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Local War Tax Resisters tabled at an Occupy Asheville Spring festival where a pie-chart banner caught many an eye among participants. Long-time war tax resisters Redmoonsong and Jim Stockwell took to the open mike to speak to the issue of why they refuse to pay for war. The Occupy Asheville Listening Booth was another big hit of the day.
War Tax Resisters Steve Magin, Coleman Smith and Rusty Sivils passed out tax pie charts at the post office on April 17 and joined with a rally in the park to call Bank of America to account. A banner drop at a local Bank of America was a success, despite a threatening storm.
The tax-day rally, originally called by MoveOn and Co-organized by an affinity group of Occupy Asheville was nearly rained out, but a dozen or more gathered beneath umbrellas to listen to speakers and a performance by the BOA-Constrictors singers. When the co-sponsoring affinity group of Occupy Asheville announced that local war tax resister Clare Hanrahan (in photos with pie chart) would be one of the speakers, MoveOn cancelled sponsorship, apparently fearing that a speaker’s call for war tax resistance might jeopardize their IRS tax status. The rally went forward.
Afterwards we gathered with others at the local anarchist bookstore, Firestorm, for a showing of Death & Taxes and a spirited discussion on how to involve young people in the movement to resist paying war taxes.
— New South Network of War Resisters
Lots of photos and video links - click here
Check out Citizens for Peace in Space street theatre on YouTube outside the “1% circus,” the Space Symposium opening ceremony at the Broadmoor Hotel International Center, Colorado Springs, April 16, 2012.
Photos from Global Day of Action Against Military Spending demonstration on Tax Day, with activists from Northern Calfornia War Tax Resistance, CodePINK, Occupy Oakland, and others at the Oakland Federal Building. Mr. & Mrs. Moneybags joined a march tothe Federal Building. Displays included the world with cardboard cutouts of countries the U.S. military has meddled with and a sidewalk timeline of U.S. military interventions over decades.
BAY-Peace (Better Alternatives for Youth) joined the protest and performed their original tax day song in front of the Federal Building (click the link below to watch them in action). Photos by David Gross.
The Raytheon Peacemakers headed to Raytheon Missile Systems on tax day. “We didn’t even have to make new signs for tax day — we use those at our vigils year round!”
Photo by Felice Cohen-Joppa.
Keep up with Tucson news and nonviolent resistance worldwide at http://www.nukeresister.org.
The annual march from the Manhattan office of the IRS to the General Post Office was lively once again, involving activists and war tax resisters from NYC War Resisters League, NYC People’s Life Fund and War Tax Resistance, along with the Grannies Peace Brigade, Veterans for Peace, OWS Antiwar Working Group, OWS Direct Action, Military Families Speak Out members. About 50 of us leafleted and vigiled in front of the IRS for over an hour, followed by a march through Times Square with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra to the General Post Office (GPO) where other groups were also convening. It made for a lively time, with Rude Mechanical playing music and leading chants and the Grannies leading us in their great “use our taxes for peace” songs.
This year the police were busy with their pens and barricades, as well as a Homeland Security bomb-sniffing dog at the IRS. The steps to the general post office were entirely blocked off (save for a couple paths up to the entrances), forcing us onto the sidewalk where they then put up more barricades to prevent us blocking traffic, on the now narrower sidewalk. We had expected to meet other groups at the GPO big march by unions and others from Bryant Park got blocked by police a couple blocks away from the GPO nd piles of leaflets were handed out to locals and tourists alike.
(Photos by Ed Hedemann)
Portland’s Redirection 2012 was just magic this year.
The day began with setting up the Penny Poll at the Unitarian Church basement. (The Penny Poll is a great conversation-starter, often involving several people at once as a crowd gathers around.)
We gave most of our redirected tax money to Right2DreamToo — a group of homeless people who are being fined and harassed for organizing in order to survive with a measure of safety and dignity. We also gave to Children’s Community Clinic, whose mission is to provide awesome medical care to underserved children from birth to 21. Finally, with Portland Public Schools once again “allowing” counter recruitment in the schools,the Military and Draft Counseling Project is organizing those visits and volunteers (usually VFP members).
This year’s success was perhaps due to Dr. Sharif Abdullah agreeing to be our speaker. He grew up in Camden, New Jersey, and founded the“Commonway Institute,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation of a society that is in line with our deepest spiritual values — a global society that includes all peoples. See the video of Sharif Abdullah on YouTube.
Mike Hastie brought a small selection of his photos from Vietnam to the present. He also spoke to us about his 45-hour journey to and expulsion from Korea. He was one of three VFP members invited to JeJu Island to witness the islanders’ nonviolent struggle to save their home from becoming a deepwater missile port, a struggle because they are being violently opposed by the Korean government.
I said there must have been “magic afoot” that day: there were two other events that day, both of which had a lot more publicity muscle going for them: a huge caravan and occupation to Hanford, and an organizational meeting of the unemployed. All three of these events were lively and engaging. Certainly our Public Redirection received more attention than it had in recent years.
—Pam Allee, Oregon Community of War Tax Resisters
Photos by Mike Hastie: Right2Dream2 (top) and Dr. Sharif Abdullah
We had a war tax resistance workshop on Easter Sunday directly after the regular Sunday General Assembly meeting of Occupy Greensboro. We showed Death and Taxes, gave out info and had a good discussion. Particularly interesting was the presence of Alan Brilliant. Now in his 70s, Al used to be in the New York Catholic Worker with Dorothy Day. He knew of Karl Meyer, regarded him as a hero, but has never met him.
The following Wednesday we held a 90-minute penny poll in downtown Greensboro during evening rush hour on a central street corner with a mixed bag of pedestrian traffic. We had 37 people participate with the following 5 topics and corresponding outcomes of the penny poll vote:
|Interest on the National Debt||15%|
In a state that prides itself on its military involvements, especially Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, it is noteworthy that those who were polled decided to devote only 12% to the military with almost 4× that to human services which were noted to include health care, welfare and education!
Seventy-seven Sitka residents participated in the annual Sitka Tax Day penny poll on April 14 to let their federal representatives know how they want their tax dollars spent. The poll, sponsored by Sitkans for Peace and Justice, was designed to engage the community in a discussion of federal budget priorities and trade-offs…
Based on poll results, the federal budget would look very different if residents of Sitka could decide how their federal tax dollars were spent.
Education, healthcare and environmental protection received the highest numbers of votes. The development and production of nuclear weapons, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and support for military bases in foreign countries were the least popular programs.
On Sunday, April 15, our group, “Fund Our Communities, Bring the War Dollars Home,” started by Peace Action Montgomery, did a short skit three times on the Ellsworth Street mall in downtown Silver Spring while others in the group handed out explanatory flyers. Check out their 3-min video
This past Tuesday five members of Greater Seattle Veterans for Peace distributed over 500 leaflets—“How Is The War Economy Working For You?” and “Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes”—about the militarization of the US federal budget and about nonviolent alternatives to passively paying for wars and weapons we don’t want. The leaflets were offered to lunch-time passersby at Seattle’s Midtown Post Office.
Activists gathered at the Eugene downtown post office on Tax Day, April 17th, to challenge militarism and corporate greed and to call for the re-ordering of federal spending and tax priorities from supporting war and Wall St. to meeting human and environmental needs.
Taxpayers were provided the opportunity to voice how they would spend their tax dollars when they took part in the “Penny Poll.” Participants were handed 10 pennies, which they deposited in jars representing a 6-category breakdown of the federal budget. The categories and how people voted are as follows:
|Afghanistan & Iraq Wars||.2% (1 penny only)|
|General Government||13.3 %|
“If Eugene residents ran the Federal government things would be significantly different — their tax dollars would be funding social and environmental programs and not endless war,” said event organizer Michael Carrigan of CALC.
War tax resisters, who object to over half of their federal taxes going to the military, redirected their “war” taxes to numerous local organizations, several of whom were on hand to receive their donations.
After the rally, a spirited and loud bunch of protesters marched to the New Federal Bldg. to turn in postcards to Rep. DeFazio and Senator Wyden that called for no war with Iran.
In the evening, peace activists joined up with labor allies at the Gateway Post Office to demand that corporations and the richest 1% be required to pay their fair share in taxes.
