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Waste Charges Raised Again in Council

category dublin | bin tax / household tax / water tax | feature author Tuesday October 05, 2004 19:31author by Indy Council Correspondent Report this post to the editors

More waste charges mooted, increased taxi fares passed, Council to dissolve?

From the newswire (by Indy Council Correspondent):

A bin (c) Scots Independent The issue of waste charges came up in City Council last night but while opposition was as strong as ever, the lack of a coherent strategy to do away with the Charges is glaringly evident.

It is only the start of October and already the issue of Bin Charges and the approach to the Estimates in Dublin City Council has started to become an issue.

At last night’s Council meeting the councillors discussed a draft submission on behalf of the Council to the review of local government funding. The 20 page document contained a wealth of information on the current funding and expenditure of the Council and suggested a number of ways to raise funds in future.

These included a hotel bed tax of two Euros a night and the end to the exemption for state occupied buildings from rates. Both would require Leinster House approval but the latter could mean as much as 24 million Euros a year for the Council, substantially more than the waste charges raise. One of the other options however attracted the anger of Sinn Fein and Independent councillors, namely the proposal to make domestic householders pay the full cost of the waste collection service, which would lead to a massive increase in charges.

Not as widely commented on was the proposal that the Department of Social and Family Affairs reimburse the Council for the cost of the waiver scheme. On the surface, this is hardly a bad thing, but if the Department was to do so it would be obliged to set a single state wide waiver system. With different levels of generosity in different local authorities, the scheme set by the Department might be, indeed would be, far less generous than that currently available from the City Council.

Of course separate to this draft submission, the issue of Bin Charges in the Estimates is only a few months away. Anti Bin Tax campaigners in Ballyfermot have started targeting local Labour councillors, believing their votes to be vulnerable. Labour, Sinn Fein and the three Independents have a combined total of 28 votes, enough to defeat the Estimates, but campaigners are concerned at whether the Labour vote in particular will hold.

Fine Gael, the Green and the PD Councillors continue to support the Charges but Fianna Fail might do anything from vote against, to vote for, to abstain, in order to make things as difficult as possible for the Labour-FG alliance on City Council.

But while the Anti-Bin Tax campaign calls for these votes, there is little sign of a strategy from them, or the parties.

The opposition to the Bin Tax consisted of two, not necessarily complimentary strategies. Sinn Fein and Labour focussed on Council votes, and on a number of occasions came close to collapsing the Council only to see it saved by Labour councillors and the casting vote of a Labour Mayor. The Campaign on the outside focussed on non-payment as the way to break the campaign.

Arguably the biggest mistake was the lack of a unified approach between the two strategies but either way the simple truth is that both have failed. While thousands continue not to pay, their numbers are in steep decline. Campaigners who claim the Bin Charges can still be defeated through non-payment are guilty of propagating a dishonest fantasy.

At the same time the Council based approach of Labour and SF has also failed, with the decision of the Government to rig democracy by taking the power to set the charges out of the hands of councillors as a response to the campaign against them both within and without.

So what happens in December? Well if Labour, SF and the Independents hold firm and collapse the Council, unlikely but possible, then the Council is dissolved and a Commissioner appointed.

And here’s the rub. What happens then? How does collapsing the Council advance an end to Bin Charges? Arguably, the appointment of a Commissioner with the power to set whatever Estimates he or she would like would open the door to the kind of Charges regime mentioned in the draft submission on local government funding where the householder pays the full cost of the service. It would certainly mean an end to the work of councillors on other issues representing their constituents.

Of course if the dissolution of the Council would lead to an end to the Charges, then it might well be worth doing, but neither the Anti-Bin Tax campaign nor the parties opposed to it seem to have a strategy for doing so. Yes, collapsing the Council would send a powerful message of the anger of local people, but would it leave householders better or worse off? What is the strategy if the Council does dissolve?

The likelihood of this happening however is low. While FF will make things as difficult as possible they’re likely to back the Estimates in the end and Labour are hardly likely to allow the message to be sent out that they and FG can’t run a Council, let along a government.

But the deeper question remains unanswered. Is the campaign against the Bin Tax defeated? And if so, why are certain individuals keeping it going? If it is not defeated, what, if anything, is the strategy for victory? At present the aim seems to be to dissolve the Council but there is little focus on what happens after that. And that might be a mistake that a lot of Dubliners will have to pay for.

In a postscript, City Councillors voted to support a 7% increase in taxi fares from January 2005. The motion was supported by Labour, FF, SF and Independent councillors and opposed by FG and the PD councillor. This is the first approved fare increase for two years.

All Bin Tax stories on Indymedia

Most recent bin tax story on Indymedia: Cork non-payment and statistics


Bin Tax Stories from Other Sources:

author by jamespublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 13:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Collapsing the council would demonstrate what a sham local democracy really is. This is why the councillors of whatever hue will not let it happen. The last council to do this in the 80s, Naas I think, crawled back as nine apponited commissioners and duly implemented whatever they were told. The fact is most people are against the charges, but then most people were against the war. There is no democracy under capitalism. The Anarchists are right its a waste of time, and worse a fostering of useless illusions to participate in this charade.

author by Mikepublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 14:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

".........., the Green ......... continue to support the Charges"

Is that THE charges (as currently constituted) or SOME form of charge for waste?

I can easlly understand a Green position that there should be charges such as the "per throw" like we have some places here. But would be disappointed if they were supporting a "flat fee" charge system as this fight seems to be about. After all, the Greens are SUPPOSED to have environmental concerns and not just social justice ones.

I understand that to some of you there is no difference between flat fee charges (dump as much as you want) and "per throw" charges intended to make the people who actually have the decision power think about waste. But then that's why you are straight left folks instead of Greens, you don't think that the environmental problems are real.

author by seedotpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 14:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Currently Dublin city council have a flat fee. This is supported by the Green party.

In January there is the supposed introduction of a pay per weight scheme. However, this scheme as planned will include a flat fee component and will have a 'lifting charge' rather than any weight or bag based element.

This means that by reducing waste in the grey bins (the non-recyclable component) householders will only be rewarded if they do not put the bin out for weekly collection i.e. leave meat and other products in their grey bin. It has been estimated that efficient recycling could reduce the numbers of 'lifts' by up to 75% for a household which means they will have materials sitting uncollected for up to a month. Due to the flat fee component this will still not see a related reduction in costs - it is likely the cost will be pitched at approx. 250e for a household with 10 (i.e. monthly) lifts per year - an increase of 55e on the current bill.

This strategy is also supported by the Irish Green party.

In their belief in market mechanisms the irish green party are contributing to public health problems through waste that is not being collected and increases in ilegal dumping.

author by seedotpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 14:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good article Indy Council - and the lack of a strategy on this has been glaringly obvious for some time. Even during the blockades of biin trucks and most especially during the blockades of the depots it was hard to discern any real strategy or tactics at play - in many instances the political parties were following behind the householders and grassroots campaigns and causing more hassle than help. Activist meetings were completely irrelevant if not destructive of the energy of the campaign.

I think part of the reason this is still a live issue is that none of the parties involved have had the guts to say in public what they have been saying privately for some time. At a meeting two weeks ago in Crumlin there were 400 residents and 2 councillors & 1 TD present and many fine speeches, especially from a couple of SP members. But still no real strategy in sight. When you get 400 people out in Dub Sth Central (one of the lowest electoral turnouts in the country)on a wet Sept. evening its too early to declare a defeat and move on. I'm assuming Jan, when the new method of payment is introduced will see some form of last gasp.

Of course a strategy to deal with this in stages could have been devised - to beat non-collection first and foremost and then deal with the tax itself. The estimates work is worthwhile - but two years too late and still focussing on the bigger, harder problem - scrapping the tax. At this point, making sure all the bins continue to be collected in January would be a better battle.

Do you see a strategy - or is this just having a go at the parties?

author by TTpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 14:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I thought the last communication from the council said or implied that we would be paying for the weight of our rubbish? Perhaps I misread it, or more likely they worded it in a deceptive way.
There's no doubt about it, you have to always read between the lines!

author by Indy Council Corrpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think Seedot's point that parties and people are not saying publically what they are saying privately is one of the more insightful comments on this subject. SF, the SWP and the SP might internally believe the campaign is going nowhere (I know for a fact in relation to SF and the SWP) but none of them are going to be the first to admit it and open up space for the other parties to move in.

Besides, bringing 400 people to a meeting in Crumlin, or 300 to one in Ballyfermot I understand took place recently, raises the profile of the group or organisation involved. I believe Labour Mayor Michael Conaghan refused to attend the meeting in Ballyfermot, sending a letter telling the crowd that there was no longer a Ballyfermot Campaign against the Bin Charges, but a Brid Smith Campaign

Whatever about the truth or falsehood of that allegation, it's clear Conaghan has decided that if he can convince the people they're being manipulated by shadowy Trots the issue will die away. Big mistake in my opinion for what it's worth but it is legitimate to ask Brid what is her strategy for doing away with the Charges. I don't think she has one.

I am not really having a go at the parties as such, but simply pointing out that neither the parties in Council (SF, Labour and the Independents) and the campaigners outside (SP and Brid Smith & Co) seem to have a strategy in place for winning this fight. It's a real example of people being led up the side of a hill and then left there.

If there is a strategy, then I think people have the right to know about it. There were two strategies (Non-payment and Council votes) and whatever about the merits and demerits of both, and for whatever reason, they failed.

If the Estimates are passed, then what? If the Council collapses, then what?

Personally, if someone sat me down and explained to me how collapsing the Council would bring about an end to bin charges, I'd support it 100%. Even if it was a long shot.

But no-one has attempted to make such a case. If there is no strategy for beating the charges, whether through collapsing the Council or through another route not outlined, then the campaign will continue to fight a struggle it knows it can't win and without any idea of how to win it.

I'm not sure how good an idea that is, nor do I have a solution. I suppose last night I sat down and thought to myself exactly how this is going to work out and I can't see a way of beating the Charges.

author by Curiouspublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 16:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"While thousands continue not to pay, their numbers are in steep decline."

From what I heard not according to the last question answered on this subject in the council.
From what I heard, it is a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3.
1/3 paying
1/3 not paying
1/3 on a waiver.

The council is giving out waivers to beat the band and included in the 1/3 paying is people who have paid a little bit off but nowhere near the full arrears.

author by Interestedpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 16:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I understand that the DCC charging mechanism in 2005 will be a standing charge for the service, as with ESB or Eircom, and a charge per lift. Bins will not be weighed. Obviously the less times you present your bin for collection the less you pay. It does seem fairer than the present flat/fixed charge which bears no relation to amount of waste presented.

author by Chekovpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 16:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"There were two strategies (Non-payment and Council votes) and whatever about the merits and demerits of both, and for whatever reason, they failed."

As far as I know non-payment was the only strategy that the bin tax campaign ever had. It worked very well until it was met with the challenge of non-collection. The campaign adopted a strategy of blockades to try to face this down but was effectively defeated by the heavy hand of the state, abetted by the opportunism of some of the participants in the campaign.

I have still never heard anybody articulating a realistic strategy for defeating the bin tax through council votes. When the local election campaigns started, the campaign effectively ceased to exist beyond the election campaigns of some of the participants. Some of these people were undoubtedly genuine, although naive in my opinion. Others were shamelessly opportunistic and cynical and knew from the start that there was no chance of defeating the tax through the council and just saw the election campaigns as a way of 'harvesting' the fruits of the work that had been put into the campaign for their own political projects.

author by F. Scott Andersonpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 16:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The best chance there was of beating the charges came through non-payment - the strategy that beat the water charges and the poll tax. What's less well known is that non-payment has also failed before. There are no guarantees, just the best chance available.

What's more, it is only mass non-payment that makes the bin charges an issue. They were no more popular anywhere else in the country but they only matter politically where there was or is a non-payment campaign. Primarily that means Dublin but it also meant Cork and some other places.

The government and councils understand that. Their strategies, from the introduction of waivers to the false environmental arguments to the introduction of tag or pay by weight schemes have been all about undermining non-payment. Eventually they moved directly to crush non-payment in Fingal and South Dublin, two of the strongest areas for the campaigns.

It is notable that all out resistance to non-collection only really occurred in Fingal. In the wake of the defeat there, resistance was much more limited in South Dublin. Something which rather neatly gives an answer to people who opposed spreading the blockades across the whole of Dublin during the height of the Fingal battle. If Fingal was defeated then it would become a thousand times harder to mount the kind of fight that is needed to fend off non-collection elsewhere.

If the other two Councils had held their nerve and followed directly in South Dublin's footsteps we probably wouldn't be having this exchange. Non-payment would be dead and as a consequence the issue would be dead.

The other strategies mentioned only really exist to start with in the context of non-payment. They can still be useful as long as their limits are understood. There is very little chance that Dublin City Council will refuse to pass estimates to the point where the government steps in to abolish it. Labour's national policy is not to abolish the tax but to make it "fairer". When it comes to the crunch they will pass the estimates and if by some miracle their councillors all discovered a backbone overnight, Sinn Fein can be relied upon to buckle instead as they did in Sligo.

If the campaigns were to expect to win at the estimates meetings they will succeed only in demoralising themselves. They should not spread the illusion that the councillors will come to the rescue. The estimates meetings can still be useful however, and a campaign of pressuring the supposedly "anti-bin tax" councillors to hold their nerve can be a useful way of forcing the bin tax issue back on the agenda.

The questions remain, what was the strategy and what is the strategy now?

The first is easier to answer. The strategy was to strangle the tax with non-payment as had been done before with similar taxes. That was initially succesful with what were quite astonishingly low rates of full payment across the city.

Linked to that was an understanding that it was easier for the state to cut off bin collection than water supply and that the ground had to be prepared for large scale community based direct action to fend off the likely attempts to crush non-payment.

I think that broadly speaking this was a correct strategy. The question is, after the crushing of resistance in Fingal and South Dublin, what can be done in the other two areas?

author by Joepublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 17:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its probably worth pointing out that the 'crushing of resistance' went beyond Fingal and South Dublin. In the DCC area at least 9 people were also jailed for blocking trucks. For the most part these were people doing blockades in areas where collection was still underway but who wanted to show solidarity with those in Fingal. It's a pity this seems to have been forgotten already.

author by Propaganda watchpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 17:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"It is notable that all out resistance to non-collection only really occurred in Fingal. In the wake of the defeat there, resistance was much more limited in South Dublin."

