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New On-line Pamphlet - "After the Bintifada"

category dublin | bin tax / household tax / water tax | opinion/analysis author Monday March 29, 2004 19:28author by JM - Socialist Democracyauthor email webmaster at socialistdemocracy dot org Report this post to the editors

A Marxist analysis of the Dublin anti-bin charge campaign.

‘After the Bintifada’

New e-booklet by Socialist Democracy

A Marxist analysis of the Dublin anti- bin charge campaign.

Kevin Keating and John McAnulty

For a short period the left were at the centre of some of the most dramatic events seen in Dublin in recent times. A Socialist TD, Joe Higgins, and a large mass of working class activists and representatives were dragged off to jail while simultaneously the representatives of capital walked in and out of tribunals documenting the grossest forms of corruption. Not only where none of these jailed – the whole idea that the capitalists would ever be held to account for the corruption seemed simply laughable.

The drama soon ended as more and more attacks were mounted. On the campaign, on the non-payers and on workers facing new forms of exploitation as privatisation began to bite within public services.

The tragedy of the campaign was that a substantial number of working class people were willing to fight but the campaign was not big enough to generate a spontaneous leadership. For a brief moment the existing left organisations were given the task of leadership. They failed this task quite miserably.

Not only has there been a failure to analyse and learn form the campaign, but as it shrinks sections of the left suffer under the delusion that it is advancing from strength to strength!

Kevin Keating and John McAnulty apply the methods of Marxism to the bin charge battle in the hope that a new layer of militants can honestly debate the campaign and prepare for the future battles that lie ahead - battles that will face all the pitfalls and traps that militants struggle with following the bin charge arrests.

'After the Bintifada' can be found at the following address-

Related Link: http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/OnlinePublications.htm#Bintifada
author by Indymedia Milk Monitorpublication date Mon Mar 29, 2004 21:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can you people not read or do you just not think that the rules apply to you?

There is a thread for links to online publications and website updates. You want to advertise your site on the newswire, you post on that thread.

You do NOT start your own new thread telling us that your website has been updated, a new pamphlet has been added to your site or that the latest addition of Green Socialist Hamster Fancier is now available.

Now we get to wait until an editor stumbles by and moves your advert.

author by Bin Ladenpublication date Mon Mar 29, 2004 22:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No problem at all with a good critique of the Bin Tax Campaign, even if I dont agree with the conclusions. But theres a real problem with those who constantly point out the faults of others on the left, real and imagined, yet play no significant part in the relevent struggle.

Did John or Kevin or any member of SD take part in any blockades? Did any of them go to court or prison for their anti bin tax actions? Did they organise any meetings on the issue? Did they participate actively in building the campaign in their local area?

An organisations critiques are useless unless they participate fully in a campaign. For all their faults and mistakes, the SP/WCA/WSM/ISN/independents and in certain areas the SWP and SF, played an active role in the campaign. Where were the SD?

author by spart watcherpublication date Mon Mar 29, 2004 22:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Christ you wouldnt know where to start with this shower.

A handful of loony tunes who did nothing for the bin tax campaign have now put together a lengthy "e-booklet" where they denounce everyone else. Lie follows slur follows lie. The only time these pointless individuals showed their faces during the whole campaign was to put out a leaflet when people were in jail arguing that blockades should stop and that we should all go and protest at liberty hall instead. That was their solution for the antiwar movement too. Thank fuck they have all but disappeared.

author by SP memberpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Because I'm so hopping mad having had a quick glance at this "pamphlet" I want to tear it to shreds but don't have the time to do a comprehensive reply. Also I have to remind myself that SD abstained totally from the struggle and are barely worthy of the attention they think they deserve.

SD doubtlessly use their relative smallness compared to other small forces on the left(probably 4 active members in Dublin and that's being generous) as an excuse for not being a factor in the situation but that's bollocks when you consider the role of the ISN in Finglas and WCA in Cabra and East Wall

Donnycarney is the only locality that gets a serious mention because that's where Kevin Keating and Ann Conway live and yet they come up with a half assed excuse blaming outsiders for their area not being organised.

These people were against blockades full stop and counterposed that the unions should get our complete attention. Organised and unorganised pressure WAS brought to bear on the unions but it obviously wasn't sufficient to get them beyond tokenistic support at best. There are more fundamental reasons for this than the subjective weakness of the far left in the unions which I just don't have the time to go into now.

