Why we must organise to defeat the Household Tax

Date:

The EU and IMF, enabled and supported by our Fine Gael/Labour Government, are imposing a new regressive tax on all of our homes. This tax will take no account of the ability to pay and will almost certainly move in only one direction (upwards) over the years once it is introduced.

We have to say it's unjust and unethical for several reasons:

1. Having a roof over your head and water to drink are necessities for life. Necessities should never be taxed.

2. Regressive taxes - imposing taxes on people without taking account of their ability to pay - are wrong. They hurt the vulnerable most and they take money from those who need it for necessities and transfer it to the super wealthy who don't need it. The wealthiest people in Ireland have actually increased their wealth throughout this crisis#The last budget in Ireland saw the rich get richer. Austerity is working for them.

3. Regressive taxes increase inequality, which is one of the root causes of the current crisis and of our loss of sovereignty to the IMF and EU in the first place. It makes our economy more and more unstable and less productive as the wealthy seek new ways to speculate with their wealth while working people borrow to keep up their standard of living.

4. This new tax will be used to fill the coffers of those who brought us the financial crisis - to pay the costs of an illegitimate bank bailout which socialized private losses and which the Irish people never consented to.

5. This tax is just a prelude to more privateering - to privatising water supplies and other necessities of life in order to allow private companies to profit from them at the taxpayers’ expense. Look at the various Private Refuse Collection companies in operation around the country which see pensioners pay in excess of €500 every year to get their rubbish collected. It's disaster capitalism being implemented right here in Ireland.

6. The IMF and EU have no mandate from the Irish people and are unaccountable to us so their power to impose taxes on us is illegitimate. And so is the power of any government that acts as their enabler and enforcer. Taxes imposed without our consent are illegitimate taxes.

7. This tax is being justified by the same conservative and neoliberal economists who are responsible for cheerleading the whole ugly saga of the financial crisis. These so-called experts have spent decades pushing deregulating and privatising everything as the cure for all our problems. Even after all that's happened they're still chanting the same tired old mantras. When these paid hacks and ideologues support something, you can be sure that buying into it won't end well...for you that is. It has worked out well for Seanie Fitzpatrick and for Michael Fingleton and Denis O’Brien and you know the rest of them.....

What's the Solution?

A mass refusal to pay can make illegitimate taxes impossible to enforce. Irish people have done it before with water taxes in the 1990s. At that time a mass campaign of non-payment was built across Dublin and in many other cities and towns around the country. Local campaigns were built that helped people to support each other through re-connections of water supplies that were disconnected, legal representation for people that were taken to court and massive community protests to support neighbours who faced legal action. the campaign was successful because it didn’t rely on ‘leaders’, it relied on and was built on the efforts of ordinary people standing shoulder to shoulder in defence of each other.

Mass protests and non-payment also resulted in the defeat of the Poll Tax in Thatcher’s Britain.

It's going to take commitment, organisation and solidarity but a successful campaign can be built. Building that commitment, organisation and solidarity is dependent on your involvement. This is your opportunity to stand and fight back. Too often the easy solution for those in charge is to come back to the people and make us pay. They appear to have no other plan beyond austerity and increasing taxes in order to cover the huge losses incurred by the speculators. We have to take this as the opportunity to put a halt to them dipping into our pockets. This is our chance to stop them.

By standing together with your neighbours and building a campaign you can not alone defeat this tax you can also
1. Draw your line in the sand - express your feelings on what's happened over the last few years in a way that has a real impact and empower others to do the same.

2. Win back some control for citizens over the decisions that have been imposed on us over the last few years. Help to stop the rot of alienation and disenfranchisement.

3. Shape the future direction of your society and of Europe. Protect the society that the next generation will inherit by defending your democracy against illegitimate power and disaster capitalism and by protecting those who really can't pay from the effects of this crisis.

4. Force real political alternatives like debt cancellations, taxes on the super rich, financial transactions taxes - even among mainstream economists any number of alternative solutions to the crisis are being discussed. Your refusal to cooperate with austerity can help bring those alternatives to the table.

What Can I Do?

All of us have a responsibility as citizens to start taking democratic control of our political and economic system and to make it work for us. People do have the power to bring about real change but we need to be organised, plan and act.

Here are some ideas for what you can do in your community:
1. Don't pay. It’s as simple as that - Refuse to hand over the cash for this unjust tax. If none of us pay, there’s very little the government can do about it.

2. Help to build the campaign in your area. Lead the way by signing up to the Campaign’s non-payment pledge and encouraging your friends to sign up too.

3. If you can spare it, donate what you can to the campaign.

4. Take the initiative - become part of and shape the non-payment campaign in your local area with like-minded people.

Get in contact with the campaign and form a local group in your community. Your unique skills and talents are needed if we're to succeed. you need never have been involved in anything before. There are plenty of experienced people involved in the campaign who will help and support you.

A fairer society isn't just going to be handed to us. We have to fight for it and we can win it together. Whatever way that you can contribute is needed and valued.

For more information on the campaign check out the campaign website for details and check this site regularly for updates.
 


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