War Tax Resister Julia “Butterfly” Hill

The latest NWTRCC newsletter has an interview with Julia “Butterfly” Hill. Excerpts:

I’ve told people from the very beginning that WTR is doing civil disobedience every single day. In this country we seem addicted to what I call “The One Hit Wonder.” We go for one big day of direct action and then get frustrated when the media doesn’t give the action much airplay. Every action for justice is an important step to take, and there’s something powerful about taking one step after the other. To me WTR is that: A commitment. It’s like my two years and eight days in a tree. I called that my “ground fast,” because I was away from the ground for that long. Every choice that is about an everyday commitment is a powerful choice to make.

I chose to take this stand while marching in the financial district in San Francisco right in [against the Iraq War]. I helped shut down the financial district, the federal building, and three different intersections. I was out in the streets exercising my responsibilities as a citizen to ask for some accountability of my government. And it really hit me: How many people are going to go back to their lives and contribute to the very same thing they are out here protesting today? How many people drove here, one or two people per car to protest a war for oil? This was at the time I had found out I had this money available to me because of a lawsuit settlement. (It’s not like I’m able to earn that much per year!) I found out the government wanted to take 32% of it. I tried to find ways to keep it from them and lawyers said, “You have to pay them; just be thankful for this other money you have to work with in the world.” I really struggled with that. And then that day in the financial district I didn’t struggle anymore. I said to myself there is no way I can give that money to the very same thing I am out here protesting against.

(For more on Julia “Butterfly” Hill’s tax resistance, see The Picket Line , , and .)

“Paying for the murder of innocent people with my tax dollars is something that I cannot do in good conscience.” ―Julia “Butterfly” Hill

Activist and war tax resister Kathy Kelly was interviewed by The 40-Year Plan. Excerpt:

How long do you figure it will be before we will see the Bush administration charged with war crimes?

I don’t think about that too much. I don’t want to take a route that says the responsibility should be pinned on this bad guy or this bad girl. I think we need all of us to look in the mirror. There is shared, joint responsibility for the cruelty and suffering that’s imposed on other people because of collaboration by the population of the United States.

They don’t go out and hold bake sales to raise the money for their weapons systems. The one thing they want from us is the one thing we can control, and that is money. So we have that on our hands. How many of us turn over our income, our wealth, and our productivity to people whom we know are using it to commit criminal acts, atrocious acts against other people?

“It was one of the simplest decisions I’ve ever made, and one of the easiest decisions to maintain. I can’t imagine ever changing my mind.” ―Kathy Kelly

The Scotsman has a profile of princess Sophia Alexandria Duleep Singh, a British suffragette and tax resister.

It was as a tax resister… that Sophia Duleep Singh, the sole Indian member of the WTRL, made her greatest impression. Taking her stand on the principle that taxation without representation was tyranny, she registered her defiance on several occasions. Refusal to pay taxes and fines levied could lead to goods being impounded by the bailiffs under “distraint” and sold by public auction to recover sums due. In , at Spelthorne petty sessions, her refusal to pay licences for her five dogs, carriage and manservant led to a fine of £3. In , against arrears of 6s in rates, she had a seven-stone diamond ring impounded and auctioned at Ashford for £10. The ring was bought by a member of the WTRL and returned to her. In she was summoned again to Feltham police court for employing a male servant and keeping two dogs and a carriage without licence. Her refusal to pay a fine of £12 10s resulted in a pearl necklace, comprising 131 pearls, and a gold bangle studded with pearls and diamonds, being seized under distraint and auctioned at Twickenham town hall, both items being bought by members of the WTRL. Such actions were a means of achieving publicity. Her high-profile stand was thus significant, and an important contribution to women’s struggle before the First World War.

Charles Merrill of Edneyville, North Carolina has decided that because the U.S. government is denying equal rights to gay married couples and perpetrating the war in Iraq that he’s going to stop paying them.

This intrigued someone at the New York Post, and they’ve put out a request to interview other gay tax resisters in New York City who are resisting in protest of the government’s anti-gay policies.

A San Francisco bay area group calling itself “Compact” has vowed not to buy anything new in except for food and a few other exceptions.

Compacters can get as much as they want from thrift shops, Craigslist, freecycle.org, eBay and flea markets, as long as the items are secondhand.…

One especially appealing aspect of the Compact is its social component, members say. Fellow Compacters offer advice, moral support, help locating needed items and partners for thrift-store runs.