Reports from Tax Day Actions

April 15, 2008

Links to Newspaper Articles and Online Interviews

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee War Tax Resistance & Casa Maria Catholic Worker held a joint vigil with Citizen Action at the main post office in Milwaukee, holding signs and handing out flyers. WTR Lincoln Rice is holding the “haven’t paid federal taxes” sign.

Austin, Texas

Tax Day Banner at the Downtown Post Office.
Photo by Susan Van Haitsma.

Similar photo in the Austin Chronicle (pdf)

Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Area War Resisters Support Committee held a demonstration at Federal Building Plaza from about 10:00a to 1:00p, Tuesday, April 15. The demonstration included speeches, distribution of the WRL’s “Pie Chart” leaflet, a “Penny Poll,” and singing. Mike Bremer (a Catholic Worker), Brahm Bassford (a Christian socialist and frequent “College of Complexes” moderator), and Brad Lyttle spoke. Several other people helped with the distribution of leaflets. The demonstration coincided with another tax day demonstration at the Square, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee. This demonstration included several large banners that showed how 2008 discretionary funds were being managed by the government, a press conference, a speech by Mike McConnell (the AFSC’s Midwest Region executive secretary), and a table at which people could phone requests to their representatives and senators that there be no more funding for the Iraq War, and that tax dollars be spent for peaceful human needs. The two demonstrations shared a number of resources.
—Brad Lyttle

Colorado Springs, Colorado

War Tax Protest at the downtown post office. More than a dozen people gathered to hand out pie chart leaflets and banner against the US war in Iraq. Esther Kisamore organized the event and had, with Pete Haney, held a war tax protest workshop in February. Photos by Donna Johnson.

Glynn County, Georgia

As best we can figure, we gave out about 2200 flyers on Tuesday at the Brunswick and St. Simons Island P.O.’s. Amazing!

We started at 8:30 AM with 500 War Resisters League pie chart flyers at each Post Office. We ran out of those at 12:30 PM in Brunswick and on St. Simons at 1:00, just as I arrived to give Bill Jerome a stack of about 400 “Economic Costs of the War” flyers with info from the American Friends Service Committee. Milly Hastings reported later that when she & Steve Stevens finished their leafletting at 3 PM, they had only 16 flyers left! Although our youth were ready to provide someone to take over on St. Simons, there weren’t flyers for them!

On the Brunswick side, Cathy Browning brought us a couple of hundred of the flyers addressed to Georgia taxpayers, giving figures from the National Priorities Project on how much the war is costing us locally and what else the money could have purchased in services and meeting community needs. Those weren’t going to be enough, so she went back and printed 600 more. These were all gone by 4:30 PM, a half-hour before the P.O. closed.

We have no way of knowing the eventual results of getting all this info out to our neighbors and fellow citizens. Of course, we signed up a few new members on the spot, but this sort of leafletting is not very intimate; it is mostly an act of faith that our presence and the information will act to move some people to do something to end the war. It’s like the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:3-8:

“Once there was a man who went out to sow grain. As he scattered the seed in the field, some of it fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some of it fell on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The seeds soon sprouted, because the soil wasn’t deep. But when the sun came up, it burned the young plants; and because the roots had not grown deep enough, the plants soon dred up. Some of the seed fell among thorn bushes, which grew up and choked the plants. But some seeds fell in good soil, and the plants bore grain: some had one hundred grains, others sixty, and others thirty.”

Jesus’ explanation of this parable is in verses 18–23. But I think it’s pretty obvious. And any organizer for peace & justice needs to understand it.

—Robert Randall

Cleveland, Ohio

Two of us passed out a few hundred pie charts in the Public Square in downtown Cleveland at midday. We asked simply would people like to know where their tax dollars are going? The reactions were some of the most genial we’ve ever received and united the belief in the misappropriation of the tax dollar into defense.

I like a campaign that wins so many friends! We’ve come a long way — it seems like an opportuinty waiting to happen. I just don’t know how to engage people further.

—Maria Smith

New York, New York

Antiwar Protesters Hold Boisterous Tax Day Protest in Midtown — Songs, chants and WRL pie charts greet bewildered tax filers at main post office.

The event started at 4:00 PM with a vigil and leafleting at the IRS office at 110 W. 44th Street. Between 5 and 6 PM the protesters marched on the sidewalk to the General Post Office at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street, accompanied by music from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and banners from Bread and Puppet Theater. Some of the marchers chanted enthusiastically, while others handed out flyers, including the War Resisters League pie chart, to puzzled and amused passersby.

See full article (and quite a list of comments) by Eric Volpe, IndyMedia, April 16, 2008

War tax resisters gather at the General Post Office in Manhattan. See photos from the action by Tom Good, Next Left Notes
Raging Grannies sing their protest at the General Post Office in Manhattan. See more photos from the action by A Jesse Jiryu Davis on flickr.

Eugene, Oregon

bloated military budget

“Miss Corporate America” and the “Bloated Military Budget” at Eugene’s tax day action. To see more photos from this action, click here.

Portland, Oregon

Burma Shave crew greets drivers during rush hour on the Hawthorne Bridge, April 15, 2008
Members of crew (in order of signs): Steve Keller (not shown), Beth Paxson, Tana Hastings, Kima Garrison. Kathy Bushman joined us later, but isn’t shown. We also had crews on the Burnside and Morrison bridges. As has already been reported, Amy Goodman was in town and interviewed Pat & John Schwiebert on Democracy Now. Our 4/12 public forum and redirection ceremony at the library went well, but was not as well attended as last year’s. We gave away $3,709 that day, and reported $8,734 in total redirecting for the year that we knew about.
Photos by Steve Keller.

More reports on Dave Gross’s blog with many more media links: