Published On: 10th July 2024

Michael Chant of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist) sheds light on the extent of the undercover policing that took place. 

Today, Wednesday 10 July 2024, Michael Chant, a prominent member of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist Leninist) (RCPB-ML), has appeared at the Undercover Policing Inquiry.  

The organisation known for its Marxist-Leninist ideology has been active in political campaigns and worker movements since its inception. Michael gave testimony regarding the infiltration of the RCPB-ML and other associated groups by undercover officers.  

He shed light on the vast extent of undercover operations within the RCPB-ML and the impact these operations had on the party’s activities and its members. He provided personal insights and highlighted the need for robust safeguards to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups involved in political activism and social justice campaigning. 

Michael and the RCPB-ML are deeply concerned by the impact of undercover officers on issues such as potential blacklisting of campaigners and activists. They are concerned with issues around the police officers affecting those groups, their progress and the impact of taking leading positions in campaigning groups and socialist organisations.   

Broader implications 

Michael’s appearance is part of a broader effort by the inquiry to understand how political groups were targeted and the broader implications for civil liberties and democratic engagement. 

The testimonies provided to the UCPI reveal a complex web of surveillance and infiltration affecting a wide array of organisations, including socialist groups, trade unions, and social justice movements.  

The key issues being examined include: 

  • The proportionality and necessity of undercover operations 
  • The psychological and emotional impact on those who were deceived 
  • The transparency and accountability of police practices 
  • The fact that the practices of undercover political policing were encouraged by the highest levels of Government 
  • Reforms needed to prevent abuses of power in the future 

About the UCPI 

The Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) was established in 2015. It was set up to investigate and report on undercover political policing operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in their entirety since 1968. 

The Inquiry’s creation was prompted by revelations that undercover officers had infiltrated political and activist groups often using ethically dubious and legally questionable tactics. These revelations included officers forming intimate relationships under false pretences, using the identities of deceased children to create false personas, and failing to disclose their activities in legal proceedings. 

The UCPI aims to examine the conduct of undercover officers, the authorisation and oversight of their activities, and the impact on individuals, political groups, workers’ organisations and communities targeted by these operations.  

The ongoing surveillance by political police of the political discourse and assembly of any individual and/or group is completely unacceptable.   

Whether under the guise of national security, defence of parliamentary democracy, the threat of so-called terrorism, or opposition to ‘extremist ideologies’, it steps far beyond the boundaries of a police force’s remit and has caused significant harm to those involved.  

PILC is representing 12 individuals and organisations for the UCPI. The inquiry is expected to continue until December 2026.