“this is not a flash in the pan..”

The front-page of yesterday’s Irish News provided a timely reminder of the failure of some to understand, nevermind accept, the “basis of a civilised society” that the rule of law represents. Others, of course, are all too aware of the importance of due process.. The self-declared Direct Action Concerned Families Against Drugs (CFAD), described in the report as “a new community group”, were boasting of their “success” in north Belfast – Holy Cross Monastry in Ardoyne also appears to have been co-opted into their campaign. From the Irish News report [link added]

CFAD came into being in September and has since organised white-line pickets and collected 5000 signatures from residents and businesses in support of its work. It initially targeted four people by sending letters to their homes telling them that families in the area knew of their activities and were appealing to them to stop. Letters were later also sent to neighbours informing them about the group’s actions. It was made known that people could go to the monastry to discuss the situation. The group said last night that 20 people have now come forward and pledged to quit involvement with drugs. It said members have also visited some homes and physically removed drugs such as cannabis.

The report also noted that the 20 people “know that their behaviour will in future be monitored” – [By “volunteers patrolling” the neighbourhood? – Ed]. I wonder what Policing Board member Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson now thinks of “that type of action”? As I’ve noted before, Newton Emerson said it best about that ubiquitous “community” label.

Because community implies grassroots legitimacy it is an ideal disguise for such top-down exercises in social control. Being so deliberately ill-defined it is also a tricky disguise to unmask. But unmask it we must if we are not to be told who we are, what we are, how to think and where to think it by everyone anxious to group us under their own agendas. A fair society, as St Augustine observed, must comprise one community of law.