Weymann has now been charged with ‘Conspiracy to commit violent disorder’. I don’t know what bail conditions have been set but they are likely to have been highly restrictive as in the forthcoming prosecution of ANTIFA members.
Dora Kaplan makes some telling pointson on Ian Bones Blog
The trots, at least the SWP, will never stop campaigning for tighter controls on public assembly for right-wing groups, and they will always be the first victims of the counter-protest policies they’ve lobbied for.
Is it too much to hope they might learn? Probably. People who regard a police run, welfare state as the highest form of social organisation are not likely to change their approach to state control of other (anti) social movements.
Dealing with EDL will require a more sophisticated approach than chanting ‘nazi scum, off our streets’ and hoping that the police will play by the rules agreed between George Galloway and the Central Committee of the SWP.
Incidentally, the conspiracy charge may be a temporary expedient to ensure the police get the bail conditions they’re after. It’s a standard tactic. Bennett will probably end up facing lesser charges, but his arrest was clearly planned, and I suspect he may be dragged before a court at some point on public order charges. None of this happened spontaneously, and somebody in forward intelligence collected evidence before the arrest.
It’s interesting to speculate why this has happened to a senior SWP arse at this late stage. I suspect it’s because the UAF are rapidly becoming an embarrassment to the TUC and Labour Party in the run up to an election. Bennett may well have overplayed his hand in assuming that UAF’s connection to the Labour government would ensure protection from serious charges. I think the message of his arrest is ‘back away from any set piece confrontations with the EDL before the general election, or face legal sanctions.’
In addition, Searchlight pulled the plug on the UAF a few months ago, which means they’ve lost any friends they once had in MI5/MI6. It’s Searchlight that determines who is a ‘respectable’ anti-fascist and who isn’t. And the UAF has been found wanting. The clock was ticking for Bennett and SWP CC from the moment Searchlight gave the thumbs down.
I could be totally wrong, but I suspect that if he walks away without charges it will mean a distinct change in UAF policy, with a shift away from confrontation and back to the comfortable territory of lobbying Labour MPs and the trade union leadership.
In regard to the previous post on Weymann’s arrest. Some us did not know UAF had fallen out with Searchlight – what were the ostensible reasons for the fall out? It may well account for the high up decision to arrest Weymann now that the shield of protection offered by Searchlight’s state security connections has been removed.
The UAF leadership may at last wise up to the fact that calling for state bans and police prosecutions of their opponents was always likely to rebound on them at some point – see countless posted by me on this blog.No doubt however the desire to portray themselves as victims will simply enable the UAF leadership to build a ‘ DEFEND WEYMANN’ campaign in alliance with their usual allies of left Labour MPs, trade union bureaucrat and the wallahs of multicultural quangoism.In the meantime continued cries of ‘Non passaran’ as repeatedly chanted in Bolton yesterday – presumably ‘cos they couldnt think of anything to shout in English in case it be deemed racist – will fall on stony ground.Will Weymann’s arrest lead to the formation of a genuine anti-fascist movement on the streets or simply another excuse to build up the SWP with Weymann with an onion up his sleeve touring student unions for the next year?? Despite these reservations
We have to show solidarity with Weymann against this cocky state repression – whether many will bite that bullett we’ll have to see.