Examining My Good Intentions

Tax day is nearly here! I do find that a funny thing to say in June as I keep reminding myself that I should sit down and fill out the forms. My motto seems to be “put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Still, as someone who files and refuses to pay, I can’t think of any reason to file before tax day, and I like to file on paper at the last minute as just another little way to gum up the system

But planning for redirection has been on my mind lately, reinforced by the calls to defund the police and invest in badly needed services in communities long underfunded. I’ve also gotten quite a few emails from organizations or activists encouraging donations to Black-led groups as another prod to consider my redirections.

This reminded me of NWTRCC’s 2017 call to war tax resisters for “collective redirection to Black, Brown, and Indigenous Resistance.” Sam Koplinka-Loehr, Outreach Consultant at the time, was behind the text for the call, which outlined reasons for this campaign (the full text and reports of the redirection are on the website).

  • Black, Brown, and Indigenous People are directly targeted by systemic racism and state-sponsored violence.
  • Black, Brown, and Indigenous organizers in our communities are leading—and have been leading for generations—fierce campaigns to end state violence, dismantle white supremacy, and eliminate all forms of oppression. (Check out the Movement For Black Lives Policy Platform   which lays out how our movements are deeply connected and how black organizers are leading the charge for systemic change both in the United States and around the world.)
  • There is a huge wealth gap from the ongoing legacies of white supremacy and systemic racism that impacts households  and organizations. In many communities, white organizers have access to more resources than Black, Brown, and Indigenous organizers.
  • War tax resisters have long recognized the interconnections between our movements. The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) statement of purpose reads, “NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, environmental destruction and militarization of law enforcement as integrally linked with the militarism which we abhor. Through the redirection of our tax dollars NWTRCC members contribute directly to the struggle for peace and justice for all.”

That last point said to me “put your money where your mouth is.” The collective redirection campaign did cause me to examine my usual redirection list and note that I was guilty guilty guilty of supporting mostly white-led organizations. While I focused on lots of good causes like feeding the hungry, sheltering victims of war, or promoting alternative media, I was not thinking about a deeper level of redirection that involves shifting resources.

This examination is an ongoing process. I’m not patting myself on my back for changes made as there’s always more to be done. Sam still deserves a nod for pushing us along the road to examine and act on the ways that racism and structural racism inveigle their ways into even our most sincere efforts to act for peace and justice.

— Post by Ruth Benn

3 thoughts on “Examining My Good Intentions”

  1. Ruth Laurie Winestock says:

    Hello Ruth Benn,
    We are thinking of organizing a local property tax resistance movement to DEFUND THE POLICE, much like the war tax resistance coordinating committee. Is there any advice you have for us?

  2. Chrissy Kirchhoefer says:

    Great post Ruth! Thanks for the direction on redirection opportunities. The stimulus check has allowed for some to invest resources into tangible concrete needs in our community- like you said to put our money where our mouth is!

  3. Ruth says:

    Thanks Laurie for bringing up that pressing issue. Hopefully others will weigh in on resisting property taxes, and I will give it thought. My/our focus has generally been federal income tax and federal IRS, though many do resist state taxes. Local property taxes is dealing with yet another entity, and the risks as far as property seizure would presumably be higher than with the feds. Still there are certain resistance tactics and resisting collection issues that probably overlap. Might be worth a meeting locally if we have some resisters where you are. Feel free to email rbenn@nwtrcc.org.

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