The Voluntaryist Case Against Taxation

Some bits and pieces from here and there:

I’ve mentioned before the tax resistance antics that got Karl Marx in trouble in Germany, but here are some more details on the crisis that led up to it:

General Wrangel, soon after his return from Schleswig-Holstein, marched his troops into the market place, in front of the building in which the Parliament was sitting, and on , Von Unruh and the other Members, coming to hold their meetings, found the doors locked, and the soldiers guarding the place. They then adjourned to the Hotel de Russie, where they declared [General] Brandenburg guilty of High Treason, and called on the people to refuse to pay taxes. Deputations came in from Magdeburg, Breslau and Frankfort, declaring their sympathy with the Assembly; and the Civic Guard refused to give up their arms to Wrangel. Wrangel now declared all public meetings prohibited, announced that the Civic Guard was dissolved; and declared Berlin in a state of siege. But the addresses of sympathy came in more freely than ever; and it was rumoured that Silesia was actually in a state of insurrection. Even several citizens of Brandenburg itself sent an address to the Assembly, declaring that they would resist the transfer of the Parliament to their town. The opposition between the bourgeoisie and the workmen, which had been caused by the riots of , and , had now entirely disappeared in a common zeal for Constitutional freedom; and the Town Council permitted the Assembly to meet in their Hall. But even there Wrangel would not leave them in peace, and soon after they were driven from this refuge also. Even the ex-Minister Hansemann became an object of denunciation to the Court party; and on the Assembly put into a formal vote the proposal which they had already hinted at, that no further taxes should be paid. This vote was carried just after they had been driven from the Town Council House to another meeting place. soldiers were called out, who threatened the Civic Guard with violence, but finally marched off without firing; and some soldiers and officers were dismissed for not consenting to act against the people. Taxes were beginning to be refused in various parts of Prussia; several arrests were made in Cologne; and Düsseldorf was declared in a state of siege. The soldiers were forbidden to read the National Zeitung; while on the other hand printers and publishers offered to print the decrees of the Assembly without any compensation for loss of time. Attempts to enforce the payment of taxes led to riots in Bonn and Breslau; and in Coblenz the people attacked officers for speaking evil of the National Assembly. The Government tried, in some cases, to cut off the payment of deputies; but the people insisted on making the payment, in spite of this prohibition; and even a Government official in Düsseldorf declared his belief that if the Brandenburg Ministry lasted three or four days more, none of the official boards would consent to act. One of the Roman Catholic bishops of Silesia appealed to his flock not to refuse taxes, as otherwise they would be damned for “refusing to give to Cæsar the things that were Cæsar’s.” To this appeal several Roman Catholics of Silesia retorted by an address in which they expressed their fear for the spiritual condition of the clergy, since they had never paid taxes at all.

This, from The Revolutionary Movement of in Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Germany by C. Edmund Maurice ( edition).