In March 2009, ahead of the G20 summit in London in April, European civil society networks – including the Tax Justice Network, Attac France and Attac Jersey, Christian Aid and BankTrack – organised a campaigning event on the island of Jersey. Jersey is known as a secrecy jurisdiction because it doesn’t readily provide information for foreign governments who suspect that tax evasion is taking place within its banking system. It is also referred to as a tax haven because it provides low tax for both resident and non-resident savings and other assets.
On the first evening, a public meeting was organised in the parish hall to discuss the effects of tax havens on poverty, the perils of dictators’ secret bank accounts, and the links between financial secrecy and the financial crisis. Political and business representatives were invited, including the chief minister, senators and councillors. One MP came and much of what he said supported the campaign.This gave the campaign more political credibility.
The following day, a walking tour of different banks was organised, in the tradition of historical walks for tourists common in Britain. Representatives from the media were invited to attend.The tour stopped in front of each bank, with participants speaking about the campaign in their own language to the national media. Representatives from both the French and British media attended the event in great numbers. The media and activists beyond Jersey were kept up to date with live blogging and aTwitter channel. The speeches were also recorded on video, checked for libel, and put onYouTube for public viewing.
The combination of a public event, walking tour, media work, and internet-based campaigning was what provided a successful campaigning event.