A People’s Campaign to Defund the War
April 16, 2009
War Tax Boycott
The War Tax Boycott was initiated in September 2007 by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Last year more than 500 people around the US joined the War Tax Boycott ending April 15, 2008. They redirected more than $300,000 to humanitarian programs ranging for relief to survivors of Hurricane Katrina, support for Iraqi refugees in Jordan, and free food for hungry families in the US.
A People’s Campaign to Defund the War
War Tax Boycott.org
(April 15, 2009) — The costs of war keep adding up, in dollars and in lives.
For over six years, peace activists have voted, lobbied, marched, and taken direct action to first prevent and then end the illegal war and occupation in Iraq. Courageous soldiers have refused to fight the war.
In Iraq and around the world, peace-loving people have called for an end to the violence. But the Bush administration and Congress continue to authorize over $8 billion a month for the war on terror while the US economy went into a tailspin and budget cuts hit services across the country. Politicians cannot be trusted with our money.
The War Tax Boycott campaign unites taxpayers who oppose this war in a powerful act of nonviolent civil disobedience — saying NO! to war with our money. Thousands of individuals in the US take this stand despite the risks. Uniting our voices and actions through the War Tax Boycott strengthens our demand that Congress cut off the funds for this war and redirect resources to the pressing needs of people.
The War Tax Boycott was initiated in September 2007 by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) and is endorsed by Voices for Creative Nonviolence, War Resisters League, and the Maine WTR Resource Center. The War Tax Boycott campaign is also supported by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Veterans for Peace, Nonviolent Direct Action Working Group of United for Peace and Justice.
Over 500 people around the US joined the War Tax Boycott during the 2008 tax season, ending April 15, 2008. They redirected more than $300,000 to humanitarian programs, including:
• medical aid for Katrina survivors,
• support for Iraqi refugees in Jordan,
• food banks in the US,
• programs for the homeless,
• books for prisoners,
• environmental projects,
• peace groups, and
• hundreds of other nonprofit organizations in the US and around the world.
Taxes Fuel US War Machine
Vickie Aldrich / Grass-roots Press
“If a thousand [people] were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible.”
–Henry David Thoreau during the Mexican-American War of 1846-4
(April 10, 2009) — Once again it is tax time in America. On April 15th the US government will collect taxes, a large portion of which will go to pay for wars past, present and future. Each of us must decide how we respond to this. Some choose to live below taxable income; others enclose a letter of protest to the use of the taxes for war; others choose not to pay willingly and set funds aside in an account where they can be collected (levied) by the government.
I took this action with my 2004 taxes after the US invasion of Iraq. I was rather surprised that what I withheld was not levied until this fall, but then I am a New Mexican educator, so my share of the war taxes was not a large amount.
In the aggregate, though as the numbers below show, what all of us has paid is a staggering amount.
• $607,300,000,000 (and counting) — the amount spent on the Iraq war so far. Source: www.wartaxboycott.org
• $1,997,131,763 — the amount paid by N.M. taxpayers to support the war in Iraq. Source: The Friends Committee on National Legislation (www.fcnl.org).
This year, I will again withhold a portion of my taxes (28 percent). I have also decided that I will give an equal amount of money to organizations that are working to build the peace, especially in the Middle East. I am calling this Parity for Peace. This can be done by anyone, even if you pay taxes, figure out the portion that goes toward wars – use the WRL site (www.warresisters.org) and their pie chart. Then give the same amount toward peace. If we all did this, we could begin to work to create a different world.
In Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age Arthur Herman recounted both successful and failed nonviolence campaigns of Gandhi – one was an individual ‘Satyagraha’ campaign, where each person found his/her own non-violent actions to take. As I take my action this month to withhold some tax dollars and to practice Parity for Peace, I feel as if I am participating in an individual Satyagraha or Truthforce. The government can demand my money and take it out of my paycheck or the bank account; they can not stop me from naming the account ‘war taxes’ which lets the bank clerks and the IRS know, that I do not pretend this money is building a new railroad. The IRS can take my money and use it for war, but they cannot stop me from sending an equal amount to be used for peace.
I believe this ‘naming’ is an important action. The war machine exists and creates and perpetuates wars as long as people continue to participate in the tax and war process. Perpetual war is not a separate issue. It is a peace issue, an economic issue, an environmental issue and a social issue. The problems created by the US wars of invasion will be with those who served in the US military and those who were attacked by the US for many years.
Many groups have information on war taxes. Two of these are: National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) at www.nwtrcc.org and War Resisters League at www.warresisters.org
Vickie Aldrich teaches math at Doña Ana Community College.