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(en) Britain, DEFENDING ANONYMITY, Thoughts for struggle against identity cards, Anarchist Federation pamphlet - September 2005

Date Sat, 19 Nov 2005 18:39:21 +0200

* Introduction - what’s really wrong with ID?
* Common arguments against ID, and their limitations
* National ID on the cards (from Organise! 64, Summer 2005)
* RFID – a new technology for ID cards (also from Organise! 64)
* Interview with the French Anarchist Federation
* Information from the German Anarchist Federation
* Panoptican Society (based on a leaflet from Manchester)
* Solidarity, the key to beating ID (from Resistance, October 2005)
* Getting involved with Defy-ID

Introduction - what’s really wrong with ID?

The Labour Party, fresh from its election victory, is steaming
ahead with its National Identity Card Scheme and anyone concerned
about individual freedom should be worried by the relaunched bill
that is likely to go through its final reading in the House of
Commons in October 2005. The so-called electronic identity, eID, is
one part of European and American efforts impose national identity
schemes across the western world. Only recently, Bush has pushed
this through the US Senate as an enhanced driving license known as
Real ID, tacked on to financial legislation. Labour is determined to
get compulsory cards in place by 2008, starting by biometrically
updating passports and driving licenses and by introducing a
voluntary ID card. Even if they don’t go all the way in that
timescale, the Children’s Bill amendment could easily turn into
ID cards for everyone as this generation ages – one estimate is
50% of the population could be covered within 20 years. Plus,
mandatory fingerprinting as well as facial scanning for all passport
and travel documents is looking more likely within the EU. The time
to fight is now, and even if the Bill goes through it’s not over.
The Poll Tax came in and was still defeated here, and ID cards were
defeated in Australia and elsewhere.

For anarchists, opposition to ID cards might feel so obvious that
it’s beyond discussion, a ‘no brainer’. But the number
of dodgy anti-ID arguments coming out have only served to confuse
matters. This pamphlet aims to provide ideas and resources for those
fighting ID from an anarchist position.

Standing up and not being counted

Unfortuately the situation we are in not exactly like the Poll Tax
of 15 years ago, when there was a clear benefit to individuals
refusing to pay, because the government has strongly linked the
scheme to national security as well as to the emotive threat of
‘identity theft’. They hope they will convince many
law-abiding citizens it will be a price worth paying. The high cost to
individuals may well help convince a lot of people to fight the
scheme if and when it comes in, but to beat ID we really need to win
the argument that the state cannot provide security or any bogus idea
of respect, whether by ID cards, cameras or ASBOs. Society has
been made rotten by the growing inequalities that are permitted by
the system called capitalism that allows a small minority of people to
own most of the resources and organise our lives.

ID is a class issue – the rich will ensure their anonymity by
their limited need for the welfare state. We must preserve ours by
downright refusal to accept ID, not because it’s too expensive
and not because it won’t work, but simply because we won’t
let the state invade every part of our lives. Out of struggle, as we
have done before, we can strengthen our own idea of community
that one day will overthrow the dominant systems of state and

Common arguments against ID, and their limitations

ID cards will cost loads, even more than a passport, and hurt
those of us who can least afford it

The ID database and card scheme will cost several billion
pounds. Much of this will end up lining the pockets of the private
companies who will set up and run the computers and card-reading
technology, and paying the personnel involved in running the
scheme. A figure of £300 per person has been determined by
dividing the likely cost of the scheme by the population, and it it
likely that a lot of this cost will be passed to individuals when we are
asked to register for a card or make changes to our records - a kind
of tax to pay for the fear and insecurity created by our
scaremongering rulers. But it’s important to remember the
principle that we wouldn’t want it even if it was free. Neither
should the large fines scare us into registering. One of the strongest
weapons against the Poll Tax was the campaign of mass
non-registration by the public burning of forms or simply by ignoring
council letters.

ID cards won’t work

There are huge technical problems with making ID cards work.
This is good – but either way that’s not our problem. Home
Office sponsored trials by Atos Origin showed unbelievably bad
results for biometric registration and validation that would clearly
discriminate against disabled, black and older people. Again, this
might seem like a good basis for opposing ID, but let’s not get
drawn into arguing for a ‘fair’ system. We need to stand
together and be clear we don’t want any system.

ID cards won’t solve crime or terrorism

The government has been sneaky to lump terrorism and
organised crime in with any kind of credit card and welfare benefits
fraud. But why should we care if a few of us are working the system
when corporations and rich individuals continue to benefit from
massive tax-avoidance and the government is spending millions on
arms? A lot of us depend on ‘petty’ crime to overcome
poverty in our class-divided society. Organised crime and the terror
threat are mainly diversions to scare us into believing we need the
state to be secure when it’s state-imposed social inequality,
warmongering and religious bigotry that are the problems. Many of
the people who threaten us most through fear of poverty or violence,
whether they are fraudsters, terrorists, bosses or generals, are rich
people who can buy anonymity and freedom of movement. So the
bleatings of Liberty and others in the ‘It won’t work’
brigade end up just adding to the confusion, because the very act of
going on about crime or terrorism just propagates fear of each other.
This is another form of ‘divide and rule’, keeping us down
when we should be fostering solidarity amongst ourselves to fight
oppression together. Anarchists refuse to be drawn into worrying
about a state initiative from the state’s own perspective.

ID cards will lead us into a police state

Well maybe, since the police will have access to the database and
will have powers to demand to see ID cards, but even this sort of
misses the point. The ID scheme is much more than information to
help the police know who we are. If you’re being denied
healthcare or a driving license because you’re not on the
national register, is it not really enforcement that’s the problem,
it’s the whole system. The real issue is the government’s
original idea of entitlement and its flipside - economic
discrimination. The global capitalist economy relies on inequality so
our governments are lying every time they say they don’t want
migrants working in Britain. They want cheap goods and labour
from wherever they can get it and always have done, whether from
the spoils of colonial rule, raw materials or sweatshop products
feeding multinationals, from migration of workers with lower wage
expectations, or by the driving down of wages in general. Running
this kind of capitalist system involves managing production and
consumption for the mass of us. An electronic ID database will help
to parcel up the majority of people in our 21st century society into
economic units whose wages or welfare benefits, and the way these
are spent, are tightly controlled. All this is going on whilst the rich
and higher-earning middle classes, especially those benefiting from
the property boom or stock market income, can afford private
healthcare and pensions along with the relative anonymity that goes
with those privileges. That leaves those of us who depend on
resources like state or low-paid occupational pensions and the NHS
to have our entire life history put under detailed scrutiny from
government bean-counters and private companies.

ID cards also take away our ability to create our own social and
economic sphere. Labour (and some of the socialist Left who
traditionally love social planning) hate the ‘Grey Market’
they can’t track and tax, and so roll out the usual scare-stories of
organised crime and terrorism. No surprise then that we are now
seeing adverts telling us that buying cheap DVDs will buy guns for
terrorists! They want us to feel guilty about everything from
biodiesel, media piracy and cheap booze, while at the same time are
promoting free-market policies for the rest of the world and helping
companies make millions from the poverty of the majority of people
on earth.
National ID on the cards (from Organise! 64, Summer 2005)
Organise! is the magazine of the Anarchist Federation, available
either in print or online from our website

The threat of introduction of a National Identity Card Scheme is
still an ongoing UK government hot potato and almost an obsession
for New Labour. But why? This article tries to wade through the
mud of post-Sept 11th paranoia and to counter the fear-mongering
coming not only through the electioneering twaddle of the political
parties but even from anti-ID card campaigns like Liberty’s.
What we find is an ongoing and consistent commitment to enforced
citizenship which appears be the real meaning behind the rhetoric.

In the private sector, especially in retail, market research
technology has provided the means to help companies
‘understand their customers better’ thanks to huge
databases created from transactions using debit and credit cards and
from store loyalty cards, enabling them to target their marketing
campaigns and in-store product lines. Soon we’ll have
widespread use of Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that
will help them track goods and clothes we are wearing inside and
even outside of the store with much more sophistication than is
currently possible with bar-codes, and even photograph us when we
pick up products. For consumer goods then, Big Brother is surely
here already (see separate article on RFID).

