Paul Rockwell looks at The Role of Boycotts in the Fight for Peace:
Boycotts have often changed the world. The American Revolution began with the Boston Tea Party. The non-violent movement that brought down the British Empire included Gandhi’s boycott against British textiles. The Montgomery bus boycott launched the civil rights movement. The United Farm Workers in the U.S., led by Cesar Chavez, were unionized through laborious national boycotts of lettuce and grapes. And of course, the international boycott of South Africa played a vital role in bringing down the system of apartheid.
But strangely, Mr. Rockwell restricts himself to talking about boycotts of U.S.-based companies, particularly those with government contracts in Iraq. Boycotting the U.S. itself, through tax resistance by its subjects, seems to be off the peace movement’s radar.
This surprises me. Why is the war tax resistance movement so sluggish and invisible? One war tax resister writes: “A few weeks ago I stumbled on a poster for this year’s war tax conference and was shocked to find out it was nearby, in suburban Philadelphia. I asked other war tax resisters I knew and none of them had heard of it. Granted we’ve all drifted away from the network (primarily out of frustration) but I probably would have gone if I hadn’t already made plans for the weekend.
“Just a few hours of googling and phone calls could have reached out to the disillusioned supporters. And there’s a dozen people who could have made the calls… Weird. This is a large part of the reason I drifted away from the organized war tax movement — I just don’t think it’s serious about wanting to succeed.”
The “latest news” on the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee web site is four months old. That organization’s semiannual conference was , and if any decisions were made or campaigns launched I haven’t heard about it (and I’ve got my ears up for tax resistance news more than your average Joe). I don’t get it.
I’m fairly new at this game. Maybe when I’ve been doing tax resistance and tax resistance advocacy for a decade and still haven’t made much headway, I’ll become resigned to my irrelevance and learn to be satisfied with noble failure. Until that psychological shift takes hold, though, I’m just baffled, frustrated, a little angry, and eager to try some new and more vigorous approaches.