“Golden Rule Tax Disobedience” Campaign Starts in U.K.

In a proposal similar to the “comprehensive disobedience” movement that was pioneered by Spanish activists, a group in the United Kingdom has inaugurated a “Golden Rule Tax Disobedience” campaign. In their words:

The latest tax scandal is bringing the erosion of our democracy into ever sharper focus. Britain suffers under an enormous democratic deficit due to state capture by “free”-market neoliberal fundamentalism and its associated corporate and financial interests, in aggressive ascendancy . Notwithstanding the financial crisis, this capture of the state has remained unaddressed, with successive governments shamefully complicit in it. Despite copious corroborative research and endless petitioning and protesting, all we’ve seen is disingenuous hand-wringing and political evasion.

Our collusion with this apology for a “democracy” must stop. We, the citizenry, are therefore taking matters into our own hands — with a “Golden Rule Tax Disobedience” whose intention is grassroots mobilisation against systemic injustice, favouring far greater equality, shared and stable prosperity, enhanced quality of life and, most importantly, an environmentally sustainable future.

The evidential rationale for this action is overwhelming. Not least, £93bn of “corporate welfare” is given as handouts annually to businesses operating in our allegedly “free” market; and the government spends £26bn subsidising harmful fossil fuels, yet a mere £3.5bn subsidising renewables. “Free”-market fundamentalism has been an astonishing failure for the vast majority.

Our Golden Rule Tax Disobedience initiative asks citizens to withhold a small amount of tax (through VAT or their tax return — everyone can join in), and then donate it to conducive campaigning groups. This principled modelling of a redistributive ethos intends to shame our politicians into taking effective action.

Principled tax activism has a long and distinguished history in circumstances where the state has shown itself incapable of defending the public interest. With no serious attempt by government to correct Britain’s massive democratic deficit, our initiative is an idea whose time has come. We ask you to join with us in taking back power in order to create a fairer and more sustainable society.

  • Dr Gail Bradbrook — Director, Compassionate Revolution
  • Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett — Co-authors of The Spirit Level
  • George Barda — Social justice and Occupy campaigner, Compassionate Revolution
  • Leon Rosselson — Writer/musician
  • David Drew — Former Labour MP for Stroud
  • Polly Higgins — Lawyer advocating for Ecocide Law
  • Joel Benjamin — Debt Resistance UK and People vs PFI
  • Professor Andrew Samuels — Analytical psychology, University of Essex
  • Professor Karín Lesnik-Oberstein — Critical theorist
  • Rev Paul Nicolson — Taxpayers Against Poverty
  • Dr Richard House — Chartered psychologist, education campaigner, Stroud
  • Liam Barrington-Bush — Co-founder, More Like People
  • Max Graef — Broadcast engineer, company director
  • Andrea Halewood — Chartered psychologist
  • Ben Jarlett — Digital media consultant
  • Martin Large — Publisher and author
  • Jojo Mehta — Environmental campaigner
  • Beatrice Millar — Steering group, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR)
  • Gabriel Millar — Teacher, Stroud
  • Alice Murray — Political activist and campaigner, Stroud
  • Aliyah Norrish — Digital content associate
  • Mark Nurse — NHS paramedic, Stroud
  • Councillor Brian Oosthuysen — Gloucestershire
  • Maja Passchier — Cellist and cello teacher
  • Hazel Raee — Mobile digital champion, Isle of Skye
  • Skeena Rathor — Movement therapist and teacher
  • Dr Ilana Mira Sluckin — Paediatric doctor
  • Richard Wilson — Director, OSCA
  • Matt Wimpress — Company director

Here’s a video explanation of the campaign, its methods, and its goals. It plans to begin when 5,000 citizens of the United Kingdom have signed on to a “collective tax disobedience” pledge:

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