After a six-year investigation, a five-day trial, and four hours
of jury deliberation, three members of The Restored Israel of
YAHWEH were found guilty in federal district court on December
15, 2004, of charges related to the nonpayment of federal income
tax. The trial took place in Camden, New Jersey, near where the
group is based.
Joseph and Inge Donato and Kevin McKee were arrested on April
12, 2004, and were charged with "conspiring to defraud the United
States for the purpose of impeding, impairing, obstructing,
and defeating the lawful government functions of the IRS in
ascertaining, computing, assessing, and collecting taxes; Tax
Evasion; and Failure to File Tax Returns" (see MTAP, June 2004).
The two men ran a construction business, and Inge Donato was
the bookkeeper. While they cooperated with state and local tax
laws and filed appropriately for employees who were not members
of the society, for those who refuse to pay war taxes the company
honored their consciences and did not withhold taxes.
The Restored Israel of YAHWEH has a long history of war tax
resistance. "We cannot in good conscience pay a tax that we
know goes to kill and fight against other people whose lives
were also given to them by YAHWEH," says a statement by the
group. "This stand has been taken in our organization since
1948 when our founder, mentor and spiritual leader, Leo J. Volpe,
after much research, stopped paying federal income tax because
he did not want the blood of those killed in warfare on his
Volpe himself was investigated and pursued by the FBI in the
late 1970s and finally arrested in 1982 on charges of income
tax evasion. He had been outspoken about his refusal to pay
federal income tax since 1948 because of the connection to war.
He spent four months in jail, but continued to refuse federal
taxes until his death in 2000. A Jehovah's Witness in 1944,
Volpe also refused to be drafted, and since then the group has
supported other conscientious objectors to military service.
A criminal trial and charge of conspiracy against war tax resisters
is unusual. A disgruntled former member contacted the IRS about
the business, and a particularly relentless local IRS agent
pursued the case. U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle set
sentencing for April 1, 2005. A two- to three-year sentence
is possible, but the recent changes in federal sentencing guidelines
allow the judge discretion.
A statement from the society says, "The guilty verdict does
not change our conviction that federal income tax pays for war
and violates YAHWEH'S commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill.' We
hope that more and more people will come to understand this,
and will understand how unjust it is that our firm religious
convictions were labeled as a conspiracy and used against us."
What you can do:
Send letters of support: Write the judge prior to sentencing asking
him to honor the sincere convictions of the group and impose no
jail time. (Send letters to Hon. Jerome B. Simandle, Mitchell
H. Cohen Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 1 John F. Gerry
Plaza, Camden, NJ 08101.)
Attend the sentencing, scheduled for April 1 in Camden. Details
and directions will be available on the Web site (www.nwtrcc.org)
or by contacting the NWTRCC office.
Send letters of support to: The Restored Israel of YAHWEH,
PO Box 801, Mays Landing, NJ 08330, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Return to List of Headlines]
By Ruth Benn
Here at the NWTRCC office the phone line with the 800 number
is set up with Verizon, chosen against my better judgment after
many hassles with that company over the years about phone tax
resistance. Nevertheless, when one puts in a new line it's hard
to avoid using the primary local company (the 800 serv ice is
with Working Assets).
Many war tax resisters in New York City have been frustrated
in their dealings with Verizon formerly Bell Atlantic, formerly
NYNEX, formerly New York Telephone). There was no system and
obviously no employee training on this. Sometimes enclosing
a note with the bill was enough. Sometimes we were told to send
our statement of refusal to a separate address. Sometimes we
were given a particular person to call each month to ask for
the credit. One resister would be told one thing, another resister
something else. In almost all cases, after a few months, whatever
system was arranged would collapse, and we'd be back to square
It's been 20 months since the NWTRCC line was set up, and I've
been sending in our telephone excise tax resistance card with
most bills, but a past due amount has accumulated. I finally
decided that I was feeling calm and collected and would call
to see about getting the past due amount credited. This time
pen and paper were ready to record the conversation and write
about yet another time when a telephone company employee would
not accept refusal to pay the federal excise tax.
