National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Coordinating Committee Meeting Minutes
Chicago, Ill. — May 19, 2012

Present: Charles Carney (AdComm, Kansas City), Rey Hernandez (South Bend), Joffre Stewart (Chicago), Lincoln Rice (Milwaukee), Gary Erb (Boulder), Brad Lyttle (Chicago), Clare Hanrahan (AdComm, Asheville, N.C.), Coleman Smith (Asheville), Paula Rogge (Madison), Peter Smith (South Bend, Indiana), John Klotz (Dubuque), Bill Glassmire (Corvallis, Oregon), Jerry Chernow (Madison), Naomi Paz Greenberg (New York City), Daniel Sicken (Brattleboro, Vermont), Jason Rawn (AdComm, Union, Maine), Robert Randall (Brunswick, Georgia), GlendaRae Hernandez (South Bend), Rick Bickhart (AdComm, Charlottesville), Ruth Benn (NWTRCC Coordinator, New York City), Erica Wieland (Seattle), Kima Garrison (AdComm, Portland, Oregon), Pam Allee (Portland, Oregon)

Click here for notes from strategy session

Click here for some photos from the weekend.

1. Consultant Report (written)
Questions —

Does tabling pay?
Generally we do not make back what the table costs, but we often get people signing up on our list and hopefully some will become resisters, friends, donors. With SOAW we do get a few who stay on our list. Anarchist Bookfair in NYC is always good.
How much does newsletter get around?
We have about 350 subscribers who get it in the mail. About 450 are on the e-list and get a link by email. It usually gets linked on Facebook. About 20 people get bulk copies to give out.
Are you keeping to your hours.
Yes.
How much did you get back when you requested stories about Occupy and WTR?
Not much. Joffre sent in some articles. Pam has been most active with Occupy in Portland, OR. But so far our outreach to Occupy has been scattered. Some interest but the corporate stuff gets most attention, and how to respond to "tax the rich and corporations" has been a challenge for WTRs.

2. Administrative Committee (AdComm) Nominees — (written bios)
Clare (N.C.) and Charles (Kan.) are rotating off. Kima (Ore.) and Jason (Me.) have one more year. Rick (Va.) moves up to full member. One slot was open for a full member.

AdComm recommended that we ask Carlos Steward of Asheville, N.C., to become a full member. He is an activist, artist, film maker/editor (he edited the final version of Death and Taxes), and spent a year in prison over tax issues. We look forward to working with Carlos and learning from him also. He brings great skills to the Committee.

AdComm recommended adding Elizabeth Boardman (Calif.) as an Alternate and Rob Stenger (Me.) as an Alternate. Elizabeth brings her Quaker activism to the Committee and we have not had a California member since David Gross rotated off last year. Rob is a younger activist, offering some fresh ideas to our work.

Consensus on Carlos as full, Rob and Elizabeth as Alternates.
(Since the meeting all have accepted.)

We are thankful to Bill Glassmire and Lauren Tepper for their interest. Bill is on the Fundraising Committee and we’ll find a way to keep Lauren involved. We have them on the list to be asked again – nominations come around again every May!

3. International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns, February 3–9, 2013, Casa Kolping, Bogota, Colombia. Hosted by ACOOC-Colombian Collective Action of Conscientious Objectors.

Planners would like to have our endorsement and use our logo on the invitation.

Consensus to endorsement. and endorse – yes to endorse

We put out word last year seeking individuals interested in being our representative to this meeting. David Gross expressed his interest and willingness to speak for NWTRCC at the meeting and report back to us after the conference. We cover expenses up to $1,000.

Consensus on having David Gross as our rep.

Daniel Jenkins and Naomi Paz Greenberg asked if we would expand our request to become members of Conscience and Peace Tax International by giving them an organizational ID number (like we have for the bank) that shows we have some kind of official status. The CPTI board did not reject us for membership after we put in an official request last year, but one person on the board said we were not legitimate. Naomi and Dan would like NWTRCC to help open the door for a broader range of groups to join CPTI.

We are not a 501c3 and have a number for bank accounts but it is not a federal employer ID number. We have a fiscal sponsor and use their number sometimes. Mostly we feel we show legitimacy with what we do and are not so interested in spending time on this. No decision to pursue membership in CPTI beyond our application last year.

