Promoting War Tax Resistance at Iraq Invasion Anniversary Protests

has come and gone, and along with it many demonstrations, rallies, die-ins, vigils, and the like here in the San Francisco bay area and elsewhere.

Since I left my last such event humming Phil Ochs’s “I ain’t a-marchin’ anymore” I was a little surprised to find myself going downtown to join in, of all things, an ANSWER-sponsored anti-war march and Society for Marxist Anachronism parade.

Truth is, I had a fancy new sign and couldn’t wait to show it off:

I was more interested in being a billboard than in doing active outreach on , but I was approached by people on several occasions who wanted to know more about tax resistance, or who expressed that they wished they could do it “but I don’t want to end up in jail.” I assured them there was a tax resistance method appropriate to their desired level of risk, and I gave them the contact info for our local tax resistance group.

Then, on , came the Stop Funding the War in Iraq rally at the San Francisco Federal Building, which houses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

Northern California War Tax Resistance was there to hand out stickers for people to wear that read “I refuse to fund this war!” I figured a few people would take them and wear them without thinking much about it, a few people would refuse to take them without thinking much about it, and the remainder would have to think about whether they should start refusing if they hadn’t already.

As it turned out, just about everyone we offered the stickers to was eager to wear one, though it’s hard to tell which of these will put their money where their mouths are. Hopefully a few, anyway, had that light bulb go on, and then looked around and wondered “have all these other people wearing these stickers started resisting their taxes?”

One of the speakers, conscientious objector and counter-recruiter Aimee Allison, even gave an unsolicited plug for war tax resistance in the course of her speech:

The true power — the power of funding the war — is within our grasp. If we cut that off, we stop the war machine, we stop the crimes against humanity, we stop underwriting the war profiteers, we stop starving our social services including our own veterans who we’ve sent over there and do not get the support that they need when they get home. We have got to answer the call of conscience, and, if our leaders don’t then we the people in the democracy will.

For those of you who haven’t been in the military let me tell you that it is time to get some skin in the game. It is time to declare your city or your town or your church a sanctuary for soldiers who refuse to fight. It is time to investigate the ways to assert your war tax resistance.

It seemed to me a grand success; though I suppose the proof will be in whether or not the people who saw or who heard the message will respond with action. We’ll have a better idea of that as people begin to contact our group for information, counseling and workshops.


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