The Work That Reconnects and WTR

A few weeks ago I co-facilitated a weekend workshop on the Work That Reconnects. The program was started by Joanna Macy and comes out of her work that spans over 4 decades as an activist largely on anti-nuclear activities. For weeks I had to remind myself that WTR was not War Tax Resistance but rather the Work That Reconnects. We journeyed to the small town of New Harmony, Indiana which had once been a part of a wave of Utopian communities that sprung up in the early 1800s to create a new world here in the US largely by German immigrants. The people envisioned a world in which all would be welcomed.  They were experimenting with the needs of their […]

Checks and Balances or Endless War

Signs at Climate Strike Sept 2019

Recent events have many questioning whether there remains an overall system of checks and balances in the US. Congress has assumed  responsibility for being a check on the balance of power in relation to war in this country. Previously it has fallen on Congress to declare war as well as allocate funding for war.   In the past year there has been a lot of back and forth about the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. There have been many provisions sought from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Some of those provisions included curtailing arm sales to Saudi Arabia to fuel their war in Yemen, prohibiting US military intervention in Iran, preventing funds for a border […]

“I’m not sure I can tell the difference in Iraq and Iran”

Yellow button with words "No to War & Racism- HANDS OFF IRAN- Neighbors for Peace. org

As we ready our current blog post my thoughts turn to my own experience in the Middle East just as the Trump administration has launched new rumors of impending endless war in the region. In an extrajudicial drone missile strike Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani was killed. Soleimani (an Iranian) was assassinated at Baghdad International Airport on Iraqi soil without permission of Iraq where the US had been engaged in active warfare for decades. The US escalation comes after Trump walking away from Nuclear negotiations and imposing strict economic sanctions. Iran has now threatened revenge as the US Army deploys an estimated 3,000 additional troops in the 82nd Airborne brigade to the area. The US has ordered all Americans to […]

Yuletide Express carries a universal message of world peace

With  the backdrop of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and seemingly endless conflicts on the horizon, a local musician created an opportunity for people to come together for the holiday season. Celia’s Yuletide Express was formed 15 years ago to share joy and remember the deepest longings of humans in the long nights of winter. Over the years, the numerous sing a longs have brought together hundreds of people at numerous venues. The  Express stops range from assisted living facilities, coffee houses, high schools, psychiatric centers, to actual Metro train stops.  All are welcome to take part.  The age ranges from young ones to  elders singing along.and dancing. It can be magical in what singing can bring about in the […]

Radical History Quiz

In remembrance of Larry Gara As many readers know, we date the “modern war tax resistance movement” to World War II, when hundreds of amazing people refused to participate with their bodies and/or their taxes. These resisters tended to be committed pacifists, many of them already involved with War Resisters League or the Fellowship of Reconciliation or members of peace churches, such as the Society of Friends. Larry Gara was one of them. I knew and worked with him during my time on staff at the War Resisters League and was sad to learn of his death at age 97 on November 23. After the war years he became a history professor and retired in 2002 from 40 years of […]

Georgia on My Mind

Close the School of the Americas banner with woman and man on both sides

A rare event occurred in my life that I found myself traveling to Georgia for two important events in peacemaking recently. The first event was for the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 trial in Brunswick and the second was the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Gathering at Fort Benning with the School of the Americas Watch. Both events were heavily populated with War Tax Resisters as well as potential War Tax Resisters.  The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7) action took place in the home of long time War Tax Resister (WTR) Robert Randall who helped organize many of the events around the trial as well as bringing attention to the Trident nuclear weapons for many decades. Like many WTRs, he had focused on […]

Jewish Motivations on WTR at Yom Kippur

dark hands releasing a red heart with a white dove within it

In the tradtion of Yom Kippur and the emphasis on reflection we wanted to share a previous post concerning WTR from a Jewish perspective. Devar Tikkun, A Talk on Social Justice October 24th, 2013 | Personal motivations,Real Life Stories Post by Lawrence Rosenwald, Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of English, Co-Director, Program in Peace & Justice Studies, Wellesley College I gave this talk Friday night, October 18th, in the context of a joyous shabbat service shared between the Moishe Kavod House and my congregation Havurat Shalom. It’s the tradition of MKH to have what they call a “devar tikkun,” a talk about social justice, and I was invited to give the devar tikkun on this occasion, which fact will explain some of the traits of the talk, […]

Know the Earth…Share the Way…Understand the World

Flag of International Atomic Energy Agency with blue background, atomic particle surrounded by oak leaf branches

Last week I joined with others who had participated in a tax day action earlier in the year to raise awareness about nuclear weapons on the UN designated day to eliminate the most potent weapon ever created.  We set out seeking midday crowds in a boldly painted vehicle with messages of nuclear disarmament and “armed” with materials including the Warheads to Windmills literature. The program provides a framework of how we could invest the $61 billion for nuclear weapons (in 2018) into programs that could counter climate catastrophe including the Green New Deal. While we traveled around the city I had to put some of my organizing instincts on hold and focus on what underlies all of this work, building […]

Confessions of an Anonymous War Tax Refuser

I grew up in a constant shadow of wars—from bomb shelters when I was a child, through Vietnam, the “cold war,” and ceaseless hot ones since then. When I discovered in my 30s that besides what we directly participated in, our government was also fomenting wars all over the world and supplying the arms for them, sometimes to both sides, I vowed myself to peace. That meant I would not help war efforts in any way, including paying for them or for weapons, buying products from companies which profited from war, and every other way that came to my attention. The only way I felt comfortable resisting taxes (other than the phone tax resistance during Vietnam) was to keep my […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]