National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee Meeting
November 5, 2017 * Amherst, Massachusetts
Present: Bill Glassmire (Corvallis, OR); Daniel Sicken, Pioneer Valley WTR (Brattleboro, VT); Ginny Schneider, Maine WTR Resource Center (Portland, ME); Daniel Woodham, Kingston, NY; Jason Rawn, Maine WTR; Joanne Sheehan, New England WRL (Norwich, CT), Chrissy Kirchhoeffer, AdComm (St. Louis, MO); Justin Becker, AdComm, office assistant (New York NY); Clark Hanjian (Vineyard Haven, MA); Susan Lannen (Easthampton, MA); Alan Clemence (Charleston, ME); Rick Gaumer, NE WTR, chef (Norwich, CT); Andy McKenna (Austin, TX); Alex Walker, So Cal WTR (Los Angeles, CA); Cathy Deppe, AdComm, So Cal WTR (Los Angeles, CA); Robert Randall (Brunswick, GA); Sam Koplinka-Loehr, Field Organizer (Philadelphia, PA); Erica Weiland, Social Media Consultant (Seattle, WA); Mary Regan, New England WTR (Dorchester, MA); Anne Barron, Peace Resource Center (San Diego, CA); Mike Levinson (New Rochelle, NY); Craig Simpson, New England WTR (Dorchester, MA), Ruth Benn, NWTRCC Coordinator (Brooklyn, NY), Peter Smith, Michiana WTR (South Bend, IN)
Virtual: Larry Dansinger (Bangor, ME), Rick Bickhart (Ridgway, CO)
Bill introduces the meeting and agenda and Peter goes over the process; Erica relays online comments and Bill & others will note Loomio comments for people not present
1 – Consultant Reports
Coordinator – final time will be after the May meeting; transition about then
Social Media – Erica updates her report with numbers from twitter ads and “divest from the pentagon”, a phrase that worked slightly better than “divest from war”
Field Organizer – Sam wrote up mostly an evaluation of the Field Organizer job rather than a usual report, but it includes much of what she has been doing. Feels that the building relationships with other organizations is key and doing joint panels was very good outreach and helped with those relationships also.
Ruth reminds people that this was a 1 year job and that Sam has chosen not to continue so many hours with NWTRCC although also we used up the money for 1 year and don’t have $$ to continue a Field Organizer at 20 hrs now; as part of the evaluation we also put some questions on Survey Monkey and sent especially to people who had gotten a presentation from Sam – Ruth went over highlights (click here for survey responses).
Mary Regan notes in reading the report that on a national level there was some good relationship building but not so much translated to local level. That might be something to look at in the future — is training local groups to build stronger relationships something that could be done?
Anne notes value of FO position and being lucky to have that for a year; it really felt good to her to have that contact
There are suggestions in Sam’s report that we will try to keep in mind and act on in the future as desired.
2 – Proposals
Proposal 5 – Consultant Job Description 1-year change and other consultant adjustments
Bill introduces the AdComm proposal
Ruth goes over the finance numbers
Erica been doing Social Media 4½ years; Cathy says Erica has built that up well but now it would drop back; Erica notes that she will still do some things like the blog and post here and there online
Mike asks about the newsletter and feels it is very important so he does not want to see less time given to the newsletter or literature; on Loomio comments about the value of the newsletter and not wanting to lose it
We are talking specifically about having Erica as Communications person and Sam for Social Media, keeping that experience and organizational knowledge
Peter – emphasize that it is a 1-year proposal; if we don’t get big new money (craigslist) we will be hurting with the positions that we have
Cathy – field organizing and fundraising are the priorities for filling the gap of time created by moving the newsletter and publications out of the Coordinator position
Bill G – sees general support for having a dedicated communications consult
Sam – Field Organizing will look quite different under this proposal
Consensus: yes, with 2 stand asides and all other thumbs up
We will switch to the new positions starting in January (some transitioning; not instant)
Print on yellow paper thru 2018
Comments from Loomio – Jerry’s cost is minimal $36 over a year; Larry Dansinger checked on any ecological issues but nothing significant
Mike wants a pretty shade of yellow
Alan adds idea that something about income tax history could be added if it was the same historic time; ask Dave
Consensus with 1 stand aside
Proposal 2 – increase WTR education at Peace Resource Center of San Diego
Request was for $2,000 for 2018 organizing. AdComm recommended $500 now from our current budget and come back later if they want to ask for more.
Daniel asked why give $500 and not $2,000; Bill replies that it seemed PRC didn’t need the $2,000 as they are in some transition and not doing all the program described; Anne says for tax day stuff the $500 will help.
It was suggested that the 100 people mentioned as interested could also be asked for donations to help this work and the money we give could go to that; maybe create that WTR affinity group like discussed on Saturday night.
