All over the news today is the revelation that undercover police were instructed to infiltrate and smear the family and supporters of murder victim Stephen Lawrence in order to discredit them. It seems the porcine party had a precarious problem: everyone had noticed they were massive fucking racists for completely failing to investigate a racially-motivated murder. Rather than deal with the increasing mound of excreta accumulating in their lair, they felt it might be somewhat easier to try to ruin the lives of a grieving family in the hope that they’d shut up, or the public would stop listening to them.
Of course, this putrid plan failed to work out as well as the cops would have liked, but thanks to all sorts of other dicking around and failing to do anything, it still took the best part of two decades to achieve anything resembling justice (and even that was inadequate). This heel-dragging is par for the course, an attempt to make people forget just how awful they are.
Undercover policing in a particularly vicious and especially bastardly category of policing. While most policing relies on the use of physical force–or threats of physical force–to coerce, undercover policing is a more insidious beast, an emotional violation. The undercover cop slips in, distorting reality around himself, fucking shit up from the inside and selling the secrets of those whose trust he stole.*
It is not just grieving families these bastards decide to worm into. It is absolutely anyone who stands against the social order the state would prefer to silence. Eight activist women from various projects are currently taking legal action against the police as undercover police slipped in and insinuated their way into a position of trust by engaging in romantic relationships with them. They were tricked into sex, into pregnancy by liars who were tasked with gaining information on them and their friends.
All of this was found out after it had happened, after it had been happening for years. Who knows how many other women were abused in this fashion? Who knows how many other groups of people who made the terrible error of dissenting the status quo have been infiltrated in such a fashion?
And the effect of knowing all this has an impact, and it is one which I don’t doubt that the police had hoped for. Sometimes it makes us paranoid. Sometimes there’s a little shadow of concern, it becomes a little harder to trust our comrades, just in case they, too, are police spies. It can make activist circles exclusionary and cliquey, because of rightful safety concerns. Undercover policing is a violation which ripples throughout a community.
Make no mistake. This has not stopped, and it will not stop in the near future. If you listen closely, you can hear the echoes from the future of all of this happening again and again. We don’t hear about it very often, because they hide it well. It’s rare the covers get blown. We must just be vigilant, and not let the bastards keep getting away with it. Let the face of every undercover cop discovered be distributed far and wide so they cannot abuse again. Support campaigns like that for women victims of undercover police. Be critical of the police as an institution, and the role that they serve; not just undercover, but in all they do. And never, never let them get away with it.
*Using he/him pronouns here because in all the cases that came to light, those were the pronouns used. Also, the pigs still have a massive gender problem because they’re an oppressive institution.