Absolute bollocks. Dublin City had blockades of trucks, depots and still has collections.
More people went to jail in Dublin City and what's more most of them were ordinary people - not a TD and councillor from the same party. In effect the battle in Fingal was only really fought in two wards.

author by F.Scott Andersonpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No insult was meant to the people in Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown and South Dublin who did in fact mount important solidarity actions.

The point being made, perhaps too obliquely, is that there were some who tried to hold back solidarity. Such people ignored the basic reality that if Fingal was crushed it would be a thousand times harder to mount the same fight again.

author by PWpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fingal was crushed because the campaign wasn't strong enough there. The Fingal activists specifically requested no outside help. So the solidarity wouldn't have made any difference, would it?

author by Chekovpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 17:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Solidarity that F. Scott is talking about was not people going out to Fingal to help them, it was people mounting solidarity blockades in the other council areas at the time that non-collection was being brought in in Fingal.

For whatever reason, the activists in Fingal wanted the campaigns in the other areas to support them by mounting solidarity blockades and this was indeed agreed by a majority of the DCC activists. These solidarity blockades were actually very succesful to a point. The 2 day blockade of depots in early October was probably the high point in terms of the disruption caused by the campaign and it certainly got the most media attention (or more accurately demonisation).

One of the big problems of the campaign was that there was a difference of opinion within the DCC area about these solidarity blockades. A minority in the campaign were against them (most notably the SWP). A bigger problem was that the minority simply decided to ignore the will of the majority and not only did not carry out solidarity blockade but held meetings where the only representatives of the campaign actually argued against them. So we had a farcical situation where a half dozen areas were carrying out regular blockades while several other areas were holding meetings to argue against the blockades.

author by F.Scott Andersonpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 18:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At a rough estimate blockades were taking place in Fingal at a rate of roughly half a dozen a day for weeks on end. Most of those blockades lasted all day and some lasted for many days with trucks being held around the clock. Far from this only occurring in "two electoral wards", the record for holding a truck took place in Santry, a close contender was in Baldoyle and blockades were held even in the less than friendly territory of Malahide and Castleknock. There were mass meetings of hundreds around trucks in various estates while residents decided how long to hold them for. A serious attempt was made day in day out to ground the whole fleet of trucks.

There were a number of solidarity blockades mounted elsewhere which were very important. They were much more sporadic however, there were fewer of them and most were of what might be described as symbolic length.

To say that is NOT to slight the contribution made by those who actually did mount solidarity actions in the other areas. Nor do I have anything but admiration for the people who went to jail right across Dublin. Such people were making a vital contribution to the struggle. In fact, the most important solidarity contributions made in the other areas haven't even been mentioned so far: the days of action which hit the depots right across Dublin.

My criticism is reserved for the timid elements of the campaign who sought to hold such solidarity back.

In PW's latest contribution he misunderstands the situation in Fingal. There were more than enough activists, and more to the point more than enough residents, to keep the blockades going for weeks as in fact happened. Importing a few more activists would have made very little difference on the ground in Fingal.

What was needed from activists elsewhere was solidarity action in their own areas, to turn the fight into a city wide battle.

author by Indy Council Corrpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 18:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just a couple of quick points on some of the issues raised.

The latest figures are available from the Council Curious and do not suggest a one-third non-payment level. The figure was 24,000 approximately, substantially less than 20% of households, and this has been in decline.

Now it's still an extremely impressive figure, I'm not denying that, but is it really sensible to argue that this number alone will defeat the Charges? Or that it can be trebled, quadrupled? Do you think non-payment can still defeat the Bin Charges? Anf

Chekov's point about the strategy of the Campaign being non-payment alone is correct. My point was that while the campaign argued non-payment alone, Labour and Sinn Fein argued it could be defeated in the Council. I think it was a weakness of both arguments that the two strategies could not be integrated more.

I am also not arguing against non-payment, it was in my opinion the better strategy, merely making the point that it has failed. So has the Council route. Arguing the merits and demerits of either strategy in hindsight is no doubt useful for the future, but pointless in regard to developing a new strategy.

My reference to the Council votes issue btw refers to before the Protection Against the Environment Act rendered the Council votes meaningless, not to the recent Local Election campaign.

I think F Scott makes the most astute observation. 'What was the strategy and what is the strategy now?' The first as he says, is easier to answer. The second is not.

The Campaigns, rightly or wrongly, are focussing on pressurising Councillors to vote against the Estimates. Now I have no problem with this as a tactic. But it's not a strategy.

It doesn't address what happens if the Estimates are passed. Does everyone go home for the next twelve months? Nor does it address what happens if the Council is dissolved. I recall a young, and somewhat naive SWP activist telling me a few years ago that if the Council was dissolved, the Councillors should meet anyway and claim to be the legitimate authority for Dublin City. I remain unconvinced of the notion of most councillors joining a Soviet.

There is a responsibility on Sinn Fein and Labour to tell us how they will get rid of the Charges considering their strategy to do so has failed. There is a responsibility on the Campaing outside to outline its strategy for doing the same because non-payment has failed.

In my opinion, opponents of the Bin Charges are failing in this responsibility and are continuing to fight without a clear idea of how, or if, to win.

author by sheancanpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 18:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What do the different groups advocate now? For example do the WSM still think non payment is a realistic option, are the SWP still calling for large demonstrations, do SD still want us to occupy Liberty Hall.

Personally i think the political parties ran with this as far as the electiona and they're now looking to forget about it. What about everyone else, what about the residents in various areas who have basically been hung out to dry?

author by Mikepublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 18:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"it is likely the cost will be pitched at approx. 250e for a household with 10 (i.e. monthly) lifts per year"

Maybe there's an entirely different problem. Maybe you need to investigate WHY it would be so much more expenisve in Ireland than in the US.

Take where I live. OK, we no longer have collection, have to haul your own to the dump. It's 2$ a bag (those BIG bags) for mixed non-recycleables , recylceables are free and you don't have to separate types of plastic I know because of it not being collected not completely comparable, but almost anybody with a pickup would be willing to take other peoples' bags for a buck per bag so call it 3$ a bin.

Why 10e for you? I thought things were supposed to more expensive in the rich USA.

BTW -- what you DON'T see is much difference between rich and poor on whether they are careful. Yes, it might seem silly, but many rich folks would no more think of tossing a return deposit beer can into the trash and foregoing the 5p and plenty of poor folks can't seem to bother spearating their trash. You look into the recyleable bin and see plenty of returnables (and for those too lazy to take them back to stores for the deposit, there's a shed at the dump you can leave them and the high school kids sort and return them -- helps with things like sports team uniforms.

author by seedotpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 19:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The 2 day blockade of depots in early October was probably the high point in terms of the disruption caused by the campaign and it certainly got the most media attention (or more accurately demonisation). "

But I never saw the strategy in this. Initially they were supposed to start on a Monday, then were cancelled and started on a Tues. and then they sort of whimpered out with partial blockades on the Thurs. I never saw a threat of this beforehand, never saw a realistic demand (commit to collect all bins or no bin lorries will go out, open discussions whatever). This was the nuclear option of the campaign - bring the bin service to a complete halt. It was rushed into, cackhandedly and never formed part of a strategy.

