Activists Trash Derry Arms Plant, Acquitted With Necessity Defense
Anti-war activists in Derry, Northern Ireland, have been harassing a local
plant of the U.S.
arms manufacturer Raytheon for several years. In one action, nine people from
the Derry Anti-War Coalition occupied the offices and destroyed over £350,000
The saboteurs were charged with
burglary and criminal damage, but the court permitted them to argue that they
were acting to prevent war crimes, and after presenting evidence to support
this argument, the defendants were acquitted of all charges by a unanimous
concluded that “the legal system in Northern Ireland does not offer the degree
of protection to their business that could be expected in other parts of the
world,” and the company has decided to
abandon their Derry plant!
Congratulations to the Raytheon 9 and to the Derry Anti-War Coalition.
Those of you with a copy of that war tax resister’s bible:
War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support
from the Military will be interested to know that
NWTRCC has published a supplement
that brings the guide up-to-date, including important updates on such topics
the repeal of the federal excise tax on long-distance telephone calls
the increase of the frivolous-filing penalty
expanded use of levies and liens by the IRS
new guidelines on how to regulate paycheck withholding
more information on evolving IRS enforcement priorities
Utopía: Revista de Cristianos de Base
has published an interview with Spanish war tax resister Joan Surroca about
ecology, the global economic crisis, and related topics. “From my point of
view,” Surroca says, “there is no way out other than a profound transformation
of values. Tolstoy made it very clear: ‘We all want to change the world, but
nobody thinks of changing himself.’” The interview briefly touched on his tax
Utopía: Few people know that you are one the few
or perhaps the only person who has won a court case over your tax resistance
claims. What do you think that meant, and what do you think today?
Surroca: That the Superior Court of Justice for
Catalonia for the first time overturned my guilty verdict and exempted me
from paying the fines for my resistance to my money going to the military,
is a small step that should encourage many, but tax resistance is something
political; because ethics cannot restrict itself to particular cases and to
my little world. Certainly I don’t want that the Spanish government should
continue to direct these immoral sums in their budgets to support the arms
race, but clearly we will not achieve significant progress without a stronger
movement of the citizens.
From the edition of
The Village Voice:
War Tax Resistance
by Mary Breasted
A number of spring harbingers in Manhattan are much more reliable than the
weather on Groundhog Day (which was sunny this year, by the way). We have
stickball players and nodding junkies out in droves to tell us the fair
season is coming. We have some big gathering or other in Central Park, and,
like as not, a report in the social columns that Jackie
O. was recently seen taking the air on
horseback. And now, just as seasonal, we have the re-awakening of the Peace
It began last week with a news conference in Washington Square Methodist
Church that was as passionless as it was repetitive. The news release
announcing the event had said: “Leading Intellectuals to Explain Why they
Refuse to Pay War Taxes.” And there they all were, seated at a long row of
tables Thursday morning, squinting into
TV lights, Paul Goodman, Grace Paley,
David McReynolds, Dwight MacDonald, familiar faces offering familiar moral
aphorisms about mankind’s higher laws superseding the laws of the nations.
And although they were as outspokenly critical of the war as ever they had
been in demonstrations and news conferences past, they seemed muted even as
they redeclared themselves, as if this time they felt secretly defeated right
at the start.
Seven “leading intellectuals” in all, they contributed a total of $325 to an
account called the People’s Life Fund or to various beneficiaries of the fund
(the Welfare Rights Organization, the Women’s Bail Fund, the United
Farmworkers Organizing Committee and Operation Move-In). The purpose of the
conference, aside from giving them a public forum for personal testimonials,
was to launch an intensified campaign for the War Tax Resistance in these
last two weeks before we all file our returns.
Robert Calvert, the national director of War Tax Resistance, tried to put
some zing into the subdued conference by stresssing the inconvenience his
group would cause the Internal Revenue Service. “It usually takes the
government six months to a year to move and get the money,” he said, adding
happily, “I’ve been resisting my telephone tax for a year. The government
has not got a penny from me.”
But Paul Goodman, the most openly cynical of the group, countered that
hopeful note by observing, “It would be unrealistic for us to think that
this is an economic burden on the government.” But he said he did hope the
action would have some influence upon the opinions of legislators.
When the conference was over, Goodman walked off saying cheerily, “Well, it’s
nice to give money to the Women’s Bail Fund. I always like to see people get
out of jail.”
Founded in , the War Tax
Resistance now has more than 170 tax resistance centers in various parts of
the country. And in Manhattan, where they’ve been picketing the
office, they’ve attracted one clandestine ally, a young man who works for
but who opposes the war. Although he won’t give his name, he did tell me he
planned to help the War Tax Resistance people figure out other ways to keep
the government from collecting taxes.
If you’re interested in war protest through tax withholding, Calvert’s group
suggests that you deduct between $10 and $50 from your federal taxes this
year and send the difference to the People’s Life Fund, War Tax Resistance,
339 Lafayette Street, New York 10012 (telephone 477‒2970 or 777‒5560). The
government will eventually collect the money you withhold and charge you a
penalty fee for your action, but according to the
employee who is counseling War Tax Resistance, “the expense to collect the
tax that is not being paid is far greater than the additional penalty
imposed for the delinquent action.” That’s why the Tax Resistance people
suggest you withhold such a small sum.
The money will go to the beneficiaries of the People’s Life Fund on
, when the People’s Coalition for
Peace and Justice will lead a demonstration to Wall Street to protest both
the war and unemployment.
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