In the weeks before Tax Day, members of Women in Black and Arts for Peace joined Occupy New Paltz at the New Paltz post office, in an ongoing presence to protest our income taxes going to the military. We realize our responsibility to pay veterans benefits and honor returning soldiers, but we need to resist the ongoing declared and undeclared wars and arms proliferation throughout the world. We can do this now by redirecting our taxes. If we truly want peace we must stop paying for war and stand up to War St./Wall St. When we refuse to pay a war tax and instead pay into a peace fund, this is bold step toward peace and reconciliation.
The Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, H.R. 1191, sponsored by Congressman Lewis of Georgia would restore the rights of citizens whose conscience does not permit financial participation in any war. This includes both individuals who are members of religious congregations as well as those who are not religious, but have ethical and moral objections to paying for war. Please call your congressman to cosponsor this bill.
Taxpayers Express Choices in Penny Poll
On Saturday, April 14th, Worcester taxpayers took the opportunity to express their budgetary priorities in a penny poll, sponsored by the Worcester Friends’ Meeting. Given 100 pennies to distribute as they wished, 43 citizens allocated their token tax money with preferences markedly different than the federal government’s.
Poll results showed that Worcester residents support “Human Resources” as the most important budget category, with 33% of all allocations. They distributed only 12% of their pennies into the “Current Military” jar, making it the least popular category.
According to Mary Chenaille, one of the event organizers, “This is the exact opposite of how the federal government distributes our taxes. They spend 29% of discretionary spending on the current military, and another 18% on ‘Past Military’ costs, including wars’ share of the national debt, but only 39% on human resources”, she said.
The other poll results showed people supported “General Government” at 15%, compared to the federal budget’s 8%; 25% went into the “Physical Resources” jar, compared to just 6% of federal expenses; and 15% went for “Past Military”, near the 18% federal disbursement, which includes veterans’ benefits.
Although the Worcester Friends’ Meeting does not claim the poll was scientific, the group does feel it accurately expresses the general public sentiment. “Clearly, the citizens of Worcester have very different values and priorities than those spending our tax dollars”, said Chenaille. “Those in charge of allocating our national treasure need to know that folks here want to see more of our resources used for social spending and nation building here at home, instead of overseas military adventures.”
The organizers also distributed flyers indicating actual government figures in a different graphic representation than the official budget pie, which falsely shows Trust Funds like Social Security, making the human needs portion look bigger, and the military portion smaller.
Photos by Nehemiah Rosell
Speak-out text of Mary Regan, New England War Tax Resistance, announcing this year’s grants of refused war taxes, during the 99% Coalition/Occupy Boston March in Boston’s financial district, April 17, 2012
Hi, my name is Mary Regan. I am a member of New England War Tax Resistance, a group of Boston area people who refuse to pay some or all of their federal income taxes in order to withhold funding for wars, weapons, and killing. I have been a war tax resister since 1983, either by earning below the taxable income or by not paying the portion of my federal taxes that pays for war. I’m not avoiding paying taxes; I would gladly pay more if I knew that my tax money was only going to goods and services that would serve the people of our country and the world. But since 47% of our taxes pay for past, current and future wars, I withhold that percentage of my taxes and give it to organizations that promote justice and peace.
The unjust tax system means that the rich don’t pay their fair share, and the poor do not get the resources they need to live dignified and full lives. In addition, the military spending is rarely cut and war continues.
Dwight Eisenhower said: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
By redirecting our tax dollars, we strive to contribute to some of the areas that are neglected in a militarized economy. Today, New England War Tax Resistance, is proud to announce the donation of $3,550 to local organizations working fora more just and peaceful society. come by our table to find out more!
For more information about NEWTR grants, please contact Mary Regan at (617) 838-7615.
Portsmouth — Funding health care was the number one priority for people who took part in the Seacoast Peace Response annual War Tax Education Penny Poll outside the local post office Tuesday.
A total of 671 pennies were handed out to participants during the four-hour penny poll, which is held each year on federal income tax day.
Organizers have held the event for the past half-dozen years to call attention to the costs of what they deem a “militarized federal budget.”
The penny poll is a large display board with options for people to designate pennies, provided by the group, to the categories in which they think tax money should be spent.