Historie Podcaster

Abraham Muste

Abraham Muste


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Abraham Muste ble født i Zierkzee, Holland, 8. januar 1885. Familien flyttet til USA i 1891. Faren var tilhenger av det republikanske partiet, og som ung delte han sine konservative synspunkter. I 1909 ble han ordinert til prest i den nederlandske reformerte kirke.

Muste ble stadig mer radikal og støttet i presidentkampanjen i 1912 Eugene Debs, Sosialistpartiets kandidat. Ved utbruddet av første verdenskrig forlot Muste den nederlandske reformerte kirke og ble pasifist. I 1919 spilte han en aktiv rolle i å støtte arbeidere under Lawrence Textile Strike og flyttet senere til Boston hvor han fant arbeid med American Civil Liberties Union. På begynnelsen av 1920 -tallet jobbet Muste som direktør for Brookwood Labor College i Katonah, Westchester County. Han meldte seg også inn i Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR).

Muste ble forstyrret av hendelsene som fant sted i Sovjetunionen. Han følte ikke lenger at han kunne støtte Joseph Stalins politikk. Muste bestemte seg nå for å bli med andre likesinnede for å danne American Workers Party (AWP). Muste ble opprettet i desember 1933 og ble leder for partiet, og andre medlemmer inkluderte Sidney Hook, Louis Budenz, James Rorty, V.F. Calverton, George Schuyler, James Burnham, JBS Hardman og Gerry Allard.

Hook argumenterte senere i sin selvbiografi, Ut av trinn: Et stille liv på 1900 -tallet (1987): "The American Workers Party (AWP) ble organisert som et autentisk amerikansk parti forankret i den amerikanske revolusjonære tradisjonen, forberedt på å møte problemene som oppsto ved sammenbrudd av den kapitalistiske økonomien, med en plan for et samarbeidende samveldet uttrykt i en innfødt formspråk som kan forstås for arbeidere av blå krage og hvitkrave, gruvearbeidere, delebønder og bønder uten de nasjonalistiske og sjåvinistiske overtonene som tidligere hadde fulgt lokale protestbevegelser. Det var en bevegelse av intellektuelle, hvorav de fleste hadde fått erfaring fra arbeiderbevegelse og en troskap mot årsaken til arbeidskraft lenge før depresjonen kom. "

Rett etter dannelsen av AWP foreslo ledere i Communist League of America (CLA), en gruppe som støttet teoriene til Leon Trotsky, en fusjon. Sidney Hook, James Burnham og J. Hardman var i forhandlingskomiteen for AWP, Max Shachtman, Martin Abern og Arne Swabeck, for CLA. Hook husket senere: "På vårt aller første møte ble det klart for oss at trotskistene ikke kunne forestille seg en situasjon der arbeiderdemokratiske råd kunne overstyre partiet eller faktisk et parti der det ville være flere arbeiderpartier. Møtet oppløst i intens uenighet. " Til tross for denne dårlige begynnelsen fusjonerte de to gruppene imidlertid i desember 1934.

I 1940 ble Muste utnevnt til eksekutivsekretær for Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). I denne stillingen ledet Muste kampanjen mot USAs engasjement i andre verdenskrig. I 1942 oppfordret Muste James Farmer og Bayard Rustin til å etablere Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). Tidlige medlemmer inkluderte George Houser og Anna Murray. Medlemmene var hovedsakelig pasifister som hadde blitt dypt påvirket av Henry David Thoreau og læren til Mahatma Gandhi og den ikke -voldelige sivile ulydighetskampanjen som han vellykket brukte mot britisk styre i India. Studentene ble overbevist om at de samme metodene kan brukes av svarte for å oppnå borgerrettigheter i Amerika.

Etter krigen gikk Muste sammen med David Dillinger og Dorothy Day for å etablere magasinet Direct Action i 1945. Dellinger opprørte nok en gang det politiske etablissementet da han kritiserte bruken av atombomber på Hiroshima og Nagasaki.

I begynnelsen av 1947 kunngjorde CORE planer om å sende åtte hvite og åtte svarte menn til Deep South for å teste Høyesteretts dom som erklærte segregering i mellomstatlige reiser grunnlovsstridig. organisert av George Houser og Bayard Rustin, skulle forsoningsreisen bli en to ukers pilgrimsreise gjennom Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee og Kentucky.

The Journey of Reconciliation begynte 9. april 1947. Teamet inkluderte George Houser, Bayard Rustin, James Peck, Igal Roodenko, Joseph Felmet, Nathan Wright, Conrad Lynn, Wallace Nelson, Andrew Johnson, Eugene Stanley, Dennis Banks, William Worthy, Louis Adams, Worth Randle og Homer Jack.

Medlemmer av Journey of Reconciliation -teamet ble arrestert flere ganger. I Nord -Carolina ble to av afroamerikanerne, Bayard Rustin og Andrew Johnson, funnet skyldige i å ha brutt statens Jim Crow -bussvedtekt og ble dømt til tretti dager på en kjedegjeng. Dommer Henry Whitfield gjorde det imidlertid klart at han fant at de hvite mennenes oppførsel var enda mer upassende. Han sa til Igal Roodenko og Joseph Felmet: "Det er på tide at dere jøder fra New York får vite at dere ikke kan komme ned og ta med dere ********** for å forstyrre tollene i Sør. Bare for å lære dere en leksjon, jeg ga dine svarte gutter tretti dager, og jeg gir deg nitti. "

The Journey of Reconciliation oppnådde mye omtale og var starten på en lang kampanje for direkte aksjon fra Congress of Racial Equality. I februar 1948 ga Council Against Intolerance in America George Houser og Bayard Rustin Thomas Jefferson Award for Advancement of Democracy for deres forsøk på å få slutt på segregering i mellomstatlige reiser.

Congress of Racial Equality organiserte også Freedom Rides in the Deep South. I Birmingham, Alabama, ble en av bussene brannbombet og passasjerer ble slått av en hvit pøbel. Norman Thomas beskrev disse unge menneskene som "sekulære helgener". I.F. Stone har argumentert: De og noen få hvite sympatisører like ungdommelige og hengivne som dem selv har begynt en sosial revolusjon i Sør med sine sit-ins og Freedom Rides. Aldri har en mindre minoritet gjort mer for frigjøring av et helt folk enn disse få ungdommene fra C.O.R.E. (Congress for Racial Equality) og S.N.C.C. (Studentens ikke-voldelige koordineringskomité). "

I 1961 hadde Congress of Racial Equality 53 kapitler i hele USA. To år senere hjalp organisasjonen med å organisere den berømte marsjen i Washington. August 1963, marsjerte mer enn 200 000 mennesker fredelig til Lincoln Memorial for å kreve like rettferdighet for alle borgere under loven. På slutten av marsjen holdt Martin Luther King sin berømte "I Have a Dream" tale.

Muste var også veldig aktiv i War Resisters League og bidro til å påvirke sivile rettighetsledere som Martin Luther King og Whitney Young, til å motsette seg Vietnamkrigen.

Abraham Muste døde 11. februar 1967.

Jeg er sikker på at Marshall enten er dårlig utformet på prinsippene og teknikkene for ikke-vold eller uvitende om prosessen med sosial endring.

