Local protesters join nationwide Tax March, demanding Trump’s tax returns

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By Sunday, Apr 16 We the People  11 Comments
Terry Cowgill
More than 200 demonstrators participated in the Tax March at Park Square in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, part of a nationwide protest on April 15 against President Trump's refusal to release his tax returns.

Pittsfield — Anger, outrage and a sense of humor. That’s what it took to be a participant in Saturday’s tax-day “stand-in” at Park Square.

On a bright spring afternoon on the traditional federal tax deadline of April 15, more than 200 protesters filled this faded city’s historic green to demand that President Donald Trump hand over his tax returns. They joined thousands nationwide in marches and demonstrations, calling for the president to release his tax returns. None of the participants were holding their breath, however, as they were resigned that the president would not lay bare his finances; most are convinced he has something to hide.

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Jason Rennie of Leverett with one-year-old son Owen.

“Show us your taxes, Donald, and what it may reveal to us,” demanded Frank Farkas, the interim head of the group that organized the stand-in, the Berkshire Democratic Brigades.

“We want to know to whom you owe favors and who is currying favors with you. Who do you carry water for? In whose interest are you acting? Who is enriching you? What are all your conflicts of interest?”

Farkas’ words were interrupted by chants of “What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like,” “Throw him in jail!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Donald Trump has got to go!”

Farkas and the protesters also used April 15, the tax filing deadline imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, not only to demand to see the president’s tax returns but to question the current tax code and the one proposed by Trump, both of which Farkas branded as “rigged and unjust.”

“It’s been a feast for the wealthy and smaller and smaller pieces of the pie for the rest of the country,” Farkas said to sometimes deafening hoots of approval.

Deborah Alecson, left, and Lucy Kennedy of Lenox joined the Tax March. Photo: Terry Cowgill

Deborah Alecson, left, and Lucy Kennedy of Lenox joined the Tax March. Photo: Terry Cowgill

One protester, Lucy Kennedy of Lenox, told The Edge Trump’s tax proposals would widen the gap between rich and poor and “we shouldn’t be financing tax cuts by cutting social services.”

Of viewing Trump’s tax returns, Kennedy, a member of the Lenox Democratic Town Committee, said, “I’d like to understand his entanglements with foreign governments, especially Russia.”

Kennedy’s sign read, “No tax cuts for the 1 percent,” and featured a crudely drawn bag of money. The sign of her friend Deborah Golden Alecson, also a Lenox DTC member, read simply, “Impeach them all!”

Another protester, Jim Mahon, wore a sign asking, “What are you hiding, Mr. Trump?” At the bottom of the sign dangled two 1040 federal tax forms, which Mahon said he and his wife, Paula Consolini, would gladly help him complete.

“I’ll show him how to fill it out,” Mahon said. “He can even get a tax credit for Barron.”

“He’s already claiming all of us as dependents,” cracked Dennis Powell, president of the Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP.

Jim Mahon and Paula Consolini. Photo: Terry Cowgill

Jim Mahon and Joyce Scheffey. Photo: Terry Cowgill

“I wanted to give you my crowd estimate,” said Mahon, accosting this reporter. “It’s 400,000. Believe me!”

Consolini later clarified. “It’s 219, or that’s what I counted. I wouldn’t lie. I don’t believe in alternative facts.” More laughter.

Between the incessant chants and the frequent blasts of approval from the horns of passing motorists, it was sometimes difficult to interview attendees.

Joyce Scheffey of Great Barrington offered to a reporter a laundry list of Trump’s offenses that went way beyond the presidential tax returns. Her grievances include his deep proposed cut in the budget for the EPA and the lack of professionalism of his cabinet, which she said, “has set new records for incompetence.”

“I can’t begin to tell you,” she told a reporter. “I get up in the morning and I groan about all the idiocy.”

Scheffey plans to attend the March for Science, a series of rallies and marches set to be held in Washington, D.C. and over 500 cities across the world on April 22.

Michael Wise, who chairs the Great Barrington Democratic Town Committee and has been making an effort to coordinate the resistance effort in South County, said he saw some unfamiliar faces in the crowd, “which is good.”

Wise did caution against too many demonstrations because people can become numb to them. But he added that the juxtaposition of Saturday’s event with the January “4 Freedoms” march that attracted 2,000 hit just the right tone and frequency.

