National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

More Than a Paycheck, June/July 2006

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Tax Day 2006 - War Taxes Protested and Redirected

Also see the tax day web page: http://www.nwtrcc.org/TaxDay06.htm

Albuquerque, NM
We had a small demonstration at the Federal Building/Post Office on April 17. The Raging Grannies came and sang their tax songs and we had some good conversations with the passers by, whom we leafleted, and good conversations with the guard at the building too.
        -Aanya Adler Friess, Albuquerque War Tax Alternative Fund

Austin, TX
About 20 people held signs and passed out pie chart flyers at the Austin downtown post office on Monday afternoon. Earlier in the day, Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Bill Mitchell, Juan Torres and others who had come to Austin following Easter Camp Casey just up the road in Crawford, Texas, participated with local students and Code Pink in a counter-recruitment rally and march to an Army recruiting station. Ann Wright and several other Camp Caseyites also joined the demonstration at the post office, along with Universal Living Wage supporters and Austin Conscientious Objectors to Military Taxation (ACOMT).
        -Susan Van Haitsma, ACOMTACOMT

Bangor, ME
On April 18, the deadline day for Maine tax returns, a group of us conducted a penny poll outside the main post office in Bangor. We gave each person ten pennies, each representing ten percent of money they were paying in federal income taxes and asked them to put money in jars representing ten of the major parts of the federal budget.

Just over 100 participated in the poll over several hours. The results are similar to how most people in other polls really want their tax money spent and very different from how our federal government actually does spend that money: health, education, and welfare, 27%; environment, 17%; alternative energy, 15%; national defense and homeland security, 9%; with small percentages for science and research, transportation, agriculture, interest on the debt, infrastructure, and government administration.
        -Larry Dansinger, ROSC

Brattleboro, VT
War tax resisters gathered on April 15 outside the Brattleboro post office for a vigil and public redirection ceremony. Resisters gave $5,000 to six local nonprofits: Citizens Awareness Network, Morningside Shelter, Military Families Speak Out, Women's Crisis Center, Windham County Reads, and a community gardening program. The groups sent representatives to accept the checks, and resister Daniel Sicken says, "I think the most impressive thing to me about the Tax Day redirection is how increasingly willing mainstream nonprofits stand up there with us publicly and accept our donations." The Brattleboro Reformer ran an excellent article about the event on April 17, entitled "Make donations, not war," with a big photo and an emphasis on the redirection.

Chicago, IL
On April 17, I did not get to Federal Plaza until around 1 pm, shortly before they began taking down the PA system, penny poll, and a long banner that dominated the Plaza near the sidewalk along Dearborn Street. I took a break from leafleting around 5 pm and continued from 7 to 11 pm with Libertarian Party and others including Minutemen/women expressing their displeasure with illegal immigrants, the first time I've seen such a hard right position at this last-minute filing expo. I leafleted at the Good Friday walk sponsored by 8th Day Center, by myself on Saturday the 15th at a corner of Adams and Dearborn, and during the time of the weekly anti-war vigil near the Art Institute.
        -Joffre Stewart

Eugene, OR
We had a good day at the Eugene downtown post office - in the rain and hail. (It cleared up in the late afternoon, and we overlapped with Universal Living Wage.) Our midday news conference/event was good. We presented about $4,000 (from 7 resisters) to CAUSA (immigrant rights), Shelter Care, PCUN (farmworkers' union), a low income teen leadership group, NWTRCC, and a counter-recruitment group. And we had wonderful singers-"Deportees," "Brother Can You Spare a Dime," and more. We all sang "Taxes Unending...." in a round. Media did come, and two of us spoke on three different talk shows. We also had an ongoing good penny poll. However, we were sparse on workers to cover everything!
        -Peg Morton, Taxes for Peace Not War!