Urettferdige sosiale lover og mønstre endres ikke fordi høyesterettene gir rettferdige avgjørelser. Man trenger bare å observere den fortsatte praksisen til Jim Crow i mellomreiser, seks måneder etter Høyesteretts avgjørelse, for å se nødvendigheten av motstand. Sosial fremgang kommer fra kamp; all frihet krever en pris.

Noen ganger vil friheten kreve at tilhengerne går inn i situasjoner der selv døden skal møtes. Motstand på bussene vil for eksempel bety ydmykelse, mishandling av politiet, arrestasjon og noe fysisk vold påført deltakerne.

Men hvis noen på denne datoen i historien tror at det "hvite problemet", som er et privilegium, kan løses uten noen vold, tar han feil og klarer ikke å innse hvilke ender menn kan bli drevet til å holde fast ved det de vurdere sine privilegier.

Dette er grunnen til at negre og hvite som deltar i direkte handling må love seg for ikke-vold i ord og handling. For bare på denne måten kan den uunngåelige volden reduseres til et minimum.

Hvis du er en neger, kan du sitte i forsetet. Hvis du er hvit, kan du sitte i baksetet.

Hvis sjåføren ber deg om å bevege deg, kan du fortelle ham rolig og høflig: "Som en utdannet passasjer har jeg rett til å sitte hvor som helst i denne bussen. Dette er loven som er fastsatt av USAs høyesterett".

Hvis sjåføren tilkaller politiet og gjentar ordren i deres nærvær, må du fortelle ham nøyaktig hva du sa da han først ba deg flytte.

Hvis politiet ber deg om å "bli med", uten å sette deg i arrest, fortell dem at du ikke kommer til å dra før du blir arrestert.

Hvis politiet setter deg arrestert, kan du gå fredelig med dem. På politistasjonen, ring det nærmeste hovedkvarteret til NAACP, eller en av advokatene dine. De vil hjelpe deg.

Sentrum i historien er karrieren til pastor Abraham J. Muste, som tidlig på høsten 1933 inviterte meg og andre radikale skikkelser til å organisere et nytt politisk parti, hvis hovedordfører han ble.

I hans grafiske, men tendensiøse Historien om den russiske revolusjonen, Leon Trotsky skrev at revolusjonen kom inn i historien under magen til en kosakkhest. Rytterens uoppløselige handling, den uforutsette unnlatelsen av å kutte demonstranten, karakteriserte sammenbruddet av zalen blant tsarens forsvarere i februardagene 1917. Kanskje kan man si om AJ Muste at han gikk inn i arbeiderbevegelsen under hovene til en monterte politimannen sin hest mens han marsjerte med noen slående pickets i Lawrence, Massachusetts. Uten å formelt forlate den nederlandske reformerte og deretter presbyterianske kirke, ble han en arbeidsorganisator og en pedagog av bemerkelsesverdig karakter. Han grunnla og ledet i mange år Brookwood Labor College, hvis studenter ble rekruttert fra arbeiderbevegelsen for å tjene den med engasjement og intelligens. På slutten av tjueårene hadde Mustes interesser blitt mer politiske, og etter hvert som depresjonen ble dypere, intensivt. Han hadde tidlig opplevd virkningene av den machiavelliske oppførselen til kommunistpartiet, hvis embetsmenn alternativt smigret og fordømte ham. Muste var overbevist om at bare et politisk parti grundig i det amerikanske kornet ville gjøre noen fremskritt i USA. Han hadde fulgt mine skrifter nøye, var klar over min pragmatiske orientering og foreslo at jeg skulle bli med i organisasjonskomiteen for det nye partiet.

Våre personlige forhold var alltid hjertelige og forble slik under den lange og uventede odysséen som tok ham fra hans opprinnelige pasifistiske overtalelse til pragmatisk liberalisme og sosialisme, til revolusjonær trotskisme (så ekstrem at den ble avvist av Trotskij selv), og deretter tilbake til armene av Gud og en absolutt pasifisme i lukten av hellighet han tilbrakte sine siste dager. Det var ingen anelse om denne utviklingen da American Workers 'Party ble lansert uten fanfare etter noen måneder med intens forberedelse.

The American Workers Party (AWP) ble organisert som et autentisk amerikansk parti forankret i den amerikanske revolusjonære tradisjonen, forberedt på å møte problemene som oppsto ved sammenbrudd av den kapitalistiske økonomien, med en plan for et samarbeidsfellesskap uttrykt i et innfødt formspråk forståelig til blått krage- og funksjonærer, gruvearbeidere, delebønder og bønder uten de nasjonalistiske og sjåvinistiske overtonene som tidligere hadde fulgt lokale protestbevegelser. Det var en bevegelse av intellektuelle, hvorav de fleste hadde tilegnet seg erfaring fra arbeiderbevegelsen og troskap til årsaken til arbeidskraft lenge før depresjonen kom ....

På tampen av sammenslåingen mellom de to organisasjonene (trotskistene endret melodi helt på påfølgende møter og hyklerisk bekjente enighet med oss), publiserte jeg en artikkel med tittelen "Arbeiderdemokrati", som argumenterte for en "fornuftig demokratisk vei ut av dødsfall for kapitalisme "og fastholdt at idealene som er nedfelt i den amerikanske revolusjonære tradisjonen," like muligheter "," alle innbyggeres like rettigheter til liv, frihet og jakten på lykke "," fred og sikkerhet for massene "best kan realiseres under sosialisme. Til tross for denne vektleggingen av demokrati led den av den gamle illusjonen om at den grunnleggende konflikten var mellom sosialisme og kapitalisme snarere enn mellom demokrati og totalitarisme, men dens vektlegging av demokrati og de sosiale og økonomiske kravene for oppfyllelse var umiskjennelig. Artikkelen provoserte en sterk respons fra Will Herberg, hovedideologen, etter Bertram Wolfe, fra Lovestone kommunistiske opposisjon.

Herberg uttrykte åpent standpunktet om at utfallet av arbeiderdemokratiet ikke kunne tillates å gå sin gang hvis konsekvensene av dette kurset, i kommunistpartiets eller dets leders øyne, ikke fremmer revolusjonens helse. Det ble nå klart hvorfor, for alle leninister, det spontane ropet fra Kronstadt -sjømennene og deres støttespillere, "Sovjeterne uten kommunistpartiets diktatur", var kontrarevolusjonært!
Selv om Muste etter sammenslåingen med CLA hevdet å ha blitt konvertert til den revolusjonære marxistisk-leninistiske læren, ble jeg aldri overbevist om at han virkelig forsto det eller var motivert av det. Han var først og fremst moralist, ikke fordi han var forkynner eller på grunn av sin religiøse opplæring, men fordi han så på menneskelige handlinger rett og slett som riktige eller gale, uavhengig av kontekst. Til hans ære trakk han på uttrykk som "historisk bestemt" eller "organisatorisk nødvendig", men å være likegyldig til hva som var mulig eller sannsynlig, var noe annet igjen. Han tenkte sjelden gjennom en posisjon, men ville innta en på moralsk grunnlag som sjelden ble påvirket av fakta i saken. Han hadde vært en ivrig pasifist. Da han ble en revolusjonær marxist, forlot han offentlig pasifismen og blant oss troen på kristendommen. Til tross for sin religiøse opplæring kunne han ikke ha vært særlig godt bevandret i det ene eller det andre, for da han endelig kastet opp sin raskt svelgede marxisme, vendte han tilbake til sin tidlige tro med lidenskapen til noen som nylig var omvendt. Det er svært sjelden at når individer utvikler seg og forlater en posisjon for en annen i en pågående serie med fremskritt, vender de tilbake til et tidligere syn. Men det forekommer noen ganger. I Mustes tilfelle kunne hans tidlige oppgivelse av pasifisme og kristendom ikke ha vært veldig reflekterende.

