If Gandhi's chronology of 'first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win' is anything to go by, the Robin Hood Tax campaign is getting close to its goal.
When the campaign launched two years ago, the idea of taxing the banks was unimaginable; now it's taken giant leaps towards reality. Hardly a day goes by when the Robin Hood Tax or Financial Transaction Tax is not in the news. It’s been an amazing two years – and 2012 is full of opportunity.
This week, supporters from around the world are doing all they can to push governments to introduce this no brainer of an idea. A tiny tax on the financial sector, a Robin Hood Tax could raise billions to help fight poverty and climate change at home and abroad. But first, an update on where we are.
Following the significant progress seen under the French Presidency of the G8 and G20 last year, Germany, France, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Ethiopia and the Africa Union all pledged their support for a Robin Hood Tax. The conversation on a Robin Hood Tax have moved from if to when - make no mistake, this is a campaign that is on its way to victory.
The campaign has won support from all arenas: Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, Earth Institute Director Jeffrey Sachs and 1,000 other economists from around the world. Prominent advocates have declared support including Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates; religious leaders Desmond Tutu, Rowan Williams, the Vatican and Jesse Jackson; prominent public figures such as Ban Ki Moon, Kofi Annan, Al Gore and Gordon Brown, alongside 1,000 parliamentarians from 30 countries, as well as key financial voices, such as Adair Turner, George Soros and Warren Buffet.
This is a remarkable turn around, in no small part due to the campaigning efforts of civil society organisations around the world. Campaigners have come together to seize the opportunity for an international FTT and have been at the heart of sustaining momentum.
The extraordinary actions of people around the world mean this fight can be won. This week, as leaders meet for the G8 in Camp David, thousands of nurses will march in Chicago to try to convince President Obama to put the interests of Main Street ahead of the titans of Wall Street. Some of those nurses will have travelled from around the world to take part with one simple message: enough is enough, and to ask governments to do what they do everyday - put people, not profit first with a Robin Hood Tax. This action is just part of the story; campaigners from thirty plus countries will be taking action by making noise online, visiting embassies, dressing in kilts and cloggs, and doing all they can to shout about the Robin Hood Tax.
In the UK, thousands of people have been campaigning and lobbying MPs to make sure we get a Robin Hood Tax to help those hit hardest by the financial crisis. The First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have both voiced their support for the tax, along with a number of Westminster MPs. Thanks to huge public support, bank taxes have been pushed onto the political agenda, and keeping the pressure up is the most important thing we can do right now. Robin Hood Tax supporters in England, Wales and Scotland have already been taking action this week to show their support for this tiny tax that could make a huge difference to people’s lives all over the world.
As an economic storm once again threatens to engulf the world economy, all eyes will be on world leaders to fix the system at the upcoming G8, G20 and Rio Summits; by curbing casino capitalism, Robin Hood taxes will help do that, in addition to raising tens of billions to help the world's poorest people.
Ideas this good don’t come along every day. And when they do, they’re too powerful to ignore.