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Second Open Letter to those concerned with the progress of our enemies

TPTG | 14.10.2011 01:59 | Policing | Repression | Social Struggles

Second Open Letter to those concerned with the progress of our enemies (including some necessary clarifications and refutations of the cop consultant's defence team's claim)


We have followed almost all the comments (both positive and negative) made on the various sites on the questions we raised in our first Open Letter. What made the worst impression to us about the defence team that was organized around Dr. John Drury was not only the scurrilous behaviour of Libcom’s administrators but mainly the seemingly bizarre response of Aufheben to our Letter. Since many questions raised in our Letter have been evaded by Aufheben in their response, we will have to start this second Letter with a summary and an extension of what we had said.

Let us summarize the main arguments in our previous Open Letter and the broader context we put them into.

As everybody knows, we are in a critical period of capitalist attack and class counter-attack in which, among other things, confrontation with police tactics and their academic/intellectual consultants is of vital importance for us.

Starting from a basic analysis of the modern democratic capitalist state in its two contradictory fundamental aspects: the provision for the smooth course of capital accumulation and the legitimization of exploitative capitalist relations, we can only understand its policing/repressive apparatus and its methods if we put them into this very context. Like the rest of the state institutions, the police should also act in such a way as to both facilitate exploitation and capitalist circulation in imposing public order through outright repression when needed and to legitimize its own role appearing as “co-operative” and flexible enough by hindering potential crowd unification, extending/reinforcing existing separations in the struggles, encouraging, and even leading to self-policing by, the non-violent crowd members themselves. And this is the where the cop consultant academics’ role proves useful to the state, for example Drury and Co. Those social psychologists focusing on crowd theories from a police perspective present the state and its repressive mechanisms with the most sophisticated approach so far to crowd control by dismantling fallacious older relevant theories on crowds. Their approach instead takes into consideration the social identities of the crowd members, the different groupings within the crowd and their interaction with the police. Their proposed ways of policing therefore help the cops minimize conflict and at the same time gain the co-operation of the peaceful majority in policing the minority of trouble-makers – thus, they legitimize the police themselves. As this scientific advice to the cops aims at pacifying class struggles, such pacification should be conducted in an elaborate manner so that the police profile remains intact (or hardly damaged) and thus the legitimacy of the state is renewed. However, make no mistake here: theirs’ is not a liberal-reformist approach as nowhere in their analyses does there appear a broader political view of extending civil rights and transforming social relations. It is a modern, realpolitik, technocratic model of policing whereby indiscriminate police violence is not favoured lest it provokes unified crowd violence –besides, the riot squads always lurk at a distance, as suggested… This knowledge-based public order policing approach, presented in their article Knowledge-Based Public Order Policing: Principles and Practice (by Reichert, Stott, Drury and others), offers practical guidelines to the police (e.g. the correct use of corralling – i.e kettling) but also examples of successful implementation (as in the 2004 Euro Championship): the guys deserve every last penny they get.

In our first letter we also stressed the limited perception of social conflicts these scientist, cop consultants have: “conflicts between the police and other [than hooligans] alienated [sic] groups in our society” are not “seemingly intractable”, as they claim. The conflicts they refer to are class conflicts, that is real contradictions of capitalist society that no academic, police consultancy, operationalist approach can ever solve. However, the state itself is the embodiment of this very contradiction between capital and “alienated groups”. The state is compelled to use more modern, advanced and elaborate academic cop consultancies to deal with class contradictions together with harsh repression when needed. Therefore, we believe, in a period of escalating class struggles in Greece (and worldwide), pro-revolutionaries should not disregard or underestimate such academic guidelines and research strengthening policing but on the contrary take them into serious consideration, analyse and deal with them. Such knowledge-based cop consultancies are even more dangerous to us especially when “knowledge” derives from academics who are simultaneously (and in a schizophrenic way) involved into anti-state communist politics.

This is the social context in which we put the “Drury issue” – the case of the member of the Aufheben group. It is because of the seriousness we attribute to well-informed academic research into policing, from the inside, that we handle Drury (and all the Drurys of this world) with equal seriousness. Other issues are also important, though: the role of academic, state intellectuals in general; the dreadful state of some anti-state communists who not only choose to passively ignore state strategies but also defend energetically their clique and proven cop consultants in a truly gang-style way; the degree of alienation that schizophrenic types such as Drury reveal etc. However, we let such issues to be dealt with by others (some have already started doing it).