Consensus – yes, with 3 stand asides
Proposal 3 – Join the International League for Peoples Struggle
Sam sees on Loomio discussion that there will be blocking objections to this, but brought this to the CC as a way to introduce NWTRCC to groups that we have not worked with and could connect with more; had been at the Solidarity and Fightback conference and met many black and brown people and most had never heard about WTR
Would like some discussion about working with new orgs; ways to collaborate without endorsing their platform
Loomio comments – not a commitment to nonviolence in the platform; Anne asked if NWTRCC has a definition of nonviolence
Mary asked what it means to join? Sam, there is an assumption of signing onto their principles
We should do lit tables and go to conference/do panels etc. Collaborate but not join.
Proposal 4 – Continue Divest/Invest theme in NWTRCC
Ginny asks if in light of Erica’s ads and “Divest from Pentagon” being slightly more popular should we use that phrase. Erica said it was not that thorough a test; might be that consistency in look is more important than actual wording;
Robert doesn’t want to be locked into wording because Pentagon is only a piece of war spending
Mike urges people be specific as possible in terms of divestment – suggest certain companies, certain ways of divesting plus sanctions and boycotts. Ours is specifically about taxes.
Jason favors this proposal, war/Pentagon biggest user of fossil fuel; one court case in Midwest is allowing testimony that brings in experts about climate; use our own minds and tactics to piggyback on that. Hopeful that if expert witnesses can be used for climate they can be used for militarism too. War profiteering is illegal; we can start highlighting that.
Rick – stay flexible about slogan as to pentagon or war
Alan – by divestment do we mean refuse to pay taxes? Not clear on that – is it corporate divestment too; use slogans with more specific tag lines.
Erica – yes, we are using divest to mean taxes specifically. CodePink has the Divest from War Machine campaign.
Test for consensus on proposal with $500
Consensus – yes
Option add on: $300 for artist; 10 thumbs up; 6 stand aside
$300 passed for now; might come out of budget later
3 – Finances and Fundraising
Question about banking in Ithaca – will we be able to keep account there? Possibly but it is a credit union for that county and adding new signers out-of-county may be problematic. Stay tuned.
We did well on the large donors and alternative fund income lines? Special donation from Larry Bassett and then the closing of the Philly fund boosted those lines. Pursue major donors more. Sam notes some efforts at religious groups and people should approach the ones that they know that make annual donations.
Asked about higher spending in literature – lots of Practicals printed this year; depends on local organizers
Peter suggests we might need more on the transition line to cover the pay overlap with Ruth & new coordinator training. Thumbs up on $2,000 for pay overlap addition
Affiliate Support Fund – Ruth explains proposal passed in May & now we decide about adding $$ or not.
Robert proposes $2,000. Consensus on adding $2,000 – yes
Consensus on final 2018 budget as amended passes with $1,055 net income
4 – Objectives
Questions on any categories –
Clark asks if losing Ruth do we lose Ed; what about updates to WTR book – WRL publishes the book but there are still many copies; anyway Ed and Ruth would keep on top of that
Robert asks about fact sheets – Ruth says 2 will get done; hobby lobby is with Peter Goldberger now
New Objectives for 2018 – approved objectives for 2018
Ruth warns that with transition don’t get carried away with new ideas
Robert suggested moving the progressive pubs one 6d to right – yes
Alan suggested new info on tax code and changes should be on the right – already there
Alan suggested student debt – we need something on that – yes under lit – add specifically student debt to new
Consensus on Objectives
5 – Hiring Committee
Clark – In ’98 there was some pay for that; not sure if Tana did in 2002; Takes some strategic/planning and organizational work – checking in with whole network due diligence with applicants takes someone at helm to be on top of it
Due diligence in terms of skill background and principles of working in this org
Robert – it does take a lot of work, especially for the convenor
Bill G not ready to say he would convene
Jason –not volunteering but did help with process that brought us Sam; Jason might help with some of the screening;
Jason, Rick, Cathy, Bill, – Cathy and Bill co-convenors – find a couple more to join Hiring Cttee, maybe reps from affiliates.
Movement for Black Lives Platform
This is about building a stronger relationship with other orgs. Don’t have to agree on everything they are dong but want to endorse and continue building collaboration going forth.
Consensus – YES
Peace Pentagon Hub
AdComm recommends yes as affiliate but not to endorse at this
Reading thru their materials the specific spiritual approach felt uncomfortable to some
No for endorsement but welcome as Affiliate
7 – AdComm nominees
Bill and Coleman rotate off in May; Cathy and Chrissy continue; Anne and Justin move into full; need 2 alternates
Suggestions we will follow up on:
Sam L. with Agape
Robert nominated but will try to find someone from south
Mary Regan nominated
prisoner? Ronald Brooks
8 – Next CC Meeting
Los Angeles in May – Cathy has site and a team; So Cal WTRs 5 want to help and also Alt Fund folks – meeting place at Worker’s Center in Koreatown, run by the CP in LA; Bill Ramsey’s daughter is at Catholic Worker and they will help; Anne B will help also
November 2018 – Bill G – Corvallis; Milwaukee?
