jump to navigation

DCTU March… November 24, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.

…Good turnout, Gardai estimate between 8k and 10k, but I’d have put it higher, and more so than last year (and to judge from this, many many more so).. Some nice visuals on the spectacle side of things. A very visible ULA presence. SP and SWP and PBPA too, WSM naturally. Union representation not bad – though could have been much better in parts. Economists Against Austerity as well. A noticeably big SF contingent. Saw the IRSP there, éirígí, 32CSM, and got a copy of Workers Hammer – no less, and a multitude of others (next year a CLR banner ;) – or at least something to get those from the CLR together a bit easier!). And great to meet a wide range of people who comment and participate in the CLR at it. Any thoughts on it overall?

And lo, a conflict in the official count too… Interesting.

About these ads


1. smiffy - November 24, 2012

Easily as many as last week’s abortion march, I would have thought. Probably more.

Aside from the numbers question, very strange reporting by RTE. Eugene McGlone wasn’t calling for a general strike (as far as I can see). I thought it was just a push back against the booing, saying that if you want a general strike (as the SWP and others were calling for) the first thing you need to do is join a union. Which seems fair enough.

Mark P - November 24, 2012

Jack O’Connor already has a statement out comparing people who boo useless union bureaucrats to fascists.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

That’s interesting smiffy re the numbers. Heartening that there have been two marches with solid (if not entirely fantastic numbers – but every bit helps) numbers in the space of a week or so.

Re McGlone’s point, it seems self-evident. I’d be deeply sceptical about calls for a general strike. I just can’t see where the numbers in support of such action would come from. They’re hardly there in the public sector – from my direct experience of same – and don’t exist at all in the private sector (ditto). There’s no question about a timid union bureaucracy, but in some respects it still remains fractionally to the left of the mass of the membership, and it seems to me there’s years of work ahead to get it to the point of defensive actions let alone the sort of offensive actions that a GS would constitute.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

Though one small caveat… depending on events it might be that that years might contract to 18 months… or something like that if the various impacts of the Budget are as bad as they seem likely to be.

Jack Jameson - November 24, 2012

For any chance of even a 24-hour general strike to have even a modicum of effect (and I’m fairly cynical about the call), I think the trade union leadership would have to show more, er, leadership and be up for it rather than minding their Labour Party membership cards or Labour leadership chums’ sensitivities.

It was good to see Labour Youth and Campaign for Labour Policies on the march.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

+1 re LY and CLP.

Absolutely agree. BTW, I wouldn’t be against a 24 hour strike against austerity, but I think what really gets me is the term ‘general’. It won’t be if it comes off, a ‘general strike. There’s no possiblity of such a thing in this state given that private sector union membership is so low and support in the private sector so atomised for such actions (particularly as regards the perception of the Public sector). But anti-austerity actions/strikes. That’s a different matter and well worth exploring.

Tomboktu - November 25, 2012
fergal - November 24, 2012

-right about the RTE coverage-reads like McGlone was booed because he is a trade unionist. There is no explanation of why he was heckled and what his hecklers wanted. This is the kind of argument I’ve heard “I’m against austerity but I’m not marching with union people,”Fintan O Toole has a variant on it which suggests that unions alone are not fit to transform his beloved Republic.As WBS mentions down below is there an appetite for a general strike?Most people seem to believe that the state is broke and we have to have cutbacks,end of story.How can you break out of this narrative?Tactically, an indefinte strike by the revenue commissioners/inland revenue could put Kenny and Gilmore in their box. It would put a huge burden on those working in the tax office but you could have a massive subscription plan by Congress to pay their wages

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

That’s a very interesting idea, very very precisely targetted strike with some form of support from other parts of the unions. I wonder if that would be legal, it certainly is something to think about if the rationale could be made very clear.

Mark P - November 24, 2012

The RTE coverage is either incompetent or mischievous. The notion that McGlone would call for a general strike is so crazy that it’s actually hilarious.

2. Ivorthorne - November 24, 2012

I understand that the GRA are complaining about political connections playing an important role when it comes to senior appointments. That would certainly help to explain why the Gardai tend to low ball their estimates.

This isn’t the first time they’ve revised an estimate downward.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

I didn’t see or hear the garda helicopter over the march after 2pm – did others and did I just miss it?

Yes, it’s a bit troubling how these estimates are always so politicised. Of course we want the maximum number, but I find the inevitable massaging downwards a bit depressingly inevitable. It’s as if there’s a sense that there cannot be those sort of numbers out.

Ivorthorne - November 24, 2012

I wonder if it is possible to find out their methodology. It would be nice to try it out on an All-Ireland Sunday where we know the figures attending.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012


Gearóid - November 24, 2012

I wonder if the massaging downwards also occurs when the marches are in support of disgraced billionaires.

Michael Carley - November 25, 2012

On a march I was involved in organizing in Bath last year, the police estimate was higher than we had, and higher than the local paper’s. On the other hand, they were using face recognition software on the CCTV to do the count, so maybe you might not want a very accurate estimate.

cross-eyed cow - November 25, 2012

A cop told me once that the way they do it. They have certain streets which they say they know the capacity of.

Based on that they estimate how much of the street is filled with marchers, or how many times the street is filled up as the march goes through it.

The lesson is, I suppose, if you are organising a march, spread your people out as much as possible and try to avoid them bunching up.

EWI - November 25, 2012

The Guards sometime revise down to get under certain maximum allowed limits and therefore allow a march to go ahead.

Hard to say malice on the part of RTÉ. We’ll see if they run a correction today or allow studio guests today to mention it.

3. sonofstan - November 24, 2012

Good to hear re turnout – I was at work,and, stuck in the precariat, I can’t really afford to turn down a well paid day to march: which may be part of the reason these marches look so public service heavy. Many of the rest of us are either working at weekends or knackered after long and unsociable hours (not suggesting many in the PS aren’t overworked either)- or unemployed and disaffected (or emigrated)

Re the CLR banner – it would have to be something entirely cryptic I think. On last week’s march, I ended up introducing two regulars here to each other by their user names first, and only then their ‘real’ names – I’d intended it the other way around but it came out wrong. There is really no established etiquette for such situations is there?

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

That’s a very good point SOS re public service heavy. I always wonder what those just shopping perceive them as – something entirely alien? Of course they’re not, but the danger of them being seen as PS exclusive (or majority) is very real and something the media can use as a lever against them.

re introductions, had a similar experience today. Perhaps not a banner but a few placards would be good. Even just to get people at a focal point at some stage either before during or after -probably best after so people can march with their main choice…

4. Mark P - November 24, 2012

A CLR banner is a great idea.

Ivorthorne - November 24, 2012

I vote for temporary facial tattoos.

sonofstan - November 24, 2012

Maybe the rest of youse could put your earring back in for the day? :)

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

I’m half-joking, but at the same time it would be a bit of craic. For example, I didn’t see you today Mark P, despite looking and would have been good to meet up.

Facial tattoos. Interesting, Ivorthorne, tell me more :)

Whatever it takes sonofstan!

maddurdu - November 24, 2012

Have a little cedar tree on your placard? :P

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

Could do, could do.

cross-eyed cow - November 25, 2012

how about something like this?


WorldbyStorm - November 25, 2012

Cool, CEC! I like it.

5. Mark P - November 24, 2012

I’ve just seen O’Connor’s defence of Labour in government in this month’s Liberty, and now have to downgrade his stupid comparison mentioned above to second place in the highly competitive “Most Vomit Inducing Thing Jack O’Connor Has Said This Month” competition.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

As was put to me today, everything is now directed towards CPA2 and not rocking the boat. “Now less than ever” might be the cry… (BTW, this points also to the dangers of a union movement which placed far too many of its eggs during the last twenty years in the PS basket – leaving the overall strength of the movement deeply compromised at times like this).

