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 […]

NWTRCC’s Adventures in DC with Code Pink and John Bolton’s War Making

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

When NWTRCC originally reached out to members of Code Pink to share a report back from their recent delegation for our May meeting in Washington DC, we could not have been fully aware of the timeliness of the situation in Iran and the rapidly changing US policy. Code Pink, co- founder Medea Benjamin shared her reflections of the 28 member delegation in March. She shared stories of some of the 80 million Iranian people who have been suffering under increasingly crippling sanctions as well as an increasing threat of war. As NWTRCC members were wrapping up our gathering in Washington DC and joining in support of some members of Code Pink at the Venezuelan embassy, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier […]

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 […]

Musings After A WTR Presentation

I did a presentation about war tax resistance before tax day to an antiwar section of the local DSA group, Democratic Socialists of America, a group that has grown like wildfire since the 2016 Bernie campaign. I gave a broad overview of the reasons, history and methods of war tax resistance, and we had a good amount of time for questions. I neglected to write up some notes during or after the session, but a few things that came up that still rattle around in my brain. There were definitely people in the room who were interested in war tax resistance, or tax resistance in general, for personal reasons — thus the invite to speak. But like many activists, they […]

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 […]

RIP Joffre: A tireless resister — who could try patience

Joffre Stewart died in his hometown Chicago at age 93 on March 12. He became a dedicated nonviolent resister to war and injustice out of a short stint in the military during WWII when he went to prison for going AWOL. Early on he found his political home with the revolutionary pacifism and direct action of Peacemakers, a group founded in the late 1940s by Ernest and Marion Bromley and Juanita and Wally Nelson. He carried his anarchist-pacifist politics with him for the rest of his life, although Joffre was not someone who fit easily into a group. He was a poet and might have known every open mic poetry night in Chicago; he had a great voice for recitation, […]

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 […]

Why I am a Cop Watcher… for the same reasons I resist war taxes.

Sunday, Feb 24 – Since Cat was nowhere in sight, and not responding to texts, Julie and I headed over to check out the nearby AJA Project while we waited. Located in the City Heights neighborhood, the young artists at AJA Project use art as the medium for young people dealing with systemic oppression to express the inexpressible. This San Diego neighborhood is known for its diversity, large refugee populations, and tense police-community interactions. The notorious local Curfew sweeps ignited complaints about racially motivated stops as more and more young people were swept up, handcuffed, and in some cases “documented” for being brown and black. No surprise that Cat was busy filming police in a nearby parking lot. Cat and […]

WTRs in the Era of IRS Budget Cuts

The poor, underfunded IRS has been ignoring me lately. I get the usual two or three letters a year asking for payment or threatening levies, but I’m not getting enough personal attention to write about my own case in a monthly blog. However, I do know some others who have the long arm of the government reaching into their pockets. On the one hand there’s less to fear from the IRS; on the other hand potential resisters still have to know about the risks. A longtime resister who lives on a low income but has tax debt is suffering with a salary levy now. Although she works very part-time as a therapist, the levy is taking something from each check, […]

Trump’s State of Emergency Lies Like a Loaded Weapon

A poster issued on April 1, 1942 detailing requirements of Japanese Americans

77 years ago on February 19th 1942, Executive Order 9066 was issued. The Order directed the army to create military zones and to remove all residents of Japanese ancestry during  World War II. It also created the War Relocation Authority which forcibly relocated over 110,000 citizens to internment camps. Last week,, the president declared a State of Emergency in order to get funding for the wall along the Southern US border with Mexico. Although there are over 30 emergency declarations in place at present, Trump’s action  is unprecedented. There were only two times that the Executive branch has taken money from the military under a State of Emergency. The first was when George H W Bush began the Gulf War […]

Gambling with our Future

Image of nuclear weapons explosion on horizon with orange glow

A recent headline, Cost to taxpayers to clean up nuke waste jumps $100 billion in a year brought home the tragedy of the nuclear weapons legacy. NBC reported that 80% of the increase was related to the Hanford site in Washington state where the plutonium was processed for nuclear weapons during the Cold War. David Trimble, director of the Government Accountability Office’s Natural Resources and Environmental team stated “We believe the number is growing and is understated.”  The projected timeline for clean up at this site is at least 50 years. Hanford is one of 75 sites in 35 states contaminated with nuclear weapons waste throughout the country. It was just a few days before that the Bulletin of Atomic […]