Leading Doncaster socialist campaigner and former mayoral candidate dies

A leading Doncaster socialist who stood to become the town's mayor has died at the age of 68 after a cancer battle.

Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 9:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd January 2018, 9:35 am
Doncaster socialist campaigner Mary Jackson.

Mary Jackson, who stood in the 2013 Doncaster Mayoral election for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition and also stood in local elections on a number of occasions, died last week.

Mrs Jackson was also involved in the Women Against Pit Closures campaign, fought during the Miners' Strike of 1984-85 and also battled on behalf of a number of other campaigns, causes and strikes.

Alistair Tice, of the Socialist Party - Yorkshire, described her as a " force of nature, a strong woman, working class fighter and an eternal optimist in a socialist future."

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Mrs Jackson, who was born and brought up in Stainforth but later moved to Thorne where she lived with her husband John and three children Michael, Carol and Peter, died on January 17, celebrating her golden wedding anniversary last year.

She spent more than 30 years as a Citizen's Advice worker, helping thousands of people.

Paying tribute, Mr Tice said: "It will be as a community campaigner and socialist that Mary will be long remembered.

"Mary became a socialist through her experiences in the 1984 miners’ strike when she got involved in Women Against Pit Closures, and by reading Robert Tressell’s classic novel The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists."

She joined Militant, the forerunner of Socialist Party, in 1990 during the anti-poll tax campaign, for which she was later expelled from the Labour Party.

He added: "She stood as a socialist election candidate in Thorne several times always getting a good vote reflecting how well known and respected she was.

"And in 2013, with the support of Bob Crow and his RMT rail trade union, Mary was the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for Doncaster Mayor. Campaigning against the bedroom-tax as Socialist Mary, she gained nearly 2,000 votes, which was more than one of the coalition government parties.

"Mary showed solidarity on the picket lines with any trade unionists on strike, such as the Care UK workers, the Doncaster Tesco drivers and the Doncaster Free Press journalists.

"And she volunteered at the foodbank in Thorne, campaigned against disability benefit cuts and in support of Womens Aid and against domestic violence.

"In recent years, as Mary struggled with mobility issues so was less active as a street campaigner, she wrote a semi-autobiographical book “The Great Money Trick”, her updated version of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, exposing how the working class is robbed by the capitalists.

"Mary also helped administer the 30th ‘Anniversary of the Miners Strike’ Facebook page as she learned to be a keyboard warrior to celebrate the epic strike that first made her political.

"Mary Jackson was such a strong woman, a working class fighter and an eternal optimist in a socialist future, an inspiration to all who had the privilege to struggle alongside her for a better society. Mary thought she would go on forever, sadly not, but we can carry on her fight against injustice and inequality and for that socialist future she so believed in."

The funeral will take place on February 14 at 2.30pm at Rose Hill Crematorium.