TPL · If You’re the California Tax Collector, We’re in Utah

These tidbits from Beulah Hershiser’s The Adjustment of the Boundaries of Nevada show how people used ambiguities about jurisdictional boundaries to avoid paying taxes:

The California boundary of was in reality so little known that an accurate official survey of the eastern boundary of the State was urged upon the California Legislature by the Surveyors-General in each report . One reason given for the fixing of the line between California and the United States Territories was that California lost taxes because people residing near the disputed line claimed to live in Utah.

A footnote adds: “The officers of Carson County even appropriated money to aid citizens in their resistance to the collection of taxes by the authorities of Plumes County, Calif.

The Surveyor-General of Nevada in his report of , told of citizens in Lincoln County who refused to pay taxes, declaring they resided in Utah.


From the East Liverpool, Ohio, Evening Review

Vehicle Owners Refuse to Pay Tax

Several vehicle owners have given notice to the police department that they will not pay the license fee of $1 per year. They claim that it is not lawful to collect from them and have refused point blank to surrender any money. It is not known what will be done, but if the threats of Mayor Blake are made good, wholesale arrests will be made during the next few days. It is said that one man owning a large number of teams is among those who will not pay.

TPL · Hints on How to Increase the Psychic Cost of Tax Compliance

Some tax resistance news from here and there:

  • Kathleen DeLaney Thomas thinks the key to the government collecting more tax money is to devise new ways to make people feel guilty about evading their taxes. She calls this technique raising “The Psychic Cost of Tax Evasion” in order to reduce the expected gains of evasion. Papers like these can sometimes be read between-the-lines or at a bit of an angle to hint at techniques that dissidents can use to encourage tax resistance, either by reducing the psychic cost of tax evasion, or by increasing the psychic cost of tax compliance.
  • The president of Veneto, Luca Zaia, and Roberto Maroni, president of Lombardy, both prominent Italian Northern League politicians, have continued that party’s tradition of big talk about tax resistance with a vow to resist taxes if the national government cuts health-care spending in the regions. The presidents claim that their regions have slimmer, more efficient governments and have reined in health-care costs more than those in the south of Italy, and that they shouldn’t be punished for this by having their health care subsidies reduced.
  • Patrick Howley, a “political reporter” with a conservative bent, has reacted to the “IRS Scandal” that the American right-wing is all excited about by going on a one-man tax strike. “I did not pay my taxes this year. I just didn’t have the money,” he wrote. “Now I will not pay my taxes until every single Lois Lerner email is released and the people who planned and carried out this governmental travesty are held accountable.”
  • Ruth Benn of NWTRCC writes about the war tax resister presence at the recent climate change march in New York City.

Collective Dreaming in the Sierras

The SubRosa collective just came back from a retreat to a land project in the Sierras.  We had many intentions about why we would travel over four hours to be together for  four or five days.  There were themes that we shared in common:  to be together in a different place and have fun and share our days and nights...to be on and with the land and to share that experience together...to dream about SubRosa and the collective, about how those are now and could be. 

We accomplished all of this and more...from coffee and yerba mate in the morning to honoring the bottle at night, we had full days of varied experiences...games and solo wanderings and focused conversations about our lives, about the project, about anarchy, about the place we live...what is and could be...

Changes are in the air...the coming of fall with the Autumn Equinox...and changes also at SubRosa...some quick and some slow...

Come visit us and we welcome you to join with us at this pivotall time of grounding our dreams.

TPL · French Farmers Torch Tax Office as Bonnets Rouges Sentenced

In the first major trial of bonnets rouges accused of participating in the destruction of “ecotax” gantries in Brittany, eleven defendents were convicted and sentenced to between four and 18 months imprisonment and fines totaling a little more than €10,000.

, farmers in Brittany invaded the city of Morlaix, dumped their produce in big piles in the streets, set fire to the tax office, and blockaded the area to keep fire trucks from responding.

Here’s a link to a video of the torching in progress.

TPL · The Grieveances Behind the Rebecca Uprising

Mass meetings in Wales aired the grievances that lay behind the Rebeccaite uprising.

Continue reading at The Picket Line …

TPL · Banished Russian Duma Calls for Tax Resistance from Finland

A few more bits from the archives concerning Russia during the Vyborg Manifesto period:

Refuse to Pay Tax.

By Associated Press.

