WTR Gathering Workshop notes and reports
UMASS, Amherst, November 4, 2017
Witnessing at the Wall with Anne Barron, San Diego Peace Resource Center
This workshop was great. It was Steve’s first time leading the workshop, and he crafted a thought-provoking, honest, and interactive discussion. He encouraged us to share about the militarization of the police in our communities and the concrete ways that is impacting our lives. We discussed the everyday material impacts of police brutality and police murdering loved ones. We also talked about the behind-the-scenes pieces of how the police end up as occupying forces, including defense contractors training local police forces and the Department of Defense program 1033 literally transferring billions of dollars worth of military equipment to police departments. We ended with the power of the people, doing a role-playing activity where each of us got to take on a real life situation. Chrissy Kirchhoefer acted out a community organizer disrupting a public hearing to demand justice for those killed by the police. If you want to learn more about War Resisters League’s No SWAT Zone campaign you can check it out online to get involved: https://www.warresisters.org/endorse-dhs.
— Notes by Sam Koplinka-Loehr
The Institute of Policy Studies recently subsumed NPP.
We have been at war for 17 years (Note: add 10 more years if you count 1991 in Iraq.)
The total US budget is 4 trillion, which includes Social Security trust fund, Medicare and Medicaid. 1.1 trillion of that is the discretionary budget.
Currently, there is a continuing resolution until 12/8/17. If a budget is not passed or another continuing resolution does not occur then the government will shut down.
Using the FY2017 budget, the military budget looks like this:
$530 billion base budget
82 billion war budget
12 aid to foreign military
This does not include $70 billion for veterans or interest on war spending.
Just Iraq and Afghanistan over will cost $5 trillion. So far they have cost $2 trillion. The original estimate was $60 billion for Iraq. It is actually $60 billion a year for Iraq.
US spending on the military represents $30-40 of the military spending worldwide. It equals as much at the next 7 countries combined; 3 times more than China. ½ of the Department of “Defense” budget ($300 billion) goes to military contractors. Lockheed Martin, the largest, gets $40 billion. 3% of US discretionary spending goes to this one company, 40% of their revenue. $20 million goes to their CEO.
Lindsay asked those attending what is keeping us at war:
- Politicians being paid off (including jobs in their districts plus contributions)
- Reverence for military, language, patriotism
- Protecting a way of life
- Fear/ignorance of death/destruction
- Terrorism is a mechanism for never ending war
- Media blackout
- Culture of violent conflict resolution
- Wealth transfer
- Disconnect from the rest of the world
- Denial on the part of environmentalist re the military carbon footprint and the social safety net that the military budget is the elephant in the room.
- Contractor in every district
- Employer of the low income and Peoples of Color
- Many families have veterans and connections with the military
The top ones it turns out are: Jobs/economy, reverence for the military and fear of change.
Strategies to address the factors listed above:
- Intersectionality, crossing age barriers
- Moral argument
The current situation is that contractors are getting more funding but they are cutting jobs and moving to robotics.
Campaigns in response include:
- A Coalition on Human Needs has formed which will be making the moral argument.
- A Coalition Pentagon Campaign, which is a Right-Left alliance monthly conference call.
- Build coalitions on points of agreement. The Poor People’s Campaign will have a press conference on 12/4 and a May Mother’s Day launch. Coalitions include: Militarism, poverty, climate, greed/materialism and gender.
- Andrea Ayvazian has started a Truth School, which is training people to organize.
- How did your legislators vote on the People’s Budget, which is becoming increasingly viable and pushes for a decreased military.
- Invest in an Office of Economic Justice.
- Idea of zeroing out the war budget by flat-lining military spending through attrition.
- City councils are passing resolutions saying our priorities are wrong, pull back on military spending
This is the biggest military grab since Ronald Reagan is occurring from FY2017-2018. We are still operating under sequestration and the budget control act for the military, which could be an opportunity if we use it. $25 billion a year is being wasted by the Pentagon.
— Notes by Ginny Schneider
Comments from a go-round and discussion:
- Wanting to be a resister to the federal government, so refusing taxes but also not wanting to give the money of any sort to the feds
- Living in a university town, this might be a way to interact with students campus
- Would like to look at all forms of debt; have personal debt for non-student reasons
- have student debt from recent undergrad years; want to be a war tax resister; not sure how to best resist and deal with more debt and more collection efforts
- have student debt from returning to school as an older person 11 years ago; have low income in her field and could not afford more than interest payments; also has WTR debt; hasn’t made a payment in a number of years; they call to offer her “income sensitive payment plan” but she hasn’t done this; they check with the IRS to set that up.
