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Recent Articles about Ireland / Britain Community struggles

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Dublin protest to force the government to back down and scrap water charges sees 1000s on streets

category ireland / britain | community struggles | news report author Tuesday September 20, 2016 18:31author by Brian - WSM Report this post to the editors

The Irish government's attempt to introduce domestic water charges in Ireland is not going well. In fact, for them it's been a disaster because it's sparked off a huge upsurge in working class self organisation and direct action. Saturday saw thousands of anti-water charges campaigners flooding the streets of Dublin o to again voice their opposition to Irish Water & water charges and as a show of strength for the movement.

watercharge17srpt2016crowd.jpg

It has been fully understood since the very beginning of this campaign that Irish Water was simply a vehicle to be used for the privatisation of water services and infrastructure in Ireland. The right wing, neo-liberal political establishment wished to gift the most vital of all resources to capitalist interests who would squeeze as much profit out of commodified water as possible, while cutting off the water supply to anyone who couldn't pay their extortionate charges. However, due to a huge effort on the part of working class organisers, the water charges appear on course to be abolished. The significance of this campaign in laying down a milestone for working class self organisation will be felt for years.

WSM had initated an anachist meet up for the march at 70 Sir John Rogerson Quay where Apple (evading €13Bn tax) is registered in a filing cabinet along with about 700 other companies.  As it set off we reported
"We are matching toward Capel St. bridge, where we'll meet contingents from Stephen's Green, Heuston Station, & Connolly Station. Massive, consistent direct action & mobilisation has left Irish Water clinging on by the tips of its fingers, suspended, waiting to fall. But 'suspension' of water charges is just a dirty trick designed to make us go home and forget, stop organising, only to find our water privatised and double charged in the near future. But we're not falling for this sleight of hand, and are pushing to deliver the finishing blow to the Irish Water heist. We haven't gone home and are still working to defend our very basic right to clean publicly funded water."

From the stage at the end point of the rally at St. Stephen's green, assembled campaigners heard from a number of speakers and it was notable that most were not the usual faces from political parties that normally bore people quite quickly by telling them what they already know. Instead, the end of the march proved to be quite interesting with input from mental health and tax justice campaigners, along with some great music.

A man described the difficulty he and his family face as hidden homeless, having to move back in with his mother, with his wife and 3 kids (she having to bear the brunt of the situation while he's at work), but noting that 'this is a movement of hope'.

A letter was read out on behalf of one of the young people who are in court today relating to charges of 'false imprisonment' relating to the Jobstown protest earlier in the campaign, the speaker encouraged attendance at the court today to show solidarity and support.

From the large screen beside the platform a video was played giving a brief account of the Standing Rock pipeline protests that are ongoing in North Dakota in the US.

Apple's thirteen billion euro tax evasion was of course to the forefront of the discussion, as was the fact that Ireland has paid 42% of the cost of the banking crisis even through we are less than 1% of the EU population.

Vicki Donnelly, a speaker touching on these topics, ended her speech by echoing the North Dakota indigenous anti-pipeline campaigners in saying that "We are not water protesters, we are water defenders".

There are now active and highly experienced local anti-water charge campaign groups all over the country who have built a 73% boycott of the water charges and are on course to defeat the government on this issue.

While most of these groups row in behind the national Right2Water campaign (which is composed of left wing political parties and trade unions) when they announce a national demonstration, the week-to-week organisation of the campaign is handled autonomously at a local level.

The Right2Water umbrella group does not direct local organising, though it can support it by providing large scale leaflet production for national demonstrations. The most recent Right2Water organised demonstration in Dublin gave an indication of the vitality and confidence of the national campaign as it presses forward, determined to force the government to back down and scrap water charges.

Black ballon highlights 13 billion in tax EU has ruled Apple owes Ireland but which government refuses to collect
Black ballon highlights 13 billion in tax EU has ruled Apple owes Ireland but which government refuses to collect

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Ireland / Britain | Community struggles | News Report | en

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People in deprived areas in Northern Ireland are three times more likely to take their lives. Health minister Edwin Poots said, ‘Unemployment rates in deprived areas further affect people and this is a major concern. Studies indicate that a 1% increase in unemployment is met with a corresponding 0.79% increase in suicide.

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The end of February saw 19 Shell to Sea campaigners, including a WSM member, being prosecuted on 80 charges for civil disobediance against Shell's decade long attempt to impose an experimental high pressure raw gas pipeline on the communities of Erris.  Over 8,000 euro in fines were handed down by this special sitting of the Belmullet court and Shell to Sea spokesperson Terence Conway was given two 3-month prison sentences under section 8 of the Public Order Act for blocking the road on two seperate occasions, a 'crime' that anyone following the struggle will be aware Shell's private security company committs three times a day with the co-operation of the Gardai. (Image: Community show support in advance of the court cases, J Bender, RSC)

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Mid-December saw the eventual publication of the long-threatened household tax legislation. The first three months of 2012 will present every household in Ireland with a choice: whether to succumb to this new home tax, which along with the proposed water tax will rise to approx €1,200 per annum within a couple of years, or to refuse to register, refuse to pay and make a stand against the costs of bailing out bankers and developers continuing to be hoisted on our shoulders.

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On Wednesday The Barricade Inn Collective received court summons papers informing us that the following day (Thursday 22nd October) the estate holders of the building would be seeking an injunction against us. Court was adjourned and the case will be back in court next Wednesday (28th October).

imageWhy we are leaving Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes (CAHWT) Jun 26 WSM 0 comments

The Workers Solidarity Movement has decided to withdraw from the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes. Please see statement below. We have made a donation of €1,000 towards paying off the debts of CAHWT.

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