National War Tax Resistance
November 8, 2015 • Las Vegas, Nevada
Present: Peter Smith (Michiana WTR, South Bend, IN), Ed Kale (LaPointe, WI), Harold Penner (Peace Tax Fund, 1040 for Peace, Akron, PA), Rick Bickhart (Co-Treasurer, Ridgway, CO), Robert Randall, (Brunswick, GA), Jason Rawn (AdComm, ME), Cathy Deppe (AdComm, So.Cal WTR, Los Angeles, CA), Joffre Stewart (Chicago), Bill Glassmire (AdComm, Corvallis, OR), Ruth Benn (NWTRCC Coordinator, Brooklyn, NY), Erica Weiland (Social Medis Consultant, Seattle, WA)
Remote: David Gross (San Luis Obispo, CA) and Anne Barron (San Diego, CA)
1. Consultant Reports
Ruth – points out the return to 25 hours in the budget for 2016. Asked about finding a replacement for Justin once he’s done at end of December – yes, always open to at least occasional help but he’s been putting in 10 hrs/week, which is maybe too much on an ongoing basis.
Erica – As per her report, her accident set her back but she hopes to add more hours soon. Asked what are “impressions” – people seeing our stuff ; engagement = like, share, click on something or our profile info
Robert points out the Twitter ad campaign made a difference according to Erica’s report. What was it; could it be repeated. Answer: We got $50 free ads; repeated it last spring. You choose certain tweets that are promoted to people who follow related accounts – like Veterans for Peace, Democracy Now, etc. it’s a complicated pricing scheme on Twitter – we did get more followers and impressions. Probably worth doing again. What was tweeted was a message (does not look like an ad).
(1) NWTRCC Handbook Updates
These have circulated or been available for comment for 6 months now, so hopefully the group will approve them. Maybe small updates don’t have to be proposals, but these were substantial. Erica had a correction for the literature section and separated the listserve wtr-s from being a NWTRCC project specifically as it is rather independent.
Robert notes 3 small things – add something else after “Clark as updater” on the first page as in who is updating now; Section 3 has numbering problem – 2 different 3 b’s; Why is the Clerk Section noted as “inactive”; we haven’t dropped the Clerk idea, so take off brackets on Clerk Section and remove “inactive’
Ruth will make these fixes.
Passed by consensus with understanding these changes will be made.
(2) Days of WTR
Bring what we do out there and make it relevant; not just tax day but tax season actions, beginning around MLK Day and trying to build toward a larger tax day actions with at least one new group involved through a developing relationship. The timeline makes it more specific but local groups would adjust as needed. There ae some commitments from local groups (or individuals) that would be pilots – San Diego (Anne), South Bend/Michiana WTR, Bill G in Corvallis working with his 350.org group, Jason in Maine, Erica would do something in Seattle. AdComm suggests $2,000 in the draft budget for this project if the budget passes; have some money available but it’s not very specific so maybe next year it would be more specific with more budget
• Cathy says add LA or say “southern California” if she and Anne can coordinate
• Ed Kale – shows his business card with the pie chart on the back & nwtrcc is noted on the front; he passed out many cards when he was invited to speak about civil rights at a university
• Joffre had concerns about the use of the words “our country” an an anarchist, “race” preferring “racist discrimination” and “citizen” since protesters/resisters do not have to be citizens.
• Robert wonders if there is someone coordinating this – is the committee staying together and supervising this to check in with those who say they are doing something; see what needs are, etc.
• Cathy volunteers that she and Anne would find out who’s doing what and sharing info. The committee will carry it forward.
• Ruth wants to bring in Bill Ramsey’s point about promoting our network and building up the counseling list, making sure to point to our network list as more people find out about WTR
• Peter wants to know how we distribute the money that we are putting in the budget for this? Not a grant but a reimbursement of expenses. Also for office to print flyers or signs. Money would come out of that.
• Ed K wants to know if he needed travel money to get to Madison to speak would that be something he’d ask Anne and Cathy to approve?
• Erica – it’s still vague about what this money would go for and how to decide that question. Ed K is not in a community to organize. Basically this is for local actions with committee and AdComm being the back up for approval.
• Ruth notes that Ed’s question sounds like something for our current extra money for outreach and tabling; one person going to an event when they do promote NWTRCC/WTR.
• Jason says he’s on board for this as a local activist. Not sure he’d approve as written for NWTRCC now but sees it building
• We’re conceptually approving going forward with this. If there’s a committee who can keep it moving forward on carrying through with this then we have the possibility of something happening. Each person on the committee could be the contact person for each location. Need sufficient time at May meeting to talk about what happened and think strategically about how to carry forward.
• Anne – Networking with other groups locally is the key. We’ll be out in the community talking with other groups and hoping to make connections that will allow for bigger actions on tax day. Don’t know what is going to happen.
• Ruth just clarifying how we use the NWTRCC name: As a coalition, you should speak for your local group or local “war tax resisters,” but of course you can refer to NWTRCC as an initiator or backer of the work you are doing. The idea is to build your local groups and this is not quite like het war tax boycott which was a more specific campaign sponsored by NWTRCC.
Consensus to approve the project conceptually and support the committee and the local pilot groups and look forward to hearing back in May. The gist of everything in the proposal is approved.
(3) Logo Proposal proposed logo
Many have been thinking about changing the logo for a long time, but it came up again because of the website upgrade and designers wanting a different look. AdComm recommends we use this design by Mary Lynn We can still use any graphics.This would go on the newsletter, letterhead, website in particular
* Joffre says keep the one we have.
* Ruth notes that these were out on Loomio and the listserve and various responses came in. No one got overwhelming support though this one had the most support.
* Robert – this is not a life and death issue/ He feels like this is someone else’s logo. Does it look like someone else’s logo?
* Questions about the Pentagon and keyhole. David replies about trying to create something that was not a dove; “unlocking funds from the Pentagon” Just threw it out for discussion.
* Jason – pretty good with #1
* Harold – Looks big for anything we might have, like on a letterhead. Ed agrees with Harold; cut off wings on top to make it smaller.
* Robert – replace the olive branch with a dollar sign but knows the designer didn’t like it. Makes more sense given our focus.
* David – wants to know if we can use it in pieces – just the dove with the abbreviation. Different versions in different contexts. Vector graphic.
Asking for consensus – many thumbs up, various thumbs sideways. Joffre blocks.
No concensus on logo decision. Not approved.
(4) Comic Book Developing Proposal
AdComm talked about this. Not enough specifics before so this time there’s some new discussion with suggestions of artists and such. A committee is forming to carry this forward and bring back – Erica, Cathy, Jason, Rick, David. Bring a specific proposal to this body, probably in May. Cost, develop some storyline ideas, etc.
• Robert – needs a story line. For the DVD a good storyline was developed but wasn’t used in the end. We could use that again as it had a narrative context. (Ruth notes that it was too ambitious for what we could really do with our video, buthas copies of this if anyone wants to see it. Just be wary of being over ambitious. Start simple.)
• Joffre – has questions about the politics of Mike Konapaki, an artist suggested.
• Bill G – The Spanish comic book has a good story line of “we can all resist military spending”
• Robert say Kickstarter etc is a good place to try to fund this sort of thing.
No decision as it was not a proposal but thumbs up to moving it forward.
Outreach – are we really doing anything with “Economic Disobedience”; not too much on this in the last year; online networking and sharing the message of organizations that have broader economic concerns – strike debt and others; alternative economies. The Debt Strike folks put WTR in their book- any results from that? Ruth says not specifically but it’s really hard to tell because people go to the website.
Robert – outreach at SOAW – only 2 this year so it will be minimal.
Add: 2016 – use phone calls more in our outreach efforts; talk to people
Add: 2016 – tax season pilot project – Committee keep working and bring back reports in May
Meetings – add for 2015 that Jason and Cathy were at Global Network;
Add to 2B – See the spreadsheet online for meetings and conferences (tiny.cc/nwtrcc) that people can go to; keep sending out link to that page; add link on this sheet
Newsletter – Erica did do some ad exchanges
Network List –
Use the Campaign Nonviolence list to see about getting more affiliates
Notes these names: Cathy & Robert & Bill – volunteer to contact potential affiliates
Cathy sees that their So. Cal. alternative fund list could be used to ask groups to affiliate or endorse NWTRCC
Ruth will follow up with the 3 volunteers
Add: Use phone calls to network (h)
Add (e) – develop comic book proposal for May meeting
Why was e-book impractical – Ruth said we already have 3 versions that need to be updated and then that would need to be updated. Rick adds that it’s a complicated process and different devices needs different types so it’s so messy. Peter finds the text version is good to have to jump back and forth. With new website closer to roll-out, it will be easier for folks on smart phones etc to read our online versions.
Media – Nothing to add
Digital Resources – Reminder that in the future the comic book might be a digital resource
Counseling – Keep in mind Bill Ramsey’s comments from Milwaukee and hoping for/anticipating a huge rush of interest at some point.
FR committee does still meet by conference call
Online fundraising has not been too successful – Ruth notes that people need to share online in order to make this work and our network has not been very good at that.
Comic book may be a way to go with Kickstarter/Indigogo in the future when there is a specific proposal.
Cathy – encourage non WTRs to support WTR
Take out word “new”
How much do we send cards to low income people? We do but maybe today’s cards do not have anyone in that category.
Test for consensus on objectives with changes as noted
YES – passed by consensus
We’ve been doing pretty well with craigslist & just general giving, but general giving wouldn’t sustain us at the current level without the reserves and the grants we’ve received in the last few years.
* Cathy feels strongly and AdCom supported a 3% Cost of Living increase for consultants, which add $500+ for Ruth and $300+ for Erica. Also includes restoring 5 hrs to the Coordinator position.
* Up the newsletter printing costs from $1800 to $2000 just in case Lakeside should have to stop printing for us.
* Days of Action – add $2000; reduce tabling outreach by $1000
* Make up the shortfall by add $2074 to the “transfer from reserves” line to balance the budget.
$57, 974 – income & expenses for balanced budget
* We really need to work on Fundraising. We’re taking half of our reserves for next year, which means we can only do the same maybe one more year. We can’t depend on craigslist to give again. Robert feels strongly that we don’t sit on a lot of money. If we have a program and it needs funding, then use the money we have.
Test for consensus for new budget: thumbs up from all with one stand aside.
Campaign Nonviolence – Everyone is fine with this. Ruth suggests we not endorse without a point person other than a consultant. Rick volunteers as he is already on their mailing list.
Consensus to Endorse with Rick as point person
7. Next gatherings
* Still working on New Orleans; maybe Robert can talk to Ben Gordon at SOAW. Ruth will try to make this connection. Peter will try to see who’s at the New Orleans health center that we gave to one year and whether there is a way we could meet around that (Common Ground)
* Other options: Philly, DC – though we have no invite we could try to set one of these up.
* Portland, Oregon, WTRs are talking about whether they could host a gathering. Ask Pam and others to see if Tom Hastings can connect us to a peace studies program
* If it’s hard to get an invite, should we consider an all-virtual meeting? (this was not discussed)
* Jason will talk to Larry and Lonnie about an academic contact to host an “Earlham-like” gathering. He hasn’t heard back yet.
* Jason says Portland, Maine, might be NE gathering in fall 2017 so NWTRCC might be invited to come then.
* Ruth wondered about trying to meet when SOAW gathers in 2016, which might be a border action rather than in Georgia. It is as yet unplanned. Robert is negative on this, thinks there are too many unknowns. Trying to connect our meeting to it sounds iffy.
Consensus to work on Philly for May. Ruth will make contacts and see if this is possible.
How are you feeling? What went well? What can be improved?
Ed K – it went well. Wish everyone had the same experience he had to see the Red Rocks Canyon – he biked there on Wednesday/Thursday. Good location here. This is my 3rd meeting and sees things moving – excited about wat we’re going to do. That’s inspiring.
Joffre – very good meeting. Missing a chance to attack hoax and fraud of 911 – makes us more radical to attack the ruling class.
Bill G – good meeting. Very appreciative of catholic worker. Excellent place to meet. Interested in Loomio going forward and whether it will work. Wonders how much effort it takes paid staff.
Rick – likes meeting at CW. Keeps me grounded, and it’s been especially nice here. It’s always good when we can stay all together, but it was pretty good here – not too far apart..
Cathy – pleased with virtual meeting and participation online. Felt smoother compared to last time. It worked well. Loved being at CW and gave us an op to join with them serving the morning meal in the park. Collaborated well with them & doing outreach with community and the vigil at Nellis. Always likes action-oriented piece.
Elizabeth – appreciates virtual meeting going forward. Had a special interest in meeting Jennifer and getting to know her and staying at her house. She was not a speaker who attracted others from wider community to come and meet with us. We had a small group Saturday on the Peace Tax Fund and never got to report back to the big group. We have an outline of things we are going to do. It’s been helpful for us to have a chance to work on this.
Comments from Anne online – Asks where we post endorsements on our website? Glad to have funding for pilot project. Great to be online this weekend.
Erica – great to be here. Really hard to run this virtual meeting on her own.
Ruth – We had a back up plan for Erica and the remote meeting, which was Anne whose bus was cancelled, then we didn’t fill in back up plan. When we ask for a host we can’t always expect them to do the local outreach, so that’s a difference in different places where the local group has reached out to us and wants to do more organizing. But it’s ok to have a more in-house, businessy meeting. Great place to meet, and learning about the neighborhood was interesting.
Comments from David online – Does appreciate remote connection. We’re still working the bugs out and he understands that. Thank you
HA – very grateful for the invite to Jennifer and giving the PTF another airing and to have us take a look at it. Thank you for your support – it is invigorating.
Robert – Kudos to Julia and Gary and the other folks for hosting. Would like them to participate in the meetings and we should help more with the work and not just be served. Suggest as a way to improve the meetings with the model of Mr. Stewart – go thru the materials ahead of time. Try to bring things printed out with advance prep helps a lot. Ruth puts it up and we should maximize value of her time by looking at it and studying it ahead. Really great to get out and vigil/do an action.
Jason – feels encouraged by this gathering and what we’ve done. This tech thing is a good example of that. Encouraged by enthusiasm for days of tax season thing and that people are into the spirit of it even if not into the itemized detail of it. In May we can figure out a way to create something more people can get involved.
Peter – ditto how good CW experience has been for us. A small group helps to get the discussion going so that’s good, but more people is good for more ideas.
Thanks to Gary and Julia, our hosts at Las Vegas Catholic Worker, and to the wider CW community here for putting up with us and joining in for various parts of the weekend.