International Conscientious Objection Day

, honoring those who refuse to participate in their governments’ war-making institutions. It comes a couple of days before in the United States, and so conscientious objectors to military taxation are appropriately in the news:

  • The Pioneer Valley War Tax Resisters of Vermont are gathering to talk shop.

    “I want to live my values, which includes nonviolence,” said Lindsey Britt of Brattleboro. “Paying for destruction at home and abroad doesn’t fit into that, so I live more simply and refuse to pay a portion of my taxes.”

  • War tax resister Sue Barnhart has a letter-to-the-editor in the Eugene Weekly. Excerpt:

    I have been a war tax resister since the 1970s since I do not want my money supporting murder. The money I resist to the military I give to local groups that actually help people and the environment. Now I am also a war tax resister because I don’t want my money supporting the biggest contributor to the burning of our planet: the U.S. military.

  • War tax resisters Lincoln Rice and Robin Brookes are hosting a discussion group at the upcoming World Beyond War #NoWar2021 conference on : “War Tax Resistance: Tax resistance to paying for the military began hundreds of years ago and continues to this day. Let’s talk about the practicality and efficacy of refusing to pay for war.”

In other news:

  • People in Myanmar are standing up to the military junta there by refusing to pay taxes and government-monopoly utility bills.

    “I’ve decided I won’t pay any tax to the dictators, and that includes electricity. If police and soldiers ask me, I’ll just tell them I don’t have any money. I don’t care if they cut off the power to my house,” the resident of Yangon’s North Dagon Township told Frontier. “Most people in my ward who I’ve spoken to say they’re not going to pay either.”

    The Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar apparently has a lot of support from within the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, which may make things easier on resisters.

    Ko Aung Thu, who lives in the Shwe Lin Ban area of the highly industrialised township, said he had received a bill for but had no intention of paying.

    “They killed people right here, in this township,” he said, referring to the security forces’ massacre of more than 50 people on . “Why should I pay money to a bunch of murderers? I won’t pay any taxes. If we pay taxes, we’re just supporting murderers.”

    A hotel owner in nearby Bagan said he wouldn’t pay either and he expected many others would also refuse.

    “I just heard today about how the state lottery isn’t able to run because so few people bought tickets. I think most people won’t pay their electricity bills, either,” he said. “We won’t support the dictator… the income from electricity charges is huge and they won’t be able to survive without that money.”

  • In this year’s Lambeth Readers and Writers Festival, author Simon Hannah hosted an online talk called “Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay: The Fight to Stop the Poll Tax.”
  • U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is spearheading a Democratic Party effort to expand and further empower the IRS. “I have proposed nearly doubling the funding for the IRS but also making a chunk of their funding mandatory and targeted toward high-income individuals and corporations.”
  • But right now, one of the things that’s disempowering the agency is… poorly-maintained office equipment.

    During site visits to two processing centers, management estimated that 42 percent of 164 devices used by the submission processing functions are unusable and others are broken but still functioning. “IRS employees stated that the only reason they could not use many of these devices is because they are out of ink or because the waste cartridge container is full,” it said.

    The report added: “The lack of working printers and copiers affects many different areas of the IRS but has an especially significant effect on the return and income verification services functions” where employees must make copies of tax returns to fulfill requests for tax documents from taxpayers and other institutions. At one center, though, only three of the 10 devices were working.

  • The human war on traffic ticket robot cameras continues, with the robots taking casualties in Guadeloupe and France and in Italy in recent weeks.