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I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,
As the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
Look not upon me, because I am black,
Because the sun hath looked upon me:
My mother’s children were angry with me;
They made me the keeper of the vineyards;
But mine own vineyard have I not kept.
The Song of Solomon 

Du Bois' assertion that:

"In its place stood Progress... and Progress, I understand, is necessarily ugly,"

reflects a profound critique of the notion of progress within the context of the socio-political realities in America or otherwise. This perspective is intricately linked to the systemic injustices perpetrated by racial capitalism and exploitation, particularly in the aftermath of slavery in America. Du Bois's critique emerges from the recognition that the trajectory of progress, as perceived within dominant Western narratives, often fails to account for the inherent inequities and violence embedded within systems of power. The transformation of his log schoolhouse into what he perceives as "Progress" symbolizes the imposition of external ideals onto Afrakan communities, often at the expense of their cultural identity, autonomy, sovereign status and well-being. In other words, African people socialized as 'black' bodies find themselves on the battlefield, where they must integrate and become prisoners (citizens) of war, along with every other race that finds themselves enthralled in the self-consuming and oppressive capitalist system.

The concept of the regressive nature of progress, is profoundly compelling due to the parallels between historical events like the American Revolutionary war and contemporary issues such as Washington D.C. The core grievance of

‘taxation without representation’

that fueled the Revolutionary War- is a sentiment that permeates the realities of citizens in the city and across the country. In Washington D.C., despite not being a state, residents are subject to state taxes without having adequate representation in Congress. While Eleanor Holmes Norton serves as a non-voting delegate, the absence of full representation for D.C. residents raises fundamental questions about democratic principles and fair governance. This incident reinforces Du Bois's notion that progress is not limited to racial distinctions but rather encompasses the exercise of rights and freedoms as an individual who strives for life, liberty, and the pursuit of their own happiness (well-being).

This critique corresponds to Zora Neale Hurston's work, namely in "Mules and Men," where she explores the intricacies of Afrakan 'American' folklore and the real-life encounters of individuals within the wider social framework. Hurston's examination illustrates the tenacity and autonomy of Afrakan communities in maneuvering and opposing repressive systems, even within the limitations of a society that aims to denigrate and devalue them. The correlation between Du Bois's criticism of advancement and Achille Mbembe's notion of necropolitics provides more insights into the interconnected processes of authority, violence, and resistance. Mbembe contends that in cultures marked by racialized oppression and exploitation, the state exerts authority not just by governing existence but also by intentionally causing death and suffering to specific individuals considered disposable or dispensable.

Du Bois's statement indicates the contradictory aspect of advancement inside oppressive institutions. Progress, as defined by prevailing narratives, frequently sustains and strengthens current systems of authority and advantage, hence intensifying the marginalization and exploitation of Afrakan communities. In a capitalist system that relies on the exploitation of bodies and labor, the treating of humans as commodities, progress is closely tied to the continuation of injustice and the preservation of a status quo that benefits the ruling class. We may learn a lot about the intricacies of political and social change by looking at how injustices of the past and now are similar. The event is a sobering reminder that despite societal progress, long-standing problems such as unequal representation might remain unsolved.

The Boston Tea Party, a pivotal occurrence in American history, stands as a powerful

emblem of opposition to perceived inequitable taxes. In 1773, American colonists, who were discontented with Britain's imposition of taxes without representation, expressed their opposition by discarding containers of tea into Boston Harbor. This act of rebellion emphasized the ingrained conviction that taxation policies should align with the desires of the governed, a concept that is established in democratic governance. In modern times, arguments on taxation continue to play a crucial role in influencing political discussions and policy choices. President Biden's tax measures, which involve increasing the highest federal income tax rate to 39.6% for those making over $400,000 per year, reflect the conflict between taxation and representation that motivated the Boston Tea Party. Advocates emphasize the importance of tackling income inequality and providing funding for vital social programs, while skeptics raise apprehensions about the potential negative impact on economic growth and personal well-being. Biden's proposition to raise the tax rate on long-term capital gains for individuals with taxable income beyond $1,000,000, in addition to an extra 3.8% tax on net investment income, reflects the wider discussion on wealth redistribution and equity in taxation. The administration's objective is to eliminate loopholes and achieve a fairer distribution of tax burdens by discontinuing the 1031 exchange for property sales above $50,000 and treating forgiven loan amounts as taxable income.

Nevertheless, among these suggested changes, there remains a controversial matter about the criminalization of noncompliance with tax return filing. Detractors contend that implementing such a policy violates constitutional rights and has the potential to disproportionately affect vulnerable communities. This reflects past resentments against unfair legislation and harsh penalties, evoking memories of the emotions that motivated the Boston Tea Party. President Biden's tax plans seek to tackle urgent socio-economic issues, but they also revive discussions on the equilibrium between taxation, representation, and personal freedoms. Similar to the Boston Tea Party, these conversations serve as a reminder of the ongoing conflict between government authority and the rights of citizens in influencing budgetary policies that align with the shared desires and ambitions of the population.

The act of demanding restitutions starts now. Organize
-Nkozia X


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Dela Anthonio
Dela Anthonio

The tax policy changes seem more like a charade to me. The Biden administration economists subscribe to modern monetary theory (MMT). They think the government can spend as much money as it wants since it can always borrow more. No amount of tax increases will resolve our massive deficit.

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