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Re: re-building a movement?  David M. Gross
 Jul 20, 2011 08:52 PDT 

I can imagine a couple of ways WTR could become a movement that attracts
enough people to really make waves:

1) the bulk of people who are already conscientious objectors of the
pacifisticish persuasion in their hearts come to believe that putting
their beliefs into practice in this way is essential

2) tax resistance becomes a prominent tactic of some people and groups
that are motivated by concerns other than anti-militarism/pacifism,
causing anti-war activists to wake up and say "well, we don't like what
/our/ taxes are being spent on either"

The first of these would probably resemble a religious revival or
something of that sort: anti-war folks getting so enthusiastic about
their cause or their movement that demonstrating their commitment in
dramatic ways like WTR would be more important to them than all of the
familiar anti-WTR excuses. This could be sparked from below once a
critical mass of anti-war activists adopt WTR or enough WTRs become more
public (or pushy) about the tactic. (Maybe research the abolitionist
"come-outer" movement in American protestantism to learn how something
like this gets going and builds momentum --

A more likely catalyst, though, would be if a coalition of anti-war
group organizers were to, instead of announcing yet another parade or
rally, announce that they'd all committed to WTR and now considered it
de rigueur for anti-war activists, so that anyone who wants to remain
respectable in the anti-war movement either needs to do WTR or to be
able to explain why they're not. (I've suggested in the past that WTRs
consider /blockading/ peace parades to protest complacency and
feel-goodism in the peace movement and to put WTR on the front-burner.)

For the second path, I imagine what might happen if something like the
TEA party or some other populist group were to say "we're sick of paying
for bailouts of Wall Street" (or whatever) and stop paying taxes for
that reason. If it took off and the government had a hard time coping
with it, I could see tax resistance in general getting more credibility
and attention, and then anti-war folks saying "why should /we/ pay /our/
taxes: we're just as pissed off about what the government spends money
on as they are."

In either case, though, contra Larry's suggestion, I think we'd be
better served by remaining flexible in our tactics and strategy. The
more tightly we try to define our methods and goals, the more people
we'd be "defining out" of the movement before it had a chance to grow.
(I doubt we could come up with a fixed answer to Larry's "What changes
in governmental behavior would it take to us to _stop_ doing war tax
resistance?" even in the small circle of a NWTRCC gathering that would
satisfy everyone, and an attempt to do so might divide us rather than
strengthen us.)

-- David

On 07/18/2011 06:43 PM, Ed Agro wrote:
 It seems to me that while all sorts of wrongheaded and deluded anti-tax
sentiments are afoot in the country these days, war tax refusal isn't
engaging the imagination of our fellow citizens and as a result has no
political salience - it elicits no politically useful response from the
government, while there's no sign that it's turning any but the already
committed away from militarism and criminal war-making. And the already
committed aren't particularly gaining new practitioners by our example....
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