Singer Loses War Tax Hassle, Opens School for Nonviolence
The origin of [Joan Baez’s Institute for the Study of Nonviolence] can be traced to a running feud with the United States treasury department over the refusal of Miss Baez to pay a portion of her income tax. She decided she wouldn’t pay taxes to support wars and that the portion of the federal budget that goes for defense would be deducted, proportionately, from the amount she owed.
Uncle Sam disagreed with this notion, and Miss Baez backed down when the internal revenue department threatened to place a lien against her property and income. This got her to thinking she ought to do something more constructive with her money, and the idea of a special school for nonviolence grew out of conversations with [Ira] Sandperl, a close friend who was formerly a teacher.
I remember reading a send-up of the Institute in a collection of Joan Didion’s essays. It was condescending and snarky and still kind of managed to make the project sound appealing.