National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
Notes from Workshops — May 7, 2011 — Berkeley/Oakland Gathering

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Outreach Strategies
Led by Elizabeth Boardman and Steve Leeds

In a go-round of attendees some mentioned methods they had used for wider outreach about war tax resistance:

Poetry, reading at poetry events
Film festivals — showing Death and Taxes or having info there
Letters to editor
Penny polls
By being me, telling peole what I do, how I live
Taking out an ad in a college or high school newspaper
Talk to friends

Steve & Elizabeth are active in the California Quaker meetings and struggle with how to get people to listen when they mention war tax resistance or refusing to pay for war.
How do we overcome the mass attention deficit disorder?
How do we hear where people are at?
In all their outreach there’s a lot of fear and misinformation.
We need to think about who you want to reach.
It’s hard to connect at peace rallies, demonstrations
One good technique is asking questions that draw listeners in.

We need to keep thinking of new ideas. Steve and Elizabeth found so much fear among Quakers that they suggested people write letters and pay under protest – send letter to legislators — and they created an outline for this campaign. They aimed for 200 to join in and got 124 this year. Other groups could pick this up.

See the outline: Pay Under Protest campaign

Confrontational War Tax Resistance
Led by Ed Hedemann, NYC War Resisters League

Ed made opening remarks: The idea of confrontational WTR is to move beyond refusal to resistance. Not just keeping money away from the government. Being public, not anonymous. The act of resistance is more important the the amount. What the government really wants is our acquiescence.

Comments: Our redirection is a form of confrontation. Confronting the IRS is not strategic — they are not the decision-makers. But people’s fear is of the IRS — we have to confront that fear strategically. Put a re-emphasis on redirection as a form of confrontational WTR — do it at the city council or Board of Ed meetings where progrmas are being cut.

Ideas for Action:

Introduction to Simple Living
Led by Alice Green, David Gross and others

Don’t have notes from this one, but you can read the practical booklet on this topic: Low Income Simple Living as War Tax Resistance

New Priorities Network
Led by Michael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the War

The idea is to tap local public officials who both consume congressional program dollars and help get congress people elected. It seeks to bring together many different movements needing the same thing: a reordering of national priorities.


What to do:

People are angry; let’s energize that anger and direct it toward change. We have to organize the people in order to overcome the money of the wealthy.

See the New Priorities Network website for more.

Selective Service Resistance
Led by Edward Hasbrouck

Ed Hasbrouck gave background on Selective Service Registration and resistance, and talked about the parallels with war tax resistance. There are consequences on the book for those who do not register at 18 years of age:

A recent case, Jacob Brown vs. the U.S. used the Religious Freedom Act to challenge Selective Service

As far as a potential draft goes, the most likely to happen is for doctors and other medical people, and that is up to age 45. Most health professionals don’t know about this.

See Ed’s website for more information.

Swadeshi Homebrew
Led by David Gross

The details are on Dave’s Picket Line website.

Teaching Thoreau
Led by Bill Ramsey

Find out what teachers in your area — high school and college — do lessons on Thoreau and Civil Disobedience. This is an opportunity to ask them to invite in a war tax resister to help bring history up-to-date. When Bill does presentations, he does not talk about Thoreau, but more about his own resistance. Don’t have to be a Thoreau expert; use it as a springboard to talk about today’s resistance/parallels. Students usually have many questions.

Send NWTRCC’s Thoreau and His Heirs packet to history, English, and social studies teachers by way of introducing them to the idea.

Suggestions about the packet included:

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