“Breaking through power” – “repair democracy” – build a lobby for the 99% – 1000 people in every election-district should form a committee – rent a town-hall – print posters and announce that their man of congress will come – then informing the office of the congressmen 😀 that he/she is expected to come.

BREAKING THROUGH POWER – It’s Easier than You Think – Ralph Nader Excerpt.pdf

Open Media Series | City Lights BooksCopyright © 2016 by Ralph Nader

Open Media Series Editor: Greg Ruggiero

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Nader, Ralph, author.

Description: San Francisco : City Lights Publishers, 2016. | Series: City lights open media
Identifiers: LCCN 2016008227 | ISBN 9780872867055 (paperback)

Subjects: LCSH: Democracy—United States. | Communities—United
States. | Power (Social sciences)—United States. | Wealth—United States. | Social justice—United States. | BISAC: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Economic
Conditions. | POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy. | POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship. | POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public
Policy / Economic Policy.
Classification: LCC JC423 .N245 2016 | DDC 322.40973—dc23
LC record available at
City Lights Books are published at the City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

Plutocracy of Maximums, Democracy of Minimums 11
To Organize Is to Initiate Resistance and Change 25
How the System Is Rigged 53
Why Democracy Works 93
Endnotes 151
Index 157
About the Author 163

When I was a student at Princeton University I learned from
my anthropology studies that the concentration of power in
the hands of the few is common to all cultures, societies, na-
tions, tribes, cities, towns, and villages. Even where the thirst
for self-governance and democracy is strong, as was the case
in New England towns before the American Revolution
against King George III, wealthy Tories were there too. In
Central and Western Massachusetts, the farmers used the
term “the River Gods” to describe the rich merchants using
the Connecticut River as a profitable trading route. These
days, most people protesting for economic justice use the
term “the One Percent” to describe the ultra-small group of
people who wield enormous influence over our society today.
There is something about the differences in skill, deter-
mination, lineage, avarice, and pure luck that stratifies most
people from the rulers who dominate them. In the political
realm, the few become dominant because they hoard wealth
and are driven to exercise power over others. When a small
group of people rules a society the political system is consid-
ered an oligarchy; when only money and wealth determine

1112 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

how a society is controlled, the political system is a plutoc-
racy. From the standpoint of a democratic society, both oli-
garchy and plutocracy are inherently unjust and corrupt.
Of course there are variations in the degrees of authori-
tarianism and cruelty that each system exercises over the com-
munities it relies upon for workers and wealth. Scholars have
resorted to using phrases like “benign dictatorships” or “wise
rulers” or “paternalistic hierarchies—” to describe lighter
touches by those few who impose their rule over the many.
Thomas Paine simply called them tyrannies. People, families,
and communities can only take so much abuse before they rise
up to resist. The job of the rulers is always to find that line and
provide the lowest level of pay, security, housing, consumer
protection, healthcare, and political access for society so that
they can extract and hoard the greatest amount of wealth, pow-
er, and immunity from justice for themselves. In many ways,
the majority of Americans live in a democracy of minimums,
while the privileged few enjoy a plutocracy of maximums.
This small volume is not just about the ravages of pow-
er or the assaults against disadvantaged and downtrodden
communities. The subject here is the dominating influence
of the One Percent in business, politics, health, education,
and society as a whole. Over the past fifty years, Americans
have suffered the relentless commercialization of everyday
life—their privacy and their childhoods, their parks and pris-
ons, their public budgets and foreign policy, their schools
and religious institutions, their elections and governments,
and the most basic societal institution of them all: the family.
Consider all the family functions that have been out-
sourced to business.

Eating, cleaning, childcare, counseling, therapy, entertainment, sports, lawn work, simple repairs,
have been increasingly commercialized, commodified, pack-
aged, and marketed back to us as products of luxury and
convenience. Even mother’s breast milk has been displaced
by infant formula.
In a plutocracy, commercialism dominates far beyond
the realm of economics and business; everything is for sale,
and money is power. But in an authentic democracy, there
must be commercial-free zones where the power of human
rights, citizenship, community, equality, and justice are free
from the corrupting influence of money. Our elections and
our governments should be such commercial-free zones;
our environment, air, and water should never fall under the
control of corporations or private owners. Children should
not be programmed by a huckstering economy where their
vulnerable consciousness becomes the target of relentless
corporate marketing and advertising.
American history demonstrates that whenever com-
merce dominates all aspects of national life, a host of ills
and atrocities have not just festered and spread, but become
normal—enslavement, land grabs, war, ethnic cleansing,
serfdom, child labor, abusive working conditions, corrupt
political systems, environmental contamination, and im-
munity from the law for the privileged few. History also
shows that whenever there have been periods when enough
of the country organizes and resists, we see movements of
people and communities breaking through power. Progress
is made. Rights are won. Education and literacy increase.
Oppression is diminished. It was in this manner that people
of conscience abolished the living nightmare imposed by

14 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

the laws and whips of white enslavers. The nation moved
closer to promises of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hap-
piness” expressed in the Declaration of Independence. We
won more control over our work, our food, our land, our air,
and our water. Women secured the right to vote. Civil rights
were elevated and enforced. Public schools, improved envi-
ronments, workplace collective bargaining, and consumer
protections did not spontaneously evolve; they were won by
people demanding them and breaking through power.
These moments of great progress are expressed in
terms of new legislation, regulations, and judicial decisions
that directly benefit the life, liberties, and pursuit of hap-
piness of most Americans. From the abolition of slavery to
the introduction of seat belts, great social gains have been
achieved when people mobilize, organize, and resist the
power of the few. The problem is that these liberating peri-
ods of humanitarian and civilizational progress are of shorter
duration than the relentless commercial counterforces that
discourage and disrupt social movements and their networks
of support. Some commentators have used the bizarre term
“justice fatigue” to describe the pullback that often occurs
when communities of resistance are faced with increased
surveillance, infiltration, harassment, and arrest. A more ac-
curate term is repression.
My sister, Laura Nader, Professor of Anthropology at
the University of California, Berkeley, encourages her stu-
dents to study and compare how other cultures develop and
improve their collective “common good.” An illuminating
comparison on a giant scale, for example, could be made be-
tween how the United States and our European allies and enemies developed after World War II.

Maybe the difference
in directions came from the complacency of the American
victors, flush with “full employment” after a severe economic
depression, in contrast to the motivation of Europe’s surviv-
ing middle class, to return to a better life. In any event, a des-
titute France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, and Austria
and the damaged Britain and Scandinavian nations took their
traditions of strong labor unions, multi-party systems, and
large co-ops to a level of productive social democracy that
continues to shame the corporate-dominated, two-party tyr-
anny that passes itself off for democracy in the United States.
Granted, these war-weary countries had their own plu-
tocracies, their own One Percent, but those ruling elites
were successfully kept in check by the rest of society, not the
other way around as is the case today in the United States.
This combination of factors, coupled with a hungry, impov-
erished population thirsting for a decent livelihood, raised
the critical expectation level that drove the momentum for
far-reaching social progress. In this manner, people in most
Western European nations granted themselves important
accommodations such as affordable universal healthcare,
tuition-free higher education, bountiful private pensions,
powerful job-protection laws, four weeks or more paid vaca-
tions, accommodating public transit, paid family sick leave,
paid maternity leave, and free child care. People in the Unit-
ed States today, with the exception of some of those protect-
ed by labor unions, have permitted the wealthy class to deny
them these benefits, allowing their taxes for example, to be
spent on what is, by far, the world’s biggest military budget
and an ultra-invasive national surveillance system that allows

