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.
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.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about participatory and direct democracy. Renewed interest in alternative forms of organising society has arisen from increasing dissatisfaction with mainstream politics and the domination of the economy by a few corporations. This dissatisfaction has found its expression in the Arab spring, the May 15th movement in Spain and the Occupy movement in the English-speaking world. Where the anti-capitalist movement of the last decade focussed almost exclusively on the power of the corporations and finance capital, this current tendency is to also focus on politics and the state.
The National Conference of the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes in May made some key decisions. The ultimate objective of our campaign should be to ensure that everyone who gets involved in it can have an equal input into our decision-making. This will make for a more democratic and far more efficient Campaign which large numbers of people will feel direct ownership of. That will mean a far stronger Campaign and one capable of winning. On Saturday we distributed this text which explains the case for direct democracy as a leaflet to those attending the conference.
Local Participation - Get involved with your local campaign group, ensure that it meets up regularly and that decisions are made democratically and through discussion, so that people really have a sense of ownership of the campaign. This method of organising actually encourages participation, as people being asked to carry out tasks such as leafleting through an email or text message is disempowering and feels much like being given orders as opposed to a group of people working towards a common goal to benefit themselves.
WSM policy in opposition to the Household & Water Tax and how we think the campaign in opposition to it must be built.
Something entirely unexpected has happened in Ireland - history has gone into reverse. While North Africa, Egypt and the Middle East are struggling to shake of the shackles of neo-colonial dictatorships, Ireland after the Celtic tiger finds itself back in a situation of direct rule. This time not from London, but from the head quarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and the European Commission in Brussels. A state which it now shares with it’s fellow PIGs, Portugal and Greece. For most of the last 60 years we have been told that liberal history went in one direction, from dictatorship and colonial rule to liberal democracy. This picture no longer fits the new status of the PIGs within the European project.
The new year brings a new tax from the Irish government and a new fight in the shape of the campaign against this household tax. Although we have beaten such taxes in the past, past victories are no guarantee of future success. In the light of the current low level of organisation and self-confidence amongst our class, we need to re-assess our methods of organisation if we aim to achieve the levels of mass participation needed for a victory. The argument of this article is that the existing traditional models of building local campaigns are not sufficient to the task and that we need to look to a new model of organising - the organiser model.
The EU and IMF, enabled and supported by our Fine Gael/Labour Government, are imposing a new regressive tax on all of our homes. This tax will take no account of the ability to pay and will almost certainly move in only one direction (upwards) over the years once it is introduced.
Today the government announced the details of the four year plan required as part of the ECB / IMF ‘bailout’ of the banks. There will be five billion worth of new taxes and 10 billion worth of cuts under this so called ‘National Recovery’ which in reality will take 10% out of GDP. As we show below almost all these costs are being dumped on workers, particularly low paid workers, the very sector that gained little or nothing during the boom years. the richest 1% are left with most of their legal tax dodges in particular the ability to avoid paying tax at all if they spend 6 months on holidays out of the country.