Welcome to issue 62 of The Broken Rifle on war tax resistance. While war tax resistance is not the main focus of WRI's work, it certainly is an issue WRI groups have been involved with for a very long time. Henry David Thoreau's classical text On Civil Disobedience, written in 1849, is centred around Thoreau's own refusal to pay war tax, for which he spent one day in prison.
In September 2001, shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the WRI Council issued its "Say No!" statement, urging "all those who pay tax: demand that your taxes are used for peace, withhold the proportion of tax used for war, Say No!" Back from the meeting the then WRI staff decided to practice what WRI was calling for, and asked the WRI Executive (as employers) to withhold the proportion of their income tax used to fund war. This was implemented from January 2002 on and continues until today.
Without tax refusal, we might have no codified human rights today. The cry "No taxation without representation!" ignited the American Revolution, transforming the ideas of Paine and Rousseau from philosophical abstractions to principles of government.
While the new Spanish government has withdrawn troops from Iraq, Spanish troops remain in Afghanistan and on hand for further interventions. Weapons factories; the traffic in arms; the distortion of scientific research ... There is no underlying change. Yet if it seems that our protests are ignored, more than we imagine we have in our own hands the possibility to counter the pervasive influence of militarism.