National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
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Coordinating Committee Meeting Minutes
including further reporting from the Strategy Conference
Brooklyn, NY — October 9, 2005

Present: Pam Allee (OR), Susan Balzer (KS), Ruth Benn (NY), Rick Bickhart (VA), Joan Broadfield (PA), Ruth Clark (NC), Ronnie Fellerath (NY), Peter Goldberger (PA), Clark Hanjian (MA), Tana Hastings (OR), Brad Lyttle (IL), Susan Quinlan (CA), Bill Ramsey (MO), Robert Randall (GA), Lincoln Rice (WI), Vicki Rovere (NY), Susan Silver (PA), Peter Smith (IN), Carolyn Stevens (WA), Joffre Stewart (IL), Susan Van Haitsma (TX), David Waters (AL), Betty Winkler (NY), Daniel Woodham (NC)

1. Administrative Committee (AC) Members
Esther Freeman (CA) and Lincoln Rice (WI) complete their terms on the Administrative Committee with the May meeting. Daniel Woodham (NC) and Susan Balzer (KS) stay on as full members and Alice Lui (CA) moves into a full position. Diana Desnoyers (CT) was selected as an alternate last May but has had to resign.
Nominations are open for 3 new members for the AC, 1 new full member, 2 as alternates, to be selected at the May meeting. Nominations deadline is March 15, 2006, and the process will be announced in the December newsletter. Jerome Witschger (NM/AZ) and Oliver Water (AL) were nominated. New members will be selected at May meeting and begin serving in November '06.

2. International Conference Rep
NWTRCC needs to send a representative to the international conference in Germany next October. A delegate will be selected at May meeting; registration, room and board, and travel are paid up to $1,000. Daniel nominated Lincoln, and others may throw their hat into the ring (self-nomination is fine!). Send a short write up describing your interest in going and anything else you think relevant. Representatives are expected to take a NWTRCC report to the conference, might participate in a workshop or panel, and write a report for the newsletter and the following CC meeting. Deadline is April 7, 2006.

3. NWTRCC Handbook
Clark Hanjian drafted a NWTRCC Handbook, a compilation of standing decisions and policies in one convenient format. Clark has gone through minutes to compile this and is asking for feedback. Do we want to keep it as an informal summary or make it a formal policy document? Clark is willing to update it for the foreseeable future. Ruth suggested that at the end of each CC meeting the CC list or flag decisions that should be added. Susan Q. suggested that it be posted on the web. Tana said that a review before members would refresh our institutional memory and make meetings more efficient. We agreed to review it between now and the next meeting. Send Clark comments by email to: pax444@verizon.net or by mail to PO Box 4594, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. After that, Peter Smith offered to post it on the website. (If you would like to review the handbook, please contact the office for a copy.)

4. Consultant's Report ()
Ruth reminded us that the job is part-time, 25-hour/week, and that the workflow is irregular: some weeks are full-time, others less, and it evens out over the year. She keeps a time tally.
Peter Smith asked if the fundraising clerk position needs to be reevaluated this meeting. We forgot and will put it on the agenda for the next meeting, and the AC will prepare for the review. For various (mostly personal) reasons the work with current clerk Jim Stockwell hasn't really taken off.

5. Strategy Conference Follow-Up
The expectation was not to make decisions today to implement conference ideas, but rather to bring them forward in May. Can/should be fast-track some ideas today? What is some preliminary work that we can get started on?
We had in front of us the list of 6 ideas or categories of ideas that were narrowed down at the last conference session (see also www.nwtrcc.org/strategylists.htm, for a more full list of ideas from which these were prioritized). There was some confusion and discussion about what our process/purpose is and what can be done today, then we launched into the list point by point.

A. Video
We agreed that we are looking for an introductory and how-to film on wtr because our last video dates back to the 1980s. We might want two pieces, one longer for discussion, one shorter for use on the website. It will include youth, but should appeal to all kinds of folks. We're calling it a video, but it would probably be a DVD since they're easy to reproduce. Bill pointed out that it might not be cost effective to mix the longer documentary with the shorter promotional film. Others could get funding for an oral history documentary, while probably a promotional/how-to is something we would have to raise funds for ourselves. We had a professional team conducting taped interviews with as many people for whom there was time at this conference on Saturday; that tape has to be transferred to standard video. Steev has lots of footage from previous wtr events/actions and also from this conference. Suggestion that we put up video from the conference on our website soon. Susan suggested that production of the web video could be done by young adults.
Robert suggested a production committee to start on the details because a project of this scale can't go forward without such a working group. Clark suggested that the working group create a specific outline and budget.
Proposal: Create an introductory why and how-to DVD, parts of it will be put on the web. Set up a working group to get it going. APPROVED.
Volunteers: Steev Hise, Bill Ramsey will ask his daughter who has an interest in this area. Ask folks who came to the tech working group yesterday (Mel, Peter S, Sherrill, Alice, Ruth, RJ, others?). Susan Quinlan will convene this group.

B. Survey/One year boycott (see below for original proposal)
A few comments from presentation during conference: For now the survey is the primary aspect of this proposal; can be an organizing tool to get us out where we need to be and raise awareness of WTR in the peace movement. A pilot is probably necessary. Will need to compose a good survey to focus on obstacles to WTR and economic power of peace movement. Then we need an infrastructure to support the 1-year boycott, i.e., literature and resources. The survey will influence what the one-year boycott looks like.
Bill suggests that a working group is needed to develop the survey, research procedures, developing questions, running a pilot, and deciding on target audiences. Ronnie presented some of the professional hurdles and issues. She imagines a draft with four rewrites, and perhaps the pilot could be done by May if the writing goes fast. The work could probably be done by listserve.
Proposal: CC establish a working group to prepare a survey to present to the May meeting as a proposal for a nationwide survey re: understanding obstacles to WTR. Tasks for the working group would be to draft, edit, and run a pilot survey by May. Objectives, questions, readers, understanding the target audience and running a pilot are all crucial elements. Youth will be an important demographic of who would be reaching out to. APPROVED.
Volunteers (or suggested): Bill Ramsey, Eszter Freeman, Mary Loehr, Betty Winkler, Ann Huntwork, Bob Bady, Ronnie, Ed Hedemann, Susan Silver. Bill will convene.

C. Youth Outreach/Campaigns
A few specific priorities came out of the weekend's discussions under youth outreach: Emphasis on Web-based; new W-4 piece targeted at young adults; new cell piece/updated info; enhance links with Counter-recruitment work; Redirection Campaigns that connect to causes of special interest to young people.
Do we need a youth task force, or just a youth focus in all our work? Discussion re: does a youth task force mean bringing in new youth or working with youth already within our local groups/network? Probably the latter is better (otherwise we're asking new folks to come into NWTRCC and help us). Is this a youth review committee or something more?
We might be able to establish be a review group without too much trouble. Our focus is young adults rather than teens; some teens will be involved, but mostly folks in the 20's-early 30's. It may start as a review committee, but we want to the group to feel empowered, not just translate our work into youth-eese.
Proposal: Establish a youth review committee (from within our networks) to look at web based, W-4 lit, phone tax/cell phone, discussion board, links w/counter recruitment, redirection. APPROVED.
Volunteers: Lincoln and Ruth will see that this gets set up, and others will help or be asked to help with specific areas:
* Emphasis on Web-based
* W-4 info: ask Oliver
* Cell phone info: ask Randy; Peter S and Steev (and Tom Good, NYC) re: Hang Up On War discussion board
* Link with Counter-recruitment work: Carolyn, Susan Q, Peter S and ask Steev
* Redirection Campaigns: Carolyn, Susan Q, Rick B, ask Randy

D. Outreach to Intentional Communities
Intentional communities are often a good fit with WTR. We should enhance our outreach to natural allies. (Comment from conference report back: Add a list of intentional communities that support WTR to the website.) Keep in mind Food Not Bombs and Catholic Worker. We will ask Bob Bady to give us more information about the discussion that brought this forward. Others who might work on this are Karl Meyer and Juanita Nelson.

E. Military Spending Graphic Visuals
NWTRCC has long used the WRL pie chart but we could also link any good representations about this on our website. FCNL has a good bar graph. NWTRCC should point to all sources in this area.

F. Field Secretary (Traveling Speakers)
There was no specific proposal on this and but the idea is to get people out and about speaking on wtr. Kathy Kelly for Voices in the Wilderness and Roy Bourgeiose for School of the Americas Watch are two examples of great success at spreading the word about their work through regular speaking tours and also raised money for their groups this way. But can we create audiences? We have had regional representatives in the past to do this. The CC is open to proposals on this; would require a written proposal with budget.

6. Next meeting
May 5, 6, 7 in Seattle, hosted by the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia. Anyone want to offer for Nov. 2006? Southwest would be preferred location. New England could work too.

7. NWTRCC Objectives for Dec 1, 2005 - Nov 30, 2006
We reviewed the progress on the past year's objections. The Peace Tax Form will be done again this year, coming out in December with only small changes from last year. It was noted that youth work was a focus last time, and now we're adding passion and specifics, so it's getting going.
The proposed objectives were adjusted to take account for the items that came up at the conference and were passed at this meeting or simple enough to carry out without further discussion/decision-making.
APPROVED - Objectives are below.

8. Budget for fiscal year Dec 1, 2005 - Nov 30, 2006
The group looked over this year's report and the new budget proposal. This year has gone fairly well. At present there is no Cost of Living Adjustment built in for the coordinator's compensation, which hasn't been raised in several years.
Proposal: Add $630 to Coordinator's base amount leaving a net income of zero (a wash). Amendment to instruct AdCom to confer with Ruth re: her needs and remuneration during the review process. Budget APPROVED.
Final budget is at: www.nwtrcc.org/05-06budget.pdf
It was pointed out that we have adopted a number of programmatic items that will cost money, but are basically approving the usual administrative budget. We can revise the budget at the May meeting as necessary. Working groups should be exploring fundraising.

Great meeting!! Thanks to Carolyn Stevens for taking minutes!

Next meeting: May 5-7, 2006, Seattle, hosted by the Nonviolent Action Community of Cascadia.


OBJECTIVES FY 05/06
Approved by Coordinating Committee October 9, 2005
Implemented by Coordinator(s) unless otherwise specified.

1. OUTREACH
a) Send out NWTRCC ads and announcements to alternative media for free publication - especially PSA's for radio.
b) Continue outreach to other groups that have a similarity or affinity.
c) Build on ideas from young adult panel at conference and with the young adult review committee.
d) Use the survey to extend our outreach (will be ready in May).

2. MEETINGS
a) Organize two Coordinating Committee meetings in May '05 in Seattle and fall '06.
b) Arrange for a NWTRCC representative to go to at least three other group's national meeting: UFPJ, SOAW (Nov), CPT, Voices, Pax Christi, FOR, Brethren, Mennonites, Sustain. Go to 1 student conference (SEAC, Network Opposed to the Militarization of Youth).
c) Send a representative to the international conference in Germany in October
d) Schedule and prepare for biannual review of coordinator & review of Fundraising Clerk position. (Ad-Com)

3. NEWSLETTER
a) Publish six issues of newsletter More Than a Paycheck.
b) Send bulk copies of newsletter to active local groups on request.
c) Include a camera ready ad in December & Feb issues. (Rick Bickhart to design). Make it available electronically on web (Peter Smith). Likewise with PSA's.

4. NETWORK
a) Update the Network list in the early fall; add 12 new contacts this year.
b) Respond to requests for basic WTR information and connect with local contacts.
c) Do a survey of Alternative Funds after Tax Day & write an article about them (Volunteer).
d) Recruit new area contacts, especially for states currently not covered, or for areas sparsely covered (Coordinator to do with the help of Ad Com).
e) Encourage new or existing groups working on WTR to affiliate with NWTRCC. Try RCNV Santa Cruz.
f) Get out information on strategy conference and follow-up.

5. LITERATURE
a) Fill literature orders.
b) Update or discontinue old literature stock as needed.
c) Work with Mary to get Aging Practical done this year.
d) Write briefs on legal issues that arise. Update information through articles or standardized reports on these topics. (Issues: student loans, financial aid, citizenship)
e) Develop other topics of interest to young adults, in particular more info on W-4 & cell phone resistance. (Use Youth review committee; seek interns.)
f) Produce revised Peace Tax Form for 2006 tax season.
g) update practical on low income - ask David Gross
h) Develop a young adult review committee (Lincoln and Ruth to move along)
i) Set up committee to create a new how to/basic wtr video/DVD

6. MEDIA
a) Gather information on the Tax Day plans of local groups and send to everyone on the NWTRCC network list for local press work.
b) Produce a national press release for Tax Day and distribute to media (especially those who have responded in the past).
c) Do additional media work related to one current event.
d) Encourage wtr's to post articles on IndyMedia website.

7. WEB
a) Regularly post the newsletter and NWTRCC resources on the Web (Peter S & Ed H). Add video clips. Link to web blogs related to wtr (add disclaimer as needed).
b) Maintain list serve (Robert Randall).
c) Post practicals as updated and ready (Susan Quinlan & Peter Smith)
d) Update Hang Up On War website with discussion board & other ideas from conference.

8. COUNSELING AND LEGAL INFORMATION
a) Provide WTR counseling on request.
b) Review and disseminate change in laws and regulations pertinent to WTR thru newsletter & emails to counselor list.
c) Offer new-counselor training once a year and/or a training for trainers.
d) Work with legal point person. Keep up list of lawyers and accountants. (Volunteers).
e) Talk with CPA volunteer about outreach to other accountants.
f) Create a counselor training packet, encourage experienced counselors to train new counselors. Make use of tapes from 10/05 training if possible.

