Suffragette Tax Resister Kate Harvey Earns a Medal

The Independent tells the story of Kate Harvey, a tax resister in Britain’s women’s suffrage movement:

The badge is cast in the form of a shield on which is depicted the entrance to Holloway Prison. On the reverse is a card inscribed in a faint hand: “Given to Mrs K Harvey By Women’s Suffrage After She Had Been In Prison For Tax Resistance.”

Kate Harvey was a remarkable woman, even without the incident which lies at the heart of the commendation. She was, for a start, a professional woman in what was very much the man’s world of late Victorian Britain.… ¶ But she was not just a physiotherapist, she was also deaf.…

…Around 100 women were sent to prison for refusing to pay.

The most notorious of these was Mrs Harvey. After many months of refusing to buy a [tax] stamp for her servant, in the authorities issued a warrant for the seizure of goods in lieu of payment. She responded by barricading herself into her house. An eight month stand-off passed before bailiffs finally broke in using a crowbar. But she still refused to pay, declaring “I would rather die first”. She set about building better barricades. This time the bailiffs needed battering rams to get in.

…When the First World War broke out the main suffragette organisations called off their campaign. But [Charlotte] Despard and Harvey refused. Most members of the Women’s Freedom League were pacifists and refused, unlike other women’s organisations, to become involved in the British Army’s recruitment campaign.

The Wall Street Journal forecasts more IRS audits ahead:

The IRS, intensifying its crackdown on tax dodgers, plans to increase the number of tax audits it conducts . The agency will focus more of its resources investigating taxpayers with incomes of $100,000 and above. Agents will also examine more returns of high-income taxpayers in search of what they call abusive shelters, or transactions with no real economic purpose other than dodging taxes. The agency will devote particular attention to abusive transactions involving parking money in offshore accounts.

While IRS officials won’t discuss specifics of audit targets, they are expected to focus more on self-employed workers who deal largely in cash. Congress recently raised the IRS budget to $10.68 billion, which includes an increase in money earmarked for enforcement activities.

The Sunday Times (and the Drudge Report) have discovered freeganism:

The anti-capitalist freegans — the name combines “free” and “vegan” — are so appalled by the waste of the consumer society that they try to live on the leftovers, scavenging for food in supermarket dustbins.…

A study by the US Department of Agriculture estimated that the US wastes about 43 billion kilograms of food a year. That is about 27 per cent of US production, but the true figure is as much as 50 per cent, according to ten years of research by Timothy Jones at the University of Arizona.

…Adam Weissman, a freegan activist and sometime security guard in New Jersey, says freeganism grew out of the radical “yippie” movement but also has affinities with the hobos of the Great Depression who travelled around the country by stealing rides on the railways.

“I have pity for people who have not figured out this lifestyle,” he said. “I am able to take long vacations from work, I have all kinds of consumer goods, and I eat a really healthy diet of really wonderful food: white asparagus and cactus fruit, three different kinds of mushrooms and four different kinds of pre-cut salad. And I’m just thinking of what is in my refrigerator right now.

“Essentially, the sky’s the limit. We found flat-screen TVs, working boom-boxes and stereos. I have put together most of my wardrobe. Last year’s designer clothing in perfect shape is discarded because it’s no longer fashionable, so I wear a lot of designer labels.”

Freegans often go “dumpster diving” in packs, delving into skips at supermarkets and restaurants.

Their website lists “favourite foraging sites”, such as the vegan restaurant in Greenwich Village, New York, that throws out a “whole bag of stir-fried Asian food after 10 every night” or the Cincinnati bakery that dumps bagels and French bread. Often the best shops throw out the most food to keep their offerings fresh.

“The foraging itself is not that time-consuming,” Madeline Nelson, a former corporate communications officer at a national bookshop chain in New York, said. “I tend to go out twice a week, and I would probably go grocery shopping twice a week anyway.”