The rich remain rich and the rest of us are supposed to keep them that way. That’s why we get pay cuts, health cuts, education cuts, job cuts. It’s not as if dipping into the pockets of PAYE workers is the only way to foot bills.

A mere 5% of the Irish population own 40% of the wealth. And a tiny 1% own most of it (34%). What pinko fantasist came up with these figures, asks the cynic. Well, it was that well-known radical outfit, the Bank of Ireland (in its Wealth of the Nation report).

This small number of super-wealthy people own assets (that the Revenue Commissioners know of) worth €100billion. 1,500 of them, the ones that didn’t take tax-exile status, declared incomes over €2.3 million last year.

And then there’s the gas and oil fields off the west coast valued at €420 billion and rising. Any chance of looking again at the incredibly generous terms given to the oil companies by crooked Minister Ray Burke back in 1987? Seemingly not.

When Brian Lenihan said there is no pot of gold to be had from the wealthy, he was telling a quite deliberate lie. The only thing that is lacking is the political will to make the rich pay for their own crisis. And no surprise there, the supporters of capitalism are going by the rules of capitalism – the working class supply the wealth, and the ruling class supply endless reasons why this arrangement is the only possible one.

Marching will not be enough to stop the government and IBEC. It was a good start by showing that the stomach for a fight to preserve working people’s living standards is there. To truly show that we mean business and to build a campaign to force the wealthy to pay for the crisis, we need to begin by winning the argument in our workplaces for a national strike that will shut down every job – public sector and private sector alike.

Our strength lies in the fact that we do the work. Without us there are no busses or trains, no deliveries to shops, no teaching in schools, no production, no services, nothing. We have a great power in our hands if we stand together. The time has gone beyond protest, now we need to use our muscle in defence of ourselves, our families, the retired and people on social welfare


From Workers Solidarity 112 - Nov / Dec 2009

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