Campaign of the Month: AA-MOC State of Spain War Tax Resistance Campaign


What is war tax resistance?

It is the decision to resist the State in war spending and the maintenance of the military structure, the army and other armed groups by actively disobeying to pay income taxes. Technically, it consists of diverting the portion of one's income taxes to projects and organizations that promote and defend social well being and solidarity.

What tradition and political strategy does it come from?

The tax resistance is a campaign of civil disobedience and as such it comes from the nonviolence tradition of social movements. Nonviolence is a lifestyle, a social model that can serve as a guide to action and a method of revolutionary struggle. It is based on values like truth, legitimacy, coherence between ends and "methods, horizontal organizational structure and maximum respect for human beings from all walks of life.

Civil disobedience is a nonviolent tool that consists in collective and public disobedience of certain laws or regulations that are considered unjust; a primary goal is to have them overturned by society. Civil disobedience does not seek repression but accepts it not as just, but as a way to speak to the conscious of the majority of the society.

The tax resistance follows a simple strategy of civil disobedience and is within the reach of everybody given its low level of risk. It also facilitates the circulation of antimilitaristic discourse and nonviolence in society.

Is it practised in other countries?

For decades tax resistance campaigns have been practised in Germany, Holland, Canada. USA, France, Italy. The type of campaign depends on the characteristics of the pacifist movement in each country. In some, tax resistance is oriented toward the elimination of nuclear weapons, in others, it is based on antimilitarism.

Why is it necessary now?

It will always be necessary while wars continue to rage and military forces continue to exist. However, in Spain it is made more urgent by the growing militarism of successive governments. The Spanish Army, increasingly does not follow the its principal mandate to “defend the integrity of the State”, but is used as an invading force in different wars justified in different ways, but always having an economic subtext. This is evidenced by the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in which the clear and sometimes spoken interest is in oil. Even in more 'peripheral' military actions such as Haiti, Belarus, Congo, or Lebanon, where the Spanish Army has collaborated with the geo-strategic interests of the USA in exchange for advantages conferred to Spanish multinationals (Repsol, Endesa, Unión Fenosa, Telefónica, BBVA, Banco de Santander...) in their penetration into new markets and securing of raw materials.

As the Spanish Army has become more professional, it has almost become a mercenary force, is complicit in civilian deaths, civil rights violations, and the theft and destruction of poor countries. Spanish militarism is growing. Concurrently, military spending is on the increase and every year it receives a larger portion of the government budget, to the detriment of other social projects.

What is the political purpose of tax resistance?

The goal of war tax resistance is the total elimination of armies, military research, and the military industrial complex through a progressive reduction in military spending. By undertaking tax resistance, we show social rejection for military spending and militarism in general. At the same time, we practice solidarity with other struggles for social justice that are occurring in our society.

Where does the money go that is diverted from military spending?

With this money, peace, social justice, community development, environmental, and human rights work is all supported. With this money, the goal it to help projects – those that promote a more equal and just society and that otherwise would not receive funding – become reality.

Tax resistance is undertaken in the moment when one fills out income tax forms and turns them into the tax-collecting agency.

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