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Right to protest under attack: We are more than ‘seriously annoyed’!

Dear comrade <<First Name>>

The right to protest, like the right to free speech, is coming under savage attack by the Tory government.

The government’s 296-page policing bill would make it illegal to cause “serious annoyance” - with punishment of up to 10 years’ jail. Worse than that, the law is to be applied even if “somebody is put at risk” of such so-called “serious harm” - ie, when no action has actually taken place!

This law could open the floodgates to vexatious complaints similar to what happened with the antisemitism smear campaign in the Labour Party - somebody could for example report “feeling at risk” by a criticism or a protest, which could result in police action and a prison sentence.

We are more than ‘seriously annoyed’ by the bill - and because of the brutal enforcement of Covid restrictions by the police, we are not even allowed to protest against the plans (at least until March 29, when the ban on public demonstrations will apparently be lifted - watch this space!)

The ruthless policing of the women’s protests at Camden, and the detainment of pro-Palestine protesters in Wolverhampton who were on their way to a protest, show that the government is already massively tightening the screws.

The right to free speech and to protest are the fundamental cornerstones of any democratic society. If we cannot protest, we are robbed of the most basic and elementary method of holding government to account.

Join the Labour Campaign for Free Speech now to make sure we campaign collectively for the defence of free speech and the right to protest. Our first all-members’ meeting takes place on April 24 - join our campaign here (annual membership £5 unwaged; £10 waged).

Join here

Thank you for showing solidarity! Almost 300 people at David Miller event

Almost 300 people attended our March 13 meeting in defence of David Miller and academic freedom to hear Low Key, Moshe Machover, Jonathan Cook and many others. We even had a famous surprise guest: Palestine campaigner Roger Waters (Pink Floyd) attended our event and made a short impromptu speech - see below for all videos of the event.

We are now discussing further plans in solidarity with David Miller and are preparing to launch a working group specifically for the defence of academic freedom - get in touch if you want get involved:

Defend David Miller & academic freedom: with Low Key, Roger Waters etc

Video of the whole event

Low Key: Defend David Miller and academic freedom!

British-Iraqi rapper Low Key

Roger Waters: Defend David Miller and academic freedom!

Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)

Jonathan Cook: Defend David Miller & academic freedom!

Jonathan Cook, British-Israeli author and journalist

Moshe Machover: Defend David Miller & academic freedom!

Moshe Machover, Israeli academic and activist

Dr. Deepa Driver: Defend David Miller & academic freedom!

Dr. Deepa Driver (Free Assange campaign)

Matt Kennard: Defend David Miller & academic freedom!

Matt Kennard, author and investigative journalist

Paramjeet Bhogal (NEU): Defend David Miller & academic freedom!

Paramjeet Bhogal, teachers’ union NEU

Ken Loach, Alexei Sayle & others in support of David Miller and academic freedom

These memes are available on our website - here

Join us

On February 13 2021, an online conference of over 300 people set up the Labour Campaign for Free Speech. We agreed a ‘Charter for Free Speech‘, a ‘Charter for Labour Party members’ rights‘ and elected a steering committee of 10 people - click here

We call on all democratic and progressive forces to join us in opposing the current attacks on free speech and to campaign to:

  • Defend the right to free speech and publication.

  • Reject the IHRA so-called definition of antisemitism, whose sole use has been to chill free speech on Israel/Palestine.

  • End the antisemitism smear campaign conducted against Jeremy Corbyn and the left, which has spread into wider society.

  • Oppose the threat of defunding of universities if they do not adopt IHRA and the targeting of academics who speak out on Israel/Palestine.

  • Stop the labelling of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign (BDS) as ‘antisemitic’.

  • Oppose the interference of the state in the running of political parties.

  • End the Prevent programme.

  • Stop the prosecution of whistleblowers and journalists.

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