War Tax Resister Julia “Butterfly” Hill

, the environmental activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill announced what has been billed as the single largest war tax resistance and redirection. I covered this on The Picket Line .

, Hill was interviewed on Matthew Fox’s “Spirit in Action” radio show. Here’s a partial transcript (from about 47 minutes into the show, if you’re looking for it in the audio):

JBH: My big project that I’m involved in right now is that last year I decided to become part of the War Tax Resistance movement…

In when the first bombs in the latest round of war in Iraq began to drop, and I was out in the streets, it hit me and I had a deep sense of sadness for how many of us were out in the streets — I was glad of that, but my sadness came from thinking about all the ways that we would then go back to our lives and contribute to the very same process we were out there trying to draw attention to.

And I saw very clearly that day that I could not pay that money to a government that would use it to murder, and would use it to subsidize corporations that don’t pay their part to society and rather steal from society, that would use that money to build yet more prisons for our young people and for communities of color, that would use that money for destroying this sacred earth we call home.

And I made the commitment that day that I was not going to give them that money even though I knew that there could be some large consequences as a result. So I went home and began the process of setting things up in my life to be willing to take on that challenge, and last year became part of the war tax resistance movement.

From what I understand it’s the single largest war tax resistance that’s ever been done.

MF: Really? Hasn’t made the media that much.

JBH: No… It’s made it a teeny bit, but they’re not really interested in encouraging people to realize that they can take a stand in that way. [Laughter]

MF: I’m not saying that I’m surprised that it hasn’t made the media I’m just pointing out that I haven’t seen it in there. That’s very interesting.

JBH: So… it’s a profound movement. If people want to find out more they can go to warresisters.org

MF: warresisters.org

JBH: And there’s numerous sites out there around this issue, but that’s a great one… As with the tree sit, I climbed into a very long and powerful tradition, and got notoriety for that step but would not have been able to do what I did in that tree if it wasn’t a powerful movement already in place, and the same thing with war resisters: phenomenal people who have been taking this stand for many years — saying that they will not give their money to death machines…

So I made the commitment and I told people — I am actually paying my taxes, I’m just paying them where they belong because our government refuses to do so. I believe that nonprofits only exist because our government refuses to uphold its responsibility to care for the earth and to care for its citizens. And that’s the only reason we need nonprofits — we wouldn’t even need them if our government was truly representing the people and the planet. Because it doesn’t, we need nonprofits to do the work of our government. And so I donated that money to nonprofits who are doing phenomenal work in our world.

And that’s a big challenge to take on because now it’s dealing with the IRS, which is not a fun thing to have to deal with. And yet it feels so good to know that that money went to help the earth and the people on it instead of going to hurt it…

Hill has a blog, on which she wrote recently:

[W]e are seeing an unraveling of the myths created by the current Bush-led administration. Unfortunately as easy as it is for many of us to say, “We knew this all along,” the reality of these myths being perpetuated through US government and media culture come with a horrific price tag for people the world over. Innocent people in Iraq and those US citizens who are serving the US there as an occupying force, are dying, being maimed, and tortured. I do not believe there is a moral pedestal for any of us in the US to stand on. There are too many ways we all accidentally or knowingly participate in this injustice that supports its existence, including in our inactions. It is too easy a trap to fall into, to separate our selves from people like Bush, the media, and this current administration, and claim a moral stand merely by means of verbal disassociation. So many of our actions, and inactions, fuel the very same imperialism we deplore. This is our country. And this is our world. This is our global family, and our family is suffering tremendously right now. The current state of the world is a powerful and poignant call to action for each and every one of us.


Over at The Whiskey Bar, Billmon reports about Mary L. Walker, who headed the team of lawyers that authored the report I discussed yesterday — the one saying that torture, even murderous torture, isn’t illegal if the president says it’s important.

Ms Walker, apparently, has a strongly-rooted Christian faith:

  • “When God is the center of your life and everything you do revolves around His plans for you and the world, then that is when life really gets exciting.”
  • “It’s a travesty to be in a place of strategic importance to the world as a business or political leader and not allow God to accomplish the truly significant through you.”
  • “Making moral decisions in the workplace where it is easy to go along and get along takes courage. It takes moral strength and courage to say, ‘I’m not going to do this because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do.’ I don’t believe I would have the courage to live that way if I was not personally connected to the God of the universe.”


And, from the growing Adventures in “Sovereignty” file — this report from today’s Guardian: “Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia leader whose militiamen have been fighting the US occupation forces in several Iraqi cities, was banned yesterday from standing in Iraq’s forthcoming democratic elections.” Banned by who? U.S. democracy chaperone Paul Bremer, that’s who.

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