Why Bother?

Getting out of bed on a chilly and windy Sunday, about the last thing I wanted to do was go out to a rally and march that afternoon. I had to give myself an extra kick. After all, it was April 15 and a perfect day to do outreach about war tax resistance. On the one hand, I can’t say it was the best event I’d ever been to. I tire of endless speakers speaking mostly to the converted — a full two hours of that before the march to Trump Tower, so the crowd of some hundreds steadily dwindled before the march began. On the subway on the way home I was thinking of other things I could have […]

Taxes, Teens, and the Costs of War

I hate doing my taxes. For each of the last few weekends, “do your taxes” has been on the top of my to-do list. If I were to prioritize a list of things I procrastinate about, doing taxes might be on top. I’ve always done them myself since my situation is not particularly complicated, but I am usually rushing at the last minute to get it in the mail before or after our tax day demonstration. Probably the one thing that motivates me to finally get it done is so I can enclose the letter telling the government why I’m not paying (here’s one from 2003). If I wasn’t a war tax resister would I continue to file? My style […]

On Being Brave and War Tax Resistance

W-4 resistance info for war tax resisters

“You’re so brave. I wish I could do that.” It’s been almost ten years since I decided to start resisting war taxes. It’s been about eight years since I was actually able to start resisting the payment of some portion of my taxes. I don’t think of myself as a particularly brave person. Sometimes I find the potential consequences of resistance daunting, just as I did when I was a new resister (although the concerns are different now). On the other hand, some folks don’t feel any fear or nervousness after making this decision. That’s not me. Civil disobedience is sticking your neck out in some way. This particular form of it doesn’t always involve showing up in public somewhere, […]

The Path to War Tax Resistance

tax day war tax resistance leafleting

People who join NWTRCC’s e-list (subscribe here) receive a welcome email that asks how they found NWTRCC. Here are some responses stored up over the past year or so, which point out the importance of the internet — but don’t discount leafleting and talking to friends either! New people often say they have known about war tax resistance, or tax resistance, for a while but deciding to actually do it takes longer, or takes some confluence of factors. It is a reminder that much of what we do as organizers is plant seeds; there may not be instant gratification, but maybe readers who are organizers can take heart from some of these comments. I’ll post these without names, but thank […]

Looking for more coins to feed the machine

still from video of "Mother of All Bombs" being dropped on Afghanistan, April 13, 2017

We’re shifting gears a bit today to share a poem about war and tax resistance! Let’s stop feeding the machine. -Erica Purgatory by Jayson I had a dream last night and in the dream, I woke up and I didn’t know where I was. There was nothing leading up to it, I just woke up in a strange place. Before too long, based on what was happening I figured that I was in hell, or someplace like it. I must have died, somehow, and now I was in hell. It was absolutely awful. There were people dying all around me from famine and disease. Bombs were dropping on them and they were too weak to run.   Then, all of […]

“Fighting Nazis should be fun” and other lessons

Last weekend’s Voices of Resistance conference, a joint effort of the joint New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (oh, jeez, that’s a mouthful) was some deep food for thought. I want to start by thanking the organizing team and all of the guests who joined us for the panel and workshops. It was great to see several UMass students in attendance too. Every part of this weekend was a different challenge for me! Friday was a lot of meetings and logistics, with Ad Comm meeting and then prepping for the Fulfilling Lives While Fighting for Our Lives panel. During the panel, Camila, Nathalie, and Rojas were dropping a lot of heavy […]

Getting some fresh air

Collective Redirection organizers, grantors, and grantees at May 2017 NWTRCC gathering in St. Louis, MO

August went by in a flash for me, among unexpected extra work projects (glad to have the extra money), a trip to see the eclipse in Oregon (amazing), keeping up with my activist commitments outside war tax resistance (I think I did a pretty good job), and coping with the daily news of further assaults, physical and psychological, on the safety of marginalized people in this country. There didn’t seem to be much time to breathe. And today I write from the hazy northwest US, where an expected 95-degree day turned out much cooler due to thick smoke from regional wildfires. Ash has been sprinkling down from the sky all day. I’m keeping all the house windows closed to keep […]

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 […]

Resisting alone, then discovering community

image of Morpheus from the movie The Matrix with text overlaid: "What if I told you Trump can't use your money for bombs if you don't pay taxes?"

More people are starting to consider tax resistance against the Trump administration. And many don’t know at first that others are already refusing to pay war taxes! Today, we look back at an 2007 interview with other new resisters. This article was originally published in NWTRCC’s June/July 2007 newsletter.   By Ed Hedemann A 21-year-old dance major and animal rights activist from Flagstaff, Arizona, and a 46-year-old bingo hall operator from Bismarck, North Dakota, might not seem to have much in common. But recently [in 2007] both of them began to refuse their Federal taxes as a protest to the war without knowing that anyone else in the country was doing the same. Most people who become war tax resisters […]

Thoreau’s work is still relevant

Thoreau

By David Gross I am a war tax resister because Henry David Thoreau convinced me to be one. I was looking for medicine: something to help me ease my troubled conscience and to help me sleep better at night. I turned to Thoreau and instead of medicine, he gave me marching orders. This turned out to be the cure I needed after all. People sometimes remember Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” as being an argument for why people ought to have the right to disobey the law and its officials, when the reasons for doing so are good and noble. But the essay is actually more severe and challenging than that: Thoreau insists that you have the duty to disobey the law […]

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 […]

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 […]