Couple Refuse To Pay Share Of Tax For War
Philadelphia, (AP) — A Philadelphia lawyer and his wife notified the internal revenue department they would refuse to pay 34.6 per cent of their income tax which “was used for preparation for war.”
The couple — Walter C. Longstreth and his wife, Emily — wrote “true patriotism requires a citizen to protest as strongly as he can peaceably, when his country adopts a course that is leading to degradation and destruction.”
Lawyer Longstreth said in his letter: “In the Nuremberg trials, the U.S. maintained the principle that a citizen of Germany should refuse to obey his Government when his Government ordered him to do an evil act. That principle is equally valid for the citizens of the U.S. including myself.”
The couple said 34.6 per cent of their income tax “was used for preparation for war.”
Both said they were donating the portion of their income tax which they refuse to pay to the American Friends Service Committee, the Navajo Indians and for other relief and constructive purposes.
Remember the Doukhobors? That group of Russian Christian anarcho-pacifist iconoclasts that were forced into exile in the late nineteenth century? Leo Tolstoy championed their case, and with the help of British Quakers, their community migrated to exile in Canada.
Well, they had a bit of trouble accomodating themselves to the Canadian regime too, as this news item (from The Montreal Gazette, ) shows:
Won’t Pay School Taxes.
Education Begets Evil in Children, Say the Doukhobors.
Langham, Sask., . — The Doukhobors have flatly refused to pay school taxes on their lands, saying that, as they have always refused to have their children educated, lest they learn evil things, they will not pay money for school purposes. The authorities here are puzzled themselves to know how to get the tax from them. The Doukhobors have very thoughtfully lost no time in taking their crops from the land within the Langham school district.
To the Editor of The Vote.
Dear Madam,— It is with great satisfaction that I learned the other day that the Women’s Freedom League, while abandoning active militant action at this time of national crisis, was still maintaining its constitutional action of tax resistance. One of the more subtle evils of a time of war is that the nation may grow to acquiesce quietly in unnecessary encroachments on civil liberty, from fear of embarassing those in authority on whom the immediate integrity of the nation depends. If, however, civil rights have been unthinkingly relinquished, rehabilitation is increasingly difficult when peace is again restored. Therefore, though we may cheerfully waive our individual rights as citizens, and bow to exigencies of martial law when called upon to do so, yet it is of extreme importance that we should not lose sight of the great constitutional principles on which our liberties are based. Tax resistance is a means of asserting calmly and firmly the existence and ultimate authority of these principles. At such a time as this it is true that our country needs all that her sons and daughters can give, both of money and service, but not now, any more than before war was declared, can we trust an unrepresentative Government to use its revenues in the best interests of the whole nation. I would, therefore, suggest that every tax resister should contribute the sum she owes to the Government to a National Fund of her own choosing, and should send her donation as “Taxes withheld from the Government by a voteless woman.”
A Persistent Tax Resister.
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- How you can resist funding the government → the tax resistance movement → birth of the modern American war tax resistance movement → Emily & Walter Longstreth
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- Some historical and global examples of tax resistance → Canada / Doukhobors in 1906
- Some historical and global examples of tax resistance → women’s suffrage movements → British women’s suffrage movement
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