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The Picket Line — 22 August 2014

Rebecca is becoming more bold. In this episode, she launches intimidation attacks against the home of a tithe collector and a game warden (part of the backlash against the enclosure of the commons). There’s also note below of an unsuccessful prosecution of a suspected Rebeccaite — the jury returned a “not guilty” verdict. From the Cambrian:

More Daring Depredations of the Rebeccaites.

We have, in our present publication, to detail the particulars of a more daring attempt on the part of the Rebeccaites than it has been our lot to record on any previous occasions, inasmuch as all the depredations which, unfortunately, are of such frequent occurrence, and accounts of which have from time to time appeared in the Cambrian, have, with a few trifling exceptions, been levied against toll-houses and turnpike-gates, but this week we have to record, in addition to the destruction of a considerable amount of property, a rather serious attempt upon life. The scene of the outrages to which we refer, was the village of Llanon and its neigbourhood, about three or four miles from Pontardulais, Carmarthenshire. , the inhabitants of the village were alarmed by the arrival of an immense concourse of Rebeccaites, who passed through the village. They had come from the direction of Pontyberem, on the Carmarthen road. We were assured by parties who witnessed the procession, that it must have consisted of about 500 persons, the majoriy of whom were disguised in women’s apparel, white shirts, or oilcase cloaks, but several of the party were not disguised in dress, but had their faces blackened. Becca, on this occasion, was mounted on a horse, which, contrary to the ordinary usage, was not a while one, but of a bay, or some other dark colour; she was also dressed in white. Nearly all the party were armed with guns, which they repeatedly fired in their progress through the village. Several horns were also in full play, and a number of rockets fired. There was also a kind of carriage in the procession, the lamps of which shed a lustre over a portion of the crowd, and lighted the apartments of many of the inhabitants, who were afraid to leave their bedrooms, thus enabling them to obtain a better view of the procession. When the party arrived near the end of the village, where one road leads to the Pontardulais highway, and the other towards Llanelly, Rebecca, who had previously given several orders, cried out “Silence!” when the party immediately left off firing guns and blowing horns. They then determined upon taking the Llanelly road, which also leads to Gellywernen, the house of Mr. Edwards, agent to Rees Goring Thomas, Esq., the lay-improprietor of the tithes of the parish. Mr. Edwards has, for some time past, had the management of the collection of tithes. When the party had proceeded as far as Morlais bridge they halted, and remained on the bridge for about an hour and a half, waiting for another division, which was to come from Mynydd-sylen. During the whole of the time, the blowing of horns and firing of guns and rockets, were kept up without intermission. Becca, thinking the party to be rather behind time, according to their engagement, accompanied by several others on horseback, proceeded for about three quarters of a mile on the road on which the party was expected to come, when she met them. It is also thought a third party, from some other direction, joined them. They afterwards proceeded towards Gellywernen House, and some persons estimated the party, by this time, to have amounted to seven or eight hundred persons; — their vehicle remained on the bridge. Upon the arrival of the rioters opposite Gellywernen House, they repeatedly fired their guns. Mr. Edwards, who had been for some days previously confined by illness, was in bed in one of the rooms up stairs, in which there was a light. Mrs. Edwards, who was in the room, hearing the firing and noise, advanced towards the window, and being greatly alarmed at seeing so large a crowd about the house, naturally enquired, “What was the matter? What did they require?” At this time a gunshot was fired through the window, several panes of which were broken thereby. Mrs. Edwards, who had cautiously avoided standing immediately in front of the window, fortunately escaped injury. She went to the window a second time and received a similar answer. Another shot was soon afterwards fired towards the door of the room, near which Mrs. and Miss Edwards stood, both of whom fortunately escaped unhurt, although the marks of shot were very thick upon the door. A great number of gunshots were then fired in succession into the bedroom, the evident aim of the rioters being seriously to injure, if not, indeed, to murder Mr. Edwards, who, as we have before stated, was in bed; but, happily for Mr. Edwards and his family, as well as for the rioters themselves, their endeavours were not attended with success, for, although parts of the wall were so thickly marked with shot and slugs, that scarcely a square inch was entirely free from them, while the window and bed-curtains were equally thickly perforated, Mr. Edwards escaped untouched, which was entirely owing to the position of the rioters being too low to enable them to fire into the bed. Some guns must have been discharged by persons who were on the court-wall, as there were some marks at a distance not exceeding half a yard from the pillow upon which Mr. Edwards lay, while those fired from the ground of the yard, could not take effect much lower than the ceiling. Another window, towards the back of the house, was also broken by gunshots, which had passed through the front window. There were in the panes of the window of another room, round holes, apparently made by balls, but which some persons thought were made by slugs. There were in all fifty-two panes of glass broken, in five windows. — Greatly alarmed at the dangerous position of her father, Miss Edwards, at considerable personal risk, came down stairs, and went to the door, at which there was a kind of porch, with glass at each side. Several large stones were immediately thrown at this young lady through the glass, but none of them struck her. Some of the party called out in Welsh, that they would not injure Miss Edwards, or her mother, but that “they would set no greater value on the father’s life than a feather thrown before the wind, and that they would have the tithes lowered.” Miss Edwards appealed to their humanity, and told them that her father was exceedingly ill, and confined to his bed, but that they might see him on any future day. After letting off a few additional charges, they left the house. — Whilst these outrages were carried on at the house, several of the mob forced open the door, and entered the beautiful walled garden, adjoining the house, where they committed devastations of a most disgraceful character. Nearly all the apple-trees, and wall fruit-trees of different kinds, were entirely destroyed, having been torn to pieces, or taken up by the root. The various plants and herbs, with which the garden abounded, were also destroyed. The row of large and commodious green-houses, extending from one side of the garden to the other, was attacked, and a large quantity of glass broken with stones. Though it was evident, by the marks on the green-house doors, which were strongly built, that attempts had been made to enter them, yet the mob did not succeed in that object, so that the luxuriant bunches of grapes and the abounding cucumbers were untouched — a circumstance not due to any sense of feeling or justice on the part of the mob, who evidently shrinked from entering the green houses through the broken glass. In fact, they laid hands upon nearly everything valuable in the garden with the exception of the bee-hives, which contained a good stock of bees; these the rioters prudently avoided, conscious that the diligent and active little beings would by no means sympathise in their devastations. — Either simultaneously with these depradations, or soon after they were committed, a party of the desperadoes proceeded to the house of William Bassett, the gamekeeper, who resided in a cottage in a wood, a short distance from Gellywernen House. On hearing of their approach, the gamekeeper, against whom they had sworn vengeance, fled for refuge to the wood, leaving his wife and children in the house. The Rebeccaites, on their entering the house, discharged a gun or pistol, containing powder only, nearly into the face of the wife, who had a child, who was slightly wounded in her arms at the time. They then broke the clock, which was a very good one, an old pier-glass, which bad been handed down for several generations, the chairs, tables, and all the little furniture the poor people possessed. They also carried away the gamekeeper’s gun, and 10s. or 12s. worth of powder and shot; and previous to leaving, took from the drawers all the clothes of the family, which were torn, trodden upon, and partly burnt. They then left the place, after firing several times. — We observed that several of the painted doors leading from the road to the plantation were destroyed by the Rebeccaites, either in going or in leaving. — When Becca and her party returned through Llanon, it was . The number of persons who returned through the village, was stated to us to be about five hundred, several of the party having previously dispersed in different directions. With the exception of the occasional firing of a gun, they made no noise on their return. When they arrived opposite Goring Thomas’s house, in the village of Llanon, which was vacant, but is being prepared for the reception of F. Fredricks, Esq., who has rented it for the sporting season, some of the junior members of the family commenced throwing stones at the windows, but Becca called out in English, and in a female voice, “Now girls, if you are my daughters, leave that house alone, until I shall command you another time.” They instantly desisted, but we counted thirty panes of glass, which had been broken. After leaving the village, they knocked up the landlord of the King’s Arms, and Becca and several of her children ordered beer, for which they paid, but commanded the landlord to put out his candle, which the latter readily did. They then went towards Pontyberem, on the Carmarthen road, but how far they walked before dispersing we could not ascertain, for no person was allowed to follow them, or scarcely to look at them, without being fired at. It is evident that Mr. Edwards had incurred the displeasure of the mob, in consequence of his being, in their opinion, too arbitrary in the collection of tithes, but it is not to be supposed that the riot has in any way emanated from the meeting held at Llation on , convened for the purpose of ascertaining if Mr. Goring Thomas had answered the letter applying for a reduction of tithes in accordance with a petition sent him from a former meeting, for that meeting was composed of most respectable persons, and though some dissatisfaction was expressed at not receiving an answer from Mr. Thomas, yet, upon its being explained to them that he had only just returned from London, and consequently had not had sufficient time to consider their request, they appeared perfectly satisfied, and called another meeting for , giving Thomas a week to consider their petition. We think it necessary to make these observations, as contrary reports have been circulated.

From the Monmouthshire Merlin:

Turnpike Mob at Wedmore.

John Skinner and other were indicted for riotously assembling together with other persons, armed, to demolish and destroy a dwelling and toll house, in the parishes of Mark and Wedmore, on .

From the evidence, it appeared that the party attacked the toll house and gate in the true Rebecca style, and demolished them in a few minutes.

The jury returned a verdict of Not Guilty.

There’s also a letter to the editor, dated that a James Rogers sent to the (London, I assume) Times to complain about how the reporter that paper sent to cover the Rebecca Riots kept trying to pin the blame for them on nonconformist ministers (see ♇ 3 August 2014 for an example):

Sir.— Having seen in your paper of a report of the state of South Wales, and, speaking of the Dissenters, you say, that, “at the commencement of these outrages, the farmers met the landlords, for the purpose of discussing the question, at St. Clears, and there a Dissenting Minister was the spokesman of the Rebeccaites; and at this meeting every man of the farmers refused to he sworn in as special constables, until this Dissenting Minister, being pressed to it, consented to come forward: when about fifty of his congregation followed his example immediately.” — Now, the whole or this statement is entirely void of truth. In the first place, no such meeting ever took place here, and no such circumstances as those stated by you ever transpired; and further, the report carries on the face of it the greatest absurdity, as the landlords had not the power to swear in special constables — this was a duty that devolved on the civil power.

There was a meeting held al the Blue Boar Inn, St. Clears, on (vide report in the Welshman, ), which was attended by a great many Magistrates and other influential gentlemen of the county, and by a few farmers. If the report in question has any reference to this meeting, it is as far from the truth as the other. This meeting was convened by the Magistrates, to take into consideration the state of the country, and for devising means to restore peace and order; and not “a meeting of landlords and farmers, to discuss the question of outrages.” Several gentlemen addressed this meeting, amongst the number the Rev. Joseph Williams, of Bethlehem, a Dissenting Minister. This gentleman suggested the propriety of dispensing with the services of the military and police here. The suggestion was taken into consideration by the Magistrates, and after a short consultation an order was given to dismiss the military and pensioners, but to retain the police; and this order was immediately carried inio effect. The farmers were now called upon to be sworn its as special constables, and having had the duty explained to them, all present came forward, without hesitation, and were sworn in — perhaps to the number of fifty or sixty, and a great many others were called upon the next day for a similar purpose.

No spokesman for the Rebeccaites attended this meeting. Mr. Williams was not asked to be sworn in a special constable — he did not go forward with fifty of his congregation — there was no refusal or reluctance on the part of any one to be sworn in that I could see.

So much for the truth of the statement contained in your report, and I shall feel much obliged by your giving publicity in the Times to this letter. I was present at all the meetings held here, and am well acquainted with all that transpired.

I remain, Sir, your very obedient servant,
James Rogers.
St. Clears, .

P.S. — Since writing the above, I have seen the Rev. Mr. Williams, who states that he was particularly requested by the Rev. John Evans, J.P., and Chairman of the Petty Sessions, St. Clears, and by Walter R.H. Powell, Esq., of Maesgwynne, to attend the meeting at St. Clears, on .

The Picket Line — 21 August 2014

I’d previously noted that Italy’s Northern League had threatened to launch a tax strike in November. It’s been difficult for me to learn details, largely because of the language barrier, and I’ve been a little skeptical since the Northern League has a history of big talk about tax resistance and I haven’t seen much come of it in the past.

That said, in the latest episode party leader Matteo Salvini announced that the strike would begin on and would include businesses of resisters making their sales off the books and sympathetic customers cooperating by frequenting such businesses and paying in cash.


From the Monmouthshire Merlin:

The Toll Grievance.

