From , an early volley in the French wine-region tax strike:
Whole Village Bankrupt
People Resist Tax Collectors With Hay Forks.
Misfortunes Overwhelm Once Prosperous Town of Baixas, France — Appeal Made to President.
Special Cable Dispatch to The [Chicago] Inter Ocean.
Paris, . — A curious and lamentable situation has arisen in the vine growing village of Baixas, near Perpignan. The villagers are on strike. The quarrel is not between employers and employed; it is a revolt against paying taxes, not because the villagers object to paying them, but because they have no money.
Formerly Baixas was rich and prosperous. The vine was cultured in abundance. There were wonderful harvests. By and by phylloxera ravaged the district. The vines died. To these misfortunes had to be added the dishonest competition of fraudulent wines, against which the villagers could not struggle.
Villagers Cannot Repay Loans.
In time the villagers had to borrow money. They could not repay the loans. There were numerous bankruptcies, followed by ruin, despair, hunger. The villagers having no more money, could not answer the tax collector’s call.
A few days ago the bellman went round the village summoning the inhabitants to a meeting. Several hundred distress warrants had been issued, and it became a question of deciding as to what action should be taken. At this meeting a petition was drawn up to the president of the council. It informed M. Clemenceau that the people of Baixas could now pay one tax only — the blood tax. Misery had entered their homes. The grates were empty and the tables were without bread. The petitioners begged M. Clemenceau not to allow the furniture to be taken from those who had faith in the Republic.
Resolve to Stop Executions.
If this petition did not receive a favorable response, the villagers resolved to prevent the executions from taking place. As soon as an article of furniture is seized the tocsin will sound, and the villagers will rally armed with bludgeons, hay forks, and guns, determined to oppose any seizure with violence.
The tax gatherer arrived on the day following this meeting, but had to leave without collecting any money.
By the tax strike had spread throughout the French wine region.