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Mayday trials this month - no support from the anarchist community in Dublin
summit mobilisations |
Monday November 01, 2004 10:45 by R - independent
Prisoner support is non existent in Dublin.
Two Mayday-related trials are coming up in the courts this month. The first is that of Donal Corcoran, whom the media dubbed "Robocop", which starts this morning down in the Four Courts. He is charged with assault, arising from the "Reclaim The Streets" rally in May 2002. The other is that of Polly Murphy, an English activist who was charged with trespass in April of this year. Her imprisonment and the judge's refusal to grant her bail for such a minor offence prompted regular demonstrations outside Mountjoy prison during the "No Borders Weekend" organised by the "Dublin Grassroots Network".
While it would be foolish to comment directly on these cases before they are heard, both of them represent a massive failure on the part of the anarchist/autonomous activists in Dublin.
After Reclaim The Streets in 2002, the organisation (incredibly loosely defined) effectively abandoned all responsibility for the follow-up work required, which was desperately needed to ensure that protestors were not convicted of public order offences. They said they didnt want to talk to the mainstream media, and never made any public statements, despite the fact that the mainstream media were on their side and were hungry for any information coming from the group. By burying their heads in the sand, it was left to "Globalise Resistance" to step in and speak for RTS.
The main problem is not that RTS did not talk to the media. The problem is that they failed to support any of the people charged with public order offences, either with organising a collection of legal statements or witnesses, or some kind of fund for fees, which has been 100% funded now by defendants. Their continued lack of coherent organisation (RTS Dublin does not exist as a separate entity any more) also means that the state can now re-write history unchallanged, and three out of six Gardai who were charged with assault have been found innocent.
The Dublin Grassroots Network, which grew out of the "Grassroots Gathering", also contains members of RTS Dublin, and they have continued the tradition of zero post-protest support for people charged with related offences. Polly and another English protestor Joe Girardi have been living in Dublin for the past six months, bound over by their bail conditions to remain in the country, and have been ignored and not supported in any way during their time here.
It is not just DGN that have failed to support the two English prisoners. The autonomous anarchists, mostly from the punk music scene, whom Polly and Joe stayed with in the run up to Mayday, absolved themselves of any responsibility for their well being and did not offer any help in the months preceding their trials. Both needed places to stay and some basic financial support in order to get on their feet, but this did not happen. The autonomous anarchists even organise fundraising gigs for "Prisoner Support", but they seem more interested in writing letters to anarcho-primitivists in the USA than ringing Joe or Polly up and buying them a pint. The English anarchist scene has not let this gone un-noticed and is quietly angry with the Irish anarchists.
The anarchist community likes to pat itself on the back and talk itself up as if it were the authority on revolution, pouring scorn regularly (especially on this website) on other political strands. The truth is that when it comes to doing difficult or awkward work for people who get into trouble, they close their eyes and hope the problem magically goes away. They are more interested in the "spectacular" event which gives them kudos and media attention rather than offering help and support to those that need it. The Dame Street RTS took place over 2 and a half years ago but it seems that the anarchists have not learned any lessons from that day.