Bitcoin Pizza Day passed again recently and with it came the expected wave of posts reminiscing about how far the world of cryptocurrency has come since that fateful day when Florida Man sent 10,000 of his magical internet money overseas all for a couple of pizzas. Of course, cryptocurrency has always been touted as a way to navigate around the control of Wall Street, the banking industry, and governments. In fact, many libertarians advocate it specifically along with the agorist tactic of avoiding taxes. The idea is that by not paying taxes one will “starve the state.”
This idea expands upon the much more symbolic protest of not paying war taxes. Traditionally, war resisters would withhold a certain amount when paying their taxes. This is calculated to be equal to the amount of their tax dollars which would be spent on war. However, there is no guarantee that the rest of the tax money a war resister continues to give to the state each year doesn’t still go to fund the military-industrial-complex despite their symbolic protest. So in that spirit, agorists such as Samuel Konkin and Karl Hess encouraged people to stop paying taxes entirely.
With Memorial Day upon us, one can’t help but dwell a bit on the subject of war. Organizing in direct action against foreign wars is difficult because the targets we wish to stop are often not accessible. But campaigns like #DivestWallStreet, which launched on Bitcoin Pizza Day 2019, allow for us to take direct action against the war machine, by refusing to fund it. The campaign encourages people to move at least $1 of fiat per day into their choice of cryptocurrency. The goal is to aid individuals in a gradual transition away from fiat and into using crypto as their primary currency without asking people to dive in all at once. This allows individuals to become more educated as they make this transition. Crypto debit cards, such as the one offered by Bitpay, can make using cryptocurrency much more accessible for everyday life, while tools like CoinPayments can allow individuals and merchants to accept over 100 different cryptocurrencies all from one account.
There are many other tools which can ease this transition. One of the best communities for those new to the subject continues to be r/BitcoinBeginners. But using cryptocurrency to avoid feeding the war machine with your taxes isn’t the only form of direct action you can take. Protesting at recruitment centers or weapons manufacturing facilities, pushing for the removal of campus recruiters, locking down or sabotaging weapons plants or similar targets, hosting Memorial Day anti-war marches, joining or aiding groups such as Veterans for Peace and/or Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War, supporting military whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, harassing your political leaders when they vote for pro-war policies, and generally doing anything possible to shift the Overton window of mainstream political discourse to an anti-war perspective by hosting events and protests. Food Not Bombs is always a good grassroots tool for doing outreach about anti-war issues. Serve food at your local park and pass out flyers and infosheets on anti-war issues, along with flyers for your next event or protest. Host a potluck movie night where everyone watches an anti-war documentary and has a discussion about actions we can take on an individual, local, state, national, or even international level.
So this Memorial Day, let’s honor those whose lives have been lost to the war machine by bringing back the anti-war movement in full force. Let’s host those potlucks, documentary showings, rallies, etc. Let’s confront our local military supplier or recruitment effort. Let’s do whatever we can to make it known that we do not support these wars and that we demand their immediate end.
This will not be an easy fight to dismantle the military-industrial-complex but it is a necessary and life-saving fight that must be undertaken. There are forms of direct action that can be undertaken at any level of comfort and risk one is willing to take. It can be as simple as raising awareness via rallies and events or engaging with politicians to taking on military recruiters and weapons manufacturers directly — but whatever you do, do something. No matter what form of direct action you take, it can always be partnered with the move to #DivestWallStreet and the war machine by switching to cryptocurrency and avoiding taxes. Together, let’s make this a Memorial Day to remember.