14
Mar
11

Initial statement

This blog is for anyone interested in discussing the political content of a programme for a revolutionary worker’ party in Ireland.

An initial statement by the author of this blog which does not pretend to be a fully finished programme – its aim is to stimulate discussion and debate about the key areas a revolutionary socialist programme needs to cover.

Comments welcome.

26
Nov
14

On the demand “For a safe water supply owned and operated by citizens for citizens and not for profit”

Cobh Says No has sent out a nationwide call for coordination between anti-water charges groups based around the following demands:

* For the immediate and complete abolition of water charges
* For the immediate disbanding of Irish Water
* Opposition to the installation of water meters as a charging device
* Boycott of registration and payment of Water bills
* For a safe water supply owned and operated by citizens for citizens and not for profit

The final demand was added at the meeting which decided to send the call out, the impulse behind it being an opposition to privatisation of water supply. Because of this motivation, I didn’t argue against it at the time, but on reflection I realise that it is badly phrased and could easily be read to mean something more than intended.

First, there is a problem with the word “citizens” – we live in a class society, and this has seldom been so evident as in this fight, where the opposition to the water charges is predominantly working class, both in social background and in self-identification. Use of “citizen” implies that all classes are in this together, as do phrases like “people power”. For instance the billionaire Denis O’Brien is a citizen but he is a citizen who can buy votes and manipulate public opinion through his controlling shareholding of the INM media empire.

The reality is that the water charges are yet another attempt by the likes of Denis O’Brien to impose the costs of capitalist crisis on the working class. As I have argued elsewhere, the involvement of the trade unions, workers organised as a class, will be key to winning this fight.

Views within the campaign vary widely of course on how we see class society, and I’m not advocating we should simply replace “citizens” with “workers”. I actually don’t think this campaign should be taking a position on who should control the water supply. Water will never be equally owned and controlled by all while capitalism still exists, and I certainly don’t think a broad based anti-water-charges campaign should be taking a view on the overthrow of capitalism (despite advocating that myself!).

It would have been far preferable if we had used a simple negative such as “no privatisation of water supply” – a demand that all can unite around regardless of specific opinions on how society as a whole should be organised and I regret not suggesting this at the time. Our campaign has succeeded so far by being simple and clear, allowing those with different worldviews to fight together on the issue that unites us – opposing water charges.

25
Nov
14

Defend the right to protest

The past week or so has seen a significant ratcheting up in the propaganda war by the government and capitalist media. The aim being to split the anti-water charges movement between the decent ordinary people in the ranks and the evil socialist/anarchist/dissident republican leaders who are only interested in inciting violence and causing political and economic chaos.

To the credit of all those involved these lies seem to have only had the opposite effect and given more impetus to the anti-water charges movement. Senior government members now expect to be met by protests at any public event they attend and the number of communities preventing meter installations increases by the day.

On top of the threat to imprison the peaceful protesters who dared to defy the 20m exclusion zone around GMC Sierra meter installers in Dublin (fingers crossed for a positive outcome tomorrow!) the government are now threatening to arrest some of those involved in the so-called “violent protest” against Joan Burton and to go after those they perceive as being the leaders, like Socialist Party member and AAA TD Paul Murphy, for incitement (http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/td-under-scrutiny-as-10-people-face-arrest-over-role-in-violent-protests-30771604.html).

As a result we can expect the hysteria about the nefarious plans of the Socialist Party to rise to a fever pitch as the capitalist class attempt to create a climate where they think they can get away with these ludicrous charges.

Whatever criticisms any of us may have of the politics of Paul Murphy and his SP comrades it is essential that we extend the same level of solidarity towards them that we do towards any other protesters threatened with arrest and prosecution.

Any injury to one is an injury to all!
Defend the injunction breakers!
Defend Paul Murphy and the other Jobstown protesters!

22
Nov
14

Cobh proposal to national anti-water charges movement

The following proposal has been circulated throughout the anti-water charges movement in Ireland:

Cobh Say No to Austerity calls on all local Anti-Water Charges campaigns to come together on a national basis.

