Tax Day Protests Highlight Refusal To Pay For War

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Above image: From Blacklisted news.

War tax resisters redirect tax dollars from the Pentagon to people

From now through the last day to file federal income taxes on Tuesday, April 18, hundreds of people across the United States are taking public action to call for a change in federal budget priorities away from military spending and toward human and environmental needs. Individually and in groups, many of these concerned activists will divest from war by refusing to pay some or all of their federal income taxes.

“Survival demands better ideas, not better weapons,” say members of the Raytheon Peacemakers, who will hold an urgent peace vigil on Tax Day, April 18, at the gates of Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. Raytheon stock prices climbed after their missiles struck targets in Syria on April 6. Jack Cohen-Joppa of the Peacemakers says, “Our federal and local taxes have supported the expansion of this plant to produce weapons that are Tucson’s largest export. Tucson needs good paying jobs, but we should not ‘develop’ our own community by destroying others around the world.”

In Lynchburg, Virginia, Larry Bassett is making public his one-person protest. Bassett is refusing to pay $128,000 in federal taxes to the IRS and paying it instead to peace and justice organizations and to meet human needs around the world. In his letter to the IRS, Bassett expresses some fear about what the IRS will do but says, “I take this action of resisting and redirecting federal income taxes because my conscience will not allow me to do otherwise.”

“Pie, Pie, & Pie Charts” is the title of a program on April 13 in Denver, Colorado, where eating pie will be combined with talk of where tax dollars go, alternative budgeting, and a presentation from the Denver War Tax Boycott on the reasons and process for not paying for war.

National tax marches demanding President Trump release his taxes have been called for Saturday, April 15. War tax resisters will join those actions in many communities, while still planning public rallies, vigils, and leafleting at post offices, IRS offices, federal buildings, and town squares on Tax Day, April 18, to bring attention to the harmful effects of military spending. See the list at http://nwtrcc.org/programs-events/tax-day/tax-day-actions/.

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) has coordinated tax day actions since 1983. During the current tax season, NWTRCC is giving special emphasis to collective redirection of war taxes by local groups to organizations led by Black, Brown, and Indigenous organizers. In Philadelphia, $7,000 is being redirected, and organizer Sam Koplinka-Loehr says, “I believe redirecting tax dollars is a beautiful and powerful act. First we are refusing to financially support violence, and second we are giving money to organizers who are targeted by state violence.”

 

NWTRCC is a coalition of local, regional and national groups providing information and support to people who are conscientious objectors to paying taxes for war. In 2011, the International Peace Bureau called for Global Days of Action on Military Spending, and today many groups combine their protests of war spending in the U.S. with a demand for global disarmament and a shift in priorities to sustainable development.

Resources:

List of tax day actions -  http://nwtrcc.org/programs-events/tax-day/tax-day-actions/.

Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes, War Resisters League pie chart, https://www.warresisters.org/resources/wrl-pie-chart-flyers-where-your-income-tax-money-really-goes

http://taxmarch.org/ - April 15 marches calling on Trump to release his taxes

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), http://www.sipri.org/research/armaments/milex

Global Day of Action on Military Spending, http://demilitarize.org/gdams-usa/

  • deanna smith

    the tactic espoused here is not available to the multitude of wage slaves.

  • Deanna – can you say more about what you mean?

    We at NWTRCC know that war tax resistance isn’t right for everyone. And for many folks who don’t make enough money to owe taxes, or who receive Earned Income Credits that exceed any taxes owed, income tax refusal isn’t possible outright. However, everyone with a job can consider doing W-4 resistance so they aren’t making an interest-free loan to the government throughout the year. More details at: http://bit.ly/2a6Le7C

    And more details about low-income resistance are available here: bit.ly/practicalwtr5

    Best,
    Erica

  • tsyganka

    Thanks for the links; much appreciated.

  • deanna smith

    federal withholding comes out of your pay before you ever have a chance to oppose it when you’re a wage slave.

    attempts to deny funding to the federal government due to moral reasons are confounded by that fact.

    by refusing to fill out the w-4, you’re only making it so that any over-paid taxes remain in the hands of the federal government… since they already took it from your paycheck.

    i agree that withholding taxes is an effective tactic for those it is available to… but it’s not something that can be engaged in in a universal manner.

  • I think my wording was confusing. When I say W-4 resistance, I don’t mean refusing to fill out a W-4. Doing that would jeopardize your ability to keep a job, for sure. Sorry for the confusion!

    Trying to be more clear: So, everyone has to fill out a W-4 when they start a regular wage job. When you fill that out, you choose a number of allowances – and that sets how much tax money is withheld from your paycheck. When I say W-4 resistance, I mean taking more allowances than you would normally. You do get to choose how many allowances to take, so that does change how much money gets taken out. Taking a large number of extra allowances may cause the IRS to require you or your employer to change the allowance number back to a smaller number, but *typically* does not result in any financial penalties.

    If you normally get a refund when you file your tax return (Form 1040, to which you attach that W-2 you get from your employer at tax time), taking more allowances reduces the amount of your refund or could even eliminate the refund. Or if you typically owe some taxes, you’d owe more at tax time. Either way, it means not giving an interest-free loan to the government to make war with. Here’s our flyer on this: http://nwtrcc.org/PDFs/w4.pdf and a longer pamphlet on the subject of adjusting W-4 allowances: http://nwtrcc.org/PDFs/practical1.pdf

    Whether or not this is right for you, thanks for having a conversation with me about it!

    Best,
    Erica