Anti-austerity campaign needed

Last Saturday, Nov 24, over 20,000 people turned up to a magnificent pre-budget anti-austerity demonstration in Dublin.

A bus load of almost 40 people travelled from Kerry. They were called out by a coalition of resistance initiated by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. Key elements included the official union movement, the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT) and the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope.

Travelling from Kerry were members of the county CAHWT which is made up of people from community groups, those concerned with improving the home help service and the health service in general, single parents, disability rights activists, students demanding increased funding for education and those concerned with septic tank charges and with the right to harvest turf from bogs. Also from Kerry were members of trade unions, including Siptu and Unite, and political parties, including People before Profit, SWP and the Socialist Party.

The CAHWC argues that all the cuts and charges introduced since 2008 have been forced on the Irish people by the EU, IMF and ECB (troika) with the willing support of government.

This is so that the super-rich like Eugene Sheehy (former CEO of AIB) and his counterpart Brian Goggin of Bank of Ireland can get off scot free while the rest of us who make up 99% of the population continue to pay for them.

We argue that a return to gambling on the stock market is no solution to the crisis the Irish, EU and US economies are in and will only depress the living standards of working class people even further. More than 1.8m households have less than €100 to live on per month after they have paid for their basic needs. What is needed is for the government to break off all negotiations with the troika, reverse all cuts and charges and increase tax on the super rich. For example, an increase of the effective tax rate of the wealthiest 5% of the population to 50% would raise €3bn. Instead of cuts and charges, we could be investing in education, health, housing, employment, etc.

What is needed to resist this neo-liberal onslaught is a general anti-austerity campaign spearheaded by CAHWT and rank and file trade union activists to force the union leadership to call a 24-hour general strike as has happened in Greece, Spain and elsewhere.

Kieran McNulty, Frank Kevins, Brian Finucane, Nicky O’Donnell, Catherine Dolan, Padraig O’Sullivan

Kerry CAHWT

Tralee

Co Kerry

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