“I just can’t pay for murdering other people” – Post-Tax Day News Roundup

Despite the media focus on the Fight for 15 minimum wage protests around the country on April 15, it seemed to me to be a good media day for war tax resistance too. New resisters announced their commitment, while long-time resisters continued to speak up in opposition to military spending, in support of redirecting tax dollars, and in support of peace with justice.

Colorado Springs, CO war tax resisters and friends demonstrated and leafletted outside the downtown post office.

In addition, resisters and their supporters around the country redirected tax dollars, held signs along major roadways, and passed out literature about military spending and war tax resistance. We have heard of over $40,000 in redirections, but I am sure there’s a lot more that we haven’t heard about (getting war tax resisters to report their redirections being a little bit like herding cats).

A couple of days after Tax Day, Matthew Hoh was interviewed by Alyona Minkovski for the Huffington Post. Listen to Matt’s defense of conscience as a basis for war tax resistance, as well as a great shout-out to NWTRCC:

I continue to be very grateful to be part of the war tax resistance community and hope that the coming year brings more support and leverage to our movement.

-Post by Erica

P.S. Here are the full lists of 2015 war tax resistance articles and audio/video.

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This Tax Day, A 23-Year-Old Refuses to Pay for War

by Sam Koplinka-Loehr, Philadelphia, PA

Since I was born in 1991, the U.S. Government has been in a non-stop state of war, and has spent trillions of dollars on killing people overseas.

As a young person growing up in the United States, I saw our schools faltering. I saw income inequality growing. I saw communities struggling. And yet, the government was spending more money on the military.

WRL-FY2016-pie-chartThe United States spends more money on the military every year than the next 15 countries combined. The 2016 budget proposal includes $782 billion for current military spending and an additional $518 billion for covering past military costs, such as war debt. In order to pay for these expenditures, 45 percent of all income tax is proposed to go to the military.

To put that in perspective, in 2014, I made $16,000. At that rate, I would have to work 81 million years in order to make the same amount of money that the United States spends on the military in a single year.

If this money was used in other ways, we could do amazing things. The United Nations estimates that it would take only $30 billion per year to solve world hunger. This is 4 percent of what we spend on the military.

Changing our national priorities could mean more teachers, doctors, and social services. More resources in our communities that need them most. It means bringing our troops home, and ensuring that they have the necessary resources to fully heal from the physical and emotional traumas from the past 13 years of war.

The impacts at home are just the beginning. According to 2013 research from the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. military has killed over 500,000 Iraqi civilians since the invasion in 2003. This is devastating. It is time for peace.

But, our elected officials are not heeding our calls for peace. Instead, they are discussing plans for an indeterminately-long war in multiple countries as part of the “war on terror” against the Islamic State. This war-mongering has to stop.

This week, I am saying to the U.S. government: No more war with my tax dollars. I am refusing to pay the $593 I owe in taxes, and have instead donated this money to important community projects including a youth-led farm, an environmental justice organization, and two community art projects.

Every year, tens of thousands of people in the United States practice war tax resistance, redirecting funds to social services and peaceful organizations instead of the military. I invite you to join me. To learn more, visit the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee online at www.nwtrcc.org.

Sam’s essay has also been published in the Ithaca Journal.

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“All they have to do is draft our dollars”: A Pre-Tax Day News Roundup

As Tax Day approaches, war tax resisters are making the news:

Don Kaufman and Peter Smith (right), at a protest at a Kansas City nuclear weapons facility, November 2011.
  • Peter Smith, war tax resister and board member for the War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund, was interviewed on Northern Spirit Radio. (I liked this quote from host Mark Helpsmeet, also a war tax resister: “The only reason they’re able to wage this war is because they grab our bodies through the draft, which they’re not doing now. Now they don’t have to draft, all they have to do is draft our dollars. Every bomb that goes down is one that we’ve paid for. All the killing is personal to some of us.”)
  • NWTRCC coordinator Ruth Benn spoke about war tax resistance on Law and Disorder.
  • Add any links I missed in the comments! Stay tuned to our blog and website for our press release (will link here when available) and a Tax Day interview on Occupy Radio.

Post by Erica

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