National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

More than a Paycheck:News from the War Tax Resistance Movement
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WTR: An Act of Solidarity

From time to time, MTAP prints letters to the IRS, both as samples, and to remind us of what we’re all about. This letter was written for Tax Day, 2001.

To: The Internal Revenue Service
From: Cathleen Deppe
Date: 4/16/01
Re: 1040A Return, Year 2000

Enclosed with this letter is a signed 1040 A return for the year 2000, with “tax paid” by paycheck withdrawals at $2,539 and “tax still due” stated as $4,886.00. I am a conscientious objector - you will not find a check within this envelope. The payment you have already received amounts to 34% of taxes owed - I request that this amount be contributed towards the 34% of the national budget allocated toward Human Resources.

Enclosed please find the flyer “Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes,” distributed yearly by the War Resisters League. Most people do not realize that so much of their tax money goes to fund a bloated Pentagon war machine that continues to build costly and world peace threatening missile defense systems. Billions each year go to the government of Israel which is making war on occupied Palestine, destroying homes and schools, blasting US made weapons at civilians on the West Bank by land, air and sea. More money goes to choke off the children of Iraq, dying at the rate of five million since the sanctions imposed after the Gulf War in 1991. The embargo against Cuba has increased the suffering of innocent people for years. Now there is an additional two billion going to fund a “war on drugs” in Columbia which is becoming a war on civilians, carried out by paramilitary drug runners with US weapons.

On April 30, 2000, President Clinton declared that AIDS is a “threat to national security.” This resulted in a request to double expenditures to $254 million to combat AIDS overseas, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where 23 million are infected and new infections come at a rate of roughly 5,000 per day according to the World Health Organization. Sixty percent of the 16 million people who have died from AIDS since the 1980’s are from Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Togo, Botswana, Burundi, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, Rwanda, Kenya, Ivory Coast, and the Central African Republic.

$254 million is clearly not enough. The US spends over two billion for each stealth bomber. I reserve the right of conscience not to contribute voluntarily to the build-up of a war machine at the expense of even ONE of those infected with AIDS who cannot survive without a world-wide effort to find and eradicate this most terrible threat to true national security. I reserve the right of conscience to redistribute my withheld tax dollars to those grassroots, non-profit groups dedicated to life, justice, and peace at home and around the world. By withholding part of my tax and redirecting it to life-giving causes, I want to say “yes” to life rather than death, and to call on my country to renounce the evils of war, preparations for war, and the destruction of humanity.

I call on the US Congress to pass the Peace Tax Fund Bill now before Congress, which will make it possible for me to contribute all taxes owed directly to peaceful purposes. I acknowledge the “temptation of privilege” - the idea that if I just pay up, I can have the security of a home and an old age pension. Yet everyone should have this small luxury - and most do not. War tax resistance is, for me, an act of solidarity with those most horribly affected by the misplaced priorities of this government - and a small witness to the urgent need for a renewal of our responsibility to love one another.

Cathleen Deppe

Cathleen Deppe is a WTR living in San Jose, California.

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No Mas, No More: Close the School of Americas

War tax resisters gathered once again November 17-18, 2001, at the gates of Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA, to join in the movement to close the School of Americas. This school, funded by US tax dollars, trains soldiers from Latin America to return home and target those who try to organize for a better society. Research has linked graduates of the School of the Americas (SOA) to massacres and killings of thousands of Latin Americans. The presence at Ft. Benning each November has grown over a dozen years from a handful of people to tens of thousands of protesters. NWTRCC folks are there each year, encouraging activists to not pay for the school and other US funded violence.

Because military installations, including Ft. Benning, were on high alert this year, the physical set-up for the rally was different. Saturdayís events took place at an Olympic baseball stadium park. All the literature tables were in one spot and easy to browse through.

We had a new flier, targeted specifically to an SOA audience. There were many lively discussions, and we got 80 requests for information packets. (Last year we got 40.)

Energy was high. People were glad to be together at this time of heightened US bombing and attacks on civil liberties: a time when it was hard to speak out for peace. It was a surreal but festive rally with speakers and music that happened on a sun drenched day.

