On Facelifts and Strategizing

I started to write about something else until I ran into the new website for the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF). It looks great! Maybe this facelift will give new life to the decades old legislative campaign to allow conscientious objectors to war redirect their federal income taxes to a special fund for non-military purposes alone. NCPTF is a NWTRCC affiliate, and many people in our network actively lobby for the bill. It’s remarkable how often new people suggest to the NWTRCC office the idea of a legislative campaign and are surprised to hear that such a campaign already exists. More widely, a flurry of articles on this topic appeared when the Supreme Court made the health […]

Celebrating “Civil Disobedience”

sepia-toned picture of the backs of early 20th-century soldiers with text superimposed: "I have heard some of my towns­men say, “I should like to have them or­der me out to help put down an in­sur­rec­tion of the slaves, or to march to Mex­ico, — see if I would go;” and yet these very men have each, di­rectly by their al­le­giance, and so in­di­rectly, at least, by their money, fur­nished a sub­sti­tute. Henry David Thoreau, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" (1849), nwtrcc.org/Thoreau200years

Henry David Thoreau was born 200 years ago on July 12, 1817. His essay, “Civil Disobedience” (1849), has influenced thousands of protesters, war tax resisters, and direct action practitioners over the years. Part of the essay recounts his night in jail as a war tax resister, while other sections call on people to act in their own ways against state violence. Today we celebrate the spirit of “Civil Disobedience,” also sometimes called “Resistance to Civil Government,” or “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.” In the following passages, Thoreau calls us to disobey a state that commands us to kill, enslave, and subjugate – or to pay for others to do the same.   “How does it be­come a man to be­have […]

Resisting alone, then discovering community

image of Morpheus from the movie The Matrix with text overlaid: "What if I told you Trump can't use your money for bombs if you don't pay taxes?"

More people are starting to consider tax resistance against the Trump administration. And many don’t know at first that others are already refusing to pay war taxes! Today, we look back at an 2007 interview with other new resisters. This article was originally published in NWTRCC’s June/July 2007 newsletter.   By Ed Hedemann A 21-year-old dance major and animal rights activist from Flagstaff, Arizona, and a 46-year-old bingo hall operator from Bismarck, North Dakota, might not seem to have much in common. But recently [in 2007] both of them began to refuse their Federal taxes as a protest to the war without knowing that anyone else in the country was doing the same. Most people who become war tax resisters […]

More on IRS collection tactics

In a previous blog post, we reported the experience of one war tax resister that the IRS typically sends two letters before sending the Notice of Intent to Levy (see picture to the left for an example).  This year, however, a few resisters have reported getting only one letter before the Notice of Intent. One resister usually gets three letters before the Notice of Intent, and this year only got one. By sending fewer letters before the Notice of Intent, the IRS gives itself the opportunity to seize money from your bank accounts or wages sooner. But often, nothing happens regardless. If you have gotten fewer (or the same, or more) letters about your 2016 tax bill so far this […]

Tangled Up In Banking

I’ve probably said this before, but it is rather funny how often discussions about war tax resistance lead to questions about banking. If you have a tax debt, having assets is, of course, problematic, and holding that money in an account with your social security number makes it vulnerable to seizure. A no-interest account offers some protection, because U.S. banks report annual interest of $10 or more to the IRS — a direct link back to your bank account(s). If the thought of not earning interest pains you, check out Juanita Nelson’s essay “On Interest” — written a few decades ago but still important food-for-thought. One of the positive side-effects of war tax resistance is that it can lead you […]

After Tax Day, the discussion continues

yard sign with Put People First printed on it; a hen in the grass behind the sign

This hasn’t been a typical year for war tax resistance by any stretch of the imagination, and that includes the atmosphere after Tax Day! Even after Tax Day this year, people are fired up about resistance, funding work for justice and peace, and building a better world. For example, Michael McCarthy wrote this week about the folly of making and selling weapons to ensure national security: This Pentecost season when we call on the Holy Spirit to renew our faith, let us resolve to take steps to stop giving Caesar our first fruits of federal income tax with which to make war, and convert these monies to God’s peacemaking purposes. For the practical measures, risks, responsibilities and spiritual benefits please […]