16 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

the government to violate their privacy. People in Europe
insist that their taxes be spent to enrich the health, education
and well-being of the entire population, not just those with
extreme wealth, so there is less grumbling. Some European
communities even calibrate fines and fees based on income.
People in Finland, for example, charge fines according to
income level so that the financial sting is experienced more
equally. As a result, a wealthy Finnish businessman recently
found himself with a speeding ticket in the amount of about
$58,000 (54,024 euros) “for traveling a modest, if illegal, 64
miles per hour in a 50 m.p.h. zone.” 1
Our country, which brags constantly about being num-
ber one in just about everything, managed to tie itself into
knots after World War II. In 1947, a Republican Congress
passed the notorious Taft-Hartley Act that handcuffed
workers from forming new labor unions or expanding the
ones that already existed. In 1948 the two-party duopoly
smeared and suppressed the pro-labor efforts by the Pro-
gressive Party and its presidential candidate, former Vice
President (under Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Henry Wal-
lace. This was followed by more onerous restrictions on
state ballot access and exclusions of third parties, enacted by
both the Republicans and Democrats, that further stunted
competitive choices of candidates and agendas. Today both
parties increasingly represent the interests of big money, not
the interests of the people, for it is big money that bankrolls
their multi-million dollar election campaigns.
Almost as quickly as they emerged, radio and television
stations in the United States conglomerated into big busi-
nesses beholden to the money and influence of their adver-
tisers. While the Europeans devoted their post-war budgets
to expanding public works, improving public facilities, social
services, parks, and the arts, the United States squeezed ci-
vilian resources and channeled them into military budgets
that drove the Cold War. It was not for nothing that Presi-
dent Eisenhower’s farewell speech in 1961 is remembered
most for warning about the many damaging effects, on both
the economy and our freedom, of a burgeoning “military-
industrial complex.” His original draft contained the phrase
“military-industrial-congressional complex” which was ed-
ited down to avoid alienating the members of Congress who
could have actually done something to confront this deep-
ening omnivorous crisis.
Concentrated power in the hands of the few really
should matter to you. It matters to you if you are denied full-
time gainful employment or paid poverty wages and there are
no unions to defend your interests. It matters to you if you’re
denied affordable health care. It matters to you if you’re
gouged by the drug industry and your medication is outra-
geously expensive. It matters to you if it takes a long time to
get to and from work due to lack of good public transit or
packed highways. It matters to you if you and your children
live in impoverished areas and have to breath dirtier air and
drink polluted water and live in housing that is neglected by
your landlord. It matters to you if your children are receiving
a substandard education in understaffed schools where they
are being taught to obey rather than to question, think and
imagine, especially in regards to the nature of power.
If you’re a little better off, it matters to you when your
home is unfairly threatened with foreclosure. It matters to

18 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

you when the nation is economically destabilized due to
Wall Street’s crimes, and your retirement account evapo-
rates overnight. It matters to you if you can’t pay off your
large student loans, or if you can’t get out from under crush-
ing credit-card debt or enormous medical bills due to being
under-insured. It matters to you if you are constantly wor-
ried about the security of your job, or the costly care of your
children and elderly parents.
Increasing numbers of people in this country are liv-
ing in a precarious and diminished democracy of minimums
because we have collectively enabled the wealthy few to cre-
ate for themselves a plutocracy of maximums. According
to Oxfam, “runaway inequality has created a world where
62 people own as much as the poorest half of the world’s
population.” 2 Oxfam advocates cracking down on tax dodg-
ing, and promotes increasing investment in public services
and increasing the income of the lowest-paid workers in our
society as important first steps in addressing the shameful
disparity in wealth.
How many tens of millions of Americans live oppressed
by an inadequate minimum wage, minimum housing secu-
rity, minimum healthcare, minimum access to quality ed-
ucation, minimum access to participation in the political
process or use of our courts, minimal access to quality air,
food and water, and minimum protection from abuse by
corporations? How much more should we take before we
start refusing to live this way, with our rights, security, and
well-being taken away by the One Percent and often mar-
keted back to us as luxuries we cannot afford?
Back in the Great Depression, the brilliant British
economist John Maynard Keynes wrote that modern societ-
ies were reaching levels of production that would allow for
solving what he called “the economic problem” of impover-
ishment. Since 1900, American productivity per capita has
increased twenty-fold, adjusted for inflation. Why then is
one in six people in the United States seriously impover-
ished, and why are nearly half of those employed the work-
ing poor? The general answer is because “the power of the
plutocracy” impoverishes them. Most material gains and re-
sources are diverted away from benefitting society as a whole
and are hoarded to advantage the economic growth of the
few, or diverted into counter-productive activities such as
war, overloaded prisons, surveillance, wasteful promotions,
and commercialization of all aspects of our lives.
In the 1950s, at Harvard Law School, the faculty pur-
ported to teach us “the law.” We did not spend much time
on the “lawlessness” of the rich and powerful (there wasn’t
even a single course or seminar on corporate crime), nor on
how the powerful always intricately wrote and passed laws
(containing legal loopholes, tax escapes, or corporate subsi-
dies) that became predatory instruments against the general
public. More broadly, we, the future leaders of the legal pro-
fession, lacked strenuous instruction about how those with
raw power overwhelm the law, not just once in a while, but
often enough to warrant calling this domination “power-
law”—the twisted law of those in command of the powerful
industries, their lobbying associations, and the corporate at-
torneys who prey upon the people, families, and commu-
nities that compose this nation. The effect has been—and
continues to be—that, as Catherine Rampell recently wrote

