The Prevent programme is a UK government programme to get teachers to snitch to the police about young people (chiefly) who they think may be being ‘radicalised’. The referrals are made to the police based on a teacher having a feeling that the young person may be being drawn into extremism.

I was surprised when doing my Prevent training (online of course) for a teaching role in the UK to see socialism listed as an extremist ideology. Alongside extremist Islam, necessarily counter-balanced by right-wing extremism, I was surprised to see: “Two broad ideologies: socialism and communism. Each are united by a set of grievance narratives which underline their cause.”

I was startled to see: “left-wing” as “could also meet the threshold of terrorist intent or action.”

I thought that socialism or being “left-wing” was a valid political position in the UK. Silly me.

I was not surprised that the whole pitch denudes any of the extremist ideologies of any valid political viewpoint at all. They are simply “intolerant of generally accepted values of society”. Nor was I surprised that the British government has not (as far as I know) referred itself to Prevent for aiding and abetting multiple apparent Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity, not least the frequent shooting dead of children in the West Bank for throwing stones (or doing nothing).

Update 7-3-24

Interestingly the day after I wrote the above an article appeared in the Guardian about this question, Prevent deciding that “socialism” is an extremist ideology. I wonder if I looked in the access logs for my site I would see a Guardian IP address? Mainstream media often “steal” stories. (I first encountered this when as a naïve graduate I wrote to my local newspaper with a proposal for a story. I didn’t get a reply but the story idea appeared in an edition the next week written by a staffer). Thinking about it, I would imagine that the mainstream media routinely sweep the “blogsphere” for story ideas. But, probably it is a coincidence in this case.