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 […]

Public vs. Quiet Resistance

Making your war tax resistance public brings attention to the harm caused by militarism and military spending, can help galvanize others to action against war, and encourages civil disobedience. However, many resisters, for whatever reason, choose not to be outspoken and public about their refusal to pay war taxes. A few months ago, the war tax resistance e-mail discussion list took up this topic of public resistance when discussing how to deal with NWTRCC archival materials, including correspondence. Several resisters expressed concern about a trend of people wanting to remain private about their resistance, associating relative quietness with an lack of willingness to take responsibility for their actions. Indeed, a hallmark of “civil disobedience” as a concept is choosing to […]

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 […]

Celebrating a Triumph over the IRS, with Redirection

Chanticleer

For the first time this year one of my outstanding tax debts hit the ten-year statute of limitations for collection. During those ten years, the IRS sent me increasingly exasperated letters, threatened me with thousands of dollars of interest & penalties, and even seized $469 from my bank account once. But this year the remaining $3,226 I owed slipped permanently out of their reach, and the interest & penalties evaporated too. I called their bluff, waited them out, and won (well, except for that $469). (Note: this statute of limitations does not apply to people who refuse to file returns, or if the IRS can show that you did not file honestly, correctly, and completely. It only applies if you file […]

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 […]

Why Bother?

Getting out of bed on a chilly and windy Sunday, about the last thing I wanted to do was go out to a rally and march that afternoon. I had to give myself an extra kick. After all, it was April 15 and a perfect day to do outreach about war tax resistance. On the one hand, I can’t say it was the best event I’d ever been to. I tire of endless speakers speaking mostly to the converted — a full two hours of that before the march to Trump Tower, so the crowd of some hundreds steadily dwindled before the march began. On the subway on the way home I was thinking of other things I could have […]

Taxes, Teens, and the Costs of War

I hate doing my taxes. For each of the last few weekends, “do your taxes” has been on the top of my to-do list. If I were to prioritize a list of things I procrastinate about, doing taxes might be on top. I’ve always done them myself since my situation is not particularly complicated, but I am usually rushing at the last minute to get it in the mail before or after our tax day demonstration. Probably the one thing that motivates me to finally get it done is so I can enclose the letter telling the government why I’m not paying (here’s one from 2003). If I wasn’t a war tax resister would I continue to file? My style […]

On Being Brave and War Tax Resistance

W-4 resistance info for war tax resisters

“You’re so brave. I wish I could do that.” It’s been almost ten years since I decided to start resisting war taxes. It’s been about eight years since I was actually able to start resisting the payment of some portion of my taxes. I don’t think of myself as a particularly brave person. Sometimes I find the potential consequences of resistance daunting, just as I did when I was a new resister (although the concerns are different now). On the other hand, some folks don’t feel any fear or nervousness after making this decision. That’s not me. Civil disobedience is sticking your neck out in some way. This particular form of it doesn’t always involve showing up in public somewhere, […]

The Path to War Tax Resistance

tax day war tax resistance leafleting

People who join NWTRCC’s e-list (subscribe here) receive a welcome email that asks how they found NWTRCC. Here are some responses stored up over the past year or so, which point out the importance of the internet — but don’t discount leafleting and talking to friends either! New people often say they have known about war tax resistance, or tax resistance, for a while but deciding to actually do it takes longer, or takes some confluence of factors. It is a reminder that much of what we do as organizers is plant seeds; there may not be instant gratification, but maybe readers who are organizers can take heart from some of these comments. I’ll post these without names, but thank […]

Looking for more coins to feed the machine

still from video of "Mother of All Bombs" being dropped on Afghanistan, April 13, 2017

We’re shifting gears a bit today to share a poem about war and tax resistance! Let’s stop feeding the machine. -Erica Purgatory by Jayson I had a dream last night and in the dream, I woke up and I didn’t know where I was. There was nothing leading up to it, I just woke up in a strange place. Before too long, based on what was happening I figured that I was in hell, or someplace like it. I must have died, somehow, and now I was in hell. It was absolutely awful. There were people dying all around me from famine and disease. Bombs were dropping on them and they were too weak to run.   Then, all of […]

“Fighting Nazis should be fun” and other lessons

Last weekend’s Voices of Resistance conference, a joint effort of the joint New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (oh, jeez, that’s a mouthful) was some deep food for thought. I want to start by thanking the organizing team and all of the guests who joined us for the panel and workshops. It was great to see several UMass students in attendance too. Every part of this weekend was a different challenge for me! Friday was a lot of meetings and logistics, with Ad Comm meeting and then prepping for the Fulfilling Lives While Fighting for Our Lives panel. During the panel, Camila, Nathalie, and Rojas were dropping a lot of heavy […]