National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee

Minutes
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee Meeting
Sunday, November 3, 2013 • New York City

Present: Ruth Benn (NWTRCC Coordinator, New York), Erica Weiland (NWTRCC Social Media Consultant, Seattle), Carlos Steward (AdComm, North Carolina), Ari Rosenberg (AdComm, Pennsylvania), Elizabeth Boardman (AdComm, California), Rick Bickhart (AdComm, Colorado), Jerry Chernow (Madison Area WTR/Alternative Fund, Wisconsin), Gary Erb (Boulder War Tax Info Project, Colorado), Naomi Paz Greenberg (New York), Daniel Marshall (New York), Karl Meyer (Tennessee), Jack Payden-Travers (Washington, DC), Robert Randall (Georgia), Jason Rawn (Maine), Carla Rupp (New York), Paula Rogge (Madison Area WTR/Alternative Fund, Wisconsin), Ginny S. (New Hampshire), Daniel Sicken (Vermont), Peter Smith (Michiana WTR, Indiana),
Joffre Stewart (Chicago), Jim Stockwell (North Carolina), Daniel Woodham (North Carolina)

The meeting started with Introductions and Peter Smith going over the Meeting Process

1. Finances (written)

Question about the Work Group line:
Answer: This is for members of the Fundraising Committee, Rapid Outreach, or any active Working Group to get at least one member to our meetings.
Elizabeth points out that new budget has a deficit so think of that as we talk about proposals later. Right now we are running a deficit for the fiscal year. Ruth will put a plug in the fund appeal to reply by Nov. 30 and help us end the year in the black. Our fiscal year begins on December 1.

2. Consultant Report (written)

no questions

3. Social Media Report (written)

Erica presented the report and reminds everyone of her email address.
How to get other groups to “retweet” our tweets (forward them) to help get our message around more widely? Erica is making connections but everyone needs to help.

Attending our meeting is Ty Hallock from Asheville. He creates and implements strategy for nonprofits with a focus on building software and systems that are the back-bone to well-functioning orgs. Ty is currently offering free consulting to NWTRCC.

His proposal:
The goal would be to have a healthy Social Media Committee in all local chapters of NWTRCC that has the ability to receive communications and best practices from a central source. A strategy will need to include sections including “What Should a Social Media Committee look like and do?”, “Recruiting for Social/Hip Culture”, “Creating a Community of Practice” and “Guidelines or what to communicate/post and not to communicate/post”

Responses: “awesome”; it depends on other people from around the country wanting to do social media for us/with us. We need to find some specific contacts to do that. Erica will stay in touch with him. Good idea and we should work on it. We will put this offer in the newsletter and get it around. Erica will send a write up to Ruth. If a group wants to take advantage of Ty’s offer, contact Erica, who will coordinate with Ty.

Elizabeth really appreciates the list on the back of Erica’s report that shows things that are working, not working, and goals for next 6 months
Rick– really happy we went in this direction and that Erica is doing it; “Hashtag twinkle” says Daniel W

4. Proposals (written, link to each proposal below)  

Elizabeth facilitating says that AdComm tried to group the proposals. The first set of 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 would be ones we suggest get more work by a committee.

Some proposal comments and background paper by Karl Meyer

1. — Statement of Purpose revisions - Submitted by David Gross.
Elizabeth and Carlos volunteered as a committee to work with David on this and bring back in May. Joffre sent a letter with his suggestions, and they need to be reviewed and incorporated or not.
Some like it and would pass it.
Some will clearly block it.
We should approve sending it to the Committee, because there will be blocking objections.
Suggestions: Use a better presentation. This was hard to sort through for the changes. Show tracking changes. Joffre is suggested to be on the committee. Clark Hanjian might be good to have on the committee.

