Kathy Kelly reminds us of What We Can Control:

In the past year, several groups have asked me to facilitate retreats for people who want to further explore nonviolence. At the retreats, I ask volunteers to role-play situations likely to generate discussion about challenges people face when involved in peace activism. One of the most reliably difficult scenarios stages a spouse raising with his or her partner a decision to become a war tax refuser and stop paying federal income tax.

In one such scene, an anguished husband implored his wife to understand his reasons for stopping payment of federal income tax. “How could you do this to our children?” she asked. “And why didn’t you think of this before you became a father?” The husband responded, “Honey, I just want to do something for peace,” to which the wife blurted out, “At Christmas?!” The room filled with laughter. Cut! Point well taken.…

This is what we have power over.

We can appropriate money away from militarism to health care, housing and other needs by our resistance, by our nonpayment of taxes for war. As civilian and military casualties mount, as US foreign policy creates terrorists faster than we can kill them, progressives opposed to warmaking simply can’t deny a moral imperative: don’t turn your productivity over to the warmakers.…

Karl Meyer, a pacifist guide for numerous war tax refusers, a man who hasn’t paid his taxes , takes a harder line than I do, but without his perspective I never would have been drawn into allowing the IRS to become my spiritual director [sic]. Here are Karl’s words: “If progressives fail to resist militarism or refuse participation in it through the one form of participation that is demanded, that is to pay taxes, they should give up their pretensions to being in opposition.”


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