Saturday, March 21, 2015

Robin Hood Tax

Class consciousness: Identification with other members of one's own class and awareness of its relationship with other classes. According to Marxist theory, the proletariat will assume class consciousness when workers realize that they are being exploited by the bourgeoisie; then a proletarian revolution will be inevitable. Contrary to this theory, however, the American working class is primarily socially conservative. (

Olivia de Havilland, Erroll Flynn, 1938

There's a new push to institute a tax on Wall Street financial transactions, the buying and selling of stocks. Some are referring to it as a Robin Hood Tax. There's a #RobinHoodTax Twitter hash tag.

In my house in the 1950s we watched a television series called The Adventures of Robin Hood that I've long thought of as the beginnings of my own class consciousness. I remember Robin Hood and his band of men as stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, and it giving a healthy backhand to the class system in England.

Perhaps there was some Liberal Democratic parental interpretation going on while we watched, because seeing what's on the internet about that series, it wasn't a subversive Socialist propaganda tool but had more of a TV western good guys versus bad guys theme, which I've probably misremembered according to my own biases. I even misremembered the words to the theme song for the program.

There's a lot on the internet about the legend of Robin Hood, however, and its various screen adaptations, even some right wing harping that the legend has been "polluted" by the Left to legitimize the horrors of redistribution, but it's understood by almost everyone who writes about Robin Hood that he indeed stole from the rich and gave to the poor. But I don't see where the Left has really latched onto Robin Hood as a propaganda tool, and it should. Perhaps the theming of the Wall Street transaction tax is the beginning. The concept began in the UK in 2010 and is being promoted here by people like Minnesota Democratic Rep Keith Ellison, one of the few legitimate Liberals left in congress, who has re-introduced a Robin Hood Tax bill.

Incidentally, the Wikipedia article about Robin Hood has this to say about the surname Hood:

 The surname "Hood" (or Hude or Hode etc.) was also fairly common because it referred either to a Hooder, who was a maker of hoods; or alternatively to somebody who wore a hood as a head-covering. Unsurprisingly, therefore, reference is made to a number of people called "Robert Hood" or "Robin Hood" in medieval records. Some of these individuals are even known to have fallen afoul of the law.

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