?
i take it the arrests are not followed by charges but at least arrests generate paperwork
concerted efforts to block filming seem more effective than solidarity demos even at the expense of arrests.