Attac is an international organisation which emerged in the late 1990s and quickly became central to the alter-globalisation movement – the global network of people’s organisations opposing the ultra free-market policies being pushed by the governments of the world’s richest countries.
Originally founded in France, Attac has chapters in many European countries, some in Africa and a few in Asia and the Americas. Global Justice Now joined the Attac network in 2014 as the UK was one of the few European countries not to have an Attac chapter and our work had many common areas. Each country chapter operates autonomously, but common campaigning themes have included the regulation of financial markets, the closure of tax havens, the introduction of global taxes to finance global public goods, the cancellation of unjust country debts, opposition to trade deals like TTIP and climate justice.
The ‘Association pour la Taxation des Transactions financière et l'Aide aux Citoyens’ (Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Aid to Citizens) was founded in France in December 1998 after the publication in the magazine Le Monde Diplomatique of an editorial entitled ‘Désarmer les marchés’ (Disarm the markets). It proposed the creation of an association to promote a tax on financial transactions – not primarily to raise money, but to slow down and control financial speculation.
The organisation expanded very rapidly into the rest of the world with an Attac network around an international charter set up in 1999. In the same year, Attac was present in Seattle during the demonstrations that led to the failure of the World Trade Organisation negotiations. It was one of the organisations that initiated the first World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2001.