War Tax Resistance in the Friends Journal in 1995

War tax resistance in the Friends Journal in

There were scattered mentions of war tax resistance in the Friends Journal in .

Carole Depp noted in passing in a issue that “[m]y husband chose to retire early two years ago so that we could live on less than a taxable income in order to avoid paying for our government’s violence and militarism.”

At a “Quaker Farmers Gathering” in , one participant addressed the question of “Quakerism and farming: How do they come together in our lives?” with the answer “Farming is my way of tax resisting. I paid only $36 in taxes last year.” (This according to a report on the gathering in the issue.)

The issue had a couple of brief notes about war tax resistance:

  • As the deadline for filing U.S. income taxes approaches, the Peace Taxpayers would like everyone to consider the following no- or low-risk actions:
    Living on less than a taxable income:
    no income taxes will be used for paying for war, and moving toward lower personal consumption practices has the additional advantage of using less energy and limited resources.
    Living on a non-taxable income:
    a fortunate minority have sufficient capital to invest in non-taxable, socially useful financial investments to avoid tax laws entirely, and they can use their time, talent, and energy to serve others.
    Contacting Congress:
    taxpayers have the power of their vote and can write, call, or visit their Congressional representatives until Congress changes the tax law to conform with the Constitution.
    Telephone tax:
    redirecting the federal excise tax on communications is a popular, easy, and low-risk way to put tax dollars to work for peace instead of war.
    Redirecting dollars from your federal income tax bill:
    federal taxpayers have control over some or all of their income and can choose to redirect a portion of their tax bill toward non-military, life-affirming purposes. This method provides a wide range of choices and can be best understood by contacting an experienced peace tax counselor. The Peace Taxpayers can help devise individual peace taxpaying programs.
    Continuing education:
    “The Peace Taxpayers organization maintains that the U.S. Congress has violated the highest laws of the United States by enacting a tax code which makes all income taxpayers supporters of war and preparations for war… Even though Congress has recognized the rights of conscience and made alternative service provisions in military draft law, it has not yet done so in the tax code. There is no logic in allowing a person to proclaim peace and then force them to pay for war! The Peace Taxpayers invite all to participate in its quest for paying taxes for peace on Earth.” Taxpayers can participate in the ongoing self-education and outreach programs of The Peace Taxpayers by subscribing to the organization’s newsletter… or by becoming a member.…
  • “Penny Rolls” [sic] are a way of involving the U.S. public in a consciousness-raising exercise on how tax dollars are spent, and how taxpayers would like them spent. Typically, activists stand outside the Post Office on Tax Day, and invite passers-by to take part in the poll. The volunteers hand each person ten pennies, representing the tax dollar, and ask them to distribute the pennies among several jars, each representing an area of government spending. The activists then show them how the government actually spends tax dollars (a pie chart is useful for this). The activists keep records, and announce the results of the “People’s Budget” after the poll.

    The people’s priorities are typically quite different from the government’s. Many people are amazed to see just how big a portion of their hard-earned money goes to pay for war, and how little for crucial areas like health, education, housing, and jobs. That’s a good time to hand them a petition or letter to sign, or suggest that they can take action in other ways.

In , Oliver Hydon was arrested in one of those symbolic trespassing style civil disobedience actions in the lobby of a military contractor. The court speech he gave in his defense was later reprinted in the Journal and included this remark:

[W]e are far from helpless. Mahatma Gandhi’s example of noncooperation is open to us all. I am determined not to pay a cent to the Pentagon, and so I refuse to pay any and all federal taxes, and give this money I owe directly to the people who need it.

In the issue, Anne Morrison Welsh penned a tribute to her husband Norman Morrison, who killed himself in a protest against the Vietnam War in (see ♇ ). She mentioned that before Morrison’s death, “[f]or several years we had been withholding whatever ‘war tax’ we owed from our IRS returns.”