Occasionally my mind will wander towards what we will be facing in the near future when we will be subjected to the sanctimonious and redistributionist whims of the Obama administration. We can only take guesses at this point as to how painful this assault upon the middle class will be due to the liberal allergy towards “topical discussion” during both the primary and general election campaigns. That being said, our best barometer of the future comes from a careful study of the past..
During the late 1700’s, the British delved in headfirst, wildly intoxicated over the idea of imposing taxes upon the colonies. Starting with the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Act of 1767, the British finally came out of the closet. They bit off just a little more than they could chew after passing what they at the time had to think was just the innocuous Tea Act of 1773, which was later repealed by the Taxation of Colonies Act of 1778. The Colonists had other ideas and they held a meeting or two and they put a plan in place. The rest is history..
John Hancock had a plan. (You remember Hancock, don’t you? He was the guy with the great big signature on the Declaration of Independence and he was probably the last patriot to occupy political office from the state of Massachusetts..) The protest meeting held on December 16, 1773 at the Old South Meeting House led later on that night to the Boston Tea Party. An estimated crowd of eight thousand protesters tossed, in 2008 dollars, nearly two million dollars worth of tea into the Boston Harbor. The tax the colonists were protesting was one penny. The Colonists took “a penny for your thoughts” and made it a battle cry..
This action directly led to the American Revolution and the passing of the Taxation of Colonies Act in 1778, which said that Parliament would no longer impose any duty, tax or assessment for the raising of revenue in the colonies.
Lets move to 1930 where the “Salt Satyagraha” or the “Salt March” took place in India.
On December 31, 1929 the Indian National Congress raised its flag and on January 26, 1930 they issued their Declaration of Independence which they called “Purna Swaraj”. In it, the Indians “included the readiness to withhold taxes”. From the document, we read that “the Indian people have the right to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life. If any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it. The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom, but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually.”
The 1882 Salt Act handed the British a “monopoly on the collection and manufacture of salt, limiting its handling to government salt depots and levying a salt tax.” Salt was used by nearly everyone in India and the tax represented “eight percent of the British Raj tax revenue” and it “hurt the poorest Indians the most.”
In a frightening bit of foreshadowing as relates to the impending Obama caliphate, Gandhi in a forward he wrote during this time for a book of speeches by Gokhale said, “If the means employed are impure, the change will not be in the direction of progress but very likely in the opposite. Only a change brought about in our political condition by pure means can lead to real progress..”
Prior to the Salt March, Gandhi released statements to his disciples. In one such missive he said, “We are entering upon a life and death struggle, a holy war; we are performing an all-embracing sacrifice in which we wish to offer ourselves as oblation.” 60,000 people gathered to hear Gandhi’s words before the March. When they reached Dandi, more than 50,000 Indians had assembled there. Gandhi said, “I want world sympathy in this battle of Right against Might.” With that, Gandhi could see clearly into the future and the struggles that we shall soon face.
Shortly thereafter, the Indian people began to participate in mass civil disobedience. British textiles and goods were actively boycotted. A series of unpopular forest laws were blatantly defied. Peasants refused to pay taxes.. “50,000 member armies of non-violent activists called Khudai Khidmatgar” were trained. British troops opened fire at a gathering of Khidmatgar, killing an estimated two hundred and fifty unarmed protesters.
In May of 1930, Gandhi planned to “raid” (march on) the Dharasana Salt Works plant. Thirty two “heavily armed constables” took Gandhi into custody based upon a vague and little used law from the early 1820’s that forbid “engaging in unlawful activities”..
The march went on without Gandhi whereupon British soldiers mercilessly clubbed the marchers as the Khidmatgar continued without resorting to violent resistance..
A United Press corespondent named Webb Miller reported on the march. The British tried to censor Millers’ report but it made its way into over one thousand newspapers around the world. The United States Senate even had Miller’s report entered into the official record.
Time magazine named Gandhi its “Man of the Year” in 1930. Time magazine was “comparing Gandhi’s march to the sea to defy Britain’s Salt Tax as some New Englanders once defied a British tea tax”..
Ironically, Gandhi’s “Salt Satyagraha” “failed to attract Muslim support-many Muslims boycotted the Satyagraha”..
Gandhi’s march was also fascinating to American civil rights marcher Martin Luther King Jr. King later said, “As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi, my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform”.
In both historical cases, we need to replace the words “British” or “British government” with “Obama” or “Obama administration”. In a number of cases, replace the word “India” with “America”, “Indian” with “American”..
The Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution were started over a tax of one penny. The Salt March materialized over the miniscule tax placed upon salt..
With an Obama administration chafing and salivating over the dreams of new taxes in the trillions of dollars, just how docile have we become? Just how far removed are we from the original Colonists and the Khudai Khidmatgar of Gandhi’s India?