We have built a successful and militant local campaign in Cobh based on the self-organisation of local streets and estates to block the installation of water meters and oppose the Water Charges. There is a delegate structure to a Cobh-wide coordinating committee, which we have found a very effective and democratic way of organising. This has given us enormous strength in terms of shared decision making and accountability. It has also meant that we have been more effective in acting together. We believe that this is something that should be built on nationally and want to discuss and organise with all those who share similar aims. This delegated national meeting can discuss all proposals to develop and broaden this campaign politically.

It is now important to share experiences from localities throughout Ireland and to build a national coordinating body. We are contacting you in the hope that you are interested in meeting to establish this body.

We propose the following as the basis for a national campaign:

* For the immediate and complete abolition of water charges
* For the immediate disbanding of Irish Water
* Opposition to the installation of water meters as a charging device
* Boycott of registration and payment of Water bills
* For a safe water supply owned and operated by citizens for citizens and not for profit

We propose holding regional meetings to discuss and agree a way forward and to set up delegate based coordinating bodies. We propose a delegated national meeting be held as soon as possible and certainly before Christmas. Please contact cobh.says.no.to.austerity@gmail.com

In solidarity
Alan Gibson
for Cobh Says No coordinating committee

 

22
Nov
14

A flavour of the anti-water charges campaign in Cobh

The following are Facebook posts by two of the women at the centre of the Cobh opposition to water charges which give a little bit of an idea about what is happening here. Both these posts were following the government’s announcement of their retreat on the water charges and in the context of a handful of people in Cobh seeking to undermine the continuing protests.

Firstly from Ciara who is in her early 20s and became actively involved a couple of months ago when Irish Water first showed signs of coming to Cobh. Her commitment, drive and organisational skills saw her quickly become central to the “spotters” teams (the people who watch out for and follow Irish Water vehicles) and she is now one of the leading members of the coordinating committee.

Just to clear some stuff up that i’m sure lots of people are wondering in regards to those of us out protesting,NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON has asked for free food, it was all given to the people out of the goodness of the business owners heart to show support to those of us standing up for our rights. EVERY estate has been given a token of their support,not just council estates. Regardless of whether we work or not, we put in longer hours than an average working week. We dont look for pay,praise or free food. We simply believe in standing up for our rights and the rights of those who are unable to for whatever reason. I am a mother and a student, have my own home, pay my own bills etc. etc. So who is anyone to judge me or anyone else exercising their right to protest? And sorry to tell the nay sayers in Cobh that ye are in the minority now so, yes, COBH SAYS NO!!! Ye will thank us when ye dont have an extra bill to pay! And FYI those of ye putting us down ye arent invited to the celebratory party when we beat this outrageous tax the government is forcing on us!!

And now from Karen who came to the first public meeting of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes back in November 2011. She was actually primarily there just to give a lift to her mother but found herself inspired by the meeting and got involved in the activist group that was set up. We soon discovered she had a natural flair for public speaking and she is now the main public spokesperson for Cobh Says No.

Karen was also one of the key elements to the continuation of the Cobh group when the CAHWT collapsed in 2013 and is now one of the central leaders of Cobh Says No.

The struggle that we are presently involved in has united us within a common cause that is for the abolishment of IW. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other these past few weeks. We have stood with old friends and have made new friends along the way. We must remember that beyond this struggle lies the promise of a better way of being for each one of us. Our struggle is not exclusive. All working class people must reach out to one another and break down the walls that divide us. We must remember that our fight is a global one and we must respond accordingly. Weather a person is a single mother, a traveller, a resident in a direct provision center, an immigrant or born and bred here this struggle belongs to each of us, it is ours to own and to shape. President Higgins spoke out against Direct Provision and rightly so. He should now continue to speak out about all injustices that the working class are subjected too. Until then we will unite and make the dream of a better world a reality for all.
20
Nov
14

What Cobh Say No thinks of the govts changes to water charges

Endas_discount




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