National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee Meeting Minutes
May 5, 2013 • Asheville, North Carolina

Links to workshops, photos, and videos from the gathering weekend

Present: Ruth Benn (New York, NWTRCC Coordinator), Margie Betz (Georgia), Pam Beziat (Nashville Greenlands), Rick Bickhart (Colorado, WRL National rep), Elizabeth Boardman (California), Jerry Chernow (Madison Area WTR), Judy Collins (Alabama), Judy Conrad (North Carolina, Fools of Conscience), Gary Erb (Colorado, Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center), Kima Garrison (Oregon Community of WTRs), Ray and Wilma Gingerich (Virginia), David Gross (California), Clare Hanranhan (Asheville, New South Network of War Resisters), Karl Meyer (Nashville Greenlands), Jack Payden-Travers (National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund), Bill Ramsey (Asheville, CMTC Escrow Account), Redmoonsong (in and out and thanks for breakfast!), Robert Randall (Georgia), Jason Rawn (Maine), Daniel Sicken (Vermont, Pioneer Valley WTR), Rusty Sivil (Asheville, Fools of Conscience), Coleman Smith (Asheville, New South Network of War Resisters), Peter Smith (Michiana WTR), John Spitzberg (VfP Asheville), Joffre Stewart (Chicago Area WTR Support Group), Jim Stockwell (North Carolina), Lonnie Valentine (Richmond, IN, Earlham School of Religion), David Waters (Birmingham War Tax Objectors), Judy Wolton (Vermont),

• Introductions with affiliated groups mentioned when appropriate
• Peter Smith presents the meeting process
• Members of the Administrative Committee share facilitation (Rick, Kima, Jason)
• Notes by Ruth Benn – corrections invited and minutes will be adjusted

1 - Consultant report (written)

Are you asking that dropping the 5 hours be decided at this meeting?
No as there are probably various proposals for how to use that time. Consider it for November 2013 meeting.

2 – Consultant Review

Rick Bickhart (AdComm) sent a questionnaire to people in our network earlier this year to collect review information for Ruth Benn, the NWTRCC consultant. The review takes place every two years. All the replies gave high rankings and thanks to Ruth for her work. No special issues or problem areas were noted.

Consensus to keep Ruth on. Yay.

3 – Finances (written)

Ruth gave an overview. Mostly we are status quo – the report show no great activity. We are maintaining. Ruth noted that the annual budget had an error in the consultant pay, leaving out $1250 of the raise given last year.

Consensus to add in the $1,250 back in and show that amount as a deficit in the budget for this year. The raise is funded by the Craigslist grant (unless we don't need to take it from there).

4 - Fundraising

Rick spoke for the Fundraising Committee (Bill Glassmire, Rod Nippert, Ruth, Daniel Woodham, plus Jason and Carlos when they can). The Committee meets about once-a-month by phone. This year we tried the Indigogo banner project. Although we did not meet our goal, we felt it was good to try this project-based fundraising. The group was asked for ideas for a project that more might get behind and that we can get ready for with more time before tax season.
Bill Ramsey suggested mobile penny polls; could that be a tool people could use; put out a call for a design for a penny poll kit that we could then create and try to fund on Indigogo.
Clare suggests using talent in our network to come up with a design for something that makes it indigenous and grassroots.

5 - Social Media Outreach (written)

