- July 7 - At least three anti-war activists will turn themselves in to the IRS at
noon on July 10, inviting federal prosecution for their refusal to allow
their tax dollars to finance militarism.
A form of conscientious objection, war tax resistance—holding back all or
part of federal taxes in order to prevent their use for war—has a long and
honorable history in the United States, dating back to the colonial era and
including such famous resisters as Henry David Thoreau.
"If the resisters are not arrested and prosecuted, it will expose the myth
that people go to jail for not paying their taxes," says Mary Loehr of the
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), one of the
organizations sponsoring the event. "If they are arrested and prosecuted,
it will expose the myth of religious and conscientious freedom."
The challenge is part of a day-long protest against the U.S. military
budget organized by NWTRCC and the War Resisters League, the nation's
oldest secular pacifist organization. At 9:00 a.m., the resisters and
other activists will gather at the base of the Washington Monument to
conduct a "penny poll" in which passersby can express their opinions about
the uses of tax dollars and federal budget priorities.
At noon, the group will march to the IRS headquarters to announce their
noncompliance with the law and invite prosecution by the tax collecting
authority. Among those planning to announce their resistance and invite IRS
prosecution are Carol Moore of Washington, Dan Lundquist of Minnesota and
Robert Randall of Georgia, some of whom have resisted federal taxes for
more than twenty years. Protester will carry signs and banners explaining
their reasons for tax resistance. Those turning themselves in to the IRS
will present the results of the "penny poll" and letters describing their
cases. The protest comes at the end of a weekend conference on war tax
resistance held by NWTRCC and the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund.
"More than half of the federal government's discretionary budget is
dedicated to the Pentagon," said Ruth Benn, Director of the National Office
of WRL. "As war resisters, we cannot oppose militarism and support a
permanent war-time economy with our tax dollars."
The event on July 10 is part of a 40-day series of actions for peace
promoted by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The war tax resistance
conference will be held July 6-9 at Catholic University in Washington,
bringing together more than 100 activists from 15 countries. Saturday, July
8, is a day of workshops; that evening there will be a panel of war tax
resisters telling their stories. Both are free and open to the public.