“Burma Shave”-style Signs Promote War Tax Refusal

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In Portland, Oregon, war tax resisters braved the morning chill to hold up “Burma Shave” style signs along the roadside for people to read as they passed by on :

$ SIX BILLION A MONTH
AND DEATH EVERY DAY
DON’T LIKE THE WAR?
THEN REFUSE TO PAY

INSTEAD OF BOMBS
LET’S USE THE TAX
TO FEED MORE KIDS
OURS & IRAQ’S



Ashby Crowder sets the record straight in the Maine Times Record:

Few would dispute Christine DeTroy’s comments (, “Killing in our name”) that “it is every U.S. citizen’s tax money that builds armaments; it is every U.S. citizens’ tax money that funds the death and maiming of thousands.” DeTroy also points out that Nuremberg places moral responsibility on individual soldiers for the orders they follow. What to do then when the folks in Washington are in brazen defiance of the law and are ordering troops to carry out crimes against humanity, aggression (e.g., the decision to invade Iraq) being the supreme war crime?

DeTroy discusses Nuremberg’s legacy as it relates to individual soldiers and to government officials. I would add that the taxpayers she mentions have their own opportunity to be conscientious objectors to U.S. war crimes by refusing to pay a portion of their income tax that is used to fund war, instead diverting the funds to causes that promote peace. War tax resistance has a long tradition in America, from Henry David Thoreau, who was locked up for refusing to pay for the Mexican war in , to the Vietnam war protesters about whom Secretary of State Alexander Haig re-marked, “Let them march all they want as long as they continue to pay their taxes,” acknowledging the appreciable power of this form of protest. Many followed Haig’s lead.

War tax resistance both throws a wrench in the revenue collection system that pays for violent aggression and frees the consciences of individuals who do not want to be implicated in war crimes. The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee offers interested taxpayers information about taking action and about the risks involved in this form of civil disobedience.

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