This past Saturday, March 26, nearly half a million people flooded the streets of London to protest austerity measures that will likely lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and will result in huge cuts to vital public services. According to Johann Hari and Allison Kilkenny, both frequent contributors to The Nation, hundreds of those protesters were spurred to action by UK Uncut’s demonstrations against tax dodging corporations. In fact, as Hari and Kilkenny reported on Democracy Now! this morning, Saturday also saw a large-scale occupation of Fortnum & Mason, a food store which has skipped out on £14 million in taxes.
Hari says the companies’ refusal to pay taxes is part of a larger class war: for just one example, the conservative mayor of London recently said that his policies that will result in 200,000 poor people being forced out of their homes will be a kind of “social cleansing.”
For her part, Kilkenny talks about US Uncut, the group inspired by UK Uncut, which is taking on corporate tax dodging in the US. She reports that US Uncut has been able to shut down a Bank of America branch in Washington, DC and that Bank of America is just one of several corporations that engage in a tax haven scheme that costs the US government around $100 billion every year. As in the UK, Kilkenny says, there are no revenue problems in the US, just corporations stealing from their country.