National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Tax Day Actions, April 2011

Press Releases

Links to Newspaper Articles and Online Interviews

Photos and Reports from…

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Santa Rosa, Calif.

Penny Poll on April 14 at Friends House. Bev Ludwig, left, and George Houser make decisions about where they want their federal income tax dollars to go. Photos by Ruth Hyde Paine.

penny poll at Quaker residence second penny poll photo in santa rosa, california

Colorado Springs, Col.

banner in front of post officemilitary spending bannerVigil and leafletting at the downtown post office. Photo by Donna Johnson — click to enlarge.

Check out the video of COS activists leafleting and holding signs on tax day, and look at the one at the Space Symposium 2011 also. Video by Mark Lewis.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Pax Christi New Orleans, War Resisters League, and the American Friends Service Committee afsc in New Orleansteamed up to hand out hundreds of leaflets at the main post office. They squeezed this successful outreach into their busy schedules amidst continuing activism about the ongoing aftermath of both the Gulf oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Photos by Malcolm Suber.

—Ben Gordon

truck with anitwar signs

new orleans activists with signs

New York, N.Y.

war tax resistance signs and tulips as post office3 resisters at the IRS in ManhattanThe annual march from the Manhattan office of the IRS to the General Post Office was lively once again, involving activists and war tax resisters from the War Resisters League, NYC People’s Life Fund, plus Raging Grannies, Veterans for Peace, and Brooklyn for Peace members. We leafleted and vigiled in front of the IRS for over an hour, followed by a half hour march with the Rude Mechanical Orchestra through Times Square to the General Post Office where we met up with two other groups — US UNCUT and Right To The City (RTTC). UNCUT members were dressed as Bank of America executives and thanking taxpayers for their support and handing out suckers. RTTC broadcast their message with the “Tax the Rich” shuffle, and added to the general fun watchable on YouTube.

Above: Resisters at the General Post Office and at the IRS in NYC. Photos by Ed Hedemann.

Here’s Greg Straight Edge’s video as Right to the City, Raging Grannies, NYC WRL, war tax resisters, and others merged their protests:

Eugene, Oregon

On Saturday, April 16, a very soggy Saturday, a number of us gathered at the Free Speech Plaza in Eugene for our “I’d Rather Pay for Peace than War” and “Fashion Resistance to Militarism” event. We pitched canopies, set up our casket replete with name of corporations that profit from arms production, and, undeterred by the pouring rain, bravely paraded through Saturday and Farmers Markets. We were led by mourners for the wars and war expenses that continue, followed by some in Fashion Resistance to Militarism costumes, signs and flags. We chanted, “We’d rather pay for schools!” “We’d rather pay for farmers!” and were cheered by bystanders. organic food photo

The short rally featured a cogent talk by Jim Schmidt of Veterans for Peace, and another by two children who spoke powerfully about the effect of global warming and invited all to join the Mother’s Day “I Matter!” March. It all ended with a delightful fashion show that featured two children, one a large yellow banana, the other giant teeth. carbon footprint“Wed Rather Pay for Organic Food than War,” also a “Carbon Footprint,” with trails of trash attached, “Hanford Clean-Up,” covered by a large whit baggy suit and a gas mask for protection., pushing a vacuum cleaner, and more.

We all returned home, soaked to the bone but with our spirits buoyed. Who knows? Maybe this small action was effective in its own way! The event was sponsored by WAND, Community Alliance of Lane County, and Taxes for Peace Not War.

It was blessedly sunny on Tax Day. We set up in front of our downtown post office, where we think there have been tax day actions since the late 1960s. We were in coalition with our local labor Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network, effectively combining our issues. We had our penny poll in eugenetraditional penny poll and WRL flyers. Several local nonprofit groups sent representatives to accept some of our tax redirected money and promote their groups. We focused on Planned Parenthood. Labor singer Mark Ross regaled us with some great songs, we had an effective pitch for labor, and an open mike to an attentive if modest audience. At least four TV, radio stations, and newspapers interviewed us, so we were well-covered that evening and the next day.

—Peg Morton, Taxes for Peace Not War!

Portland, Oregon

burma shave signs in portlandA group of us got up early to greet a typical rainy day in Portland, and the morning commuters. We were on 2 bridges with our Burma Shave style signs and got lots of positive feedback from drivers and bikers alike….

Our evening redirection program included food from Food Not Bombs and a great display of some of Mike Hastie’s photos from Vietnam and more recent peace/ anti-war events. Mike also told some stories from his Vietnam experiences, which need to be told and remembered, especially for the younger generations. John Greushow gave a talk on the counter-recruitment activities of the Portland War Resisters League chapter and recent projects that he has been working on. War tax resisters gave grants of $1,000 each to to VOZ (a day-labor employment/empowerment/education center) and to Veteran’s Bridge Fund (a church-sponsored fund that provides funds for emergency needs, like phone, heat, rent, transportation, etc. for veterans and their families), and $525 to In Other Words, an independent feminist resource center that has actively supported us for over a year now. We gave whatever came in the door to Food not Bombs, for the things they need to buy. Photos by Kima Garrison.

Kima says, “A great, fun day overall — I can’t think of a better way to spend tax day!!”

—Pam Allee and Kima Garrison

signs on bridge in portland signs on bridge in portland signs on bridge in portland

Seattle, Wash.

