TAX-TIVISM – Part 1 on the Robin Hood Tax

Blog, Poverty, Amanda Achtman

“It’s just a little tax, and it doesn’t come out of your wallet.”

Famous last words, right?

Politicians now have competition in the legitimization of current taxes and in the promotion of the creation of new ones. Tax-tivists are taxation activists. They are the activists who think that every social, economic, moral, and political problem can be solved if only there was a tax on some scapegoat for the problems that we face.

The Robin Hood Tax is being touted as “a tiny tax (0.05%) that would be levied on all financial market transactions in order to raise resources for fighting poverty and climate change at home and abroad,” according to

Similar to the Story of Stuff cartoon recently critiqued in Peter Shawn Taylor’s article here, there is a promotional cartoon video for the Robin Hood Tax created to encourage support.

We are now seeing expensive commercial advertising to try to sell us on new taxes with catchy music, annoying animated cartoons, and children’s voice-overs all in an attempt to endear us to the idea of a new tax.

Make Poverty History is the main organization behind the Robin Hood Tax in Canada.  Dennis Howlett, the MPH National Coordinator estimated that $10,000 was spent making the video to promote the Robin Hood Tax, despite the fact that the child performing the voice-over in the video is the daughter of one of the producers.

In this age of constant digital activism through social media, is anyone suspicious as to why there are commercials by charities and foundations, not even by government, trying to sell us on more taxes?

The supporters of this tax, a tax that would hypothetically generate revenue for “fighting poverty and climate change” include: Make Poverty History, Kairos, Greenpeace, and the David Suzuki Foundation, to name only a few.

The tax-tivists are trying to garner support from Canadians for a new “bank tax”, but will Canadians really be persuaded that this tax will not ultimately be coming out of their wallets?