20 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

in the New York Times, “wealth has become more concen-
trated, in the hands (and bank accounts and houses) of the
richest Americans.” 3 Put more simply, the rich get richer
while the rest of the country suffers.
By now, you might be wondering why in the world most
seasoned law professors ignore such obvious realities. They
must know that powerlaw is not restricted to lawlessness
by police, the criminal courts, and the prisons. Many of my
teachers had spent time working as government attorneys at
regulatory agencies or the Justice Department, in addition
to working with corporate law firms shaping and immuniz-
ing powerlaws for their lucrative corporate clients and busi-
ness executives. What’s going on here? Well, law schools are
not driven by kindness or the common good; they are driven
by the market and its pursuit of profit. Their curricula, with
exceptions, focus on training most law students for lucra-
tive corporate law practice. True, there are wonderful law
school-based clinics charitably serving impoverished com-
munities, but after graduation, debt-burdened law gradu-
ates mostly head for commercial practices. There they apply
powerlaw and power-procedures against whatever rivals or
adversaries their wealthy clients hire them to over-run. Citi-
zens and communities underestimate the creative power of
the corporate law firms who shun publicity as they irrespon-
sibly protect the extreme misbehavior of the ultra-rich who
hire them. The power of these ultra-rich, their attorneys,
their media, and the influence their money buys constitute
the core of plutocracy in the United States today.
Perpetual plutocracy-serving economic growth and the
hoarding of wealth and power are not easy tasks in societies
that claim to be democracies. Once in operation, political
systems that become plutocracies come to view the power
of citizens, communities, and the public interest mission of
democracy itself as potential threats. Even when you’re not
consciously standing up to them, you are—collectively and
individually—their adversaries. People running companies
aim for their kind of endless economic growth by getting
you to sign on the dotted line, click on “I Agree,” succumb
to their marketing ploys, and buy into their vapid com-
mercial culture. They also invest heavily in obstructing you
from using your full power as citizens armed with rights,
privileges, and resources available to keep them, and others
with authority, in check. For big corporations like Walmart,
McDonald’s, and Target, the big banks, credit card compa-
nies, and insurance companies, this penchant for control has
worked to their advantage, assuming no one makes waves
from outside their ring of domination. Thus power has con-
centrated in both Western Europe and the United States,
but it has also been responsive to the organized interests of
the people in dramatically different ways.
But what happens when people use their civil rights to
demand more from the system? What happens, for exam-
ple, when people peacefully picket in front of their places
of work, on their lunch hour, for a higher minimum wage?
What happens when other workers from other places show
up too in order to express solidarity and defend those on the
picket line from retaliation? What happens if these dem-
onstrations become more frequent, and begin occurring in
front of giant retail chains and involve an ever-increasing
number of people? What happens if this begins to catch the