Los Angeles, CA
The Southern California War Tax Alternative Fund redirected a total of $3,010, which was divided among these five projects and groups: AFSC for their "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit of shoes representing Iraq war deaths; Truth 2 Youth: a project on Hawaii for high school students with information military recruiters leave out; Woolman Semester at Sierra Friends Center, a peace curriculum summer school for youth; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; and People of Faith Against the Death Penalty.

Madison, WI
On Tax Day, April 17, members of Madison Area War Tax Resisters (formerly Southern Wisconsin Alternative Tax Fund) distributed our refused federal tax dollars in a public event. Over $3,700 was distributed equally among four organizations: American Friends Service Committee, Iraqi relief program; Family Farm Defenders, providing aid to small farmers devastated by Hurricane Katrina; Interfaith Hospitality Network, housing for the homeless; Community Action Commission, supplying 40 local food pantries. If anyone would like to contact us, our address is Madison Area War Tax Resisters, PO Box 3010, Madison, WI 53704.
        -Jerry Chernow

The Madison Branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom leafleted taxpayers on April 17 at the Struck Street Post Office with the theme of "Do you know where your taxes are tonight?"
        -Lea Zeldin

Milwaukee, WI
Even with good publicity in the local weekly Shepherd Express, we only had six people show up to hold signs and flyer at noon in front of the federal building, but it went well. By chance a local kids' cable show was passing by and interviewed some of us. At 12:30 three of us entered the federal building and dropped off letters at Sen. Herb Kohl's office and the IRS. After talking to the IRS agent, two of us stayed behind and prayed, each our traditional Catholic and Jewish prayers, outside of the IRS office until we were arrested. Unlike in prior years and even though we were on private property, we were arrested by the Department of Homeland Security.

I must admit I was a little worried when Homeland Security arrested us (I didn't know where they would take us). Thankfully they process people in their office in the building, and thankfully the charges were just disorderly conduct. I thought they might try to hit us with something more serious. They actually treated us better than the Milwaukee police department usually does. Most of them had been helping out in New Orleans recently, and we talked quite a bit about that because my partner in crime, Aytan, had just gotten back from there.
        -Lincoln Rice, Casa Maria Catholic Worker

Oakland, CA
Northern California People's Life Fund held a Granting Ceremony and Potluck, donating over $8,000 in resisted taxes to groups working for peace, justice and human needs. They followed the ceremony with an outdoor anti-war slide show and leafleting at the West Oakland Post Office, greeting the bumper-to-bumper procession of last minute tax filers with powerful antiwar images and flyers about how federal taxes are used for war.

Portland, Oregon
On April 14, members and friends of the Oregon Community for War Tax Resistance displayed "burma shave" message boards to rush hour traffic on the Hawthorne and Morrison St. bridges (morning) and on SW Broadway at Pioneer Courthouse Square (evening), raising issues of runaway military spending and a corrupt federal budget.

At the regular 5 pm rally at the Square, OCWTR hosted a public redirection of income tax dollars withheld from the federal government by local war tax resisters. Just over $14,000 was redirected to local and international service organizations selected for their worthy contributions toward a peaceful and just community. Also on April 17, a penny poll was conducted at the main post office in NW Portland and flyers were distributed.
        -John Grueschow, Portland Chapter, War Resisters League

St. Louis, MO
St. Louis Covenant Community of War Tax Resisters made grants to local and international projects at their April 23 "Justice, Not War" vigil. Members of the group, including a career retired U.S. Army Officer featured in the Christian Scientist Monitor (April 15) and on Fox News, redirected over $7,000 to agencies serving the needs of poor people, immigrants, and those seeking to protect human rights, provide health care, and resolve conflicts.