Much to my surprise, I got a perfectly nice man who said cheerily,
"I'll be happy to help you with that." He pointed out to me
that I had actually missed a few credits that were buried in
the bills and that the account did show a "statement of war
refusal." He noted that the credits were sporadic but that the
past due amount was not significant ($4.64) so I shouldn't worry
about it. In addition, I have heard similar stories from two
other longtime phone tax resisters in New York City who were
hassling with Verizon. Both of those individuals made "one more
call" and got an employee who adjusted their accounts appropriately.
Has something changed with our nemesis in New York City? Only
time will tell, but one wants to believe that persistence is paying
off. The IRS appears to have clarified some rules also, which
may be having an effect (see "New Developments" on page 2).
Of course, NWTRCC's files are bulging with letters from resisters
in every corner of the country about practically every phone
company that ever existed, and people contact the office on
this topic every day. There are some success stories amidst
the many "what do you think I should do now?" letters. Cell
phone companies are being especially intransigent, and we will
be happy to hear of your success stories with any of those companies.
A few years ago there was serious talk at NWTRCC's national
gathering about dropping or at least down-playing phone tax
resistance, because there seemed to be an increase in companies
cutting off service. Our literature also emphasized this resistance
as "easy" or "a good place to start," and many felt that was
misleading. Shortly after that discussion the Iraq Pledge of
Resistance contacted us about working together on a telephone
tax campaign, so we were tugged back the other way
We have tried to adjust our materials to indicate that dealing
with the phone company can be a hassle while problems with the
IRS are still unlikely. The website www.hanguponwar.org is an
effort to give new phone tax resisters as much information as
we can to avoid surprises later. In addition, we do want to
remind people of the educational opportunities each time we
contact a phone company to tell them about this tax as a war
tax and the need to change budget priorities. We are reminded
of the story from Northern California WTR a couple years ago
about the phone company employee who showed up at one of their
workshops because she'd been getting these calls for years.
Finally, though we hassle with the companies, it doesn't mean
that the government is unaware of such resistance; on the contrary,
when the telephone tax campaign really heated up during the
Vietnam War, the government reacted by seizing property in some
cases. There is no doubt that someone is monitoring very closely
government receipts from the telephone excise tax.
No Longer a Luxury
"The telephone excise tax has become an anachronism. This "temporary
luxury tax" has mutated into a regressive tax that hurts the poor.
It cannot be justified as a user fee or a sin tax: the revenues
are not earmarked for improvements, and the telephone does not
injure anyone. The telephone excise tax distorts consumption patterns
and discourages innovation in the telecommunications industry,
thereby damaging American competitiveness. It lacks a philosophical
foundation and reduces the well-being of Americans. The telephone
excise tax should be repealed immediately."
From a report for the National Taxpayers Union Foundation by
Sarah Pugh, Associate Policy Analyst, September 1999.
[Return to List of Headlines]
Two items of interest appeared in the Federal Taxes Weekly Alert
published by RIA/Thompson. In August the newsletter discussed
new temporary regulations regarding reporting of "non-payers"
of excise tax. The regulations are directed at "collectors of
excise taxes" involved with certain communications services, air
transport of persons, and air transport of cargo. Generally the
tax is collected from the taxpayer and then paid over to the government.
Collectors are responsible for reporting to IRS the refusal of
taxpayers to pay these excise taxes. The new regs specify that
the collector must report the taxpayer's refusal to the IRS by
the due date of the return on which the tax would have been reported.
Collectors are not allowed to seek adjustments unless they have
reported the refusal on time.
