For Immediate Release: April 5, 2012
Contact: Ruth Benn, NWTRCC Coordinator
800-269-7464 (718-768-3420) or email@example.com
“Tax Day” Antiwar Protests
Individuals Publicly Refuse to Pay Taxes for War
On April 19, 2012, two days after the April 17 tax deadline, peace activist and Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan will appear in court in Sacramento, California. The Justice Department, on behalf of the IRS, is seeking to discover why she hasn’t paid taxes in recent years. Sheehan has responded that “If the feds can give me my son back, I’ll pay my taxes.” She became a relentless peace activist following her son’s 2004 combat death in Iraq.
Sheehan will be joining thousands of others expected to demonstrate between now and tax day to oppose what they see as excessive spending on military and wars around the world to the detriment of human needs. On or before April 17, demonstrators in dozens of communities will be leafleting, protesting, picketing at post offices, IRS offices, federal buildings, and other public spaces with messages such as “Money for Schools Not War” and “Occupy the IRS” or “Fund the Future of the 99%, Not the Wars of the 1%.”
Cindy Sheehan’s refusal to pay is neither unique nor new. There are many documented instances of individuals refusing to pay taxes for war since ancient times. For example, in Aristophanes 411 BCE play Lysistrata, the heroine responds to a magistrate’s question by saying, “We want to keep the money safe and stop you from waging war.”
Today’s “war tax resisters” include Marjorie Swann Edwin (CA), whose resistance began as a response to World War II; Ed Hedemann (NY), who began refusing in 1970 because of the Vietnam War; David Waters (AL), who started during the first Gulf War in 1991; and Erica Weiland (WA), who began her refusal to pay the IRS during the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
These and other war tax resisters are available for interviews.
More than 280 individuals have made their refusal public on the War Tax Boycott website, http://wartaxboycott.org, an online campaign initiated by National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. NWTRCC endorses the second annual Global Day of Action on Military Spending, coinciding with tax day and the release of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s new figures on world military spending, which rose to an all-time high of $1.63 trillion in 2010.
NWTRCC was founded in 1982 as a coalition of local, regional and national groups providing information and support to people who are conscientious objectors to paying taxes for war.
There are many protests around taxes. The list of actions collected by NWTRCC, http://www.nwtrcc.org/taxday2012.php, includes groups that are involved in or support war tax resistance and redirection of those taxes to human needs.