Resistance, Redirection, and Revolution: Tabling at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair

Tabling at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair this weekend, I realized again that anti-war activism is only part of the picture in modern war tax resistance. With so many problems in the world, with so much reporting and news from the proliferation of modern media sources online, it’s hard to know where to focus. Not only that, but it may not be in our best interest to focus too narrowly.

Because anarchists acknowledge the interconnectedness of economic, social, and military issues with the functions of capitalism and the state. I usually don’t have to explain the concept of war tax resistance in much depth. They are usually supportive, if not always personally interested. I don’t get pushback on the level that I do from a lot of other radicals who support some form of government. I met many folks at the bookfair who already don’t pay taxes for a variety of reasons: they don’t want to participate in the tax system at all, they don’t make enough money to owe taxes, they don’t want to pay for killing people, they support indigenous peoples still resisting US domination, and more. And everyone loved the idea of redirecting taxes to radical causes.

I also met folks who were hesitant about resistance because there were social service functions they didn’t want to defund (yes, even some anarchists/anti-authoritarians still have concerns about not supporting social services that they or their families or people they know rely on to help survive – also, not everyone who comes to the bookfair is an anarchist). For example, I met a US citizen who grew up in another country, has recently returned to the US, and is horrified by war, but is hesitant to remove their financial support from social services. I suggested resisting the military portion of their taxes, or a smaller amount, from the perspective that the act of resistance is itself the most important.

I always appreciate the opportunity to share information with folks and to be in an environment that promotes resistance in various forms. NWTRCC’s 30 years of experience in war tax resistance really sets us apart. One of my favorite interactions this year was from a person, probably mid-20s in age, who told me (paraphrasing) “Everything else here at the bookfair is interesting reading, but this is really practical information about something I can do!”

-Post by Erica