Maybe because I was in Massachusetts over the weekend, the Colrain house seizure story from 1989 – 1993 was on my mind today. And then I remembered something I had neglected to do, which was to post a talk by longtime war tax resister and Massachusetts resident Larry Rosenwald. Larry was a panelist at the 25th anniversary Colrain reunion in November 2018. The panel topic was “The impacts Colrain might have had on the national WTR movement and thoughts on the current state of the WTR and the peace movement.”
By “Colrain” we mean not just a house seizure, but the four years of organizing, vigils and civil disobedience at the seized property under the banner “It’s wrong to confiscate homes in order to force people to pay for war.”
You can read about the seizure and actions and the reunion presentations, but this blog is really to get you to look at Larry’s talk and share your thoughts.
A lively discussion followed the panel presentations, which included Bill Ramsey, Joanne Sheehan and myself, but Larry (being a professor or just more organized) was the only one who came with written remarks to share. (A recording of the session has not surfaced.)
Larry had some provocative stuff in his presentation, such as:
…I can’t recall a moment in my more than thirty years of war tax resistance when such resistance has seemed so far from having political power. Given the Trump administration, one would have expected a significant rise in wtr, in numbers and intensity and demographic range. That hasn’t happened, and the non-happening is an earthquake.
In my judgment, the weak state of war tax resistance, in general and as a means of doing politics, is not temporary but permanent. I can’t see a future in which the war tax resistance at the center of the Colrain action, which has been my war tax resistance as well, exercises political power: that mode of war tax resistance is likely to survive only as what Randy Kehler tellingly called a spiritual exercise. It won’t stop feeling right for me and others to refuse to pay; but we won’t thereby be building a movement.
I don’t attribute the gloomy state of things to fear of the IRS – especially the currently underfunded IRS! I don’t attribute it to insufficient outreach to the young. I do to some extent attribute it to…. read the whole text here
So, I hope you read Larry’s analysis, and then make your comments below – or somewhere. Send a letter-to-the-editor of NWTRCC’s newsletter. Come to a future NWTRCC gathering and bring your insights. Email me and I’ll put it in a future blog. If you are in NYC and want to discuss this in person, be in touch! Larry has good reason to question the state of WTR, but do we stop there?
— Post by Ruth Benn