Budget 2011 and the struggle against it - live coverage

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  • user warning: Table './external/cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:6:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8695\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:59:\"The housing crisis in Ireland - 8 points on the big picture\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:745:\"<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/HousingMarch.jpg\" style=\"width: 400px; height: 320px; margin: 3px; float: right;\" />The WSM has been having a &#39;big picture&#39; discussion around the housing crisis from which the following points emerged. We are publishing them ahead of the December 1st demonstration in Dublon (14.00 Parnell square).</p>\r\n<p>1. We built our cities and the houses of our cities. They are ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own*.</p>\r\n<p>2. The contemporary crisis of capitalism has made markedly visible the relationship between finance capital and property speculation, between the concentrated money-power of bankers and speculators and the shaping of the built environment in our towns and cities.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1543494053\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8679\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:25:\"DABF Safer spaces policy \";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:593:\"<div>\r\n This policy applies to the bookfair, the fundraising afterparty, the meeting spaces and online spaces. This policy is made in order to create an environment to foster free discussion and sharing of ideas, those engaging in abusive or oppressive behaviour will be asked to leave the space. We encourage all attendees to be aware of this policy, and to report to book-fair volunteers if they observe people engaging in abusive or oppressive behaviour.</div>\r\n<div>\r\n &nbsp;</div>\r\n<div>\r\n We define the following as abusive behaviours which are not tolerated in this space;</div>\r\n<div>\r\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1536841535\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8675\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:47:\"Get your Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2018 T-shirt\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:310:\"<p><strong>Get your Dublin Anarchist Bookfair t-shirt! [ONLINE SALES ARE NOW CLOSED]</strong><br />\r\n <img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/Womens%20tee.jpg\" style=\"width: 300px; height: 300px;\" />&nbsp;&nbsp;<img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/Mens%20tee_0.jpg\" style=\"width: 300px; height: 300px;\" /></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1536010979\";}i:3;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"6387\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:97:\"12th Dublin Anarchist Bookfair - 14th & 15th September 2018 - Teachers Club 35 Parnell sq & Wynns\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:745:\"<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/DABF_FB_Event.png\" style=\"width: 350px; height: 195px; margin: 3px; float: right;\" />The 12th Dublin Anarchist Bookfair took place on the 15th September 2018 at the Teachers Club 35 Parnell square and on the evening of the 14th at Wynns hotel. &nbsp;Every year hundreds of people attend the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair for a day of inspiring discussions and the opportunity of meeting lots of other radicals, browsing books and meeting campaigns.</p>\r\n<p>We will be uploading about a dozen audio and video recordings of the panels at the bookfair, follow us on Twitter or Facebook to get notification of new uploads or check&nbsp;<a href=\"https://www.wsm.ie/anarchist-bookfair\">Anarchist bookfair</a></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1528363710\";}i:4;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8642\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:51:\"8 reasons we are voting Yes to Repeal the hated 8th\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:375:\"<p class=\"rtecenter\"><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/Repeal8thWSMbannerthin.jpg\" style=\"width: 650px; height: 307px; margin: 3px;\" /></p>\r\n<p>On May 25th we finally get to vote to Repeal the hated 8th amendment. &nbsp;Here we present the 8 reasons we are voting Yes to Repeal along with many of the articles we have published on the issue in recent months. &nbsp;</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1527172249\";}i:5;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8639\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:52:\"What Happened When Portugal Decriminalised Abortion?\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:970:\"<p dir=\"ltr\"><strong>With the referendum to repeal the 8th <strong><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/portugal%20abortion%20pic.png\" style=\"height: 341px; width: 400px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;\" /></strong>amendment on May 25th drawing nearer, it&rsquo;s with great interest that we look at the experience of other countries which have struggled against an abortion ban like ours, to learn from the lessons of the campaign, and to &lsquo;look into the future&rsquo;, as it were, and see the result of decriminalising abortion. As such, here are some brief notes on Portugal.</strong></p>\r\n<p dir=\"ltr\">On 11th February 2007, in a national referendum, the Portuguese voted in favor of the decriminalization of the &quot;voluntary interruption of the pregnancy&quot; (VGI). It was the end of more than 30 years of struggles, advances and retreats, with many public debates dividing several quarters of Portuguese society.</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1525798800\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:1579;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:6;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:0;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1566513969, expire = 1566514269, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'wsm_only:block_1:results:692e0a14e0b7ab966d18830fa49232e2' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