“IT ALL COULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED VIA EMAIL” -a member of Libcom collective
Before we take on the core arguments of the Aufheben group’s response, we will comment briefly on what had happened in the months preceding the publication of our Open Letter. Aufheben say, in the beginning of their response, that we published our letter “despite an email circulated in August clarifying the numerous factual errors and false claims [we] make” and again in the end of their text “[TPTG] made no attempt to clarify the facts – for example by contacting us with a simple e-mail. We circulated an email back in August explaining these facts. It seems to have been ignored.” This is what happened: when we discovered last January that Drury, whom we knew as a member of Aufheben, was a cop consultant we were shocked (honestly, we have no idea what this “decade-long gossip” his group refers to is about but we would be interested to know how they dealt with it – just ignored it as another “smear”?). We immediately contacted some London comrades we have known since the 90’s, sending them the relevant documents (including the Policing article) and asking them if they had ever heard anything about this guy’s job. Nobody knew anything about his relation to the police neither had they seen any of the documents before. In the past, whenever we had tried to get in contact with Aufheben through their collective email address it was always “Johnny” – as Dr. Drury is known in the milieu - who answered. On principle we refuse to discuss politics with people related to the cops (or at least suspected of working with the cops). That is why we asked the people we know in London if they had any of the other Aufheben members’ personal emails. One of them said that he would try to get their consent to be contacted by us using their email addresses. The other members did not give him this consent (i.e. told him they did not wish to give it) because they wished comments to be made via the Aufheben collective email address. So, there was not a commonly acceptable way we could communicate with the rest of the group. Some months later, in August, somebody gave Aufheben a copy of a draft text on the issue Samotnaf was circulating for discussion and whose final version he was intending to post on Libcom. On August 22nd, they sent him a reply to this draft which they CCed to other people including us. This awkward and weakly argued email, instead of providing us with satisfactory answers, actually increased our suspicions and urged us to look into the matter more closely. Their “response” to us on Libcom dated October 7 is simply a cut and paste answer taken from the first 4 pages of that older email of theirs (which, by the way, we cannot publish here, since they said it is not for circulation; they can do it, if they wish). All they have done is change the names from Samotnaf to TPTG and cut out a few phrases, plus add a couple (which is how they managed to reply within 12 hours to our Open Letter…). From this ready-made response of theirs’ then, our suspicions that all these people cared about was to defend their cop consultant friend at any cost were confirmed. Actually, by not dealing with our specific arguments against knowledge-based public order policing and the concrete examples of how dangerous it can be, they proved - in their only concern to protect their member - their indifference towards the matter of state repression. It is obvious to us that even if we had managed to contact them last spring, we would have been served with the same lies and distortions included in their response. So, since August this question of contact and discussion between us and them has been of no interest to us. Why? Because we don’t like to be treated in a dishonest way, as if we were idiots. To state it bluntly: our initial suspicions about their refusal to let us contact them through their personal emails (thus avoiding Dr. Drury) were reinforced by their totally unconvincing email in August, so not even a grain of truth was expected from them anymore. We had to go on with our research on the researcher ourselves.

Let us now focus on their response in some detail. In it they develop a line of argument that attempts to belittle what we exposed publicly. At first, they try to devaluate our Open Letter as a “smear” and as a bunch of “factual errors”, “false claims” and “unfounded speculations”. Then they try to disconnect the work of Dr. Drury from his “liberal-reformist” – as they call them - colleagues (Dr. Stott and Prof. Reicher). After that, they want to persuade the readers that the work of these two people is not dangerous and when they do “lobby” the police they do it for a humane reason. In addition, they argue that Dr. Stott’s and Prof. Reicher’s research is not really useful for the police. Through a series of irrational arguments they intend to show that the cops don’t take into account their “insights”. They even try to connect “soft” policing strategies with the advance of struggles. As they write: “we also disagree with TPTG when they suggest that this expert intervention is an active impediment to social change.” Finally, they scold us for not communicating with them. Let’s now see if any of their arguments are valid.

Leaving the part on the research work aside for the moment, let’s start with the “supposed dangerousness of the liberal reformists” part of their response. At first, it looks quite bizarre that Aufheben devote a disproportionately large part of their response to “correct” us regarding the Policing paper and their member’s colleagues’ work in general, while they have already stated categorically that their member had nothing to do with it and moreover that they (their member, as well) “reject fully” these academics’ “assumptions”. Wouldn’t it have sufficed just to denounce our accusations and prove his dissociation from them? However, what looks bizarre or ambiguous or awkward in this part of their response may not be at all, as we will show later. We argue that their choice to label the work of these policing designers/consultants as “liberal-reformist” is a deliberate distortion. A careful reading and analysis of the “Policing article” would suffice to prove that these strategists do NOT “lobby for less violent policing” and do NOT “seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences” because they “support ‘anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’”, as we have already shown in our first Open Letter. According to their designing of policing, the police strategy should be graded whereby “levels of policing intervention” should be developed “with the aim of creating a positive and close relationship with crowd members, but also of monitoring incipient signs of disorder”. While the first level of policing intervention should be carried out by “officers in uniform, working in pairs spread evenly throughout the crowd within the relevant geographical location – not merely remaining at the edges” with “their primary function” being “to establish an enabling police presence” and having been “specifically trained to be friendly, open and approachable”, accepted as they are by the crowd, they can “spot signs of tension and incipient conflict” and can “therefore respond quickly to minor incidents of emergent disorder and ensure that they targeted only those individuals who were actually being disorderly without having impact on others in the crowd”. Policing shifts to level 2 “where disorder endures or escalates” with “larger groups of officers moving in, still wearing standard uniforms” in order to “communicate with fans [or “other alienated groups in our society”] in a non-confrontational manner, to reassert shared norms concerning the limits of acceptable behaviour, and to highlight breaches of those norms and the consequences that would flow from them. Should this fail, the intervention would shift up to level 3. Officers would don protective equipment and draw batons, but always seeking to target their actions as precisely as possible. If this is still insufficient, then the riot squads in full protective equipment and with water cannon are always ready at the fourth tactical level” (as cited in the Policing article, p.412-413, slightly re-arranged for clarification’s sake). So, there is nowhere a sign of “lobbying for less violent policing”. On the contrary, Drury and Co. talk about the right timing of the use of police violence which should be as targeted as possible and seen as “legitimate” as possible. The argument of the supposed “support” of these policing strategists’ for ‘“anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’” is equally groundless and false. What they actually support (and also advise the police to do) is respect for the enactment of the right of peaceful citizens/members of the crowd to demonstrate or protest in the street insofar as their protest is self-limited within the permissible limits of bourgeois democracy. No matter how hard we tried, we found in the article no support for the anticapitalist demonstrator to question practically existing bourgeois legality and to broaden it, as a liberal reformist would do on principle. On the contrary, they fully support the “right” of the police to repress violent demonstrators, the ones that disturb public order and by extension bourgeois legality and capitalist circulation of commodities. Thus Aufheben’s claim that they “seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences” is equally wrong: they clearly advise for targeted, differentiated police violence and pre-emptive arrests. So, how “politically irrelevant” can it then be to “do research” with fellow technocratic designers of advanced policing strategies who propose methods and interventions for the state’s apparatuses and organizations in order to de-escalate conflicts, enhance the legitimacy of the police and the state and also save budget money? (given that a confrontation, except when really needed, is always more expensive for the state’s budget, than a peaceful “crowd event”).

Based on this initial distortion, Aufheben go on to criticize our “misunderstanding”: “the ‘Policing’ paper has [not] helped in tactics of repression”. Why? Because, as they say, “in plain English, ‘guiding the cops to act in ways which maximizes the opportunities to engage crowd members’ in processes of de-escalating conflict means suggesting to the cops that it’s in their own interests not to use force as their first choice method. The research on which the paper is based shows that policing perceived by crowd members as illegitimate and indiscriminate brings them together against the police; the premise, therefore, is those situations [our emphasis] where people are not already united against the police. The research and ideas don’t explain how the police’s actions can create difference in a crowd where it didn’t exist previously.” What a clumsy attempt to present the cop consultants’ basic method of divide-and-rule as useless and harmless since the crowd is already divided! Now, although English is not our mother tongue, what we have understood perfectly well by reading the cop consultants’ guidelines is that they always perceive crowd members to be in different groupings within it, as far as violent intentions are concerned, and that is why Drury and Co. say, in plain English, that: “the relationship and the balance between groupings within the crowd is critically dependent upon the interaction between the crowd and outsiders [e.g. police]” and that “where the police have both the inclination and the power to treat all members in a crowd event as if they were the same, then this will create a common experience amongst crowd members which is then likely to make them cohere as a unified group”. So, for them what is of importance is not to “disrupt the willingness of crowd members to contain the violence of those in their midst - what we term self-policing” and thus they “do suggest that this understanding [of “processes through which violence escalates and de-escalates”] can guide the police to act in ways that minimize conflict and maximize the opportunities to engage crowd members themselves in achieving this end”, with this “engagement” actually meaning that the non-violent ones can be “recruited as allies in subduing violence” (all excerpts are from the Policing article, p.407, 408, 409, cited in our previous Open Letter. We are sorry for repeating the citations but we have to since neither Aufheben took them into consideration in their cut-and-paste response nor their sympathizers in Libcom and elsewhere). Reinforcing existing divisions and separations within crowds on the street level and outright repression is, of course, the most the police can do as an apparatus of repression (with a little elaborated scientific help) but this is precisely the field these cop consultants “do research” in as specialists. The “obvious limits to the extent to which the cops can take on board and act upon this knowledge” are the limits of the police in general faced with proletarian struggles, a fact that police practitioners already know, that’s why they are constantly seeking for more effective policing methods. What seems simplistic therefore is to suggest, as Aufheben do, that the cops act “regardless of such insights”, when the HMIC report was based precisely on Drury and Co’s “insights” and consultancies or that state funds are spent on such “research” out of bad judgement or plain idiocy and, moreover, it’s just as simplistic to dismiss – in such a twisted manner – the designing of policing implemented so many times against proletarians in struggle or in fun (so-called “hooliganism”). However, Aufheben not only underestimate, through distortion, the importance of these policing consultancies; they even directly reject any serious discussion about the “relation between ‘facilitative’ policing and the falling back of struggles”. This relation is not a “simple” one, they say, as if they are addressing simpletons. “There are too many mediations”,“contingencies”, “numerous factors”... Yes, we are very well aware of the fact that other mechanisms and mediations (political parties, unions, the media etc) that hinder proletarian “empowerment” should always be taken into consideration and Aufheben would be entitled to “correct” us if we were engaged in a communist theoretical discussion with them on the importance of violence and police repression in general in class struggles –and, moreover, if we argued like hot-heads. However, the situation is completely different: while we prove that one of their members has been heavily involved in consulting the police how to repress struggles “correctly”, instead of just refuting this, they also feel obliged to both present such expert intervention as harmless and to relativise police repression (soft or hard) as if it had no importance at all. Why such a bizarre response from a supposedly communist group, we ask again. Perhaps a social psychologist could be useful here: “Once people define themselves in terms of a group membership, the fate of one member of the group and (hence of others in the group), the well-being of that member, the prestige and reputation of that member becomes the group’s fate, its well-being, its prestige and its reputation” [paraphrazing Drury and Co. from the Policing article, p. 406].

But apart from that, we also argue here that by doing this they want to preemptively minimize the effect of further evidence about his involvement in policing consultancies that could be brought to light sooner or later. Well, we prefer to have it sooner.

Now let’s debunk one by one all of their misleading claims about “correct” and “incorrect” facts.

1. Aufheben claim that John Drury (JD) “did not write the Policing paper or any part of it”, that “he was added as an author by the first author as a “favour” because part of the paper refers to J’s research on identity-change in crowds” and that “he allowed his name to be added to a paper that he was against in principle.”

Some people have already reasonably asked why after four long years (the Policing article was published in 2007) Dr Drury has not withdrawn it from his profile on the University of Sussex site if he is against it in principle. This reasonable question can easily be answered by the simple fact that he had no reason to be against what he himself had written or helped write numerous times before and after that article. People might be interested to know that this is not the only article in a police journal where JD appears as an author. Namely, JD is one of the authors of the article Chaos theory, which was published in Jane’s Police Review, 117, 6026 in April 2009, two years after the Policing article. This article which is co-signed by two of the co-authors of the Policing article (C.J Stott and S.D. Reicher) repeats almost verbatim what Drury and Co. had written two years earlier. According to the editorial summary of this article (available at:, “new research into policing high-risk protests suggests that understanding a crowd is key to controlling it. Clifford Stott, Stephen Reicher and John Drury look at how the theory could have helped officers police the G20 protests”. In this case, just because “the police handling of the G20 protest” that year had become “the subject of ongoing negative national news headlines” [p.20] the police perspective of the authors is even more pronounced than in the Policing article as the following quotations show: “Mass containment of crowds during public order incidents may be legally justifiable, but how effective it is in managing crowd dynamics remains open to question” [p. 20]. “What is clear is that policing a major event in central London [the G20 protest] has turned into another critical incident for the service, and the more positive aspects of the operation will be widely ignored” [p. 20]. “If the police want to manage crowds, the most effective way of doing so is to understand and harness the processes underlying their behaviour. What our research suggests is that a lack of accurate knowledge about crowd dynamics is also leading to missed opportunities during public order events for developing more effective tactics and command-level decision making”. We have also been exploring the implication of our understanding of crowd dynamics for police command and control structures, approaches to intelligence, accountability and multi-agency co-operation. This new theoretical approach means it is possible to start asking the right questions about how to build more effective and proportionate policing responses to high-risk crowd events” [p. 21-22]. As Drury and Co. boast: “The success of this approach has now been recognized internationally. The research-led model has been adopted by the European Council Working Group in International Police Co-operation and continues to be used across Europe” [p. 22]. Therefore their work may also have direct implications to the ongoing class struggles in Greece or elsewhere. It must also be noted that this article cites 3 other papers co-authored by Dr. Drury including the article published in the Policing journal. This should be noticed by all those who have swallowed Aufheben’s lie that JD is not one of the authors of this gem.

