Billy Bragg Says He’s Through Paying Taxes

Billy Bragg went to “Speaker’s Corner” in Hyde Park to deliver an address explaining his tax resistance.

Bragg’s campaign is a good example of tax resistance as a variety of protest. He’s not against taxation as such, nor against the particular tax he’s resisting; nor is he trying to withhold money from the government as a way of trying to wrest concessions from it or topple it.

Bragg is a forthright state socialist, so he believes both in a powerful government and in a forcefully redistributive one. He sees taxes as the way people come together in solidarity to work towards mutual goals.

Lately, one of those goals has been to all pitch in to bail out the banking system and then pay gargantuan bonuses to the executives who run it. So Bragg thinks that another way people can show their solidarity via the tax system is to use it as a vehicle of protest against such ungrateful, greedy actions.

I don’t read Italian, so my take on this is based on Google Translate and on treating Italian as if it were some sort of pidgin Spanish. That said, it seems like a fellow named Giorgio Fidenato, a farmer from Pordenone, has decided to stop withholding taxes from the paychecks of his employees. He reasons that it’s up to the employees themselves to arrange their accounts with the government, and that if the treasury wants him to do their work for them, he expects to be paid for his trouble.

This is almost the exact same action and line of argument that American entrepreneuse Vivien Kellems used in when she stopped withholding taxes from her employees’ paychecks.

Fidenato is the co-founder and coordinator of the Movimento Libertario, an Italian libertarian movement.

While I’m on tour in Italy, I should mention the Carnival of Viareggio, which, according to the usual sources, became the burlesque it is today when, in , “a number of local citizens, as a sign of protest… decided to put on masks in order to show their refusal of high taxes they were forced to pay.”