Mark P - November 24, 2012

“Now less than ever” sums it up perfectly.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

Please use it, I don’t often coin something halfway decent! But it’s true, isn’t it? I don’t have to think a GS is a great idea to completely agree that even beyond talk of betrayal these guys are messing around in a way that is seriously bad for workers (I could put it stronger, but my own rules constrain me).

EWI - November 25, 2012

Well, the union heads took big pay and treats like the CB jobs over union militancy for twenty years, and this is where it left us. And if even Labour stopped objecting years ago to the Euro Free Market and Globalisation (and plenty of EU jobs helped lubricate that lack if principle too).

Bartley - November 25, 2012

As was put to me today, everything is now directed towards CPA2 and not rocking the boat.

Absolutely, great that this aspect is finally beginning to dawn on people.

The “insider rump” of Irish social democracy (who put the “partner” in social partnership) are completely focused on fighting a rearguard action to maintain privileges for a relatively small group. They’ve already pretty dispensed dispensed with any pretense about protecting services, or the vulnerable, or even the next generation of union members. It’s all now about getting the membership currently in their late forties or fifties to the finish line with entitlements intact.

Whatever about booing being a fascist tactic or just mild rudeness, I’m continually surprised that the further left groups even turn up to the same marches, seeing as their objectives seem to run totally counter to the “establishment” left (not sure where to put the quotation marks there, maybe establishment “left” would be more accurate).

I can understand though why ICTU et al show up – to provide the haystack against which more radical elements can exhaust themselves playing handball (to steal & mangle one of Joe’s more memorable quips).

RosencrantzisDead - November 25, 2012

Good to see you adopting class politics, Bartley. It is a sign of how appalling Fine Gael are that even you have to adopt this stance.

Your concern for the new arrivals into the public sector is touching. Of course, it also makes you an outrageous hypocrite since you have been calling to cut the pay of all public sector workers for some time now, including the new arrivals. Though, trolls never feel bound to be consistent, do they?

6. Jack Jameson - November 24, 2012

I’m not a fan of booing and heckling speakers on trade union/Left platforms but I think SIPTU’s Jack O’Connor is getting things way out of proportion when he denounces it as “fascist activity”.


WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012


7. shea - November 24, 2012

what did people think of the booing. its not something that usually happens at these types of marches. it happened as soon as mcglone was introduced as an ICTU speaker. he said he was going to speak for 4 minutes but defiantly didn’t. when was the last time someone was heckled of stage at one of these types of marches. i think smith from the stage translated it as a call for a general strike but was that what it was?

Mark P - November 24, 2012

O’Connor and Begg were roundly booed by large sections of the crowd at the last big demonstration called by ICTU.

I full expect there to be some handwringing about how people booing useless bureaucrats looking to do a bit of radical posturing for the day reflects hostility to the very idea of trade unions. It doesn’t. It reflects hostility to the SIPTU and ICTU top brass, all of whom deserve nothing but hostility.

8. The Caretaker - November 24, 2012

I was at the march and booed McGlone. However it was obvious that the initial booing was staged, as soon as Brid Smith interjected the booing pretty much disappeared.

There were 11 speakers before we got going then at the GPO the speeches were timid to say the least. I agree with WBS and others re a general strike btw.

WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

Yeah, I think the idea that booing was ‘fascist’ is mad stuff, and suggests that O’Connor et al are bizarrely detached from what is going on – that they can’t even see the cathartic aspect of it.

Timid, great word to describe it.

9. maddurdu - November 24, 2012

Great gallery of pics here


WorldbyStorm - November 24, 2012

Look great. Thanks maddurdu…

Mark P - November 24, 2012

They do indeed.

I have to admit that a small part of me always enjoys looking for placards and signs expounding proper oddball views. From that photo set, the water fluoridation crank was definitely eclipsed by the hand made Zeitgeist/Sovereign Independent style sign about fictional money and globalists.

maddurdu - November 24, 2012

Theres one on some other collection I saw that accuses ‘Freemason Kenny’ of plotting to kill children.