4. Future Meetings

Asheville has offered to host this May 2013 meeting.

Consensus. New South Network of War Resisters will coordinate. We’ll be well cared for.

November 2012 is entirely open. It will be a chance for a 30th anniversary celeb ration. Suggested locations included Colorado Springs, Texas if we could find some retreat site, DC (site of our founding 30 years ago), Florida (no strong contacts), New Orleans (no strong contacts), NYC – Wall Street
COS travel in November (no problem with travel there, at least not more than anywhere else; they were willing to host a year ago or so and maybe be again. They did a great job a few years ago.)
DC – party at IRS
Alan Clemence is working on the NE Regional Gathering – at the Friends in Cambridge – October 26–28; Combining meeting is possible, although we just did that last year.
Las Vegas might be an option again with Catholic Worker there.

Consensus — Colorado Springs is first choice for November. Rick will check with the folks there. Ruth will check on DC as next option.

5. ROWG – Rapid Outreach Working Group - Report
Erica reporting. Dave Gross is coordinator and proposer of the idea for this group.
Best success was having Iran Pledge of Resistance send our web link with their emails as location for info on tax day actions
Seeking people who want to volunteer for this group
Coleman will talk to Erica about this

6. Finances (written)
Question about office expenses; the budget is nearly met with expenditures. Should we raise that budget line? Ruth responded that she sees the budget numbers as a guide, some end up under, some over. We can budget more next year, but as long as we are not way out of whack on the bottom line totals, it seems ok.
Ruth asked about whether the grant money should be in an interest bearing account, because right now it is not. We had some discussion about the pros and cons of interest. It would not earn much anyway, and many prefer no interest. We will leave the money where it is until spent.
We will have a workshop on interest at a future meeting.
Ed Agro asked if we would make a donation to Riseup, which hosts the listserve. This had not come up before and we could see in the fall about adding a permanent budget for this. We agreed on $50 in this fiscal year (through November).

7. Fundraising
Erica (the committee coordinator) reported on getting the grant (surprise) and checking out Craigslist before accepting it. We are not resting on our laurels – we are continuing to fundraise. One effort is to get new affiliates who can also pay dues.
Fundraising Committee meets by phone 1x/month – about an hour.
Members include: Erica, Rick B., Bill G., Rod Nippert, and Ruth. Volunteers welcome.

8. The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World
The Charter originated with peace activists in Australia and was launched simultaneously on 11 November 2011 at several locations around the world.
As of 31 May 2012, 530 individuals from 34 countries have signed the Nonviolence Charter pledge, and 32 organizations from 12 countries have endorsed the Nonviolence Charter. The aim of The Nonviolence Charter is to create a worldwide movement to end violence in all its forms. You can read it at http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com/, or call the office for a paper copy.
Robert – finds it too much too broad too general – not against it but not very specific solutions; no harm but leaves him cold.
Doesn’t mention nuclear abolition [it does reference this]. Doesn’t really tell people what to do. Doesn’t mention war tax resistance.
As with many things, think of this as something we can build on – not an absolute. People did put a lot of thought into it, and we should see it as a good step toward something.

Consensus - Give it our endorsement with 3 stand asides but no blocks.

9. Proposals

*** How to spend the Craiglist Grant (written)
AdComm recommended raising the pay for the Coordinator. We hope to raise this in our regular budget but might have to pull $5,000 of the 10,000 to cover the Coordinator’s raise.
AdComm recommended putting $10,000 into reserves. $5,000 is to cover the raise if we don’t raise it.
AdComm recommended that we hire that media person with advice to create a job description from David Gross and Carlos and anyone else, Kwan who spoke last year in Berkeley.

* Do we agree on this raise for Coordinator?
Consensus on this raise

Question? Where did the 15% figure come from for the reserves? Decided at previous CC meetings. It’s in our Handbook.

Hire a Social media networking/Media consultant – investigate this – put together a job description and figure it out
Joffre worries about hiring someone to do this kind of thing – it does not always work; you don’t always get what you want
RB – thinks there are some pretty specific tasks here that are measureable; have found it hard to do the best outreach and media work; think this is a job for AdComm and not a new committee.
Robert thinks this is not as specific or we are not ready for this. We have a list of objectives and why aren’t we putting this money toward our objectives?
We are not going to get a whiz if we are paying $17 an hour.
Ruth –we are not talking about hiring someone to invent new things. We have outreach objectives that this person could help with.