I also don't believe Labour or SF have any realistic hopes of stopping this charge. Robbie Sargeant, SF councillor in Crumlin is supposed to have said as much on the night of the local election count. Eric Byrne, Labour councillor in Crumlin lectured us all at the meeting in the Transport Hall two weeks ago - basically saying the Council was powerless yet it would be a blow to democracy to scrap it. He is used to these paradoxes - he criticised the campaign of non-payment (saying it opened ordinary working people to legal problems) while waving the solicitors letter he had received for non-payment as a proof of his macho solidarity.

Too much posturing and not enough examination of the issues. The passage of the Waste Mgt. Act in 2003 removing the requirement to collect bins and taking control of waste in urban areas away from elected reps was a huge issue that was just missed by the campaign - by the time it became a media issue it was dead.

SF seem to have a strategy of bringing alternative revenue raising proposals to the Dail where they will be defeated but play well in the papers.

Labour seem to have a strategy of paying lip service, to a degree depending on the constituency demographics, but then prove how sound they are to their coalition partners.

The micro-sects and 'activist' class seem to be still engaged in the posturing that marked most of the campaign.

And all over the city there's people that now have 600e back bills that is the main reason that non-payment is continuing - people just can't afford to lose.

There has been talk of bringing a motion to the Council to collect all bins on public health grounds. This is not a financial issue so it may be possible to get this passed without the city managers approval. It will leave the charge in place. It will leave the court cases for non-payment in place (there is likely to be a rash of these in Dec. / Jan. after a pending case is won by the Council). But at the very least it would strengthen non-payment, give the campaign something that can be claimed as a victory and widen the debate beyond the financial into public services. It would also, combined with a copperfastening of the waivers, make the service uneconomic to privatise which is a long term battle that will have to be fought.

ps - Mike - I have heard a figure of 5e per lift - which is about $6. There is not a cost plus basis to the charges - it has been presented as a tax (i.e. revenue raising with waivers for those unable to pay). Various parts of the country have diff. charges, with privatisation generally resulting in fees of $600 per year within a couple of years. Who runs the waste depots where you are? Is there the same system in urban as rural areas? Oh and cost of living is much higher in ireland than the US.

author by F.Scott Andersonpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 19:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't know what campaign you were a part of but the bin tax campaigns did raise the issue of the change in the law over and over.

When the councils first tried to implement non-collection the campaigns (well, Joe Higgins and Clare Daly) took a court case which found that the government had to collect all bins. The changes in the law were a response to the campaign's actions in other words, and the campaigns made a lot of noise about it.

The trouble is that the anti-bin tax movement prior to the blockades forcing it into the pages of the press was being quite deliberately ignored by the media. There is a difference between the campaigns ignoring an issue and the campaigns being ignored. I would have thought that someone involved in Indymedia would have appreciated that grassroots activists cannot easily dictate the agenda of the corporate media!

The other point you raise is about the depot blockades. You have to remember that they occurred in the context of an ongoing struggle of all-out blockades across Fingal for weeks and a number of solidarity blockades elsewhere. They were not stumbled into nor did they come out of the blue. They were an escalation of action which was ongoing but which could not go on for ever.

The demand that all bins be collected or none would be had already been issued and the campaigns (minus the timid minority) were doing their best to carry it through. The nuclear button, so to speak, had already been pressed by the Councils. The campaigns had two choices - either be rolled over, area by area, or fight all out and as hard as possible. There was no guarantee of victory with the second option but the first option guaranteed defeat.

author by Chekovpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 20:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"But I never saw the strategy in this. Initially they were supposed to start on a Monday, then were cancelled and started on a Tues. and then they sort of whimpered out with partial blockades on the Thurs. I never saw a threat of this beforehand, never saw a realistic demand (commit to collect all bins or no bin lorries will go out, open discussions whatever). This was the nuclear option of the campaign - bring the bin service to a complete halt. It was rushed into, cackhandedly and never formed part of a strategy."

You certainly raise a good point here. The blockades were indeed called and rescheduled at the last moment, resulting in a much lower turnout than there could have been and also meaning that most of the 'ordinary' non-activist members didn't have a chance of making it along. This was a consequence of the decision making structures of the DCC campaign completely falling apart as soon as the crisis struck with the result that the SP leadership ended up calling the shots and calling things at very short notice without any chance for considered input from campaigns on the ground.

In the absence of any overall strategy, or any structures where one could be developed, those of us taking part in the depot blockades were esentially hoping that the blockades would spontaneously spread and develop into the nuclear option that you refer to. In the end it almost worked, thanks largely to the actions of the bin workers who refused to cross the sometimes tiny pickets. When SIPTU and IMPACT stepped in to end the workers action, the whole thing fell apart and the blockades never really recovered after that. There was one more attempt a couple of weeks later to hit the evening business collections, but a decision was made by somebody (SP leadership?) to ignore the decision to hit all the depots with the result that 50 people ended up blockading an empty Grangegorman depot as the trucks had been moved to a different depot and this was the last real attempt to disrupt the services on a grand scale in the DCC area.

One point where you are wrong though is that the campaign had been putting forward the demand to collect all bins or no bins for a long time. The placards on the solidarity blockades read "all bins or no bins".

author by F.Scott Andersonpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 20:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There have been two good accounts of the battle against the bin tax published so far.

One is by Colm Breathnach of the Irish Socialist Network.
www.redflag.org.uk/frontline/twelve/12Ireland.html

The other is by Kevin McLoughlin of the Socialist Party.
www.socialistparty.net/pub/pages/viewspring2004/2.htm

For those who want an insight into the thinking of some of the campaigners as the struggle progressed it is also worth taking a look at two sites which archive various reports and statements. First there are those of the Socialist Party.
http://www.socialistparty.net/bintax/index.htm

And those of the Workers Solidarity Movement.
http://www.struggle.ws/wsm/bins.html

author by seedotpublication date Tue Oct 05, 2004 21:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The relevant court case was taken by the Cork campaign in 2001 not Joe Higgins & Clare Daly- it was this case that was overturned by the 2003 act. Joe & Clare did loads during this campaign - but not everything.

When the press did pay attention the non-collection was not the issue pushed - double taxation was the media strategy. This, imho, was a poor strategy as it allowed the environmentalists and market fundamentalists to be wheeled out against it. But this is a PR / marketing point

Yes all bins or no bins was a slogan throughout the campaign - but there was no strong promotion of 2 key issues: the public health rationale and the public good that was the bin service. This, again, is easy to say after the point. Post the 2002 election it did seem that stealth taxes was what people would relate to. But I feel that the financial argument was never going to break the rejection of the bin tax out of the working class areas where it was strongest and ceded the public debate to the govt. and their allies in the labour and green movements.

These criticisms are meant to respond to the original article in terms of what strategy could now be developed. I tried to be fair in criticising everybody I knew about. A key thing for me though is that I was not part of the same campaign as F. Scott Anderson - I didn't go to city centre meetings or follow the debates within the DCC or whatever. Blockading the trucks in estates that had full collection made sense to me at the time - as a solidarity action and a show of strength. The all out blockade of the depots lost the debate v. quickly and not just because the media turned on the campaign - public opinion turned on its own as the campaign became the cause that rubbish was not collected. As well as the fact that once it was called off it lost its credibility to be used again - especially since it showed up the lack of organisation in the campaign.

