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(en) Ireland, Working Class Resistance - Election Time Is Here Again - Build a Working Class Alternative

Date Thu, 14 Jul 2005 21:17:48 +0300

For the next while we will be bombarded with the usual
4 yearly knock at the door from politicians looking
for our votes – not to mention the pile of junk mail
landing on our door steps. Whatever the party they’ll
all be preaching about the importance of voting in the
forthcoming elections.
So why is it that whatever Government is in power the
majority of us never really feel any better off? The
same ‘mantra’ and empty promises will be repeated in
order to garner our support but the fact is, we cannot
effect meaningful change by voting sectarian (or even
'non-sectarian') politicians into Westminster or the
Assembly - real change must come from below.
The fight against sectarianism, against capitalism and
against the state has to be fought in our streets, in
our communities and in our workplaces. Politicians
won’t tackle sectarianism as to do so would be to
undermine their respective power bases. Beyond this it
is highly unlikely that any of our up and coming
politicians are even going to consider confronting the
assault which capitalism is carrying out against our
Why should they worry when its estimated that MLAs
will be on at least £41,321 a year for the privilege
of being elected and doing sweet f.a.? And make no
mistake – there is a world of difference between a
local politico looking elected to an Assembly that’s
not up and running and a local politico when handed
some part of the reigns of government. At present
some of our politicians are, given the luxury of being
a powerless opposition, playing populist games and
opposing water charges. In power it’s a completely
different kettle of fish.
Do they really believe our memories are so short?
Back in 2002 our predecessors in the
Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation reported on the £270
million loan made available from the Treasury with the
creation of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair’s Reinvestment
and Reform Initiative (RRI). This loan had been
negotiated with the government at Westminster
acknowledging over thirty years of under investment in
infrastructure in the north. In order to repay this
loan, as the ASF reported at the time;
“Stormont are set to impose a rates hike and water
charges in two years time.”
With bureaucratic delays and pressure from anti-water
charges campaigners the government may have had to set
the implementation date for water charges back a bit,
but the fact remains that such charges are on the way
unless people take action against them. How can we
trust or rely on the newly found opposition of some of
our political parties to water charges? The simple
answer is we can’t only direct action, the building of
an active mass campaign involving workplace and
community opposition, and in the final analysis mass
non-payment can stop this charge.
Remember also that those claiming to oppose water
charges would have been involved in their
implementation had Stormont still been up and running,
and they still would. As a result of the RRI a Review
of Rating Policy was initiated by the Assembly
Executive, headed by Minister Peter Robinson (DUP) and
Minister Sean Farren (SDLP), which rushed through a
consultation paper in May 2002 – agreed by all the
Ministers in the Executive and the Committee for
Finance & Personnel, chaired by Francie Molloy of Sinn
This paper set out proposals to increase rates and
introduce water charges. It is in this document that
the lie that people in Northern Ireland do not pay for
water seems to originate. The UUP, SDLP, DUP and Sinn
Fein who agreed this consultation paper in the
Assembly Executive, all agreed in principle to
introduce water charges.
The sham of electoralism is far removed from what
anarchists mean by democracy. By democracy we mean
people managing their own lives and working together
collectively to run our communities and workplaces,
for our benefit not the benefit of bosses or
politicians. This is direct democracy, in which
everyone who is effected by a decision has a role in
reaching that decision.
Whether the candidate is Unionist or Nationalist,
Pro-Agreement or Anti-Agreement, Women’s Coalition or
Alliance, even if they claim to be Socialist, the same
attacks will be carried out on our class. Low pay,
poverty, increased job insecurity, mickey mouse work
schemes, lack of decent housing, privatisation,
profiteering in the NHS and our schools (where PFI's
and PPP's are introduced and implemented with
impunity), scapegoating of immigrants, cutbacks,
redundancies, the massive growth in ‘flexible’ working
practices (where expected to bend over backwards for
the boss), attacks on claimants and the poor and the
introduction of double water taxation.
We won’t be round looking for your vote. We will not
be knocking at your door to spout empty promises in
return for a seat round the table because we don’t
believe, even if we did get in, that scraps from the
table are enough for the people who after-all have
created the wealth of this society – the working
class. That class, our class, must wage its own
struggles and take control of our own destiny – no
political party can do that.
This begs the question - what are we going to do about
it? Roll over or turn the other cheek? Put our faith
in politicians or Trade Union bureaucrats? Or take
matters into our own hands?
Only by organising, collectively fighting back and by
practising solidarity where we live and work can we
really change things. The lesson is that the state
never concedes anything without some form of struggle!


From the pages of Working Class Resistance, magazine
of Organise, now available in text and PDF formats at:


To get your copy, send an email to:

From: Organise Ireland <organiseireland-A-yahoo.ie>

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