We Won’t Pay

People in Greece are finally coming to terms with the abusive relationship they have with their government. While some have opted to riot in the streets others are looking at a far more peaceful, and effective, solution to the problem: starving the beast:

The people who could ultimately give Greece the coup de grace are not the kind to throw stones or Molotov cocktails, and they have yet to torch any cars. Instead, they are people like 60-year-old beverage distributor Angelos Belitsakos, people who might soon turn into a real problem for the economically unstable country. Feeling cornered, he and other private business owners want to go on the offensive. But instead fighting with weapons, they are using something much more dangerous. They are fighting with money.

Belitsakos is a short, slim and alert man who lives in the middle-class Athenian suburb of Holargos. He is also the physical and spiritual leader of a movement of businesspeople in Greece that is recruiting new members with growing speed. While Greece’s government is desperately trying to combat its ballooning budget deficit by raising taxes and imposing new fees, people like Belitsakos are putting their faith in passive resistance.

The group’s slogan is as simple as it is stoic: “We Won’t Pay.”

An elegant solution if I do say so myself. The business owners are pissed and have decide they’re no longer going to pay the state for services that aren’t being delivered. Good on these people. Violent actions against the state seldom succeed because the state specializes in violence. Trying to take on a specialist rarely succeeds unless you are also a specialist. Looking at the riots in Greece, namely the unspecified nature of the rioters’ aggression, allows one to see that the people of Greece are not specialists in the use of violence, they aren’t even capable of targeting the entity that is responsible for the current economic hardships. On the other hand the state can only wield its capacity for violence so long as they can continue paying those it employs as agents. When money is no longer flowing into the state’s coffers they will eventually be unable to pay the military and police, at which point their threats of violence against the people become meaningless as they can’t be backed.

The problem with refusing to pay the state comes in getting a large enough base of taxpayers to sign on; something that can be difficult when the state threatens violence against those who don’t pay the demanded tithe. If these business owners succeed, if they get a large enough percentage of the population refusing to give the state money, they have an opportunity to resist the present austerity measures being imposed upon them. I wish these people luck. The government of Greece violated the coercive contract it foisted upon the populace so there is no argument to be made for the people complying with the government’s demands.