No to NATO 2019

At our November 2018 meeting in Cleveland, NWTRCC endorsed the No to NATO, No to Racism call from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), including a major mobilization to protest NATO’s meeting in Washington, D.C. on March 30, 2019, and other actions on April 4. NWTRCC chose to meet in Chicago during the weekend of the major protests against the NATO meeting there in May 2012. We participated in the major protest march and leafletted heavily during the preceding rally. Our stand against militarism includes all spending for NATO and similar militarist alliances, whether ostensibly “defensive” or “offensive” in nature. UNAC’s mobilization call says, in part, “It was exactly one year before he was murdered [on April 4, 1968] that […]

Conscience and History: Frivolous Filing

image of black mailbox with 10 IRS envelopes sticking out the top

At my very first NWTRCC meeting in 2008 in Eugene, we met a local couple who had resisted $50 of their taxes as their first foray into war tax resistance. Along with their return, and a check for the total tax amount minus $50, they enclosed a letter explaining their reasons for resisting. Unfortunately, the couple received an alarming-looking letter from the IRS, accusing them of making a “frivolous” argument about why they weren’t paying their taxes. The letter threatened them with a $5,000 frivolous filing penalty if they did not re-file their taxes. Even though the couple complied, and paid the $50 they had resisted, the IRS fined them $5,000 each. Eventually, by contacting the Taxpayer Advocate and their […]

Old Propaganda War Tax Films

One of the highlights of the November 2018 NWTRCC conference in Cleveland was the preview showing of The Pacifist. As mentioned by Erica in a previous post, the film follows Larry Bassett’s refusal to pay over $100,000 in taxes. The film is still making the rounds of the film festival circuit, so is not yet available to the general public. However, an audio version of the film is FREE online through Spotify and Apple Music audio streaming services (sign-up required). You can also watch a scene from the film on Facebook. Throughout the film, there were several archival film clips promoting the payment of federal taxes to support war and, by default, democracy (according to the film clips). During the […]

Colrain after 25 Years: Learning from an action

A summary of a great weekend at the New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters Woolman Hill, Deerfield, Massachusetts, November 16-18, 2018 Between 1989 and 1993, hundreds of people flocked to Colrain, Mass., to voice their opposition to war and military spending by supporting the war tax resistance (WTR) of Betsy Corner and Randy Kehler when the IRS seized their home. You can read about them and a synopsis of the house seizure here – and through many other web links. About 50 people turned up during the reunion weekend to share personal impacts, reflections, analysis, and lessons of the Colrain action. There were also presentations and perspectives on the military budget and the current state of the WTR and the […]

The (Art and) Science of Peace

I’ll be writing a more in-depth reflection on our Cleveland meeting for the next newsletter, but suffice it to say, it was a terrific weekend! The primary organizer of the weekend was the amazing Maria Smith, whose care and thoughtfulness and deep roots in Cleveland were evident in each activity. We met a variety of people who are intertwined with her activist communities and her work. Thank you, Maria! Friday night’s Cleveland Airshow protest presentation, led by Mike Fiala and with contributions from several other participants, gave us a sense of what resistance to military glorification looks like in Cleveland. I recorded this presentation and will be editing it for YouTube in the coming weeks, so look for that announcement! […]

Join Us Online in Cleveland

We’re looking forward to seeing many members of the NWTRCC network and broader community for our gathering in Cleveland this weekend, November 2-4. You can join us for one live online broadcast from the conference each day by signing up for Virtual Meeting Access. On Friday night, we’ll have a panel discussion from Catholic Workers in Cleveland about resistance to the Cleveland Air Show. On Saturday there will be a session TBD, and on Sunday we’ll have the regular NWTRCC business meeting from 9 AM to noon. All panel times are in Eastern time. Check out the Virtual Meeting page for more details and the registration link.

Milwaukee 14 – 50 Years Later

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Milwaukee 14, in which fourteen men (during the planning stage there were also two women in the group, but that’s another story) raided a federal office in downtown Milwaukee, removed around 10,000 draft files, and burned them with home-made napalm. Though the fourteen faced decades in prison, each served about one year. Though largely forgotten today, the action made national headlines in 1968 & Howard Zinn served as an expert witness at the trial for the defense. An event was held in Milwaukee this past September to commemorate the event. Joined by friends & family, most of the fourteen that are still living made the trip to Milwaukee. The event was a […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I find myself torn once again between getting myself out the door to be at a demonstration versus doing all the personal and behind-the-scenes political projects that are piled up around me. This weekend is the Women’s March on the Pentagon, a protest initiated by Cindy Sheehan and inspired by the 51st anniversary of the 1967 march on the Pentagon — a spirited event with a turnout of 50,000 on October 21, 1967. Such a turnout is exceedingly unlikely this weekend, despite the couple hundred individual and group endorsers listed on the website, including our own National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Within our war tax resistance network, initial interest in having a group presence there has dwindled to whether […]

Public vs. Quiet Resistance

Making your war tax resistance public brings attention to the harm caused by militarism and military spending, can help galvanize others to action against war, and encourages civil disobedience. However, many resisters, for whatever reason, choose not to be outspoken and public about their refusal to pay war taxes. A few months ago, the war tax resistance e-mail discussion list took up this topic of public resistance when discussing how to deal with NWTRCC archival materials, including correspondence. Several resisters expressed concern about a trend of people wanting to remain private about their resistance, associating relative quietness with an lack of willingness to take responsibility for their actions. Indeed, a hallmark of “civil disobedience” as a concept is choosing to […]

Conscience and History: The WTR Movement Is A Myth

cover of Conscience newsletter with issue title Recycling War Taxes and illustrations showing different way to redirect war taxes

Welcome to another post in the Conscience and History series, highlighting some of the writing in the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC), published from 1980 to 1995. So many of the discussions within the war tax resistance community are decades-long. When I first came to NWTRCC in 2008/2009, I got up to speed on the debate over the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Bill advanced by the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund… but it wasn’t until I read some 1980s issues of Conscience that I fully realized that we’ve been having the very same debate for decades. Another long-time debate within our community is whether war tax resistance is a movement. The following piece was […]

Niger Needs Food, Not Drones

Ed and I had an amazing trip twelve years ago to the Sahara Desert in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world. For those of you who know us, the reason we’ve traveled to some more unusual places is the chance to see a total eclipse of the sun — and it’s true, one is not enough! The August 2017 eclipse created new “eclipse chasers” since it crossed the U.S. and was visible to millions of people with tons of media coverage before, during, and after. So, you may wonder what this has to do with war tax resistance… The UN consistently ranks Niger near or at the bottom of human development based on life expectancy, education, and […]

Tariffs for War?

image of a container ship loaded up at sea

I feel fairly good about my twenty years of war tax resistance. At times you might even say I feel smug. With the purpose of promoting a more peaceful world, I have redirected those funds to various people, groups, and movements. But I have not been able to avoid financial support for war entirely. I have paid the federal excise tax on gasoline, airline tickets, alcohol, though I try to keep these purchases to a minimum. Starting on September 24, 2018, the US government will impose tariffs on numerous Chinese goods. As a recent Yahoo! article notes, “by Election Day in November, Trump will have placed new tariffs on $250 billion worth of stuff Americans buy every day.” Though the […]