Eighth International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns - Washington, DC USA 2000

This can be found on the website: www.peacetax.com (now www.peacetaxfund.org/), click on ‘conference’ and then ‘announcement’.

PRESS RELEASE

Contact persons: David Demere toll free: 1-888-PEACETAX; local: (202) 483-3751 e-mail intconf@mindspring.com

8th International Conference on War Tax Resistance and Peace Tax Campaigns

Date: 6th to 9th July 2000

Place: Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, USA

Background: About 130 delegates from 17 countries met to discuss national and international activities which reflect the power of conscience in building a Culture of Peace.

These activities range from the refusal by the individual to pay the element in our personal tax which funds military expenditure ...through to national organizations which seek legislative change to give effect to this basic human right...and to Gandhian organizations based on satyagraha (nonviolence).

Conference: Keynote speakers were Professor Marjorie Kornhauser, Professor of Law at Tulane Law School, New Orleans, and Peter Goldberger, Attorney at Law from Philadelphia; both were looking at the attitude of US statutory law and of the Court towards war tax resistance. Also, we had the privilege of hearing a lifetime's experience distilled into an hour from the Reverend James Lawson, the US civil rights activist and nonviolence trainer.

In a series of workshops we deepened our understanding of conscientious objection, became more acquainted with war tax resistance and peace tax campaigning in other countries and cultures, considered our approach to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva and the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

We were received in the State Department by the Director of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, and in the Pentagon by the Department of Legislative Affairs, and productive exchanges took place. We also had constructive exchanges with Congressional aides on Capitol Hill, and met with representatives of religious bodies which support peace tax legislation.

The international organization Conscience and Peace Tax International held its 4th General Assembly.

Message: Those of us gathered at the 8th International Conference, speak for that significant portion of the public who know that the use of violent methods only creates more violence, and that such military solutions to conflict do not truly resolve conflict. Sufficient knowledge exists to prevent and resolve all conflicts by nonviolent means, if such knowledge is sought and applied with determination and goodwill.

We cannot in conscience pay for military systems or operations. We support the actions of persons and institutions who work through constructive and peaceful means.

We quote the words included in the recent statement “Universal Realization of Human Rights”, from the Declaration and Agenda for Action, adopted on 24th May 2000 by the Millennium Forum: In the context of the right not to be complicit in killing, we ask for full legal recognition of the rights of conscientious objectors.

We call on all governments to enact legislation which will recognize this right, and to include the right of conscientious objection to military taxation. We know that many persons, in living true to their consciences, must engage in war tax resistance. We support those who are led to this prophetic witness.