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. This form of conscientious objection to military taxation can take different forms, as the different articles in this issue show a debate of total objection or legal recognition and alternative "taxation" can be identified, very similar to the debate on total objection or substitute service.
Since January 2002, War Resisters' International itself withholds a portion of WRI staff's income tax, and thus practices tax resistance. As a result, WRI has been taken to court twice, and has been visited by tax collectors twice, who took cash equivalent to the outstanding tax. This issue of The Broken Rifle also explains WRI's reasons for withholding tax. We hope that other peace organisations -- especially WRI affiliates -- might follow this example, and in doing so might further the debate on conscientious objection to military taxation. If this should lead to legal recognition, or is mainly seen as an antimilitarist action is for you to decide.
Andreas Speck, WRI Office Coordinator