 In consequence of the unanimous and unalterable refusal of the peasants in the Odessa district to pay tax the local zemestvo has been advised by the government that it is impossible to maintain schools and hospitals which must be closed.

Russian Peasants Refuse to Pay Tax.

It is Said Fully 50,000 Have Joined in the Movement.
Trouble is Feared.

 A determined attempt by the peasants of Kutauis province, Transcaucasia, to live up to the programme outlined by the Viborg convention of deputies after the dissolution of the douma, of refusing to pay taxes, has resulted in serious trouble. From all indications the situation is bound to become steadily worse and fears are entertained that a general massacre of peasants by soldiers will be the outcome.

Fully 50,000 peasants have joined in the movement not to give the government a kopec. Notice has been given by the government that if the peasants do not pay within two weeks troops will be sent into the district and they will be mercilessly shot down.

Without waiting for soldiers to put the threat of the government into execution the peasants have inaugurated a campaign of guerrilla warfare against troops. Tax collectors who have insisted upon the payment of money have been severely handled in several instances.

Within the last few days a number of military sentinels have been shot down in ambush or attacked by peasants. These murders have infuriated the troops, who have demanded that they be allowed to attack the peasants.

Already the situation is nearly as grave as it could be. If the government attempts to execute its threat of collecting taxes at the point of the bayonet the soldiers are almost certain to get out of hand and a general massacre will follow.

Replying to a deputation of municipal officials who complained of the violences daily committed by members of the League of Russian People against peaceful citizens, Jews and Christians alike, Governor General Kaulbars said he personally doubted whether it was possible or even desirable to attempt to suppress the exasperation of the loyal elements against the revolutionary students, who were guided exclusively by Jews.

The tone of Governor Kaulbar’s speech, which is regarded as an open expression of approval of the horrors of counter-revolution, has created much alarm.

Douma Members to Base Defense on Technicality

Alleged Traitors to Russia Will Urge That Crime Was Committed Outside Country.

 Trial of those members of the first Russian Douma who signed the Viborg manifesto was continued this morning. It had been expected that today would see the conclusion of the case, but owing to the decision of several of the defendants to plead their own cause the hearing will go over until . The final arguments will be brief and formal. The prosecutor will limit himself to summing up the illegal nature of the manifesto and the grave consequences which might have ensued had the people heeded its appeal to resist tax gatherers. The defense will make its strong point on technicalities, holding that the crime, if any, was committed outside the country, and that the government has failed to establish the individual responsibility of the defendants.

TPL · Tax Resistance News from Italy, the U.S., and India

Some bits and pieces from here and there…


The Cambrian carried brief summaries of the meetings of the Breconshire Turnpike Trust and the upper and lower branches of the Cardiganshire Trust, at which the trustees seemed to be falling all over themselves to remove toll gates and reduce tolls to try to keep Rebecca at bay, for example:

A meeting of this trust, attended by an unusually large concourse of trustees… ordered that Bwlch Llangorse Gate, Senny Bridge Gate, the Side Gate in Llanvaes, the Groesfford Gate, the Side Gate at Tairderwen, Llyswen Side Gate, the Watten Side Gate, Pontcumbeth Side Gate, and the West Side Gate at Builth, be taken down and discontinued… that the Penygenfford Gate be abandoned, and that the Talgarth Gate and the Tretower Gate on that road, clear each other…

TPL · Rebecca Allows Neither Gate nor Bar nor Chain at Pontardulais

From the classified ads of the Cambrian (among others):

Murder — £500 Reward.

Carmarthen, .

Whereas Sarah Williams, when residing at the Hendy Bridge Toll House, in the Parish of Llanedy, in the County of Carmarthen, was, on , Shot by some Person or Persons unknown, — a reward of five hundred pounds is hereby offered, and will be paid to any Person or Persons who shall give such Information or Evidence as shall lead to the Apprehension and Conviction of any of those by whom the Murder was committed; and her Majesty’s most gracious Pardon will be extended to any accomplice, who may give the necessary evidence, so that such accomplice shall not be the person who fired the shot by which Sarah Williams was killed.

Geo. Rice Trevor,
Vice-Lieutenant County Carmarthen.

From the Cambrian:

Rebecca’s Proceedings.