The news came through that a federal judge, who sentenced 26 people to prison last May, firmly upheld the Constitutional right to assembly, rather than the right to remain silent, so Sunday the vigil was held at the gates. A funeral procession was held outside the gates. About 7,500 people participated with vibrant puppet displays and stuffing the new gate with crosses bearing victims' names. About 40 arrests were made by Army police on the base and 30 by city police outside the gates. Some of them will go to jail.

Next November, NWTRCC will be holding its bi-annual meeting in Columbus, so that we can plug into the SOA events. We donít have the dates right now, but more information will be in MTAP as the year unfolds.

Of the five war tax resisters among the 26 who were sentenced to jail last spring, four have been released! That includes Clare Hanrahan of Asheville, NC, and Karl Meyer of Nashville, TN, both longtime NWTRCC activists. The release date for Steve Jacobs, from Colombia, MO, is July 14, ë02. His address is Steve Jacobs, # 88110-020, Federal Prison Camp, PO Box 1000, Leavenworth, KS, 66048.

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Counseling Notes:

IRS Standard Deductions and Exemptions for 2002

IRS standard deduction and exemption amounts are adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases. To figure out how much you can earn in 2002 before owing income taxes, identify your category and multiply the personal exemption by the number of dependents you can claim, including yourself, then add your standard deduction. For example, if you are married and filing jointly, with two children, you would add $12,000 ($3,000 x 4) to $7,850, equaling a taxable level of $19,850. Below this amount your family would owe no income taxes for the year. It is also the amount of income the IRS needs to leave you to live on during the year if they are garnishing your assets. Note: this formula does not apply to Social Security taxes.

Category Standard
Single $4,700 $3,000
Married, filing jointly $7,850 $3,000
Married, filing separately $3,925 $3,000
Head of household $6,900 $3,000

The additional personal exemption for those over age 65 or blind remains at $900 for married taxpayers, and goes up to $1,150 for head of household or single taxpayers.

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Many thanks to the following groups that have given since our last newsletter. We deeply appreciate your support!

Minnesota Military Tax Resistance Network

War Resisters League

Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia (WA)

The Nuclear Resister (AZ)

Quaker City Unity Monthly Meeting (NH)

Worcester-Pleasant St. Friends Meeting (MA)

Bethesda Friends Meeting (MD)

Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane (WA)

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Network List Updates

An updated listing of area contacts, WTR counselors, affiliate groups and alternative funds was sent out in October. If you didn't receive one, contact the NWTRCC office. Please check it to see if your listing is correct, and contact the office if it's not. Updates to the list will appear in this column throughout the year; please update your copy as the changes come in. Thanks!

Here are the current updates to that list:

New England Region -- In Rhode Island, change Jim Tullís address to 1 Hamlin St, Providence, RI, 02907.

Mid-Atlantic Region -- In Virginia, add Sasha Vodnik as an area contact. Address: 418 N. 27th St, Richmond, VA, 23223. Phone: 804/440-2565. Email:

Southeast Region -- In Alabama, change Bill O'Connellís phone number to 205/939-4929.

Central Region -- In Kansas, change the area code for Susan Balzer from 316 to 620.

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Peace Tax Fund News

The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund has a new video. Compelled by Conscience is just 15 minutes long and explains the idea of a Peace Tax Fund clearly and simply, with speakers from a wide range of religions and public bodies, including members of Congress and other supporters. If you'd like to order a copy ($15 each) please let us know.

The Peace Tax Fund Bill acquired three new cosponsors in November and December. Representative Darlene Hooley a Democrat from Oregon, Representative Julia Carson a Democrat from Indiana, and Rep. Bobby Rush, signed on. That brings to 28 the number of cosponsors. The billís sponsor is Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

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People's Rights over Livelihood Resources

At our Eighth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns, held in Washington, DC, in July of 2000, a project was chosen for all the groups to support over the next two years. The project chosen was Ekta Parishad in Central India.

Ekta Parishad (meaning "united forum") is a grassroots organization based on Gandhian non-violent principles of action. It has a membership of approximately 150,000 people which includes poor farmers, forest dwelling communities, landless people, tribal groups and others.

