Larry Bassett 2017

| Letters

April 18, 2017

Internal Revenue Service

Washington DC

Copies to

US Senator Mark Warner

US Senator Tim Kaine

US Representative Robert Goodlatte

I have happily just passed the ten-month mark of my first year of massive resistance. I mark this new beginning of my life on June 11, 2016 with the death of my father and with my commitment to redirect as much of my inheritance to make a better world. Dad left me $1 million with instructions to distribute about half of it to grandchildren and great grandchildren and special others. I did that and set to work on my half. My commitment to civil disobedience in honor of my mother who became a criminal for peace in her later years is acted out in my case with war tax resistance. I am resisting the $128,005 I owe in federal income tax for 2016 because nearly 50% of anything I do pay will go for war or preparation for war. I cannot in good conscience pay for war. I have donated more than that amount to meet human needs internationally and nationally and locally.

To honor my father and mother I am trying to do as they did many times in their lives in trying to directly help the less fortunate. They were brave and compassionate by giving money and offering a place to stay in their home and loaning other personal goods. They found that helping others was not always free of risk. People who were ill and without resources sometimes took advantage of them. But my parents knew that they had much and others had little. Since I live in the Internet age I have had a much broader range of people in need. While I have given to many charities I have also tried in a very small way to help some individuals in Haiti and Kenya and Uganda who had little compared to me who had been left with so much by my father. My effort with individuals has taught me a lot about the desperation of poverty. I have often remembered my first job out of college working with the poor in Pontiac Michigan. Back then I came to the conclusion that what the poor need most is money. So when I found the international charity GiveDirectly that gives cash to the extremely impoverished in East Africa, I knew I had found an Organization that I wanted to support significantly. I have done that in the past year as well as supporting many other charitable organizations

My mother once spent 30 days in jail for merely “crossing the line” at a plant in Michigan that produced a part of a missile. What she learned from that experience was that the women who shared her jail cell were poor and black. She learned that the justice system needed reform. The government learned and continues to learn that the biggest result of putting peace and justice people in jail is that they are creating people who diligently work to change the system. 

I do not know what the justice system will do when I refuse to pay my federal taxes in April. I am a little bit scared of what they might do just as I was scared in 1985 when they took me to court. But sometimes as my parents knew and as they taught me by their example you have to do what you have to do because it is clearly and conscientiously the right thing to do.

Here’s a picture of me and my mother in front of the Federal District Court in Brooklyn in1985 after I won the IRS case. I am remembering her and my father with pride just as they were proud of me back then.

I take this action of war tax resistance as I have over the years with a combination of fear and pride. I take this action of resisting and redirecting federal income taxes because my conscience will not allow me to do otherwise.


Larry Bassett

901 Jefferson St., #6F

Lynchburg, VA 24504