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 […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 2

Read Part 1 of Conscience and History: Beit Sahour Conscience, the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC) from 1980 to 1995, covered the Palestinian tax resistance multiple times. Part 1 addressed 1988-1989’s coverage. The next mention of Beit Sahour, a center of such resistance, occurred in “West Bank Town Under Siege for Tax Protest,” in Conscience‘s Winter 1990 issue (#36), by Les Welsh: “This summer, the village of Beit Sahour, a working class, mostly Christian town of 15,000, decided unanimously to withhold taxes from the regime occupying their homeland. For many of Beit Sahour’s 320 businesses, this was their first participation in the Uprising. “The Israeli government responded on September 22nd [1989] by declaring Beit Sahour a […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 1

a stone arch over a paved lane in Beit Sahour, with a stone building in the background

Welcome to the 2nd in the Conscience and History series! In each of these posts I’ll explore a little bit of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC)’s newsletter, Conscience, which was published from 1980 to 1994. The newsletter was continued as Nonviolent Action (1995-2007) by the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia (NACC), which ran the CMTC Escrow Account until it moved to St. Louis. (For more on the CMTC Escrow Account, which is now in the process of closing down and transferring its funds to other alternative funds, see this archived page.) When WTRs discuss historic international examples of war tax resistance or tax resistance in general, Beit Sahour (pronounced roughly “Bait Sah-HOR,” or listen to a pronunciation) is […]

Is the IRS Getting More Active?

a hand sliding a US passport into a pocket of a black bag

At NWTRCC gatherings, we always have cards on a back table so attendees can write notes of support to those who are facing garnishment or some other type of IRS action. At our last NWTRCC meeting in May, we mainly signed cards for those regular attendees that could not come due to ill health or difficulties traveling. Regarding IRS action, we only knew of folks having their social security payments garnished—mostly at 15%. The last couple years, when I’ve spoken to groups about war tax resistance, I’ve mentioned the relatively low risk of collection, although every case is different. Until earlier this year, I had been a wage employee since 2004 without a single garnishment. (I always remind groups that […]

Laugh, Cry, Carry On! Mining NWTRCC’s Archives

As Erica mentioned in her post last week, I’ve been clearing out old war tax resistance files and sorting those that will go to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.  Along with many other peace groups — War Resisters League, National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom — NWTRCC sends our newsletters, audio-visual materials, literature, and other organizing papers to the archive. The Peace Collection also saves our website periodically, so that online information will be available to researchers. Going through the files is quite a project, and you have to be very disciplined to press along and not read every note, every flyer, and every letter sent to the IRS or elected officials […]

Conscience and History: NWTRCC News in 1986

Recently, former NWTRCC coordinator Ruth Benn, as part of her ongoing effort to finally clear the NWTRCC archives out of her house, sent me a stack of old issues of Conscience. This was the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC), which promoted what was then called the World Peace Tax Fund and ran an escrow account for resisted war taxes. (More news to come about the closing of CMTC this year – its funds are being transferred to two other alternative funds.) Conscience began in 1980, before NWTRCC was founded in 1982, and lasted in one form or another through 2007. I have most of the issues between #22 and #52 in my possession, spanning 1986 through 2001. […]

Celebrating a Triumph over the IRS, with Redirection

Chanticleer

For the first time this year one of my outstanding tax debts hit the ten-year statute of limitations for collection. During those ten years, the IRS sent me increasingly exasperated letters, threatened me with thousands of dollars of interest & penalties, and even seized $469 from my bank account once. But this year the remaining $3,226 I owed slipped permanently out of their reach, and the interest & penalties evaporated too. I called their bluff, waited them out, and won (well, except for that $469). (Note: this statute of limitations does not apply to people who refuse to file returns, or if the IRS can show that you did not file honestly, correctly, and completely. It only applies if you file […]

Resisting Nukes: Then, Now and How Much Longer?

I am among the many war tax resisters who got into this form of resistance after becoming aware of the horror of nuclear weapons, the damage done by every step of the process to build them, and the incredible waste of trillions of dollars over seven decades. Surely the world would look very different if there was such a dedication to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and develop alternative energies (the non-nuclear ones). Thus with August 6-9 — Hiroshima and Nagasaki days — approaching I wanted to post a reminder to get out to a vigil or action during that time. Humans created weapons of mass destruction and we are responsible for getting rid of them. NWTRCC  has a […]