- as student in more expensive school, tends to see that students have lower debt as maybe come from wealthier families
More on specifics of undergrad debt:
It’s all in federal government loans, which were separate and each with different interest; then with the option to consolidate, did that but payments are still just a dent against the principal; got the few months grace period on graduation; works in a nonprofit and you can do pay as you earn but has to be over 10 consecutive years, so you have to stay with one job; the interest is transparent but it is all daunting.
- Another factor, you can lose your professional license for defaulting; so licensed social worker is one who could lose license
- If there’s 10 years to pay (?staying in one job?), consider small payments and then will the debt be forgiven *research more – get some stories
- Are there groups like ACLU sueing about the student loan programs? *research more; is there a government forgiveness program or one being talked about?
- as a protest, redirect student loan payments; pay to a soup kitchen instead of the loan program, like WTR redirection
- find out what happened to strike debt and other debt activists; **make new connections
- being part of war tax resistance can also be supporting and being active in the WTR movement even if you feel you can’t resist right now; not a failure to not be able to resist when also dealing with student debt
- *Look up/research: Can your social security be collected 15% for student debt, 15% for tax debt for a total of 30%? We think not as it is all under the same Federal Payment Levy Program (FPLP) but need to make sure. Any stories?
- *Create a flyer or info sheet or something on student debt and WTR
Meeting in NYC: Ruth, Susan L, Sam L, Justin agreed to meet on this topic in NYC within a couple months; meanwhile, we’ll try to find others who are working on this to meet with us. Email NWTRCC if you are interested in this meeting.
— Notes by Ruth Benn
State Violence, Climate Change, and Divesting from War,” facilitated by Jason Rawn, Maine and NWTRCC activist, with Paki Weiland, representing CodePink’s Divest from the War Machine Campaign
Write-up by Jason
Also recorded. View and listen on YouTube
The US had a Department of War from 1789 til 1947. From 1949 on, US/corporate warmakers have been operating under the aegis of the Orwellian Department of “Defense,” which is the world’s largest employer, accounting for something like 2.8 million jobs, according to Wikipedia. That’s 2.8 million human beings – including soldiers, scientists, salespeople, and a vast force of general issue bureaucrats – earning a living as cogs in the warmaking machine.
Full Spectrum Dominance is the stated goal of US/corporate warmakers (See “Joint Vision 2020: America’s Military – Preparing for Tomorrow”). According to this doctrine, the “experimental process” of US/corporate warmaking demands a high tolerance for error. This footloose and fancy-free attitude toward warmaking will allow “highly trained and skilled professionals the opportunity to create new concepts and ideas that may lead to future breakthroughs” in warmaking on and in the vicinity of the “battlespace” that most of us think of as, simply, Planet Earth. Among these taxpayer-funded breakthroughs are innovations in terrestrial, aerial, maritime, subterranean, extraterrestrial, psychological, biological, and cyber-technological warmaking. In other words, US/corporate warmaking is important enough to US/corporate warmakers that they will continue to do whatever they want with little oversight and no respect or concern for anything other than warmaking. Eggs must be broken for omelets, and maybe some hens must be sacrificed, and some roosters, the chicken coop, chicken coops on neighboring farms, soil fertility, breathable air, sunshine…
On November 4, nine of us participated in a 2-hour workshop, “State Violence, Climate Change, and Divesting from War,” co-sponsored by NWTRCC and UMASS Amherst’s newly-established Resistance Studies Initiative. Our conversations touched on ideas including a free press (or lack thereof), the possibility of “local broadsheets” to convey accurate information and expose the systematic control of information, the punishment of journalists and others whose work dares to challenge corporate control, the need for well-documented information about how prioritizing war funding affects “every other issue,” and the fact that climate change is a vital issue to organize around. And by emphasizing the fact that the Department of War has the largest Carbon bootprint on the planet and is therefore most likely the biggest single climate criminal, it should be easy to find the intersectional sweet spots among activists from diverse sectors; Everyone is affected by the worsening climate chaos, and everyone can probably think of better ways to invest the trillion-plus dollars of our common wealth mis-invested by and for U.S./corporate warmakers each year.
