Dublin working class communities show how resistance is done

10420053_785039928237522_3585140471515156016_nby Philip Ferguson

In the past few days several working class communities on the south side of Dublin have successfully resisted the attempts of Irish Water to install water meters.  The meters are part of the Fine Gael-Labour coalition’s attempt to impose water taxes on homes, the latest measure in their vicious austerity crusade against the working class in the south of Ireland.

On Monday, people on the Sandyford Park housing estate in south Dublin stopped Irish Water in its tracks.  They were only able to dig up a few shores for the fitting of boundary boxes, before residents and their supporters from other areas forced the halting of work and, the next day, made Irish Water fill in Monday’s holes with cement.

Irish Water was also forced to remove its vehicles from nearby Bearna Park housing estate, as residents made it obvious they would physically prevent the installation of meters.

The victories at Bearna Park and Sandyford Park follow on from successes last Friday at the Ballyogan and Moreen housing estates, where resistance brought a halt to attempts to install meters.

These skirmishes and victories are being repeated across the city and around the south of Ireland.

While these are simply battles, and the war will continue, one of the striking features of these struggles is how prepared workers in Ireland are to physically resist the imposition of austerity measures such as the water tax, face down the cops and the state, and break the law.

New Zealand workers could do with a bloody great dose of the fighting spirit of the Irish!



  1. Not so many years ago, this form of struggle was taken repeatedly by Auckland’s Water Pressure Group.
    We can do this stuff, will again.

  2. Yes, hope so.

    However, in Ireland working class people *really do* have far less respect for the law than in NZ (or Britain, for instance) and there is more hostility to the state. I think Irish history and having a powerful revolutionary tradition, in terms of Irish republicanism, means working class people across the island aren’t bothered about breaking the law and/or being arrested. Although there certainly could be, and needs to be, much more resistance in Ireland, it’s very, very different from New Zealand.

    What happened the past week in the south Dublin areas I mentioned is going on all over the south of Ireland.

    Recently I was talking to a student from France and I told him I liked France, people there don’t take shit lying down like they do in NZ. He said it was because of the French revolution, although he actually disapproved and thought people took to the streets too much!

    But there’s nothing in NZ that is comparable. There was *some* Maori resistance to dispossession, but even that was often passive.

    I’ve often thought it would be a good thing if NZ and Australia merged, as we’d be part of a rather more fiery people if that occurred.


  3. I do think there has been a lot of Maori resistance to dispossession, it has taken many forms, passive, creative, innovative and including armed struggle and it is still going on.

    • I certainly think that Maori working class is more combative than pakeha working class, *taken in general*. Maori working class experience of the state is more negative than pakeha workers’ experience of it, so there’s less respect for state ‘authority’. Maori are somewhat more like the Irish in that sense, except that Ireland has a profoundly revolutionary *tradition* that permeates the working class and rural poor.

      At some time, I want to write something comparing the New Zealand working class and the Irish working class. Even at their most advanced, the most militant sections of workers here were a long way behind the Irish working class – with the exception of the northern Irish protestant workers, who were more backward than most of the NZ working class.

      Another thing about Ireland is that both states perpetually harass republicans. You can’t be an active republican in Ireland without fairly constant state harassment. By and large both states leave the non-republican left groups (which are mainly Trotskyist) alone; but the republican left is continually up against state harassment. Since the republican left tends to be the most working class, and completely embedded in working class communities, that reality has an effect on those communities as well. Essentially, there is a lot less room in Ireland, north and south, for illusions about the state.

      In New Zealand, there is much more of a material base for illusions about the state – we only see the gloves come off fairly rarely.


  4. You have got it spot on. One more point, the Maori are tribal as are the Irish. It is always ‘all for one, one for all.’

Comments are closed.