Det er vanskelig å forklare hvorfor Muste, hvis finger aldri sluttet å vente i moralsk fordømmelse av stalinistene for å sette organisasjonens ivrige interesser over alt annet, samtykket i en sammenslåing av American Workers 'Party og Trotskyist Communist League of America. Han var ikke så fullstendig uskyldig som å tro at trotskistene hadde sluppet sin leninistiske tradisjon. Det er heller ikke helt klart hvorfor han motsatte seg så hardnakket, etter at de to organisasjonene hadde slått seg inn i Sosialistisk Arbeiderparti, den foreslåtte inntreden av sistnevnte i Sosialistpartiet, for deretter å bevege seg raskt til venstre. Grunnen til at han selv oppgir er overbevisende. Han hevder at han, som en betingelse for sammenslåing med Communist League of America, forlangte et løfte fra dets ledere om at de ikke ville etterligne politikken til den franske trotskistgruppen for å komme inn i det franske sosialistpartiet. Det var ikke noe slikt løfte! Som hovedfiguren som representerer det amerikanske arbeiderpartiet i sine forhandlinger, kan jeg bekrefte at temaet aldri kom opp. Det dukket heller ikke opp i de utvidede og heftige debattene blant AWP -medlemskapet om å godkjenne fusjonen. Mustes erklærte motstand den gang mot inntreden av de fusjonerte organisasjonene i Sosialistpartiet var at en slik handling ville representere et svik mot revolusjonære prinsipper. Siden disse prinsippene var nedfelt i prinsippene Trotskij hadde utarbeidet for den fjerde internasjonale, hevdet Muste så å si mer trotskist enn trotskistene. Han uttalte trotskistene for å være dårlige marxister og dårlige leninister.

Når vi ser tilbake, var Mustes oppførsel ekstremt forvirrende. Det gjenspeilte en personlig ambisjon som han sannsynligvis var bevisstløs om. Muste skjulte egentlig aldri følelsen av at han hadde et kall for ledelse, men etter mange lange samtaler følte jeg at hans virkelige kall, som han tørste i dypet av sitt vesen, var for martyrium. Dette kom til overflaten noen år senere da han, etter å ha kommet tilbake til sin tidlige pasifistiske tro, bittert motsatte seg amerikansk motstand mot Hitler og de japanske krigsherrene. Han brøt påfallende registreringslover, solgte hjemmet og eiendelene sine, holdt veltalende adresser på flere offentlige avskjedsmiddager av venner og beundrere, og ventet forgjeves på at statens håndlangere skulle kjøre ham i fengsel. Han ble forpurret av en fornuftig byråkrat, for en gangs skyld, som bestemte seg for å ignorere ham. Språket der han fordømte "dette skitne trikset" var positivt ukristelig. A.J. kom seg aldri fra denne ondskapen, før Vietnamkrigets dager da han kom til sin rett.

Den amerikanske revolusjonen ble kjempet av en veldig enkel grunn - for å etablere frihetsprinsippet i vårt land. Den revolusjonen - den fasen av den - var i hovedsak vellykket. Prinsippet ble etablert, men prinsippet omfattet ikke alle amerikanere.

For mange mennesker betydde det ikke frihet. Det gjaldt for eksempel ikke kvinner i begynnelsen av Amerika. Kvinner hadde ikke de rettighetene som var garantert for andre amerikanere. De hadde ikke engang stemmerett, og de måtte slite for å oppnå den retten. De kjempet under banneret til suffragettene, og vesentlig, mine venner, de brukte teknikker som er ganske like de som de siste årene har dominert borgerrettighetsbevegelsen.

Dette prinsippet som ble etablert på det attende århundre i den første fasen av den amerikanske revolusjonen, omfattet ikke arbeidere. Arbeidende menn og kvinner i landet vårt fikk halvparten av frihetene som var blitt forkynt. De hadde ingen stemme om lønn eller arbeidstid eller om arbeidsforholdene. Det var ikke frihet. De måtte da kjempe for sin frihet, for sin egen inkludering i den amerikanske frihetskompakten. De kjempet hardt med de samme våpnene - demonstrasjonen, marsjen, picketlinjen, boikotten. De fastsatte prinsippet om inkludering; de vant retten til kollektive forhandlinger og retten til fagforeningsgjenkjenning.

I mange år som en stor slumrende gigant, godtok negrene status quo. I lang tid tenkte vi så lite på oss selv at vi aksepterte segregering og diskriminering, med all dens nedbrytning.

Kampen for frihet er kombinert med kampen for likestilling, og vi må innse at dette er kampen for Amerika - ikke bare det svarte Amerika, men hele Amerika. Med ordene til den store rabbineren som skrev, for 2000 år siden, "hit, hvis jeg ikke er for meg selv, hvem vil være for meg; hvis jeg er for meg selv alene, hva er jeg? Hvis ikke nå, når?"

De og noen få hvite sympatisører så ungdommelige og hengivne som dem selv har begynt en sosial revolusjon i Sør med sine sit-ins og Freedom Rides. (Studentens ikke-voldelige koordineringskomité).

Noen få mennesker, inkludert fru Roosevelt, Norman Thomas og A. Muste, støttet amnesti for oss. Disse spesielle personlighetene hadde vært trofaste forsvarere av sivile friheter gjennom årene. Men selv her plaget noe meg. Hvis noen mennesker var berettiget til ikke å komme til vårt forsvar, var det bare disse tre som jeg har nevnt. Hadde vi ikke påtatt dem personlige og politiske overgrep (vekslende med rosende perioder)? Jeg spurte meg selv hvordan vi ville ha reagert hvis situasjonen var snudd, og svaret mitt var ikke trøstende. Jeg følte at disse personene må ha en moralsk overlegenhet over oss, at det må være noe bestemt galt med kommunismens holdning til demokrati.


A.J. Muste: Det 20. århundrets mest berømte pasifist i USA

I 1939, da krigsskyer over Europa ble mørkere for timen, ringte Time magazine Abraham Johannes Muste “the US One Pacifist. ” Betegnelsen var absolutt passende og han bar etiketten stolt. Fra første verdenskrig til han døde i 1967 på høyden av Vietnamkrigen, skilte Muste seg ut i kampen mot krig og sosial urettferdighet i USA. Hans lederroller i Fellowship of Reconciliation, War Resisters League og Committee for Non-Violent Action, og hans mange forfattere som fyller sidene til pasifistpressen, vitner godt om Quaker Peace Testimony. Forsterkning av dette synet er mange hyllester som beskriver hans bemerkelsesverdige karriere på tidspunktet for hans død. David McReynolds fra War Resisters League observerte at Muste's Inner Light var så sentralt for ham at livet hans ikke kan forstås uten å innse at han, selv i de mest politiske øyeblikkene, utførte sin religiøse overbevisning. ” Longtime arbeidsradikal og skribent Sidney Lens kommenterte at “for Muste begrepet ‘religion ’ og begrepet ‘revolusjon ’ var totalt synonymt. ” Og en av hans nærmeste allierte i fredsbevegelsen, bemerket John Nevin Sayre, med hengivenhet for at religion var Muste ’s “s motiverende kraft. . . helt til slutten av livet. ”

A.J. Muste's åndelige reise begynte med hans fødsel 8. januar 1885 i den nederlandske skipshavnen Zierikzee. I 1891 forlot familien Holland og bosatte seg med slektninger og venner i det nederlandske reformerte samfunnet Grand Rapids, Michigan. Barndomsårene hans ble dypt påvirket, ifølge biograf Jo Ann Robinson, “ av det ‘religiøse og fromme hjemmet som foreldrene holdt, der han var gjennomvåt i Bibelen og Bibelens språk, ’ og ved å lære av hans innfødte kirke at du lever i Guds øyne og at det ikke er noen respekt for mennesker i ham, og pretensjon er en lav og foraktelig ting. '” I 1905 ble Muste uteksaminert fra Hope College og i 1909, etter å ha gått på seminar i New Brunswick, New Jersey, ble han ordinert som minister i den nederlandske reformerte kirke. Samme år ble han innsatt som den første ministeren i Fourth Avenue Washington Collegiate Church i New York City. Han giftet seg også med sin tidligere Hope -klassekamerat, Anna Huizenga. De ville få tre barn.

I en kort periode holdt Muste seg til de stive prinsippene i sin kalvinistiske tro. Men å være vitne til de negative effektene av industrialisering og urbanisering i den største byen i USA fikk ham til å revurdere rollen som forkynner. Hans frigjøring fra kalvinismens teologiske begrensninger kom således med begynnelsen av første verdenskrig. Ifølge Robinson ble hans voksende bekymring for hvordan kristne forskrifter skal brukes på politisk korrupsjon og klassekonflikt i Amerika, sammensatt i den nye kampen om hvordan forholde seg til massiv lidelse og død forårsaket av den store krigen. ” Når han så innover, følte han det nå som han skrev i sine skisser for en selvbiografi, og at jeg måtte stå overfor - ikke faglig, men eksistensielt, som det var - spørsmålet om jeg kunne forene det jeg hadde forkynt ut fra evangeliet og passasjer som jeg Korinter: 13, fra epistlene, med deltakelse i krig. ” Dypt bekymret av verdens hendelser begynte Muste søker etter svar i læren om kvakerisme. Han ble inspirert av de første Quakers under den revolusjonære uroen i England fra 1600- og 1700-tallet. Han spurte seg selv: Hvordan vurderer moralske handlemåter de har tenkt å følge, og hvordan vil de vite om de har rett?

Etter hvert nærmet Muste seg kvakerismen, og da han ble stemt ut av prekestolen i Newtonville, Massachusetts, på grunn av hans forkynnelse mot krigen, ble han en venn i mars 1918. Det som førte til denne konverteringen var påvirkning fra Quaker -lærde og aktivisten Rufus Jones. I sine Studies in Mystical Religion (1909) bemerket Jones at mystiske opplevelser har ført til store reformer og mesterbevegelser av stor tid for menneskeheten. Under den store krigen fungerte Jones som den første styrelederen i American Friends Service Committee og bidratt til å etablere en amerikansk gren av Fellowship of Reconciliation. Jones ’ evne til å anvende sin tro på handling fikk den nylig avsatte forkynneren til å vurdere hva han kan gjøre for å hjelpe menneskehetens sak. Følgelig flyttet Muste og kona til Quakers i Providence, Rhode Island, hvor han ble registrert som minister i Religious Society of Friends. Der begynte Muste å gi råd til samvittighetsnektere ved Ft. Devens, Massachusetts. Han forsvarte også krigsmotstandere som ble anklaget for ikke å ha fulgt sedisjonslover, og i følge hans “Sketches begynte ” å snakke om å etablere by- og landlige kooperativer som de kunne fortsette kampen mot krig og for økonomisk rettferdighet og rasemessig likhet. ” Gjennom 1918 reiste han rundt i New England og tok opp spørsmålene om krig og sosial urettferdighet på den årlige sesjonen av New England Yearly Meeting i Vassalboro, Maine og på Providence (RI) Meeting.

Kort tid etter krigen møttes venner fra hele verden i London for å undersøke nytt og utforske anvendelsen av fredens vitnesbyrd. Det ble oppnådd enighet om at det ikke var tilstrekkelig å trekke frem individuell ondskap som eneste årsak til krig. Rasisme, fattigdom, undertrykkelse, imperialisme og nasjonalisme måtte nå møtes på hodet. Dette passet perfekt til temperamentet til den nylig konverterte vennen. I stor grad ble Mustes engasjement i Quaker -liv og institusjoner funnet i fredsarbeid og antikrigsorganisasjoner i stedet for strengt på lokale og årlige møter.

I 1919 begynte han å utføre sin nye forpliktelse til fredens vitnesbyrd som streikeleder under den bittert omstridte tekstilvandringen i Lawrence, Massachusetts. Han bemerket spøkefullt at det å bli en pasifist og Quaker i krig var ille nok, men å gå rundt i en blå skjorte og parade på stavlinjer - dette er for mye! ” To år senere overtok han direktørskapet ved Brookwood Labor College i Katonah, New York. Der hjalp han med å trene en rekke arbeidsaktivister som skulle fremme de industrielle fagforeningskampanjene på slutten av 1930 -tallet. En fraksjonsdeling mellom fakultetet, på grunn av hans voksende militans, førte til at han gikk av i 1933.

Hans engasjement i arbeiderbevegelsen tok imidlertid ikke slutt. Utdypningen av den store depresjonen fikk Muste til å revurdere sitt engasjement for ikke -vold. Hans sving til venstre ville resultere i en kort tilknytning til Trotskyite American Workers Party. Fra 1933 til 1935 adopterte han passivt de mer radikale prinsippene i marxismen, bare for å bli vekket på nytt av pasifismens makt. I 1936, etter å ha kommet tilbake fra en sommertur til Europa, fremhevet av et besøk i den katolske kirken St. Sulpice i Paris, byttet Muste inn sin marxistiske ideologi for ikke -vold. Han hadde blitt overvunnet av en følelse av ikke å tilhøre sekulære revolusjonære.

Nå sikker i sitt pasifistiske vitne, ble han utøvende sekretær for Fellowship of Reconciliation ved starten av andre verdenskrig. Fellesskapet var allment kjent som en viktig religiøs fredsorganisasjon på dette tidspunktet. Den fremtredende protestantiske teologen, Reinhold Niebuhr, en gang kalt FOR “a slags Quaker conventicle inne i den tradisjonelle kirken. ” Gjennom krigsårene støttet Muste stadig rettighetene til samvittighetsnektere og ba om amerikansk hjelp til de ofrene som var forfulgt i Europa. Han protesterte kraftig internering av japanske amerikanere. Som FOR utøvende sekretær jobbet han tett med dem som administrerer Civilian Public Service Camps for samvittighetsnektere.

Med stolthet på etiketten “ den amerikanske pacifisten, begynte ” Muste å fremme mer vågale handlinger i fredens og rettferdighetens navn etter krigens slutt. Fremkomsten av atomkrigføring og frykt for den kalde krigen drev Muste til å bruke taktikken om ikke -voldelig sivil ulydighet. Direkte handling ble hans mantra. På 1950- og begynnelsen av 1960-tallet involverte han seg i en rekke aktiviteter med War Resisters League og Committee for Non-Violent Action. Gjennom disse årene møtte han ofte fengsel og påtale for å nekte å betale inntektsskatt (han fulgte hele tiden dikter fra Quaker John Woolman fra 1700 -tallet, som insisterte på at sannhetens ånd forlangte at jeg som individ tålmodig måtte lide nød varer, i stedet for å betale aktivt, og lede protestmarsjer for fred og borgerrettigheter, og overtredelse av føderal eiendom. Han spilte en sentral rolle i å hjelpe til med å etablere Society for Social Responsibility in Science og Church Peace Mission. Når det gjelder å gi synlighet for freds- og antinukleærbevegelsen, deltok han i tre betydelige transnasjonale turer for fred sponset av CVNA: San Francisco til Moskva (1960-61) Quebec til Guantanamo (1961) og New Delhi til Peking (1963-1964) .

Det var tydelig at Muste sine indre åndelige tilskyndelser styrte hans livsbeslutninger. Jo Ann Robinson påpeker at Muste sin egen mystikk ble beveget av utenom det vanlige opplevelser av den typen pludselige invaderende bevissthet fra det andre. Det tok ham dermed til steder der han symbolsk risikerer døden, ville fremheve ånden i det individuelle nektet å gå med. ' sammen med 26 andre, ble arrestert mens han satt på en parkbenk i City Hall Park i New York City, og holdt et skilt med påskriften, “ End War — The Only Defense Against Atomic Weapons. ” 74 år gammel tilbrakte han åtte dager i fengsel i 1959 da han klatret et gjerde på fire og en halv fot ned i et missilbyggested utenfor Omaha, Nebraska. Som Muste selv bemerket i sin populære bok fra 1940, Nonviolence in an Aggressive World, “There er et uløselig forhold mellom midler og ender måten en nærmer seg ett ’s mål, bestemmer den endelige formen som disse målene tar. ” For Muste, forholdet mellom midler og mål var ganske enkelt hans nå mye siterte uttalelse: “There is no way to peace. Fred er veien. ”

Selv om Muste ville ha likt å bare samles med venner hjemme, krevde hans rykte, til tross for en stille og reservert natur, at han var i spissen for protester mot direkte handling. Da de trodde at fred er mer enn fravær av krig, utvidet 1960 -tallets aktivister, ledet av Muste, fokuset til å håndtere spørsmålet om rasemessig intoleranse i USA. I et av hans populære essays om rollen som den nye borgerrettighetsbevegelsen, observerte han at en rolig undersøkelse av situasjonen absolutt ikke vil føre til en dom om at rettferdighet og likestilling for negerfolket har blitt oppnådd vesentlig. Tvert imot, det er fortsatt en lang vei å gå. ” Da han så en direkte forbindelse mellom imperialisme i utlandet og rasemessig urettferdighet hjemme, ga Muste veiledning til Martin Luther King Jr., etter at sistnevnte dukket opp som sjefsordfører for the nonviolent wing of the civil rights movement. Muste encouraged him to read the works of Woolman, Jones, Gandhi, and Thoreau, and when King’s own growing resistance to the Vietnam War took center stage, Muste stood by him on all counts.

Social and civil unrest at home, marked by civil rights protests and growing opposition to the Vietnam War, demanded even more of Muste’s time and energy. In the mid-1960s, front-page headlines captured Muste’s picture as he led antiwar protestors down Fifth Avenue in New York City. He was instrumental in helping to organize national demonstrations against the war. In April 1966, he visited South Vietnam as part of a delegation from Clergy and Layman Concerned About Vietnam. Nine months later, despite ill health and warnings from his doctor not to go, Muste traveled to North Vietnam where he met with North Vietnamese Premier Ho Chi Minh. Along with two other clergyman, he returned home bearing an invitation from Minh to President Lyndon Johnson requesting that he visit Hanoi in order to discuss an end to the war. That was Muste’s final witness to peace. On February 11, 1967, he died.

It is almost 39 years since then. There have been books and articles written about his peace witness, but a younger generation may not know that his conversion to Quakerism during World War I was a seminal moment in his life. It directly enjoined him in the political and economic struggles of his day. His legacy is secure. And I am sure that he would heartily agree with one particular obituary notice observing his passing. In the antiwar newsletter, The Mobilizer, the following appeared: “In lieu of flowers, friends are requested to get out and work—for peace, for human rights, for a better world.”


American Gandhi: A. J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the Twentieth Century

When Abraham Johannes Muste died in 1967, newspapers throughout the world referred to him as the "American Gandhi." Best known for his role in the labor movement of the 1930s and his leadership of the peace movement in the postwar era, Muste was one of the most charismatic figures of the American left in his time. Had he written the story of his life, it would also have been the story of social and political struggles in the United States during the twentieth century.

I American Gandhi, Leilah Danielson establishes Muste's distinctive activism as the work of a prophet and a pragmatist. Muste warned that the revolutionary dogmatism of the Communist Party would prove a dead end, understood the moral significance of racial equality, argued early in the Cold War that American pacifists should not pick a side, and presaged the spiritual alienation of the New Left from the liberal establishment. At the same time, Muste committed to grounding theory in practice and the individual in community. His open, pragmatic approach fostered some of the most creative and remarkable innovations in progressive thought and practice in the twentieth century, including the adaptation of Gandhian nonviolence for American concerns and conditions.

A political biography of Muste's evolving political and religious views, American Gandhi also charts the rise and fall of American progressivism over the course of the twentieth century and offers the possibility of its renewal in the twenty-first.


A. J. Muste: Radical for Peace

A. J. Muste’s Reformed roots ran deep. Abraham Johannes Muste (1885-1967) was born in the Netherlands, raised in Grand Rapids, and educated at two Reformed Church in America institutions: Hope College and New Brunswick Theological Seminary. He excelled in sports at Hope, and in the year between graduating from Hope and enrolling at New Brunswick taught Latin and Greek at the Northwestern Classical Academy in Orange City, Iowa.

Muste’s remarkable life is being chronicled in a series of documentaries produced and directed by the independent filmmaker David Schock. The first film, Finding True North was released in April, 2019, and was honored with a State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan. The second film, “The No. 1 U.S. Pacifist,” has just been released. Both films, and more information about the project, may be accessed here. A third film is planned, and the production team is seeking funding on the project website.

Muste was too radical for the RCA, which has never known what to do with him. I attended an RCA seminary in the 1980s and the only thing I can recall learning about him was one story: when asked by a reporter if he seriously thought standing with a candle night after night in front of the White House would change anything, Muste reportedly said, “I don’t stand out here to change the country, I stand out here so they won’t change me.”

The RCA’s uneasy relationship with Muste came to mind when I saw recently that Great Britain has unveiled a new banknote featuring computer pioneer Alan Turing. In his lifetime, Turing faced criminal prosecution because of his sexual orientation from the same country now honoring him. In a similar way, the RCA and its institutions have been slow to recognize the brilliance and insight of Muste.

As the first film documents, Muste was the pastor of the Fort Washington Collegiate Church in Manhattan until he left the RCA in 1914 out of frustration. (In Manhattan Muste also found much more broad-minded religious instruction at Union Theological Seminary than he had at New Brunswick, which was quite parochial in those days).

Muste opposed every American war from World War I to Vietnam, and worked as a labor organizer. In 1949 a seminarian named Martin Luther King Jr. heard Muste lecture on non-violence. C.O.R.E., the Council on Racial Equality, was formed in 1942 as an offshoot of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, of which Muste was executive secretary. He was a pacifist but never passive — he demonstrated against nuclear proliferation in Red Square in Moscow and would scandalize American politicians by meeting with Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh.

I was with a small group of RCA pastors last week and we were lamenting the RCA’s historical lack of bright lights. In fact, we were comparing the intellectual heft of the RCA to the Christian Reformed Church and we found the RCA lacking. I imagine all you CRC readers are smiling to yourself right now while RCA readers are looking away in shame. Muste might be the brightest light the RCA has ever produced, but the RCA couldn’t hold him.


Abraham Muste - History

av Leilah Danielson (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)

In 1957, Abraham Johannes (A.J.) Muste sat down to write his autobiography. Had he finished it, the book undoubtedly would have been filled with the friends and acquaintances he made among the various workers, intellectuals, preachers, activists, sinners, and saints whom he had met over the seventy-two years that he spent on Earth. It would have told the story of a Calvinist intellectual preacher who transformed into a revolutionary labor leader, before finally transforming into a radical prophet of Christian pacifism. But he never finished the book. Muste was a busy man, and there was always a world that needed redeeming. When he died ten years later, scores of mourners, from New York to Tanzania to Hanoi, hailed the loss of one of the brightest minds and most tireless spirits that had animated the nonconformist left. Historian Leilah Danielson attempts to complete the work that Muste did not.

It is most useful to see Danielson's story as an intellectual history disguised as biography. Muste blended Christian idealism with a pragmatism born out of the experience of an activist. As his thought evolved during his long life, he also developed an almost prophetic vision of a peaceful Christian world. Danielson, importantly, also uses Muste's story as a lens on the (mostly radical) left from early 20th century progressives through the anti-war &ldquoNew Left&rdquo of the 1960's.

After being forced out of his pastorate during the First World War because of his pacifist beliefs, Muste entered the labor movement armed with the belief that it held the revolutionary potential to overthrow capitalism and usher in a era of world peace. In doing so, he tried to forge an independent middle ground between the Communists on the left and the AFL on the right, first at Brookwood Labor College, then within the Conference for Progressive Labor Action, his own radical education/activist organization. The middle ground that Muste tried to hold collapsed by the mid-30's and the Communists took over much of the revolutionary left. By this time, the mainstream labor movement had formed the activist core of the Democratic Party's emerging New Deal coalition.

A.J. Muste poses for a photograph in 1931

In joining with the Democrats &ndash the party of Jim Crow and militarism according to Muste &ndash labor had shackled itself to racist capitalism and surrendered to militaristic nationalism. By 1936, Muste left the labor movement behind and with reconnect with his pacifist Christian roots.It is most useful to see Danielson's story as an intellectual history disguised as biography. Muste blended Christian idealism with a pragmatism born out of the experience of an activist. As his thought evolved during his long life, he also developed an almost prophetic vision of a peaceful Christian world. Danielson, importantly, also uses Muste's story as a lens on the (mostly radical) left from early 20 th century progressives through the anti-war &ldquoNew Left&rdquo of the 1960's.

The 1950's proved to be a time of renewed intellectual flowering and activism for Muste. He believed that liberalism, as embodied by the New Deal order, had failed precisely because it had bolstered global capitalism and created the military-industrial complex. The solution for Muste lay in an escape from liberal institutionalism, in direct non-violent actions by cells of individuals in lieu of the masses. It was here that Muste's thought began to prefigure much of the same critique that the New Left would make famous in the 1960's. The onset of the Vietnam War marked the capstone of Muste's global vision, and it would be somewhat of an obsession for the remainder of his life. In his view, the United States was leveraging its massive military superiority in a racist colonial war to oppress the people of North Vietnam. He would spend the last few years of his life trying to build a broad coalition of activists against the war, even traveling to Hanoi and meeting Ho Chi Minh.

The Second World War and, especially, the use of atomic weaponry at the end of it, seem to have ignited the prophetic tradition of Christianity in Muste. While he would never fully abandon the struggle against capitalism, his attention clearly turned toward anti-war/military/nuclear activism. Danielson argues that the emerging Cold War, global de-colonization struggles, and the American civil rights movement all crystallized into a single pacifist struggle against racist, violent nation-states, and the racist, violent American state, in particular.

Given how often Muste served in a leadership role in various organizations, Danielson seems well-grounded in her assertion that his intellect and spirit awed and inspired his friends and acquaintances. Indeed, the high rate of eventual collapse among his projects and the inability of his ideas to make an impact on the establishment make his determination and sunny disposition seem quite remarkable. We know that he had a strong relationship with his parents, siblings, wife, and children. But these relationships take a back seat to the story of Muste's ideas and activism, an aspect of Danielson's reckoning that appears to mirror the realities of Mustes life. This is most evident in his relationship with his wife, Annie, whose homemaking and childrearing labor Muste appears to have taken for granted despite his otherwise radical politics. Annie did not seem to share her husband's zeal for remaking the world, and his constant moving around and activism ultimately took a toll on her health as the family was whisked from place to place.

In 1937, over a thousand marched past the Works Progress Administration in Washington D.C., demanding the reinstatement of jobs cut earlier that year. The Worker's Alliance (an outgrowth of Muste's activist group) led the charge.

Danielson traces Muste's participation in a veritable laundry list of leftist organizations: the Amalgamated Textile Workers, ACLU, Brookwood, Fellowship of Reconciliation, SANE, the Peacemakers, and MOBE to only name a few. Likewise, Muste seems to have corresponded with members of the Old Left and New and seemingly everyone in between, from Norman Thomas and Sidney Hook to Tom Hayden and Bayard Rustin. In this sense, Muste's own life in activism provides the reader with a first-hand account of just how fractious the pre-New Deal labor movement was or how the monstrous violence of the atomic age could drive the alienation of the New Left.

Danielson is at her best in the last chapters detailing Muste's increasing horror as he understood the United States emerging role a global force of violence and domination, perhaps even an existential threat to the world itself. The revolutionary potential of labor had been co-opted by a Democratic Party that was just as eager as the Republicans to build a national security state with an endless reach. America had sacrificed its soul, even as it achieved unparalleled economic and military superiority.

Close-up of the mural commemorating works of A.J. Muste on the War Resisters League Building in New York, New York.

His penetrating analysis of what Eisenhower would term the &ldquomilitary-industrial complex&rdquo was even more prescient than he knew. As the Cold War gave way to the War on Terror, Americans have confronted the possibility of seemingly endless war. Muste would have seen the killing power of predator drones and the savage torture techniques of CIA interrogators not as accidents or regretful necessities in the long war to make the world safe for democracy, but as the logical, perhaps inevitable culmination of the &ldquoAmerican Century.&rdquo

One of Danielson's last anecdotes is of an elderly Afghanistan/Iraq War protester who was asked in 2010 if she really thought that her demonstration in front of Rockefeller Center would have any impact on American policy. She quoted Muste, who was asked a similar question while demonstrating against Vietnam in front of the White House: &ldquoI don't do this to change the country, I do this so the country won't change me&rdquo (336). Almost fifty years after Muste's death, Americans seem no closer to finding the way to peace.