On the other hand, the public sector has struggled to keep up in
‘understanding its citizens’. To push this forwards the
Labour party has actively pursued the idea of e-Government and has
attempted to create and computerise a number of systems such as
the Inland Revenue and Criminal Records Bureau at great cost with
varying degrees of success – the Passport Service and Child
Support Agency systems being notable disasters in recent memory.
But in spite of the setbacks and huge expense, Labour seems to have
the will to see through a multi-billion pound National ID Card
Scheme as a semi-public/semi-private initiative via the Whitehall
and Industry Group (WIG) who have held events to attract a host of
telecoms, security and other hi-tech companies, along with
credit-checking agencies and information management consultants
(see www.corporatewatch.org).

This is all happening while the supposed reasons for needing ID
cards are being promoted by the government, and campaigns are up
and running to oppose them. The picture is quite confusing with a
host of arguments coming from both sides of the ‘debate’,
and even within the same political parties. Lest we forget, Tories
Michael Howard and Peter Lilley failed to introduce ID cards during
the Major government. Now as opposition leader Howard is still in
favour but Lilley has taken a more right-wing libertarian position.
For anarchists, being against loss of personal freedoms could be
seen as a given but, as we will see, some of the tactics of anti-ID
card campaigning leave a lot to be desired, so it is perhaps worth a
closer look.

Reading through the ‘Fiction and Fact’ mini-booklet
response to ID cards from the civil liberties group Liberty you can
just imagine their discussions with a social research consultant.
What do the stupid Daily Mail reading public care about? Oh yes:
Terrorism, Crime, Illegal Immigration, Benefit Cheats, security of
their personal information, and having to pay for the Card, so
let’s organise our anti-ID campaign around the issues and tell
them it won’t work. Tell them how terrorists, bank robbers,
rapists and muggers won’t be deterred, street crime is just as
bad in countries that have cards, people smugglers will just forge
them, 90% of benefit frauds involve the cheat’s own identity.
Some of these may be quite true, but talk about playing to
people’s fears and forgetting about any kind of social solidarity!
When Blunkett or Clarke go on about organised crime, terrorists and
failed asylum seekers, they are not interested in helping people
understand their real agenda, but rather to market their plans using
media-friendly sound-bites. By concentrating on this divisive
catalogue of political issues (that drop so easily out of the
focus-group kinds of methods which are popular for gauging support
or otherwise for schemes that affect voting populations),
Liberty’s campaign misses the point about Labour’s long
term agenda which is all about social control.

So how can we really understand Labour’s love of ID cards
and work out how to oppose them effectively and not at the expense
of unwarranted fearmongering? As pointed out by the altogether
more sensible Defy-ID campaign (see www.defy-id.org.uk),
Labour’s ID card bill could rightly be called the ‘National
Identity Register Bill’ since it is more about establishing a
national ID database than issuing cards. The database, as currently
intended, will contain not just your current name and address and
‘biometric’ fingerprint or iris scan, but will track and record
any address (or name) changes and include your photo, National
Insurance number, driving licence number, passport number,
immigration number, and the number of ‘any designated
document not covered by the above’. The database would be
open not only to the Immigration service and Police but to public
and private sector organisations. These could be the tax office,
employers, banks and credit organisations (including student loans),
utility companies, libraries, dentists etc. Such a database could be set
up quietly without further input from individuals and without even
issuing cards. Blunkett had also spoken of linking the ID database to
the forthcoming NHS one for electronic patient records.
Furthermore, a database for all children under 18 (to include their
school achievements, health visits, DSS and police records) was
proposed last year for addition to the Children’s Bill following
the Lord Laming report into the death of Victoria Climbié, which
according to minister Margaret Hodge could ‘also be used to
support service planning and delivery’ (see Direct Action,