22 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

attention of the local and national media, and the cause of
the people picketing resonates with the conscience of the
larger community? This is what happens: newspapers and
other media start reporting the economic evidence and ar-
guments of some think tanks and advocacy groups for a $12
or $15 minimum wage per hour, over three years, pulling
up the minimum wage in companies where the CEO makes
$11,000 per hour plus ample benefits.
Spread this activity out over two years and suddenly the
minimum wage for thirty million workers, making less today
than workers made way back in 1968, adjusted for inflation,
becomes front-burner news and a front-line issue in local,
state, and federal elections. This is what has been happening
in the United States over the past few years. As a result, cities
and states have started passing higher minimum wage laws,
including referenda in four “red states” during the November
2014 elections. Those who stood up, who spoke out, who or-
ganized are amazed. And they should be. With fewer people
than the population of New Britain, Connecticut (73,000),
scattered around the country, demonstrating for a few hours,
giving interviews to reporters or writing letters to newspa-
pers and elected representatives, these people demonstrate
that the wealthy people who run corporations do not win all
the time. Breaking through power is easier than you think.
Pressured also by a few full-time citizen advocacy cen-
ters, the big companies are starting to announce higher wag-
es and some better benefits. Too little, you rightfully say, and
very late; still, it’s a work in progress. But look at what a tiny
number of hours and persons achieved with a little crucial
help from largely one union—the Service Employees Inter-
national Union. These workers and their champions possess
a moral authority that resonated with many millions of dis-
advantaged families and their empathetic friends and rela-
tives. Majorities in polls supported their cause.
These working people are beginning to prevail over
management and their executive bosses because they were
undeterred when people told them: “You can’t win. You can’t
fight Walmart. The politicians are in the Big Boys’ pockets.”
They broke through because they got others involved and
because they put into practice what the great abolitionist
Frederick Douglass meant when he declared: “Power con-
cedes nothing without a demand.”
In addition to stimulating the economy, creating more
jobs, and establishing less need for public welfare assistance,
the movement for a better living wage presents a useful les-
son. It teaches how little it often takes to change the bal-
ance of power between the dominating and the dominated,
especially when there is overwhelming public opinion sup-
porting those fighting for their long over-due rights. These
lessons can, and should, be applied to winning the myriad
of public interest, ecological, and civil rights struggles that
the ultra-rich and their commercial interests obstruct: some
of these include increasing wages for working people, de-
creasing militarism and crushing levels of military spending,
providing decent and affordable housing and healthcare,
reducing corporate carbon emissions in order to prevent
catastrophic climate change, strengthening diversity, and
enabling democracy at all levels.
“We live in a beautiful country,” writes historian How-
ard Zinn. “But people who have no respect for human life,

24 | b r e a k i n g t h r o u g h p o w e r

freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of
us to take it back.” 4 To better assess what it specifically takes
to do just that, it is important to understand how the people
profiting from plutocratic forces strategically and regularly
dominate old and new circumstances with powerful control-
ling processes.

Indien will 86% des Bargeldes abschaffen und “digitalisieren” mit dem Argument Korruption und Schwarzarbeit zu bekämpfen.

Die Menschen werden gezwungen Konten aufzumachen.

Anbieter von Handy-Zahl-Systemen bekommen immensen Zulauf.

“Um uns aus dem Griff von Korruption und Schwarzgeld zu befreien, haben wir entschieden, dass die aktuellen 500- und 1.000-Rupien-Noten nicht mehr gültig sind”, sagte Modi. Ein 1.000-Rupien-Schein, bisher die größte Banknote im Land, ist gerade einmal 13,60 Euro wert. Schon um Mitternacht sollte er nichts mehr wert sein. Die größte legale Banknote im Land ist nun der 100-Rupien-Schein – rund 1,36 Euro.