Moreover, according to a December 2009 press release by the University of Sussex ( (also mentioned by two commenters on the Libcom discussion), Dr Drury, along with his respectable colleagues and friends Dr. Stott and Prof. Reicher, was “consulted by the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) review into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London. Now the HMIC’s report – Adapting to Protest – Nurturing the British Model of Policing – [] reasserts the principles of the traditional British model of approachable, impartial and accountable policing based on minimum force for major public order events. The researchers’ ‘new psychology of crowds’ formed the basis for the recommendations of the report. They emphasize that most crowd members have peaceful intentions and would normally shun advocates of violence. However, this can change if people feel they are being mistreated by the police. Effective policing therefore needs to be based on a ‘dialogue’ approach. This approach has three core elements: an understanding of the aims and intentions of crowd members; a focus on helping crowd achieve legitimate aims; and a series of graded interventions which target those causing disorder without denying the rights of the majority. These ideas have already transformed policing in several European countries through the team’s consultancy, led by Dr Stott. The researchers conclude that, if implemented in the UK, they would be equally effective in minimizing crowd violence here.” But let’s see what Dr. Drury himself said about his team’s work (his comments are included in the same press release): “Our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratization of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work.” He refers to chapter 4 of the above mentioned HMIC’s report and the interventions he and his colleagues have designed for the police are those mentioned in the Policing and the Jane’s Police Review articles –at least, these are the ones that have been published up until now. Also, notice that Dr. Drury approves of “mass democratization of crowd management”. So much for a rejection of liberal-reformism!

We believe that the above evidence suffices to prove, beyond any doubt, that all the above claims made by Aufheben are totally mendacious and, what’s more, that their position on this issue is totally hypocritical for a supposedly revolutionary group, especially when they admit that there’s been some “decade-long gossip” around their comrade’s activities. If there’s been “decade-long gossip”, as they say, how come that they never searched if there was fire behind the smoke?

INTERLUDE: “We have ways of making you talk” (quote from Aufheben no. 12)
JD’s research on “identity change in crowds” is not at all as harmless as Aufheben have tried to convince us. As Dr. Drury’s team of state experts has repeatedly stated, the theoretical knowledge of crowd psychology is promoted by them as the solid basis for the determination of “police strategic and tactical decisions during an event” and the design of certain policing models which, as they have shown, have already been put into practice. It would really be interesting to examine how Dr Drury and his colleagues have formed their theories of crowd psychology that now inform police tactics and strategy. If the references of “Knowledge-based Public Order Policing: Principles and Practice” ( are reviewed , it becomes evident that the theoretical knowledge which informs police tactics and strategy for crowd management has been constituted through an analysis of interviews with participants in the Poll Tax movement and the 1994 No M11 Link Road Campaign (and others which we leave for the reader to find out for himself/herself). An excerpt from his paper which deals with some specific crowd events during the No M11 Link Road Campaign [see Collective Action and Psychological Change] is indicative of his police perspective: “Thus, the majority did not radicalize as soon as the police arrived on George Green. Rather, any changes were dependent upon the ways in which the police acted towards crowd members. In short, the ‘extreme’ position only became influential to the extent that the police acted towards the majority so as to create a new context and new social relations within which ‘extreme’ actions became both legitimate and possible. Had the police been present but not violated the expectations of the majority, or if they had even acted in ways that violated the negative expectations of the minority, then we would not have expected any radicalization of the majority and we might even have found moderation among the minority. Hence, we would argue that the minority influence and polarization phenomena that we have found cannot be understood simply by reference to who is present in context. They demand an analysis of the evolving interactions through which the very nature of those parties is changed” [p. 598].

As Drury and Reicher point out in one of their papers [see The Intergroup Dynamics of Collective Empowerment]: “in analyzing contested events where crowd members are doing things that are opposed by police and local authorities and where the topic concerns acts that might be censored by these authorities or even be illegal it is necessary to have the full trust of respondents. This is complicated by the fact that members of many groups in protest distrust academics who they see as implicated in the system that is being opposed. It was this consideration which led us to analyse the specific protest against the setting of the poll tax by Exeter City Council in March 1990. The researchers had good contacts both among the protestors and among the councilors. On the basis of these contacts a sizable number of participants were prepared to discuss their perspective and their actions in some details” [p. 386].

There are two comments we would like to make. First, from now on no protesters should ever participate in such research organized by academics that present themselves as “sympathetic to their cause”. Second, the militant inquiry or “workers’ inquiry” – which was presented so unfavourably in Aufheben #12 by Drury and his ilk, under one of his multiple identities, this time that of a “communist” – is a completely different activity that may contribute to the expansion and strengthening of proletarian struggles on the absolute condition that it has no connection whatsoever with academic research.