As someone involved in Indymedia I of course know the way corporate media operates and ignores grassroots messages. But as someone who stayed in my neighbourhood during the bin tax campaign I also know the way this was also the case for the political parties who use Indymedia during the bin tax - what were big issues on here (who called what meeting, who would win what vote in what ward) meant nothing at my local meetings and on the doorsteps. All the internet virtual warfare with the websites and the press releases didn't even enter the consciousness. I realised this fully when I did a pdf doc. of Indymedia articles at the time of the march to Mountjoy - right at the height of the campaign with protestors still in jail. Less than half of what was on this site could even be considered for a print publication - because it had so little to do with the bin tax beyond the activist circles.

So again, to F. Scott and Chekov - this has the feel of a post-mortem. I'm not sure when you would mark as the time of death but what do you say to the people who are getting letters saying they owe 600e and orange tags saying that if they don't register their bin it won't be collected. Whats next?

author by reformistpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 02:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the cheapest bin charges are actually in fingal, and that is because of the protest movement there, so radical action although not bringing total victory did lead to much cheaper bin charges by a bin tag compared to flat rates in other parts of the country, a small point that should be made. if fingal had not made such protests its almost certain resitents would be paying simple flat rate bills of 500 euro as in places like sligo

author by Johnpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 02:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Didn't F Scott Anderson forget

http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/

for a 'good' account of the bin charge campaign?

author by Chekovpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 03:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

QUOTE "When the press did pay attention the non-collection was not the issue pushed - double taxation was the media strategy. This, imho, was a poor strategy as it allowed the environmentalists and market fundamentalists to be wheeled out against it. But this is a PR / marketing point

Yes all bins or no bins was a slogan throughout the campaign - but there was no strong promotion of 2 key issues: the public health rationale and the public good that was the bin service. This, again, is easy to say after the point. Post the 2002 election it did seem that stealth taxes was what people would relate to."

RESPONSE I don't think this is really true. Double taxation was just a central slogan around which to rally people. Personally, I think that we could have concentrate more on the regressive nature of the tax rather than its double nature as the main slogan. But the campaign tried for years to raise environmental points. I remember this being raised again and again at conferences and local meetings for years before the crisis. For example, look at the article from Workers Solidarity back in 2001 http://www.struggle.ws/ws/61/envir.html dealing with the environmental issues. And the whole point of the courtcase back in 2001 in Cork was based around the public health issue. Of course this was totally ignored by the media - as was everything else that the campaign said. Even at the height of the campaign virtually the entire media chose to ignore even the central point of the campaign - I think there was one single article in the Business Point which even acknowledged the basic point about the unfairness of the tax that the campaign was making.

QUOTE "But I feel that the financial argument was never going to break the rejection of the bin tax out of the working class areas where it was strongest and ceded the public debate to the govt. and their allies in the labour and green movements."

RESPONSE Non-payment did in fact spread outside of traditional working class areas, but when it came down to a show of strength, the campaign was always going to be fought out in the working class areas where there was serious organisation. Rather than slogans or issues raised by the campaign, the key weakness was that we were only organised in a tiny number of areas - a dozen or so out of the hundred plus identifiable areas of dublin. The council still hasn't felt confident enough to bring in non-collection in any of the areas where the campaign was organised and non-payment rates probably remain high.

QUOTE "Blockading the trucks in estates that had full collection made sense to me at the time - as a solidarity action and a show of strength. The all out blockade of the depots lost the debate v. quickly and not just because the media turned on the campaign - public opinion turned on its own as the campaign became the cause that rubbish was not collected. As well as the fact that once it was called off it lost its credibility to be used again - especially since it showed up the lack of organisation in the campaign."

RESPONSE Once the council decided to take on Fingal, the campaigns in the other areas were faced with the problem of how to respond. We knew that the government was trying to defeat it first in Fingal and then move onto the rest. We knew that if Fingal was defeated the rest would follow. We knew, after a couple of weeks of the Fingal struggle, that Fingal couldn't hold out on its own. So what were we to do? The only answer on the table was to try to bring matters to a head and to try to shut down all collection and force the government to back down. I realise that this plan was fraught with problems and many people did react badly to the service being stopped in areas that still had collection, but there was simply nothing else on the table. Nobody then or since put forward any other strategy that had any chance of defeating the tax.

Also, public opinion never turned in the working class areas where the campaign was properly organised.

QUOTE "As someone involved in Indymedia I of course know the way corporate media operates and ignores grassroots messages. But as someone who stayed in my neighbourhood during the bin tax campaign I also know the way this was also the case for the political parties who use Indymedia during the bin tax - what were big issues on here (who called what meeting, who would win what vote in what ward) meant nothing at my local meetings and on the doorsteps. All the internet virtual warfare with the websites and the press releases didn't even enter the consciousness. I realised this fully when I did a pdf doc. of Indymedia articles at the time of the march to Mountjoy - right at the height of the campaign with protestors still in jail. Less than half of what was on this site could even be considered for a print publication - because it had so little to do with the bin tax beyond the activist circles."

RESPONSE You should remember that Indymedia is a news site and people were posting news reports of what was happening in the campaign here. These generally assumed that the readers would know much of the context of the campaign and so much of the material would not be suitable for leaflets or printed material. On the other hand, if you look at the WSM bin tax site, or the campaign site at http://www.stopthebintax.com/ for example, you will see a lot of much more general background articles which adressed fully the arguments about recycling, public services and so on. These arguments and issues were also often included in the leaflets put out in local areas. I know that in Stoneybatter we put out a series of newsletters which tried to address all of the issues to do with environmentalism and public health. Because of the ability to comment and the collapse of the campaign structures, Indymedia became the only place where people could really debate the strategic choices of the campaign, but you shouldn't fool yourself into thinking that the activists really were spending all their time bickering about who said what rather than making the core arguments.

QUOTE "So again, to F. Scott and Chekov - this has the feel of a post-mortem. I'm not sure when you would mark as the time of death but what do you say to the people who are getting letters saying they owe 600e and orange tags saying that if they don't register their bin it won't be collected. Whats next?"

RESPONSE I think that the bin tax campaign was pretty much lost by December 2003. Certainly, there's always a chance that the council might do something stupid and allow us to rebuild it, but in the absence of this I can't see the campaign resurrecting itself. Some areas will continue to have high rates of non-payment and it will probably be years before the council can extinguish the last pockets of resistance, but I really can't see any way that we can actually defeat it if the council keeps up their astute and slow tactics. We tried as hard as we could, but not enough people took part, the campaign was too dis-organised and the government was willing to use too much force. We actually came pretty close in my opinion and even with all of our weaknessess we could have won, but too many of the people involved were concentrating more on what they could get out of it rather than how to win it.

Incidentally, the one thing that all of those involved in the campaign would probably agree upon is the absolute crapness of the analysis of the campaign on the socialist democracy website linked above. They really were people who had next to no involvement in the campaign and no understanding of it either. Occupy Liberty Hall comrades!!

author by F.Scott Andersonpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 03:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I didn't forget the account on the Socialist Democracy website. I just didn't include it because I was trying to send people to useful resources.

