Reclaim the Planet

THERE MUST be something better. In Ireland we have record homelessness, hostels are full and teenagers with problems are sleeping on the streets. People in work find it increasingly hard to afford private sector rents or mortgages. Wage rises are in single figures while average profits have doubled in the last five years.

Traffic jams get longer, we spend more of our time getting to and from work. Waiting to get into hospital for non-emergency operations takes even longer than getting bank records from Liam Lawlor.

And the solutions offered by establishment politicians are crap. We can passively hope that they might do something sometime; or we can blame someone even worse off than ourselves. In the South we can scapegoat refugees and other foreigners, in the North we can pick on those of the other religion.

The system we live under &endash; capitalism &endash; is run in the interests of the rich. The vast majority of people work for someone else. We do not get the full value of our efforts, the unpaid portion of our work makes up the bosses' profits.

Our environment is increasingly endangered in the interests of the multi-millionaires. Illegal dumps all over the country, Sellafield on our doorstep, the destruction of rainforests (the lungs of the planet), production of goods deliberately designed to fall apart in a few years so that we have to buy new ones, and privatising of open spaces are just some of the 'benefits' of capitalism. What sort of world will be left to our children and grandchildren?

It's a system based on the systematic ripping off of the majority by a small minority. To 'justify' this robbery we are taught that we are too stupid to rule ourselves, that we need an elite of bosses and rulers to organise our lives for us.

Imagine if all the resources and experience available to us were to be utilised for the common good. Imagine if everyone effected by a decision was able to have a say in making that decision. Imagine if we lived in a world where the reason for working was to satisfy human needs and desires, and not to make profits for fat cats like Denis O'Brien, Margaret Heffernan or Tony O'Reilly.

It is possible. The bosses are a tiny minority. We can end their rule if we get together, explain our ideas to our neighbours and workmates, develop the confidence that comes from getting active in struggles to make things better, and promote the ideas of socialism, liberty and grassroots democracy. The Workers Solidarity Movement is one contribution to the struggle for an anarchist society.

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This edition is No70 published in June 2002

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