Frances Crowe, WTR and Anti-War Activist Extraordinaire

NWTRCC Coordinator Lincoln Rice wrote yesterday:  “Brandywine in Philadelphia sent out an email on their list today about Frances Crowe, who is in hospice. She’s been a longtime supporter of NWTRCC, whom some of you may know. Here is the note from Brandywine: “Yes, the amazing peacemaker, Frances Crowe, is in hospice. Friends and loved ones predict she is soon to leave us. Frances is still able to receive visitors and field phone calls. If you wish to say Godspeed and express your gratitude for her magnificent life you may do so. Her number is: 413 586-4950 In March of this year, Frances Crowe celebrated her 100 birthday by honoring her wish of people coming out with homemade signs. Over […]

War Tax Resister Profile: Howard Waitzkin and Mi Ra Lee

 [Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts from a letter that Howard Waitzkin and Mi Ra Lee wrote the IRS and included with their 2017 tax return. Thank you for sharing!] Statement of Resistance from Howard Waitzkin to the IRS for Tax Year 2017: I am a Conscientious Objector (CO) to war, based on religious and ethical beliefs, as recognized and certified 36 years ago by the U.S. Selective Service System. My beliefs as a CO have prevented me from participating in military service. However, I have devoted my whole professional career to many forms of alternative service, trying to meet the unmet health and mental health needs of active duty military personnel and veterans, as well as those of other […]

Bringing War Tax Resistance to Campaign Nonviolence and UN International Day of Peace!

During the hot dog days of August, I am kept busy prepping for the dedicated Week of Actions around the UN Day of International Peace on September 21.  Peace folks in San Diego have been part of the national actions for the past 4 years, including the Peace Resource Center of San Diego and the Franciscan Peace Connection.  Big shout-out to Pace e Bene for dreaming up Campaign Nonviolence Week of Actions as a time of focused, united local actions to spread a culture of nonviolence.  It has grown from 200 to 2600 actions – a sign of the people’s movement. This year, the focus is on real climate action. I usually enjoy the busy work in anticipation of the […]

Loving Life on the Margins: An Interview with Suzanne Belote Shanley & Brayton Shanley

Earlier this year, Suzanne Belote Shanley & Brayton Shanley published a book about the history of the Agape Community, which they cofounded in 1982 in Ware, Massachusetts. The community is dedicated to prayer, voluntary simplicity, and gospel-centered nonviolent witness. War tax resistance has been a core aspect of the community from its founding. The book, Loving Life on the Margins, is not only a history of the community, but also the autobiography of Suzanne & Brayton. They were kind enough to be interviewed by NWTRCC to discuss their lives and the Agape Community.   What was your initial motivation for becoming war tax resisters? We were becoming an active part of the peace movement of the late 1970’s which was […]

Negotiations Continue for FY 2020 Defense Bill

As this Blog is being prepared for publication conferees from the US House of Representatives and Senate are in negotiations finalizing the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  The $733 billion House version was passed along party lines — 220 to 197 — with Republicans united in opposition to the legislation. For the past six decades the defense bill has traditionally been a bipartisan effort, but this year there has been more debate about what can be included in military spending as well as curtailing the executive branch’s ability to declare war.  The Trump administration’s escalating tensions with Iran have given added urgency to war authorization powers. Last month, the president said he did not believe he required […]

Mennonite Church Peace Tax Fund

A new alternative fund that will be available to any U.S. Mennonite at their local church is being proposed at the biannual convention of the Mennonite Church USA in Kansas City on July 4. War tax resistance alternative funds began in the late 1960s as a way for resisters to pool the thousands of federal tax dollars resisted because of the Vietnam War. Alternative funds serve the following purposes: Hold resisted taxes in escrow until the government allows taxpayers to pay taxes without any of that money going to war (through, for example, the Peace Tax Fund Bill). Provide potential security of funds from seizure by the IRS. (Since all deposits are held in one common account under an organization’s […]

The Picket Line 2019 Annual Report on Tax Resistance by David Gross

pay no war tax chicago graphic

Picket Line Annual Report (For the Full Article by David Gross, including the detailed 1040: A Walkthrough click here.  Links to previous Picket Line articles can be accessed by  clicking on the “♦” symbols.) Tax Resistance Sixteen years ago, on 19 March 2003, the U.S. began its “shock and awe” attack on Iraq. For me, this was the last straw and so I started what I then called “an experiment” in tax resistance so that I would no longer feel as complicit.♦ My goal was to stop financially supporting the U.S. government. I hoped at first to do this legally by lowering my income below the federal income tax line, so I quit my job to start my own small business and I began […]

Demand Divestment — them and us

Outside a fancy hotel in Midtown Manhattan a crowd of us held “Divest from the War Machine” signs to greet shareholders of BlackRock, who were arriving for their annual meeting. The demonstration was organized by CodePink NYC in conjunction with CodePink’s national divest campaign; there were actions in other cities too. BlackRock is some kind of big investment company that most of us probably don’t deal with directly, but they influence our lives. CodePink has targeted them as the top investor in weapons manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics. We were there to remind shareholders that their choices underpin the production of weapons used in military strikes around the world, resulting in the deaths […]

War Tax Resistance Conference in DC

We had a delightful NWTRCC gathering in Washington, DC this past weekend. I want to start with a HUGE thank you to the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, who hosted folks who needed beds, hosted some of our weekend activities, and helped many of us make it down to the Venezuelan Embassy after our business meeting on Sunday. Thanks also to those who helped with food. Here are some of the highlights, in my humble opinion: Friday evening was supposed to begin with a report back from Code Pink activist Paki Wieland on her recent trip to Iran. Paki and other activists have been staying at the Venezuelan Embassy since it was officially turned over to them when Venezuelan diplomats who […]

Tax Day 2019 Report Back

Like many, I awoke Monday morning with anticipation for Tax Day. My excitement was related to thinking of the many throughout the US who would be resisting giving money to pay for war and raising the issue of bloated military spending to the general public through leafleting, holding vigils and marches.  NWTRCC had been busy in the lead up to April 15, sending out copies of the War Resisters League’s annual Pie Chart and information about how to resist paying taxes for war with packets to communities gathering on this day. Additional posts were made on social media, especially with tweets of the many ways people were refusing to pay taxes for war.  Lists of communities taking action were compiled […]

Terrible Taxes in History

Tax Day in the United States is Monday April 15 in most states (April 17 in Maine & Massachusetts). So I thought a post on terrible taxes in history would be appropriate. Back in December, HistoryExtra.com published an article about ten terrible taxes. (HistoryExtra is the official website for BBC History Magazine and BBC World Histories Magazine.) One downside of the article from an American perspective is that all of the taxes listed were English-enforced, but it’s still interesting and has some parallels with American taxes today. Here are a few of the unpopular taxes from their list: (1) The poll tax became more common in England at the end of the fourteenth century. It charged a flat tax per […]

Increasing “Lethality” of Drones

There have been a couple news stories in March about American military drones. On 6 March 2019, Trump signed an executive order ending the requirement that CIA officials “report civilian deaths in drone attacks outside active war zones.” Trump referred to the requirement as a distraction. Obama put the requirement in place in 2016, during the last year of his presidency. (The Pentagon is still required to report civilian deaths to Congress, but the CIA program is responsible for covert drone strikes outside of war zones.) According the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there were 1,878 drone strikes during Obama’s eight years in office, which was a dramatic increase compared to the drone use by George W. Bush. During Trump’s first […]