April 1999. IN THIS ISSUE:
1) Hedemann Goes to Court
2) Hiring Committee Selects New Coordinator!
3) Counseling Notes (Property Exempt from Levy, Interest and Penalty Review, New Notice and Hearing Procedures for Tax Liens and Levies, Phone Tax Struggle)
4) 7th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns (New Delhi, India, By David Waters)
5) WTR Ideas and Actions (Nuclear Activists Sentenced for "Sabotage", Conference on Civil Disobedience, Public Education)
6) WTR Profile: Chris and Jim Hall, Fairbanks, Alaska
7) Local Group Reports (St. Paul, MN; Eugene, OR)
8) RFRA Court Appeals
9) Perspective: The Future of the War Tax Resistance Movement in the U.S. (By Karen Marysdaughter, Out-going NWTRCC Coordinator)
Hedemann Goes to Court
The week before February 1st, the day war tax resister Ed Hedemann was due to appear in court in response to an Order to Show Cause as to why he shouldn't turn over his financial papers to the IRS, the U.S. Attorney for the case asked the judge for a month's postponement. The judge set the new hearing date for 3:00 pm on March 5.
Ed's support committee decided to go ahead with the February 1st demonstration in Brooklyn, because that was the date that Clinton released his new budget. The 15 or so demonstrators had flyers, signs, banners, and a table with a penny-poll in the busy court enclave of downtown Brooklyn. The weather was cooperative--clear sky and 40 degrees. About a half dozen police were on hand and were friendly to the group, although they had barricades near by, ready to assemble if need be.
In the hour and a half the penny poll was set up about a hundred people participated, many with intense deliberation and enthusiasm, with education coming out on top at 23%, and the military at the bottom at 3%. Some local media turned out - cable news station, Japanese TV, and a photographer from a community paper.
On Friday, March 5th, the day of the rescheduled hearing, about 25 people joined in an "anti-militarism walk" beginning at 11 am in front of the military recruiting offices in downtown Brooklyn where they picketed and passed out leaflets. After half an hour, the group started the mile walk to the Federal Courthouse, stopping for 20 minutes at the IRS building for more picketing, leafleting, and chanting "we are not willing, to pay for killing" before continuing their walk through the downtown shopping area of Brooklyn.
Inside the courthouse more than the usual complement of guards were on duty to process people through the metal detectors and scanners. A couple of guards, thinking they were out of earshot, discussed whether it was possible to keep the "protesters from coming inside" but decided that they had a "constitutional" right to go in. Within the courtroom the group was told that the front two rows were for the U.S. Marshals. There appeared to be about 10 of them (for "regular" cases there might not be any marshals). About 40 supporters were on hand for the half hour proceedings in the courtroom. It seems the marshals were prepared for protests or possible disruption of court decorum.
Most of the 20-minute hearing was question-response between the judge and the U.S. attorney on the issue of Ed using the Fifth amendment. The IRS was arguing that Ed could not now use the 5th amendment to stop the judge from asking that he turn over financial records to the IRS. The IRS said that if he wanted to use the 5th he had to use it when he was summoned to the IRS and that each time the IRS asked for something he needed either to give it to them or plead the 5th. At that point the IRS can decide whether it was a proper use of the 5th. They said that the judge should not allow a blanket use of the 5th amendment.
The judge clearly did not see the point in the IRS's arguments and really pressed the prosecutor to explain why it would make any difference -- if Ed didn't turn over the papers before and probably wouldn't again, what would the IRS gain from calling him in again? In the end, the judge agreed that the IRS could summons Ed again. Ed and the prosecutor agreed that he would return to the IRS on Monday, March 8 and respond with the Fifth item-by-item to each IRS question. If the case returns to court, the judge will decide if the IRS has come up with any more substantial arguments regarding why the Fifth amendment would not apply in some cases.
Ed did bring up his arguments about military spending but the judge told him that only the 5th amendment would make a difference in this case and that she would not uphold the political arguments.
After the interview at the IRS on March 8, it appears the IRS has 3 basic options: 1) drop the whole matter, 2) go back to Federal court asking for another "order to show cause" because Ed refused to answer questions, or 3) grant Ed immunity from criminal prosecution, then ask the court to order him to produce records. Because the Fifth amendment would then be irrelevant, Ed would be in jeopardy of contempt for not producing records and answering questions.
For more information, see Ed's website about the situation: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/hedemann/IRS_court_case.htm.
Hiring Committee Selects New Coordinator!
The NWTRCC Hiring Committee is pleased to announce that it has hired Mary Loehr of Ithaca, NY as the new NWTRCC Coordinator! Eleven people from around the country applied for this position, and three were identified as superb finalists. Mary was hired by a unanimous and enthusiastic decision of the Committee. She brings to this position a strong personal commitment to war tax resistance, a history of local organizing around a variety of peace and justice issues, media experience, and a broad range of administrative and counseling skills. With the assistance of our present Coordinator, Karen Marysdaughter, Mary is currently transitioning into the position, with a planned starting date of April 1st. Please see the back page of the newsletter for the new NWTRCC address. Both Mary and Karen will be at the May CC meeting in North Carolina where we will formally recognize this change in leadership. Many, many thanks to the members of the Hiring Committee for their excellent work: Clark Hanjian, Rosa Packard, Martin Kelley, Clare Hanrahan, Pete Meyers, Nancy Rice, and Tana DeVietti!
Property Exempt from Levy
The amount of property exempt from levy, thanks to the IRS Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, has risen sharply this year. The exempt value of fuel, provisions, furniture, and other household personal effects (including livestock and poultry) for levies issued after July 22, 1998 and through 1999 is $6,250 (up from $2,570). For the same time period, the exempt value of books and tools necessary for the trade, business, or profession of the taxpayer is $3,125 (up from $1,280). Beginning in the year 2000 these amounts will be increased for inflation.
Interest and Penalty Review
The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation is studying the interest and penalty provisions of the IRS Code in order to make recommendations about simplifying their administration and implementation. The JCT is also mandated to suggest ways to reduce burdens on taxpayers. It has been seeking comments on, among other things, the extent to which current federal penalty and interest provisions encourage voluntary compliance, deter noncompliance, and produce undue hardships for taxpayers. The deadline for the study to be submitted to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee is July, 1999.
New Notice and Hearing Procedures for Tax Liens and Levies
Another provision of the IRS Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 requires the IRS to give written notice of its intention to file a notice of lien, revises the requirements for issuing a notice before imposing a levy, and grants the right to an IRS hearing and Tax Court review of the determination to file a lien and/or impose a levy. The IRS has just issued temporary and proposed regulations to implement these provisions. Please note, however, that the new law does not require the IRS to give taxpayers notification of the right to a hearing about a levy (referred to as a Collection Due Process hearing) either before seizing state tax refunds owed to the taxpayer or when collection of tax is in jeopardy.
Phone Tax Struggle
Raymond Pisano of Kotzebue, Alaska sent us a final report on his phone tax dealings with a local telephone cooperative.
"I had to leave Alaska rather abruptly and prior to that, things were quite hectic. I never got my long distance reconnected. I was in communication with the Alaska PUC and they were reviewing the situation. It felt like the judgment was going to be against me on the grounds that when I signed up for the phone service I agreed to be responsible for all charges, including the excise tax.
Those folks couldn't seem (or didn't want) to get past that point. The phone co-op had hired a lawyer and everything. I guess I held my own pretty well for a while, but when they heard that I was leaving town, the whole thing appeared to have been dropped. The taxes never were paid
Thank you very much for all your support. Being so remote and without a support community really made me appreciate the value of the work that you and the regional chapters do."
7th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns
New Delhi, India By David Waters
The Gandhi-in-Action group of New Delhi, India hosted the 7th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns, from December 29th, 1998 to January 1st, 1999. David Waters of Birmingham, AL, accompanied by his son Oliver, represented NWTRCC at the conference.
What an experience! Arriving at the New Delhi airport after midnight, we waited two hours for a one-hour ride to the Constructive Workers Home, site of the conference. Riding in an ancient automobile through a dense fog, which was with us most of our stay, we passed clusters of folks gathered around campfires along the side of the road.
The morning of our first day found Oliver and I standing in front of the center. On the road in front of us passed the most incredible diversity of traffic - motorized, paddled, pushed, pulled by human and beast, big, small, overloaded, overcrowded, all honking horns. Oliver wanted to go somewhere and see something. I told him what seemed obvious to me: No need to go anywhere, just stand there for awhile and it will all pass by!
The Constructive Workers Home is a provider of temporary housing for those engaged in struggles for peace and justice from all over the world. It is located in what was described as a middle class neighborhood. Maybe, but not by suburban U.S. standards. Masonry houses of two and three stories, built wall-to-wall on very narrow streets, along which ran the open sewers serving those houses. A huge open-air market was very near.
Oliver and I shared a bed and one room in the home of a Sikh family. Through the family's 18-year-old son Oliver was introduced to boys his own age. They had quite a time wrestling, playing cricket, and visiting some of the famous local attractions.
The conference was held completely at the Constructive Workers Home. We did take some side trips to the nearby Tibetan village in exile, the shrine of Gandhi's cremation, and the Gandhi museum and study center.
The conference served as an introduction to war tax resistance (WTR) and peace tax campaigns (PTC) to interested Indians as well as attenders from Bangladesh, Sudan, and Tibet. My impression was that WTR doesn't hold much relevance, as most Indians don't pay taxes anyway, but that the concept of standing up to the government in nonviolent direct action is very relevant.
A case in point was the building of the Constructive Workers Home. Built with donated materials and labor, its construction proceeded apace in spite of many obstacles placed in the way by bureaucratic red tape and demands for the omnipresent backsheesh. Obstacles were ignored or stared down, and demands for kickbacks were refused. The story of the Home's struggles and triumphs were provided in plenary by Arya Bhardwaj, conference coordinator and founder of the Constructive Workers Home.
Conference participants were treated to much discussion of Hindu and Gandhian philosophy. Speakers emphasized that nonviolence is not merely a tactic; that inner peace is well and good and is to be desired, but with the understanding that the man who murdered Gandhi had inner peace. They pointed out that tranquillity or mere absence of overt conflict isn't necessarily the goal we should seek.
On the subject of nuclear arms, now possessed by both Indian and Pakistan, two Indian views were offered. One view was that bold steps for peace could have been taken. Pakistan could have been assured that the Indian weapons were not for first strike, but for no strike, that these new weapons existed for mutual defense, and that India's weapons meant a breaking of the domination of the club of five first world countries holding the nuclear balance of terror. The presenter concluded that the Indian prime minister had failed on both counts - no message was sent to Pakistan and a kowtow was immediately directed to the U.S. president.
The second position on Indian nuclear weapons focused on how fear of being killed and of not being able to hold on to ones' possessions in the context of a pathological materialism leads countries to nuclear weapons. A rejection of the current dominant materialism is the way out.
There was much more. Reports of how demands by western countries for third world resources were totally disrupting vast communities and social networks; reports on the nonviolent methods of the Tibetan people; informal discussions with a Sudanese refugee who hoped to shed light on the civil war in Sudan; a report on the landmine ban movement in Bangladesh; and a report on a Kosovo project which received money from the last international WTR/PTC conference.
Present at the conference were participants from Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Tibet, Bangladesh, Sudan, India, Burma, and the U.S.
The board meeting of Conscience and Peace Tax International included discussions of the production of a book on historic and legal precedents of WTR/PTC to be used for educational and lobbying purposes. With the coming of Euro money, the Netherlands group proposes the minting of a peace coin to be used as legal tender. They are exploring designs for the coin and plans for the use of it. Two proposals for the funding of international projects by national WTR/PTC groups are in the wings, waiting formal application to the board for money to implement them. One is for nonviolence training for Kosovo; the second is for Indian friends to establish a communications center with internet and email for peace groups.
To NWTRCC, I express thanks for allowing me to go as your representative to this conference. Anyone with questions or comments, write or call: David Waters, 4736 - 7th Ave. S., Birmingham, AL, 35222, (205)591-0835.
War Tax Resistance Ideas and Actions
Nuclear Activists Sentenced for "Sabotage"
War tax resisters Daniel Sicken of Brattleboro, VT and Sachio Ko-Yin of Ridgewood, NJ were sentenced on February 18th in Denver Federal District Court, Daniel for 41 months and Sachio for 30 months. The judge accepted arguments to reduce the sentences from the guidelines of 63-97 months. Daniel and Sachio repeated their earlier assertions that their actions were morally and legally justified.
Daniel will be serving his sentence at Ft. Devens, MA and Sachio at Allenwood, PA. For information on how to contact them and offer support, contact: M. Jameson, 10 E. Ridgewood Ave #19, Ridgewood, NJ, 07450, (201)251-9591, email: email@example.com; or Carol Bellucci, RR 1, Box 171, Windham, VT, 05359-9503, (802)874-4413.
Conference on Civil Disobedience
NWTRCC contacts Larry Bassett and Carol Moore of the Washington DC group attended a conference on civil disobedience in DC in January. Carol brought a NWTRCC poster and the handout leaflet keyed to young adults.
According to Larry, about 450 people showed up and the organizers were overwhelmed! The crowd was made up primarily of college students. He reported, "It was a very twenty-something group. As a fifty-something person used to meetings at the Peace Tax Fund Campaign with many white haired folk, I was at first a little taken aback by the variety of hair colors (green & dayglow orange included) and the number of body piercings. Once I got over that ageist shock, I was impressed and pleased." Most in attendance were activists; many were animal rights activists (vegans were everywhere). They knew some things about organizing.
Larry and Carol's impression was that the conference was organized by and for young people. Apparently the oldest prime organizer for the conference was 22. They let some older types in, but it was great to see so many young adults come together to talk about civil disobedience and non-violence. Carol is going to approach the organizers about having a WTR workshop at next year's event.
When war tax resisters Betsy Corner and Randy Kehler send out a donation to a good cause, they send it in cash. They include the following letter with their donation: "Dear friends, We are sorry if our sending you cash causes any inconvenience. We would send a check except that the IRS has made it impossible for us to have a checking account.
As conscientious objectors to paying taxes for war, we annually send our federal tax payment to non-profit groups helping victims of war overseas and the hungry and homeless here in our own community. Consequently, the IRS has demonstrated that it will seize any money we deposit in a bank.
We do use money orders sometimes, particularly for paying bills, but the cost of lots of money orders begins to add up. So, when we make contributions we usually do so in cash. Thanks for your understanding."
Chris and Jim Hall, Fairbanks, Alaska
My wife Chris, our 4-year old son Isaac, and I enjoy living in a house we've built largely ourselves, on a two acre vein of birch and spruce running through a quiet rural subdivision north of Fairbanks, Alaska. We're ordinary folks: I'm a high school teacher, Chris is a children's librarian, and Isaac plays in rocket ships made out of scrounged refrigerator boxes. Our days are filled with the seemingly inescapable hustle and bustle of work, play, and home. And, like others, many of our dreams and values-which used to flame brightly-are now reduced to quiet coals.
But this April, as we have for the last eight Aprils, we'll wrap up our 1040 in a cover letter alerting the I.R.S. that we're redirecting half of our federal taxes to a Peace Tax Escrow Account managed by Quakers.
The half of our taxes that we redirect is about what goes to fund military debt and expenses, and we decided, as a couple, that voluntarily supporting the U.S. military establishment went against our deepest moral beliefs and religious teachings. The decision came easier for me than for Chris. I was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and could not (and still can't) understand why the same government that recognized and supported my stance against war nevertheless forced me to pay for it. Chris, while strongly agreeing, wondered about the risk we would be taking. And furthermore, what good would it do? Aren't we just a speck of dust in a cold computer somewhere?
We somehow decided to proceed together, in faith, knowing that our open, shared witness was an important reflection of what we believed, regardless of who else saw it or acted on it.
Each year the I.R.S. has found ways to garnish our wages or tap into our bank accounts, retrieving owed taxes along with penalties and interest. The Peace Tax Escrow Account reimburses us for the amount we originally redirected, but we're stuck for the penalties and interest. That's okay. Many friends, most from our Quaker Meeting here in Fairbanks, get a chance to participate in our witness by helping to pay for our penalties. Our personal contact with I.R.S. agents has been sparse, but friendly. Our open witness, along with our confidence that we are responding to higher laws, gives us strength.
Nevertheless, it is frustrating and demoralizing to bring home paychecks for months at a time that have been pecked at by unseen raptors. We carry on, waiting for the day when Congress will pass a Peace Tax bill, allowing individuals who conscientiously object to paying for war to direct all of their federal taxes to life-giving causes. Many wonderful changes in our world-that we now often take for granted-have started quietly by scattered individuals who acted on their beliefs in the face of overwhelming odds.
Last year, on April 14th, the bloodhound from our public radio station's news department-attempting to sniff out a juicy Tax Day story for the morning drive time, caught up with me. In an 8 minute interview aired locally and statewide, the reporter-who thankfully chose to treat the issue in depth-finished up with a couple of tough questions. "What good do you do when the I.R.S. gets even more money back from you in the form of penalties and interest?" (Ah, hah! As if Chris and I haven't batted that one around a time or two!) After a somewhat lengthy pause-rare on radio-I replied that people all the time spend money on what they most love, want, or believe in, whether it be movies or good food or a warm, safe house. We're just doing the same.
And then the quintessential question: "What do you say to veterans, perhaps even your father, who fought to protect your freedoms?" I said that I honor and respect the deepest held beliefs of all people, and that we all need to listen carefully for the inner voice that whispers truth. For Chris and me, that voice reminds us that love and prayer are the most powerful weapons.
Our lives are cluttered. Choices are confusing. But what may seem an irrational or idealistic choice may actually be the most rock solid, powerfully real, faith-filled act.
Saint Paul, MN
At the request of the IRS, Dan Lundquist of the Minnesota Military Tax Resistance Network met with one of their agents on January 13th, 1999, to discuss his refusal to file tax returns, and the taxes which the IRS calculates he owes. Here's a report from Dan about the meeting.
"Although I actively witness on the concern of War Taxes, this is the first time in 20 plus years that I have responded to a request by the IRS to meet regarding my non-cooperation with Federal tax laws. The meeting was about ten minutes in length.
I have a few brief observations and reflections. First, the attending agent asserted several times that my concern was best brought to the attention of Congress because the IRS has no control/recourse in this matter. The agent was unwilling to acknowledge the pertinence of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). I would have been more happy if the agent had given some awareness of RFRA and had been willing to pursue how my cooperation could be moved forward through the IRS' compliance with RFRA.
Second, I am happy to have had this opportunity to witness in this venue. It was an important learning experience, particularly for identifying my own feelings during the process. I look forward to additional reflection on what worked well and what I may do differently for other such opportunities in the future.
Third, a f/Friend (a Friend is a member of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as Quakers) who attended the meeting with me said that her arrangements to be present resulted in an unexpected opportunity to witness on the concern of War Taxes with her ten year old daughter. The daughter shared questions which reflected her own insight regarding her involvement with taxes, and the relationship between individuals and government.
The net result of the meeting, as expressed by the agent, was that the [attempted] collection process would proceed without my cooperation."
Dan and his partner Judith Felker sent NWTRCC a flyer announcing a presentation which they were planning to give at the end of March. They will announce their availability for similar presentations as time allows. Here is the text of their flyer: "Hesitating at the Altar to Violence; Responses to Military Taxation
Many people from various faith traditions and personal experiences are called to respond with compassion and non-violence in their relations with other Children of God.
Our government chooses to hold its faith in the use and threat of the use of violence to meet its needs.
Since 1940, government has provided Conscientious Objectors to bodily military conscription the legal choice of peaceful, life-affirming, non-violent alternative service as a way to serve our country.
As government has replaced the emphasis on bodily military conscription with military conscription through taxation, it denies legal alternative service for the military portion of our tax dollar.
Please join us to hear and discuss some of the joyful and creative responses to governments' requirement that we lay offerings at the altars to violence, fear, and intimidation."
According to contact Peg Morton, the Military Tax Resistance of Lane County group has been busy the last few months. They co-sponsored a showing of the video, An Act of Conscience, with the local WAND (Women's Actions for New Directions) group and are looking for other venues. At the Eugene Peaceworks Annual Meeting they engaged in guerrilla theater, depicting an IRS agent interacting with a war tax resister. Members of the group were featured on a radio show on KUGN and have been invited back in early April. Peg goes on to report that, in addition to actions on April 15, they are planning a demonstration at the IRS office on April 14th "in response to the dastardly actions of the IRS visited on several of our members."
RFRA Court Appeals
As we went to press, war tax resister Priscilla Adams learned that the three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against her in Priscilla Adams v. the IRS. Her case was heard on January 14th, 1999, when attorney Peter Goldberger gave oral arguments before the panel of judges in Philadelphia.
Lawyer Goldberger argued that the burden of proof was on the IRS to show why it should not provide an alternative to Priscilla to paying for the military, as required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993, which remains in effect for agencies of the federal government despite the fact that the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional as a requirement on state and local governments.
IRS attorney Michelle O'Connor argued that because there are just so many religions the IRS could not possibly accommodate them all. Furthermore, she said, Congress has not instructed the IRS to provide exemptions for religious pacifists, therefore they have to use the same system as everyone else. She stated the government's view on religious free exercise: exemptions from penalties can be made when the taxpayer's situation is "beyond his control." However, the government claims that while a person's religious beliefs may be beyond their control, their actions are within their control, so penalties cannot be waived for religiously motivated actions!
The judges decisions was a long, courteously-worded affirmation of the Tax Court's ruling; in other words, a loss, but not a devastating one. There do not, at this point, appear to be grounds for a petition for rehearing, which leaves Priscilla with the decision of whether or not to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In a similar case, on Friday, February 26 a three-judge panel of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City heard oral arguments on behalf of Gordon and Edith Browne. The Brownes are Quaker war tax resisters who claim that because of the RFRA the IRS should waive the interest and penalties added on to the seizure of their taxes.
Attorney J.E. McNeil, a Quaker tax lawyer from Washington, DC, argued that the interest and penalties were being used as punishment by the IRS and that it was unconstitutional not to give them a hardship waiver for religious reasons because as Quakers they are morally opposed to pay for the military.
The presiding judge asked "Isn't the waiver discretionary by the IRS?" and "Shouldn't this be decided in Tax Court?" McNeil replied that they came to District Court was because the Tax Court always defers on constitutional issues, and further stated that there should be accommodation for religion in tax law.
Michelle O'Connor, again representing the government, argued that the hardship waiver was for a "death in the family" and things beyond the taxpayers control. She also argued that there was no constitutional violation since there was no discrimination involved, and that the interest and penalties are for those who don't voluntarily comply.
The Future of the War Tax Resistance Movement in the U.S.
By Karen Marysdaughter, Out-going NWTRCC Coordinator (The following is the conclusion to a paper Karen wrote in the fall of 1997)
Here are some possible future directions for the war tax resistance movement.
1) Simple living and alternative economics - At this point, the surest way to keep resources out of the hands of the military is to live below taxable levels. This has always been an important part of the WTR movement, but if the government goes in the direction of a flat income tax, a national sales tax, or a value-added tax, it may need to be our primary focus. We could network with the growing movement to reduce consumption and with the environmental movement. This could circumvent IRS regulations and alot of the confusion about how we are taxed and what it's really going for. As always, it addresses many aspects of militarism at the source. And simple living ties in well with alternative economics such as barter, local money systems, interest-free economies, communities, etc.
2) Organizational WTR - It is now harder for individuals of conscience to make and handle money without it being reported to the IRS and collected. Meanwhile, the job of reporting and collecting taxes has fallen more on the organizations and institutions in our economy. If we are going to continue to actually resist payment of war taxes on incomes above taxable levels, we may have to more actively pursue the issue of organizational WTR. Our best option may be to mobilize organizations and institutions and encourage them to take a stand both on their own behalf and on behalf of WTR employees, sub-contractors, and depositors.
3) Rich/Poor Gap - The WTR movement has been redefining "war" in recent years to include the affects of military spending on the domestic situation - poverty, sexism, racism, homophobia, prisons, violence in the streets, economic exploitation, etc. Since military spending has become even more of a mechanism for transferring money from working people to rich people, and since there is a heightened awareness of corporate welfare and the rich/poor gap, we perhaps have a unique opportunity to broaden our movement among those working primarily for social and economic justice in addition to the traditional peace movement.
4) Young People - Our economic system gets people hooked on economic security very early in life, so that once people have families, property, and any sort of debt, they are that much more reluctant to take financial risks. We've raised the issue of outreach to young adults a number of times in recent years but haven't followed up on it. As we face attrition among our primarily middle-to-older aged constituency, we may need to consider outreach to younger people who haven't already been so compromised by the economic system.
5) Outreach to our traditional constituency - There are certainly many more middle-to-older aged, white, middle-class people in our usual constituency of the peace movement and historic peace churches, who haven't heard about WTR or who could use more information. We could make more of an effort to link WTR to other specific efforts such as the opposition to the death penalty, the School of the Americas, nuclear weapons, arms sales, etc.
6) Business as usual - In the absence of major political or IRS changes, we obviously can continue doing what we have been doing, which involves a little bit of everything mentioned above. We need to be realistic about our resources and the diversity of our movement; it may take more effort than is reasonable to try to come to consensus on one primary focus. On the other hand, if we keep on dwindling, it may be easier to achieve consensus with a smaller group!
Conclusions - Just as the need to resist paying for war has not disappeared, neither has the conscientious concern about it lessened, despite fewer people expressing it through WTR. Masses of people don't want war and don't want to pay for it! However, WTR as we have known it for the past 15 years may not be the way to go for the next 15 years; holding on to well-known ways of organizing may be counterproductive. What we do need to hold on to is the analysis of how our financial resources are drafted for war-making, and the belief that we can change that. We need activists who will make this concern a priority in their work, wherever that may be and whatever form it may take.
About More Than a Paycheck
*More Than a Paycheck* is a publication of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), a clearinghouse and resource center for the conscientious war tax resistance movement in the United States. NWTRCC is a coalition of local, regional and national affiliate groups working on war tax related issues.
NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, and environmental destruction as integrally linked with the militarism which we abhor. Through the redirection of our tax dollars, NWTRCC members contribute directly to the struggle for peace and justice for all.
Hard copy subscriptions to *More Than a Paycheck* (6 issues per year) are available for $10 per year. Editor: Mary Loehr.
NWTRCC, PO Box 6512, Ithaca, NY 14851 (800) 269-7464 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web page: http://www.nonviolence.org/wtr
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