What the comrades in SD fail to appreciate is that once blanket non collection in a local authority begins you are into a battle that will probably be won or lost in a matter of weeks. SD make the battle entirely dependent on circumnavigating the bureaucracy of the unions, effectively transforming them within those few weeks of the battle and not organising opposition on the streets which is mainly composed of unemployed and homemakers who are outside the union because non collection takes place when most people are at work.

That's not to say that two strategies are exclusive, in fact both are vital and can breath sucess in each other. Mass defient estate based protests going on accross Dublin coupled with organised pressure on the unions was the message hammered home at every meeting and protest and SD have done a diservice to the Anti Bin Tax Campaigns to imply otherwise.

They obviously didn't understand the purpose behind the blockades on the depots which were designed as both a warning shot to the judges and councils but also to demonstrate to the whole of Dublin that there were campaigns capable of responding for non collection. Protests at the depots were designed to assist the bin workers have a collective responce to the situation. However protests in the estates themselves are vitally important to involve the maximum amount of people.

The supposed quote from Joe Higgins when he came out of jail that the whole thing is just about double tax is nonsense. The various campaigns and Joe above all during his time in jail reserached and promoted alternatives regarding waste disposal. The broad issues of the role of the state, the commodifiaction of public services, the need to transform the unions were constantly addressed as well as the inequitable tax system.

I have to sign off now because I'm at work but I would encourage people to read two current articles on the Bin Tax struggle for a fairer appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses, one by Kevin McLoughln in the new issue of Socialist View magazine and the other by Colm Breathneach in the latest Red Banner.

author by comic book guypublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I deem this unrackable

author by Jimpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 13:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Since January of this year Cork City Council has been refusing to collect bins from householders who do not display a current sticker.

This has been a selective operation as it only seems to take place in estates where there has been long-standing opposition to the service charges such as Mayfield.

Local resident and service charge activist Ted Tynan of the Workers' Party this morning organised a clean-up in which uncollected bags were thrown into the back of the refuse truck. An inspector from Cork City Council has been walking ahead of the truck and he has pushed the bins not displaying a sticker back into the gardens with the lids opened.

Ted Tynan brings bins to the truck under watchful eyes of Corpo inspector
Ted Tynan brings bins to the truck under watchful eyes of Corpo inspector

Practicing for the Olympic Hammer Throw!
Practicing for the Olympic Hammer Throw!

author by Granny Lidpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 13:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If the inspector is leaving the lids open then that is really malacious. What if it was raining heavily? He must get some kind of bonus to display his ignorance.

author by Bemused again - Non-"socialist" world ie. 99%publication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 13:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Totally amused by the so called analysis of the protest. It's simple - it did not have popular support, none of the wishful thinking by the "socialist" groups seems to mention this. You misjudged it lads/ladies.

author by Curious about Bemused Againpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The high levels of non payment in Dublin? Why did the government find it necessary to change the law to permit non collection? Why didn't they need this law when the charge was being enforced in most places outside Dublin?

The mood on the issue is beyond question. The burning issue is how that mood is harnessed into active effective protest.

author by Curious about Curious about Bemused Againpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 15:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The burning issue is how that mood is harnessed into active effective protest."

Don't leave us hanging in the ether. Any suggestion on the harnessing?

author by Jimpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 15:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Further to question on open bin lids. Cork City Council last week issued bills to thousands of city homes warning that bins with their lids open would not be collected.

The inspector is going around opening the lids of bins not bearing a current sticker and ensuring that bin workers, many of whom support the campaign, do not empty these bins.

The said inspector is also pushing full bins back into people's gardens if they don't have a sticker.

author by Magspublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 18:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What is this "Bintifada"? I have heard no one who was actually involved in the campaign using this term. Maybe we were a bit too busy to be thinking up clever catch phrases.

author by Sillyspotterpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 19:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Bintifada" is a term used only by the very silly indeed (ie SWP and now Socialist Democracy).

author by ecpublication date Tue Mar 30, 2004 19:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Joke from Joe SWP via me into headline

author by sd supporterpublication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 16:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

would like to reply but. none of the above comments are serious. The most serious comment asks us why didn't take part in blockades we disagreed with. Does that really need to be answered. I would have thought it obvious.

All those who did take part, why don't they continue to use this great tactic that they are all so fond off? Where have all the blockades gone? And yet you wonder why we never took part in them. Probably the same reason no one is taking part in them ant more. They were useless.

author by Spartspotterpublication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 17:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It isn't even that you didn't take part in the blockades - you did nothing, nothing, nothing for the entire length of the campaign, year after year except turn up to a couple of public meetings and then publish one of the most offensively dishonest polemics I've ever seen.

