National day of action against water charges

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
31 October 2014


On the eve of the national day of action against water charges the Communist Party of Ireland calls on working people around the country to come out and support the actions called by the Right2Water Campaign under trade union leadership and to take part in any local protest in their area this coming Saturday, the 1st of November.
      The general secretary of the CPI, Eugene McCartan, stated that water charges are the direct result of the imposition of the illegitimate bank debt on the Irish people by the EU and IMF. The introduction of water charges means the commodification of a basic human right, that of access to clean drinking water. The commodification of water in the form of charges can lead in the direction of privatisation.
      He stated that we need to develop the debate beyond the question of double taxation to one of the nature of a society that would turn a fundamental right—safe, clean water—into a commodity for making profits for corporations.
      Raising the argument about privatisation means that the issue is no longer an individual person’s or family’s decision to pay or not to pay the charges but becomes a social struggle, which can only help develop a social and class consciousness and collective resistance to exploitation.
      The CPI believes that, in parallel with the resistance to water charges, the demand for a constitutional amendment needs to be raised. “We need to raise the political demand for an amendment to the constitution enshrining public, democratic ownership over water, that it cannot be privatised without the direct consent of the people.
      “Defeating the government on the water charges is possible, but experience teaches us that they will regroup and come back again and again to impose charges and privatisation. A constitutional amendment would block that.”
      He condemned the crass opportunism of the Green Party and its opportunist call for a constitutional amendment, pointing out that the coalition government of Fianna Fáil and the Green Party voted in the General Assembly in 2010 against the UN resolution that declares access to clean, safe drinking water to be a basic human right. The Green Party supported and signed the “Programme for Ireland,” the aggression pact against the Irish people with the EU, ECB, and IMF. One of the central components of that programme was the introduction of water charges.
      This is an important fight, which can provide the opportunity to raise the wider political debate about the nature of capitalism and the control and domination of Ireland by the EU.
      It is not enough to be angry about the extra expense of water charges: the people need to consolidate their ownership of this vital resource. We need the maximum unity of all those who oppose water charges, and we call on all working-class activists and community groups to rally in united resistance.
      The defeat of water charges will also be a defeat for the mantra of “there is no alternative.” Working people need a victory, and the struggle for water can provide that.

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