Military Operations on the U.S./Mexico Border

a line of military police with riot shields practicing a formation in a parking lot

I never had enough time in 2018 to write the post I wanted to write about escalating militarism on the U.S./Mexico border. Now I’m shifting out of my role as NWTRCC blog curator. While I don’t have much time to cover the issue, I want to at least bring it up again to our WTR and potential WTR audience! Tear gas and military deployment on the border The mobilization of the U.S. military to the border, of course, is itself quite striking. Militarization is not just a factor overseas, but right here within our own borders. We have soldiers patrolling against the perceived harm of migrants seeking personal safety and shelter, painted by the government as violent criminals. When the […]

How Much Do You Make?

  A story from Finland jumped out of the paper at me recently: “In Finland, Every Citizen’s Taxable Income Is Revealed” (NY Times, 11/2/2018). The article describes a surprising tradition in that country. Many in Finland feel that this transparency helps to control the gap between high and low incomes and to control disparities in pay for the same work. Executives seem to think twice before raising their own salaries. One interviewee said Finns tend to be humble; “If you show it around, no one likes you,” he said. Such an idea must make that guy in the White House cringe. The rest of us can certainly see advantages to having such a release be automatic as far as trying […]

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 […]

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I find myself torn once again between getting myself out the door to be at a demonstration versus doing all the personal and behind-the-scenes political projects that are piled up around me. This weekend is the Women’s March on the Pentagon, a protest initiated by Cindy Sheehan and inspired by the 51st anniversary of the 1967 march on the Pentagon — a spirited event with a turnout of 50,000 on October 21, 1967. Such a turnout is exceedingly unlikely this weekend, despite the couple hundred individual and group endorsers listed on the website, including our own National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Within our war tax resistance network, initial interest in having a group presence there has dwindled to whether […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The president, his taxes and the resistance

“The I.R.S. Should Go After Trump” was a headline on an op-ed piece in the New York Times  that jumped out at me the other day. In part I’m always interested in articles about the IRS, and it did impart some good information on their practices. It also reminded me of all the brouhaha around Trump not releasing his taxes and those who said they would not pay until he did so. The author, Phillip Hackney is a former lawyer for the chief counsel of the IRS, so he knows something about the inner workings of the agency. His piece was inspired by the New York State attorney general going after the nonprofit Trump Foundation for using a charitable organization […]

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 […]

Photo Reflections from LA

Erica posted last week about the Los Angeles WTR gathering, and much about it is still on my mind, so I’ll just add more photos and captions from our time there. It was my last gathering and business meeting as coordinator of NWTRCC (this is my new email address), and now after a few days of training Lincoln Rice is fully in the role. But I hope that I will continue to make it to at least some of the NWTRCC gatherings and meetings. I have had so many special experiences during each of two gatherings a year for 15 years, met so many amazing local organizers working on all kinds of issues, and learned a lot about the shared […]

Migration and Militarism

I’ve been tangentially following the Pueblo Sin Fronteras caravan of Central American migrants, and have been reading more closely about their experiences since they arrived at the San Ysidro port of entry on April 29, 2018. Migrants and supporters also gathered at the beach in Tijuana and San Diego that day. Although, several days later, some asylum seekers have been admitted to the US, dozens, if not hundreds, of others are still waiting at the border for processing. The majority of people in this caravan come from Honduras, a country profoundly affected by US foreign policy, including support for the government installed after the coup in 2009. Others are fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.   The demonization […]

Moments of Beauty

I needed a bit of a boost today, and the sunny spring weather we’re having here in the Pacific Northwest is certainly helping! Sometimes the weight of the world is a bit much in contrast. But I’m also really looking forward to our upcoming conference in LA, May 3-5, because I am basically guaranteed more warm sunny weather, but also because I get to see my friends and accomplices in war tax resistance! Below are some of my favorite pictures from the last few years of gatherings. We have fun. I always love being around war tax resisters – we’re a stubborn bunch and maybe a little weird (okay, definitely weird), but we support each other even across our differences. […]