Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/946/25341
The Socialist 26 April 2017 |
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Jobstown trial begins - call on Corbyn to support the defendants!
Solidarity protest for Jobstown defendants outside Irish embassy in London, 24.4.17, photo by Niall Mulholland (Click to enlarge)
"It's a rigged system set up by the wealth extractors, for the wealth extractors." With those words Jeremy Corbyn boldly launched his general election campaign. But Jeremy could also have been talking about the outrageous trial of seven anti-austerity protesters in Ireland that will run concurrently to the general election here.
On 24 April the trial of seven protesters began in Dublin, the first group of 18 adults who will stand trial. All seven pleaded not guilty to the outrageous charges they face - of false imprisonment following their participation in a peaceful sit-down protest in 2014.
Their real 'crime' is that the protest was part of an anti-austerity movement against water charges and privatisation that won. As Jeremy Corbyn said: "When we win, it's the people, not the powerful, who win" and they can't bear that.
The first day of the trial was mainly about jury selection. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had been seeking bans on who could sit - including a Trump-like ban on the 14% of the Dublin population who come from the Tallaght area and all trade union members!
However the DPP has been forced to retreat on some of these proposed exclusions by the pressure of the solidarity campaign. It already includes French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and many other prominent left spokespeople around the world. The Labour Party in Northern Ireland has also passed a resolution in support of Jobstown Not Guilty.
Like the Blairites seeking to attack Jeremy Corbyn before, during and after this general election, this trial will expose the Blairites in Irish Labour. As we go to press the prosecution is setting out its case and will call witnesses including Labour's Joan Burton, former deputy prime minister, whose anti-working class policies provoked the Jobstown protest. She will testify against socialists leading the fight against austerity.
The push-back against the DPP shows the need to continue building this campaign for the six weeks of the trial. Readers of the Socialist are asked to help build even wider trade union support and to intensify the social media campaign. Please email [email protected] for a campaign pack including a model trade union motion.
The campaign in England and Wales has already had big successes. 38 trade union branches and trades councils have already democratically voted to back the campaign with many more preparing to do so. Over £2,000 has been raised from these branches which can help counter the media blackout of the case.
Also, crucially, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, RMT transport union president Sean Hoyle, BFAWU bakers' union president Ian Hodson, Amy Murphy, Usdaw shop workers' union executive council, leaders of the PCS civil servants' union, members of Unison's national executive, and many more key trade union activists have written to Jeremy to say:
"Support for Jobstown Not Guilty would be consistent with your record of defending trade union rights, standing against repression and for democratic rights and we hope that you will back this campaign."