On Tax Day, Anti-War Activists Protest for a Peace Economy

Peace

Tax Day is always one of protest when anti-war activists and frustrated taxpayers demonstrate objections to their hard-earned money paid in income-tax, being used to fund and support America’s never-ending wars along with a myriad of other expenditure issues.

Military expenditures are the single largest category of federal spending, accounting for roughly 13 percent of the annual federal budget. In 2023, that amounted to $820.3 billion, an astronomical sum which in turn translates to an average cost of $5,109 for each taxpayer according to a recent article posted in Common Dreams, a nonprofit independent news outlet.

Today, the group called “a15action” (April 15th Action) planned a worldwide economic blockade for solidarity with Palestine to demonstrate their power by calling upon all “…globally conscious people in various cities who believe it is within our collective power to stop this genocide,” believing, too, in their collective responsibility to do so, and illustrating their action wherein each city will identify and blockade major choke points in the economy, focusing on points of production and circulation with “the aim of causing the most economic impact.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area that action began with a series of protests on the Golden Gate Bridge and at three freeway chokepoints where protesters chained their arms together inside of plastic pipes that were placed through steel drums filled with concrete and rebar, making it more difficult for law enforcement to easily remove them from the roadbed.


On the Golden Gate Bridge early during the morning commute hour protesters stopped their cars at midspan and took up positions on the roadbed. In three lead cars, protesters in pairs chained their arms together delaying their removal. Both protests resulted in massive areawide traffic backups delaying tens of thousands of motorists for several hours. By the time the action was over, 38 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested.

In San Francisco, a rally organized by Code Pink at United Nations Plaza that organizers noted is named for the founding of the UN in 1945 where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights originated. Article 1 of the Declaration states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Activists there declared that “Tens of thousands of innocent Gazans have been killed by the Israeli military with U.S. weapons we paid for. We have spent billions of dollars on weapons for the Israeli military. We supply 60% of the weapons Israel is using to kill innocent civilians in Gaza. We demand that Congress and President Biden stop funding weapons to Israel, call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, no additional funding, and halting weapons ‘already in the pipeline.’ ” The group vowed that “We won’t pay! stop our taxes paying for genocide!” and “We oppose our taxes being used to kill innocent Gazans!”

During the rally at the plaza, speakers called for divestment from the war economy and in defunding the Pentagon for “wars, occupations and sanctions on Gaza, Cuba, Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan and Yemen,” while naming “Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon (RTX) and Grumman” as “Merchants of Death,” who are now providing many of the weapons being used in Gaza while, in turn, realizing a 60 percent increase in their profits.

The group instead called for the government to “Invest in a Peace Economy! We want our taxes to fund healthcare, housing, education, clean energy, child & elder care, transportation, clean air & water, student debt relief, safe bridges and roadways, libraries– not war, fear and misery.”

At the conclusion of the rally, the group marched in a “family friendly parade” to the nearby Federal offices building to rally and protest outside of the IRS offices where a tax-refusal teach-in was held, along with offering those so inclined an opportunity to sign a Tax Boycott Pledge.

Report and photo by Phil Pasquini

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