Fourth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Brussels, Belgium 1992

The Spanish ‘Objeción Fiscal’ Campaign

The beginning of the Spanish campaign on War Tax Resistance took place in 1983 in Andalucía when some people of the Asamblea Andaluza de Noviolencia (Assembly on Non-violence of Andalucía) put this idea in practice for the first time.

Next year the Asamblea Cantabra de Noviolencia (Assembly on Non-violence of Cantabria) Justicia y Paz (Justice and Peace) from Barcelona and the Movement on Conscientious Objection (MOC) joined together extending the idea away from Andalucía.

In 1989 we had the First Congress on War Tax Resistance. We met in Madrid more than a hundred of us during a weekend.

Today the groups on Tax Resistance are those who support the campaigns by themselves. Anyway, in some parts of Spain is the MOC the group that carries out this task. There are active groups in Galicia (Vigo, Lugo), Cataluña (Barcelona), Basque Country (Bilbao, San Sebastián-Donostia, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Pamplona-Iruñea), Asturias (Avilés), Madrid, Andalucía (Sevilla, Málaga), Alicante (Villena)... We have contacts and there are war tax resisters in most of the Spanish provinces.

Each group has its autonomy, but we met twice a year. The first coordination meeting is in October, to study the results of this year's campaign and start the preparations of the next one and the second one in December to decide the last aspects of this next campaign and to approve the edition of our booklet. We made four editions: in Spanish, Catalan, Galego and Basque language. The slogans we use are:

The campaign starts in the Basque country in March, in the other provinces in May and it finishes at the end of June. This is the time of the “declaración de la rental”, the income tax return, the only direct tax that most of the people have to pay in Spain.

We do too some other activities against the military complex: the military industry, the development of the Third World, the military service are some of the subjects we use to work about. We have special relationship with the movement of “insumisión” (total resistance against the military service) that at the moment has a very important activity and with many movements on solidarity with the Third World, especially with Middle and South America.

How we put in practice the war tax resistance

In the first years we proposed to discount of our income tax the same percentage that the Defence Ministry receives from the State Budget. During these years it has been l0'6, 10'42, l0'12, 6'4%. (It seems it goes down but the proportion it's not real: The growing up of the Public debt is the only reason of this apparent reduction. We have to remark that some military expenses are distributed in other departments: industry, foreign affairs, police, ... Independent studies say that the real waste is around the 13%). In some cases the tax resister him or herself could divert the resulting amount, but in most of them the legal retentions that the enterprises do all through the year are more than the amount of the income tax, so in these cases the objector has not to pay but to receive his or her money back. In these cases, he or she could not divert any money and he or she just reclaimed the Exchequer to designate the part of his or her tax relative to the Defence Ministry. Usually, it did not happen.

In the last two years and after a long and deep discussion, we have adopted the way of a fixed discount. In 1991 we proposed 3.000 peseta (850 BEF approximately) and this year it was 5.000 peseta (1425 BEF). This way is quit easier to explain, to do and, when the government starts its reprisals, to support.

Each tax resister has to decide where to send the amount of his or her tax objection. Anyway, we made some proposals and suggestions. In our booklet we use to include ten different ideas: ecology, solidarity with the Third and the Fourth World, Feminism, culture ... are the subjects of this ideas. All together, they draw the principal line of the alternative defence (Of course we have something to defend, we say, but what?, how?, who?...) In the last two years the Innuit project has appeared in the first place of this list.

Every year, we select two collective projects, one inside Spain, the other abroad. Since 1985 we have supported:

In Spain: the resistance against the military fields in El Teleno (León) and Anchuras (Ciudad Real), this one twice, work cooperatives in Marinaleda (Sevilla) and El Cabril (Cádiz), the Campaign of Defence of the Minor in Madrid and, the last year, the groups equivalents to SOS-RACISM.

Abroad: scholar help in Nicaragua and Sahara, professional schools (related to the reach of drink water) in Eritrea and Lesotho, the International Peace Brigades in Salvador, a project on women development in Filipinas and, this year, the financial support of an Indian group in Ecuador.

The results

Year by year we are increasing not only the number of tax resisters but the money we divert as well. In the following table we can see the numeric results of the last years:

1988

objectors number: 857

diverted money: 6.616

reclaimed money: 11.070

objected money: 17.686

1989

objectors number: 955

diverted money: 2.987

reclaimed money: 11.360

objected money: 14.617

1990

objectors number: 1066

diverted money: 4.292

reclaimed money: 16.200

objected money: 20.492

1991

objectors number: 1160

diverted money: 5.678

reclaimed money: 12.529

objected money: 18.207

1992

objectors number: 1010

diverted money: 5.339

reclaimed money: 4.124

objected money: 9.464

The money is expressed in million peseta (3.5peseta=1BEF). For example, in 1988 the diverted money was 6.6 million pesetas.

The results of this year are provisional. By this time, we are still collecting letters from new objectors and some groups have not finished the processing work. And we always have to say that all these results are just a minimum. They are just the results of the objectors that have sent us the questionnaire, but we know that there are more. We have a count for collecting the money for the abroad project. In this count, this year we have received more than 3.5 million but looking at the questionnaires we just find 1.3 million. The difference shows that there are many objectors who don't sent us the questionnaire. How many more? We don't know. That is one of the biggest problems we find in our campaign: the way to measure the results in order to tell them to the society. 

These are the numeric results, but there are more: We are keeping as a matter of discussion the military expenses and we do it in close relationship with the development of the world and the solidarity between the different people.

Looking forward to the future, we know that our work will not finish soon, that the armies will exist for a long while in our societies. Anyway, with our work we think we are helpful and critical with this situation and we are making a positive proposal too: with the money of the armies we can built the future. Most of us have arrived to the war tax resistance campaign from the antimilitarism, but all of us see that our criticism goes together with the support of some other working fields: ecology, development, defence of the human rights every time, everywhere, feminism,... And we know that we have to do something, that we cannot be waiting for the initiative of the governments.

In Pamplona-Iruñea, November the 5th 1992.

Asamblea de Objeción Fiscal de Navarra

aptdo. 1126 31015-PAMPLONA-IRUÑEA (NAVARRA)

Telefono: 34/48/279528

(Pedro)