An International Tax Resistance Round-Up

Some international tax resistance news briefs:

  • The Socialist Worker covers the anti-water charge movement in Ireland. Included in a sidebar is a link to this video in which Nicky Coules explains how people can uninstall and bypass a water tax meter installed at their homes:
  • In the South China Morning Post, Louise Lee suggests that Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists launch a tax resistance campaign:

    Tax resistance, or the act of consciously not paying tax, would enable residents from all walks of life to directly throw a wrench into the gears without having to risk life and limb.

    Symbolically, tax resisters would be sending a loud and clear message to the administration that it does not have the mandate to govern. And since tax records are properly kept, this form of civil disobedience would also produce an indisputable number of participants and, by extension, act as a de facto referendum.

    Tax resistance also satisfies the Occupy movement’s principle of non-violence. No participants can escape the legal ramifications of their action, either, avoiding the problem of “free riders”.

    Some might argue that tax resistance would hurt innocent citizens such as those who rely on government assistance and social services. My response is that pro-democracy activists can perhaps learn from Julia “Butterfly” Hill, an American activist, who took US$150,000 of tax money and donated it to civic organisations to help various causes. To paraphrase Hill, the act of tax resistance is not refusing to pay tax, but paying the money where it belongs because the government has failed to do so.

    Campaigns to pay taxes in multiple, inconvenient, symbolic amounts, and to delay rent payment in government-owned housing, have already begun, as I noted , and there is also now a campaign to refuse outright to pay a small (HK$10) amount of the tax bill.
  • A self-employed Italian tattoo artist (sounds better in the Italian: “tatuatrice”) named Chiara Rizzi has made waves by announcing her refusal to pay extortionate taxes:

    I am self-employed, and first and foremost a single mom of a beautiful baby girl, and I declare openly that I am unable to pay, with my income, all of the taxes that the state demands from me. I appeal to the principle of necessity and to the capacity to pay in proportion to income, respectively, as established by articles 54 of the criminal code and 53 of the Italian Constitution to justify my categorical refusal to continue to contribute, by means of taxes, to the expenses for the maintenance of the privileges of the political class that governs us: the real villain of this economic crisis.

    She explains: “This is not a new idea. To pay to able to work, to pay to be able to survive, this is called extortion. This is called mafia. This is called usury.… I’d rather die fighting than suffocate in silence.”
  • A poll conducted by Tilder-LCI-Opinionway found that people in France feel that the most significant economic event of was the abandonment of the écotaxe by the government in the face of a vigorous campaign of direct action from the bonnets rouges.
  • Tens of thousands of Greek drivers are turning in their vehicle license plates rather than pay vehicle registration taxes.
  • In what is beginning to seem like one of those jokes that goes on and on until it starts seeming funny again, Italy’s Northern League is once more threatening a tax strike.

The threat of “Becca” was taken mighty seriously by , as this Cambrian article shows.

A Man Shot by Soldiers.

On , as a party of marines, who are stationed at Kilgerran, near Cardigan, were drinking and dancing at a public-house, with some of the inhabitants, a quarrel took place between the sergeant and a mason, called Jenkins. From high words it came to blows, when the sergeant called some of his men, who were present, to his assistance, Jenkins, finding they were too many, endeavoured to frighten them, by saying, he would call “Becca” to his assistance. Hearing that, the sergeant immediately ordered his men to be under arms, ready for action. One of the men, who was billetted at another public-house, kept by a man named Bowen, being absent, the sergeant and the others, all armed, went to arouse their comrade. After calling at the door, they were answered by Bowen (who, with all his family, had for some time retired to bed), that the man was not in, but that he had gone to meet his wife, whom he expected that evening from Pembroke. The sergeant would not believe him, but burst open the door. When the landlord went down stairs to remonstrate with them, the sergeant ordered one of his men to fire at him, who immediately levelled his musket, and shot Bowen. The ball passed through his left breast, and it came out near the shoulder-blade. A gentleman, who went into Bowen’s house immediately after the sad scene had occurred, states that it was the most pitiful sight he ever beheld, the poor fellow weltering in his blood, supported by his wife and children (who were all in there night clothes). He now lies in a dangerous and weak state. The soldiers underwent an examination before the Magistrates, and the sergeant and three of the men are at present lodged in Cardigan gaol for further examination.