War Tax Resistance Gathering and Coordinating Committee Meeting
CPUSA Worker Center, 1251 S. St Andrews Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90019
May 4-6, 2018
Hosted by members of Southern California War Tax Resistance and Alternative Fund and cosponsored by Veterans for Peace LA Chapter, LA Catholic Worker, and National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC). Meals courtesy of Food Not Bombs.
If you cannot attend in person, there will be a virtual connection for some sessions and the Sunday a.m. business meeting. Details will be posted in late April.
Weekend Schedule (subject to some adjustments)
Divest from War – Invest in People
Friday, May 4
5 pm: Arrival/Registration – Workers Center
6:00 pm: Dinner
7:00 – 9:00 pm: Welcome and introductions, followed by panel discussion:
Divest! from war, occupation, violence, and “from exploitative forces including prisons, fossil fuels, police, surveillance and exploitative corporations.”
— quoted section from The Movement for Black Lives Matter Platform
A panel presentation about different Divest movements followed by discussion about how our movements link and can work together more effectively.
Dr. Melina Abdullah, Black Lives Matter activist and professor at Cal State University Los Angeles
Jim Haber, Bay Area activist on Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement with Jewish Voice for Peace.
Paula Kahn, CodePink organizer in Los Angeles active with CodePink’s Divest from the War Machine campaign.
Anne Barron, San Diego Peace Resource Center, NWTRCC Administrative Committee, on organizing locally for Divest from War – Invest in People.
Saturday, May 5
8:00 – 9:00 am: Breakfast
9:00 – 9:15: Introductions, Schedule Review, Orientation
9:15 – 10:00: Changes at NWTRCC
Meet NWTRCC’s new Coordinator and hear his ideas about war tax resistance and share yours.
10:00 – 10:30: Peace and Justice Organizing and Strategies in a Disturbing Time
Being an activist under the current administration in Washington, DC, is certainly challenging. We could be out marching everyday on one issue or another, and we are all trying to do a better job to work together across issues, to join critical actions by groups we have not been involved with, to take leadership from those often shut out of decision-making.
We’ll start this session off hearing about the organizing that is going on. The weekend is just after tax season, so war tax resisters attending from around the country are fresh from tax day actions, including redirection of war taxes, and can share their experiences. Others attending are active with Veterans for Peace, Standing Rock and other pipeline actions, organizing with Native Americans, BDS, and the other divest actions we’ve heard about on Friday night.
Jumping from hearing about what’s going on, we’ll break into small groups to talk about what’s felt successful in our organizing, what’s not working, what coalitions are forming, and concrete steps we can all take to strengthen our movement.
10:30 – 11:30: Break + on to Small Groups
Small group discussions – with a key facilitator in each group following up on the short presentations above and the Friday night Divestment panel
11:30 – 12:00 Report back from small groups
Ideas for follow up and specific actions that each of us can take home to our local organizing
12:30 – 1:15: Lunch
1:30 – 2:30 pm: Concurrent Sessions for Newly interested and Current War Tax Resisters
- War Tax Resistance 101 An introduction to the why and how of this form of resistance, with discussion of potential consequences and resource referral. For people new to WTR or just getting started. Facilitated by Bill Glassmire, Corvallis, Oregon, who became a WTR in 1990 to resist US militarism, and Sue Barnhart, who is a longtime WTR and active with Taxes for Peace Not War! in Eugene, Oregon.
- WTR 102 Updates, trends, and Q&A for current war tax resisters. With NWTRCC Coordinator Ruth Benn and the expert resisters in attendance!
2:30 – 3:45 pm: Workshops
Creating Our Own Media – Lauren von Bernuth, co-founder of Citizen Truth, and Erica Leigh, former NWTRCC social media consultant / current NWTRCC communications consultant.
Citizen Truth has grown quickly from a two-person news and interview site to one with a team of reporters and writers. We’ll hear from Lauren about the site’s founding, early expectations and surprising response.
NWTRCC has had a social media consultant for five years, and Erica will talk about social media changes over these years, ongoing challenges for NWTRCC, and new approach to social media. With discussion.
Quaker war tax resistance — Quakers have been refusing to pay war taxes since the 17th Century, but the prominence of this testimony has risen and fallen in waves through the years. Today, we’re in one of the wave troughs: only a small minority of Quakers practice war tax resistance. In this workshop, David Gross will give a brief overview of how Quaker war tax resistance has changed over the centuries, and then we’ll talk about how Quakers, members of other traditional peace churches, and emerging Christian groups like the New Monastics and Catholic Workers, discover faith-based paths to refuse to pay for war.
David Gross is the editor of the book American Quaker War Tax Resistance: A Documentary History and has been resisting war taxes for fifteen years.
3:45 – Break
4:00 – The Poor People’s Campaign and Confronting Racism
Those involved will present information about the Poor People’s Campaign, a national campaign that intends to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted morality. She’ll talk about the LA organizing, the opportunities to get involved around the country, and the Campaign’s 40 days of action, which will be launching May 14 with actions in 40 state capitols.
Confronting Racism — The Catholic Worker has recently begun a deeper reflection on the ways in which racism permeates American society and even the CW movement itself. This session will discuss the dialogue (sometimes contentious) that has occurred in the CW movement since the death of Michael Brown and explore how this difficult conversation can also be helpful for WTR. Introduced by Lincoln Rice, Milwaukee War Tax Resistance and Casa Maria Catholic Worker — and incoming NWTRCC Coordinator.
5:45 Southern California War Tax Resistance will present grants to social justice groups from the Alternative Fund
Saturday evening: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Free time or time to join in Cinco de Mayo celebrations in LA
Sunday, May 6
8:00 – 9:00 am: Breakfast
9:00 – Noon: NWTRCC Business meeting (open to all)
Noon – 1:00: Lunch, clean up, closing of the gathering program
Visit Arlington West – For those who can stay we’ll be visiting the Veterans for Peace memorial for victims of war on the beach at Santa Monica