Socialist Alternative

Pandora Papers open the box on capitalist rich list

The recent revelations of the Pandora Papers, following on from the release of the Panama and the Paradise Papers in 2016 and 2017, are the latest exposé of how the global capitalist elite move money around the world to avoid paying various taxes – highly controversial, but not illegal under capitalist laws. 

The fact that this is the third set of papers to be released – and the largest of them (the head of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) termed the Pandora Papers as “the Panama Papers on steroids”) – again shows that under capitalism wealth is hoarded by the rich, while the working class have to worry about a rise in National Insurance, empty supermarket shelves or wondering how they will get to work with recent fuel shortages.

Indeed, the fact that over 300 public officials, including current or former heads of state and ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, are implicated in this puts a spotlight on how these tax laws are written, and the intentional loopholes that are left in place for the capitalist class to avoid paying vast sums of money in taxes. It’s estimated that up to $32 trillion is stored in offshore tax havens.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie have made use of these loopholes as has been revealed in this set of papers – purchasing an offshore company that owned a property in London, thus avoiding paying £312,000 in Stamp Duty, when most working class and young people in the UK wouldn’t even be able to afford to get a mortgage to buy a property and instead have to live in poor and sometimes dangerous rental properties.

King Abdullah II of Jordan has built up a global real estate empire with at least 14 luxury properties via a network of secretly-owned firms worth more than $100m, with one property in Malibu, California purchased for $33m. This is at the same time as when one in four Jordanians are unemployed and living in poverty. One Jordanian lawyer, Moayyad al-Majali, was arrested and fined in October 2019 for slandering the king when he asked the simple question “How much land does the king own?”. Clearly the capitalist class fear the anger that the revealing of their hoarding of wealth will create amongst the masses and do whatever they can to hide it and repress those who try to highlight it.

There are few, if any, countries that have not been named in these papers, from Brazil to the US, UK to Russia, France to Uzbekistan, and the revelations read very similar to the ones in the Panama and Paradise Papers, only the names of the individuals have changed. So the question remains, what will happen now? Will there be any change, or should we expect to see yet further leaks of this nature in the future?

Under the current capitalist system, then yes. These levels of tax avoidance and wealth hoarding are inherent in a system that takes wealth from the working class and gives it to the capitalist class, and they will likely wring their hands and blame it on a “few bad apples” like they have done recently with the Met Police over the murder of Sarah Everard. The truth is they do not want to upset the apple cart of capitalism. Mohamed Amersi, who has donated to the Tories and who funded Johnson’s campaign to become Prime Minister, advised on a telecoms deal that was later found to be a US$220 million bribe for the daughter of the then president of Uzbekistan. Johnson will not want to cut off important friends and donors like Amersi by taking actual action against these levels of tax avoidance!

Instead, we need to fight for a system of socialism, where the vast amount of wealth in society is expropriated from the millionaires and billionaires around the world and raise the standard of living of everyone in society, rather than living under capitalist oppression while the rich buy yachts, jets and property, without paying any taxes. If you agree and want to join in the fight for a socialist society, then join Socialist Alternative today!

We call for:

  • Nationalisation of the banks and big companies under democratic workers’ control and management to end tax avoidance by the super rich – compensation paid only on proven need! 
  • A democratically drawn up plan of the economy to use the vast wealth and resources for human need not billionaire greed, such as building affordable housing for workers and young people. 
  • No trust in capitalist politicians to solve this issue! Build an international movement of the working class and poor to fight for a socialist world to end poverty and inequality.