National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Minutes from the Coordinating Committee Meeting

Kansas City, Kan.Nov. 6, 2011

Attending: Jason Rawn, Maine; Peter Smith, Michiana WTR, South Bend, Ind.; Bill Ramsey, CMTC, St. Louis; Erica Weiland, Seattle, Wash; Kima Garrison, Ore. Cty of WTRs, Portland, Ore.; Daniel Woodham, Franklinville, N.C.; Charles Carney, Kansas City; Susan Miller, Heartland Peace Tax Fund, Hesston, Kan.; Stan Bohn, Heartland Peace Tax Fund, Newton, Kan.; Donald Kaufman, Heartland Peace Tax Fund, Newton, Kan.; Sarah Weber, Topeka, Kan.; Joffre Stewart, Chicago, Ill.; Jim Stockwell, Asheville Area WTR, N.C.; Naomi Paz Greenberg, Queens, N.Y.; Rae and GlendaRae Hernandez, Michiana WTR, South Bend, Ind.; Beth Seberger, Kansas City; Ron Faust, Kansas City; Rick Bickhart, WRL rep/Treasurer, Charlottesville, Va.; Andrea Lynn, Maine; Jane Stoever, Kansas City

Regrets: Robert Randall, Clare Hanrahan, David Waters

Click here for links to other reports.

I. Proposals (Click here)

#1, WTR Manifesto, and #2, Building a movement, preparations

The Administrative Committee had a long conversation about the proposals related to campaigns or strategizing for campaigns: Larry Rosenwald’s “WTR Manifesto” from the Oct/Nov newsletter and Bill Glassmire’s “Building a movement, preparations.” David Gross had sent in specific comments about this also. The more AdComm talked the more it seemed that we should use the campaign we have, War Tax Boycott, as a way to bring these proposals together. Since the Boycott came out of a strategy conference and a process of surveys, rather than have the conversation over again, let’s go with what we already have and adjust as needed. There’s a spark now with the Occupy Movement, so how do we take advantage of this moment. AdComm recommends combining proposals and then taking off from the War Tax boycott – adjusting that campaign as needed to meet some of these goals.

Comments:
The demands of Larry’s piece include a 75% cut in the military budget.
Get rid of military 100%; NATO was founded then the Warsaw Pact was created in response; “defense” seems to lead to more “defense”
Would it be a 1 year boycott? —No specifics outlined on that.
We are a varied network; hard to get resisters to do one thing, one campaign; like herding cats….
We should go back to the notes when we evaluated the boycott and use them to reshape and rebuild the boycott; one thing was that it was conceived in ’05, developed in ’06, launched in ’07 – many things to put in place; we lost a moment in doing that because there was a lot of budget focus and we missed the debate when we launched. We were late and need to look at timing, political environment; look at occupy and would it fit in or not; survey that? Prepare for next spring; would not want to do just based on Occupy but a bit broader.
Potential war against Iran and maybe using that as part of the call for a renewed boycott; and Palestine.
Don’t date the campaign by year again.
Boycott campaign has been on hold (or just a website with sign-on); we’ve been saying that we’ll resurrect it when the time is right; if momentum is coming from Occupy, which is pretty amazing, making the connection with Occupy is a good time
There are other campaigns around budget issues now like “bring our war dollars home.”
Slogan: “Occupy yourself with war tax resistance”
“Occupy” mentioned in every session today; thinking about a smaller amount of money like $10.40
Some of occupy seems to be people who “want a piece of the pie.” To invest in energy of occupy movement might just be til economy turns around instead of engaging broader change.
Some want to pull the whole system down; maybe create a different system; how to accomplish that is a different question but…. Main focus is still finance reform, corporate control, banking system.
Focus not so much on occupy as that being one avenue to get the word out, we won’t dilute our message with other’s agendas; occupy being one way to go
The palm card was cheap and not a huge project for us; that part of re-launching it is easy

Consensus – Yes to push boycott and also to produce another palm card for outreach. (no stand asides or blocks)
Committee Volunteers: Kima , Rick, Bill, Ruth (talk with Larry R and Bill G)

#3 – Endorse Move to Amend, submitted by Pam Allee

David Gross sent in comments which were noted. Ad Comm did not recommend endorsing, an remained neutral on how the CC should proceed.
Comments:
It seems outside the scope of NWTRCC to endorse this group; can’t think of a strong enough link between this and what we do
Amending the constitution is a problem, helps create war, so we should get rid of the constitution and end the state
Other groups in the peace movement have endorsed. Quite a range of endorsers.
It doesn’t do away with corporations just to stop the “personhood”
Feels strongly that corporations are not the same as persons, it’s something to pay attention to; maybe further thought on this
Doesn’t seem to be in our purview, opposing war or related to paying for war
Would like to take this seriously but still need more information

Proposal that we ask Pam to explain it a little more for us, explain how NWTRCC could benefit or vice versa – something about the connections. Bring to May meeting.

