Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and for Citizens' Action

Founded June 3, 1998 (1998-june-03)
Type Voluntary association
Origins A single-issue movement that was founded in France after the publication in the Monde diplomatique of an Ignacio Ramonet's editorial entitled « Disarm the markets[1] » that launched the notion of creating an association to promote the Tobin tax.
Area served
Method Popular education, meetings, conferences, counter-arguments documents
Slogan "Another World is possible"
Mission International movement working towards social, environmental and democratic alternatives in the globalization process.
Countries of the world with a national ATTAC branch
An ATTAC poster in the French countryside, 2004
An ATTAC banner in front of Cologne Cathedral, Germany, 2004
French ATTAC members protesting privatization and the "dismantling" of public services, 2005
An ATTAC stall at the Volksstimmefest, Vienna, Austria, 2005 (details)

The Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financières et pour l'Action Citoyenne (Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Citizen's Action, ATTAC) is an activist organization originally created for promoting the establishment of a tax on foreign exchange transactions.


Originally called "Action for a Tobin Tax to Assist the Citizen", ATTAC was a single-issue movement demanding the introduction of the so-called Tobin tax on currency speculation.[2] ATTAC now devotes itself to a wide range of issues related to globalisation, monitoring the decisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). ATTAC attends the meetings of the G8 with the goal of influencing policymakers' decisions. Attac recently criticised Germany for what it called the criminalisation of anti-G8 groups.[3]

At the founding, ATTAC had specific statutory objectives based on the promotion of the Tobin tax. For example, ATTAC Luxembourg specifies in article 1 of its statutes that it aims to produce and communicate information, and to promote and carry out activities of all kinds for the recapture, by the citizens, of the power that the financial sector has on all aspects of political, economic, social and cultural life throughout the world. Such means include the taxation of transactions in foreign exchange markets (Tobin tax).[4]

ATTAC claims not to an anti-globalization movement, but it criticises the neoliberal ideology that it sees as dominating economic globalisation. It supports globalisation policies that they characterise as sustainable and socially just.[2] One of ATTAC's slogans is "The World is not for sale", denouncing the "merchandisation" of society. Another slogan is "Another world is possible" pointing to an alternative globalization where people and not profit is in focus.

James Tobin opposing ATTAC

Attac was originally founded to promote the Tobin tax by the Keynesian economist James Tobin. Tobin himself has accused Attac for misusing his name and said that he has nothing in common with Attac and is a supporter of free trade — "everything that these movements are attacking. They're misusing my name." [5]

Organisational history

In December 1997, Ignacio Ramonet wrote in Le Monde diplomatique an editorial[1] in which he advocated the establishment of the Tobin tax and the creation of an organisation to pressure governments around the world to introduce the tax. ATTAC was created on June 3, 1998, during a constitutive assembly in France. While it was founded in France it now exists in over forty countries around the world.[6] In France, politicians from the left are members of the association. In Luxembourg, Francois Bausch of the left Green party is the founding politician in the association's initial member list.[4]

ATTAC functions on a principle of decentralisation: local associations organise meetings, conferences, and compose documents that become counter-arguments to the perceived neoliberal discourse. ATTAC aims to formalise the possibility of an alternative to the neoliberal society that is currently required of globalisation. ATTAC aspires to be a movement of popular education.

Views on Attac and its members in different countries


Communist Juhani Lohikoski, previously a chairman of Communist Youth League and Socialist League, served as the chairman of Finnish Attac for two terms (2002 - 2004). Yrjö Hakanen, chairman of the Communist Party of Finland, was a member of the board and a member of the founding committee. In March 2002 Aimo Kairamo, the long-time chief editor of the party organ of the Social Democrat Party, resigned from Attac and recommended the same decision for other social democrats because of the left-wing minority communists' leading positions. Soon also the social democrat foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja considered to follow Kairamo's example.[7]


Researcher Malin Gawell covers the birth and development of Attac Sweden in her doctoral thesis on activist entrepreneurship. She suggests that Attac in Sweden was formed by people seeking a new way of organising with flat hierarchy, and with the strongly sensed need of making a change as the driving force.[8]
From another perspective, Sydsvenskan newspaper suggested that the downturn of memberships in Swedish Attac after the hype in the beginning of 2001 may be due to its views on trade policies.[9]

Issues and activities

The main issues covered by ATTAC today are:

In France, ATTAC associates with many other left-wing causes.


In the year 2008 Attac Switzerland was hit by a scandal which was later called Nestlégate by the local media. Between the years 2003 and 2005, the Swiss multinational food and beverage company Nestlé, engaged the external Security company Securitas AG, to spy on the Swiss Attac branch. Nestlé started the monitoring, when Attac Switzerland decided to work on a critical book about Nestlé.[10]

Due to Nestlégate, Attac Switzerland filed a lawsuit against Nestlé which was decided in favour of Attac in January 2013, as the personal rights of the observed were violated. They received a compensation for damages of 3'000 Swiss francs each, which has an equivalent of about 3'230 USD at the date of the proclamation of sentence.[11]

See also


  1. 1 2 Ignacio Ramonet, Disarming the markets, Le Monde diplomatique, December 1997.
  2. 1 2 [On the ATTAC: A new European alternative to globalization, David Moberg, These Times magazine, May 2001]
  3. "German police raid G8 opponents". Archived from the original on 12 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
  4. 1 2 Luxembourg Official Journal, Page 42, ATTAC Statutes (Translated from French)
  5. "They Are Misusing My Name" Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., an interview with James Tobin, Der Spiegel, September 3, 2001
  6. ATTAC chapters around the world
  7. Tuomioja eroaa Attacista?, 03.04.2002
  8. Gawell, Malin (2006). Activist entrepreneurship: attac'ing norms and articulating disclosive stories. Diss. Stockholm : Stockholms universitet, 2007
  9. Det goda livet, Sydsvenskan, pääkirjoitus 19.1.2004
  10. Klawitter, Nils (2012-01-30). "Spitzel-Affäre um Nestlé". Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  11. Attac Schweiz. "Nestlégate: Voller Erfolg im Zivilprozess gegen Nestlé und Securitas". Attac Netzwerk. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2015.

External links

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