Saturday is one day away! I'm blown away by the hard work and commitment of each person in each chapter who has gone out of their way to schedule and organize actions in their community. If Saturday goes off well, all the credit goes to each of you for what you've done over the last two weeks.
To make sure Saturday's demonstrations are successful, here are five things that each chapter should be proactive in doing as soon as possible.
1. Print flyers/posters for your action. Make sure you watch this 2-minute how-to guide on where to find downloadable images and how to turn those into posters.
2. Call your local newspapers, TV stations and radio stations. Tell them when and where your action will be. Tell them to come early, before police arrive.
3. Call a local attorney and have them present at the demonstration. It would be preferable if nobody got arrested, because it would likely mean a weekend detainment since bail officers aren't usually on call on Saturdays.
4. Notify everyone in your community who would be interested in the action and get them to come. Call, email, facebook, tweet, whatever. Just make sure as many people as possible come to the demonstration.
5. Gather props and costumes for your creative, nonviolent action. If you're turning your target into a classroom, wear suspenders and bring books. If you're planning to bring a big fake check from "Bank of America" to "Uncle Sam" for $0 or anything similar, get that ready by the end of the day.
I hope all of you have successful days of action tomorrow- make sure you document your action with pictures and video or it didn't happen. And post them all on the website once your action is complete- there should be a feedback and documentation page for you asking how your action went. Share it with the world!
All of you are inspirations to me and to everyone else. 24 hours from now, I guarantee you that Bank of America will know who US Uncut is.
February 26, 2011
Blair Fitzgibbon 202-503-6141, email@example.com
Carl Gibson 601-454-6443, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joanne Gifford 707-758-1699, email@example.com
Ryan Clayton 202-656-2116, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marco Ceglie 718-483-6616, email@example.com
"I paid my taxes. Why doesn't Bank of America?" ask citizens as they plan actions at 50 branches across the country
New Nationwide Effort to Make Corporate Tax Dodgers Pay Up
Protests in more than 50 cities, including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago
Groups of citizens in more than 50 cities will sit-in and protest at Bank of America branches on Saturday, February 26 in an effort to get corporate tax dodgers to pay their fair share. The actions are loosely affiliated with US Uncut, a new grassroots movement organized through social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
WHAT: Sit-in protests at Bank of America branches
WHEN: Saturday, February 26
WHERE: Bank of America branches in cities across the country - www.USuncut.org/actions
WHO: Groups of people who self-organized events using - www.USuncut.org
Anger is rising as Americans are being forced to endure brutal budget cuts at both the federal and state-level. Recent events in Wisconsin represent the need for hard-working Americans to make their voices heard and demand an end to unfair measures. US Uncut instead calls for an end to corporate tax avoidance.
"The $3 in my wallet is more than ExxonMobil, GE and Bank of America paid in taxes last year, combined," said Carl Gibson, founder of US Uncut Mississippi. "There's a direct connection between corporate tax dodging and what's happening to real people’s lives. Because of overseas tax havens and other tax loopholes, US corporations are making profits in America but barely paying taxes here. If we close those loopholes, we wouldn't have to be cutting back on firefighters, library hours and student loans."
Gibson, a 23-year-old resident of Jackson, Miss., was moved to start his chapter two weeks ago after learning about corporate America's unpaid tax bills and how a similar movement, UK Uncut, has swept across England and successfully brought tax dodgers to justice through sit-ins at stores and bank branches. "I work 3 jobs and can barely cover my $450 per-month rent," Gibson said. "But I still pay my taxes. All I'm asking is that the wealthiest corporations pay what they owe, too."
"If Bank of America alone paid their taxes, we could 'uncut' $1.7 billion in early childhood education," said Ryan Clayton, a DC-based media analyst, "Big corporations dodge up to $100 billion every year, and if they paid their taxes this year like the rest of us do, we could also stop the $100 billion in cuts to college loans." [see sources below]
"These cuts are unnecessary. The money is there." said Joanne Gifford a self-described soccer mom from Napa Valley, Calif. who will be paying a visit to her local Bank of America branch on Saturday. "We The People just have to make sure that these tax-dodging corporations pay up."
Reuters Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/08/12/us-usa-taxes-corporations-idUSN1249465620080812
For more information, please visit http://USuncut.org
For time & locations of all the actions: http://USuncut.org/actions
On Saturday 2/26, Americans in approximately 50 major U.S. cities stood in solidarity with each other and our friends in UK Uncut to demand that corporate tax dodgers pay their fair share of taxes, as hard-working Americans bear the brunt of harsh budget cuts.
And on Saturday, March 12, We'll be taking to the streets again for our next national day of action against Bank of America.
(Are you ready? If not, feel free to read our "What to do" blog post for details on how to plan an action in your community.)
Here’s what to say to the press, the police, and to people who disagree. (Just to be clear, these aren't verbatim orders from anyone, but rather suggestions for anyone who needs guidance.)
