War Tax Resister Andrea Ayvazian

Andrea Ayvazian has a thoughtful essay on her thirty years of war tax resistance in the Hampshire Gazette. Here’s an excerpt:

Some have called war tax resistance a silent scream — a protest that no one hears or cares about. Some have pointed out that the government receives, in the end, more money than what was originally owed. Some have said it is an insignificant protest carried out by a small self-righteous few who do not prevent war from happening and are not making a difference.

Those are just a few of the objections I have heard over the years and all the criticisms have some merit.

But I continue. I remember the Quaker activist A.J. Muste who, during the Vietnam War, was vigiling alone in a cold November rain in front of the White House protesting the war when a reporter stopped and said, “Mr. Muste, do you really think you can change the world standing out here alone in the rain with a candle?” Mr. Muste quickly replied, “Oh I don’t do this to change the world. I do this so the world won’t change me.”

I am a war tax resister so the world won’t change me. But I have other motivations as well. I believe that when people act on their most deeply held values something in the universe shifts — even if it is imperceptible to the one taking the action. I have not stopped one war in 30 years. And I have probably not prevented one bullet from being produced. But I also have been a cog in the war machine system that just won’t mesh — a tiny cog, a small blip, a middle-aged woman with a form and a letter who says year after year after year: life is precious.

The PRI is out of power in Oaxaca and is toying with a populist tax resistance campaign to stir up some support for their party against the other ones, which came together into an alliance that held together long enough to take the governor’s mansion in the last election:

The PRI of the Oaxaca launches a campaign of the urban poor against the vehicle tax

The state treasury secretary, Gerardo Cajiga Estrada, declared that this tax pays for the debt left by Ulises Ruiz

by Óscar Rodríguez / Milenio correspondent

The urban poor of the PRI launched a campaign of tax resistance in order not to pay the vehicle tax.

The leader of the popular organizations, former deputy Jorge Toledo, announced that modules were installed in the principal public plazas and at least 10,000 stickers were distributed with the legend “No to the vehicle tax, yes to the defense of the people’s economy” in order to force the PANAL government of Gabano Cué [Monteagudo] to lower the tax burden.

They assert that they will defend up to the point of injunctions those citizens who suffer from liens imposed as well as judgments in order to prevent the impounding of vehicles, considering it unconstitutional that the police will impound them to stop the driver and remove the unit if the striker does not pay the corresponding tax.

“We are not in favor of the emplacement, what we are unhappy about is that the collection of the vehicle tax in Oaxaca is the most expensive in the country,” he said.

He said that if any of the activists at the head of the campaign were to be victims of persecution they will enforce their own law passed by the House of Representatives that safeguards human rights.

Toledo denied that the rebellion has a whiff of politics ahead of the elections of , but in any case the secretary of the Treasury, Gerardo Cajigo Estrada, refused to rescind the vehicle tax as it is enshrined as a tax that is approved every year.

He suggested that Oaxaca cannot give up collecting this tax because is is the only alternative to paying off the debts that the PRIist ex-governor, Ulises Ruiz, left in the past. “They themselves in the past approved the tax in order to cover the debt of their administrative complex.”