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No Taxation Without Representation

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A US state has made it so difficult to vote that it has effectively become a one-party dictatorship, and Washington is letting it happen. Since you can't win in the courts or at the ballot box, you need to starve the state of funds and force the government to restore voting rights. You need to build a national movement that can pressure businesses into cooperating with your efforts to reduce payroll and sales tax revenues. You also need to get blue local governments to protect your activists as they engage in economically disruptive acts of peaceful civil disobedience. 

This game is really a thought experiment about what it would take to dislodge a state government that decided to impose Jim Crow era voting restrictions on its own population. It appears that the US Supreme Court is now fine with this kind of voter suppression. The only real way to stop this kind of anti-majoritarian power grab would be to inflict enough economic pain on the state to force a repeal of the voting restrictions. A sustained 25% reduction in state payroll and sales tax revenues should do the trick. At that level, even the people who support the voting restrictions start to feel the pain.

The trick is finding a way to reduce tax revenues that much without damaging the rest of the economy, and alienating voters. Getting businesses to delay the payment of sales taxes and payroll taxes to the state’s treasury would be the best way to do this. Businesses might face penalties for doing this, but these penalties are not as expensive as you might think. Here are the penalties for the State of Georgia: https://dor.georgia.gov/penalty-and-interest-rates. A local business might not be able to afford these penalties.  A national brand that derives a fraction of its revenues from the state in question could easily afford to delay payment of state taxes indefinitely. 

Of course, no businesses would willingly incur such penalties. This is where your activists come in. You need to get 5% of the US population to join a boycott of a national business that will not delay the payment of state taxes. A 5% decline in national revenues massively outweighs the penalties they would owe on 2%-3% of their payroll generated in the targeted state. If you can get employees to strike, you have even more leverage over these companies. Build a national movement, and you can get enough national businesses on your side to make an impact. 

Local businesses will require a bit more persuasion. This is where peaceful civil disobedience comes in. Have activists park vans and RVs in the parking lots of businesses that will not support the boycott. These businesses will see a major impact on revenues, since paying customers cannot find parking near the store. Of course, the Van Life for Democracy activists would need to stay a while to really have an impact. For this to work, you would need local law enforcement to allow the van dwellers to stay indefinitely. In other words, you would need local governments to allow your activists to strategically shut down businesses. Most city and county governments will not allow this. However, local governments in deep blue parts of the state, which will most likely be the most populous and economically valuable counties, probably will tacitly cooperate. They don’t need to publicly back you. They just need to keep the cops from towing your van. 

Between bad PR and strategic civil disobedience, you can probably reduce tax revenues by 25%. Once a deal has been reached to repeal the voting restrictions, the businesses supporting you can pay the back taxes they owe. Assuming you win the upcoming election, you could even waive the fines these corporate allies incurred. 

This might sound outlandishly unrealistic, and it probably is. However, something very similar happened in America in 1765. In response to Parliament’s Stamp Act, Americans used boycotts, civil disobedience, and acts of violence (which are definitely NOT suggested or encouraged in this game) to compel colonial officials not to collect the unpopular British tax. Colonial governments cooperated with, and helped coordinate these efforts. The British Repealed the tax in 1766.  The organizers of these actions did not face any consequences for their acts of defiance, and one organizer later became the president of the United States. 

Does this scenario involve breaking just laws to stop an unjust law? Yes, it does. In general, a good citizen should pay their taxes promptly for the common good. However, there have been many times when one must break the law to preserve and advance that common good. The Stamp Act protests were one such instance. Hiding runaway slaves on the underground railroad would be another. Dr. Martin Luther King’s letters from the Birmingham Jail have some persuasive arguments on the topic, if you’d like to learn more. Incidentally, the State of Alabama charged Dr. King with tax evasion in an attempt to derail his efforts to combat segregation and voter suppression. Today, his birthday is a national holiday. 

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I thought this game seemed familiar, so I checked out your old games, and they appear to be built on the same engine. I get the impression that your games are built primarily for education and raising awareness, not for entertainment, which is fine as long as you don't neglect the entertainment factor.

This game ruined me until I figured out the correct strategy, as resources can be permanently closed off to you if you aren't prepared. But it was rather fun once I got it.

If you plan to continue developing this game engine, I recommend touching up the GUI a little, and adding music and/or sound effects. As it is, the engine is rather bare-bones.

Not long ago, a game called Water Works graced the front page of Newgrounds. It has a lot in common with your games, so I recommend checking it out if you want to know what to do with your game engine in the future.

africacrossgames responds:


Glad you liked the game. I checked out Water Works, and it is pretty cool.

I might publish more games with this engine if I find topics that work for the game mechanics. However, I am focusing on a new game engine these days. I am a game mechanics guy. GUIs and sound are hard!

Thanks for playing.

Okay, this one is difficult and can be quite frustrating, but I finally beat it (by round 108!).
Here is my strategy: At the beginning, prioritize on amassing activists and organizing the progressives, then get two democrat support and two businesses.
Get the third business only when you have at least two public support, otherwise the Camber of Commerce (orange) will overrun you as soon as they can. Get the third business and push the judges up (By state rights cards) as much as you can (You can lose the option at some point and then things just go down!) and get as many local police as you can. Finish the businesses tree with sit in stikes. Now it's time to make as much money as you can (you need three for every Republicna field!)
Only get the final Democrats if you can deal quickly with the Republicans, ideally having a "Massive Demonstartions" card to stop the National Guard. Without enough cash and Republican Support Cards it's a matter of time until the National Guard crushes you otherwise...
Undercover Agents and Interventions are nice, but not necessary as long as you need the police otherwise.

Credits & Info

2.77 / 5.00

Sep 2, 2020
9:07 PM EDT