Erica Weiland, based in Seattle, took over the work from Jason Duffield. Thanks to Jason for getting us going on more social media outreach; he was a trailblazer for us but got too busy to do this work. Erica's report (written) included a chart showing Facebook (FB) and Twitter likes/followers/friends.
Question as to why 40 people signed onto an FB page is any good. Dave explained the 2 ways we are on FB – group and page, which we make announcements on. They have different roles in the FB world. The group has 500 people; the page is just getting started.
Question: Tell us what the benefits are for us joining; does it help NWTRCC? Put out an email or posting or something that explains why we should be more active in Social Media. Ask Erica to write up some outreach for our group.
Suggestion: Do a skill share at one of our meetings.
Suggestion from the workshop this weekend: have a social media Committee – spread the skills out through the organization – good way to give more people something to do.
Volunteers for committee – Clare, Jason, David, Peter. Make sure Carlos and Ty are asked.
Ruth brought attention to the Tax day report and the web stat (written). The web stats show some of the websites that people find us on and also the growth of visits to our site in the last year.
Question: are we connected to the IRS somehow? Do we get referrals for tax questions?
We are not connected to the IRS, but you can see in the search strings people use in their search engines that people will get to us when they type in something like "W-4" and "withholding" or similar.
Everyone says "yay Erica, you go girl" (or something to that effect).

6 – Proposals (written)

A - Endorsement proposal

AdComm recommends approval with amendments to broaden from "peace groups" to "peace and justice groups," and also groups that receive redirected taxes from alternative funds.
In the Endorsement Agreement, last sentence of paragraph: Joffre suggests changing "civil disobedience" to nonviolent disobedience; others say use the language that works for the group you are talking to; David G. did not read that phrase civil disobedience in the way that Joffre is having trouble with it; [Will add suggested language from Karl when I find the notes....]; question of spending time on language when it is not clear we will approve the general idea of endorsement.
Not sure that asking for endorsement is very useful; would prefer getting more affiliates – combine with circuit rider project
Make it as broad and easy as possible for endorsement is best – a simple change could be
Maybe a couple stages to this – get the endorsement, maybe add circuit riders, maybe then add some of the things that they could do for WTR (Bill Glassmire)
Daniel S – no reason to not try something like this to get the word out; sees no problem with this
Robert – would like to see the difference between endorsing and affiliating; needs more clearness before being ready to moving forward.
Get feedback to Ginny & rewrite and bring back in November

Consensus: No
Blocking objections: Yes
Everyone can still try to increase our affiliates; info is on our "Join Us" webpage

B - Go from 2 to 1 Coordinating Committee meeting per year

Elizabeth comments on the reasons for this proposal: save money for travel, decrease global footprint, it's lots of work for host organization. When saw proposal about the circuit rider and the strategizing, she sees that this idea will be part of all of that discussion and will table for now but know that it will come up again.

C - Circuit Riders

Jason Rawn presented this proposal more for discussion than as a specific proposal to be passed. How can people do work that formally supports out network – many are doing things already; a brainstorming time for who wants to get together on the phone or other ways or in reference to different proposals
Ad Comm recommended continuing the discussion.
Elizabeth – would like to work on this with more seasoned ideas to bring forward in November
Clare – we are already on this in the southern region. Having support for travel would be good. Identifying clusters of groups within areas – circuit riders work within a region or the area that they are familiar with; would like to look at a regional/local kind of structure.
Joffre has some language issues; Jason says that this is just placeholder language – it's not a specific proposal.
Coleman – wonders how would the money be raised – national, collaborative, individual fundraising;
Daniel – this ties in very well with Ginny's endorsement proposal.
Karl – thinks that this idea is very good and has worked well in the past; WRL, FOR, Catholic Worker all were built on people traveling around and carrying with them ideas and talking about what the other groups were doing; urges WRL in NYC to institute this kind of position again; traveling secretary; how to finance and support not sure but should be developed
Robert – remembers this proposal in the past; it's the way you build genuine relationships; bring concrete proposals in November; a list of people who want to be circuit riders and what they want to do.
Bill R – some element of mutual training so everyone comes into it with a common set of preparation and skills.

