Laurence Housman Pushes Tax Resistance in Suffrage Fight

On , a magazine called The New Age published “A Women’s Suffrage Supplement” in which a number of people were asked to respond to the following questions:

  1. What in your opinion is the most powerful argument (a) For, or (b) Against woman’s suffrage?
  2. Is there any reasonable prospect of obtaining woman’s suffrage in the present Parliament, and this immediately?
  3. Have the militant methods in your opinion failed, or succeeded?
  4. What alternative methods would you suggest?

Some of the answers touched on the tax resistance campaign for women’s suffrage, though most of these simply mentioned the power of the “no taxation without representation” argument. Laurence Housman was an exception, and promoted a stronger tax resistance campaign:

The methods which I believe will be effective to this end are not an alternative to, but an extension of, militancy. Tax-resistance should be conducted not merely on passive lines, but so as to insure that the Government secures no penny of profit from the women whom it taxes against their will. This can be done in ways that will involve no unequal struggles with the police, and I believe that in the near future it will be done — that women will “take back” in value all those forced levies and deductions of income tax at the source (the return of which, on demand, has been refused by the authorities) in such a way that, though it will involve no danger to any member of the community, will effectually make taxation without representation unprofitable to the Government that attempts it. To me this seems an absolutely right principle — no act of revenge, but a clear demonstration of a constitutional claim which the public will not fail to understand. And if the women recognise the principle as right, then the cost to the Government of unconstitutional taxation will be an accurate measure of the women’s desire for political enfranchisement.


If you’re a war tax resister or part of a war tax resistance group and you’re planning an event, action, workshop, or what-have-you around , NWTRCC wants to know about it.

Drop them a line with the who/what/when/where of your local Tax Day plans, so they can add it to their list of all the actions they hear about in their April newsletter and in a press release that is sent out in early .

And don’t forget to bring your camera, and send your photos to NWTRCC as well. This not only helps other groups see what you’re doing, but is also a great way to keep track of our history as a movement.

While you’re at it, drop me a line too and I’ll help spread the word here.

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