Ekta Parishad works to combat the structural violence embedded in the existing development paradigm and to achieve social, political and economic change through non-violent and democratic methods. It is well known for promoting women's participation in the change process.

Ekta Parishad's vision is empowerment of the poor, using a pro-poor model of development -- keeping the most marginalized communities of society in mind.

There is currently a conflict in Central India between a tribal community and a World Bank supported forestry project where the situation is dire. Many homes have been destroyed by the forest department and many crops have been destroyed. Some senior workers have been put in prison on the grounds that they are participating in the struggle of the tribal community. The conflict is building up and Ekta Parishad is really in need of money for setting up a strong legal support system and also to support some ten volunteers who are working in that area under great risk.

NWTRCC encourages wtr groups and alternative funds who will be redistributing resisted tax dollars to consider giving to Ekta Parishad. To avoid high fees at banks the recommendation is to send an International Postal Money Order, which you can get at your local post office. Just send the IPMO to the address in Bangalore below. Partnerís Council India; Attn. P.V. Rajgopal or J.Carr-Harris 1055 12A Main, HAL Stage 2, Indira Nagar, Bangalore (91-80) 526-0570,

For more information about Ekta Parishad, go to:

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NWTRCC Business

NWTRCC Statement Against War

Sign on to a NWTRCC statement saying you won't pay for war! NWTRCC has not sent out a press release regarding the bombing of Afghanistan. However, we will send one out if and when there is another offensive, which may be, for example, Somalia, Sudan, or Yemen. The statement will be the following, with the references to Afghanistan taken out, and the new country put in. If you would like to have your name included in a list of folks who agree with this statement, please contact the NWTRCC office and weíll compile a list of names.

As conscientious objectors to war, we commit ourselves to refuse to pay some or all of the federal taxes that fund the military attacks on Afghanistan. While we abhor and grieve the loss of thousands of lives by the attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon on September 11, we believe that there are many nonviolent responses to the Sept. 11 tragedy, and that bombing Afghanistan only makes the world more violent and unsafe. We are equally devastated by the killing of Afghanis through military action and starvation. The U. S. governmentís actions of racial profiling, curtailing civil rights and scapegoating immigrants are also hurting those of us here at home.

We call on all those who oppose the military attacks on Afghanistan to join us in refusing to pay for it,and instead to redirect their federal tax money to heal the wounds of war. We ask people of conscience to refuse to pay the federal excise tax on their phone bills,and/or to refuse to pay some or all of their federal income taxes, as a clear signal to our government that continuing the cycle of violence is wrong.

Join us in Oregon!

Oregon Community for War Tax Resistance (OCWTR) will host NWTRCCís spring Coordinating Committee meeting May 3-5, 2002. The theme for the weekend is: If not war, what are we for: proactive pursuit of peace. Friday evening will start with introductions and stories. On Saturday, there will be a panel with wtr theory and practice: a community of activists, academics and students. There will also be a training for wtr counselors, and discussion groups. NWTRCC will hold its business meeting on Sunday morning. Six vegetarian meals will be provided over the weekend, and lodging will also be provided. People are welcome for all or part of the weekend. There is no fee for the weekend, but a hat will be passed to cover costs. Registration is due by April 10.

For more information, or for a registration form, contact the NWTRCC office.

More Calls Since Sept. 11

NWTRCC has received about one call or email a day asking for information about war tax resistance since September 11. This is higher even than our busiest season. We respond to every call with a basic information packet, and include names of local contacts. Utah Philips, a folk singer living in California, mentioned war tax resistance on his radio show in December, and we received a surge in calls from that.

Letters to the IRS

A NWTRCC volunteer is willing to post letters to the IRS on our web site. They could be anonymous or signed, depending on your preference. If you would like to submit one, contact the NWTRCC office.

Bulk Copies of MTAP

If you would like multiple copies of MTAP to pass out at an event, please let the office know and we can send them to you.

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NWTRCC has a new flier!

