One hundred people attended a meeting on the Household Tax in Galway, 700 in Donegal, over 80 in limerick. And all these before the government’s legislation was passed and the issue came centre stage in the media. Already in January, 120 attended a meeting in Gorey, Wexford. 400 met to discuss the Septic Tank Tax and the Household Tax in County Limerick. 90 people protested outside Galway City Council in early January.
These examples show the enormous wave of anger and opposition facing the government on this issue. This anger, properly organised in a massive nationwide campaign, can defeat the household tax, the property tax, and water charges. The question facing the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes is, how to build a campaign capable of victory.
The Socialist Party believes that the campaign needs to be based on mass non-payment and mass non-registration. This is the only way to defeat this tax. Verbal opposition, as offered by some forces, like Sinn Fein, isn’t enough. The only way we can defeat this tax is by a significant section of society refusing to pay. This approach was central to the defeat of the Poll Tax in Britain in the early 1990s and the Water Charges in Dublin in the mid 1990s.
This needs to be an active campaign that has a real base in communities up and down the country – not one that exists only on the airwaves and on the internet. The campaign has to have the ability to respond to all the dirty tricks and scaremongering that the government may use in order to defeat mass non-payment. This campaign needs activists and members in every town and city who can reassure people and who can take the arguments into their communities, families and workplaces.
The Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes needs to be built into a nationwide campaign. In the next few months we will be focused on establishing the campaign in all cities, towns and rural communities.
The immediate issue before the campaign is the battle to stop registration. At the National Activist Meeting in Dublin on 14 January the Socialist Party proposed that the campaign should organise countywide assemblies in the main county town in every county in the country. These meetings will be a focal point from which the campaign will spread into the neighbouring towns and villages.
The fact that nine TDs have come out declaring their opposition to the tax and making a commitment not to pay and calling on ordinary people to do likewise is a good addition to the campaign and can boost peoples confidence so they can take a similar stand. The Socialist Party has proposed that the nine TDs should do a speaking tour and participate in the countywide assemblies, helping to build support for mass non-registration and non-payment.
At these assemblies the campaign will be asking people to sign up and become active in building the campaign within their communities.
In the days after the campaign’s 1890 98 98 00 hotline was launched, we were inundated with calls from every county in Ireland from people looking to sign up to and build the campaign in their area. This is an encouraging indicator that a mass campaign can be built and the tax can be defeated.
The battle against the Household Tax can be the issue around which the anger and opposition to austerity and Fine Gael and Labour’s cuts can crystalise. The fightback has begun – get involved – join today – phone the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes 1890 98 98 00.