When heads of government meet in Cannes, France, to discuss financial markets and the world economy this week at the G-20 summit, Occupy Wall Street protesters say they will be there, too.
Their goal: to push for a tax on financial transactions they say could save the indebted nations of southern Europe, a so-called “Robin Hood Tax.” It marks the first time protesters have made a strong push for a specific political demand.
On TaketheSquare.net, a European offshoot of Occupy Wall Street that was inspired by unemployment protests in Madrid, a note posted Monday read: “Indignants from the G99% will invite themselves to the G20... [it] will be the occasion to show our powerful governing authorities that their voice will not be the only one to be heard... Join us in Cannes: the Quest for Freedom is addictive and contagious!”
On Mobilisationsg8g20.org, maps laid out where protesters should stay in Cannes and where meetings to discuss the tax would be held. In the following video posted about the G-20 protest, a series of talking heads are shown discussing the summit, before the TV image fizzles out and musician Gil Scott-Heron’s voice rings out: “The revolution will not be televised”:
Proposed by Germany as a way of raising revenue for countries hit by the 2008 housing and credit markets crash, the estimated 1 percent transaction tax would apply to the purchase and sale of stocks, bonds, commodities, unit trusts, mutual funds, and derivatives such as futures and options.
In a video by RobinHoodTax.org, actor Bill Nighy gets an explainer on how a Robin Hood tax could affect economies around the world:
Despite their enthusiasm, Forbes Magazine points out that the Robin Hood tax faces some pretty hefty opposition from countries such as the U.K. and Russia.
Forbes reports that Russia’s assistant to the president, Arkady Dvorkovich, this week said that taxes were for individual countries to decide, not international institutions. Last week, U.K. Finance Minister George Osborne said he opposed a tax on derivatives, unless they were applied globally.
Among the most vocal in demanding the Robin Hood Tax has been Adbusters, a Canadian anti-consumerist magazine that helped spark Occupy Wall Street. Adbusters has called the tax “a radical transformation of casino capitalism” and a way “to slow down fast money.”
The conservative National Review magazine, however, calls Adbusters’ idea of applying such a tax across the entire G-20 “utterly fanciful.” Some “may make the case ... on the basis that much of the burden would fall on our ‘fat cat’ financial sector,” the magazine writes, “but in doing so, it would raise the costs for everyone participating in financial markets.”