OldSpeak

By David McNair
October 21, 2002

"We cannot have peace if we are only concerned with peace. War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life. If we want to attack war, we have to attack that way of life."&mdashA.J. Muste

"There is no way to peace, peace is the way."&mdashA.J. Muste

At the end of his biography of A.J. Muste (Peace Agitator: The Story of A.J. Muste, Macmillan, 1963), Village Voice writer Nat Hentoff paints a grim picture of the peace movement. "As for myself, I have enormous doubts as to whether Muste and others like him will ever reach enough people so that the primitiveness of the way men rule and are ruled is finally ended. It may well be too late to prevent the obliteration of mankind&hellip" But then he holds out Muste as a beacon of hope. "Muste, however, will continue to act in the fierce belief that so long as there is life, the forces of death&ndashhowever they are euphemized and disguised by the rulers and nearly all the ruled&ndashmust be resisted." Muste was a beacon of hope to many. Hentoff, in fact, calls himself an imperfect disciple of Muste. Martin Luther King said that "unequivocally the emphasis on non-violent direct action in race relations is due more to A.J. Muste than to anyone else in the country." Others considered him America&rsquos Gandhi. Muste, in fact, was such a key figure in the non-violence protest movement&mdashplaying a central role in anti-war/anti-violence activity during both World Wars, the Depression, the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War, and Vietnam&mdashthat it&rsquos hard to believe he was a mere man and not some angel of God sent to earth to be a voice of reason during the violent madness of the 20 th Century. Yet A.J. Muste, unlike Gandhi and Martin Luther King, is virtually unknown to the general public. Like most people who are not inclined to take popular positions, who don&rsquot fit neatly into the chapters of middle school history books, Muste&rsquos extraordinary life has naturally been back-shelved by the writers and librarians of modern history. After all, what do you do with a radical Christian/Marxist pacifist who stood up at a Quaker Meeting in 1940 and said, "If I can&rsquot love Hitler, I can&rsquot love at all"?

Abraham Johannes Muste was born in Holland on January 8, 1885. At the age of six, he was brought to the U.S. and raised by a Republican family in the strict Calvinist traditions of the Dutch Reformed Church. In 1909, he was ordained a minister in that church. Increasingly disillusioned with the teachings of the Reformed Church, however, Muste became the pastor of a Congregational Church. But when war broke out in Europe, he became a full-blown pacifist, inspired by the Christian mysticism of the Quakers. Shortly afterward, Muste was forced out of the Congregational Church for his views and started working with the newly formed American Civil Liberties Union in Boston. In 1919, he was called on to support strikers in the textile industry, and, by the early 1920s, the former Dutch Reformed minister had become a key figure in the trade union movement. As further evidence of the contradictory allegiances that would characterize his philosophy on non-violence and activism for the rest of his life, Muste became openly revolutionary and played a leading role in forming the American Workers Party in 1933, during the Depression. He eventually abandoned his Christian pacifism and became an avowed Marxist-Leninist. He was a key figure in organizing the sit-down strikes of the 1930s and helped form the Trotskyist Workers Party of America.

However, in 1936, uncomfortable with the violence inherent in revolutionary activity, he traveled to Norway to meet with Leon Trotsky. When he returned to the U.S., he was once again a Christian pacifist. Most friends and colleagues say Muste never reconciled his Christian and Marxist tendencies. But the two parts of him informed each other and contributed to one of the most dynamic philosophies of non-violent action in the 20 th Century, one that sought to combine the heavenly desire for peace on earth with the earthly desire for social justice.

In his later years, Muste refused to slow down and, during the Cold War, led the Committee for Nonviolent Action. Its members sailed ships into nuclear test zones in the Pacific, hopped barbed-wire fences at nuclear installations, and tried to block the launching of American nuclear submarines in rowboats. During the Vietnam War, Muste led a group of pacifists to Saigon to demonstrate for peace and was arrested and deported. Later, he met with the violent revolutionary Ho Chi Minh to discuss peace efforts. On February 11, 1967, Muste died suddenly in New York City at the age of 82.

Now that Congress has handed over its constitutional power to wage war on Iraq to the President of the United States, the "logical outcome of a certain way of life" that Muste spoke of seems to have been affirmed. Only twenty-three Senators opposed a resolution giving the President the unchecked authority to launch an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation. As we begin the new century, our leaders seem intent on continuing a way of life that will almost certainly lead to the deaths of thousands, if not millions, of people, just as that way of life led to the deaths of so many in the last century. It is not a happy time for pacifists and peace activists, whose voices go unheard in the national media and whose convictions have been deemed naïve, unpatriotic, and even cowardly by the conservatively pragmatic, un-sensuous minds that seem to dominate the airwaves and characterize the age we live in.

The strength in Muste&rsquos approach to non-violence rested in his religious faith and his belief in individual freedom and social justice. In fact, that strength seemed to be a direct result of the contradictory forces (Christian/Marxist) within himself as he tried to reconcile them and as he began to recognize that struggle as the work of peace itself. "Christians can never be fatalists," he once said. And when a reporter asked Muste during a protest if he really thought he was going to change the policies of this country by standing alone at night in front of the White House with a candle, he replied, "Oh, I don't do this to change the country. I do this so the country won't change me." Muste recognized that in order to change the world, you have to change people. To achieve peace, you have to inspire people to look deeper into the root causes of a conflict, to come to terms with contradictory feelings of love and hate, and to recognize that the desire for peace wasn&rsquot about being a dove. It was about being a spiritual warrior. "I was not impressed with the sentimental, easy-going pacifism of the earlier part of the century," Muste told Hentoff in his biography. "People then felt that if they sat and talked pleasantly of peace and love, they would solve the problems of the world&hellipbut simply advocating &lsquolove&rsquo won&rsquot do it&hellip reconciliation is not synonymous with smoothing things over in the conventional sense. Reconciliation, in every relationship, requires bringing the deep causes of the conflict to the surface and that may be very painful. It is when the deep differences have been faced and the pain of that experienced, that healing and reconciliation may take place."

Of course, there were those who admired Muste&rsquos ideals but who considered his relentless pacifism defenseless against human evil. "Perhaps if people like you were permitted to survive under Communism, " said a philosophy professor in a letter to Muste. "&hellipinstead of being among the first who were liquidated, I might accept the risks of its brutal triumph to the risks of opposing it."

When Hentoff wrote "it may well be too late to prevent the obliteration of mankind" in his 1963 biography of Muste, he was talking about nuclear war. Almost forty years later, however, we are still here. Unfortunately, men seem to rule and be ruled just as primitively, and there is more violence and conflict in the world than we can keep track of. What would Muste say about the peace movement today? What would he do to fight the American government&rsquos move toward restricting the right to assemble and protest? (See Neal Shaffer&rsquos essay, "Protest Too Little") What would he do to curtail our government&rsquos move toward war?

Odds are that he&rsquod be engaged in some Sisyphean effort to awaken our sleeping minds to the injustice of it all. Odds are that he&rsquod be upset by the way we&rsquove allowed the terrorists to steal the show. Because, in the end, Muste&rsquos life was less about working out particular issues and conflicts and more about the task of encouraging humanity itself to evolve in a peaceful direction.

To find out more about A.J. Muste or to help continue his legacy, visit the A.J. Muste Memorial Foundation at www.ajmuste.org

DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN OLDSPEAK ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF THE RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE.


