U.S. and World Politics

The Fight for Justice Must Be International
and Anti-Capitalist

By Bonnie Weinstein

Mass uprisings across the globe are not only gaining strength, they’re winning solidarity among the world’s working class.

In a May 18, 2021, New York Times article by Julie Turkewitz titled, “Why are Colombians Protesting,”

“The fuse for the protests was a tax overhaul proposed by Mr. Duque [Colombia’s president], which many Colombians felt would have made getting by in an economy squeezed by the pandemic even harder. But the outpouring quickly morphed into a widespread expression of anger over poverty and inequality—which have risen as the virus has spread—and over the violence with which the police have confronted the movement. Students, teachers, health workers, farmers, Indigenous communities, and many others have come together in the streets.”

In Peru, the ruling class was dealt a blow by the election of Pedro Castillo, a militant teacher trade unionist and a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist as the next president.

In Haiti, masses have protested a Yes or No vote on a new constitution because they don’t have a chance to read it ahead of the vote.

And in Myanmar, workers and students have come together in protest of the military coup that took control of their government in February.

All these protests are continuing and deepening and have brought together communities that were not united before. And they have included demands that resonate with workers everywhere—including in the United States—against repression, racism, economic inequality, poverty, police violence and war.

Capitalism is built on a foundation of inequality

The crisis of economic inequality that is fundamental to capitalism, is gaining widespread condemnation among workers everywhere. The worldwide pandemic has accentuated the failure of capitalism to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It also put the most pressure on the lowest paid workers—essential workers like hospital workers, delivery, transportation, grocery and construction workers—to continue working despite the health dangers of being on the job. And still, masses of workers remain unemployed or grossly underemployed.

The rich get richer

The rich get richer in part because they create the laws that allow them to under-report their earnings and avoid paying taxes. They create the laws that allow them to deploy the police and the military on all those who dare to protest their unjust laws.

According to a June 8, 2021, article in the New York Times by Alan Rappeport titled, “Wealthiest Executives Paid Little to Nothing in Federal Income Taxes, Report Says,”

“The 25 richest Americans including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Elon Musk paid relatively little—and sometimes nothing—in federal income taxes between 2014 and 2018, according to an analysis from the news organization ProPublica that was based on a trove of Internal Revenue Service tax data.”

And to emphasize the point, according to a June 13, 2021, article in the New York Times by Anand Giridharadas, titled, “Warren Buffett and the Myth of the ‘Good Billionaire’,”

“From 2014 to 2018, Mr. Buffett’s wealth soared by $24.3 billion, according to ProPublica. (To underline, this is just the amount the fortune grew.) The amount of taxes Mr. Buffett paid over this period? $23.7 million. If middle-class Americans in their 40s enjoyed such a low effective tax rate, they would have paid a few dozen bucks per household over this same time period.”

And in a 12-page article (I mention the length of the article because it reflects just how complicated the private equity laws are) that appeared in the New York Times on June 12, 2021, by Jesse Drucker and Danny Hakim titled, “Private Inequity: How a Powerful Industry Conquered the Tax System,”

“There were two weeks left in the Trump administration when the Treasury Department handed down a set of rules governing an obscure corner of the tax code. Overseen by a senior Treasury official whose previous job involved helping the wealthy avoid taxes, the new regulations represented a major victory for private equity firms. They ensured that executives in the $4.5 trillion industry, whose leaders often measure their yearly pay in eight or nine figures, could avoid paying hundreds-of-millions in taxes. …People earning less than $25,000 are at least three times more likely to be audited than partnerships, whose income flows overwhelmingly to the richest 1 percent of Americans. …The top five publicly traded firms reported net profits last year of $8.6 billion. They paid their executives $8.3 billion. …Even if the agency’s budget were significantly expanded, veterans of the I.R.S. doubt it would make much difference when it comes to scrutinizing complex partnerships. ‘If the I.R.S. started staffing up now, it would take them at least a decade to catch up,’”

In other words, the complexity of the law is designed to allow only the wealthiest to get away without paying taxes. The poor get audited, fined and/or jailed for tax evasion for things like not reporting “under the table” income, or trying to deduct “work expenses” that don’t qualify under the law—the law of the capitalist class.

International working-class unity

Certainly, it’s clear the world’s ruling class is united in its assault on the livelihoods of the working class in every country in the world. From wars to police occupation of communities, to forced expulsions from lands, environmental exploitation and degradation, racism, sexism, inflation, food insecurity and, most of all, extreme income inequality—capitalism is proving itself to be the most vicious predatory monster ever. Nothing is sacred except their obscene personal wealth—wealth stolen from the masses of workers who created it in the first place.

The most important task in the days ahead is to form an international, working-class organization that is independent of the ruling classes that can not only fight for improvements in the living conditions of workers now, but to organize a mass movement to bring an end to war, bigotry, police repression and capitalist exploitation altogether and forever more.

The law of the working class

The working class, acting in solidarity against capitalist exploitation, and united in struggle for human dignity, equality, freedom, and justice for all, is the most profound expression of human democracy. Socialism is democracy in action. It is production for what people need and want instead of production for the private profit for the few at the expense of life, happiness, freedom and justice for all, and the health of the planet. It is a choice between a beautiful future and the descent into barbarism.