Taliban Kill Twenty War Tax Refusers in Afghanistan

According to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (a journalism outlet created and sponsored by the U.S. government), Taliban forces in Afghanistan have killed twenty people and wounded ten others who refused to pay a “war tax” to that group. The report is slim on details, though another version sources the report to Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a “police spokesman” from Kunduz Province.

Ruth Benn of NWTRCC reacted to the news this way:

I am immediately reminded of what minimal risks I face (and most of us in the U.S.) with my own war tax resistance. I hope I would be strong enough to say no to militarism under those circumstances too, but it’s impossible for me to really imagine that moment for those 30. I am awed at their refusal, which does not lessen the sadness at such news for lives lost in the name of endless war and killing.

I believe war tax resistance can be a stronger force in opposition to war. If the government had to take more notice the risks would increase. It seems the least we in the U.S. can do to honor those unnamed civilians in Afghanistan is to find ways to strengthen our resistance and worry less about risks.

The press started paying attention to publicly-aired grievances about the proliferating toll gates in Wales (and about other things) once the Rebeccaites got their attention. From the Cambrian (excerpts):

Grievances of the Country.

On , a Meeting of the parishioners of Llanedy, near Pontardulais, Carmarthenshire, was held at the School-room attached to Llanedy Church, in pursuance of a written notice which had been issued and circulated among the parishioners some days previously, to take into consideration the various grievances which operated prejudicially upon the interests of the county generally, more especially so upon the agricultural interest in Wales.…

Grievances of various sorts were aired, including some about tithes and about the poor laws (both of which sometimes come up in the context of the Rebeccaite movement). The following excerpt concerns the tollgates in particular:

A long discussion then ensued upon the gate grievance. Our space will not allow us to give each speaker’s remark, but all greatly complained of the great number of gates, bars, &c., so much so that a man could scarcely go to his own farm without paying toll. They were willing to pay reasonable tolls, but thought that three or four gates placed within ten or twelve miles was quite unreasonable. They also maintained and hoped that land-lords and magistrates would see the reasonableness of the proposition, that lime and all kinds of manure should be exempted from toll.

A similar meeting of the parishioners of Llanon was held on , in the School-house, which was crowded to excess. After several persons had spoken, a series of resolutions were agreed to — copies of which were to be forwarded to the tithe-owner and landlords of the parish, and which were to the following effect:– The first calls upon the landlords and turnpike trustees to unite in doing away with the toll grievances, with the numerous side bars, &c. — to exempt all kinds of manure from toll — to reduce the toll on a load of coal drawn by a horse from 6d. to 3d., and to keep up only so many gates as will defray the expense of repairing the roads, and concludes by citing an instance of exorbitant toll, viz., from Llanon to Pontardulais, a distance of only six miles, where the full toll of 6d. is demanded three times for each cart drawn by one horse.… An objection is also made to the Treasurer’s account for last quarter, in which the expenses for the reerection of gates, and of watching them by night, are stated to be defrayed out of the county fund. The fifth resolution expresses the regret of the parishioners at the late outrages, but at the same time they state their firm conviction to be, that unless the landlords and tithe proprietors make a reduction in proportion to that in the agricultural market, the depredations will not terminate.