According to the Regulatory Impact Assessment published
alongside the current Bill, a ‘terrorist’ would need an ID
card to ‘stay in a hotel, rent accommodation, hire cars and
generally carry out their activities’. As Defy-ID astutely brings to
our attention, this implies we’d all need to have an ID card to do
these things! This smacks most clearly of Labour’s original idea
of the entitlement card that Blunkett tried to get through in Feb 2002
on an anti-fraud ticket well before the terror scare really hit the UK,
which gives a much clearer picture of the real purpose of a national
database. Feasibility of entitlement cards was heavily criticised at the
time (see FIPR response to the UK Entitlement Card consultation -
foundation for information policy research:
www.fipr.org/cards/entitlementresponse.html), but still fits well with
Labour’s social control agenda since they came to power which,
with a good dose of religious work-ethic thrown in, has seen the
imposition of workfare schemes through the New Deal and the more
recent persecution of long-term unemployed on incapacity benefit. If
retirement age goes up any further it looks like many more of us will
be working until we drop dead. And Labour despises the black or
grey economy they can’t get taxes from, because everyone must
be involved in building the Gross Domestic Product of UK, which is
their real meaning of ‘citizenship’. Blunkett’s obsession
with the idea of a card, continued by Clarke, clouds the fact that a
database system would serve a very heavy state function with or
without the actual carrying of one.

Bringing opposition to ID cards into the arena of social struggle
requires solidarity and we can learn therefore, not just from the
broad-based Australian experience of defeating an ID card scheme
in 1987 (see ‘On Campaigns of Opposition to ID Card
Schemes’, 01/01/1995, Simon Davies:
www.privacyinternational.org/issues/idcard/campaigns.html) and
other examples in New Zealand and the Philippines, but also from
the Sans Papiers ‘undocumented workers’ movement in
France that has helped show the way in a country that already has
ID. Let’s face it, we already have a sizeable section of the
country that is excluded – the homeless, travellers, many poor
‘pensioners’ or younger people unable to work for any
reason, as well as our exploited illegal workers and victimised
asylum seekers. Many people are forced, whether they want to or
not, to live in the black economy or resort to ‘crime’. These
are the groups that Labour don’t want to exist, since it costs
them money or denies them taxes, but they are an inevitable part of
a capitalist society that values only work and profit.

Anarchists, who are not stuck in the mire of moralising about a
loss of GDP that could in any case be recouped in days by stopping
war on Iraq and other military spending, have always worked on and
applauded tactics to elude national schemes, like encouraging the
thousands of people who disappeared from the poll tax registers at
the end of the 1980s. By not caring about the promises of liberal (or
‘illiberal’) democracy we have a headstart in keeping off the
electoral role but more importantly we have been at the forefront of
benefits claimants’ action groups against Job Seekers’
Allowance (see www.geocities.com/ncajsa/) and other
community-based campaigns. At the hard end of campaigning
like-minded activists have rescued asylum prisoners and seen off
bailiffs. This is the kind of community model being used by the
Defy-ID campaign, and one that should be supported. The solidarity
gained in this level of grassroots activity can help build a sustainable
fightback that appealing to individual self-interest on single issues
will never achieve.

RFID – a new technology for ID cards

Radio-frequency identification tagging, or RFID, is a technology
that started off in stock control, motorway tollgates, fancy key-fobs
and pet ‘collars’. Now it’s on individual items in
supermarkets for anti-theft and tracking shopping behaviours. Each
tag includes an aerial and an electronic chip that sends out a code
when it is excited by a transmitter in the shop. Both ASDA/Walmart
and Tesco tried them out a while back on “smart shelves”
displaying highly nickable Gillette razor blade packs, taking your
photo when pick one up. Marks & Spencer is now tagging 3.5
million food trays, and Tesco is selling tagged DVDs in some stores
and is massively expanding its RFID use. Tagged clothes (those paid
for as well as nicked), another big product area for RFID, could
potentially be tracked outside the shop although the cheaply made
tags in common use are fairly large and not very durable. The real
danger will come when these become small enough to remain as
part of the clothing after sale. A proposed European Union
“Intellectual Property Enforcement Directive” would actually
forbid removal of embedded tags. Permanent tagging is being
encouraged by the EU for limiting global movement of products,
similar to regionning of DVDs, although this has been criticised by

There may still be time to act. Gillette and the supermarkets
suffered from bad press when they tried out RFID in razor packs,
forcing a temporary withdrawal in some stores, and many privacy
organisations are fighting RFID expansion. Various groups are
supporting a worldwide boycott of Tesco to test the water in the
latest fight against “spychips”. Minimum action is shopping
less at Tescos. Other retailers, with an eye on their profits, are
waiting to see what happens so it’s worth having a go, even if
boycotting of one supermarket has its limits when they are all at it to
some extent!