Consensus on proposal to ask Pam to resubmit with info above.

II. May Meeting Site

Ad Comm had some discussion again about the cost of travel to meetings and other options; we’ll just continue to look into online options, but the face-to-face still feels important

The map of recent meetings can be view by clicking here. It might take a minute for all the points to load. If you click on the dates on the left it will show you the point for that meeting.

• Southeast is due for a meeting. Ruth has asked Clare Hanrahan and Robert Randall to consider locations.
New Orleans has been suggested and Ruth has begun to contact a couple people there. David Waters said that he would talk with a Cuba Caravan contact in N.O.
Susan M suggested that Mennonite Disaster Service might have a connection there and she would check on it.
Peter Smith’s wife Ellyn still has contacts with health center down there; she could bring up possibility of us staying in some of their spaces down there – could we trade volunteer work for meeting space?
Is there a Quaker Meeting in New Orleans? would they help or host?
Kima has contacts in Florida and will check with them

• Another possibility is Chicago, because, at the invitation of the White House, military and civilian representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and heads of state and finance ministers of the G-8 world economic powers are meeting in Chicago, May 15-22, 2012. There is national organizing to protest this summit. Should we push our meeting back and meet in Chicago and have a WTR presence at the protest on Saturday, May 19? We could do Spring in Chicago and New Orleans in fall.
Would we be able to find a host and housing at that time in Chicago? Our allies in Chicago will be busy.
Susan M was at the CPT conference in Evanston, IL, in October. Ask about that space? – where CPT housed people
SOAW watch – when we met there combined well
Keeping dates consistent is helpful and going to Chicago would mean a later date.
Erica is all about Chicago later in May!

Consensus – Yes, Chicago in May (but only if the weekend of the protests works) and pursue New Orleans for November (or May in N.O. or southeast if Chicago does not work out).

Volunteers: Daniel, Peter

III. Administrative Committee Nominations

Charles Carney (KS) and Clare Hanrahan (NC) rotate off after the May meeting, and we are short one alternate already. We need to fill 1 full position and 2 alternates. Kima (OR) and Jason (ME) stay on. We seek geographic and other categories of diversity – age, ethnic, etc.

Ideas: Beth Seberger (KS), Bill Ramsey (MO), Oliver Waters (AL), Judy Collins (Vine and Fig, AL), Mary Loehr (NY)

IV. International Meeting – NWTRCC Representative

We learned from Naomi, who is on the Conscience and Peace Internat’l board, that the meeting has been put off until February and it will be in Bogota, Colombia, instead of Buenes Aires. Anyone interested should contact the NWTRCC office. We budget $1,000 to send someone to the conference. We will keep the call open for nominations but may not make the decision til November. David Gross had thrown his name in the hat for Buenes Aires and may still be interested.

V. Rapid Outreach Working Group

Erica reported. The group formed at May meeting to respond to new situations, organizations, events relevant to WTR. We offer to provide info, links, etc. Members are Erica, David Gross, Pam Allee, Eszter Freeman – mostly organize by email. We’re not so rapid but working on it. Ideas and volutneers welcome.
Need more people to rapidly outreach, but no volunteers came forward.
ROWG refers to the speaker’s bureau and links to it
Make sure ROWG is on our website

V. Conscience and Peace Tax International (CPTI)

Our application to be members was “tabled,” because members need to be legally recognized organization – NWTRCC may not qualify. Some board members are interested in expanding the CPTI membership so things may change over time. Meanwhile, this has nothing to do with attendance at the international conferences. We will still participate in that.

VII. Consultant Report (written — click here)

Question asked about the e-lit on Mail Chimp. This is a free mass mailing program that allows for easier mailings to the 300 people on our e-list. Before Ruth had 6 separate group emails and it was just getting hard to manage them.
Ruth goes to the P.O. Box a few times a week and tries to get there more frequently before meetings to keep track of who registers and get that info to local organizers.

