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The Peace Tax Seven

What is their moral argument?

1. Peace is the only possible future.

War diverts resources from other disasters. Every bomb and bullet kills twice: each has indirect victims, dying in want while the world's wealth is wasted on weapons.
Clean water and basic healthcare could be available to everyone on the planet for the cost of just one week's armament spending.
      Roy Prockter {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
      - Dwight D. Eisenhower

One third, £88 billion, of all HM Government's fixed capital assets belong to the MoD.
       - conscience FAQs

2. There is no "defence" spending; all weapons foster war.

      The UK is on a permanent war-footing. Our tax returns are weapons of mass destruction.

How much is spent on the military in the UK? £30 billion by the Ministry of Defence. There is also an element of military spending in other government departments, such as the Export Credit Guarantees Department, ... £27 billion was allocated to Ministry of Defence in the 2004 budget. £37.9 billion is the Departmental Expenditure Limit for 2004-05. ... "outdated" technology becomes worthless in a short time and therefore costs to the country are increased ...
       - conscience FAQs

The UK's possession of nuclear weapons of mass destruction; our stated willingness to use them; our role as the second largest arms trading country, subsidised by taxpayers' money, is a threat to the security of the world.
       - conscience FAQs

How can we persuade the young generation to cast aside the culture of violence when they know that it is on the threat of extreme violence that we apparently rely for security?
       - Joe Jenkins {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

3. Especially today, funding war is waging war.

      The nature of warfare has changed.

The Gulf War ... was fought by professional soldiers using high-tech weapons. Today, conscription is not of our bodies but of our taxes.
       - conscience FAQs

It is taken for granted that we contribute taxes for military preparations. This is conscription by proxy because we live in a world where civilian men are no longer required for military service.
       - Robin Brookes {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

I've done all the demos, written to MPs, prayed for peace. And then they sent me a bill for some tax. Realizing that this was effectively part of the proportion they would spend on war and preparing for war, I just could not bring myself to write a cheque. ... Paying a murderer to murder is committing that murder yourself. ... It really is that straightforward.
       - Roy Prockter {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

4. People start wars, and people can stop them.

      A species with brains enough to make bombs has brains enough not to need them.

The international growth in peacemaking has often gone unobserved. Headlines are not made by wars which do not happen. But in reality, thousands of people and communities owe their lives and existence to the expertise of peacemaking experts, groups and institutions. Today, more than ever, war is never inevitable. Peacemaking, conflict resolution, and international development are better, more realistic, more humane and more cost-effective uses of public tax money than continued preparation for, and infliction of, mass destruction. The PEACE TAX SEVEN are arguing for a legal way of channelling, in creative and beneficial ways, the tax that would otherwise be spent needlessly destroying lives and communities.
       - PEACE TAX SEVEN joint statement

If a fraction of the money spent on military preparations was spent looking for the alternatives; training people as peace negotiators; solving the problems which lead to conflict and resolving conflicts before they escalate into violence, we would go far along the road to abolishing war. I think this is a realistic goal, to make war a thing of the past. It only needs for us to break from the habitual mindset that war is inevitable and unavoidable to believe this is so. People are not natural killers. Soldiers have to be trained to make them capable of killing.
       - Robin Brookes {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

5. You can vote, but only for war.

      Every major British political party supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

British citizens and taxpayers today are undoubtedly confronted by a combination of institutional secrecy, archaic parliamentary procedure, vested business interests, internal party discipline and superficial media enquiry when it comes to war.
       - Joe Jenkins {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

"When a state acts in a way that a citizen considers to be totally immoral then that citizen should withdraw support from the state. Support can most clearly be withdrawn at the point where the state demands taxes"
       - Roger Franklin

6. Killing is not a party political issue.

The defining feature about rights, such as the right to life, is that they are absolute.
       - Joe Jenkins {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

Fundamental values and rights cannot be traded off against seeming or real advantages for certain individuals or states. ... each person has an intrinsic value and worth, regardless of their nationality, gender, faith or conduct.
       - Birgit Völlm {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

conscience is supported by parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.
       - conscience FAQs

7. Freedom of conscience is a basic human right.

      By insisting on our rights, we are insisting on yours - whatever your views. In the long term, everyone benefits from freedom of speech.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion...
       - European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 (1)

Our case is based on a recognised human right - not a political decision, like paying taxes for state or private education, or not wanting to pay for the NHS because you have private medical insurance.
       - conscience FAQs

8. Rich governments are often rogue governments.

And even if the last war had been right, the next might not be.

In an age when the effects of mere "conventional" weapons such as cluster bombs and depleted uranium shells would beggar the belief of our ancestors, I, as a British taxpayer have grave misgivings about how a proportion of my tax is being spent on illegal military activities ...
       - Joe Jenkins {PEACE TAX SEVEN}

This [2003 Iraq] war was illegal. It violated the UN Charter which allows the use of military force only in cases of self defence or as an action authorised by the Security Council. Pre-emptive strikes have no basis in International Law. This war cost the British taxpayer several billion pounds and thousands of innocent Iraqis their lives.
       - Birgit Völlm {PEACE TAX SEVEN}