Grateful

Thanksgiving is a complex holiday, in its celebration of the pilgrims who spurred colonization of the already-occupied North American continent, and in its urging for us all to take stock of what we are glad to have in our lives. Here’s what some war tax resisters have expressed gratitude for over the years: “I am grateful to the many, many brave war tax resisters, especially Wally and Juanita Nelson, who went before me and showed me the way and gave me courage. I am very grateful to those who have been harassed far more than I have and have been strong and brave and clear over many years. I believe WTR is an important, quiet, powerful witness. And I am […]

Energized in NYC

November 1-3 was National War Tax Resistance’s semiannual gathering, held this time in Manhattan, New York. We were hosted by Maryhouse Catholic Worker and Sixth Street Community Center, as well as for our Saturday dinner in Brooklyn by Ruth Benn, NWTRCC coordinator, and Ed Hedemann. As usual, it was energizing and cheering to be with everyone, meeting old friends again and getting to know some of the local war tax resisters from New York who I haven’t met on other occasions. Friday morning I sat in on NWTRCC’s Administrative Committee meeting and discussed some things relating to my work as social media consultant. After lunch at a local deli, I broke off from the Ad Comm meeting to head over […]

Devar Tikkun, A Talk on Social Justice

Post by Lawrence Rosenwald, Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of English, Co-Director, Program in Peace & Justice Studies, Wellesley College I gave this talk Friday night, October 18th, in the context of a joyous shabbat service shared between the Moishe Kavod House and my congregation Havurat Shalom. It’s the tradition of MKH to have what they call a “devar tikkun,” a talk about social justice, and I was invited to give the devar tikkun on this occasion, which fact will explain some of the traits of the talk, in particular its attempt to set war tax resistance in a Jewish context. Anyway, here’s what I said, pretty much: The mode of tikkun olam work that I’ll talk about, the mode of political activism I’ve […]

Resisting Authority: Tony Serra

Our October 16 Twitter post shared some information about J. Tony Serra, a criminal defense lawyer who is also a war tax resister. Serra has successfully defended several unpopular people in his career, including Huey Newton of the Black Panther Party, and Chol Soo Lee, involved in a San Francisco Chinatown murder. This latter case was the basis for the 1989 film True Believer, in which James Woods played a lawyer based on Serra. Serra has been convicted for his war tax resistance three times, and spent four months in prison after a 1974 conviction for “failure to file” his tax return, as well as nine months in prison in 2005-2006 for a misdemeanor of “failure to pay” $44,000 in taxes. In […]

WTRs and Chickens in Vermont

The chickens were busy scratching and pecking for bits to eat, while war tax resisters were busy putting people over weapons at the 28th Annual New England Regional Gathering of War Tax Resisters and Supporters at the Amazing Planet! Farm & Justice Center in Vermont, September 27-29. The location was amazingly beautiful, with the leaves just turning and the clear sky and bright stars at night. It’s also totally amazing that a loose connection of war tax resisters in New England has managed to pull off a gathering every year since 1985, if I am counting that right. At the end of each gathering they ask for volunteers to work on the next year’s get-together, and somehow, over all these […]

Kissinger and Your Bank Account

I had a blog piece in mind after seeing Secretary of State John Kerry — once an antiwar hero — cozily meeting with that war criminal Henry Kissinger for advice about Russia and Syria. To add insult to injury the meeting fell on September 11, exactly 40 years from the day that Kissinger’s maneuvering led to the overthrow of a democratically elected head of state in Chile. Looking at Kissinger I see the blood of thousands dripping from his hands. But you don’t really need to read about him on this blog. Amy Goodman has a good piece, “Kerry, Kissinger and the Other Sept. 11,” and the Willamette Reds blog makes a quick observation also. If you want to read […]

Resisting the Costs of War in Syria

As of this writing, President Obama has agreed to delay a vote on Syrian military intervention while the proposed diplomatic solutions are worked through. Nevertheless, war is still on the table and we want it taken off, permanently. US officials are claiming that a war will be limited in time, scope, and expense. An appropriations aide told the Huffington Post that the Syrian operations would be paid from the DOD’s overseas contingency operations fund, which has been allocated $79.4 billion for fiscal year 2014. July 2013 estimates from General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put the cost of any military intervention in the billions, with potential monthly costs for an extended conflict as much as […]

What Kind of War Tax Resister Are You?

War tax resister and blogger David Gross has classified four different varieties of war tax resisters. The national war tax resistance network contains all these different types, as well as folks who are amalgams of two or more types. David uses this framework to study the different tactics that war tax resistance campaigns use and how those tactics mesh with their motivations. You might be a: conscientious objection war tax resister, if you are motivated by not wanting to personally be complicit in the spending for war. civil disobedience war tax resister, if you want to make a public statement about military spending by breaking the law. nonviolent conflict war tax resister, if you want to reduce the government’s resources […]

You’ve Got Mail

A few days ago I got a pile of envelopes in the mail from the IRS. Ten to be exact. All in one mail delivery. Each bill was dated September 2 (well ahead of that date), each for one tax year from 2003 to 2012. I file and refuse to pay, and the IRS usually accepts my self-assessment per my 1040 form, so there’s a 10-year statute of limitations on collection. The IRS has 10 years to collect from the date of assessment, so if you file by April 15 the assessment might fall within a few weeks after that. It’s possible the IRS could ask for more time, but generally they keep to the 10 years. Getting all those […]

Tiny Ways to Start WTR

clockwise from upper left: "War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund" with rifles to roses image, Small ways to start supporting war tax resistance! http://bit.ly/easyWTR; image of W-4 form; image of people sitting in a semi-circle; man at computer; Kathy Kelly

War tax resistance (WTR) is an empowering and rewarding form of civil disobedience. However, some people find that the first step of “becoming” a war tax resister is intimidating. The government tells us that they have our best interests at heart and that the IRS is an enormous, omniscient, omnipotent entity that has the power to ruin our entire lives. Neither of these things is necessarily true. If you’re ready to take another step in your war tax resistance journey and want to start small, here are some things you can do: 1) Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper or comment on a major political blog or article, questioning military spending priorities and expressing support for people […]

A Little Good News: War Protest is Not Frivolous

For years many of us in the war tax resistance network have been arguing with the IRS that no one should be charged with a frivolous penalty when they send a letter of protest against war spending with their accurate 1040 form, whether or not they are refusing some or all of the tax due. Of the egregious cases, Steve Leeds’ story is right up there. He did not even owe taxes when he received a frivolous penalty warning letter after he filed for 2009 and included a letter of protest about taxes being used for war. He fought this threat and actually got an apology from the IRS. Another couple resisted for the first time by refusing to pay […]

First Post

This will be the first post of the War Tax Talk blog, which is related to the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC). This blog is a place to write about: Questions that come into the NWTRCC office by phone (1-800-269-7464) and by email or that we hear about from others in our network. We may not always name names, but the stories or examples will be real and may be useful to others in similar situations. Ideas about organizing around war tax resistance, war tax refusal, or whatever term you like. (See * in a paragraph below.) What activists are doing to connect war tax resistance to individuals and groups working on other peace and justice issues. Most […]