2. Aufheben also claim that JD’s mass emergency talks to cops consist only “of a critique of irrationalist models and assumptions”, that “J had nothing to do with anyone from NATO” and that he does not seek to provide expert advice to cops by persuading them to use certain methods in ‘public order’ policing.

It’s true that Dr. Drury has made many efforts to conceal his cooperation with the police and other organizations either in the form of consultancies or in the form of lectures and seminars on crowd control since he learnt through some London comrades last January that we knew about his profesional activities.

First of all, he has changed his profile 2 times on the University of Sussex site in the months since January! Fortunately, we managed to retrieve all the versions which follow enclosed in this text (, In the oldest version of his profile, before February 2011, JD stated: “[My] consultancies include the National Police CBRN Centre, NATO/the Department of Health Emergency Planning Division, Birmingham Resilience, and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat. I run a Continued Professional Development (CPD) course on the Psychology of Crowd Management for relevant professionals, and I teach on the CPD course on Policing Major Incidents at the University of Liverpool”. In the intermediate version, which was on view only from February till August 2011, the terms “consultancies” and “NATO” as well as the fact that he ran a “Continued Professional Development (CPD) course on the Psychology of Crowd Management for relevant professionals” had disappeared and were replaced by the following statement: “My work on mass emergency behaviour has been used by the emergency services (e.g., the National Police CBRN Centre), the Department of Health, and Birmingham Resilience. I convene a course on the Psychology of Crowd Management for event safety planners at Bucks New University, and I teach about mass emergencies on the CPD course on 'Policing Major Incidents' at the University of Liverpool”. Finally, in the last version - fabricated after he had heard last August that our comrade Samotnaf was going to disclose his activities on Libcom (this version is the only one still on view) - the reference to the Police CBRN Centre has disappeared completely, as well as the fact that he teaches cops about mass emergencies on the CPD course at the University of Liverpool: “My work on mass emergency behaviour has been used by the emergency services, the Department of Health, and Birmingham Resilience. I convene a course on the Psychology of Crowd Management for music event safety planners at Bucks New University”. Notice the modifications he makes from one day to the next: from his specific police, NATO etc. consultancies to generalities about his “work on mass emergency behaviour” and the restriction of his courses to “a course on the Psychology of Crowd Management for music event safety planners”! Unfortunately for Dr. Drury, another fairly recent profile continues to be on view on the site of “Kent Fire and Rescue Service” (

The information presented in the latter shows beyond any doubt (although not in the explicit cop language he had used in his policing articles), that his work on mass emergencies which is portrayed by Aufheben as totally disconnected from crowd management during protests, in reality is just an offshoot of his previous work: “He began his career researching into and publishing on the dynamics of protest crowds and social movements, showing how taking part in some forms of collective participation can lead to changes in social identity, including positive transformations such as empowerment. He extended these ideas into the area of crowding and density and, with his colleague Dr David Novelli, was able to show the conditions under which being in a dense crowd can be enjoyed as well as avoided. Taking two of the themes from this previous work - the positive role of psychological crowd membership, and the role of crowd managers/outside agencies in such positive (or negative) outcomes - for the past eight years John has concentrated on the psychology of mass emergency behaviour”.

The same is more clearly stated in his team’s 2009 Jane’s Police Review article [Chaos Theory]: “Over the past thirty years the authors’ team of social psychologists has been amassing scientific evidence concerning the psychology of crowd violence and the implications of this theory for public order policing… Our team has also begun to explore the implications of this theory for reacting to mass emergencies and disasters. The results are already leading to important policy developments, such as in revisions to the Police National CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) Centre training and policy documentation and in the new NATO guidelines on psychosocial care for people affected by disasters, and there are opportunities for advancing police public order responses to CBRN attacks” [p. 20-21-23].

Moreover, the “Kent Fire and Rescue Service” source proves that JD has received plenty of money for his work. Namely: “John is currently involved in a number of research projects, both as PI in grant-funded research and as a student supervisor, on the interrelated themes of crowd management, collective resilience, collective empowerment, and emergency response to natural disasters, conventional terror attacks and CBRN. These include: a multi-method project on the role of crowd representations ('disaster myths') in event management and emergency preparedness (Leverhulme funded, with Dr Clifford Stott); a Department of Health/Royal College of Psychiatrists funded research and development project on psychosocial tools for emergency first responders (with Prof Richard Williams); a Health Protection Agency funded project on strategies of management and communication in a mass CBRN incident and decontamination compliance; and a Saudi government funded project to look at the management of and prevention of crowd accidents at the annual Hajj to Mecca.” Only one of these projects is funded with more than 80,000 pounds.

If after all that someone has the gall to claim that this funding is connected “just” with “humane” [sic] work on “mass emergencies” and not with crowd control, should also have a look at how Drury and Co. have acknowledged in the Chaos Theory article that the Home Office provided them with funding “to conduct research on the effective management of English fans travelling to continental Europe” [p. 22] and that their team “conducted a series of studies of command-level training for public order in England and Wales”, “as the result of a jointly funded PhD study with the UK Football Policing Unit” [p. 21].