We were fortunate to have with us Paki Weiland, who participated in CODEPINK’s recent Divest from the War Machine Summit in Washington, D.C. Paki shared a document outlining the moral imperative to divest from the manufacturers of nuclear and conventional weapons as well as a model resolution for municipal divestment from these corporations. She also suggested that a campaign like “Solarize Our City” might gain traction and funding if presented in terms of “defense”. WTRs can appreciate the possibility of redirecting our “tax obligations” into such a campaign, maybe even a campaign in a spot directly in the path of a proposed pipeline, as has been done in places like York, Nebraska. As long as sunlight can get through the haze of Aluminum nanoparticles and other harmful substances remaining aloft in our atmosphere for two years or more after being sprayed from unmarked jets, this would be a great reinvestment and could help put the personal divestment tactics of refusal to pay for war and the subsequent redirection of “tax obligations” on the map as both a resistance tactic and a necessary (and well-earned) funding mechanism for citizen-initiated constructive programs. With over one trillion dollars misinvested in US/corporate warmaking each year, the US war budget represents a huge concentration of exploitable resources.
US/corporate warmakers deem weather a “force multiplier” in service of Full Spectrum Dominance. As Naomi Klein writes in the “Dimming the Sun” chapter of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate, “Schemes for deliberately intervening in the climate system to counteract the effects of global warming have been around for half a century at least….And well before it was seen as a potential weapon against global warming, weather modification was simply seen as a weapon. During the Cold War, U.S. physicists imagined weakening the nation’s enemies by stealthily manipulating rainfall patterns, whether by causing droughts or by generating targeted storms that would turn a critical supply route into a flooded mess, as was attempted during the Vietnam War.”
Taxpayers are footing the bill, and have been footing the bill, for these and other geoengineering projects. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are two war profiteering corporations that also have stakes in climate engineering experiments. And US/corporate warmakers have been ignoring transparency, common sense, and legal nuisances such as the U.N. Environmental Modification Convention from the late 70s, which, according to Klein, banned the use of climate modification as a weapon, “a prohibition that today’s would-be geoengineers are skirting by insisting that their aims are peaceful (even if their work could well feel like an act of war to billions).” As the Anthropocene nears a logical conclusion, widespread biological warfare against people and planet is in full swing, hastening that logical conclusion. The Baby Polar Bears are dying! The Baby Penguins are dying! Whales are beaching themselves. Monsanto has patented Aluminum-resistant Frankenseeds! Dolphins and Bees have Alzheimer’s disease!
This author is not the only person who looks up at the pretty clouds and thinks that omnicide is upon us. Not the only person who passes in and out of varying degrees of despair. Not the only person who self-medicates. But also not the only person who has not given up. More people seem to be awakening all the time. Resistance to Full Spectrum Dominance around the world is inspiring. And contagious. Whether the elders daily defending Okinawa’s Oura Bay against the expansion of USMC’s Camp Schwab (one of about 30 US war bases on that small island), activists working to counter the increasing militarization of US borders, or the Penobscot, Lakota, and other Indigenous people and their allies working to proclaim sovereignty and to reclaim stewardship of ancestral lands and waters around the world, the courage, vision, and dedication of longtime resisters strengthens us all.
But it’s essential and inevitable that we taste success.
According to a recent interview with Jackie Fielder in Yes! magazine, we know divestment is working “because Energy Transfer [corporate entity behind the Dakota Access Pipeline] sued our partner Greenpeace, and other partners, … and their SLAPP [strategic lawsuit against public participation] suit included a quote that says:
The damage to our relationships with the capital markets has been substantial, impairing access to financing and increasing their cost of capital and ability to fund future projects.
So it’s working to the extent that they’re having a tough time with capital markets and having a tough time funding future projects. And that’s exactly what we want.”
As Klein says, the main power of divestment is not that it “financially harms Shell and Chevron in the short term but that it erodes the social license of fossil fuel companies and builds pressure on politicians to introduce across-the-board emission reductions. That pressure, in turn, increases suspicions in the investment community that fossil fuel stocks are overvalued. The benefit of an accompanying reinvestment strategy, or a visionary investment strategy from the start, is that it has the potential to turn the screws on the industry much tighter, strengthening the renewable energy sector so that it is better able to compete directly with fossil fuels, while bolstering the frontline land defenders who need to be able to offer real economic alternatives to their communities.” Ditto for divesting from Full Spectrum Dominance in its other manifestations.