RosencrantzisDead - November 24, 2012

Say what you like about the water fluoridation conspiracy theorists, they are not trying to take advantage of people’s desperation to make themselves some easy money. The Freeman/Sovereign Independent crowd on the other hand…

10. Yobbah - November 25, 2012

Numbers: I have my own methodology regarding numbers. There was a march in Limerick in support of the Collins family a couple of years back and 5,000 gathered in the space between city hall, the courthouse and St. Mary’s Cathedral. It’s not large. 5,000 gathered in the even smaller square of my village for a festival several years ago. So when you think about it, 1,000 people bunched together occupy a small space.

Today’s march was certainly larger than the one held in Waterford recently, numbering 12,000 at least, a figure agreed by all.

However, throughout the day, the numbers varied. I estimated between 15,000-20,000 at the beginning at Parnell Street. This had enlarged during the march itself to, i estimate, 25,000-30,000 and at it’s conclusion. Numbers fell rapidly away thereafter, due to the cold and the fact that the whole event, the waiting, march itself, probably took an hour and a half to two hours. People wanted something to eat, toilet etc.

Sinn Feinn and 32CSM were there but took no fundamental part in the march itself but had somehow managed to position themselves closest to the stage, which I and my fellow protestors found to be cynical considering our grouping was third in place of procession and they seemed to be interested in representing themselves than attacking austerity.

Unite was certainly there with a contingent from Waterford and Michael Taft bearing a flag.

That man with the Freemason Kenny poster attached himself to us for some reason best known to himself.

A telling remark was made on the bus by a pensioner as we saw the streets of Dublin bustling with shoppers, “There’s no recession here.” Off we returned to Waterford, where austerity has marked the main street as well as the community and looking towards more battles to fight next week.

Yobbah - November 25, 2012

At the third paragraph I mean the march in Dublin.

WorldbyStorm - November 25, 2012

There was a lot of running around by various elements though in fairness to SF they were there in strength throughout behind where I was for most of the march. Met MT with his Unite banner.

Just re your last thought. Over the Summer of all places I was in Dorking in Surrey – just went through it one afternoon – and what struck me was that what was by any measure a really prosperous town in the South of England had been seriously ravaged by the recession and austerity in the UK in a way that the centre of Dublin hadn’t – yet. I haven’t been in Waterford in a couple of years but I think I know exactly what you mean (seen something of the same thing in parts of Donegal in the last three years two, which is easier to track because I’m up to there and back two or three times a year).

11. Jack Jameson - November 25, 2012

“Took no fundamental part in the march itself… and they seemed to be interested in representing themselves than attacking austerity.”

Leaving aside the specific groups named and deal with the general principle, what’s taking a “fundamental part in the march” consist of apart from being in the march? Did the Socialist Party, People’s Movement, PBPA, CAHWT, Workers’ Party, CPI, etc, do something different?

Weren’t all groups “representing” themselves (or otherwise why be a group with flags and banners or posters?) and, apart from being there, how did others distinguish themselves in “attacking austerity”?

Garibaldy - November 25, 2012

Presumably the suggestion is that sometimes groups don’t bother with the full march, and instead turn up at a strategic point and place themselves near the head of the march to garner maximum publicity for themselves with minimum effort, and to make it look like they were at the forefront all along. I imagine we’ve probably all seen it happen.

Yobbah - November 25, 2012

Thanks Garibaldy. You put it far better than I did and that’s how we felt about it.

Yobbah - November 25, 2012

I am sorry. You are right. Boycott household tax, burn bondholders, etc., failed to make the cut as far as attacking austerity is concerned.

We also observed a flock of of SF and 32 CSM placards and flags racing past us to occupy the position before the stage. We did not see the rest of them do it. We should fault them for their tardiness.

Blissett - November 26, 2012

I see what you are saying, but that didnt happen. SF contingent did the march and were at the back from the start, when they reached stage coming down, a large proportion of march was coming against them back up O connell st, so it doesnt seem unreasonable to me that a lot of shinners just decided to stay put.

