Water Revolt

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Flava O Flav
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Nov 20 2014 17:01
Water Revolt

Stopped by to see what people were saying about the revolt over water charges in Ireland and was surprised to see there wasn't a thread. So I'll start one!

Well, after six years of austerity, the Irish working class has finally reached breaking point. Water charges were due to be introduced, meters were being installed. For months there's been a slow war of attrition in working class estates blocking the instalation of meters, scuffles with Gardaí (police), then more than 50% didn't send back their registration forms. About a month ago 100,000 demonstrated in Dublin, two weeks later, 150,000 attended very millitant rallies nationwide, now the government is trying to backtrack by offering incentives, but polls are showing that huge numbers - over 70% are against the charge and over 50% are planning to boycott. The Fine Gael (Conservative)/Labour coalition is on the brink of collapse. This is different to the fight against the household tax in that the fight back started spontaneously, there isn't one singular campaign and there are lots of different independent local groups all over the country.

The media and politicians went into overdrive trying to dub protesters "dissidents" (republican reference), troublemakers, fascists and thugs, which only served to inflame the situation.

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Nov 20 2014 19:27

Cheers Flav, can you and Chuck O' D keep us informed on this? This looks like the Poll Tax in Britain, is this a fair comparison?

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Nov 21 2014 14:50

Yep, been doing the politics thing for over 20 years and seen nothing like this here. The stuff lefty dreams are made of. In the last couple of days, the term "ISIS like" has been used to describe protesters by one government deputy. Helater retracted and said,maybe he should have said anarchist, which is great publicity because everyone was fallig over themselves laughing at the ISIS comment. Deffo think the poll tax is a good comparison. The Taoiseach (Prime Minister) was in Cork today and was met with militant protest. Massive security any time a government goes anywhere.

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Nov 26 2014 12:20

Latest update is three protesters could go to jail today. There were nine in court in total, the others got off on technicalities. They are up on contempt of court for breaching injunctions on how close they could be to water meter installation - the aim of the protests is to prevent installation.

There is also talk about brining charges against Socialist Party (CWI) TD (MP), Paul Murphy and others for their role in a protest a week and a half ago where the Tánaiste (Deputy PM) was surrounded by protesters as she went to attend a graduation ceremony, and held for two hours. They are talking about charges of false imprisonment. I kid you not. If people go to jail, the chances are that the protests will intensify.

UPDATE: The three protesters were just handed a 28 day custodial sentence suspended for six months on the basis they don't breach the court order again.

Streachailt
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Nov 26 2014 23:04
Flava O Flav wrote:
The stuff lefty dreams are made of.

True story. I never thought my own small estate would have what is, in effect, a popular committee, with a dedicated picket and support network on the go 10 hours a day, but lo and behold, we do. Inspiring stuff!

One of the most interesting things is that once people agreed that they were against the charges, no extra persuasion was needed for a blockade to happen, it was completely natural next step for everyone. A big contrast with most reactions that I saw in college if you suggested a hard picket to the general student population....

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Nov 27 2014 13:21

this sounds amazing! please do keep us informed if theres any solidarity work we can do from England.

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Dec 4 2014 11:41

Some comrades from my old neighbourhood in Dublin, Stoneybatter, have been out blocking water meter installation trucks over the last few days. They reported private security contractors filming them at the protest. They managed to run them out of the area. The area has a high concentration of anarchists and other leftys and on a number of occasions during the household tax campaign two years ago, we spotted plainclothes cops and special branch observing us, even doing innocuous stuff like door to door canvassing or having a pint after a meeting.

The town where I live now, Drogheda, (about 40 miles north of Dublin city), has had a good few anti-meter actions over the last couple of weeks. One man was stripped down to his underwear by cops as they arrested him during a sit down protest at the Rosevale housing estate. Residents successfully prevented Irish water from installing meters at the Moneymore council estate, despite a large number of cops, and in the Cherrywood estate, Irish water did manage to start work, and then proceded to burst a water main, flooding the estate and leaving houses without running water. It's not going well for them. There's a big national demo outside the Dáil, (Parliament) next Wednesday.

I believe there's some sort of solidarity demo happening in London at the weekend. I'll post details here when I get more info.

UPDATE: The solidarity demo is actually on Wednesday, coinciding with the Dublin one. Here's the FB event page.

https://m.facebook.com/events/850186801679906?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A3%...

no1
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Dec 4 2014 14:36

thanks for the updates

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Dec 10 2014 15:47

There were 100,000 plus out today for the Demo. The Dáil (parliament) was surrounded. The area in front of the main enterance was protected by hundreds of cops and army. There were minor scuffles. Still stuff going on. Seems to have broken off into different protests all over the city. City centre completely closed off to trafic.

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Dec 10 2014 16:06

During the bit of crowd scrum-pushing outside the Dáil, someone throw a water bottle and maybe a coin. Report that a Garda got something in his eye. Cue screeching media coverage of "violence flares" and demands on all and sundry to condemn it. Predictable. But fairly ineffective I would have thought. Says a sleepy ocelot, having been getting up at 5:30 am every morning for the last several days to blockade the 'batter against meter installers. The amount of car, bus, van, you-name-it, drivers honking support and giving the thumbs up or verbal encouragement - even as we were holding them up via our makeshift blockades, to filter our the meter contractors, is as good an indication as any of the level of support.

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Dec 10 2014 16:08

see what I mean re media luvvie hysteria?

Can't stand Fergal Keane. Utter twat

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Dec 10 2014 16:30

For our American cousins, a useful scaler from some folks from Detroit Water Brigade (brought over by one of the campaigns for the demo & speaking tour).

Or about 1.25 m relative to England's population.

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Dec 10 2014 17:23

I can think of maybe two other Demos of that size here before the water revolt, in my time - Iraq 2004 and Irish Ferries - 2005. But with all the local resistance on an ongoing basis and all the groups that have sprung up from nowhere, this is a whole new situation.

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Dec 11 2014 15:19

Speaking of whole new situations... After playing nicey, nicey for the last two weeks meter-blockading in the run-up to yesterday's demo, the cops , contractors and scumbag security rotated faces to "bad cop" this morning - 3 arrests and one of our activists assaulted by 3 security and threatened him and his family - "you don't know who you're messing with" - They got that the wrong way round, they don't know who they're messing with. This means war (and even less sleep *urgh*).

Battlescarred
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Dec 11 2014 16:37

on solidarity demo outside Irish Embassy testerday ( I know, not at all like the keyboard warrior/armchair activist we AF members are purported to be) Too manyTrots there for my liking, especially Socialist Party, but there you go...

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Dec 11 2014 16:44

Great stuff Battlescarred. Not the amount of Trots, but on being there. Probably claiming leadership of the movement too, were they?

Many there overall?

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Dec 11 2014 16:59

Shit, I wish i would have heard about that. How was the turnout overall?

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Dec 11 2014 17:03

Cheers for all the updates, guys! Good luck with it all!

Battlescarred
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Dec 11 2014 17:07

Only 15 top whack. No claims for leadership, SP were quite well behaved ( and I say that against
my nature)

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Dec 11 2014 17:24

Link to a longer piece by Mark on today's events in D7

plus a bit of vid of the security ratbags from our Rabble.ie coms

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Dec 11 2014 22:58

Yeah, thanks for the updates it is great to hear from you guys on the ground. Saw a piece on Al Jazeera about this a couple of days ago: they seemed to be saying that the government was about to be brought down (which seemed to be a bit over the top but still…)

If any of you guys wanted to write a quick account or article about this for our news section (or post any decent existing articles) it would be much appreciated.

Keep up the good work and please keep us updated!

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Dec 12 2014 09:40

On the possibility of the government falling, a lot of people were saying this could happen if Wednesday was big. I wasn't convinced. If it happened twenty years ago, the government would have gone down but things are different nor. For one thing, there is only instability ahead for our parliamentary system, there's no obvious coalition government, well none that the establishment will be happy with anyway. The Labour party are more or less finished, so their ministers will just want to hang on to the bitter end, collect their pensions and get cushy jobs in the private sector as a reward. Fine Gael, the main coalition partner are also fucked, just not as much. They'll retain a core catholic conservative vote but the only way they'll be back in government is if they go into coalition with the old enemy, Fianna Fáil, who in reality they have few differences with, but that's the illusion our state is built on and them going in together really would be a sign of the end times for this republic as we know it. Their tern runs until April 2016, I think they'll try and brazen it out, but there is a chance that if pressure increases they'll call it a day this April.

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Dec 12 2014 23:22

Hey Flava, I know you guys are probably busy, but I emailed the WSM the other week to see if Afed and others could help putting on some public meetings with the WSMs help in London/UK to raise awareness and develop solidarity over the issue.

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Dec 14 2014 01:03

Yep, got that. Sorry I was actually meant to reply to that. Slipped my mind. Will send a reply to that tomorrow.

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Dec 14 2014 14:49
JoeMaguire wrote:
Hey Flava, I know you guys are probably busy, but I emailed the WSM the other week to see if Afed and others could help putting on some public meetings with the WSMs help in London/UK to raise awareness and develop solidarity over the issue.

Just sent you a reply there Joe.

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Jan 30 2015 20:12

Any recent developments?

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Feb 2 2015 10:09

http://www.thejournal.ie/water-charges-protest-3-1913509-Jan2015/

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Feb 2 2015 19:05

Our reporting is Facebook first these days but nearly everything from the last month is as captions to the images in this album. Older stuff is on the WSM site

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Feb 4 2015 16:27

The umbrella group Right2Water has kind of abdicated from the street struggle as the union leaders and left politicos are busy scrambling to try and build some form of electoral platformout of it. They're also allegedly broke from organising the previous big set piece demos. Meter resistance is still going on, private security and cops are still trying to break it. It's a war of attrition at the moment.

There's quibbling over what the rates of registration are for the charge as Irish Water, according to some have underestimated (publicly) the number of households liable and also have registered households that sent blank forms or sloganised protest forms back. Either way, it's around half and half.

The media are still relentlessly slandering the movement and the government don't seem to know what their next move is. They'll probably introduce some new draconian law soon to try and force people to pay, which hopefully will backfire on them.

The bills are due in April, so the next challenge is to build a mass boycott while at the same time avoiding a trot takeover (the latter thankfully doesn't look the foregone conclusion it was with the household tax campaign three years ago).

Here's a local blog I set up this week.

https://droghedacommunityresistance.wordpress.com/

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Feb 9 2015 10:22

Four arrests this morning for the protest at Jobstown three months ago. One TD, two councillors (all three from Anti-Austerity Alliance/Socialist Party) and one other, identity unknown to me at the minute.

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Feb 9 2015 15:17

Fourth lifted is an éirigi activist, apparently. Probably just to blacken SP by association with the dizzies.

Be interesting to see what the SWP reaction is, given they're cuddling up to the Shinners and the non-non-payment Right2Water "respectable" union bureaucrat campaign (or pseudo-campaign, given its top-down, no-members, no-votes structure). My money would be on either a deafening silence or something very mealy-mouthed from RBB. I guess we'll see if the swizzos turn up at this evening's picket of the cop shop

http://eirigi.org/2015/02/09/3328/