Holly Lisle has publicly resigned from Science Fiction Writers of America, though not for any reasons associated with the latest round of culture wars. It’s because she’s opposed to income tax. And what has that got to do with SFWA? She explains —
SFWA moved from Massachusetts to California for the purpose of allowing SFWA to claim tax dollars to offer grants. I’m aware that there were other—good—reasons for the organization’s move, but this particular poison pill in the changes made to SFWA requires me to walk away and never look back.
The only money that can ever be honestly given comes voluntarily from the person who earned it—and taxes are not voluntary. Try not paying them if you doubt this.
SFWA reincorporated in California in 2013 according to state records. Few of the reasons for doing so have been discussed in publicly-accessible forums. The option to conduct voting electronically is one. Readers may infer from Lisle’s statement that the possibility of tapping into public money for grants is another.
The rest of her resignation letter says:
Grants donated by SFWA members would have been honest and decent. But that’s not what SFWA wants to do. SFWA (and the members who voted in favor of the change of incorporation—I did not) wants to come out looking heroic for giving money that it did not earn (or receive voluntarily from members) to people who didn’t earn it either.
“Giving” grants taken from tax dollars is nothing less than theft of taxpayer money. This action forces people who have no interest in the careers of writers receiving grants to support those writers’ work, no matter how distasteful, badly written, or objectionable they might find it.
It is institutionalized thuggery, and were I to remain a member, I would brand myself complicit with the thugs.
Anyone who remains in SFWA, knowing what this organization has chosen to do, will be doing the same.
Lisle explicitly condemns income tax in a comment:
The taxing of income—that money upon which the individual must rely to survive—is a massive assault on individual rights. Taxing of purchases other than food and water is, however, appropriate.
It’s not hard to find people in the sf field who condemn income tax, though never before have I seen a writer accuse SFWA of being complicit with tax authorities.