By Daniel Woodham
The approximately 75 peaceworkers who assembled in Brussels,
Belgium, from 13 countries created something incredible: An
inspiring exchange of international activism with bold new steps
taken in collaboration for work against war. Such was the 10th
International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax
Campaigns (WTR/PTCs) held July 8-11. It was jointly organized
by the Flemish Peace Tax Campaign (VRAK-Aktie Vredesbelasting)
and the French speaking Contribuables Pour la Paix.
The tone of the conference was set by the keynote speaker,
Belgian journalist John Van Daele, who spoke on: "The Anti-Globalist
Movement-Another World is Possible-and the Peace Movement."
Conference attendees followed on this tone throughout the weekend,
as they sought to discover ways to increase international collaboration
more than ever before.
The panel discussion on "Focus, Variety and Change: the Future
of WTR/PTCs" was a good overview of how things are going for
these two movements. Marian Franz (USA) spoke of how one elected
representative she spoke with about the U.S. peace tax fund
bill shortly after 9/11/01 said at first: "Keep still for awhile!"
After she explained her position the representative said, "Keep
talking!" Pedro Otaduy from Spain revealed how similar the Spanish
and U.S. WTR movements are though there are far fewer involved
with WTR in Spain. Bart Horeman, Netherlands, said that now
the government is shifting from getting its fiscal needs met
from income tax to Value Added Taxes (VATs) on goods. In this
way any consumer helps to pay for the military (as well as other
government expenses). Representing NWTRCC, I spoke of how WTR
is changing since 9/ 11, such as with the new lower-risk initiatives
(such as "Hang up on War"). I attempted to describe the culture
of fear existing presently in the U.S. under the Patriot Act
to those who don't have experience with U.S. airport lines or
Department of Homeland Security "Orange Alerts."
Workshops ranged from follow-up talks on the panel and keynote
address to formulating strategies and tactics for WTR/PTCs,
training in lobbying techniques, examining alternative forms
of security to the repressive system of military strong-arming,
cultivating a culture of peace and nonviolence through education,
and many others.
Global inequalities due to North- South differences and neoliberal
trade agreements were reemphasized in a panel discussion by
attendees from the South: Ghana, India, and Colombia. All three
countries have active work going on in the field of nonviolence
and conscientious opposition to war. Colombia's situation was
especially "close to home," as detailed effects of the U.S.
$3.4 billion "Plan Colombia" were given. In fact, a working
group from the conference was formed to assist attendee Ricardo
Esquivia in planning a Colombian WTR/PTC conference in the near
future. Three organizers from countries of the North will attend
the conference in Colombia to assist and also report back to
the 2006 International WTR/PTC conference.
A fun cultural evening featured a skit with a conscientious
objector trying to cross a checkerboard without getting blocked
by four judges (organized by the Germans); a "Can-Can" line
of people singing "I can't pay for war no more" (organized by
the Americans); and two personal stories of interactions between
American soldiers and their German prisoners during WWII where
war was found to be the opponent, not the people.
The conference approved supporting an international project
proposed by Conscience Canada (CC). The proposal is that various
regional or national movements of conscientious objection to
military taxation would copy CC's crosscountry dialogue project,
which is in progress. A part-time international coordinator
would help facilitate the formation and accumulation of resource
materials for this project and receive a modest fee (coordinator
and pay to be determined shortly). The question is: will anyone
in the U.S. work to initiate such a project here? Additional
information on this may appear in a future issue of MTAP or
write Dominique Boisvert (Conscience Canada):
Though the Brussels conference ended without a host country
for the next conference in 2006, it was unanimously agreed that
there needs to be another one in two years. An interim committee
was established to facilitate communication between national
groups until the next conference site is chosen. Klaus Ehrler
from Germany recommends that we focus some part of the next
conference on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Frank Kellogg,
who helped establish the Kellogg Pact of 1928. This treaty abolished
war as a legal instrument of politics on an international level
and was signed by 63 governments and states until 1930!
Some attendees went to eastern Belgium after the conference
for a guided tour of "Flanders Fields," the famous battlefields
of World War I.
Belgium is also the global seat of Conscience and Peace Tax
International (CPTI) whose goal is to achieve recognition of
the right to conscientious objection to military taxation and
the redirection of military spending to peaceful, nonmilitary
purposes. CPTI is trying to get CO legislation passed in the
European Community and at the UN through the Commission on Human
Be sure to look at the website of this important international
collaborative organization, www.cpti.ws,
where you will also find inspiring "global conversations" in
the full conference report.