The organisation of march could have been better. Not sure what the antics at the start was all about, other than 1 upmanship stuff. Also v slow to get started

12. doctorfive - November 25, 2012

The nazi stuff was a bit ridiculous imo. Surely people politicised to the point of marching have better ways of getting their point across.


maddurdu - November 25, 2012

I got the impression from talking about the crisis with a German friend that similar Godwin’s Law violating banners showing Merkel as Hitler in Greece have been used to demonise the protesters in the German media.

13. doctorfive - November 25, 2012

This is it.

The yes man, bag man thing was good but swastikas allow it to be dismissed easily.

WorldbyStorm - November 25, 2012


14. Tomboktu - November 25, 2012

My off-topic musing at one stage as we wandered down O’Connell Street: Among the marchers were some of the lads from other branches of my union who are utter pains at the annual conference. They were with kids. I mean, who let them be in charge of young, impressionable minds? It’s scary ;)

smiffy - November 25, 2012


15. irishmarxism - November 25, 2012
16. greengoddess2 - November 25, 2012

There were also Labour people there. CLP and Uni’s. Members marching under union banners too. Taft for instance. I may have been the only PLP Member there. Spied by sindo. I got some verbal stick from SP but mostly a few anti labour banners and one they set on fire from a building. Booing is never helpful but I think it was mainly a way of indirectly attacking labour. But there was orchestration of it and one of the protagonists appeared from nowhere beside me. I hadn’t seen her among any of the SP before. Bit odd alright. If labour is too be influenced tis is not the right tactic. It will backfire .

Jolly Red Giant - November 25, 2012

The only people ‘influencing’ Labour is the ECB and IMF – the LP is welded completely to the policies of austerity and the capitalist financial markets – the defeat of those policies necessitates the defeat of the LP and FG. The LP is by far the weakest link in the chain and will come under increasing pressure in the pre- and post-budget period.

smiffy - November 25, 2012

Well if Labour is only influenced by the ECB and IMF, whatever difference will pressure, pre and post-budget, make?

Julian Assandwich - November 26, 2012

It’s not about “persuasion”. The Labour Party/SocialPartnership Party are fused to Fine Gael-IMF-ECB-Anglo-IBEC, no campaigner should seek to ruin a movement by linking-in with or finding unity with them. You only have to look at the destruction of the Labour Party itself (and the ossification of the trade unions) to see the disastrous results of that.

The good in the party need to put it up to the leadership to stop the budget and legislate for X. If they don’t succeed, then they should be true to themselves and their politics and break from the Labour Party and engage with the independent organizations of the working class and the movements – particularly CAHWT.

And if they don’t atleast break free I don’t think they could be considered “good” at all.

17. fergal - November 25, 2012

on a different matter but related. Anybody au fait with maternity leave and labour law? A friend has just returned to work after maternity leave,back a few weeks. She was called in by her superior on Friday and told that she had been overpaid on maternity and now wolud have to pay back this money. There’s no union in her workplace. I’ll be contacting my own union tomorrow to see what’s possible . Initially she was told that she would have to give 45 per cent of her wages a month,this was then revised down to 30 per cent a month. She’s an immigrant and is afraid that if she kicks up she’ll get the door. She’s employed by one of the sexier(sexist?)multinationals.
1 Does she have to pay this money back(she made no mistake?)
2 Can she not pay 1 or 2 per cent for a longer period of time
3 what are her legal rights here?
Many thanks

WorldbyStorm - November 25, 2012

Could I post this up as a proper post fergal? I think it might get more notice there… it all sounds seriously dodge though.

fergal - November 25, 2012

sure,fire away

WorldbyStorm - November 25, 2012

Grand, will do, thanks a million.

