Earliest known war tax resisters

I know papers and articles have been written about the history of conscientious objection to military taxation, or war tax resistance.  I keep promising myself I will read them sometime.  Having done so I would have been able to better respond to a Facebook post from the USA’s National War Tax resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC).  This arrogant attitude of the Americans that they were the first or only people on Earth is tiresome.  The post was:

#DIDYOUKNOW the #Indigenous Algonquin People are the earliest known #war tax resisters. In 1637 they refused to pay #taxes put on by the Dutch #colonizers to help improve the local colonial fort — War Resisters League War Resisters League // #heros #mondaymotivation #resist #endwar #peace

I find it hard to accept they were the first in the world.

They are probably the earliest in North America since Europeans arrived.  I’ll bet there were South American people who objected to Spanish taxation prior to that. And probably people who objected to taxation by the Incas or Aztecs that funded their expansionism.

In England, the Magna Carta came about because of war tax resistance in the 1200s.

But I should think there are examples from Roman Empire times if not earlier.  Expecting conquered people to pay for the armies that suppress them or that are passing through is a very old trick.

Even Sun-Tzu in Art of War says long campaigns fail because they result in losing people’s support, typically when military taxation reaches about 70%, and he was a historian writing about events from before his time of 2½ thousand years ago.

But it made me reflect on this in today’s context.  Using terminology from English law, military taxation is ‘demanding money with menaces’.

No reduction in defence spending until at least June 2022

As part of Theresa May’s £1 billion deal to buy the support of the DUP so she can stay in power, defence spending will be at least maintained until the next general election.

Link: www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2017-40245514

So there’s not much point campaigning for any kind of reduction for the next four or five years.

Specifically: “On defence, the parties have said they will ensure they meet the NATO commitment of spending two per cent of GDP on the armed forces, as well as committing to the Armed Forces Covenant. They will also look at ways to support reserve forces in Northern Ireland.”  UK GDP is just over £2,000,000 million, 2% of that is about £40,000,000,000 or about £750,000,000 per week.

Note that it is 2% of the Gross Domestic Product which is the entire output of the economy, not 2% of the tax income, nor 2% of government expenditure.