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Invest in People, Divest from the Pentagon
Redirect your taxes from war to peace!
What is divestment?
Divestment is the opposite of investment. Instead of putting money into something, hoping to get future benefits and security, you take the money out, hoping to get those benefits and security somewhere else.
Divestment campaigns were integral to the international movement against South Africa’s apartheid system.
Today divestment campaigns are widely used in movements:
- against Israel’s occupation of Palestine
- against private prisons
- for a transition from fossil fuels
Divestment campaigns call for institutions to sell their investments in entities complicit in injustice. Some also ask
individuals to symbolically or materially divest themselves from the target.
Why divest from the Pentagon?
The US Department of “Defense” (the Pentagon) has requested almost $600 billion in the 2017 fiscal year.
But military spending also includes projects in other federal departments, as well as funds to provide veterans’ benefits and to pay the debt from past wars.
TOTAL 2017 military spending will be over $1.3 trillion.
Any amount of money invested in militarism helps buy:
- weapons, military equipment, and bases in over 100 countries;
- soldiers trained to kill, many of whom return home wounded mentally and/or physically, if they come home at all; and
- death, destruction, and sworn enemies.
If the fiscal year 2017 budget is approved as-is, 44% of every dollar you pay in income taxes will go to the military.
Source: War Resisters League
War spending uses up a staggering amount of money that we could use to address hunger, homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, environmental destruction, and more.
We need to divest our taxes from the Pentagon, so we can invest in people.
How to divest from the Pentagon
To divest from the Pentagon, stop paying some or all of your taxes.
This may require civil disobedience, so learn about the methods and consequences ahead of time. The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) can help. (Since 1982, NWTRCC has been educating people about war tax resistance and supporting war tax resisters.)
- File a tax return and refuse to pay some or all of the taxes owed.
- Refuse to file a tax return and refuse to pay taxes.
- Earn less than the taxable income to avoid owing taxes.
- Resist the local telephone excise tax.
(See Resources below for more info.)
- Deposit your divested taxes in an alternative fund that distributes all earned interest to not-for-profit groups. You can withdraw your principal if you need it later.
- Give divested taxes outright to an alternative fund.
- Give divested taxes directly to groups working on issues or meeting community needs that are important to you!
What impact does military divestment have?
We know we must change ourselves to change society. We can refuse to yield to coercive demands that we fund violence, and instead invest that money in peace and justice.
War tax resisters are part of a long tradition of civil disobedience that has helped stop violence around the world.
If enough of us divest, we can start to break down militarism altogether.
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee