Staying In the Way

By Cathy Deppe My first run-in with the IRS was a direct result of refusing the federal excise tax on telephone service, which was increased by President Lyndon Johnson to help pay for the war in Vietnam. Although LBJ said we could have guns and butter too, we would have to pay for both. My husband and I were University of Illinois graduate students, living on next to nothing anyway but both determined our tax dollars should fight a different kind of war – the “war on poverty” Johnson had promised to wage. As conscientious objectors, we were part of a growing movement to resist the war through refusal to fight for it and refusal to pay for it. The […]

Passionate for Peace

By Jason Rawn Aanya Adler Friess has been resisting war taxes since the 1960s. At age 86, she no longer attends meetings on a regular basis, though she lives below the taxable income level. She discusses war tax resistance with activists from the organizations that make up Albuquerque’s Peace and Justice Organizations Linking Arms (PAJOLA), of which she is a founding member. She “stood with Occupy for a while” and works on water issues in arid, militarized (Kirkland Air Force Base, in particular) New Mexico. “It’s wicked what we’re doing,” she says. In the 1970s, Aanya’s WTR work included offering canned goods as payment of her “tax obligation.” “The IRS people were amused, not hostile,” she recalls. She and her […]

A Part of My Identity

Q & A with Rev. Andrea Ayvazian MTAP: Tell us a little about yourself. Andrea: When asked about who I am, how to introduce myself, I fumble around and use some or all of these words – I am the proud mother of Sasha Klare-Ayvazian (now 24); I am a woman of faith, a long-time activist for peace, social justice, environmental sanity, and an anti-racist world; I am an ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, a former Quaker, a singer, songwriter and poet. And I am the life partner and long-time fan of Michael Klare, who I admire enormously (Michael is Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, an expert on global resource politics, and […]

Professional Life, Public Resistance

By Seth Berner My name is Seth Berner. I’m a poverty lawyer and general human rights activist in Portland, Maine. At some point I realized that I could not act for change and help those in need if I blindly supported the status quo and despair by automatically paying all the taxes my government wanted me to pay. For some people the next step is easy—just stop paying taxes altogether. This is not a solution for me. I’m not opposed to taxation. On the contrary, I believe that governments should exist to help those in need and provide and regulate programs essential to the public good; and that government cannot do its job unless those who can contribute to their […]

Committed Radicals

By Carol Dotterer My 88-year-old mom, Ruth Kirk, was visiting me in South Carolina when we were asked to write a profile for this newsletter after we asked for some Zombie war tax resistance forms mentioned in the December 2011 issue. Ruth: I sent every senator and representative a copy of the book Addicted to War. I sent them a questionnaire to answer about the book. Not one of them answered it. I followed up with a letter a year later saying you were not courteous enough to thank me for the book I sent. I received one reply. That senator said he never got the book. It seems to me that all our representatives benefit from war profiteering, therefore […]

A Protest Becomes A Way of Life

Beth Seberger

By Beth Seberger This is the text of Beth’s presentation at the November 2011 WTR gathering in Kansas City. You can watch it on YouTube. In 1970, two years out of college, as a recent arrival to Kansas City, and in the midst of the Vietnam War, I became a war tax resister. Why? Because when I told a friend I didn’t feel right about paying the IRS that year because of our country’s involvement in the Vietnam War, he said, “Then don’t! Haven’t you ever heard of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker? They don’t pay taxes.” This was astounding news to me, and I was ready for it. I had two older brothers serving in the Air Force in the war, […]

Taking Responsibility

By Lauren Tepper “I believe that we must consciously develop a greater sense of Universal Responsibility. We must learn to work not just for our own individual self, family, or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind.” —H.H. the XIVth Dalai Lama “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” —Dwight Eisenhower When I first began war tax resistance, it was not something I wanted to do. It felt like, as Julia Butterfly Hill has called it, a “choiceless choice.” Given my abhorrence of war, I could not justify paying for it with my tax dollars. I had felt this way for years, but it seemed futile for me alone to take a stand. I […]

Out on a Limb

By Dee Logan, Cleveland, OH I’ve kept my wages below taxable limits so as not to be required to pay income (war) taxes. And now, due to health issues, I am not employed. However, the year my mom passed on (2002), I did receive some inheritance. Although the financial person said it was not taxable, it was — and so the InFernal Revenue S(C)ircus started writing me letters requesting payment. I wrote them letters back saying that because of my beliefs I could not give them money to make war—to kill people or prepare to kill people (my relatives all). At some point I had a personal meeting with an IRS representative in a tall office building downtown, and she listened attentively. […]

Jump On Board

By Rod Nippert I am 61 years young. I live in an intentional community in southeastern Ohio. I have been a war tax resister (WTR) since the early 1970s. I believe being a WTR has profoundly affected my adult life. I do not feel that I am in any way uniquely suited to be a tax resister. I grew up in a small conservative farming community in central Ohio in a farming family. I was in high school as the Vietnam War was unfolding. I also grew up as member of the Church of the Brethren. I think these circumstances greatly influenced the road I took. I am a pacifist and attribute this to the influence of the Church of the Brethren. […]

Striving for 100% CO

Tim Pluta While serving in the military, it finally occurred to me one day that I might be called upon to kill somebody. I didn’t like the idea very much, so I ended up applying to get out as a conscientious objector (CO). Following a lengthy investigation, the U.S. armed services considered my beliefs to be sincere and approved my CO application. For 25 years after the government recognized me as a CO, I paid federal taxes. My rough calculations are in the neighborhood of $350,000 total federal taxes paid through 2003. That means that about $175,000 of money I paid went directly to support the military-industrial complex. I paid for bullets that killed civilians; I bought bombs that leveled […]

Choose Life or Death

By Patricia Tompkins I just heard on National Public Radio this quote from a Chinese entrepreneur who became an organic farmer. “By chasing after money, we have forgotten the essence of life.” For me, the essence of life is connection to the land and to each other because without the first we cannot live and without the second we cannot be fully human. Since 1983 when I disconnected from the power company after demonstrating against the nuclear power plant being built across the bay from where I lived in Maine, I have sought to live in solidarity with the slower, simpler, earth-based traditions around the world in order to improve the quality of my life and a more sustainable future […]

War Tax Resisting

By Heather Snow, Durango, Colorado When I was a young girl around the age of 10, I already understood what a corrupt world we lived in. I had a deep distrust for society and mostly government. I had a few jobs when I was 17, and decided not to pay my taxes as a statement against paying for war and supporting a government who didn’t really take care of its people. I became married at a young age and was unable to talk my husband into being a resister. As my life went by, and I had children and became divorced, I was determined to remain a War Tax Resister, though I didn’t have that name for it then. I […]