If you think more people should know about war tax resistance, your ideas and help are welcome. NWTRCC is resource center founded to connect the individuals and groups who support and do war tax resistance. Most organizing work is done by volunteers, and the best outreach is done in your own networks in your own community. There are many resources on this website, including flyers that you can download and pass around. This page includes some other organizing ideas, links to resources, and tools for you to use online, in print, or in the street. And, let us know what you are doing so we can share your ideas with others.
WTR Ad Sheets — Help us promote our work against war taxes by downloading the PDF ad sheets (below) and printing one of the ads in your newsletter or publication
April 15th, the usual deadline for paying federal taxes, is a good opportunity to remind people that the checks they have written will be cashed by the Pentagon and military corporations to pay for wars and military interventions around the world. At the same time states and local governments are making cuts in education, health care, human services, mental health programs, and other needed programs that better our lives.
You don’t need huge numbers of people to have a visible protest or presence at the post office as people pay their taxes. We do need to continue to raise our voices against money for war after April 15th. Some of the creative ideas used on tax day can be used at any time.
Leaflet with WRL’s pie chart “Where you income tax money really goes,” with its breakdown of military spending—the government deception, as well as how the dollars are really spent. Includes a list comparing the costs of tools for war and tools for peace. Order copies from our Publications page, or download from the War Resisters League website.
Ideas for organizing abound! You can take these resources, along with any you might create yourself and leaflet at your local post office up to and on April 15th as people come to mail their tax returns. Or you can go to a place in your community that could use more funding from the government — a school or community center or hospital — and leaflet there as well. This is a powerful way of saying, “Money for education (or health care or whatever) not for war.” March from place to place that is losing funding and end up at the Military Recruiting Office ($2.7 billion a year is spent on recruiting).
Use props or costumes to gain attention. Focusing on war profiteers and how tax dollars pay for huge corporate profits makes for great street theatre. Make a fake mailbox where people can send their taxes directly to corporations like Lockheed Martin (who gets an average of $105 from each taxpayer), Halliburton, etc. Have a “Bypass the middleman, send your taxes directly to the corporations who profit from war” sign. Look for more information on war profiteers on the CorpWatch website.
Use puppets of Iraqi mothers and babies, or large pictures of victims of war with a sign “How your tax dollars are spent”. Make cardboard cruise missiles with $1 million price tags. Make long banners that read “Military Budget = Death and Destruction.” Have a mock funeral, make coffins.
Conduct a die-in (which can be done legally or as civil disobedience), showing what happens when these weapons bought with tax dollars are used. Make dead “babies” by stuffing clothes or use wrapped blankets. Draw outlines of the dead with chalk so the image remains after the body is gone.
Burn tax forms This can be done as a blockade or in a visible, legal site. In conjunction with burning tax forms, have a banner with the Daniel Berrigan quote “Pardon us, friends, for the fracture of good order, for burning paper instead of babies.” Fr. Berrigan wrote this explaining his role in burning Selective Service files in Catonsville, Maryland, during the Vietnam War. Offer apologies for burning tax forms instead of Iraqi cities, Colombian villages, Palestinian schools, Afghan homes, etc.
Conduct a penny poll and publicize the results in a press release or letter to the editor of your local paper.
Have a bake sale using the theme (and poster) “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the navy has to hold a bake sale to buy a battleship!” Remind people that the hundreds of cruise missiles being launched from navy ships cost $1 million each. Folks in Des Moines do this bake sale every year, giving the proceeds to the under-funded alternative high school.
Turn the tax pie-chart into a large circular poster. Have large banners rather than lots of small ones that are hard to read as people rush by.
Give out pie with your pie charts — Pieces of pizza pie or dessert pie. You can add a little theatre by having a “representative” of the Pentagon “eating” most of the pie when others get only tiny slices.
Candlelight vigil with a large banner “Taxes for Peace Not War” in front of the Post Office, or other appropriate place. This can be done for some time leading up to April 15th.
Go to a budget hearing at City Council or Board of Education to talk about the federal budget. Do a penny poll before and bring the results. School budgets and human services are being cut while the military spending grows.
Use the local media, it’s a good way to get your message out! Write a letter to the editor or call a local talk radio show to talk about the way you’d like to see your tax dollars spent. Let them know that your demonstration will include a “photo opportunity” such as the penny poll, costumes, and the like.
Written by Joanne Sheehan, War Resisters League/New England, email@example.com.