As Congress scrambles to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the GOP tax bill before Christmas, a nascent resistance movement is growing. On December 9 students and working people marched from the Ohio Statehouse to the office of Senator Rob Portman, a key architect and proponent of the tax bill.

The Republican tax plan “is nothing more than blatant class warfare waged on the working class, especially women and people of color,” said Alex Davis, a graduate student at OSU and member of Socialist Alternative. “It’s raising taxes on the poor while reducing taxes on the rich. By 2019, nine percent of taxpayers would pay higher taxes, which would expand to 50 percent by 2027. And that’s not even counting the cuts to vital social services that will be used to help fund the tax cuts.”

“Tax the greedy, not the needy!” the crowd shouted.

The tax bill eliminates the Lifetime Learning Credit, a 20% credit on the first $10,000 of tuition and educational expenses; eliminates the medical expenses deduction, which benefits Americans with chronic conditions and major medical expenses; eliminates state and local deductions, meaning that money paid to fund local schools and social services will be taxed by the federal government; and repeals the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, barring 13 million Americans from access to health care.

The tax bill “is part of Trump’s continued assault on the working class, funneling money from critical social services and the working class into the pockets of the ultra wealthy in a titanic transfer of wealth,” Davis said.  “This monstrosity of a bill has passed both houses of Congress with nothing more than the typical limp resistance offered by Democrats. If they want to call themselves the resistance to Trump’s reactionary agenda, then they must actually resist! We call on Bernie Sanders, progressive Democrats like Senators Warren and Brown, and unions to join the coalition represented here. We call for mass protests against the tax bill during the reconciliation process.”

The movement fighting the tax bill has the potential to transform U.S. politics, Davis said. “We can form a new party, unfettered by corporate cash and the wealthy elite. A party created from our movement, a party of the 99 percent. To do this, we must put forward demands that go on the offensive. Demands like taxing the rich to fully fund education. Not only Obamacare, but universal healthcare. A living wage of fifteen dollars, and an end to the prison industrial complex!”

“The GOP is trying to pass a tax bill that they say is trickle-down economics,” said Julian Johnson, a community organizer with Working America, an affiliate of AFL-CIO. “But when you really look at the tax bill, you realize that it’s nothing but trickle-down oppression!"

“I believe in a strong public education system as the only way out of poverty,” said Thomas Bartlett, an impoverished student at OSU, the first member of his family to go to college. “For America to be a great nation, we must provide access to education to all Americans. But the GOP is adamant about dismantling the very education system that provides opportunity to so many Americans. And for what? To line the pockets of multi-national corporations that owe no loyalty to America or its people! The GOP tax bill is sabotaging the future of young Americans. Without access to education, we are doomed to live at the mercy of those who would keep us in poverty.”

“Education is a right — not just for the rich and white!” the protesters chanted.

 “This tax bill is a dream for the 1% and a nightmare for everybody else,” said Cathy Cowan Becker, a volunteer with the Sierra Club of central Ohio. “It spells disaster for the vast majority of Americans. But that’s not where the Republican tax bill stops. They aren’t content with just going after you. One of the ugliest things about the tax bill is that it opens the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling.

“The Arctic Refuge is one of the last untouched, wild places on earth, and one of the most biologically diverse. It’s the most important mating site for polar bears. It’s where millions of birds from all 50 states go to nest and give birth. This area is so important to animal populations that the indigenous Gwich’in people call it ‘the sacred place where life begins.’

“It’s not like we need to drill there,” Becker said. “After World War II this entire area north of the Arctic Circle was put off limits to development. Then the Eisenhower administration gave 20 million acres of it to oil and gas. In the 70’s Jimmy Carter opened up 95 percent of it to oil and gas. Now the Republican tax bill is going after this last 5 percent of the Arctic Refuge. 95 percent isn’t enough for them.”

Becker outlined some of the recent impact of climate change in just the past week: wildfires in California and hurricanes in Houston, Miami, and Puerto Rico. “This is what climate change looks like. Why are we even thinking about drilling for oil anywhere, much less in our last pristine wilderness, when our fossil fuel consumption is destroying the planet?”

“System change, not climate change!” the crowd responded.

Kyle Kerley, who works as a nurse in a free clinic, pointed out that both major political parties have been complicit in attacks on the environment, education, and the working class. “The 1986 tax cut had bipartisan support under Regan,” he said. “Then Clinton came in as the small government Democrat who cut welfare programs and increased prison sentences, leading to what we have today with mass incarceration. It doesn’t matter whether we have a Republican or Democratic President. We live in a Democratically-held city, and our schools are under attack. Section 8 housing is under attack, sold off to the highest corporate bidder.

“That’s why I joined the International Socialist Organization,” Kerley said. “It’s the root of the system that’s toxic. It’s not like we can just prune off the bad leaves and something beautiful will come out of it.”