Tax Day Protests in the U.S.

in the United States, and all across the country people were scrambling to get to the post office in time to have their tax returns postmarked by the deadline. There to meet them were tax resisters:

  • The Ryder Report has video of the protest in Keene, New Hampshire, including feedback from passers-by.
  • In Brattleboro, Vermont, war tax resisters including Bob Bady and Daniel Sicken redirected their taxes to local charities:

    Kevin Flaherty, a postal employee who ducked out in the afternoon for a smoke break, said it was encouraging to see the war tax resisters give away their money.

    “It’s great,” he said, pointing out that it was Kevin Flaherty the citizen — not Kevin Flaherty the postal worker — who was supporting the group.

    “Sometimes when people are paying their taxes, I joke that somebody has to pay for the Iraq War. Maybe this will make them pay attention.”

  • Tax resisters in New York City handed out War Resisters League budget pie charts at the midtown post office.
  • Joshua Klein of Nashua, New Hampshire filed his tax returns , but decided to include a protest letter instead of a check. “Klein would not reveal how much he owed but said he’s donating the money to America’s Second Harvest, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the country, and the American Civil Liberties Union, although he’s not affiliated with either group.”
  • In Los Alamos, New Mexico, two protesters were arrested for trespassing during a vigil at the Los Alamos National Laboratories. The protesters said they were there “to prayerfully encourage the nonviolent, safe, clean disarmament of weapons of mass destruction, along with the clean-up of LANL… [and] to visibly celebrate the war-tax boycott organized by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.”
  • War tax resisters in Bangor, Maine, including Larry Dansinger, protested at the post office and gave away redirected taxes. One of the grants was a scholarship to a student who, because he has refused to register with the selective service system (for the military draft), will be ineligible to apply for college financial aid.
  • The Home News Tribune of New Jersey has a video report of the war tax protest at the post office there.
  • In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, peace activists held a “penny poll” in which they asked passers-by how they would prioritize the nation’s budget. Meanwhile, constitutionalist tax protesters handed out documentaries and documentation about their theories.
  • In Berkeley, California, Code Pink was out with their “Don’t Buy Bush’s War” banner.
  • U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky and a handful of other House Democrats held a press conference highlighting how much the Iraq War was costing individual taxpayers. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviewed Schakowsky before the press conference, along with tax resisters John & Pat Schwiebert.
  • Free Speech Radio News covered national protests over war taxes, government spending priorities, and the Capitol Hill press conference.

Along with the news coverage, bloggers commemorated with more personal commentary:

  • At The Begging Bowl, Jake writes about his tax resistance: “The money I would have paid the government has gone to the Chicago Anti-Hunger Foundation. When votes no longer matter we vote with our dollars. I vote for the works of mercy and feeding the hungry. And if it means the IRS is gonna come knocking on my door for $119, I will offer them some food too. And if they ask for a check, I’ll go with them to jail. That’s another work of mercy, visit the imprisoned. If we took the works of mercy as seriously as we took our 1040s and economic stimulus package, the Kingdom of God would be at hand.”
  • J.D. Tuccille, at Disloyal Opposition, gives a thumbs up for tax resisters — “whatever their reasons, I think it’s worth saluting folks who go out of the way to avoiding feeding the beast.”
  • Rusty Pipes, at Street Prophets, does some background research on the Schwieberts’ tax resistance and their campaign to get their church to come on board. And he shares some notes on the debate on war tax resistance in his own denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
  • Kerrie, at State & Local Politics, reacts to news coverage of the Schwieberts: “It takes a whole lot of nerve to do what his couple is doing. But I wonder if Bush would take notice and stop the war if more people took this route to protest the war? I know that we have to do something because things are getting worse not better.”
  • Will Shetterly, at It’s All One Thing, discusses tax resistance, and includes some inspirational quotes from tax resisters.
  • Doug & Maureen Mackenzie and Nicholas Collins shared the letters they sent to the IRS to explain their resistance.

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