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.