Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay – from poll tax struggles to recession resistance

Thursday 23 April 2009, 7.30pm
The Cube Cinema, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2

Come and hear from speakers and join in the debate:

  • Danny Burns, local anti-poll tax activist & author of The Poll Tax Rebellion (AK Press & Attack International, 1992). Danny was a prominent activist in the Avon Anti-Poll Tax Federation, and an independent member of the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation national executive.
  • A member of the East Bristol Debtors Alliance (EBDA), a small local group offering advice and support around debt issues and seeking to build solidarity.
  • Plus see the famous poll tax film ‘Battle of Trafalgar’ (Beyond TV, 1990, UK, 54 minutes). This film provides an eyewitness acccount of the massive national anti-poll tax demo in London on 31 March 1990, which turned into a major riot as the cops lost control of central London. If you thought the recent anti-G20 London emos were rough, you aint seen nothing yet! Be shocked as the cops drive vans, cars and horses at speed into packed crowds. Cheer as the crowd responds and sends the cops running.

cantpayThe current economic crisis has been largely created by the basic logic, or raison d’etre, of capital, namely the requirement of bankers, corporations, and stock market speculators to always seek a profit, at any cost to others. Helped along by political misjudgements and deregulation of the financial sector, the promise of continual profit growth and constant personal prosperity has been shown up to be the unsustainable myth it always was. By its nature, capitalism is crisis. This crisis is hitting ordinary people hard as we are forced to pay for their crisis, with rising unemployment and home repossessions, cuts in pay and public services, attacks on benefits, worthless pensions and savings, increases in poverty, and tax rises to come. But we don’t have to just sit back and take it…

19 years ago when the Tories tried to introduce the community charge, or Poll Tax, in England & Wales, they were met with a campaign of mass grassroots community resistance, in the form of anti-poll tax unions. About 17 million people refused to pay, and used a diverse range of tactics to confront the state and tax collectors. What can we learn from that campaign that could help us in the current crisis?

More information from EBDA
Event poster (pdf)

Thursday 23 April 2009, 7.30pm.
£2/3 on the door (nobody turned away due to lack of funds)
The Cube Cinema, Dove Street South, Bristol, BS2