poll tax

Direct Action #45 (December 1987-January 1988)

Issue #45 of Direct Action, with articles on post, Liverpool rail, and West Yorkshire bus disputes, the poll tax, wrongful imprisonment, Northern Ireland and the Enniskillen bombing, the Manchester Martyrs march, Remembrance Day, AFA and the NF, a Hackney housing activist dying of chemical poisoning, a review of "The Killing Floor", deaths in winter, Australian apartheid, the gentrification of New York, solidarity between Norwegian and Polish workers, a solidarity conference in Leeds, letters on working in the trade unions, and more.

Direct Action #43 (October 1987)

Issue #43 of Direct Action, with articles on the Keetons dispute in Sheffield, disability rights, a DAM conference, welfare restructuring, the arms race, death squads in Northern Ireland, the poll tax, racial divisions in schools, cuts by Hackney's left Labour council, a victory for Bolton's Unemployed Workers Centre, the Dead Kennedys court case, bread riots in Romania, the CNT and the Puerto Real struggle, tulip growers in Holland, an interview with Eastenders actor Tom Watt, the Haymarket martyrs, gentrification and more.

Direct Action #37 (March 1987)

Issue #37 of Direct Action, with articles on the need for cross-sectional solidarity to win strikes, the lessons of Wapping, disputes at Ardbride/Laura Ashley and a Hackney sweatshop, the defeat of the Silentnight strike, strip searches of Northern Irish women prisoners, a court case over abortion rights, a debate on co-ops, the proposed poll tax, news from Italy, Brazil, Bolivia and the Netherlands, the COSATU organising the unemployed in South Africa, strikes at Wheelers fish restaurant in Brighton, the Trader print group, and a Caterpillar occupation, racism on the dole, life under the Australian Labour Party and more.

Chapter 5: Sinking The Flagship

The aim of the Anti-Poll Tax campaign was to make the tax unworkable. If enough people refused to pay, then the Poll Tax couldn't be enforced. The courts would be blocked; the bailiffs would be turned away; wage arrestment would prove too complicated; and the final solution — prison — would prove politically disastrous for any Labour council (and in any case was unenforceable because there was no room for large numbers of non-payers in the prisons). The councils tried all of these enforcement measures but were persistently resisted by the Anti-Poll Tax Unions.

Chapter 1: A Hated Tax

The Poll Tax was a flat rate tax. It was not based on ability to pay. Everyone over eighteen was liable. Rich and poor paid the same. The millionaire paid the same as the toilet attendant. The lawyer paid the same as the shop assistant. The Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her multi-millionaire husband paid the same as their gardener.

The tax, officially called the Community Charge, was dubbed the Poll Tax because of its similarity to a tax introduced in 1381. That tax was so disliked it provoked the peasants' revolt. The government tried to counter this analogy, but the name stuck.