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

Mathew Hoh

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 […]

Tax Day Resistance, Redirection, and Planning Ahead

Tax day is behind us now — but tax season 2018 will be here before we know it! Northern California War Tax Resistance used their time and energy in the Tax March San Francisco to inform participants (who were mostly calling for Trump to release his taxes) about W-4 resistance and to get them thinking about resisting next year. They created this flyer (with matching banner) to hand out during the march: Not only were they referring people to the website for more information, but the group has arranged for a War Tax Resistance 101 live webinar and in-person gathering on Sunday, April 23, to follow up on the march. Follow that link for details and to register; be sure […]

Tax Day marches, strikes, and resistance

The next five days will be filled with marches, rallies, and strikes against military spending and Trump’s secrecy around his tax returns. April 15 is the Tax March in Washington, DC and around the country, while April 18 is Tax Day. Equally important, many events will mourn lives lost in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and other war zones, and call for truly humanitarian aid and an end to armed conflict. War tax resisters are a key part of these effort. (Read NWTRCC’s Tax Day press release for more.) Here are just a few of the great events war tax resisters will be at over the next few days. If you don’t see your town listed, see Tax Day Actions for a […]

Organizing Region to Region: My Travels in Upstate New York

Well, I am back in Philadelphia after a week in upstate New York. Whew! It was a lot of hours on the train and on the road! It was nice, though, to look out the window and see hills, rivers, and lakes. I love Philadelphia, but living in the city I forget the natural beauty of rural areas. When I travel it feels like I cross a threshold and am going into a different world altogether. Over the course of the week, I led three presentations on war tax resistance and racial justice. There was one in Ithaca, Syracuse, and Rochester, NY. I also got to see some friends and family, which was an added bonus. The idea for this trip started at […]

Personal connections and growing war tax resistance

clockwise from left: photo of Peg Morton speaking, Susan Quinlan and Nancy Foster during the pillars of militarism workshop, and the assembled group watches clips of what became the film Death and Taxes

Last week, I was explaining war tax resistance to someone new. They asked how I got started. I talked about attending the November 2008 NWTRCC conference in Eugene. Meeting the knowledgeable and caring NWTRCC community, and having inquisitive and inspiring conversations with a variety of people, was my tipping point to start resistance. Likewise, this new person was inspired by our personal connection. They enthusiastically e-mailed me almost immediately after our discussion. I don’t know what will come of this new contact – much enthusiasm doesn’t translate immediately into resistance, for many different reasons. But I bet the “conversion rate” is higher for folks who know another resister personally. Because NWTRCC’s media visibility is higher than ever, I wonder how […]

Yes, it’s time for a tax strike

A few weeks ago, Truthout published Is it time for a tax strike? A conversation with activist Michael Kink. Kink is executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition in New York City. The title of the article refers to to the very last prompt and answer in the interview. The prompt was, “People are planning protests around Tax Day, and one of the things other than general strikes that is floating around in the air is the idea of tax resistance.” And Kink responded, “I think this year for Tax Day, it is like, “Donald Trump, release your taxes and don’t give huge tax cuts to your billionaire buddies….” The plan for massive tax cuts for billionaires who […]

Bread or Bombs?

I needed bread and you sent a bomb

For better or worse, I start my day off listening to the NPR news and then listening/watching Democracy Now! Today’s big story was about the release of two pages of Trump’s taxes from 2005 — more all-Trump-all-the-time. Even his 12-year-old taxes get big notice. However, the reporter who received the leaked forms, David Cay Johnston, and attempted to break the story, is very well-informed on IRS issues and always worth reading or listening to. I say that even though I remember that one of our war tax resisters was on an interview show with him some years ago, and he spoke strongly against war tax resistance. I don’t know if he’s changed that tune, but he’s a smart guy anyway. […]

Pleading the Fifth to the IRS

In 1985, the IRS took war tax resister and NWTRCC staff member Larry Bassett to court. Bassett had refused to pay any income taxes since 1980, and had refused the federal excise tax on telephone service since the early 1970s. The IRS wanted to compel him to give up information about his financial accounts so the agency could collect his refused income taxes. The case began very quickly, with a January 21 Order to Show Cause, requiring Bassett to appear for a January 31 court date. He wrote to the judge on January 22, stating his intent to appear as ordered, and noting: “I am not opposing taxation; I have paid the self-employment tax to support the Social Security system…. […]

The latest war tax resistance news coverage

War tax resistance has received more news coverage already this year than in all of 2016. I’m thrilled that we’re being sought out! Many articles are spreading beyond the original source, by being summarized or reblogged on other websites. This is leading to some misinformation that I want to clear up: The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee has existed since 1982. We didn’t start with Trump, and we won’t end with Trump. We oppose militarism under every administration. NWTRCC has no affiliation, overt or covert, with the Democratic Party! War tax resisters have a variety of political perspectives and affiliations, but we share an interest in furthering peace and justice, rather than militarism, with our tax dollars. While we […]