War Tax Resisters Grow Harmony

By Susan Van Haitsma Imagine that you are sitting on a lawn chair atop a straw stack bordering a beautiful organic garden in the heart of Iowa. You are watching a golden harvest moon rise above the rows of corn that stretch out in front of you rustling like a sea of applause. The straw stack is a mulch supply for the beautiful garden which is named Growing Harmony Farm. You are seven miles east of Ames and seven miles west of the small town of Nevada, and the lights from these two communities glow slightly on either horizon. In between are fields of corn and soybeans, modest farm houses and the stretch of roadway where Twister was filmed. Your […]

Pointing To Another Way

by Stanley Bohn The Why As war tax resisters the why-we-do-it shapes the what-we-do. Since our reasons for not paying part of our federal income tax are not to avoid all taxes, my wife Anita and I use probably the least clever ways to resist taxes. We reduce our taxable income by giving as much as we can to charitable causes, fill out tax forms, and send in about three-fourths of what we owe. The remaining $500 to $2,000 we send to antiwar groups, or aid to victims of war, or agencies underfunded because the federal budget is lopsided toward military spending. Most Christians support war as necessary, so it may seem odd that we resist war taxes because we […]

The Making of an Activist

by Peter Smith I was a product of the 50s: Civil Defense drills, the Red Menace, McCarthyism, super patriotism, Korean War, etc. I joined NROTC in college so my parents would not have to pay my tuition and books. I had two younger sisters they needed to send to college. I did not like Navy life and resigned after spending the required four years in service, although my politics were as right wing as ever. While I was in the Navy we had to endure countless counter-insurgency lectures, as the military advisors were already starting their work in Vietnam. I arrived at the University of Wisconsin in the fall of 1964 and immediately joined a group called Young Christian Students (YCS), since […]

The Choice Seems Obvious

by Rev. Bucky Beach It was over 20 years ago that I started nonpayment of taxes owed to the IRS. I was scared, but youth breeds a sense of immortality, which was accompanied by a bit of a chip on my shoulder and a desire to be faithful to what I believed. I did some research and read some stories of property seizures and levies, but thought it was worth the risk. I withheld my money, sent the IRS a letter stating clearly why I was opposed to military taxation, and defied the IRS to come and get me. I received a few letters in response and waited. I never heard from them again. But then, I think I owed them a grand total of $80. […]

My War Tax Resistance Journey

by Carol Moore In 1975, while living in New York City, I was involved in radical feminism and political comedy, song-writing and play writing. I started supporting myself working off the books. Come April 15, 1976, I found that I owed the IRS more than $1000. I worked double shifts for two months to raise the money. As I sent the $1,000 off — still the largest check I’ve ever written — all I could think was that the money would pay for one big mortar shell that might kill a child or a family. Vietnam might be over, but who knew where the U.S. military would go next? The next three years I refused to work overtime to pay taxes that might be […]

Conscientious Objection and Encounters with the IRS

James Satterwhite, 1946 – 2016 “If we could read the secret histories of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow In 1969, as I was graduating from college in Florida at the height of the war in Vietnam, I faced a dilemma. Should I go into the military to fight in Vietnam, or was there another option for someone who had come to the position that violence and war are wrong? At that time I was fortunate, as I was able to do “Civilian Alternative Service” as a Conscientious Objector under the Selective Service guidelines in effect at the time. After I completed my alternative service I […]

War Tax Resistance and Me

by Aaron Falbel In December of 1990, I became a war tax resister. Shortly before the Persian Gulf War (#1), I attended a peace rally on the Boston Common. Despite the impassioned speeches given by Howard Zinn, Daniel Ellsberg, and others that day, I had a sinking feeling that standing out in the cold for a few hours, chanting slogans, and marching through the streets of downtown Boston was not going to stop the war from happening. After all, why should President Bush care that my toes were frozen and my voice was growing hoarse. But sometime during that afternoon, a young woman handed me a half sheet of paper. On one side was a quote from Alexander Haig, Secretary […]

A Statement to the IRS

by Charlie Hurst and Maria Smith Charlie Hurst and Maria Smith, two Catholic Workers and war tax resisters living in Cleveland, Ohio, have had their wages garnished in the past. When they received a notice from the IRS this summer saying that they had a right to ask for a hearing, they decided to do so. They had an appointment with an IRS agent on September 13, and brought a lot of documentation with them, including a letter of support from Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. The IRS agent was supportive but said that ultimately they were still in violation of not paying their taxes. They are not appealing and are waiting to see what will happen next. Here is the statement that Charlie read in front of […]

Wally Nelson: A Revolutionary Inspiration

Written by Bob Bady Wally Nelson died on May 23, 2002. He died in much the same way he lived his life: without fear, and surrounded by people who loved him. Wally was born in 1909 near Little Rock Arkansas, son of Duncan and Lydia Nelson. He was the second youngest of sixteen children. His father was a Methodist minister, and the family spent a few years sharecropping. Wally grew up in segregated Jim Crow society, where the elders were former slaves. He learned firsthand the smell and taste of oppression, and the roles of master and slave. Through values he largely attributed to his father’s teachings, he grew to liberate himself from these roles. In the 1920s and 30s, […]

My War Tax Resistance Actions

By Priscilla Adams When I left college in 1974, I joined the Movement for a New Society and earned below a taxable level, filing W-4s as exempt. When I began to earn enough to owe money, I refused to pay 100% and continued to file W-4s as exempt. After a paycheck was garnished I stopped filing my 1040s because I did not want to help them in any way to collect money. A number of years after I started working for Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (PYM) of the Society of Friends, IRS refused to accept my exempt W-4 and told PYM to start withholding taxes. I askedPYM to implement their policy to withhold and not forward the military percentage to the government (see article on page […]