Eighth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Washington, DC USA 2000

Hungary Country Report

1. We propose some projects to do:

Let us develop together one international knowledge base on the Internet dealing with all the main WTR-PTC questions and our convincing answers, arguments, rebuttals of counter-arguments, malicious approaches, misinterpretations, and how to avoid these. Let us learn the best practices and arguments to educate people, convince them, and open their minds.

I would like you to think of the importance of spreading the word worldwide, to those societies who have not heard the good news of WTR-PTCs. I think providing this easily acquirable knowledge base would result in more WTR-PTC groups in the world and they would use much better arguments than without having access to this knowledge base. The quality of the speeches and writings of the first WTR-PTC group in a country has a long-term effect, determining the image of WTR-PTCs. Let us help the new WTR-PTC groups and persons with the best information possible.

Let us contact peace-related groups in every country without a WTR-PTC group yet, send them a 1 or 2 page long basic WTR-PTC info sheet (and our website addresses), asking them to translate that basic info into their language(s) or re-draft it, and spread it to interested groups and persons. We could ask them or provide them with our help to put the translation(s) or their version on the Internet (at free homepage providers' sites (or at our own registered domains) to make it possible everywhere to find a homepage providing the most basic WTR-PTC revelation.

2. Alba Circle

Nonviolent Peace Movement (www.albakor.hu) has been working for ten years for the dissemination of the culture of nonviolence. In particular, it has been providing information and legal aid for conscientious objectors, organizing demonstrations against wars, aggression and CO repression, and campaigning against Hungary's joining NATO.

Békéré Keresök (Earning for Peace) Movement's goal is to make a Peace Fund law. It was founded by and mostly consists of members of Alba Circle. A young Hungarian man, Imre Takacs reinvented WTR-PTCs by himself in the early 1990s, steadily approached a lot of groups and individuals with his drive not to finance what he condemns, and since his finding Alba Circle, we are more and more active in PTC.

We composed and sent a letter to all MPs of Hungary asking for a law to respect our conscience. Two committees of the parliament heard us last autumn and some MPs encouraged us. We (3-4 people) discussed WTR-PTCs a lot and enjoyed it. With a lot of work we drafted an elaborate four-page article informing the Hungarian readers about the WTR-PTC ideas, arguments, experiences. First we are trying the legal way, focusing on trying to make a Peace Fund law before breaking the tax law (though we think tax law is a lower ranked law than the human right for living in accordance with one's conscience, and lower than the principle not to participate in killing, but avoid or solve conflicts nonviolently).

3. Making our world more just is the key, I think.

We all should stand for all people's right for self determination. This stand could significantly decrease repression, terrorism and wars. We defend a just life, a just world, and that is what implies defending our nation and others as well. We should address ordinary people's need for security by providing a real alternative to military. I think we should make the public image of the Peace Fund based on the concept that defense of home can be accomplished by two rival ways: not only by military, but also by nonviolent means, and our solution is viable. We should ‘advertise’ the success stories of nonviolent behavior and movements much more.

We are concerned with the expenditure side. This whole issue is not a tax issue; I recommend avoiding this image. We call it a Peace Fund instead of a Peace Tax Fund. We propose that the sum we want to divert be calculated as an equal amount for everyone, a per capita quota; and letting alone the income side. We are responsible for all we have and as citizens we have one share in the ‘State Inc.’, so we are responsible for the one n-th of the state expenditures. The government and the parliament could determine the sum of the total defense-related expenditure. Their sovereignty would be retained, but the voters' most basic sovereignty would also be respected: the ratio of the objectors/not objectors would determine the allocation ratio of this total to the Peace Fund/military costs. We could know, for example, that with $1000 million/year spent on defense in Hungary, and eight million voters, every voter would assign $125 a year to one the two rival funds. A good bill has to ensure that one's registering as a financial CO makes a difference, really decreases the military spending. Restricting the area financed by the Peace Fund only to nonviolent defense might be more effective. It would lend a stronger pressure to avoid the government's simply increasing the total defense amount to maintain the amount spent on the military in case of a growing peace fund/military fund voters ratio, thus really decreasing the military. For more details about the thoughts outlined here, go to www.albakor.hu/beker/index.html.

The bills will be available on the CPTI website under Documents.

By János Rátkai 7/2000 (edited by Mary Loehr 9/2000)