Not surprisingly, the state is interested in the level of control
offered by RFID. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is
testing “Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology”
(US-VISIT) for tracking when and where people cross borders.
RFID tagging is being installed in Ohio State’s prison system to
track its 44,000 inmates, and some schools are already trying
RFID-badges on students.

Other examples of RFID creep are embedded credit cards and
mobile phones – these can of course be linked directly to your
personal identity and location. There have also been a few
(over-hyped) reports of under-the-skin tagging, such as staff in the
Mexican Attorney General’s office and punters at a Spanish
nightclub. If you are worried about ID-cards and other forms of
control, it’s vital to keep a close eye on RFID developments.

More info on the web, in addition to numerous IndyMedia.org.uk

http://www.boycottTesco.com | http://www.notags.co.uk |

Interview with the French Anarchist Federation about their
experience of ID cards

AF: You have had ID cards for many years. Should anarchists in
Britain be concerned about attempts by the British State to introduce

Nicholas: Once the system is in place you cannot go back. The
ID card is an object that identifies you. You have to have it with you
at all times. It makes police control much easier. If you can’t
establish identity then they can take you to the police station without
any other reason. Once they have the ID card in place then they can
add other things- like biometric identification e.g. fingerprints. The
base is the card and then they add things. The ID card is the
beginning of a general file on everyone that regroups all other
information they have to identify someone. They can have your
whole life in this one file- your health, civil status etc.

AF: Won’t a lot of people think that it won’t affect

This type of measure is done supposedly for safety but it is not
benign- it is a tool of oppression that can be used against militants,
the socially weak and illegal immigrants. So of course anarchists and
other political activists will be affected. But, it is an attack on general
liberty, the basis of a whole system of surveillance. And, no one is
sheltered from control by the police. There are abuses. For example,
someone was just going home from work and was stopped by the
police. He had forgotten his ID card and found himself at the police
station for 12 hours. The ID card has become more and more
dangerous because all the information is on computer. For the
moment, we can say we are in a democracy and therefore only a few
could be affected, The State could change and then the system is
there is use against everyone.

AF: How will the ID cards link up with European-wide controls?

The Europolice can consult records in different countries and
now they are also working together. They look at you, they don’t
like your face, they check. It is easier to stop people just to check
identity. You are obliged to submit.

AF: Is it used as an entitlement card to obtain benefits?

No, in France you have other cards for that.

AF: What advice would you give to anarchists in Britain?

You have to argue that it is a danger for the liberty of everyone.
Terrorism is a pretext. With a different government, then they can
extend it to everyone. You also need to know exactly how the laws
are to be enforced. For example, what happens if you don’t have
your card. Will there be fines, how long can you be held by the police

Information from the German Anarchist Federation

ID cards actually came from Germany- a Prussian invention. It
was designed to control the population, to check out who pays taxes,
who needs to go to military service. They are now beginning to
introduce new ID cards with a special chip. It is possible to check the
ID card from a distance- so you could be just walking by and then
could check your file. So on a demonstration they could use the
information to check on who is there, who walks with whom etc.

Another aspect of the way that surveillance is increasing is the
plan to introduce tolls for every car in Germany which would require
each car to carry a GPS box. With this, not only could they check
who had paid the toll but also check the movements of any car.


This article, edited from a leaflet produced in Manchester, is
inspired by the Panoptican, a reference to Jeremy Bentham’s
prison architecture, having a central vantage point from which
guards could watch each cell unobserved by the isolated prisoner,
leading to self-regulating behaviour, as discussed in Michel
Foucault’s book ‘Crime and Punish’.
What have you got to hide?

