Counseling War Tax Resisters and Those Counting the Cost

Workshop Number 9

Led by Clark Hanjian

First Clark made clear that this workshop would not be about learning to become WTR counselors, but, rather to address counseling issues of people in the group. Quite a bit of the time, then, was spent on particular personal advice for participants.

We did go-around introductions, listing and brainstorming issues of concern for the attendees. Concerns were grouped into areas of similarity. Issues such as W-4 resistance which NWTRCC and other literature clearly addresses were noted. We discussed the rest as time allowed. The attendees were primarily from the US.

One participant from Central America was interested in the risks Americans face by doing WTR, and was able to get a sense of the range of consequences from the concerns listed. For some of us, understanding the extreme risks of any kind of resistance in parts of Central America was a helpful perspective on relative risks of WTR in the US.

Some examples of other areas of concern: One participant wanted advice on assuming greater levels of risk by being public about his WTR. One of the group members was looking for ways to prevent monetary seizure. Another person wanted advice on his aging father's situation.

 There was not enough time to cover all concerns adequately, but Clark was thorough and helpful in enumerating many possibilities for each questioner's situation. He provided a handout for participants to use in clarifying their reasons for doing WTR, noting that being clear on our underlying values driving our WTR makes the tactical decisions easier. The handout also noted the usefulness of looking not only at the risks, but also at the benefits of doing WTR, and the risks of continuing to pay for war.

Clark outlined the available literature, listened carefully, and modeled good counseling as an additional benefit of the workshop.

(Note: Because of the personal nature of this workshop, it was not tape-recorded.)

Tana DeVietti, reporter