Spanish Activists in Symbolic Tax Protest

While stimulus-critics on this side of the Atlantic are content to throw tea parties and hint at drastic action on television talk shows, in Spain they’re putting their money where their mouths are (translation mine, caveat emptor):

Activists promote tax resistance against the anti-crisis measures

Madrid,  — The NGOs Ecologists in Action, InspirAction, and ATTAC will deliver tomorrow in a Madrid tax office symbolic tax returns as a protest against the government’s anti-crisis measures, which they describe as “socially and environmentally regressive.”

In a statement, these organizations explain that these tax returns include a third box, to go with those aimed at the Catholic Church and “other social purposes,” which will allow spending 84 euros on social organizations that are engaged in “positive action to end the social and environmental crisis.”

In Spain, taxpayers can choose to allocate a percentage of their tax dollars to the Catholic Church, to some other denomination, or to “other social purposes,” much in the same way that in the United States, taxpayers can choose to allocate $3 of their tax money to the “presidential election campaign fund.”

The 84 euros symbolize the 84 most impoverished countries on the planet, “they who are suffering this crisis most harshly.”

The activists complain that “all the money is being sent to save the banks” by means of an “immoral” extension of assistance of up to 150,000 million euros, because “the bank never stopped taking profits while this crisis erupted.”

This “tax resistance” also protests that the government subsidizes the auto industry, “the poster child for unsustainability for its contribution to climate change,” and devotes more than 5,600 [million?] euros for new highway construction, while Spain is “the country with the most kilometers per person in the world.”

Furthermore, they criticize the budget for expanding the high-speed rail network and for aid to the construction sector, “one of the principal destroyers of the environment in the past years.”

To promote employment, they bet on an an economy that distributes work and covers human needs “in peace with the planet.”

According to the organizers of the initiative, the 84 euros will support social movements that advocate the elimination of tax havens and hedge funds and that encourage non-motorized transportation, renewable energy, or the creation of ecological networks of producers and consumers.

This is the first tax resistance campaign anywhere that I know about that has an explicitly environmentalist focus. There was some talk at the last NWTRCC national gathering about reaching out to the environmentalist movement. This campaign might be a good conversation-starter.

Here’s a more in-depth article on the same campaign.