A while back I shared my notes from the NWTRCC national gathering. Ruth Benn, NWTRCC’s coordinator, took more thorough notes than I did, and today she shared her more official meeting minutes with us.
Notes from U.S. War Tax Resisters’ National Gathering
Matthew Bajko at the Bay Area Reporter has done a write-up on the emerging gay rights tax resistance movement. It covers the folks I’ve been writing about from time-to-time here: Melissa Etheridge, Charles Merrill, and John Bisceglia, but also one I hadn’t heard of before: Emily Drennen, who created a Facebook group for anyone who will be joining her in “refusing to pay CA taxes until I can marry.”
The reporter, in doing his work collecting reaction quotes from politicians and from spokespeople for groups like the Human Rights Campaign and Californians Against Hate, also helped to pollenate the political landscape with the idea of tax resistance as a possible civil disobedience tactic.
Somehow in all the fooferaw that surrounded Ron Paul’s quest for the Republican presidential nomination last year, nobody pointed me in the direction of this speech he gave before the House of Representatives in . Excerpt:
The original American patriots were those individuals brave enough to resist with force the oppressive power of King George. I accept the definition of patriotism as that effort to resist oppressive state power.
The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self-interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power. He rejects the notion that patriotism means obedience to the state. Resistance need not be violent, but the civil disobedience that might be required involves confrontation with the state and invites possible imprisonment.
Peaceful, nonviolent revolutions against tyranny have been every bit as successful as those involving military confrontation. Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., achieved great political successes by practicing nonviolence, and yet they suffered physically at the hands of the state. But whether the resistance against government tyrants is nonviolent or physically violent, the effort to overthrow state oppression qualifies as true patriotism.
True patriotism today has gotten a bad name, at least from the government and the press. Those who now challenge the unconstitutional methods of imposing an income tax on us, or force us to use a monetary system designed to serve the rich at the expense of the poor are routinely condemned. These American patriots are sadly looked down upon by many. They are never praised as champions of liberty as Gandhi and Martin Luther King have been.
Liberals who withhold their taxes as a protest against war, are vilified as well, especially by conservatives. Unquestioned loyalty to the state is especially demanded in times of war. Lack of support for a war policy is said to be unpatriotic. Arguments against a particular policy that endorses a war, once it is started, are always said to be endangering the troops in the field. This, they blatantly claim, is unpatriotic, and all dissent must stop. Yet, it is dissent from government policies that defines the true patriot and champion of liberty.
It is conveniently ignored that the only authentic way to best support the troops is to keep them out of dangerous undeclared no-win wars that are politically inspired. Sending troops off to war for reasons that are not truly related to national security and, for that matter, may even damage our security, is hardly a way to patriotically support the troops.
Who are the true patriots, those who conform or those who protest against wars without purpose? How can it be said that blind support for a war, no matter how misdirected the policy, is the duty of a patriot?
Once a war of any sort is declared, the message is sent out not to object or you will be declared unpatriotic. Yet, we must not forget that the true patriot is the one who protests in spite of the consequences. Condemnation or ostracism or even imprisonment may result.
Nonviolent protesters of the Tax Code are frequently imprisoned, whether they are protesting the code’s unconstitutionality or the war that the tax revenues are funding. Resisters to the military draft or even to Selective Service registration are threatened and imprisoned for challenging this threat to liberty.
Statism depends on the idea that the government owns us and citizens must obey. Confiscating the fruits of our labor through the income tax is crucial to the health of the state. The draft, or even the mere existence of the Selective Service, emphasizes that we will march off to war at the state’s pleasure.
A free society rejects all notions of involuntary servitude, whether by draft or the confiscation of the fruits of our labor through the personal income tax. A more sophisticated and less well-known technique for enhancing the state is the manipulation and transfer of wealth through the fiat monetary system operated by the secretive Federal Reserve.
Nice to see a shout-out to tax resisters in the very depths of Mordor.
For more information on the topic or topics below (organized as “topic → subtopic → sub-subtopic”), click on any of the ♦ symbols to see other pages on this site that cover the topic. Or browse the site’s topic index at the “Outline” page.
- How you can resist funding the government → the tax resistance movement → conferences & gatherings → Fall 2008 NWTRCC national in Eugene, Oregon
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- Have things really gotten that bad? → U.S. citizens aren’t rising to the challenge → no functioning opposition party → Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich on tax resisters
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- Some historical and global examples of tax resistance → tax resistance for same-sex marriage
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- Miscellanous tax resisters → individual war tax resisters → Ruth Benn
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