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A bird's eye view of the vineyard

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Human Rights in Ireland
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Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

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There is Another Way: Anarchists find huge hoard of wealth

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | feature author Thursday November 19, 2009 14:19author by Workers Solidarity - WSMauthor email wsm_ireland at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

featured image
1% of the population owns 34% of the wealth
It's time for THEM to share the pain.

The rich remain rich and the rest of us are supposed to keep them that way. That’s why we get pay cuts, health cuts, education cuts, job cuts. It’s not as if dipping into the pockets of PAYE workers is the only way to foot bills. A mere 5% of the Irish population own 40% of the wealth. And a tiny 1% own most of it (34%). What pinko fantasist came up with these figures, asks the cynic. Well, it was that well-known radical outfit, the Bank of Ireland (in its Wealth of the Nation report).

This small number of super-wealthy people own assets (that the Revenue Commissioners know of) worth €100 billion. 1,500 of them, the ones that didn’t take tax-exile status, declared incomes over €2.3 million last year.

And then there’s the gas and oil fields off the west coast valued at €420 billion and rising. Any chance of looking again at the incredibly generous terms given to the oil companies by crooked Minister Ray Burke back in 1987? Seemingly not.

When Brian Lenihan said there is no pot of gold to be had from the wealthy, he was telling a quite deliberate lie. The only thing that is lacking is the political will to make the rich pay for their own crisis. And no surprise there, the supporters of capitalism are going by the rules of capitalism – the working class supply the wealth, and the ruling class supply endless reasons why this arrangement is the only possible one.

Marching will not be enough to stop the government and IBEC. It was a good start by showing that the stomach for a fight to preserve working people’s living standards is there. To truly show that we mean business and to build a campaign to force the wealthy to pay for the crisis, we need to begin by winning the argument in our workplaces for a national strike that will shut down every job – public sector and private sector alike.

Our strength lies in the fact that we do the work. Without us there are no busses or trains, no deliveries to shops, no teaching in schools, no production, no services, nothing. We have a great power in our hands if we stand together. The time has gone beyond protest, now we need to use our muscle in defence of ourselves, our families, the retired and people on social welfare.


This article is from the forthcoming issue of Workers Solidarity, this is its first online publication

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author by Rudiger - RSCpublication date Wed Nov 18, 2009 17:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Independent ran with a story on Monday that Irish based company had made a gas discovery in Algeria, which is more than twice the size of Corrib. The Indo said that it was the 10th largest gas find in the world this year.

What the Indo didn't say was that Algeria will take 71% of the profits from that gas find.
That's according to this US Government Report (

Ireland on the other hand is running at a 25% tax for Corrib, and thats after all costs including IRMS security bills, the bribes to the Belmullet GAA and Shell's recent €3000 fine, will be written off against tax. In that report only Cameroon has a more favourable deal for the oil companies.

The article in the examiner below states how Shell have paid no tax at all between 2004 and end of 2007 (and they won't have paid any in the mean time either). In that period they got tax credits of €28m.

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author by Apublication date Mon Nov 23, 2009 15:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"To truly show that we mean business and to build a campaign to force the wealthy to pay for the crisis, we need to begin by winning the argument in our workplaces for a national strike that will shut down every job – public sector and private sector alike"

How would you go about organising this in a country where less than 23% of the private sector are unionised, and practically all the foreign owned MNC sector are increasing the relative pay of their workers? They are exporting as normal. Those who would support a general strike in private sector are those getting totally fucked over by small and medium sized enterprises and previously state owned enterprises with high trade union densities such as Aer Lingus.

But, there is almost no precedent in Ireland or anywhere else for SME workers to go on strike, given the nature of how their workplace is organised. And, most would rather blame the public sector for their woes rather than the banks that have freezed credit flows.

There is a possibility of organising the retail and service sector. I mean, the real struggle and exploitation taking place in the economy is in places like Boots, where employers are totally taking the piss. I mean, whatever about looking for a 5 per cent reduction in pay costs via changed working conditions, taking a flat 20 per cent off pay for those earning less than €25k (salary) merits a riot. The government for all its faults tends to be a relatively good employer when compared to the likes of Boots or Coca Cola.

Also, most workers are wedded to a strategy of concilliation and mediation to resolve work place disputes via the LRC or the Labour Court. These remained significantly high over the 'Celtic Tiger' period, and are exploding through the roof at the moment.

To achieve a general strike (and I agree on the need for one) requires a collective agreement that can only take place via a structured strategy that incorporates all workers. The conditions and circumstances to achieve this (i.e. mass manufacturing) do not exist in an extremely diversified employment structure. Capitalism and its operational arm of business organisation has changed. Thus, so has the implications for organising labour.

This is not an argument against organising for a general strike. But, we need a more nuanced and contemporary analysis of labour, employment and workplace organisation to build such a strategy. Otherwise, calls for a general strike will be noises in the wind.

author by O'Leary - Socialism, Capitalism or Realitypublication date Mon Nov 23, 2009 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sunday Indepedent article makes interesting reading, if you want to take a view from the opposite side.

Ryanair, Chief Executive Michael O'Leary reckons he could save 20 bn. this year. One of his ideas is that the public sector ought to have a 20% cut in numbers and remainder should return to 9 to 5 hours with 20 days holidays p.a. O'Leary has a point. There is considerable administration I would suggest in the management of public sector holidays, sick pay, conference off time, paternity and maternity leave. The differential exists versus those of us who work in the private sector, especially in times of recession.

Recent figures suggest our teachers work the shortest hours in Europe. Is this so and if so is it fair that they can hold parents to ransom in tomorrows strike and future strikes? Have parents not enough to contend with facing the Recession and worse again the Swine Flu which targets our young particularly.

Public Services ought to have a good argument for their reasoning on Strike Action. This is not the 1980's.

Social Welfare tomorrow will reflect what strike means in that payment to recipients bank accounts will be one day late. Think about what this really means! You may say Capitalism but does that excuse put food on the table for the family or pay those bills that are already waiting to be paid.

author by Andrewpublication date Mon Nov 23, 2009 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One of the fascinating aspects of the capitalist class propaganda is there sudden concern about inequality in pensions, pay etc. Maybe rather than falling for their argument to level down the publis sector workers we should take their argument to it's logical conclusion of equal pay and conditions for all?

author by Irish Wolf - Unified Union Stancepublication date Tue Nov 24, 2009 16:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The above posting has some truth but together is the way forward.

Sadly, the Government will divide the private and public sector. Oh yes, they will.


Trade Unions are divided. It is fact.

Internal fighting - ego's prevail and some, the select few, are on salaries of over euros 150,000 plus.......

Who are the elitte?

Please explain.

I would love to hear your view.

O'Leary - Ryanair said last week - Unions are a waste of space!

Irish Wolf

author by abpublication date Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting article. I agree that the wealth distribution in Ireland is appalling and that the normal citizen is expected to 'bear the brunt'.
Question is 'exactly what steps should the public be following to change things?'. The Green TDs' only seem to be interested in staying in power to enact some small green policy that is wholly insignificant when compared to the damage being inflicted by NAMA. The Greens seem to think that John Gormley attending the conference in Copenhagen is going to make some sort of difference to the outcome.

So if the Greens aren't going to do the right thing and bow out of power, how is 'joe public' expected to change the government?

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