International call for the civic requisition of chairs

Wednesday 9 December 2015, by Attac France

Tax havens are a black hole of global finance where at least 20 trillions of dollars vanish (according to Tax Justice Network). While global negotiations on climate are stalled on the question of financing the fight against climate change, letting such massive tax evasion of public money go on is not only irresponsible but criminal. Tax havens lie at the heart of the global crime economy in all its forms: drugs, weapon trade, terrorism, money laundering.

It is with the aim of take this issue from the specialized sphere of experts to the general public that a symbolic non-violent movement was born in Basque country, protesting tax evasion organized by the bank HSBC. It has then spread to France, Belgium and Switzerland and to all banks involved in tax evasion. 196 chairs were requisitioned in bank branches by the “Chair reapers” to reveal the link between tax evasion organized by banks and lack of funding for climate, in particular the annual 100 billion of dollars promised from 2020 to developing countries for climate adaptation.

196 international delegates of the civil society, representing a diversity of cultures and movements committed to fighting climate change, have sitted at the “196 Chairs Summit” on December 6, during the Climate Forum in Montreuil, as part of a global civic movement that counted major civil society leaders from around the world: John Christensen (Tax Justice Network), Aissatou Diouf (Enda), Bill McKibben (, Lidy Nacpil (Jubillee South – Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development), Vandana Shiva (Navdanya) et Aurélie Trouvé (Attac France).

This non-violent civil disobedience movement aims to force cheaters and tax evaders to respect the needs to contribute demanded by all citizens. It is now going to grow on the international level.

Personalities like Marcos Arruda (economist from Brazil), Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim (coordinator of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad), Anabella Rosemberg (trade unionist),Yeb Saño (Filipino negotiator at COP 21), Txetx Etcheverry (Alternatiba), Susan George and other spokesperson from the five continents proclaimed the “peoples’ solutions for financing the transition”: financial transaction tax, carbon tax, debt restructuring, quantitative easing for the people and the planet, divestment from fossil fuels, etc...

It is in this spirit that we call to all civic movements worldwide to use this simple, non-violent and creative method in order to place the issue of tax evasion and tax havens at the heart of the global public debate, and to finally obtain the implementation of measures often announced but regularly silenced under the pressure of finance lobbies.


Crédit Photo: ANV-COP 21

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