Peacemakers was an American pacifist organization. The name of the group was taken from a section of the Bible, the Beatitudes or Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
The group was founded following a conference on “More Disciplined and Revolutionary Pacifist Activity” in Chicago in July 1948 to advocate nonviolent resistance in the service of peace, particularly draft resistance and tax resistance. The group’s members vowed:
(1) to refuse to serve in the armed forces in either peace or war; (2) to refuse to make or transport weapons of war; (3) to refuse to be conscripted or to register; (4) to consider to refuse to pay taxes for war purposes — a position already adopted by some; (5) to spread the idea of peacemaking and to develop non-violent methods of opposing war through various forms of non-cooperation and to advocate unilateral disarmament and economic democracy.
The group was organized largely by Ernest and Marion Bromley and Juanita and Wally Nelson. Among the organization’s other founders were A.J. Muste, Dwight Macdonald, Ralph T. Templin, Roy Kepler, Cecil Hinshaw, Milton Mayer, Bayard Rustin, George Houser, and Horace Champney. Many members came from the Committee for Nonviolent Revolution, which had been formed two years before. Some other participants of note included Benny Bargen, Dorothy Day, Ralph DiGia, Fyke Farmer, Walter Gormly, Ammon Hennacy, Bradford Lyttle, Maurice McCrackin, Mary Stone McDowell, Karl Meyer, James Otsuka, Jim Peck, Igal Roodenko, Max Sandin, George Willoughby, Lillian Willoughby, and Edmund Wilson.
The “Tax Refusal Committee” of Peacemakers is credited for founding the modern American war tax resistance movement. Peacemakers published the first guide to war tax resistance in 1963. There had been examples of organized war tax resistance in America for centuries, largely in congregations of the historic peace churches, but Peacemakers was the first non-sectarian organized war tax resistance group.
Peacemakers differed from other pacifist and nonviolent resistance organizations in its emphasis on small-scale, local, "cell"-based organization and intentional communities. It had no national office, paid staff, or membership list. Some member groups organized funds to aid war resisters and people in the civil rights movement who had suffered reprisals.
- Gross, David (ed.) We Won’t Pay!: A Tax Resistance Reader ISBN 1-4348-9825-3 pp. 446-447
- Cooney, Robert and Michalowski, Helen The Power of the People: Active Nonviolence in the United States (1987) p. 115-8
- Gross, David M. (2014). 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns. Picket Line Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-1490572741.