Redirection and Keeping Track of the People We Owe

Ammon Hennesy

April 15th saw Tax Day actions not seen in years. Well at least in 2 years. After Tax Day spread into 3 months in 2020 to finally conclude on July 15th last year, people were eager to come out on April 15th in order to join in a long tradition of holding that day as a stand out day to raise the issue of military spending in the US. War Tax Resisters and those concerned about militarism organize actions in their communities to educate that nearly half of the federal income taxes are devoted to war. April 15th also serves as a day of action to build upon community by investing our energy and resources towards human needs through individual […]

Don’t Pay for What You Don’t Want

Nelson Homestead

“I don’t want to pay for what I don’t want. I won’t buy what I don’t want. I’m that way with everything. So, why not war? I don’t want it either…” — Juanita Nelson on Democracy Now! During this season of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, big online retailer vans and trucks crowding streets and highways, advertisements for all manner of plastic stuff, etc., it’s a great time to remember Wally and Juanita Nelson. They lived lives centered around their belief in nonviolence as a way of life, a belief that led Wally to prison for refusing to fight in WWII. A belief that led the couple to refuse to pay taxes for war. A belief that evolved to an exemplary […]

U.S. Tax History- It Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But It Often Rhymes

women holding signs above their heads while gathered outside

Like many of you, I found it easy to get lost in the Trump tax troves published in the New York Times last Sunday. I felt a feverish attempt to scour through it to find some of the starker elements and decipher how it relates to war tax resistance. Some of the long anticipated information that had been shrouded in secrecy was available to all. I was curious about the details of how the supposed “leader of the free world” was able to game the U.S. tax system, but I was also curious as to how the general public would respond to this new information. It seemed many realized that those with money bent the tax laws to benefit themselves.  […]

May Day

Several men hold hands around a globe that has a banner reading solidarity of labour

There is a call for a General Strike beginning on May 1, 2020. ‘We are the Shutdown’ is a network of organizations calling for an ongoing strike against the increasingly lethal economy. The general strike encourages the use of various tactics like sick outs, rent strikes and certain workers not fulfilling part of their job responsibilities.New worker collectives have emerged including Amazonians United, Whole Worker and Gig Workers Collective to raise awareness of the working conditions at retail outlets and delivery services. Vanessa Bain, co-founder of the 17,000 member Gig Worker Collective, shared with the Intercept “May Day is not just a one-time symbolic action, but also about building real, vast, and broad sweeping networks of power.”  From We Are […]

Protest in the Time of Coronavirus

march 19 Brooklyn NY

On March 19 — just last week before the state really shut down — our NYC War Resisters League group held vigils in three areas of the city. A few of us walked to the busy traffic circle at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn and stood with our signs to mark the 17th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and demand an end to endless war. Because there wasn’t much else going on, drivers zipping by and people walking in and out of the park turned their heads to see what we were up to. Despite some controversy in our group about whether protesting in a time of pandemic was a good idea, we got plenty of supportive honks and […]

Saying YES to Noncooperation

If you take a look around our world, you will witness a myriad of beings who are each ebbing and flowing out of the various ways their lives manifest, some with beauty and grandeur while others with disdain and bitterness. However, if you pay attention even just the slightest, you will experience a diverse collective of individuals and communities who have been struggling to be conscious beings of fierce compassion and just peace; building the beloved community. From the Movement for Black Lives to Extinction Rebellion, CODEPINK to the Baltimore Wisdom Project, or from the Voices of Creative Nonviolence to the Brooklyn Center for Sacred Activism, there are dynamic people causing beautiful trouble through a variety of means but all […]

A Freelancer’s Quandary

Freelance worker

Who doesn’t want to protect workers against uncaring, exploitative, profit-hungry employers? But…. there’s always a but….I’m just waking up to the fact that a wave of state laws intending to protect workers may also slam the door on freelance opportunities. The California law AB5 that just took effect pushes employers to categorize more workers as W-2 employees. Freelancers are scrambling, and articles indicate that many have lost good, paying work. Now I see a similar law is proposed in New York, where I live. There’s a Freelancers New York campaign against it, and their website announces, “Freelancers in New York watched in horror as AB5 passed hastily in California, destroying the livelihoods of thousands of independent contractors in one vague, […]

Opposing Trident with Faslane Peace Camp: 37 Years of Resistance

the cover of Faslane Peace Camp's 2000 publication, Faslania, featuring a spiral black and white design with Celtic designs and a peace sign in the middle

Recently I traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to represent NWTRCC at the International Conference for War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns, hosted by Conscience: Taxes for Peace Not War. I’m working on a full conference report, but in the meantime, I wanted to highlight the longtime Scottish resistance campaign against the Trident nuclear submarine. ​A highlight of the weekend was the Sunday bus trip to HMNB Clyde, the military base at which the UK’s Trident-missile armed nuclear submarines are located. The Faslane Peace Camp has been resisting these nuclear weapons since 1982. One of the conference attendees, Willemien, has been living and resisting at Faslane for two years. ​ Faslane is a beautiful little area along the shores of Gare […]

RIP Joffre: A tireless resister — who could try patience

Joffre Stewart died in his hometown Chicago at age 93 on March 12. He became a dedicated nonviolent resister to war and injustice out of a short stint in the military during WWII when he went to prison for going AWOL. Early on he found his political home with the revolutionary pacifism and direct action of Peacemakers, a group founded in the late 1940s by Ernest and Marion Bromley and Juanita and Wally Nelson. He carried his anarchist-pacifist politics with him for the rest of his life, although Joffre was not someone who fit easily into a group. He was a poet and might have known every open mic poetry night in Chicago; he had a great voice for recitation, […]

Public vs. Quiet Resistance

Making your war tax resistance public brings attention to the harm caused by militarism and military spending, can help galvanize others to action against war, and encourages civil disobedience. However, many resisters, for whatever reason, choose not to be outspoken and public about their refusal to pay war taxes. A few months ago, the war tax resistance e-mail discussion list took up this topic of public resistance when discussing how to deal with NWTRCC archival materials, including correspondence. Several resisters expressed concern about a trend of people wanting to remain private about their resistance, associating relative quietness with an lack of willingness to take responsibility for their actions. Indeed, a hallmark of “civil disobedience” as a concept is choosing to […]

Ammon Hennacy’s “One-Man Revolution”

Ammon Hennacy: The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist

A man asked me: “Why does a fellow like you—with an education, and who has been all over the country—end up in this out-of-the-way place, working for very little on a farm?” I explained that people who had good jobs in factories had a withholding tax for war taken from their pay, and that people who worked on farms had no tax taken from their pay. I told him that I refused to pay taxes. He was a returned soldier, and said that he did not like war either, but what could a fellow do about it? I replied that we each did what we really wanted to. ―Ammon Hennacy, The Book of Ammon Ammon Hennacy refused to pay war taxes […]

Ammon Hennacy and other early modern war tax resisters

NWTRCC network member David Gross has been working to release the enormous volume, The Book of Ammon, a collection of writings by the Christian anarchist Ammon Hennacy, as a free e-book. This book, currently out of print, is a fascinating look at a man famous for his draft resistance, his war tax resistance, and his involvement with the Catholic Worker movement. I’m one of the test readers of the book, looking for typos (Hennacy wasn’t much for proofreading!). A few items caught my interest, and I’d like to share some additional research. 1. Ammon Hennacy repeatedly states that he turned to farm work, after leaving his job as a social worker in 1942, because it was the only kind of […]