Gaza City Begins Strike Over Tax on Doctors
Gaza, — Gaza City began a second two-day commercial strike in support of doctors who refuse to pay the Israeli Government a 12 percent tax on their income.
Israeli troops patrolled the empty streets of the occupied city but made no attempt to force shopkeepers to open up. Gaza City carried out a two-day business strike earlier this week to protest the tax, which the municipality claims is not applicable in occupied territories.
The residents of the city demanded an end to the occupation and statehood for the Palestinians. In Rafiah, 15 miles south of Gaza City, students threw rocks at a police car sent to remove signs urging local businessmen to join the strike, the police said.
So, if you remember from a week or so ago, the tax authorities used a battering ram to break Kate Harvey’s barricade and seize her goods for taxes. A hell of a lot of good that did them. Look what happened when they tried to auction off the seized goods! From the issue of The Vote:
The Sale That Was Not a Sale.
After many months of barricade, “Brackenhill” was broken into by the tax-collecting authorities, and “in the King’s name” the doors were battered in and Mrs. [Kate] Harvey’s goods were seized to cover the amount of taxes which she refuses to pay so long as no woman in the land has a voice in controlling the expenditure of the country. The tax-collector wanted these goods to be disposed of peacefully, and therefore insisted that they should be sold on the premises and not in a public hall, as on a previous occasion. On morning a band of Suffragist men carried placards through the streets of Bromley, on which was the device, “I personally protest against the sale of a woman’s goods to pay taxes over which she has no control,” and long before , the time fixed for the sale, from North, South, East and West, people came streaming into the little town of Bromley, and made their way towards “Brackenhill.” Punctually at the tax-collector and his deputy mounted the table in the dining-room, and the former, more in sorrow than in anger, began to explain to the crowd assembled that this was a genuine sale! Mrs. Harvey at once protested against the sale taking place. Simply and solely because she was a woman, although she was a mother, a business woman, and a tax-payer, she had no voice in saying how the taxes collected from her should be spent. The tax collector suffered this speech in silence, but he could judge by the cheers it received that there were many ardent sympathisers with Mrs. Harvey in her protest. He tried to proceed, but one after another the men present loudly urged that no one there should bid for the goods. The tax-collector feebly said this wasn’t a political meeting, but a genuine sale! “One penny for your goods then!” was the derisive answer. “One penny — one penny!” was the continued cry from both inside and outside “Brackenhill.” Then men protested that the tax-collector was not a genuine auctioneer; he had no hammer, no list of goods to be sold was hung up in the room. There was no catalogue, nothing to show bidders what was to be sold and what wasn’t. The men also objected to the presence of the tax-collector’s deputy. “Tell him to get down!” they shouted. “The sale shan’t proceed till he does,” they yelled. “Get down! Get down:” they sang. But the tax-collector felt safer by the support of this deputy. “He’s afraid of his own clerk,” they jeered. Again the tax-collector asked for bids. “One penny! One penny!” was the deafening response. The din increased every moment and pandemonium reigned supreme. During a temporary lull the tax-collector said a sideboard had been sold for nine guineas. Angry cries from angry men greeted this announcement. “Illegal sale!” “He shan’t take it home!” “The whole thing’s illegal!” “You shan’t sell anything else!” and The Daily Herald Leaguers, members of the Men’s Political Union, and of other men’s societies, proceeded to make more noise than twenty brass bands. Darkness was quickly settling in; the tax-collector looked helpless, and his deputy smiled wearily. “Talk about a comic opera — it’s better than Gilbert and Sullivan could manage,” roared an enthusiast. “My word, you look sick, guv’nor! Give it up, man!” Then everyone shouted against the other until the tax-collector said he closed the sale, remarking plaintively that he had lost £7 over the job! Ironical cheers greeted this news, with “Serve you right for stealing a woman’s goods!” He turned his back on his tormentors, and sat down in a chair on the table to think things over. The protesters sat on the sideboard informing all and sundry that if anyone wanted to take away the sideboard he should take them with it! With the exit of the tax-collector, his deputy and the bailiff, things gradually grew quieter, and later on Mrs. Harvey entertained her supporters to tea at the Bell Hotel. But the curious thing is, a man paid nine guineas for the sideboard to the tax-collector. Mrs. Harvey owed him more than £17, and Mrs. Harvey is still in possession of the sideboard!
