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All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation
The All Britain Anti Poll Tax Federation, commonly known as "the Fed", was an organisation in Great Britain to co-ordinate the activities of local Anti-Poll Tax Unions (APTUs) campaigning against the Poll tax (officially the "Community Charge") brought in by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government in 1989 (Scotland) and 1990 (England and Wales).
Prior to the first conference of the Fed, a steering committee was organised by 20 regional anti-poll tax federations, with Tommy Sheridan as chair and had gained the support of 15 Labour MPs.
The first conference was held at Manchester Free Trade Hall on 25 November 1989, attracting around 2000 delegates. It elected a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer as well as a wider steering committee. Fraternal greetings were given by Douggie Daniels from the Manchester Confederation of Engineering Unions, Ken Strath deputy leader of Manchester City Council and a representative from the ambulance workers.
The Scottish Fed had been established a year earlier.
Mass non-payment campaign
The Fed argued for a mass campaign of non-payment of the poll tax, as had been adopted at its founding conference. This view was opposed by some Labour MPs such as Harry Barnes but was supported by groups such as the Socialist Workers Party. Eventually, up to 18 million people refused to pay the tax.
The committee called a demonstration in London for 31 March 1990. Three days before the event, organisers realised the march would be larger than 60,000 (the capacity of Trafalgar Square) and asked permission from the MPS and the Department of the Environment to divert the march to Hyde Park. The request was denied.
The first demonstrations organised by the Fed were the 200,000 strong demonstration in London, parts of which turned into the Poll Tax Riots, and a simultaneous 50,000 strong demonstration in Glasgow on 31 March 1990. Federation leaders Tommy Sheridan and Steve Nally criticised the participants of the riot, and were said to promise to "name names". However, Militant claimed that this was "totally false" and criticised those such as Roy Hattersley who had called for punishment of those involved.
They also organised a 50,000 strong march in London the following year on 23 March 1991.