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Recent articles by Andrew
Recent Articles about Ireland / Britain Economy
Budget 2013 & the dark times to come
ireland / britain | economy | news report Friday December 07, 2012 21:42 by Andrew - Workers Solidarity Movement - Ireland
Roughly 1,000 people protested at the Dail (parliament building) in Dublin Wednesday night as yet another austerity budget was debated. As with previous budgets the new flat rate taxes, PRSI & excise hikes will mean workers & those on low income will be hit hard while the richest 1% will hardly notice any difference.
Particularly nasty headline cuts included the 10 euro a month cut of the children's allowance, on top of all the other cuts this will have a major impact on poor families in particular. But there were also lots of less visible ones like the cut in the respite care grant down from €1,700 to €1,375, a huge extra burden for families with disabilities. The flat rate PRSI increase of €264 means a worker earning just over the minimum wage will have to pay the same extra PRSI every week as a banker earning 500,000. Student fees will go up every year by €250 for the next three years, making a nonsense of the pretence we have free eduction except for a registration fee. Even the flat rate increases on beer, wine, tobacco and spirits will have the same regressive effect of hitting those with little disposable income far harder than the rich.
Money was however found for some things. There was €17.4 million for a new youth detention centre, needed no doubt to 'deal with' the surge in anti-social crime that these cuts are likely lead to. And the massive subsidy to the bosses that are the work for nothing schemes got funding for 10,000 more places - this despite the fact that an ICTU study calculates that the money taken out of 'the economy' by the budget will result in the loss of 40,000 jobs. Both these being demonstrations of the class nature of the budget where the speculative mistakes of they rich during the Celtic Tiger are to be paid for in full by the working class.
WSM members took part in the anti-austerity march called by the Household tax campaign which went up to the Dail from the central bank. There were brief scuffles as a section of the crowd tried to push to the Dail gates and Garda horses were used to push them back leading to chants of 'Whose Cops - NAMA's cops' and 'The people united will never be defeated.' Around the same time the EU Office on Molesworth street had "No borders No Nations Against a Europe of Capital" sprayed on its windows. 2013 is also the year Ireland has the EU presidency and although we can't be sure the unknown artist was aware of this the lead banner of the huge banned march that was attacked with water cannon during the previous 2004 Summit carried the same slogan.
We were posting photos & video from the march live to our Facebook page and one US commentator there reacted to the top image for this article with "We really need to work together to fight this Austerity attack on the working families of the world! This is not an Irish problem, or a Greek problem or an American problem..this is a coordinated attack on working class people around the world by monopolies. Our response must be a coordinated and united response by hundreds of millions of us! " Similar comments and likes indicated that a fair few people around Europe and the rest of the world were following the protests here, a welcome reminder that this is not an Irish struggle or a struggle that can be won in Ireland alone.
This graffiti appeared to be one of a number of pieces around the city reacting against attempts to deflect anger against austerity into anti-migrant racism. A reminder that there are costs to these cuts beyond financial ones, in particular if we fail to build movements of resistance. We need only look at the rise of fascism in Greece and the way that is directly related to the imposition of even harsher austerity on Greek workers to undertand this. [There are photos of some of this graffiti in our Budget 2013 protests at Dail & anti-racist graffiti Facebook album]
This budget will mean that for most of us 2013 will be a good deal tougher than 2012. A family on an average workers income in an average house with three kids will be down about 1,000 euro in income alone. That will probably be most, if not all, of their current disposable income in the 5th year of cumulative cuts. 40,000 more of us will be pushed onto the dole as 'the economy' shrinks further and an additional 10,000 of those on the dole will be forced to subsidise the wealthy through the work for free schemes. Youth unemployment which is already huge will be pushed higher but rest assured that any who decide that rather than emigrate they will 'stay and fight' will discover places prepared for them in the new youth detention centre.
For the wealthy elite in Ireland, many of whom pay no tax on earnings because they take such long holidays, the system is working all too well. The last five years have seen a huge wealth transfer from almost all of us to that wealthy elite at home and abroad as the capitalist class ensured they were bailed out as the banks crashed. The elephant in the room here was raised by folk singer Christy Moore when he said "We seem to have become a nation of obedient shit-takers" in a newspaper interview that linked the passivity of most in the face of these cuts to the way "Savita Halappanavar and her family also paid the price for our silence." There is some mass resistance, 50% refused to pay the household charge & tens of thousands took to the streets for Savita. But unless it is sustained and built on those at the top will keep hitting us, and drive us back towards very dark times indeed.
WORDS & IMAGE: @Andrew Flood
Tue 25 Oct, 11:24
TIME...is on my side! 03:54 Sat 06 Oct 0 comments
That pat on the back to our "glorious leader Enda" in Time Magazine fails to come to terms BIG TIME with the reality on the ground here in Ireland.
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€1,600 billion. That is the figure for Irish Oil & Gas reserves already licensed revealed this morning in a detailed report from Shell to Sea using the energy corporations own reports and estimates. People in Ireland will see almost no benefits from this incredible wealth because the Irish state gives these reserves to the corporations at the cheapest terms in the world.
Tories announce new plans to cut housing benefit from under 25s 16:03 Wed 27 Jun 0 comments
David Cameron plans to end housing benefit for claimants aged 16-24. The ‘proposal’ forms part of wider recommendations to begin being implemented next year as part of the new Welfare Act. Further plans being rolled out including linking regional play with regional benefits, breaking the link between benefits and inflation, and considering linking benefits to average earnings and cost of living amounting to a further attack on worker’s rights and conditions.
ECB gives banks 6,250 years worth of Household Tax 23:57 Fri 02 Mar 0 comments
Wednesday the European Central Bank (ECB) gave out 530 billion euros in 3-year term loans to the private banks of the Eurozone. Together with the 490 billion they doled out last December, that's over 1 trillion euros. If pigs could fly and politicians never lied and every household in the country was magically able to pay the hated Household Tax, the total receipt would be 160 million euro. At that rate, it would take 6,250 years to amount to 1 trillion. It would also take 20 years to amount to the 3.2 billion euros the state are handing over to the Anglo bondholders on the 31st March coming.
Dublin demonstrates against ACTA & SOPA but it is about more than just downloading 20:26 Mon 13 Feb 0 comments
Dublin last weekend saw about 400 people take part in a demonstration against the intention of Seán Sherlock, the Labour Party Minister for Research and Innovation to bring into law a requirement for Irish internet service providers to block access to sites that allow the downloading of copy righted material. This is a similar law to the SOPA and ACTA laws that Hollywood & music industry lobbyists tried unsuccessfully to force through the US Congress. A second demonstration is to take place this Saturday.
Half a million take to the streets of London against cuts 21:25 Tue 29 Mar 0 comments
500,000 people marched last Saturday against the coalition government's austerity measures, with the support of the majority of the population.
Clarion hotel in Cork and Davenport in Dublin: Fighting for solidarity the key 20:43 Thu 24 Feb 0 comments
The attack on workers at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin had highlighted the greed and bullying in the hotel business. A similar case to that at the Davenport has come to light here in Cork. But so far fear has ruled the day. The Clarion describes itself as one of “Cork’s premier 4 Star City Centre Hotels”. Although it’s well able to charge for its rooms it cannot find its way to granting its workers a 29 cents per hour pay rise.
1% Walk in Dublin: Video Report 07:49 Sat 16 Oct 0 comments
A political walking tour through the heartland of the Golden Circle in Dublin.
Protests in Ireland as part of European action against crisis 22:40 Thu 30 Sep 0 comments
Despite the escalating costs for the working class of the crisis in Ireland resistance has fallen off ever since the pro partnership leadership of the unions succeeded in getting the Croke park deal passed by the membership. The deal makes vague promises not to impose further pay cuts on the public sector in return for large scale restructuring but was conditional on the economic situation not declining further. Yesterday saw the unions return to the streets with a press call that the left, including the anarchist movement, tried to push into a demonstration. That morning in a rather unusual individual action a man parked a slogan covered cement lorry in the gates of the Dail (parliament building) blocking access. These articles from the WSM site report on these events and include the speech delivered by a WSM member at the protest.
NAMA is a class robbery 23:56 Wed 16 Sep 0 comments
The economic crisis we face in Ireland is that huge amounts of money have been lost with the collapse of the property bubble. The question is, who will pay? Will it be the crooked bankers and dodgy developers responsible for this mess, or us, the ordinary working people?more >>
How many could we house, educate and care for with 19 billion? The Irish government is currently furiously fighting the European Union to prevent Apple paying us back taxes it owes us. There has been a lot of ‘concern’ about government plans to spend 48 million looking after 4000 people fleeing warfare in Syria and Iraq. The government and the media defend there ‘our own’ is first - the super rich in Ireland and elsewhere!
The "Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013", published by the government on Thursday last (23rd May), is a clear attempt to bully public sector workers into voting for the re-hashed terms of the Croke Park II deal emphatically rejected by them just a couple of weeks ago.
650,000 Homes STILL Not Paying Unjust Tax May 24 0 comments
In spite of a long and consistent campaign which has been waged against people in relation to the imposition of this unjust and unfair tax on homes, over 650,000 households have not registered with revenue [22.05.2013]. Draconian legislation and the threats of fines has not resulted in people volunteering their information to the revenue.
The Croke Park extension: What it is and how to fight it Feb 27 0 comments
Early yesterday morning, the leadership of the public sector committee of ICTU emerged from talks with the government claiming they had achieved the best possible outcome from the negotiations. The best possible outcome in question involves extra hours at work, cuts in overtime rates and allowances for unsociable hours, delayed increments and revisions to flexitime arrangements and work-sharing patterns.
Sean Quinn - Cowboy turns desperado - A Western in four parts Aug 02 0 comments
We don’t know a lot about the personal life of this son of a small farmer. He was the richest man in Ireland in 2008 with an estimated wealth of €4.7billion and now he is only out of jail because the Judge wants him to help the Irish Resolution Banking Corporation (IRBC) recover some of the €2.8 billion that he owes them. You may never have heard of IRBC but you will know of it’s previous alias: Anglo Irish Bank,winner of the dodgiest bank award in a state where there is stiff competition for that prize. His son is in prison, (plush Training Unit in Mountjoy) serving a sentence for what the Judge called ‘outrageous’ contempt of court as he sought to put money/assets beyond the reach of the bank. His nephew Peter is supposed to be there for the same reason but has gone missing. All we know about Sean – the daddy of the empire is that he’s big into the GAA and he likes to play poker for a few quid with his friends. Along with his love of poker, I would guess that Sean senior fancies the odd western.more >>
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