Consensus: Agreed that we are considering the options and ideas stimulated by this proposal.
Committee – Elizabeth, Clare, Coleman, Jason, Karl

D - Strategizing

Rick presented for Fundraising Committee: Make the November meeting a strategy weekend, not workshops; Need a committee to prepare for that meeting, asking for volunteers from this gathering to be on that committee
Would like to see that committee brings in the whole CC to be part of the process – make it an early part of their process
Joffre has issues about language in the proposal, like the word "political" which sounds electoral oriented
Robert - been thru so many strategy meetings and plans - we did it a year ago; this weekend we changed lives; a different was made; that would not have happened if we
Ruth – we came up with a list a year ago but didn't have time to narrow it down; many ideas have come up about the political time we are in, in New England, from Dave G's international report, etc. We need to take some time to look at what we are doing.
Karl – wants to get info and learn something new about what I don't know about; learn about from people who know more than I do; after 50 years in peace movements we have maybe slowed down 1 war, maybe; but we have not changed one thing about military spending and war and I believe the entire peace movement has to be more unified and get together and really try to figure this out. Is there a way we can break out of this problem and work toward a solution? I don't know the answer but we've done some things to try to broaden. I don't know how to chip away at that 50% but I think the whole peace movement needs to get together rand think this thru; endorse this idea of a real thinking meeting of NWTRCC.
Jim – the outreach component is extremely important and valuable, and personal contact is the best; from what Karl just said we need to talk to people from many groups as opposed to just WTR; we get the cold shoulder from other groups
Bill – coming together ourselves wouldn't add enough; bring in some people to help with the process, new ideas groups that are doing new work
Rick – One idea would be to have an event one night but strategize all day Saturday
Jason – use the "open space" model for strategizing for this meeting
Jack – if we want other groups to not give us a cold shoulder, we should not give them a cold shoulder. We're using the wrong language

Consensus: no on proposal as written; blocking objection
Consensus on Alternate Proposal: Create a committee to do strategy – less than the whole meeting, would people be open to that. Have a strong component of working on long term strategy.
Committee – Bill, Karl, Rick, Jason, Ruth + others from FR Committee (and anyone else in the network who expresses interest)

E - Film Sponsorship

Jerry Chernow presents – this came out of the strategy session in Chicago, to make a video history of longtime WTRs. Different than Death and Taxes; this would be an in depth look at resisters, how they got involved, how the resistance has affected them, how it affects them over the years. Hoping to get sponsorship of NWTRCC so that we (Jerry and Paula Rogge) can access the archives and also publicize what we are doing in newsletter and writing grants. We have money to purchase equipment and travel to interview people. The idea is to augment the $$ thru grants, maybe Kickstarter, to create a trailer, use that to apply for bigger grants. The big money is at the end, in the editing process. So we hope to get that big money later.
AdComm recommends passing this proposal

Consensus: Yes to sponsorship

7 - Nominees (written)

AdComm recommended Ariel Rosenberg and asks the larger group to choose one of the other two, Greg or Wendie.
Joffre comments on the mention of penny polls, which is about participating in the government process and decision making, and he is against government
Ruth clarified that Greg is a WTR; some thought that wasn't clear.
Rick is in Colorado now and Wendie is there also; go with Greg
Ask Wendie Stauffer to be on another committee. She'd be great on strategy committee

Consensus on two new alternates: Greg Straight and Ari Rosenberg

8 - Objectives Review (list of objectives)

• Newsletter masthead – Ruth shows the latest design by Rick, which we will use starting with the next issue. Some ask for a new logo – bring proposals to the next meeting. It must be changed as a CC decision.
• Regional gatherings – New England is annual but not enough going in other regions to get this going, although South is thinking about it again.
• Revitalize local groups – Ruth has been in touch with Portland, Austin, and Philadelphia, and feels that the best hope right now is Philadelphia after a good workshop there in March and support from Bob Smith at Brandywine Peace Community.
• Cheat sheet for media – Ruth started a draft and then got bogged down; Bill will still help with this and we vow to have it by November.
• Articles in other media – nothing new on this; Elizabeth would write for Sojourners. Good!
• Boycott palm cards – boycott website – put this in strategizing; it's at maintenance level but new people find it. The cards are on our list but no one ordered this year and we did not print more. Still had some.
• War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund (WTRPF) – Peter Smith reports that the N. Manchester fund hasn't sent a request or reimbursed anyone in a long time, and we have not been able to get them to speed up their process. We need this fund to help people in our network. Peter and others will work to establish a new fund and are looking for ways to set it up. This would not be a NWTRCC project, some ideas to set up a new fund, how to work with it how to administer it, would need a board; this is not a proposal; will need a fiscal sponsor; web presence, etc. Could we use the Boycott mailing list or the NWTRCC list to get it started? If you have ideas, we are open to suggestion.
Question: Who is ROSC – Resources for Organizing and Social Change, run by Larry Dansinger in Maine.
WTRPF was never 501c3
Dave G comments that there is not enough time to give our objectives a serious review and find out how we are going to accomplish them.

