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ACTION ALERT: Target Corporate Tax Dodgers: Day of Action, February 26th


February 23, 2011
The DC chapter of US Uncut

US Uncut is about taking action against unnecessary and unfair cuts to public services across the US. The GOP has made it clear that they are targeting Social Security, Medicare, education; health care reform; needed investments in infrastructure, climate change and job creation. Meanwhile nearly two-thirds of US corporations don't pay any income taxes. On February 26, US Uncut will turn the tables and target the corporate tax-dodgers.

http://www.usuncut.org/

US Uncut: Targeting Corporate Tax Dodgers
Day of Action, February 26thUS Uncut


Currently, protests are planned in 16 major US cities

Check this map to find out where events are happening. If there's no action scheduled in your area, read the following tips on how to organize an action at a corporate bank in your own hometown.

US Uncut is a new movement inspired by UK Uncut, the anti-austerity movement that has swept the UK.

US Uncut is about taking action against unnecessary and unfair cuts to public services across the US. Washington’s proposed budget for the coming year sends a clear message: The wrath of budget cuts will fall upon the shoulders of hard-working Americans.

Obama seeks to trim $1.1 trillion from the budget in the next ten years by cutting or eliminating over 200 federal programs, many dedicated to social services and education. For instance, it cuts in half funding to subsidize heating for low-income Americans; limits an expansion of the Pell grant program for students; and decreases Environmental Protection Agency funding by over 12%.

Meanwhile, Republicans are using their new House majority to slash spending even more brutally. The GOP has made it clear that they are bent on raiding funds for Social Security, Medicare, education; determined to kill health care reform; and gut needed investments in infrastructure, climate change and job creation, at a time when America needs it most.

These cuts will come on top of very painful austerity measures made at the state-level across our nation –- worth hundreds of billions -- since the recession began. In short, budget cuts demonstrate that Washington has abandoned ordinary Americans.

But there is an alternative: Make corporate tax avoiders pay.

Enjoying record profits and taxpayer-funded bailouts as the economy slowly recovers from a financial crisis, nearly two-thirds of US corporations don't pay any income taxes, instead opting to abuse tax loopholes and offshore tax havens.

According to this study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations that operate in the US exploit corporate tax havens.

Since 2009, America’s most profitable companies such as ExxonMobil, General Electric, Bank of America and Citigroup all paid a grand total of $0 in federal income taxes to Uncle Sam. Tax havens alone account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade, money that could be invested in K-12 education, colleges, public health, job creation and hundreds of other worthy public programs.

If we pay our taxes, why don’t they? If corporations profit here, shouldn't they pay here?

It’s time for ordinary Americans to fight back and demand an end to the corporate tax avoidance. Join US Uncut and together let's make corporate tax avoiders pay.

US Uncut is a horizontal movement. There are no centrally planned protests. If you want one in your town or city, you'll have to take it on yourself. Read our blog about what to do next.

Also remember to visit UK Uncut for some inspiration.

A Call to Action
By the recently formed DC chapter of US Uncut

(February 16, 2011) -- The "progressive tea party" has been born. Inspired by the UK Uncut movement, the popular revolutions sweeping through North Africa, and articles in the Nation and Washington Post, activists in Mississippi, Chicago, New York, California, Maine, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Washington DC and elsewhere have started US Uncut to mobilize against corporate tax cheats who are costing America billions of dollars each year and forcing the government to propose deep cuts to vital services and pay freezes for hardworking families.

As reported by many major news outlets in 2008, the Government Accountability Office found that between 1998 and 2005 approximately two-thirds of all American corporations did not pay ANY income tax. Of the largest corporations, 25 percent did not pay any federal income tax despite generating over $1.1 trillion in revenue.

How To Organise An Action



A recent report by Business and Investors Against Tax Haven Abuse found that US corporations and banks avoid at least $37 billion (another report put the amount as high as $100 billion) in US taxes per year, unfairly shifting the tax burden to small businesses and individuals. Even worse, some of the most egregious tax-dodging corporations are the same institutions that taxpayers were forced to bail out during the financial crisis!

In 2007, Citigroup had 427 off-shore tax haven subsidiaries (in places like the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Switzerland) and received a $45 billion bailout.

Morgan Stanley had 273 and received $10 billion;

Bank of America had 115 and received $45 billion;

JP Morgan Chase had 50 and received

Goldman Sachs had 29 and received $10 billion; and

AIG had 18 and received approximately $70 billion.