  • user warning: Table './external/cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:4:{s:4:\"head\";s:0:\"\";s:3:\"css\";a:0:{}s:2:\"js\";a:0:{}s:6:\"output\";s:3201:\"<div class=\"view view-wsm-only view-id-wsm_only view-display-id-block_1 view-dom-id-4\">\n \n \n \n <div class=\"view-content\">\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/housing-crisis-notes-big-picture-ireland\" title=\"The housing crisis in Ireland - 8 points on the big picture\">The housing crisis in Ireland - 8 points on the big...</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">The WSM has been having a &#39;big picture&#39; discussion around the housing crisis...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-2 views-row-even\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/dabf-safer-spaces-policy\" title=\"DABF Safer spaces policy \">DABF Safer spaces policy</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">\n This policy applies to the bookfair, the fundraising afterparty, the meeting spaces...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/get-your-dublin-anarchist-bookfair-2018-t-shirt\">Get your Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2018 T-shirt</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">Get your Dublin Anarchist Bookfair t-shirt! [ONLINE SALES ARE NOW CLOSED]\n &nbsp;&nbsp;</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-4 views-row-even\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/dublin-anarchist-bookfair-latest\" title=\"12th Dublin Anarchist Bookfair - 14th &amp; 15th September 2018 - Teachers Club 35 Parnell sq &amp; Wynns\">12th Dublin Anarchist Bookfair - 14th &amp; 15th...</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">The 12th Dublin Anarchist Bookfair took place on the 15th September 2018 at the...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/8-reasons-vote-yes-to-repeal\">8 reasons we are voting Yes to Repeal the hated 8th</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">\nOn May 25th we finally get to vote to Repeal the hated 8th amendment. &nbsp;Here we...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n <div class=\"views-row views-row-6 views-row-even views-row-last\">\n \n <div class=\"views-field-title\">\n <span class=\"field-content\"><a href=\"/c/what-happened-portugal-decriminalised-abortion-anarchism\">What Happened When Portugal Decriminalised Abortion?</a></span>\n </div>\n \n <div class=\"views-field-teaser\">\n <span class=\"field-content\">With the referendum to repeal the 8th amendment on May 25th drawing nearer, it&rsquo;s...</span>\n </div>\n </div>\n </div>\n \n \n \n \n<div class=\"more-link\">\n <a href=\"/all\">\n more </a>\n</div>\n \n \n \n</div> \";}', created = 1566513969, expire = 1566514269, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'wsm_only:block_1:output:30e25f9bd85c357eb10c6c886f8c678d' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './external/cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and last (automatic?) repair failed query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:6:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8692\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:57:\"No LNG terminal on the Shannon - Climate Change & Methane\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:786:\"<p>We interviewed William Hederman, an environmental researcher living in County Clare, about the planned Liquefied Natural Gas terminal on the Shannon. Construction of it will mean Ireland will fail to meet its Climate Change commitments and will instead be tied into pumping out additional Greenhouse Gases for decades. As the LNG will come from the US it will includes fracked gas, a process banned in Ireland that releases three times as much of the very powerful Climate Change gas methane as conventional gas. [<a href=\"https://youtu.be/iO960KeoaHE\">video</a>]</p>\r\n<p><iframe allow=\"accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture\" allowfullscreen=\"\" frameborder=\"0\" height=\"315\" src=\"https://www.youtube.com/embed/iO960KeoaHE\" width=\"560\"></iframe></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1542897581\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8687\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:30:\"Moral philosophy and abortion \";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1167:\"<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/Philosophers.jpg\" style=\"width: 400px; height: 309px; margin: 3px; float: right;\" />The debate around abortion is sometimes characterised as an opposition between the morals of the church and personal morals. But is this an accurate description? Moral