Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukushima, and war taxes

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the US military’s nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, which killed as many as 150,000 people. On August 9, we recognize the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, which killed as many as 70,000 people. Nuclear bombs were funded by US war taxes, coming from US taxpayers, and dropped by US military forces. Nuclear weapons are made to be more destructive than any other weapon, even though they are rarely used. (Depleted uranium being a notable exception.) Nuclear weapons really keep the war economy going since their very presence requires a constant readiness for war, not to mention maintenance and supervision. Over the next ten years, the US is estimated to spend about $348 billion […]

Summer Reading of Resistance

Ruth compiled a long list of summer reading books on war tax resistance. Some are available from NWTRCC and the others can be ordered elsewhere online. For longtime and new resisters alike, our Practical WTR series has a lot of important information that will help you figure out how to do war tax resistance in the way that’s best for you. You can download the PDF versions to your tablet or smartphone for reading on the go. For those who plow through all the above books, or those who want some short-form summer reading, read our war tax resister profiles, “Dear IRS” letters, or back issues of More Than a Paycheck (available in PDFs). And if podcasts are more your […]

Is it ever right to refuse, on principle, to pay taxes?

Mentor, friend, farmer, war tax refuser Juanita Nelson died on March 9, 2015, and the memorial for her was May 30. Below is a sample of Juanita’s thinking from a point/counterpoint op-ed in the Sunday Republican, Springfield, Mass, April 4, 1993. The article turned up in a folder of miscellaneous documents from Pioneer Valley War Tax Resisters, the group in Western Massachusetts that Juanita was associated with for the past 30 years. We Owe It to the World to Not Pay for Wars By Juanita Nelson As I struggle to express my deep feelings about refusing, as a matter of principle and humanity, to pay taxes for war, for premeditated mass murder, a plane drones overhead. A frightening image explodes: […]

Pi Day 2015: Getting Our Peace of the Pie

For math lovers, 3-14-15 holds special significance. It’s the annual Pi Day, but not just any Pi Day: “In the year 2015, Pi Day will have special significance on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 a.m. and p.m., with the date and time representing the first 10 digits of π. That same second will also contain a precise instant corresponding to all of the digits of π.” (Wikipedia) We peace activists have our own significant — in this case — “pie.” That’s the pie chart that shows how the federal government spends U.S. income tax dollars and the shocking priority on war represented by the pie. War Resisters League began producing a pie chart in 1977 for the first edition of the Guide […]

Today in History: Adams v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue

Sixteen years ago, the 3rd Circuit of the US Court of Appeals ruled against Priscilla Adams. She asserted that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) should accommodate her refusal to pay taxes that would go to war. However, the court maintained that mandating universal compliance with the tax law was the “least restrictive means” under RFRA of collecting revenue to support the budget, which of course left her religious beliefs entirely unaccommodated. As written in “RFRA Court Appeals” in the April 1999 More Than a Paycheck: Lawyer Goldberger argued that the burden of proof was on the IRS to show why it should not provide an alternative to Priscilla to paying for the military, as required by the Religious Freedom […]

A Good Reason to Refuse to Pay War Taxes

Many of us got involved in war tax resistance because of nuclear weapons. For myself, I heard Dr. Helen Caldicott speak sometime back around 1980. She was passionate — and scary — about the dangers of nukes. The disaster at Three Mile Island led her to leave her medical career, become president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and a leader in the peace movement. I appreciated that she spoke out about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and now she has the example of Fukushima to continue her loud call for “no nukes.” When I got active in the peace movement, nuclear weapons and fear of nuclear war were pressing issues of the day. The arms race between […]

Holiday Notes

We’ll take a blog break next week and come back with a post on January 7. In the meantime, I wanted to draw your attention toward some war resistance and war tax resistance thoughts: This Christmas marks the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce of World War I. Learn more about the Christmas Truce. Hanukkah comes to an end this evening. If you haven’t read it already, check out Larry Rosenwald’s thoughts on Judaism, social justice, and war tax resistance. Are you thinking of starting war tax resistance in 2015, or changing how you do war tax resistance? Now is the time to make your choices. Check out this blog post from last year with some practical thoughts and links, […]

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 […]