Domestic Terrorism or Tax Revolts?
by Dallas Darling
In 1786 and after hearing about the tax revolts occurring throughout the
newly formed United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, who was in France,
claimed such rebellions were good things...and it was medicine necessary for
the sound health of government. On the other hand, Samuel Adams believed
that those who had rebelled against the laws of a republic and were
committing treason and should suffer death.
These differing views came to mind when a software engineer launched a
suicide attack against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). After setting his
home on fire, Joseph Stack flew a small plane into an IRS building.
Evidently, the tax rebel, or domestic terrorist, was unable to find work,
had zero income, and did not file a tax return. As the IRS tried to collect
taxes, he accused them of cannibalizing his savings and retirement funds.
Stack believed the government was not interested in justice, but only
concerned about financially bailing out America's corporations, its
plunderers, and pompous political thugs. He accused law makers of becoming
rich cronies, liars, and thieves that sought their own self-interests while
ignoring corporate atrocities. By crashing a plane into an IRS building, he
wanted to wake people up to government-sponsored draconian tax laws.
During the tax revolt, or act of domestic terrorism, the Pentagon scrambled
two F-16 jet fighters thinking it was a terrorist attack.
After the American Revolution, state legislatures collected taxes to pay for
the war. Taxes fell most heavily on poor farmers, most of them veterans.
Many were unable to pay and as states seized land, cattle, and harvests,
thousands of veterans, along with poor farmers, revolted. While some tax
rebels burned down court houses, others mass-petitioned judges and prevented
courts from adjourning and taking away their property.
On major tax revolt was led by Daniel Shays, who fought at Lexington, Bunker
Hill, and Saratoga, and was wounded in action. He found himself in court for
nonpayment of debts and was threatened with being sent to debtor's prison.
When the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts met and indicted him and
other leaders of the movement for being disorderly and seditious, Shays
organized 1,700 men and marched to the court.
Wealthy merchants quickly funded and raised their own private militias. They
pressured state legislatures to suspend Habeas Corpus and passed the Riot
Act. Shay's Rebellion was crushed, as were many others. While several
leaders of the tax revolt were executed, wealthy property owners accused the
British of stirring-up farmers. Shays returned to a live of hardship and
Tax rebellions were the main reason for the U.S. Constitution and the
establishment of a strong central government. General Henry Knox, who became
Secretary of War as a result of the Constitution, wrote, "Our government
must be braced, changed, or altered to secure our lives and property." Under
Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the very first power is collecting
taxes, duties, imposts, excises...for the common Defense and general
Welfare. Other powers mention raising Armies and declaring War.
Since no one could hold state office without being a wealthy property owner,
the U.S. Constitution inherited the potential for an abusive government
controlled by the wealthy elite. In fact, the Constitution excluded men
without property, women, slaves, indentured servants and Native Americans.
Some warned that the Constitution was a tyrannical document of the Few, and
it only deepened the divisions of class, race, and gender.
Currently, the Many pay taxes on income, property, purchasing goods, fuel,
and on services like education, water, electric, gas, waste disposal, phone,
cable, etc... While many Americans are unemployed or losing their homes, it
was just reported that General Motors Company CEO, Ed Whitacre, will receive
a salary of $9 million this year. It is now estimated too that the
wealthiest 1% of Americans now own 70% of the nation's wealth.
Ron Moore, of the Houston Examiner, uncovered how Whirlpool, which recently
received $19 million from the government to stimulate the economy, will move
its manufacturing plant in Evansville, Indiana to Mexico. Over 1,000 people
will lose their jobs. Although it took many decades for the Bill of Rights
to apply to the Many, there is still no reference to economic rights, which
only concern the Few. This is why the first $700 billion stimulus package
went to subsidize financial institutions, bankers, and corporate
Many laws and institutions in America have tragically failed, becoming
structurally unjust and violent. It was regrettable that after spending his
entire life working and trying to save, Stack believed violence was not only
the answer, but the only answer. But then again, so does the present-day
State. In a society that teeters on the brink of corporate domination and
people power, monarchy and democracy, and tyranny and liberty, there will
always be the freedom to do good or the freedom to be abusive for one's own
Jefferson believed that from time to time the tree of liberty must be
refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.(7) As in 1786, experts on
the Right and Left will debate if this incident was a tax revolt or a
domestic act of terrorism. Just like the current War On Terror, they will
more than likely ignore the root causes of dehumanization, economic poverty,
and loss of human dignity. However, one thing was certain: "Well, Mr. Big
Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and
(Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on
Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52
Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in
the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of
Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and
Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. You can read more of
Dallas' writings at www.beverlydarling.com and wn.com//dallasdarling.)
REVOLUTION FROM AN OLIGARCH'S POINT OF VIEW
--- A POME
PEASANT TERROR IS SO NICE but
Proles can't revolt when there is no rice.
Gotta scramble for a farthing?
Now way they can come and HARM me!
I'm a bankster, I"m connected
Rig the rates I am protected!
UP here in my fine penthouse
People below, look like MOUSE!
I run the SHOW!
I SAY RECESSION
GOD SEZ "HOW LOW!?"
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