philosophy can broadly be defined as the branch of philosophy that contemplates what is right and wrong. It explores the nature of morality and examines how people should live their lives in relation to others. But a closer look at what characterises moral philosophy leads to the conclusion that while the expression &ldquo;relying on personal morals&rdquo; may come across as a useful shortcut to describe what the pro-choice stance is about, it is also a misuse of moral terminology which has the effect of casting a positive light on moral philosophy, rather than helping us come to terms with the deeply problematic nature of this field. As I hope to make clear, arguments in favour of abortion rights are rooted in anti-authoritarianism whereas moral philosophy can only exist as a rhetorical tool of authoritarianism (even when it is used with good intentions).</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1538146665\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8686\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:88:\"Let Them Drown: Climate Change is War - and Wall Street is Winning audio from #DABF 2018\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:587:\"<p>This audio is an independently organised panel from the 2018 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair on the bleak reality of climate change and its intersections with financial capitalism, state politics and migration. [<a href=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/workerssolidarity/climate-change-is-war-and-wall-street-is-winning-audio-from-dabf-2018/\">audio</a>]</p>\r\n<p><iframe frameborder=\"0\" height=\"120\" src=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&amp;light=1&amp;feed=%2Fworkerssolidarity%2Fclimate-change-is-war-and-wall-street-is-winning-audio-from-dabf-2018%2F\" width=\"100%\"></iframe>\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1538128457\";}i:3;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8685\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:99:\"Ending Direct Provision: Migrant Voices speak out about the Asylum process in Ireland at #DABF 2018\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:765:\"<p>People currently in Direct Provision talk about the dehumanising conditions and the large profits being made out of their suffering by the companies that own the direct provision centres. People don&rsquo;t understand why we ended up in Direct Provision, we hope to bring our stories out of the shadows of Irish society. [<a href=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/workerssolidarity/ending-direct-provision-migrant-voices-speak-out-about-the-asylum-process-in-ireland-at-dabf-2018/\">audio</a>]</p>\r\n<p><iframe frameborder=\"0\" height=\"120\" src=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&amp;light=1&amp;feed=%2Fworkerssolidarity%2Fending-direct-provision-migrant-voices-speak-out-about-the-asylum-process-in-ireland-at-dabf-2018%2F\" width=\"100%\"></iframe></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1537883979\";}i:4;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8684\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:66:\"How my politics is intersectional - audio from panel at 2018 #DABF\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:634:\"<p>Panel from the 2018 Dublin Anarchist bookfair on the intersection between race politics, class and gender in Ireland with a particular focus on the current housing struggles and the Together for Yes referendum campaign / Repeal movement. [<a href=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/workerssolidarity/how-my-politics-is-intersectional-panel-at-2018-dublin-anarchist-bookfair/\">audio</a>]</p>\r\n<p><iframe frameborder=\"0\" height=\"120\" src=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&amp;light=1&amp;feed=%2Fworkerssolidarity%2Fhow-my-politics-is-intersectional-panel-at-2018-dublin-anarchist-bookfair%2F\" width=\"100%\"></iframe></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1537536634\";}i:5;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8683\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:91:\"Rojava: Eyewitness to a women\'s revolution - report back from a May 2018 trip at #DABF 2018\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:597:\"<p>The 12th Dublin anarchist bookfair heard this account from Wendy, a Human Rights &amp; immigration lawyer who visited Rojava in May 2018 as part of a fact finding delegation. [<a href=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/workerssolidarity/rojava-eyewitness-to-a-womens-revolution-report-back-from-a-may-2018-trip-at-dabf-2018/\">audio</a>]</p>\r\n<p><iframe frameborder=\"0\" height=\"120\" src=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&amp;light=1&amp;feed=%2Fworkerssolidarity%2Frojava-eyewitness-to-a-womens-revolution-report-back-from-a-may-2018-trip-at-dabf-2018%2F\" width=\"100%\"></iframe></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:12:\"node_created\";s:10:\"1537442594\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:807;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:6;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:2;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1566513969, expire = 1566514269, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'not_wsm:block_1:results:6f171fd0922b167e997398452392a596' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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Date:

