On Saturday 24th November, thousands of people will march from Parnell Square to the GPO in Dublin behind the slogan “Boycott The Property Tax. Fight Austerity”. This protest, jointly organised by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, Communities Against Cuts and the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope, will give people the opportunity to show their opposition to the introduction of the property tax and the further entrenchment of the austerity agenda which will come in the budget on 5th December.
Over the course of the past 12 months, a massive boycott campaign has severely damaged the government’s attempts to introduce the household tax. Now that the household tax is to be replaced by a property tax, it is important that the boycott campaign be stepped up and that communities organise to build further resistance to all aspects of austerity.
Austerity is working
The current government policy of heaping austerity on our shoulders while ensuring the gambling debts of international financiers are all honoured – by us – is clearly working. It’s working for those at the very top of society. During the last 4 years, while the rest of us have suffered pay cuts, job losses, increased taxes and decimation of our social services , the very wealthy in Irish society have thrived.
In 2011, the wealthiest 1% of Irish people, about 36,000 people, owned 15.28% of all the wealth in the country – a total of €130.2billion. That’s an average of €3.8million each.
The economic crisis is providing cover for the super wealthy to get even wealthier. Meanwhile the payments made and due to be made to bondholders are startling – the entire debt we are expected to pay amounts to something like €87 billion. That’s the equivalent of every single one of us as good compliant citizens paying the household tax for the next 540 years!!
And on top of that more than half of all mortgages (affecting approx 380,000 households) are in negative equity. And then there’s household tax, property tax, water tax, septic tank tax, increased VAT, universal social charge, health & education cuts, cuts to home help services…..
It’s pretty clear. If we continue to be good compliant citizens, our society will be destroyed and there will be nothing left for our kids and grandkids.
Those of us who care about the type of society we live in can no longer afford to just give out about things. We all need to get involved. We need to begin a conversation about how we can replace this rotten mess and what we can replace it with
Come to the protest on Saturday 24th, but one protest is not enough. Get involved in your local community in whatever way you can help to build resistance. Become part of your local Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes, support campaigns against health and education cuts, resist attempts to cut SNA services and home helps. In other words, don’t leave it to someone else. Become part of the resistance to how our society is currently run.
But just as importantly as resisting particular aspects of austerity, question for yourself the very economic and political system on which society is organised. Capitalism is clearly working for a tiny number of people – at the economic and social expense of the vast majority of us.
We need to organise to get rid of capitalism and to replace it with a society which places need before greed, and which affords everyone the possibility of a decent standard of living.
That won’t be done by one march or protest – or even several of them. And it can’t be done by relying on any politician or trade union leader – no matter how well intentioned - to bring it about. It can only be done – in away that will truly make a difference – with the active involvement of as many people as possible.
That means you have got to do your bit. Come to the protest on Saturday but then in your community - Begin to question , begin to organise….
We need to forge a new way of organising society. Are you going to be part of it?