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Release the protestors and lift the bins!
The following is the text of a leaflet distributed by Socialist Democracy supporters at a demonstration against the jailing of Joe Higgins and Clare Daly in Dublin on Monday 22nd September.
Defeat the bin charges
The imposition of the bin charges has been in preparation for a long time. Ever since the defeat of the water rates the government has been preparing the ground to bring in charges across a broad range of services with a view to privatising them. This agenda is no secret, and the jailing of Joe Higgins and Claire Daly underline that the bin charges are part of a very serious and determined offensive against working class rights and historic gains. The hypocrisy of the media and political establishment in portraying the jailings as a question of law is laughable given the current climate in Ireland where the rich unashamedly refuse to pay any taxes and the stench of corruption is pervasive throughout the political and economic establishment.
The thuggish methods used to bring in the bin charges ,the threat to abolish the city council if it did not vote the right way, the intimidating letters threatening to drag honest tax compliant workers through the courts like criminals and the rushing through of legislation which effectively took all decisions on local charges off the elected councillors giving all power to unelected city and county council managers underlines the serious and unrelenting character of this attack and the necessity to resist it. The claim that there is a democratic obligation to pay these charges is a lie. The opposite is the truth, the abolishment of the Dublin councils remaining democratic functions (they must vote as they are told or be sacked ) and the threats to criminalise and jail resistance to charges that patently do not have the consent of Dublins citizens is about as democratic as the methods of General Pinochet were.
The campaign needs to come up with a strategy which is equal to the serious nature of the attack. The obvious question is, what role have the unions played?. After all the issue would not exist if the unions acted. The attempt to impose water charges foundered on the support the unions gave to anti - charges campaign. For instance the Plumbers union had a policy of refusal to cut off water supplies and a commitment to reconnect if others done so.
The difference now is the trade union leadership have in fact colluded in every attack on workers in recent years. Mindful of the huge salaries and perks which they awarded themselves behind their members backs they have sought refuge in partnership with the government and bosses and colluded in an offensive that has seen their members lose ground even during the biggest boom in the states history. The obligations on the union leadership is clear, pledge their full support for the lifting of all bins. It is their silence that allowed for the confidence to issue threats against working people, the attack on local democracy and now the jailing of elected representatives. The campaign has to mobilise to demand the trade union leadership come out clearly to defend working people. They cannot be allowed to maintain social partnership at whatever the cost to the working class or hide behind the anti trade union Industrial Relations Act. If this attack succeeds the privatisation of the bus and rail services, Aer Rianta the ESB etc. will be rushed forward with predictable results --A serious defeat affecting all workers, a looting spree by well connected cronies and a deterioration in infrastructure and safety.
There has been indications that Dublin trades council and the NEETU are planning some supportive actions, this is hugely important but the key to winning is for SIPTU and to a lesser extent IMPACT instructing their members to lift all bins in line with their own policy of opposition to local charges.
Other activities of the campaign while important are secondary to forcing the union leadership to act. The favoured tactic of the campaign of blockades on bin trucks and depots is now unviable given the harsh sentences given to Joe Higgins and Claire Daly. The central activity of the campaign should be to name a date and mobilise all the communities for a mass lobby of liberty hall calling for action in defense of Dublins citizens.
Release Joe Higgins and Claire Daly
Lift all bins to defeat the bins charges and privatisation agenda