Budget day 2011 saw vicious cuts being imposed on ordinary working people across Ireland to pay the massive costs of the bailout of Ireland’s banking system. A deeply unpopular government, in the service of the richest 1% of the population imposed cuts and tax hikes totalling 6 billion euro, cuts which will be supervised by the ECB and IMF. Around two thousands peopled gathered at at the Dáil that evening with the first protest taking place early that morning, when Gardai hastily tore the slogans off a cherry picker that had been placed outside the Dáil.

The WSM provided live coverage via Twitter of the cuts and the protests as they took place. We took part in the 1% Network protest  before marching on the Dail around 6 to join the left bloc. 

The problem is capitalism, not just a harsh budget - WSM speech at the Dáil
As part of the budget protests at the Dail Dec 7 2010 Gregor Kerr gave the following speech for the WSM. In it he argues that, while we must fight the budget, we need to look beyond that and clearly say that capitalism as a way of organising society is morally and politically bankrupt.

The 1% get richer while we get poorer - 1% Network speech at the Dáil
As part of the budget protests at the Dáil this evening Andrew Flood has given the following speech for the 1% Network.

TIMELINE

20:50 A contingent of the remaining protesters at the Molesworth street gates of the Dail breakaway to march around to the Merrion square entrance where they stage a sit down for a while.

20:10 The 1% march has finished. Here is the summation of the nights events to that point from a WSM member Vincent Vincent by Anarchist

19:45 About 600 extra protestors just arrived on the Right to Work March Audio to follow shortly

19:35 An extra continent of protestors on the Right to Work March expected to arrive at the Dail shortly.   It  is bitterly cold now.

18:55 From various reports coming in numbers are between 600 - 1000

18:36 Update from Bernard who is at the Dail. Gardai being agreesive as Joe Higgins addressed the crowd Bernard by Anarchist

18:15 500 people marched with the 1% Network to the Dail. Numbers at the Dail have reached a thousand now. Text of speech given by Gregor Kerr on behalf of WSM at 1% Network. http://tinyurl.com/3alvmtn

17:50 Things begining to get going. The pots and pans demonstration has risen to several hundred. Flares set off as demonstraters block Molesworth St and Kildare st. In this audio Shane O Curry describes events as well as the 1% network block gathered at the Wolfe Tone Monument which is now at the preparing to march to the Dail Shane by Anarchist

 

17:21 Protests against budget due to begin soon. The 1% percent Network is gathering at Wolfe Tone Monument Now. Audio report to follow shortly.

16:47 Noonan is enumerating all the cuts now - invalidity pension, carer's pension, cuts in the child benefit for the third child - he seems to be quite focussed on the third children. Also, it's quite a sight to see the Dáil laughing and joking about this.

16:41 Fine Gael's Michael Noonan now talking about €700 million from sale of state assets like Bord Gáis being paid into the exchequer - looks like the Shock Doctrine is getting a real shot at an Irish fire sale. Everything must go!

16:37 Seems like taking the piss out of Paul Gogarty is a hobby everyone can share - and now he's getting told off by the Ceann Comhairle. Pity I couldn't hear what gems he came out with this time.

16:29 Oh look - "We will defend our 12.5% corporation tax rate." Obviously at the cost of cutting from the least well-off. And he's done. Looks like no-one's clapping outside the Fianna Fáil benches. A lot of shouting and cries of "Get them out." Looks like a good laugh.

16:27 "Common good?" "Sharing the pain fairly?" What world are you living in, Brian? And "no other government could have done better?" I think a class of primary school kids could have done better. Or someone flipping a coin.

16:26 Lenihan is now giving the rhetoric part of the budget full of self praise...

16:24 Lenihan is now arguing that we will get money back from the banks.

16:16 Tax system dramatically changed - same elite still benefit - no change in rates, corporation tax or high rate of tax remain the same.

16.03 Reduction in Taoiseach's pay - he will still earn nearly €4,000 a week

16:00 Vague reference to increasing work schemes - effectively making people do jobs they are trained to do for dole-rate pay. Sounds like a downward spiral in pay.

15:57 Child benefit cut by €10.

15:56 Budget is on-going - dole is cut by 4% with more cuts in the next few years.

15:45 Audio interview with Mark at the pots and pans demonstration.

Mark by Anarchist

15:37 The pots and pans protest is currently underway outside the Dáil - around three hundred people kicking up a huge racket with airhorns, pots and pans, and anything that can make a noise.

