28
Jan
13

Cork anti-property tax protesters occupy council chamber

It seems the focus of the campaign has become electoral. There is still talk of standing candidates in 2014 and tonight’s protest was projecting a central strategy of using direct action tactics to put pressure on Labour Party votes in the future. This may have an impact on some back benchers but the leadership of the LP is totally committed to the austerity project so as a strategy this would seem completely unrealistic to me.

What is required to defeat this tax is not threats to the electoral chances of the LP but militant class struggle – wild cat strikes supported by mass mobilisations building up towards the prospect of a real general strike led by rank and file strike committees built out of the experience of the initial strikes.

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Occupation of Cork City Council chamber by anti property tax activists underway this evening

Tonight’s meeting of Cork City Council has just been adjourned following an occupation of the council chamber by more than 100 members of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes. A banner with the words “axe the tax or watch your vote collapse” has been unfurled. Deafening chanting of ‘labour, labour, labour, out out out’ and ‘no way we won’t pay’ are echoing around the chamber

Explaining their reasons for tonight’s action organised in response to the imposition of the property tax local activist John Lonergan said:

“Tonight’s protest at Cork City Council has been organised for two reasons:

·         To send out a clear message that there is going to be a fight against the property tax when it is introduced later this year

·         To mark the cards for the Government parties that their votes will collapse in 2014 if they drive on with the property tax and austerity policies.

“We are ordinary members of the Cork public who have simply decided not to take it lying down anymore.

“We have been force-fed five years of austerity.  Our household budgets have been cut to the bone.  We have just had our child benefit cut and our PRSI contributions hiked.  We cannot afford to pay a property tax and will do everything in our power to fight it.”

Fellow activist Karen Doyle added:

“The Government are manipulating language  –  this is not a real property tax, it is a tax on our homes.  And there is nothing “progressive” about it.  Council services will not improve as a result of it  –  in fact, they will be cut further in the next few years.  Instead, it is a smash and grab raid to pay for the bank bailouts and to give the bondholders their pound of flesh.

“We object to the ‘choice’ about to be ‘offered’ to us by the Government  –  sign up for the tax or have it deducted from your wages or social welfare.  This is blatant robbery and we intend to resist it.

“We will be calling on people to refuse to register for the so-called property tax and will join campaigners across the country in organising civil disobedience and massive protests to force the Government to withdraw the tax and the threat of deductions.

“We are protesting at City Hall because that is the place where we find the greatest number of politicians from the Government parties gathered together in one place.

“And we want to send these politicians and their parties a message that if they drive on with the property tax and with austerity policies that they will be decimated in the elections next year.

“As our slogan says:  ‘Axe the Tax  –  Or Watch Your Vote Collapse.'”

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