|Long-standing Attac demands have turned from a “utopia” into a political reality|
|“Why not create a global non-governmental organization called Action pour une taxe Tobin d'aide aux citoyens (Attac for short)? In association with the trade unions and the numerous organizations that pursue cultural, social or ecological goals, it could act as a gigantic pressure group of civil society towards governments with the aim of finally enforcing a global solidarity tax. "|
These closing words Article by Ignacio Ramonet in the Le Monde diplomatique of December 1997 led to the founding of Attac in France on June 3, 1998 and subsequently to an almost global network of independent Attac organizations. (1) "Ignacio Ramonet set the spark: With a financial transaction tax of just 0,1 percent, we can throw a spanner in the works on the financial markets and fight injustice, hunger and poverty in the world," explains Hanna Braun from Attac Austria.
Attac demands and alternatives are taken up and implemented
Regardless of whether it is a question of financial markets, tax policy, trade policy, agricultural policy or climate protection: many Attac demands and alternatives have been taken up and implemented by politicians years later (2). The worldwide social and globalization-critical movements have also been able to successfully stop central projects of neoliberal globalization in the past 25 years: neoliberal trade and investment policy is faltering - the WTO-Doha Development Round was never completed, the multilateral investment agreement MAI and the EU-USA agreement TTIP were stopped. Austria is the first country in which parliament has ordered the government to reject the Mercosur agreement. “Fundamental changes in economic policy, however, repeatedly fail due to the real balance of power and the profit interests of corporations. One of Attac's most important tasks is to counterbalance this and break the power of the corporations," explains Braun.
Attac is constantly developing analyses
Today, after 25 years, the worldwide Attac network is constantly developing its analyzes and demands: The fight for global climate justice, a world trade system based on solidarity, a fair tax and financial system, a democratic and sustainable agricultural and energy system, social security, comprehensive democratization or fundamental criticism of the EU are among the focal points. "A good life for everyone" - that is Attac's counter-proposal to nationalist announcements such as "Austrians first" or "America first". Today, numerous political actors refer to the understanding that the economy should enable everyone living today and in the future – and not just a few super-rich – to lead a good life,” explains Braun.
|(1) Attac Austria was founded on November 6, 2000. Since it was founded by a few activists, Attac has developed into an important player in Austrian civil society, changing and shaping the political landscape. Campaigns, actions and educational events succeed in questioning the alleged lack of alternatives to neoliberal globalization and in pointing out its negative consequences for the vast majority of people and the environment.(2) |
Some of Attac's achievements:
The need for democratic control of financial markets is now widely accepted. The Attac founding requirement, the Tobin tax, was passed in 2013 as a financial transaction tax between eleven European countries. The fact that they do not exist to this day is due to the enormous power of the financial players and their influence on governments.
Tax scandals such as LuxLeaks, Paradise Papers and Panama Papers have revealed what Attac has been criticizing since it was founded: The international tax system enables corporations to use tax tricks that cost the general public billions. Longtime Attac alternatives like that Total group tax or a minimum tax for corporations are being discussed internationally, but the current implementation is still completely inadequate.
Tax fraud by the wealthy is also on the political agenda today. The automatic exchange of information between tax authorities has been a reality since 2016 - but unfortunately still with numerous loopholes. The same applies to public registers about the true owners behind shell companies. They have now been implemented in the EU to some extent. Banking secrecy in Austria was abolished in 2015, thereby fulfilling a long-standing demand from Attac Austria.
The need for a completely different European EU economic and tax policy is widely shared todayt, as well as the urgently needed comprehensive democratization of the EU.