Rebel Arts statement about Cambridge Constabulary’s use of young people to spy on peaceful organisations.
Rebel Arts strongly oppose the recently exposed use of young people to spy on peaceful, ethical and legitimate organisations by Cambridge police. We believe that this represents a particular dictatorial political standpoint, which sees the police harassing anti-racist and peace groups amongst others, rather than opposing racism and war.
Rebel Arts believe that there has been a worrying rise in the use of police powers and a move towards an authoritarian state that stifles its citizen’s rights to protest against and oppose the Government and its austerity programme. This can be seen for example in the rise in pre-emptive arrests, for instance arresting people for planning peaceful protests against the Royal Wedding, before they had even taken any action. Alongside this, we have also witnessed an increase in state and police surveillance and securitisation, where the police are being used to protect the very richest people in our society.
Rebel Arts’ experiences this year have included a quantity of art materials being taken to Charing Cross Police Station and not returned to us, apart from two paint brushes in one evidence bag and two pots of paint in another. Art work in the form of twenty two shirts decorated to protest against the cuts for the “Take the Shirt off My Back” campaign were also taken and the photographs of them were temporarily removed from Facebook. In the extreme political climate that we are living in, the ‘arts’ are viewed as dangerous and a threat to the power of the “ruthless classes.”
We applaud the courageous young person who has exposed the corrupt practices of our local police force.