Last weekend’s Voices of Resistance conference, a joint effort of the joint New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (oh, jeez, that’s a mouthful) was some deep food for thought. I want to start by thanking the organizing team and all of the guests who joined us for the panel and workshops. It was great to see several UMass students in attendance too.
Every part of this weekend was a different challenge for me! Friday was a lot of meetings and logistics, with Ad Comm meeting and then prepping for the Fulfilling Lives While Fighting for Our Lives panel. During the panel, Camila, Nathalie, and Rojas were dropping a lot of heavy truths and hard questions. What can folks with resources provide to their friends without resources? How can we connect with each other across differences? What is solidarity? Can we make progress for migrant rights, prison abolition, and climate justice? You can watch a recording of segments of this panel discussion here.
Saturday’s big challenge was sitting still as I recorded several more presentations. The workshop discussions of climate change and divestment, as well as border militarization, will be online in the next week or two.
At lunchtime, keynote speaker Loretta Ross provided another challenge to us. How do we find joy and compassion in life as we work against militarism, white supremacy, and the aggressions of the Trump administration? “Fighting Nazis should be fun!” she exclaimed. I realized from her and from other discussions that day, that as we exhort each other and ourselves to work harder, give more, and be more, we are maybe not making space for either joy or being truly real with each other about our lives and personal struggles.
So Saturday night, while many folks sat and discussed strategy, the thing I wanted to do most was drink a beer and just hang out, so I did. And I’m grateful for that opportunity to get to know some of the folks in our community better. (I also hope some positive action came out of the big group discussion! You’ll have to tell me about it sometime: leave a comment, or write one of these blog posts!)
On Sunday, we looked toward the future, with plans approved to create a Divest/Invest themed landing page for Tax Day 2018, restructure NWTRCC’s consultant positions for 2018 (more on that to come), print our newsletter on yellow paper to commemorate WWI “bond slackers,” and give some funds to the San Diego Peace Resource Center. We also endorsed the Movement for Black Lives’ policy platform, which includes a call for an immediate 50% reduction of the military budget and redirection of those funds to human and environmental needs.
My heart feels full, if torn, about the sorrows of this world and the joys we need to hold onto. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can all make of 2018.
Post by Erica Leigh