War Tax Resistance as Self-Care

Last week on Twitter, I saw that David Gross retweeted a message from author Sofia Samatar in which she described war tax resistance as self-care. I was immediately taken with this concept, and while Sofia’s plate was too full to write about it, she gave her blessing for me to run with it! So thanks to Sofia for the inspiration; all thoughts that follow are mine, however.

Self-care is a practice of taking actions that heal and rejuvenate ourselves. For some writers, it means relaxing or decompressing from work and activism and family responsibilities – getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, taking time to read a book or watch a movie, or spending quality time with friends and family. For other writers, political action, or care for one’s community, is itself self-care. And others question this dichotomy. Without getting into the whole debate here (although I recommend reading these perspectives on self-care and thinking about what they mean to you!), few people will disagree with the idea that some form of self-care is essential.

Some resisters describe war tax resistance as something they do so they can live with themselves, or something they do to assuage their conscience about where tax money goes. Being able to live in alignment with your beliefs is a profound form of self-care – think about the dis-ease you experience when you do something against your beliefs. War tax resistance not only brings you into alignment with your beliefs about war, it can also help you integrate your beliefs on other issues. When I make money above the taxable line, I contribute to other causes that I care about: supporting social justice organizing, vegetarianism, defense of civil liberties, and autonomous social projects that provide alternatives to government programs and corporate goods and services. This self-care of sticking to my convictions also provides community care for friends and strangers who don’t have the privilege of access to resources and education that I have/have had. And the war tax resistance community itself takes care of each other, with resources like alternative funds and the penalty fund.

I also think that this perspective can help remind ourselves of why we do war tax resistance when times are tough. War tax resistance is caring for ourselves and our communities far more than the war budget ever will – perhaps this is a message we can put forth this Tax Day.

-Post by Erica

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