On , a very numerous meeting was held at Newbridge for the purpose of taking into consideration the Toll grievance of pressure of which this town and neighbourhood have great reason to complain. It appears that there are here three gates within 400 yards of each other. There is a gate at each end of the town, and one in the middle, besides another at the distance of only a quarter of a mile, These, however, are not the only gates felt oppressive, but they are the most flagrant; at one of them the charge for a horse and cart is no less than nine pence. This is indeed, intolerable. The course about to be adopted by the people of Newbridge is one, which reflects much credit upon them, as they prefer appealing to the constituted authorities and the law instead of adopting the violent and illegal course which aggrieved parties in other parts pursued. They intend to memorialize the magistrates of the district, to cause the removal of the obnoxious and illegal gates, and if these gentlemen have not the power to relieve the people, they are determined to petition Parliament on the subject. The violent and unconstitutional conduct of Rebecca has been successful in its object, she demolished the gates, and they are not to be re-erected. — We trust that the inhabitants of Newbridge and neighbourhood will find at least equal redress by obeying the law, with those who took relief by breaking it.

The Picket Line — 20 August 2014

Resistance to a tax to pay off fraudulently-issued railroad bonds in several parts of Kentucky lasted from the 1870s to the 1910s, used a variety of tactics, and was an effective strategy for reducing or eliminating the burden of those taxes. Newspaper articles from the time show the dynamics of this resistance struggle as it played out.

Continue reading at The Picket Line …

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The Picket Line — 19 August 2014

On , Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, a prominent political party in Pakistan, gave a speech in which he called for a “civil disobedience movement” in which “we will not pay taxes, electricity or gas bills,” to the central government, in hopes of forcing the resignation of Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Tax strike supporters say they believe that Pakistan is over-reliant on International Monetary Fund support, and that the strike may spook the Fund into withholding funds or demanding stronger terms, either of which would weaken the Sharif administration.

Khan’s party is in charge of the government in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and that government itself plans to withhold its federal taxes and utility payments. Asked what they would do if the government responded by cutting off utility service to the province, province Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani said that they would retaliate by cutting off the neighboring province of Punjab from the power generated by the Tarbela Dam, which is located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


From the issue of the Cambrian:

Rebecca.

As far as Glamorganshire is concerned, this lady has been pretty quiet during . We have heard of no additional gates having been destroyed. The authorities are still on the alert, and we understand, that several mounted and other police nightly watch the various toll-gates in the neighbourhood. One night last week, the patrol which watched the Pomfald, and one or two other Gower gates, heard fifty or sixty gun shots fired by the Rebeccaites, who, however, did not make their appearance, but the police declare that spies were sent by Rebecca’s daughters to watch the movements of the patrol.

Kidwelly and Three Commotts Trusts.

A Correspondent of the Morning Chronicle says, “At the last meeting of these Trusts, the trustees agreed to a resolution ‘that there were certain grievances to be redressed, and that they would redress them.’ It was then resolved that on the Kidwelly trust thirteen gates were obnoxious, and that on the Three Commotts trust there were ten gates which required removing, as being oppressive and grievous. The Clerk had orders to give the necessary legal notice of the meeting on , to have these gates removed. Not the least singular fact at this meeting (to which, by-the-by, reporters for the public press were for the first time admitted) was, that many of the Magistrates were unaware of the existence of so many gates on the road, and appeared perfectly astonished when they heard them enumerated, and saw them marked on the map prepared for the purpose.”

From the issue of the Cambrian:

Rebecca in the Neighbourhood of Brecon.

On , the Fair Derwin, cross turnpike gale, about two miles from Brecon (on the Builth road), was destroyed by some Rebeccaites. The work was done in a masterly style, in the dead of the night, and the loss of the gate not discovered till about . — We understand that the Commissioners of the Brecon Turnpike Trust have given notice for a meeting to Consider the propriety of discontinuing the different cross gates in the trust.

Wed. A Show! & Thurs. Women, Trans, Queer Open Mic!

Wednesday August 20th: A Show!  With...

Hang the Old Year from PDX, on their Hooray for Anarchy! West Coast tour, hangtheoldyear.bandcamp.com

In the Winds from here, spells dreams and heartstrings by jessie james briar birdcall post abandon ship! banjo and voice, inthewinds.bandcamp.com

Like a Tree our friend Fir's musical project. Their music is catchy, dreamy, a little haunting and undeniably moving

An evening to put into practice our desire for SubRosa to be a vibrant social space. So, bring yourself and your passion and your magic and...

7:30pm (bring $ for touring folk & notaflof)
More info at  https://www.facebook.com/events/685610078197027/


Thursday August 21st: Women, Trans and Queer Open Mic!

