Left/Right/Libertarian Anti-War Coalition Meets

While I wasn’t paying attention the Conservative Political Action Conference met, nominated anti-war Republican Ron Paul as their preferred president in their straw poll, and held a panel on “Why Real Conservatives Are Against The War on Terror” that attracted 300 conferees.

But though the conservative tent has apparently grown big enough to cover the long-neglected anti-war, isolationist tendency, anti-war conservatives (like anti-war liberals) don’t really have a party to call their own, so if they want to make things happen, they have to step outside the tent.

Which they have: and who did they find outside that tent but some anti-war liberals and anti-war libertarians extending their hands in greeting.

Three dozen anti-war activists were there, ranging from progressives like Ralph Nader, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Sam Smith, Kevin Zeese, Bill Greider, Paul Buhle, Robert Dreyfuss, and Glen Ford; to libertarians like Dennis Lane and Jesse Walker; to conservatives like Doug Bandow, David R. Henderson, Kara Hopkins, William S. Lind, and George D. O’Neill. (I don’t have a complete list, so I’m just piecing this together from the bits and pieces of news about the conference I’ve been able to find on-line.)

Their goal was to build an anti-war coalition based on what they had in common: to put ideological differences aside and to talk about tactical coordination towards the common goal of a post-militarist America.

Here’s a take on the conference from Sam Smith of the Progressive Review, here’s a shorter note from Jesse Walker of Reason, and here is Kevin Zeese’s contribution to the discussion.

In , the residents of Guntur jumped the gun, and, disregarding Gandhi’s pleas to wait, launched a tax resistance campaign on their own.

Gandhi Urged Calm Should He Be Seized

Ghose Asserts Civil Mass Disobedience Has Begun — Natives Not Paying Taxes.

While at Ahmedabad, Mohandas K. Gandhi, writing in the newspaper New India, said that if he were arrested the people should remain unmoved. He asked that they fulfill the whole constructive program framed at Bardoli “with clockwork regularity and speed like the Punjab express.”

An appeal to the public to remain calm, “as we shall show no regard for Gandhi either by observing a hartal or going mad,” was issued today by the Congress committee. The committee requests that the natives refrain from invoking a hartal and maintain “a peaceful, cordial attitude toward all.”

Special to The New York Times

Sailendra N. Ghose, director of the American Commission to Promote Self-Government in India, said that reports he had received from India showed that although Gandhi, the non-co-operation leader, who had just been arrested, had deferred civil mass disobedience, the Nationalists in several districts had refused to pay taxes, and in others individual land owners had taken the same course.

Mr. Ghose gave to the press, as typical of the prevailing conditions, the following report from the Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee for the District of Guntur:

“The nonpayment of taxes is very encouraging. The revenue collected from Bapatla Taluk (taluk means a district somewhat similar to a township in this country) is 1,400 rupees against 200,000 (normal) in the first remittance; in Narsaravupet Taluk, 1,100 against 150,000; in Sattenapalli Taluk, 1,500 against 150,000; in Rapallo Taluk, 2,000 against 200,000; in Tenali Taluk, 6,000 against 200,000.

“Other taluks are not lagging behind.

“Village officers’ resignations are briskly proceeding. Meetings are prohibited through Tenali Taluk. Workers are disobeying in batches. Developments are expected.”

In the rural sections of India, Mr. Ghose explained, taxes are imposed by the Government, not on individuals, but on communities, the annual levy averaging between 30 and 45 per cent. of the average gross production of the district over thirty-year periods. The head man of the village is held accountable for the tax by the Government, and he is supposed to recover from the villagers.

“The figures for Guntur district are cited as typical of what is going on in many parts of India,” Mr. Ghose said.

“Although Gandhi has deferred orders for mass civil disobedience, he has encouraged individual action. In many of the communities, however, mass action has been taken and in none of those districts has the tax collected this year exceeded 10 per cent. of normal, and in some cases, as is shown by the figures for Guntur, the ratio has been less than 2 per cent.

“To counteract this, the Government in some provinces has refused to allow village officers to resign, dismissing those who refuse to carry out their duties and thus depriving their heirs of their hereditary rights as village chiefs. The Madras Government has moved to amend the law to shorten the time necessary to carry out the provisions of the Revenue Recovery Act so that land or movable property may be brought to sale immediately on failure of tax payments. Trouble is certain where the police attempt to carry out the provisions for wholesale seizures of property.

A disclaimer paragraph follows that notes that Ghose “has been an active propagandist in Washington” who “announced early in , basing his statements on cable advices which he said he had received, that on the Nationalist leaders in India had proclaimed a republic which had a mobilized force of 1,400,000 men. This information proved to be incorrect. Subsequently Mr. Ghose announced that the Indian congress had declared against the Gandhi method of ‘civil disturbance’ and was about to begin active revolution. This also proved to be an error.”