Let’s also have a look at the “Continued Professional Development (CPD) course on the Psychology of Crowd Management” which he ran in 2010 and which has now also disappeared from his site. It’s a marvellous story of both education on crowd management and money. “This CPD course is aimed at all professionals who work with, or plan around, crowd events, including the emergency services, event organizers, stewarding organizations, stadium managers, health and safety officers, emergency/resilience planners and business continuity managers. Crowding and public safety, emergencies, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and the potential for crowd conflict and disorder are some of the most pressing contemporary hazards. Those who work with crowds depend upon knowledge of crowd behaviour in order to manage these risks. As distinct from existing practitioner-led courses, this course presents the latest scientific research and thinking in crowd psychology. It is intended to ground crowd management professionals in core concepts and principles transferable across a variety of domains, as well as presenting rationales for practice in specific areas. Topics covered will include: types of crowds; models of crowding and crowd behaviour; mass emergency behaviour: ‘mass panic’; crowd protests, conflict and ‘public (dis)order’. There will also be opportunity for discussion around specialist issues such as communication; CBRN; facilitating crowd resilience; public responses to pandemics; and crowd self-policing. Course costs: Registration for the course is £375. Accommodation is also available. To request a booking form contact or write to Dr John Drury, School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, BRIGHTON BN1 9QH, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1273-872514” [our emphasis]. Fortunately, we have managed to retrieve this vanished page which is available at: For the doubting Thomases [or should we say the willing idiots?], here is the link to the details of this course which Dr. Drury failed to erase completely:

And to dispel any remaining doubts or reservations about our Mr Nice Guy’s job, we provide a link to the PDF document related to the 2008 Police CBRN consultancy which has also disappeared from his site ( The content of this text is copied and pasted below.

Police CBRN consultancy
Psychology of crowd behaviour and public disorder

• Crowd behaviour is meaningful, limited
• Different crowds have different identities (i.e. norms, values and aims)
• Knowledge based policing means understanding the identity of each crowd
• Certain police practices can contribute to disorder through:
o Empowering a crowd (turning an aggregate into a unity)
o Legitimizing anti-police elements
• Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves
o Communication of police aims
o Facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority
o A graded response to potential disorder

Psychology of mass emergencies and disasters

• The myth of mass panic
• If mass emergency crowd behaviour is meaningful then
o The importance of communication/ information/ explanation/ openness (lack of communication creates distrust – reverse ‘crying wolf’ syndrome)
o The importance to communication of trust (definition of self, ingroup, and context)
• Maintaining endogenous orderliness through form of messages
o E.g. problem of ‘don’t panic’ massages
• The prevalence of solidarity
• The public desire to help
o Managing public involvement (delays and interference versus constructive allies)
• Natural resilience needs to be facilitated not inhibited
• Enhancing resilience through promoting existing unity (practices, language)
• Danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see above)

Specificity of managing crowd behaviour in CBRN incidents

Invisibility of the threat
o more frightening
o less evident (plausibility, credibility)

Quarantine and containment (not dispersal/starburst)
o Issues of legitimacy
o Potential for conflict
o communication / information /explanation/trust become even more important!
o Treating crowd /public as a resource (as above) becomes even more important!

Potential for CBRN incident to affect whole population not just a crowd
• Different sections of the public may require different treatments/ vaccination (e.g., variability in susceptibility to pandemics)
• Different sections of the public have different relationships to the police/ authorities

Managing scarcity
• After effects of CBRN incident, unlike other kinds of disaster/ emergency, could create disunity in the public around access to scarce resources

Technology/ equipment issues
• Problem of ‘alien’ protective suits for emergency services who seek to gain trust of public

Key issues

Crowd as potential problem versus crowd as potential solution?
These issues are relevant not only for Bronze command etc but just as much for the most junior officers on the ground

Dr John Drury
Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of Sussex
Tel: +44 (0)1273-872514
Fax: +44 (0)1273-678058
June 2008

Regrettably, we are obliged to say a few words about Libcom’s infantile and bizarre campaign in favour of Dr. Drury and against us. We already knew that two months ago they had expressed reservations about the publication of a text prepared by Samotnaf concerning the issue at hand, but we didn’t expect that they would have blatantly taken sides with cop consultants and their defenders. From the beginning, when they removed our article and before Aufheben’s response, it became clear that they reproduced word for word the completely unfounded accusations which Aufheben had expressed in their email against Samotnaf, which was circulated in August, about “untrue smears”, “misunderstanding” and “factual inaccuracies”. When Aufheben prepared their response, Libcom uploaded a crippled version of our article, with a notice that it is a smear and contains “untrue allegations”, and they decorated it with the denigrating picture of Pinocchio! We are sure that if we hadn’t posted our Letter on other anti-authoritarian/anarchist sites, Libcom would have never allowed it to appear in public even in this crippled form.

Afterwards, specific members of the Libcom team such as “Joseph Kay” (who happens to be a former member of Aufheben) undertook a concerted effort to slander us by accusing us that we “knew that J did not write the paper and rejects it fully”, that we “draw our conclusions based on false information”, that we employ “guilt-by-association” fallacious arguments, that we “love gossip and scandal” and that we engage in “snitchjacketing”. Further, they attacked comrades, like “blasto” and “georgestapleton”, who dared to express reasonable doubts and questions and contributed to our call for a proletarian counter-inquiry, with similar accusations, albeit more cautiously.

The response by the “Libcom defence team”, as they were successfully named by an anonymous comrade in UK indymedia, transformed the discussion into a dialogue of an absurdist play, with the “defence team” constantly attempting to divert attention from the real issues. In order to do that, they used “straw man” arguments, “appeals to authority”, ad hominem attacks and other types of fallacious arguments in order to distort the evidence and to discredit both ourselves and everyone who dared to even express doubts, in a totally dishonest way.

For example, the claim of the “Libcom defence team” that Dr. Drury has “never written the Policing article” and that “he has never taught the cops how to control riots” because Aufheben say so is simply an “appeal to authority” fallacy, which proves absolutely nothing. Besides, in the previous sections of this Letter, we have proven beyond any reasonable doubt the cop consulting activities of the respectable member of Aufheben with written and public evidence. Further, nobody claimed that Stott and Reicher have ever been involved with Aufheben (straw man fallacy). What has been claimed by some people in the discussion, was that Aufheben defend their member’s collaboration with the state through his common work with Stott and Reicher. There followed repeated attempts to discredit us and anyone who expressed his/her support for us or simply expressed doubts, through the use of ad hominem attacks such as totally unfounded accusations of “snitchjacketing”, “gutter press methods”, “witch-hunting” and through the use of many other derogatory characterizations. As far as the accusation of “snitchjacketing” is concerned, we are obliged to say that alienation in the “revolutionary” milieu has proceeded to such a degree that reality gets inverted. It is totally absurd to claim that we are related to the police and not the cop consultant JD himself.

