Cobh AAA members condemn AAA leaflet

Immediately after I released my statement withdrawing support for the motion to expel Ciara from Cobh Says No to Austerity the split I had been trying to avoid went ahead. The four other members of the committee met with a large group of CSNA activists and decided to all leave CSNA. They have set up a new group called Cobh CommUNITY 4 Change, that officially came into being on Tuesday 16 June by announcing itself on Facebook with the following statement:

It is with a renewed sense of purpose that the majority of the founding members and committee members of CSNA would like to announce the establishment of our new group, Cobh CommUNITY 4 Change.
We are a non aligned community based group that welcome the support of any political party who share in our vision and commitment to building a better future for all of us and who will respect our autonomy.

Our primary objective is to support all residents in Cobh and outside Cobh in stopping the installation of water meters and we also support the non payment of IW bills.

We believe that the best way to face the challenges that lie ahead of us is through grassroots organisation and activisim which puts the community at the heart of our campaign.

We want that voice to not just be heard but to play a central part in all decisions that affect us in our daily lives.

We want to create a space where people can contribute to this movement, become empowered and motivated to support one another and move forward towards a better future, a better time, a better way of being in this world.

This is our moment, our mission and our movement.

Let’s make it work.

As might be expected this provoked a furious debate on Facebook between supporters and opponents of the split. The following evening the Anti-Austerity Alliance had a large team in Cobh, including Mick Barry and Dave Keating who are two of the Socialist Parties most senior comrades in Cork. They were distributing a specially produced leaflet that included a section on the split in CSNA that made some widely inaccurate claims about the reasons for the split.

At the Cobh Says No to Austerity activist meeting on Thursday 18 June I moved the following motion:

This meeting of Cobh Says No to Austerity condemns the Anti-Austerity Alliance leaflet distributed in Cobh on the evening of Wednesday 17 June.

The AAA leaflet states that the recent split in the CSNA is not about personalities but is a Sinn Fein influenced political move. This is completely untrue. It also claims that the new group which comprises the majority of non aligned activists is actually a manoeuvre against the AAA. This is a complete misrepresentation of the reality behind the events leading to the split in CSNA. The AAA’s central leadership has been informed of the personalised and disruptive behaviour of one of its members but has refused to listen to reps of CSNA.

The leaflet even suggests that the new group is not calling for a boycott of the bills – when this is explicitly not the case.

For these reasons, as well as the timing of the leaflet’s distribution, we consider this to have been a provocation by the AAA which can only harm united action in Cobh against the water charges – this is already reflected in activists refusing to attend the CSNA’s bill burning event on 23 June.

We therefore demand that the AAA issues an apology and promises not to engage in any similar provocations in the future.

The motion was amended to more simply read:

This meeting of Cobh Says No to Austerity condemns the Anti-Austerity Alliance leaflet distributed in Cobh on the evening of Wednesday 17 June.

Cobh Says No to Austerity is grateful for any help in organising its cause so long as Cobh Says No to Austerity is not being used to promote any political or personal agenda.

The amended motion condemning the AAA leaflet was passed by a clear majority – including with all three local AAA members voting for it!


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