Bringing War Home

When we talk about war tax resistance and why we do it, we tend to focus on the Pentagon and its warmongering abroad. Recently I was doing research for the back of the WRL pie chart and the true horror of weapons of war-come-home really hit me. Doesn’t this picture say it all? The police department in a little Florida town (pop. 5,350) is equipped with an 18-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, designed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military doesn’t know what to do with its war surplus (how about beating them into plowshares?) so lucky us! This largesse is in part thanks to the Department of Homeland Security, a “second defense department,” and just […]

War Tax Resistance as Self-Care

Last week on Twitter, I saw that David Gross retweeted a message from author Sofia Samatar in which she described war tax resistance as self-care. I was immediately taken with this concept, and while Sofia’s plate was too full to write about it, she gave her blessing for me to run with it! So thanks to Sofia for the inspiration; all thoughts that follow are mine, however. Self-care is a practice of taking actions that heal and rejuvenate ourselves. For some writers, it means relaxing or decompressing from work and activism and family responsibilities – getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, taking time to read a book or watch a movie, or spending quality time with friends and family. For […]

7 Weeks Until #TaxDay !

Tax Day, April 15, is in just seven short weeks. Every year, NWTRCC network affiliates take action to bring attention to the United States’ military budget and to the tactic of war tax resistance (here’s last year’s Tax Day report). Common actions include distributing the War Resisters League’s federal budget pie chart, conducting penny polls, holding events to draw attention to war tax resistance, publicly redistributing resisted war taxes, and protesting at IRS offices. Don’t feel restricted to those types of activities though! If you’re not connected with a local war tax resistance group, check out our list of affiliates or start your own. If you don’t know any other resisters in your area, tabling or handing out flyers only […]

Redirecting Our Money, Time, and Focus from War

Last week in NWTRCC’s Strategy Committee, we discussed war tax redirection, which is a tactic employed by many war tax resisters. The money such resisters refuse to pay to the IRS, they instead “redirect” it to organizations they feel will make better use of the money. (Read more about redirection on our website.) One of the most gratifying things about war tax resistance for many of us is being able to use our money, time, and passion to build a better world right now. If I give my tax dollars to non-profits, I promote and help enact the type of world I want to live in (and depending on my income level and donation amounts, I might reduce my taxable […]

Weathering a WTR Workshop

On February 7, Ed Hedemann and I headed up to Rochester, New York, from Brooklyn, on the bus to facilitate a Friday night/Saturday war tax resistance workshop. We’ve had quite a winter, so heading 300 miles north, where the cold and snow was bound to be worse, left us wondering if the workshop would be cancelled at the last minute. However, Greyhound and the weather cooperated and a wonderful group showed up — some new, some long timers — to spend part of a weekend talking and learning about war tax resistance/witness/refusal (terminology varies with personal preferences). Ithaca activist and NWTRCC Network contact Tom Joyce and his Quaker colleague Karen Reixach from Rochester organized and publicized the workshop, which was […]

Zero Interest in Paying the Killing Machine’s Bills

I learned everything I need to know about the United States when I saw that picture of the young Vietnamese girl Kim Phuc running down the road with napalm burning through her skin to her bones.  I finally in 1980 began questioning whether I wanted to spend my life paying for the death of other human beings and the destruction of the biosphere.  At that time there were actual human beings involved with the IRS and a guy came up from our local small city, Wenatchee, Washington, to tell me that ‘taxes were a form of love.’  I pictured a ball of fusion-fire incinerating a Soviet city–the Russians were the enemy of choice in that particular decade. His statement was a nice […]

War Tax Resistance Trailblazer

Today, January 26, in Philadelphia the Quaker Action Team honors five elders, including our friend and associate Robin Harper. NWTRCC sent this tribute in his honor: Speaking truth to power has been the undercurrent of Robin Harper’s years as a war tax resister. Since Robin began his resistance in 1958, he has had many opportunities to present his deeply held convictions to IRS agents, federal court judges, tax court judges, along with friends, co-resisters, and family members. Of one four-hour meeting with IRS agents Robin said, “We established complete agreement on the figures and complete disagreement that I should pay the IRS.” We wrote that in December 2004 after a meeting at Swarthmore College at which Robin and Wallace Collett […]

Martin Luther King, Jr. on War and Civil Disobedience

Today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy as a passionate orator and organizer in the civil rights movement. He was also outspoken about the connections between racial, social, and economic justice and the United States government’s militarism. MLK was inspired by the war tax resistance of Henry David Thoreau and stated that, “As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.” He stated furthermore: When I went to Morehouse as a freshman in 1944, my concern for racial and economic justice was already substantial. During my student days I read Henry David Thoreau’s essay “On Civil Disobedience” for the first time. Here, in this courageous New Englander’s refusal to […]

Raising Taxes to Pay for War?

Over at liberal blogging haven Daily Kos, Jon Parr has suggested the old chestnut that if all those Congresspeople want war (this time, with Iran), maybe they should propose a tax increase to pay for it. Maybe then, the argument goes, both Congresspeople and Americans can see the great cost of war. As we saw in the recent budget decision, there is always money for war, whether or not it fits into the budget. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have proposed substantial changes to the bloated war machine, and the initially suggested $20 billion cut to the Pentagon was rescinded in the final analysis. National Priorities Project even reports that the war appropriation ($85 billion) was higher than the Pentagon requested […]

Ways to Deal with the IRS

While it would be great if we could have conversations with the DoD or Pentagon directly, for many war tax resisters our primary government contact is with the IRS. Beginning with the choice of whether or not to file an income tax return for Tax Day, our choice of resistance tactics can affect the type of attention we get from the IRS. Living on a low income may greatly reduce the possibility of IRS contact, for example. For those who do resist filing and/or payment of taxes, however, some resisters don’t hear at all from the IRS for years and years, while others are frequently contacted and collected on (and most find themselves somewhere inbetween these extremes) Those of us […]

99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns

“The heart of any tax resistance campaign is the resisters themselves. A successful campaign does what it can to encourage, support, and sustain these resisters and to facilitate their resistance.” -David Gross, 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns NWTRCC network member David Gross has been working for several months on a book about tactics of tax resistance campaigns, and that book is finally published (free sample chapter available). Jason Rawn has done a couple of workshops based on material from David’s book, including most recently at the November NWTRCC conference in NYC. 99 Tactics details numerous examples of historical and modern tax resistance, with many examples from war tax resistance campaigns, and includes worksheets and other practical process materials […]

Conscientious objectors needed now more than ever

by Ken Butigan originally published December 19, 2013 in Waging Nonviolence republished under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license In our present age of permanent war, it is almost impossible to recall a time when armed conflicts clearly began and ended. In that ancient, bygone era — say, before 2003 — one could judiciously ruminate on an impending war before it got rolling and make a choice about it. Most people, even then, didn’t see it that way — for them there was no choice. If the government said, “War — jump to it,” invariably most of us said, “How high?” whether that meant picking up a gun, plunking down our taxes, or throwing our full spiritual and political weight […]