Debating water charges and Gardai in London: impressions of Socialism 2014

December 10, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

Last weekend I was at the Socialism 2014 event in London, working with British comrades from the IBT. Among other issues, this gave me a chance to debate the situation here in Ireland with Paul Murphy and Joe Higgins, as well as their comrades from other sections of the CWI.

According to more regular attendees, the event was larger than usual and there was a definite upbeat mood. This was reflected in the major talk on Saturday by SP leader Peter Taaffe on “Trotskyism in the 21st century”, which was designed to highlight the achievements of the CWI as the genuine Marxists/Trotskyists of our time, without much elaboration on what programmatic issues differentiated the CWI from other groups claiming to be Trotskyist.

Taaffe highlighted positive prospects for the CWI and speculated that the socialist revolution was going to occur in the life-time of the audience and possibly even his own…

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Socialist Party directing anti-water charges campaign down the dead-end of electoralism

December 10, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

Paul Murphy was interviewed on the This Week RTE 1 radio programme on Sunday the day after the protest in Tallaght against Joan Burton. Since then he has been vilified in the press for encouraging violent protest. Paul’s militant stance of standing with his constituents is to be commended, and all campaigners against the water tax should defend him and others from attacks in the bourgeois press. This is no reason, however, for holding back on criticising the tactics of others within the movement. There were a few points in Paul’s radio interview that concerned me in terms of the direction the Socialist Party would like to see the anti-water charges movement developing.

Paul’s main argument in defence of a strategy of mass non-payment is that the government would avoid attempted prosecution of non-payers in the courts for fear of losing votes:

“by the time they get around to that…

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Leaflet on fighting the water charges

December 10, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

No payment! No meters! Abolish the water charges!

Irish working class organise to fight back

Recent weeks have seen dramatic scenes of working people taking action to defend themselves against the imposition of the hated water charges. Over 100,000 took to the streets of Dublin on 11 October, with at least twice that number demonstrating locally across the country three weeks later.

More significant than one-day demonstrations, however, are the many forms of local organisation that have sprung up – street meetings, estate committees, local groups delegating to area groups – bringing in people who have never been politically active before, including significant numbers of young women. The militant action of many of these groups is directed towards preventing Irish Water installing unwanted water meters. Residents with posters in their windows declaring they don’t want a meter have been standing on their stopcocks, blocking entrances to their estates and risking…

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Report from We Won’t Pay protest in Cork, 29 Nov 2014

December 9, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

I traveled to the protest with Cobh activists. Meeting up with Midleton and Youghal to march as an East Cork contingent from Kent train station to the protest rally point in the centre of the city:


The crowd gradually grew at the rally point and by the time we marched there were over 2000:

The political organisations that I noticed present were the Anti-Austerity Alliance/Socialist Party, Sinn Féin and the People’s Convention.

SF weren’t really participating as a clear bloc and I only knew they were there because of a leaflet I was given – its political message can be boiled down to “vote for us and if we get into power we will abolish the water charges” with nothing to say about the water meter installations or what to do about the bills when they arrive next year. The People’s Convention leaflet was just advertising their own protest in the city next…

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What will happen after 10 December?

December 9, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

I have recently seen a lot of chatter on Facebook about the result of the demonstration on 10 December being the end of this government. I’m not so sure it will be that easy. Even if the demonstration really does cause them to make some changes at a governmental level there a lot of options that could be tried short of the collapse of the government. For instance Fine Gael could replace Enda Kenny and his key associates and try to put the blame for everything on them, or if the Labour Party jumped ship Fine Gael could go for a “National Unity” government with Fianna Fáil.
And even if the government was to somehow fall in response to the protest that just poses a bigger question – what will replace it?
The seemingly common sense answer that many are putting forward is the election of a new government with…

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Some thoughts on violence and the protest in Tallaght

December 9, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

A couple of people have asked what I made of the violence at the protest against Joan Burton’s visit to Tallaght on Saturday (links to videos at the bottom of this post).

That is quite simple – I condemn the violence unreservedly.

  • The violence of the Gardai manhandling the protesters blocking Burton’s car.
  • The violence of the riot police deployed against working people protesting on the streets.
  • The violence of the Garda pepper spraying peaceful protesters.

The reality is that it was the Gardai who escalated a peaceful protest into a situation something more than that.

Of course the word violence has been used by the capitalist media and liberal commentators to refer to something else entirely.

Firstly there was the supposed threat to Joan Burton from a handful of protestors banging on her car with a water balloon and a few eggs being thrown. Burton has claimed that the…

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Report of Cobh public meeting against water charges

December 9, 2014

Originally posted on revolutionaryprogramme:

Monday 10 November saw 250-300 people gather in the local GAA hall (one of the few venues in Cobh now able to accommodate the size of our meetings) to hear updates on the campaign from committee members Karen Doyle and Kieran McCarthy and reports from representatives of a selection of the more than 20 local estate/street groups organised against meter installations. We also had the local solicitor Anne McShane, who supports us as an activist as well as a solicitor, give an update on some of the key legal issues. The gender split of 6 women and 3 men on the top table being representative of the forces on the ground actively involved in the campaign.

Given the successes we have had so far the speakers were all positive and militant which was reflected back in the discussion from the floor. Hearing from the experiences of the estate/group representatives, who…

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