Friday, October 17, 2008

Time for Tax Revolt: Direct Representation for Taxation

Below are sections of the revised version of the piece on taxation that was posted earlier. This is slightly longer, with some added transitions, more elaboration, and is a better presentation of our taxation idea. You can read the complete article by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

The current crisis of American capitalism, among other things, has shown the complete lack of realistic and practical solutions coming from the left. Most of the suggestions coming from American left, commentators and analysts alike, fall under two categories. First is a general reiteration that socialism is the only solution; an agreeable iteration, but it is done without any concrete programs of tactics and strategies. Second, solutions that come under the category of 'a new Bretton Woods' and/or 'a new New Deal'.

In short, all suggestions in the second category are for saving the system and not challenging it on a fundamental basis. Such calls for saving this deeply rotten system or 'restoring stability' ignore the realities of our times. As argued by Immanuel Wallerstein, capitalism has morphed structurally to such a degree that it is becoming something else. So, wishing to go back to FDR's New Deal, even if desirable for some, is simply a reactionary pipe dream. There is only one direction for proceeding: forward.

As Wallerstein has argued, world capitalist system is at a bifurcation point: there are two directions in which it can develop. It can morph into a system that is more egalitarian, more just (for example in a socialist direction), or it can develop into a system even more unjust, more barbaric and more intensely class divided, with permanent totalitarian features. 

Wallerstein has also argued that in turbulent times such as these, compared to periods of high stability in any system, any push for change can more effectively and more pronouncedly decide the direction and the shape of the changes to come.

So, what of the socialist way forward? As relates to a socialist tactical solution, I would like to return to a favorite theme: direct representation for taxation.

The current financial meltdown of the system has brought one issue into sharp focus. Leftist commentators have pointed out almost unanimously (without any concrete suggestions, though) the complete lack of representation for an absolute majority of the population; not merely the voting population (about 50% of eligible voters), but more so the entire population. The banksters who have created the current crisis are being bailed out with people's money, but the people do not even get to decide how their money should to be spent (as pointed out, the partial 'nationalization' of the banks underway is in the form of buying non-voting shares).

The crisis of legitimation in the U.S. is an acute one, and is an issue that has brought home to tens of millions of Americans the intensity of their irrelevance when it comes to spending THEIR money. Eight years of far-right rule in the U.S. have done more to educate people about the inequities deep-built into the system than did decades of leftist pamphleteering. In old-timers' lingo, the objective conditions are over-ripe for the subjective intervention of the socialist agency.

The recent robbing of the public treasury, virtually at gunpoint, to the tune of $2.1 trillion (seehere), just for starters, to be given to the richest bankers on land even as a majority of the population was clearly against it, proves (if any were needed) that the 'representatives' in the U.S. Congress represent not the people but the richest and the most powerful who own the Congresswomen/men.

Why such a rush (to steal the people's money)? Is the current world capitalist system so sick and corrupted that it would collapse in mere days? If so, then it is not a system worth keeping!

No comments: