I’m working at finding hope in dark times. It helps to be in a city full of activists of one stripe or another — ceasefire, save Gaza, antiwar in one place or another, stop mass incarceration, shut down Rikers, end solitary confinement, house the unhoused, close Guantanamo, Black Lives Matter, etc. And in the midst of it all, you might get invited to a holiday party. What times we are in.
It’s not easy to see through the dark clouds looming (like the ongoing cult of personality for that former prez), but I do find hope in the constant and loud demands for a ceasefire and the range of actions one can join, from marches to vigils to petitions to calling Congress to civil disobedience. Coupled with this and encouraging for us are the constant calls for stopping the flow of U.S. money and weapons to Israel and the impressive numbers of people joining or watching NWTRCC’s WTR 101 webinars or asking for local workshops.
The word about war tax resistance and the fact that it seems to be spreading person-by-person to their networks and then on to their contacts and then to more networks is awesome. Recently on the WTR listserve Ilene Roizman, who has been associated with NWTRCC for some years, wrote:
In an effort to contribute some small thing to the push for a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to the US’s complicity with Israel’s atrocities, I’ve been engaging on Instagram. …I posted a comment on several Instagram posts:
We don’t have to pay for war. Tax resistance is an option and would be very effective at larger scale. Yes, it’s risky, but this is a time to take big risks so we can effect big change. Learn more: National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, nwtrcc.org.
One person responded:
The only way it’ll work is if it’s a massive movement, but people are really afraid to not pay taxes I think.
People are afraid, yes, but that’s why we are putting together a coalition to educate people on their rights, risks, and recourse. The IRS isn’t as powerful as they project themselves to be.
This is what I’ve been talking about and trying to comment on, but didn’t realize there was already a committee. Thank you for sharing!
Last week a reporter based in Brooklyn got in touch with NWTRCC and then me. He had heard of war tax resistance when he found a ‘zine in a Brooklyn coffee shop on the topic, and he sent images of the ‘zine, a small publication I’d never seen before. Given the content, it was obviously inspired by the current war on Gaza and included some basic information taken from NWTRCC and WRL and with QR code links to those two organizations.
A third QR code took me to a slightly longer, 9-page publication called “War Tax Protest & Resistance: A Liberatory Toolkit.” The initials-only author describes it as a “toolkit with queer and Trans Black and brown folx who are distanced from generational wealth in mind”. (I posted it here so you can read it, and hope that’s ok with the author.) It’s a thought-provoking read for those of us who have been doing WTR in a certain way for a long time, and it also sparks some hope that we really can expand this form of resistance militarism into that “massive movement” we’ve talked about for so long — maybe best led by some of these new voices (including those in last week’s blog).
So, a deeply felt thanks to everyone who is lighting a candle in these dark times. And as the author of the toolkit says, “Another world is possible y’all, let’s build it together.”
— Post by Ruth Benn
P.S. I can’t help but add this quote from a sermon Bishop William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign last year before Christmas as part of a call by religious leaders for a ceasefire in Ukraine:
We need a ceasefire in every war being fought around the world. The fragile ceasefire in Yemen is barely holding. We need ceasefires in Sudan and South Sudan, in Somalia, in Mali, in Myanmar and Iraq and beyond. Many wars are being waged in the name of fighting against terrorism or against drug cartels or against domestic opponents. And in many of these wars, we can see the impact in complicated ways, where U.S. arms are being used by both sides, however they got them. And despite our own government’s humanitarian work, great in many ways, we cannot ignore the historians, political scientists, the media reports, and even some military officials, who have shown how some of our actions in history and some of our actions in the present have imposed economic and security policies around the world that have resulted in desperate poverty, environmental catastrophe, refugee crises, authoritarian rulers and more. We have a moral obligation to stop supporting wars and call for, work for ceasefires.