Recipients of the grants were African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams, providing Alternatives to Violence training workshops to people in Rwanda; Amnesty International; Friends Peace Teams in Colombia; Global Exchange, sponsoring tours and dialogue between Iraqi and U.S. women; Health and Environmental Justice, working to prevent lead poisoning in St. Louis; La Clinica, Latin Community Health Centers; St. Louis Peace and Justice Shares, a collaborative supporting the work of seven local peace and justice organizations; The World Community Center, providing office space to local organizations working for justice and peace; and Union of Health Workers Committee in Gaza, operating the largest hospital in Gaza and several clinics throughout the Occupied West Bank.
        -Bill Ramsey

St. Petersburg, FL
Two of us spent four hours at the local post office passing out the pie chart flyer to about 300 people. My gardenia bush had conveniently put out many blossoms, so I also gave the first 60 people who wanted them a gardenia-somehow it sweetens the message. The response was good, and we had no encounter with any postal employees. At the annual gathering of Friends in Florida I talked up the pie chart flyer, and people took 350 or so to their home meetings. In addition, I found that a letter to the editor I had written was in the St. Petersburg Times on Saturday, April 15, describing my tax resistance.
        -Ruth Hyde Paine

Waukesha, WI
On Saturday morning, April 15, my parents, Ruth and Glenn Van Haitsma, along with a friend of theirs, conducted a penny poll outside the public library. Even in a fairly conservative community, the poll was well-received. About 82 participants were each given 25 pennies to distribute among 6 jars and handed copies of the bar graph flyer produced by the Friends Committee on National Legislation. The results of the Waukesha poll echoed results of most penny polls: people want their tax money to pay for education and health care above all. Military spending received only 10% of the pennies cast, even considering that a couple of disgruntled voters put all their pennies into the military jar, while the education jar was nearly overflowing. Participants included children and teenagers, and my mother recalled two young boys saying, "This would be so cool to do in school." My mother also reported that "most people were thoughtful about it-some took a long time to decide."
        -Susan Van Haitsma

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Counseling Notes:

Explaining W-4 Resistance

Many WTR counselors get tongue-tied trying to explain to salaried employees what the W-4 does and how to adjust allowances for those interested in war tax resistance. Flying to Seattle for NWTRCC meetings, Daniel Woodham was amazed to find an article in the Continental airlines magazine giving a concise explanation of the role of the W-4. It encouraged people who are getting a big refund from the IRS to adjust their allowances and receive more take-home pay while lending the government less money. Written by experts at Kiplinger's Personal Finance, the information is on their website ( http://www.kiplinger.com/personalfinance/tools/withholding) and includes a calculator to help figure allowances. Kiplinger's encourages employees to take a look at their W-4 at least every two years. In addition, they refer people to IRS Publication 919, Is My Withholding Correct?, and the IRS's online calculator listed on this page: http://www.irs.gov/individuals. Check out these resources and try out the calculators using different numbers to help you better understand the process and develop new ways to describe W-4 resistance to counselees.

Charge It?

According to a March 4, 2006, New York Times article, "Tax Bills and Plastic Are Not a Good Mix" by Damon Darlin, more than a million people pay their taxes by credit card, often to get reward points for travel. The author offers a few calculations to show that this does not pay off and, in addition, notes that the companies that process credit card payments for the IRS charge a 2.49 percent fee for this "convenience." The article also points out that electronic filing incurs a $10- $15 fee because the IRS cannot process the returns directly, and taxpayers must choose one of the "government-authorized electronic return originators." Apparently fees can be avoided with tax software for federal taxes, but not necessarily state taxes. For those who file it seems wiser, or at least more frugal, to stick with the paper return.

Debt and the IRS

The question arose at our May 7 counseling session as to where the IRS stands in the line for collection of debt when liens have been filed. If a non-tax debt is filed before the IRS files a lien, does that dissuade the IRS from pursuing a collection? The book Stand Up to the IRS says that "Unlike other creditors, the IRS has no legal obligation to take you to court before seizing your car or paycheck…. As far as the IRS is concerned, your tax obligation takes priority over all other debts." The Times article noted in the section above says "you might be tempted to pay off your taxes with the credit card. After all, the government stands at the front of the line of your creditors in any proceeding and that debt can't be discharged by bankruptcy. But credit card companies stand at the end of the line with unsecured debt." [However, bankruptcy law says that taxes paid by credit card in the previous three years is not dischargeable through bankruptcy.] An unpaid car loan might deter IRS seizure of the vehicle, since the finance company or seller must be paid off first after an auction, but even that is not a guarantee against seizure. Can anyone confirm an instance where a non-tax debt has inhibited collection?

