April 20, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — While democracy, economy and media persist in serving the interests of the 1%, annual tax return days in the U.K. and U.S. came and went — but not without resistance. Fed up with an economy driven by destructive. unfair rules and the corruption eating away at democracy, activists in Britain have taken matters into their own hands by calling for an act of mass civil disobedience.
Attempting to reclaim the apology for democracy that is Britain, a movement has begun demanding a system that serves all — not just the rich or wealthy corporations, whose offshore holdings have dominated headlines lately. The Golden Rule Tax Disobedience initiative calls on citizens to withhold a small amount of tax — through V.A.T or their tax return — and donate it to conducive campaign groups. Claiming taxation should be at the heart of democracy, the movement claims the tax and spend system in the U.K. is deeply unjust.
Insisting corruption, tax dodging, and urgent issues like climate change are not being addressed, the campaign for tax justice is set to challenge ‘business as usual’ in Britain.
“Principled tax activism has a long and distinguished history in circumstances where the state has shown itself as incapable of defending the public interest,” advocates of the movement wrote in a letter to the Guardian this week. The strategy, according to experts, can be effective.
Dr. Gene Sharp is one of the foremost scholars on nonviolent action and has formulated theories on using nonviolence as a political weapon. He has been credited with developing strategies behind toppling corrupt regimes from Egypt to Serbia. Identifying and illustrating almost two hundred methods of nonviolent action, his work has provided inspiration and encouragement to activists around the world. Examining tax resistance in The Politics of Nonviolence, he argues the action of refusing to pay taxes is both political and economic disobedience — and is regarded as a very strong expression of disapproval of the government.
“Where it is undertaken in large numbers it may become a severe threat to the existence of the government, either because of the threat to the State’s treasury, or because of the extent and depth of the population’s refusal to submit to the regime, as indicated by the extremity of their resistance.”
Those behind Golden Rule Tax Disobedience claim the collection and spending of U.K. taxes are rigged to suit unaccountable corporations and the wealthy. Asserting other actions such as marches, boycotts and petitions are clearly not sufficient, activists are urging the public to go a step further by refusing, at least in part, to fund the government that continues to exploit them.
Pointing to successful civil disobedience movements throughout history, they claim real and sustainable change only happens when the populace unites in collective acts of defiance. U.K. citizens interested in playing a radical role in campaigning for a fairer society can join the movement in two simple ways:
- Non-payment of VAT in a café — easy, less risky and doesn’t harm the café. More information here.
- Refuse to pay £50 of a tax bill (for those who do tax returns and willing to risk fines).
The unpaid tax will be donated to campaign groups, and the disobedience will begin when at least 5,000 citizens have pledged to undertake the act. You can join the movement here.
This article (Citizens Call for Massive Tax Disobedience) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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