Every 3rd Thursday of the month we reserve the stage for Women, Trans, and Queer folk though everyone is invited and encouraged to come enjoy the show. These Open Mics are always special.

Open mic is a space for you to share yourself in anyway that feels right to you. You can read a story, poem or journal entry that feels important to you. You can sing or play a song you are excited about. You can make other people act out weird or funny things you think of. You can ask questions you need help answering. You can rant about things that piss you off. And you can just come and soak it all up.  This is an open space, full of possibility for you to step into.

Donations directly benefit this community-supported space. Signups for performance at 7:30 fill up quickly. Bring your creativity and artistic inspiration.

SubRosa Bi-Monthly Open Mic
1st & 3rd Thursday 8-10pm (signups at 7:30)
$3-7 at the door. No one turned away for lack of funds.

The Picket Line — 18 August 2014

I mentioned the case of John Payne, who wrote an address to British Quakers urging them to stop giving money to the government to pay for warfare, over two hundred years ago. He also put these principles into practice by going to extraordinary lengths to avoid taxes on roads, vehicles, buildings, and so forth.

I have since found another mention of him which indicates that his tax resistance continued literally until his dying day:

He died as he had lived, yet left nothing to his children! Not a penny of legacy duty [estate tax] fell into the clutches of a corrupt and extravagant government! But how? The whole of his property had carefully been conveyed, during his life and health, to his various offspring by deeds of gift.

This is very similar to how people avoid the estate tax today.


From the Monmouthshire Merlin:

The arrival at the Tredegar Iron Works of a company of Grenadiers, under the command of Capt. Cubitt and Lieutenant Davies, on from Swansea, in which neighbourhood they have been coquetting with Rebecca and her daughters, has delighted the inhabitants.…

Rhumnfy Turnpike Gate.

Arrangements it is understood, are in progress, by which the tolls hitherto paid at this gate will be entirely done away with. Although a natural anticipation, of a visit from that very incorrigible obstruction, ’Becca, might have induced this very prudent resolution on the part of those interested; yet, we believe this concession will be owing rather to a sense of justice, and what is due to the traffic hitherto so seriously interrupted on that road, than to any fears of the summary application of ’Becca’s playthings, saws, crowbars, &c., to the gates. Should our information be correct this circumstance will be hailed with satisfaction by all persons travelling that road. — Merthyr Guardian

The Picket Line — 17 August 2014

Several articles from the Spectator concerning the Annuity Tax resistance in Edinburgh spanning more than twenty-five years. Also: the Rebeccaites continue undaunted in their tollgate-destroying during the Summer of 1843.

Continue reading at The Picket Line …

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Info & Reflection on police killing of Michael Brown & aftermath

Here are some articles and audio regarding the police killing of Michael Brown recently.  Police across this land, and across the world, kill and abuse people every day.  This occurs in a social context where race is often a factor as police serve to maintain an order that does not benefit most of us (and in fact I would argue that none of us actually benefit as this planet is being wrecked in such a way that all of life is threatened, not just human life).
And  beyond looking at these dynamics analytically, there is the emotional impact, where family members and friends grieve the loss of their loved ones, and sadness and anger are present.  These moments are times in which this every day reality for some has a spotlight shown for all of us to see and respond to, for deep questions, and for transformative action.

Of course, this killing by police is not an aberration, and racial tensions are still very evident in this country.  I want come together with others where we challenge these systemic imbalances.  There are also multiple ways in which we as individuals are positioned in this system, and I want to uproot those ways that are blockages from more fully connecting and relating to other people (and more) with whom I/we share this earth.

The Front Lines of Ferguson: The death of Michael Brown and 48 hours at the center of an American crisis in Ferguson, Missouri by Rembert Browne (Aug. 15th): This is a moving article from a person who went to Ferguson on Tuesday and experienced the complexities of being in the city as a black man in the aftermath of the police killing of Michael Brown. http://grantland.com/features/ferguson-missouri-protest-michael-brown-murder-police/

from Free Radical Radio (Aug. 14th): Interview with Luca and Elsie, two anarchists from St. Louis who have been in and around the riots/revolt against the police murder of Michael Brown.  They discuss the lead up to the riot, the militarization of the police, the peace police/left/liberal/church/non-profit's attempt at containment, and much more. https://archive.org/details/RevoltInFerguson

Initial report back from Anarchist News (another perspective) http://anarchistnews.org/content/ferguson-reportback

Police have also killed 4 people in Salinas this year. More at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/07/15/18758621.php


The Picket Line — 16 August 2014

Here are a few more contemporary news accounts that concern the wage tax strike in Pennsylvania in . This comes from the Sunday Independent of Wilkes-Barre:

400 Oppose Wage Tax Levied in Pittston Twp.

Refuse to Pay on Collection Days; Musto Joins Opponents

Upward of 400 wage-earners in Pittston township carried out their threat to strike against the “wage tax” as an effort was made during the by the township school board to collect the one percent tax levied two months ago.

About 100 persons made payments to the school board during the two-day period designated for the collection of taxes due in . More than 1,000 post cards were sent out informing the people that taxes were to be paid at the Wilson school.

Names Omitted

The notices sent the populace into turmoil. Adding to the criticism was the manner in which the cards were mailed. They were sent to “occupant” at each of the township residences, giving rise to claims that the school board did [not] know the names of those who were being taxed. No wage tax collector has been named to date by the school board.

The striking taxpayers were bolstered by the report that Representative James Musto may support their stand. Rep. Musto had attacked the adoption of “tax-anything” legislation in the state legislature in . In , when an amendment was passed to exempt corporations from such taxation, Rep. Musto heatedly opposed the continuance of only the wage tax and amusement tax, calling them “poor man” taxes.

Group Formed to Oppose

Pittston Township Taxpayers’ Association, organized when the wage tax was adopted, is leading the drive to resist payment of the taxes. Its contention is that the wage tax is not needed and that sincere efforts to collect the per capita tax have not been made. Members also point out that their district is unique in that it derives about $12,000 annually from an amusement tax, which they claim is equivalent to the net wage tax receipts collected in nearby Avoca, a large community.

To solidify opposition to payment of the wage tax, the taxpayers circulated a petition among wage earners in the township a few weeks ago. More than 400 names were obtained in the Cork Lane section of the township alone.

On , the same paper reported:

Wage Tax Again Political Issue; Arrests Made

Delinquents Make Wisdom of Tax Basis of Appeal

The wage tax, as a political issue, once again has erupted in the Pittston area.

Last week, 16 persons were hauled before a justice of the peace in Pittston township for failure to pay the levy, adopted .

In Avoca, the delinquents are being warned to pay their back wage taxes by or they too will be prosecuted.

Opinion Differs

In the township, the 15 delinquents were released on bail, set at $250 per person. They pleaded that they “did not think that the wage tax was justified at this time.”

Supporting their stand were several prominent taxpayers, including Harry Corcoran, Joseph Pupa and Arthur Lussi. They were the bondsmen.

Trial Falls

The township GOP school board only issued summonses to 15 of the more than 400 persons who refused to pay the tax. One school director said at the meeting that the others were not summoned because, “We wanted to see if these 15 would pay.”

In the heat of the wage tax battles is the significant question, “What will a local squire do to his neighbors who refuse to pay the wage tax?” This question still remains unanswered despite last week’s hearing at Pittston Township.

Justices Restricted

Previously, delinquents could be hauled to squires in nearby towns where the fines could be slapped on the taxpayer without fear of political repercussions. But a recent court decision stated that a delinquent must have a hearing before the “nearest” justice of the peace.

The three bondsmen for the township delinquents admitted freely following the hearing that they blundered in attempting to find an answer to this question.

“We should have put bail for only 12 or 13,” one of the bondsmen said. “That way — we’d be able to see how far the school board would go.”

The bondsmen hinted that they are ready to battle this all the way up and down the courts.

Finally, there’s this article from the issue. I included this in my book as an example of tax resisters cleverly using paperwork and legal technicalities to thwart tax enforcement:

Wage Tax Enforcement Has Officials Stumped

Provisions Exist for Enforcement But Officials Hesitate to Use Them; Prosecution Becomes Major Problem

The wage tax may soon be called the “age tax.” It is causing many officials in the Pittston area to gray a little faster than nature had planned. Enforcing the wage tax is the big problem. What to do when a segment of the population refuses to pay the levy?

This problem is being met headon in Avoca and Pittston Township, two of the five communities in the Pittston area are with the tax on its books.