Daniel Woodham has been active with the Oregon Community
for War Tax Resistance (Portland). He represented NWTRCC at
the international conference.
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IRS Activity, Letters, and Liens
The IRS computers seem to be busy sending out letters regarding
underpayments of 2003 taxes-at least for those resisters who file-and
the letters seem to be arriving earlier this year. It is still
not clear if there is more actual collection nationally, although
Texas activists report a couple recent bank account seizures along
with letters to a nonfiler who had not heard from the IRS in many
years. Another nonfiler in California had his salary levied for
an amount from ten years ago, and the IRS can fairly quickly institute
the 15% levy on social security payments to resisters, although
whether this happens to everyone with an open balance who begins
to collect social security is not certain.
Please do send your experiences of collection (or lack thereof)
to the NWTRCC office or use the wtr listserve (see www.nwtrcc.org
to sign up) to help us get a better sense of trends.
A number of calls have come to the NWTRCC office regarding
the filing of a Federal Tax Lien. If you have not paid the IRS
after receiving their demanding letters, the IRS may file a
lien, ostensibly "to lay claim on property the resister may
have or acquire. But in reality, the purpose of the notice to
embarrass the resister-by making the lien public-and adversely
affect your business transactions or other financial interests.
For example, they hope it will hurt your credit rating. So it
becomes a device to harass you into paying." (War Tax Resistance,
p. 52) No money or property is taken with a lien; the IRS may
or may not follow it with a levy on assets, such as a bank account
[Return to List of Headlines]
NWTRCC appreciates recent contributions from:
Ithaca War Tax Resistance
Austin Conscientious Objectors to Military Taxation
New York City WTR/PLF
War Resisters League
[Return to List of Headlines]
Affiliates, counselors, local contacts, alternative funds -- everyone
on out network list -- will be receiving a postcard to confirm
the information on our contact lists. Be sure to send it back
by the deadline to help us keep our records as accurate as possible.
[Return to List of Headlines]
NYC Resolution Introduced
An unprecedented Taxes for Peace campaign has been launched in
New York City, where the City Council is now considering Resolution
367. It calls upon Congress to enact, and the President to sign,
HR 2037, known as the "Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act."
The New York City resolution was introduced by Councilmember Bill
Perkins on May 19 and initially co-sponsored by Councilmembers
Miguel Martinez, Margarita Lopez, and Charles Barron. It is the
first such resolution to be proposed in the United States.
The New York City Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund is part of
a national and international campaign to affirm the rights of
taxpayers who are conscientiously opposed to participation in
war. Resolution 367 is a particularly significant step in this
campaign, because it not only calls upon the Congress and the
President of the United States to enact HR 2037, it also calls
upon New York's United States Representatives and Senators to
monitor and report on military expenditure funded by the taxes
of residents of New York City.
Councilmember Perkins says: "There are many persons who, for
religious, moral, ethical or philosophical reasons do not believe
that war advances the causes of a just society. They feel that
the destructive force of war overwhelms whatever good may be
sought by waging war." Perkins also points out that, "besides
giving citizens the right to meet their tax obligations without
violating their consciences, the Peace Tax Act, by requiring
that there be an annual report to Congress on the amount of
taxes transferred to the Fund, will give governments at all
levels, and the public, some idea about the depth of Americans'
opposition to war and to the militarization that devours resources
that could be used to meet human needs."
Corona Machemer of the New York City Campaign, who is a member
of the Society of Friends (Quakers), describes HR 2037 and Resolution
367 as vital democratic tools. "Most Americans are unaware of
how much of their tax dollar goes to fund the production of
weapons and the killing and destruction of war. While HR 2037
is of particular significance to me, as a member of one of the
historic peace churches, all Americans who believe in freedom
of conscience or who suffer from the lack of resources that
should go to build our society-and that is most of us-should
support the Peace Tax Fund."
For further information contact: Neena Das, New York City
Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, (212) 866-3244, www.peacetaxfund.org/nyc,
or Tim Godshall, National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, 1-888-732-2382,
[Return to List of Headlines]
Fall Meetings at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania
Mark your calendar and begin making plans to attend the fall Coordinating
Committee meetings, November 5-7, hosted by the Conscience, Militarism
and War Tax Concerns Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.
