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Report on individual and corporate war tax resistance

The 18 participants in this workshop began by reporting briefly on their individual war tax resistance and / or how their church or other organisation addressed issues of war tax resistance. Ursula Windsor, Christa Voigt and Roger Franklin detailed their stories of resistance, seizures, imprisonment, court cases, and some of the impacts of their actions which included media attention, the introduction of a peace tax bill in Parliament, and their resolve to continue the struggle. This storytelling fulfilled the first objective of the workshop: to see that we are not alone.

A free-flowing discussion followed in which the following information and opinions were presented:
Most individual war tax resisters feel some support from friends from church and /or political movement. However, radical tax resistance is predominantly individual, rather than corporate, action.

Tax resistance may be based on political, religious, and other conscientious convictions. Women are never asked to refuse military service. They, along with men, should have the right (freedom of conscience) to refuse military taxation.
While many war tax resisters are also peace tax fund supporters, it is important to distinguish the two approaches in order to appeal to more people.
Some people will make personal sacrifices and suffer property seizures and imprisonment in the process of being true to their conscience. However, imprisonment is rare and is usually based on a related charge, such as contempt of court.
The government won't give us a peace tax law unless it needs to. We have to have thousands of resisters so the government can't do anything else but solve it legally. An alternate view: a few people can make a change.

Individuals cannot always have their case heard in court, so corporate action is important. Churches can make statements supporting their members, but it would be 'un-Quakerly' to say all their members must not pay war taxes.

The redistribution of resisted war tax money is as important as the refusal. It is the way of making a positive emphasis.

A problem was brought up near the end of the workshop. Talking about experiences is not enough. We should decide on tactics to make war tax resistance a global movement.

More time for information about corporate tax resistance was needed. The action taken by Philadelphia Yearly Meeting was the only action detailed.

Susan Balzer.