War Tax Resistance in the 1950s

Here is some more war tax resistance news from . First, from the Tonawanda Evening News of (excerpts):

Some Insist They Won’t

It’s T- (for Tax) Day and Rush To Pay Up Gets Terrific

 Americans rushed today to file their income taxes before the deadline but a few individuals and groups risked imprisonment by defying the inevitable.

Pacifists Won’t Pay

At Washington, the Justice Department revealed it expected to have indictments by against 149 persons for trying to evade $10,000,000 in wartime taxes. There is a six-year statute of limitation in tax cases.

Nevertheless, some people announced today that they would refuse to pay taxes at the risk of going to prison.

At Des Moines, a Quaker couple and an engineer told the tax collector they wouldn’t pay because they were Pacifists. Both the Quaker husband and the engineer were sentenced as conscientious objectors during World War Ⅱ.

An organization calling itself “Peacemakers” planned a picket of the Internal Revenue Bureau in New York City. The signs said “Your Taxes Pay for the H-Bomb” and “Refuse to pay Taxes for War Purposes.”

The Gandhi Manner

The group which says it is dedicated to non-violent resistance to militarism and war, announced that at least 27 men and 19 women members throughout the country would refuse to pay taxes.

At Cincinnati, three members of the group announced their refusal in order to demonstrate “non-violent resistance to evil, after the manner of Mohandas K. Ghandi [sic] of India.”

Arthur Sternberg of St. Paul figured out for himself that 32 percent of his tax goes for defense and he withheld that amount — $51 — from his payment.

From The Cedar Rapids Gazette on :

Three Iowans Refuse To Pay Taxes for “War Spending”

 The hydrogen bomb hasn’t been exploded, but it had income tax day reactions in Iowa.

Three lowans listed the bomb among reasons why they refused to pay their federal income tax for .

One of them is a 35-year-old mechanical engineer, Walter Gormly of Mt. Vernon, who said he also refused to pay his tax for .

Gormly, who said he is a “pacifist” and “a philosophical objector to war,” said the hydrogen, bomb was only one of his reasons for refusing to pay the tax.

“In the side-stepping of all efforts to hold high level conferences with Russia, the United States seems to fear Russia might appease the U.S. in any such, conference and spoil the excuse for continued war spending,” he asserted.

Gormly said he was a conscientious objector during the recent war and served three years in prison as an objector.

“I object to authoritarianism,” he said, in explaining why he refused to sign his tax return. His tax was approximately $100.

Gormly said he was associated with the Tax Refusal Committee of Peacemakers. That group issued a statement advocating peacemakers to refuse “to pay taxes which are for the purpose of carrying on war.”

Arthur Emery of Earlham sent a joint return for himself and wife, along with a statement of taxes withheld from his wife’s wages as an employe for a time last year at Perin college in Oskaloosa, and a receipt for a $105 donation to a peace organization.

“We do not object to paying 40 percent of our tax which we feel goes for constructive purposes,” Emery wrote the internal revenue collector, but, he added: “We cannot conscientiously finance the construction of atom and hydrogen bombs.”

From the Carroll Daily Times Herald, :

Mt. Vernon Objector Again Refuses to Pay Income Tax

 Walter Gormly, 37, who says he is a “philosophical objector to war,” says he again has refused to pay his federal income taxes.

Gormly made public copies of his letter to the Internal Revenue office in Des Moines announcing his intentions of not paying the tax.

Last year the self-styled consulting engineer similarly refused to pay his federal income tax as “a protest gesture.” The government seized his station wagon to satisfy a $270 tax lien. It was sold at auction for $230.

Gormly served a three-year federal prison term for draft law violations during World war Ⅱ. In his letter of refusal to pay his income taxes, he asserts the Korean war “is illegal” and says he does not wish to provide the government with funds which may be used in carrying on the war.

A press release by a national pacifist group known as “Peacemakers” lists Gormly and two other Iowans among a group of 41 Americans who are refusing to pay income taxes as an expression of their opposition to war.

The other two Iowans are Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Emery, Earlham Quakers who also refused to pay taxes a year ago. As in Gormly’s case, the Emery car was put up for auction by the federal government to satisfy a tax lien.

From The Cedar Rapids Gazette on :

Gormly Says He Will Not Pay U.S. Tax

Special to The Gazette.

 Walter Gormly, Mt. Vernon’s self-styled anti-war crusader, announced that he was refusing for the eighth time to pay federal income taxes.

The announcement was made in a letter to Frank J. Halpin, Iowa collector of internal revenue. A copy of the letter was received by The Gazette, but Gormly set  — income tax deadline — as the release date.

Gormly said his reason for refusing to pay his income tax was that the federal government’s major function “is to prepare for and to wage war.”

“Something like 90 percent of the proposed Eisenhower budget is for past, present, and future wars,” he wrote. “However, some of the remaining 10 percent is used for thought control, persecution of political minorities, and for other nefarious purposes and ought not be paid any more than the money for war.”

Served Prison Term.

Gormly, 39, drew attention in , when federal agents auctioned off his model car for $230 because he refused to pay income taxes for .

He is a mechanical engineer and does free-lance design work for small industry.

He also served three years of a five-year federal prison term for refusing to comply with selective service laws. He was sent to prison in .

Gormly’s name is one of 43 on a list of persons who have refused to pay federal income tax. The list, which contains the names of no other Iowans, was sent out by the Rev. Ernest R. Bromley of Gano, Sharonsville, Ohio, chairman of the Tax Refusal Committee of Peacemakers.

The group is described as a national pacifist organization “which advocates the practice of non-violence as demonstrated by the late Mohandas K. Gandhi.”

Text of Letter.

Gormly’s letter to Halpin also took issue with the federal government’s handling of Communist spies.

“It is constantly dinned into us that all Communists are spies,” the letter said. “J. Edgar Hoover says there are 271,000 people dedicated to communism, others would place the number higher…

“I tried to find out from the department of justice, Senator McCarthy, Senator Jenner, Senator Hickenlooper, Rep. Velde, and the house un-American activities committee how many people have been convicted of spying for Russia and how many of them were Communists, but none of them answered my questions.

“Finally I read in a newspaper column by Roscoe Drummond that 13 Communists had been convicted of espionage and related activities

“Either J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI are ridiculously inept in being able to convict on five-one thousandths of one percent of the spies, or the story that all Communists are spies is a hoax.”

The letter goes on to say that FBI sources show that the average Communist does not stick with the party more than two or three years.

“No spy conspiracy could work with that kind of defection,” Gormly’s letter said.

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