President Obama's 2012 budget released on February 14th 2011 calls for the collection of $129 billion in revenue over the next 10 years by cracking down on corporate tax havens and abuse of foreign tax credits. While this is a noble effort, a similar initiative in last year’s budget sought to raise $122 billion by closing the same "loopholes." Due to corporate and Republican opposition, Congress reduced that amount to just $10 billion over 10 years.

While allowing the corporate tax cheats to prosper, our political leaders are preparing more sweeping sets of service cuts and spending freezes that threaten to bring misery and despair to countless men, women and children still suffering from the economic crisis those same corporations caused. President Obama has proposed more than $600 billion in spending cuts over ten years, with some Republicans calling for up to $2.5 trillion in cuts. The long-term suggestions of the “bipartisan” budget commission are even more dire and include major cuts across the board -- even to Social Security and Medicare!

We demand that before the hard-working, tax-paying families of this country are once again forced to sacrifice, the corporations who have so richly profited from our labor, our patronage, and our bailouts be compelled to pay their taxes and contribute their fair share to the continued prosperity of our nation. We will organize, we will mobilize, and we will NOT be quiet!

This has the potential to be a popular grassroots movement. Numerous polls have shown that the majority of Americans are fundamentally opposed to most spending cuts, and events in the UK have demonstrated how such an initial small effort can grow into a powerful force for social and economic change.

Please consider joining us. Our first day of action will be on the 26th February. Find out how to organise your own action here.



I. SAY NO TO THE CUTS, END CORPORATE TAX AVOIDANCE

International Day of Action:
February 26th 2011


Washington’s proposed budget for the coming year sends a clear message: The wrath of budget cuts will fall upon the shoulders of hard-working Americans.

Obama seeks to trim $1.1 trillion from the budget in the next ten years by cutting or eliminating over 200 federal programs, many dedicated to social services and education. For instance, it cuts in half funding to subsidize heating for low-income Americans; limits an expansion of the Pell grant program for students; and decreases Environmental Protection Agency funding by over 12%.

Meanwhile, Republicans are using their new House majority to slash spending even more brutally. The GOP has made it clear that they are bent on raiding funds for Social Security, Medicare, education; determined to kill health care reform; and gut needed investments in infrastructure, climate change and job creation, at a time when America needs it most.

These cuts will come on top of very painful austerity measures made at the state-level across our nation –- worth hundreds of billions -- since the recession began.

In short, budget cuts demonstrate that Washington has abandoned ordinary Americans.

But there is an alternative: Make corporate tax avoiders pay.

Enjoying record profits and taxpayer-funded bailouts as the economy slowly recovers from a financial crisis, nearly two-thirds of US corporations don't pay any income taxes, instead opting to abuse tax loopholes and offshore tax havens.

According to this study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations that operate in the US exploit corporate tax havens.

Since 2009, America's most profitable companies such as ExxonMobil, General Electric, Bank of America and Citigroup all paid a grand total of $0 in federal income taxes to Uncle Sam. Tax havens alone account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade, money that could be invested in K-12 education, colleges, public health, job creation and hundreds of other worthy public programs.

If we pay our taxes, why don't they? If corporations profit here, shouldn't they pay here?

It's time for ordinary Americans to fight back and demand an end to the corporate tax avoidance.

II. CALL TO ACTION
US Uncut is calling for a national day of non-violent direct action across on Saturday, February 26 2011. Groups of citizen volunteers in cities throughout the U.S. will take actions targeting Bank of America branches demanding that it pays its fair share.

If there is a Bank of America in your city, then it is the central target for action on Saturday. (If there is not, then choose another target locally; the website should have more information on other key corporations soon.)

In the years leading up to 2007, Bank of America played a major hand in creating the largest financial crisis in recent history, and it has received generous bailouts and avoided both accountability and restitution. On top of that, it has doled out $35 billion in bonuses and grew bigger as the largest bank in the country, holding over $2.2 trillion in total assets.

Since 2008, Bank of America has shown a negative income tax rate. This means that not only have they not paid any taxes, they have received $15 billion from the US government.

Our sister organization UK Uncut (who inspired this very movement, and whom we are acting in solidarity with on the 26th) has provided a great suggestion for how to execute a direct action at a bank:

These two links should also be helpful, until US Uncut has more on the website.

Stay tuned to US Uncut for more ideas for actions and for downloadable flyers that can spread a coordinated message.

III: GENERAL GUIDING PRINCIPLES

1. We are trying to protect and improve the quality of life for ordinary people that is currently threatened by an unfair tax code for corporations

2. Visit US Uncut’s website with regularity (but again, please be patient while things start up), follow US Uncut on Twitter.