NWTRCC has tailored our standard telephone tax flier to the current situation. Itís titled, ìHang Up on War,î and on the front page it says, ìOpposed to the War? Donít pay for it!î A little further down, it says, ìPay for Peace.î It was developed by the St. Louis wtr community and theyíve had a good response. Contact the NWTRCC office if you would like copies.

NWTRCC has a radio ad!

An activist in Ithaca has helped to make a 20 second radio ad about war tax resistance, featuring the sonorous voice of wtr Pete Meyers. Itís available for you to put it on your local radio station. Call the office to get a copy.

WTRs and the IRS

Do you know about the 26 page booklet available from the NWTRCC office called War Tax Resisters and the Internal Revenue Service? This is a little known treasure of NWTRCC literature that needs highlighting. If you have ever been confused as to the difference between a levy and a lien, or the difference between the 10-day ìFinal notice and demand for paymentî and the 30-day ìnotice of intent to levyî, this is the booklet for you. Put together by volunteer Clark Hanjian in 1997, it is a thorough compilation of IRS practice and procedure.

On the back page, it has a flow chart of wtr actions and corresponding IRS reactions. Each action has a detailed explanation on the inside. For example, it starts out with these three potential actions: 1)WTR neither files a return nor makes a payment; 2) WTR files an ìincorrectî return and makes a payment accordingly; or 3) WTR files a ìcorrectî return but either makes a partial payment or no payment at all. Under each of these actions are arrows that take the reader to the next logical step (or steps) in the IRS process. And then from those steps, to the next steps, and so on.

The booklet also includes an overview of war tax resistance methods; three pages of legal resources; and, what we all need in one place, a listing of penalties for each illegal wtr decision that we make. It covers audits; appeals; investigation; prosecution; cooperating with the IRS; and delaying, obstructing or avoiding the IRS. SThis is a very valuable resource for wtrs of all levels of experience. The cost is $2.00. Contact the NWTRCC office if you would like a copy. onse. Contact the NWTRCC office if you would like copies.\par

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Wealth, Integrity, and War Tax Resistance

By David Demere

In each issue of its perspective column, MTAP offers a glimpse into one wtr's journey. Over time, we try to offer the full spectrum of styles of war tax resistance. Each of our journeys is, by definition, very personal. There is no one right way of doing wtr. Each of us is called by our conscience and life circumstances. MTAP acknowledges that some choices within wtr are illegal, and encourages readers to consult with an experienced wtr counselor before making any big decisions.

Sometimes an idea just grabs me and I run with it, without thinking of all the implications. Not paying for war has been one of those powerful concepts. In 1981, when I began to be responsible for my taxes, I was a committed, evangelical Christian. It made no sense to me to pray for peace, to be emulating Jesus whose fundamental precept was love, and then to pay to kill people. That first year I withheld half of the taxes that I owed.

While I was an independent youth with strong convictions, I am unsure what or who helped me take the radical step of becoming a war tax resister. It seems like there must have been something powerful to have gotten me to break from my familyís unquestioned, loyal payment of taxes. It was probably the result of some of the teachers and teaching at the Quaker school in D.C. where I attended grades six through ten.

Though my Episcopal priest father had some radical tendencies, his tax paying was traditional and sizable. His father started an oil company in Georgia and made millions of dollars, some of which my father, my three siblings and I inherited. In 1981, I had considerable (approx. $500,000) assets in stock, from which I received a few thousand dollars a year. That year I filled out my tax form, and mailed in 50% of what I owed, with a "contract" on the back of the check that said something like "to be used for peaceful purposes only." There were many subsequent years in which I had a self-employment tax liability and paid it in full, believing it to go into Social Security. However, as token wtr efforts, I never signed the checks and I again wrote a "peace contract" on the back of the checks. I am not interested in paying interest and penalties, though I have put myself at risk of having to do so a few years. The couple of years that I have owed regular taxes I have only paid 50% and given away and put into escrow the other 50%.

In 1982, I decided I didn't want to have a tax liability so that I wouldnít even feel obliged to pay 50%. I wanted to live below a taxable income, which I have done since then except for one or two years.

However, my "below taxable income" is grossly misrepresentative of my actual income, and has caused me to feel like an impostor in the wtr community. I have been living on an unearned income of $40,000, and yet "living below a taxable income" due to taking advantage of the many tax loopholes that are available to wealthy people: receiving gift money from my parents, which doesn't need to be recorded on my tax forms; charitable giving, which is the primary way I have amassed large numbers on my Schedule A, Itemized Deductions; real estate taxes; medical expenses; IRA deductions; as well as being self-employed and deciding how much income to declare. I am both proud of and uneasy with the large discrepancy between my actual income and my tax liability. I enjoy the luxuries of my middle class income, yet I donít feel like an authentic war tax resister. I don't suffer much financially or materially by doing "my" war tax resistance, and, honestly, I donít want to! Emotionally and ethically, I have big struggles. I find wtr to be fraught with tensions and difficulties. In some ways, I feel like I am playing the IRS game rather than really living as a pacifist. Is it OK to be taking advantage of all the tax loopholes? Iím thankful for them in that I get to not pay taxes and thus have a clear conscience. Yet I am taking advantage of a very unjust tax system. I have spent some time, energy and money on making the tax system more just (through United for a Fair Economy). However advocating for more just tax laws, in which wealthy people would pay more in taxes, conflicts with my desire for people to pay fewer dollars in taxes. Then there is the argument that taxes are actually voluntary and that no one has to pay them. It is tempting to go that route.

There are three other big, conscious challenges for me with wtr: honesty; keeping the IRS in its correct place in my life; and relationships with my partner and my children. I strive to be honest and open in my life in general and especially to contradict the lies, deception and misinformation that allow the military to exist. However, I am not totally truthful on my tax forms (underreporting my self-employed carpentry income and claiming nine exemptions on my W-4 when I work for others,) so that my tax form will show that I do not owe any taxes. I judge the payment of taxes to kill people as a greater wrong than my lack of truthfulness. This creates significant tension in me and causes me to question my integrity.

My theoretical goal is to live my life the way I want to and not for the IRS. For the most part I do. I own, or have owned cars and houses, had checking accounts, etc. I have chosen to give lots of money away, not to take high paying jobs and not to sell lots of stock in one year (even when I have needed the money.) So in many ways, I feel like I live my whole life for the IRS! Iím very uncomfortable with that fact. On the other hand, I am thankful that the IRS rules have been a catalyst for me to be more generous and live more simply. In 1997, I did have a huge windfall and my new partner, who was unfamiliar with wtr, moved in with me. She made it clear that she would be extremely uncomfortable if I did not pay the taxes owed. I was very torn between my love for my partner and my abhorrence of paying for war. (Itís a whole story in and of itself, so Iíll leave you in suspense. Contact me if you want to know more.) My children could enjoy many more middle class "privileges" if I made more money and didn't work at living simply. I cannot help them financially with college. I have liquidated -- sold, spent, given away -- almost all of my stock assets. I sometimes feel like I am depriving my children of things, while at other times I firmly believe that living simply is the best for my children. I suppose I have found a good balance, yet I am aware of the nearly constant tension that my income issues and wtr causes.

I feel uncomfortable and out of place with the wtr community because of my high income, yet I also feel like I do belong because of my deep sorrow over mass killing of people and the planet. I am scared to be so honest about my income, since I may be negatively judged for having all of the money that I have, and for some of my wtr strategies, which seem less than ethical to me. Yet I also believe honesty and open sharing is essential to understanding each other and to peace-making. It is my hope that my sharing all of this will aid in getting closer to you all and that it will help in discerning issues of your own about wtr. With trepidation and humility, David Demere

David Demere is a wtr living in Maine. You can reach him at:

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Local Group Reports

NWTRCC put out an email asking local groups if they have had a surge in interest since Sept. 11 and the bombing of Afghanistan. Here are the replies.

Corvallis, OR

In early December the Corvallis WTR community sponsored an introductory discussion about WTR. Five people attended, three current resisters and two folks thinking about WTR. At a January potluck the Corvallis community will give away a year's worth of resisted telephone taxes and continue the conversation.