In the Market-square in the evening Miss Boyle presided at a large and orderly meeting at which Mr. Mark Wilkes, Mr. Bell, Mr. Webber, Mr. Steer, and Mr. Jouning spoke. The Tax Resistance banners mingled with those of the Women’s Freedom League, and the meeting was the event of evening at Bromley.
At the instigation of Mr. Webber enthusiastic cheers were given for Mrs. Harvey and the Cause, and Mrs. [Charlotte] Despard, responding to an insistent call, wound up the meeting with a short speech.
Women’s Tax Resistance League
Excellent Meeting at Hastings.
At the Grand Concert Hall, Hastings, on night a public meeting was held under the auspices of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, which created immense interest in the town owing to the recent decision by Judge Mackarness in favour of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies against the Mayor and Corporation of Hastings. It will be remembered that owing to the Anti-Suffrage riots on , the authorities prohibited the protest meeting to be held that night, and it was the same mob which attacked the members of the National Union a few days later.
The postponed meeting of the Women’s Tax Resistance League was held night, and in the unavoidable absence of the Countess Brassey the chair was taken by Lady Isabel Hampden Margesson, a direct ascendant of John Hampden.
Lady Isabel, in her opening speech, fully vindicated the action of her historic ancestor, and illustrated by her well-chosen words and clearly expressed sentiments, that she is equally prepared to resist injustice and expose bad government.
Mr Laurence Housman, in a brilliant political speech, traced the constitutional history of Tax Resistance from Magna Charta to the present day, proving that only through refusing to submit to imposition have all great reforms been won.
Mrs. [Margaret] Kineton Parkes, who was the other speaker, accused the Government of unconstitutional action in demanding taxation from a large section of the community from whom they withheld representation. She also gave the moral reasons why women should demand the vote, and why they should also unite in protesting by the time honoured way of Tax Resistance against its continual denial.
At the close of the meeting the following resolution was carried with one dissentient:—
That this meeting is of opinion that women are justified in refusing to pay all Imperial taxes until they are granted the same control over national expenditure as male taxpayers possess.
It is satisfactory to know that there was adequate police protection. It is stated on good authority that the Chief Constable was himself in attendance at this meeting, together with seventy members of the Force, and as many of these men were taken from night duty it caused the authorities a good deal of extra expense. This police protection would have been more to the point if it had been in evidence in the streets of Hastings on .
On , Mrs. Kineton Parkes spoke at Bristol under the auspices of the New Constitutional Society, and on Wednesday, at Cardiff, under the Women’s Social and Political Union.
No Vote, No Dog License.
At the Assize Court, Kingston-on-Thames, on , Miss Isabelle Stewart, B.Sc., was summoned for non-payment of her dog license. Defendant did not appear, but it was explained that she had declined to pay the tax on conscientious grounds. As a suffragist she believed that it was unjust to tax women while they were unrepresented in Parliament. She was accordingly fined £2 inclusive, and [as] it was stated that she would not pay a fine she considered unjust, distraint was ordered to be levied.
A number of sympathisers were in the Court, including Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, who is refusing to pay the licences on her eight dogs. A meeting was held by the Coronation Stone in the Market Square. Miss M. Lawrence presided, pointing out that had Miss Stewart been a man she would have had two votes; as a woman she had none. Mrs. [Myra Eleanor] Sadd Brown then addressed the crowd. She commented on the treachery of a Government that had gone back on its principle of no taxation without representation and on the different forms of treatment meted out to Sir Edward Carson, Jim Larkin, and the Suffragists respectively. The crowd throughout was sympathetic, and at the end of the meeting swarmed round the speaker and argued in an amicable way with her.
Mrs. Harvey’s Thanks.
The Women’s Tax Resistance League has received a very charming letter of thanks from Mrs. Harvey for the bouquet presented to her by Miss Clemence Housman on behalf of the League at the Caxton Hall Meeting on .