The History of War Tax Resistance
The History of War Tax Resistance tells the story of a group of Americans that refuse to pay taxes on wars they oppose. Its roots can been traced back to Thoreau, Conscientious Oponents, and Quakers. In this article, we’ll explore the rise and influence of war tax resistance in the U.S.
The history of conscientious objectors against war has a long one. In 1863, the New York Peace Society was founded. It was the first American pacifist organization. Since then, hundreds of peace groups and individuals have worked to promote peace and oppose injustice. Some even faced persecution.
In January 2002, War Resisters’ International called on all taxpayers to demand that their taxes go toward peace, instead of to war. They argued that every American taxpayer should refuse war taxes and demand that all taxes go to peace. This demand sparked a movement for the Executive to withhold 7% of income taxes and redirect them to peace efforts.
Quakers experienced turmoil and tension during the Civil War. They opposed the war and its funding, and many refused the war tax. However, many Quakers changed their minds and gave up war tax resistance. Henry David Thoreau is an example of a Quaker refusing war tax. Thoreau, although he was not a pacifist fought against slavery and imperialist warfare. Nevertheless, he refused to pay the poll tax in Massachusetts, and spent one night in jail. He later wrote a book entitled “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.”
Some Quakers stopped selling imported products after the new government imposed a duty on imports to pay war expenses. Others stopped sending letters to avoid paying the war tax, which Congress added to the postage rate. Other Quakers took other measures to avoid paying the war tax, including bricking up their homes. John Payne, for instance, placed his coach on blocks to avoid the vehicle tax. He also gave away his fortune to avoid paying the estate tax.
Influence of Thoreau
Thoreau is one of the most influential figures in American history when it comes to the topic of war tax resistance. He didn’t advocate tax resistance to make ends met, but he did advocate for a better government. According to Thoreau, the government needs to stop its unjust actions to collect taxes and the conscientious individual must decide whether or not to follow government laws.
Thoreau was detained for refusing six years of delinquent tax payments because he opposed slavery and the Mexican-American War. Ultimately, he was released from jail after his aunt paid the taxes. He continued to study nature and reflect on the nature of government. Many leaders of collective campaigns and resistance movements throughout history have been influenced by Thoreau’s essay about the nature of government.
U.S. rises in resistance to war taxes
For most Americans, tax season is a major hassle, with piles of paperwork, forms, and receipts to sort through. Conscientious objectors see this as an opportunity for civil disobedience, and charitable giving. Their goal is peace and public health, not a monetary profit.
At first, war tax resistance was focused on refusing to pay income taxes. The movement quickly grew in size and scope, to the point that the WRL couldn’t handle the requests. In 1977, the National War Tax Resistance (WTR) was formed, with longtime peace activist Bradford Lyttle as coordinator. The WTR then established local chapters throughout the country. In addition to the WTR website, the group published a tax resistance handbook and a monthly newsletter. Radical peace churches encouraged their members not to pay war taxes.
Origins of War Resisters’ League
The War Resisters’ League is an American pacifist organization. It was founded in 1921 and is part of the larger War Resistances’ International. Its roots are in Europe. Its membership pledge states that war is a crime against mankind and that all war-making causes must be stopped. The group is also committed to ending social injustice through pacifist strategies.
The War Resisters’ League gained national notoriety during the Vietnam War when it began to take a stand against war. Its members participated in civil disobedience activities at induction centers and organized draft cards burnings. WRL members also traveled to North Vietnam to publish Liberation, a memoir about their experiences. The group was also prominent in the “Underground Railroad” movement that helped draft resisters escape the U.S.
International Impact of War Resisters
The War Resisters’ international is a peace organization that has a long history. The War Resisters’ International was established in 1923. It has worked to end all wars and oppose American involvement. The organization has supported civil rights movements and anti-apartheid efforts South Africa, as also other social justice and peace causes. It is affiliated with the International Peace Bureau and has worked with other peace organizations. It was instrumental in founding the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNA) in 1958. Eventually, the two groups merged into the War Resisters’ League.
The organization is still in existence today. Its mission statement is to end wars and protect civilians all over the world. This is done by fighting police and military violence. In addition, WRL seeks to end social injustice by using pacifist tactics and education.