There’s something of a learning curve to tax refusal. Maybe for some it’s easier than others, but a lot of us started small, increased our resistance over the years, adjusted our lifestyles, or changed methods as needed or desired. A war tax resistance workshop can hit you with a lot of information. NWTRCC and WRL’s websites and literature are packed with information about steps to take and what happens if…..
On top of all that, it’s pretty easy to find reasons not to resist, especially when friends or family (and accountants and lawyers) tell you messing with the IRS is a really bad idea. At the times I’ve worried about what the IRS might (emphasis on might) do, I’m reminded of something longtime resister Bill Ramsey says in NWTRCC’s (old but still useful) intro film Death and Taxes:
The IRS has a huge collection process that lasts for years and at every stage of that collection process, the war tax resister has a choice about what to do. So that’s why I believe that it’s really a one step at a time kind of thing, and that imagining the worst possible consequences before you even begin the process is paralyzing. And it doesn’t let your conscience struggle with doubts one by one.
New resisters often feel war tax resistance is an “all or nothing” choice, but many of us see the power in the protest itself as opposed to the amount of money resisted. One person refusing $10,000 all at once probably worries the government less than 1,000 people each refusing $10. At which point in this blog, I’m reminded that I wrote about this “All or Nothing Syndrome” a few years ago, so I won’t repeat myself except to add another favorite quote, this one from Betty Winkler:
…with the realities of the day being what they are I would wish that everybody who marched, everybody who sent a letter of protest to their representative would just resist one fucking dollar. Just resist something.
The “realities of the day” at that time, 2005, were the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. Even if Israel’s destruction and killing in Gaza ends tomorrow, the U.S. war machine will still be rolling while so many other desperate needs go unmet. Preventing future wars is the bottom line for many of us and the reason to continue to resist in all ways possible for as long as it takes.
Maintaining resistance is easier if you are connected to other resisters. It will be great if a local or national war tax resistance campaign takes off and large numbers are resisting together. Short of that, encourage resistance in whatever group you are active with or seek support from them. Stay in touch with NWTRCC and contact other resisters in your area.
— Post by Ruth Benn
P.S. The graphic mentions phone tax resistance, an excise tax that’s only on landline phones where the local and long distance plans are separate. See this page for more on resisting excise taxes.