Tax Resistance News from Tax Day 2018

Tax Day has come and gone… twice! — since the IRS had to extend it by a day at the last minute when their on-line payment system went down.

  • War tax resisters around the country dusted off their penny poll jars and protest signs and did what they could to remind people of the cruelty and destruction that results from their tax compliance.
  • Author Alice Walker (The Color Purple) wrote a poem for an anti-war march in Oakland, California, which reads in part:
    How do grownups
    Truly say No
    To War?

    By not paying for it.

    Some so-called grownups will harass you when
    You attempt to do this: Not Pay For War. But do not be discouraged.
    As your elder, it is my job to help you think
    Your way around this obstacle of taxes
    That have the blood of the children
    Of the world on them.
    The poem goes on to encourage an “I Don’t Need It” movement in which concerned people withdraw from the consumer economy. “We can stop war by not shopping our way through the bad news of it; as it creeps ever closer to our door. We can stop war by not funding it.”
  • The Freedom Highway show on Radio Kingston interviewed Gabe Roth from Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings about the song he wrote for the group: “What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?” and also interviewed war tax resister Daniel Woodham.
  • The School of Life has released a video summarizing the context and arguments of Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience.
  • WHMP’s Bill Newman Show features war tax resister Aaron Falbel (his segment starts about a half-hour into the show).
  • John Vibes gives his take on the thousands who refuse to pay war taxes, and give the money to charity instead.
  • Reason’s Brian Doherty gives a rundown of some of the more pettily infuriating uses of our taxes, and experiments with describing them in terms of how many American taxpayers had to pay taxes all year so that, for example, EPA head Scott Pruitt could install a soundproof booth in his office to take his phone calls in, or so that the New England Foundation for the Arts could put on a version of Hamlet performed by dogs.
  • In the Greek Orthodox Church, Tax Day, April 17th is also the feast of Saint Shimon bar Sabbae, who was martyred in for refusing to cooperate with the Persian shah’s attempt to extort taxes from the Christian community. Nicholas Sooy, at In Communion: Website of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, reflects on the tax resistance of Saint Shimon, and on tax resistance and conscientious objection in Christian history.
  • Sarah Vowell managed to put a meandering and mostly-pointless op-ed in the New York Times encouraging people to read their Thoreau on tax day, or something.

In other news…

  • The Italian group Addiopizzo organizes and promotes businesses that refuse to pay the pizzo protection money to the mafia. They’ve now extended this from brick-and-mortar businesses and recently announced an on-line Addiopizzo store. (Alas, when I tried to use it they didn’t have shipping options to the United States, but you might be luckier if you live somewhere in the European Union.) They encourage people to buy from non-mafia-tainted businesses as an action they call consumo critico (critical consumption) in order to make sure the profits from resistance exceed the risks.
  • Spanish war tax resisters created a video to showcase the little school (esquelita) they funded with redirected taxes. The school helps children in a neglected school district, has a food pantry, and also offers Spanish language instruction for immigrants.