Use tax disobedience to call for a fairer society – an open letter

The latest tax scandal is bringing the erosion of our democracy into ever sharper focus. Britain suffers under an enormous democratic deficit due to state capture by “free”-market neoliberal fundamentalism and its associated corporate and financial interests, in aggressive ascendancy since the 1970s. Notwithstanding the 2008 financial crisis, this capture of the state has remained unaddressed, with successive governments shamefully complicit in it. Despite copious corroborative research and endless petitioning and protesting, all we’ve seen is disingenuous hand-wringing and political evasion.

Our collusion with this apology for a “democracy” must stop. We, the citizenry, are therefore taking matters into our own hands – with a “Golden Rule Tax Disobedience” whose intention is grassroots mobilisation against systemic injustice, favouring far greater equality, shared and stable prosperity, enhanced quality of life and, most importantly, an environmentally sustainable future.

The evidential rationale for this action is overwhelming. Not least, £93bn of “corporate welfare” is given as handouts annually to businesses operating in our allegedly “free” market; and the government spends £26bn subsidising harmful fossil fuels, yet a mere £3.5bn subsidising renewables. “Free”-market fundamentalism has been an astonishing failure for the vast majority.

Our Golden Rule Tax Disobedience initiative asks citizens to withhold a small amount of tax (through VAT or their tax return – everyone can join in), and then donate it to conducive campaigning groups. This principled modelling of a redistributive ethos intends to shame our politicians into taking effective action.

Principled tax activism has a long and distinguished history in circumstances where the state has shown itself incapable of defending the public interest. With no serious attempt by government to correct Britain’s massive democratic deficit, our initiative is an idea whose time has come. We ask you to join with us in taking back power in order to create a fairer and more sustainable society.

Please pledge to do this, with 5000 others; this video explains more.
(Published in the Guardian on 18th April 2016)

Dr Gail Bradbrook, Director, Compassionate Revolution, mother

George Barda, social justice and Occupy campaigner, Compassionate Revolution

Liam Barrington-Bush, co-founder, More Like People

Joel Benjamin, Debt Resist UK and People vs PFI

David Drew, former Labour MP for Stroud

Max Graef, broadcast engineer, company director and father

Andrea Halewood, chartered psychologist

Polly Higgins, lawyer advocating for Ecocide Law

Dr Richard House, chartered psychologist, education campaigner, Stroud

Ben Jarlett, digital media consultant

Martin Large, publisher, author and Quaker

Professor Karín Lesnik-Oberstein, critical theorist

Jojo Mehta, environmental campaigner

Beatrice Millar, steering group, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR)

Gabriel Millar, teacher, Stroud

Alice Murray, political activist and campaigner, Stroud

Rev. Paul Nicolson, Tax Payers Against Poverty

Aliyah Norrish, digital content associate

Mark Nurse, NHS paramedic, Stroud

Councillor Brian Oosthuysen, Gloucestershire, grandfather

Carole Oosthuysen, retired teacher and grandmother

Jim Overall, engineer

Maja Passchier, cellist and cello teacher

Professor Kate Pickett, co-author of The Spirit Level, University of York

Hazel Raee, mobile digital champion, Isle of Skye

Skeena Rathor, mother, movement therapist and teacher

Jo Robins

Gavin Robinson

Leon Rosselson, writer/musician

Professor Andrew Samuels, Analytical Psychology, University of Essex

Dr Ilana Mira Sluckin, paediatric doctor

Emeritus Prof. Richard Wilkinson, co-author of The Spirit Level, Univ. of Nottingham

Richard Wilson, Director of OSCA,

Matt Wimpress, company director

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