Cobh Says No to Austerity disbands

At Tuesday night’s activist meeting of Cobh Says No to Austerity (CSNA) the following motion was passed – with no opposition and a small number of abstentions:

“That the group known as Cobh Says No to Austerity be dissolved tonight the 30 June 2015”

In the wake of that dissolution it was also decided that all the money remaining in the CSNA account (just over €350) along with the megaphone and mobile phone be handed over to the newly established Cobh CommUNITY 4 Change (CC4C) as they will now be the only group in Cobh organising opposition to Irish Water. The CSNA Facebook group will also be closed down. It is likely that most of the remaining CSNA activists will seek to join the new CC4C group.

I was one of those who abstained on the vote to dissolve CSNA.

CSNA existed to maximise the opposition to Irish Water in Cobh. The split of a majority of the CSNA activists to form the CC4C group has significantly undermined the previous unity in action which saw us be so successful in organising the Cobh community to oppose meter installations and gain mass support for non-payment (over 70% according to our canvassing).

It is clear that the continued existence of a rump CSNA would only harm future unity in action given the context of a public, and sometimes nasty, split resulting in a very bad reputation for the group among the wider community.

However the new CC4C group has started off on a bad footing with its sectarian refusal to participate in, and active undermining of, the recent “burn the bills” protest which proved to be the last public event of CSNA. It also appears that CC4C is barring people from participating for a mixture of personal and political reasons in the manner of a membership club rather than a community-based campaign group.

If these negative beginnings are integrated into its ongoing organisational culture CC4C will be nowhere near what is required to organise working people in the fight against water charges and other attacks in the name of “austerity”.

Certainly I will not be able to be active within CC4C unless it is transformed into a democratic and open group, facilitating participation of activists with a range of political views. It is only by testing different political perspectives in action and open debate that we will have any chance of developing strategies to defeat austerity for good.

Meanwhile, I will of course participate alongside other activists in Cobh and the wider Cork area in supportable actions, whether organised by CC4C or anyone else, and continue to argue for the types of organisations and strategies I believe are necessary in this fight, as outlined elsewhere on this blog.


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