Instead of Accepting Faux Charity from the Rich, Let’s Just Cut Off Their Heads

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Earlier this month Mark Zuckerberg entered the headlines for “giving away” 99% of his Facebook shares to “charity.” As he received undue praise for his faux generosity and a few thoughtful critiques, I was reminded of how ridiculous it is we allow individuals like him to accrue such exorbitant wealth in the first place.

One percent of the world’s population holds half of its wealth.

Read that again.

One percent.

A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies found that in the United States, our “20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet — now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households.”

In a nation founded on genocide, land-theft, and slavery, it’s no surprise the report also found that wealth in the United States remains stratified by race and that, “[t]he Forbes 400 now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population — plus more than a third of the Latino population — combined.”

A good reminder of the intersectional oppression wrought by white supremacy.

None of this is how it should be, and it certainly isn’t how it needs to be.

But as far as I know, nobody has recently proposed we take that wealth from the One Percenters, remove their heads from their necks, and place their freshly severed heads on stakes as a warning to anyone else who would dare hoard so much among so few.

Maybe we should be.

It should be uncontroversial for me to say that nobody has earned that much. There is no work or contribution to society that can be attributed to one person or one percent of the global population that would possibly warrant such an amalgamation of wealth amongst so few. None.

So, to remedy this, I propose the following terms to the One Percent.

Our (The People’s) position begins here: We could decapitate all of you and take back 100 percent of what’s ours. We have the numbers.

And I’ll assume your starting position is that you’d like to keep all of the treasure you’ve selfishly amassed.

shot-2015-12-14_18-15-35There’s a pretty wide gap between our starting positions, but for the sake of protecting your necks, I hope we can meet somewhere in the middle. I’ll be honest, our position doesn’t have a lot of give—the pitchforks are long-overdue to come out, our stakes await their new gory decor, and the guillotines are itching to drop. So, if you want to keep those heads on your shoulders rather than see them become ornaments atop stakes, it’s time to get serious about what they’re worth to you.

My question to you One Percenters is this: How much of your obscene fortunes are you willing to give up peacefully to preserve your lives? Not your way of life. That’s over. I mean your actual lives. What are they worth to you?

Take a minute and really ponder that, because it’s time to make some tough decisions. But perhaps not too tough. I mean really, what good is absurd affluence without a head on your shoulders to enjoy it?

Really, if we let you keep your life and $500k in total wealth, wouldn’t you feel fortunate?

Sadly, I suspect many of you wouldn’t. And I think we should talk about that.

First of all, I don’t think you’re taking this whole heads on stakes thing seriously. Which is fine, like I said at the beginning, nobody except me is calling for your heads to be placed there, and honestly, I have very little influence. The previously mentioned pitchforks, stakes, and guillotines only exist on this page.

For now.

Lest you think that’ll last forever, though, let this serve as your official notice. It can’t. It won’t. And when the time comes, my offer to let you keep $500k and your heads will look remarkably generous.

But second, and more importantly, what kind of greedy piece of shit isn’t happy with a $500k net worth? Truly. For most of us that’s an unfathomable amount.

I get it, though. You’ve had so much for so long, that even what seems like an abundance to the rest of us is pennies to you.

And about that. It’s making me regret I offered you as much as I did. Maybe I should revert back to putting your heads on stakes and just taking it all. That’s a win-win for the bulk of humanity.

You are few. We are many.

Help me help you.

If we can just come to an accord I really think there’s a way we all can be happy and you can keep your heads.

So, back to the offer. You keep $500k of your total net worth—and this goes for everyone who has more than that—and you get to keep your heads.

What’s that? No, you say.

Fair enough. But as the guillotines are about to fall, remember, it was your own rapacious ways that ultimately did you in. Oh, and enjoy the view from your stakes.

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About Author

Jesse Benn is an independent media studies scholar, a writer, and an activist journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Colorado and is currently taking a year off before beginning a Ph.D program. When he isn’t taking to the streets or pushing for radical societal change elsewhere he’s hanging out with his new daughter. He can be reached at: JesseBenn@mail.com.