Marching Into the Future

I was in the Cascade Mountains in Washington state in August. How lucky to be able to take a hike in the wilderness and leave behind the rush of daily life in New York City and the news of endless war and crisis after crisis somewhere in the world. And yet when I asked a local about swimming in the wilderness lake he noted that the water was not as clear as it should be at that time of year. The glaciers are melting and more silt is coming into the lake than usual. The climate crisis crept into my thoughts during my “get away from it all” experience. The swim was great anyway. This Sunday, September 21, I’ll be […]

Give Your Taxes to the Solidarity Economy

by David M. Gross In mid-April, people across the United States struggle to fill out their federal income tax returns. This shared calamity has created something of an inverted holiday season — with grumbling about paperwork and frustration towards government bureaucracy replacing the “peace on earth, goodwill to men” of the Yuletide. But at a church in Berkeley, California, this past April, people were handing over their taxes with a smile. They were members of the group Northern California War Tax Resistance, and they were smiling because their checks — averaging more than $1,000 apiece — were not made out to the federal government, but to twenty-seven local groups including the Bay Area Community Land Trust, the Berkeley Food Pantry, the Biketopia Community Workshop, Oakland Sustaining […]

Summer Travel: Destination Wisconsin

Family related activities got me out of New York City a week ago and into Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Given the timing of my flights I realized I could fit in a visit or two with people in our war tax resistance network, so I made some contacts and set up a couple meetings. We are very lucky to count among the friends of NWTRCC, Phillip Runkel, an archivist with the Special Collections and University Archives at Marquette University. I made an appointment to visit Phil at the Archives in Raynor Memorial Library. Thanks to my name being on a visitors’ list, I cleared the front desk and headed to the archives. First I ran into a display on Catholic Worker and […]

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 […]

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 […]

99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns

“The heart of any tax resistance campaign is the resisters themselves. A successful campaign does what it can to encourage, support, and sustain these resisters and to facilitate their resistance.” -David Gross, 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns NWTRCC network member David Gross has been working for several months on a book about tactics of tax resistance campaigns, and that book is finally published (free sample chapter available). Jason Rawn has done a couple of workshops based on material from David’s book, including most recently at the November NWTRCC conference in NYC. 99 Tactics details numerous examples of historical and modern tax resistance, with many examples from war tax resistance campaigns, and includes worksheets and other practical process materials […]

“Sick of Paying for Your Wars”

How very strange that we—myself, partner Ed, and friends and fellow resisters Liz and Kevin— first saw this graffiti as we were driving home from a memorial for Sallie Marx. It would have been an eerie coincidence, except that it was also great to happen onto this expression of frustration and defiance from someone unknown to us in the city. Sallie was a fixture in New York City war tax resistance for more than four decades and a co-founder of the NYC People’s Life Fund (NYC PLF) in 1971. One person at the memorial said that when asked “what do you do?” Sallie’s standard response was “I’m a war tax resister!” And Sallie would have been thrilled by this graffiti […]

Practical Reminders for War Tax Resistance at the End of the Tax Year

It’s time to take stock of your current war tax resistance strategy and prepare for any changes you want to make in the New Year. Are you new to the concept of war tax resistance, and not sure how to get started? Read this list of small ways to start WTR, and see which one(s) you can adopt! You can also contact a war tax resistance counselor in your area to talk through your choices. Are you a Don’t Owe Nothin’ style war tax resister, who takes legal tax deductions to get your income below a taxable level? Then don’t forget to take advantage of opportunities to contribute to education, health savings, or retirement funds, or to make charitable contributions. […]

Energized in NYC

November 1-3 was National War Tax Resistance’s semiannual gathering, held this time in Manhattan, New York. We were hosted by Maryhouse Catholic Worker and Sixth Street Community Center, as well as for our Saturday dinner in Brooklyn by Ruth Benn, NWTRCC coordinator, and Ed Hedemann. As usual, it was energizing and cheering to be with everyone, meeting old friends again and getting to know some of the local war tax resisters from New York who I haven’t met on other occasions. Friday morning I sat in on NWTRCC’s Administrative Committee meeting and discussed some things relating to my work as social media consultant. After lunch at a local deli, I broke off from the Ad Comm meeting to head over […]

WTRs and Chickens in Vermont

The chickens were busy scratching and pecking for bits to eat, while war tax resisters were busy putting people over weapons at the 28th Annual New England Regional Gathering of War Tax Resisters and Supporters at the Amazing Planet! Farm & Justice Center in Vermont, September 27-29. The location was amazingly beautiful, with the leaves just turning and the clear sky and bright stars at night. It’s also totally amazing that a loose connection of war tax resisters in New England has managed to pull off a gathering every year since 1985, if I am counting that right. At the end of each gathering they ask for volunteers to work on the next year’s get-together, and somehow, over all these […]

What Kind of War Tax Resister Are You?

War tax resister and blogger David Gross has classified four different varieties of war tax resisters. The national war tax resistance network contains all these different types, as well as folks who are amalgams of two or more types. David uses this framework to study the different tactics that war tax resistance campaigns use and how those tactics mesh with their motivations. You might be a: conscientious objection war tax resister, if you are motivated by not wanting to personally be complicit in the spending for war. civil disobedience war tax resister, if you want to make a public statement about military spending by breaking the law. nonviolent conflict war tax resister, if you want to reduce the government’s resources […]

Tiny Ways to Start WTR

clockwise from upper left: "War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund" with rifles to roses image, Small ways to start supporting war tax resistance! http://bit.ly/easyWTR; image of W-4 form; image of people sitting in a semi-circle; man at computer; Kathy Kelly

War tax resistance (WTR) is an empowering and rewarding form of civil disobedience. However, some people find that the first step of “becoming” a war tax resister is intimidating. The government tells us that they have our best interests at heart and that the IRS is an enormous, omniscient, omnipotent entity that has the power to ruin our entire lives. Neither of these things is necessarily true. If you’re ready to take another step in your war tax resistance journey and want to start small, here are some things you can do: 1) Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper or comment on a major political blog or article, questioning military spending priorities and expressing support for people […]