That the security services spy on progressives has been an unsavoury fact of life since a ruling class first emerged.
The recent revelations of police undercover agents infiltrating environmental groups in Britain is only the latest in a long list of such anti-democratic activity waged against progressive forces by the state's forces of law and order.
Britain though is not unique in this area. In Germany recently the VS, or Verfassungsschutz (federal office for the protection of the constitution), has been exposed for keeping the 42 members of the parliamentary faction of Die Linke (the Left Party) under constant and covert surveillance.
This is particularly egregious, when flourishing neonazi groups in the country carry out arson attacks on hostels where asylum-seekers live, wage street violence against immigrants and even commit murder with relative impunity.
Yet the security forces seem unable to prevent this or, in many cases, even catch the culprits.
The recent spying revelations have caused widespread outrage in Germany.
However, you would be hard-pressed to find any mention of it in the press here.
Apparently the quaintly termed Verfassungsschutz, a form of internal secret service for the protection of the constitution, has been maintaining in-depth surveillance on officials and members of the Left Party in the German parliament for years.
Despite the fact that the party meticulously adheres to the constitution and its MPs are democratically elected by the people, they are still deemed a threat by the ruling elite.
As the parliamentary group leader Gregor Gysi pointed out, nowhere in the country's constitution does it suggest that the present capitalist system is an integral part of it.
Just because Die Linke campaigns for democratic socialism and a more just system doesn't make it anti-constitutional in any way.
"The so-called protectors of the constitution are themselves behaving in an anti-constitutional manner," said Gysi.
"They are continually violating the constitution. Parliament is supposed to hold the secret services to account not vice versa."
In an attempt to defuse the situation the home affairs minister maintained that "only publicly available documents" had been procured by the secret services.
However when Gysi demanded to see the documents referring to him, he was handed a substantial pack with his name on it, but page after page had been blacked out.
"If these are documents in the public domain," he demanded of the minister, "how come whole sections have been blacked out?"
In the past members of the Verfassungsschutz have also infiltrated right-wing extremist groups but have been seemingly impotent at preventing them from committing acts of violence and indeed the service's actual role has been seriously questioned by progressives as its operatives often appear to be encouraging and supporting the extremists rather than curbing their illegal activities.
Home Affairs Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has compared the surveillance of left politicians with surveillance of the neonazi NPD.
But Left MP Caren Lay said this is "absurd."
"The kernel of the problem is their idiotic 'theory of extremism.'
"To suggest a similarity between the left and extreme right, as the government is doing, is idiotic.
"Die Linke defends the constitution of the Federal Republic, the equality and freedom of all citizens while the neonazi NPD opposes them."
The aim of this surveillance is clearly to intimidate the party and its members, potential members and anyone having contact with the party's MPs will also feel threatened.
Die Linke also noted that the governing Christian Democratic Union and its partner the Christian Social Union (CSU) need to demonstrate a little more humility given their past support of Pinochet's fascist regime in Chile and the South African apartheid system, as well as the blanket job-blacklisting of progressives in west Germany prior to unification.
The German constitution guarantees the equality of all legal parties in the country, but in this case it is clearly infringing the rights of a single party.
In Bavaria, where the CSU rules, members of Die Linke are even obliged to reveal their membership of the party if they wish to apply for public service jobs. No members of any other party are obliged to do so.
Like the undercover police agents here in Britain, the German spooks have overplayed their legitimacy and have themselves become a danger to the constitution, democracy and human rights.
This scandalous surveillance undermines the whole ethos of democracy.
The principle that the legislature holds the executive to account is thus turned on its head.
The independence of MPs and their free mandate is also called into question, undermining the democratic will of the people.
Once again these revelations demonstrate how the ruling elite everywhere pays lip service to democracy, but flouts it unreservedly to entrench its power.
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