Water Tax - Northern parties united in collusion, Communities united in opposition

  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'audio:block_1:results:ff0db4c55a037059c3695f66cdcd5d34' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:6:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7787\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:75:\"My Life in Activism : Women speak at 2014 Dublin Anarchist Bookfair - Audio\";s:7:\"_random\";s:21:\"0.0038358587807378348\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7571\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:70:\"Fighting the Property & Water Taxes - how to fight and win - DABF 2013\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.017230333776427745\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7276\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:41:\"Being an anarchist - audio from DABF 2012\";s:7:\"_random\";s:19:\"0.02236938758042584\";}i:3;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"1963\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:48:\"Early Irish communist - William Thompson - audio\";s:7:\"_random\";s:19:\"0.04559975680485345\";}i:4;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"5208\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:43:\"Interview as the Solitaire arrives in Erris\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.045653383290072326\";}i:5;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7642\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:72:\"Sex Work as Work - Dr. Laura Agustín at the Dublin anarchist book fair \";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.056531954609353056\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:166;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 = 1566259153, expire = 1566259453, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'audio:block_1:results:ff0db4c55a037059c3695f66cdcd5d34' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'video:block_1:results:d1bd4a9bdf0c592395306e39f5452d02' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:3:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7515\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:40:\"ICTU: Taking the politics out of protest\";s:7:\"_random\";s:21:\"0.0010299915457423698\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"8662\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:87:\"Tens of thousands take part in Pride in Dublin on 25th anniversary of decriminalisation\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.008960487329364277\";}i:2;O:8:\"stdClass\":3:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"7898\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:62:\"Video of Crowd at the Dec 10th Water Charges protest in Dublin\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.011492308239911039\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:195;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:3;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:0;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1566259153, expire = 1566259453, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'video:block_1:results:d1bd4a9bdf0c592395306e39f5452d02' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: SELECT data, created, headers, expire, serialized FROM cache_views_data WHERE cid = 'Random_PDF:block_1:results:d701b49486a84d4cd29efe1b1fbdd8e3' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 27.
  • user warning: Table 'cache_views_data' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_views_data SET data = 'a:3:{s:6:\"result\";a:2:{i:0;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"5941\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:23:\"Parliament or democracy\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:1010:\"<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/sites/default/files/PoDCover400.jpg\" style=\"width: 300px; height: 428px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 3px; float: right;\" /><strong>From the 1850s onwards, against a background of great new wealth in society and a working class that was more independent and resourceful, the &#39;problem of democracy&#39; became urgent for the rich and powerful. In general wealth was rising throughout society, but so was the greed of those who owned the new factories, mines and plantations. The key question was: what was to be done about the general demand for democracy, and about the incessant clamour for political rights which, during the revolutions of 1848, had almost got completely out of hand?</strong></p>\r\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\r\n<p class=\"rtecenter\"><iframe frameborder=\"0\" height=\"120\" src=\"https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&amp;light=1&amp;feed=%2Fworkerssolidarity%2Fparliament-or-democracy-a-history-of-both-a-choice-to-make%2F\" width=\"55%\"></iframe></p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.023249210811452207\";}i:1;O:8:\"stdClass\":5:{s:3:\"nid\";s:4:\"2565\";s:10:\"node_title\";s:46:\"Workers Solidarity 99 - September/October 2007\";s:21:\"node_revisions_teaser\";s:688:\"<p><img src=\"/attachments/sep2007/ws99.jpg\" style=\"float:right;border:5px;\" /></p>\r\n<p>The September/October 2007 issue of Workers Solidarity is now online and can be downloaded as a <strong><a href=\"http://www.wsm.ie/attachments/sep2007/ws99.pdf\">PDF</a></strong> file.</p>\r\n<p><b>Contents</b><br />\r\n <br />\r\n Something Rotten in Store Street<br />\r\n Postman Pat Says &#39;Stuff Your Pay Cut&#39;<br />\r\n Why Ireland Never Got Nuclear Power<br />\r\n Workers Occupation Pays Off<br />\r\n The Great Gas Robbery<br />\r\n That&#39;s Capitalism<br />\r\n Is Equal Pay Possible?<br />\r\n Climate Change; Delusion and Hypocrisy<br />\r\n Anarchism and the WSM<br />\r\n Anarchists Against the Wall</p>\r\n\";s:21:\"node_revisions_format\";s:1:\"2\";s:7:\"_random\";s:20:\"0.035955421660053936\";}}s:10:\"total_rows\";i:73;s:5:\"pager\";a:5:{s:9:\"use_pager\";s:1:\"0\";s:14:\"items_per_page\";i:2;s:7:\"element\";i:0;s:6:\"offset\";i:1;s:12:\"current_page\";i:0;}}', created = 1566259153, expire = 1566259453, headers = '', serialized = 1 WHERE cid = 'Random_PDF:block_1:results:d701b49486a84d4cd29efe1b1fbdd8e3' in /var/www/public/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
Date:

It's like the topsy-turvy world of George Orwell's "1984" where politicians engage in "double-speak" by saying they are doing one thing, while in fact doing exactly the opposite. Nobody could think the Water Charges are a fair way to pay for the upkeep of the dilapidated water and sewage system that the State has neglected for decades. The Anti-Poverty Network has calculated that 37% of the household rates we already pay goes towards their upkeep.So why this scheme to make working class households pay an extra £120 this year, rising to £340 and higher in 2 years? The answer is New Labour, following their neo-liberal agenda, cooked up the scheme to turn this essential service provision into a money making venture for private business. Just like they did in England, Wales and Scotland, and with disastrous consequences. Just like was tried in the South, but was beaten by a mass non-payment campaign.

Across the North, communities are united in their absolute opposition to the tax. People in their thousands have joined one or other of the community- based campaigns, such as Communities Against the Water Tax and the We Won't Pay campaign, tens of thousands have pledged to refuse to pay.

In February, the Northern Committee of the ICTU (not usually noted for its bold stances) responded to its membership and to overwhelming public pressure and backed the crosscommunity campaign's calls for nonpayment. No one in their right mind would stand in the way of such united opposition, so it stands to reason that "our" political representatives would take up the call of those they claim to represent and endorse a non-payment campaign.

Ever since Westminster passed the legislation to bring-in phase one of this double tax on April 1st, politicians from across the sectarian divide have been grandstanding about the ways in which they have been urging Direct Rule Secretary Peter Hain not to implement it. In fact, all the Assembly Members from all the main parties, SDLP, DUP, SF, UUP have been keen to out-do each other in demonstrating that they are the ones who are the most opposed to the Water Tax while blaming the rest for allowing it to be brought in.

The message from our Assembly members seems to be "if only our own wee Assembly had the power to make such decisions, we wouldn't have allowed it through". But is this the case? What did Assembly members from these four parties have to say about the Water Tax the last time they governed on our behalf?

In May 2002 SDLP Finance Minister Sean Farren and DUP Regional Development Minister Peter Robinson issued a consultation paper on the Blairite Reinvesting Reform Initiative (RRI) (that's water privatisation to you and me) which was approved by all the Ministers of the four-Party Executive. What did this paper have to say about Water Charges? Merely that the RRI "could include water charges as well as revenue from a reformed rating system". Nowhere in this document is there mention of opposition to water charges.

Those who claim to represent our interests haven't been shouting about this fact, nor about the fact that not one of them has endorsed the nonpayment campaign. They are too mindful of the groundswell of opposition across the community against this unfair tax to show their true colours. But can our "representatives" really be trusted to take up the good fight on our behalf, or should we just leave them to do the "yak yaking" while we take action for ourselves and break this tax the only way it is going to be broken? By standing together and refusing to pay.

Non-Payment: the facts

Tens of thousands have signed up already to one or other of the non-payment campaigns. They cannot cut you off for refusing to pay. They cannot force you to pay unless they win a case against you in a small claims court. They can't do this if enough people refuse to pay, it would just take a couple of hundred and tens of thousands have already pledged not to pay. A mass non-payment campaign against the water tax in the South successfully broke the double tax


This article is from Workers Solidarity No96, March April 2007

Download the PDF of Workers Solidarity 96

Like what you're reading?
Find out when we publish more via the
WSM Facebook
& WSM Twitter