3. All chapters use the logo as a sign of solidarity, which will reach global proportions very soon. We are using a branding strategy that corporations use -- against them.

4. US Uncut does not support violence against people or property

5. Point 4 does not mean we cannot be forceful or assertive

6. There is unique and enormous power in acting in unity, so where possible, we will coordinate actions through the website

7. Chapters, like anyone, are free to act autonomously

8. US Uncut and its chapters are a non-hierarchical and decentralized structure. Its success must rest on shared values, identity and commitment.

9. By abiding by these values, creative and autonomous action can flourish, as people can act independently

10. Creativity is vital

US Uncut is a horizontal movement. There are no centrally planned protests. If you want one in your town or city, you'll have to take it on yourself. Read our blog about how to organize an action and visit our action center to list it.

Also remember to visit UK Uncut for some inspiration.

See you on the streets.


US Uncut Takes the Stage
Peter Rothberg / The Nation Blog

(February 18, 2011) -- Johann Hari's recent Nation essay [1] detailed Great Britain's growing popular movement demanding an alternative to forcing the poor and middle class to pay for an economic crisis caused by the rich.

The group, UK Uncut [2], has opposed government cuts, targeted companies accused of avoiding millions of pounds in taxes and taken its message far beyond the usual precincts of progressives. "The UK Uncut message is simple," Hari wrote [3].

"If you want to sell in our country, you pay our taxes. They are the membership fee for a civilized society." This Saturday will see UK Uncut's first national day of action with protesters expected to bring more than 30 branches of Barclays Bank to a standstill.

Hari's article [3] also noted the potential for a US Uncut, a progressive Tea Party [4], if you will. There's certainly no shortage of targets, as this slide show highlighting eight egregious US companies [5] receiving federal dollars from the TARP bailout while hiding their own profits in overseas tax havens demonstrates.

Moreover, as reported by many major news outlets in 2008, the Government Accountability Office found that between 1998 and 2005 approximately two-thirds of all American corporations did not pay ANY income tax. Of the largest corporations, 25 percent did not pay any federal income tax despite generating over $1.1 trillion in revenue.

Now, in the best tradition of advocacy journalism and the core values of The Nation, Hari's article has sparked the potential powder-keg of disenchanted Americans. As the Guardian reported today [6], Carl Gibson of Jackson, Mississippi recently started the first US Uncut group [7] after reading Hari's piece in The Nation, and there are now at least 20 chapters coast to coast.

"The folks in the UK who decided to stand up, organize and speak out are a daily inspiration to me and the rest of the movement in the states," said Gibson, 23, to the Guardian. "The message is simple -- before you sacrifice hard-working public sector employee's jobs and necessary public programs, why not first make the richest of the rich pay their fair share in taxes?"

As US Uncut's mission statement [7] says, "US Uncut is a response to this article by Johann Hari in the Nation, titled "How To Build a Progressive Tea Party." US Uncut will learn from their model and try to replicate their success.

On February 26th we are holding the first international day of Uncut action, along with UK Uncut."

In the US, Uncut chapters will stage demonstrations on Saturday, February 26 at Bank of America locations [8] in
Seattle,
Washington;
Portland,
Oregon;
Washington DC;
New York City;
Portland, Maine and
Boston, among numerous other places.

(Why BoA? It received $45 billion in government bailout funds while funneling its tax dollars into 115 separate offshore tax havens.)

Check this map [7] to find out where events are happening; if there's no action scheduled in your area, read these tips on organizing and promoting your own action [9].

It's much easier -- and more fun -- than you might think. And keep up with future actions by following US Uncut on Twitter [10] and/or joining its Facebook group [11].

Source URL:
http://www.thenation.com/blog/158719/us-uncut-takes-stage

Links:
[1] http://www.thenation.com/article/158282/how-build-progressive-tea-party

[2] http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/

[3] http://www.thenation.com/article/158282/how-build-progressive-tea-party?page=full

[4] http://www.thenation.com/article/158280/ten-step-guide-launching-us-uncut

[5] http://www.thenation.com/slideshow/158255/slide-show-8-corporations-owe-you-money

[6] http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/feb/18/uk-uncut-targets-banks-america

[7] http://www.usuncut.org/

[8] http://usuncut.org/actions

[9] http://www.usuncut.org/blog/how-to-organise-an-action

[10] http://twitter.com/#!/USUncut

[11] http://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Uncut/186219261412563






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