U.S. War Tax Resisters Plan Tax Day Protests

NWTRCC announces ’s crop of “tax day” actions:

Tax Day — Antiwar Protests, Public Demonstrations, and Individual Refusal to Pay for War

On thousands of people across the United States will be refusing to pay some or all of their federal income tax to protest U.S. wars and escalating military spending. These tax refusers, who see themselves as responsible citizens, want their money used for peaceful purposes and often give taxes to social programs instead.

, is the final day to file tax returns, and “war tax resisters” will be among those participating in events around the country to protest what they see as the skewed priorities of the U.S. government. Many hand out the pie chart produced by the War Resisters League, which calculates nearly 50% of federal income taxes pay for current or past wars.

Erica Weiland in Seattle, Washington, decided to refuse to pay for war in response to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our money and time are much better spent addressing the issues in the U.S. and around the world that cause wars in the first place,” she says. Groups in Seattle are organizing leafleting with federal budget information at area post offices.

John K. Stoner, a retired Mennonite minister in Akron, Pennsylvania, says, “I keep wondering why people who say they oppose war continue to pay for it without a whimper of protest.” He and others in his community have launched a campaign of symbolic protest called 1040 for Peace, to encourage U.S. taxpayers to express their opposition to U.S. military spending by refusing $10.40 of any taxes due, telling the government why, and giving that money to projects that promote peace or fund human needs.

War tax resistance has a long history in the U.S. and worldwide. The most famous case was Henry David Thoreau’s refusal of $1 for the Mexican-American War. He spent a night in jail for this act of resistance. Today’s resisters refuse to pay anything from $1 to thousands of dollars of federal income taxes, while risking collection from the Internal Revenue Service for their stand.

Patricia Tompkins, a farmer in Bakersville, North Carolina, speaks for many as she accepts the risks of confronting the IRS to stand up for her beliefs. “I made the decision to become a war tax resister in protest to our government’s policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan. For me, the essence of life is connection to the land and to each other, because without the first we cannot live and without the second we cannot be fully human.”

In St. Louis activists are taking their message to cut the military budget and fund human needs to Senator Roy Blunt’s office and announcing grants to humanitarian groups. In Milwaukee, the protest will be in front of the Federal Courthouse. Lincoln Rice, a Milwaukee organizer, says, “My war tax resistance is grounded in my Catholic Christian spirituality. I cannot in good conscience pay my federal income taxes and contribute to the harming my Muslim brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere.”

Individual resisters are available for interviews. Please contact NWTRCC if you need contacts in your area.

Please see the list of actions at http://www.nwtrcc.org/taxday2011.php. The list of events and contacts around the country can be found online at The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.

Around the middle of April as the federal income tax filing deadline approaches, tax resistance articles hit the media frequently. Here are some examples from past years:

“White House Picketed by Foes of Segregation, Taxes and Nerve Gas” New York Times
Reports on White House picketers featuring members of the Peacemakers, including war tax resister Max Sandin.
“Singer Again Refuses To Pay Her Income Tax” The Modesto Bee
Joan Baez sends a protest letter to the IRS instead of a check. Roy Kepler also quoted.
“No tax woes — he just doesn’t file” The [Spokane] Spokesman-Review
War tax resister Irwin Hogenauer hasn’t filed a tax return for 35 years. (don’t miss the ad below the article for a special on the Sony Walkman: only $89.00)
“When morals clash with Uncle Sam’s bill” Gainesville Sun
An op-ed piece by Horace G. Davis on personal entanglement with the military-industrial complex includes notes on Raymond Hunthausen and some of the publications of the war tax resistance movement.
“Tax resisters turn cash over to ‘common good’ ” Wilmington Morning Star
Clare Hanrahan is redirecting her taxes to a group that helps the homeless. “We’re not evading taxes. We’re redirecting them and putting them where they’ll do the most good, immediately.” Also quotes Karen Marysdaughter.
“Protesters oppose death, taxes” The Tuscaloosa News
Susan Quinlan, Larry Harper, and Bill Ramsey discuss war tax resistance.
“Protesting war, a few dollars at a time” St. Petersburg Times
Ruth Paine is the focus of this article. Ruth Benn and Mary Ann C. Holtz are also quoted.
“Outraged by war, tax resisters ignore filing deadline” The [Fredericksburg, Virginia] Free Lance-Star
Karl Meyer and Ruth Benn are quoted in this piece on the war tax resistance movement.