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 […]

Opposing nuclear weapons at Lawrence Livermore Lab

by Cathy Deppe Last August was the 70th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Japan.  As members of the international peace group Global Network,  Alex and I were fortunate to participate in commemoration services in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  A year later we traveled a shorter distance to California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to stand again with victims of nuclear war.    We were there to float another lantern downstream to honor the dead.   We wanted to hear direct testimony from those who survived the hibakusha.  Rev. Hanaoka, now a retired Bay Area Methodist minister, was just a baby when the bomb exploded above his town, a child when he lost his mother and sister to radiation exposure, and a […]

Resisting in Dreamland

Home ownership might seem like a mundane topic while confronted with the latest news headlines, but most of us in war tax resistance see life choices as inextricably linked to global issues, so let’s see where this goes. I saw the movie The Big Short a while ago. I totally don’t understand what those guys where buying and selling or how you can make money off debt, but clearly it worked for some and didn’t for others. Mostly what it made me think about, and what the whole housing crisis of a few years ago made me think about, is this drive to want to own a home. It’s so linked to the American Dream that people don’t always think […]

Maladjusted to a War Culture

“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Western Michigan University, 1963 “Creative maladjustment” emerged as a take-home theme (at least for me) from the day I spent at the “Faithful Witness in a Time of Endless War: Drone Warfare and God’s Call to Peacemaking” conference on June 25 in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Speeches and Q&A sessions were followed by an afternoon demonstration at the nearby Horsham Drone Warfare Command Center. This call to creative maladjustment flowed from talks on Friday night that centered on drones, with presentations by Codepink co-founder Medea Benjamin, whose book Drone […]

An Unhealthy State of Things

I have a pile of clippings from newspapers and magazines intended for notes in the NWTRCC newsletter. They go back a few years because the newsletter pages seem to fill up before I get around to the clippings, and the pile keeps growing. I was pulling out some of the articles that have to do with tips for dealing with the IRS that might be of interest to war tax resisters, but with another mass shooting in the headlines those articles seem somewhat trivial. In a world of such violence, my mind wanders to that fear of war tax resistance expressed by so many: “I don’t want to go to jail.” Well, neither do I actually, but these days going […]

Making war tax redirection a more constructive program

In Campaign Nonviolence’s recent conference call, Metta Center for Nonviolence staffers Michael Nagler and Stephanie Van Hook talked about Gandhi’s concept of a constructive program. War tax resisters have a history of giving away their resisted taxes to worthy causes, and we have sometimes called this a “constructive program” in the model of Gandhi. For decades, war tax resisters have deposited money in  “alternative funds” that serve multiple purposes. The interest earned through these funds, often invested in community development credit unions and community loan funds, is distributed as grants to organizations. The depositors can withdraw the money if they wish. War tax resisters can also give money away to alternative funds for redistribution. (And some groups don’t have an […]

Service and agitation on LA’s Skid Row

Book review: Dietrich, Jeff. 2011. Broken and Shared: Food, Dignity, and the Poor on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. Marymount Institute Press / Tsehai Publishers. In 1970, Jeff Dietrich was a young draft resister who had just returned to the United States from traveling in Europe. He heard about the Catholic Worker movement at a Peacemakers conference in St. Louis, and set out for the Los Angeles Catholic Worker to learn more. For the last 45 years, he has been dedicated to the various projects of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker (LACW). Community members live on low incomes in solidarity with the poor. LACW, in keeping with the teachings of Dorothy Day, does not have tax-exempt status. LACW is noted for […]

Choosing Simple Living

Live simply so that others may simply live.

Recently redmoonsong, who lives in North Carolina and is a committed war tax resister among her many other activities, sent the list below to NWTRCC with this note: Here’s the page I mentioned to you on the phone. One of the things I love about it is that each one begins with action (I really like action). Although I’ve been reading this list for 15 years, I am still inspired by the intelligence, directness and succinctness of Lissner’s writing. Ten Reasons for Choosing A Simpler Lifestyle by Jorgen Lissner As an act of faith performed for the sake of personal integrity and as an expression of a personal commitment to a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources. As an […]