The first important thing about ID cards is they want a register
rather than a card. Bits of paper or plastic are to a great extent
irrelevant. The old chestnut “if you're doing nothing wrong
you've got nothing to hide” is being aired again by our
government. They claim that the information to be recorded by the
scheme (49 items in all) is only the basic necessary to prove your
identity & to fight crime. But we are talking about ‘knowledge
power’ here, the Panoptican that shines a light from which there
is nowhere to hide.

One of claims is that it will be used to stop terrorism, but
ex-home secretary David Blunkett has already admitted: “I
accept that it is important that we do not pretend that an entitlement
card would be an overwhelming factor in combating international
terrorism". In fact ID cards could even assist many of the things, like
identity theft, that they are supposedly being introduced to prevent,
so why do it?

Bearing in mind the expanding definition of crime is fast
becoming ‘what small minded petty middle class folk don't
like’ the scope for an ID scheme seems limitless. It appears to
tie in nicely with the huge number of CCTV cameras in this country
(the most in Europe if not the planet) and anti-social behaviour
orders (ASBOs), dispersal orders and the other new powers given to
police and courts to penalise people without even the already
dubious ‘due process’ of the law. Shopping centres are now
being praised for banning young people in baseball caps &
“hoodys”. How low have things got when your clothes are
the defining mark of criminality, striking fear even into the heart of
mighty John Prescott?

They want to have your iris scan, fingerprint, photo, National
Insurance number (NINO) and other numbers such as immigration
number if you have one. If any detail changes you will be required to
tell them & pay for the privilege of sorting out any mistakes, and
bear in mind you may only find out something’s not right when
someone else accesses the data and says you can’t have you
benefits, or whatever. The state is proposing that your information
will be available, not only to government officials, but also to others
providing ‘public service’. This would appear to include
private companies like banks or credit checking agencies such as
Experian. We hear that: "As part of this digital security infrastructure
we envision that every constituent will have a highly secured,
multi-purpose, government-provided electronic ID card that will
serve not only for government purposes but also for online activities
in the private sector-the electronic equivalent of today's ID cards,
passports, driver's licenses and social security cards."

Of course this will all be presented in a way to make you think
that this is actually a blessing, making life so much easier &
convenient. Perhaps it will be, but who for?

Big business bonanza!

The ID scheme is being realised by a variety of information and
communications technologies (ICT) companies including British
Telecom and smaller ‘card & card solutions’ companies like
Identix who work on fingerprint & facial recognition technology. In a
lengthy submission to the Home Office, Atos Origin, one of the
main companies involved, has argued that the Government should
introduce an ID Card ‘lite’ and then migrate to a full
biometric card and detailed population database when the card is
already in use because: "the well understood sensitivity of the issue
indicates the need to progress gradually rather than by 'big bang'.
Because of the history and tradition of the British people, we believe
that arriving at a universal entitlement multi-application smart card
may be an iterative process stretching over a number of years".

The above statement is an example of the greedy cynicism
inherent in this scheme. It is not just a case of the state deciding that
we can't be trusted to live our lives without them imposing even
more pointless rules & regulations. They are also intent on lining
their chums’ bulging pockets with our money. That's right,
make society a semi-open prison and charge the inmates for the
privilege - but at least we get to shop. With the advent of other
monitoring technology it will no longer be necessary to go through
your receipts to find out what you buy as among other things the
clothes you wear will be readable using RFID. Admittedly the state
might not be particularly bothered by what you wear unless it's a
hoody or hijab, but the companies who are involved in developing
surveillance systems want a little bit more than the millions they will
rake in for their original tenders & the millions more they'll get when
the job goes over budget. They will happily develop additional
technology which can & will be sold to those interests who wish to
target you for every penny they can get your hands on. People will,
even more than at present, be regarded as economic units rather that
autonomous individuals.

OK so why do we oppose ID?

