December 11, 2004

Conscientious Objection to War through taxes

Almost 10% of all your taxes, including VAT, go to the military. In 2003 that was 37 billion, ten times more than what we spent on international development.
Britain's Trident nuclear weapons system costs us £1.5 billion per year.
A group called 'Conscience' campaigns for the legal rights of those who conscientiously object to war to be able to spend the military part of their taxes on peacebuilding initiatives.
The right to refuse military service has been recognised in the UK since 1916. This right to conscientious objection is recognised by the UN as a basic human right. And yet we still have to support the military with our taxes.
We may not have to fight ourselves, but our taxes pay for weapons and the soldiers who weild them on our behalf. We supported the Iraq war, Trident nuclear missiles and the arms trade with our taxes! This is financial conscription with no means to object.
Modern wars are no longer fought with conscript armies, but with high-tech weapons paid for with our taxes.
There should be an 'alternative financial service' for the military part of our taxes. The money could go to a non-military security fund, used to help prevent and resolve conflicts. It would fund peace-keeping operations. Thus, everyone could still contribute to society's defence according to their conscience.
We should have the democratic right to choose how our taxes are spent. Rather than funding the military we should be able to support peacekeepers, projects that research the roots of conflict and work that strengthens arms regulations to prevent arms flowing into areas of conflict. Arms need to be better regulated and controlled and defence money would be well used in supporting this.
Essentially money should be spent on understanding the reasons and complexities behind conflicts rather than pouring money into 'false security' through developing more weapons.

Some objectors to the current system refuse to pay tax until receiving an assurance that it will not be used for military purposes. This is illegal. The Inland Revenue will insist on payment and instigate court action. In rare cases the objectors have been declared bankrupt or imprisoned.
A group called 'Conscience' believes that a 'Peace Tax Return' should be attatched to every Inland Revenue form, offering people the option of choosing how their defense taxes are spent.

To join the campaign for an optional Peace Tax and the right to conscientious objection, please visit –

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Mathew Mannion

    And when the country is invaded, all the people who don't pay the military tax are round up and shot by default, right?

    11 Dec 2004, 16:05

  2. Steven

    Mr Mannion, i hope you have not succumbed to this climate of fear the government and right wing media outletts are peddling about this country being invaded?

    its is a plain and simple fact that the obscene amounts of military expenditure is going on a) lining the pockets of the already rich and exceptionaly objectionable people that own the arms manufacturing companies, and b) to kill and terrorise the poor innocent civilians and forced conscriped soldiers that these weapons seek to 'neutralise'.

    11 Dec 2004, 17:21

  3. Mathew Mannion

    Oh please, do not tell me you have succumbed to the climate of fear the Daily Mail is peddling.

    The simple fact of the matter is that we are a vulnerable country with a requisite for an armed forces. There's no conscription, no forced military, although the military do work their bollocks off to try and recruit people. I am not saying that the amount of money that is spent on the military is correct, the simple fact of the matter is that we don't know where the money goes, so your argument about lining pockets is also incorrect from what I can see (Britain makes a substantial amount of money from selling arms to other countries).

    The argument I was making is that it is complete and utter bullsh#t to suggest that people be able to dictate that their taxes are spent differently to the next person, unless they accept that if they don't spend as much taxes on something, they shouldn't get the service. If you don't pay taxes on health, you should be turned away from hospitals. If you don't pay taxes on school, you and your dependents shouldn't be allowed education. If you don't pay taxes on the military, you shouldn't enjoy their protection. It is a quite frankly ludicrous argument, in my opinion.

    11 Dec 2004, 17:30

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