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MANY THANKS

Thanks to each of you for responding to our May appeal! In addition, we are grateful for the contributions, redirections, and affiliate fees from these groups:

Christians for Peace, Harrisonburg, VA
Michiana War Tax Refusers, South Bend, IN
New York City People's Life Fund, NY
Northern California People's Life Fund, Berkeley, CA
Quaker City Meeting, NH
Southern California War Tax Alternative Fund, Los Angeles, CA
Taxes for Peace Not War!, Eugene, OR
Washington, DC Area Alternative Fund, DC

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Network List Updates

Southeast Region: Delete: Ruth Hyde Paine, Florida (moving out of state)
California: So. CA War Tax Resistance, Joe Maizlish, new phone number: (323) 660-4992
Northwest and Beyond: Irv Hollingshead, Hawaii (moving out of state). We seek a new Hawaii contact.

A counselors' training was held in Seattle, May 9. Oregon and Washington are blessed with many excellent counselors, not all of whom are listed in our national list. Contact the Northwest groups listed for referral locally.

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In Memory

Wallace Collett

We are sad to report that NWTRCC friend and supporter Wallace Collett died on May 9, 2006, at age 91. In addition to being a resister himself, he was a principal force behind the Friends Committee on War Tax Concerns (1985-1988), a board member of the Peace Tax Campaign, and -- after his move from Cincinnati to Philadelphia a few years back -- a loyal and key supporter of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting's tax resistance policy and litigation efforts. He was clerk (chair) of the American Friends Service Committee board when AFSC made its courageous decision to deliver medical supplies directly to both North and South Vietnam during the war.

NWTRCC honored Wallace among our wise elders at the November 2004 meeting in Swarthmore, PA (see MTAP, December 2004). He will be missed.         -Peter Goldberger

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War Tax Resistance Ideas & Actions

Pioneer Valley WTR

"Stop Shopping -I feel the stop starting stop shopping -I feel the stop starting stop shopping-I feel the stop starting"

Chanting in syncopated time, 30 members of the Church of Stop Shopping processed down the aisle of the Greenfield Unitarian Church beginning a joyful two hour service featuring Rev. Billy.

The faithful in the pews erupted in clapping and singing as the choir and musicians shared their original hymns in praise of buying local -- if you have to buy at all. Their admonition to consumers tempted to buy at Big Box Store: "Back Away, Back Away."

Rev. Billy exorcised credit cards and encouraged us to slow down, get to know the local producers and prevent a shopocalypse. We were truly elevated into a new world of bliss.

The Pioneer Valley War Tax Resisters hosted the Church of Stop Shopping and Rev. Billy at the Woolman Hill Conference Center in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Rev. Billy christened Woolman Hill-the home of Juanita Nelson, Traprock Peace Center, and the Quaker Conference Center-as a "Placealujah." The spring weather, opening daffodils, and place of peace all joined to give refuge to the New York weary choir for the weekend of April 7-9.

Rev. Billy and the choir graced the area with services in Brattleboro, Vermont, Amherst and Greenfield, Massachusetts. Their performances gave comfort and joy to activists working to close the Vernon nuclear power plant, stop Wal-Mart, stop the war, and the erosion of women's rights, and they brought in a whole new audience to our war tax resistance literature table right before tax day. We are all looking forward to a second coming of this miraculous group. Their spirit is unstoppable.         -Judy Scheckel

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Resources

New Posters

The San Francisco Print Collective, in conjunction with Northern California War Tax Resistance, has produced a series of hand printed silk screen color posters highlighting a variety of creative WTR messages and images. There are six posters, which are selling for $30 for the set, or $10 each for the 2 large posters and $5 each for the others which are on lighter paper.

The two larger posters on heavy paper are by well-known graphic artist Doug Minkler. One is pictured in the pdf version of the newsletter and the other has the Thoreau quote "If a thousand were not to pay their taxes..." with an image of a father holding an injured baby. The posters on lighter paper for $5 each include: "Who Pays for War? 49% of Your Taxes At Work" with a person mourning a victim (black and white); "Ask not what your government takes from you...but what it is that they do with the money," with images of weapons and skulls (red, white and blue); Bush holding a sign "Spare change for bombs" with a shopping cart full of weapons (red and black);"War abroad is war on us" with a bomb showing the cost of 3 years in Iraq (black and pink).

The $10 posters are approximately 18" x 26"; the others are 17" x 24", except the last one listed is 11" x 17". Postage for the full set or multiple orders is $4.05, priority mail; postage for single posters is $2.50. Check the NWTRCC web page for pictures of all the posters. You can also order online by paying through PayPal on our donations page and sending an email with your order.

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NWTRCC News

Ways We Resist War -- NWTRCC Gathers in Seattle

Resisters of all stripes gathered at the University Friends Meeting in Seattle over the weekend of May 5-7. About 20 NWTRCC folks came from around the country and mingled with another 50 or so activists from Washington and across the border in Canada to share information about their style of resisting war and overcoming the resistance and fear we meet as we organize.

Fr. Roy Bourgeois spoke on Friday night. He talked movingly of his political awakening in Vietnam after he had joined the Navy as a patriotic young man. "We are simply not made for war. We cannot go about killing and come home and clear our conscience." Once out of the military and seeking renewed hope, he entered the Maryknoll Seminary and spent a year in Bolivia "where they introduced to me my country's foreign policy." Bourgeois' Latin America experiences, including the tremendous fear he felt in El Salvador in the 1980s, led him to eventually learn about the School of the Americas and to take action there. Thus began School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) in 1990.

SOAW has seen success in the growth of its annual actions, from a handful of activists to the 19,000 who turned up in 2005. The weekend vigil and direct action takes place in November near the anniversary of the killing in El Salvador of the six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter. SOAW's new effort is to persuade Latin American governments to pull their soldiers out of the school, and Bourgeois was excited to report that Venezuela, Argentina, and Uruguay have recently agreed to no longer participate in the program.

"We've got to act," Bourgeois said. "It is with this work, becoming activists, that we hold onto our hope," adding one of the most important things we can do is not pay our taxes.

Resistance: From Desks to Streets

Saturday's panels presented an array of activists. The morning panel and small group discussions focused on "Resistance to resistance / Fears we face," and included activists whose paychecks come from the government, an antinuclear organizer, a counter-recruitment organizer, a war tax resister, and a member of Veterans for Peace. Each described how they organize, the obstacles they face, and overcoming their own fears or those of the people they approach. Sharon Hall, who works in veterans' hospitals, talked about the constrictions as a government worker, but also the opportunity she has to help people who have to deal with the fact that they "gave something of themselves for a cause which was all false." A big challenge is how to deal with "the attachment a lot of people have to the discipline, honor, patriotism of the military. We still love war. It's a deep part of our subconscious," she said.

Jelani Jackson, who works with AFSC on counter-recruitment in a Seattle high school said, "The military is really not the hot topic for youth. It's music or other things. You have to approach it a different way. You need to start a personal relationship. You have to learn their names -- even if it's 100 people. There are youth that want to get involved, and they need to hear what is out there."

Daniel Woodham spoke about war tax resistance and noted that we need to emphasize the positive consequences more. "People are excited about WTR when they hear about it. It opens a door in their mind." Glenn Milner spoke about his anti-nuclear organizing with Ground Zero, and the research work that he does to keep up with what the government is doing. He also reminded us that the simplest actions have an effect when he said that he started his war tax resistance after someone in a march handed him a card about WTR. Regarding direct action, he said that when people learn about it they are interested, but oftentimes they need to be inspired too. When Trident missile worker Bob Aldridge quit his well paying job to write and speak against first strike weapons, people were inspired because of the personal risk he took.

