Gerardo Fernández Noroña Launches Tax Strike Against Mexican Corruption

Gerardo Fernández Noroña is a fairly prominent left-wing Mexican politician. He was one of the founders of the PRD, the third of Mexico’s three major parties, and later served as a congressional representative (running under the further-left Labor Party).

In recent years he has been challenging the legitimacy of Mexican elections, saying that they have been tainted by widespread electoral fraud. he issued a call to the people of Mexico encouraging them to rise up in a campaign of civil disobedience designed to overthrow the current presidential administration of Enrique Peña Nieto.

I recently learned that he has added tax resistance to his campaign. Here is (my translation of) a letter he sent to the treasury secretary at :

Luis Videgaray
Secretary of the Treasury of the Federal Disgovernment

Today is the deadline to file a tax return. Since I ended my term as a Congressional Representative on , I have not had a formal income. For this reason, it would follow that I submit a zeroed-out return.

However, I have decided not to do this, not to do it even if I had income and contributions to declare. I have decided not to submit any return, in order that I reject the government of scoundrels and traitors that you all lead, which impoverishes the people and extinguishes our national resources.

To give them resources is to facilitate the surrender of the principal national wealth that we have, which is petroleum. To pay them taxes is to encourage corruption, impunity, injustice, betrayal, dissimulation, and the ongoing deception that you all represent.

To comply with you is to be complicit in policies of impoverishment of the people, generation of hunger, misery, and desperation for the majority of the population of the country.

For these reasons, and many more I could add, I have decided to exercise Civil Disobedience, refusing to file any tax return.

The threats and pressure that you may exert do not intimidate me. I hereby challenge you to proceed legally against my rebellion, which will be accompanied by further encouraging “Don’t Pay Taxes.” I hope I am able to convince the people to stop everything in order to push for a Nonviolent revolution that demands of them that they renounce and promote a profound transformation in the country for the benefit of the majority of our people.

You go so far as to hide taxes in gasoline, in food, in drink, in tobacco, in alcohol, and telecommunications, to state a few examples. You go so far as to deceive the taxpayer, that you are able to hide tax payments and, of course, you are even worse in hiding the decisions concerning public resources.

So that I will not pay you taxes on food and gasoline, I will not declare my spending and I will fight to achieve the resignation of he who is your boss, and with him, the entire gang of scoundrels that accompanies him and of which you form a part.

I take this opportunity to send you a greeting, as this struggle does not have a personal aspect.

Gerardo Fernández Noroña
Mexico City,

A big part of the context of this letter is the ongoing project to denationalize the petroleum industry in Mexico, which is currently a state-run monopoly.

, dispatches from Britain covered the militant wing of the women’s suffrage movement, which was using arson and terrorist bombings in its campaign. Given this backdrop, the tax resistance movement was billed as the relatively moderate alternative, as these excerpts from the version picked up by the Victoria (British Columbia) Daily Colonist show:

Refusing to Pay Taxes

Tax resistance as a means of protest against the failure of the British Government to grant woman suffrage is spreading throughout the country among women who are reluctant to employ the more violent Parkhurstian [sic] methods. Following the recent “selling up” of household goods belonging to Miss Beatrice Harraden, a distinguished suffragist and author of “Ships That Pass in the Night,” at Kilburn, because she refused to pay her income tax, scarcely a day has passed without reports of similar instances from some section or other. Under the motto “No taxation without representation,” the membership of the Women’s Tax Resistance League is increasing by hundreds weekly.

Public meetings are being held in all the larger cities of the United Kingdom under the league’s auspices, at which women are pledging themselves to pay no form of tribute to the Government “until they shall have obtained a voice in making the laws under which taxes are assessed against them.” Members of the league in large numbers attended tax sales at Romfort, Islington, and Battersea and paraded the streets afterwards with banners displaying their Boston tea party war cry.