Blog

Can the IRS

“Can the IRS” was one of my favorite actions at the IRS. It was organized by John-Ed Croft, a homeless artist with a creative, activist mindset. This was the fall of 1987, and John-Ed was living in a squat at the time, but had also spent many a night in an unused building in Central Park and a lot of time in what he called a “cardboard condominium” in midtown Manhattan. John-Ed came by the War Resisters League office where I was working to ask for support for his latest campaign. The IRS was after him for more than $11,000 in back taxes, and he had decided to pay them “in the currency of the homeless.” He was organizing the […]

The Graveyards of Empire

Addicted to War book cover with cartoon image of man holding missiles and tanks in his arms

Later this year the U.S. will enter into its 3rd decade of war in Afghanistan. It has been the longest ongoing foreign war in US history with some of those fighting in the war not even born when the US began bombing on October 7th, 2001. In the early years Afghanistan was referred to as “the good war” to distinguish it from the war in Iraq, the “dumb war.” In more recent years both are referenced by their country name with less emphasis on the war and all of the destruction the U.S. has caused. These countries seem to hold a higher concentration of U.S. military bases among the 800 worldwide with the wars serving as justification for more bases […]

A ‘War Story’ and a ‘New Start’: How I learned to Oppose War and Stop Paying for the Bomb

We each come into this work in our own ways. The first war I was aware of was the amorphous Cold War. I did not know much about it other than it was between the U.S. and USSR. I was oblivious of nuclear weapons and the oblivion they could cause to the Earth. How we frame war and the stories we tell greatly impact people’s ability to relate to the stories.   I was reminded that with the 30th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Iraq recently. The anniversary did not register for me at the time of the bombing. I was still in elementary school and my exposure to the war was having a classmate’s sister who was in the […]

Militarism Sinks Social Progress

Tax Day July 2020 NYC

Tax season is here — well, almost, since the IRS announced that filing can start on Feb. 12. Now is the time when many of you start asking War Resisters League when the new pie chart flyer  will be ready. Hopefully you will be making plans for a safe and socially distanced public presence of some sort on tax day 2021, still expected to be Thursday, April 15. As you may recall, tax day 2020 was moved to July 15, and WRL ended up with lots of leftover pie charts because leafleting was limited or curtailed by pandemic concerns. Note that the back of last year’s pie chart was a call to Abolish Nuclear Weapons to mark the 75th anniversary […]

Fierce Urgency of Now

black banner held outside that reads 'Today capitalism has outlived its usefulness'

As politicians bandy about the future with so much at stake, there was a collective sigh of relief with the end of the Trump administration. After the past four years, many of us have been on heightened alert and working to protect the most basic of human dignity. The toll has been tremendous especially over the past year as the pandemic has laid bare the systemic injustices that have been woven into the bedrock of this nation.  Some people couch their moral and ethical opposition to injustice and war in religious and spiritual terminology.  Reverend Dr. Martin King Jr. this past weekend in what would have been his 92nd Birthday provided a time of assessment for this country of where […]

NWTRCC Campaign for Tax Season 2021

Dear friends, This tax season, NWTRCC will host several online events and creating new online resources. We hope this will be useful to local groups and individuals in promoting war tax resistance. For example, the following events are planned for January: NWTRCC is Leading a Session for College of Complexes Saturday January 16, 2021 (7pm Eastern/ 4pm Pacific). The College of Complexes is a Chicago group that refers to itself as a “playground for people who think.” NWTRCC Coordinator Lincoln Rice will lead a session on the war tax resistance and the work of NWTRCC. Spread the word! Here is the Zoom info: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81216467150 Passcode 094136 By phone: +1 312 626 6799 Meeting ID: 812 1646 7150 WTR Panel to […]

Georgia Still On My Mind

As the spectacle of the departure of the 45th president unfolds, the unraveling of the U.S. Empire is witnessed by many watching under stay at home orders the world over. As the events unfold, my mind returns to Georgia and the incredible work of grassroots organizers to push for change in what became a linchpin in the balance of government. The accomplishments of largely women of color would become overshadowed by white men with guns. My own journey towards justice began in Georgia and the grassroots organizing efforts of the School of the America Watch. Founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois’s words often come to mind that most  of the problems of the world boil down to “men with guns.”  It was […]

Hindsight, Looking Forward with 2020 Vision

As 2020 comes to a close, it seems like a good time to look back to where we have been; have clear eyes about where we are headed in order to forge a new path. By January 15th 2021, 5,ooo total U.S. troops are poised to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.  After a height of 170,000 troops in Iraq and 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and over 19 years of war this appears to be welcome news to the longest ongoing war in U.S. history. A former Marine captain wrote “Two Costly Wars and a Legacy of Shame” in the New York Times that the US Defense Department alone spent $6 trillion dollars “costing each American taxpayer an estimate more than […]

Don’t Pay for What You Don’t Want

Nelson Homestead

“I don’t want to pay for what I don’t want. I won’t buy what I don’t want. I’m that way with everything. So, why not war? I don’t want it either…” — Juanita Nelson on Democracy Now! During this season of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, big online retailer vans and trucks crowding streets and highways, advertisements for all manner of plastic stuff, etc., it’s a great time to remember Wally and Juanita Nelson. They lived lives centered around their belief in nonviolence as a way of life, a belief that led Wally to prison for refusing to fight in WWII. A belief that led the couple to refuse to pay taxes for war. A belief that evolved to an exemplary […]

NWTRCC Conference Report

Originally, our November 2020 conference was going to take place in Colorado Springs. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we made the decision to meet online using Zoom instead. (Though I would like to thank Mary Sprunger-Froese and Rick Bickhart, who had put time and energy into the original planning of the conference.) If we had been able to meet in person, we might have seen some beautiful vistas. As it was, almost everyone had wonderful weather while we met online and some folks took their computers outside their homes during our conference. NWTRCC’s second online conference was a success. (Though to be clear, NWTRCC has had an online component to its conferences that allowed folks who were offsite to join us […]

Tax Resistance, Self-Employment and Health Insurance

DECISIONS, DECISIONS It’s a thorny problem when the complications of obtaining health insurance intersect with the desire to remain a nonfiling tax resister. This is exactly where I found myself when my luck ran out on the premium tax credit. As a self-employed freelancer, I have to purchase my own health insurance. For the past few years I was able to prove to the state’s insurance marketplace that my income was low enough to qualify by sending copies of my properly filled out but not filed tax forms. I knew it was a risky move when I started, and after the first year I thought I was in the clear. But now they’ve caught up with me and it’s not […]

All or Nothing Syndrome

Over these decades of doing war tax resistance, being in meetings about war tax resistance, counseling current or new resisters, etc., I’ve tried to argue against something I will call the “all or nothing syndrome.” “I can’t live below taxable income so I can’t resist.” “We’re having a baby so I have to stop resisting.” “I’m applying for a loan so I have to stop resisting.” “The IRS just took my bank account so I have to stop resisting.” “I like the idea but I can’t risk my job by becoming a war tax resister.” I don’t want to be snooty and judgmental about it. People hit a wall and feel there is no way around it for all kinds […]