An injury to one is an injury to all—Drop the charges against Michael Pröbsting

Bolshevik Tendency supporter, Roxanne Baker, spoke at the protest on Monday 29 April outside the Austrian Embassy in London, organised by the Partisan Defence Committee, in support of activist Michael Pröbsting, who is facing very serious charges for publishing pro-Palestine material:

Good evening comrades, sisters and brothers,

My name is Roxanne and I’m a supporter of the Bolshevik Tendency.

We are all here to protest the outrageous persecution of Austrian activist Michael Pröbsting and the many others like him who have been arrested for speaking out against the genocide underway in Gaza. There have been cases of other members of the far left being targeted here in Britain. The charges against Michael are particularly serious: they could result in a two year jail sentence, which would set a very sinister precedent indeed.

We need to follow the maxim of “an injury to one is an injury to all”. We can’t allow the state to pick us off one by one. The way to most effectively resist this repression is by working together in united front actions. So we want to thank the Partisan Defence Committee and the Spartacist League for organising this protest and others like it elsewhere in defence of Michael. This is obviously about more than the democratic rights of one man – it is about the rights of everyone who dares raise their voices in opposition to the terror being unleashed in Gaza by the murderous Zionist state, aided and abetted by its imperialist patrons.

Many layers of our society, particularly youth, have seen through the crude lies of the mainstream media: the lies about anti-semitism, about what actually happened on October 7th, and about the ongoing genocide being carried out in Gaza since that day. The brutality of the Israeli state is supplemented by police repression of pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Britain, the US, Germany and elsewhere.

Within the left and workers’ movement there are various solutions proposed for redressing the crimes committed against the Palestinian people. We advocate a bi-national, secular socialist state, “from the river to the sea.” Other left groups propose different approaches. But we must all act together to defend the basic democratic right to free speech and the right to protest the horrific crimes of our rulers. These rights are today being violently attacked; in defending Michael Pröbsting, we are defending ourselves.

The only social force with the power to stop this bloodbath by Israel and its imperialist backers is the international working class. Only our class has the power to overturn the irrational and barbaric capitalist system which is currently driving humanity towards the abyss of world war.

There have been thousands of demonstrations and protests around the world by people horrified by what is happening in Palestine. Among the most significant have been the exemplary actions since 7 October, by port workers in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Belgium, Spain, India and elsewhere, who have courageously refused to handle armaments for Israel.

The crackdown on recent peaceful student protests in the US and Europe has exposed the thin veneer of bourgeois democracy. The brutal police assault on demonstrators at the University of Texas, was met by a walkout by faculty members in solidarity with the students.

International workers’ solidarity across national boundaries is a potent weapon in the struggles of the exploited and oppressed. We believe that a class-based perspective is key to solving the oppression of the Palestinians. There is no ‘democratic’ bourgeois two-state solution to this seemingly intractable conflict. The task of Marxists is to build a revolutionary socialist party deeply rooted in the working masses of both Jewish and Palestinian communities that is committed to smashing the oppressive Zionist state and uprooting imperialist domination of the Middle East.

The working class must unite in international solidarity with the hideously oppressed Palestinians; and one aspect of that is defending those, like Michael Pröbsting, who are persecuted for being courageous enough to stand up in defence of the Palestinians.

An injury to one is an injury to all—Drop the charges against Michael Pröbsting