Defend Jobstown: Protest is not a crime

Taken from the latest edition of Socialist Worker

The notion that sitting down around Joan Burton’s car is ‘kidnapping’ or false imprisonment is so obviously ludicrous that it must have been the result of a deliberate plan concocted by the Department of Public Prosecutions, the State and the Government.

What is that plan? It is first to take revenge for the defeat that the Government and the establishment as a whole have suffered at the hands of the great water movement and to leave a sour taste in the mouth of activists and protestors.

It is, second, to set a precedent for future struggles – especially for workers and pickets – who may obstruct scabs, block gates and so on.

It is sending a message to unions and workers that the state can find and invent all sorts of absurd laws and charges to criminalise protestors and strikers.

It is, third, to create a climate of fear amongst the tens and hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who came out against the water charges that they should think twice about taking to the streets again.

Lastly, it is an attempt to take out a radical socialist TD who has been a thorn in the establishment’s side. If Paul Murphy receives a six month sentence he will lose his seat in the Dáil.

The Fine Gaelers, Fianna Fáilers, and Noirin O’Sullivan would doubtless be delighted with that.

None of this must be allowed to happen.

The Jobstown Not Guilty campaign has already scored an important victory in that the attempt by the DPP to rig the jury by barring anyone from Tallaght and anyone with an opinion on water charges has largely been rebuffed.

Now we must build on this to maintain the campaign and ensure acquittal for all the Jobstown defendants and the dropping of charges against all other water charges protestors.

The trade unions, in particular, need to see that they have a serious stake in this struggle and use some of their considerable resources to support the people of Jobstown and demand AMNESTY NOW for all water charges protestors