Prison Slave Laborers on Strike in Georgia

Some bits and pieces from here and there:

  • Prisoners in at least six Georgia state prisons have gone on strike, refusing to leave their cells to work in government-run prison slave labor industries. The unusual strike is being organized by the prisoners via contraband cell phones.
  • I’ve been working on a series of pages for NWTRCC under the tentative title of “Where Else Does the Government Get money to Make War, and What Can We Do About It?” These pages are meant to supplement the current NWTRCC site focus on the federal personal income tax and telephone excise tax, and to talk about other government funding sources and the resistance strategies appropriate to them. It is slow going, and surprisingly controversial (there is debate about to what extent taxes like the payroll tax are really dedicated to non-military trust fund spending and to what extent this is an illusion).

    Prison labor is one way governments extract value from people at gunpoint (and, seeing as how the Department of Defense is a big user of prison labor-produced products, I suppose it counts as a “war tax” also). Another tactic governments have often turned to is seigniorage — simply printing up money and spending it and implicitly taxing people by making their money-denominated savings less valuable. But according to a recent article in Forbes, seigniorage doesn’t work as well as it used to, as investors now have more tools to evade or counteract its effects.

    The Initial Public Offering of stock from the formerly-public, then government-owned General Motors is another odd source of government revenue. According to a Treasury Department press release, the government brought in $13.5 billion in by selling GM stock. (Actually, according to the press release, “Taxpayers” received the money, but that’s only true in government fantasy-land.) Did you buy any? Did the mutual funds in your 401k or IRA? If so, you helped the federal government get a return on its investment.
  • The PandaLabs blog has been keeping track of a “cyberwar” of sorts in which angry WikiLeaks supporters have tried to take reprisals against the politicians and corporations who have been conducting a distributed denial of service attack against Wikileaks. It’s interesting stuff, to be sure, and not least interesting is the indication that the rebels have decided to take a turn to the moral high road and abandon their own denial of service attacks for Operation: Leakspin in which they vow to more closely investigate and expose the leaks whose sheer quantity is bewildering the world of journalism.
  • The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration publishes a list of management priorities for the IRS every year. This year they’ve got a new top priority: keeping their employees safe from “a surge of hostility towards the federal government” from irate taxpayers.

From the Fredericksburg, Virginia Free Lance-Star:

Lawyers to Fight On For Pastor In Tax Case

Stung by a scathing denunciation of their client by a federal judge, attorneys for a pacifist minister were ready to fight on — whether their disciple of civil disobedience likes it or not.

The attack on the Rev. Maurice F. McCrackin by Judge John H. Druffel came between the time a jury convicted the minister and the judge sentenced him to six months in a federal prison and fined him $250. Rev. McCrackin was convicted of refusing to answer an Internal Revenue Service summons to discuss his refusal to pay federal income taxes.

Judge Druffel told the 53-year-old bachelor minister — still gaunt from a 15-day jail-cell fast:

“Your pious attitude is more or less of a false face.”

Then, after accusing Rev. McCrackin of being a “pacifist agitator” and of associating “with those of overwhelming Soviet sympathies,” the judge added:

“I don’t know of any more pious traitor than that.”

Although he was a court-appointed attorney who has served without pay, cocounsel Theodore M. Berry leaped to his feet in protest.

“As an officer of this court,” he shouted, “this court is guilty of a grievous error. There is not one iota of proof that Rev. McCrackin is a communist.”

Berry and his cocounsel, Prof. Fred G. Dewey of the University of Cincinnati, were asked immediately after court adjourned if they planned to appeal. Berry shot back heatedly:

“You’re damned right. What else can we do?”

Internal Revenue Service officials presented all the testimony for the prosecution; only a handful of character witnesses appeared for the defense.

Theodore Berry went on to be the first black mayor of Cincinnati.

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