New England War Tax Resistance and Supporters Gathering and NWTRCC Gathering
Cambridge (Mass.) Friends Meeting • Saturday, Nov. 6 • Morning session
Approximate attendance for the weekend: Massachusetts (37), Vermont (4), Maine (6), New Hampshire (2) Connecticut (4), (where were you Rhode Island?), New York (5), Pennsylvania (1), Georgia (1), California (2), Washington (1), North Carolina (4), Colorado (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (1)
Anti-War Stories – WTR experiences and Organizing Thoughts
Notes from comments during this session:
- Found that having a buddy made a big difference when getting started in WTR.
- Act with joy, pleasure – playing music, dancing, telling stories, getting together to play, especially to bring more youth and “greening” to this movement. Not looking at media but becoming the world we want for everyone. Transition to localization, start with peace and nonviolence. Facilitating to get tax resistance to seem normal.
- Big demonstrations should emulate Honk festival, which happens in Boston in October with 25 brass bands. Honk is wide open, taking back the streets.
- Making WTR as public as possible brings joy; each time he and wife are levied tells every kind of connection at bank, co-workers at college, etc.
- Have been levied twice – each time had a party and brought supporters together and had a good time and didn’t feel alone. Raised money equal to what IRS had taken to give to good causes
- There’s been a lot of counter-recruiting work; make the connection – “You’ve already been drafted. You will be paying your whole working career for the military.”
- Back when she was making money, founded a group to give the money away to a 501c3 – could create an org to give extra $$ to while making minimal amount of money.
- After house seizure in 1990, feeling a tremendous amount of tension; didn’t want to lose the house. Ernest Bromley visited; his house had been seized 15 years before. Asked how he coped, Ernest said “I just assumed it was gone and I accepted it. That freed me up to do what I needed to do.” What I’ve learned is that the things I spent years worried about losing were no big deal. There are some things in life that happen that you can’t appreciate – material things vs. having a kid. It’s ok. When you’re not vulnerable then you’re free. You have to accept you’ll lose things.
- We have a lot of allies out there. Unsuspecting. He hasn’t had a lot of problems because he’s had sympathetic employers – more support than you think. Doesn’t all work out but often it does.
- In my entire life I’ve never experienced more community than during the house seizure period in Western Mass. It spread its tentacles all over; I often reflect on that and how powerful it was. Brought me together with so many others.
- When sentenced in Philadelphia court (1971) had redirected taxes to the Veterans hospital, and they came to court and testified for him. When he was sentenced the whole courtroom stood up in support.
- Too often we talk about the negative consequences. The greatest have all been positive like the redirection of $$ to do wonderful things, being able to live with myself with some integrity, and most positive being in community with people like this. I can’t imagine living any other way.
- Been a resister since 1993 after returning from a peace walk in Central America and southern U.S. It’s a beautiful source of a deeper interior peace and helps her feel connected to her deeper power. Unity with creation.
- Met Larry and Karen in 1976 in Maine and started talking about WTR then. Find a community or support group that you can rely on for support or conscience building. Being a nonfiler since 1980 has kept him under the radar. Find someone to hold your assets. Can live in house. Can have bank account.
- Helpful to think about making what we are doing more public. Have a sense of being private about personal WTR. Since Vietnam haven’t done any WTR, but last spring with the local school closing its music program and April 15 having me have to write a check, it made me write the check to the local school for the music dept. This was very satisfying. Now getting letters from IRS with final warning. Got a nice thank you note for the donation.
- Have resisted for 40 years but thinking she did not have the courage. Courage is something other people say you have. It’s not courage it’s stub born integrity.
- Just had something new happen after being a resister for many years. This year he wrote a quote on his form from Alan Greenspan, and IRS threatened him with $5,000 for a frivolous return. Gave him 30 days to send in a correct return. Will do the same thing next year.
- Don’t talk about it all the time or it doesn’t come up all the time, so made a banner “no more taxes for war” and put it on her front door which is right across from town hall. Feels really good to be more public.
- As a state employee, am attempting to get out of the pension system because it is so involved with the war. If you want to resist there’s another place and that’s with our pensions.
- Was a lone practitioner 30 years ago and have 2 brothers who died after Vietnam. Felt that was enough to pay. Living in poverty was what she knew. Last year broke a leg and came out with $25,000 in debt. Sent letters to hospital and doctors asking for debt to be forgiven and they did. As was said, there are allies in unexpected places.
- WTR has always had a personal resonance. Both parents were Holocaust survivors. Father lost many people in death camps. Mother’s side came here. The only reason was because there were people who did not want to cooperate with the Nazi death system and they resisted, so WTR is my way of thanking them. WTR is a small inconvenience. For them, they could have been killed. They took on huge risks and did not cooperate with murder.
- WTR as the cutting edge of nonviolent revolution. Do it year round. Leaflets the idea of no taxes for war for the state and war system.
Notes from groups on Low Income and Taxable Income Resistance
The afternoon sessions included Small Group discussions about Outreach to different groups and Regional or National organizing. We do not have notes from these groups. However, if you were there and have comments from your group, please send to NWTRCC.
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Read about the Friday night session on Dave Gross’ blog and click the forward button for more of his impressions from the weekend.