Despite the combined forces of the lying politicians and the intimidation of the councils we saw out 1995 without a single householder being disconnected. That is a great sign that in 1996 the anti-water charge campaign can deliver a fatal blow to this unjust double taxation.
Over the last two months the 3 Dublin councils have stepped up their legal efforts to try and force disconnection orders though the courts. Thanks to money raised through membership (£2 per household) the campaign has been able to get legal representation for those people who have had to appear in court.
The judgements from the various cases tells a tale in itself. Judge Smithwick (Dun Laoghaire) ruled that the council could not proceed with a disconnection unless both parties (in the case of joint ownership of a house) had been notified of proceedings. Instead of throwing the cases out of court he adjourned them for 3 months to allow the council to get its legal act together. Judge Delap (Balbriggan) said the council could proceed with the action even though only one partner had been summonsed - and then went on and issued a disconnection order. This is being appealed.
What the courts illustrate is that we can expect no justice. The judges are appointed by the Government, they are part of the ruling class and they have no qualms about issuing disconnection orders against us. The campaign will continue to have legal representation for people in court and will continue to contest these judgements. But we will not win in the courts.
This campaign is the largest one of civil disobedience in this State for 20 years, yet we've received precious little coverage in the media. RTE has given the campaign less than one hour's coverage in nearly 2 years. The newspapers continue to ignore us. A feat neatly performed when you consider that they are ignoring over 60,000 households refusing to pay a government bill.
The media controllers, the politicians and the judges are all part of the same class. We are not getting 'fair coverage' or a 'fair hearing in court' because these people are sticking by each other. They present the news or make and implement their laws in the interests of the small minority of society they represent. The accountants who refused last year to turn in rich tax dodgers got more media coverage and no hostile legal response from judges or politicians precisely because they also come from this small minority. The ruling class are sticking together on this because they know if they can't get us to pay they'll have to pay themselves.
The Government continue to squeeze the PAYE worker and the councils wish to do the same. Fingal County Council recently issued a letter to people threatening them with court action within 7 days. These are the tactics of the bully boy. We will not be defeated by them.
How will the Water Charges be defeated? They will be defeated by working class solidarity. The campaign must organise in all local areas. We must build our membership and funds and go on the offensive in the local areas. The local groups will have to organise local events (such as regular meetings, pickets of council meetings, councillor's clinics etc.) We must be sure that if they try to disconnect people's water that they are chased from the estates with their tails between their legs. We must build towards having a Dublin wide show of strength on the streets.
The only language that politicians/councillors understand is a large angry crowd saying AXE THE DOUBLE TAX. Faced with mass resistance the politicians will have no choice but to back down.
Proinsias De Rossa said the budget was pro-work and pro-worker. He was talking rubbish. Nothing will be done about the bosses who owe £900 million in Corporation Tax. Nothing will be done about the beef barons who got Ireland fined over £70 million by the EU for fraud.
The government is going to pay the fine - with our taxes! Yet, double tax water charges remain and non-payers are threatened with disconnection. Last year PAYE workers paid four times more tax than the rich, who boasted of their increased profits.
As for job creation incentives.. what a joke! Giving £80 a week to bosses for employing someone who has been unemployed for over one year just means the boss saves £80 from his wages bill. Our taxes will be used to subsidise cheap labour jobs.
Needless to say there was no allocation of money to clear the hospital waiting lists, raise the wages of low paid staff in the public sector, give adequate funding for local services, or create real jobs with decent pay for the unemployed. The rich know how to look after themselves, we need to get together and do the same.
In support of the Mountview Inn strike in Blanchardstown a well attended Pub Quiz raised almost £500 recently. Afterwards a support group was formed. Although the strike has been effective in closing the Mountview Inn the owner also owns three other pubs (Cardiff Inn, Finglas: Roundabout, Artane: Millers, Donnycarney). An injury to one is an injury to all, all these pubs must be boycotted & shut down until the owner gives in.
On March 2nd in the Ormonde Multi Media center at 3pm the WSM is hosting a talk by the Black US anarchist Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin. Lorenzo was born in what he terms the segregated South; Chattanooga Tennessee in 1947. Lorenzo was a fighter from an early age joining the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People at the age of 12. He was drafted to fight in Vietnam where he was an anti-war organiser and was court-martialed. He then joined the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee in 1967. This fused (for a time) with the Black Panther Party (BPP) and Lorenzo remained an active member.
Towards the end of the 60's the FBI attempted to eliminate the BPP by framing its activists or even murdering them in the course of police raids, thirty six were murdered in this fashion. In 1968 the net began to close in on Lorenzo and he was framed for planning to kill a local Klan leader. He hijacked a plane and escaped to Cuba and later Czechoslovakia. He was eventually recaptured in East Berlin and drugged and tortured during questioning in the American consulate by special agents. He was illegally deported to the States.
After a farce of a trial in Georgia where he faced the death penalty before an all-white jury, judge and prosecutor with white defence attorneys appointed by the court. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
He fought on in prison attempting to organise Black prisoners and build prison unions. Due to the support of the Anarchist Black Cross he first came across anarchism which offered an alternative to the barrack house 'Socialism' of the Stalinist states he had experienced in Eastern Europe. He wrote several books in prison including Anarchism and Black Revolution . His own legal challenges and an international campaign led to his release after 15 years hard time.
He returned to Chattanooga and was active in organising against the Klan. He helped organise a major mobilisation which finally ran the KKK out of town. In 1987 Lorenzo filed a major civil rights law suit which eventually forced the city of Chattanooga to change the structure of its governance on the basis that it systematically disempowered the black community. Today he lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Since 1993 he has been on a massive tour taking in hundreds of venues in the USA and in Europe. He has addressed community groups, unions, colleges and all other interested groups. His aim is to help build an anti-authoritarian network of community organisers all over North America and create a radical movement for social change based on real grass roots democracy. In bringing him over we hope to broaden the understanding of anarchism for people in Dublin and show its internationalism and its relevance to day to day struggle like that being waged by the anti-Water Charge activists.
In 1994 a revolt broke out against NAFTA and injustice in Mexico in the southern state of Chiapas. The most public expression of the revolt has been the army of the rebels, the E.Z.L.N. and their charismatic spokesperson sub-commandant Marcos but behind the scenes decisions are made by village assemblies at which anyone may speak and vote.
So although their demands are limited to fighting for indigenous rights, justice and democracy these structures have attracted the special interest of anarchists. The E.Z.L.N. also claim the legacy of the Mexican anarchist revolutionary, Zapata.
The WSM organised pickets in solidarity with the struggle in 1994 and 1995 but later in 1995 we welcomed the formation of the broader Irish Mexico Group. In December of this year the IMG sent a Human Rights delegation to Chiapas and on February 14th, at 8pm in the Irish Film Centre (Temple Bar) the delegation will be reporting on their findings accompanied by a slide show. An information pack on Mexico and the delegation is available for a donation from IMG, c/o Cohlamh, 10 Up. Camden St., Dublin 2.