1. Because it is wrong plain & simple.
2. It's a rip off. They really are taking the piss here. Charging us
through the nose to get done over.
3. It will not work for any of the purposes they claim for a
number of reasons including their lack of competence. As for the
companies greed: it will work a bit, but always need a bit more
money to fix it. Bit like smack really.
4. Goverment IT schemes always collapse into enquiries as to
what went so spectacularly wrong. Over budget, the programmes
don't work, the hardware doesn't work then they start to tinker round
with them &/or the initial plan changes ½ way through (if that far
on). Everyone a loser.
5. As was raised by a House of Commons committee, they will
affect everyone but vulnerable social groups more. So if you are from
an ethnic minority or homeless for example you will find yourself
subjected to checks more often than those responsible for real
offences, like bringing in this rubbish.
6. If it's not compulsory it will not be of any good really (also
pointed out by a house Committee), though one thing for pushing it
may be to go on the ‘we can use finger prints to solve old
crimes'. As we have no statute of limitations in this country & they
got rid of double jeopardy it looks like when the police are feeling
undervalued/funded they can fill the courts & jails with dubious
7. Another issue people will have to face is how to live without
our inflexible friends as we will apparently need them if we want to
work or get benefits.
8. Loads of New offences including:
o refusal to obey an order to register = £2500
o failure to submit to fingerprinting and biometric scanning
= £2500
o failure to provide information demanded by the
government = £2500
o failure to attend an interview at a specified place and time
= £2500
o failure to notify authorities about a lost, stolen, damaged
or defective card = up to 1yr in prison and/or a fine
o failure to renew a card = £1000
o failure to attend subsequent fingerprinting and biometric
scanning when demanded = £1000
o failure to provide subsequent information when
demanded = £1000
o failure to attend subsequent interview at specified place
and time when demanded = £1000
o failure to notify authorities of any change in personal
circumstances (including change of address) = £1000
o providing false information = up to 2 years and/or a fine
To add insult to injury, many of the offences set out in the
Bill are civil penalties meaning it's unlikely you'll get legal aid to help
your defence.

So what are we going to do?

So far there have been a few demos, mostly unreported by the
mainstream media. After its re-election the government is set on
bringing the legislation in as quickly as possible. Much of the
foundation work has apparently been done & the propaganda
machine has been revving up waiting for the green light. We cannot
(did we ever) rely on backbenchers or the Lords to save our arses.
This one like the Poll Tax affects everyone, more so as it also
includes children, and it up to us all to fight it before or after the
scheme comes in. This may mean having to set up support for those
denied services due to a lack of cash, raising awareness of what is
going on & of those companies complicit in the development of the
scheme. We also have to challenge the variety of arguments being
put forward by the government & supporters of the scheme on the
grounds of public interest.

Clause 1(4) of the Bill defines it as being "in the interests of
national security", "for the purposes of the prevention or detection of
crime", "for the purposes of the enforcement of immigration
controls", "for the purposes of the enforcement of prohibitions on
unauthorised working or employment" and "for the purpose of
securing the efficient and effective provision of public services."
Even if ID cards did address these issues, which they won’t, it
will have to be argued that the effect on our freedom is not worth the
claimed benefits. Some are attacks on our freedom anyway from the
racism of immigration policy to the ‘so called prevention of
crime' measures which we have witnessed extending throughout the
past couple of years. The Government & indeed the political culture
have played along with the media a game of ‘who can scare the
shit out of the public the most’. In attempting to outdo each
other they have managed to convince many people that what they
see is not real. While there are some unpleasant people in our
communities doing things we'd all prefer them not to, it's nowhere
near as bad as the exaggerated horror stories that we are fed daily.
This is how they have managed with barely a peep of dissent to the
covering of the country in CCTV & imposing of new social controls
such as ASBOs & dispersal orders. Manchester seems to be the
capital of repressive practice, a willing laboratory for these new toys,
happy to have more CCTV than anywhere else in the country
(anecdotally I've heard the planet) & appears to deal out ASBOs like
sweeties, very often to children. If people are happy to accept these
measures & the accompanying rhetoric, they will in the view of the
government be prepared to accept the ID register & cards. Especially
if those opposed can be presented as enemies of the people who
support terrorism, criminality, dropping litter & anything else they
heard that someone in a key marginal might have thought about
getting upset about.

