Natural Disasters and the Disaster of Militarism

Given all the crises we are seeing (or living) today, the crime of sustaining a massive military and endless wars is obvious. Emergency relief has a tiny budget compared to the Pentagon, and recently some members of Congress began to demand that new money for crises must be offset by spending cuts. You can bet they are not looking at the Pentagon for those cuts. As I’ve watched the news about devastating hurricanes and fires in recent months, I was thinking that sending the military to help with relief is a far better use of the troops than sending them to war. It would, of course, be better if they were actually trained in relief rather than killing, something that a […]

Gatherings of Resistance

I’ve been at three different activist events recently – or at least parts of all of them. For various reasons I didn’t stay for the full programs, but each provided some food for thought. WTF Do We Do Now? This was a day-long forum in Brooklyn sponsored by Pioneer Works, Creative Time, and the Yes Men and defined as a time to “reflect on a year of incredibly bad politics, and to gather energy, develop clarity, and make plans for the long fight ahead.” It was all day on a Sunday, which is really my time to gather energy catching up at home, so I got through about half the program. Still, it was a young crowd, mostly artists and […]

The latest travel ban expands US wars

on left: "Wars create refugees. Our taxes fund the wars. National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee - www.nwtrcc.org" on right: photo of truck driving toward refugee camp with many white tents.

The Trump administration released a new travel ban on Sunday, September 24, 2017. This new travel ban includes majority-Muslim countries covered under previous travel bans (Somalia, Iran, Syria, and Yemen), but also includes provisions preventing certain kinds of travel to the US from Libya, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela. People are worried that this expansion of the travel ban may be harder to challenge in court, as it no longer targets majority-Muslim countries exclusively. Nevertheless, as I mentioned in a February blog post on border militarization, these travel bans increase the punishment of civilians in countries already targeted by the US.  Yemenis are suffering a cholera epidemic and catastrophic war waged by a US-supported Saudi-led coalition. The US has provided […]

Lifting Up Dellinger and Antiwar Activists

Are you watching the big Ken Burns/Lynn Novick series The Vietnam War on PBS? My friends are talking about it, some are watching it, others, like me, not. I still find the horror of that war too painful to see the footage again. The waste on all levels remains painful and has carried through my life of working against war. In addition, the documentary apparently gives short shrift to the antiwar movement. I was skeptical when the New York Times review said, “The film’s center of moral gravity is ordinary soldiers, whose sacrifice and loyalty to one another are repeatedly contrasted with the political machinations of the powerful, on both sides.” Not the thousands in the streets who saw from […]

Finding humor in the struggle

"The most interesting man in the world" from the Dos Equis ad says, "I don't always resist taxes, but when I do it's because they fund racist wars."

Do you need a laugh these days? I definitely do. A lot of times, I rely on humor that’s based on things happening in real life. Here are some things that have made me laugh, even if I’m laughing ruefully. The Onion – Military-Industrial Complex Recalls Coming Together After 9/11 this article and video from CBS featuring clips of the comedian and activist Dick Gregory, who passed away in August (potentially NSFW, strong language bleeped) this editorial cartoon on US-funded Israeli occupation by Stephanie McMillan the podcast Politically Reactive with comedians W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu George Carlin’s standup bit, “We like war” (definitely NSFW – language, sexual references!) The Onion – Peaceful Protest Interrupted by Swarm of Aggressive […]

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 […]

I Call Bullshit On The Trans Ban

I call bullshit. Trump announced last week that trans people will be banned from serving in the US military. And no I don’t call bullshit on Trump tweeting that trans people are banned from serving in the military. Unfortunately as a trans person in this world, I am not surprised by the constant transphobia and oppression of us at just about every level of our lives. Instead, I am disgusted by the responses. I have spent hours and hours pouring through article after article, and across the board, the media and “progressive organizations” have taken this time to glorify and pinkwash* the military, violent masculinity, and murder. All in the name of “supporting trans people!” And I call bullshit. There’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]