Open Thread - "Take their money and let them go"

Kshama Sawant, the socialist Seattle city council woman and member of Socialist Alternative, penned a reply to Trump's address to Congress. It's worth a read, but one part stuck out to me, a recommendation:

"The wealth of these 8 richest billionaires should be confiscated and democratically allocated for the needs of the majority."

Hell ya.

This comes from a recent study from Oxfam that showed the world's 8 richest billionaires have more wealth than half the humans on the planet.

Are you kidding me? That's Twilight Zone stuff right there. Who in their right mind would think that indicates a sustainable and fair way of life for humans on this planet? Who in their right mind would not want that changed, like NOW.

She goes on:

"This is the reality of the failed capitalist system. We need fundamental change – an overturning of the capitalist oligarchy through a political, economic and social revolution which puts power in the hands of the overwhelming majority: of workers, youth and all those marginalized by this oppressive system."

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/02/socialist-response-to-trumps-addr...

Revolution, that's what it's going to take. I don't see how this can be turned around slowly at this point, not through our current political system. We'll have eight trillionaires with three quarters of the planet's wealth before we know it. We need to say enough with this nonsense.

Take their money, let them go.

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Big Al's picture

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national politics.

"Behind every great fortune lies a great crime"...Balzac

Late stage global capitalism is imperialism plain and simple. It is a system of coerced and/or violent taking of earth's resources and subjecting people to severe exploitation. Hundreds of thousands of men in India have committed suicide in the last decade because they've either been kicked off their farms or otherwise cannot support their families. In the USA, working class males of Euro descent are experiencing a drop in longevity. There are similar horror stories throughout the world.

The RW is correct in one instance: It is capitalism vs a habitable planet; unfortunately, they have chosen short term profits over long term survival.

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

Granma's picture

"The wealth of these 8 richest billionaires should be confiscated and democratically allocated for the needs of the majority."

The wealth of all billionaires should be, and if multimillionaires don't take the hint and start voluntary giving, start on those too.

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Mark from Queens's picture

A friend of ours is part of Socialist Alternative, the group that helped get her elected and strategize with her. I've been to a couple of her fundraisers in NYC. Both Bernie and Chris Hedges are big supporters. She's an excellent fiery speaker, an Occupy protester and unafraid to speak like a radical from yesteryear. She won 2x in Seattle city council, on the power of volunteers, canvassers and small donations (like Bernie), because people believe in her straightforward and genuine message.

Part of her campaign promise was to only take the median income of the city and put the rest into building the socialist movement there. Before she was even in office she was publicly encouraging the Boeing workers to occupy their manufacturing plant with a sit-in strike, when they were blackmailing the city for more corporate tax breaks. She's been a vocal proponent of a city-wide rent freeze, and has conducted very successful, packed town hall meetings on it; and just recently she was instrumental in getting the city to divest billions of dollars from banks invested in the DAPL. I remember jumping off my couch listening to her rebut Obama's SOTU a few years ago. This is how political movements are built.

In my view, she, and by extension the socialists, are the future of the Left in this country.

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

@Mark from Queens Cheers!

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"The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those to whom the land by right of first claim collectively belonged"

earthling1's picture

Prohibit tax avoidance through "Foundations". Hoarders should be rendered pennyless.
With recent reports of many corporations sitting on piles of cash, now would be a great time to pull a coup, do as India did and render large bills ( 100s and 50s ) worthless. Sure,everyday Americans may lose a few hundred dollars. But the hording corporations will be caught flat-footed and lose billions.
I realize the cashless society is a con job. But the American people would rebound quickly using 1s, 5s, 10s and 20s.
Offense folks, offense. MAKE them know and believe their piles of money are a big, fat juicy target. Watch them squirm.
Just one congresscritter producing a bill would send the greedy bastards into a panic, whether it passes or not. Make them feel vulnerable and about to lose everything. Keep them back on their heels.
We know how they fret relentlessly about losing money.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@earthling1

With recent reports of many corporations sitting on piles of cash, now would be a great time to pull a coup, do as India did and render large bills ( 100s and 50s ) worthless. Sure,everyday Americans may lose a few hundred dollars. But the hording corporations will

..... not lose a dime, as all their largest cash hoards are in the banksters' banks, not in the form of bills of any denomination.

Instead, I think we need to go to a mandatory cash system, Let's see how long the hoarders' hoards last when they have to keep them as physical cash.

(Yes, I know that's just the Pirate in me talking, arrrr!)

Smile

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"US govt/military = bad. Russian govt/military = bad. Any politician wanting power = bad. Anyone wielding power = bad." --Shahryar

"All power corrupts absolutely!" -- thanatokephaloides

earthling1's picture

@thanatokephaloides This is not the first time I have read this. Over the past decade I've seen numerous reports intimating actual greenbacks are being horded. Kind of a hedge against a stock crash.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Raggedy Ann's picture

Revolution is the only way for change to come about. Revolution will only come about if people have the courage to participate. Without participation, we deserve what happens.

