Jodie Evans Talks Tax Resistance on KPFK

Jodie Evans of Code Pink was on KPFK a week ago, talking up the Don’t Buy Bush’s War campaign. (Here’s an MP3 of the show — the Evans segment starts at about 22 minutes in, and she starts talking about the campaign at about 34 minutes in.)

In all, good stuff. But some of the message needs work — particularly the part about how war tax resistance isn’t as risky as many people believe it to be. This message wasn’t delivered in a particularly convincing way, and it used some dubious factoids. Evans said (I’m paraphrasing from memory) that nobody gets put in jail anymore for war tax resistance like they did in because they’ve changed the laws since then. The radio host read another factoid from the campaign’s web site that reads only one war tax resister has been prosecuted, and he was sentenced to 8 hours per week of community service.”

Neither of those statements is accurate. In fact, there were very few war tax resistance prosecutions during as far as I know, but there have been four people who have done time for tax resistance , and at least ten .

It is very rare, though. And typically you have to really want to go to jail — stubbornly refusing many opportunities to cooperate — before they finally throw the book at you. A war tax resister isn’t at all likely to suddenly be handcuffed and tossed in the back of a paddy wagon without warning.

We have the facts on our side here, but our message has to be credible and clear and convincing, and in this it can’t hurt to be accurate.

When , there were 341 signers of the on-line version of the “Don’t Buy Bush’s War” pledge (Code Pink claims more than a thousand other off-line pledgers). By the end of that number had jumped to 583.

Here are what some of them wrote as they joined the campaign:

The Iraq War is an insult to our intelligence. A cowboy solution; when butter would have been better than guns.
Frank Gehry, Santa Monica, California
A brilliant idea! When our children and grandchildren ask what we did to stop the insanity, I must be able to say that I did this much and more. I never stopped trying. My conscience will allow no other. Withholding 28% of our federal income taxes is the percentage that the AFSC (Quakers) say goes toward current military and defense spending i.e. war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Love ya, Code Pink!
Mary Francis, Norman, Oklahoma
I attended Eastern Mennonite College, Harrisonburg, VA during the Vietnam War. It was understood and accepted that part of opposing the War was to resist paying taxes to support the War.
Ruthe Rugh, Bothell, Washington
I am responsible for illegal acts of this so-called ‘War on Terror’ if I pay for them.
Carolyn Israel, Santa Cruz, California
The war machine can’t run without our money.
Wendy Hershey, Oakland, California
This may be the only way to force this administration to realize that it should represent the will of the people. I am strongly for it.
Claire Simpson, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Have been withholding .
Yaney MacIver
No one is listening… but money talks. So let’s withhold our taxes until the bloodshed ends.
Phyllis Townley, New York, New York
I will only fund Peace with my money.
Zack Harrison, Durango, Colorado
I have been withholding war tax money .
Wind Vogel, Woodside, New York
My accountant and financial advisor are not going to like this, but I pledge to join with 99,999 other American citizens and not pay taxes for war.
Kathy Stroud, Ann Arbor, Michigan
It’s about time!
Kitty Hartford, Boothbay, Maine
I have marched, held signs on street corners, made phone calls, sent emails, and been arrested in the lobby of the Federal Building in Chicago for protesting the war (found "Not Guilty" based on 1st amendment rights!). None of this has ended the war. I’m ready to withhold a portion of my taxes.
Friend Bernstein, Highland Park, Illinois
I have led a pretty law-abiding life of over 60 years. But I cannot support imperialist war-mongers who have put a thirst for money and power over human rights and peace.
Jo Sippie-Gora, Kinnelon, New Jersey
In , one of our Washington State Senators, Maria Cantwell informed us (a small group of peacemakers) that would be a year of transition out of Iraq. When asked, what if it turns out that that is not the case, she told us that they, democrats in the Congress, would then utilize their power of the purse and cut the funding for the war. We have stood in front of the Federal building in Seattle every Tuesday . Besides our presence, we provide (MFSO — military families speak out) post cards, addressed to both Senators Cantwell and Patty Murray’s offices which state ‘Support our Troops! De-fund the War!’ We have hand deliver the majority of them (a few thousand) by people passing by who have taken the time fill out and/or sign. Yes, we can no longer wait for our representatives to take action, now is the time for citizens against this misbegotten war, to gather their courage, and together take this unfortunate, but very necessary next step.
Joseph Colgan, Kent, Washington
I started withholding a ‘military’ portion of my taxes as soon as the war was declared. It will be nice to have company in this action.
Nicki Hansen-Dix, Grass Valley, California
The war must end now, no more innocents should die. I will stand behind this pledge, and work towards a new world way of peace.
Valerie Burkman, Menahga, Minnesota
The only way to stop this administration is to pull the plug on the money.
anonymous, Bozeman, Montana
What I’ve been waiting for .
Nan Barnard-Jorgensen, Pacific Grove, California
What must we do to end this? No more business as usual. We have to stop funding the wars of the super rich.
Erin Genia, Olympia, Washington
I have withheld a portion of my taxes . Thanks for doing this. Stopping the money will stop the war.
Vickie Aldrich, Las Cruces, New Mexico
This is a necessary action. May one million quickly join the pledge and millions more after that. Blessings.
anonymous, Wilton, New Hampshire
No taxation without true representation.
Marcia Bailey, South Saint Paul, Minnesota
I want to do this, in fact I already have in a way by not mailing in one of my (large) quarterly payments. However, I want to know who decides what the percentage is that you talk about and where is the letter that we’re supposed to send to the IRS? Also I think you should be a little more up front and tell people how much they may expect to pay in fines. This is not a simple protest and your members should be given more info. The only reason I’m signing is because I have already talked to my accountant, but even so I am aware that I might be opening a whole can of worms and my business may be audited which would be a lot of bother. So you should really give out more info to people so they can make an informed decision. I can assure you that this is not something I would ask a friend to do. It is risky. If you get your 100,000 (which I don’t think is enough to make an impression of this administration) please let me know.
Ranney Moss, Sedona, Arizona
This petition would warm the cockles of the founding fathers (and mothers) hearts. Thank you, everyone, who has signed this petition. In doing so, you are striking a blow for freedom from tyranny.
Claire CdeBaca, Bellingham, Washington
We need more Americans to realize that they are associated with violence, cruelty, insensitivity and inequity, in Iraq and elsewhere around the globe every day, and then we will be angry and shamed enough to stop it. I do not want the world to hate me because of my government’s practices.
Anais Tuepker, Portland, Oregon
No killing in my name. No arms sales to Israel in my name. No torture in my name.
Mazda Riazi, Huntington, New York
In my lifetime — I was born during a war and been through about 5 more wars and now this one — looks like I will die during a war. I and my country are destroyed by this, I do not want to fund it.
Mary Atkins, San Leandro, California
Why we aren’t all taking this stand, I have no idea.
anonymous, Hisega, South Dakota
I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this shit, anymore.
Roger Wood, Rochester, New York
As a matter of religious freedom of conscience, I choose not to participate in war-making but rather peace-making.
Eli Sasaran McCarthy
Bombing Iran is pure evil. I will not participate in such an atrocity.
Julie Morgan, Roseville, California
The USA is a bully and I will not support any more military spending.
Amejo Amyot, Saratoga Springs, New York
We must come to our senses, so I urge all not to support this present government administration.
Eric Rechel, Grand Junction, Colorado
Yes, this is just what we need.
John G. Root, Jr., Great Barrington, Massachusetts
We must stand up against this war, if even our Congress will not.
Laura Carlson, Tuscon, Arizona
It is now obvious that the only way we can stop the war is to do it ourselves.
Todd Brooks, Davenport, Iowa
Why wait for others? Begin now! I haven’t paid war taxes for and so far my life has not suffered for that commitment.
anonymous, Bolinas, California
While I am more than willing to pay taxes for education, the environment, social services, libraries, parks, transportation, et al, I am not willing to spend my money on killing other people and destroying our environment which is the consequence of war.
Kathleen Jackson, San Anselmo, California
This is a splendid idea. I hope it catches on like wildfire. Keep up the good work.
Robert Elliott, Las Vegas, Nevada