VIII. Fundraising Report

Erica reported that Ginny stepped down as our committee coordinator, so Erica took on the task. Things have been a bit slow, everyone on the committee busy with many things. Larry B and Rod N are planning to talk about finding more affiliates. Jim S has been willing to make donor calls. Bill G and Rick B have made thank you calls to large donors.
Bill asked about scarves, especially in light of the occupations. Should we embroider more? We pay per stitch. We have a few hundred blank scarves and about 100 embroidered ones.
Just do plain ones to give away & not embroider. Add a button or sticker instead.
In fund appeal, offer for every $100 we’d take some to occupy
Fund appeals – do we give them opportunity to pledge on monthly basis? We have credit card pledgers but could do more with this.
Have we broken the film into segments? There is value in this so still try to do but no one with the skills has offered.
No volunteers for fundraising committee

IX. Objectives (click here for final version)

Move over boycott and reinvigorate – boycott cards
Occupy Together – how to get a link to our website; speaker’s bureau can promote WTR
Library promo for DVD – get at least 3 requests into local libraries; tell people to put in requests; post the library journal review on our website
Collaborate with Move On — ?
Newsletter – redesign?, name change? – 3 or 4 came up with the name in an airport in Portland; logo and slogan “if you work for peace” — pushes people away. Do proposals to May meeting to change the logo and slogan.
Network List: Ruth has a spreadsheet that compares network lists from 1991, 2001, and 2011. If you would like to see it, ask Ruth. Just an exercise to see if we are holding steady or not. Has not really been analyzed, but happy to have someone do that.
Literature – print resources; might need some new lit for Chicago if we do that
Maybe something new for occupy; put “Occupy” on some lit – occupy yourself with war tax resistance
Media – articles related to national budget – defund the military don’t pay for it; Un-occupy bases over the world
Democracy Now! – get after them again to have a WTR on
Charles would like to help with media – put out the “fun” part of it; in his interview the woman made them sound austere and no fun; he tried to break myths – have a cheat sheet for media work; talking points – cheat sheet: Erica, Charles, and Bill will work on this
Fundraising – as decided on scarves; thanks for donations this weekend
Have basket out at meetings for every meal and it seemed to work well
Penalty fund – they asked for new board members. Glenda Rae volunteered. Yay!

Consensus on Objective with changes – Yes

X. Finances (click here for latest report and new budget)

Annual comparisons 2001-2010.

Our bank account is low, but Ruth can shift money from reserves as needed. The fund appeal will go out as soon as Ruth is back in office and hopefully a good chunk will come in before the end of November. Ruth is behind on pay per her choice at the moment; it is not a crisis.

New Budget –
Peter Smith offered a set of changes to bring the draft budget out of a deficit budget.
Ad Comm asked that the travel line for the Fundraising Working Group be expanded to include the other Working Group, Rapid Action.
Lit could be higher if we are working on boycott
Final proposed budget income and expenses each $35,361. Balanced budget

Consensus on Working Group Travel line for all working groups, not just FR, Yes
Consensus on Budget at amended, Yes

XI. Evaluation

Great facility, great connections
Needed more vegetarian soup Friday night
Happy to be here
Meeting so many longtime WTRs
Missed last meeting so happy to connect with everyone again; housing was very good; like staying with local hosts Catholic Worker connection is fantastic – programming, hosting, action today and bringing it to street level is great to have at meeting; Sat night made for a long day so bowed out on evening movie; good food, local hosts great
Service with a smile from everyone; testimonials excellent; nice to be able to spend longer together. Helps me to understand there are good people in the world trying to make things better
Appreciated both evening programs – power and moving
Wasn’t really looking forward to coming to Kansas, ended up so impressed with everyone here; beautiful area, everything’s been great
Helen Yeoman’s workshop was excellent – her level of expertise was great and her willingness to assist folks was wonderful; learned many things from her and how to do own taxes
Inspired – and meeting new people; could have used more frivolity – evening programs were a bit heavy
Enjoyed fruit salad; disappointed in expectation for poetry and he was left out; avoid the patriotic narrative of our motivations – reject nationalism and Zionism; enjoyed bill’s workshop – sense of depth and history of resistance on taxes; movie didn’t stress enough resisting war and effect on environment – we could do more with that; we don’t attack the hoax and fraud of 9-11
Enjoyed being part of this. Charles is a great organizer and inspiring. He’s kept us on schedule with agenda and keep track of everything
Everything wonderful and knowing of the support network of WTRs; practicing individually can be lonely, but the strength of the community around the issue is strengthening Thanks for hard work and dedication; appreciate connections; look forward to 6 months and see what’s next
Nice to be reacquainted with all; good food; good program; a little more with singing
Sorry that the poets did not come; nice to do more networking but could not; appreciate all and comments

*we ended on time and headed off to the demonstration at the nuclear parts plant* See demonstration photos at


Click here for Susan Miller’s article (with more links and photos).
Click here
for more photos.
Click here for National Catholic Reporter article and photos by Robyn Haas.