Resisting Debt Collectively

Our friends at Strike Debt (who released the Debt Resisters Operations Manual that has a whole chapter on tax resistance) are promoting a new effort called Debt Collective, coming off of their recent Rolling Jubilee forgiveness of $4 million in student loan debt from Corinthian Colleges. Debt Collective is a way for debtors to organize together, and it is not limited to student debt, but also includes credit cards, mortgages, and other types of debt: The goal of the Debt Collective is to create a platform by debtors and for debtors for organization, advocacy, and resistance. Organizing collectively offers many possibilities for building power against creditors: As we build membership, we can organize debtors into groups based on region, type […]

Marching Into the Future 2

I admit to having been somewhat ambivalent about the climate march in advance, and truthfully, I remain somewhat ambivalent after. Was this the launch of a united and more powerful demand for changing the way things are and protecting the earth, or were we just numbers in the publicity for some of the big groups behind this march? Still, I was surrounded by lots of energy and hope; lots of people with lots of creative signs, banners, artworks, costumes, displays; lots of children seriously worried about their future; lots of grandparents seriously worried about the future for those children; and lots of attention to the issues of indigenous people, islanders, and low income communities who have been and will be […]

Marching Into the Future

I was in the Cascade Mountains in Washington state in August. How lucky to be able to take a hike in the wilderness and leave behind the rush of daily life in New York City and the news of endless war and crisis after crisis somewhere in the world. And yet when I asked a local about swimming in the wilderness lake he noted that the water was not as clear as it should be at that time of year. The glaciers are melting and more silt is coming into the lake than usual. The climate crisis crept into my thoughts during my “get away from it all” experience. The swim was great anyway. This Sunday, September 21, I’ll be […]

Give Your Taxes to the Solidarity Economy

by David M. Gross In mid-April, people across the United States struggle to fill out their federal income tax returns. This shared calamity has created something of an inverted holiday season — with grumbling about paperwork and frustration towards government bureaucracy replacing the “peace on earth, goodwill to men” of the Yuletide. But at a church in Berkeley, California, this past April, people were handing over their taxes with a smile. They were members of the group Northern California War Tax Resistance, and they were smiling because their checks — averaging more than $1,000 apiece — were not made out to the federal government, but to twenty-seven local groups including the Bay Area Community Land Trust, the Berkeley Food Pantry, the Biketopia Community Workshop, Oakland Sustaining […]

An Ethic for the 21st Century

by Robert Randall, with feedback from many folks   Let us all agree on this one simple thing: It is not OK to kill people. It is not OK to kill people because you don’t like them. It is not OK to kill people because they don’t like you. It is not OK to kill people because they are different from you. It is not OK to kill people because of what they believe. Or because of what they don’t believe. Or because they believe differently than you do. It is not OK to kill people because they are wrong. It is not OK to kill people because of who or what they are. It is not OK to kill […]

Resistance, Redirection, and Revolution: Tabling at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair

Tabling at the Seattle Anarchist Bookfair this weekend, I realized again that anti-war activism is only part of the picture in modern war tax resistance. With so many problems in the world, with so much reporting and news from the proliferation of modern media sources online, it’s hard to know where to focus. Not only that, but it may not be in our best interest to focus too narrowly. Because anarchists acknowledge the interconnectedness of economic, social, and military issues with the functions of capitalism and the state. I usually don’t have to explain the concept of war tax resistance in much depth. They are usually supportive, if not always personally interested. I don’t get pushback on the level that […]

Ferguson, Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine…

It has been an exhausting few weeks in world events. Every day I look at Twitter and Facebook and there is always something new and discouraging. From the astonishingly violent Israeli attacks on Gaza to the police violence in Ferguson, from the secessionist fighting in Ukraine to the advance of ISIS in Iraq, I’m more than a little worn out by the news. National Priorities Project has recently reported that the US is on track to spend a total of $1.5 trillion on Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and the end of the 2014 fiscal year, while the ramping up of involvement in Iraq bodes poorly for reductions in war spending. But things aren’t all bad on publicity about military […]

Real Risks

Yesterday on Facebook, friend and fellow activist Sam Diener shared an article out of Afghanistan with me, “Afghan Taliban Reportedly Kill 20 Civilians Over ‘War Tax’.” The short article sourced from Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty/Radio Free Afghanistan reported: An Afghan official said Taliban militants have killed 20 civilians who refused to pay them “war tax” in northern Kunduz Province. Kunduz police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Hussaini said on August 11 that the Taliban also shot and wounded 10 others over their refusal to pay the militant group. I am immediately reminded of what minimal risks I face (and most of us in the U.S.) with my own war tax resistance. I hope I would be strong enough to say no […]

For a World Free of Nuclear Weapons: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Today is August 6, the 69th anniversary of the US military dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. 70-80,000 people were killed by the bomb drop and the subsequent firestorms, while another 70,000 or more died subsequently from radiation sickness and other consequences. On August 9, the US military dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 people died as a result of this bomb. Nuclear weapons have the ability to destroy on a scale almost unimaginable to those who have not seen their effects. All war destroys lives and communities; nuclear weapons have the capability to destroy larger areas and numbers of people, faster and more completely. This week, let’s remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and work […]

Flashback 2009: Gaza and War Tax Resistance

Note: This piece by NWTRCC coordinator Ruth Benn was originally published in the February/March 2009 edition of NWTRCC’s newsletter, More Than a Paycheck. We still operate the War Tax Boycott site and you can still sign on to the boycott. The flyer, using an older image by artist Doug Minkler, developed for Northern California War Tax Resistance, was created this year in response to Israeli attacks on Gaza. Reflections on Gaza: Renewing the War Tax Boycott By Ruth Benn Today I got out the notebooks and photos from my first trip to Palestine and Israel in 1988 at the time of the first intifada. I was on a human rights tour with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The goal was to […]

Podcast #1: War Tax Resistance for a Better World

In March we conducted our first ever Google Hangout, called “War Tax Resistance for a Better World”, with three panelists talking about how and why they do war tax resistance and how their actions contribute to creating the world they want to live in. Now we have a complete podcast version for your listening pleasure, to start off our occasional podcast series, also called War Tax Talk. Listen to the podcast. Subscribe to the podcast feed by adding http://feeds.feedburner.com/WarTaxTalkPodcast to your RSS reader. We hope to get onto iTunes and/or other podcast syndication sites soon. Send suggestions for podcast/Google Hangout topics or promotion ideas to wartaxresister at nwtrcc dot org. Listen to other audio interviews with war tax resisters.  Post […]

Henry David Thoreau: A War Tax Resistance Inspiration

By July 1846, the naturalist, slavery abolitionist, and writer Henry David Thoreau had been resisting the payment of poll taxes that helped fund the Mexican-American War for six years. He was arrested for refusing to pay and spent a night in jail. Though someone, likely his aunt, paid his back taxes and got him out the next day, his brief time in jail had a profound influence on him. A few years later Thoreau published the essay Civil Disobedience, containing his famous line, “If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed […]