Posted by CODEPINK Staff
by Tamara Cushway
Refusing to pay taxes for war is as old as the first taxes levied for warfare. Up until World War II, war tax resistance in the U.S. usually manifested itself among members of the historic peace churches — Quakers, Mennonites, and Brethren — and usually only during times of war. There have been cases of people refusing to pay taxes for war in almost every American war. In essence, war tax resistance is as American as apple pie.
The Military Industrial complex is bigger and more lethal than ever. The Federal budget for 2013 includes a breathtaking sum of current military (Dept. of Defense) expenditures totaling $673 billion! (This figure does not include Veterans benefits.) Here are just a few of the deadly expenditures being made on your behalf by the US government:
- Billions to the corrupt Karzai Government in Afghanistan for the continuation of a war that fewer Americans support every day.
- Millions to unscrupulous companies like Blackwater, Halliburton, and Kellogg, Brown, and Root to occupy Iraq.
- Millions to funding of The School of the Americas where future militarists are taught torture and state of the art killing techniques.
- Millions to defense contractors like Lockheed Martin (who receives an average of $105 from each taxpayer) who make drones and other weapons of mass destruction.
It’s time for all good citizens to say NO to the misappropriation of our hard-earned dollars in order to slaughter innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, just to name a few of the countries we are actively involved in militarily. We are not helpless and we can take a stand.
Here are eleven suggestions for what you can do to create change by refusing to pay your taxes, donating or offsetting your taxes, or conducting local actions in your community.
- First, educate yourself on the statistics regarding military spending. Then, start a letter writing campaign. Write a letter to your local paper urging others in your community to refuse to pay a part of your tax bill since it will be used for war.
- Become a public signer to the War Tax Boycott by going to wartaxboycott.org
- Visit the site for National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and the War Resisters League to download free leaflets and distribute to people to raise awareness.
- Go the local IRS office, post office, or federal building with a sign exercising your freedom of speech. Download and bring leaflets such as those available free on the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee site. While at your action, have someone take your picture. Upload that photo to your Facebook page, blog, tweet or send to the local paper. Think VISUAL!
- Donate money to local charities in the amount that you are withholding from the IRS. Target those organizations who are truly suffering from the cuts being made, such as a public school or library.
- Don’t pay federal taxes at all!
- Pay 50% only (the amount of our tax dollars that goes to war and the Pentagon or pay a small symbolic amount.)
- Pay an offset amount such as 10% of your annual federal tax bill to a peace organization.
- Attend a rally such as the Global Day of Action Against Military Spending on April 17th--the day taxes are due this year.
- Occupy the IRS to support Cindy Sheehan, a Gold Star Mother and CODEPINK Member, and join her in “Oppose the U.S. Empire,” April 19, 10:30 am, U.S. Court, 501 I St., Sacramento, CA. Cindy Sheehan is a conscientious war tax resister and writes a fabulous blog on her adventures with the IRS and her stories about tax resistance.
- If you’re feeling really bold, conduct an action at an IRS office. Make small cardboard coffins out of legal-sized storage cartons and paint the names of some of the 17 victims in the recent Afghanistan massacre onto the boxes. (The names are available on-line.) Paint a sign saying “Your Tax Dollars at Work” This type of action will be an extremely dramatic and a visual reminder to people that their tax dollars are paying for the brutal killing of innocent Afghan families, including children.
Be a part of a very important American tradition and refuse to pay taxes to kill people!