Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/316/11608
Anti-bin tax protesters Jailed for defending the poor
SOCIALIST PARTY TD (MP) Joe Higgins and councillor Clare Daly have been sent to Mountjoy Prison, Dublin for one month. Their 'crime' is defending the poor in the fight against the bin tax.
The Irish government has imposed extra charges for collecting domestic rubbish. If you don't buy a special tag from the local council your rubbish won't be collected.
As part of the campaign to bin the tax, protesters took the step of blockading refuse trucks. This was because the council had refused to collect the rubbish of all those residents who had joined the campaign of mass non-payment of the bin tax.
The slogan of the campaign has been "Collect all bins or none".
Fingal council obtained an injunction against anti-bin tax campaigners to try and break their three year old campaign against double taxation.
Joe and Clare were jailed for refusing to say that they wouldn't continue to protest against this unjust tax.
As we go to press 15 more anti-bin tax protesters have been arrested. But campaigners refuse to be intimidated and the protests continue.
Letters of protest to:
William Soffe, County Manager, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street, Swords, Co. Dublin.
Tel: +1 890 5000. Fax: +1 890 5809.
Taoiseach (Prime Minister):
An Taoiseach, Mr Bertie Ahern TD, Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2. Tel: + 1 619 4020.
Fax: + 1 676 4048.
Mr. Martin Cullen TD, Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1.
Tel: + 1 888 2000.
Fax: + 1 671 2378 email: email@example.com
Mr. Michael McDowell TD, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, 72-76 St.
Stephen's Green, Dublin Tel: + 1 602 8202. Fax:+16767797.
Letters of support to:
Joe Higgins TD/ Clare Daly, Mountjoy Prison, North Circular Road, Dublin 7.
Mass protests continue
FIVE THOUSAND marched in Dublin on 22 September to 'bin the tax' and demand the release of Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins and councillor Clare Daly
Organised at a moments notice the demo was a tremendous success. The majority of people on the lively and noisy march to Mountjoy Prison were extremely angry at the contempt with which the courts and the political establishment had treated them and their political representatives.
This shows the huge support that the campaign against the bin tax has in the local working class communities. At the gates of the prison the marchers were welcomed by another 500 protesters.
At the rally trade unionists Mick O'Reilly of the ATGWU, Denis Keane of the CPSU and Brendan Macken of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions joined Socialist Party speakers.
Councillor Ruth Coppinger - who is one of the organisers of the Fingal Anti-Bin Tax Campaign (FABTC) - said the jailings would not "behead" the campaign.
Rosie Kane, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Scottish Socialist Party, addressed the rally.
Dave Nellist, Socialist Party (England/Wales) councillor in Coventry pointed to the parallels with the Anti-Poll Tax struggle in Britain and mentioned the international campaign that is being organised by the different sections of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) around the world.
Protests and pickets have been organised outside Irish Embassies in Brussels (Belgium), Berlin (Germany), Lagos (Nigeria), Vienna (Austria), Stockholm (Sweden) Athens (Greece) and London.
The Socialist Party (Ireland) and the Socialist Party (England and Wales) are both affiliated to the CWI. This socialist international organisation is organised in 36 countries and works to unite the working class and oppressed peoples against global capitalism and to fight for a socialist world.
Trade union solidarity
THE FOLLOWING statement was issued by trade union leaders in Northern Ireland, including Socialist Party member Carmel Gates, president of NIPSA (civil service union).
The defeat of the bin charges in the South would also be a victory for working people in Northern Ireland. Campaigns are presently being built across the North to organise non-payment of the planned water charges which are also designed to financially cripple working class people even further.
We are calling for workers throughout the North to protest and show solidarity with Joe and Clare and with the working-class people of Dublin fighting the bin tax.
16 Socialist Party national executive members from seven trade unions in England and Wales have also expressed their solidarity with Joe and Clare and the working-class people of Dublin fighting the bin tax.
We will not be intimidated
Below we print extracts from a Socialist Party (Ireland) leaflet.
The jailing of Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins and Councillor Clare Daly represents an attempt by the capitalist establishment to intimidate and smash the anti-bin tax movement.
It is an attempt to damage the Socialist Party which has played a leading role in this movement.
It must not succeed! It will not succeed!
Our movement is a movement against unjust double taxation. We've already paid with our PAYE tax.
We refuse to pay twice.
The government wants to defeat the anti-bin tax campaign, reintroduce water charges, introduce widescale privatisation and a local tax of up to 1,000 euros.
This campaign must and will not be intimidated by the law. The law is biased totally in favour of the rich.
Joe and Clare are in Mountjoy at a time when the Ansbacher millionaires (tax dodgers) have never seen the inside of a prison cell.
Working class and young people would have no rights today if ordinary people had not been prepared to defy unjust laws. That's how we won the right to vote.
That's how we won the right to join a union. That's part of how we'll beat the bin tax.
They say we are "undermining democracy". On the contrary we are defending democratic rights: Fingal's councillors were never elected on a platform of bin taxes and jailings.
Joe and Clare made it clear from the start that they would fight the charges down the line.
What is needed now is a mass movement in the unions, communities and colleges prepared to demand the release of the Bin Tax Two, defy unjust laws and defeat the bin tax.
In the communities this means continued non-payment, more blockades of bin trucks, and spreading the campaign across the city. For every person arrested five must take their place.
In the unions this means industrial action to demand the release of Joe and Clare, collection of all bins and the abolition of the bin tax.
A refuse workers' union TEEU, will be discussing strike action with 200 shop stewards on Wednesday. Joe and Clare are both members of SIPTU - SIPTU should urgently do the same as should other unions.
Rank and file workers and activists should organise this action from below if the union officials are not prepared to do so.
Socialist Party under attack
The jailings of Joe Higgins and Clare Daly represent a serious attack on the Socialist Party.
Why is the capitalist establishment so intent on attacking the Socialist Party?
The establishment are quite content to deal with supposed "working class leaders" who play by the rules. Labour Party leaders who can be bought off with a Mercedes, trade union leaders who see the bosses as their "social partners" - these people are welcome to join the club and in the process attack the working class people they should be representing.
But working class leaders who stand by their people to the very end, who follow up their words with deeds, and refused to be intimidated by the millionaires' laws and newspapers are a different story altogether.
We need a new party made up of working class people fighting for working class people. The leaders of such a party need to be made of people like Joe Higgins and Clare Daly, living on a workers' wage .
Such a party needs to have a vision of a socialist society where big business is publicly owned and democratically controlled and which is free of inequality and corruption.
The Socialist Party is such a party. Join us today.
In The Socialist 27 September 2003: