“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.

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 […]