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More War Tax Rumblings


Published April 15, 2008 at 10:18 a.m.

Ah, tax day.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a story about war tax resistance in Vermont. After the fact, one of the people quoted in the story emailed to express disappointment with both its tone and content. Too dismissive of war-tax resisters, the person wrote, and not enough praise for the power of war-tax resistance movements.

Well, OK. Here's some more information about war tax resistance that I didn't have room for:

* Henry David Thoreau was one of the first war-tax resisters in the history of the U.S.— he refused to pay taxes in support of the Mexican American War.

* Bob Bady and Robert Riversong, both of whom appeared in my story, were involved with an epic war-tax-resistance struggle against the IRS — in Massachusetts, in the late 1980s. The struggle has been chronicled in the film An Act of Conscience.

* On March 13 of this year, 32 war-tax resisters were arrested outside IRS headquarters.

* In addition to the Code Pink war-tax boycott mentioned in my story, the New York City-based War Resisters League has sponsored its own war-tax boycott. Out of several dozens names on the petition, I count five Vermonters.

* While reporting my story on war-tax resistance, I spoke with two well-known Vermonters who have had some connection with the movement over the years. Peter Schumann, patriarch of Glover-based Bread & and Puppet Theater, told me that, while he doesn't refuse to pay taxes, he has made woodcuts for the War Resisters League. And Joseph Gainza, field director of the American Friends Service Committee's Montpelier office, said he withheld some of his taxes during the Reagan wars in Central America — before, that is, his employer started withholding wages.

* Oh, and earlier this week, I received an email from Peter Moss, a House candidate from Franklin county. Moss attached public testimony on taxation he gave before the House Ways and Means Committee on March 13. One of Moss' ideas? We should, he suggests, turn the Department of Defense (DOD) into the Department of Corporate Profit Defense (DCPD).