Jim Allen, Sociology Professor, St. Louis University

Jim Allen is a associate professor of social work at St. Louis University. He spent 20 years in the military until he retired in 1989. He has been a social worker for 38 years.

Allen said that it is becoming obvious that the military is being misused in fighting this war in Iraq. It makes no sense whatsoever to provide funding to continue this war.

He said when his wife and he found out about the tax resistance movement they weren't opposed to paying taxes, but they were opposed to signing over their money to this war.

In Allen's case, he said each month his employer deducts what he owes from his pay check and that goes to pay his taxes, but above and beyond what he owes each year he and his wife redirect that money to support a variety of organizations in the St. Louis engaged in peace and welfare activities.

Allen said they withhold 40 cents on every dollar which for him is around $800 last year.

Allen explained that he and his wife have received letters from the IRS. He said the first thing that happened is they each got a letter saying they failed to pay a certain amount of money that was due. They ignored this letter. They then each individually received a second letter stating the same thing. They then wrote back explaining that they had chosen to redirect their taxes. Each of them then received a letter asking if they knew that their spouse had not paid what they owed.

A fourth letter from the IRS would explain that the government can garner what was owed from ones employer. Allen said that if they do that, they do that.

At that point it can do harm to one's credit rating. We worry about our credit rating, but we need to take a stand and there are risks involved when you take a stand.

Allen said, "we have heard if you continue corresponding with the IRS and keep the conversation going it helps. However, They could garnish wages."

He further explained, "it is unlikely that you could go to jail. However, if you were arrested for something else it could complicate things if they saw you hadn't paid your taxes."

"To me," Allen said, "the important thing is to recognize the Bush Administration has done a very good job of convincing us that nothing we do will make difference. Doing nothing contributes to the supporting the war. The one act we can take is to withhold a portion of our taxes. Yes, it is a risk, but if we are not willing to take a risk, then we are part of the problem."

How much of your tax payment this year would you like to allocate for water boarding in Iraq or an invasion of Iran?
By Jodie Evans

Around the world, people are puzzled as to why the U.S. public allows the Bush administration to wage illegal wars and usurp our power. Why do we tolerate it and continue to pay for it?

Over the past year, millions of U.S. citizens have voted, lobbied, marched, and taken direct action to end the war in Iraq. Courageous soldiers, such as members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, have taken the risk to speak out. Yet Congress continues to appropriate billions of dollars for the war.
How do we up the ante of resistance? It is time for taxpayers who oppose this war to join together in nonviolent civil disobedience and show Congress how to cut off the funds for this war and redirect resources to the pressing needs of people.

Chris Hedges wrote in The Nation, “I will not pay my income tax if we go to war with Iran… I will go to court to challenge the legality of the war.”

On this anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, a coalition of anti-war activists is calling on individuals to sign a pledge to resist payment of a portion of their taxes. Our pledge states, “When I am joined by 100,000 other U.S. taxpayers, I will join in an act of mass civil disobedience and refuse to the portion of my taxes that pays the U.S. military occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.” We are aiming for April 15th.

Former Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, once said, “Let them march all they want, as long as they pay their taxes.” And he was right. We can march all we want, but if we cooperate with the funding of the war, we are culpable.

There is a great tradition of war tax resistance in the United States. During the Mexican-American War that began in 1846, Henry David Thoreau refused payment of war taxes and called on others to join him in resistance. “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.”

When Ralph Waldo Emerson visited Thoreau in jail, he asked the author of Walden, “Henry, what are doing in there?” Thoreau responded, “Ralph, what are you doing out there?”

Our statement is not against taxation or government. Many of us will continue to pay a portion of our taxes that support the vital functions of government. But we will hold in escrow or redirect the portion of our war taxes to humanitarian aid projects and projects such as those providing relief to survivors of Hurricane Katrina or supporting the Iraqi refugees who are victims of our disastrous war.

Some might suspect that tax resistance is symbolic and futile. But we want to purposely put a cog in the machine of war tax collection. We believe it will lead to a deepening of opposition as tens of thousands of people say, “I can no longer in good conscience pay for these acts by my government.” Mass war tax resistance, on the scale proposed, has never been done in the U.S.

The tradition of civil disobedience involves breaking a law in favor of a higher law. It is a statement of non-cooperation with illegitimate authority.
There are people for whom this will not be an option or an appropriate expression of resistance. We hope that each of us will consider what additional action and sacrifice we will make to end this war.

As Chris Hedges explained his reasons for tax refusal, “I have friends in Tehran, Gaza, Beirut, Baghdad, Jerusalem and Cairo. They will endure far greater suffering and deprivation. I want to be able, once the slaughter is over, to at least earn the right to ask for their forgiveness.”

The world and history will judge us by how vigorously we resist the illegal and immoral war tactics of the Bush Administration. My husband, friends and I have decided we can't pay for war anymore. What are you doing out there?

Jodie Evans, co-founder CODEPINK: Women for Peace who are launching this campaign on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party To learn more about the campaign and view the pledge at, visit: www.dontbuybushswar.org

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