London – The government’s upcoming review of “progressive extremism” in movements such as Black Lives Matters UK and Extinction Rebellion, is a tactic to insulate itself from accountability and legitimise even greater police coercion of popular movements. As such it should be broadly opposed and resisted.

CAGE rejects this review based on the following: 

  • It will operate on the same logic as ‘counter-extremism’: politically uncomfortable issues that fall short of criminality will be targeted and silenced within a flawed and toxic pre-crime logic;
  • Instead of tackling the legitimate concerns of certain groups, the government skirts around them through securitisation by exposing them to state sanction;
  • Lord Walney (former MP John Woodcock[1]), the previous Special Envoy for Countering Violent Extremism, will lead the review, and so it is likely to bring a proliferation of other “extremism” categories;
  • This is part of  greater securitisation of public life, along through the Spycops Bill, the upcoming Protection of the Police and Public Bill, and the aggressive, hardline approach of the Home Secretary more broadly.

Anas Mustapha, spokesperson for CAGE, said:

“This review is part of ongoing attempts by the government to clampdown, control and denigrate dissenting voices and campaigns. The Government has no interest in addressing the important contributions to public policy debates of certain segments of society and would rather manage them through more policing, surveillance and the curtailing of political rights.”


[1] Woodcock noted that the popular support enjoyed by dissenting groups particularly on the left, was disturbing to the government: he stated “permissive attitudes to intolerable activity on the hard-Left may be more likely because people perceive admirable objectives and are then liable to “submit to a conscious or often unconscious bias in overlooking the strategies to get there”.

(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)