Thoreau’s work is still relevant

Thoreau

By David Gross I am a war tax resister because Henry David Thoreau convinced me to be one. I was looking for medicine: something to help me ease my troubled conscience and to help me sleep better at night. I turned to Thoreau and instead of medicine, he gave me marching orders. This turned out to be the cure I needed after all. People sometimes remember Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” as being an argument for why people ought to have the right to disobey the law and its officials, when the reasons for doing so are good and noble. But the essay is actually more severe and challenging than that: Thoreau insists that you have the duty to disobey the law […]

A budget for war, wealth, and racism

picture of two unmanned drones sitting on the tarmac, one headlined "Afghanistan" and one headlined "US Border" (with US Customs and Border Protection printed on the side of the drone). Text at the bottom: Refuse to pay for wars at home and abroad - www.nwtrcc.org

Nothing in the Trump budget came as a surprise to me. Nevertheless, I often surprise myself with how often I can still feel outraged over the priorities of people in power. I probably don’t need to tell you what a disaster the Trump budget is for those targeted by the US government’s law enforcement and military. (If you want to learn more, a couple of sources addressing this subject are National Priorities Project and TomDispatch.) But in short, the proposed 2018 federal budget reduces non-military discretionary expenses (such as health, housing, education, and more) by $54 billion to pay for $54 billion more for military expenses. The budget summary tells us these cuts are necessary because the world is more […]

Prisoners on War Tax Resistance

By Norm Lowry Poster’s Note: Norm Lowry receives the NWTRCC newsletter at the State Correctional Institution Dallas in Pennsylvania where he is held. He shares the newsletter with other prisoners, so in correspondence I asked if he would report on reactions to our work from other readers at SCI Dallas. I will send comments to Norm to share with his peers and perhaps we can continue a discussion. “While the government seems never to run out of money for guns, bombs and planes, prisons seem never to run out of cells to put somebody in.” — Herman Bell, 43+ years in prison, most of it in solitary confinement, for being black For nearly eight years now, I’ve been purposefully investing […]

Resisting Taxes to Support Racial Justice in the Midwest

image of Dwight Schrute from the Office with overlaid text: "Taxes are used for good? False: Taxes are used for white supremacist violence"

At our gathering in St. Louis a few weeks ago, I talked with people about hosting presentations in their communities. I am currently figuring out my work plan for the next six months. I am planning on traveling to meet you and organize with you! To give you a sense of these trips, I want to write a bit about my trip to the Midwest. Following the national gathering, I did a small tour focused on resisting taxes for racial justice. I first went to Chicago. We had a lunch at the Christian Peacemaker Teams office. CPT is a spiritual group that supports frontline struggles. We had a group of CPT staff and tax resisters from Chicago. We talked about […]

Highlights: War tax resisters in St. Louis

Matthew Hoh answers questions after his talk at the St. Louis Gathering. Photo by Ruth Benn.

Last weekend, the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee met in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a great time! First of all: so many thanks to our host, Chrissy Kirchhoeffer with the Dick Gregory Catholic Worker (pictured below next to David from WeCopwatch), who did the bulk of the organizing for our conference in St. Louis herself, and did an amazing job arranging the housing, food, local connections, and meeting space! Thanks to Veterans for Peace and WILPF – St. Louis for event support and sponsorship. We were lucky to partner with Veterans for Peace to get war tax resister and VFP board member Matthew Hoh out to St. Louis to meet with us. Since Matt first announced his war […]

On being a public war tax resister

image from the left side of a white woman with long blonde hair typing at a laptop

In my 8 years with the war tax resistance community, I’ve heard a lot about the value of using our real names and sharing our stories in public. Lately, as I’ve pondered the barriers to resistance, I’ve concluded that the ideal of going public needs re-examination. (Please note: I originally drafted this essay prior to the launching of a few different public pledge efforts. This post isn’t a direct response to any of them. This writing is also informed by recent discussions about privilege and resistance.) A public resister can inspire others, spread information, publicly redistribute their taxes, and build networks of resistance. Should they end up in a collection situation or tax court case, they can gain support from […]