There And Back Again: Organizing on the Road

Sam Koplinka-Loehr, NWTRCC Field Organizer, testified at the Iraq Tribunal on Friday, December 2nd about the costs of the war. Her testimony is below.

Whew! What a trip. Eight days, six presentations, two conferences, nine states & provinces in two countries, 50 hours on the road, and 3,600 miles later! And I am back in Philly. Glad to say it was a rental car with unlimited miles rather than with my 1990 Oldsmobile (even though I would have been looking a lot more fly on the road in the Oldsmobile…). There’s so much to share from my latest war tax resistance organizing trip, I’m not even sure of where to begin. So I’ll share some tidbits and then if you have additional questions, please comment or email me. Most Relaxed Point The first stop of my field organizing trip was perhaps the most peaceful. […]

Resisting Nukes – Then and Now

August 6 and 9, 2017, mark the 72nd anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. War tax resistance spans the nuclear age, and many war tax resisters have been motivated by the horror of those bombings, by the frightening possibility that nuclear weapons will be used again, and by the human and financial costs of the whole process of producing those weapons. In the dangerous moment that we find ourselves today, one of the bravest pioneers of the modern war tax resistance movement, James Otsuka (1921-1984), comes to mind. As with other war tax resisters from the 1940s, he was a conscientious objector during World War II and refused to serve the military in any capacity. For that […]

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 […]

Trump’s wall plans are built on existing border militarization

an image of the rusty brown border fence at Nogales, Sonora/Arizona, seen from the Mexican side

October 2016: I’m crossing the border to Nogales, Arizona, US by foot, returning from a brief visit to Nogales in Sonora, Mexico, following the SOAW Border Convergence. A tall rusty steel border fence, maybe 20-25 feet tall, lines the border in both directions as far as I can see, dotted occasionally by even taller surveillance towers. While my entry to Mexico was a matter of walking in, I stand in a line for 45 minutes to re-enter the US. We’re waiting to present our passports, which are scanned and examined closely, get questioned by Border Patrol agents, and perhaps be sniffed by large Border Patrol dogs. I’m white and a US citizen, so I pass through easily, but I wonder […]

South Korea to the U.S. — Sharing Tactics

The NWTRCC office tends to be a bit quiet at this time of year, but the phone rang early on a recent Friday morning, and a woman’s accented voice explained that some South Korean activists would like to visit the office to learn more about the work of National War Tax Resistance. I was thinking “next week” when she said, how about today? Ed Hedemann agreed to handle the meeting, and I listened in at times. Our three visitors were in the U.S. representing the Peace Delegation of the newly formed People’s Democracy Party (PDP) in South Korea. They turned up carrying their signs from a vigil at the U.N. building where they were protesting Ban Ki-moon, who apparently has […]

Iraq Tribunal holds the weight of war, lifts voices for truth

Sam Koplinka-Loehr, NWTRCC Field Organizer, testified at the Iraq Tribunal on Friday, December 2nd about the costs of the war. Her testimony is below.

By Sam Koplinka-Loehr (content warning: suicide)   Wow. I am still reeling from being at the People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War last Friday, December 2nd in Washington, DC. The Tribunal focused on the lies and costs of the Iraq War. At the end of the day of testimony, I was inspired and heartbroken. My mind raced, and I had a headache. I felt both energized and tired to my core. Upon walking into the courtroom Friday morning, the love and community spirit was palpable. I was greeted with open arms by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers with Popular Resistance, a great source for movement news. I had just joined the two of them on air a few days earlier […]

Join the NWTRCC network at the Iraq Tribunal

The People's Tribunal on the Iraq War - December 1-2, 2016 - Washington DC - After 15 years of costly war based on lies, it's time for truth and accountability [with picture of a woman holding scales superimposed over the silhouette of Iraq's borders]

The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War is taking place tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday, December 1 and 2. Tune in 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM Eastern time, December 1 and 2, through the Iraq Tribunal page , or watch directly on TheRealNews. Participate in the conversation via the Facebook page and on Twitter by following @IraqTribunal and using the hashtag #IraqTribunal. More about the tribunal: Organized by CODEPINK and supported by dozens of other groups, the tribunal is an opportunity to gather a great deal of testimony and experience in one place. CODEPINK says: After 14 years of costly war based on lies, it’s time for truth and accountability. The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War will unify the global […]

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall…

A protest in front of the Reichstag - two people hold a banner reading "BAN URANIUM WEAPONS" in front of a scattered group of about 40 people.

by Cathy Deppe “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” – is a favorite Robert Frost line I mused over on my first trip to Berlin for the International Peace Bureau (IPB) World Peace Conference.   Germany was readying for Unity Day October 3 – a national holiday celebrating the day “the wall” came down and the people of Germany were once again united.   I could hardly wait to take my first walk in this bustling, rebuilt city, east through the Tiergarten to the famous Brandenburg Gate that anchored the Berlin Wall for 27 years.   At first obscured from sight by an immense Ferris wheel set up for Unity Day festivities, the Gate soon came into spectacular view as a […]

Reaching across the border

white sign with skull and crossbones and barbed wire, saying in black and red text: "BORDER MILITARIZATION KILLS"

I’m happy to report that our outreach at the SOAW border convergence at ambos Nogales (both Nogales, on the US and Mexico sides) went very well! NWTRCC network members, including myself, Anne Barron, Rachel Soltis, and Coleman Smith, were present at each activity throughout the weekend, including the vigil at the Eloy Detention Center (where undocumented immigrants are imprisoned awaiting deportation or release into the US), the march to the border on Saturday, the tabling and workshops, and the Sunday activities. At the border on Saturday morning I met Paula Kahn from CODEPINK who is promoting a People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War in December. She asked NWTRCC to be a part of this effort. I’ve proposed a potential endorsement and […]

Reasons to Celebrate

Somehow the IRS is attuned to vacations and holidays. They like to surprise you with their letters, bills and perhaps stronger demands just when you’re in a good mood or feeling relaxed. Like last week: I came back from vacation to a pile of 10 “Amount Due” letters from the IRS (not sure what our house sitter thought about that). There was one for each year still within the Statute of Limitations for collection. Since I file and refuse to pay, the IRS has 10 years to collect from the date of assessment, or about a month after you file (unless they dispute your return or don’t file; then assessment will come later). So I got a letter for each […]

Join NWTRCC at the SOAW border convergence!

Text: "Mass Mobilization at the U.S./Mexico Border - Resist Militarization - Support Refugees - End Migrant Incarceration - October 7-10, 2016"

War tax resisters will be at the Border Convergence with leaflets, literature table, and a workshop. Please help us cover the costs for travel and fees. Donations of any size are much appreciated! Over the past few years, organizing around the legal status and rights of undocumented immigrants has grown significantly. The Obama administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other administration, even as many of those immigrants are fleeing unsafe situations caused by US interventionism. As a result, School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) has moved its annual convergence against the Fort Benning, Georgia-based military training facility to the border, centering on Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico. A smaller convergence will still take place in Georgia in November. […]

Unpleasant truths about preemptive strikes: War Is a Lie

After putting the book down for a few months, I recently picked back up my reading of David Swanson’s War Is a Lie, which I got from the author himself at his April 16 appearance in Portland, Oregon. Over this weekend, I think I started to understand why I had put the book down. Just in Chapter 2, “Wars are not launched in defense,” I learned unpleasant facts about how the US government and military had basically goaded Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor through arming the Chinese, using economic sanctions, and preparing for war in nearly plain sight. It’s not to say that I didn’t know that Pearl Harbor wasn’t the brazen act of aggression we are always taught in […]