Want Congress to Stop Funding the War? O.K., But You First.

I gave a little speech at a “die-in” at the San Francisco Federal Building:

Thank you for inviting me to speak . My name is David Gross and I’m with Northern California War Tax Resistance.

I understand that Nancy Pelosi has an office here, though she’s not here .

But I’d like you to imagine that she is here and that you could walk into her office right now and tell her all the reasons why she has to stop funding this horrible war.

But now imagine that Nancy Pelosi hears you out, then she stands up, leans over her desk, looks you in the eye and says, “You first.”

What would you say to that?

Because I’ve seen the opinion polls, and I know that most of the people in Pelosi’s district want her to stop funding the war. But I’ve also seen the IRS statistics, and I know that Nancy Pelosi’s constituents on average pay twice as much in federal taxes as the average American.

If Nancy Pelosi is refusing to cut off funding for the war, she’s representing her constituents very well, because they’re refusing too.

Too many of us in the anti-war movement are working for peace with one hand and for war with the other. We come to rallies and chant our chants, we wave our banners, we march, we write letters, we even block doors and block traffic and get arrested. But if we go back to work the next day and see part of each paycheck sent to the Pentagon, we’re working against our own values.

Look at your tax return this month and ask yourself how many hours you worked for the war machine, and how that compares to the hours you worked to stop it.

If we remain content to oppose the war with our voices while we support it with our taxes, we need to ask ourselves whether maybe we’ve really been war supporters all along.

Because before the first American boots hit the ground in the Iraq invasion, U.S. taxpayers had already struck Iraq in the form of the missiles and bombs — shock and awe that was bought and paid for by people like you and me.

And it’s people like you and me who have the power to stop this war, but only if we put all of our energy on the side of our values.

If we wait for the Democrats in Congress to stop funding the war, it’s going to be a long war. Bush isn’t attacking Iraq alone. Iraq isn’t under assault from 535 legislators in Washington. Iraq is being occupied by an army of American taxpayers and it’s way past time for us to stop the occupation!

Don’t wait for the politicians! We, ourselves, today can stop funding the war! We can put our money where our mouths are.

War tax resistance is direct action — one that we can do every day. It is a way to put all our life energy on the side of our values, instead of letting the tax collector force us to work for Pentagon priorities, politicians and pork.

If you think war tax resistance is too difficult, dangerous, or impractical, trust me on this: you just need to learn more about it. There are many, many methods of war tax resistance — some are risky, others are not at all; some require civil disobedience, others are perfectly legal; some mean radical lifestyle change, others you could start doing today.

In the war tax resistance movement we often remark that there seem to be as many methods of war tax resistance as there are resisters. There is a method of war tax resistance for everybody — there is one that is right for you, that meets the goals you want to meet, with risks you can afford to take.

I urge you to contact us at NoWarTax.org — we have literature that can help you to learn more about your options, we run workshops periodically, and we do individual one-on-one counselling as well.

But most of all I urge you to stop funding the war machine! Not one more dollar, not one more death!


Have you seen the new New Yorker cover? Check it out: warplanes, battleships and tanks, lovingly crafted origami-style from 1040 forms:

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