In the afternoon we heard from organizers of specific projects: Ellen Finkelstein talked about SNOW (Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War), designed to establish neighborhood groups and inspire more local antiwar action. Western Washington University student Michael Bieschauval talked about campus organizing and the untapped energy of young organizers. The advantages of intentional communities were presented by Sheldon Cooper, who lives in an egalitarian social justice commune in Seattle and is also involved in a community land trust. Lincoln Rice presented examples of WTR organizing, while Jackie Hudson spoke about Ploughshares actions. Author of The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time Antonia Juhasz talked about her research and activism around the corporate connections to war.

Following the panel presentations we tried to "put it all together" in a general discussion of actions we have found to be successful and in listing some guidelines for our ongoing efforts. The list included: combat apathy; build community support; be clear on why/focus/goal; acknowledge cultures of fear and learn to work through it; overcome powerlessness; combat ignorance; build relationships; be consistent; use clear phrasing; combine some issues, such as the many reasons to not pay taxes to this illegitimate government.

Seattle folksinger Linda Allen celebrated the release of a new CD, "Where I Stand," with a concert for the general public and conference participants. She was joined by her daughters, friends, and the Labor Chorus of Seattle for a rousing program.

Coordinating Committee Report

The reason for the weekend gatherings is, of course, to conduct NWTRCC business twice a year also, and we did hold a Coordinating Committee meeting on Sunday morning. The full minutes are also on our website at http://www.nwtrcc.org/may06minutes.htm.

New members of the Administrative Committee, which prepares for the meetings and monitors the organization between them, were selected from nominations circulated in advance. Lincoln Rice (WI) and Eszter Freeman (CA) completed their terms on the AdComm, and we thank them for all their work. Daniel Woodham (NC) and Susan Balzer (KS) continue as Full members; Alice Liu (CA) moves from Alternate to Full member, and Clark Hanjian (MA) is joining as a Full member. Our new Alternates are Pam Allee (OR) and Robert Randall (GA).

Other business included following up on projects prioritized at the Strategy Conference. Daniel Woodham agreed to coordinate a committee to create a new "introduction to wtr" DVD and to put video clips on our website. We hope to have a specific proposal at our November meeting. A Youth Review Committee coordinated by Lincoln Rice has been established and will look at NWTRCC resources with a new eye, including a draft of a new short-form W-4 flyer for young employees entering the job market. Bill Ramsey from St. Louis has headed a committee that developed a pilot survey to gauge peace activists knowledge and opinions of WTR and the idea for a 1-year resistance campaign. The final version will be available soon on the NWTRCC website and by mail, and everyone will be encouraged to circulate it this summer and fall. Jim Stockwell will head up a committee on outreach to intentional communities.

Proposals to the meeting included establishing a Traveling Secretary/Field Organizer. The CC did not pass this proposal because of a desire to focus resources on the video effort, but we will look for proposals to set up and advertise a speakers' bureau at the November meeting. An increase to the coordinator's pay and a small adjustment to our personnel policies were approved. Larry Rosenwald of Wellesley, MA, was selected as the NWTRCC representative to the October international conference on peace tax funds and war tax resistance in Germany.

Las Vegas was chosen as the site for the next weekend gathering and Coordinating Committee meeting, to be hosted by Las Vegas Catholic Worker. It is likely to be the weekend of November 3-5, so mark your calendars and join us then!

Thanks again to our hosts in Seattle, the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia! Learn about them on the web at http://seanacc.org.

Fundraising Volunteer Needed!