The second item of interest comes under the headline, "A fourth
court rules that telephone excise tax doesn't apply to flat-rate
long-distance service." Five cases have been brought in five
different district courts from businesses that noticed a technicality
about the 3% federal excise tax on the telephone: the tax may
not apply to charges for calls that don't take distance into
account. In the portion of the IRS's Code dealing with this
tax, the definition of "toll telephone service" reads "there
is a toll charge which varies in amount with the distance and
elapsed transmission time." The IRS argued in court that the
word "and" should be interpreted to mean "or" in order to reflect
the clear intent of U.S. Congress to tax all long-distance telephone
service. The cases have been in district courts in Pennsylvania,
Ohio, District of Columbia, New York, and Florida. Only the
Florida court agreed with the IRS. Given the differing conclusions
of the district courts and the sizable amount of potential refunds,
the IRS likely will challenge any future claims for refunds
until the issue is resolved through appeals or legislation.
The IRS cautions taxpayers to continue paying the tax. Thus
far the cases have not involved individuals, presumably because
the amounts are quite small compared to corporate taxes. Office
Max and Amtrak brought two of the cases.
IRS Standard Deductions and Exemptions for 2005
|| Standard Deduction
|| Personal Exemption
| Married, filing jointly
| Married, filing separately
| Head of household
An additional $1,000 standard deduction may be claimed by a
married taxpayer who is at least 65 years old or blind. If the
taxpayer is single, the additional standard deduction amount
is $1,250. For those who are 65 and blind, a married taxpayer
can claim a second $1,000 standard deduction - for a total of
$2,000. If the taxpayer is single, s/he can claim a second $1,250
standard deduction - for a total of $2,500.
The personal exemption phases out at higher income levels (approximately
$145,000 for singles).
NWTRCC offers the standard deductions/personal exemption chart
as a guide for people who choose to live below the taxable income.
IRS standard deduction and exemption amounts are adjusted annually
for cost-of living increases.
However, if you choose to file, it is possible to exceed these
income levels, but end up owing no tax (including receiving
back 100% of any withholding) by using such options as the Earned
Income Credit if you qualify; taking allowances for dependents;
making use of pension funds or health benefit plans that reduce
one's taxable income; and taking deductions such as for at-home
businesses. NWTRCC does not give specific advice on filling
out tax forms or ways to reduce taxable income; there is information
on the web for this (see www.sniggle.net/Experiment
as one sample), and there are professional tax advisers who
can assist you. (They don't need to know that your goal is to
reduce your complicity with paying for war, but it could make
for an interesting conversation.)
Setting aside filing deductions, to figure out how much you
can earn in 2005 before owing income taxes, identify your category
and multiply the personal exemption by the number of dependents
you can claim, including yourself, then add your standard deduction.
For example, if you are married and filing jointly, with two
children, you would add $12,800 ($3,200 x 4) to $10,000, equaling
a taxable level of $22,800. Below this amount your family would
owe no income taxes for the year (for filing requirements see
below). This calculation also gives the amount of income the
IRS needs to leave you to live on during the year if they are
garnishing your wages. This formula does not apply to Social
Filing Threshhold: In most cases the numbers on the chart above
represent the maximum gross income adults can make before the
IRS requires a federal income tax return to be filed. Single:
$8,200; Married filing jointly, $16,400; Head of Household,
$10,500. The exceptions are: Married, filing separately, is
$3,200, and additionally surviving spouse is $13,200. The filing
threshold is a bit higher for people who are over 65.
This information is provided not to encourage one method
or another but to provide the basis for informed decisions.
[Return to List of Headlines]
We are grateful to the following groups who have given to NWTRCC
since the last newsletter, and thanks to all the individuals
who responded to our November appeal. We can expect a busy tax
season and your support makes a difference!
Sonoma County Taxes for Peace
Milwaukee War Tax Resisters
Voices in the Wilderness (IL)
Maine WTR Alternative Fund
Bethesda Friends Meeting (MD)
[Return to List of Headlines]
Georgia: Remove Carol Coney
Texas: New Area Contact, Ken Freeland, Houston, TX,
Michigan: Alan Gamble, now in Jackson, Michigan, correct
New York: Dennis Lehmann was listed incorrectly after
the fall updates. His correct listing is now in Marion, South
Dacota, (605) 925-7292.
