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
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
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
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:
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