2 Nov 2008

Abolish Tax havens and CAP, say yes to Tobin.

The following was delivered by hand to Nos 10, 11 Downing St and HM Treasury
on friday.

*Friday 31st October 2008
Petition to Chancellor of Exchequer & PM Gordon Brown

1. Abolish Tax Havens
2. Tobin Tax Now
3. Total Reform of CAP *

Dear Alistair Darling & Gordon Brown,

In these extraordinary times a world-wide coalition of people from civil
society are calling on you to take bold action and work with other world
leaders to ensure the new, global financial architecture is for all people
and the planetary ecology, and not just a few.

FYI a detailed, initial, international response from individuals, social
movements and non-governmental organisations meeting in Beijing on 15
October 2008 can be found at http://casinocrash.org, and others are in the
pipeline, as you would expect.

But today, I would particularly like to draw your attention to the

1. in working to reform the world financial system, in particular at the
upcoming Summit in Washington on November 15th, we urge movement
constructively towards the creation of a transparent, viable global fiscal
authority with effective representation for all nations, and with real power
to regulate global markets and redistribute wealth.
2. many of us consider these principles to be fundamental to the ending of
poverty, injustice and war and therefore necessary if there is ever to be
world peace
3. we therefore call upon you and other leaders to build a coalition of
countries – from north and south alike - determined to work together, and
use this time of immense opportunity to these ends
4. in particular we call upon you – by way of basic starting point - to make
public your desire to close down all world tax havens and bring in
appropriate, social support mechanisms world-wide, including as a flagship
the Currency Transaction or Tobin Tax, CTT. And also: to reform the Common
Agricultural Policy, away from corporate and large landowner subsidy and
towards EU food sovereignty, basic service provision and, most essentially
housing needs.

*Abolish Tax Havens:* cleaning up tax havens (where approximately 11.5
trillion dollars are stored) is essential if we are to have an open,
transparent system and an effective, global fiscal authority.

*Tobin Tax Now:* CTT, via a small levy on international currency trades must
be brought in as soon as possible. This would mean:

(i) billions of dollars per annum in global tax revenues. Monies received
could then be ring-fenced for use in global poverty reduction (the
Millennium Development Goals).
(ii) a potentially sizeable redistribution of wealth to the most needy, via
regional social funds and/or grassroots community organisations providing
effective public service provision – ie to provide the basic housing,
sanitation and clean water needs for the millions who are (already or about
to be) dispossessed, and so begin the process of ending poverty world-wide.
(iii) no financial representation (of currency trading) without global
taxation – a basic principle of democratic governance
(iv) potentially the 'response element' of your proposed early warning
system: as you may be aware Professor Tobin originally suggested this tax as
a means by which to cool markets, levying at a higher amount when they are
looking to overheat
(v) potentially we do not endure yet more civil unrest – including terrorism
– world-wide because of western double standards, the injustice of world
poverty and global social exclusion. Nor will we have to wait another three
generations for this opportunity if you act skilfully and campaign for Tobin
CAP Reform:* as you are aware nearly half the EU budget (33 billion GBP) is
currently spent on this subsidy, which severely curtails agricultural
competitivity in the poorest sections of the word. Much of the subsidy goes
towards large corporations and landowners. Many in civil society would like
to see good subsidies remain (those for small farms enhancing ecological and
wise food sovereignty) but the rest of this money redirected away from
corporations and rich landowners and exclusively towards projects that are
socially just, for example:

To help create a green, democratic EU economy
To enhance local, national and or EU-wide food sovereignty
To provide social housing and other basic services for those most in need
To provide structures for local decision making and democratic empowerment
(local subsidiarity not corporate subsidies)

Overall, I hope you see this is as an opportunity to work with other world
leaders and bring about the kind of reforms that visionaries once pioneered
for the UK in the form of the NHS, only this time a safety net for the whole
world. Think of it as the beginnings of a World Health Service.

I am aware that you will have substantial opposition for a programme like
this from the neo-con ideologues in the White House and elsewhere, but the
Doha meeting follows Washington at the end of November. If you and other
progressive leaders from the rich north are willing to stand up for an end
to poverty, world-wide, at this historic juncture you will undoubtedly gain
immense support from the many countries effected and world social movements.
But if you do not, you will almost certainly face a great deal of discontent
and civil unrest.

Yours sincerely

Mark Barrett
(in personal capacity)

More info:

1. Abolish Tax Havens: info is available at http://www.taxjustice.net
2. Tobin Tax Now: please read Colin Cowdery on CTT in this month's Prospect
- see https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/peopleincommon/2008-10/msg00084.html
3. Total Reform of CAP: increasingly open info about the CAP subsidy regime
is available at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/funding/index_en.htm |
http://farmsubsidy.org and http://caphealthcheck.eu

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