If the campaign hadn't implemented its non-payment strategy, the bin tax would never have been a serious issue.

If the FIngal campaign hadn't implemented the blockades the whole thing would have been over in a day. In fact the blockades and the resulting crackdown from the state were the only effective way to put pressure on the unions.

As always Socialist Democracy were only interested in whining about people who actually fault and trying to turn a movement into a protest outside LIberty Hall. As pathetic now as you ever were.

author by USFIwatchpublication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 17:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SD is a pathetic organisation. The reason they did not support blockades is because they are to the right of the residents who don't pay the bin tax. There was a mood for blockades, prior to the state jailing Joe and Clare there were regularly 30-40 people at each blocked truck. In the evenings numbers usually swelled to 100+ as local meetings took place at the trucks.

Where were the SD? If they had different tactis why did they not come to the blockades and argue their case??? Where were you when the workign class people of Dublin were moving into struggle? Where were you wehnthe state came and cracked down on the residents??? Please answer? I don't think you have any right to critisise those involved in the campaign when you could not even be bothered to show up on the blockades. So SD and the Sparts shoudl just fuck off you are nothing but sectarian sects that are completely divorced from the working class.

As for the USFI (Socialist Democracy's international group), the USFI are on the right of the workers movement. In Brazil the USFI are in government and theri ministers are implementing 'pension reforms' and other attacks on the working class. SD are traitors.

author by Not joe craig - honest!publication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 17:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Look the SD are entitled to their opinion right or wrong. I think its childish to get hysterical about their analysis of the bin campaign. You should compose a response to their document outling your understanding of the current situation and evaluating the strategy of the campaign so far. We must have made some mistakes?

Anyway, the SD are a competent bunch when it comes to putting their position forward. For such a small organisation, I admire their ability to produce documentation even though I don't often agree with their analysis.

SPers - take a lead from Lenin and politically destroy the SD document paragraph by paragraph, and leave the hysterics to the trolls

author by Pat Patersonpublication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 18:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Socialist Democracy played no role whatsoever in the anti-bin tax blockades. They are a sect. They are just terrible, nothing but tired old hacks that had their day in the 60s.

USFI members in Ireland throw themselves wholeheartedly into broad liberal campaigns without criticising Ivana Bacik types. Ye should be ashamed.

USFI are even doing entryist work into Plaidd Cymru and Blair's New Labour. Bloody Hell!

Sparts, Socialist Democracy: when the going got tough you got going!

Related Link: http://www.patpaterson.com
author by Joepublication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't think the SPers shoudl even bother with this sect. Why should they? the SP could easily destroy their article but what SD write means nothing as they are not active in real struggle at all. Nobody but a few politicos will read their article. If this was written by ISN, WCA, SWP, SF, or any other group or individual that was actually active in anything then the SP should reply but not with these fools.

I am always fascinated by SD. The SD are part of the USFI which is one of the largest left groups in the world. As pointed out by someone else they are in government in Brazil, have influential positions in many large left wing parties and in France they have an MEP, but in Ireland they are a joke only 3-4 inactive ex lefts. I really wonder if the USFI in France, Italy, Brazil etc see the Irish members as a serious bunch or what?

author by Anonpublication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is slighty different to the one mentioned in Red Banner. Not edited.
I don't think the Socialist View one is online yet.

Related Link: http://www.redflag.org.uk/frontline/twelve/12ireland.html
author by anne conwaypublication date Wed Mar 31, 2004 23:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

[Ed: post edited for formatting by R Isible as suggested by comment below. I've done the best I could in guessing where paras might be]

I am quite amazed that people who claim to be leading the campaign against the bin charges are not prepard to discuss in an honest manner the collapse of the campaign. I feel working class peopLe who socialists claim to represent deserve better than the stream of abuse that we seen as their reply to the document analysing why the campaign failed. It really makes me feel that there was never any serious prospect of defeating the charges when this is the type of debate that follows when one organization publish a review of the campaign. How do socialists expect to move forward when they sink to that type of debate. it really makes one despair reading such abuse and jargon that they pass off as debate.

