This will be the first post of the War Tax Talk blog, which is related to the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC). This blog is a place to write about:
- Questions that come into the NWTRCC office by phone (1-800-269-7464) and by email or that we hear about from others in our network. We may not always name names, but the stories or examples will be real and may be useful to others in similar situations.
- Ideas about organizing around war tax resistance, war tax refusal, or whatever term you like. (See * in a paragraph below.)
- What activists are doing to connect war tax resistance to individuals and groups working on other peace and justice issues. Most war tax resisters are active on many issues, but don’t always make the connections obvious.
The posts will be written by the NWTRCC Coordinator Ruth Benn or by other activists in our network.
Because NWTRCC is a coalition of groups and individuals that work on or support war tax resistance, we intend these posts to be reflective of our community in all its diversity. Our network includes religious and not-religious people; anarchists and probably a broad range of the political spectrum; pacifists, people who are antiwar but don’t identify as pacifist; those who live on a taxable income and refuse to pay some or all of federal taxes and those who choose to live on low incomes and stay out of the tax system all together; and probably a lot of other categories and people in between or a mix of many things. We are united in not wanting our money to be used for militarism and war, although some may be motivated more by a particular war or military intervention.
Come to think of it, it’s rather hard to describe our network or know all the reasons that individuals connect with NWTRCC. There’s a danger of leaving someone out because we cannot know every facet of individual motivation or conscience.
Which brings us to the *asterisk* above. NWTRCC has “war tax resistance” in its name, and we use that phrase generally to encompass people who are part of this network. However, some are more specific about “refusal” and “resistance” than others.
Longtime resister/refuser Karl Meyer described it this way in a 2005 interview: “A person resists the payment of taxes yet may pay them, but a person who refuses the payment of taxes, they don’t pay them. And I refuse. I resisted the war in Iraq, but I can’t stop it. But I refuse the payment of military taxes.”
Today Karl refuses by living in community and staying out of the tax system, but when he was “in the system,” he resisted and has lots of stories to tell, including being one of the few people in this network since WWII who spent time in jail (9 months in 1971) related to his war tax resistance. You can read more about Karl on NWTRCC’s speaker page, and more about war tax resistance in future posts (or on our website of course).