If I want to send people to a site full of mad fairytales, written by people who ducked out of the anti-bin tax movement and then denounced it for not diverting itself into a lobby of Liberty Hall, believe me, I'll send them to the Socialist Democracy site.

author by Lucy Ballpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 05:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the green is I think a reference to the single green councillor who was elected to DCC in the local elections in June.

the greens whilst being environmentalists see themselves as the vanguard of the environment so believe a pay by weight system needs to be introduced to 'train us' to be resposible in the management of our personal waste.

this ignores the fact that over 80% of waste is generated by industry, that full local recycling facilities are simply not available in most areas and that by accepting these charges we are giving DCC th ok to treat the citizens of the city as cash cows.

great to get an update from imc on whats going on in cityhall but the defeatist tone of the article is very grim. it seems to suggest that the councillors can't do anything (ie giving them a way out which does not make sense bearing in mind some got elected on the back of the anti bin tax campaign), that the campaign itself is finished and those pushing it are doing so for some self serving purpose which I believe is a load of nonsense.

The fact remains 33,212 households are in arrears, 24,000 have never paid, 57,000 have paid in full. They are figures relesed recently from DCC and I think are indication alone that the campaign is not over. Those against the tax need to get back into their communities, reemphasize the importance of not paying etc (which is the key tactic) and put alot of preassure on the councillors.

author by Nitpickerpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The other point you raise is about the depot blockades. You have to remember that they occurred in the context of an ongoing struggle of all-out blockades across Fingal for weeks and a number of solidarity blockades elsewhere. They were not stumbled into nor did they come out of the blue. They were an escalation of action which was ongoing but which could not go on for ever."

You forget to mention that the blockades came about directly as a result of 12 people being jailed in the City area. I accept most of your analyses but they do seem to be very much through Fingal tinted glasses. There is life (and a planet) and campaigns outside of that area.

author by Corcagensipublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cork City Council this week issued thousands of threatening letters to householders in arrears of service charges.

The letters include a new deadline for payment of October 18th after which collection of refuse will no longer be guaranteed. Last year a similar directive was issued although the service was only withdrawn in the areas where the resistance is greatest, e.g. Mayfield.

Figures recently released and featured on an Indymedia article (see link below) that resistance is still high and the council is massaging the statistics to play up their success rate.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=66406
author by Badmanpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"it seems to suggest that the councillors can't do anything (ie giving them a way out which does not make sense bearing in mind some got elected on the back of the anti bin tax campaign), that the campaign itself is finished and those pushing it are doing so for some self serving purpose which I believe is a load of nonsense."

So, what can the council do? Easty to nitpick, but it's worthless if you can't suggest something that they could realistically do. I'm all ears.

author by Michael Gallagherpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your forgetting the basic argument against this tax - tax payers should not have to pay twice. It's a double tax.

author by David Lyonspublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 15:53author email david at lyons dot cxauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Everybody keeps talking about this "80% of waste that's generated by industry"....

Don't forget that the VAST majority of this industrial waste is NOT collected at the point of origin.

The cost of a person coming to your door and collecting a bin by hand is HUGE compared with the processes involved in removal of industrial waste.

Household collection of rubbish costs a whole lot of money. What many socialists fail to see is that with a relative narrowing of earnings between the average binman and the householder compared to 25 or 50 or 75 years ago means that it is VERY expensive to continue to support this service.

It may be a 'double-tax' (whatever that means). It may be regressive... but don't say that because businesses cause 80% of the waste they must pick up 80% of the cost... that's ludicrous.

[Note; the same applies to door-to-door daily postal services.]

Just my two cents.

author by Interestedpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 16:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I do not believe that the bin charge is a double tax in the same way that I do not look on bus fares, telephone calls, E.S.B. subscription etc as taxation. Not that this will mean anyhing to the anti-charge brigade. Also DCC and other local authorities are responsible for managing domestic waste only. They have no statutory obligation to collect or manage industrial or commercial waste. That's why a shop, pub, office or whatever pays DCC 1,450 Euro per annum for a 1,100 litre bin and 420 per annum for a 240lt bin. It should also be mentioned, though again it won't suit some people to hear it, that DCC and other authorities are obliged to manage domestic waste as it arises. They have no control over how businesses in Hong Kong, USA, Galway or anywhere else package their goods. Packaging in turn may be dictated by marketing considerations, shefl life, hygiene considerations etc. Only a fool would argue that we're not producing more waste. Check out the price of hiring a skip today as opposed to three years ago and you will get some idea of the measure of increase in waste management charges across the board recently. Also if earlier postings are correct and circa 24,000 still haven't paid who is going to speak for the majority who have paid some or all of their charge. I've yet to hear any proposal on solving the waste management crisis from Cllr Joan Collins, failed candidate Brid Smith or the waiver applicants in Sinn Fein!

author by Johnpublication date Wed Oct 06, 2004 23:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When you subtract the abuse, the assertion by F Scott is that the SD booklet is about a lobby of Liberty hall. That's not the case - it's not even a remotely convincing or believable assertion.

In Fact the SD argument was:

The central issue in the bin charge was privatisation.

The campaign should be aimed at organised workers

To do so it should break from a cosy relationship with the union bureaucracy

The unwillingness of the left to do so meant that democratic structures in the campaign were not developed and that the left were locked in a strategic crisis that they could not resolve.

The current debate about lobby versus non-payment is an example of this strategic crisis. Neither tactic goes anywhere unless situated in some class strategy

I don't mind F Scott being irritable. A dishonest answer means yet another non-debate.

author by Rockin Robinpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 01:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You won't get a "debate" over the content of Socialist Democracy's rant because nobody involved in the bin tax campaign takes them seriously. As Chekov says, perhaps the only thing that every single person involved in the campaign could agree on is that the SD article is a joke.

author by Terrypublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 02:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think it was a mistake by the campaign to focus primarily on the issue of double taxation. It was clear as someone stated above, this would mean it's core support was not likely to leave the working class areas.

I do know that many people on the ground in the campaign and others however did have views on the 'green' aspects of the waste issue. But I noticed at nearly all of the public meetings that I was at, and I was at quite a few, that it was never on the agenda or at least not very high up on it.

Nevertheless to give credit where credit is due, I think it was Clare Daly on the Late Late Show, put in a brilliant performance about how the waste should be dealt with in a green way and she pointed at the current system was a sham.

To me it was clear all along, that even if we did win and that never really looked likely, because the campaign was passive in the sense that the thousands of people who didn't pay, didn't do anything. They just never paid. The vast majority never appeared at meetings or anthing else and thus there was no way for them to feel like they were part of a group forging ahead here. Clearly that was their choice, although the council taking down our posters didn't help.

I still think, we should have had all-Dublin agreement stating that the government should follow the 'Zero-Waste' strategy (http://www.zerowaste.co.nz/) -If we had done this then we wouldn't have allowed the government to pull the middle-class green types out from under the campaign and other such people who were on the sidelines and were waiting for some kind of debate. We allowed the government to set the agenda here.

Also, we should have and still should link this campaign to the massive incinerator planned for Dublin. Dublin City are referring to this as the 'Thermal Plant' and claim it will be recyclling waste into energy -that means they expect to burn flammable waste -i.e. paper, cardboard and plastic!

