This site last updated March 30, 2012.

new york city war tax resistance—
2008 annual report

On Tuesday, April 15, New York City War Tax Resistance held its annual protest in front of the Internal Revenue Service office, 110 West 44th Street, 4:00-5:00 PM, followed by a march to the General Post Office (8th Avenue & 33rd Street) at 5:00 PM. Below is the text of our update to membership:

the year in review

Although a Democratic Congress received a clear mandate from the American people—withdraw troops from Iraq—all efforts to begin that process have failed. Lacking the votes to override a Bush veto, the Democrats are locked into a weak position—they can protest but are unable to change policy. In the mean time the country’s health system hobbles along. Without funds or insurance millions use the emergency room as their doctor, which has a disastrous impact on patients who need immediate attention.

And in recent months another disaster, which has been looming on the horizon for some time—the subprime mortgage crisis—has left millions homeless or on the verge of losing their homes.

These events describe a country in a headlong spiral downward. With war expenditures eating up resources and fiscal reserves, with millions who face long-term unemployment, commentators are harking back to previous recessions and even depression. The one big difference of course is “defense,” more aptly called war expenditure. Then, they were a fraction of what they are today.

The road ahead is rocky. It is future generations who must pay the bill for the reckless, destructive expenditures the Bush administration has accumulated during its eight years in power. Even as millions now swell its ranks and as the stakes grow, the peace movement continues to struggle to move the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Washington demonstrations reminiscent of the Vietnam era are bringing a peace message not only to Washington but to the world. The American people reject this 5-year war that threatens to continue into the next decade. The American people want peace.

The war tax resistance movement, arguably the movement most capable of having a tangible impact on the war machine, seeks to mark the end of endless war by starving the war machine of its means to pay for war. And the movement is growing.

2008 Marks 5 Years in Iraq

New York City War Tax Resistance and New York City War Resisters League marked five years of warfare in Iraq with a demonstration in Washington, DC at the IRS offices. We marched with signs and wore cloth bibs announcing in dollar amounts what the war has cost in terms of funding for schools, recreation centers, senior center meals and a host of other vital community needs. All of these efforts have been cut drastically. It is a glaring sign of twisted values when a rich nation pleads poverty as groups throughout the country struggle to get funding.

We marched with spirit and solemnity, passed out leaflets—e.g. the War Resisters League pie chart showing where income tax money goes—which passersby snapped up eagerly. Accompanying us and adding spirit and determination was a band, the Rude Mechanicals Orchestra, which is well-known for its musicianship and colorful presence. The music was moving—it made your feet pop up and down—and created a light-heartedness that was much needed. It pointed the way to IRS, the goal of our march, and the demand to end a war that is destroying us and what we stand for as it is destroying Iraq.

The IRS building had armed guards in front of the doorways. Since employees had already entered the building, resisters chose to sit on the steps of the building as an alternative to blocking entrances. Another contingent of resisters took on the side entrance to the building. A total of 32 protesters were arrested from the two entrances.

There was much confusion at the police station. Protesters were handcuffed for over four hours and held until 9:00 PM. To settle charges, protesters were fined $50.00. A few arresties are returning to Washington to challenge their arrest. They claim there was no line crossing.

Civil disobedience is one action that a person of conscience can take. But there are other steps that you, as a peace activist, can take to make a difference.

what can you do?

  1. Visit the New York City War Tax Resistance web site. Click on the link called Taking the First Steps, then click on the links underneath the heading Telephone Tax Resistance. This form of resistance is a relatively risk-free means of resisting war, and an excellent way to begin. At the end of the year, send these resisted telephone tax moneys to the New York City People's Life Fund, which will in turn put that money to use in supporting constructive community projects.

  2. Keep in touch with upcoming events and actions at the War Resisters Leagues's local chapter actions page.

  3. Attend the next war tax resistance workshop, scheduled for April 6, at the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, 339 Lafayette Street, 2:00-4:00 PM.