National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Meeting Minutes
Sunday, May 8, 2011 • Berkeley, California

Present: Anita LaFollette, Sonoma County Taxes for Peace; Kima Garrison, Administrative Committee, Portland (OR) War Resisters League; Erica Weiland, Administrative Committee, Seattle; David Gross, Administrative Committee, No Cal WTR; Charles Carney, Administrative Committee, Kansas City, KS; Jason Rawn, Maine War Tax Resisters; Bill Glassmire, Fundraising Committee, Corvallis, OR; Robert Randall, Brunswick, GA; Bill Ramsey, CMTC Escrow Account, St. Louis Covenant Cty of WTRs; Hannah Offret, Eugene Taxes for Peace Not War!; Paul Maresh, Portland (OR) War Resisters League; Joffre Stewart, Chicago, IL; Ed Hedemann, Brooklyn, NY; Jay Sordean, No. California WTR; Alice Green, No. California WTR; Elizabeth Boardman, Davis, CA; Naomi Paz Greenburg, Queens, NY; Susan Quinlan, No. California WTR; Pam Allee, Portland (OR) War Resisters League; Larry Harper, Sonoma County Taxes for Peace; Ruth Benn, NWTRCC Coordinator, Brooklyn, NY; Eszter Freeman, Sonoma County Taxes for Peace
Comments from people who could not attend the meeting were shared around.

Robert Reviewed Consensus Process
Alice Green told us about the Berkeley Co-housing community where we were meeting

1. Consultant Report (written)
Questions were asked of Ruth about:
? - The value of our presence at SOAW each November? – A good team shows up every year; Robert Randall tends to coordinate; we get signers at our table; tends to be a good investment
? – how is the network? Generally many of our groups have longtime leaders but new blood (so to speak) is not joining or taking on leadership; while the groups are low energy, we do have new affiliates including Jeannette Rankin Center in Montana, Citizens for Peace in Space in Colorado, and Washington DC Peace Center. Many groups cannot afford dues but strongly support WTR.
? – are you still happy with the job? Yes, no plans to move on; working at home is good

2. Consultant Review (ask for copies)
Clare Hanrahan sent out a questionnaire by email mostly to network counselors, contacts, affiliates, alternative funds. All comments positive. Some in the group don’t remember getting the questionnaire, but they could have missed the email. We were not sure how many were contacted and the percent return.

Ruth was affirmed by the group to carry on.

3. Administrative Committee Nominees – (written)
Jason Rawn and Rick Bickhart accepted nominations. Others were asked but said “not now.” Jason was in attendance and many know Rick from his years of participating in NWTRCC with design work and just his presence.
The question was raised as to whether Alexandra Monk, AdComm alternate from San Francisco, had been in touch (last heard from her in February; she was on August conference call and had responded to emails until recently). She had not been around NCWTR or part of the gathering planning group.

Proposal to keep Alexandra as an alternate and move Jason into a full position (Jason because of geographic/age diversity issues). AdComm contact info.

Accept both nominees and agree to proposal by consensus.
Welcome Jason and Rick!
Thanks Erica and Dave who rotate off after this meeting. Erica will stay on Fundraising and Dave will coordinate the rapid response group (a proposal that was passed later)
Other full members: Clare Hanrahan (NC), Charles Carney (KS), Kima Garrison (OR)

4. Finance Report (written report plus spreadsheet)
Questions:
? - Coordinator Pay – is it low? The lines for Coordinator, Rent, Retirement, and health Insurance all are paid to Ruth; separate lines are maintained for reference and reminder depending on future coordinator needs. Pay is reviewed with November budgeting. Ruth is paid up to date now.
? Looks like large donors are way down? The threshold changed after the Nov. meeting from $100 to over $100 as large donor so we’ll rebudget those lines next year.
? If income stays good what might be useful? Being able to pay some folks for temporary help, like office work but also outreach. We have that line in the budget. Special projects might need a proposal.

5. Fundraising (written report)
DVD sales are down. We have a few hundred left. Ideas to sell or distribute welcome. Contact Ruth.
Try using indigogo.com funding site for nonprofits. Jay tested with this meeting. Nothing came in but it’s worth trying over time.
Committee could use one new member. Despite the exciting option, no one volunteered.

6. Review Objectives (written)
Outreach – would be great to have a new radio PSA (or video). Anyone who can do that please do!
NWTRCC is on Facebook. Dave Gross is good at posting to it; many have joined the page, but it needs more activity. Suggestion to set up a Cause page.

Clark Hanjian is not longer editing the NWTRCC policy handbook. It will be on every Ad Comm agenda and AC & Coordinator will attempt to keep it up to date.

New lit – Erica has written an outreach piece on Anarchism and War Tax Resistance. It has been reviewed but others can still comment to Erica. We will get it set up for tables and add to our publications on web.

AdComm talked about a redesign for MTAP that would make “fly off tables.” We’ll ask Rick for some designs to consider. Dave has run some ads in the newsletter, generating maybe 3 sales.

Counseling packets are available from the NWTRCC office for counselors on our network list.

7. Proposals (written)

#1 - Penny polls
AdComm recommended against as its beyond our means and scope. If a larger group took it on we could play some role. AdComm suggested that some modified efforts are worth doing.

