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Recent articles by Alan, Shane, Andrew
This author has not submitted any other articles.Recent Articles about Ireland / Britain Economy
Protests in Ireland as part of European action against crisis
ireland / britain | economy | news report Thursday September 30, 2010 21:40 by Alan, Shane, Andrew - WSM
Despite the escalating costs for the working class of the crisis in Ireland resistance has fallen off ever since the pro partnership leadership of the unions succeeded in getting the Croke park deal passed by the membership. The deal makes vague promises not to impose further pay cuts on the public sector in return for large scale restructuring but was conditional on the economic situation not declining further. Yesterday saw the unions return to the streets with a press call that the left, including the anarchist movement, tried to push into a demonstration. That morning in a rather unusual individual action a man parked a slogan covered cement lorry in the gates of the Dail (parliament building) blocking access. These articles from the WSM site report on these events and include the speech delivered by a WSM member at the protest.
Cement truck blocks Dail gates to protest Anglo
It was one of those moments when you're certain that tens of thousands of other people are going through the same emotions at the same time as you. One of the rarer ones of late when the emotion is sheer joy. I wasn't really paying attention to the crackling radio as I was coming around with my cup of tea this morning, chit-chatting to my housemate. But the words 'cement truck', 'Leinster House', 'Dail Eireann', 'Gates' eventually got our attention. Oh the delight of it!
Man takes concrete measures ahead of Anglo/Dail protest
What happened? According to news reports, at 7:30 this morning a 41 year old man drove a cement mixer truck onto which had been painted the words "Toxic Bank Anglo", along with the Anglo Irish Bank Logo,
By the time I got to the scene, at about 9.40, the truck had apparently just been removed. There was a slight buzz with Gards, quite a few onlookers and journalists hanging around and chatting.
One of the most bizarre, but least surprising, aspects of the coverage of this on RTE's 'Morning Ireland' was the outright refutation by a commentator of Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd's remark that this action was motivated by discontentment with the way the government has been running the economy and the country. "It's too early to speculate what the man's motivations were" said the commentator, or words to that effect. The political and media elite really need to smell the coffee in this country.
Today is the day that "our" "representatives" return to the business of mismanaging our country after their gargantuan summer recess at our expense. Today is the day that th Irish Congress of Trades Unions are leading a march from Anglo Irish to the Dail in protest at the savage cuts to communities and services to pay for their mess. But the ruling elite are already trying to pass off this entrepreneurial individual's act of active citizenship as something unconnected to the nation-wide anger felt at the economic and social calamity that they have visited on this country. No doubt they will try to paint this hero as a nutter. But he isn't the only one feeling this anger, and there will be more actions like these in the weeks and months to come. That is just a concrete fact.
WORDS: Shane O'Curry
* - the original headline on this piece read Cement truck rams Dail gates. In fact the driver just drove up the gates and parked there. For this parking offence he has spent the rest of the day in the cells
Video of truck at gate
TD's interviewed outside after the truck was removed - note the microphone
ICTU unions protest as TDs arrive back to Dáil (parliament)
Up to 1,500 workers (Irish Times estimate) marched from Anglo-Irish Bank to the Dáil at lunchtime today. For a lunchtime event with very little publicity it was a surprisingly good turnout. The ICTU leaders had only planned for a stunt to get themselves on the TV news, their original idea was that a couple of hundred union officials and activists would provide a backdrop for David Begg or Jack O'Connor delivering a soundbite.
Most union members heard nothing about it. There were no circulars to shop stewards, no posters, no notices in newspapers. There was no suggestion of stopping work, so the protest as effectively limited to those working nearby who could use their lunch break to attend. To get 1,500, maybe half of whom came from jobs in the immediate area, is indicative of some appetite for resistance to wage and service cuts.
In February of last year 120,000 of us marched against pay cuts only to be sent home again while ICTU leaders agreed those very same cuts, and then promoted the Croke Park agreement as “the only game in town”. Begg and friends have no argument with the government strategy of making workers and the poor pay for the crisis, all they want is for the process to be over a longer period so that – while the same cuts are made – they happen less rapidly. As David Begg made clear today, his problem is that the cuts are "too austere”.
If the potential strength of 600,000 trade unionists across the 26 counties is to be more than a bargaining chip exchanged for some very minor concessions we need to get rid of the current leadership and we also defeat the ideas that they represent. Ideas like 'social partnership' between exploited and exploiter, ideas like accepting the most working people can hope for is some slowing down of our worsening living standards.
When the ICTU leaders folded their banners and left, and most others headed back to work, about 400 of us remained to listen to speeches from the groups who had actually publicised the protest.
Speaking to the rally, Alan MacSimoin of the Workers Solidarity Movement said
“In the good times the wealthy didn't share the gain, in the bad times why should we “share the pain”? They have their private hospitals like the Mater Private and Blackrock Clinic, while we have ever longer waiting lists for operations. They have their private schools like Alexandra College and Blackrock College while our children have to make-do with underfunded education. And they keep demanding more from us, if they had their way we would tighten our belts so much that we would cut ourselves in half.
“When they say there in no alternative to a system run in the interests of the wealthy, of spivs and speculators; we say 'yes, there is'. What's wrong with common ownership of the means of producing wealth? What's wrong with common ownership of the services we rely on?
“What's wrong with using all this to meet the needs of all? Is there no better system than one which sees growing numbers of homeless sleeping the streets while a record amount of property is left idle because speculators can't turn a profit?
“What's wrong with ordinary people having a direct say in the decisions that effect them? When they ask what our alternative is, tell them – as did Connolly and Larkin – that our alternative is socialism.”
Other speakers were Joe Higgins MEP (Socialist Party), Malachy Steenson (Workers Party), Terry Kelleher (CPSU national executive), Cllr Richard Boyd Barrett (People Before Profit/SWP), Paul Hansard (SIPTU activist) and Anne Conway (TUI activist).
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