Tax Strike in Ondárroa, Spain

I briefly mentioned a tax resistance campaign by households in Ondárroa, in the Basque region of Spain. Here’s how that turned out (translation mine):

The Tax Strike in Ondárroa ends without facing taxes

200 families affiliated with the nationalist left stopped paying taxes in 2003, which had created a debt of more than €2.3 million

The tax gap opened in the municipal accounts of Ondárroa seems like it will close with this announcement. Nearly 200 families from Bilbao affiliated with the nationalist left who in started a powerful tax strike have decided to end their campaign of disobedience, promoted under the slogan “Eskubiderik ez, betebeharrik ez (no rights, no obligations).” The measure is not retroactive, as the Ondárroan advocates of tax resistance confirmed yesterday that they will only begin to pay taxes to the city “from after the rise to power of Bildu, which rules with an absolute majority. This is to say that they will not confront the accumulated taxes in the .

“We have no intention of paying the bills until the date we can be in process,” warned a spokesperson for the group yesterday. Tax resistance has had serious repercussions for the city revenue of Ondárroa, up to the point where the unpaid taxes totaled more than 2.3 million euros.

Dozens of families and local businesses declared themselves tax strikers to protest the judicial ban imposed on the nationalist left in the city [prohibiting them] from competing in the elections of and . The “tax resisters” took the initiative to censure the management that had led the city council during the last term, headed by Félix Aranbarri (PNV). The Corporation exit polls four years ago could not be established due to harassment by radicals of the elected councilors.

“Political rights”

The outlawed ANV claimed as its own mayor — with Unai Urruzuno at the front — and six counselors, in virtue of the invalid votes counted. “We will not pay until they return our political rights,” claimed the sympathizers of the old Batasuna.

At first, the militants of the nationalist left stopped paying taxes on trash, water, and sewage. But two years ago they decided to intensify the tax strike and would not pay other types of charges such as those for entry to the recreation center or those required for a building permit or for the road tax.

The new political scene that opened in the elections of , in which Bildu has obtained an absolute majority in Ondárroa, has encouraged the “resisters” to renew their contributions to the municipal coffers. “Our intention has never in any way been not to pay, but that the city be run democratically and that it respect the decision of the Ondárroans,” they said.

In the face of the refusal of the nationalist left to pay their bills, the Bilbao-Bizkaia Water Consortium told them by mail in of their intention to cut off the tap. The amount of the outstanding bills was around €200. But the campaign continued on.

The manager petitioned the Provincial Council of Bizkaia to help him collect more than 2 million euros that could not be raised . The statutory institution proceeded to collect some debts, while the tax resistance continued. The city management team tried to hire a company specializing in the collection and assessment of taxes and other such fees. However, it was impossible due to the radical pressure. Upon learning of the assignment of this work to the Bilbaoan firm Gesmunpal, the nationalist left spread slogans via Internet in favor of “civil disobedience,” as well as calls and letters against the company. Gesmunpal resigned.