It is quite clear that if the councils win, very soon after the recycling infrastructure for the above will disappear via going out of business, just like the old Kerbside. Then the government and councils will be pushing this incinerator on us ever so more urgently with the objective of securing the recyclable waste for the incinerator! BTW, I hear in Fingal that the bin tags cost 3 euro in areas with just the grey bin and 5 euros in areas with the grey and green bins. In other words they have actually added 2 euro to try and cover the cost of recycling. I am quite confident if the campaign is defeated the waste companies will quickly declare that they cannot run a viable business using the tag scheme, and will push for escalating the flat fee rapidly upwards. At that point the incentive to recycle will plummet and will result in much lower turnover for Oxigen and cause them to go bust. Obviously it's the plan!

Anyway, as I was saying above, if we did win, we never had an actual agreed plan for dealing with the waste crisis and thereby this meant the problem would still be there. So along or rather as part of the Zero Waste policy, we should have pushed for a tax on excessive packaging, bring back bottles and deposits on them, bring in plastic recycling, have the compost bins that are subsidised by the councils given out FREE to those who need them, and so on and so on.

For those with an anarchist perspective, these are important things, getting people involved and making them part of the solution. Participation, rather than blindly reinforcing the idea that governments do stuff for us. Of course governements should do stuff, but it was also a chance to show that at heart, governments don't give a shit and if we want to have a viable and sustainable society, then it is people themselves that have to do it and that when governments tackle problems, it's always done in a way to the benefit of the people that they are really there for, the elite.

Related Link: http://www.stopthebintax.com
author by seedotpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I hadn't read the Socialist Democracy paper until told here that everyone disagreed with it. But on reading, it mirrors a lot of my own thoughts:

some quotes:

"In Ireland the nature of the bin charge was itself a matter of sharp dispute. The left labelled it ‘double taxation’ a charge sharply rejected by their opponents. The government and tax authorities pointed out that they had actually cut income tax! This was not a defence against arguments that the tax was regressive that it favoured the rich at the expense of the poor but it was a reasonable argument that the charge was not double taxation.

Stephen Collins, political editor of the ‘Sunday Tribune’ and a reporter with a long history of stating Fianna Fail’s unofficial position on major issues, led the counterattack with the postmodernist argument that the ‘left was the new right’ because they were demanding a cut in taxes and this would certainly mean a cut in services provided. The campaign provided no answer."

...and..


"A correct understanding would have given the campaign an answer to the claim that the charges could not be double taxation since workers had already been given tax cuts. The argument could be made that workers were to be charged for services that should be socially provided, social provision that would demonstrate collective concern for waste and the environment. The role of income tax cuts could have been explained as preventing the funding of social provision and instead shifting the cost to the working class consumer. "

This, I think is generally correct. The problem was not the double taxation element - it was the fact that bins were being removed from those services funded by centrally collected taxes. They were being seen as an individual good, provided by the market rather than a public good provided by the state.


"As far as the campaign was concerned the left’s history and routine methods of operation had the unfortunate effect that they had either forgotten or rejected all the lessons in the history of the working class movement about how to build and expand broad campaigns. What was organised was a loose alliance of their own sectional campaigns a diplomatic agreement that they would cooperate together to run a loose movement based on a federal structure where each kept largely to their ‘own’ areas. Significantly, these were essentially electoral constituency areas and the desire of each group to develop an electoral base was to remain a potent background factor throughout the campaign. Essentially the groups agreed not to interfere with each other and policy was made behind the scenes in private discussions. "

I've heard exactly the same argument many times on this site - from some of the people who are now saying that everybody disagrees with the SD analysis.

"The structure of the campaign made it difficult to adopt a rational policy. Decisions were made by the left organisations. They co-ordinated policy through back-door diplomacy. Rather than a rational campaign structure ‘activists meetings’ were held. The only issue was organising further activity and political and strategic discussion was avoided. Activism became the criterion for success and the meetings degenerated into boasting sessions."

As I said I didn't attend any activist meetings - maybe this is wrong and they were effective forums for planning and debate. Anyody any comments?
The article then goes on to deal with the unions and, especially, the rally at Mountjoy jail. I was there and the description of what happened matches my recollection - the marchers were far in advance of both the unions and, critically, the bin tax campaign. I knew some of the people calling for a general strike and booing Jack O'Connor - this was genuine anger not something planted by any particulr group.

I don't have a party viewpoint on this - I don't know who SD are (gave up trying to follow the labyrinths of the Irish left a long time ago) and am not a member of any of the other groups. I am trying to figure out where next on the bin tax - being told to ignore one analysis because 'everyone' agrees it is wrong doesn't seem the most fruitful way to go. Maybe the SD belief in rank and file TU action is touchingly naive - maybe the criticisms of the double taxation argument are only valid in hindsight - maybe the attacks on active members of the bin tax campaign are unfair given the undoubted sacrifices made by many of the people attacked.

But it is still worth debating the analysis.

Related Link: http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/Bintifada/BintifadaBasisOfDublinBintidada.htm
author by pedantpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry to be a stick in the mud but Collins is not a spokesperson, official or unofficial for FF. He is far more regularly the conduit for the Labour Press office and regurgitates that nest of vipers' line on SF. Besides he is not taken seriously as a pol corr given his record of calling things wrong, his appalling writing, and his lack of grey matter. For those unfamiliar with him, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Ken, the male partner of the Barbie doll - gormless unblinking eyes, and all the appearance of someone who has never had a hard day or a weighty thought in his life.


Carry on !!!

author by Involvedpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As someone who works for Dublin City Council and has a passing interest in the bin tax a few things strike me. When council depots were blockaded , IMPACT and SIPTU told their men to work normally and insofar as was possible to carry out management instructions. Both unions understand that this had to be done to protect their members jobs. DCC has a long history of delivering the domestic waste collection service through direct labour. If the men refused to work they would be opening the case for privatisation. The unions know this and are fully onside in respect of the charge. There's no point in claiming that the charge can be defeated by getting the men 's support. It would be the equivalent of turkeys voting for Xmas. I suspect that the staff in the Revenue Commissioners don't like paying income tax or introducing new tax rules but they're not going to walk off the job after every budget.

author by Interestedpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tell us about Oxigen then?

author by Involvedpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 15:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What do you want to know?

author by Chekovpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 16:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What absolute twaddle and it's exactly the twaddle that the SIPTU and IMPACT bureaucrats have been spinning since the start. A bit of multi-choice for you:

In every case where the bin service has been privatised so far in the country was this preceded by:
a) councils charging for the services
b) workers taking action

Answers on a postcard to 'our friends in goverment'.

author by chekovpublication date Thu Oct 07, 2004 20:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The criticisms from the socialist democracy article are just cut and pasted from wherever they could find any criticism of the campaign - mostly from the WSM and in particular Gregor's article that appeared in the Sindo. They then just tack on their doctrine at the end.

By the way, for those who don't know them, socialist democracy are a rare sight nowadays, but they are indentifiable at meetings as the people at the back of the room who demand that ICTU calls a general strike now!!!

author by at the back of the roompublication date Fri Oct 08, 2004 22:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

SD like many left groups is indeed a rare sight and that includes the WSM. However, Chekov given the marginalistation of the left in general (which includes the WSM) the sectarian argument about rare sights is stupid in the extreme. Further you should understand and presumably would argue given the WSM implantation in the working class the the relative lack of weight of the different left groups is not a an argument against the politics of one group over another. 15 versus 10 doesn't matter or even 100 against 10.

