[Marxism] Alex Callinicos responds to Owen Jones

Einde O'Callaghan eindeoc at freenet.de
Mon Jan 28 15:35:36 MST 2013

On 28.01.2013 22:49, DCQ wrote:

> Bureaucratic maneuvering coupled with undoubted efficiency at knowing how to get a demo permit. (Thought: why is it ok for the SWP to get march permits, but not ok to use the court system?

Just one minor technical detail - it isn't necessary to get a permit to 
demonstrate in Britain. You announce the demonstration and negotiate 
with the police about the route, but no permit as such is necessary. It 
is, of course possible to ban the demonstration if "public order is 
threatened", but it has to be a blanket ban of all demonstrations in a 
particular area for the period of the ban.

While living in London I was involved in organising an "illegal" 
demonstration in support of the H-Block Hunger Strikers - not because 
the demonstration itself had been banned but because all demonstrations 
had been banned in London for a month because the fascist National Front 
wanted to march through an immigrant area and anti-fascists had said 
they would organise a counter-demo. Our organisation of the breach of 
the ban was facilitated by the fact that it was quite legal for us to 
organise an open-air rally at the same place we had announced as the 
starting point for the demo.

As far as I know this aspect of the law hasn't been altered since the 1980s.

As for the leadership role played by the SWP in the case of the "Stop 
the War Coalition", it really was the case that the SWP got together 
with the various organisations that mobilised and organised for the demo 
in as united campaign. This seemed to me at the time to be a more open 
campaign than that in the USA. And as far as I've been able to judge the 
demonstrations against the EDL and other mobilisations the SWP has 
played a role in in recent years have been organised in a similar way.

Einde O'Callaghan

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