CMK - November 25, 2012

I had a full response written and deleted it as I didn’t want to be giving misleading advice. But I’ll take the risk: 1) I’d ask for the request to be made in writing i.e. an email from HR or payroll detailing how much is due and the timeframe for repayment. Also, ask for the contractual terms that govern This at the very least creates a paper trail and that can be assessed by a third party if this goes any further. What an MBA sozzled manager thinks is permissible and what the law of the land regarding employer/employee relations dictates are often widely divergent and, equally often, supportive of employees in such circumstances; 2) your friend should consider joining a union as a ‘confidential’ member (SIPTU provide this, for instance). It may not be much use at the moment but if this escalates there will be some support and advice even if the employer doesn’t recognise unions; 3) ask the Revenue for a tax balancing statement which should detail what was paid during the maternity leave (there may even be a rebate there, it has happened); 4) the only time I’ve ever heard of something similar was when someone underpaid Income tax due to a payroll error and they had to pay it back to Revenue. Revenue came to a mutually agreeable arrangement. 30% sounds like a shakedown; and, finally, 5) contact an employee friendly solicitor (i.e. not one of the big flashy law firms who’ll invariably represent employers and charge top dollar). If there’s a sole practitioner who specialises in employment law give them a bell. Best of luck.

18. Joe - November 25, 2012

I went on the march with the missus and it was nice to meet some CLRers and some old comrades from my ISN days. Later I met my oldest mates, none of whom would ever go on a march. And I went to the SawDoctors in the Olympia. My first time seeing them. I kinda switched off the gig at one stage – they do have a song formula don’t they? – and dreamed that I should have broken into Nerney’s Court before the march and brought the IMPACT banner for an airing. Or done up an unofficial banner or set up a Reclaim the Union facebook page.
I’m also thinking of resigning from membership after 30 years and joining SIPTU as an individual member.
So I’m a little amused at the (deserved) digs at SIPTU here. Be thankful for small mercies – at least their banners were on the march!

CMK - November 26, 2012

Hang in there with SIPTU Joe! Not for Jack’s sake but every body who leaves a union gives fuel to the Sindo Tendency. Gods knows I loath the SIPTU leadership as much as the next union member but I’m trying to hand in there and do my bit. Sad to say but for those of us on the Left the union’s represent a real dilemma: leave, weaken the union movement, or stay and be damned along with the bureaucrats. I think something is astir in the union movement. Don’t know what but there’s something afoot.

Joe - November 26, 2012

Cheers CMK. I may (!) have confused with that post. I’m thinking of leaving IMPACT and joining SIPTU cos IMPACT didn’t support the march at all, at all.
I agree with you. Anyone who can should be a member of a union.
I suppose another tack for me to take would be to actually turn up at my IMPACT branch AGM and speak out for action against austerity. And for an end to collaboration with the enemy.

19. Blissett - November 26, 2012

The chap selling Workers Hammer was wearing a Leinster Rugby Jacket. For some reason that struck me as rather incongrous!

crocodile - November 26, 2012

Especially with an international on at Lansdowne Rd…..

maddurdu - November 26, 2012

There was a fella selling the hammer last wed at the Savita protest as well.

20. Mary in the South East - November 26, 2012

McClone did not call for a general strike. He said, if you want a general strike, join a union, get a resolution passed at your branch, then go to your union conference and have it passed there, then get it on the agenda for ICTU conference. He was making the point that until that happens, he has ICTU head had no mandate to call a strike.

Ciarán - November 26, 2012

jeezzzzz Mary,

Don’t let the facts of what was actually said get in the way of a good old rant about fat cat union bosses…

As for SF supporters booing the impementation of austerity measures…Hilarious stuff considering their cognitive dissonance policy between the north and south..

They wouldn’t know socialism if it bit them!

WorldbyStorm - November 26, 2012

That’s a fair point about not having a mandate either for a GS.

michaelosull - November 26, 2012

Rte radio 1 did piece this evening on the possibility of a General strike in Ireland following last Saturdays ‘embarrassing moment’. They did a vox pop of TU people including McGlone and O’Connor. Of course while they downplayed the whole thing it is the beginning of getting a real debate amongst the wider TU movement.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,258 other followers

%d bloggers like this: