Divesting from the Taxes that Fund War:
“War Tax Resisters” Protest with Their Money
War tax resisters are taking to the streets to call for an end to endless war. They are divesting from the taxes that fund war and investing in people, planet, and justice. The United States’ endless war on terror is continuing with drone warfare in Afghanistan and from over 800 overseas military bases outside the United States. In addition, the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act approved $25 billion more in funding for fiscal year 2022 than the Pentagon requested. We are not waiting for government approval of our actions. We are divesting from war by refusing some or all of our federal tax dollars that fund it, or by living below the taxable income level. We invite everyone to join us in this public campaign of civil disobedience to war and war funding.
Thousands of people across the United States—from San Diego to Manhattan—are protesting the U.S. military budget on or around Tax Day (April 18). They will promote war tax resistance and highlight the deep flaws of our current budget.
Local actions will feature a “Back Sale for the Military” in front of San Diego’s Federal Building, “Burma shave” sign displays during rush hour in Portland, Oregon, vigils outside military installations in Milwaukee, online Zoom sessions on war tax resistance, and redirection ceremonies where activists redirect their withheld federal taxes dollars to underfunded organizations.
The proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2023 continues to take our country in the wrong direction. This massive proposed budget would continue to keep military spending at 37% of the current federal spending with $1.7 trillion being dedicated to past and present military expenses.
Not waiting for the government to act, activists will openly refuse to pay their taxes to the IRS and will instead redirect those funds to humanitarian programs. Erica Leigh of Seattle, Washington, says, “I want to live in accordance with my values and paying for militarism does not fit into that.” Maria Smith of Cleveland, Ohio states that she is “totally transparent on her tax form,” she just refuses to pay for killing at home and abroad. Her war tax resistance “embraces the full amount of my commitment to nonviolence.”
In Berkeley, California, members of Northern California People’s Life Fund will redirect tens of thousands of dollars in resisted war taxes. They received grant applications earlier this spring and announce the names of the groups receiving $2,000 - $5,000 grants during an online ceremony on April 14. They prioritized “essential day-to day human services which the government is not adequately furnishing, together with educational or other work that identifies and seeks to change the root causes of the problem.” The group was founded by war tax resisters in 1971 to pool their resisted war taxes. People’s Life Fund member Susan Quinlan says, “There are so many excellent groups that are working to protect families, communities, and the natural environment, and we are delighted to support these efforts. With U.S. military spending surpassing $1 trillion, we invite others to imagine what good could come from redirecting these military funds on a grand scale.”
The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) has coordinated tax day actions since 1983. 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. NWTRCC partners with the Global Days of Action on Military Spending coordinated from Barcelona, Spain to join protests of war spending in the U.S. with a demand for global disarmament and a shift in priorities to sustainable development.
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War tax resisters are available for interviews. Please contact NWTRCC, 1-800-269-7464, firstname.lastname@example.org, for contacts in your area.
Up-to-date list of Tax Day actions, https://nwtrcc.org/tax-day-
NWTRCC’s Refuse to Pay for War Sign-On Statement, https://nwtrcc.org/sign-on-
“Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes” — War Resisters League pie chart, https://www.warresisters.org/
Global Day of Action on Military Spending, https://demilitarize.org/
War Industry Resisters Network, https://www.veteransforpeace.
Militarization of the Police, https://nwtrcc.org/police/
Climate Crisis, Taxes, & War, https://nwtrcc.org/war-tax-