NWTRCC Coordinating Committee Meeting
May 15, 2016 • Lansdowne, PA
Notes from sessions and workshops
- Friday evening program (below); tax season reports
- Saturday sessions: Discussions on evaluation, critique, future; field organizer; film showing
- Peter Goldberger Q & A; WTR 102
- Minutes from Business meeting
- Blog report on Poverty Reality Tour
Friday evening program
Jason Rawn showed photos from his time in Okinawa and on Jeju Island, Korea, protesting U.S. bases. The U.S. spends over $100B/year to maintain over 1000 military installations in 130 countries. South Korea pays $800M/year for U.S. “support.” The base on Jeju Island is called a Korean base, but once hostilities occur, the U.S. takes over the South Korea military. Samsung and Daewoo are suing the resistance for millions of dollars, trying to kill it. The police are brought in from other places and rotated out quickly; local police cover their faces because they don’t want to be identified protecting the base.
Bob Smith talked about the latest activities of the Brandywine Peace Community, which has been around 40 years. For a long time they worked on GE, leading to the first Plowhshare action in 1980. That plant in King of Prussia now belongs to Lockheed martin, the world’s largest war profiteer. Brandywine is now focusing on a drone warfare center on the other side of Montgomery County. National Guards all over the country are now part of the regular military. Brandywine will continue its demonstrations though the control center is open. They are also targeting The Vanguard Group, which invests in weapons, prisons and guns, and gave $1.4 million to the president of UPenn who makes $3.4 million in that position
Tax Season Days of Action, Divest from the Pentagon/Invest in People
Anne Barron: Went to the spring actions at Creech Air Force Base outside of Las Vegas – Mass Mobilization to Stop the Drone Wars, March 27 – April 2, 2016. She took war tax resistance lit and gave a short presentation but didn’t find much interest, except in the redirection part of it. In San Diego, they had their first public war tax resistance redirection this year, in front of the SD Library with a tiny house. Photos and link to story on the NWTRCC website. Anne spent a lot of time going to meetings, joining groups, and making connections starting in January. Feels there’s a good base to build on for next tax season.
Ginny Schneider: Maine had 11 actions for tax day and before. One person leafleted at a college for 6 weeks, each Tuesday. Another tabled at Kennebunk contra dances. The list for the Maine WTR Resource Center had gotten stale, so a lot of time was spent making phone calls and updating lists. The “divest” word really catches young people on campuses. But how do we get people to take personal action? Making
Craig Simpson, New England WTR: Mary Regan announced the group’s grants at a protest of General Electric, which is moving its national headquarters to Boston tax-free. NEWTR gave away $6,000 to 6 groups.
Peter Smith, Michiana War Tax Refusers, South Bend: Worked on piggybacking with other groups but not much developed. Did a penny poll on MLK Day and on Earth Day. On tax day only 5 people came but they have stands for “surrogate” sign holders. See photos on NWTRCC website.
Mike Levinson: We need to sustain discussion for WTR through the year, not just on tax day. Bob Smith agrees.
Ruth: NYC People’s Life Fund has been resurrected after Sally Marx’s death a few years ago. They gave away grants during the tax day vigil at the IRS.
A lively discussion began about using the “divest from the pentagon” phrase but we ran out of time, so it will be continued at the Sat. a.m. workshop.
Robin Harper brought a chart of his history of redirection. He’ll hang it up on Saturday (and hopefully we have some pictures to share with those not in attendance).