Getting some fresh air

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 […]

On being a public war tax resister

image from the left side of a white woman with long blonde hair typing at a laptop

In my 8 years with the war tax resistance community, I’ve heard a lot about the value of using our real names and sharing our stories in public. Lately, as I’ve pondered the barriers to resistance, I’ve concluded that the ideal of going public needs re-examination. (Please note: I originally drafted this essay prior to the launching of a few different public pledge efforts. This post isn’t a direct response to any of them. This writing is also informed by recent discussions about privilege and resistance.) A public resister can inspire others, spread information, publicly redistribute their taxes, and build networks of resistance. Should they end up in a collection situation or tax court case, they can gain support from […]

Personal connections and growing war tax resistance

clockwise from left: photo of Peg Morton speaking, Susan Quinlan and Nancy Foster during the pillars of militarism workshop, and the assembled group watches clips of what became the film Death and Taxes

Last week, I was explaining war tax resistance to someone new. They asked how I got started. I talked about attending the November 2008 NWTRCC conference in Eugene. Meeting the knowledgeable and caring NWTRCC community, and having inquisitive and inspiring conversations with a variety of people, was my tipping point to start resistance. Likewise, this new person was inspired by our personal connection. They enthusiastically e-mailed me almost immediately after our discussion. I don’t know what will come of this new contact – much enthusiasm doesn’t translate immediately into resistance, for many different reasons. But I bet the “conversion rate” is higher for folks who know another resister personally. Because NWTRCC’s media visibility is higher than ever, I wonder how […]

Bread or Bombs?

I needed bread and you sent a bomb

For better or worse, I start my day off listening to the NPR news and then listening/watching Democracy Now! Today’s big story was about the release of two pages of Trump’s taxes from 2005 — more all-Trump-all-the-time. Even his 12-year-old taxes get big notice. However, the reporter who received the leaked forms, David Cay Johnston, and attempted to break the story, is very well-informed on IRS issues and always worth reading or listening to. I say that even though I remember that one of our war tax resisters was on an interview show with him some years ago, and he spoke strongly against war tax resistance. I don’t know if he’s changed that tune, but he’s a smart guy anyway. […]

Musings on Obstructing a Public Way, War Tax Resistance, and More

Why Don’t We Do It In the Road? Musings on Obstructing a Public Way, War Tax Resistance, War Profiteering, Divestment, Livelihood, and Destroying Hundreds of Targets at a Rate of Up to Ten Per Minute by Jason Rawn I was involved in an organized civil resistance action last June 18 at shipbuilders Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The 12 of us, now called the “Zumwalt 12,” sat in the road blocking traffic just outside BIW for ten minutes at the “christening” of the second of 3 super-high-tech Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers. The original intention was to build 32 of these unproven warships “capable of destroying hundreds of targets at the rate of up to ten per minute[!],” but due to […]

Ammon Hennacy’s “One-Man Revolution”

Ammon Hennacy: The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist

A man asked me: “Why does a fellow like you—with an education, and who has been all over the country—end up in this out-of-the-way place, working for very little on a farm?” I explained that people who had good jobs in factories had a withholding tax for war taken from their pay, and that people who worked on farms had no tax taken from their pay. I told him that I refused to pay taxes. He was a returned soldier, and said that he did not like war either, but what could a fellow do about it? I replied that we each did what we really wanted to. ―Ammon Hennacy, The Book of Ammon Ammon Hennacy refused to pay war taxes […]

Our Movements Are Connected!

The New England WTR Gathering, October 14-16 The Gathering was powerful. I drove there and back with Ruth Benn, the NWTRCC Coordinator, and we had a great conversation about the history of war tax resistance in the car ride. The Agape Community in Ware, Massachusetts, generously opened their space for us all to meet, including finding beds for 15 of us over the course of the weekend. Friday evening and Sunday morning sessions at Agape were focused on war tax resistance stories and organizing. The theme of the weekend was how to recognize the intersections between our movements and join together in resistance to the oppressive system. The highlight was a Saturday program in Amherst, when Joanne Sheehan (WRL New […]