Water: a sustainable resource, based on our needs
In the crazy world of the Irish economy the country's wealth, in the form of pension funds, has been wasted in installing water meters while enormous quantities of water run into the ground. The purpose of the meters, and of the new water company, are to prepare for privatisation. Resources will move from public to private hands at enormous cost to Irish workers.
Anyone who questions this process is told that this is completely logical and that there is no alternative. The government parties are at daggers drawn, but mainly about the size of a small cushion against the charge for the very poorest. All the establishment parties, and the vast majority of the opposition, support the privatisation process.
Everything is smothered in a tissue of lies. We are told that the combination of individual charging and metering is to promote water conservation, yet the charges are to be implemented with only 1/3 of the meters being installed.
We are then told that the charges are needed to promote investment in the water service, yet that need arises because of neglect of the service throughout the history of the state. The very people who are responsible for the neglect, who are up to their necks in allegations of corruption, are to manage the sale. The way to prepare the sale is not to repair the infrastructure but to spend public money on water meters.
Behind the lies is a simple truth. Privatisation of public services is a requirement of the Troika and underpinned by the constraints of the Financial Stability Pact, proposed by Europe, promoted by our own local capitalists and accepted as an element of partnership by trade union leaders.
There are a number of key facts that arise immediately from this reality. Privatisation will not guarantee the future management of water, nor is it meant to. In Britain some companies are at risk because their assets have been leveraged in a process of financial speculation.
Also we see the limits of a non-payment strategy on its own. Refusing to pay is a dramatic statement of resistance but it can only be one weapon of an arsenal in a struggle with the combined forces of local capitalism and the European Union.
An effective opposition will be built around an alternative. An army of unemployed given work to build a proper infrastructure combined with water management plans that recycle water in the environment and protects wetlands and natural resources. The money is available as soon as we stop beggaring ourselves paying the banking debt.
We should not fool ourselves in thinking that there is an alternative capitalist government that will repudiate the debt and defend natural resources. These tasks can only be accomplished by the workers republic and that's why the independent organization of the workers is so important.