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new york city war tax resistance—
2004 annual report

On Thursday, April 15, New York City War Tax Resistance held its annual protest in front of the IRS office at 110 West 44th Street. Following below is the text of our update to membership:

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the year in review

Mr. Bush's War—In this election year, Americans go to the poll with the residue of the last election burned into their consciousness. For those of us on the left, the election process has been a deep disappointment. It has offered little choice because the major parties are increasingly committed to military solutions. Both parties voted to give Bush the authority to commit us to war in Iraq—this, after we had supposedly “pacified” Afghanistan. Now new violence has erupted in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, we have no answers other than the use of greater force.

Military solutions beget more military solutions. They also spawn military occupation, an expensive as well as a grim dangerous task. In addition there's the task of acting on compensation claims.

The New York Times (03/17/2004) reports:

Twice a week at a center in Baghdad, masses of grief weary Iraqis line up, some on crutches, some disfigured…all ready to file a claim for money or medical treatment. It is part of a compensation process devised for this war…Ayad Bressem, a 12 year old scorched by a cluster bomb [waits in line]. His face is covered by ugly blue freckles. Children call him Mr. Gunpowder. “I just want something,” the burned boy said.

“Come back later,” a guard told him. “You'll get some money. But we're busy.”

The superpower syndrome threatens the survival of the earth. First, there's conquest, then there's compensation for the wholesale death and destruction we have inflicted.

So what to do? We can vote with our feet, march and demonstrate, vote with our letters and emails. And we can also make a choice to resist taxes that go to war and rechannel those hard-earned dollars into an alternative fund. In New York City the People's Life Fund has been redirecting moneys in the form of loans and grants to local community groups for over 30 years. When so many groups are in dire circumstances, there is no better time than now to make your contribution.

nyc war tax resistance & nyc people's life fund:
a mutually beneficial relationship

New York City War Tax Resistance (NYC WTR) was a fertile ground where people of conscience shared their ideas on war tax resistance and organizing for peace. Established in 1971 by members of NYC WTR at the height of the Vietnam War, New York City People's Life Fund (NYC PLF) shares a mutually beneficial relationship with NYC WTR. NYC PLF grew out of the recognition that resistance to the payment of war taxes is merely the beginning of the effort, and that something must be done to redirect the flow of taxes away from the military-industrial complex. NYC WTR, by funneling war tax resisted moneys from its base of resisters, was the engine that drove NYC PLF, enabling it to assist critically needed life-affirming programs.

In past years, we have cited examples of groups for whom the Life Fund made a difference. Here are two examples:

Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP)—NYC PLF provided support to an educational project on the rights of welfare and food stamp recipients. The state's new privatized system, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), frequently causes recipients to incur costly ATM fees.
Justice Works Community Inc.—This grant provided support to Women of Substance: A Drug Abuse Education Project (WOS), a program that brings ex-prisoner women in recovery into direct contact with mainstream society at between 40 and 50 local WOS educational forums that open up a dialogue between women who have experienced addiction and incarceration and the public we seek to educate and mobilize.

Unfortunately, in recent years, the flow of war tax resisted moneys has all but ceased, and general contributions have slowed considerably. It is challenging to remember a time of greater need than now in the causes of peace and social justice. As it stands, NYC WTR meets on an as-needed basis, that is for counseling, mailings or any other urgent situation. We would like to revive meetings on a regular basis. If you would like to be included in a WTR/PLF discussion and support group that meets on a bimonthly (once every other month) basis, please contact us.

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