ONE – Because Fine Gael are kicking back and won’t scrap the charges and metering. We’ll force them.
TWO – To remind everyone that people power, direct action and mass protest, was decisive in this campaign and not lobbying in the Dáil (and definitely not Fianna Fáil!)
THREE – Because since Fianna Fáil and the Greens first put water charges into their programme for government in 2009, the wealth of Ireland's richest 300 hoarders has more than doubled from under €50Bn to €100Bn today.
FOUR - Because TD Alan Kelly (former Minister of Water Charges) just said ‘people want to pay for water’. Yes, he actually said this in 2017.
FIVE – To have a clear victory, to defeat the charges and the privatisation plan once and for all, to lift our spirits and spur on us to keep fighting for Justice.
And there are a lot more reasons than that.
Gathering at Heuston & Connolly stations 2pm, marching to Dame Street. Anarchist Bloc assembling at Connolly Station (2pm).
You’ve likely heard that the Oireachtas committee has gone even further, and removed reference to ‘excessive water usage’ and metering new houses, and that Minister for Water Charges and Homelessness Simon Coveney is much incensed about this development, making it clear that he won’t comply.
This underlines what we’ve already said, that the government will have to be forced to enact our will. When struggling for justice - or conquest and fame in their case – you will always get as much as you can take. In this case, it will be incredibly embarrassing for the architects and jackals of the Irish Water plan to lose after 3 long years. And not just lose, but lose to a great swarm of nobodies (that’s us) who aren’t supposed to be interfering. That pretty disastrously undermines the legitimacy of the state and its managers and their (supposed) moral authority to rule.
What kind of precedent does it set, that governments have tried to pass laws taking money from us, establishing an entire new company, and people just decided that we didn’t agree and stopped them? And not just that because this plan extends far beyond our shores, wrapped up in the global neoliberal scheme to grab natural resources for private owners and extract wealth from the working class to be distributed among the ruling class and their banking system.
The fact that ‘ordinary’ people have shut down this grand scheme with the full force of money and media and law against us sets a very dangerous precedent for those who stand in the way of universal freedom. It makes you think we can probably do anything if we set our minds to it.
On Saturday 8th April we will be taking to the streets of Dublin once more in what may well be the final massive march against the water charges. Although it looks like victory on abolishing the charge is near it’s important not to lose sight of the need for an ongoing campaign demanding amnesty for all those facing prosecution for their role in the struggle.
Saturday’s march is organised by Right to Water, the trade union backed coalition that involves some of the local water charges groups around the country and the left political parties. The intention as with many previous demonstrations is for people to gather at Connolly & Heuston trains stations for two massive marches that will converge to rally on Dame St. The anarchist bloc will be meeting up at Connolly station at 14.00, join us there.
Right to Water have been somewhat inactive since the announcement last year that water charges were suspended pending a report by a committee of politicians. With that report now due to be agreed Tuesday it was important that a mass demonstration be staged to underline that the charges were defeated by people power and not by lobbying and negotiation in the Dail. 70% of the charges were not being paid, a mass boycott at that scale would be next to impossible to defeat. All the more so in in the context of the 100s of direct actions by neighborhoods all over the country in fighting the charges over the last years demonstrating a widespread resistance not under the control of any one group.
One significant problem with the decentralised nature of the resistance and the attempts by various parties and individuals to control it despite that has been a fair amount of mutual suspicion and hostility. While this hasn’t much impact on the big mobilisations, people come regardless of who is organising them, it is having a major impact on activists who face prosecution. It should be the case that any and all facing prosecution for water charge resistance are supported by all activists regardless of the differences that exist. That is the nature of real solidarity, solidarity is never built around only supporting your own particular sub-group in a struggle while turning a blind eye to others. If there are serious criminal consequences for any activists arising from our struggle that will have a chilling effect on all future struggles, all the more so if it appears they were not fully supported.
It’s uncertain what the total number will be like on Saturday, it’s unlikely that the demonstration will be as large as those at the peak of the struggle. The ongoing national strike by Bus Eireann workers will make it more difficult for individuals not in Dublin to take part so this may have some impact. But it was always the case that the fight against the water charge was one aspect of the fight against the neoliberal restructuring of the Irish economy that escalated with the financial crisis. The fight of the Bus Eireann strikers against race to the bottom wage and conditions cuts is also very much our fight.