9. FUNDRAISING
a) Raise funds as necessary to accomplish the above, including: Collect a list of religious funders to approach by letter or calls. Write proposals to Resist, Muste, NACC and others with ideas out of strategy conference. (Coordinator and volunteers).
b) Work with the fundraising clerk (and volunteers for any of the above and below).
c) Send out annual dues form to affiliates. Call groups who are behind on affiliate fees.
d) Explore resources for funding youth outreach workers in the NWTRCC office.

10. SUPPORT
a) Offer support for wtr's by sending cards to people who have received levies & such.

Volunteers means that we volunteer to do the work, not that Coordinator recruits.


Survey and One-Year Boycott Draft Proposal

A Proposal Draft from Bill Ramsey and Angi O’Gorman, St. Louis Covenant of War Tax Resisters

9/05 (Modifications are developing out of discussions at the Strategy Conference)

We believe that broadening the network of people who refuse to pay for war and making war tax redirection a more central component of what it means to oppose war in the U.S. will require:

1) That we take the time and develop the tools we need to assess our potential power and understand the obstacles that stand in our way in exercising that power.

2) That we develop to counseling network and resources needed to prepare large numbers of peace and justice advocates to engage together in a public act of war tax refusal and redirection.

3) That we set an April 15 target date for an act of mass refusal and redirection base on a one-year commitment to income tax refusal.

Stage one (perhaps the calendar year 2006): A survey tool would be widely circulated nationally through web-pages, e-mail, newsletters, and at meetings and rallies.  A set of questions would attempt to assess (anonymously) the collective refusal power of anti-war activists in the U.S. How much did you pay in federal income taxes this year? How much of that was withheld?  How much did you end up owing at the end of the year? Did you receive a refund, how much?  Are you an employee or are you self-employed? 

The survey would also ask about obstacles within a specific framework. What obstacles, personal, practical, or philosophical that would prevent you from making a one-year commitment to refuse to pay a portion of your federal income taxes and redirect them to groups in your community that you determine with others deserve your support?  What information would you need and what types of support would your need to make this one-year commitment? 

While the survey itself would be anonymous, we would ask each person who filled out a survey to register separately as a person interested in knowing the results of the survey and considering a one-year commitment to refuse and redirect. This would create a bank of potential war tax resisters for NWTRCC and its affiliates to approach in the coming year. We would be dealing with a contingent of real people within the larger anti-war movement

We are suggesting a one-year commitment, tied to a specific April 15, because we believe is the most effective entry point. It does not require people to wade-in as individuals to an unlimited commitment with unknown consequences. The collection consequences for a one-year refusal are fairly predictable. If they did it alongside thousand of others who were engaging together in a one-time act of resistance, it would be empowering (perhaps inspiring them to experiment with a longer term commitment). It could also inspire repeated waves of successive one-year acts of refusal and redirection.

Stage two (perhaps the calendar year 2007): NWTRCC and its local affiliates would look

at the results of the survey and announce the potential tax power of the of the peace and justice movement. Based of this potential, NWTRCC and affiliates could issue a call for people to commit to one-year of war tax refusal and redirection the following April 15 (perhaps 2008). Based on the obstacles identified in the survey, NWTRCC could develop counseling tools and materials (many of these probably already exist) designed to address the obstacles and offer them to all who had registered as survey participants.

The survey could also offer us information about how many people needed to adjust their withholding and how many people were already in a position to refuse taxes owed at the end of the year. If most people need to adjust their withholding, the we would need to concentrate our efforts on contacts early in the year would allow the time for people to prepare and make the adjustment necessary to be in a place owe taxes on the following April 15. If there was a large body of people who were already likely to owe taxes, we might choose to focus on identifying them from the survey registrants and encouraging them to be the first wave of one-year resisters. Local affiliates could use this year of preparation to attempt to conduct a personal visits with each individual who filled out the survey in their area and then call of gathering of all those who were making the one-year commitment; to plan public announcement of their collective act of refusal and to make decisions about alternative grants.

Stage three (perhaps April 15, 2008): a national action in DC and local actions around the country announcing the war tax refusal and redirection of thousands who were refusing to pay for one year. The “new” resisters would issue a call for a second wave to take up resistance by committing to one-year of refusal and redirection on the April 15 the following year. Stage one and two survey, counseling and outreach efforts would be repeated as new people answered this call of the first wave.


National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
PO Box 150553, Brooklyn, NY 11215 • Email: nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org
www.nwtrcc.org