What to call us

by Ed Pearson, USA

Quite frankly, I am confused!

In. April of 1987 I received a communication from Ignace de Haes about “A World Peace Tax Fund.”

In February of 1988, I received an invitation to the “Second International Conference on Taxes For Peace.” This letter was signed by Trix van Vugt and Ignace de Haes. I immediately accepted this invitation and made my plans to attend.

In May of 1988, I received a letter about the progress of the “Second International War Tax Resistance Conference” from Trix and Ignace.

In July of 1988, I received a memorandum about the “International Conference.” And in September I received a yellow covered booklet of information about “The Second International War Tax Resistance Conference.”

I would like to understand the ‘hows and whys’ of the changes in the name of this conference.

I agree with Mr. William Shakespeare that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But my experience of more than two decades on the issue of military taxation has taught me that we are perceived by the public according to what we call ourselves. Honey creates a sweeter image than vinegar.

I prefer be thought of as a ‘peace taxpayer’ rather than a ‘war tax resister’. (I have attached some material to describe this position in greater detail.) The word ‘resister’ in English means ‘to work against’ or ‘to fight off.’ I believe that our image is better served and our potential for success greater if we identify ourselves as persons supporting peace rather than fighting war. I do not believe that it is possible to fight for peace. That is a contradiction in terms. Certainly while we are fighting, we are not at peace. And after the fight is over, 5000 years of recorded history has clearly proved that fighting only leads to more fighting.

I remember driving through Germany on my way to our first international conference and being aware of how the many soldiers I saw along the road would react to me if they knew I was going to a conference called “No Money for the Military.” I feel very strongly that we should describe ourselves in positive terms and tell others what we stand for rather than emphasizing what we are against.

I formally request that the question of our name be put before the entire conference for a decision. Shall we identify ourselves as ‘peace taxpayers’ or ‘war tax resisters’?