Divest from Pentagon, invest in people

SAN DIEGO – The tiny house on flatbed wheels skittered around the corner of the impressive new public library. Small and light enough to be pushed from behind and guided by a hand on the front trailer hitch, it made its way to the library steps. At final rest, it faced out at a vacant lot lined with the tents and shopping carts of the dispossessed. Amazed faces stared at the windows that let in the light, and the door fitted out with shiny lock and key.

On Tax Day, April 15th, protesters were staging a press conference with the latest attempt at temporary housing for the homeless, a one-room, full bed-sized frame structure assembled from a kit provided by Amikas of San Diego. In this public redirection of resisted income taxes, the Southern California War Tax Alternative Fund (SCWTAF) divested and redirected $6,000 from the Pentagon to the people, including $1,000 for this tiny home to its makers, the Amikas’ “Homeless to Housed” program.

Other grant recipients were the Peace Resource Center of San Diego, Alternatives to Violence/Los Angeles, Tri-Valley CAREs (Communities Against a Radioactive Environment) of Livermore, Calif., the Nevada Desert Experience of Las Vegas, and 9to5 Working Women LA.

“I pay my taxes, but not to the Department of Defense. I pay them instead to the people here working to create peace in San Diego,” said event organizer Anne Barron of SCWTAF. “War is violence in the extreme. I cannot pay for the bombs we rain on countries half-way around the world.”

According to member Cathy Deppe, war tax resistance and redirection are conscientious objection and nonviolent direct action to defund endless war. “Once we said, ‘What if they gave a war and nobody came.’ Draft resistance and the larger peace movement helped end the American war in Vietnam. Now, after 15 years of war in Afghanistan, we  say, ‘What if they gave a war and nobody paid.’ It is urgent we take direct action to end this addiction to endless war and militarism.”

SCWTAF is a project of Southern California War Tax Resistance, established in 1979. The group of war tax resisters has redirected over $60,000.00 since its founding, all of it with tax money that would have been used for war and preparations for war. To donate to the alternative fund, email info@scwtr. For local and national information see: http://www.scwtr.net, Southern California War Tax Resistance, and http://www.nwtrcc.org (National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Council).

Photo: Sara Haldeman-Scarr, pastor, First Church of the Brethren, San Diego | Cathy Deppe/PW


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.