Am Mittwoch stauten sich die Autos vor den staatlichen Tankstellen und Apotheken, die zu den wenigen Stellen gehörten, die ein paar Tage lang noch große Scheine annehmen durften. Den meisten von ihnen ging bereits in der Früh das Wechselgeld aus, was häufig zu lautstarken Auseinandersetzungen führte. Kleinere Geschäfte und Straßenhändler hatten sichtlich weniger Kunden – was angesichts fehlender Geräte für bargeldlose Zahlung auch vorerst so bleiben dürfte.

Bitte unbedingt man rein schauen:

82% des im Umlauf befindlichen Geldes liegt NICHT in Papierform vor. Weil es zum Teil zwischen privaten Banken durch gegenseitige Kredite “entstanden” ist. Das sogenannte Giralgeld.

D.h. scheinbar ist das Papiergeld oder wenigstens noch das Münzgeld “Staatssache”. So als Rest-Macht-Möglichkeit auf das Geldsystem Einfluss zu haben…

Handelsblatt Dr Norbert Häring über: Was es bedeuten würde, wenn das Bargeldes abgeschafft wird… Schweden eher unfreiwillig “dabei”.


wie gerade in Indien am laufen, die wollen 86% allen Papiergeldes aus dem Verkehr ziehen und haben von heute auf morgen die großen Scheine für wertlos erklärt. Es wird zwar erklärt – dass man die alten großen Scheine gegen neue Scheine umtauschen könnte – doch das geht nur wer ein Bankkonto hat und scheinbar auch nicht immer?

50% aller Inder HATTEN kein Bankkonto… jetzt werden diese GEZWUNGEN eines auf zu machen.

Goldbesitz wird pro Person auf 1kg beschränkt – für Männer – für Frauen 500g – vererbter Schmuck ist von der Pfändung ausgenommen.

Neue Banknoten

Noch bis zum 30. Dezember haben Bargeldbesitzer nun Zeit, ihr Geld zur Bank zu bringen oder gegen neu entwickelte Banknoten im Wert von 500 oder 2.000 Rupien zu tauschen, die die indische Notenbank RBI ab Donnerstag versprochen hat.

Bargeld soll jedoch auch danach knapp bleiben:

Gerade einmal 4.000 Rupien (54 Euro) dürfen direkt getauscht werden, der Rest muss auf ein indisches Konto eingezahlt werden.

Anschließend bleiben Abhebungen an Bankomaten auf 4.000 Rupien pro Tag limitiert, wer direkt in die Filiale geht, darf pro Woche zunächst nicht mehr als 20.000 Rupien abheben.

Die indische Regierung erhofft sich durch den Zwang zum papierlosen Geld vor allem ein Ende der Schattenwirtschaft, die verschiedenen Schätzungen zufolge ein Fünftel bis ein Viertel der indischen Wirtschaftskraft ausmacht.”


Gold Besitz wird auf 1kg gedeckelt

Frauen dürfen nur 0.5kg Besitzen – ausser es Handelt sich um Erbstücke.

Was bedeutet das?


Summit backs push for greater transparency in global tax system


09 December 2016

Parliamentarians from jurisdictions around the world today added weight to calls for greater transparency in the international tax system.

Twenty-six Parliamentarians have now signed a concordat calling on governments to support greater tax transparency by multinational companies.

The latest signatories were in London for today’s Global Tax Transparency Summit, hosted by the Committee of Public Accounts and attended by delegates from jurisdictions with a combined population of more than two billion people.

Central to the concordat is an agreement on support for public ‘country-by-country reporting’ to show, for each tax jurisdiction in which multinationals do business, their revenue; their profit before income tax; the income tax paid and accrued; total employment; capital; retained earnings, and tangible assets.