14:59 Students from schools in Clondalkin have walked out against the budget

14.30 The Dáil has just began its sitting with Enda Kenny (FG) opening affairs. Here Dermot from WSM speaks about why the protest at the Dáil is important. Dermot - why resist the budget by Anarchist

13.15 Reporter 2 by Anarchist: Another audio interview with William who is at the Dáil. Shell to Sea banner drop from Buswells hotel, Gerry Adams & Sinn Feins press conference.

12.15 William by Anarchist: audio interview with William who is at the Dail. (clicking sound goes after 10 secs), description of cherry picker and ongoing Shell to Sea protest. 

11.44 The slogans Gardaí tore off Dáil Cherrypicker read "To the politicians who vote for the budget today, the people will vote you out tomorrow."

09.35 WSM reporter at Dail tweets "Just seen cherrypicker at Dáil. Garda have torn off slogans - what did they say?"

07.55 RTE reporting that a cherry picker has been parked at the Dáil gates covered in slogans and that music is being played from it.

Ordinary people in Ireland no doubt face a crisis. Today sees the delivery of another budget that allegedly makes us “share the pain”. This “sharing of the pain” actually means that ordinary people have taken all the pain for a crisis we clearly had nothing to do with. Hidden in the rhetoric of crisis behind this budget is aspects that will allow some to gain.

What’s in the budget?
- Health cuts
- 5% Cuts in social welfare
- 5% cuts in ordinary public sector workers pensions
- Cuts in child benefit
- Increase in college fees
- Rearranging the taxation system
- Low paid workers who were previously exempt from tax forced to pay tax despite a simultaneous reduction in minimum wage.
- Reducing tax credits.

This budget is clearly going to attack ordinary people. People on minimum wage could face an 11% reduction in pay, new taxes and reduction in child benefit. Social welfare recipients will lose 5% and face possibly other cuts in relation rent relief aswell as the cuts in child benefit.

What is coming
This budget is only the first in four years of attacks on our living standards and services. The government recently published a draft memorandum that will give legal effect to the negotiations between the EU/IMF and Ireland. Essentially, the draft reveals, by quarter of each year, how the government intends to implement an incredibly far-reaching austerity program to help get us back on our feet. Read more at Fianna Fail, EU and IMF protect the most vulnerable?!?

Two weeks ago the government brought out their so-called “Four Year Plan”, dubbed by the tabloids “A war on the poor”. This plan will see budgets like the one served up today (Read more analysis of the four year plan ). Although the government are claiming to be “frontloading the pain” in this budget, this sounds ominously like the promise that last year's budget of 3 billion euro in cuts was going to be the worst.

Who benefits
Although Brian Lenihan will hardly be able to call this budget “a call to patriotic duty” as he did last year, he will no doubt tell us this will help alleviate a crisis. Hidden behind the rhetoric are the real benefactors of the budget. First and foremost, the bondholders who risked and lost will win, while we will continue to foot to pay the bill for their gambling. They are not the only ones.

For years, the employer’s federation IBEC have been calling for a minimum wage reduction. Today’s budget will see that minimum wage reduced by a euro an hour in a cynical use of the recession to get even more money. This reduction in minimum wage, effectively an 11% pay cut for the lowest paid workers, is a direct transferral of wealth from the poorest workers to some of the richest. The highest earners will benefit as well, as it does not in any way attempt to make them pay in a meaningful way.

Fianna Fáil expect that, for this service to the wealthy 1%, they will lost the forthcoming general election. The new government will be able to blame Fianna Fáil and the ECB/IMF for the cuts they are imposing. But there won’t really be much to celebrate if, as seems certain, we end up with a government which might not be called Fianna Fáil but which will be implementing exactly the same ‘screw-the-workers, protect-the-wealthy’ policies. Read more at Opinion Polls suggest Fianna Fail about to be annihilated, But should this worry us?

In all the doom and gloom there has been examples of successful resistance, including the pensioners' opposition to planned cut backs on medical card entitlements. We can defeat the 1%, but only if we organise to fight them. Last week’s massive march by ICTU (Read our report) was followed up with UNITE being the first major union to call for a general strike. After ICTU's failure to deliver on the national strike on March 30th 2009, the success of any major union action will only happen if the grassroots of unions organise for it. Read more about organising for a general strike


Further reading
On the Four year plan
 
More WSM budget protest coverage  


 

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