Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Protest time again

This coming Saturday, ICTU are holding a protest march from Wood Quay to the GPO. This comes almost a year after the last major incident where I spent a day in the pub North doing Xmas shopping cold picketing a building site on Pearse Street. The upcoming demonstration, while nominally about Congress' alternative to the austerity measures, is really the best opportunity for the general public to register their disgust with the decisions and plans of the current government.

Over the last 10 years, the Unions, both public and private sector, have not exactly covered themselves in glory. The fiasco of benchmarking and partnership along with lightning strikes and blue flus have not endeared the organisations to the general public. At this point the sight of Jack O'Connor, David Begg and Blair Horan on the TV has most people either reaching for the remote or throwing something at the screen.

However, this protest has to be about more than the Unions. These organisations are the only groups who are able to mobilize large numbers of people to form the core of a protest. Compare this Saturday's events with the Right to Work events last May and June where there was never more than 1,000 people in attendance and in may cases substantially less. The involvement of fringe groups such as SWP, EirigĂ­ and Anarchists only puts people off attending. The Unions, despite all their faults, give some level of legitimacy to the event.

So turn up on Saturday. Bring a sign and feel free to put an anti-Union slogan - you won't be alone. Together the masses can have a say and hopefully put an end to this disastrous government and their failed policies.

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