This article is a plea to campaign members and activists to vote down proposals that have been put in to this Saturday's CAHWT conference to endorse a slate of candidates in elections and to instead concentrate our collective energies on building the mood of political protest that is necessary to defeat the property tax in the immediate future. The WSM will be distributing this text as a leaflet on Saturday, let us know if you would like to help.
Public service workers proved in the Croke Park vote that we are capable of getting organised to defeat the careful plans of the government to make us swallow yet another round of cuts. This despite the fact that the leadership of the two biggest public sector unions were working with the government in trying to get us to accept that plan. And now they are in a panic because the No vote to Croke Park represents a massive refusal of their claim that austerity is the solution to the crisis. Almost 300,000 workers have declared that Enough is Enough, add in our immediate families and this is probably quarter of the population.
This doesn't mean the fight is over, the No vote is only the start of defeating austerity. Public Service Workers are not alone, 400,000 households have not registered for the Property Tax. Across society ordinary working people are saying Enough, that is one of strengths. We think we can beat any attempt to unilaterally oppose pay cuts around the points that follow
On Merrion square, an evacuation is in progress. Thousands of people scatter in all directions; panic is etched across their faces. To the casual observer, this is a life or death situation. There is however, no crazed gunman, no volcano, no earthquake nor alien invasion. They are fleeing the catastrophe that is the Irish Congress of Unions (ICTU) bank debt protest.
The Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes has produced this useful FAQ on the new Property Tax that answers basic questions about the tax that will be of interest to those determined to resist it.
It is time for every one of us to take responsibility for trying to turn things around. We have to stop referring to ‘the union’ as something outside of ourselves and begin to see that our unions are OURS. We have to stop seeing ‘head office’ and ‘the officials’ as anything other than employees of the union - our employees who should be taking their instruction from us. And we have to convince our fellow-workers that there is a benefit to engaging with the union structures and organising to resist.
Sometimes you can walk around this city and feel like you are the last sane person left on the island. On the front page of every single newspaper the spin doctors have gone into their highest setting possible with the great news that we’ve buried the rotten corpse of Anglo Irish bank which had been stinking up the whole economy for years now. We’d cut ourselves away from this horrible thing, we no longer had to pay out this awful promissory note for a staggering amount of €3.1 billion every year. We were now going to just liquidate the rottenest bank of all time, transfer it over to the men in black (NAMA) and the plan then was to pay interest only on this astronomical debt (€40 Billion) until 2038.
Fin Dwyer looks at the latter years of Ireland’s first post independence government, which having successfully suppressed political opposition and the workers’ movement, went on to “attack women and enforce their moral and ethical values on wider society”. From the clearing of prostitutes from the Monto and the filling of the Magdalene laundries to the institutionalisation of child abuse, he describes how the state’s close association with the Catholic Church played a decisive role in forming attitudes to women and sex that have had a devastating effect on Irish society that can still be felt today.
There are some stories that are hard to cover - the death of Savita Halappanavar, a pregnant women, from septicemia whose life might have been saved if an abortion was not delayed is a hard as they come. According to the Irish Times Praveen Halappanavar, the husband of Savita said she had asked for a termination several times over a three day period only to be told "this is a catholic country."
For years we were aware that the failure of successive governments to legislate could result in a tragedy but when the first reports started to circulate that this had happened we were horrified. How did we come to this point?
Anti-choice bigots are going into a frenzy to try and prevent the Irish government legislating for abortion provision in the republic as required by the X and C judgements. But they are ignoring the reality that 1000 plus women are already obtaining abortions in the republic every year and are simply making that decision for themselves. The bigots 'keep Ireland abortion free' crusade was fake even before the opening of Marie Stopes in Belfast, the false slogan is presumably designed to fool the US donors whose donations the bigots salaries and offices depend on. But it is having tragic consequences for women in Ireland as those unable to access abortion pills are left without access to abortion.
Next year, 2013, will mark the 100th anniversary of what many see as the most significant industrial dispute ever to have taken place in Ireland - the Dublin Lockout. The employers of Dublin, led by William Martin Murphy, locked out over 20,000 workers in an attempt to starve them into submission and to smash the increasingly popular Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU).