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Get Out And March on Friday; But Marching Is Not Enough, Organise for a general strike

category national | worker & community struggles and protests | feature author Monday November 02, 2009 11:34author by Gregor Kerr - Workers Solidarity Movement 1st May Branch - personal capacity Report this post to the editors

featured image
Get Up Stand Up

Marching Is Not Enough, Organise for a general strike

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ ‘Get Up Stand Up’ protest on Friday 6th November is of huge importance. The government have made it clear that they intend to make ordinary workers pay for the financial crisis. Friday can be the start of us finally standing up and saying that we are not going to accept this.

Huge efforts have been made by politicians and economic commentators in recent months to drive a wedge between private sector workers and public sector workers. Friday provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate that they have been unsuccessful and that workers will stand together and defend our common interests.

Make the wealthy pay
1% of the Irish population owns 34% of the wealth. This tiny number of people own assets (excluding residential property) worth €100billion. In fact, the asset base of this group rose from €25billion to €100billion in the period from 1995 to 2006. Yet Brian Lenihan claims that there is no ‘pot of gold’ to be got from the wealthy. But there clearly is! These are the people who made all the wealth in the Celtic Tiger years. They must now be made to pay for the crisis that their reckless financial gambling and speculation has caused.

In addition to this, there are 1,447 people in the Irish workforce whose annual income last year averaged €2.3million. These people could take a 95% pay cut and still have an income of €100,000 a year. That would be €1,920 per week – hardly poverty wages! But instead of looking at a radical strategy such as this – which would force the wealthy to adopt some of that ‘civic’ or ‘patriotic’ spirit that we hear so much about – the decision has been taken to take money from the pockets of workers on low to middle incomes and from the unemployed.

National Strike needed
It is time for us all to deliver a strong message to government that we are not going to accept this political direction. While it is important that Friday’s march is huge, in itself this will not make the government change course. The march must be followed up by a national strike which will unite all workers under the slogan ‘There is ANOTHER way – Make the wealthy pay’.

Already public sector unions are balloting for strike action and are planning a public sector wide strike for Tuesday 24th November. This is a welcome first step. But it must be built on, and workers in private sector jobs should be getting organised and planning strike action to coincide with this action.

We have been here before. In March of this year, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions announced a national strike in response to government attacks on workers’ living standards only to call it off at the last minute when the government invited them back into talks. We need now to build a momentum from the ground up which will not allow ICTU to pull the rug from under the action this time.

If the day’s strike on 24th November goes ahead, it will show clearly the strength that we have as workers. It will demonstrate to the government that we must be listened to and that we do have the strength to impose our political will on the direction in which we are being taken.

Let’s each of us continue the work in our workplaces and in our communities to build for Friday’s demonstrations and to build towards 24th November and beyond. By ensuring we take and build the initiative at grassroots level, we will make it more difficult for the leadership of Congress to divert our protest down the cul de sac of meaningless talks with government.

Workers Solidarity Movement members in our workplaces and in our communities are doing our bit to help to build these protests. We are willing to support and help anyone in any way we can in organising your own workplace and/or community. Don’t presume that someone else will do it, but take the initiative yourself. Get in touch with us through our website and we’ll do anything we can to support and help you in taking that initiative.

Let’s build the protest. Let’s show our strength. Marching is not enough. Build now for a national strike.

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author by samepublication date Fri Nov 06, 2009 15:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors






back to normal
back to normal

author by www.dublintrafficams.compublication date Fri Nov 06, 2009 15:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

as it crosses o'connell bridge :)


missed 2 frames
missed 2 frames


author by wwwpublication date Fri Nov 06, 2009 15:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors



author by Soundgrabpublication date Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was a segment on the Liveline radio show earlier in the week in which the author of this piece rang in about the supposed conflict between public and private sector workers and why the real divide was between workers and the wealthy.

audio Liveline discussion on cuts and workers v wealthy 13.39 Mb
author by Gregor Kerrpublication date Thu Nov 05, 2009 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The figures relating to 1% of the population owning 34% of the wealth come from the Bank of Ireland 'Wealth of The Nation' Report 2006
I took the figures relating to income figures from a Gene Kerrigan article in the Sunday Independent on 8th March '09
He took the figures from Colm Keena of The Irish Times who dug them out of Revenue reports
Keena also has shocking figures in that article on the effective tax rates paid by the wealthy
e.g."LAST YEAR some of the richest people in the State, people who earned in the region of €90,000 a week and more, paid income tax at a rate of 20 per cent, the same rate as people who were earning €500 a week......a Revenue study published in 2007 and which related to the 2003 tax year....examined the income tax affairs of the State’s 400 top earners and found that 80 had paid income tax at an effective rate of less than 15 per cent. Three paid no tax at all, 45 paid at a rate of less than 5 per cent, and 17 paid tax at rates between five and 10 per cent."
Let's Share the pain!
Another good article on effective v marginal tax rates can be found at

author by henry silke - sp (pc)publication date Wed Nov 04, 2009 19:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Those stats on the wealthy are very interesting and should be dissemated as much as possible. could you please publish the source for them? Thanks Henry

author by PRO - Workers Solidarity Movementpublication date Tue Nov 03, 2009 13:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Anarchist Organisation calls for support for November 6th demonstrations but warns that ‘Marching Is Not Enough’

Anarchist Organisation Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) has called on all workers to attend the national marches called by Irish Congress of Trade Unions on Friday, 6th November.

“WSM members will be marching on Friday with our work colleagues, neighbours and families,” said Gregor Kerr WSM PRO. “We call on all workers to ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ and join these marches to show the government that workers are fed up with being forced to take all the blame and all the pain for the financial crisis.”

“Workers did not cause this crisis,” Kerr continued. “The attempts being made by politicians and commentators to divide and conquer workers by pitting private sector workers against public sector workers must be resisted. All workers need to unite on Friday and show that there has to be another way to deal with the crisis – the wealthy must be made to face up to their responsibilities.”

“1% of the Irish population own 34% of the wealth,” Kerr pointed out. “This small number of super-wealthy people own assets worth €100billion. So while Brian Lenihan might claim there is no pot of gold to be had from the wealthy, there clearly is. What is lacking is the political will to make the rich pay.”

“We all have to take to the streets on Friday to show our strength”, he concluded, “but it’s also clear that marching will not be enough. To truly show that we mean business and to begin the process of building a campaign to force the wealthy to pay for the crisis, we need to begin to organise in our workplaces for a national strike that will shut down every workplace – public sector and private sector alike.”

Statement Ends
Note to Editor:- Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM) is an Irish anarchist organisation with branches in Dublin, Cork and Belfast and members in several other places around the country. WSM members are actively involved in many community and trade union campaigns, and have been involved at local and workplace level in building support for the 6th November demos.
For more information about the WSM visit our website

For confirmation and/or further comment, contact Gregor Kerr, WSM PRO on 0861501151

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