Bigger then Macnas or Paddy’s Day anyway — Galway anti-austerity protest, February 9th 2013

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized
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The anti-Property Tax campaign had the route plastered with posters for a meeting on Monday. Smart, and it looked really good

Galway’s contribution to the national day of action started in the shadow of the cathedral, hemmed in by novena traffic and stalls selling icons and beads.

By the time we set out, though, a very impressive crowd had gathered, and taking one lane it snaked through town, several streets long. The following pics only show a small part of the demo at a time as I wasn’t in a helicopter. At the end, a crowd at least 3,000-strong gathered at the Spanish Arch.

A strong contingent from CAHWT (Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes, the anti-property tax campaign and broad movement against austerity) led chants of “No way – we won’t pay” and “Labour, watch your backs/ We won’t pay your Property Tax”. These were taken up by those marching around the contingent.

The national turnout was a reflection of the mood among trade unionists. The leadership explain their almost total inaction in the face of catastrophe by insulting their own membership, saying there isn’t a mood for struggle.

 

Of course, they ignore their own culpability i this – despite the odd verbal challenge to austerity and neo-liberalism, in action (or inaction) they accept that “There Is No Alternative”. See my post from last year on David Begg and the Austerity Treaty. At times the trade union leadership looks almost like a puppet occupation government, promising only to mitigate the worst effects of austerity.

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Galway pro-choice in the foreground and further back as always the yellow-and-black marks out CAHWT

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At Spanish Arch some activists spiritedly tried to strike up a chant of “What do we want/ General Strike/ When do we need it/ Now”. It didn’t catch on beyond a small crowd. Galway’s a mild and bohemian town, an administrative, commercial and educational centre. Its manufacturing and services workers seem to be largely unorganized. Nonetheless petitions, calls and leaflets for national strike action received a warm response from large numbers of people. However the overwhelming mood in the crowd was somewhat harder to call

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The demo sets out – hundreds have already gone past and thousands more are backed up behind this section of the crowd

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Unusual sight for Galway – seats outside pub empty, streets full of placards. May there be many more like it

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