Now Labour have been elected again, albeit with a reduced
majority & some backbenchers ready(ish) to challenge their leaders,
we can look forward to an extension of the measures toward a stilted
culture of fear alienation and the ‘comfort food' of consumption.
Already we are getting signals of this with the inaccurate & unfair
stigmatizing of youth, immigrants & other sections of society. Their
confusion of deference with respect, should worry us all. We need to
address these issues before we no longer can. Remember what that
German pastor said?*

*Martin Niemöller “First they came for ...
And when they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me.”

Solidarity, the key to beating ID (article from Resistance 78,
October 2005)
Resistance is the monthly bulletin of the Anarchist Federation,
available either in print or online from our website

With the national identity database and card bill poised to have
its new 3rd reading in October, the Home Office has been trying to
pour cold water on anti-ID campaigning by the launch of an ‘ID
Road Show’ that apparently started in Manchester Airport in
mid-September and might be coming to a place near you! That
should provide some fun and games for Defy-ID who have been at
the forefront of libertarian activities against the scheme. But how
prepared are we to fight ID if it comes in? A popular campaign of
outright refusal will surely be needed.

Defy-ID groups around the country have mostly been hitting the
right message, but recently some individuals have suggested
supporting left of Labour campaigns like NO2ID. Anarchists have
real problems with this. NO2ID are asking you to 'write to your
MP’, and are putting their energy into lobbying the Labour Party
conference. They have even set up a ‘pledge’ where they
ask you to pay into a fighting fund for others can act - so you
don’t have to! Lobbying of political parties and this kind of
centrally organised fighting fund is typical of the socialist left who
don't believe people can be self-empowered to fight. And who are
the official refuseniks that will benefit from the pledge money,
should it be raised? You guessed it, the same leftie organisers who
are always going on about workers power but deep down think we
are too stupid to fight our own struggles.

In addition we are hearing far too much of the 'won't stop fraud,
won't stop crime' arguments against ID which just add to the fears
we are currently living under. Instead of creating solidarity they
actually reinforce the opposite, making us feel we need the state to
protect us from others. It is especially sickening to hear 'won't stop
benefit fraud' repeated again and again by the likes of Liberty and
NO2ID – implying that surviving by working and claiming dole
or living in the grey/black economy is something that we should
worry about.

Let’s not forget what ID was really about before the ‘war
on terror’ and other bogus political messages took over before
the general election. ID was about ‘entitlement’ to public
services. The rich will be able to pay for their anonymity in society as
they will not need to use services that the rest of us will have access
with our national ID. So underneath it all, ID is a big class issue.

Get involved with Defy-ID

Defy-ID is a national campaign fighting ID, and there are many
local groups who would love to hear from you.

“Defy-ID is not a national membership organisation, it is a
network of groups from around the UK. Local groups form the basis
for resistance to every stage of the introduction of ID cards and could
involve all kinds of campaigning methods. The best way to get
involved is to contact your nearest group. If there is not one in your
area perhaps you should think of forming one. However, the idea is
not necessarily that groups would be formed specifically to protest
against the identity card scheme, but also that existing groups could
join the Defy-ID network. Such a group might, for example, be a
community group, anti-fascist, environmental, animal rights,
tenants association or asylum seekers support group.”

You can find out more about Defy-ID on the web at:


or contact the Anarchist Federation and we’ll attempt to put
you in touch.

There is an online discussion forum at:


and ideas for action at:


Local Defy-ID Groups

There are groups in the following areas at least: Armagh & Down
| Bolton | Bradford | Brighton | Bristol | Cambridge | Cheshire |
Glasgow | Guilford | Herts (South East) | Leeds | Leicester | Lincoln |
Liverpool | London (Barnet/Brent) London (Hackney) | London
(Haringey) | Manchester | Norwich | Nottingham | Preston |
Sheffield | Stoke on Trent | Worthing.

For more info see: http://www.defy-id.org.uk/localgroups.htm

The Liverpool group has it’s own web-site and contact details:

Liverpool Defy-ID
c/o News From Nowhere Bookshop
96 Bold Street
Liverpool L1 4HY
Email: defyid@newsfromnowhere.org.uk
Website: http://www.liverpool-defy-id.org.uk/

Check their website for regular meetings.

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