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The Fiscal Commons

Tax Evasion, the State, and Commoning in a Catalonian Cooperative

Vinzenz Bäumer Escobar


This article challenges the seemingly inseparable conceptual link between tax and the state by drawing on fieldwork carried out with an anti-capitalist cooperative in Barcelona, where tax evasion went hand in hand with the pooling of common monetary resources used for the creation of semi-public goods managed by non-state actors. Drawing on theoretical insights from the commons, I will put forward the concept of the ‘fiscal commons’ in order to decenter tax as an analytic for making sense of the relation between the state and civil society. In so doing, I will argue that taxes are part of a broader repertoire of financial contributions that people draw on to actively create different fiscal commons that operate alongside and in relation to the state's tax regime.