But what’s most outrageous is the way the Libcom team attempted to distort the truth by concealing and misrepresenting public information. For example, they claimed that the press release ( has been written by the employers of Dr. Drury, and that it refers to “a HMIC report referenc[ing] work with Stott and Reicher - which is almost certainly the same paper TPTG base their article on and which J didn't write.” Further, they falsely claimed that: “nowhere in the press release, contrary to the title, does J "advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests". However, according to the press release, Drury and Co. were consulted by the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) review and it has been clearly stated that their “new psychology of crowds” formed the basis for the recommendations of the HMIC report, i.e. the British model of policing. Also, Dr. Drury made a comment for the press release and stated explicitly that: “our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work” [our emphasis].

At this point, we must express our agreement with “avantiultras” that “it's totally and utterly ridiculous to claim that J was compelled to accept this press release by his bosses. Everyone who has even the slightest experience from the university environment knows very well that the degree of autonomy is much, much greater than what [the defence team] absurdly [implies].” And we must add that it’s not possible for the press team of a university to be aware of every research/consultancy project taking place within the institution, let alone to be able to write about it in a meaningful way without input from the people who are directly involved in the project. Even if the dissemination of the results of a project is necessary as a part of the requirements of the project or the institution, the information must be provided by the academic who is responsible for the work and this is one more proof that Dr. Drury was involved in the specific consultancy. In case dissemination of the results was not necessary as a part of the requirements of this particular project, then the press release could have been published only if Dr. Drury took the initiative himself in order to promote his career and underline that he was involved in this work together with his two colleagues.

Furthermore, the same press release proves that the claim of the Libcom team (following Aufheben) that Dr. Drury rejects his colleagues’ liberal-reformist project is totally false, since he clearly states publicly that the recommendations of their team form a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management (sic).

The culmination of this vulgar defence campaign was reached when “no1” from Brighton slyly tried to ridicule Dr. Stott and to belittle the significance of his work (and by extension his colleague’s work) with expressions such as: “I saw Stott give a seminar a few weeks ago about his work and his many attempts to influence actual policing. He was quite open that he had completely failed to make a difference, and he was pretty angry about this which I found quite amusing”. It is not possible for us to know whether this line of tactics was decided in common with Dr. Drury, but in case it was, it would be a sign of profound moral decadence, in the sense that he would show no hesitation to humiliate his close colleague of 20 years. Of course, Dr. Drury has not shown any such behaviour towards Dr. Stott within the domain of their common professional activities. On the contrary, as Dr. Stott writes in his facebook page ( “last year John Drury gave evidence to the Greater Manchester Police Authority's review of the policing of major events. One of the recommendations was that the GMP work with me to develop their approach to crowds (p.66). Nothing has yet come of this!” According to this report (available at:, “at the time of writing, the Commission has carried out interviews and requested evidence from the following: Greater Manchester Police: Ian Hopkins, Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for major events policing, Garry Shewan, Gold Commander for Operation Foot,… and External Sources: Dr. John Drury, University of Sussex, Professor David Waddington, Sheffield Hallam University, Azahar Hussain, Conference Organiser, 2009 Conservative Party Conference, Leisha Brookes, English Defence League liaison for the Manchester Protest Organiser, Mr Derek Smith, ACPO lead on finance, Dr Malcolm Clarke, Chair, Football Supporters Federation” [p. 14 of the Report of the Chief Executive].

The methods followed by the likes of Joseph Kay and the rest of the Libcom team bring to mind totalitarian repetitive techniques of telling lies and attaching labels so that eventually people will come to believe them (something which, fortunately, did not happen). It seems that they follow Fichte’s maxim: “if facts do not fit our positions, so much worse for the facts…”

As a conclusion, we have to note that the attitude of the Libcom team is representative of the racket mentality of fanatics. However, this is a huge discussion which is beyond the scope of this text.

It must be noted and reminded again that our original text was not confined to the personal case of Dr. Drury, important as it is, because contrary to Stott and Reicher he is a member of a political group whose credibility in the revolutionary milieu enabled him to conduct his ethnographic research in the protest movements. Our ultimate aim is the organization of a more thorough proletarian counter-inquiry, with the participation of comrades coming from the worldwide internationalist/anti-authoritarian milieu, on the subject of crowd management and the modern policing strategies the cops are using against us. We hope that this aim will not be undermined by the disorientating tactics of Aufheben and Libcom who try to belittle the role that cop consultants such as Dr. Drury and Dr. Stott play in the containment of our struggles. In any case, there were some comrades that managed to circumvent these tactics and have already started to contribute to this aim, such as the information provided by “Shorty” about the work of the Dutch police on squatting and the extreme left as well as about the academic study on violence related to the 1st of May Berlin demonstrations which was organized in Germany by the Free University and the Verfassungsschutz; the information provided by “Ocelot” about the corralling tactics of the police during the London Mayday protest in 2001; and of course the information provided by “avantiultras”, “georgestapleton”, “blasto”, as well as “Andrew” and “Paul B” from anarkismo, in relation to the work of Stott, Drury and Reicher. Obviously, our appeal is still open since we continue to believe that we must respond to the research organized by the capitalist state in order to understand us, our temporary communities of struggle, our thoughts, the way we organize against this decomposing world of capital and its spectacle and, then put this valuable knowledge into practice against us, tearing us apart. We continue to believe even more strongly than before and despite all the appalling reactions that our response should be equally collective and knowledgeable! More practical thoughts on how we could organise this inquiry will follow and any proposals from comrades are welcome.

In Solidarity,

P.S. This letter has been posted on libcom, infoshop, revleft, anarchismo, anarchistnews, UK indymedia and Athens indymedia.