Oklahoma: new Area Contact: Oklahoma Committee for Conscientious
Objectors, 504 NE 16th, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, (405) 945-1925,
[Return to List of Headlines]
What: NWTRCC's Administrative Committee (AdCom) seeks 3
Deadline: March 11, 2005
Schedule: New alternate members will be selected at the
May 2005 meeting; terms start after the meeting.
Terms: Serve 1 year as alternate plus 2 years as full member
Costs: Travel is paid for full members or alternates filling
in for full member.
Benefits: Great people to work with; pleasure of contributing
to the smooth-running of the NWTRCC network; travel to fun places
and meet interesting people.
Time commitment: AdCom meetings are the full day Friday
before the weekend gathering, occasional emails and phone calls
during the year, and some willingness to volunteer for an extra
project according to interest and availability.
Qualifications: Interest in being part of NWTRCC's decision-making
structure; willingness to attend two meetings during the year;
desire to help promote NWTRCC; geographic and gender considerations
determined by current committee make-up.
Current members: Rick Bickhart* (NM), Peter Smith* (IN),
Lincoln Rice (WI), Eszter Freeman (CA), Cicada LaFey (NC), Linda
Holtzbaur (NY, resigned.)
*Terms are ending in May.
Please contact the office for a job description, or send
in nominations and we will follow up with further details. Affiliate
groups should make a special effort to offer nominations.
[Return to List of Headlines]
"Where Your Income Tax Money Goes"
The War Resisters League pie chart will be available from NWTRCC
in late February. The flyers are 10¢ each plus shipping for orders
of 200 or fewer. Contact WRL for large orders: 339 Lafayette St.,
NY, NY 10012, 212-228-0450, www.warresisters.org.
Don't Forget the Basics
(Call for bulk rates or see the website)
Brochures from NWTRCC
(15¢ each plus postage):
- "Our Tax Money, Our Choice"
- "Our Telephone Taxes Pay for War!"
- "Why Isn't Everyone Who is for Peace a War Tax Resister"
- "Are You Praying for Peace but Paying for War"
($15 each plus $2 postage):
War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support
from the Military
WTRs and the IRS ($2.50 each)
War Tax Resistance At A Glance ($2.00 each)
Pamphlet Series: ($1 each)
- Controlling Withholding
- To File Or Not To File
- How To Resist Collection
- Low Income/Simple Living
- Organizational Resistance
Sales/Donations Available on Web
It is now possible to send payments to NWTRCC using the Paypal
link on our website. Paypal accepts bank transfers or credit cards.
Click on the "Contact Us/Donate" button on the homepage. We will
soon set up this option on the publications page for literature
purchases. Right now you can make literature payments using the
Donate button; just make sure to email or fax the office the list
of items that you are ordering.
New Peace Tax Return!
Copying the success of a peace tax return used for the last few
years by Conscience - the Peace Tax Campaign in Great Britain,
NWTRCC has created a form for use in the U.S. The Peace Tax Return
is designed to capture the anger about the war in Iraq and the
billions of dollars being wasted there. Use it this tax season!
There's a section to return to the IRS, either for protest or
resistance, and a section to return to NWTRCC so that we can track
how many participate.
The Peace Tax Form can be downloaded from the NWTRCC website
or ordered from NWTRCC. Multiple copies 8¢ each or send a stamped,
self addressed envelope for single copies.
Display it at your spring workshops or in libraries, schools,
shopping centers, food coops - wherever you can think of - this
tax season (be sure to send photos to NWTRCC).
The National War Tax Resistance exhibit consists of six posters
measuring 22" x 34" each, depicting the history of war tax resistance
from 400 BCE to 2000 with one panel on current resistance outside
the U.S. The exhibit posters are mailed in a tube, and purchasers
should plan to mount it, such as on foam core, for display.
Exhibits cost $30 for the set, which includes shipping and handling.
New Flier: "Students and War"
"Students and War" is available free to download at http://www.nwtrcc.org/studentflyer.htm
or contact the NWTRCC office for an original copy at 800-269-7464.
Order all of the above from the NWTRCC office, PO Box 150553,
Brooklyn, NY 11215, (800) 269-7464.
[Return to List of Headlines]
New England Gathering Looks at Iraq, WTR Outreach and Support
By Aaron Falbel
Last November over 40 people journeyed to Kennebunk, Maine,
for the New England Regional Gathering of War Tax Resisters.
The New School and a nearby Unitarian church provided a hospitable
locale for the gathering.
The opening keynote address was given by Mary Trotochaud, who,
along with her partner Rick McDowell, spent the past year in
Baghdad representing the American Friends Service Committee
(AFSC). Her presentation, along with a Powerpoint slide show
that served as a backdrop, gave attendees of the gathering (and
some members of the public) a sense of who the Iraqi people
are, what they have endured and are still enduring, and how
civic organizations are sprouting all over Iraq after the fall
of the regime, showing the resilience and determination of the
Iraqi people to shape their own destiny. Many questions were
asked about the ongoing war-which one participate insisted should
be called an invasion-and the U.S. occupation. It was a poignant
and somber discussion, as Falluja and Mosul were being invaded
and bombarded in the days before and after our gathering.
The next day turned to the main themes of the gathering: Spreading
the Word and Practicing Mutual Aid. The themes were addressed
through panel presentations and small group discussions. Concern
was raised that we focus too much attention on Tax Day and don't
spread the word enough during the rest of the year. Other ideas
were generated, such as tabling at other peace events and hanging
banners over prominent highway overpasses. Regarding mutual
aid, one participant, Bob Bady, felt that creating a strong,
tight-knit, supportive community was the most important thing
we could do. "If we create community, they will come," he said.
He felt this is why the religious right has had such an attraction
for many people.
Many of the small group discussions seemed to turn into mini
counseling sessions, with people asking technical questions
about their own situations. This may be a sign that we as a
movement-at least in New England-are not paying enough attention
to support/counseling issues.
Thanks to Stephen Soucy, Randy Kehler, Bob Bady, and especially
to Larry Dansinger for organizing the gathering, to Daniel Sicken
for handling publicity, and to Rick Gaumer, who coordinated
the preparations of wonderfully delicious meals.
SOAW - Another Great Weekend!
A number of us had a fun and productive two days tabling at the
School of Americas Watch events in Columbus, GA, November 20-21,
2004. There were over 16,000 people present this year for another
very moving series of vigils, protests, speakers, music, concerts,
organizational meetings, puppet performances, and the solemn funeral
The NWTRCC table was well received, and it seemed to me people
were more serious this year about getting information on how
to really stop paying for the madness. I referred a lot of folks
to local contacts on our network list, so if you are one of
those, don't be surprised if you get a call from someone who
got your name at Ft. Benning.
Seventy-six people signed our sign-up sheets for introductory
WTR packets, and we brought in about $65 in literature sales
and donations. That's not bad, since we were focusing on networking
rather than selling, not to mention the 73 other tables hawking
literature and goodies, too.
Mostly, we just had a great time being together again and working
on such a good cause in the midst of such a responsive crowd
of beautiful people.
Thanks to Jim Stockwell, Daniel Woodham, Clare Hanrahan, David
& Oliver Waters, Zot Szurgot, Thad Crouch, Peg Morton, and whomever
else I missed, for all their help in tabling and leafletting.
Also to Kathy Kelly for speaking out for WTR every time she
spoke-which was pret ty often!