I was quite active in the area I live in and attended an inaugral meeting of the campaign at least 2 years ago and the assembled audience of well over 100 people were told to pay 6 pounds and basically go home and the platform speakers would deal with any difficulties that arose in relation to non collection. ( all the platform speakers were from outside the area) This gave the clear impression that the campauign was going to be fought through the courts. The proposal i made for a local committee then was considered unnecessary as we were informed the organizers of the cental campign were looking after things and we could ring a mobile number if necessary. I found that quite alarming at the time and spoke against it but the speakers at the top table, none of which were from the area, insisted they would look after things.

What sort of leadership is this when there is no expectation that local people will be involved in campaigning for thier own rights. The idea of paying a nominal fee gave people a false sense of security and left the impression that non payment would be fought through the courts.

Well, that's what happened in the main and we seen the result of that strategy A Defeat of the Campaign and a Loss O f Confidence by People in The Campaign. Not attempting to involve local people from the outset is undemocratic and substitutIonist.

later when we did get organized in the area the proposal that we focus our attention on the unions, particularly SIPTU, was spoken against by key campaign organizars in favour of motions and pressure from the branches. the reality is we can pass as many motions as we like and I favour doing so but we had an obligation to publicly challenge and organize a campaing against the treachery of the SIPTU bureaucracy . A start could be made by organizing a mass lobby/protest of the communities to Liberty hall.

I and activists from donnycarney leafleted several protests on this issue, it was not taken up as a proposal by the main leadership of the campaign,who in my view, never wanted to mount any serious attack on the complicity of the unions with the bin charges and privatisation. The usual response was organize the protest yourself, yet at the protest outside the Dail the activists who came from donnycarney clearly picked up the view that thecentral campaign did not favour the proposal of a major focus on the unions.

The announcement of the mass Community Lobby on Liberty hall was mumbled and innaccurate and that was after myself and two other people from Donnycarney gave the announcement to the platform on two occassions. I am probably wasting my time writing this as the same abuse will be forthcoming as I saw when I scanned other replies.

Finally, the blockades were , in my view, a diversion and no serious attempt was made to involve the refuse collection workers or the communities in a conference or any other forum other than action, action . action. People got tired of action faction stuff.

I attended the conference in the Central hotel and the contributions from the conference speakers were generally out of touch with what was happening on the ground or tthe speakers did not want to acknowledge what was happening on the ground. I spoke to a few individuals at the conference and they said it was impossible to get people from the communities to local meetings. Yet the speak from the top table was very upbeat and more about the local elections than the way forward for the campaign.

Why was there no conference held until the campign was almost over.?

I believe working people will act but not when they see a campaign that is totally ultra left and undemocratic. The so called leadership have to radically change their ways if they want to win people's trust and build a democratic campaign. Trust local people in future, believe they can set up their own committees and act in their own interests. Fight for your ideas and not for organizational control of every campaign Any thing other than this is acting like a sect. You can have lots of people in your group and still be a sect. Not being able to engage in a reasoned debate does not speak well for the future of the left.

author by Auld activistpublication date Thu Apr 01, 2004 00:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you had bothered to put in a few line breaks I might have bothered to read your arguments. As it is, I find it hard to look at, and am inclined to just move on to the next item.

If you had broken it up into different paragraphs it might have been possible to wade through it. It reminds me of one of those documents that Derry Kelleher used to put together back in the early seventies, a page of wall-to-wall words that only the most committed reader would try to understand.

author by Outraged of Tumbridge Wellspublication date Thu Apr 01, 2004 10:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You shouldn't have broken up Conway's rant into paragraphs for her R Isible. It only gives it an undeserved appearance of coherence.

Yet again this comes down to a sect that did nothing to build the anti-bin tax movement denouncing those who did actually try to build it. In so far as Conway and her friends had any alternative strategy it was to pack away the movement and spend our time outside Liberty Hall whining about how nasty the trade union bureaucrats are.

Earth to crazy sectarian:

If the blockades had not been carried out then the issue would have been dead in hours.

Not only that but the blockades, and the resulting media scrum, were a much more effective way of putting pressure on and exposing the role of the trade union bureaucrats than a lobby of Liberty Hall.

author by McInerneypublication date Thu Apr 01, 2004 10:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your work is so good I want you to come and build strawmen for me full-time.

author by gob smackedpublication date Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So the blockades were effective. Well where are they now? Will anybody in the campaign accept any criticism.

The proposal to go to Liberty Hall was complemntary. The campaign did not expose the bureaucrats it invited them on to the plaform!

As for auld activist, auld eejit is more like it if that is all you can muster.

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