By letters from correspondents residing in various parts of the country, we perceive that Rebecca’s hostility against turnpike-gates is far from ceasing. Indeed, it does not appear that she is in any way inclined to permit of a truce, much less to make a declaration of peace, and a cessation of hostilities. It was stated in our last, that the Pontardulais gate, at which the serious collision between the Rebeccaites and the police took place, had been carried away a few days after that occurrence. Since then, the Trustees caused a bar to be erected there, as a temporary substitute for a gate. In consequence of an intimation received by the authorities of an intended attack upon the bar on , it was sedulously watched on that night, and as a matter of course, Rebecca was not seen; but, on , when the military had quitted their posts, Rebecca removed the bar. Since which, a chain, which had been placed across the road, has also been carried away, and on , another bar was removed. On , a pair of new gates were erected there, but how long they shall stand, remains to be seen. We fear they must share the fate of their predecessors. Since the first destruction of the gate, no tolls have been collected during night, the collector deeming it the best part of valour to retire soon after sunset, and attend early on the following morning. However, it appears that he was not at his post early on , as a number of farmers and others who attend Swansea Market, meeting with no obstruction in the shape of a toll gate or even a toll-collector, passed toll free. In the afternoon, as the farmers were returning, the collector demanded payment from those who had paid no toll in the early part of the day. The latter, like the lawyers, cited their free passage in the morning as a precedent, and contended that, as they had passed free in the morning, the same rule should be adhered to in the evening. The collector decided the “precedent to be bad in law,” and demanded his toll. Some persons paid, but others insisted upon passing toll free. Since then, the collector has received a threatening letter from ’Becca, advising him to quit, or he must take the consequences of incurring her displeasure. — We learn by our Llandovery Correspondent’s letter, that on , a party of Rebecca’s followers passed through the village of Cilycwm, in Carmarthenshire, and proceeded to Porthyrhyd gate, on the road leading form Llandovery to Lampeter, which they speedily levelled. From thence these destructives passed onwards towards Llandovery, demolishing the posts of two bars which have not been in use for some years. About , they halted upon Doldyhirion bridge, a mile distant from Llandovery, where they remained for a short time, awaiting, it is surmised, some signal to inform them that the military had retired to rest. At the signal of command they set to work in right earnest with five or six saws, by which the gates, posts, and rails, near that bridge, were completely cleared away. During the progress of the destruction of the gate, they fired several gun shots into the toll-house, for the purpose of intimidating the collector and his wife, both of whom are advanced in years. When the work of destruction was over, a volley was fired, and all the rioters departed along the road leading to Cilycwm, having left a threatening notice with the collector, who, in consequence, has “resigned office” and removed his goods. — A correspondent writing from Landyssil, Cardiganshire, says — “I believe the general feeling among the people respecting Rebeccaism is much the same as it is about Llanelly, Pontardulais, &c. There is not a single toll gate in this neighbourhood, neither have we had any , when they were destroyed by the Rebeccaites.”

Rebecca and the Oddfellows.

On a large meeting of Oddfellows was held at the town-hall, Llanelly, attended by many of the most respectable and influential inhabitants, for the purpose of taking into consideration the “state of things” and of expressing their opinions upon the various topics which now agitate the public mind, especially in their own county, Carmarthenshire, and the adjoining counties. “What passed during the meeting,” adds our correspondent — “I, of course, had no opportunity of knowing, as none but Oddfellows were admitted, but from the frequent signs of approbation which reached the ears of persons in the street, unanimity seemed to prevail. After the business of the meeting was over, the members walked in procession through the town, their gay dresses producing a pleasing effect by gas light.” It will be perceived by the resolutions agreed to at the meeting, and which are inserted in our advertising columns, that the members of this loyal and patriotic society, while admitting the existence of grievances, “view with feelings of deep regret the nightly outrages and destruction of private property which have taken place in the neighbourhood,” and pledge themselves to exert their influence to counteract such unjustifiable and nefarious proceedings.

TPL · Rebecca Boldly Reseizes Distrained Goods from Bailiffs

From the Cambrian:

Police Movements.

Eleven policemen belonging to the London police force arrived in this town on by steamer from Bristol. We understand that they have since proceeded to Carmarthenshire, with the view of assisting the authorities “to catch Becca.” Though the Metropolitan force may be adepts at thief catching in the various resorts for such characters in London, it is difficult to believe that they will be more successful in breaking the combined and organised forces of Rebecca than the military, who, week after weak have scoured the country in vain.