Committee: Peter (psmith@saintmarys.edu), Robert, Jerry, Jim S.

9 - Meeting Locations

New Orleans was the desired location for our November 2013 meeting, but Ruth and David Waters tried to find a place to meet and nothing is jelling. We also need to meet somewhere where the travel costs are lower than Asheville and Colorado Springs.
Other suggestions:
CNVA property, now Voluntown Peace Trust, in Voluntown, CT – the group felt the per person cost would be too high.
NYC – Ruth 9with help) is looking for a church that could sleep a part of the group
Cleveland – Waiting to hear from Maria Smith as to whether Nehemiah Center is available that weekend.
Other ideas: Columbus Ohio Retreat Center – rooms for people to stay, on edge of town, Rt 70 – called St. Theresa Retreat Center – will look into it
Atlantic Life Cty – Mariondale retreat center – Ossining, NY, north of NYC

We are due to meet in the Northwest again; maybe for May 2014
Lonnie Valentine would like us to come to Earlham College in Richmond Indiana, maybe November 2014.
Cheaper is good. Clare likes house stays. Advice taken and we'll see what works out.

The map of recent meetings can be viewed by clicking here.

10 - International Conference

David Gross was our rep and gave a report on Saturday with his slide show. All in all he found it very interesting, and will post his slideshow on FB and we'll get it on our website also.
NWTRCC joined CPTI last year. As to CPTI, Dave reported they are dedicated to advancing legislative/UN work on the international level; has UN consultative status; they are very dysfunctional; they seemed to talk a lot about the organization and little about the work; was very heated; was disturbing and distracting; A decision was made to disband CPTI in Belgium and rebirth it in London (due to different countries they had to dissolve and recreate it).
Dave recommends not putting a lot of work into CPTI – that would be a waste of time.
We will see how things develop and decide about our membership after they regroup.

11 – Evaluations of the Weekend (going around the room)

