Mike Davis and David Bacon on “The Decline of California”

My recent posts have focused on the California Teachers Association’s failure to fight the slash-and-burn cuts to  public schools and other services and on potential allies in a real fight back. At the Socialism 2009 conference in San Francisco, July 2-5, authors Mike Davis and David Bacon critiqued the overall paralysis of labor “leaders” tied to the Democrats and the politics of accommodation. Video of this panel is posted online under the title, “The Decline of California, Mike Davis and David Bacon” Part 1 and Part 2. Here is a transcription of excerpts from that video, beginning with an analogy that came to Davis while watching the recent remake of the movie, “The Taking of Pelham 123” about the hijacking of a New York City subway train.

Mike Davis: I kept thinking, “Is this set in Sacramento?” I mean, here you have the governor and his gang of Republicans, and they’re holding the people captive and threatening to shoot them one by one unless their demands for budget cuts and a new stage in the Republican fiscal revolution occurs. And on the other hand, you have the leadership of the Democratic Party in Sacramento, [Assembly Speaker] Karen Bass and [Senate President Pro Tem] Darrell Steinberg, saying, “Oh no, don’t shoot all the passengers, just shoot half the passengers…

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Fighting Forward: Beyond Proposition 13

Proposition 13 is not the only problem with California’s tax system, and split roll is not the only needed fix. The California Tax Reform Association (CTRA) proposes dozens of ways (nearly all progressive ones) for California to tap $13-17 billion of new revenue annually, or double that amount when federal matching grants are factored in.

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Fighting Forward: What about Proposition 13?

California’s state government has passed three disastrous budgets in less than a year: last week’s pillage followed agreements in February and last September that similarly robbed billions from social programs. Those earlier packages also included gifts to corporations in the form of giant new tax loopholes. So how can we stop this recurring nightmare? (I’m sure the question applies across the U.S. these days.)  In my last (too-long) post, I put out some general ideas for moving forward. Today’s post will get into more detail about one major issue we need to confront: Proposition 13. In the next post I’ll look at other needed progressive tax reforms, and in the following post, give some thoughts on starting to build a fight back.  

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