Tackling Trump on Tax Day

Zach Frailey reports from San Diego on a Tax Day protest that called on Trump and the rich to pay what they owe--and on the government to stop the budget cuts.

Protesters target the 1 Percent on Tax Day in San Diego (San Diego Labor Council | Facebook)Protesters target the 1 Percent on Tax Day in San Diego (San Diego Labor Council | Facebook)

ON APRIL 15, traditionally "Tax Day" in the U.S., approximately 3,000 San Diegans took to the streets to protest the Trump administration. The demonstration was one of many in cities across the U.S. calling for the release of Donald Trump's tax returns and for the wealthy to pay their fair share.

After speeches from local activists and union organizers, demonstrators marched through downtown to the Civic Center Plaza, where activist groups were encouraged to host teach-ins.

The demands put forward by march organizers included: a congressional investigation of Donald Trump's tax returns in order to dearch for conflicts of interest (and impeaching Trump if any illegal conflicts exist); an end to budget cuts to all social services, schools, earned benefits and safety net programs, as well as a moratorium on tuition increases at public colleges and universities; corporations pay their fair share of taxes and end the practice of offshoring profits that originate in the U.S.; reign in the predatory practices of Wall Street and the banks; and the County of San Diego use a $1.8-billion tax surplus to invest in public-sector jobs, roads and infrastructure, public transit, and ending homelessness.

With the exception of a small handful of right-wing hecklers, the reaction from bystanders was overwhelmingly positive. Dozens of cars honked their support and pedestrians cheered from the sidewalk.

In addition to liberal groups like Indivisible, rally attendees included members of two California secessionist groups and several socialist contingents, including the Democratic Socialists of America, International Socialist Organization and Party for Socialism and Liberation. Mixed in with signs demanding an investigation into Trump's ties to Russia and calls to see his tax returns were an assortment of signs and banners with antiwar, anti-austerity, anti-racist and pro-union messages.

While a broad section of the crowd was undoubtedly "still with her" (Hillary Clinton), many of those present were open to the idea that we have to challenge the capitalist system that produced President Trump.

Demonstrations like the Tax Day march provide an opportunity to build a broader, more radical grassroots struggle against the Trump administration and the right. As a statement from the march organizers noted:

As we protest Trump, we also acknowledge that Trump's conflicts are a symptom of a deeper problem in our tax structure, and the structure of our economy as a whole; that ultra-wealthy and profitable corporations manipulate our tax structure and the global financial markets to get out of paying taxes, and keep most of their profits for themselves or their wealthy investors.

This design flaw in our economy results in wealth for the richest 1 Percent, and hardship and inequality for the remaining 99 Percent. This status quo is no longer acceptable.