Friday, April 29, 2011

Progressive U.S. tax movement outshines the Tea Party

We missed this when it came out on Wednesday, but better late than never. We hope US Uncut won't mind our re-posting in full.
On Tax Day weekend, a two-month old grassroots organization called US Uncut used a little humor, fun and creativity to dominate the media narrative about taxes. Local US Uncut organizers from Fayetteville, Arkansas to Boston, Massachusetts; from Seattle, Washington to Jackson, Mississippi; from New York, New York to Los Angeles, California; from Portland, Oregon to Orlando, Florida - all participated in the largest collective protest against corporate tax cheats in American history.

This wasn't done merely with signs and banners- we had zombies in Arkansas. The Paul Revere ride anniversary in Boston was accompanied by the call, "The cuts are coming! The cuts are coming!" In Chicago, "billionaires" walked an elephant and a donkey on a leash through the streets. At Union Station in Washington, DC, a bestselling British author signed free copies of his book, Treasure Islands, about offshore tax haven abuse at a Verizon store in the midst of pirates, drumming and dancing.

While the network pundits didn't spend a lot of time talking about US Uncut, they did spend a lot of time talking about what corporate tax cheats are costing our country by avoiding their fair share of taxes. And for the first time on Tax Day, there was a nationwide movement of Americans who were staging protests against tax evasion, instead of taxes in general. US Uncut took the streets on Tax Day. And in doing so, we took the narrative with us. From April 15th to April 18th, US Uncut won the day. This was our first key victory.

And I don't know about you, but I didn't once hear the phrase "tea party" mentioned in the news or around me in person.

Now, the public knows who we are and what we stand for. Expect people to ask you about US Uncut as more local actions take place. Expect your local cops to give you fist bumps as you hoist a "STOP THE CUTS- MAKE THEM PAY" poster. Expect a lot of curious questions about US Uncut from your family and friends.

The fight has just begun, and there's plenty of ground to cover. But we should all be proud of what we've done. We've already accomplished more in two months than many action-based organizations have in years. Push on, and keep fighting.

Who would have thought it, just a year ago? Hats off to all of them, and a special mention to Johann Hari who helped seed this sophisticated, unexpected grassroots movement.


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