Stop paying war taxes!!!
Stop funding terrorists and drain Dubya's bank account!
War Tax Resistance
A Powerful Tool For Radical Social Change
Tax resistance has a long history as a means for grass roots movements to bring about social and political change. In the 20th Century alone, tax resistance was a vital part of Mohandas Gandhi's campaigns for Indian independence from Britain; Hungarian independence struggles against Austria and later the Soviet Union; resistance in many countries to occupying Nazi and Japanese forces during World War II; and most recently in the Palestinian intifadas against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The United States revolution is associated with protests against repressive British taxes (e.g., the Boston Tea Party). Whenever a citizenry has found itself faced with a government that does not respond to its needs - or that enriches itself at the expense of the people it allegedly serves - tax resistance has been an important pointof leverage to produce change.
The War Tax Resistance (WTR) movement in the United States has waxed and waned in direct proportion to popular anti-war sentiment. This country's most famous early tax resister, Henry David Thoreau, took action in response to U.S. militarism. The least popular and most costly wars have provoked the most resistance: most recently, during the Vietnam era, and during Ronald Reagan's expansion of the Cold War in the 1980s.
Robbing The Poor
Today, for many in the U.S., the wars begin at home: wars against civil liberties, wars against people of color, wars against women, wars against funding for education and housing, wars against the poor and the middle class. These are wars fought with economic policies that benefit the rich and leave the majority without decent jobs, affordable health care, or hope for the future. While U.S. military bombs or occupies third world countries (including, since the late '80s, Panama, Kuwait, Iraq several times, Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Kosovo, and Afghanistan again), U.S. cities are ravaged from within. Money spent on the military is money being taken away from programs that most benefit the majority of taxpayers; it is money stolen from our future. And with the declaration of an indefinite "War on Terrorism," there seems to be no limit to the places the U.S. wants to invade, or the amount of money it will divert from our own human needs to do so.
The U.S. government's protection of vast corporate wealth is a primary motivating factor in its budget priorities, which routinely limit social services to those in need, and provide instead an expansive military presence in every comer of the globe. These warped priorities are being funded by the U.S. taxpayer. About half of all federal tax dollars directly or indirectly go to the military (a figure likely to rise); still more go to benefit the rich through corporate welfare, while with repeated tax cuts for the rich, the wealthy pay less and less of the bill. Meanwhile, programs for education, job training, affordable housing, health care, and economic development continue to be cut back or eliminated.
Such priorities can only be changed slowly, and only from below. Demanding change -- nonviolently coercing change -- requires a wide variety of strategies for pressure, both inside and outside the legal system: lobbying, electoral politics, demonstrations and citizen initiatives, civil disobedience actions, the creation of alternative institutions, and so on. One of the most effective means of forcing government to be more responsive is financial: the refusal to provide the money for militarism by paying federal taxes. War tax resistance -- the refusal to bankroll immoral and unconscionable policies -- is a powerful way to demand change. WTR can be an important personal symbolic statement as well as a powerful tool for working toward a more just society. Many war tax resisters redirect their refused war taxes into social change movements and human needs organizations. War tax resistance is not tax evasion; most resisters would gladly pay for programs that provide real social benefits. War tax resistance is a redirection of money away from wasteful, greedy and/or murderous government spending and toward helping meet our communities' needs. Successful nonviolent activism requires both non-cooperation with injustice and positive action for change. War tax refusal and redirection does both. Through war tax resistance, we withdraw our consent from militarism, reclaim our own power, and create a powerful force for change. The Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia provides a variety of services for war tax resisters and persons considering war tax resistance around the country. Our Escrow Account funds allow resisters to reinvest their refused tax money in socially constructive projects, while being able to retrieve it when needed. We have literature, counselors, and a network of contacts that can help people to support each other and to make more informed decisions about the actions and risks they are able to take. Our newsletter, Nonviolent Action, and our web site (www.nacc.info), provide information and inspiration to the war tax resistance community. We are currently granting out over half of our income to groups doing creative social change work.
War tax resistance is an act of civil disobedience, and as such, needs to be undertaken with a full understanding of the risks and benefits involved. For many thousands of people whose conscience or common decency will not allow them to fund militarism, war tax resistance is well worth the risks. It is both a strong personal action and a powerful, effective means of helping, with other resisters, to bring about radical political and social change.
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