In an interview, Farkas said he was not expecting 200 people to show up for the event since it was being held on a holiday weekend that included a rare trifecta: Good Friday, Easter and Patriot’s Day.

“There is still so much energy in the resistance,” Farkas said. “And the response from people driving by has been very positive.”

Wise has called a meeting of the Great Barrington DTC on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, at 9:30 a.m. at the Claire Teague Senior Center. On the agenda is “coordination among local activist groups, the draft platform for the June state convention, and state and local legislative issues.” Leaders of the resistance in South County and beyond are invited to attend.


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11 Comments   Add Comment

  1. Patrick Fennell says:

    The hatred for Trump is getting out of hand. But narrow minded liberals only work on emotion and not facts.

  2. Pete says:

    I guess it was ok to hate President Obama and spread fake news about his birth. That wasn’t Hate or racist, I suppose, just people’s right to protest? Or, lock her up wasn’t hate? Who was leading the charge in these rants? Who is wasting your tax dollars on weekly junkets to Margo Lago? Many of us paying huge tax bills find it ironic that the tighten the belt guy is wasting millions of dollars flying him and his family around. Find another word besides hare, how about ticked off, or angry?

  3. DJK says:

    Oh Patrick Fennell,so predictable.

    1. Patrick Fennell says:

      To anonymous DJK if those are even your real initials. Trump is from the private sector and not a professional politician. He has no reason what-so-ever to reveal his tax returns. this is another ploy by the fake media and professional pols, who by the way hide a lot of money, take a lot of bribes and do not report all of their money, think foundations, war chests, and speaking engagements. It is time for small minded liberals to move on and deal with the issues and remember Obama left the US in awful shape.

      1. Joseph Method says:

        “Trump is from the private sector and not a professional politician. He has no reason what-so-ever to reveal his tax returns.” You have to know that none of this makes any sense…

      2. Patrick Fennell says:

        Joseph to uninformed voters nothing Trump says or does makes sense. Of course selling uranium to Russia was above board and makes sense and dollars for the Clintons, where was that outrage. Oh forgot liberals only complain about republicans .

  4. Joseph Method says:

    The article mentions that people were yelling “Throw him in jail!” Actually, in the section where I was standing someone tried to start a “Lock him up!” chant that no one took up, and then later a woman went around with a bullhorn yelling “Throw him in jail!” and again no one was interested. I regret not saying something to the effect, but my own feeling was that these were the wrong messages. We don’t want him to release his taxes just to “git him” on partisan grounds. We want him to release his taxes because until now it was the norm for candidates and it’s really important to understand what conflicts of interests the president may have.

    Also, the article describes “incessant chants” but it was actually a very shy crowd with very little chanting. It was mostly cheering and clapping when cars honked. It was a nice event but I would recommend that for future events organizers appoint outgoing individuals to lead chants and songs.

  5. John says:

    It is just a waste of time and energy to focus on peering into anyone else’s personal tax return. I don’t care if it’s the president or your neighbor. What meaningful good can come from such incessant nosiness? Absolutely nothing.

    Now, if you want to do something useful, go after the lucrative healthcare and pensions that politicians vote for themselves.

    1. Pete says:

      I agree. I don’t care for Trump but protesting against his not revealing his taxes is a waste of time. People have the right to speak their minds but there are many other real issues our country is facing. He is not going to get unelected. Focus on real issues. Just my opinion.

  6. Nan Bookless says:

    Mr. Cowgill, both my sister and I were startled that you chose to use the phrase “this faded city’s historic green” in the introduction to an article that was not about Pittsfield. As native Pittsfield residents (with much time living and traveling nationally and internationally), we bot decide to come back and settle in our home town. Despite the fact that we are not as economically thriving as we were in the good old (?) GE days, Pittsfield and its residents are vital in ways that one who does not here—or does not choose to research—would be surprised to learn. Please be reminded that Great Barrington was “revitalized” by second home owners making affordable housing in South County out of reach for many native residents. Perhaps an article about the positive things happening in Pittsfield—including this march—could be on your editorial agenda.Your choice of using that adjective seemed like a cheap shot to these readers.

    1. Nan Bookless says:

      Would love to edit my misspellings! Please excuse.

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