Tax Day is Coming Up, and So Is the NWTRCC National Gathering

(the day when income tax returns are due in the United States) is coming up, and war tax resisters around the country are planning their outreach and protest activities. Check NWTRCC’s list of Tax Day actions to find one in your area.

Also: the next biannual NWTRCC National Gathering will be held in Los Angeles. It’s a great opportunity for new resisters or people curious about resistance to hear from the experiences of people who have been resisting for decades.

I’ll be there and will introduce a workshop on Quaker war tax resistance by giving an overview of the history of war tax resistance in the Society of Friends, before turning things over to the Christians to discuss among themselves how war tax resistance fits into modern Christian practice.

If you think you’re ready to really #resist, you might want to hit the books first. A good place to start might be the recently-released Basics of Resistance, cowritten by Claire Wolfe and Kit Perez.

Billed as book #1 of a promised upcoming series of “Practical Freedomista” books, Basics of Resistance gives a birds’-eye overview of the practicalities of resistance activities. It covers lessons from past resisters, with an eye to bringing them up to date so they remain relevant in an era of ubiquitous networked government surveillance and modern internet-fueled people power.

Freedom needs fighters. But it also needs people who can perpetrate a damn good joke at a tyrant’s expense, then slink away into the night. It needs tricksters who are willing to throw a monkeywrench into the system. It needs communicators who use unconventional techniques to change hearts and minds. It needs Robin Hoods who remind ordinary folks that someone clever and daring is on their side.

Freedom needs dedicated people who can see past instant gratification or personal validation in favor of making a difference that could echo for generations. The activities those dedicated souls pursue are boundless and varied. All come under the heading of resistance.

This book is for you if you’ve realized that polite political action is not enough. You want to do more. You want to be more than just somebody who grouses about the present and hopes for change.

As the emphasis on “freedom” suggests, the authors represent the libertarian wing of the #resistance, and so some of their rhetoric and of their activism bailiwick will probably not appeal to people of a more leftish or government-tolerant bent. But their practical advice about resistance, which is the main focus of the book, will be useful to people anywhere on the political spectrum, and the authors are ecumenical in the examples they draw on and the predecessors they consult. “Whether or not we agree with the politics or methods of other resisters,” the authors write, “we can learn from their successes and failures.” So immigrant rights activists and the Animal Liberation Front appear side-by-side with foes of Planned Parenthood and paleoconservative anti-tax crusader Vivien Kellems in some of the real-world examples the book illustrates, and the authors aren’t ashamed to recommend left-winger Saul Alinksy’s Rules for Radicals as required reading.

If you’re interested in upping the ante of your activism, this book will help you consider how to lay the groundwork for taking that next step.