Dublin marches against water charges on 23 Jan 2016


January 2016 and once more thousands of people across Ireland take to the streets to protest against the introduction of the water charges. Our footage is from the Dublin demonstration but similar demonstrations happened in most of the major towns and cities.

Numbers were down considerably on previous protests, particularly in Dublin but this is because a general election is imminent, its expected the date of the election will be released any day. Parliamentary elections like the one coming up in Ireland are set up to cause division and rivalry between groups that in fact have very similar policies, its a consequence of a system of decision making that tries to force us to choose between various leaders, self-proclaimed or otherwise.

Political activists who get sucked into that game inevitably end up trying to convince the rest of us that they are a better leader than the other people they have worked with previously.

And parties of the left running in elections end up denouncing and undermining each other all in the effort to convince us that they deserve our vote more than those other guys.; As with the previous campaign against household and property tax this leads to a lot of bad feeling and a lot of rivalry and increasingly it becomes hard for people to work together to mobilise.

All of which is a great shame because in the campaign against the water charges we've seen the growth of a very powerful broad movement reaching into many areas of Irish society.

It certainly deserves more than parties new and old fighting about whose going to manage to harvest the most votes out of this movement.

Is there an alternative to this?

We say yes. That alternative is people coming together in the communities or in their workplaces to take over the decision making about how to run those places and to federate together.

Its a system that worked well in the past at times like the Spanish revolution of the 1930s and indeed we see some aspects of it in current practise in radical movements in places like Chiapas, southern Mexico where the Zapatista communities have been running their own communities and indeed the entire area in this fashion for the last 20 plus years.

What we need is not yet another divisive electoral competition between parties of the left but rather an entirely different political system, an entirely different way of us coming together to make decision that effect not only our local communities and workplaces but indeed the very planet we live upon. We can't afford to continue the way things have been going.

WORDS & VIDEO Editing: Andrew Flood (Follow Andrew on Twitter )