When we first discussed the idea of Fitwatch, I didn’t think we’d receive the support or achieve the successes we have. For so many years, FIT had acted with impunity. They had become cocky, complacent, contemptuous of the law. However, whilst their contempt for the law sill remains, they are far from cocky.
A friend of mine wrote to me recently, telling me how much better things were for them now as the FIT were too busy “being harassed to bother harassing” them, and how “it should be acknowledged about how much better it is now than it was two years ago before anyone started challenging them.”
This is important, because during this rightly focused campaign on the photographers and their databases,it is easy to forget how bad things had become. We were passive to their presence outside all our meetings – our resistance to this intrusion amounting only to occasionally giving them the finger and masking up. On demonstrations, they had the impunity to follow us into large crowds., their photographers freely flashing. I remember one anti war march where they followed me so aggressively, my friend had difficulty walking with me. I’d like to see them try that now…
Possibly , the mistake the FIT made was to become complacent. Their rush to include everyone – from grannies outside arms factories to journalists- in their wide angled lens of extremism, has ultimately led to this backlash against them.
There are several events coming up over the next few months – from SHAC City Shakedown on 27th February, to G20 protests, and Brighton Mayday. Act in solidarity with Ftiwatchers everywhere, and let’s put the final nail in the coffin of harassment policing.