On Weds June 25th 300 residents of Clondalkin marched through the area against the imposition of water charges. This protest was the latest manifestation of a growing resistance in the area to Irish Water, who are metering in Clondalkin.
There have been street meetings organised in the following estates in Clondalkin: Rowlagh, Ronanstown, Glenfield, St Marks, Woodavons, Meile an ri, Cherrywood, Kilcarberry, Old Church, Millcourt, Westbourne, Lealand, Riversdale, St Killains, Yellow meadows, Woodford. Amazing work!
As Irish Water flyer each area to notify the work is about to start- local activists and residents have been right behind them flyering for mass street meetings in the estate which bring people together to decide how to respond.
As local activist Georgina O Halloran comments:
“The mood is ‘resistance!’ – People were sitting at home thinking they were the only ones who wanted to fight. Then they come out to see their neighbours. They’re talking to each other and bulding resistance with each other. It’s a great atmosphere.”
At the street meetings votes are taken on the kinds of action residents are willing to take- so far mass peaceful civil disobedience has driven Irish Water out of serveral key estates.
A national strategy
But meter protests alone will not stop the Government in it’s tracks. They are a great starting point but experience shows it will take a massive display of people power to get the Government to reverse this charge.
It took 15,000 pensioners marching on the Dail to force the last Government to retreat. It’s only a sustained movement of that kind that will push them back.
Some areas are already metered and others will not be metered by the time the roll out date for bills arrive. It’s vital we bring every area – not just those that are resisting meters – into the building of national demonstrations that escalate to mass peaceful civil disobedience.
A series of mass protests will signal to layers of people beyond the militant minority – this campaign can win! It lifts their confidence. The aim of a protest is not just to pressure the Government but also to encourage masses of working class people to join the fight.
The Property Tax campaign, after the threat of revenue, wasn’t able to break out of mobilising the militant minority- those people with the confidence to fight no matter what – but we have to engage with much wider layers of society to build a real mass movement.
How do we get there?
We need to pull together a coalition like the massive ‘coordinations’ against water which mobilised people in Bolivia to beat the private companies who tried to take their water.
Such coordinations saw trade unions, political activists, community groups all unite with one single purpose – to use every connection and network they were embedded in to get everyone they could out onto the streets.
A mass movement should make decisions at assemblies of hundreds of people were we democratically decide what to do next.
So we need to keep up our meter protests and make them big as in Clondalkin, build public meetings in areas where the meters are already in – or haven’t arrived yet, and join all the little streams of resistance together into one massive flood that can wash away this charge and give Irish workers the confidence to fight on all the other issues pressing down on us.