WHAT TO SAY TO REPORTERS
WHO/WHAT is US Uncut?
US Uncut is a grassroots movement organized solely through word of mouth and social media that protests the fact that corporations aren't paying their fair share in taxes, which leads to cuts in valuable public services.
WHY are you targeting Bank of America and corporations?
If Bank of America alone paid their taxes, we could ‘uncut’ $1.7 billion in early childhood education (Head Start & Title I).
Big corporations dodge up to $100 billion in taxes every year, and if they paid their taxes like the rest of us do, then we could stop the $100 billion in cuts to college loans, too (Pell Grants).
WHERE did you get this idea?
US Uncut is inspired by an article that appeared in The Nation magazine about UK Uncut, a nationwide grassroots movement in Europe that protests corporate tax dodgers and unnecessary budget cuts. The article can be read “here.”
SUMMARIZE US Uncut's cause in 30 seconds.
Before you cut one more education program, before you cut assisted heating for the poor, before you destroy one more job-creating program, before you fire one more teacher, let's make sure the richest of the rich play by the rules and pay their fair share, just like everyone else.
WHAT TO SAY TO POLICE
(REMEMBER: Police Officers & Bank Tellers are not your enemies here, and Video Cameras are your best friend. Never touch a Police Officer or get physically aggressive.)
POLICE. So what the hell are you folks doing?
YOU. Hello OFFICER, first of all, I know you are just doing your job. Second, this is a nonviolent, creative protest of corporate tax dodgers (like Bank of America) because their tax avoidance creates cuts in vital public services like public safety.
POLICE. Well, we were called here because Bank of America says you're trespassing on private property. So you gotta go.
YOU. OFFICER, we're on your side, here. I know you've heard about the budget cuts, due to low tax revenue, that threaten our children's future, and the jobs of teachers, firefighters and police officers like yourself, right?
YOU. OFFICER, we want you to do your job. But as long as corporations like Bank of America don’t pay their fair share in taxes, we’re going to continue to see cuts in school budgets & police Officers.
WHAT TO SAY TO OPPOSITION
OPPOSITION. "What are you lefties rabble-rousing about this time?"
YOU. "All we're asking is for Bank of America to pay their fair share in taxes. This is a company that made tens of billions in pure profit last year and got more than 3 billion dollars back from the government after taxes. We work hard. We pay our taxes. Why don't they?"
OPPOSITION. "Businesses are only responsible to their shareholders. Taxing them more makes them less competitive."
YOU. "We lose out on $100 billion in corporate tax revenue every year. Big business has to learn to be responsible to the American taxpayers who make it possible for them to run an American business. If you earn income here, you should pay income taxes here. And that's why we're here."
OPPOSITION. "So these are anti-business protests, right?"
YOU. "Not at all. We're just asking that Bank of America along with numerous other corporations pay their fair share in taxes so more folks keep working. I'd say lost jobs and less local spending are both anti-business, wouldn't you?"
OPPOSITION. "Why don't we just cut back on big government and help businesses get tax breaks to spur job creation?"
YOU. "How can we give a corporation more tax breaks if they don't pay taxes in the first place? (pulls a dollar from wallet) This dollar is more than the combined income tax liability of Bank of America, GE and ExxonMobil combined. That means someone's gaming the system."
OPPOSITION. "So are you saying we raise taxes on corporations to pay off our debt?"
YOU. "No, just that multi-billion dollar corporations simply pay their fair share like you and I do. Bank of America made billions in profit and had a $0 income tax bill. We work multiple jobs and pay our taxes, why aren't they paying theirs?"
Bank of America Tax Avoidance
• BofA is the largest bank and 5th largest corporation in America
• BofA holds over $2.2 Trillion in assets
• BofA in 2009 earned a pretax income of $4.4 Billion.
• BofA received $45 Billion in taxpayer bailout funds in 2008 and 2009
• BofA paid ZERO federal income tax in 2009
• BofA actually received a $1.9 Billion tax benefit from the government in 2009
• BofA took deductions of $2.1 Billion in 2009
• BofA funneled its income through 115 foreign tax-haven subsidiaries
General Corporate Tax Avoidance
• Two-thirds of all US corporations do not pay federal income tax
• 25% of the biggest US corporations do not pay federal income tax
• US corporations avoid between $37 Billion and $100 Billion a year in US taxes
• President Obama has called for ending corporate tax loopholes in his campaign, the 2010 State of the Union and the 2011 State of the Union
• The “Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act” was not acted upon by the previous Congress.
Education Related Cuts
• Congress had proposed a $5.7 billion cut to the Pell Grant program which will directly target lower income students who want a higher education
• Congress has proposed a $1 Billion cut to the Head Start program which will directly target lower income and poverty stricken children
• Congress has proposed a $700 million cut to Title I grants which will directly target children in lower income school districts
• College tuition has risen nearly 20 percent in just two years, making higher education unaffordable, saddling students with crippling debt.