Agreed: return to Committee (Carlos and Elizabeth with David) and bring back in May

4. Office of Economic Disobedience - From Strategy Committee.
AdComm felt we have a useful start on this idea but it’s not ready for this proposal or to put money into it yet.    
Karl — very skeptical about this whole language thing — “economic disobedience” - and setting up some new campaign that is so unclear.
Erica — not really an “office” — but it is a way to think about connecting our movement with allied movements.
Robert — prefers Spanish model of actually having office; very opposed to constantly sending good ideas back for further work; we can keep kicking them around and kicking the can down the road but will we decide to do something; action steps are premature — what I would like to see this group do is insist that if we are gong to work on this concept further that we not do it in isolation; it has to take hold among those other groups.
Gary — the one proposal that he is enthusiastic about and we should go ahead.
Ruth — between now and May do this in your own communities. If it is not happening there and it is not going to happen at the national level. Each of us should commit to doing something between now and May. Strategy Committee will keep talking about this also and make some commitments.
Paula — debt — don’t take all this on lightly; needs some thought as repercussions of debt refusal for individuals are serious.
Jerry - IWW in Madison — they have already been talking about it and he intends to bring this back to their group for further discussion. That is one commitment.
Ari - send it back and move the idea forward; build those relationships and try to move it forward. If you run into snafus, that will dictate what will happen in the future.                        
Robert — try to follow 2nd and 3rd stars — at least make the 5 contacts with other movements. At our next meeting we assess those efforts and have another workshop on those actions. The minimal beginning steps toward figuring this out might happen. Karl might be proven right. We need to at least take those minimal steps.
Jim — second that grassroots action is key and put in MTAP

Agreed: We have a plan and some commitments for going forward in a vibrant way. We are not approving the budget, but we will revisit this in May.

#5 - National Penny Poll– Bill Glassmire
Robert sees the Penny Poll as being something we can bring to the Economic Disobedience context
Bill is asking if there is interest, so right now we are just looking to see who wants to work on this.
Paula Rogge is interested and will contact Bill
Joffre has comments about how penny polls are done without adding a “no tax” type option and giving money to groups like NWTRCC directly. He will write Bill

#6 — Traveling Speaker and # 7- Circuit Rider– Karl Meyer and Jason Rawn, respectively
AdComm suggests these ideas be brought together, but the budget is a big problem. The proposal must show that they will be self-supporting. Work on these and bring a new proposal in May.

Comments:
Doing this might generate money that is beyond what the program costs.
Colleges pay fees for gigs.
Loan the money to do it with understanding there will be money coming in that will pay off the loan
We should not look at it that it will just cost money; prior experience shows  that money has come in
The next generations are not here. We keep delaying this. We can’t survive unless we have young people. Our polls show this, with little responses from younger people. Only young people can reach out to young people. Karl suggests a process for selection of speaker(s). We need organizers to generate the support.
Suggestion to set up contacts with professors and pick 10 places and show that someone is willing to host us and give a fee, etc. to make this happen.
Just do it!
Jason has been talking about projects for a year with people in Asheville, with Karl, and David Gross. BeLove in Asheville is interested in working with redirected funds. There are plans to create some literature on WTR. We can follow up in the spring.
To get a gig, WTR might not be what you talk about first. Student loans etc.
Visit the Mennonite colleges — those pacifists who are already open to this. Speak to them.

Comments on process for what we agree on:
Elizabeth — no particular committee was established or who is  going to do this. Jason has said what he will do.
Robert — the way to make this happen is to make it part of something bigger. Am torn on the one hand about agreeing about selection process for a person. I want to support someone who volunteers to do the work, and I rejects the idea that it has to be self funding. If we don’t invest in it, it won’t happen. Do we sit on the $5,000 for another year or support someone who is ready to get out and do what needs to be done?
Daniel — As a member of fundraising committee, I want to support regional work but as NWTRCC - not sure? I want to see that our coordinator is paid.
Ruth — I have concern about the process of having someone do this “as NWTRCC” vs. supporting local or regional folks who want to get out and talk about war tax resistance. The latter doesn’t need our approval.
Rick — I will block this unless we can prove that this is self-sustaining; there is no money in this budget.
Jim — Clare and Coleman are talking to groups and doing a good job with their own group in the Southeast. They fundraise and get paid under their regional organization. NWTRCC can give support verbally but let them fly with it and see what happens. The idea is to attract new young people to WTR. I would object to the proposal as written because it is asking to be a NWTRCC rep.