On a cool, sunny day at Seattle’s Midtown Post Office, Pio DeCano and Michelle Kinnucan helped raise public awareness about the militarization of the US federal budget and about nonviolent alternatives to passively paying for wars and weapons we don’t want. Three hundred copies of the War Resisters League’s “pie chart” leaflet — “Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes” — and a couple dozen copies of the Veterans for Peace “How Is The War Economy Working For You?” national campaign leaflet, localized for Washington state, were distributed.

—Michelle Kinnucan

Leafleters handed out hundreds of WRL pie chart flyers and an AFSC leaflet at the Columbia City and Greenwood post offices and also at demonstrations at Bank of America sponsored by Uncut. Reports from individual leafleters included: “I had around 20 people refuse [flyers], one a very angry woman who thinks we need to kill a lot of Afghans and Iraqis because they are violent toward women (go figure). I also had many people thank me, and at least a dozen warmly, with comments about how terrible our budget is.” “…about 60% were positive and about 40% either were negative or avoided contact.” “…had a call moments ago from a woman who had just seen the B of A placards in Madison Valley and wanted to join FOR.”

Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation

Athens, Ohio

military spending banner

rod nippertWe made a 50-foot banner representing the discretionary budget as put out by AFSC. We are doing a longer term Bring Our War Dollars Home project with a YouTube video of our banner in front of social service agencies in the area and doing a food drive to illustrate the amount of food that is equal to what the taxpayers in Athens pay in one hour, $549. Check out this YouTube video from the Athens Messenger and see the link above for the TV news story.

— Rod Nippert (pictured right)

Lexington, Kentucky

I handed out WRL Pie Chart fliers from 5-8 pm at the main post office in Lexington, Kentucky. had signs and were shouting about “make them pay” & “tax the rich” at the entrance to the post office, but the exit (after patrons had dropped off their mail) was a place with nobody around where cars stopped to wait for the chance to pull back out into traffic. So it was easy to stand on the side of that driveway with the fliers in my hand and whenever it caught someone’s eye, I asked, “do you care where your tax dollars go?” Perhaps one in twenty said “no” or rolled up their window, but most reached out to take one and easily over half seemed happy/excited and thankful to get it. In a few cases, people drove back around (after seeing what it was) to thank me again.

I had met with Kentucky’s Senator Rand Paul earlier that day to discuss with him statements he has made about reducing the military budget. I have been speaking with groups around the state constantly and so not sure of exact numbers, but distributing the Pie Chart fliers as part of a discussion that ends with letter writing asking members of Congress to cosponsor the Religious Freedom Peace tax Fund Bill (HR 1191).

— Steve Olshewsky

Asheville, N.C.

This tax day, Steve Magin of Madison county in Western North Carolina, made his annual trek into Asheville to the IRS office, checkbook in hand, to attempt to pay his fair share of federal taxes. When he did not receive official assurance that his tax monies would not be used to support militarism and war he left the office without submitting his check. For more than a decade Steve has made this pilgrimage of conscience, and every year he redirects his resisted war taxes to support work promoting peace and social justice.

banner in ashevileSteve (far left in photo) joined several other members of the WNC War Tax Resisters, WRL Asheville, and the New South Network of War Resisters at the Asheville Postoffice. We distributed copies of the War Crimes Times with the VFP question: “How is the War Economy Working for You,” and the centerfold of the War Resisters’ League tax pie chart. Then we marched to a localpark to join the gathering calling on corporations, particularly Bank of America, to pay their fair share. We added our voice to the gathering, with the message that true patriots must also question where their tax dollars go, and take personal responsibility to withdraw their support of war crimes. At the MoveOn gathering, which drew about 100 people, we distributed all our remaining copies of the War Crimes Times with its tax pie chart insert. Steve Magin will be speaking about his methods and strategies of war tax resistance and redirection on April 30 at the Southeast Nonviolent Direct Action Trainers’ Gathering in Asheville convened by the New South Network of War Resisters with support of N.C. Peace Action and the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia and numerous local organizations and donors. Photo by Clare Hanrahan.

—Clare Hanrahan

Norwich & New London, Conn.

The Norwich Free Academy YouthPeace Club had a table at a fundraising concert which included a Penny Poll and distribution of the pie charts.

On Sunday, April 17th the New London Clergy Association organized their second annual community walk with the theme “Taking Peace to the Streets” with funds raised for a local youth center’s workshops on nonviolence to address violence in the community. War Resisters League/New England organized local tax resisters to donate resisted taxes. Five resisters participated in the walk and donated $570 for “Not wars in the world but peace in the streets.”

—Joanne Sheehan, WRL New England

Milwaukee, Wisc.

In Milwaukee, a handful of us protested outside the federal courthouse on tax day that houses the office of our new Tea Party senator, Ron Johnson. Afterward, Lincoln Rice, Michael Komba, Rachel Stoll, Don Timmerman, and Roberta Thurston did a sit-in at Senator Ron Johnson’s office and were arrested and escorted out of the building by Homeland Security.

The following day, we were contacted by the senator’s state director, Tony Blando, and met with him a couple days later at the same office we had been removed from. He stated that the Senator feels that cuts to federal spending should definitely include military spending and he was receptive to our suggestions to cuts in notorious government programs (e.g., School of the Americas and nuclear weapons) as well as military aid to countries that violate human rights (i.e., Israel and Colombia). We are awaiting further response from his office. If the senator’s office stays true to their word regarding the need to slash military funding, perhaps the Tea Party representatives can embarrass the Democrats into making drastic cuts in military spending. Time will tell.

—Lincoln Rice

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