National War Tax Resistance

Coordinating Committee Meeting

November 9, 2008Eugene, OR

Pam Allee (OR Community of WTRs, Portland), Ruth Benn (NWTRCC Coordinator), Mike Butler (NM), Michael Carrigan (Eugene CALC), Gary Erb (Boulder War Tax Information Project), Kima Garrison (Portland), Bill Gilbert (Eugene), David Gross (No. Cal WTR), Tana Hastings (Portland), Ann and Bruce Huntwork (Portland), Don Kaufman (KS, Heartland Peace Tax Fund), Erica Kay (Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia, NACC), Kathy Kelly (Voices for Creative Nonviolence), Sandi Mann (Eugene), Paul Maresh (Portland), Ben Martin Horst (Eugene Taxes for Peace), Scott McClay (NACC), Stanley and Connie McCracken (Sonoma County, CA, Taxes for Peace), Peg Morton (Eugene Taxes for Peace), Erik and Ann Muller (Eugene), Paula Noss (Eugene), Geov Parrish (NACC), John and Kate Parrish (Eugene), Susan Quinlan (No Cal WTR), Bill Ramsey (St. Louis Covenant Community of WTRs), Robert Randall (GA), Katie Robertson (Eugene), Ginny Schneider (NH),  John and Pat Schweibert (Portland), Cliff Smith (Nevada), Peter Smith (Michiana WTR),  Jay Sordean (No Cal WTR), Ellyn Stecker (Michiana WTR),  Carolyn Stevens (NACC), Joffre Stewart (Illinois), Erica Weiland (WA)

Administraive Committee (AdComm) members: Pam Allee, Robert Randall, Mike Butler, Don Kaufman, David Gross (alternate), Bill Ramsey (Boycott clerk), Tana Hastings (Treasurer), Ruth Benn (Coordinator)

Report on other parts of the Eugene gathering weekend

1. Proposals

Continue the War Tax Boycott?

            AdComm recommends to CC meeting a consolidation of what we’ve done; get groups together who had endorsed and others for phone conference and meetings in January and March to talk about Boycott and WTR in general; update the website and produce tools so that local organizers can use the Boycott but don’t invest lots of time and a big national effort as the political climate between now and April 2009 is probably not very conducive to lots of people to sign on; prepare for a wider campaign in 2010.

            Comments: People want all the tools needed for local groups to push the boycott including palm cards or small flyer and updated website; Local groups should see their work as grist for the mill in going ahead with a 3-year kind of plan of pushing into 2010; Some favor a public sign-on but ask previous signers if we should put their names up again; maybe do a form like Code Pink’s that allowed for comments; Strong support for chosen groups for redirection again; right now we have a link to alternative funds; keep the same 2 groups on; pick different groups to spread it around; symbolically valuable to have the redirection – strongly recommend keeping that on there; Keep as is; Direct Aid Iraq; Katrina still stands out; we must be able to vote to use our money; Important to continue to have a presence.

Consensus – Keep named redirection projects

            Some reservations were made about Common Ground; maybe look for a group working on the foreclosure issue or housing to be specific to current year; could do a veteran groups or military families; keep aid to victims of war – Direct Aid Iraq seems fine.

Consensus – Boycott Working Group has authority to make redirection choices (should be tax deductible). New volunteers – Ellyn Stecker, Erica Weiland, Kathy Kelly

Consensus to have a public list on the website.

             with those from last year who agree to sign on again and new ones

            Have anonymous option; Get feedback from original signers; have comments

Full consensus on moving ahead with Boycott as amended and with positive thrust for year 2

Affiliate Project Follow-up Proposals

Encourage regional gatherings

            AdComm recommends that coordinator contact groups in our network that might be willing to host such a gathering asking if they would submit a brief proposal to us for that gathering and offering some help in funding and promotion. AdComm would choose one region to help from any submissions. Among the criteria: Repeatability not just a one time gathering; Previously unserved region; Regional focus, not local or just national; Include opportunity for wtr counselor training

            Comments: This sounds very top down and did groups ask for this? Did it come out of the survey? People can’t travel to NWTRCC meetings; would like to be closer to home but meet with more groups; the New England gathering has been successful; if people/groups want to do it they’ll do it and the money offered by this proposal is a lesser factor – organizing such gatherings takes a lot of time; We would offer help but not the 2 hrs per week stated in the original proposal; Coordinator should do some encouraging - more than just sending out the info.

Consensus on Proposal as revised by AdComm

Meetings with organizational representatives who have expressed interest in WTR to discuss future of WTR

            AdComm recommends coordinating with Boycott activities, contacting the groups that signed on to the Boycott last year plus any other groups showing interest in WTR like Iraq Veterans Against the War. Do a conference call in January and a meeting in March in DC when UFPJ has called an action (or another place where many groups are already together). We will

include reps from our affiliates also plus other groups

Consensus

NWTRCC meetings

            Since NWTRCC meets only two weekends per year, the weekend agenda for these meetings shall include time for NWTRCC committee work (fundraising, literature, NWTRCC projects, etc.) Collectively, we invest a large amount of travel money, organizing effort, and personal time in these weekend meetings. Thus, we feel that committee work should be an important aspect of the weekend agenda.

Consensus

Administrative Committee Meetings

            The Administrative Committee shall meet immediately before every Coordinating Committee meeting. Additionally, the AC shall meet at least twice a year via conference call. Our intention is that the AC meet, in some fashion, on a quarterly basis.

            Consensus

2. Consultant Report & Review

            Comments on written report about whether Paypal online was resolved (yes) and whether Ruth works more than 25 hrs/week (in the course of a year probably not – some weeks more, some less.)

            Consultant review takes place every-other-year and is due in May 2009. Pam will send out the letters to the network early in 2009 and collect responses. Ruth will make sure she gets past copies. Robert will make sure it’s happening.

3. Endorsements

Peace Tax Fund Endorsement Renewal

            National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund “asks that all of our  current endorsing

organizations recommit to the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill and the efforts NCPTF

is doing to get it passed in Congress. Doing this will help us  clearly, honestly and publicly share who is committed towards the common goal of peace in  the 21st Century.”

            Comments: serious reservations and wouldn’t endorse personally; not unified in the ranks; we shouldn’t endorse as currently written; there can’t be a peace tax; no interest in increasing amount of revenue the government collects; why would these funds be handled differently than Soc Sec or anything else; stay endorsed to be able to influence them to create better legislation; a lot of people within NWTRCC feel strongly that it’s important; ambivalent because it simply is not going to pass; As bill written most of us would not qualify so as wtrs can we walk both sides of street at same time; Gives a special privilege to a few and antithetical to WTR; if decision to not endorse maybe we could make some recommendations; I don’t’ expect peace in my time but that doesn’t mean I stop working for it; we should share the content of this discussion with NCPTF.

Proposal - Put off discussion to May meeting without us taking our name off at this point. There are many strong feelings. Check with NCPTF as to whether there are any changes coming?  Our newsletter can run back and forth on this. Ask PTF person to come to May meeting and have a serious discussion with lots of preparation on this.

Consensus on waiting to May. Not taking name off now.

International Peace Bureau (IPB)

IPB in Geneva is presenting to the UN conference on Financing for Development a petition called, Time for New Priorities: A Global Call for Action on Military and Social Spending”

Consensus to not endorse as there was not a sense that our endorsement is that meaningful and most found it not strong enough.

Send reps to United for Peace and Justice Assembly (UFPJ)

            AdComm recommended sending Bill Ramsey and Mike Butler to the Dec. 12-14 meetings in Chicago to represent NWTRCC and network on WTR. We will try to have a table also.

Consensus

4. Objectives (written)

Comments: Is there a young adult review committee (we will try to reestablish it).

Add a regional meeting item per proposal.

Peg will write a request to the May meeting to send a rep to the Northwest regional FOR meeting.

Info shops are anarchist free spaces that have zine libraries – do it yourself stuff; Mike will get a list to Ruth. Use the anarchist directory from group in Canada

All of us need to help getting new affiliates.

When revising brochures add revision date

Was there feedback to redesign the website? Remember that those with slow connections need to have it pretty basic. (some students offered to do a redesign for us for free; Ruth, Dave G and Peter S met with them on Friday night; we’ll see where it goes.)

Fundraising – who is supposed to do special event? – ideas include selling scarves with appropriate peace embroidery that can be done at conferences or anywhere – not one event that Ruth has to organize.

Does the WTR Penalty Fund exist? Yes, it is important; we will ask them now to revitalize it somehow; NACC might (requires discussion) be willing to take it on if IN folks feel they cannot do.

Consensus on objectives.

5. Next Meeting

            General preference for DC area because it is easier to travel there and also because we want to have the discussion on the Peace Tax Fund. On the other hand, meeting at Eastern Mennonite would have the value of more youth involvement.

            Ruth will work with folks in those areas and see what seems best.

            Cleveland in November sounds good.

Consensus on above.

6. Finances & Fundraising (written budget)

            AdComm compared past to create new budget; everyone is worried about the economy. We will reevaluate in May if we see that money is really tight.

            This new budget includes a 5% increase to consultant; a total of $1,000 in the regional organizing line for seed money for a regional conference; extra money in outreach for the meetings with other groups; $4,835 that needs to be raised through new projects.

            Fundraising – especially to cover the $4,835 income line to balance our budget

            Bill Ramsey explain his idea for selling scarves that was successful for his group in St. Louis. He will look into the production and see if we can get it by the UFPJ meeting. They made a lot of money in St. Louis on this; it’s a great holiday gift. We’d need upfront money for this and volunteers to sell.

            Mike Butler thinks we could do a compilation music CD to sell.

            Sell the black Colorado tee shirts (they did well at SOAW a few years ago). Maybe by next November’s SOAW we could do that.

            Local groups do appeals like Portland did; Video still needs more money for promotion.

            We would need the concerted effort of network to any of these things off.

Consensus on budget as written.

7. Weekend Evaluation

             Time was short so we took a few statements that seemed to sum up most feelings: Wonderful weekend. Strategy session on Saturday was not too helpful as the facilitator did not know enough about us to make it work well. Needed more time for workshops - 2 sessions would have been good. The all-group workshops done by Kathy Kelly and Susan Quinlan were especially good. Comedy skit on Saturday afternoon was good. Meeting facilitators were great.

Thanks to Eugene folks for the excellent organizing. You did a wonderful job!

  Report on other parts of the Eugene gathering weekend