The following is the text of a leaflet given out at an anti-bin protest in Dublin on Tuesday 30th September 2003.
Bin Tax Jailings
Thundering disgrace! Those are the only words that can describe the jailing of Joe Higgins and Clare Daly, the tide of insult and threat against themselves and the working class communities they represent and the threats against other community representatives and against ordinary men and women simply attempting to protest a further mechanism for transferring money from the pockets of the poor in order to maintain the well filled pockets of the rich.
That Irish capital, mired in endless chapters of sleaze and greed without anyone being brought to a final accounting, its money tucked away in offshore banks safe from the tax authorities, has the gall to demand that Joe be kicked out of the Dail or to intone that the protesters are irresponsible and that everyone has a legal duty to pay almost beggars belief. The fact is that an unfair charge is to be brought in against almost total opposition and this requires full scale attack to browbeat the opposition. We should not forget that at an earlier stage the government had publicly threatened to abolish local government in Dublin when it appeared the corporation might obey the voters rather than the Fianna Fail coalition. They then rushed through legislation transferring charging powers from elected councillors to unelected managers. When we consider the record of a previous city manager George Redmond who never had this sort of power it shows breathtaking contempt for Dublinís working class.
Why? Why this violent attack by the rich on the poor? To understand all we have to do is look at the governmentís own programme. That declares that the coming years are to be dominated by wave after wave of privatisation. Public assets are to be transferred to private hands, jobs are to go and wages are to fall. The first step is that services that were formally free are to be charged for. Success for the government here will mean a looting spree aimed at bus and rail companies, Air Rianta and ESB, with all the implications for infrastructure and safety.
There is one other reason for this vicious attack. That is that the government believe that they are facing a weak movement that can be easily crushed, giving the privatisation programme a huge boost for the next phase.
The fact is that the anti bin charges campaign has been weak and apolitical. It has kept quiet about open betrayal by political groups and union bosses who should be defending working people, concentrating on direct actions such as non-payment or blockade. The result has been that the lessons of previous campaigns, such as the water charges campaign that saw Joe elected to the Dail, have been forgotten. Victory then came because on top of mass non - payment the unions were behind the campaign. For instance the plumbers union were against shutting off water supplies and would reconnect if others did. Workers now carry the burden of 16 years of betrayal and defeats. Ignoring those responsible is not an option.
Itís right that the campaign should remobilise. Itís right that we protest at the Dail at the shameless hypocritical abuse by a den of gangsters and thieves. What is absolutely critical is that we focus in on the trade unions. We should call for the removal of those, like David Beggs, who have openly sided with the bosses. We should call on those who have replied to Beggs and defended the traditional union role of protecting the working class, like Mick OíReilly, to go further and organise a campaign against union collaboration. Above all we want SIPTU and other unions directly involved to issue instructions to their members indicating that they will do their job of collecting bins and not be involved in punitive debt collection for an unjust charge.
Release Clare and Joe!
End the threats Ė lift the Bin tax