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Posts tagged ‘Workers Solidarity Movement’

1993-1996: The Dublin fight against water charge

1993-1996: The Dublin fight against water charges

A short history of the successful direct action campaign of non-payment which prevented the imposition of charges for water in Dublin, Ireland.

Winning the water war
When the domestic rates were abolished in 1977 following the general election an increase took place in income tax and Value Added Tax. The money made from these increases was to be used to fund the local authorities, who had previously relied on the domestic rates for their funding. Central government was to pay a rate support grant to Local Authorities. This rate support grant increased until 1983 when the then Fine Gael and Labour government decided to cut this grant and brought in legislation to allow the councils to levy service charges.

So though people were effectively paying more taxes, less of this money made its way to local councils, so they were asked to pay more money in the guise of ‘service charges’. 87% of all the tax paid in Ireland was by the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) worker. This was a massive amount of money especially when contrasted to the fact that many multi-national companies are attracted to Ireland for exactly the opposite reasons, because they have to pay relatively small amounts of tax. This aspect of the charge – workers being double taxed while big corporations had an easy ride – is what made this campaign so important.

The son of rates
In the 1980s resistance in Dublin led to the scrapping of the first attempt to introduce a water tax in the city. Other successful campaigns took place in Limerick and Waterford. In Waterford also, around the Paddy Browne Road a gang of contractors who were cutting off non-payers were held hostage by residents and Waterford Glass workers.

In other counties the charges continued and by 1993 the amount expected to be paid by a household varied from one county to another from around £70 to £235 per year.

The water charge is born
The writing was on the wall that a new charge was about to be levied on the people of Dublin when on January 1st 1994 Dublin County was divided into three new County Council areas. Fingal, South Dublin, and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown were created and they all had to strike a rate which they would then be charged to each household for the water service. The existence of three new areas made it easier to administer the charge on each household.

All the councillors had been elected on the basis that they opposed this charge. However when the time came to show their opposition they stalled before striking a rate. In South County it was £70, in Fingal it was £85, in Dun Laoighaire/Rathdown it varied from £50 to £93.

The sorry excuse that arose on the occasion of all these politicians proving themselves to be liars was that they were forced to strike a water charge rate or else the government would dissolve the council. In just a short space of time nearly all the elected councillors, faced with the realities of holding power, went from opposing water charges to imposing water charges.

Opposition blooms
In the spring 1994 issue the paper of the anarchist group Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) Gregor Kerr wrote “Householders and residents in Dublin should immediately prepare to resist these charges. If nobody pays, they will be impossible to collect.” Over the summer of 1994 political opposition to these water charges was drummed up as many public meetings were held all over the county. Members of Militant Labour (now known as the Socialist Party), the WSM and many others worked at leafleting information about the forthcoming charge. Realising this first charge was the thin end of the wedge they showed what had happened when similar charges were imposed in the other cities, towns and county areas. The water charges had soon developed into a service charge and now households were facing annual bills from their local councils in excess of £100…………………………………….

full article at source: http://libcom.org/history/1993-1996-the-dublin-fight-against-water-charges

They Didn’t Share the Wealth!

They Didn’t Share the Wealth
There is no money left in Ireland. At least that’s what you might think after listening to Brian Cowen, Enda Kenny, IBEC and the parade of capitalist economists and pundits who parrot this nonsense. Yes, we are heading into a deep recession but guess who is expected to pay the cost?

The Government has no problem finding money to bail out bankers and speculators, it’s only when cash is needed for special-needs teachers, the sick, or to improve run-down schools and hospitals that nothing can be found. The attack on pay & pensions is class struggle by employers and the government against working people.

It may sound old-fashioned to talk of class struggle, but what else do you call it when one class wants to preserve its wealth at the expense of the other class? When private sector workers see 90% of pension funds they paid into for years going down the tube, Brian Goggin of Bank of Ireland thinks he is hard done by because he will “take home less than €2 million” this year.

We had a financial regulator, Patrick Neary, who waltzed off with a golden handshake of €600,000 and a pension of €140,000 per year. That pension alone is the equivalent of what four workers and their families on the average industrial wage live on. And what did Neary do to deserve this, apart from turning a blind eye to massive financial ‘irregularities’ in the banking industry?

Workers in the public service are told to suffer a €1.4 billion cut in wages, those on €35,000 will see their pay cut by €43 a week. Yet the wealthiest 1%, with €87 billion in assets, pay nothing at all. To add insult to injury the government has torn up the Public Sector Pay Agreement, denying 260,000 workers their small but agreed pay increases.

At the same time billionaire businessman Sean Quinn can lose €1 billion and say it’s no problem “you win some, you lose some”. When you have an annual income of €500 million that’s very true!

IBEC’s aim is to reduce Irish wage rates and to make us think that a reasonable pension in old age is a privilege rather than a right. The attack on the public sector is just the start. Private sector wages are being driven down too. Even the Minimum Wage of €8.65 an hour is criticised as too high by Fianna Fail ministers like Billy Kelleher, who ‘earns’ a cool €139,266 before expenses (and that’s after his 10% cut).

Their goal is to subject working people to a Thatcher-style defeat. They want wholesale wage cuts across the economy. If we don’t fight back they will keep coming back to take more out of our pay packets, close down more of our services and give our children a lower standard of living than we had. The rich are good at looking after their class interests – we should take the same attitude. They didn’t share the wealth in the Celtic Tiger years, why should we share the pain today?
source http://www.wsm.ie/news_viewer/5304

Getting beyond protest – how do we WIN?

Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010
Time: 11:30am – 10:00pm
Location: Main theater – Liberty Hall
Street: Eden Quay
City/Town: Dublin, Ireland
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Getting beyond protest – how do we WIN?http://www.wsm.ie/bookfair or http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=103538506349459 on Facebook

11.30 in Liberty Hall, Saturday 29th May
After the anti-capitalist blocs and the Anglo Irish protests how can we build to defeat the government and make the rich pay for their crisis?
Speakers to be announced but the intention is to have lots of time for everyone present to give their opinions.

This event is part of the 2010 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair organized by the Workers Solidarity Movement see

Citizens taking action


There may be a demo at the Anglo Irish Bank HQ again to-morrow morning anybody know anything about?

source http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=5856138&id=806428377


source photo http://www.indymedia.ie/article/96714

Shell to Sea activists occupy Dept of Energy/Resources – Today’s protest location today changed!

by Kev – S2S
Fri May 21, 2010 16:17

I have just received a phone call from a Dublin Shell to Sea activists saying that four members of DS2S have occupied the Dept. of Communications, Energy and Natural on Adelaide Road. They have chained themselves to a stairwell inside.
They are now calling for people to go down and support them. Also, the location of the planned demo to mark Pat O’Donnell’s 100th day in prison at 5pm today has now changed from outside Shell HQ on Leeson St to outside the Dept of C,E & NR on 29 – 31 Adelaide Road, Dublin 2 (its very near the original location anyway).

See you all there.

More information at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/96714

Earlier today campaigners with Shell to Sea entered the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources drapped in chains and locked together to mark the 100th day of the imprisonment of Erris fisherman Pat O’Donnell.  This action is part of a national day of protest which includes a protest outside the HQ of Shell on Leeson street, only 50m from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. A public protest starts at 5pm tonight at Shell HQ just across the road from the department.

Full article link   http://www.wsm.ie/c/occupation-department-communications-energy-resources



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