Further SD don't call for a general strike now. however, it did point out that the union bureaucracy would sell out and that the left have never tried to challenge them.

author by John McDermott - Remove Fianna Fail Partypublication date Sat Oct 09, 2004 01:10author address Leinster Houseauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Let all citizens be happy that the Soldiers of Destiny are returning to the election fray with great gusto.The next 12 months will see many miracles from Saint Bertie.Now is a time for great rejoicing across the land. Prodigal sons and daughters will be greeted with open arms.Bertie will not provoke new bin charges...but watch your back for the other parties.!
Closed Hospital wards will suddenly re-open.Not one occupied trolley will be found anywhere across the land..Employment schemes formerly abandoned will re-surface.Privatization plans will be shelved.Tax bands may even be adjusted a pinch-to show the great generosity and goodness of the Disciples of Destiny.
‘Yes, believe my friends, this will be the only good Party in town for many months to come’!
In short no lobby group,union, club,or social grouping which represents a few thousand votes,or more, will be offended or disappointed.
Lottery and exchequer funds will be prized open and disbursed to the clamoring masses,in a short frenetic feeding frenzy.
.Even the Vincent De Paul Society may find some crumbs under Lazarus’s table.
As a shoal of sharks smell blood from a weakened victim, so will the people sense their weakness, and demand to be sated before the Bertie Boat battens down the hatch and disappears across the Lake of Galilee,and into the horizon… for another few years.
(until the Second Coming?)
Pretenders to the True Faith will be mocked and scorned in The Leinster House Temple daily.Character assassination will replace debate.The fragmented and fractious opposition will be scattered, in great disarray.All this will come to pass, before the next election.
Finally Saint Bertie will address his suffering people;-unhappy,despite their great wealth.

‘ The Beatitudes, according to Saint Bertie.’
Bertie led his followers ,wealthy farmers,despised tax collectors, building speculators,and rich merchants-up a high mountain,where they paused to rest. He addressed them in these words;
‘Look around you,my disciples…all this, I give to those of you who worship me.
Verily I say to you;-
Blessed are the young people , who have been priced out of the home ownership market,by corruption,nepotism,stroke politics, and well connected builders and land speculators.
Blessed are those salaried laborers who pay 70% of the price of motor fuel in government tax; who suffer the highest vehicle purchase taxes in Europe;the highest alcoholic drink taxes;the highest V.A.T.taxes; stealth taxes of every kind; new rubbish taxes;water taxes(pending);new road toll taxes;private V.H.I.taxes;credit card taxes,…and before all this, - 42% income tax ,is first deducted at source.!
Blessed are those who walk in the countryside for recreation,and are hindered and persecuted;blocked by the barbed wire fences of landowners and farmers, who take vast sums of the common people’s taxes , throughout the E.U. Empire,-and give nothing back in return.
Blessed are the Anglers who wait all day by the lakeside –and catch nothing!
Their stocks are destroyed,their labors wasted.Patiently they endure agricultural pollution,nitrate poisoning,and legalized drift net fishing by rich men in the coastal estuaries.
Blessed are those who endure lawlessness, greed, and anarchy,all around them. .
-those who are the victims of crime; scourged by illegal dumping; illegal quarrying,and illegal development;smuggling,and racketeering of every sort. Blessed are those in the working class communities –abandoned to joy riders and drug purveyors.
Blessed are those communities where ribbon road development, one off housing,and section 140 motions are commonplace in the councils.Where houses are quickly sold off, in the speculative frenzy of the times.
Cursed are the civil servants who are passed over for promotion,because of their refusal to obey my law .I shall scatter them ,and their families,and their descendents,across the land of Erin to occupy the new houses and offices built by my Elect;- Martin ‘Cu’Cullen,
Blessed are those who shun the local councilors .Watch how they act,these councilors,- always full of their own importance; purporting to represent the common people while in reality rezoning lands for one another’s advantage; doing deals in dark corridors where money changes hands; profiting themselves at every opportunity; grasping and greedy -like swine;travelling to foreign places and living in luxury hotels;ever feeding from the public trough and on the public purse, while devising new ways to tax the poor.
Blessed are those who suffer the injustice of elected leaders who have abused the trust placed upon them by the people.;Blessed are those who must evermore witness the spectacle of arrogant criminals-full of bluff and bluster-strutting defiantly before the Courts,and justifying themselves daily to the Sanhedrin,in Dublin Castle.
Blessed are the victims of penalty points for minor infringements,and ludicrously low speed limits;-while drunken drivers nightly traverse our highways and fill the car parks of public drinking places with impunity.
Cursed are those who have sent their wealth to foreign lands ,or falsely colluded with rich bankers to avoid the tax collectors-for they shall wish they had never been born.!
Happy are those who have no connection with;and who have never voted for; and who have never profited by;- the corruption,the wasteful spending,or the pre- election largesse of the Soldiers of Destiny.
Blessed are those who cherish our ancestral burial grounds,and all traces of our rich history,and heritage;-though it shall be laid waste,in my generation.
Another Cuchulainn has arisen, in the South,and his army of mechanized chariots will desolate the land and destroy all before it.All this must come to pass.
But I tell you truly,you need not despair. Now is your hour of darkness.Now is your time of suffering.The Soldiers Of Destiny will sift you like wheat,with your own money.
Royal Tara itself will be destroyed.All this you will suffer for my sake.
In the end it may be Labour and Finn Gael that betray you....

But your reward will be great in Heaven.’This is the Word of Saint Bertie.

author by john mcdermott - Remove Fianna Fail Partypublication date Sun Oct 10, 2004 16:56author address Dublinauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I forgot to add that any person who recites the Beatitudes daily for seven weeks,and sends seven copies to seven different people,and leaves seven copies in their local parish church(of any denomination)will receive a positive response to any petition.Please address your petitions to Blessed Bertie c/o Leinster House.
This never fails.Recently the G.A.A.recieved 40 million Euros after their members assembled for a mass prayer meeting.
Another farmer discovered that a new road was coming through his field,and received a cheque for 500,000 Euros compensation from the N.R.A.
A third person sold his bog to the state and got 1 million Euros from Brussels on condition that he would not kill any butterflies,Flora,or Fauna for 10 years.
A fourth lucky landowner in Wicklow was offered 2 million Euros to cease molesting hill walkers who were wandering on his barren mountain.
These are real testimonials of the efficacy of this prayer.(membership of the I.F.A.is however necessary to ensure results like these)

author by Spudpublication date Wed Oct 13, 2004 19:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For Christ sake, pay the damn charges. The rest of the country has been paying bin charges for years now, and not a murmur of protest. Why?? Because there's nothing to protest about!!! The Left think that they should get everything for free....increased student grants, free third level education for all (including the obscenely rich!), free medical cards for all....while these are nice ideas, where the hell is the money going to come from to pay for all this?? And before anyone even mentions raising corporation tax or something equally stupid and dangerously reactionary, just think of the tens of thousands employed by these evil capitalist, and worst of all American companies! Without low corporatrion taxes, theres no Microsoft, Dell, and Intel and without the likes of these multi-nationals there's very little for anyone in Ireland. Finally, I know people will bitch about stealth taxes so heres a statistic to chew on.....the average industrial wage has increased by 79% since 1997, the increase in taxes and such expenditure, including charges for refuse and all the rest came to about 25%!!! What the hell is everyone protesting about????????

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