Attack on Bailiffs.

At Maesgwenllian, near Kidwelly, several bailiffs were put in possession for arrears of rent, to the amount of 150l.; but about , Rebecca and a great number of her followers made their appearance on the premises, and after driving the bailiffs off, conveyed away the whole of the goods distrained upon. As soon as daylight appeared, the bailiffs returned, but found no traces of Rebecca nor of the goods which had been taken away.

Claims on the Hundreds in consequence of Losses by Rebeccaism.

An enquiry was held at the Guildhall, Carmarthen, last week, before a large bench of Magistrates, to assess the amount of damage sustained at certain toll-houses, in consequence of the proceedings of Rebecca and her daughters. A great number of witnesses were examined and cross-examined at great length, the enquiry lasting for five successive hours. At the conclusion an order was made to pay for the damage done at Minke toll-house, amounting to the sum of 15l. and 3l. 7s. 6d. costs of the application; for the damage done at Porthyrhyd toll-house, the sum of 29l., with the sum of 2l. 6s. costs of application, together with 3l. 7s. high constable’s claim — for the damage sustained by Evan Thomas (the Porthyrhyd lion), by the destruction of his furniture, 2l. 1s. 6d., and costs 2l. 4s.; and high constable’s charges, 1l. 1s. 8d. Croesllwyd toll-house was to have been brought forward, but the justices were occupied so long in the foregoing enquiries, that it stood adjourned to a future day. These expenses, of course, fall on the respective hundreds [districts].

TPL · Rebecca Is Every Man Who Earns His Bread by the Sweat of His Brow

Excerpts from an article in the Cambrian:

Great Meeting of Farmers

A grand demonstration among the Farmers of tie several parishes of Llandebie, Llanarthney, Llanfihangel-Aberbythych, Llanedy, and Beltws, in the county of Carmarthen, took place on a hill called Garnfig, between the parishes of Llanarthney and Llanfihangel-Aberbytliych, about a mile distant on the Llandilo road from Cross Hands, Carmarthenshire. The meeting had been announced for eleven o’clock, at which time there were comparatively few persons on the field, but the numbers continued increasing until twelve or one o’clock, when the number present was estimated at three thousand individuals, nearly all of whom were fanners or agricultural labourers…

Mr. [Hugh] Williams then said, that… it had been his lot to have been called upon to state the object for which the meeting had been convened. It was known to all that they had numerous grievances to complain of, which they had long suffered. One was the turnpike-toll grievance, which was well known to them. The great multiplicity of gates had given rise to outrages of the most desperate character, which he hoped would be soon discontinued, and the country return to its former peaceable state. It also appeared that the agriculturalists were reduced to such a state of poverty as scarcely to be able to pay for the conveyance of manure.…

Other complaints on the agenda included:

  • The new Poor Law, which the speaker characterized as having been designed by the upper classes for their financial benefit, and as burdening rural parishes particularly, while at the same time making things worse for the poor.
  • The “Tithe Commutation Act” which had ended up increasing tithes.
  • An increase in the expense of local government.

I’m going to mostly omit the discussion of those and stick to the parts that dealt with the tollgates and with Rebecca’s activities.

He (Mr. W.) regretted to find that, notwithstanding the resolutions agreed to at the Mynydd Sylen meeting [condemning Rebeccaism], great outrages and excesses had been committed, and they had thereby lost the assistance of several gentlemen who would have helped them. They perceived the effect of those outrages that day. He thought it would certainly have been desirable to have the company of those gentlemen. He was exceedingly sorry to find that private pique had been carried so far as to cause the destruction of property. He was not aware that Mr. Adams, of Middleton-Hall, had in any way so stepped beyond the pale of his Magisterial duties, as to give rise to such a feeling of antipathy against him. A man, having any regard for his oath, must perform his Magisterial duties. Another gentleman had been most unjustly accused of turning round — he referred to Mr. Wm. Chambers, jun., than whom a more honourable gentleman did not exist. It had been reported that he took an unworthy part in the suppression of the outrages at Pontardulais. Now he (Mr. W.) attended the examination at Swansea, and took notes of the evidence of the police and others, which proved that Mr. Chambers was entirely free from having attempted to make an onslaught upon the people. Mr. Williams here entered into the details elicited at the examination of the prisoners, to prove that Mr. Chambers was not near the spot when they were fired upon. He (Mr. W.) made those few remarks, to prove that Mr. Chambers was entirely guiltless of the charge brought against him, and he hoped that notion would be dissipated, and that his property would not, in future, be subject to destruction and depredation. With those observations, he would read the petition to the Queen. It was in the power of any one to assent or dissent from its prayer, or any portion of it.

