War Resistance Beyond the Rally

We’re holding our second Google Hangout on June 4 at 9 AM Pacific, noon Eastern. Hear from panelists from the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and two of its affiliates, the Center on Con­science and War and the Nation­al Cam­paign for a Peace Tax Fund, about their ap­proaches to war resis­tance that go be­yond the anti­war march and rally to indi­vidual and col­lective ac­tions to re­sist war. Q&A will fol­low. RSVP on Google Plus. If you don’t have Google Plus, you can watch it live on YouTube.  

Economic Disobedience and War Tax Resistance: Reportback from Eugene Event

I was invited down to Eugene, OR to speak about war tax resistance and economic disobedience at a panel last night, hosted by Eugene’s First Methodist Church and organized by Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC), Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network (ESSN)/Jobs with Justice, Taxes for Peace Not War, and Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND). What a great evening! We had an attendance of 30-40 folks. After a performance by Plaedo, a local poet, I delivered the “keynote” speech on what economic disobedience is, how war tax resistance is economic disobedience, why it’s so important to live in accordance with your conscience and political beliefs, and a little bit about how NWTRCC uses social media. I quoted a bit from David […]

WRL Pie Chart — Escape from Responsibility?

A Distraction from Direct Action? Since the 1970s the War Resisters League’s annual Federal Tax Pie Chart has been a very effective vehicle to channel outrage and protest, by radicals and liberals alike, against U.S. wars and military spending. However, I’ve recently come to realize that all too often the pie chart (as well as similar analyses from FCNL, AFSC, National Priorities Project, and even the OMB) has been used as a means to avoid taking action or, at least, direct action. Having these obscene specific dollar figures and percentages readily displayed can be seductive (even mesmerizing): billions of dollars going to this or that imperialist war or horrible weapons system. Though this can spur people to lobby Congress or the President, generate letters to the editor, and even provide […]

Bringing War Home

When we talk about war tax resistance and why we do it, we tend to focus on the Pentagon and its warmongering abroad. Recently I was doing research for the back of the WRL pie chart and the true horror of weapons of war-come-home really hit me. Doesn’t this picture say it all? The police department in a little Florida town (pop. 5,350) is equipped with an 18-ton Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, designed for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military doesn’t know what to do with its war surplus (how about beating them into plowshares?) so lucky us! This largesse is in part thanks to the Department of Homeland Security, a “second defense department,” and just […]

War Tax Resistance as Self-Care

Last week on Twitter, I saw that David Gross retweeted a message from author Sofia Samatar in which she described war tax resistance as self-care. I was immediately taken with this concept, and while Sofia’s plate was too full to write about it, she gave her blessing for me to run with it! So thanks to Sofia for the inspiration; all thoughts that follow are mine, however. Self-care is a practice of taking actions that heal and rejuvenate ourselves. For some writers, it means relaxing or decompressing from work and activism and family responsibilities – getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, taking time to read a book or watch a movie, or spending quality time with friends and family. For […]

Redirecting Our Money, Time, and Focus from War

Last week in NWTRCC’s Strategy Committee, we discussed war tax redirection, which is a tactic employed by many war tax resisters. The money such resisters refuse to pay to the IRS, they instead “redirect” it to organizations they feel will make better use of the money. (Read more about redirection on our website.) One of the most gratifying things about war tax resistance for many of us is being able to use our money, time, and passion to build a better world right now. If I give my tax dollars to non-profits, I promote and help enact the type of world I want to live in (and depending on my income level and donation amounts, I might reduce my taxable […]

Weathering a WTR Workshop

On February 7, Ed Hedemann and I headed up to Rochester, New York, from Brooklyn, on the bus to facilitate a Friday night/Saturday war tax resistance workshop. We’ve had quite a winter, so heading 300 miles north, where the cold and snow was bound to be worse, left us wondering if the workshop would be cancelled at the last minute. However, Greyhound and the weather cooperated and a wonderful group showed up — some new, some long timers — to spend part of a weekend talking and learning about war tax resistance/witness/refusal (terminology varies with personal preferences). Ithaca activist and NWTRCC Network contact Tom Joyce and his Quaker colleague Karen Reixach from Rochester organized and publicized the workshop, which was […]

Zero Interest in Paying the Killing Machine’s Bills

I learned everything I need to know about the United States when I saw that picture of the young Vietnamese girl Kim Phuc running down the road with napalm burning through her skin to her bones.  I finally in 1980 began questioning whether I wanted to spend my life paying for the death of other human beings and the destruction of the biosphere.  At that time there were actual human beings involved with the IRS and a guy came up from our local small city, Wenatchee, Washington, to tell me that ‘taxes were a form of love.’  I pictured a ball of fusion-fire incinerating a Soviet city–the Russians were the enemy of choice in that particular decade. His statement was a nice […]

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 […]

Choosing solidarity over comfort

NWTRCC’s December/January newsletter has a lot of great content, including this autobiographical profile from Ruby Phillips: “Time passes quickly, and it’s now been 30 years that I’ve refused to pay for U.S. military wars. I began to resist after a local war tax resistance volunteer attended a meeting at my workplace and introduced us to the practice and underlying philosophy of war tax resistance (WTR). Prior to his presentation, I had never heard of it; since then, I have been empowered by this way of life and cannot imagine returning to the excess obedience and internal denial of paying for war.” Read the rest of Ruby’s profile and a lot more here.

Grateful

Thanksgiving is a complex holiday, in its celebration of the pilgrims who spurred colonization of the already-occupied North American continent, and in its urging for us all to take stock of what we are glad to have in our lives. Here’s what some war tax resisters have expressed gratitude for over the years: “I am grateful to the many, many brave war tax resisters, especially Wally and Juanita Nelson, who went before me and showed me the way and gave me courage. I am very grateful to those who have been harassed far more than I have and have been strong and brave and clear over many years. I believe WTR is an important, quiet, powerful witness. And I am […]

Devar Tikkun, A Talk on Social Justice

Post by Lawrence Rosenwald, Anne Pierce Rogers Professor of English, Co-Director, Program in Peace & Justice Studies, Wellesley College I gave this talk Friday night, October 18th, in the context of a joyous shabbat service shared between the Moishe Kavod House and my congregation Havurat Shalom. It’s the tradition of MKH to have what they call a “devar tikkun,” a talk about social justice, and I was invited to give the devar tikkun on this occasion, which fact will explain some of the traits of the talk, in particular its attempt to set war tax resistance in a Jewish context. Anyway, here’s what I said, pretty much: The mode of tikkun olam work that I’ll talk about, the mode of political activism I’ve […]