New Zealand Urged to Adopt Mussolini Methods Against Samoan Tax Resisters
Well, thank goodness for the League of Nations. They had a nice committee to
help New Zealand run Western Samoa (which the Germans wrested away from the
Samoans and then the New Zealanders wrested from the Germans), and when it
complained that it was having a hard time forcing the Samoans to pay tribute
to their occupiers, the chairman of the committee essentially said: “you
pussies need to take some lessons from Mussolini.”
Geneva, . —
The Permanent Mandates Commission began an examination to-day of the New
Zealand Government’s annual report of its administration of Samoa as
mandatory on behalf of the League of Nations, to
, in the presence of New Zealand’s
representatives, Sir James Parr (High Commissioner), and Sir G. Richardson
The period, covered by the report saw the events traversed by the New Zealand
Royal commission which inquired into the native agitation. Particulars were
sought as to the present situation, and explanations asked for regarding
certain information according to which portion of the population is still
Sir George Richardson explained that the so-called “Citizens’ Committee”
still existed, and secretly kept in touch with the agitator O. Nelson, who is
now in banishment. It also continued to contribute to the disaffection of the
native population by spreading false news. The natives had been informed of
the Mandates Commission’s work, but they had been influenced again by the
intrigues of the agitators.
Sir James Parr said that the New Zealand Government reported that the
situation had improved during the last six months, but immediate results
could not be expected. Order was being maintained, and the Courts were now
obeyed. Account must be taken of the fact that the Administration was
compelled to deal with passive resistance in the shape of refusal to pay
The chairman (the Marquis Theodoli) remarked that they knew in Italy how to
deal with those who refused to pay taxes.
Sir James Parr replied that they did not have a Fascist army in Samoa. The
mandatory power was going to the limit of its patience before resorting to
The commission will further examine the report to-morrow.
Western Samoa finally gained its independence in
, after a campaign of nonviolent resistance
in which tax resistance played a role.
Is there an “Eastern” Samoa? Yep. It’s called “American Samoa” and it’s
not independent — it’s a “possession” of the United States and its
residents are not represented in the government of the country that claims
control over the islands.
Several married women Suffragists, acting on the advice of Mrs. E[thel].
Ayres Purdie, the only woman income tax expert, were able last year to
withhold moneys from the Treasury. So strong is the law in favour of the
position we take up that a case is now in hand to claim back the moneys
taken in taxation from a married woman during the last three years. The
legal inconsistency will provide us with an effective weapon.
Married women who have been separately taxed, or who have resisted taxation
and had their own goods seized in default should put their cases into Mrs.
Purdie’s hands. The law allows every one who pays income tax to claim
redress for any undue and illegal levy made during the last three years.
Therefore a married woman’s payments during the last three years can be
reclaimed if she can prove that they were paid by herself or deducted from
her personal income. This course should be followed wherever moneys are paid
out by trustees and agents, or deducted from interest on investments. By
this means not only this year’s taxes but a portion of previous years’ can
be withdrawn from the Treasury.
On morning Mrs. [Mary McLeod]
Cleeves appeared in the Swansea Police Court to answer a summons for keeping
a carriage without a license. Mrs. Cleeves made a clear and dignified
statement of her position, but the bench sentenced her to a fine of
10s. and costs, or in
default to seven days’ imprisonment! This alternative was evidently given in
the hope of frightening our Swansea Tax Resister into paying; for immediately
before her case was called an almost identical case was considered, the
defendant — a man — being called upon to pay
10s. and costs with no
alternative. However, Mrs. Cleeves was determined not to pay her fine and
was quite prepared to be taken off to prison at once. Mrs. Cleeves, Mr.
Hyde and I drove back to Sketty in the offending carriage. Later in the day
we heard through a solicitor that the Bench had made a slip regarding the
seven days and that a distraint warrant had been issued. Since then Mrs.
Cleeves has been beseiged by friends asking to be allowed to pay her fine;
but like a true Suffragette, she refused. And on
the police came to execute the
warrant, with orders from the Superintendent to take the carriage, which they
did with as little delay as possible. The warrant was issued for a guinea,
yet the officers of the law come along and seize a carriage valued at £30!
This is a piece of gross injustice. Whatever the motive that prompted it,
which most assuredly was not a friendly one, it has turned out to be the best
thing that could have happened. The newspapers took and published photographs
of the carriage being taken away, and gave splendid notices of this peaceful
protest. The Cambria Daily Leader says:—
“No Vote, No Tax!”
Swansea Suffragette at the Police Court.
At the Swansea Police Court , Mrs.
Mary Cleeves, Chez Nous, Sketty, was summoned for having a carriage without
Sergeant Thomas, Sketty, said he called at defendant’s house and asked if
she had a license. She replied, “No,” and she didn’t intend to take one
out. “No vote, no tax!” (Laughter.) The officer told Mrs. Cleeves he would
have to report her.
Clerk: And you have seen Mrs. Cleeves use the carriage?
Witness: Yes, sir.
Before this occasion? — Yes, almost daily.
Clerk (to Mrs. Cleeves): Have you any question to ask witness?
Mrs. Cleeves: No; I perfectly agree with what he has said.
Clerk: Have you any statement to make?
Mrs. Cleeves: As a matter of principle I have decided to pay no Imperial
tax till I get the vote.
Chairman (after consultation with the clerk): This can’t be called an
Imperial tax, Mrs. Cleeves, because the local authorities get the benefit.
However, we won’t say anything about that. An offence has been committed
and proved. You will be fined
10s. and costs, or in
default seven days.
Clerk: Seventeen shillings in all, Mrs. Cleeves.
Mrs. Cleeves: I refuse to pay.
Chairman: You had better consider the matter: I’ve hinted to you that I
think you may relieve your conscience a great deal when I say that this is
not an Imperial tax.
Mrs. Cleeves sat down where defendants usually sit who cannot or will not
pay the fine.
Clerk: No, you can go, Mrs. Cleeves.
Thanking the Clerk, Mrs. Cleeves retired, and the Clerk observed to the
Inspector: “Issue a distress warrant.”
On morning all Swansea opened its
eyes in amazement and admiration. The good people of the town are used to
seeing Mrs. Cleeves drive about in her carriage. On Saturday they saw her
driving, not her carriage — that is in the hands of the police — but her
cart. Everyone looked, everyone smiled, and everyone talked of the
Suffragette Tax Resister. One vehicle we passed on the road was full of women
who, on catching sight of Mrs. Cleeves in her cart, called out: “Well done,
ma’am!” Many another smiled encouragement, and we may fairly say that Swansea
is thoroughly roused by this last instance of Governmental tyranny. Now we
are waiting to hear when the sale will take place, and we shall hold protest
meetings all over Swansea. The Cambria Daily
Leader has a paragraph headed “Mrs. Cleeve’s Resource,” in which it
Notwithstanding the loss of her vehicle she was
seen driving about in a market
On night Mrs. Cleeves, Mr. Hyde
and I drove drove over to Llanelly and held a meeting in the Town Hall
Square. On we had a magnificent
meeting at Briton Ferry. There was very great interest and enthusiasm shown
in our work. At the close of the meeting we received quite an ovation — a rare thing here in Wales. Many pamphlets and
Votes were sold, and no less than seventy-four
postcards signed. These postcards are to Mr. Lloyd George asking him to
withdraw his opposition to the Conciliation Bill. Here again friends rallied
round and asked us to return on , for two meetings which they will advertise. Wherever we have been
with our cards friends have written asking for a packet to get signed amongst
their fellow-workers. Our Post Card Campaign in Wales has opened
successfully, and we hope this augurs well for the future.
A very successful drawing-room meeting was held on the evening of
Dr. Lewin kindly invited
members of the above league to meet at 25, Wimpole-street, and in spite of
the stormy night her spacious rooms were crowded.
Mrs. [Anne] Cobden Sanderson presided, and in a forcible little speech urged
the members to redouble their efforts to make this very logical form of
protest known amongst their tax-paying friends. Mrs. [Charlotte] Despard was
the speaker, and her eloquent address was listened to with the deepest
attention and admiration. She threw quite a new sidelight upon the somewhat
prosy subject of taxation by showing how men were giving themselves body and
soul to the piling up of gold and how commercialism was spoiling all that was
best in our nation. Women then, observing this, must attack the stronghold,
and see to it that John Bull’s money-bags were not so easily filled in the
future, as they would assuredly not be if the money of the women taxpayers
is withheld. Mrs. [Margaret] Kineton Parkes dealt with the business of the
league, and members signed pledge cards to signify which Imperial taxes they
would resist if the Conciliation Bill does not become law this Session.
An interesting discussion followed, and the collection amounted to £27.
At the Garden City.
Mrs. Kineton Parkes, Secretary of the Women’s Tax Resistance League, by
kind invitation of Miss Stephen Strong, held two most successful meetings at
Letchworth Garden City on .
She pointed out how needful it is to grasp the present opportunity of pushing
on the Conciliation Bill. She called attention to the continued injustice to
women by asking them to contribute imperial money where they had no voice in
its spending. She further urged that much had been said about indiscriminate
charity and the harm it did, yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer placed women
in the childish position of being responsible without an atom of authority.
Many of us had much too alarming ideas as to what would personally happen did
we become so courageous as to resist the tax — should we be sold up, should
we be imprisoned? for in spite of Mr. Winston Churchill’s less severe rules
than those imposed by Mr. Herbert Gladstone, prison has its horrors. Mrs.
Parkes allayed these natural fears by stating that articles to the value of
the required (unjust) tax are taken away and auctioned.
We had a capital meeting; converts were gained, earnest questioners were
satisfactorily answered, subscriptions flowed in, and a spirit of
determination took the place of uncertain fears and hesitation. Many ladies
pledged themselves to resist by filling up cards for that purpose.
Miss Lee, “Thistledown,” 2, Norton-way, Letchworth, Herts., will be glad to
give information and distribute literature.
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