19
Jul
13

Stoneybatter CAHWT “boycott is over” statement

The boycott is over.  Because of the huge numbers who felt they had no choice but to register for the Property Tax there is no point in continuing the boycott.  Our advice is to pay now and avoid penalties.

Unfortunately the campaign is effectively defeated. Not enough people became active in their local CAHWT groups, as opposed to just passively boycotting the tax.  That was sufficient to make the Household Charge uncollectable last year.  But it was not enough to make the government back down.

This year the government changed its tactics and brought in the Revenue.  This meant that the money could be taken directly from your wages, pension or welfare.  Most people felt they had no option but to register.  Many left it until the very last moment.  They paid because they thought they were alone, as there were not huge numbers visible on the streets.  The campaign was too small to effectively counter this feeling of hopelessness.

A few local campaign groups, influenced by the Socialist Party, have decided to run their own candidates in next year’s local elections.  We fear this move can actually increase passivity among householders, as it is about putting effort into electing someone else to ‘represent’ your concerns.  While this may be good for the Socialist Party, how can it help the campaign?  Local councils do not have the power to abolish the Property Tax, and will not have the power to abolish the Water Tax.  It is also the case that no one candidate from a ‘single issue’ campaign could possibly represent all the diverse views of campaign members on other issues (e.g. abortion).

As well as large protests and mass civil disobedience, industrial action by Revenue staff and others involved in collection of the Tax would probably have been necessary for us to win.  However at a time when most people lack the confidence to defend their own wages that was a very big ask.

The campaign did show that a small group of people taking an initiative can kick start something very significant.  Among the highlights of the campaign were:

* the mass boycott of the 2012 Household Charge
* the involvement of people throughout much of the country in building local campaign groups and canvassing their neighbours
* the packed rally in the National Boxing Stadium
* the 8,000 strong protest at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis
* the local protests all around the country, from Cobh to Letterkenny, from Athlone to Enniscorthy.

The transfer of wealth from the vast majority of us to a small rich elite has not stopped.  The government plans to dip into our pockets again next year with the Water Tax, while also giving yet more concessions to millionaire tax exiles.  Until enough of us start fighting back they will continue to see working families and pensioners as a soft touch.   This autumn there will be public meetings in many localities to discuss how we can effectively oppose the Water Tax.

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