Superglue arrest – 2 years on

2

December 4, 2012 by Tess Riley

Two years ago today, 9 of us were superglued to Topshop in protest against tax avoidance, part of a national day of action that saw people around the UK express their rage at the ‘no alternative to the cuts’ rhetoric in the face of large-scale corporate tax avoidance…

We were showing that there are alternatives, and getting the likes of Sir Philip Green and Vodafone to pay the taxes they owe to HMRC is a good start.

Two years on, the likes of Amazon, Google and Star*ucks have also been in the avoidance spotlight, tax justice hits the headlines on a regular basis, high-level discussions are taking place on anti tax-avoidance measures and tax avoidance is no longer the poorly-understood (deliberately hush hush) subject it once was.

There are a lot of people to thank – from the Tax Justice Network and Richard Murphy to the UK Uncut activists, people out on the streets and those whose jobs and livelihoods are being directly affected by the cuts.

Sadly, there are a lot more people badly feeling the cuts in public spending and George Osborne hasn’t finished yet. He’s acknowledged the cuts aren’t resulting in the economic recovery he predicted and so… he wants to cut further. George, you know the old saying – “once in a hole…”. [oh wait, let’s rephrase: “George, you are a hole”.]

Except stop digging he won’t. Because the cuts are about something much bigger. Yes, the public deficit is pretty big in and of itself thank you very much (while we’re on the subject, let us not forget the derivatives crash that saw the banks force an £800 billion bailout on the taxpayer) but this is about ideology: the austerity measures are not the only answer to debt, they are born out of an ideological position that believes that private enterprise will solve our problems and the state is just getting in the way. Privatisation, market forces, free trade and unhindered growth – these are the sorts of phrases that make the beady eyes of Osborne et al light up.

Yet it’s not working George. Public services are vital to our communities, Starbucks, the BBC and the Student Loans Company channeling profits offshore is not. Simples.

So, as I’ve said before, let’s remember who the real criminals are around here. Next time, maybe try locking up Sir Philip Green in a cell for night or two and see what he has to say for himself.

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2 thoughts on “Superglue arrest – 2 years on

  1. MusicIsLove says:

    I would agree with what you have said if we actually had a free-market. I think it is important that these issues are debated in a logical manor, using deductive thought,apodictic reasoning and in a philosophical non-emotional way, without left and right getting intertwined in a vitriolic slanging match of hatred, which gains nothing and only increases defenses on both sides.

    Firstly,I m aligned with neither the Left, Right or middle ground. I am not a Lab/Con/BNP/UKIP/LD supporter or of any party. So I have no political ax to grind. In my view Labour and Conservatives are more or less identical anyway.

    What I do believe in is a non-aggression principle, the right to freedom from force/coercion/violence, voluntarism I guess. I believe no one has a right to bring harm to another human, or force upon them in any aspect of life, or the right to take anyones private property through force when it has been earned through individual self-effort.

    Firstly can you tell me what your definition of a free-market actually is? The Encyclopedia of Economics describes a free-market I ll paraphrase as a summarising word for an array of exchanged that take place in society. An exchange is undertaken as a voluntary agreement between two people or between groups of people.
    As an example, if you sell me a book, and we decide on a price of £5, you value the £5 more than the book, and I value the book more than the £5, or else the voluntary exchange would not take place. The key in a free market is the exchanges are voluntary by both sides.

    Money is an indirect medium of exchange. Money makes up one half (50%) of every transaction. So understanding the role of money in a free market is imperative. Applying the definition as above of a free market then,in a true free-market government would not have a monopoly over the money supply, as a collective society we should be free to choose what we use as money, and have competing tender laws.

    In the UK only Sterling is legal tender, its forced through coercion. The government have a monopoly over this,so how is it really a free market when the source of all our transactions,ie, money is completely in the hands of government and the central bank? Do you really think that in a free market we would use pieces of paper backed by nothing as money? We are forced to use it by the government through legal tender laws, thats not voluntary. The value and integrity of that money is dependent on three entities…a central bank (Bank of England) the government (through debt/Gilt markets/stimulus) and the banks themselves who can create money at will through loans. I would put it to you that a monopoly over money is the anti-thesis of a free market. The banks, the bank of England, and government have been devaluing this money, yet I ,you and everyone who works in the UK is still forced to use it through force.

    In a free society should I and you not have the right in what I use as a medium of exchange in doing private and voluntary exchange…how is the situation you describe as a free market fit the definition of a free market, when the other half of all our transactions is controlled by a monopoly? Jefferson warned of this, and history has shown the perils of allowing governments and banks to be in charge of the money.

    Jefferson…

    “If the people ever allow private banks to control issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and the corporations will grow up around them, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

    • Tess Riley says:

      Entirely agree that what is referred to as a ‘free market’ is anything but – that was part of my point. The free market rhetoric is in fact a term applied to a very complicated set of rules, subsides, allowances and restrictions between markets, countries, trading groups etc. Those advocating a free market rarely focus on that fact.

      Not sure I agree with the point you make that taking a political stance is being emotional and that the aim should be not to bring politics into this – it’s at the heart of it. Our government is failing us where both public spending cuts and tax avoidance are concerned. Labour, I agree, were little better. It’s important to recognise that economic issues are inherently and wholeheartedly political and that we as citizens of a democracy have a right to demand social, ecological and economic justice.

      Thanks very much for your input.

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