“99 Tactics” Is “Stimulating and Rewarding… a Bargain”

The latest Friends Journal has a more in-depth review of 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns than the brief mention in their pages . The reviewer is Tom Head, a professor of economics at George Fox University. Excerpts:

David Gross has put together a helpful compendium of tax resistance tactics. It is a work that I found stimulating and rewarding to read.

From here he digresses into a discussion about the tension he feels between being a conscientious objector to much of what the federal government does in its budget, and yet feeling supportive of a strong public sector in the abstract and seeing the federal budget as an imperfect incarnation of this.

And so as I read Gross’s book, I find myself in this tension: I do like to pay taxes. A free, virtuous, and flourishing society depends upon a measure of cooperative public activity, and we should support that. And yet I do not like to pay taxes that actually undermine a free and just society, those that fuel the destruction of civilization. Sorting out which is which is an important dialogue. This book only indirectly treats that larger moral question, but what it does do very well is catalog methods for removing the support of injustice and destruction. How and when to use these tactics will depend very much on our deeper individual and collective discernment, but I found that even this catalog of action stimulates and informs the larger search for truth.

Gross speaks to all forms of tax resistance. He studies tax resistance around the world and throughout history. His primary topics are war and militarism, but he also addresses tax resistance focused on other concerns — persecution of the women’s suffrage movement, racism, colonialism, and other forms of oppression and intimidation. There is considerable attention given to Quakers, but we read also about the Amish, the Mennonites, and other religious groups. Inspiration and insight come from examining Roman-occupied Judaea, Gandhian nonviolence and the Indian independence movement, women’s suffrage movements in Great Britain and the United States, historical labor movements, poll tax resistance, the American Revolution and the Whiskey Rebellion, as well as the actions of contemporary war tax resisters.

…for less than $20 in print or less than $10 in electronic form, the book is a bargain for anyone wanting to do serious work on putting faith into practice in the area of tax resistance. This work and an earlier volume by Gross — American Quaker War Tax Resistance (Second Edition) — are both useful additions to the meetinghouse library.