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Council threatens dissident with ASBO!

Mike Lane | 30.03.2005 22:38 | Liverpool

Political activist and council tenant in Manchester is threatened with an ASBO and eviction for posting anti-war in Iraq leaflets.

I predicted some months ago that it would only be a matter of time before local government service providers and agencies started to use the harassment laws to silence political dissidents. The article below surely proves that we are slowly having our civil liberties and freedom of speech destroyed.

Manchester Evening News
(300,000 readers)

Eviction Threat to activist tenant


A COUNCIL tenant who put anti war leaflets through his neighbour’s letterboxes could face eviction.

Communist Melvyn Drage was stunned to be given an anti social behaviour interview after his notes led to a series of complaints.

Mike lane, they were not notes they were Communist Party of Great Britain leaflets.

Manchester council officers warned the 48-year-old graduate he was in breach of his tenancy when his political views affected the “peace” of others and they threatened to take action if he refused to stop.

Mr Drage, of new Moston, said: “This is a complete overreaction and entirely political. I could not believe what the council were doing.

“If I was a Christian and wanted to give out leaflets that would be all right. I don’t see how putting a leaflet through somebody’s door can be a nuisance. If people don’t like it they can put it in the bin. I find the material put out by the Labour Party offensive but I don’t think someone should be evicted for posting it.”

Mr Drage, who lives in the Bradford Court tower block, posted 50 the leaflets headed: “End the occupation: victory to the Iraqi resistance,” to neighbouring flats.

Tenants complained at what they saw as a call for the defeat of British troops.

Mr Drage was called for an anti social behaviour warning interview and told to stop handing out leaflets or risk “further action” – usually a final warning followed by an appeal to the courts. That can end with an eviction, an injunction to stop or an anti social behaviour order, with the threat of up to five years in jail.

Mr Drage said he was prepared to fight the case under the Humane Rights Act.

Manchester council’s assistant housing director, Mike Stevens, said: “We recognise that Mr Drage has a right to hold his political views and express them.

However, we have received a number of complaints from residents who find some aspects of the contents of his leaflets offensive.”

Mike Lane: They were not Mr Drage’s leaflets. They were leaflets published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, of which Mr Drage is a member.

The leaflet in question said:

Heading in large letters:

End the occupation: victory to the Iraqi resistance!
No war for oil!

The contents of the leaflets were:

Today, when the war for cheap oil has only made oil more expensive, and resistance in Iraq is inspiring resistance all over the globe, even the friends of imperialism are forced to acknowledge the truth of Mao’s famous dictum that “imperialism lifts the rock only to drop it on it’s own feet”. The imperialists’ dreams for a pliant and plundered Iraq are lying in tatters.

Sovereign government?

Since the alleged hand over of power in June, the US’s latest stooge in Iraq is the puppet lyad Allowi, a CIA agent and gangster, exiled to London for the last 30 years. Allawi recently proved his credentials by pulling out a pistol and murdering six prisoners merely suspected of belonging to the resistance.

Totally ignoring the fact that the Iraqi people are fighting tooth and nail to get rid of them, Downing Street and the White House say their troops will stay on for just as long as the new government wants them. They have installed a puppet government that will never ask for the imperialist troops to leave and are setting up sham elections where only pro-occupation/pro-imperialist candidates will be allowed to stand. The imperialists are determined to make their puppet government permanent.

Meanwhile all power rests with the US embassy, which, with a staff of 3,000, is the US’s colonial office, while ambassador John Negroponte now controls the real business of Iraq, with 165,000 troops, five offices around the country and an $18.4bn budget for reconstruction (most of which is actually being spent on the military).

Warmongers exposed

One by one the justifications given by the British and the US for launching the invasion have collapsed.

It has been proven that Iraq never had WMD and that the imperialists knew that all along. Moreover, possession of such weapons is not actually a crime.

The invasion as liberation argument has been decimated by revelations of systematic abuse and torture of prisoners. In fact, these practices are nothing new. British imperialism has been using the same techniques for centauries against national liberation fighters in India, Kenya, Malaysia, Ireland, ect.