According to Fielder, a 20-something activist with Mazaska Talks and the Divest the Globe initiative, divestments totaling at least $4 billion have occurred since Standing Rock. Fielder recently returned from a trip to Europe as part of a delegation of First Nations women meeting with fossil fuel investors in Germany, Switzerland, and Norway. Due to this type of grassroots, Indigenous-led divestment work, it’s becoming harder and harder for investors to make a killing from fossil fuels. And much easier for the rest of us to affect the realities within the halls of wealth and power, in the ground beneath our feet, and in the skies above. In our lungs, our food, our blood streams. Our children.
The South African apartheid regime was brought down by international pressure in the forms of Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). A Democracy Now! segment, “Have You Heard from Johannesburg?” chronicles one brief chapter in that story, telling the story of Caroline Hunter, a Polaroid employee from Cambridge, Massachusetts who got involved in the struggle in 1971 when she accidentally made the connection between her job at Polaroid and Polaroid’s role in the brutal apartheid regime. Hunter was fired from the company, but by 1977 Polaroid ended up withdrawing its complicity and ultimately denounced apartheid.
Divestment is not without risks. For example, calling for foreign investors to withdraw their investments was a crime punishable by death during the apartheid years in South Africa. Fielder mentioned the draining SLAPP lawsuit against Greenpeace and other partners in water protection. And in at least 22 states in the land of the free, anti-BDS legislation exists in an attempt to criminalize opposition to Israeli/corporate genocidal violence against Palestine.
So it’s clear that divestment works, that it’s more than a sensible notion, a mere symbolic gesture. That it’s an actual threat to the aims of the power elite. As many WTRs know firsthand, refusal to pay for war is immensely liberating, and the investment of erstwhile war tax dollars into non-omnicidal projects is a thrilling exercise in self determination, wealth redistribution, and the remaking of life on Earth.
As stated in NWTRCC’s recently published divestment kit, “Refusing to pay some or all of the taxes that go to war is a direct way to say ‘NO!’ to over $1 trillion of military-related spending every year….By divesting our taxes from war, we take control over how our money is spent.”
The kit includes an introduction to NWTRCC’s emerging “Divest from Full Spectrum Dominance, Invest in People” campaign, basic budget information from the WRL pie chart, a look at divestment-reinvestment, organizing ideas, and other resources. Using this kit as a primer, NWTRCC activists are preparing themselves for fruitful conversations with activists working on related issues like racial justice, border militarization, fossil fuels, nuclear weapons, prison proliferation, the militarization of law enforcement, and others. Educated and informed institutional divestment work, along with effective public WTR (divestment for individuals), and other methods of direct action, might best set the stage for widespread education around and defunding of Full Spectrum Dominance in its many forms.
The recent “groundbreaking,” “precedent-setting” decision by Judge Robert Tiffany to allow use of a climate change-centered “necessity” defense in a Minnesota case where “valve-turners” Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein, along with two support people, briefly shut down a fossil fuel pipeline in October, 2016, also bodes well for anti-militarism activists: since the Department of War is the biggest single consumer of fossil fuels, it’s possible that a similar climate change-based “necessity” defense would be permitted in direct action cases targeting warmaking-related pollution. It may seem naive to believe that US/corporate warmakers will suddenly be held accountable by mere courts of law, but there are precedents other than Judge Tiffany’s recent decision to allow a “necessity” defense (and the expert witnesses who will accordingly testify as to the “imminent danger of physical harm” that climate change represents to the whole planet). Civil Resistance cases over the last 30 years, particularly those discussed by Dr. Francis Boyle in his books, Defending Civil Resistance Under International Law, and Protesting Power:War, Resistance, and Law, have successfully paired “necessity” with elements of common, statutory, and international/Constitutional law (including the Nuremberg Principles, the UN Charter, etc.) that have resulted in acquittals, dropped charges, etc.
We are all privileged – at least on paper – to act to uphold the many laws brushed aside in pursuit of Full Spectrum Dominance. No one tactic will prove decisive. WTRs and others focused on anti-militerrori$m work must adapt our knowledge, experience, and tactics so we can work synergistically with vital, successful, ever-evolving campaigns spanning the globe. ASAP!
Together we stand, Divided we crawl.
