There are many misconceptions about resistance.
A lot of people assume resistance implies armed violence. That’s unfortunate and untrue; taking up arms is a last resort when all else has failed. It’s actually one of the least common aspects of resistance. Another assumption is that all resistance must be in-your-face and dangerous. It may be, of course. But most acts of resistance are quiet, unheralded, and expressed in the way good people live their ordinary lives.
Let me introduce you to David Gross. He’s one of the readers who helped us shape Basics of Resistance. He’s also mentioned in the book.
But let David speak for himself:
Like most Americans, I inadvertently supported the government and its wars — I can look at an old W2 form to see just how much. I didn’t want to, but my opposition was only an opinion while my support was in dollars and cents.
Finally I decided that refusing my moral support wasn’t enough. I have to put my money where my mouth is.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, I stopped paying federal income tax and started working for my values instead of against them. I quit my job and reduced my income so that I no longer owe any federal income tax. I transformed my life, concentrating on what really matters, so that I can live well and securely on a lower income.
I take a practical approach, learning about the tax laws and about how to live well by being sensibly frugal. I can live within my means without paying federal income tax — honestly, peacefully, and legally — and can avoid paying other taxes as well.
At the time he made this resolve he was living in San Francisco — not an easy place to live cheap even before the present tech boom turned it into a city of millionaires and desperate homeless. But motivated by his principles, he managed, and continues to manage while living elsewhere in California.
He has written a book on tax-resistance techniques.
In addition to being a personal inspiration, he’s written about other tax resisters like Ammon Hennacy, who conducted a One-Man Revolution and Henry David Thoreau, who wasn’t the pacifist some imagine.
Some of his writing is political and philosophical, like “The Roots of Political Authority.” Other entries on his blog are highly practical, like “A Post-Game Analysis of a Civil Disobedience Action.”
If you’re looking for helpful information from a man who has walked the walk, David’s blog is a good place to start.
Not ready to quit paying taxes? Before he was a tax resister, David was interested in the unique form of monkeywrenching known as culture jamming. Culture jamming is … complicated. But basically it’s changing people’s perceptions through campaigns of tricks, jokes, fakery, and mind-bending public performances. Still not sure what it’s all about? Check out his culture-jam archive and prepare to be amused, outraged, puzzled … or inspired.
Dave’s quick to say that this is just an archive representing his past interests, not kept current. Even so, it remains one of the best, if not the best culture-jamming resource online.
Enjoy and learn.