Flashes from the Past

In going through some old files recently a few tidbits of historical, inspirational, and/or organizing interest surfaced:

War tax resister runs for officeIn the midst of an election year (it feels more like years) a flyer from the early 1970s is a refreshing change from everything we are hearing from the current crop of candidates. Elizabeth Taylor (no, not that one) ran for office in Ann Arbor with her picture taken in front of “Phone Tax is a War Tax” sign, and her featured experience includes “Founder of Ann Arbor War Tax Counselling.” We’ve had a few other war tax resisters run for office with mixed success. From what I can tell from old newspaper stories online, Elizabeth won the County Commissioner’s seat. Perhaps she’ll see this and send her own memories.


MaxSandinMax Sandin was a Russian-Jewish conscientious objector who emigrated to the United States in 1910. He settled in Cleveland, Ohio, and became active in several anti-war organizations. Sandin was sentenced to be shot for refusing to go into the military during the first World War. He began war tax resisting in 1942 and had many run-ins with the IRS. In the files we ran across his open letter to President Kennedy (retyped here for readability) sent after the IRS seized his Social Security check in 1962. Max Sandin died in 1967. His papers are held at Western Reserve Historical Society in Ohio.


Uncle-Sam-handThe Uncle Sam reaching hand logo was used on a “From the Poor to the Pentagon” education campaign during the Reagan years when the government slashed social programs and boosted military spending. The project was called the Military/Domestic Education Project, a component of the Coalition on Block Grants and Human Needs.


Pittsburg-postcard“A People’s Tax Reform” was a campaign in Pittsburgh during the 1980s, calling on Pittsburgh taxpayers to take $1 from the federal tax liability and send it to the City of Pittsburgh, which was badly in need of money. Their large size post-card (front and back copied onto PDF) included a coupon to enclose with the $1 redirection.


—Post by Ruth Benn