Surveys say poverty rising, resistance too


Two recent surveys have shed a little light on the levels of poverty and financial distress being experienced in Ireland. A survey by the "What's left" found 47% of households (over 1.5million people) with €100 or less in hand monthly after essential bills have paid. The other survey by Social Justice Ireland calculated over 700,000 people now live impoverished lives in the state.  The increasing cost of essentials, declining wages and rising unemployment are all contributing to this.

Clearly the current economic policies of the state are not addressing this problem. The mainstream media reported the surveys results but they elicited little comment or angst from that quarter. Clearly as those who control the media and those who work for it are not part of this section of the population it is only of interest to those with some sort of social conscience. Thus we find maybe an article from Vincent Browne or Gene Kerrigan but little else.  The 700,000 don't figure in the news agenda.

But in one of the survey's we see over two fifths of households stated that they had no intention of paying the Household Charge, the majority of them saying they will not pay as they cannot afford it and almost one in ten respondents revealed that they will not pay until they are threatened with legal action. Now there is something that indicates that you may ignore the people, you may write them out of your news but sooner or later we will impose ourselves on your news agenda by our actions. There is a movement emerging in opposition to austerity, a movement of people resisting being driven into poverty, that movement has the potential to transform Irish society. That movement as it emerges can be based on solidarity, direct democracy and direct action, if those of us who believe in these principles get stuck in and argue for such things.