New England – they will be in Maine next year and we are welcome to join again
Erica will look into Seattle but needs housing help & ideas
Friends Meeting of Austin – Andy will ask them
9 – Evaluations
First gathering, been involved for a few years now – he had a high school instructor who was in NWTRCC and feels good to be here now; liked connections with young folks and people who feel similar; feels things need to change rapidly – heard from another person his contemporary about the severe climate change fears; hopes next time to meet with growing urgency.
Awesome to be at NWTRCC gathering and declares all modern-day hero. Amazed by co-housing and would like a tour and more explanation; liked food, programming, brown and black communities. Some 15 college students Friday night so that was good. A feeling of being in downtown Manhattan at such a pace and getting to the next thing. Needed more breaks and time to connect with folks not seen in a while.
Thanks to Alan and Sam and Ginny and all who made this happen. It was just 4 ½ years ago of hiring social media and then field organizer. Both positions evolving and we continue to evolve and that’s great. Thankful to divestment workshop and Anne’s border workshop. It’s all really heartening.
Thanks to all who made this happen plus consultants. Hungry for more time to talk in a more informal way. New ideas from panels at university was good and lots of celebrate in terms of divestment work and positions and how things are coming along. Feels refreshed being with you all have and new energy on returning home.
Would like notes from workshops not attended. Great to see old faces and new. Be reminded of being a wtr while going thru transitions of losing jobs and moving and figuring out what he’s doing next. Thanks to all.
Great to be here and see all again and appreciates all the work to make this a good meeting.
Happy with NWTRCC in recent years and core workers doing such solid work. Thank you
Grateful to be at NWTRCC meeting & NE war tax gathering each year. Happy to connect with national folks again. Inspired by the weekend to be less alone during the year; planning an affinity group. Formed a clearness committee with Quakers on WTR, needs that local connection.
Thanks to all for coming and welcome. See new things coming with new tax code. Big year of transition for him personally also. Feels good about being a WTR and being involved with all of you and being more involved in the future.
Lived in Boston area years ago – knew an organizer and Cathy felt like didn’t get enough done and she said “you just have to get up earlier” and we got up earlier.
Felt very pleased with the keynote speaker. He’s downloaded some of her work. She connects the dots so clearly. Still sees a big growth coming in discussion about WTR but then we’d have to accommodate all these folks. We need to ally ourselves with grassroots folks. Pleased with all seen at this conference.
Loretta Ross was a high point. And he could hear it all. Feels thankful for everyone’s input and those who put in so much time to make this happen. Disappointed in low turnout of students. What is the magic pill to brings folks in but we keep trying and just have to keep trying.
Appreciated all the panels and challenging speakers and not sure we’ll incorporate all that was offered. But schedule was too much too fast and running behind all day and that bothered him. But today we are on time. NWTRCC business meeting always fantastic.
Feeling worn out, a lot of attention to detail. Feeling like she put a lot into the weekend and feeling little burnt out but was glad to hang out with the other young folks last night and there should be space at NWTRCC meetings for a little sad last NWTRCC meeting –
A lot of social media stuff this weekend. Take away is not to do 5 hrs filming in a row. Always we want more or less. We need more time – can’t cram in both social time and serious time. Ideas for future. What if we had 1 meeting a year? Added days and had more time together? 4 days rather than 2.5? looking at culture of NWTRCC and how to create a community culture that includes more young folks and people of color? Great to be here
Virtual – Rick – sorry to not be there. Thanks for passing mic around. Thanks all.
Looks forward to NE gatherings and a special treat when folks around country come. Schedule was a little hard but was hoping she’d get in a walk. More conversation about what it means to be inclusive of younger folks and POC and how we as an org would change. How we would pass off to another org.
Great to be around other activists especially when more isolated. Loving gentle respectable way that people are treated is good vs. mainstream job. No nasty stuff or anger or hatred or resentment here. No complaints about hearing as opposed to his job. Booster shot for Mike. Keeps him going. Should be able to make it to next big goal which is retirement.
Loved being here. Quiet but listening. Loves the connections and just to talk with people felt the rush of the schedule also. Talks were great and loved workshops. Happy to see all.
Ruth – thanks to Sam, Erica for their consulting work and nice to have something of a team. Thanks to Ginny and others for the weekend. Loved Loretta but she needed a time limit and more allowance for questions; Friday night would have felt better if more intimate but we always hope for the big room and big crowd.
Ginny – glad to hear feedback thanks for all
Thank you to Ginny, Sam, and Alan for organizing the weekend!
To the Resistance Studies Initiative at UMASS for meeting space on Friday night and Saturday and for their advertising help.
To Pioneer Valley Cohousing for the eating, sleeping and meeting space.
To Rick and Joanne and Pacifeast Catering for the great food.
And thanks to whoever else is forgotten here!
See the blog report by Erica Leigh
Click here for notes and reports from workshops and other sessions