Elizabeth seeks guidance as facilitator — in May we asked for a committee to refine these proposals and develop them and ended up with 2 proposals; a committee could get going and set up a plan.
Jason — I didn’t expect teh circuit rider would get approved. I just want endorsement to take this further.

We agree to endorse the concept. No money. Like the idea. Concerns raised and noted. A general guideline that we are glad that Jason is working on this. He will bring back updates and reports and if it goes well we can incorporate and move ahead.

Karl — won’t block but sees we are like the Shakers. We are making no effort to bring in young people and we will be the last generation to do this.
Daniel - Let us be active and call colleges and universities. Book something and do it.
Ari — don’t lose this and NWTRCC may do it one day.

Proposal 2 — Coordinator Hours + Proposal 3 Social Media position– Ruth and AdComm

AdComm recommends that we approve the reduction of 5 hours and the pay to the Coordinator, and that we approve continuing the Social Media position and give Erica the additional 5 hours and pay
Rick — agrees on condition that the increase would include some Fundraising through social media
Karl — you still have to have both face-to-face and social media/online
Ruth — Looking at our objectives, online fundraising and many of the outreach items could shift off me
Daniel — make this provisional for a year and revisit next November.

Approved that as of Dec. 1, Coordinator hours will be 20/week and Social Media Consultant will be 10/week. This will be revisited at the November 2014 CC Meeting.

Proposal 8 — Endorsements - Ginny S.
Joffre had suggested some language changes in Asheville that didn’t get in the minutes because the notes were lost. We need to change the language on the Agreement Form. He objects to the use of “civil disobedience” in the Agreement form and prefers to add / revolutionary nonviolent tactics.
Further disagreement on using the word “revolutionary” — will it turn off groups we want to endorse? Others comments that some groups may like this phrasing. Robert suggested shortenting the sentence in question and leaving out the “civil disobedience/revolutionary” language.

This is the phrasing we ended up with for the Agreement Form:

Yes, we would like to endorse war tax resistance and the NWTRCC. Please add us to the growing list of organizations that support and encourage nonpayment of taxes for war as means to address the militarism of the US and the world at large, and a tactic for addressing the goals of our organization. (Note: When you fill out and return this form, NWTRCC will add your organization’s name to the list of organizational endorsers on NWTRCC’s web site.  See below for more information on the endorsement agreement.)

Approved by consensus as edited.

Proposal 9 — Penalty Fund

Peter Smith presented and said that some may have copies of an earlier version; the final proposal did not say donors must give at least $25 but said “and a donation of the amount of their choice.”
Questions raised about the policy for sharing our list, which we do to groups in our network only. We should make sure that online and wherever else we tell our membership our policy on list sharing.
CMTC will hold the money but this will be a separate fund.

Approved to share the list for one mailing.

Proposal 10 — 99 Tactics – Jason Rawn

Jason withdrew the proposal — won’t ask this group to fund it. Dave Gross's 99 Tactics book promotes WTR and we should support it.

5. Objectives (written)

Outreach — Add as objective d) - making connections with other movements around the economic issues to come back in May with a report.
Meetings — we may not be at SOAW this year; Robert was the only one going and can’t do it on his own; lots of young people there — it is a place for great outreach; someone please go with Robert
Representing each other at other groups –Erica suggested to help with this
Newsletter — same
Network — “out of our proposals” = like our economic disobedience proposals
add  f) “promoting Ty’s offer” as part of revitalizing
add g) circuit rider/traveling organizer — encourage locals to make contacts at colleges; just do it
Literature — ebooks — awesome idea
Relationships — continue that practical
Digital resources — Paula — they plan to create a teaser and make short segments from the interviews
Counseling & Legal - Make sure health care changes are covered in newsletter & info
Fundraising — high priority — 
New members for FR — no volunteers
Ginny will work on bequests -
Elizabeth - remember to write to everyone you know to ask them to contribute as a way to support WTRs especially if they do not do it themselves
Jason — bequests — promote property donations to the community to live and thrive!
Daniel — promote monthly contributions to come out of credit card

Approve objectives — yes!!

