Tax resistance is one small but effective centuries-old way to help starve
the State and its gargantuan war machine. When done by a single individual,
it’s a way to protest coercion and act in accordance with your moral
principles. When done by the masses, it’s the most powerful anti-State
messages there is.
When a Las Vegas newspaper ran
article about the upcoming tax evasion trial of local resident Robert
Kahre, the piece drew dozens of comments from apparent sympathizers.
“IRS forcing a Federal Income Tax on a man’s wages is illegal,” wrote one.
“I have not filed in over 30 years,” another boasted.
A third suggested that people should “organize protests at the courthouse.”
Now, a federal grand jury has subpoenaed the names, phone numbers,
and other identifying information about every person who commented on the
original article, which appeared in the edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
News of the subpoena was first
reported last week by
one of the paper’s columnists, Thomas Mitchell.
“There was no indication what they were looking for or what crime, if any,
was being investigated, just a blanket subpoena for voluminous and detailed
records on every private citizen who dared to speak about a federal tax
case,” Mitchell wrote.
A new article about war tax resistance in Spain
shows how similar the situation is there to in the United States, in many
ways. The article begins by promoting the idea of war tax resistance and
redirection of a percentage of due taxes equal to the military budget to more
socially-responsible projects. It then tries to calculate that percentage,
complaining that the official figures understate the real expenses by about
Because along with NATO, military expenses
include veterans benefits, the national guard (included in the budget of the
Department of the Interior), and military
D, among others. If, in addition, we add the percent of the interest
on the national debt that corresponds to military expenses, in Spain by
the figure reached €18,609.60 million for
military spending. Even more, if we look closer still, this figure should
increase by approximately 15%, the usual variation between the initial
military budget and the eventual spending.…
For their organized redirection campaign, they have chosen
La’Onf, which is trying to
educate about, organize, and promote nonviolent conflict resolution strategies
and nonviolent resistance techniques in Iraq. They claim that last year, 874
participants redirected €85,253.86 in this way.
The comments in response to the article also seem very familiar. One
commenter argues that if you redirect your taxes there’s no reason to expect
that the government will lower military spending — if there’s a shortfall,
they’ll probably just cut social spending. Also, why are they refusing the
income tax, a progressive tax, instead of some regressive tax like the
value-added tax? Also, isn’t conscientious tax resistance a reactionary,
assertion of individual conscience over the public good? After all, couldn’t
right-wingers object to welfare benefits and patriotically redirect their
their taxes to the military using the same logic?
Everything seems familiar, though the accent is different. It’s a little
like landing in Barcelona and stopping in at a Starbucks.
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