Our space will not permit the insertion of the petition at length — we give the substance. The first part relates to turnpike-tolls, which are complained of as being very heavy, and prays that all turnpike-trusts may be consolidated, and placed under one management, which would regulate the distances at which gates were to be placed from each other.…

Mr. Williams informed the meeting, that when seeking a seconder of the petition, a letter had been given him from Mr. Chambers, jun., stating his reasons for not attending their meeting, which he hoped, with the explanation he had given, would satisfy them. The letter, which was read, repelled the false report that Mr. C. had shot one of the rioters at Pontardulais, a charge probably arising trom his having procured the wounded man some water, after the affray was over. Mr. C. also maintained that he had faithfully kept all the promises made by him. He said he would oppose nightly meetings, and would always do so. He also stated that he was amongst the first landlords who lowered their rents, and recommended others to do the same. He also offered to pay the police-rate for his tenants, and never failed to grant them an extension of time for the payment of rent when asked to do so. He had also kept his promise relative to the Three Commotts Trust. The writer asked the meeting if they thought they would have their grievances redressed by firing people’s property — was not that the method of aggravating the distress? Let the tenants of, and the labourers employed upon, the three farms which had been burnt, bear testimony. He had had written the letter to satisfy himself and not the wretches who had devastated his property. His life had been threatened, but let the miscreant who had done so beware, lest he be paid for his temerity, as he (Mr. C.) was resolved to do his best to defend himself.

A Man in the crowd said, it is Mr. Chambers’s own neighbours who complain of his conduct; they would not have so bad an opinion of him, if he had acted up to his promises.

Mr. Williams did not think so; but were that true, it was no reason that his houses should be burnt down.

Several remarks were made by Persons in the crowd, some of whom treated the letter with levity and jeers.

Mr. Stephen Evens proceeded. He did not know who Rebecca was, and why she always hatched at night; but he would make one remark with refeienee to her. He knew that if old women in making broth did not take it off the fire in time, the potatoes would get “potch.” He thought it time for Rebecca to take off the pot, or she would create a “potch.” Something very much like that had been created at Pontardulais lately. No person who understood what he was about would burn property, as the loss might be recovered from the hundred [district].

Mr. Wm. Evans, of Pontyberem, then addressed the meeting in a very animated Welsh speech. He said that everything was either a cause or an effect. A good deal had been spoken of outrages; but they unfortunately were but effects produced by a cause, and the cause was that the country was oppressed to a greater degree than it could bear. Like a horse greatly overladen, the burden must be lessened or he would break down. Let the cause be removed, the effect would soon cease. The Speaker then entered upon the toll grievance. It was not enough to make the farmer pay for travelling on the parish roads, but they were actually compelled to pay toll on private roads leading to their farms.… Still, he did not like to see ricks of hay burnt. That would not improve their conditions. Letters had been read to the meeting vindicating the conduct of some parties. He remembered rending, that even the devil had endeavoured to defend himself. (Hear.) It had been asked who Rebecca was. He had never seen her; but he thought that Rebecca was every man who earned his bread by the sweat of his brow. (Cheers.) [emphasis mine –♇]

Mr. William Thomas, of Rhosfawr, Llanon, addressed the meeting.… The Turnpike Trustees, where were they? was there one in the meeting? If so, let him come forward and reason upon the subject. They were met to legally discuss their grievances in the middle of day. He knew three gates — he would name them, Rhydyffynon, Fairfach, and Rhydytruscog gates, within a mile-and-a-half of each other, and at all of which toll must be paid. (Cries of “Quarry-fach gate.”) Yes, that was another gate within a very short distance; but thanks to Becca for pulling them down, though he would prefer her having done so during the day. Reference had been made to boiling potatoes. He thought they might take the pot down for Carmarthenshire, and, if necessary, let it boil on for Glamorganshire. The speaker concluded by entering at some length into the details of the turnpike-toll grievance.

One speaker expressed cynicism about petitions (“There had been thousands of petitions sent from the people, until the table actually groaned…”), but the meeting unanimously approved another one anyway.