Economy

Fighting The Water Charge – Non-payment the only way to win after huge Oct 11th mobilisation

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Saturday last, 11th October, saw tens of thousands take to the streets of Dublin in a powerful, colourful and vibrant display of opposition to the Irish government’s attempts to impose water charges.

The numbers who turned out were so large and took everybody by surprise to such an extent that nobody – media, gardai or organisers – could give an accurate estimate of actual numbers.  Estimates varied from 30,000 to 100,000, but whatever the exact figure was it was clear that this was the start of something huge.  

It was an energising and invigorating protest to be part of.  From well before the start time, people were arriving in their droves at Parnell Square.  To see groups of people arriving in by bus from all over the city and from around the country was inspiring and should have a huge impact on the political confidence of all those who took part.

Budget 2015 - a scattering of crumbs

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According to RTE these are the changes in the Budget. After years of making us pay for the crisis it appears that a few carefully selected crumbs are being thrown under the table to quiet us down. Predictions are that most people won't see a significant change in take-home pay. Most of the positives on social welfare and services represent the government returning a fraction of what was taken and the 'Make the Youth Emigrate' dole rates remain in place.

Scottish Referendum: A tale of two cities

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Yes campaigners with massive police backdrop - CC Gerard FerryFor one brief glorious fleeting moment two weekends ago, it looked like David Cameron had unwittingly brought the union between England and Scotland to the brink of collapse. Today the rain falls on the dashed hopes of 45% of Scotland’s voters.

Trickle Up Effect Makes One in Fifty Filthy Rich

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The Irish Independent and Irish Times on Thursday, reported on a new study showing that more than one in fifty people living in Dublin are millionaires (in US dollars, and not counting the value of primary residence). Both articles quote an analyst for WealthInsight as saying, "For Dublin itself, an abundance of millionaires could help the city claw back its financial prowess from 2008's collapse."

Presumably the much lauded trickle-down effect is supposed to come into play and make life better for all of us. But with the "Consistent poverty rate" in Ireland standing at 7.7% in the CSO's most recent Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), or one in every thirteen people, we can see how many people are trying to live off the same trickle. The "At risk of poverty rate" is much higher, roughly one in six, which means potentially many more could be trying to sip from that trickle. With "favourable tax" given as a criterion for attracting millionaires, Dublin's high density of millionaires (13th highest in the world, 9th highest in Europe) is clearly no accident.

The Cost of a Crisis – Who pays?

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We’ve recently been informed about the fact that Dublin has 30,000 millionaires living in it, but what do the figures tell us about how the rest of us have coped with this crisis? The National Economic and Social Council actually produced a report on this very subject entitled ‘The Social Dimensions of the Crisis: The Evidence and Its implications.’

The government is continuously telling us that we’ve turned a corner. Recently we were subjected to the new leader of the Labour party desperately trying to spin the line that her party is one that cares; essentially launching the re-election campaign alongside Enda when they did a re-boot of this coalition.

On Ireland being No1 for business. Tech workers, society, night clubs & cycle lanes

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Mainstream media were very excited earlier this week with Forbe's proclaiming the republics "extremely pro-business environment" with of course no critical commentary over what that reality means for the mass of the population who rely on paid labour or social welfare to get by. What lies behind phrases like " low tax burden, investor protection"? Why has there been more investment by US companies since 2008 ( $129.5 billion ) then in the previous 58 years? Should we really be cheering being No1 for attracting corporations?

Belfast Telegraph poll shows Northern Ireland needs a change in politics

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The recent Belfast Telegraph poll may have revealed cracks in the zero sum sectarian politics that dominates the political landscape in Northern Ireland but if there is anything that cannot be white washed away is the relevance of class.  While we see a reoccurring positive pattern of more liberal attitudes towards issues such as gay marriage and abortion rights as well as growing younger population tuned off by orange/green style of politics, religion still remains the main factor in voting for political parties, while the constitutional question is settled for a generation. (1)

Report on Dublin Council of Trade Unions Pre-Budget Demonstration

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A crowd of over 500 people took part in Saturday’s  pre-budget march called by the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. The DCTU’s core message was to demand progressive taxation and public investment as an alternative to further cuts in public spending. 

As always, the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope contributed greatly to the atmosphere of the rally with impressive visual and musical displays. A hearse and coffin led the protest, followed by nine giant posters bearing the much unloved faces of nine government ministers with the blood red inscription “Austerity Kills”. The Spectacle’s second message reverberated in song through the streets: “Arise, arise, arise!”

 

German elections to open new season of Eurocrisis show

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The Mighty Calm - by "deep shot" from FlickrLike the fading sun of the Summer, there is now little time left to enjoy the last days of Eurostasis we have been enveloped in of late. The relative calm that descended on the Eurocrisis, with the brief exception of the Cyrpus panic in March, is coming to an end with the German elections this coming Sunday.

Internment, parading and the politics of class

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The eruption of conflict and intense rioting in Belfast over the last couple of months is a clear illustration that, no matter what lengths Stormont and the media circus go to to disguise the ugly reality of the ‘peace process’, the scars of the past and frequent eruption of sectarian conflict refuse to go away as political parties play the sectarian card to get one over on their rivals. 

With over 300 police officers apparently injured so far this year, the honeymoon period following a 'successful' G8 conference has long passed - lifting the veil from a colonial sectarian settlement that has delivered a few crumbs to our class while the rich get richer. While at the same time our rulers in Stormont are busy stuffing themselves with £250,000 subsidised food expenses in 2012.

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