Title: For Starters (WS47)
Date: 1995
Source: Retrieved on 5th December 2021 from struggle.ws
Notes: Published in Workers Solidarity No. 47 — Spring 1996.

WE ALL MADE a difference. As the opinion polls showed support for divorce slipping some feared that this basic civil right would be defeated again. Then Patricia McKenna won her High Court case to stop the government funding the ‘yes’ side. Meanwhile the anti-divorce groups were pulling in big money to fund their propaganda.

Instead of fatally damaging the ‘yes’ side, her case had an unforeseen result. A lot of people who had not intended to do anything got worried, and then got stuck in. In the end the good guys won by a whisker. But, however small the majority, we did win. And every single person who put leaflets into their neighbours’ letter boxes, stuck up a few posters, talked to their family & friends... everybody who worked for a ‘yes’ victory made a difference. Every vote was needed.

So, the next time you wonder if there is any point in getting involved in campaigns or struggles for change think of the divorce referendum. Every person has a contribution to make, and sometimes an extra one or two people can, literally, make all the difference.

The fight in our neighbourhoods

WSM members have been involved in the anti-water charges campaign since its inception. We have helped organise local meetings, protests at Labour & DL conferences, pickets of court cases. We have worked to win trade union support, and assisted in the building a movement which, in Dublin alone, now has over 8,500 paid-up members. We have written about it in our paper and produced a special edition of our Anarchist News bulletin. Why so much effort?

Because it is about working class people saying we refuse to continually foot the bill for everything while the rich avail of tax amnesties. Because it is about people taking direct action: getting organised and refusing to pay the double tax instead of naively relying on the empty promises of politicians. Because it offers an opportunity for rebuilding class consciousness and confidence. That’s why!

As councils move to cut-off the water supply of non-payers the heat will be turned up as the campaign protests, obstructs and reconnects. The state will probably take a more aggressive stance than they have up to now. One immediate task is to set up local groups and involve more non-payers in them. Just as trusting politicians won’t win anything, neither will relying on a relatively small number of activists to organise events.

Instead of leaders and followers, we need involvement — working class people managing their own struggle. We can turn more supporters into activists, build strong local groups, and defeat the water tax. Let’s do it.

Another anarchist magazine

Readers looking for more detailed information and ideas than we have space for in this paper should get hold of the Workers Solidarity Movement’s magazine, Red & Black Revolution. Issue no.2, which appeared recently, carries an exclusive interview with Noam Chomsky. Here he gives his views on anarchism and Marxism, and the prospects for socialism.

Other articles look at Sinn Fein’s pan-nationalist strategy (by Gregor Kerr, a former National Committee member of the Irish Anti-Extradition Committee), Irish Travellers’ struggles for civil rights and ethnic recognition (by Travellers’ rights activist Patricia McCarthy), management attacks and union leaders love of partnership (by SIPTU Regional Committee member Des Derwin), how single issue campaigns can get sucked into the system they were set up to oppose (by former unemployed activist Conor McLoughlin), what anarchists mean by revolution, the trials and tribulations of the modern Russian anarchist movement, and a report from the European libertarian gathering in Spain last summer.