Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Pandora Papers Show Why “Tax the Rich” Isn’t Enough

Some 2.94 terabytes of data have been leaked through the “Pandora Papers.” Yet again, we see how the rich hide trillions of dollars around the globe. Inequality will not be solved just by raising their taxes.

Nathaniel Flakin

October 5, 2021
Facebook Twitter Share

On Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and publications around the world began publishing reports about a new leak. The Pandora Papers contain 11.9 million documents from 14 different companies. They show how rich people around the world use offshore shell companies to hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes.

This latest leak is twice as big as the Panama Papers, released in 2016. It includes material from more than 330 government officials in 90-plus countries, including 35 current or former heads of state or government. The list includes the current king of Jordan, the former king of the Spanish State, and former UK prime minister Tony Blair.

Latin America’s representation is particularly significant: three current presidents and 11 former presidents have been revealed as owners of dodgy offshore companies. This includes the right-wing presidents of Chile and Ecuador, who have faced massive protests against their neoliberal policies. 

The Panama Papers are further evidence that the wealthy are hiding trillions of dollars in tax havens around the globe — but we already knew that, based on plenty of evidence. 

It’s not quite clear why the name “Pandora” was chosen. In Greek mythology, Pandora was the woman who opened a box that had been entrusted to her husband’s care, and in doing so let evil out into the world. It is considered by many to be among the founding myths of patriarchy, like Eve and the apple. So, are the journalists releasing evil? Or do they believe these revelations will stop evil? Either way, it’s difficult to see how this latest leak will substantively change the capitalist world order.

A tiny minority of capitalists monopolize political, economic, and social power. But while they have states to protect their interests, they refuse to pay the costs of running those states. For instance, when workers go on strike, they are often confronted by police who defend the interests of the bosses. Yet, it is the workers themselves who pay the taxes that fund these repressive forces.

No matter how tax codes are written, it seems the capitalists always find ways to avoid paying. Donald Trump, for example, pays no taxes, without even hiding his money outside of the United States. This happens with the rich in every country, whether governed by conservatives, liberals, social democrats, or the so-called “communists” of the Chinese government. The reason is simple: despite their differences in style, all of these governments defend the rule of capital.

In response to the Pandora Papers, politicians will talk about the need for “regulation” and “transparency.” We are supposed to forget that we heard this exact rhetoric when the last leak came out.

Democratic Party progressives tell us we can “Tax the Rich” — but this ignores the fact that the rich control the state. It is possible for mass movements to force the rich to pay a greater share. But those who own the world’s wealth will go along only if they are terrified of angry mobs kicking down their doors.

As socialists, we support every demand that would force the rich to pay for health care, education, and housing for all. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party debates whether the top tax rate should be 37 or 39 percent (rich people pay nowhere near that because of the loopholes they’ve been handed). Bernie Sanders says billionaires should “pay their fair share.” But only labor creates wealth, and only people who labor should benefit from wealth. The “fair share” paid by the rich should be more like 100 percent. 

It’s time for the working class to confiscate all the wealth in shell companies — which the rich are just hoarding — and put it at the service of everyone. 

Facebook Twitter Share

Nathaniel Flakin

Nathaniel is a freelance journalist and historian from Berlin. He is on the editorial board of Left Voice and our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse. Nathaniel, also known by the nickname Wladek, has written a biography of Martin Monath, a Trotskyist resistance fighter in France during World War II, which has appeared in German, in English, and in French. He is on the autism spectrum.

Instagram

United States

The Court is Trying To Kill You: SCOTUS Bolsters Climate Change

The Supreme Court just gutted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s power to regulate emissions. It’s time for the climate movement to stand up and fight back against the capitalist institutions that are killing the planet.

Sam Carliner

June 30, 2022

Over 50 Migrants Found Dead in Texas. Biden Has Blood on His Hands.

The Biden Administration has maintained virtually all of Trump’s draconian and murderous immigration policies. Dozens have died in a trailer in Texas as a result.

Robert Belano

June 29, 2022

Tens of Thousands Take the Streets in Defiance of Overturn of Roe v. Wade

Following the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in outrage and to demand that abortion remain legal across the country.

Left Voice

June 27, 2022

Coalition of Leftists, Activists, and Unions Bring 20,000 Out for Abortion Rights in NYC

Organized by a coalition of socialist organizations, unions, and reproductive rights and housing groups, tens of thousands of people took their rage to the streets against the overturning of the constitutional right to an abortion.

Madeleine Freeman

June 25, 2022

MOST RECENT

On the left, Ruth Fischer, former German communist party leader. On the right, the cover of her biography by Mario Keßler.

Ruth Fischer: The Ongoing Fascination of the Ultra-left

Ruth Fischer was the chairwoman of the Communist Party of Germany in the mid-1920s, before she became a supporter of McCarthy. Her ultra-left policies continue to provoke discussions among socialists. A massive biography by Mario Keßler offers some lessons for revolutionary strategy today.

Nathaniel Flakin

July 3, 2022

Western Imperialism Expands with New Military Bases and NATO Members

The NATO summit in Madrid has expanded the alliance’s footprint — a result of the U.S. and European role in the Ukraine war, and a big win for Western imperialism. Workers must use our power to fight the U.S. and NATO agenda, without giving any support to the Putin regime.

Sam Carliner

July 1, 2022

Urgent Call to Action: Our Unions Must Defend the Right to Abortion

The Rank-and-File Caucus of the Temple Association of University Professionals issued a statement against the Supreme Court's attack on abortion and for the need for unions to mobilize to protect the right to an abortion in the streets and in our workplaces.

RAFT Temple

June 30, 2022

Feminists and Socialists across the World Mobilize in Solidarity with the Fight for Abortion Rights in the U.S.

Feminist and socialist organizations in France and Argentina staged protests over the weekend in solidarity with demonstrations in the United States against the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the attacks on bodily autonomy by the Right.

Left Voice

June 29, 2022