chair mowers

The Army of Chair Reapers Against Terrorism

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The activists "The Chair Reapers" will be received by the management of BNP Paribas: towards the closure of subsidiaries in tax havens?
On Monday, November 23 at 4 p.m., representatives of the Chair Mowers will be received by senior management at the BNP Paribas Group's head office to discuss the closure of its subsidiaries in tax havens. With tax havens once again in the hot seat for their contribution to the financing of international terrorist networks, will the main French bank finally decide to sever its ties with these black holes of finance?
 
Ahe money for ecological and social transition exists: it is in tax havens! In response to the serious and imminent threat of tax evasion, citizens have committed to requisition 196 chairs by COP 21 from the branches of the banks with the largest presence in tax havens, grouped together under the name "The Chair Reapers". It's not their first trial cost; it's a little story that begins on February 12th and has had many twists and turns.

The day after the attacks of 13 November, in an e-mail from Ms Pessez, its delegate for social and environmental responsibility, the BNP Paribas Group asked the chair reapers to "to cease your actions of chair stealing, as any intrusion into our agencies could have very serious consequences" given the "state of emergency now in force".
In their response, Thomas Coutrot (Attac spokesman), Florent Compain (President of Friends of the Earth) and Txetx Etcheverry (member of the Coordination of Non-Violent Action COP 21) proposed an armistice to BNP Paribas: "we are prepared to call for the suspension of the requisitioning of chairs in BNP branches if you announce the closure of your seven branches in the Cayman Islands.".
Since the beginning of October, 35 citizen requisitioning actions have taken place, in many cities in France and even abroad, in banks involved in tax evasion. The BNP Paribas Group has been particularly targeted (27 mowings) because it is at the forefront of the organisation of tax evasion via its 171 subsidiaries in tax havens, including 7 in the Cayman Islands.
These actions were in response to the Call to requisition 196 chairs "which was launched on 30 September by dozens of personalities, including the philosopher and former Resistance fighter Edgar Morin, the sociologist Alain Caillé, the essayist Susan George, the philosopher and former High Referendum Commissioner at the Court of Auditors Patrick Viveret, and the former Resistance fighter Claude Alphandéry.
 
Following the terrible attacks of 13 November, the chair reapers suspended their actions for a few days to respect the mourning period. But tax evasion continues to reduce the funds available for ecological and social transition, starting with the Green Climate Fund. And tax havens continue to harbour the money of criminal and terrorist mafias.
If the meeting on 23 November were to fail, the chair reapers will go back into action to force BNP Paribas to stop its scandalous practices.
Photo: Patrick Viveret - © Canal +
 
Background
 
Large fortunes and multinationals benefit from a truly globalized system of tax avoidance. They cost the French state an estimated 30 to 80 billion euros each year. According to a report by the Tax Justice Network, $20 trillion is stored in tax havens around the world. With its 171 subsidiaries in tax havens, BNP Paribas is one of the essential cogs in this global tax evasion strategy. 
 
Frédéric Lebaron also notes The "slippage or the incredible ease with which certain sections of the elite move from the public to the private world and vice versa", like François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France, former BNP Paribas, "Pébereau's baby". This fraction of the elites, "a veritable financial oligarchy, as Bourdieu once said, is mired in money". This makes it all the more necessary to "promote investigative work and mobilization in associations".
The symbolic goal of 196 chairs was reached on November 12, but the campaign continues. 
 
After the dark events of 13 November, requisitions were suspended for a week to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks. But the organisations mobilised in this campaign against tax evasion (NVA-COP21, Friends of the Earth and Attac in particular) are determined to continue it. While the government has just announced that the demonstrations planned for November 29th and December 12th in Paris will be banned.These actions of disobedience will continue to be a means of ensuring that the voice of civil society is heard during COP21. 
This voice will be all the stronger at the "Summit of 196 chairs", which will take place on Sunday 6 December as part of the Citizen Summit for Climate, in the middle of COP21. 
 
On Thursday 19 November, Frédéric Lebaron had been given a chair requisitioned a few weeks earlier in a BNP Paribas branch by Attac student activists. This sociologist, Professor of Universities and President of the French Sociology Association, confirmed his support for the campaign launched on September 30th, which called for 196 chairs to be requisitioned between now and COP21 to denounce the role of the big banks in tax evasion: "Tax havens and financial scandals concern large sections of the elite, especially political elites, who are able to easily cross ethical boundaries with great cynicism". He co-signed the appeal alongside other academics and civil society personalities. 
Pending the summit on 6 December, Frédéric Lebaron will therefore keep a chair at home as a sign of protest against tax evasion on an industrial scale and the inadequacy of policies to combat global warming. He thus joins other personalities and organisations that have decided to host requisitioned chairs: Edgar Morin, Susan George, Marc Dufumier and Greenpeace. 
 
The "hosts" respond in their own way to the call of September 30 which encourages "citizens and associations to show solidarity with those who will requisition these chairs, by proposing to host the chairs in their homes until COP 21", hoping that the requisition and the solidarity movement of the chairs will become "a popular movement of great magnitude to finally put finance at the service of people and nature". 
 
Source: Attac - November 2015
 

Letter to Mr. Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Parisbas

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