Axe the Tax: the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation

The Sparrows’s Nest Library and Archive has made a lot of material from the poll tax rebellion in the U.K. — posters, pamphlets, newsletters, and such — available on-line (also available at the Internet Archive).

I’m going through this material and hunting for details about specific tactical and strategic activity and decision-making by the people involved in this successful tax resistance struggle.

The All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation put out a newsletter. Among the tactics I see mentioned there are marches, a rally at the private home of the prime minister, leafletting (sometimes at the tax offices as people lined up to ask questions about their bills), mass burnings of tax bills (“In Bristol 5,000 turned up to one burning!”), outreach to private bailiff companies that would be responsible for conducting distraints, lobbying of local councils to short circuit enforcement efforts, educating resisters about the legal enforcement process and ways they can use it to their advantage, clogging the courts, rallying at (and in) the courts, encouraging employers not to cooperate with salary levies (including by strike threats), honoring prisoners, and (after victory) fighting for amnesty for non-payers.

It’s not clear how many of these tactics were actually put into practice. Some are mentioned in passing, in vague terms, or in “we should” clauses that suggest they were still in the aspirational stage.

They also produced a record:

A single is being launched to say loud and clear “We’re not gonna pay” (the title of the song).

If this song charts it will be a clear message to Thatcher that we don’t want her poll tax, as well as inspiration to a much wider audience. The band “Axe the Tax” consist of people in the anti poll tax campaign in Bristol, and all proceeds go to the campaign.

So Please!

Order it from your local “Gallup” shop (a mainstream shop like Virgin or Our price) within the next 2 weeks.

Try to make sure that everyone in your anti poll tax union does the same.

This is a vital fundraiser for the federation!