The meetings will be held at Swarthmore College, one of the
top liberal arts colleges in the country and rooted in the ideals
of its Quaker founders: social action, pacifism, and respect
for the "inner light" of each person. Professors and administrators
encourage the 1,400 students to follow their own passions. The
Swarthmore College Library houses the Peace Collection, where
NWTRCC's papers are archived along with those of many other
peace organizations and individual activists. We hope to find
time for a tour of the Peace Collection during the weekend.
The beautiful campus is located 11 miles southwest of Philadelphia
in the borough of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, a 30 minute drive
from Philadelphia and about two hours from New York and Washington,
DC. The regional rail of SEPTA stops in Swarthmore. The Philadelphia
airport is served by lower-priced Southwest airlines, or check
fares to the Baltimore-Washington airport (BWI) and connect
to the bus or train to Swarthmore.
Among other program ideas, we hope to hear from students about
their antiwar/peace activities and their perspectives on war
Registration materials are available on the NWTRCC website,
and a regional mailing will go out too. Please call the NWTRCC
office if you need a brochure or want more information.
"No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels.
Dissent, rebellion and all around hell-raising remain the true
duty of patriots." -Barbara Ehrenreich
Activism is Patriotism
NWTRCC is proud to be asked to be part of a new campaign begun
by Circle of Life, called Activism is Patriotism. The campaign's
goal is to empower everyday Americans to make a difference using
their MINDS, MONEY, VOICES, and VOTES in this critical election
year. NWTRCC is listed in the MONEY section on the Activism
is Patriotism website.
Circle of Life was founded by Julia Butterfly Hill in 1999.
The campaign was launched with a press release dated July 4,
2004, which described the campaign this way:
"In the United States, most of our basic rights today were
secured by people who were brave enough to take a stand for
justice and freedom. It is time to reclaim the powerful legacy
of activism that true patriots like Susan B. Anthony, Martin
Luther King Jr., and Cesar Chavez have given us. From women's
suffrage, to civil rights, to today's movement for peace and
justice, concerned Americans have shown that activism is not
only patriotic-it's essential to making our country and the
world a better place.
"Through a major advertising blitz in Rolling Stone, Time,
and Organic Style, and ongoing publicity and events through
the fall, the campaign will reach well over 20 million people,
encouraging them to reclaim America's proud legacy of civic
activism by getting more deeply involved in our democracy.
"All too often, Americans feel cynical or apathetic about speaking
up and taking action-whether that action is voting, organizing,
writing letters, or volunteering with a local cause. But even
the smallest actions have the power to change the world. Each
of us holds that power within us.
"The Activism is Patriotism website (www.activismispatriotism.org)
offers a rich cross-section of vital tools and resources to
feed your MIND, leverage your MONEY, strengthen your VOICE,
and exercise your VOTE. Our country is counting on you to leave
a lasting legacy of peace, justice, and freedom."
NWTRCC's role is to help activate those who find us through
this campaign, and we hope that local groups will receive an
influx of new interest in the coming months. Please look at
the website and tell others about the campaign.
Coming to NYC for the RNC?
If you are coming to New York City to protest during the Republican
National Convention, you are invited to stop by the War Resisters
League clearinghouse/open house on Saturday, August 28 from 11-6
pm, or Sunday, August 29 from 9- Noon, or call the NWTRCC office
for other times. War tax activists are joining with NYC WRL members
to staff the open house, join the United for Peace and Justice
march and rally on August 29, and plan an action for August 31.
WTR counselors will be available at the open house, or call in
advance for more information or to let us know you are coming:
800- 269-7464 or email@example.com.
Out and About
NWTRCC literature is getting around at various conferences during
the spring and summer. Peter Smith covered the Grassroots Peace
Network in Bloomington, Indiana, in May. Robert Randall and Jessica
Stewart tabled at the G-7 actions in Georgia. New England WTR
had NWTRCC literature on their table at the Boston Social Forum,
where NWTRCC also sponsored a workshop. Joe Maizlish will table
for NWTRCC at the Fellowship of Reconciliation national conference
in Los Angeles, August 5- 9. Please let the NWTRCC office know
if you are willing to table at an event in your area, or if you
know of an event we should cover.
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Just the other day an email came in from a radio producer at a
small station in Connecticut asking for a public service announcement
from NWTRCC. Thus we were reminded that NWTRCC has radio ads!
Former NWTRCC Coordinator Mary Loehr and Ithaca activist Pete
Meyers made four PSA's last year. They vary in length from 10
to 22 seconds and are together on one CD. In both humorous and
straightforward styles, they encourage listeners concerned about
paying for war to contact NWTRCC for information.
Please call the office for a copy, and submit them to your
local radio station.
Anti-war demonstrations continue apace around the country, and
many people are leafleting outside showings of "Fahrenheit 9/11."
So, be sure to show up at your local action with NWTRCC's brochure,
"Why Isn't Everyone Who's for Peace a War Tax Resister?" Single
copies: free; $12/100 from the NWTRCC office.
Grant Applications Sought
The Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia is seeking grant applications
from grassroots groups for activist organizing and education on
issues of peace, social justice, and community empowerment.
Interested groups may download an application form and guidelines
from our web site, or contact our office.
Funding limit is $2,000 per recipient group. Application deadline
is August 15, 2004. Grants will be awarded October 1, 2004.
NACC 4554 12th Ave. NE Seattle, WA 98105 (206) 547-0952 http://seanacc.org,
Nicely printed copies of Juanita Nelson's classic essay, "A Matter
of Freedom," which was originally published in Liberation magazine
in September 1960, are available from the NWTRCC office for $2
each postpaid. Find out the link between her Sears-Roebuck white
terrycloth robe and war tax resistance.
This essay is also included in "Some Writings on War Tax Resistance,"
pamphlet #11 in the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute Essay Series.
That pamphlet and #3, Henry David Thoreau's "On the Duty of
Civil Disobedience," are also available from NWTRCC for $2 each
[Return to List of Headlines]
More Tax Day Reports
New England War Tax Resistance (NEWTR) held a festive tax day
event on April 15 in front of the Central Square Post Office in
Cambridge, Massachusetts. We set up tables with jars for the penny
poll, and distributed hundreds of pie chart flyers. Many passersby
took war tax resistance information and participated by distributing
the ten pennies we gave them according to how they think tax dollars
should be spent. The results: Education - 215, Health Care - 186,
Housing - 154, Jobs - 101, and Military - 37.
Street theater was provided by Class Acts, with their "cell
phone drill team" of corporate suits, performing a "drill" about
the huge profits being made by corporations from the war.
We gave out pens provided by True Majority with a built in
scroll that contrasts military spending in the U.S. with other
countries. We had large colorful posters on this theme, part
of a display that NEWTR member Minga Claggett-Borne designed.
The display will be shown in a bank window in Harvard Square,
which gives space to community groups each week. There is a
great deal of pedestrian traffic passing by this Massachusetts
Avenue bank, so it will be seen by many people.
Our event was co-sponsored by the Boston Committee for Palestinian
Rights, who handed out information about the billions of U.S.
dollars sent to Israel to support their military and to oppress
the Palestinian people.
New York City
Activists from NYC War Tax Resistance/ People's Life Fund and
War Resisters League gathered in front of the main office of the
IRS in midtown Manhattan for a noon vigil. The security person
from the IRS came out to welcome us back for another year, and
the local beat cop chatted with us about his days policing protests
during the Vietnam War. Maybe things are getting too comfortable
with our annual vigil line
This year we had a couple signs that
listed some of the war profiteers, including Halliburton, and
judging by the number of comments from the hurried passers-by,
that is one very unpopular company-and a very good attention-getter.
Philadelphia WRL joined with the Brandywine Peace Community tax
day action, held from 4-7 pm on tax day in front of the 30th Street
Post Office and then at the Kimmel Center, a new performing arts
center. Our piece was called "No Millionaire Left Behind." We
handed out the WRL pie chart flyer and an announcement thanking
people for paying their taxes and supporting our rich lifestyle.
They were invited to a celebration of being rich, with a request
that "regular people" stand to one side and collect crumbs that
might fall from the sumptuous feast and trickle-down from spilled
drinks. We were all dressed to the nines and had a classic Jaguar.
Many people got it, enjoyed it, and took the flyers. Some misunderstood
and thought we were assuming that they were The Rich, but mostly
there were lots of smiles, many from people who would not have
been reached by the typical sign holding, shouting and chanting.
An interesting little happening with a bus driver letting people
off at the theatre: he asked us to turn the sign so that the people
getting off the bus could see it.
-Steve Gulick, with input from others
South Bend, IN
The South Bend Tribune ran a story on April 16 about the
local tax day protest by individuals from groups including the
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Michiana War Tax Refusers, and Michiana
Peace and Justice Coalition. As people drove into the drop-off
lane at the South Bend Post Office to mail tax returns, they were
offered a WRL pie chart and greeted by signs protesting the use
of tax dollars to fund the war in Iraq. The paper reports that
the protesters were greeted by honks, thumbs-up gestures, and
jeers. Over 1,000 pie charts were handed out.