• My 1st meeting and find it a warm wonderful group
• Enjoyed all the speakers and people from other groups
• Appreciate the work of the local committee
• Amazed at Cindy Sheehan – she's grown a lot in her work over the years
• Great hospitality – was the best thing; people opening their houses
• Disappointed with Cindy's talk last night; should have a clearer process for figuring out who should be major speakers at these events; People left disappointed, including myself – didn't seem to be an outreach talk at all; lack of subtlety and real analysis; seemed like a rant
• Appreciated the care and joy and celebration of the people here; all the care taken by the local people; great to remake acquaintance with people I haven't seen in several years
• First time here; not a member, but feels he needs to do more; happy to have come and listened; reacquainted with Joffre and new each other 40 years ago and knows similar people; Joffre has not varied; if there were no Jews at all where would he be; respects his dedication to this; I want to do more. Will do a lot of reading. Seems to be what you are doing is right on.
• agreed strongly with critique of speakers; as a group that has experience and knowledge – there's education and problem solving; need people with expert knowledge; the big problem for all our orgs is problem solving – how to move forward – more sessions focused on that; hospitality was great; tremendous lovely amount of work put into it
• Local folks & work that you did, wonderful. Thank you very much; fellowship and connectedness experienced is really very valuable. It's what I carry with me for the next year. Renewal of relationships. Workshops – what I attended were very good; well planned; echo criticism of speakers – felt taken for granted. Wanted something more carefully prepared for the audience, help to get thru certain issues; we can do better – didn't like stream of consciousness.
• Biggest complaint is the weather
• Endorse comments on hospitality enjoyed speakers. Likes to hear people talk about the consciousness and how they are dealing with it. Loved the building
• Liked about everything about the weekend. Sheehan is coming to their NE gathering. He had apprehension but I was moved; spoke from her heart, not her brain. How many speak from our hearts, feeling it intensely.
• Like action at meetings, march, thanks for all the work and the little I had to do
• Lots of locals came by, guy form brewery came by, lots of work goes on behind this to make it happen and really appreciate that
• fantastic weekend, bringing in local folks, expanding that was wonderful, redirection, facility was difficult for older demographic, more frail people. Was afraid someone would be killed on those stairs. Accessibility of our meetings is an issue. Stroke of genius not just to have Swanson here but better was the workshop that Bill did with him, respecting the reservations of new people who were here. Thought Cindy was fantastic. It was entertaining, emotional, motivating to do something, very very good. Came away more committed to what I'm doing.
• Thanks to the locals, lots of work, glad to be with people who understand. Thank you all. Cindy is authentic and has a lot of guts and I respect that. Being outspoken like that says a lot, being an example for a lot of people to go head to head with IRS.
• I can say that my mom would watch Cindy with me. Nothing else would he watch with his mom from this weekend. It was taped so we can show it to others. Loved the Saturday afternoon panel. Thanks to local organizers. Energized after this very special event.
• I enjoyed the whole thing. Liked the facility and climbing the stairs while I can still do it. Food was great. Housing could not have been better. I love Cindy Sheehan, I don't give a damn.
• Need time to go over our objectives and see if we are making progress. Which are we doing, which are we failing on, we have to put some attention to it.
• Resonates with a lot. Thanks to Clare, Bill, Coleman, Carlos, Redmoonsong. The building did make me nervous about safety issues. Interesting space but hard.
• Agrees with everything – on both sides of negative and positive.
• Enjoyed where I stayed and hospitality, sorry he was late and didn't participate as much as would have liked to. Thanks to musicians who helped out – always like music.
• Appreciate everyone for coming; I think Cindy and David worked well in terms of outreach; brought some new energy
• Not surprised how well it went and knows warmth of this group and pitch in and helping out. Been a lot of work given in love. Surprised objections of Cindy didn't come up earlier but she needed to come and immerse herself in a peer group. That happened. She felt herself not here as a star but who absorbed who we are. As a person who lost family members to war that grief is deep and long lasting. Her WTR story is very powerful – you can come up against this system and they back down. Redmoonsong and Judy Conrad did the food. Various "Fools" came in to help and some are probably still working over at Phils Mechanic Building on clean up. Thanks to Carlos for opening those doors. Music – thanks. Loved the picket and redirection and walk.
• Highlights – David Swanson, and Clare and Coleman workshop. Learned about this and how much nuke is here.
• Local panel activists was a wonderful contribution, listening to their consciences and echoing. Liked Cindy and all speakers. Nice to have outsiders, no rigid boundaries.


BIG THANK YOU to
CLARE, COLEMAN, BILL, CARLOS, REDMOONSONG
AND ALL THE NEW SOUTH NETWORK RESISTERS AND "FOOLS" AND EVERYONE WHO HOUSED US AND MADE FOOD, ETC., ETC!

***the end***

CC meeting group in Asheville

Other Weekend Notes and Videos

Video of Friday night David Swanson talk

Video of Cindy Sheehan's talk

Some photos

Workshop notes

Slides from David Gross's presentation about the 14th International Conference on WTR and Peace Tax Campaigns in Bogotá, Colombia (or see the written reports for more detail)

How to identify and reach out to diverse varieties of war tax resister: Slides from David Gross's counseling workshop presentation

Notes from Intros, Tax Day Reports, How Militarism Impacts Us panel, Cindy Sheehan talk

More coming soon!