Across the UK, as an austerity-minded government is cutting public services and social programs, a grassroots movement has emerged demanding that the corporations, banks and superrich individuals who caused the global economic crisis in the first place pay their fair share of taxes.
As Johann Hari reported in his recent Nation article, "How to Build a Progressive Tea Party," a group calling itself UK Uncut has occupied the storefronts of corporations and banks across the UK, demanding that these offenders pay their "membership fee for a civilized society.”
UK Uncut has changed the nature of the debate in Great Britain successfully channeling popular outrage and unrest over severe budget cuts and service shortfalls toward the rightful causes of the problems.
In this country, UK Uncut’s example, as described in Hari’s piece, has struck a chord with American citizens, and the newly-founded grassroots group US Uncut has planned its first actions for this Saturday, February 26, at Bank of America locations across the country. (Why BoA? It received $45 billion in government bailout funds while funneling its tax dollars into 115 separate offshore tax havens.)
"The $3 in my wallet is more than ExxonMobil, GE and Bank of America paid in taxes last year, combined," said Carl Gibson, founder of US Uncut. "There’s a direct connection between corporate tax dodging and what’s happening to real people’s lives. Because of overseas tax havens and other tax loopholes, US corporations are making profits in America but barely paying taxes here. If we close those loopholes, we wouldn’t have to be cutting back on firefighters, library hours and student loans."
Check the US Uncut website for information on when and where protests will take place and consider joining demonstrators to demand an end to the corrupt system that allows corporations to go untaxed while services and programs for low- and middle-income Americans are savagely cut.
There are currently more than four dozen actions planned coast to coast.
In Washington, DC protesters will meet at the corner of 19th and N Streets NW promptly at 10:00 am where instructions and guidelines will be given for a "light hearted, fun, and creative" action featuring a “teacher” will give a brief “lesson” about corporate tax avoidance to BoK customers and employees. Desired props include graduation caps and librarian glasses!
Philadelphia Uncut is planning a noon protest outside of Comcast’s Headquarters at 1701 John F. Kennedy Blvd in resistance to their dodging taxes and using NBC to spout propaganda in favor of cuts to public services.
Bostonians will meet at 9:00 am in front of Starbucks on the corner of Mass Ave and Prospect street in Cambridge in preparation for a creative, peaceful protest/sit-in in front of a nearby Boston branch of Bank of America. The organizers ask those "who can keep a decent beat" to bring "whatever kind of percussion instrument you’ve got!!" Makeshift drum sticks, street style buckets and metal-lids are all encouraged.
In Red Bank, NJ, rotating groups of actor activists will stage a sort of running skit at Red Bank’s BoK on 170 Broad Street, going into the bank with different prop — an empty book, an empty plate, an empty medical kit — illustrating what so many Americans are being deprived of because Bank of America and other corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes.
There will be a broad-based affiliated protest at the San Diego County Administrative Building in California at noon to demand legislative assistance for unemployed workers in need.
In Denver, there’ll be a noon rally at the State Capitol steps in a protest against corporate tax dodging led by a strong local coalition mobilized by Denver MoveOn.
In Richmond, VA, join the Rally to Save the American Dream called by moveon.org with workers and people of America standing in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin, refusing to accept cuts and rights hard fought and earned.
To let us know your written impressions, please use the comments field below. We’ll be carefully reading every comment and we’ll use many of the contributions in a demonstrator’s notebook culled from accounts of the actions from activists coast to coast.