Zero Interest in Paying the Killing Machine’s Bills

I learned everything I need to know about the United States when I saw that picture of the young Vietnamese girl Kim Phuc running down the road with napalm burning through her skin to her bones.  I finally in 1980 began questioning whether I wanted to spend my life paying for the death of other human beings and the destruction of the biosphere.  At that time there were actual human beings involved with the IRS and a guy came up from our local small city, Wenatchee, Washington, to tell me that ‘taxes were a form of love.’  I pictured a ball of fusion-fire incinerating a Soviet city–the Russians were the enemy of choice in that particular decade. His statement was a nice […]

War Tax Resistance Trailblazer

Today, January 26, in Philadelphia the Quaker Action Team honors five elders, including our friend and associate Robin Harper. NWTRCC sent this tribute in his honor: Speaking truth to power has been the undercurrent of Robin Harper’s years as a war tax resister. Since Robin began his resistance in 1958, he has had many opportunities to present his deeply held convictions to IRS agents, federal court judges, tax court judges, along with friends, co-resisters, and family members. Of one four-hour meeting with IRS agents Robin said, “We established complete agreement on the figures and complete disagreement that I should pay the IRS.” We wrote that in December 2004 after a meeting at Swarthmore College at which Robin and Wallace Collett […]

Martin Luther King, Jr. on War and Civil Disobedience

Today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy as a passionate orator and organizer in the civil rights movement. He was also outspoken about the connections between racial, social, and economic justice and the United States government’s militarism. MLK was inspired by the war tax resistance of Henry David Thoreau and stated that, “As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.” He stated furthermore: When I went to Morehouse as a freshman in 1944, my concern for racial and economic justice was already substantial. During my student days I read Henry David Thoreau’s essay “On Civil Disobedience” for the first time. Here, in this courageous New Englander’s refusal to […]

Raising Taxes to Pay for War?

Over at liberal blogging haven Daily Kos, Jon Parr has suggested the old chestnut that if all those Congresspeople want war (this time, with Iran), maybe they should propose a tax increase to pay for it. Maybe then, the argument goes, both Congresspeople and Americans can see the great cost of war. As we saw in the recent budget decision, there is always money for war, whether or not it fits into the budget. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have proposed substantial changes to the bloated war machine, and the initially suggested $20 billion cut to the Pentagon was rescinded in the final analysis. National Priorities Project even reports that the war appropriation ($85 billion) was higher than the Pentagon requested […]

Ways to Deal with the IRS

While it would be great if we could have conversations with the DoD or Pentagon directly, for many war tax resisters our primary government contact is with the IRS. Beginning with the choice of whether or not to file an income tax return for Tax Day, our choice of resistance tactics can affect the type of attention we get from the IRS. Living on a low income may greatly reduce the possibility of IRS contact, for example. For those who do resist filing and/or payment of taxes, however, some resisters don’t hear at all from the IRS for years and years, while others are frequently contacted and collected on (and most find themselves somewhere inbetween these extremes) Those of us […]

99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns

“The heart of any tax resistance campaign is the resisters themselves. A successful campaign does what it can to encourage, support, and sustain these resisters and to facilitate their resistance.” -David Gross, 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns NWTRCC network member David Gross has been working for several months on a book about tactics of tax resistance campaigns, and that book is finally published (free sample chapter available). Jason Rawn has done a couple of workshops based on material from David’s book, including most recently at the November NWTRCC conference in NYC. 99 Tactics details numerous examples of historical and modern tax resistance, with many examples from war tax resistance campaigns, and includes worksheets and other practical process materials […]

Conscientious objectors needed now more than ever

by Ken Butigan originally published December 19, 2013 in Waging Nonviolence republished under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license In our present age of permanent war, it is almost impossible to recall a time when armed conflicts clearly began and ended. In that ancient, bygone era — say, before 2003 — one could judiciously ruminate on an impending war before it got rolling and make a choice about it. Most people, even then, didn’t see it that way — for them there was no choice. If the government said, “War — jump to it,” invariably most of us said, “How high?” whether that meant picking up a gun, plunking down our taxes, or throwing our full spiritual and political weight […]

“This is a fundraising [blog post], and it’s about money.”

“Most fundraising letters get around to revealing that they’re about money by the end, but as you read them you can sense a certain uneasiness, as if the writer weren’t comfortable saying, “we’re asking you to contribute some money.” This one will be different, because I’m entirely comfortable in saying that. (So, for the record: I’m asking you to contribute some money to the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee/NWTRCC: as much as you can.) “And my reason for being comfortable, even zealous, in saying this is that war tax resistance comes into being because war tax resisters know how important it is to talk forthrightly about money: about the things that money buys that we reject, e.g., war; about […]

Watch Out for Tax “Help” Scams

There are lots of ’em. Many fly-by-night companies comb the public records for tax liens and then by mail or telephone offer to “help with your debt.” Some do their best to masquerade as the IRS, with official looking mailings or official sounding names. A call came recently to a war tax resister in New York from a man who said he was an agent from the “Investigation Bureau of the IRS.” The call sounded suspicious from the start (like from an overseas call center; the man began every sentence with an emphatic “Sir”), and the resister asked what state the man was calling from. When he answered “San Francisco” (the 51st state?), the resister asked what football team plays […]

“Sick of Paying for Your Wars”

How very strange that we—myself, partner Ed, and friends and fellow resisters Liz and Kevin— first saw this graffiti as we were driving home from a memorial for Sallie Marx. It would have been an eerie coincidence, except that it was also great to happen onto this expression of frustration and defiance from someone unknown to us in the city. Sallie was a fixture in New York City war tax resistance for more than four decades and a co-founder of the NYC People’s Life Fund (NYC PLF) in 1971. One person at the memorial said that when asked “what do you do?” Sallie’s standard response was “I’m a war tax resister!” And Sallie would have been thrilled by this graffiti […]

Practical Reminders for War Tax Resistance at the End of the Tax Year

It’s time to take stock of your current war tax resistance strategy and prepare for any changes you want to make in the New Year. Are you new to the concept of war tax resistance, and not sure how to get started? Read this list of small ways to start WTR, and see which one(s) you can adopt! You can also contact a war tax resistance counselor in your area to talk through your choices. Are you a Don’t Owe Nothin’ style war tax resister, who takes legal tax deductions to get your income below a taxable level? Then don’t forget to take advantage of opportunities to contribute to education, health savings, or retirement funds, or to make charitable contributions. […]

Choosing solidarity over comfort

NWTRCC’s December/January newsletter has a lot of great content, including this autobiographical profile from Ruby Phillips: “Time passes quickly, and it’s now been 30 years that I’ve refused to pay for U.S. military wars. I began to resist after a local war tax resistance volunteer attended a meeting at my workplace and introduced us to the practice and underlying philosophy of war tax resistance (WTR). Prior to his presentation, I had never heard of it; since then, I have been empowered by this way of life and cannot imagine returning to the excess obedience and internal denial of paying for war.” Read the rest of Ruby’s profile and a lot more here.