While Washington officials issue statements about the dawning of a new democracy, the US appointed government is introducing martial law and the death penalty and closing down anti-occupation media. While the international press is filled with assurances of Iraqi sovereignty, Iraq’s elected president, Saddam Hussein, is held in jail by US soldiers.

Resistance continues

If they had been less blinded by the promises of fabulous profits, or less desperate to control Iraqi oil and find a way out of imperialism’s ever-worsening crisis of overproduction, the invaders might have been better placed to learn from their own history that the people’s will for liberation is stronger than atom bombs. (Paul Robeson).

Thanks to the massive popular resistance, the US is finding it increasingly difficult to find willing collaborators. Whole sections of the Iraqi police regularly change sides and many cities have become no-go areas for the occupation.

Targeting of infrastructure by the resistance means that the occupiers are unable to provide the basic necessities of life.

Most importantly of all, targeting the oil refineries and pipelines has robbed the occupation of the means to pay its astronomical overheads.

As more foreign soldiers are killed or captured, countries that were press ganged into providing a veneer of international backing are withdrawing their troops, leaving the US and Britain isolated and exposed.

Our tasks

Imperialism does not care for liberty or democracy – if it did, it would give support to countries such as Cuba and North Korea (DPRK), countries where democracy and freedom are living laws rather than dead letters (and introduce them at home!)

The real problem for people all over the Middle East is continued imperialist interference, which has subjected them to a century of war in its quest to control the regions black gold.

The CPGB-ML’s is clear. There was never any justification for war in Iraq, which is an imperialist war for plunder and domination.

Such wars of aggression of aggression were condemned at the Nuremberg Tribunal after WW11 as the highest against humanity and, if we do not wish to be implicated in these crimes, we must do everything in our power to stop Britain’s participation.

This means refusing to cooperate in any way with the war effort – be it serving in the forces, making weapons, transporting equipment or putting out propaganda. Individually, we may be powerless, but collectively, the British working class has the ultimate veto over the war – they cannot fight it without us.

Marx wrote long ago that no nation that oppresses another can itself be free. British workers will never achieve anything for themselves while they continue to allow the British ruling class to plunder and pillage the rest of the world.
That is because of the fabulous wealth gained from looting abroad enables the bourgeoisie to bribe a section of the working class with better wages and conditions, converting them into what Lenin called a “labour aristocracy”, a better off section of workers that will fight tooth and nail to preserve its privilege, which can only be by preserving imperialism.

The labour aristocracy has succeeded in monopolising the leadership of the working class and in neutralising it. It is these leaders who are so keen to channel the anti-war movement into harmless, respectable activity such as lobbies and demonstrations. Not one of them ever tries to harness the real power of working people against the war – their ability to work itself.

That is why Lenin called these workers the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working class movement. They do from within what the capitalists could not do from without.

If the profits from imperialist plunder were to dry up, then so would the privileges of these workers and the British working class would be one step closer to throwing off the chains of imperialist slavery for good.

Solidarity with the Iraqi people is not a question of altruism but a matter of the greatest importance and urgency for British workers. The Iraqi resistance is fighting on the front line against our common enemy – and every defeat inflicted makes our enemy a little weaker and our task a little easier.

Let us therefore work wholeheartedly for the defeat of British imperialism in Iraq.


Mike Lane
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Display the following 14 comments

  1. offensive literature — Oi!
  2. Commies — T. Rotsky
  3. re: commies — anarchist
  4. Another nutter — Abu Burkan
  5. Defend the Right to Protest — DtRtP
  6. Not really the point — self-confessed communist
  7. The right to be a Stalinist crazy — Alex Higgins
  8. Abuse of Asbos — keith
  9. Stalin good, BNP bad. — Les
  10. more loonies — Abu Burkan
  11. Words we don't understand — Alex Higgins
  12. asbo — loony
  13. asboconcern - contact/meeting details — ftp
  14. Freedom of Speech — Phil the Pill