6. New Budget - written

Peter said that a small foundation in Indiana was pretty certain to give $5,000 to NWTRCC, thus we can up the grants line and end with a balanced budget.
Paula said that it's possible regular donations can be made from the Madison fund. We are not adding this in the budget but she will talk with others about this.
Ginny thinks the income figures are generally too high, especially looking at what was listed for last year. Ruth forgot to make the previous year column the end-year figures [the linked version here updates that line.]

Approved; with Ginny standing aside.

7. CPTI

We have been asked by the new office of Conscience and Peace Tax International in Britain to reaffirm our membership since it moved from Belgium. Naomi has a memo and comments about the conflict that developed at and after the Colombia meeting. She and Dan  Jenkins are no longer on the CPTI board. AdComm recommended that we reaffirm although we will not be particularly active; monitor and watch for a year; revisit next November. See how it develops. Ruth noted that she has met and likes the key people in England and the other current board members.

Approve for 1 year — as stated, just be on the list.
Stand asides: Ginny, Joffre, Naomi

8. Next Meeting

Indiana is set for November 2014.
San Diego was possible for May, but not sure if it will work. Dates and energy of local folks in question now.
We will investigate: Seattle (Ruth write Geov and Carolyn), Tacoma (George Rodkey; Catholic Worker), Las Vegas — cheap to fly there; we had a good demonstration at the test site when we met there; Kansas — Newton, KC — possible tho we met there most recently.

9. Evaluations

Enjoyed being in NYC again; thanks for help with food; good location; we as a group seem to be reluctant to move forward and take risks; never seen so many people concerned about financial security;

Great to see new energy;

123 Garfield found real interest in discussing conspiracy theory — would like to expand the discussion for “no taxes for deception”

Great time; really liked being in NYC; surprised by the amount of walking; complains about carbon footprint with travel but there is payoff in getting together

Feels good about this gathering; thanks; organizational integrity and the way we get things done; we seem to come to agreement; acoustics are hard for hearing; more attention to hearing issues; people don’t speak up!; more stuff on walls helps absorb the noises and easier to hear

Great to be with all and see all again; pretty tolerable for someone who hates meetings; not hearing well but making a mistake on most important decision we made

Panel on Friday night really enlightening; not a city person but it’s ok; saw family which made it worthwhile as well; thanks for hosting

Great to be back in NYC; thanks to locals — CW, Ruth & Ed’s; eye opener for NYC subway system as inaccessible [but hey, it’s over 100 years old!]

Individually talking to people and getting to know them; so many fascinating people and only got to talk to a few. Especially liked Andrew Ross, CW, USLAW; could improve on process; when come to meeting we are all on the same page; committees working on it in advance helps; thanks to Ruth, Erica, AdComm. We got a lot done.

Started off pessimistic about future of NWTRCC; leaves optimistic; important to get together; balances carbon footprint; good job facilitators

Thanks to Susan Miller for bringing me here; enjoyed it so much; learned a lot.

Great time; wonderful seeing everyone; Friday night was exciting — that pushed through the whole weekend. Housing and subway was great. Food was great.

We might have revitalized a local group by coming to NYC!

Best part of the whole weekend was the party last night.

Glad it was in NYC so she could come; met folks last night and saw the videos

Happy to have been here this weekend; appreciates all the energy in proposals; some decision making is hard in the big group and with the limited time we have together and work through the issues and come to actions. She is always happy with how much we do manage to get done, and hearing risk taking and considering what that means. Bringing young people in does mean new ways of thinking and doing. Suggest that hearing and walking accessibility — have a check in — when people introduce themselves they say whether they have needs like speaking up or signals to help a person participate better in a meeting. Works for people of all ages and abilities. Thanks for support social media and outreach and she looks forward to supporting the individuals who have agreed to work on things.

Yes to what everyone has said. Friday night presentation brought a maturity to the concept of economic disobedience that I did not experience in previous meetings. Had a sense of the mischievous in the past, and somehow Friday night brought a real seriousness to economic disobedience.

Thanks you NY. Really enjoyed Friday night and want to see that continue. Happy to have met Erica and see what she is doing with social media. We need to communicate about technology more before the meetings and we could get the equipment there.

*The end*

Photos from the gathering

Blog post about the weekend

Small group reports reacting to Economic Disobedience panel

Workshop/Presentation notes, Misc. comments