Spanish Ecopacifists Call for War Tax Resistance

A recent note from Extremadura Progresista on the war tax resistance movement in Spain (my translation):

Ecopacifist activists protest against public spending for war preparation

They espouse the “Campaign of War Tax Resistance,” which has come to pass in recent years during income tax filing season. Activists from the ecopacifist social organizations Ecologists in Action and Antimilitarist Alternative / Conscientious Objection Movement, who have espoused a “Campaign of War Tax Resistance.” This is a campaign of statewide non-violent civil disobedience, which for more than two decades has each year brought together more disobedient citizens, with the goal of achieving the demilitarization of economic policy and the reclaiming of taxes for goals consistent with the values of solidarity, peace, and justice.

The objectors have come to the Special Delegation of the Tax Agency of Madrid, a day before the deadline established by the Agency for the filing of the tax return. There, they have publicly presented their returns, which included tax resistance to military spending, meaning that they subtracted a symbolic or proportional quantity representing military spending by the state. This quantity is destined for a collective entity or project that contributes to the construction of a more just, cooperative, and peaceful world.

According to Abel Esteban, spokesperson for the ecologist organization, by means of the Campaign of War Tax Resistance “we are many people who decided consciously, publicly, and collectively not to finance the militarist system, not to collaborate with the armies, and decided to work for its abolishment. We have no intention of tax fraud, since our objection is made in a public manner and is communicated to the Director of the Treasury.”

The activists also associated military spending with cuts to social spending included in the public budgets. According to Mar Gimena, spokesperson for the antimilitarist organization, “in a context of economic crisis and the major cuts in social spending at all levels, the Spanish state devoted €20,405.58 million to military spending in , 12% of all state spending, according to the work of independent investigators. This amount represents an expense of €538 per person going to the preparation for wars.”

The activists also denounced the state general budget for for deepening its severe cuts in areas that undergird the welfare state, like education (−8.1%), health (−8.2%), social services (−8.1%), or environment (−13%), while still betting on higher military spending, budgeted at €17,244.75 million, 5.19% less than in . “We are suspicious of this reduction, because every year the final military spending is around 15% greater than in the initial budget,” complained the ecologist spokesperson, who adds, “billions of euros of public money will go again this year to the construction of armaments or to the financing of military operations in Afghanistan or Libya, that support the murder of thousands of civilians each year, the death of Spanish troops, and the entrenchment of the violent conflicts that traumatize such societies. The priorities of those who have political power are clear: to prepare to kill is more important than to care for or to educate.”