Fifth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Hondarribia, Spain 1994

Workshop 8: War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns:

a direct effort to reduce military spending.

The preparatory document

With these words we would like to pass on some opinions we have heard about peace tax fund and war tax resistance in order to open a debate during our next workshop in Hondarribia.

We have realised there are different positions referring to this matter. With this introduction we would like you to start thinking about it.

  1. There are people who mean the State should legislate the possibility to pay peace taxes instead of war taxes (Armed Forces).
  2. They are seeking for respect to their personal conscientious objection to military taxes. This should be guaranteed by our State so every citizen should be offered the possibility to choose between paying taxes for peace or for war.
  3. Other people, on the other hand think they are willing to reach the abolition of any violent methods to solve conflicts and therefore their aim is the disappearance of the Armed Forces.
  4. Many war tax resisters do not support the idea of peace tax legislation. For them war tax resistance is as much a political strategy as an issue of conscience .
  5. Solidarity, justice and peace must be the rule of action for all non-violent ministries and only under these terms could they finance the State.

Both positions might be further discussed. We will try to structure the ideas through some questions which we are supposed to answer, with your contribution, in our workshop.

The list of questions remains open. Perhaps you find some more which can enrich the debate, do not hesitate to send them

We apologize for all the mistakes and we hope you are interested in taking part in the workshop. Any further information you might have about the matter we would be very grateful to receive it.

Gabriela and Yolanda

The report

The topic of this workshop was the relation between peace tax campaigns on the one hand, and war tax resistance an other acts of pacifist civil disobedience on the other.

The discussion centred on peace tax campaigns, and there were front criticism of such campaigns, on the grounds that they leave military budgets untouched and give a false impression of hope. But from these criticisms there emerged a clearer and sharper picture of what such campaigns actually can accomplish, as instrument of education.

Towards the end of the discussion, as people told stories about their own lives, it was possible to see in our lives, if not always in our opinions, a continuum between actions of conscience and actions of politics, and between acts of lobbing and civil disobedience.

Next we are going to write down some of the opinions expressed in the workshop. We cannot reproduce all of them. We were not able to take notice of all, but we hope they can give you an idea of the discussion:

This is only a step. We must go further.

This is only a way and there are many others:

Reported by Gabriela and Yolanda

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