The solution being worked out involves hitting the delinquents who refuse to pay a cent. Usually the borough ordinance or school district resolution carries a $100 penalty for failing to pay. Each month that a person “is on strike” he can be cited for a violation, which is half-civil, half-criminal. Therefore, a person can be fined $1,200 in the course of a year or shoved in the clink for 360 days.

On prosecution of such violations by a squire, it is the opinion of some legal minds that without good cause the court would deny any appeal and the taxpayer is hooked.

However, the flaw in this effort is that should John Doe pay 50 cents to the wage tax collector, prosecuting him will become a major undertaking.

He can’t be cited for being an outright violator. It will be up to the taxing body to prove that his earnings were of such amount to warrant a higher tax payment. This could be [a] long and dreary legal procedure for a school district or council, especially if there is more than one such delinquent.

Therefore, many residents are beating the wage tax levy by simply clunking a single coin on the tax collector’s desk. This has been true in recent days in Avoca.

In Pittston Township, eight were arrested recently by the school district for failure to pay the tax. Failing to take an appeal, the taxpayers are now at the mercy of the school district. The school district can seek payment of the fines if the directors choose. Had the taxpayers made a token payment, they probably would have given the school district a rough time in prosecuting.

The Picket Line — 15 August 2014

According to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (a journalism outlet created and sponsored by the U.S. government), Taliban forces in Afghanistan have killed twenty people and wounded ten others who refused to pay a “war tax” to that group. The report is slim on details, though another version sources the report to Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, a “police spokesman” from Kunduz Province.

Ruth Benn of NWTRCC reacted to the news this way:

I am immediately reminded of what minimal risks I face (and most of us in the U.S.) with my own war tax resistance. I hope I would be strong enough to say no to militarism under those circumstances too, but it’s impossible for me to really imagine that moment for those 30. I am awed at their refusal, which does not lessen the sadness at such news for lives lost in the name of endless war and killing.

I believe war tax resistance can be a stronger force in opposition to war. If the government had to take more notice the risks would increase. It seems the least we in the U.S. can do to honor those unnamed civilians in Afghanistan is to find ways to strengthen our resistance and worry less about risks.


The press started paying attention to publicly-aired grievances about the proliferating toll gates in Wales (and about other things) once the Rebeccaites got their attention. From the Cambrian (excerpts):

Grievances of the Country.

On , a Meeting of the parishioners of Llanedy, near Pontardulais, Carmarthenshire, was held at the School-room attached to Llanedy Church, in pursuance of a written notice which had been issued and circulated among the parishioners some days previously, to take into consideration the various grievances which operated prejudicially upon the interests of the county generally, more especially so upon the agricultural interest in Wales.…

Grievances of various sorts were aired, including some about tithes and about the poor laws (both of which sometimes come up in the context of the Rebeccaite movement). The following excerpt concerns the tollgates in particular:

A long discussion then ensued upon the gate grievance. Our space will not allow us to give each speaker’s remark, but all greatly complained of the great number of gates, bars, &c., so much so that a man could scarcely go to his own farm without paying toll. They were willing to pay reasonable tolls, but thought that three or four gates placed within ten or twelve miles was quite unreasonable. They also maintained and hoped that land-lords and magistrates would see the reasonableness of the proposition, that lime and all kinds of manure should be exempted from toll.

A similar meeting of the parishoners of Llanon was held on , in the School-house, which was crowded to excess. After several persons had spoken, a series of resolutions were agreed to — copies of which were to be forwarded to the tithe-owner and landlords of the parish, and which were to the following effect:– The first calls upon the landlords and turnpike trustees to unite in doing away with the toll grievances, with the numerous side bars, &c. — to exempt all kinds of manure from toll — to reduce the toll on a load of coal drawn by a horse from 6d. to 3d., and to keep up only so many gates as will defray the expense of repairing the roads, and concludes by citing an instance of exorbitant toll, viz., from Llanon to Pontardulais, a distance of only six miles, where the full toll of 6d. is demanded three times for each cart drawn by one horse.… An objection is also made to the Treasurer’s account for last quarter, in which the expenses for the reerection of gates, and of watching them by night, are stated to be defrayed out of the county fund. The fifth resolution expresses the regret of the parishioners at the late outrages, but at the same time they state their firm conviction to be, that unless the landlords and tithe proprietors make a reduction in proportion to that in the agricultural market, the depredations will not terminate.