Economic Disobedience and War Tax Resistance: Reportback from Eugene Event

I was invited down to Eugene, OR to speak about war tax resistance and economic disobedience at a panel last night, hosted by Eugene’s First Methodist Church and organized by Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC), Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN)/Jobs with Justice, Taxes for Peace Not War, and Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND).

What a great evening! We had an attendance of 30-40 folks. After a performance by Plaedo, a local poet, I delivered the “keynote” speech on what economic disobedience is, how war tax resistance is economic disobedience, why it’s so important to live in accordance with your conscience and political beliefs, and a little bit about how NWTRCC uses social media. I quoted a bit from David Gross’ summary of the economic disobedience movement in Spain and its connection to war tax resistance. While I don’t have a recording of my remarks, and I deviated at various points from my notes, this part of my notes I think accurately describes my message:

When we heard about this work in Spain, it was clear to us that war tax resistance is economic disobedience, the refusal to cooperate in an economic system that is built on war, militarism, and the perpetuation of human suffering. It was also clear to us that a variety of movements that also practice economic disobedience are allied with us in this struggle. When people refuse to pay debts to ruthless debt collectors, resist foreclosure, set up bartering networks that don’t report bartering as income, set up gift economies that avoid the IRS bartering regulations, organize lending circles for low-income borrowers, counsel high school students on alternatives to military service, squat abandoned houses, organize tent cities for the homeless regardless of bureaucratic and inhumane regulations, and struggle against corrupt landlords and employers, we are engaging in economic disobedience. The economic system we live under is not set up to support us, so we should withdraw our support from the system whenever feasible.

After my speech, we had four folks from Eugene organizations talking about Keystone XL opposition, the federal budget, corporatism vs. humanism, and the efforts of activists and homeless folks in Eugene to preserve the Whoville encampment that grew out of Occupy Eugene.

What an informative and inspiring evening; I hope that we’ll have some photos available soon. I’m also looking forward to an upcoming article on war tax resistance in a prominent publication that I’ll share here when it’s published.

(P.S. Eugene war tax resisters Susan Cundiff and Peg Morton also spoke on a radio program that morning.)

-Post by Erica