Comments:
Use penny polls with high school class – nice to do hands on thing. Kwan Booth on the Friday panel asked, where do young people spend a lot of time? Online/on cell phones, so what might work is an online penny poll tool – not one great big one but a class could take it and set it up, then do outreach. They can do it locally and show how everyone voted. Many thought this was an excellent idea.
Try setting one up on Survey Monkey
We need a penny poll APP!
Penny poll is a good way to draw people in and talk to them. To have a physical penny poll in one place is a good idea. Used at fair was the best use. In St. Louis they used at black expo and it was really popular. An outreach tool that is not best at our own demonstrations. Focus on new communities, audiences that we don’t anticipate meeting in any other way.
NWTRCC has a page on our website about how to do a tabling penny poll - http://www.nwtrcc.org/penny_polls.php. Send your ideas and photos and we’ll add them to that page. We could add a more obvious link to this also. Right now it’s under Programs on the What You Can Do page.
What’s good about Larry’s proposal is that it’s away to tap into the national discussion right now, and we need to be part of that. NWTRCC can’t lead it. New Priorities should take this on – could move their campaign forward. Must happen fast at this moment with the talk about priorities.
Include anarchists in penny poll by having money put into WTR jar or NWTRCC. Proposal leaves that out. And proposal assumes continuation of a military budget.

Consensus on not passing this proposal, but encouraging something on penny polls.

#2 - Rapid-Action Working Group
Presented by Dave Gross, the idea is to do a better job of getting involved in campaigns that harmonize with us. We can let them know what we have that can integrate with their message. Proposal is to create a working group.

Comments:
Any thinking about criteria for people to be part of working group? Implicit would be that members are free and flexible enough to rapidly respond. Ad Comm will help.
Are there groups that are receptive to this? We are on some of the websites like Global Day of Action on Military Spending and UFPJ with links. We do need to keep pressing WTR and putting it in front of them.
Getting groups to sign on is one thing, but to make it a part of what they are doing is another thing. Once they decide what they are doing it’s harder to get in.
Rethinking Afghanistan website has on opening page about how much taxes goes to war. That’s something NWTRCC could link to.

Consensus to adopt the proposal.
Volunteers – Dave Gross (coord), Pam Allee, Eszter Freeman, Erica Weiland [Others interested can email Dave.]

#3 - CPTI Membership
Some thought we were already a member. Ruth explained that NWTRCC sends reps to the conferences, but the conferences are not CPTI. It was created out of the conferences by the groups who do mostly legislative work, but at the Manchester, England, meeting it was clear that most people thought CPTI organized the conferences and that people wanted a group to be the umbrella for international networking on peace tax/war tax issues.
CPTI rules require “legal status” in your country. What are we going to show as proof of our legal status? We’ll present ourselves as we are, with a bank account, policies, etc. “Confirmed by First Amendment.”
Joffre – has problem with “peace tax” and this “makes us a member of the U.N.” Naomi responds that CPIT has consultant status with the U.N. but is not a “member” of the U.N. and only advises from the outside. Joffre feels it makes us associated with a body that approves war and compromises our antiwar position, but the idea is to try to influence the U.N. and international bodies with our message.
Arguments for joining include: U.S. is very different than other CPTI member countries who have a more legislative approach than we do. Good to have our voice there for that reason. Right now it’s largely European. Healthy for CPTI to have more independent voices and also to bring in wider country representation. The next conference is the first south of equator, and one vote to approve in CPTI made the difference.

Passes by consensus. Ruth will contact CPTI.

8. A couple new topics:
Suggestion by Robert that NWTRCC plan to do a workshop at SOAW next November, which costs money in addition to the table. AdComm suggested that we sign up for a workshop and offer them what we can afford. We have a budget line for outreach in the current budget and can use what money is available there. Agreed by all.

CMTC Escrow Account is now in St. Louis. Bill Ramsey brought their new brochure. There are depositers in 29 states, $550,000 in escrow. The group is recasting it as escrow fund not attached to any specific group. 5 people oversee fund and advisory committee of 10-12. Most are wtrs. How do we outreach to major areas with WTRs & not alternative funds and encourage WTRs in those areas to use this as national alternative fund. Hope to have more interaction with depositers than in recent years, and probably will accept proposals for how interest should be granted.

9. Next Meeting(s)
November 4-6, 2011 – Kansas City, MO or KS. Charles Carney spoke for the organizing group, which includes the Honeywell plant campaign. The group is enthusiastic to have NWTRCC come and participate in a demonstration. Plant is open Monday thru Friday and the question is when to have a demonstration, would people come early or stay til Monday? There was some indication that a Monday action would be good and could include CD.


2012 Meeting sites – No offers as yet. Texas is still desired. Maybe Southeast. Minneapolis. Ruth will ask around. A map of the last 10 years of meetings is online. Give it time to load and see where the pins are. Any groups or individuals willing to host please contact Ruth at the NWTRCC office.

10. Weekend Evaluation

Enjoyed! Organizing committee did a great job. Food everything was excellent. Thank you so much. Liked the workshop split programming – enjoyed, things to choose from. Variety worked well for me personally. Really enjoyed the redirection ceremony Saturday night. Wonderful to see the money given away. Liked the “round the lake” walk and discussion. Glad it was not overly programmed – there was time for small conversation. The give back of refused taxes to groups would make a good DVD, as good as the one we have. Liked Susan’s presentation slide (done in Wordle) from the small group discussions. Friday eve the intros were long and the panel kind of cramped. Liked the WTR survey. Liked knowing everyone’s name from the intros Friday. What cool people you are! Really fun. Change meetings to once a year?? Advantages for comradery and connections but travel costs and ecological; we could reconsider that. Going virtual – alternate with face to face and virtual – Skype??? Someone said that John Lindsay Poland has some ideas for ways to meet online besides Skype. Jason says “talk to me about permaculture and war tax redirection to such projects.”

Economics-Outreach panel notes

More notes and photos to come…