Students from Onondaga Community College, LeMoyne College, Syracuse
University, and the College of Environmental Science and Forestry
organized a "Taxation With Representation" penny poll at their
colleges during tax week in mid- April. There was enthusiastic
participation and dialogue. More than a few students spent several
minutes allocating their pennies, followed by even longer political
discussion. Many participants questioned their distribution strategy.
They debated, "Should I only support the category that is
most important to me, or should I distribute the pennies the
way in which they ought to be distributed?" The most controversial
category was physical resources.
Many participants declared their support for physical resources,
wanting to fund environmental protection, transportation, and
alternative energy sources. However, they were often reluctant
to commit more pennies to physical resources in order to show
their disapproval of big business subsidies, especially those
for oil and agribusinesses.
Addendum from Carol Baum, Syracuse Peace Council:
We reached out to students for a few different reasons: 1) The
Syracuse Peace Council has recently started a Bush Must Go! Campaign.
The first phase, which was April and May, was called "Education
Not Occupation," so we thought it would work well to do the tax
day work at schools. 2) Young people are the ones who bear the
burden of war disproportionately-they fight in war and pay for
war longer than many of us will. 3) The week of April 15 can be
somewhat dicey, weather-wise, in central New York. On a nasty
day an outdoor venue is miserable, and there are not that many
indoor venues that are welcoming to us. The students were welcome
to set up tables at their schools, which ranged from a community
junior college, to a variety of four-year schools: a large private
university, a state university, and a small college (we had hoped
to be in high schools, but they were on break.)
[Return to List of Headlines]
Anti-War in Asheville
By Judy Conrad & Jim Stockwell
On Saturday, March 20, tens of thousands of people in at least
700 cities around the world demonstrated against the war in
Iraq on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion. Conscientious
war tax resisters in Asheville, North Carolina-Fools of Conscience-participated
in three separate events over that weekend.
We facilitated a WTR "teach-in" on Friday evening on the campus
of the University of NC-Asheville in conjunction with demonstrations
that day called by Students for Democracy and Peace (SDP) in
solidarity with victims of the U.S. war on Iraq.
The next day Fools of Conscience (derived from our annual April
Fool's Day gathering to plan a Tax Day event) tabled at the
Global Day of Action rally in Asheville, sponsored by Western
NC Peace Coalition ("Fools" is a member) and Veterans for Peace.
Over 500 people came, and folks who stopped by the WTR table
asked deep, meaningful questions that gave us a great sense
of encouragement. There were music and speakers, including "our
own" Clare Hanrahan, who called for a more transparent government,
an end to the lies, and to bring our troops home. Throughout
her speech Clare asked the emphatic question, "How long are
we willing to pay for war?" The crowd responded, "No more!"
in loud unity. Following the rally, we marched through downtown
Asheville and ended by creating a memorial for all war dead.
On Sunday, CELO Friends Meeting invited Fools of Conscience
to facilitate an adult education evening for conversation and
sharing about conscientious war tax resistance/refusal/peace
taxpaying. Throughout the weekend many people were engaged in
thoughtful discussions about peace taxpaying and simple living-
which reflect the two faces of nonviolence- noncooperation with
evil and cooperating with good. The Fools of Conscience who
participated were Jim, Sebastian, Judy S., Clare, Steve, and
Judy C. Together we have over 150 years of tax resistance.
New England Gathering 2004
The New England WTR gathering will be November 12-14 in Kennebunk,
Maine, at The New School, an alternative high school that offers
a very open learning environment and nontraditional topics and
classes. The building is wheelchair accessible, and there is plenty
of room on floors and couches for sleeping, along with beds in
nearby homes. Six vegetarian meals will be provided from Friday
supper through Sunday lunch. Program details will be available
shortly. Cost for the full weekend is $0-50 per adult with adjusted
rates for attending part of the time; children are free. For questions
and registration forms, contact Larry Dansinger, (207) 525-7776
[Return to List of Headlines]
Dave Dellinger; August 22, 1915 - May 25, 2004
Beginning with his draft resistance in 1940 while a student at
Union Theological Seminary, Dave Dellinger devoted his life to
nonviolent direct action against government-sponsored violence.
His leadership during the Vietnam antiwar movement and the 1969
trial of the Chicago Seven brought him national prominence and
a place at the forefront of American radical pacifism.
Dave Dellinger was also a longtime war tax resister. In the
1970s he and his wife, Elizabeth Peterson, lived in New York
City, and Ed Hedemann remembers the time they moved from one
Brooklyn neighborhood to another. Despite the usual slowness
of change-of-address procedures, Dave reported with amazement
that the day they moved in a letter from the IRS was waiting.
The family moved to Vermont in the late 1970s, where he became
part of the war tax resisters support network there and the
Northern Lights affinity group. "He never gave up," says wtr
and affinity group member Lori Barg, and she holds a lasting
memory of Dave out protesting the start of the war in Iraq on
an absolutely freezing cold day last year.
When the Randy Kehler/Betsy Corner house in Colrain, Massachusetts,
was seized in 1989, many affinity groups participated in occupying
the house after the family was evicted. "I have this wonderful
memory of Dave, Elizabeth, and the affinity group from northern
Vermont coming down the road to our house for their week-long
vigil in it. It was very affirming to have this group of experienced
elders showing up for a week of resistance!" says Betsy.
Randy remembers an occasion in the winter or early spring of
1992 when Dave and Ram Das happened to be in the Colrain house
at the same time. "They had a wonderful exchange, sitting together
on our living room couch, while a couple dozen of us occupiers
and vigilers listened and asked them questions. Whereas some
of us expected that there might be some interesting tension
between 'the activist' and 'the seeker,' both men, in their
own way, talked about the inseparability of spirituality and
political action, each affirming and appreciating the path of
the other. It was quite lovely and showed the great spirit of
"I also remember Dave sitting on that same couch and me saying
to him something like, 'I wish this thing (the whole situation
around the seizure and sale of our house) hadn't gotten so COMPLICATED!'
To which Dave replied, throwing his head back with a roar of
laughter mixed with what seemed like a lifetime of anguish,
'It's ALLLLL-ways complicated!'"
It's unlikely that any call to war tax resistance in the last
30 years appeared without David Dellinger as a signer, and just
over a year ago he added his name to NWTRCC and WRL's Appeal
to Conscience. He was always active with and supportive of nonviolent
resistance to violence in its many forms. We will miss him.
Reprinted here is part of Dave Dellinger's preface to Ain't
Gonna Pay for War No More by Robert Calvert, published in
1971 by National War Tax Resistance. The book is long out of
print but the points are ever-current.
There are two kinds of people who don't pay income taxes.
On the one hand, there are the Ronald Reagans, the oil millionaires
and other wealthy profiteers who manage to manipulate their
assets and their tax returns to take advantage of the loopholes
for the wealthy that have been created by an upper-class-oriented
Congress and IRS. Their way of life is the pursuit and protection
of private wealth and privilege at the expense of their fellows.
Although they may not like to think of it in quite so direct
terms, they endorse the napalming of Indochinese peasants and
the violent overthrow of governments that seek to put an end
to the exploitation of their natural and human resources by
American corporations. They support America's Phoenix plan for
assassinating 80,000 Vietnamese villagers who are thought to
form the "infra-structure" of the Vietnamese Independence movement-assassinations
organized and carried out by methods already perfected by American
assassination teams in Latin America. At home, they demand a
repressive FBI and Justice Department, a heavily armed and conscienceless
National Guard, a system of courts, police and prisons that
protect the present extremes of wealth and poverty from the
thrust of the poor, the nonwhite and the believers in a classless
society. Their main concern is to avoid paying their share of
the costs of the policies they advocate and benefit from financially.
And then there are the Bob Calverts and the people he has
written for and about in this little book. They refuse to pay
for the instruments of murder and repression, not because they
are interested in self-aggrandizement but because they are opposed
to murder and repression
Ain't Gonna Pay for War No More allows for a multiplicity
of attitudes and stages of growth or commitment without losing
any of its clarity or incisiveness. In the end, its goal is
to reveal the potential power of tax refusal as an organized
method of changing the nature of society
It doesn't provide
a formula for "seizing power," but it does something far more
relevant: it shows how state power can be undermined and destroyed;
decentralized and restored to people.
Finally, this book shows how the negative act of tax refusal
can be combined with positive acts of promoting and financing
alternative projects that become the seedbed of new institutions
and relationships. The power to tax is the power to destroy-twice-over.
It destroys the bodies of those who fall victim to American
firepower and repression. Less dramatically but nonetheless
surely, it mercilessly destroys the consciences and humanity
of those who willingly surrender their taxes to the government.
Alternatively, the power to refuse is the power to preserve
life and create hope.
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