Thursday, December 29, 2005

Chinese Rulers Fear Peasant Power, Vote End to Farm Taxes!


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

The Chinese government just removed all farm taxes! First time in 2,600 long years, the yoke of paying for the ruling class has fallen on the shoulders of the mass of toiling peasants. Fearful of uprising, the government has decided to address the income disparity of farm vs industry. I pay a lot of taxes on my farmland....hmm.

From Xinhuanet:
China's 2,600-year-old agricultural tax will be rescinded as of Jan. 1, 2006, after China's top legislature voted on Thursday to adopt a motion on the regulations revoking the agricultural tax.

The motion with only 94 Chinese characters was voted favorably by 162 lawmakers and abstained by one.

Wan Baorui, former vice minister of agriculture and vice chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee of National People's Congress told Xinhua that the abolition of the agricultural tax demonstrates that industry has outgrown agriculture to some extent along with the country's economic development. And the country ushers into a new era of "industry subsidizing agriculture".

Official figures show that agriculture contributed to 13.1 percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2004, and industry and tertiary trade contributed to 46.2 percent and 40.7 percent respectively.

Agricultural tax, China's most ancient tax category, started to be collected in 594 BC. From that time, agricultural tax has existed for 2,600 years in China with dominant rural economy.
If the countryside was quiet, this would have never happened. But the actions and riots of the peasants has proven quite effective. The communist party runs China and they teach revolutionary politics in school and here they are, the ruling elite, worried about peasants who are told that they are the real rulers.

Whenever workers here resist the rulers, they are chastized by the media and the government and much of academia, too. They are told over and over again, riots and insurrections are evil and good people kneel down and let the rulers kick dirt in their faces. Today, some more workers just voted to cut their own throats! Like the autoworker's unions, the airline industry people are cutting back, reducing pay, eliminating health care, they are all, across the board, in full retreat. All over America, workers are giving back hard won work privilages and even now, the GOP plots to cut access to overtime pay and other things of great importance to the labor movement, meanwhile, everyone is well behaved and quiet. No agitators are yelling, unlike the Chinese, they aren't throwing fireworks at cops or overturning cars and burning them, they aren't beating on the cops with sticks like the South Korean farmers and workers. Geeze.

Talk about a difference. We can see plainly that fighting back works. DUH. Since when has anyone wrest anything from any ruler in any other fashion? Our Founding Fathers are called that because they fought the King of England and won!

Taxs on peasants is so ancient, it is part of the art of writing, the peasant view of all this. Namely, the picture for "tax collector" is a devil with a tail and pair of horns (head is the square) grabbing a stalk of rice. So even way back, you can see, the peasants didn't view all this tax stuff as a wonderful time.

But patiently, they paid. When Ghengis Khan defeated the emperor of northern China, he wanted to kill all the peasants and turn it into grazing lands for Mongol livestock only one of the court prisoners he was using as a translator interceded and explained how taxes from these peasants would make the Great Khan filthy rich. So only (a horrible massacre) a quarter of the peasants were murdered.

The Japanese came in and tried to force Chinese peasants to raise rice for Japan so they could conscript all the males working Japanese farms into the immense imperial forces. Fighting to keep the peasants productive was as frustrating for the Japanese as stealing oil from Iraq is for us today. The Japanese tried to instill fear by massacring hundreds of thousands of Chinese but this didn't work.

Here is a photo of my farm today:

Note that the fields are fallow, though it is funny to see green grass instead of snow! For it is raining today, how bizarre is that! Anyway, I pay taxes year round! Yet my farm is fallow more than half the year. This is why profitable farmers use Federally subsidized water to farm year round in dry climates and why they are killing the smaller, northern farms off. The taxes we pay is a huge burden. I pay over $5000 a year on my small farmhold!

In France, for example, the government helps farmers out because otherwise, no one would farm since it is hard work and very variable, subject to the capricious whims of Mother Nature. The free traders are working day an night to end government aid to farmers and note the WTO rioters are nearly all farmers in the third world and should be farmers in the first world, too, for they are being dragooned into this folly just as certainly as the factory workers were snookered!

Time will tell. All I can say is, power to the people, may a thousand Chinese peasants bloom!
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