Anarchist News

No 29

Anarchists, the bin tax & direct action

There are many political groups and individuals involved in the campaign against the bin tax. Many of them see the campaign as little more than a way of getting votes in the local elections of June 2004. Some of them, like the Labour Party, have been particularly cynical about this. While they say that they are against the tax, they have taken no part in the blockades and have even denounced them. Other parties of the left have taken part in the blockades and have even had members sent to jail, but when it comes down to it, they still see the bin tax campaign as a way of raising their profiles in advance of the elections.

This is what makes the anarchists different. The Workers Solidarity Movement, an organisation of Irish anarchists, has been involved in the campaign from the start. Some of our members are key activists in local campaigns who have played a big part in building up the campaign for the last 3 years. However, we do not participate in elections and will never come knocking on your door looking for a vote.

Anarchists seek to build a society where everybody has a say in the decisions that affect them. We get involved in campaigns to help our communities gain confidence in their own abilities to stand up to the state. We don't believe that this can ever be achieved by a political party taking power on our behalf, no matter how well-meaning they are. We think that the experience of organising in a democratic way in our communities and workplaces can empower us all and give us the confidence to stand up for ourselves against whatever government happens to be in power.

An important part of this is the notion of 'direct action'. Direct action means that we try to bring about change directly through our own actions rather than by asking somebody else to take action on our behalf. During the Iraqi war that meant that, rather than appealing to the government to stop helping the US war machine, we went to Shannon airport and took part in mass trespasses. In the bin tax campaign it meant that we promoted non-payment and blockades as tactics rather than lobbying or voting for politicians.

Anarchists favour direct action for several reasons. For one thing it gets the goods. It is all too easy for the powerful to ignore us when we march or take part in other symbolic protests. In February 100,000 marched against the war and the government didn't change their position one iota. However, when we take action that disrupts business as usual, they have no choice but to sit up and take notice. When we refuse to pay an unjust tax or blockade a depot in protest at non-collection, we demonstrate clearly that we have collective power that can't be ignored. Direct action is empowering, in that it allows us to see that our own actions are making a difference, rather than trusting some elected representative to sort it out on our behalf.

That is why, long after the bin tax campaign has gone, the anarchists will still be around, active in your neighbourhood. We will be looking for opportunities to organise democratically in our communities whenever we think we have a chance of standing up for ourselves together against the unjust laws of the powerful. We are getting stronger, more experienced and more ambitious all the time. We will keep on being a thorn in the side of the powerful. We aren't going away!

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Cullen is a liar

Minister for the Environment, Martin Cullen claims that bin charges are necessary to deal with the waste crisis in this country. He keeps repeating that the 'polluter pays' and he wants to save the environment. He is lying through his teeth, like all the other members of the government. They have even paid for an expensive TV ad to blame householders for the pathetic failure of their policies. The Government's own Environmental Protection Agency surveyed the amount of waste going to landfill in 2001. The E.P.A. found that a total of 8,277,598 tons of waste was accepted at landfills, broken down as follows:

Household

1,254,859

(15%)

Commercial

737,193

(9%)

Construction

1,094,496

(13%)

Industrial

4,480,754

(54%)

Other

710,296

(9%)

* Figures from the National Waste Database Report 2001- http://www.epa.ie

Is it any surprise that this Government would try to deny that 85% of the waste going to landfill is created by their cronies in business and construction? In the last two budgets, 634 million Euros was handed to the corporate sector, which would have paid for all the necessary investment in waste management for the whole country, with money left over for vital investment in other neglected areas of the national infrastructure. What about Cullen's so-called concern for the environment? - He ignored calls to keep the Irish Glass Bottle Company open and develop a national glass recycling facility. Now, all the glass that householders are carefully separating has to go to Northern Ireland or abroad for recycling, using valuable resources to transport it.

- In 2001, of the total amount of plastic disposed of by households, 99.4% went into landfill because there are no facilities in the country for it to be recycled or reused.

Well, the EU made him do it (or 'a big boy did it and ran away'). The EU Directives that the Government has been using as an excuse do not direct Governments on how to pay for waste management. There is nothing to stop the Government telling the EU that compliant PAYE taxpayers have already paid for services like waste management through central taxation. Of course, they might have some difficulty explaining why they haven't gone after the tax on the Euro 4 billion salted away by millionaire Irish account holders in Isle of Man banks, never mind the Ansbacher millions. But this Government is no more interested in taxation justice than they are in an effective waste management strategy. Martin Cullen, it's time to bin your lies!

 


This article is from Anarchist News No 29

Sunday Independent claims anarchists are 'infiltrating' bin tax campaign
The mouthpiece of millionaire Tony O'Reilly, the Sunday Independent, got terribly excited when it 'discovered' there were anarchists involved in the bin tax campaign
Service Charges Taking from the poor to give to the rich
One of the main reasons that we are fighting against the bin tax is because it is another attempt to transfer wealth from workers to the rich
Government announces new 'turd tax'
Minister for the environment Martin Cullen today announced a new tax on visits to the toilet, which has already been dubbed the 'turd tax'.
The Bin Tax & Privatisation
It is no secret that the government wants to privatise the bin service in Dublin. The service has already been privatised in thirty-seven Local Authorities around the country
Cork Against the Bin Tax
The campaign in Cork and contact detials for anarchists active in the campaign in Dublin

 

The anarchists are coming
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