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Do we protest?  Or ...  Do we  fight?

There are two layers to the protests against the budget and the endless austerity stretching beyond it. 
At one level there are working people. They are filled with anger and seeking desperately to survive and resist. On the other hand we have the various people claiming to represent the workers, They are filled with hot air and bluster, protesting the budget but not resisting it. 

Chief among those are the union leaders. David Begg has now announced that he opposes austerity as he enters further talks to increase it. Jack O’Connor calls for change “within the narrow parameters of the Troika programme.” Other trade union structures call on the government to make “careful choices” and spare social services. Sinn Fein produce a fantasy budget, designed to boost their vote, that will make the cuts and continue the bank bailout. But their budget will be fair and will produce a land filled with milk and honey. 

All of the submissions argue that we can take €3.5 billion out of the Irish economy to continue the bailout and still produce a growing economy that can meet the needs of the workers. None mention the mass privatisation of Irish public service already built into economic plans. Those who rightly call for increased wealth taxes pretend that enough revenue can be produced to balance the books. None mention the wealthiest of all - the constant tax subsidy that every worker pays to the transnationals or the giveaway of national resources to international capital. 

Above all these are all pleas to the government to change direction—for the capitalists to attack capitalism! 

ICTU are walking a tightrope. Even before the budget is produced they are being called in to reinterpret the Croke Park agreement to ensure wage cuts, job losses and reductions in service. They have been told that a new Croke Park will involve a further €1 billion cut in public sector pay. Their hope is a government statement taxing the pensions of some of the retired bankers that they will wave in the air as proof that they have won “fairness” in a system that will continue to grind us down. 

We should look elsewhere for change—not at the Dail but to the grassroots on the streets, in the communities and the workplaces. 

We should be calling for the Labour party to get out of government - they have betrayed their mandate. 

Get ICTU out of Croke Park—a conspiracy against the workers 

Repudiate the debt and expel the Troika—our future lies with workers solidarity across Europe 

The Savita Halappanava case shows a Dail that wilfully refused beforehand to protect women and in the aftermath of the death is still oppressing them. There is no chance that it will defend workers. The women’s movement took to the streets - that’s where we should build our campaign! 


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