Report on the 1926
International Single Tax Conference

Chester C. Platt

[Reprinted from Land and Freedom, VOL. XXVI No.
4 WHOLE No. 137, July-August, 1926]

In the history of efforts made by thinking people to secure for the human race more just social relationships, and a happier life upon this planet, the Third International Conference for the Promotion of the Taxation of Land Values and Free Trade held at Copenhagen, Denmark, will, I think, be considered an epoch-making event.

The cause of land reform may seem to have made slow progress since Henry George brought to the attention of the world the essential injustice of private property in land, and said that the truth he sought to make plain would not find easy acceptance. But that there is no reason for discouragement was certainly shown when this conference met in the beautiful parliament building of Denmark, with the names of nearly 400 persons on its membership roll, representing 27 countries, with reporters present representing six great daily papers, with members of parliament on the programme from Germany and England, with a letter of welcome and endorsement read at the first session from C. N. Hauge, the Danish minister of Home Affairs, and with one of America's most distinguished public citizens as the presiding officer. Besides there were 17 delegates from the United States, 22 from Germany. 52 from Great Britain, 5 from Norway and Sweden, 2 from Spain, 2 from Belgium and 2 from Australia.

When one considers the high scholarship, and the evidence of careful scientific research into every phase of land economics, shown by the papers read at the conference, and the extensive reports in the Danish newspapers, and the keen discussions which followed many of the addresses, one does not wonder that Mr. Hennessy was called upon to broadcast a speech, explaining to thousands of people the aim of the conference, and the message it sought to convey. The speech was repeated in Danish by an interpreter.

A considerable proportion of the proceedings of the conference, and the discussions, were presented in German and Danish, as well as English.

A mighty crowd of Copenhagen citizens turned out for the open air ceremony, on the fifth day of the conference, when Mr. Hennessy laid a wreath of flowers at the foot of the Danish Liberty Memorial. Flags of fifteen nations were carried by women from the " Grundivigs Hus" to the monument, and floated in the wind while addresses were delivered by Mr. Hennessy, Ole Hansen, Andrew MacLaren, P. J. Pedersen and others.

The monument stands in one of the largest squares of the city, where thousands are passing daily. It ; was erected in 1792, by subscriptions made by the Danish peasants, to celebrate the accomplishment of reforms relating to the tenure of land.

Statues around the base of the monument represent civic virtue, courage, thrift, and loyalty.

The monument bears the following inscription:

"The King understood that Liberty of the People assured in righteous laws inspired Love of Country, Courage in its Defence, Desire to learn and be Diligent, Confidence in Success.

"It was the King's Command that Serfdom should end; that the new Land laws should take effect; that the Peasant set free may become brave and enlightened; industrious a good honorable and happy citizen."

The Danish committee and the United Committee certainly planned everything with efficiency and resourcefulness to make the conference successful. Besides the joint assembly room where the meetings were held the conference had the use of a large committee room, a rest room, and several offices. Quantities of land reform literature, in many languages, covered several tables. A small book stand contained a quantity of Scandinavian and international literature, and many sales were made.

Each member of the conference upon arrival was given a badge, a complete programme, and temporarily bound printed sheets containing abstracts of a number of the papers to be delivered, most of them in two languages. As the programme was being carried out from day to day additional printed sheets were given out with extensive abstracts of the addresses.

Several copies of Del Frie Blad, the Danish land reform weekly, were also given out. They contained biographical sketches of Mr. Hennessy, Frank Stephens, Jacob E. Lange, Fiske Warren, John Paul, Miss Grace Isabel Colbron and others active in the convention work, with their pictures. Copies of Grondskyld, the monthly published by the Danish Henry George Union, were also circulated.

All who attended the conference recognized the wisdom of calling it at Copenhagen. In no city could an atmosphere more favorable to social reform be found. As long ago as 1902 the small land holders of Denmark made a political issue of land reform. A great farmers' convention in Koge passed a resolution demanding "the earliest possible removal of all tariffs and taxes upon articles of consumption" and "the taxation of land values" in place thereof. Many other farmers' organizations followed in the wake of the Koge farmers.

Denmark may almost be called a free trade country. [The remainder of this report could not be reproduced as the text was not interpreted during the scanning process.