When members of the “Angry Foxes Cell” burnt down the almost complete Police Firearms Training Centre in Portishead near Bristol, it took a lot of people by surprise, ourselves included. This week the Bristol Post published an article on a report by Avon & Somerset Police with the Stalinesque title “Our Five Year Ambition”. The Posts front page ran the Headline “Targeting the Enemy Within.” This was followed up by a comment from the editor singling out anarchists and drumming up public support for their increased oppression.
In their report, Avon & Somerset Police stated they were preparing to “crackdown on rioters and extremists” and are “monitoring several potentially dangerous groups”. The Post claimed that the police have launched a series of operations to “gather intelligence about subversive organisations”. The article continues to conflate “domestic extremism” with rioting like the kind seen in Stokes Croft in 2011; acts of vandalism like the attack on the Evening Post building shortly afterwards and even the counter demonstration to the English Defense League march in July 2012. Interestingly the Post article also adds “non-peaceful” animal rights and environmental protesters to their vague definition of “extremists”.
This is clearly an attempt by the Avon & Somerset Police to threaten anarchists and other radicals in Bristol. The Bristol radical community will potentially face increased levels of repression at the hands of the police. This could be anything from increased surveillance to being picked up for bogus charges while on demos; through to our homes being raided and possessions being seized. Without any evidence to track down the people they want to apprehend, the cops are likely to take out their frustration on public facing activists. Even the release of this report itself is an obvious attempt to scare them.
We must not be driven into a state of paralysis for fear of the police. If they are expecting us to respond by being intimitated into inaction, by giving up on activism or by becoming fractured and turning on each other they are going to be sorely disappointed. Whilst this kind of repression does require a response, it will be a response routed in action, in solidarity and in unity. We need to be prepared, look out for each other and up our game when it comes to our own security. If the Police come knocking we will not answer their calls. We have nothing to tell and nothing to gain. Whilst we may not always agree with everyone’s tactics and philosophy amongst the wider radical scene the cops can Fuck off if they think we will turn on our comrades.
The police and the state, as always, try to fracture us, they will try to prey on our weaknesses. We stand in unity and solidarity with all those who fight against oppression, capitalism and the state. We must create a culture of mutual aid and solidarity and most importantly: Resistance. We will support each other through whatever the state throws at us because we know that no matter what we will come out stronger.
Love & Rage
Bristol Anarchist Federation