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.

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 […]