General sense that there is a need for this kind of position –
Yes
Do we need to wait for another CC meeting?
No
Empower Ad Comm to at least investigate hiring a freelance media outreach person, defining projects, job description, hiring if there is a person and need –

Robert – feels this is a shift to hire someone to do ongoing work – can’t just look at the grant – what happens down the road when we rely on this person to do this stuff for us?
Fundraising response – Dave Gross – posts thing on FB; we have minimal upkeep; Peter does web maintenance; need to regularly update, connect through social media; cross-pollination needed in a more focused way. Social media connections – we don’t have the time or skills to do.
Erica – empower AdComm to hire someone for limited like 2 months and see if it looks promising. Create a complete proposal for the November meeting.
Peter says he does not have the skills to do some of these things. He understands what Robert is saying in terms of doing something we have never done before..
Proposal does need more specifics as to what this person would do. Have them do something that can be measured, like hits to ad/FB page and such. Once we learn how to do it maybe we would not need to keep this person.
How would we continue to pay this person and make it sustainable? Could money be raised from the type of work this person is doing.
Needing a way to measure what this person does.
Let AdComm run with this.
Daniel – we would be able to see what this person is doing for a certain dollar amount because it would be on the internet.
When people give grant money they want to see you use it not have it in perpetuity. Fully supportive of paying people to do what they have acquired skills to do..

Proposal – Investigating hiring someone savvy in social media. Hire for a limited period of time. 10 hrs per week for 2 months @ $17 per hour.

Consensus – YES

Proposal $10,000 put into reserve.
Consensus – YES

*** Proposal – Comic Book (written)

Like the idea – come back with more detail, especially a budget. Combine ideas of comic book and oral history thoughts that came up in another discussion this weekend.

*** Proposal – Trading cards (written)
AdComm – liked them but marketing is our problem; would they be traded – probably not; Put them on the internet – on FB; how about use the style on seed packets, gum, or something that would get new people to see them.
Good product but don’t know how to market it
Trading cards are used by small children - who do we want to appeal to?
These types of things always focus on the outrageous people or the people who have had big stories but is that what we want to promote? Or use to advertise?
Find an alternative business that we could have them stick on their packages – keep looking into this. There are things out there that this could work with.
Could also make a good board game if it were interesting. Love the graphics and the image. Lot so ways they could be used – people with ideas be in touch with Ed.
They are beautiful

No consensus to go forward. Back to creator with ideas etc. Please come back. People in the room would buy some. Put a price on them.

*** Proposal – mugs, totes, bookmarks (written)

AC did not recommend. Didn’t want to create more stuff.
Affiliates might want to pick up some of these ideas, but not have NWTRCC do.

No consensus to go forward on this.

*** Proposal – 30th Anniversary Party (written)
To do something big would have to be in NYC
Congrat ads in our fall newsletter is do-able and a fundraiser
At least our national affiliates should do this – take an ad
Fall meeting - Lodging where we are all together if possible. Put in some money for lodging if we can all be in one space.
Document our party with video or something.
Go to the belly of the beast to celebrate our 30th - IRS headquarters in DC or Wall Street in NYC. What about a major direct action for this.
Not that many more people were at our 25th anniversary so do we really expect that it will be something big? We should not get our hopes up too high.
Look to communicate with Spanish speaking people in the U.S. more
What can we really expect? Not plan too big. Staying together is great, like at Nehemiah Center in Cleveland. Ads in MTAP – good for fundraiser.
Let them eat cake party with pie chart on top of cake; go to wall street and invite 1% to have cake with us; do in DC at congress; things we can do that would have a celebration

Consensus – on party at our November gathering and on doing a special issue of MTAP with celebratory ads (October/November issue). YES!

WTR Penalty Fund - Ruth is going to meet with Julie next week to talk about the next appeal and see what’s going on. Will remind her that GlendaRae offered to be on the board.

Evaluations

The End.

Thanks everyone! Thanks Brad and Mike and Katey for all your help, and to Lisa all the folks at the Sophia Community for their hospitality!

Hope to see many of you in November!


Click here for some photos from the weekend.

Click here for notes from strategy session

Original materials for the Chicago gathering