The Nehemiah Center 6515 Bridge Ave. Cleveland, Ohio
(Near west side of Cleveland at West 65th and
Deconstruct War: Use tax dollars to construct peace
A mini-conference about cutting off war’s money supply and funding
life-affirming programs. Save the dates!
Hosted by Dorothy Day Peace Tax Fund, Cleveland Catholic Worker, the
Cleveland Nonviolence Network, and the National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC)
The program includes presentations about war tax resistance and redirecting
tax dollars to peace, stories of individual resistance, discussion about
consequences and effectiveness, strategizing about all of our work against
war and creating the world we hope to see.
NWTRCC is holding its business meeting in Cleveland on Sunday
morning, November 8 (open to all). Along with local activists, people from
around the country who refuse to pay for war will participate in the
Come for the whole weekend or one session
Registration Information will be available mid-summer .
For more information:
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 269‒7464
Wendy McElroy has been posting a lot of interesting stuff on
her site lately, including Ken
Knudson’s essay on The Contradiction and Tragedy of
Communist-Anarchism (in three parts, so far:
There’s lots of interesting food for thought in the essay, but, this being
The Picket Line, I’ll quote here an excerpt from part
Ⅲ about tax resistance:
There is but one effective way to rid ourselves of the oppressive power of
the state. It is not to shoot it to death; it is not to vote it to death; it
is not even to persuade it to death. It is rather to starve it to death.
Power feeds on its spoils, and dies when its victims refuse to be despoiled.
There is much truth in the well-known pacifist slogan, “Wars will cease when
people refuse to fight.” This slogan can be generalised to say that
“government will cease when people refuse to be governed.” As [Benjamin
Ricketson] Tucker put it, “There is not a tyrant in the civilised world
today who would not do anything in his power to precipitate a bloody
revolution rather than see himself confronted by any large fraction of his
subjects determined not to obey. An insurrection is easily quelled; but no
army is willing or able to train its guns on inoffensive people who do not
even gather in the streets but stay at home and stand back on their rights.”
Reading this, I wonder at two things: First, his matter-of-fact dismissal of
isolated tax resistance by comparing it to isolated draft resistance as a
“useless waste of resources.” What is more of a useless waste of resources
for the isolated draftee, I wonder? Putting up with the consequences of
defying the state and refusing to be drafted, or putting up with the
consequences of obeying the state and submitting to the draft? It doesn’t
seem so clear-cut to me at all.
Secondly, his insistence that if a fifth of Americans refused to pay their
taxes all hell would break loose. Maybe so. But I note that of the
most-refusable tax — the federal income tax — only about half of Americans
are going to owe any this year anyway, and there’s already something like a
15% tax evasion rate. Still the government stands. So I’m not sure his
confidence is well-placed. On the other hand, if 20% were to actively and
loudly refuse, as opposed to just being under-the-line or quietly evading,
that might have more of the effect he envisions.
I noted the case of James Stinson, who has decided to refuse
to pay his council tax (in the
U.K.) not from
any high-minded philosophical principle but simply because he’s sick of being
charged so much and getting so little in return.
A followup article gives an update on the consequent court case, in which he is facing fines and prison time for his stand:
“Someone has to stand up for what they believe in. I am prepared to go to
prison over this — I believe that prison is a holiday camp nowadays anyway.”
“My lawful reasons for not paying are few and far between. What I am doing
“However, I have a basic human right to afford to live and the crippling
council tax I have to pay infringes that right.
“I hope that what I am doing will make people consider what they are paying
in council tax and maybe they will start a petition or start protesting
“The increase in council tax has badly affected people in North East
Lincolnshire. I have not taken this action lightly.
“I consider it to be a harsh increase during a recession. It is not a time
when people should be demanding more money.
“It is a time when the council should look at ways of cutting costs.”