Old Propaganda War Tax Films

One of the highlights of the November 2018 NWTRCC conference in Cleveland was the preview showing of The Pacifist. As mentioned by Erica in a previous post, the film follows Larry Bassett’s refusal to pay over $100,000 in taxes. The film is still making the rounds of the film festival circuit, so is not yet available to the general public. However, an audio version of the film is FREE online through Spotify and Apple Music audio streaming services (sign-up required). You can also watch a scene from the film on Facebook. Throughout the film, there were several archival film clips promoting the payment of federal taxes to support war and, by default, democracy (according to the film clips). During the […]

Colrain after 25 Years: Learning from an action

A summary of a great weekend at the New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters Woolman Hill, Deerfield, Massachusetts, November 16-18, 2018 Between 1989 and 1993, hundreds of people flocked to Colrain, Mass., to voice their opposition to war and military spending by supporting the war tax resistance (WTR) of Betsy Corner and Randy Kehler when the IRS seized their home. You can read about them and a synopsis of the house seizure here – and through many other web links. About 50 people turned up during the reunion weekend to share personal impacts, reflections, analysis, and lessons of the Colrain action. There were also presentations and perspectives on the military budget and the current state of the WTR and the […]

Milwaukee 14 – 50 Years Later

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Milwaukee 14, in which fourteen men (during the planning stage there were also two women in the group, but that’s another story) raided a federal office in downtown Milwaukee, removed around 10,000 draft files, and burned them with home-made napalm. Though the fourteen faced decades in prison, each served about one year. Though largely forgotten today, the action made national headlines in 1968 & Howard Zinn served as an expert witness at the trial for the defense. An event was held in Milwaukee this past September to commemorate the event. Joined by friends & family, most of the fourteen that are still living made the trip to Milwaukee. The event was a […]

Conscience and History: The WTR Movement Is A Myth

cover of Conscience newsletter with issue title Recycling War Taxes and illustrations showing different way to redirect war taxes

Welcome to another post in the Conscience and History series, highlighting some of the writing in the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC), published from 1980 to 1995. So many of the discussions within the war tax resistance community are decades-long. When I first came to NWTRCC in 2008/2009, I got up to speed on the debate over the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Bill advanced by the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund… but it wasn’t until I read some 1980s issues of Conscience that I fully realized that we’ve been having the very same debate for decades. Another long-time debate within our community is whether war tax resistance is a movement. The following piece was […]

Niger Needs Food, Not Drones

Ed and I had an amazing trip twelve years ago to the Sahara Desert in Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world. For those of you who know us, the reason we’ve traveled to some more unusual places is the chance to see a total eclipse of the sun — and it’s true, one is not enough! The August 2017 eclipse created new “eclipse chasers” since it crossed the U.S. and was visible to millions of people with tons of media coverage before, during, and after. So, you may wonder what this has to do with war tax resistance… The UN consistently ranks Niger near or at the bottom of human development based on life expectancy, education, and […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 2

Read Part 1 of Conscience and History: Beit Sahour Conscience, the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC) from 1980 to 1995, covered the Palestinian tax resistance multiple times. Part 1 addressed 1988-1989’s coverage. The next mention of Beit Sahour, a center of such resistance, occurred in “West Bank Town Under Siege for Tax Protest,” in Conscience‘s Winter 1990 issue (#36), by Les Welsh: “This summer, the village of Beit Sahour, a working class, mostly Christian town of 15,000, decided unanimously to withhold taxes from the regime occupying their homeland. For many of Beit Sahour’s 320 businesses, this was their first participation in the Uprising. “The Israeli government responded on September 22nd [1989] by declaring Beit Sahour a […]

Conscience and History: Beit Sahour, Part 1

a stone arch over a paved lane in Beit Sahour, with a stone building in the background

Welcome to the 2nd in the Conscience and History series! In each of these posts I’ll explore a little bit of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC)’s newsletter, Conscience, which was published from 1980 to 1994. The newsletter was continued as Nonviolent Action (1995-2007) by the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia (NACC), which ran the CMTC Escrow Account until it moved to St. Louis. (For more on the CMTC Escrow Account, which is now in the process of closing down and transferring its funds to other alternative funds, see this archived page.) When WTRs discuss historic international examples of war tax resistance or tax resistance in general, Beit Sahour (pronounced roughly “Bait Sah-HOR,” or listen to a pronunciation) is […]

Laugh, Cry, Carry On! Mining NWTRCC’s Archives

As Erica mentioned in her post last week, I’ve been clearing out old war tax resistance files and sorting those that will go to the Swarthmore College Peace Collection.  Along with many other peace groups — War Resisters League, National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom — NWTRCC sends our newsletters, audio-visual materials, literature, and other organizing papers to the archive. The Peace Collection also saves our website periodically, so that online information will be available to researchers. Going through the files is quite a project, and you have to be very disciplined to press along and not read every note, every flyer, and every letter sent to the IRS or elected officials […]

Conscience and History: NWTRCC News in 1986

Recently, former NWTRCC coordinator Ruth Benn, as part of her ongoing effort to finally clear the NWTRCC archives out of her house, sent me a stack of old issues of Conscience. This was the newsletter of the Conscience and Military Tax Campaign (CMTC), which promoted what was then called the World Peace Tax Fund and ran an escrow account for resisted war taxes. (More news to come about the closing of CMTC this year – its funds are being transferred to two other alternative funds.) Conscience began in 1980, before NWTRCC was founded in 1982, and lasted in one form or another through 2007. I have most of the issues between #22 and #52 in my possession, spanning 1986 through 2001. […]

Resisting Nukes: Then, Now and How Much Longer?

I am among the many war tax resisters who got into this form of resistance after becoming aware of the horror of nuclear weapons, the damage done by every step of the process to build them, and the incredible waste of trillions of dollars over seven decades. Surely the world would look very different if there was such a dedication to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and develop alternative energies (the non-nuclear ones). Thus with August 6-9 — Hiroshima and Nagasaki days — approaching I wanted to post a reminder to get out to a vigil or action during that time. Humans created weapons of mass destruction and we are responsible for getting rid of them. NWTRCC  has a […]

Taxing Wars and BDS against the US

A new book by professor and former Air Force officer Sarah E. Kreps, Taxing Wars: The American Way of War Finance and the Decline of Democracy, argues that the decline of the war tax has a lot to do with why the U.S. modern wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are seemingly neverending. What do you think? From the summary: “Sarah Kreps chronicles the entire history of how America has paid for its wars-and how its methods have changed. Early on, the United States imposed war taxes that both demanded sacrifices from all Americans and served as reminders of their participation. Indeed, thinkers from Immanuel Kant to Adam Smith argued that these reminders were exactly the reason why democracies tended to […]

Let’s Honor Peacemakers on This Memorial Day

rows and rows of crosses and the Santa Monica beach in the distance - the Arlington West memorial to veteran and civilian deaths in war. Photo by Ruth Benn, May 6, 2018.

by Susan Miller When we’ve inquired about remodeling our apartment in Manhattan, contractors ask, “Is it pre-war?” That’s hard to answer. Pre- which war? For the past century, the U.S. has been complicitly or directly at war with countries around the world, with perhaps only a few years during President Jimmy Carter’s administration in which the world was spared from U.S. aggression and so much military aid to influence political and economic decisions. What has the world gained from the unconscionable numbers of civilians and soldiers killed in war, the money U.S. taxpayers lose to the preparation, payment, and resulting debt to our budget, the destruction of our planet, the crises of homelessness, suicide, gun violence at home, and reduction […]