1. According to the description provided by the journal’s publishers: “Jane's Police Review has been in circulation for over 118 years as the independent journal of record for UK policing. The magazine is published by IHS Jane’s, a brand of IHS Global Ltd. The Jane’s brand holds an unrivalled reputation for the reliability, accuracy and impartiality of its information and advice, trusted and relied upon by business, government and military decision-makers worldwide” ( Furthermore, “Jane's Police Review keeps you up-to-date with the latest news about the UK police service. It combines the best independent coverage of national and local issues with expert comment, analysis and interviews. An extensive recruitment section, plus special features to address the issues that matter to officers and staff of every level, with its law updates and exam study programme. This is essential reading for anyone preparing for the Sergeants' or Inspectors' promotion exams, or National Investigators' Exams. It also offers a study guide for student officers undertaking the initial police learning and development programme.” ( More information about this journal can be found on its website:

2. It might well be that JD has completely misled the rest of Aufheben into believing that he has nothing to do with crowd control and cop consultancy. And yet, if the article The Role of Police Perceptions and Practices in the Development of ‘Public Disorder’, written by J. Drury, C. Stott and T. Farsides and published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology 33(7), 1480–1500, 2003 is examined carefully (available at:, one will find among the references the following interesting item: Stott, C., and Drury, J. ,“A survey of the factors influencing levels of job satisfaction among employees of the Tayside Police Force (internal report, Tayside Police)”, Dundee, Scotland: University of Abertay, 1998. It seems, thus, that JD has worked for the police since at least 1998! It’s really astonishing and very depressing that, if the other members of Aufheben did not know about the 13 year-long endeavours of their comrade to make police repression more effective and the cops more “satisfied” with their job, that they never made the effort, nor showed any curiosity, to find out. Also, if they didn't know, to claim they knew all along to hide the shame of their lack of interest in, and ignorance about, what he was up to; to feel the need to remain loyal to him, despite the fact that he kept quiet about what he was doing; to show loyalty to someone who's put his career above everything they stood for – and going down with the Aufheben ship together with this money-maker and liar; to not abandon him when he has treated them as naive dupes; – that all this takes precedent over loyalty to the basic class struggle perspective that they've held over the 19 years since Aufheben began, and probably since even before that, is completely stupid and utterly self-defeating.

3. Specifically:
Drury, J., and Reicher, S. D. 1999. ‘‘The Intergroup Dynamics of Collective Empowerment: Substantiating the Social Identity Model of Crowd Behaviour.’’ Group Processes and Intergroup Relations 2: 381–402 (available at:,
Drury, J., and Reicher, S. 2000. ‘‘Collective Action and Psychological Change: The Emergence of New Social Identities.’’ British Journal of Social Psychology 39: 579–604 (available at:,
Drury, J., and Reicher, S. D. 2005. ‘‘Explaining Enduring Empowerment: A Comparative study of Collective action and Psychological Outcomes.’’ European Journal of Social Psychology 35: 35–58 (available at: and
Drury, J., Reicher, S. D., and Stott, C. 2003. ‘‘Transforming the Boundaries of Collective Identity: from the ‘Local’ Anti-Road Campaign to ‘Global’ Resistance.’’ Social Movement Studies 2 (available at:
It must be noted that the police perspective characterizes these studies as well: the social and class context of the involved “psychological groups” is as totally absent as in the Policing article we analyzed in our first Open Letter.

4. Available at

5. For those who are further interested in this specific matter, the article Drury, J., Crowd Dispersal, CBRNeWorld, Spring, 40–42, 2009 is attached below (, p. 40-42). “CBRNe World magazine published quarterly by Falcon Communications Ltd serves the information needs of professionals around the world charged with planning for or responding to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosives (CBRNe) threat or incident. Spanning the divide of operational and scientific, it brings together opinion formers from the world of civil response, military leaders, academia, government agencies, research labs and industry. Combining the already merging fields of CBRN and explosives together in one magazine, editorial content is a combination of qualitative and researched news, interviews, articles, surveys and regular columns” (available at: At the end of this article, Dr. Drury says: «The discussion points raised here have been developed not only from academic research and theory, but also from dialogue with a number of relevant professional groups. These include: the Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee; the Police National CBRN Centre (which has now embodied some of the principles outlined here in their training and documentation); the Department of Health and NATO emergencies and disasters consultation; and the Royal United Services Institute seminar on the role of the media in emergencies. It will be of interest to see the response to the issues raised here from other CBRNe professionals”. So much for Aufheben’s claim that “J had nothing to do with anyone from NATO”! In case anyone is wondering what’s this CBRNe Convergence advertised by the publishers at the end of his article, have a look at it: “Events like CBRNe Convergence where the delegate can meet the whole international range of specialists is invaluable for the networking and personal development that it encourages. Attendance at this event will ensure that you are kept current in the threat and the solution, the technological solutions and the tactics and procedures that your peers are using. The parallel streams allow delegates to pick and choose their presentations and provide a far wider range and insight into this increasingly important field. CBRNe Convergence 2008 had the largest exhibition of CBRNE equipment in Europe this year, and we feel confident that 2009 will deserve the same accolade. This will give you a chance to see the latest technology in the market and gauge your needs for the next five to ten years. All the major themes and topics are covered in the conference and exhibition: Counter terrorist ops, decontamination, detection, critical infrastructure protection, recce, demil, IED defence, protection, crisis management and EMS” (available at:

6. Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear

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Display the following 10 comments

  1. Missing Endnotes from the text — TPTG
  2. First letter and Aufheben response — conTEXT
  3. Who care's? — Bristol Mob
  4. summary for those who dont have time to read it — x
  5. Libcom and the state — Captain anarchy
  6. skimming over the problem — labrat?
  7. Boring — Ronnie Coleman
  8. dear TPTG — Anarcho
  9. No one gives a fuck — anon
  10. Beg to differ from previous pos(t)er — Au Contraire
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