-Robert G. Randall II, Brunswick, GA
[Return to List of Headlines]
"A Witness to Love and War Tax Resistance" was held on December
18, 2004, at the North Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio,
in response to the IRS garnishing Maria Smith's wages. About 50
people attended the liturgical program that included music, readings,
speakers, and dance. Maria has been a war tax resister with her
husband Charlie Hurst since 1986, and first the IRS attempted
to levy his church wages, which turned out to be too low to satisfy
The couple has a long history of interactions with IRS collection
efforts (see MTAP, December 2002), and during the past two years
they have pursued two due process hearings with the IRS. In
both cases Maria felt they had very positive interactions with
IRS officers, even if the end result was the same. While the
officers entered the meetings with an "either you owe or you
don't" attitude, the war tax resisters came with witnesses and
insisted that the officers hear their reasons for refusing to
pay federal income taxes. In the end, the IRS report on the
couple included an understanding of their deeply held religious
convictions and motivations.
Because their support group is small (but strong), they did
not try to organize public actions outside the hearings, except
at one time another group happened to be working on an event
that coincided with a hearing date, so they teamed up and held
a good supportive action outside the hearing.
Besides the salary levy at legal aid where Maria is an attorney,
the IRS also tried to levy her bank account last fall. Maria
called immediately and told the IRS officer that the bank account
held only the money that was exempt from the salary levy, making
it a "double levy." Maria discussed her war tax objections and
spoke with the agent for some time; in the end, the agent agreed
to release the bank account levy and even sent a fax stating
such to Maria.
"It's important to communicate that it's not about the IRS,
but about war taxes," says Maria. "When we meet with agents
we also try to show them cases where bureaucrats have made a
difference, such as under the Nazis. Even in their small way,
they have a little power to influence change."
A story about Smith and Hurst appears on the web at http://www.freetimes.com/print.php?sid=2320.
Increased seizures of wages and bank accounts by the IRS have
kept Austin Conscientious Objectors to Military Taxation (ACOMT)
busy. A state worker has had her bank account seized twice and
recently received garnishment notices from the IRS. A non-profit
employee was forced to reduce his income to the poverty level
of $662.50 per month to avoid repeat levies. After eleven years
of inaction by the IRS, an office worker had his wages garnished.
An emergency room doctor, whose car was seized in 1991, was recently
visited by an IRS agent and faces possible seizure of her wages
and another car. A teacher, who is new to war tax resistance,
has already begun receiving collection notices. Another group
member, a housecleaner and artist, continues living intentionally
below taxable level to legally avoid paying war taxes.
The group responded to this activity by sending out a press
release December 6, 2004. Around the same time Texas journalist
Greg Moses interviewed members of the group and wrote an excellent
article, "Ask Not Who Bankrolled Falluja: War Tax Resisters
Opt Out," that has appeared since December 7, on many websites
and has circulated widely by email. It can still be read at
(a site from Italy with a link for instant translation into
many languages), or contact the NWTRCC office for a copy.
ACOMT held a public redirection of $1,300 in tax resisted monies
on December 23, that was written up in the Austin Chronicle.
Money was redirect to Casa Marianella and Posada Esperanza,
shelters for immigrants and refugees. Their statement about
the redirection said, "…when we compare our risks with those
of Casa residents whose arduous journeys to the U.S. often have
involved huge costs, or if we compare our risks with those of
a U.S. soldier or Iraqi civilian, we are humbled." Group member
Andy McKenna had an op-ed piece about taxes and war and his
own wage levy appear on the website antiwar.com and in the daily
Austin American-Statesman on January 19.
Information about the group's activities is on their website:
"The Falluja assault is an egregious blunder, even by the
awful standards set by President Bush. Until Falluja, there
was a tattered moral argument that Bush's illegal invasion had
at least toppled a bad guy from power. But Falluja is a campaign
of, by, and for the sheer effect of terror. As a demoralized
peace movement looks to Falluja with dread, Kathy Kelly reminds
us, there is one thing that any taxpayer of conscience can do."
From, "Who Bankrolled Falluja," by Greg Moses
…Over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend Sonoma County
Taxes for Peace held a workshop in Caspar/Mendocino and displayed
the new war tax resistance Exhibit. Jef Schultz reports, "The
posters were a hit."
…Peg Morton of Taxes for Peace Not War in Eugene, OR,
says that the group has been invited to do a war tax resistance
workshop at the Unitarian Church, with a possible second workshop
at the Congregational Church. They are planning their public
redirection of pooled telephone tax resisted monies and may
expand it to pooling their income tax money too, which in the
past they have redirected individually.
…New York City War Tax Resistance plans a public event
on war tax resistance March 21 at the Brecht Forum, which is
opening a new space in the West Village for their progressive
programs and political workshops.
…The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center in Missoula, Montana,
has requested a war tax resistance program, and the Nonviolent
Action Community of Cascadia plans to set up a program with
…Activists with the St. Louis Covenant Community of War
Tax Resisters will table and represent NWTRCC at the United
for Peace and Justice Assembly Feb. 18-20 in St. Louis.
[Return to List of Headlines]
"It Really Feels Good!" says Frances Crowe
We should be telling people how good it feels to separate yourself
from this awful war. This will be my third year of not paying
any federal [income] taxes. My conscience simply would not permit
me to. I really reached the point where I just very deeply felt
I could not pick up the pen and write the check. I was a total
hypocrite, running around talking about these things, and feeling
so strongly, while still funding them.
It was when the war started that I really said, "No, I cannot
pay." I wrote a letter to the government saying, "I'm a Quaker.
I can no longer support the military budget. I don't believe
in this war. It is an illegal government, talking about conducting
an illegal war and I cannot cooperate." I've been open about
it and I file. I wrote them a letter about why I didn't pay
and sent copies to my Congress people and the President. I didn't
hear from any of them. Then I heard from the IRS that I had
filed a frivolous claim and that they were going to fine me
$500. I call them up and asked, "What is frivolous about it?
It is not a frivolous thing for me to break the law. It was
a very serious thing and I understand what I'm doing." And she
said, "Refile but don't put any paper in with it. Just refile.
Send a copy of what you sent." I did and I didn't hear any more.
I'm not making it easy for them to get my money. I put my house
and everything else in a trust for my children. I didn't want
to hurt my children or other people but I'm willing to take
the full consequences of my actions. I don't know what the effects
will be, but for me, on this issue, that isn't the most important
thing. It's a deep moral, ethical, and philosophical position.
If we got thousands of people to do this, it would be a powerful
strategy. I think it is absolutely necessary and we won't have
real change until we have boycotts and withholding such as that.
That's one of the reasons I talk about it so much. I'd love
to see a movement where people refuse to pay for war. It really
is a wonderful feeling all day and all night knowing I'm not
paying for this.
Now I'm really conflicted. I pay state taxes because I think
the services are so desperately needed. But the Massachusetts
National Guard is in Iraq, some of my taxes are supporting that…
I really feel the only answer is for this state to secede from
the Union. It would be great if all of New England would because
we could keep our money here to take care of the needs of the
My experiences with draft counseling during the Vietnam War
was that when you can bring people together and get them to
start talking about these things and giving support, they will
change. …The trouble is that people are too comfortable. They
are not hungry, and they are so totally caught in by the major
media that they're just shopping and entertaining themselves
and feeling that they have to be happy all the time and diverted.
I like to be comfortable. I like a warm bath and I like a comfortable
bed at night. I don't like being hungry.
But there is something else also to life, the joy of struggle,
that not enough people have tasted. And the joy of community,
and the joy of cooperation, instead of competition; these are
the values that I want to perpetuate and talk about to young
people. There's a whole other world out there that they can
taste that's a really wonderful community in the brotherhood
Frances Crowe is a activist in Western Massachusetts where
she headed an office of AFSC for many years. She attends Mt.
Toby Friends Meeting and was one of the key organizers in getting
two radio stations in the area to air Democracy Now! Much of
the text above is from an interview by Jean Grossholtz and Diana
Riddle in The Valley War Bulletin (March 2004) with a
few updates by the MTAP editor. Traprock Peace Center has an
interview with Frances about conscientious objection on their
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