Jurisdictions represented at the summit were Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Guernsey, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Israel, Jersey, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Moldova, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

Outline programme for future work

Parliamentarians agreed an outline programme for future work, to explore:

  • VAT; taxation and high net worth individuals in sport and entertainment
  • Further work on tax transparency, focusing on those who advise and facilitate companies and individuals
  • Holding a follow-up conference in Canada in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation
  • Broadening the umbrella of Parliamentarians and other stakeholders scrutinising tax collaboratively
  • Collaborating in real-time on coordinated work across Parliaments

Delegates also took part in four plenary sessions examining global tax transparency, action to combat tax avoidance, efforts to drive change in the international tax system and the impact of tax avoidance on the developing world.

Chair’s comments

PAC Chair Meg Hillier MP said:

“Tackling aggressive tax avoidance and increasing transparency requires sustained cooperation across international borders.

The excellent support for today’s summit, organised and hosted by our Committee, highlights the strength of feeling on these issues and represents an important step towards addressing them.

We have agreed some strong themes to explore in future and more Parliamentarians have signed the open letter to our governments, urging greater transparency of multinationals’ profits and tax.

Our Committee’s work scrutinising government spending, and that of colleagues overseas, is always better when information is in the public domain and civilians can help us hold governments to account.

We want the same opportunity for people to scrutinise the tax affairs of multinational companies.

Businesses should behave like good corporate citizens and pay their fair share of taxes; no business should expect to avoid its duties to wider society without genuine anger from the public.

As Parliamentarians we must now keep up the pressure on our governments to commit to more transparent reporting on multinationals.

We have no desire to set up a whole new bureaucracy but we must be fleet of foot to deliver the action our citizens are increasingly demanding.

Tax avoidance does not respect borders and only by working together can we push forward on these vital issues that affect us all.”

Further information

THE TJN WEEKLY – Friday December 9

Dear Subscriber,

Good news this week from Tax Inspectors Without Borders, who announced this week that their four pilot projects to build capacity with developing nations’ revenue inspectors had netted more than $200m extra tax revenues.

Tax Inspectors Without Borders is a project backed by the United Nations Development Programme and the OECD. Both are now hoping to roll out the project to more countries. We recently did a podcast on the initiative, the link can be found below.

Global Tax Transparency Summit

On Friday, Parliamentarians from around the word met at the Global Tax Transparency Summit, hosted by the UK Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee. The outcome of the summit was to support a call for greater tax transparency from multinational companies.

The summit was attended by parliamentarians from over 20 countries, including some well known tax havens like the BVIs, Isle of Man and Cayman Islands. Clearly, having politicians from some of these havens of secrecy joining the call is good news. Lets hope it leads to some positive action.

LuxLeaks retrial

So lets hope all this positive news carries through into next week, when LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour begins his appeal against his conviction for stealing corporate information from PwC.

Given that the information demonstrated how the firm was helping multinationals to avoid their tax obligations, the public interest in this case was obvious. However, the Luxembourg court still sentenced Deltour and another employee, Raphael Halet to a suspended jail sentence.

More information on how to support Antoine can be found here.

The latest from the TJN Blog

Our December 2016 Spanish language Tax Justice Podcast: Justicia ImPositiva, nuestro podcast de diciembre 2016

Welcome to this month’s podcast and radio programme in Spanish with Marcelo Justo and Marta Nunez, downloaded and broadcast on radio networks across Latin America and Spain. ¡Bienvenidos y bienvenidas a nuestro podcast y programa radiofonica! (abajo en castellano). This month: In this December 2016 programme we ask if 2016 was a step forward or […] The post Our December 2016 Spanish language Tax Justice Podcast: Justicia ImPositiva, nuestro podcast de diciembre 2016 appeared first on …
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For rich countries only: A global map of multinationals’ tax avoidance

The introduction of a key policy tool against multinational companies’ tax avoidance has been handled so badly that developing countries are now exposed to worse inequalities. In a new report published today, we call for immediate changes to limit the damage done. In 2003, the Tax Justice Network outlined an important new policy for transparency […] The post For rich countries only: A global map of multinationals’ tax avoidance appeared first on Tax Justice Network.
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Beneficial Ownership and disclosure of trusts: challenging the privacy arguments

On July 22nd, 2016 the French supreme constitutional court ruled on a case brought by a US American citizen resident in France who had created a trust, allegedly to distribute her inheritance. She was contesting moves by France to set up a public register of trusts connected to France in an attempt to tackle tax […] The post Beneficial Ownership and disclosure of trusts: challenging the privacy arguments appeared first on Tax Justice Network.
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Tax justice news from around the web

Image used under the creative commons license - image by Binuri Ranasinghe

Links Dec 9

Africa’s crackdown on tax avoidance nets £204m to boost development The Guardian
Listen to news on Tax Inspectors Without Borders in our November 2016 podcast, here.

BRICS nations vow to automatic sharing of tax information Business Standard

Global public accounts committees unite for tax transparency push Public Finance International

GUE/NGL initiative succeeds in rejecting Commission’s anti-money laundering blacklist
‘Despite new scandals surfacing all the time, well-known offshore jurisdictions are still being ignored.’

Revision of 4th AMLD: Comprehensive Green approach for fighting money laundering in the EU Sven Giegold

The silent man of LuxLeaks fights back Politico
‘Long the forgotten face in the tax scandal, Raphael Halet is finally ready to clear his name.’

Virtual Briefing: Country by Country Reporting Financial Transparency Coalition
With TJN chief executive Alex Cobham

Uganda Revenue Authority Backs Campaign to End Illicit Financial Flows allAfrica / The Monitor

Zara Under Fire as Greens Warn EU Tax Dodging Still in Vogue Bloomberg

McDonald’s to scrap Luxembourg tax structure The Guardian

France’s honest tax system crusader convicted for hiding millions of euros the Guardian

Heard the latest Christmas story? It’s about how UK banks pay all their taxes The Guardian
By TJN senior adviser Prem Sikka. ‘Major financial institutions are involved in routine tax avoidance. But a report by the City of London Corporation and PwC raises more questions than it answers

Complex structures and aggressive tax planning behind the Nicaragua Canal Eurodad

Tax evasion: Tightening the noose Financial Times / MSN
Great round-up of international tax transparency progress, and weaknesses

The U.S. Is a Low-Tax Nation Bloomberg

Cristiano Ronaldo reveals £191m income after tax evasion allegations The Guardian

Links Dec 6

Financing Matters: A toolkit on domestic financing for education Global Alliance for Tax Justice

Panama Struggles to Shed Its Image as a Magnet for Shady Deals The New York Times

African union-led tax justice platforms throw their support behind ICRICT Foreign Affairs

Online discussion “Europe Calling” on „Supporting whistleblowers! Meet Antoine!“, 13 December 2016, 8:00 pm Seven Giegold

Tax dodging by corporations: How can we stop the bad deals?  Fabio de Masi (In German)

Tax Breaks Are Israel’s Bait to Lure Multinational Companies Bloomberg
Read on the Race to the Bottom here  

Cayman Islands allows four days to comment on company beneficial owner registry plan STEP

Family’s $29 Billion Fortune Claim Denied Amid India’s Tax Hunt Bloomberg

Maltese Finance Minister sidesteps Panama Papers inquiry GUE/NGL’s Panama Papers Blog

Trump, Cabinet could avoid millions in taxes thanks to this little-known law The Washington Post

Reaction: British tax haven used in football tax dodge Oxfam
See also: Football Leaks: Ronaldo and Mourinho accused of tax avoidance BBC News, and Footballers’ tax avoidance depends on corrupt global structures Left Foot Forward

Shell companies: Weak UK regulation lets opaque companies persist Reuters
Hat tip: Offshore Watch   

Can trusts still be trusted by wealthy families? Spears
TJN’s John Christensen comments: ‘for people who are really wealthy, inheritance tax has become an optional choice’

U.S. failing to curb money laundering by shell companies: task force report Reuters

Majority of London overseas property owners are registered in tax havens economia


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