Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The War's Over. Long Live the War!

Now that the President has declared combat operations in Iraq over, it's not a bad time to assess whether the war was worth it, and whether it's really over.  I'm not terribly sanguine about either.  Tim Musser sent me a piece by Ammon Hennacy, a Thoreauvian sort of anarchopacifist, who lived out an alternative. 
How Do I Get By With It?

by Ammon Hennacy,1970 --from THE BOOK OF AMMON

I don't know for sure. I have picketed thirteen days in the last three years here in Phoenix against war, the draft, and paying taxes for all this. I have been detained by the police and released four times, and been called to the tax office often.

I was a conscientious objector in both World Wars. In 1942 I refused to register for the draft and resigned from a civil service job in Milwaukee where I had been a social worker for eleven years. As I do not believe in shooting I have since then worked on farms where no withholding tax is taken from my pay, so I do not buy a gun for others to shoot. The tax man has tried to garnishee my wages; now I work by the day for different farmers and if necessary am paid in advance in order that no garnishee is effective.

I believe in the idea of voluntary poverty somewhat after the pattern of St. Francis of Assisi, Thoreau, Tolstoy and Gandhi. I have no car or anything the tax man can get. I make a true report of my income but openly refuse to pay a cent of tax.

I am a non-church Christian. I believe in the Sermon the Mount, especially because it is more revolutionary than opportunistic Communist tactics. I do not put my trust in money or bombs, but in God.

I am an anarchist who believes that all government exists, not to help people, but to continue in power, exploiters, bureaucrats and politicians who keep us on the run with their continual depressions and wars.

If you believe in capitalism and war and think you get your money's worth in paying taxes, that is your business. My message is to those who are beginning to question the idea that preparing for war brings peace. It is also to those who believe somewhat as I do but who are afraid to stand up and say so.

If you begin to see through the assertion of the warmongers that wars are for defense---while we invade foreign countries---then you should read my tax statement in full as printed in the Feb. 1951 CATHOLIC WORKER, 223 Christie St., New York City, obtainable from me free of charge on the picket line or by request to my address below.

If you are ready for my message here is a starter:

REFUSE to become a soldier
REFUSE to make munitions
REFUSE to buy war bonds
REFUSE to pay income taxes

STUDY the Sermon on the Mount
STUDY Gandhi's non-violent methods
STUDY Jefferson's idea of life on the land
"STUDY war no more"

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