Various points raised or things to be looked into:
- Some of the new letters have stronger language and are making people worry something new is happening with collection but it seems it is just a language change and uses the phrase “enforcement action” but it’s not clear that collection has changed or is worse under Trump; IRS is overworked and understaffed and the Trump admin is cutting more of their budget; the letters include a list of years open with amounts – rather than sending separate letters for each year apparently
- We’ve heard from one person who has had her debt turned over to private collection; perhaps they are starting to get those letters out now; private collectors can’t seize money, just make demands
- If worried about having a Social Security collection people may choose to not redirect but put the money into a social security fund for their future
- Unemployment benefits are exempt from levy
- if the IRS has been collecting from SS or paychecks and it seems like they have over-collected, does contacting the IRS to find out the details of your debt “wake a sleeping giant”; generally we think not, but would like stories on this. Some looked at getting their transcript online but didn’t want to provide all the info asked to get the transcript so that was not an option
- for nonfilers the main way the IRS catches up to people is through reported income, especially large amounts within a year from one source
- using the IRS charity method, giving directly from IRA to charity, when you are over 70 is a good way to reduce taxable income
- question about farming and WTR; the rules about what is a farm are fairly specific and also relate to if you are selling; best to go to the IRS booklet about this; could also check with the local extension service; issues by state along with the federal guidelines may vary; definitely an IRS or accounting question
- question about security of alternative funds. The last effort by an IRS agent to investigate a fund was Madison, Wisconsin, maybe 10 years ago now. Jerry C refused to give the IRS a list, but they also basically closed their fund to stop further steps by the IRS. Nothing more recent than that.
- WTR support can include things like someone getting a room at low rent when the IRS is collecting or you are living at low income; the affinity group idea that came up in Saturday night discussion is a good one – rather than organizing a WTR group, gather together a small affinity group that is there to support each other and resist together!
- various things about Obamacare came up; still hard to tell what is going to shake down at the federal level as far as the penalty standing or the tax credit being maintained. So far you still apply the same way through your state marketplace or the federal website.
Things to do:
- Hold conference calls for counselors a few times a year (quarterly at most). Do one before January and then early to mid-January to early to mid-March during tax season
- Do an update of the design of the W-4 flyer. It’s a good one but needs to look more modern
- Ruth send out updated counseling packets to at least the people who asked/ask
- Erica will look again at her idea from a while back of creating a resistance flow chart – “if you are in this situation, these options are good” etc.
- Will try to get WTRs to do things other than on tax day
- Will tie WTR to indigenous and immigration issues
- Will try to find work which sustains self and activism
- will get to know people of color in my neighborhood
- working on handout piece on intersection of militarism with every other issue
- working on a flyer for early childhood workers on how the military budget affects families
- staying busy as usual
- working for racial justice
- circulating “it’s not ok to kill people”
- human rights
- continue organizing Maine WTR Resource center and next New England gathering
- will work on full spectrum dominance
- want to be a WTR counselor and work against further militarization of St. Louis police
- connections to student debt
- be more involved locally
- continue in racial justice group; will look at WTR
- continue with idea outlined in WTR action brought to this gathering
- Will work on divestment and border control
- Student debt resistance
- will work on self-care as job is w/ oppressed people
- resisting taxes and student debt
- what does it mean to be an effective partner?
The Greene proposal – WAR-TAX-ACTION.pdf
How to address the concerns about fear and finding a safe way to get into WTR
Making it less scary – Mary R felt that from reading the proposal
Do more connection to counselors; figure out what risks are acceptable to you
Mary has tried different things – W-2 and self-employed
Robert noted that trying to get a certain number to sign on ha been tried many times.
Ruth encourages start locally
Vince said we should identify localities on which to concentrate: where would be the most fertile ground? For example, where more people are making quarterly tax payments or where more epeople have the capacity to act directly. Get it started somewhere and then help is snowball. This approach would require sophisticated research.
Randy asking about tax withholding and those who owe something? – in response to Vince’s targeting ads and proposal; the purpose is to get people to take some small step that will be public. Keep it local. Find 6 people who will do it with you; a group that really supports each other. 1,000 small groups around the country would be great development. WTR affinity groups.
Alan – should be part of our viewpoint that we should promote a national strategy. If we had 100x as many as we do here, we still have to take care of what we have; dealing with a powerful govt we have to make sure we are here, voice of sanity at this time. Continue to be ourselves, beautiful nice people. Sign up to help continue our groups now & strengthen
Ruth – NWTRCC will support local groups, will publicize and support; helps for us to have models that we can tell others about.
