The Road to Social Change: Theory to Practice

“War Tax Objection for Peace and Justice Conference” was held over the weekend of November 7-9, at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana. NWTRCC sponsors twice-yearly gatherings (May and November) with local hosts to convene the National War Tax Resistance “Coordinating Committee” for a business meeting, but over the years the weekends have developed into mini-conferences also. The content is often defined by the local hosts, and this one included presentations from Earlham faculty members. The two Friday presentations, one by our host, Lonnie Valentine, who is on the faculty at the School of Religion, and the other by Joanna Swanger, who is Director of Earlham’s Peace and Global Studies Program, were concerned about how social change happens […]

It Is Our Duty to Withhold Our Cooperation

The following is the text of the speech given by Clare Hanrahan of the Taxes for Life! group in Asheville, NC, at the Day Without a Pentagon action in Washington, DC on October 19, 1998. Reprinted from the December 1998 More Than a Paycheck newsletter. Greetings from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and the Appalachian bioregion, my homeplace, in Asheville, North Carolina. It’s an honor to be here. As I speak, I am mindful of my older brothers, Daniel and Thomas, whose lives as teen-age soldiers in Viet Nam were utterly changed. Their youthful idealism was distorted by the military into the service of death. They returned, wounded in body and spirit, with Agent Orange toxins coursing through […]

How Did Gandhi Win?

This article was originally published on Waging Nonviolence and appears here courtesy of a Creative Commons license. by Mark Engler and Paul Engler History remembers Mohandas Gandhi’s Salt March as one of the great episodes of resistance in the past century and as a campaign which struck a decisive blow against British imperialism. In the early morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi and a trained cadre of 78 followers from his ashram began a march of more than 200 miles to the sea. Three and a half weeks later, on April 5, surrounded by a crowd of thousands, Gandhi waded into the edge of the ocean, approached an area on the mud flats where evaporating water left a thick layer […]

For a World Free of Nuclear Weapons: Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Today is August 6, the 69th anniversary of the US military dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. 70-80,000 people were killed by the bomb drop and the subsequent firestorms, while another 70,000 or more died subsequently from radiation sickness and other consequences. On August 9, the US military dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Somewhere between 40,000 and 80,000 people died as a result of this bomb. Nuclear weapons have the ability to destroy on a scale almost unimaginable to those who have not seen their effects. All war destroys lives and communities; nuclear weapons have the capability to destroy larger areas and numbers of people, faster and more completely. This week, let’s remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and work […]

Flashback 2009: Gaza and War Tax Resistance

Note: This piece by NWTRCC coordinator Ruth Benn was originally published in the February/March 2009 edition of NWTRCC’s newsletter, More Than a Paycheck. We still operate the War Tax Boycott site and you can still sign on to the boycott. The flyer, using an older image by artist Doug Minkler, developed for Northern California War Tax Resistance, was created this year in response to Israeli attacks on Gaza. Reflections on Gaza: Renewing the War Tax Boycott By Ruth Benn Today I got out the notebooks and photos from my first trip to Palestine and Israel in 1988 at the time of the first intifada. I was on a human rights tour with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The goal was to […]

Henry David Thoreau: A War Tax Resistance Inspiration

By July 1846, the naturalist, slavery abolitionist, and writer Henry David Thoreau had been resisting the payment of poll taxes that helped fund the Mexican-American War for six years. He was arrested for refusing to pay and spent a night in jail. Though someone, likely his aunt, paid his back taxes and got him out the next day, his brief time in jail had a profound influence on him. A few years later Thoreau published the essay Civil Disobedience, containing his famous line, “If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed […]

Summer Travel: Destination Wisconsin

Family related activities got me out of New York City a week ago and into Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Given the timing of my flights I realized I could fit in a visit or two with people in our war tax resistance network, so I made some contacts and set up a couple meetings. We are very lucky to count among the friends of NWTRCC, Phillip Runkel, an archivist with the Special Collections and University Archives at Marquette University. I made an appointment to visit Phil at the Archives in Raynor Memorial Library. Thanks to my name being on a visitors’ list, I cleared the front desk and headed to the archives. First I ran into a display on Catholic Worker and […]

War Tax Resistance Trailblazer

Today, January 26, in Philadelphia the Quaker Action Team honors five elders, including our friend and associate Robin Harper. NWTRCC sent this tribute in his honor: Speaking truth to power has been the undercurrent of Robin Harper’s years as a war tax resister. Since Robin began his resistance in 1958, he has had many opportunities to present his deeply held convictions to IRS agents, federal court judges, tax court judges, along with friends, co-resisters, and family members. Of one four-hour meeting with IRS agents Robin said, “We established complete agreement on the figures and complete disagreement that I should pay the IRS.” We wrote that in December 2004 after a meeting at Swarthmore College at which Robin and Wallace Collett […]

Martin Luther King, Jr. on War and Civil Disobedience

Today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy as a passionate orator and organizer in the civil rights movement. He was also outspoken about the connections between racial, social, and economic justice and the United States government’s militarism. MLK was inspired by the war tax resistance of Henry David Thoreau and stated that, “As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs of a legacy of creative protest.” He stated furthermore: When I went to Morehouse as a freshman in 1944, my concern for racial and economic justice was already substantial. During my student days I read Henry David Thoreau’s essay “On Civil Disobedience” for the first time. Here, in this courageous New Englander’s refusal to […]

99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns

“The heart of any tax resistance campaign is the resisters themselves. A successful campaign does what it can to encourage, support, and sustain these resisters and to facilitate their resistance.” -David Gross, 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns NWTRCC network member David Gross has been working for several months on a book about tactics of tax resistance campaigns, and that book is finally published (free sample chapter available). Jason Rawn has done a couple of workshops based on material from David’s book, including most recently at the November NWTRCC conference in NYC. 99 Tactics details numerous examples of historical and modern tax resistance, with many examples from war tax resistance campaigns, and includes worksheets and other practical process materials […]