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"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

earthling1's picture

that Corporations own our entire military, serving them in regime changes, gunboat diplomacy and negotiating ridiculously favorable conditions with a carrier task force offshore.
Many, if not most Corporations pay no taxes. They have shifted the entire burden on the working man. We are paying $700 billion every year for the most powerful military in human history. And they don't even protect us. Just Corporate America.
It's sickening.
Lets force the Corporations to foot the bill for the entire defense budget.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Shahryar's picture

we used to be called "Little Beirut" (by Daddy Bush) because we were so unruly, marching to our own beat. Now Portland is getting (or already is) yuppified to the point where we can't even elect Democrats to be Mayor. We keep getting ex-Republicans. Money talks now, louder than ever.

I've long thought we need a maximum wage as much as a minimum wage. How is $5 million a year not enough? Why would someone need $6 million? Or $25 million (like ballplayers)? Or $40 million (like CEOs)?

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PriceRip's picture

          This is a gateway to his point of view. Warren Buffett recently stated that his money would go to good works not to boosting his children and grandchildren into a privileged class. He would provide education and health care for them but they need to not be lazy.

          Okay, okay, so this is my paraphrase of what he said.

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earthling1's picture

@PriceRip Tell me it aint so, Price Rip. Oh wait, that doesn't rhyme.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

PriceRip's picture

@earthling1

          I find this interesting. But, as usual, your mileage may vary.

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@PriceRip @PriceRip

Great, so their kids, like many, can't make it on what's being paid now, with most jobs about to disappear - and they won't leave them money because they need a 'work ethic' in today's situation... Why? Because they got rich and 'anyone can work hard and make it'?

If I had children, I'd be worried about them starving/dying of thirst/lack of breathable air, not about whether their work ethic was up to finding non-existent 'good jobs' paying a living wage when most work - creative and skilled labour, fields including those of teaching, medicine, design, caregiving along with everything else - is slated to be mechanically supplied to those who can afford it. That will most likely be those whose parents left them money so they're able to live inside, have food, medical care, potable water longer, maybe even until the oxygen production shuts down with the natural life support system and there's nothing to breath but fossil fuel/industrial pollution... might not be deadly out there for several decades yet, depending.

Edit: thing is, these are seemingly wealthy Baby Boomers with a few million being discussed, not the billionaires destroying society and the planet. The boost their kids might individually get might enable a down-payment on a house, not enough money to buy governments - and that's the rampant greed which should concern us all, not those who are comfortable enough to think 'anyone with a good work ethic can (still) make it'. I feel so badly for the younger generations, which is likely affecting my perspective even more than anything else.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

PriceRip's picture

@Ellen North

          but that is okay because I tend to get lost in the stream of consciousness of these threads. I think we are on the same page, but I am not sure. What I like about Warren Buffet is that he does not hold the values of an oligarch. That is (like me and any sane parent) there is nothing I wouldn't do to help my progeny, but setting them up to be like the Waltons or the Clintons is way off the table. If more well-off individuals (and most notably the top fraction of a percent) would similarly shut down the dynastic systems, most of our problems would disappear.

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@PriceRip @PriceRip

I was pretty tired when reading the article at that link, (and woke up that way today, too, lol,) but it seemed to be speaking of Baby Boomers (who'd become wealthy, but not obscenely so,) assuming that because they'd done this, their children would also be able to do so.

But billionaires and high-number millionaires did not seem to be addressed? Billionaire's children ought to be taxed a high rate on inheritance in excess of 5 million, which is a number which I've heard suggested. Bernie, perhaps?

Personally, if I had children and they turned out like the Waltons or Clintons, I'd be sorely tempted to drown them for the good of society... well, maybe not drown, exactly, but certainly drench with a bucket of cold water...

Edit: essentially meant to say that I was likely both confused and confusing, but that it does appear that we are on the same page; I'd think that most parents would be grateful for being able to leave something for their children/grandchildren to make their lives easier/more possible.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

PriceRip's picture

@Ellen North

          I have never heard him with respect to the notion of having the state doing it via inheritance taxing which in my opinion would be the best way to get it done, but given the realities, his message is the same.

          Again I paraphrase: The only decent action is to return your gains (whether ill-gotten or not) to the society from which they came. Everyone knows (whether they will admit it or not) that excessive wealth and concentrating that wealth is not good for society as a whole. Those that argue otherwise are not foolish they are simply dishonest.

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@PriceRip

... The only decent action is to return your gains (whether ill-gotten or not) to the society from which they came. Everyone knows (whether they will admit it or not) that excessive wealth and concentrating that wealth is not good for society as a whole. Those that argue otherwise are not foolish they are simply dishonest.

Indeed! I wonder if that would fit on an (oversized T-shirt!

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

PriceRip's picture

@Ellen North

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.