Raising Taxes to Stop War?

thumbnail image of 2019 pie chart - click to go to WRL website and download complete file

By Lincoln Rice I become a war tax resister because of my deep-seated belief that war is wrong and I cannot voluntarily participate in war with my body or resources. Therefore, I have spent the last twenty years refusing to pay my federal income taxes and have redirected those funds to more life-giving projects. A recent VOX article, “To Stop Endless Wars, Raise Taxes” by Sarah Kreps, provides a different method to resist war—raise taxes. In her article, Kreps asserts, “Contemporary wars are all put on the nation’s credit card, and that eliminates a critical accountability link between the populace and the conduct of war.” This does have a ring of truth to it. According to the federal budget pie chart, […]

This Is All Happening On Our Dime

I got a very striking email from the ACLU the other day. I don’t know that anyone in the ACLU is aware of what it sounds like they’re saying, which is stopping just short of calling for tax resistance against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS): This is all happening on our dime. Congress will vote on a new budget very soon, and President Trump has requested 23+ billion of our taxpayer dollars for this morally corrupt agency – including resources to put tens of thousands of children and their parents in family prison camps. Call your senators and tell them we refuse to provide DHS with our taxpayer money while they continue to harm immigrant children and families. We […]

Certified Mail from the IRS

excerpt of an IRS letter with the heading "Notice of Intent to Levy - Amount due immediately: $1,955.87"

Over the past few weeks, several resisters in the NWTRCC network have reported getting unusually swift Notices of Intent to Levy by certified mail from the IRS. (A Notice of Intent to Levy is the last letter the IRS must send you before they can begin collection action, assuming you don’t dispute their tax assessment or pay up. For a quick guide to some other common IRS letters, see this blog post.) Ruth Benn reports getting a certified letter for the first time in years. (She had refused to sign for other certified letters in the past. As a result, for a while the IRS sent her Notices of Intent by regular first-class mail.) Larry Bassett reports: “I have come […]

Educating Catholic Workers about WTR

Catholic Worker logo in a woodcut black-and-white art style. Showing a cross behind Jesus in the center, with a light-skinned woman on the left holding a basket and carrying a baby on her back, and a dark-skinned man on the right holding a pickaxe.

by Lincoln Rice Every September for about forty years, there has been a Midwest Gathering of Catholic Workers near Preston, Iowa. Attendance ranges from 75 to 200, with representatives from around two dozen Catholic Worker communities. The weekend is a chance for autonomous Catholic Worker communities to share stories and hold roundtable discussions on topical issues and concerns. In the twenty years that I have regularly attended, there has never been a session on war tax resistance (WTR). Most Catholic Workers try to live simply and are anti-war, but do not intentionally practice WTR. Most are WTRers by default—by earning under the taxable limit. In recent conversations with younger (30 years and under) Catholic Workers about WTR, I realized there […]

The president, his taxes and the resistance

“The I.R.S. Should Go After Trump” was a headline on an op-ed piece in the New York Times  that jumped out at me the other day. In part I’m always interested in articles about the IRS, and it did impart some good information on their practices. It also reminded me of all the brouhaha around Trump not releasing his taxes and those who said they would not pay until he did so. The author, Phillip Hackney is a former lawyer for the chief counsel of the IRS, so he knows something about the inner workings of the agency. His piece was inspired by the New York State attorney general going after the nonprofit Trump Foundation for using a charitable organization […]

Taxing Wars and BDS against the US

A new book by professor and former Air Force officer Sarah E. Kreps, Taxing Wars: The American Way of War Finance and the Decline of Democracy, argues that the decline of the war tax has a lot to do with why the U.S. modern wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are seemingly neverending. What do you think? From the summary: “Sarah Kreps chronicles the entire history of how America has paid for its wars-and how its methods have changed. Early on, the United States imposed war taxes that both demanded sacrifices from all Americans and served as reminders of their participation. Indeed, thinkers from Immanuel Kant to Adam Smith argued that these reminders were exactly the reason why democracies tended to […]

Intersectionality and War Tax Resistance

What is intersectionality and why is it an important concept for war tax resisters to understand? Over the past few years, I’ve heard folks in our network use the word “intersectionality” to describe our aims to work with and support a variety of movements. I’m excited about WTRs working with other movements and organizations! However, I’d like to caution us to be careful about our language. Cultivating the overlaps or intersections between war tax resistance and other movements/tactics/focuses (what might more appropriately be called coalition building, solidarity, or allyship) isn’t actually intersectionality as the organizations you’re working with may understand it. Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, a black woman who is a legal scholar and feminist/critical race theorist, developed the term intersectionality […]

Let’s Honor Peacemakers on This Memorial Day

rows and rows of crosses and the Santa Monica beach in the distance - the Arlington West memorial to veteran and civilian deaths in war. Photo by Ruth Benn, May 6, 2018.

by Susan Miller When we’ve inquired about remodeling our apartment in Manhattan, contractors ask, “Is it pre-war?” That’s hard to answer. Pre- which war? For the past century, the U.S. has been complicitly or directly at war with countries around the world, with perhaps only a few years during President Jimmy Carter’s administration in which the world was spared from U.S. aggression and so much military aid to influence political and economic decisions. What has the world gained from the unconscionable numbers of civilians and soldiers killed in war, the money U.S. taxpayers lose to the preparation, payment, and resulting debt to our budget, the destruction of our planet, the crises of homelessness, suicide, gun violence at home, and reduction […]

Photo Reflections from LA

Erica posted last week about the Los Angeles WTR gathering, and much about it is still on my mind, so I’ll just add more photos and captions from our time there. It was my last gathering and business meeting as coordinator of NWTRCC (this is my new email address), and now after a few days of training Lincoln Rice is fully in the role. But I hope that I will continue to make it to at least some of the NWTRCC gatherings and meetings. I have had so many special experiences during each of two gatherings a year for 15 years, met so many amazing local organizers working on all kinds of issues, and learned a lot about the shared […]

Investing in People: Our LA Gathering

Ruth Benn and Lincoln Rice laughing during May 5, 2018 coordinator transition discussion.

We had a delightful NWTRCC gathering in sunny Los Angeles this past weekend. I want to start with a HUGE thank you to the local organizing team, including Cathy Deppe, Alex Walker, and Anne Barron from Southern California War Tax Resistance and Alternative Fund (sorry if I missed other names). The gathering was co-sponsored by Veterans For Peace LA Chapter, LA Catholic Worker, and NWTRCC. It was held at the LA Workers Center in Koreatown. In addition, LA Food Not Bombs provided food throughout the weekend! Thank you to all our hosts and supporters. Here are some of the highlights, in my humble opinion: The weekend began with dinner and a panel discussion on divestment. Panelists Jim Haber, Anne Barron, Dr. […]

Migration and Militarism

I’ve been tangentially following the Pueblo Sin Fronteras caravan of Central American migrants, and have been reading more closely about their experiences since they arrived at the San Ysidro port of entry on April 29, 2018. Migrants and supporters also gathered at the beach in Tijuana and San Diego that day. Although, several days later, some asylum seekers have been admitted to the US, dozens, if not hundreds, of others are still waiting at the border for processing. The majority of people in this caravan come from Honduras, a country profoundly affected by US foreign policy, including support for the government installed after the coup in 2009. Others are fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.   The demonization […]

Moments of Beauty

I needed a bit of a boost today, and the sunny spring weather we’re having here in the Pacific Northwest is certainly helping! Sometimes the weight of the world is a bit much in contrast. But I’m also really looking forward to our upcoming conference in LA, May 3-5, because I am basically guaranteed more warm sunny weather, but also because I get to see my friends and accomplices in war tax resistance! Below are some of my favorite pictures from the last few years of gatherings. We have fun. I always love being around war tax resisters – we’re a stubborn bunch and maybe a little weird (okay, definitely weird), but we support each other even across our differences. […]