Don’t Buy Bush’s War

The anti-war activist group “Code Pink” is launching a massive nationwide war tax resistance campaign that aims to get 100,000 people to pledge to resist taxes to protest U.S. belligerence in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.

We have marched, we have petitioned, we have called and emailed and urged Congress to stop buying Bush’s war. It isn’t working. Congress continues to vote billions of dollars toward the occupation of Iraq without any timeline for withdrawal. It is time for us do what they don’t have the courage to do. If Congress wants to fund the war with our dollars, well, we’ll simply refuse to give them those dollars! When our political leaders have not listened to the will of the people, individuals have engaged in civil disobedience. There is a great tradition of war tax resistance in the United States and it is our time to carry on that patriotic tradition.

When there are 100,000 of us who have the courage to pledge no more money for war, we will join in an act of mass civil disobedience and refuse to pay the portion of our taxes that represents the % we spend on the U.S. military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Join the resistance today — you can make a difference.

The campaign will officially launch . In Boston, an action at Boston Harbor will be attended by tax resistance pledgers including Cindy Sheehan and Ray McGovern. In Portland, Oregon, activists will read the Declaration of Independence and perform a recreation of the Boston Tea Party action. Other actions to launch the tax resistance campaign will occur in cities across the country.

Jodie Evans, co-founder of Code Pink, writes:

How much of your tax payment this year would you like to allocate for water boarding in Iraq or an invasion of Iran?

Around the world, people are puzzled as to why the U.S. public allows the Bush administration to wage illegal wars and usurp our power. Why do we tolerate it and continue to pay for it?…

…It is time for taxpayers who oppose this war to join together in nonviolent civil disobedience and show Congress how to cut off the funds for this war and redirect resources to the pressing needs of people.…

There is a great tradition of war tax resistance in the United States. During the Mexican-American War that began in , Henry David Thoreau refused payment of war taxes and called on others to join him in resistance. “If a thousand people were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”

When Ralph Waldo Emerson visited Thoreau in jail, he asked the author of Walden, “Henry, what are doing in there?” Thoreau responded, “Ralph, what are you doing out there?”…

…Some might suspect that tax resistance is symbolic and futile. But we want to purposely put a cog in the machine of war tax collection. We believe it will lead to a deepening of opposition as tens of thousands of people say, “I can no longer in good conscience pay for these acts by my government.” Mass war tax resistance, on the scale proposed, has never been done in the U.S.

The world and history will judge us by how vigorously we resist the illegal and immoral war tactics of the Bush Administration. My husband, friends and I have decided we can’t pay for war anymore. What are you doing out there?

Nina Rothschild Utne, chair and editor-in-chief of Utne Reader, writes in an upcoming issue of that magazine that she, too, is enthusiastically joining the campaign:

War tax resistance is far from a new idea. But there is a bold initiative brewing that has an elegantly simple new angle: There is safety in numbers. The idea is to get people to sign a pledge that they will engage in civil disobedience by withholding a percentage of their taxes, but only if a critical mass of 100,000 signers is reached .

Activists have spent long hours pushing for election reform, marching in the streets, and engaging in other forms of civil disobedience against the Iraq war with seemingly no effect, so clearly a different tack is needed. The “I’ll jump if you will” approach to war tax resistance just might work.

My friend Jodie Evans, cofounder of Code Pink, is one of those people who live on the barricades, sleep little, and dedicate most every waking moment to social change. Her material desires take a backseat to her convictions, and the ragged pink mules she has worn for years as part of her Code Pink identity are the laughingstock of her friends. She has been arrested more times than she can count and has been at the epicenter of many of the most effective and mediagenic progressive campaigns of the past several decades.

But Jodie is also at home in the most rarefied strata of power. Thanks in no small part to her, the pledge list will be seeded with participants from business, Hollywood, and other influential enclaves, and the initiative will be backed by a strong communications strategy.…

Among the groups partnering to promote the “Don’t Buy Bush’s War” campaign: the 2008 War Tax Boycott Coalition, AfterDowningStreet.org, Camp Casey Peace Institute, Gold Star Families for Peace, Grassroots America, and United for Peace and Justice.

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