War Tax Resisters and WTR Supporters will be meeting on February 2. They will be holding two workshops, one for new people and one on counseling/supporting current resisters. In the business meeting in the afternoon, they will plan for April, and think about outreach, including responses to Sept. 11.

St. Louis

Folks in St. Louis have been distributing their "Hang Up On War" flyer to hundreds of people at anti-war vigils and meetings. Theyíve received numerous requests for information about both telephone and income tax resistance. Theyíre planning "how to" workshops for February 15 and March 15.

Southern California:

As a response to the Sept. 11 attacks and the warfare which followed, the Southern California war tax resisters chose to grant some of their available funds well before their usual April date. They are granting a total of $400 among: a refugee relief project in Pakistan led by the AFSC; the travels of two peace activists to Pakistan who are planning public peace educational work upon their return; and a local peace activity coalition.

New England:

On October 23, New England War Tax Resistance (NEWTR) held an "Introduction to War Tax Resistance" at the Community Church of Boston in downtown Boston. Aaron Falbel and Becky Pierce led the workshop, as they have done in recent years, but unlike recent workshops, 15 people attended. Interest was high, and there were so many questions that the presenters didn't even get through everything they'd planned. As one participant said, "it's sad it takes a war to get people out to something like this." But it's at least good that people are responding by making a connection between paying their taxes and the US's killing and devastation in Afghanistan.

Richmond, IN

War tax resisters participating in the Friends United Meeting/Peopleís Tax Fund have been dormant. There are just a couple of active participants. However, the terms of their Fund state that refused taxes are given to the Fund as a conditional gift which becomes the property of the Fund if its return is not required because of IRS levy for seven years. They now have thousands of dollars of such gifts and are in a process of deciding what to fund.

Duluth, MN

Duluth folks are seriously thinking of reorganizing their Sane-Freeze group especially now that Bush has abandoned the ABM treaty and does not plan to destroy nuclear warheads. Ed Kale of that group draws readersí attention to the National Priorities Project(, an indispensable source for those of us who are opposed to paying for war (what we could have done with $30 billion, building rather than bombing Afghanistan! That's about $4000 for each Afghani, isn't it?).


There has been somewhat of a surge of interest in war resistance and war tax resistance especially in the weeks following Sept. 11. There is enough ongoing interest by some young energetic types that I am hopeful to have increased Philadelphia WTR/WRL activity. One strong organizer teen is particularly concerned that there are people -- especially young people -- who are looking for a more "principled" (read possibly "pacifist") approach and practice. Report by Steve Gulick

One Million Taxpayers for Peace

Sonoma County Taxes for Peace, a NWTRCC affiliate, promotes a "1040 Club," a low risk civil disobedience campaign which encourages citizens to withhold $10.40 from their tax payment each year. Sara Sunstein, a Sonoma County Taxes for Peace member, wants to make this a national effort. Here are her thoughts.

Imagine 1,000,000 (or more!) people voting with their taxes this spring in protest of the militaristic priorities of this country. The focus of the civil disobedience is to turn U. S. priorities, reflected in the federal budget, away from capitalist corporate wars to genuine cooperation and conflict resolution--internationally, in communities, and individually, and to create a society oriented towards life: people, critters and the habitat upon which weíre dependent. Resistance would include letters to IRS, congress, the president, and newspapers. Additionally, the resisters would send the $10.40 to an account that would fund conflict resolution and nonviolent communication in schools and in communities.

I personally am working towards national participation. My sense is that hundreds of thousands of people across the country feel so sick and/or angry about the governmentís action that they would be willing to take such a stand, but need to learn about such an option, and know that they are not alone. So many people are already saying "not in my name." I want to rally those voices into a unified expression that cannot be ignored.

Please join "One Million Taxpayers for Peace" and help to make it happen. I welcome your participation, feedback, suggestions, and your talking to other like-minded folks (including high profile folks) about joining in. Major war tax/phone tax resistance helped stop the Viet Nam war. Together we can make a difference!

For more info: call 707/823-9203. Email: Website:

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National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

PO Box 6512
Ithaca, NY 14851
(800) 269-7464

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