NWTRCC has a special position, Fundraising Clerk, to help the coordinator develop a fundraising plan and work on specific tasks (or find volunteers to do so). The position includes paid travel to the twice a year meetings and reimbursement for phone and mail expenses. Thanks go out to Jim Stockwell from North Carolina, who served as Clerk during the last couple years and is stepping down from the position. Please contact Ruth Benn at the NWTRCC office if you are interested in learning more about this much-needed assistant.

$$$ for Peace!

About 70 people returned the Peace Tax Return stub to the NWTRCC office, half of whom resisted paying a total of $23,307 to the IRS. Many also reported that they sent letters to elected officials. The majority of Peace Tax Return users are new to NWTRCC, and that page has been a popular one on NWTRCC's website, running third just behind the homepage and "Practical 1" in March, with over 500 visits per month in February, March, and April. In addition to that individual resistance, looking through the tax day reports there's another $44,710 from public redirections in seven cities: pooled funds of Brattleboro resisters, St. Louis Covenant Community of War Tax Resisters, Oregon Community for War Tax Resistance (Portland), Madison Area War Tax Resisters, Northern California People's Life Fund, Taxes for Peace Not War! (Eugene), and Southern California War Tax Alternative Fund (Los Angeles).

Correction

The Annual Report, which was enclosed in our May mailing, inaccurately listed one event. In the last paragraph of the Publicity & Outreach section, the Wage Peace event was in Jacksonville, FL. The Atlanta event was sponsored by the April 1st Coalition.

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Letter to the Editor

I found the interview with Howard Zinn in the April issue of More Than a Paycheck both very interesting and disturbing. It was interesting to learn how Mr. Zinn rationalizes his unwillingness to resist paying war taxes and how he is sure WTR will not become a mass movement. It was disturbing to learn that WTR is not attractive to a man with deep understanding of peace and justice issues.

Apparently Howard Zinn, like most Americans, is immersed in the comfort and security of our unsustainable materialism and risking loss of money and security is too much to ask. The interview suggests our situation is even more desperate or hopeless than I already suspected.

        David A. Depp, Doswell, VA

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Perspectives

Two Thousand and Six Tax Return

This year is turning around!
The days are lengthening,
(like the lists of the dead in Iraq.)

But, in the districts of the governed
There is searching of heart.

To consent, to remain hidden
Under the shadow of authorities?

Or, to step across that line of obedience
That is tightening around our feet like a snare?

Yes, to step over, into the warm light
of our ancestors' best intentions?

The spring light that is shining
from the Declaration, the Constitution,
        and the Charter
Reflecting from Nuremberg and Tokyo

God showed up in person:
A person we could see and hear and touch.

We could finally do to God
what we had been doing to one another.

Could finally smack him down, subject his
        country to an empire
Could arrest him, silence him, torture and
        crucify him.

To this day we make him unequal in every alien land
We burn him, bomb him, scourge him with war.

- I burned your money.

I sign with the ashes.

What will you do with me?

Steal my money?
Take my stuff?
Put me in a cage?

Why not
Return with me?

        -Todd Saddler

At Working Assets Long Distance, when you refuse to pay the telephone tax, they send you a piece of paper with your bill, which states that they are reminding subscribers of their responsibility to pay the telephone tax, and that it is a violation of the law not to pay it. Then at the bottom of the same piece of paper, they have a form in which you write why you are not paying it.

In lieu of filling out the form, this month I wrote "See attached poem"; and enclosed the following poem. I also read this poem at the Delaware County, PA, Peace Festival.

Dear Sirs, enclosed is my long distance bill
From which I have deducted $1.24
A part of my contribution to the war
I left it out because I do not wish to fund
Weapons of mass destruction,
Bombs, tanks, guns
While soldiers are slaughtered, wounded, maimed
Using my money, allegedly in my name.
However both me and my spouse
Wish to retain title to our house
But though we pay our income tax, it's true
This is something else that I can do
And though I hope NSA won't put me on their list
Of phone subscribers who are terrorists,
I'm still withholding $1.24
from my contribution to the war
and that is why I left it off my bill
Because I know my money kills

        -Laurie Pollack

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