Before anyone misrepresents me, without question I condemn acts of terrorist murder, from the killing of Joe Cox to the Manchester Arena attack. But what is important is the distinction between protesting, Unionising, picketing, direct action and ...terrorism.
Many other groups were included in this counter-terrorism list. The UK has no left-wing terrorist organisations prepared to kill for their ideology, unlike the right-wing.
And yet Socialist, Communist and Anarchist groups have been included (along with signs and symbols not uncommon with my wardrobe) in this database. I have performed at 0161 Crew's anti-fascist festival in Manchester. I've been to UKUncut, XR and Reclaim The Power actions, I'm in the IWW and I have an Anarchist Black Cat patch.
I find this revelation about the Home Office unsurprisingly, but no less disturbing. Anti-fracking groups were labelled terrorists by Manchester Police in 2018 and spied on left-wing and anti-racist groups throughout the 1990s. Across the pond, a Republican law-maker has called 'the LGBT' a terrorist group. And Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was continually painted as a terrorist sympathiser for his work finding dialogue towards peace processes, to the extent to this misinformation I heard of someone saying that Corbyn had actually been in the IRA.
Of course, the Muslim community have been at the brunt of this invasive surveillance and bias. The Government's data-collecting wing Prevent "continues to inflict harm on the lives of individuals and create an environment which weakens political participation and threatens any form of dissent."
Since 2001, the media and the Right have constantly conflated Muslim with Terrorist.
I'd urge everyone to watch Suhaiymah Manzoor-Kahn's This Is Not A Humanising Poem, an urgent piece about being a Muslim women in the UK.
"If I need me to prove my humanity, I'm not the one who's not human."
In the West, the legacy of Blair and Bush's War On Terror continues where the term 'terrorism' can be used to define, or redefine, the narrative. My union, the IWW, are listed in the counter-terrorism training. But next comes Unison, GMB, TUC, UCU and whatever other Unions challenge the Government's grip.
The poetry, arts, music and theatre scenes know all about language. We see the way that the media and the State can spin, so workers rights is 'Communism', anti-racism is 'woke', feminism is 'man-hating', Queer identities are 'paedophilic and predatory' and environmentalism and Trade Unionism is 'terrorism'.
At music and poetry gigs, will these common and beautiful ideas of feminism, LBGTQ+ rights, workers rights and anti-racism be targeted by the counter-terrorism wing of Policing? Are we radicalising?
Is this what the 2020s offers, as flags are waved to celebrate 'freedom' and as more Tories and bankers and billionaires raise their champagne? Slapping each other on the back, seeing themselves as 'the good guys', the one's who defeated the baddies, the Terrorists, whilst any opposition, however moderate, is painted as the Threat.