Gandhi: “I Have Made Sedition My Dharma”

“I have made sedition my dharma.” — Mahatma Gandhi,

I realized that the Empire did not deserve loyalty. I felt that it deserved sedition. Hence I have made sedition my dharma. I try to explain it to others that while sedition is our dharma, to be loyal is a sin. To be loyal to this Government, that is to say to wish it well, is as good as wishing ill of the cores of people of India. We get nothing in return for the cores of rupees that are squeezed out of the country… To approve the policy of this Government is to commit treason against the poor. You should free yourselves from this latter offense. I believe I have done so. Hence I have become ready to wage a peaceful war against this Government I am commencing it by violating the salt law.…

No one says that the salt tax is just. No one says that the expenditure on the army and the administration is justified. No one holds that the policy of collecting land is justifiable, nor indeed that it is proper to extort 20 to 25 cores from the people after making them drunkards and opium-addicts or breaking up their homes. Both foreigners and British officers to the fact that all this is true. However, what can be done about it? Money is required. For what purpose is it required? In order to repress the people.

, I mentioned the tax resistance movement that started in in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour. Recently, someone forwarded me links to more information on that protest:

Beginning in , almost 100% of the 10,000 inhabitants of Beit Sahour participated in a nonviolent campaign to refuse to pay taxes to the Israelis for their own occupation. As a result of the tax refusal, the town was subjected to confiscation of businesses, machinery and home furnishings, loss of jobs, telephone and driving privileges, imprisonment, blockades, curfews, and other forms of intimidation. The town organized to withstand these very repressive measures and maintained their resistance stance when the Palestinian Authority took over.

Here’s the transcript of a talk by Elias Rishmawi, one of the tax resistance movement’s leaders, that gives a good overview of the tactics behind the movement and the response of Israel’s occupation to its threat.

Another article (Palestinians Debate “Polite” Resistance to Occupation) discusses some of the reasons why there is less support among Palestinians for tax resistance, boycotts and other forms of strategic nonviolent conflict now than there was .