Tax Day was Monday April 18, 2022 and folks throughout the U.S. people gathered around this date to raise awareness that close to half of federal income taxes go towards war and to encourage others to resist paying taxes and redirect money to community needs. You can find the 2022 press release as well as recent articles and interviews.
NWTRCC sponsored a “Refuse to Pay for War” Statement this tax season, which was signed by 74 people. The full list of signers can be found here. Of those signers, 36 reported that they directed a combined total of $80,150 to life-giving organizations. This amount does not include the tens of thousands of dollars redirected by Northern California People’s Life Fund and the New England War Tax Resistance Alternative Fund. Although we would have liked more folks to have signed the document, the document provided and avenue for many new folks to come into contact with NWTRCC, some of whom joined local groups for Tax Day activities and some of whom we put in contact with war tax resistance counselors.
The People’s Life Fund redirected grants of $2,000-$5,000 each to fifteen exceptional Bay Area groups offering critical services in Northern California communities. They hosted a virtual Granting Ceremony, where a spokesperson from each of these groups shared about their mission and their work.
Those of us who challenge our national spending priorities lament the fact that the health, housing and social services so desperately needed in this time of global crisis have been depleted over the years because so much of our taxes are devoted to militarism and war. As we struggle to address the magnitude of the Coronavirus epidemic, along with so many other health disparities here and around the world, we also know that the crisis of climate chaos deepens every day, and urgently needs to be addressed. The US military is the single largest driver of climate change.
You can find a list of recipients here
San Diego Area
This Tax Day, the Peace Resource Center offerred President Biden a way to pay for his huge war budget – a Bake Sale for the Air Force!
Local tax resister Anne Barron redirected her war taxes directly to support the work of prison activist Cheryl Canson.
Canson’s work on prison reform is tightly connected to the escalating militarization of our society – our police, our schools, and our prisons.
Report and photo from Anne Barron
A Tax Day vigil was held on Saturday April 9 in downtown Santa Rosa to expose the gross amount of federal funding dedicated to military spending and pass out pamphlets on war tax resistance. The response was mixed with multiple people driving by who yelled, “War is the answer!”
Report and photos from Anita LaFollette
At a busy downtown intersection over the noon hour on Tax Day, we had five folks hosting a penny poll, holding signs, and leafletting. We had a good response to our penny poll. Report & Photo provided by Mary Sprunger-Froese. Photo by Evelyn.
Michiana War Tax Refusers gathered from 4:30 to 5:30 across from the Federal Building on Monday, April 18. There were 4 of us, all war tax resisters. A reporter from the local paper came and did some in depth interviews with several of us. I think that he understood why and how we engaged in war tax resistance and redirection. His story never made it into the paper, however. We had “Honk for Justice” signs on stands that we call surrogate vigilers. A number of cars honked when they went by. This is a high traffic area during the time we are there. I brought copies of War Resisters League pie chart leaflet but other than the reporter there was no foot traffic. Photos and report from Peter Smith
PeaceWorks held an annual tax day rally at the local post office with handouts speaking to the federal budget priorities and to the connection between militarism and the climate crisis. We typically have conversations with a dozen or more people. We participated with other groups at Bath Iron Works in the last of the Lenten Vigils there which fell on Tax Day. Again the intention was to raise awareness of the devastation that militarism causes our climate.
Report from Rosalie Paul of PeaceWorks.
Invest in Life not Death: A Tax Day March – On April 20th the Raytheon Antiwar Campaign and allies led a march through Boston’s Financial District to highlight the connection between big banks and their dealings with companies that profit from war and companies that profit from destroying the environment. First the crowd met at the statue of Samuel Adams, Founding Father and Boston’s most famous tax protester! From there they marched to Blackrock, an investment company that owns 6.5% of Raytheon and 6% of Exxon/Mobil, blowing whistles and doing a little street theater. From there they participated in a die-in at JP Morgan Chase, a bank that loaned $6.5 Billion to Raytheon Tech. and is the world’s largest lender to fossil fuel companies. After that the group went on to State Street Bank, the largest shareholder in Raytheon (9.4%) and holds $121 Billion in Fossil Fuel stock. Report and Photos from Brian Garvey.
Two of us tabled on WTR at the Montanita Food Coop on Friday April 15 from 10am-1:45pm. Three people engaged enough to add their names to a mailing list. We also distributed quite a few recent and past newsletters, and other materials provided by NWTRCC. Unfortunately, I learned the day of the tabling that the coop does not allow tablers to approach individuals outside the coop, so future tabling will occur where we can approach people to let them know about WTR. Report from Ginny Schneider
The NYC tax day action this year grew into a bigger event than previous years. NYC War Resisters League, which includes many war tax resisters, traditionally holds a vigil at the IRS with other peace groups. This year we decided to add a march down to Wall Street to add a protest against war profiteers, and the coalition broadened to include Extinction Rebellion NYC (XR NYC) and other climate action groups. Tax day fell within XR’s Spring Uprising week of actions when they were planning a series of direct actions, so Wall Street was a perfect target for them too. About 80 activists came out for the rally with speakers and a performance by a new street theatre group, Rising Together Guerilla Theater. Then we took to the street for a lively march down Broadway, chanting “Money for Education Not for War,” etc., and holding up traffic for about 45 minutes until we reached the Charging Bull statue where XR activists were blocking the road with tripods featuring “NO WAR” and “NO WARMING” banners. Nine arrests took place downtown, but the police let us alone for the march down Broadway. Hopefully we can broaden this coalition even more next year. Report from Ruth Benn. Photo by Ed Hedemann.
Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter, Mid-Valley, Oregon held a Tax Day event. They asked the question, “The US will spend $800 billion this year on militarism. How would you spend $800 billion to make the world better?” Twelve speakers and over 40 participants attended. Answers to this question fell into three major areas. First, three fourths of respondents emphasized one or more basic needs. Most noted were health care and housing. These were followed by education, food, child care, and student debt. Righting injustices was the next theme with just over one third of respondents wanting to help the needy, pay reparations to indigenous and black people, plus supporting refugees and world peace. Just under a third had environmental concerns about renewable energy, stopping the use of fossil fuels, and developing better infrastructure for electricity and transportation. Many volunteered to work on future actions to reduce taxes that support militarism. Report from Court Smith photo from Bart Bolger
Our tax day event was fun! We held up signs at a busy street corner in front of the federal building that has the local IRS office in it. It was a rainy day, but it did not rain during the event. It was great to see some folks we hadn’t seen since the pandemic started and we all enjoyed being together. Passersby honked and waved. It was a festive hour of activism.
On Earth Day, April 22nd, the last day of Passover, Jews and allies in Eugene, Oregon gathered in front of Chase Bank, the world’s largest banker of fossil fuels and one of the top financiers of Tar Sands oil, Arctic oil and gas, and fracking. Passover is a celebration of freedom. The holiday carries many lessons today as we face the climate crisis, working to free ourselves from the destruction of the fossil fuel economy and create a world where everyone can thrive. We publicly proclaimed today’s fossil-fueled plagues, and lifted up matzah as a symbol of urgency, calling on Chase Bank to “move their dough”. We sang the song sung at Passovers around the world, Dayenu, we have had enough!
Report and photos from Sue Barnhart
On April 15th, we held up signs with a “burma shave” style rolling message on two of Portland’s busiest bridges for the benefit of morning commuters. The messages were about bloated military spending and the runaway military budget. A total of 11 volunteers participated, including folks from the War Resisters League—Portland and the Portland Raging Grannies. Report from John Grueschow.
King of Prussia
On Good Friday, retired United Church of Christ pastor Ken Trauger and H.A. Penner of Akron, Pennsylvania went to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, to witness along with others from the Brandywine Peace Community in front of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest nuclear weapons contractor and war profiteer. Ken and H.A. held up a banner saying “You Pay; Lockheed Martin Profits $” on the wall down the street and around the corner from the entrance to the plant where at least a dozen local police and security guards were stationed apparently to address whatever “good trouble” we might cause. At that gathering of some 15 protesters, H.A. read the attached letter that he and his wife included with their 2021 federal income tax return indicating that they are redirecting 47% of what they owe–the amount of federal income tax dollars that underwrite the U.S. military according to War Resisters League pie chart to the peacebuilding activities of the Penner’s church. When music and the peace readings had been completed, a number of those present risked arrest by temporarily blocking Lockheed Martin’s entrance. Eventually three moved forward onto Lockheed Martin property in an attempt to deliver a copy of the U.N Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to Lockheed Martin officials. They were stopped by Lockheed Martin security and the Upper Merion Township Police. Quaker Paul Sheldon was able to hand deliver a copy of the Treaty to the head of Lockheed Martin security before being arrested along with his two compatriots. Report from H. A. Penner.
Over the noon hour on Saturday April 16 in Lancaster’s square, I operated a Penny Poll with a couple Peace Action Network of Lancaster colleagues. In anticipation of last Monday’s Tax Day, we gave passers-by opportunities to vote on how they would like their federal tax dollars spent by putting 10 pennies into any of ten categories. Thirty-nine folks participated with the following results:
Agriculture – 3.6%
Diplomacy – 5.6
Education – 15.4
Environment (Green Energy) – 16.7
Health – 21.0
Housing – 15.6
Mass Transit/Roads – 9.0
Military/Homeland Security – 3.3
Veterans – 7.7
Other – 2.3
Total – 100.0%
Report and Photo from H.A. Penner
A group called Nonviolent Austin, which is part of the Nonviolent Cities project of Pace e Bene, meets weekly in front of our capitol for a vigil. So we turned our Friday April 15 vigil into a Tax Day vigil and created a special banner for the occasion. Report by Susan Van Haitsma. Photo by vigil organizer, Jim Crosby.
On Tax Day members of Taxes for Peace New England tabled at the Brattleboro Food Co-op from 10am-6pm. We were lucky to have good weather and many people visited the table to take brochures, ask questions, and engage in conversation. A couple people were particularly interested in how to resist if they held jobs where taxes were taken from the paychecks automatically. We also tabled at 350Brattleboro’s Earth Day Festival (4/22) where we focused our handouts on how war negatively impacts the climate. Post from Lindsey Britt
Several people from Community Mennonite and Shalom Mennonite organized a public War Tax Resistance/redirection vigil yesterday at Love Park next to the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market. At the vigil some people literally or symbolically gave their redirected money to representatives from those organizations to whom the redirected money is going. Some read the letters they wrote to the IRS to enclose with their tax returns stating what they are doing and why – or just spoke from their heart of personal experiences. Others distributed pie chart leaflets showing the percentage of Federal Outlays going to military spending for FY 2022 – about 48 percent. Since these are times that try the hearts and minds of believers in war tax redirection and non-violent civil resistance as a better method of dealing with conflict, and recognizing that we are not the first in history to experience such dilemmas, we also distributed half-page leaflets listing a few of the many examples and resources for people to explore if they so choose. It was good to have been part of this. Report from Rick Yoder and photo from Carolyn Yoder
Casa Maria Catholic Worker and Milwaukee War Tax Resisters held a vigil to protest federal tax dollars for war and environmental harm the two Saturdays before Tax Day. On April 9th, we vigiled outside the U.S. Army Reserve and on April 16th we vigiled on the corners of North Avenue and MLK Jr. Drive. Report & Photos from Lincoln Rice.