On tax day, April 17, the Political Action working group, Money Out of Politics working group, and several other OWS groups participated in tax day actions throughout New York City. The main event was a convergence of these groups at the main Post Office in Manhattan. The message was clear: Corporations and the 1% have to pay their fair share of taxes. The action was a combination of protest, theatrics, and outreach, which captured the public’s attention; entertaining, engaging, and informing the 99% about the facts regarding inequities in our tax system.
The problems caused by the failure of government to ensure that corporations and the wealthy pay adequate taxes are undermining our society. Programs and policies which help provide necessary support and security to the 99% are being cut due to the deficit and budget crisis. These programs have been under attack since the Reagan era and are all ready so under-budgeted that the further cuts proposed by politicians like Paul Ryan will do very little to solve the fiscal crisis. Such cuts will simply hasten the decline of the middle class and exacerbate the conditions of the impoverished. The real solution is increased revenue. Our groups are not necessarily against capitalism or people being wealthy, but there must be more to our social and governmental policies than paying homage to the rich. There must be a balance to our nation’s agenda which provides stability and opportunity for the 99%.
The issue of taxes is only one of several problems which stem from corporate control of our government. As one of our signs read at the tax day protest, “The system isn’t broken, it’s fixed.” Fixed like a pair of loaded dice that always rolls the way the 1% demands. It is time for the people to wake up, come to terms with what is really going on and start to recognize and confront the forces that control their world. The first battle in this war is not with forces that oppress us; it is to win the hearts and minds of the 99%. The Occupy movement clearly hit a nerve, and spoke to the people, but this initial response has not yet turned into the kind of support that can lead to real change. Until the majority of people rise and rally to the cause, the power of the 1% will remain unchallenged.
While the tax day action was successful, in and of itself the action serves no broader purpose unless the message of Occupy Tax Day is carried beyond this single event. That will require a concerted effort to build a mass movement. Such a task will call for cooperation and perseverance. There were many people at the post office that day who voiced their support. Somehow we must inspire them to do more, to empower themselves and get involved. The day that hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in cities across America and demand change is the day that change will begin.