Tomorrow, April 15, is tax day: the day by which you are required to file income tax returns so the US government can extort some of your earnings, the greatest part of which traditionally goes to funding the military and police without which such banditry would be impossible. Thanks to the tax breaks available to the wealthy, your employers may pay less in taxes than you, even as they take more profit home. Many corporations—like Citigroup and Bank of America—pay no federal taxes whatsoever.
In addition, April 15 is a nationwide day of protest under the banner Fight for $15, aimed at winning workers $15-an-hour wages and the right to unionize. Now, we’d love to think that a few protests would suffice to make corporations treat their employees better, or to make the government that exists to protect those corporations suddenly change sides… but we’re not holding our breath. If you’re participating in those actions, we wish you success; just don’t get so comfortable negotiating the details of our exploitation that you come to take it for granted. Even $150 an hour couldn’t justify the humiliating jobs many of us are forced to hold. Real dignity isn’t a question of getting higher wages to do the same thing; we deserve complete self-determination, not better compensation for squandering our lives.
April 15 is also the sixth annual Steal Something from Work Day. Whether or not your employer raises your wages or permits you to unionize, you can conspire with your fellow employees to expand your take-home pay yourselves. You can that do right now, on your own terms, without waiting for legislation, without opening negotiations with your enemies, without the assistance of paid organizers or condescending nonprofits, without struggling to get the attention of politicians who answer to the highest bidder. Sure, stealing from your workplace is dangerous, but it’s no more dangerous than the kind of pressure campaign it would take to win a living wage for everyone nationwide—consult the bloody history of the old US labor movement if you want to know how people won the right to unionize in the first place. And what is more likely to equip us to move towards a real revolution, collective illegal activity or legal reform campaigns? Not that you necessarily have to choose—try both, if you like.