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article imageUS Uncut Arkansas: Living and 'undead' protest tax dodgers Special

By Kay Mathews     Apr 21, 2011 in Politics
US Uncut Arkansas organized protests in three Arkansas cities to call attention to corporations that do not pay their fair share of taxes, even the "undead" showed up at the Fayetteville event.
Allison Kilkenny, writing in The Nation, said, "US Uncut launched another nationwide day of protest this week involving around forty participating chapters. The activism strategies again ranged from traditional protest to more creative forms of occupations such as San Francisco’s flash mob in a Bank of America."
One US Uncut chapter, US Uncut Arkansas, staged three protests on tax day, April 18. The protests took place in the cities of Fayetteville, Little Rock, and Jonesboro.
The Fayetteville protest took the creative form of a "Zombie Invasion." Kelly Eubanks, founder of the Arkansas chapter of US Uncut, and organizer of the Fayetteville event, was asked by this reporter why a zombie theme was chosen. Eubanks replied:
Our inspiration was the Mark Fiore animation “Zombie Bank.” We decided to take a stand as “Zombie” tax payers, for several reasons. One reason is because it is time for the people walking around like “zombies” to wake up and start getting vocal about these corporate entities like Bank of America who do not pay their fair share [of taxes], and speaking out on how there should not be cuts being made to the American people while corporate tax dodgers get away with paying nothing. The second reason was that as zombies protesting Bank of America we could send the message that “hey even the undead are getting vocal and are speaking out against the corporate tax cheats!” Everybody knows even the Undead pay taxes, the question is why doesn’t Bank of America?
Eubanks said, "We had a small family of zombies turn out along with some very dedicated and brave members of the living. The living and the zombies are on the same page as far as Bank of America goes, so coming together worked well to spread the word." The zombies, and others, carried signs down Fayetteville's busy Dickson Street at around 5:30 p.m. on tax day and chanted “BOA make them PAY” on their way to a Bank of America branch bank.
 Zombie  invasion at Bank of America. Fayetteville  Ark.  April 18  2011
"Zombie" invasion at Bank of America. Fayetteville, Ark. April 18, 2011
US Uncut Arkansas
According to Eubanks, the event was positively received. "We had tons of positive feedback from people walking by who stopped to talk, stopping on their bicycles to take fliers, and from people yelling from their cars “Right on…make them pay,” she said.
When asked why the protest was directed at Bank of America, Eubanks gave a litany of reasons, as follows:
• BofA received $45 Billion in tax payer bailout funds in 2008 and 2009
• BofA paid ZERO federal income tax in 2009
• BofA actually received at least a $1.9 Billion tax benefit from the government in 2009
• BofA took deductions of at least $2.1 Billion in 2009
• BofA funneled its income through 115 foreign tax-haven subsidiaries
Donna Shade, co-organizer of US Uncut Arkansas, said the event in Little Rock was "theatrical and funny."
Shade went on to say that:
Benton Anderson was the Little Rock organizer, and his co-organizers were Caleb Baumgardner, Kyle Gregory and Joe Patterson. They walked from the River Market area in Little Rock all the way to the bank, which was quite a trek. They did the play acting you see in the video, all along the way [see video above]. The video he submitted was in the much quieter area of the bank building itself, but in the crowded market area, they had more interactions with passersby, and felt they had a very good and interested response from them as well.
US Uncut Arkansas protesters near Bank of America.  Little Rock  Ark.  April 18  2011
US Uncut Arkansas protesters near Bank of America. Little Rock, Ark. April 18, 2011
US Uncut Arkansas
The Little Rock event was designed as a way for people to have fun and get the message out. The rich are "misunderstood" so some of the more self-indulgent ones "went on an outing to try to bridge the gap between us and the little people...We'll thank them for paying our taxes for us, and give them fact sheets showing just how much they've helped us and our fellow billionaire evaders," read an announcement of the event.
Shade said the event in Jonesboro targeted the two largest "US corporations that pay little or no income taxes": Bank of America and Verizon. Shade indicated that the Verizon building is just a couple of blocks from, and around the corner from, the Bank of America in Jonesboro. "So, " she said, "we lined up on the sidewalk in front of Bank of America with our signs, and called to people in passing cars that they [Bank of America] don't pay their taxes, and that citizens are being called to sacrifice while they take more...Then we marched around the corner and up the block to Verizon and did pretty much the same there."
The video from the Jonesboro protests is below.
According to Shade, more US Uncut Arkansas events are being planned for Fayetteville, Little Rock, and Jonesboro and she hopes that future "actions" will also take place in Hot Springs and Texarkana.
More about US Uncut, Bank of America, US Uncut Arkansas, Tax evasion, Protesters
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