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Re: numbers  Joseph Maizlish
 Sep 15, 2008 16:55 PDT 

"For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be; what is once
well done is done forever."
        -- H.D. Thoreau

Heather Snow wrote:
 
Well, thanks a lot Ruth and Larry and Ginny, there is rarely any text
with your responses. I think the low turnouts are sad and not
surprising. I think people are still too threatened and un-educated
about the truth, to go against the machine. Look at the current state
of presidential candidates. I, personally, will not give-up my
stance. I will continue to resist ,even if I am the only one. My
sense of values refuse to be overrun by corrupt thinkers. I will
resist paying for war,to the best of my ability.... until I or they
are dead!

Power to the peaceful,
Heather

Lawrence Rosenwald wrote:
      Ruth, thanks so much for that very interesting report!
     A couple of questions:

 I'm back from the 12th International Conference on War Tax Resistance
and Peace Tax Campaigns, which was held at Manchester College in
England, September 5-7. Sorry that I'm not a rapid-response blogger,
but
shall update you on the listserve now and will be writing an article
for
the next NWTRCC newsletter. There were about 60 people from 14
countries
- about standard for these conferences. Sadly I have to report that our
efforts to get George Rishmawi from Palestine to the conference
ended in
a refused visa, so that he could not travel to the conference. The
British organizers tried really hard to get thru the red tape but to no
avail. Two people from Ghana were refused visas also. (So as an aside,
if you are someone who gave an extra contribution to help George get to
the conference, I will be in touch about how to handle those $$.)
     
     1) Was it the British who refused the visa? Any information on
why? 2)
There are 65 people at the previous conference, outside Berlin, and I
had
the impression then that that number was lower than the number in
previous
years (or at least that's something that got said fairly often at the
conference).   Anyone have exact figures? My own impression is that if
one were to judge from numbers at these conferences alone - not a good
idea, of course - one would think that wtr was on its way out.

 I attended two workshops that related more generally to organizing,
with
both having some focus on how to widen our efforts. Groups and
campaigns
in every country seem to face issues similar to our own. "How to bring
in more young people" was the topic of one workshop. While no group
seemed to be doing any better than many of us here in the US, many are
looking for answers in the internet, such as getting into Facebook and
other networking sites, and upgrading our websites.     
I'm a recent Facebook number; were any Facebooks groups named?

 Paul Rogers, professor at Bradfor University Peace Studies Department,
gave the keynote talk on Saturday morning, "Towards Sustainable
Security: looking ahead to how we can construct a sustainable system of
security in the 21st century." Whew, that's a mouthful. It was quite a
good talk about how we got to where we are now (particulary with the
neocons taking power in the US - despite their minority appeal) and
what
we need to do to bring more positive change for the future. In general
he said we need to turn the focus to "humans not states." He sees an
important opportunity for peace activists to build on what is so
obvious
now - that military "solutions" do not work, and that we have to work
together with all progressive groups to turn around the climate
change/environmental crises and ease the growing gap between rich and
poor thru debt relief and trade reform - because these are the
pressures
that are going to lead to further conflict in the coming years. It
was a
good talk and that little synopsis doesn't due it justice. WTR was not
addressed except in seeing our work as part of the movement that must
work more together to address all these issues in a more cohesive way.
     
     You have contact infomrration for Rogers, by any chance? It's
frustrating to me - and I dare say frustrating to you! - that wtr wasn't
mentioned in the course of the keynote speech at what is, after all, at
least in part a wtr event. (At the German conference, the keynote panel
theme was Responsibility/ Verantwortlichkeit, and there too wtr wasn't a
big deal.

 There were small group sessions to talk about the common ground between
war tax resisters and peace tax campaigns and develop ideas about
how we
can all work together more across international boundaries. I don't
know
if any of the groups came up with any brilliant insights on this. My
group did spend quite a bit of time comparing our tax systems and
learning more precisely what each of our organizations do. It's hard to
figure out how to work together without understanding more about each
situation; there's a lot of confusion about why there is such a
"strong"
war tax resistance movement in the US as compared to other countries.
One person said rather emphatically - "I just don't understand why
anyone would be a war tax resister without also working for a peace tax
fund." Others perceived that peace tax fund campaigns and WTR need each
other, that you can't have one without the other; I said that I could
certainly resist without any connection to a peace tax fund campaign,
but I began to see that many Europeans see the effort to actually
redirect military taxes to a fund that is only for peace-building
efforts or alternative defense is primary to their peace tax fund
campaigns. I think the US efforts have never had this peace-building
fund as an emphasis; the peace tax fund bill as it has been written in
the US redirects the taxes of conscientious objectors to the
non-military spending in the US budget, not to a specific
peace-building
effort. I found that insight rather interesting as I never
understood so
clearly how many of the campaigns are writing their bills for this
specific purpose.      
     That's an important distinction, I think, and very well said.

 In my small group and in general there was clearly interest in making
Conscience and Peace Tax International (http://cpti.ws/) more of an
umbrella group for all of our work. Due to technicalities of nonprofit
status, NWTRCC has not been an official member of CPTI but has been a
supporter. CPTI was founded as more of a link for the peace tax fund
campaigns than for WTRs, but we'll see how things develop. Many wanted
to see more organizing successes and ideas posted on the CPTI website.
Right now it has links to the groups in each country and information on
WTR court cases and conscientious objection rulings within the UN.     
     For what it's worth, I'd be opposed to making CPTI the overall
umbrella
group. I was invited to join the CPTI board at the Berlin
conference, and
I said no because of some skepticism on my part regarding CPTI's
essentially within-the-system approach. I like and admire all the CPTI
people, but there are some real differences of opinion here.

 Ok, that's all for today, but I will fill in if there are questions and
focus more for an article.
If you're read this far, you get the bonus link to some of Ed
Hedemann's
photos from the conference. They are posted at:
http://www.nwtrcc.org/ManchesterConference_2008.html.
     
     Lovely photographs, and especially nice to see David Bassett there.

     Best, Larry


NOTE: opinions expressed in posts to wtr-s are those of the author
and do not express the position of the National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee, which maintains this list solely for the
purpose of providing a public forum for war tax resisters and friends.


   
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Internal Virus Database is out of date.
Checked by AVG - http://www.avg.com Version: 8.0.169 / Virus
Database: 270.6.16/1652 - Release Date: 9/4/2008 6:54 PM

   


NOTE: opinions expressed in posts to wtr-s are those of the author
and do not express the position of the National War Tax Resistance
Coordinating Committee, which maintains this list solely for the
purpose of providing a public forum for war tax resisters and friends.
	
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