Political harassment

Airport cops fail to prevent Hopi solidarity, writes Gerry Downing

Three members of Hopi - Steve Revins, Jim Padmore and Gerry Downing - went to Berlin over the weekend of January 12-14 to attend events around the commemoration of Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht and Lenin: the ‘LLL Veranstaltungen’. We took 1,000 copies of the Hopi statement in German.

At Stansted airport on the way out of the UK, we were stopped by officials who found the leaflets in Jim’s bag and called the airport police (they gave their badge numbers as PC 1012 and PC 1503). They held us up for about 40 minutes - more than enough time to miss our flight, had we not been very early. They subjected Jim to a long interrogation, as they found other leftwing literature in his bag.

They did not get a translation of the Hopi statement and asked Jim about its content, his political views on the Middle East and many other questions. They checked our passports against their records by mobile and took our names and addresses and details of our employers. The campaign may well feel that an official complaint is in order against this type of harassment.

The LLL demonstration was about 7,000-strong with large youth contingents - Rebel (www.rebell.info) was one of the biggest and liveliest and there were many Turkish and other Middle Eastern groups with all manner of banners extolling Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. The usual suspects also attended: Die Linke, the ‘official communist’ KPD, the Sparts, the International Bolshevik Tendency and the Workers Power German group. There was no sign of Revo, the youth group that Workers Power and Permanent Revolution fight over, though we did look for them.

The leaflet was well received and hopefully will produce some contacts for the campaign.