Anarchist News 12

Dr Groove (dr_groove@geocities.com)
Mon, 02 Dec 1996 11:57:22 +0000


Anarchist News 12 December 1996

Two articles: You can beat them or join them is at the end

Our Victory Their Defeat
The Water Charges are uncollectable

On Wednesday 20 November, as a couple of hundred
activists were picketing the Dublin South estimates council
meeting, word filtered through, that in the face of the mass
non-payment of the Water Charges, the councillors had
lost their nerve and postponed setting a charge. This news
was followed up last weekend by government leaks
suggesting that the charges were to be abolished in the
forthcoming budget. Forced to eat their sneering words of
three years ago, (when they sought to dismiss the campaign
as irrelevant) the politicians of all parties have been forced
to accept the inevitable fact that they have been beaten by
the ordinary people of Dublin, who stood up to them, their
threats, and their hired bullies.

Nearly three years ago when the three councils were
created we knew that the water charge was due to make it's
appearance in Dublin. Despite all the political parties being
opposed to these 'local charges' we saw them introduced by
all the councils as they struck a local rate.

Two years ago, at this very time of the year in the run up to
Christmas the South County Dublin council decided to
lead the way in dealing with the people who had failed to
pay the charge; they attempted to cut the water supply to
those houses. The Federation of Anti Water Charges
Campaigns sprung into action. Each area organised patrols
and there was no peace for those who attempted to cut
people's water off. For defending people's water supplies
we were called the "anti-water charge bandits" by the
Evening Herald and "political pygmies" by a South County
Dublin councillor but only twelve houses were
disconnected and even they were all re-connected within
hours.

The Government changed in early 1995 and we now had
Fine Geal, Labour and Democratic Left in power. But little
changed for those of us who opposed this charge. Now
instead of defending our water supply against cut off's we
had people being summoned to appear in court. In
November 1995 over 500 people joined forces outside
Rathfarnam courthouse to sing while the judge pushed
through orders for disconnection's. These we appealed.

Now after 3 years we are seeing the benefits of the hard
work put into this campaign by you the activists. The
above brief history is just a way of reminding ourselves
just how long and hard the politicians have tried to
impose this water charge and how we've resisted. The
councils have gone down every avenue open to them in
order to entice, intimidate or grab the money from people.
They have failed because they met with resistance at every
turn. We have stood together outside courts, outside
houses, outside council offices (as the councillors have
scurried like rats from a sinking ship) and in the face of
this mass resistance the politicians will to force this charge
on us has pathetically failed.

Over the next few weeks all the political parties will appear
like a rash all over the press claiming that they've ended
the water charge. These claims will be oblivious to the
facts that every council consisting of members of all
political parties have set these charges and this charge has
survived two governments consisting of Fine Gael, Fianna
Fail, Labour (twice) and Democratic left. All the politicians
have tried to impose these charges and the working class
people of Dublin have brought about their end.

We must remember that this will be our victory and the
politicians loss. We must remember this victory because it
will make us strong for the next struggle, because if they
tried to charge us for the water, what's next?

*********************************

Beat them Or Join them!

The water charges may almost be beaten but many of us
involved in fighting them do not want to stop with this.
We live in a world where poverty and unemployment are
widely accepted as 'facts of life' and our TV's are regularly
filled with horrific images of starvation, war and genocide.
Yet if the money spent on arms and armaments were
diverted into food and health care, starvation and hunger
could be eliminated tomorrow from the world.

Millions of ordinary people all over the world are fighting
back. The now inevitable victory of the tens of thousands
of people who have refused to pay water charges in Dublin
is one example of this. The strike by lorry drivers in France
for earlier pensions and better pay (something we all want)
is yet another. In South Eastern Mexico, landless labourers
have seized land in an armed rebellion. In Liverpool the
dockers are fighting casualisation. There are many, many
current examples of people saying "enough!".

Anarchism is the idea that the mass of people, the working
class, can change the world for the better replacing the
exploitation, inequality and injustice that are all around
today with a new world based on socialism and freedom.
Anarchism is the idea of a world where there are no classes
- the rich having been sent packing. Where society is run
and controlled through councils by those who produce the
wealth in society, the working class. Where there is
absolute freedom of ideas, of movement and of the
individual. Anarchism is a society built on the abolition of
all tyranny, in society and in the workplace. In the
everyday class struggle its aim is to build as much working
class unity as possible. It argues for workers to strengthen
their organisations and their capacity to take control from
the bosses. This starts with taking control of our unions
and community organisations at local level.

The inequality and authoritarianism of capitalism is
neither acceptable nor necessary. Workers and the poor are
constantly being asked to make sacrifices and to tighten
their belts for the 'good of the country'. The things we
most depend on like housing, health care and education
are the very things that are being 'cutback' by the
Government while all the time the huge wealth and profit
of private industry remains relatively untouched by taxes.
We are no strangers to this in Ireland.

Anarchists argue that this doesn't happen because we have
'bad' politicians but because it is the way that capitalism
works. In a society where a small rich class controls things,
it is inevitable that they will exploit and make the poor pay
for as much as possible.

Anarchism is a practical way to bring about a society of
socialism and freedom. The traditional 'way', in countries
like ours, is through the ballot box. It is here that we are
told that changes can be brought about if we want to make
them. Anarchists don't agree with this and oppose
involvement in the parliament for two reasons. Firstly,
real power in society doesn't reside there. It is mainly a
talking shop. Even if you did get a socialist party elected to
Government that stood for the abolition of capitalism
(instead of the normal situation where they stand for
simply an increase in dole payments or a cut of two pence
in the tax rate) they wouldn't be allowed to do it.

In Chile in 1973 when the elected Allende Government
proposed minor land reforms it was drowned in blood
after the Army moved in to "save Chile from socialism".
More recently the army in Haiti rejected the election of the
reformer President Aristide and imposed a reign of terror.
As long as parliament confines itself to minuscule or
meaningless change it will be allowed to function. But to
challenge the basis of capitalism - wage labour and private
property - is just not on.

But there is also another reason why socialism can't be
brought about by electing a socialist government.
Anarchists argue that socialism is about the working class
running society through workplace and community
councils - in other words democracy in all parts of human
activity. It is through this that a real equal distribution of
wealth can take place. But most socialist parties don't
believe in this idea at all. Rather they see socialism as
something else. For them it is the idea of their Party which
'represents' the workers interests taking control of the
State and 'making it work for the people'. Thus they put a
lot of energy into promoting individual personalities as
'good politicians' who will sort out your problems unlike
the 'bad politicians' currently in power.

Anarchists say that no one can actually 'represent' workers
interests but workers themselves. Anarchists argue that
only all those who suffer inequality and injustice can and
will at the end of the day see the fight to end it through to
the finish. Governments of socialists on the other hand
soon get bogged down "in the national interest" and other
compromises once in power. Far from changing anything,
things can often get worse for many workers. Anarchists
argue that the means used to build socialism and ends
achieved are connected. Thus a Party which achieves
power believing itself to represent the working class cannot
but end up creating a rigid hierarchical society all over
again.

Finally then, anarchism is the idea of a free socialist society
and how it can be achieved by the direct action and
strength of the working class. Anarchists stand
uncompromisingly for a new world. It will be organised
from the bottom up and production will be to meet
peoples' needs, not for the private profit of a few. Every
individual will enjoy complete control of her/his life with
no limition their freedom as long as they do not encroach
on the freedom of anyone else. That is what the Workers
Solidarity Movement is fighting for. We want you to join
with us in this fight.

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