U.S. Troop Withdrawal from the Middle East

In the latter half of December, President Trump announced the withdrawal of all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria along with an additional withdrawal of 7,000 troops (a 50% reduction) from Afghanistan. Originally, Trump gave the military thirty days to remove troops from Syria, but now has extended the deadline to four months. One would think this news would have brought a tremendous amount of holiday cheer, but folks of blue and red persuasions have been lambasting Trump over the decision. I do not pretend to have an expert grasp the political situation in Syria. (Here is a brief synopsis of the current situation in Syria). But along with groups like World Beyond War, I want to pressure President Trump to […]

Military Operations on the U.S./Mexico Border

a line of military police with riot shields practicing a formation in a parking lot

I never had enough time in 2018 to write the post I wanted to write about escalating militarism on the U.S./Mexico border. Now I’m shifting out of my role as NWTRCC blog curator. While I don’t have much time to cover the issue, I want to at least bring it up again to our WTR and potential WTR audience! Tear gas and military deployment on the border The mobilization of the U.S. military to the border, of course, is itself quite striking. Militarization is not just a factor overseas, but right here within our own borders. We have soldiers patrolling against the perceived harm of migrants seeking personal safety and shelter, painted by the government as violent criminals. When the […]

Resistance and Witness at the Cleveland National Air Show

At long last, here’s the video from our Friday night event in Cleveland. Maria Smith hosted the evening with Mike Fiala from Cleveland Catholic Worker and other speakers! Unfortunately there’s no closed captioning or transcript at this time – if someone is available to take that task on, please let us know!

How Much Do You Make?

  A story from Finland jumped out of the paper at me recently: “In Finland, Every Citizen’s Taxable Income Is Revealed” (NY Times, 11/2/2018). The article describes a surprising tradition in that country. Many in Finland feel that this transparency helps to control the gap between high and low incomes and to control disparities in pay for the same work. Executives seem to think twice before raising their own salaries. One interviewee said Finns tend to be humble; “If you show it around, no one likes you,” he said. Such an idea must make that guy in the White House cringe. The rest of us can certainly see advantages to having such a release be automatic as far as trying […]

No to NATO 2019

At our November 2018 meeting in Cleveland, NWTRCC endorsed the No to NATO, No to Racism call from the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), including a major mobilization to protest NATO’s meeting in Washington, D.C. on March 30, 2019, and other actions on April 4. NWTRCC chose to meet in Chicago during the weekend of the major protests against the NATO meeting there in May 2012. We participated in the major protest march and leafletted heavily during the preceding rally. Our stand against militarism includes all spending for NATO and similar militarist alliances, whether ostensibly “defensive” or “offensive” in nature. UNAC’s mobilization call says, in part, “It was exactly one year before he was murdered [on April 4, 1968] that […]

Conscience and History: Frivolous Filing

image of black mailbox with 10 IRS envelopes sticking out the top

At my very first NWTRCC meeting in 2008 in Eugene, we met a local couple who had resisted $50 of their taxes as their first foray into war tax resistance. Along with their return, and a check for the total tax amount minus $50, they enclosed a letter explaining their reasons for resisting. Unfortunately, the couple received an alarming-looking letter from the IRS, accusing them of making a “frivolous” argument about why they weren’t paying their taxes. The letter threatened them with a $5,000 frivolous filing penalty if they did not re-file their taxes. Even though the couple complied, and paid the $50 they had resisted, the IRS fined them $5,000 each. Eventually, by contacting the Taxpayer Advocate and their […]

Old Propaganda War Tax Films

One of the highlights of the November 2018 NWTRCC conference in Cleveland was the preview showing of The Pacifist. As mentioned by Erica in a previous post, the film follows Larry Bassett’s refusal to pay over $100,000 in taxes. The film is still making the rounds of the film festival circuit, so is not yet available to the general public. However, an audio version of the film is FREE online through Spotify and Apple Music audio streaming services (sign-up required). You can also watch a scene from the film on Facebook. Throughout the film, there were several archival film clips promoting the payment of federal taxes to support war and, by default, democracy (according to the film clips). During the […]

Colrain after 25 Years: Learning from an action

A summary of a great weekend at the New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters Woolman Hill, Deerfield, Massachusetts, November 16-18, 2018 Between 1989 and 1993, hundreds of people flocked to Colrain, Mass., to voice their opposition to war and military spending by supporting the war tax resistance (WTR) of Betsy Corner and Randy Kehler when the IRS seized their home. You can read about them and a synopsis of the house seizure here – and through many other web links. About 50 people turned up during the reunion weekend to share personal impacts, reflections, analysis, and lessons of the Colrain action. There were also presentations and perspectives on the military budget and the current state of the WTR and the […]

The (Art and) Science of Peace

I’ll be writing a more in-depth reflection on our Cleveland meeting for the next newsletter, but suffice it to say, it was a terrific weekend! The primary organizer of the weekend was the amazing Maria Smith, whose care and thoughtfulness and deep roots in Cleveland were evident in each activity. We met a variety of people who are intertwined with her activist communities and her work. Thank you, Maria! Friday night’s Cleveland Airshow protest presentation, led by Mike Fiala and with contributions from several other participants, gave us a sense of what resistance to military glorification looks like in Cleveland. I recorded this presentation and will be editing it for YouTube in the coming weeks, so look for that announcement! […]

Join Us Online in Cleveland

We’re looking forward to seeing many members of the NWTRCC network and broader community for our gathering in Cleveland this weekend, November 2-4. You can join us for one live online broadcast from the conference each day by signing up for Virtual Meeting Access. On Friday night, we’ll have a panel discussion from Catholic Workers in Cleveland about resistance to the Cleveland Air Show. On Saturday there will be a session TBD, and on Sunday we’ll have the regular NWTRCC business meeting from 9 AM to noon. All panel times are in Eastern time. Check out the Virtual Meeting page for more details and the registration link.

Milwaukee 14 – 50 Years Later

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Milwaukee 14, in which fourteen men (during the planning stage there were also two women in the group, but that’s another story) raided a federal office in downtown Milwaukee, removed around 10,000 draft files, and burned them with home-made napalm. Though the fourteen faced decades in prison, each served about one year. Though largely forgotten today, the action made national headlines in 1968 & Howard Zinn served as an expert witness at the trial for the defense. An event was held in Milwaukee this past September to commemorate the event. Joined by friends & family, most of the fourteen that are still living made the trip to Milwaukee. The event was a […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I find myself torn once again between getting myself out the door to be at a demonstration versus doing all the personal and behind-the-scenes political projects that are piled up around me. This weekend is the Women’s March on the Pentagon, a protest initiated by Cindy Sheehan and inspired by the 51st anniversary of the 1967 march on the Pentagon — a spirited event with a turnout of 50,000 on October 21, 1967. Such a turnout is exceedingly unlikely this weekend, despite the couple hundred individual and group endorsers listed on the website, including our own National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Within our war tax resistance network, initial interest in having a group presence there has dwindled to whether […]