Naomi Fowler ■ Tax as a tool for racial justice: new report launched
The etymology of tax is “to fix”, and so…we ask ourselves “how~ Decolonising Economics, Tax as a Tool for Racial Justice report
can tax help address racial wealth inequality [and] repair the harms of structural racism that are embedded into our economic system?”
These are crucial questions. And it’s taken many of us involved in movements to tackle the world’s inequalities far too long to engage with them.
In partnership with our sister organisation Tax Justice UK, we at the Tax Justice Network collaborated with Guppi Bola of Decolonising Economics who has written a report which is the first of its kind in the UK: “Tax as a Tool for Racial Justice”. Decolonising Economics works to build a solidarity economy rooted in racial justice principles and you can read more about the organisation and its work here.
As it begins, the report “is intended to be a framework for future research, organising and campaigns for racial justice.”
To discuss the report, first presented by Guppi Bola, and next steps for campaigners and researchers, we brought together a panel of experts: Keston K. Perry Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Williams College, Stephanie Brobbey Founder and CEO of the Good Ancestor Movement and Priya Lukka Economist in International Development. You can watch the launch of the report here:
You can also listen to Guppi Bola of Decolonising Economics speaking with Naomi Fowler on the Tax Justice Network podcast the Taxcast in more depth about the report here:
While in Britain there’s a big knowledge and research gap (as is unfortunately the case in many countries), in the United States there’s been some great work on tax histories and tax justice principles as they apply to racial justice, notably the work of the excellent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Professor Dorothy Brown’s The Whiteness of Wealth: how the US tax system impoverishes black Americans – and how we can fix it’, plus so much more.
You can hear Professor Brown’s keynote speech here at the Tax Justice Network 2021 conference. You can also hear her in conversation on our podcast the Taxcast, where she explains how the doors weren’t open to her work in this area: “Let’s be clear – when I started writing about race and tax, I was not – my scholarship nor I were welcomed by the white male law professor tax gatekeepers.”
Here’s a great twitter thread from Brakeyshia R. Samms listing US research:
Below is a list of resources which may also be of interest, some of which were shared during the launch. Please do add your suggestions in the comments section, we’ll be happy to have them.
Firstly we’re sharing links to the Taxcast, some of our monthly podcast editions which explore this area. All previous episodes are available here. (You can also find podcasts on that site in Spanish – Justicia ImPositiva, French – Impôts et Justice Sociale, Portuguese – É Da Sua Conta, and Arabic – الجباية ببساطة)
- Systemic racism, reparations and tax justice, part 1: (looks at the US and also Britain’s Slave Owners Compensation loan, only settled in 2015 on behalf of taxpayers); Taxcast host and producer Naomi Fowler’s research on the Slave Owner’s Compensation loan and which banks may have profited from it is here
- How tax justice can help address systemic racism in the US, part 2
- A reparational justice journey, a look at the Council for World Mission’s Legacies of Slavery project
- Taxing Wall St, and the transformative power of financial transaction taxes. Includes Keval Bharadia on a super tax on the $8 trillion a day financial markets: “if we just charge a 0.05% tax rate, we’re looking at 14 billion pounds per day to fund reparations and systems change.”
- Taxcast Extra: conversation with Professor Dorothy Brown on her book ‘The Whiteness of Wealth’
- Taxcast special: keynote speech from Professor Dorothy Brown, author of ‘The Whiteness of Wealth’
- Why Fixing the Tax System is Crucial to Achieving Racial Justice, a blog from Tax Justice UK
- Reluctance to Tax Large Companies Rooted in Racism, Professor Says
- Recalibrating financial transaction tax policy narratives to provide a pathway towards reparations, by Keval Bharadia
- Tax Justice Network online conference 2020: Imperial inequalities: states, empires, taxation and reparations – and assembling many of the presented contributions, a new volume edited by Gurminder Bhambra and Julia McClure, Imperial Inequalities: The politics of economic governance across European empires.
- The just transition framework Guppi Bola referred to during the report launch: https://movementgeneration.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/JT_booklet_Eng_printspreads.pdf
- Podcast: How To Build a Stock Exchange: Making Finance Fit for the Future
- Decolonising Economics event looking into racial hierarchies, enslaved labour and indentured labour, reparations and wealth disparities: watch it here.
- A report that aims to reclaim the educational space from the market
- A briefing on racial justice and fiscal policy in Latin America (currently in Spanish only)
- 10 Reasons Why an Intergovernmental UN Tax Body Will Benefit Everyone
- A draft UN Tax Convention
- Taxing Colonial Africa: The Political Economy of British Imperialism, by Leigh A Gardner
- The Colour of Money, Runnymede Trust
- BlackRock could make 110% profit out of Zambia’s debt crisis