Erica – National campaigns can’t get the groundswell without the campaign coming up from the local groups, local groups need to take it on.
Vince – seeing people ready to take more risk; like with immigrants and sanctuary and local efforts to support those people and take that risk.
Anne – the balance of organizing vs. support for NWTRCC. National could target support in 1 area and try to build it there.
Alan C – views on website. Could be a billion people seeing it or a few but whatever it is we are here. Special that we are here.
Robert – statement of purpose about clearinghouse for the movement; that presupposes there is a movement out there. Thinks it’s there; our goal is to have young folks become antimilitarists and not necessarily take over the organization. We have experience that we need to lend to folks. We have something to offer wherever the spark comes from. Also really likes what randy said – affinity group organizing model for WTR. It’s very individual but this idea of a WTR affinity group, small group of 6 people is great. NWTRCC could produce a resource that helps people do that. That helps overcome the fear thing.
Ginny – turning to Jason about the divest workshop; Jason – yes, good energy and interest. Setting up the affinity group model might be good for a grant proposal
Rick G – biggest tax avoider in the white house & biggest militarist. There must be a way to be addressed. If he tweeted at us we’d get some interest. He doesn’t pay but wants us to pay to have our kids sent off. Young people – anyone out and about in mid-20s to late 30. Earned income tax credit – they get more back. 40% don’t take earned income tax credit. We should tell people about that.
Andy – would like to hear stories. What does he do now, just lost job. It’s more a personal approach but he does not see it happening in Austin. Peace Tax Fund work but didn’t gather WTRs. It’s a desert. What can I go back and tell the Quakers.
Ruth – remembering group in northern Michigan/Pax Christi – and they are this model. A small group that resisted and redirected to their local library. Will look up their story again.
Anne – gatherings are good support. Has some support but mostly from a Latino group; they can’t resist but they support her. The middle class could resist but could do as a political act will not resist. They need step by step – start with W-4. More awareness of WTR in San Diego anyway.
Mike L – WTR is strongest when done publicly. We should really encourage as many people as possible to go public with their resistance. Makes it stronger. Not just resist.
Ginny – get a WTR martyr.
Randy – waiting for someone to challenge a very public resister but it’s more a threat to the system because they know it’s contagious. “Conscience is contagious”
Daniel – this does not require a martyr. It requires theatre. Need drama to get noticed – talked about some of the actions like being in a barrel; shopping carts with food and feeding the poor; other ideas
Jason – his story; would like to write about something for the newsletter. About 10 years of WTR. He’s going to look at some of these creative ideas and will plan to use in Maine next tax day. He wants to do his part being out there naked in a barrel.
Robert – the time they went to the IRS in DC and turned themselves in to show that you are not going to go to jail. IRS turned them away at the door.
Alan – telling the story of the judge who distinguished Frank from the open conscientious WTRs. We don’t know our effectiveness sometimes.
Peter S – works as a volunteer tax assistance with IRS. Helps people pay the least or get $$ back
Mike – puts out pie charts in library; puts them into Thoreau books and here and there around the library.
Mary – had parties when she was collected on; should do more of that again. Most public thing she does now is announce at the demo in Boston the alt fund redirections
Ruth – Niki Singleton tells the story of her finding out about WTR on her own in her online graphic; In NYC we were surprised last tax day to have Huffington Post live stream our whole demonstration; we didn’t know it was happening at the time; will have to dress better next year…. But surprised there was that level of interest by the media; will it last into this tax season??
Daniel Sicken – had a demosntration where they made a PO box to mail their tax forms with a general encouraging them to amil their letter; “citizen” would drop in letter & child would throw bombs and guns out of the box.
Thanks to Stellen for opening to UMASS. Stellen tells us about the Resistance Studies program: A couple Quakers with $$ gave money to set up this program. He is activist/scholar at UMASS. Program re: civil resistance & direct action. He focuses on research, teaching and connecting with activists. Collaborates with Joanne Sheehan re: nonviolence trainings; they held a black liberation retreat. Next year meeting between American Indian resistance based on Standing Rock but other indigenous resistance groups too. Can do that because that is what position is about. They put out academic journal focusing on resistance studies. Stellan is part of the War Resisters International Council.