Getting some fresh air

| Personal motivations

August went by in a flash for me, among unexpected extra work projects (glad to have the extra money), a trip to see the eclipse in Oregon (amazing), keeping up with my activist commitments outside war tax resistance (I think I did a pretty good job), and coping with the daily news of further assaults, physical and psychological, on the safety of marginalized people in this country. There didn’t seem to be much time to breathe.

And today I write from the hazy northwest US, where an expected 95-degree day turned out much cooler due to thick smoke from regional wildfires. Ash has been sprinkling down from the sky all day. I’m keeping all the house windows closed to keep the ash out, even though we don’t have air conditioning either. So it’s a bit harder to breathe, literally, today.

This morning, as I listened to the news, I felt the weight on my chest of 800,000 DACA recipients who face an increased risk of deportation in the future. I thought of the folks who drowned in Houston’s epic floods, no longer breathing, and those who have been and are facing chemical spills and air pollution from all the restarting chemical and petroleum plants, wearing masks to filter the air, or fleeing the area if they can. It’s hard for a lot of folks to breathe easy these days.

Hope can expand the lungs a bit. I am grateful for folks raising money and working long hours to help protect DACA, save lives in Houston, build new campaigns against militarism, and provide aid to refugees. I am doing what I can to support these efforts. I feel helpless if I focus on what I alone can do (not a lot), but a little stronger when I work with others to make change (we can do much more together!).

War tax resisters have tended to be a more solitary bunch in recent years, as affiliates have faded away, as folks have gotten older and/or moved on to other focuses. But a successful civil disobedience movement really requires community, such as NWTRCC’s active affiliate groups or the myriad affinity groups of co-conspirators taking direct action for racial, environmental, and social justice.

Some of the organizers, donors, and recipients of this year’s Collective Redirection and alternative fund grants, in St. Louis, MO, May 2017. Building community, solidarity, and justice through resistance.

I’m working with some other folks who are active with NWTRCC to develop a campaign for Tax Day 2018. I hope this will be a theme or an organizing focus that emphasizes the work we can do together as war tax resisters and with directly affected communities. (Just as this year’s Collective Redirection did! Read about the project here and about the redirection results here on page 3.)

Got ideas for themes or organizing focuses? Leave them in the comments.

Let’s build growing pockets of fresh air, hope, and justice in this thick haze of injustice.

Post by Erica Leigh

P.S. For a little more fresh air, check out NWTRCC’s latest newsletter if you haven’t already. Subscribe to our mailing list to get our newsletter via email every two months. Or subscribe to the blog (look in the sidebar to enter your email address) to get an email alerting you to each week’s post.

One thought on “Getting some fresh air”

  1. Pam says:

    Erica – thanks! I really like the idea of “collective redirection.” Also anything that brings up independent action (from a criminal congress, etc).

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