A. J. Muste Papers

The A.J. Muste Papers consist of correspondence, autobiographical material, book reviews, speeches, articles, pamphlets, and newsclippings, as well as sound recordings by and about A.J. Muste. The correspondence (1958-1967) is divided into private correspondence and business papers and forms the bulk of the collection. Numerous individuals and organizations are represented in the correspondence, which includes information about George Keenan, Linus Pauling, Anatol Rapoport, A. Philip Randolph, Morton Sobell, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the World Peace Brigade, Pendle Hill, the Hudson Institute, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. The records of Liberation magazine and information about the San Francisco to Moscow Walk, the Omaha Action, the Polaris Action and tax resistance are also in the collection.

The bulk of this collection was microfilmed under N.E.H. Grant No. RC 27706-77-739. The material on reels 36 to 39 were filmed by Scholarly Resources, Inc.

Audiocassette, audiotapes (reel-to-reel), and compact discs (of Muste's funeral service, etc.) were removed to the Audiovisual Collection photos were removed to the Photograph Collection.

Datoer

Creator

Language of Materials

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Copyright and Rights Information

Most boxes are stored off-site microfilm must be used (3 reels at a time may be borrowed through inter-library loan )

Biographical

A.J. Muste (1885-1967), born Abraham Johannes Muste in the province of Zeeland, the Netherlands, came to the United States in 1891 when the Muste family settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1909, Muste was ordained a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, but later (1917), he became a member of the Society of Friends. During World War I, Muste's refusal to abandon his pacifist position led to his forced resignation from the Central Congregational Church in Newtonville, Massachusetts.

Muste's involvement as a labor organizer began in 1919 when he led strikes in the textile mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts. He became the director of the Brookwood Labor College in Katonah, New York, remaining there until 1931. Muste served as national chairman of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) from 1926 to 1929. He was one of the founders of the Conference for Progressive Labor Action (CPLA) in 1929, and in 1934 he facilitated the merger of the CPLA with the Trotskyists to form the short-lived Workers Party of America. Muste was director of the Presbyterian Labor Temple from 1937-1940. In 1940 he became executive director of the FOR, a position he held until his retirement in 1953, when he was made director emeritus. From 1948-1953, he served as secretary of the Ohio Peacemakers, a radical pacifist group. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the War Resisters League, one of the international chairmen of the World Peace Brigade, and helped organize the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA). Muste later served as chairman of the CNVA. For several years he served as the editor of Liberation magazine.

Throughout his "retirement," Muste devoted his considerable energies to the civil rights and peace movements. In the early 1960s, he had devoted much of his attention to the development of a radical, politically relevant, nonviolent movement. With the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1964-1965, Muste played a major role in organizing rallies, vigils and marches to protest the expanding involvement of U.S. military forces. In 1966, Muste went to Saigon with five other pacifists. In the following year he went to Hanoi to meet with leaders there to find an insight into ways to end the war. At the time of his death in February 1967 he was the founding chairman of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.

Extent

Additional Description

Oversikt

A.J. Muste (1885-1967), was ordained a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church, but later (1917), he became a member of the Society of Friends. During World War I, Muste's refusal to abandon his pacifist position led to his forced resignation from the Central Congregational Church in Newtonville, Massachusetts. Muste's involvement as a labor organizer began in 1919 when he led strikes in the textile mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts. He became the director of the Brookwood Labor College in Katonah, New York, remaining there until 1931. He then served as national chairman of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) from 1926 to 1929. Muste was director of the Presbyterian Labor Temple from 1937-1940. In 1940 he became executive director of the FOR, a position he held until his retirement in 1953, when he was made director emeritus. From 1948-1953, he served as secretary of the Ohio Peacemakers, a radical pacifist group. He was also a member of the Executive Committee of the War Resisters League, one of the international chairmen of the World Peace Brigade, and helped organize the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA). Muste later served as chairman of the CNVA. For several years he served as the editor of Liberation magazine.. In the early 1960s, he had devoted much of his attention to the development of a radical, politically relevant, nonviolent movement. With the escalation of the Vietnam War in 1964-1965, Muste played a major role in organizing rallies, vigils and marches to protest the expanding involvement of U.S. military forces. In 1966, Muste went to Saigon with five other pacifists. In the following year he went to Hanoi to meet with leaders there to find an insight into ways to end the war. At the time of his death in February 1967 he was the founding chairman of the Spring Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.

Ordning

The A.J. Muste Papers are arranged into four sections according to when the Peace Collection received the material. The first, and largest, section contains biographical and family materials, speeches, writings by and about Muste, and extensive correspondence about many activities and organizations. The material in this section begins in 1905 and extends until Muste's death in 1967.

Supplement #1 came to the Peace Collection in 1968-1969 and consists of six boxes of material. Included in this section are reports , memos and articles written by and about Muste, correspondence (1958-1966), material on some of the various projects with which Muste was involved in the 1960s, and a scrapbook. The overall dates for this section are 1956-1967.

Supplement #2 consists of a small amount of correspondence, writings, and newspaper clippings about Muste's activities in 1966-1967. This section also includes notices, articles, and tributes about Muste's death in 1967. The overall dates for this section are 1938-1967.

Supplement #3 came to the Peace Collection from the New York office of the War Resisters League in 1969 and 1979. The bulk of the material is correspondence from Muste to others (1962-1966) filed by subject, as Muste kept it. There is also some biographical material, writings, and general correspondence. The dates for this section are 1954-1965.

Later Accessions have been removed from the papers of various individuals and the records of various organizations because they relate to A.J. Muste's correspondence, writings or involvements. They were processed in 2010 into two boxes. The 2011 accession from Muste biographer, JoAnn Robinson, was placed in box 2 of these later accessions. A folder has been placed at the end of box 2 for future re-file material, since the rest of the collection is off-site.

As these papers have been microfilmed at different times, researchers need to search in each separate section of the papers for a particular topic.


Muste and King

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was among those inspired by A.J. Muste. King was a student in the audience when Muste spoke at Crozer Theological Seminary in 1949, and later recalled the encounter’s significance in his book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story.

Writing in the chapter “Pilgrimage to Nonviolence,” King said, “During my stay at Crozer, I was also exposed for the first time to the pacifist position in a lecture by Dr. A.J. Muste. I was deeply moved by Dr. Muste’s talk, but far from convinced of the practicability of his position.” (King went on to explain that his subsequent study of Gandhi revised his view on the viability: “It was in [the] Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for so many months.”)

King and Muste — who has been called “the American Gandhi” — remained in contact through the years. They corresponded in the 1950s and 1960s, and King was the featured speaker during a 1959 War Resisters League dinner held to honor Muste. Following Muste’s death, King noted, “the whole world should mourn the death of this peacemaker, for we desperately need his sane and sober spirit in our time.”


Who Was A. J. Muste?

Tell me you’ve heard of him: Abraham Johannes Muste (1885-1967), labor leader, world-renowned pacifist, and probably Hope’s most famous alumnus.

Born in the Netherlands, Muste immigrated to Grand Rapids with his family in 1891. He graduated from Hope College in 1905: valedictorian, captain of the basketball team, president of his fraternity (the Fraters, of course), and already an acclaimed orator. He studied at New Brunswick Seminary and was ordained as a pastor in the Reformed Church in America in 1909. From there, he served the Fort Washington Collegiate Church in New York City, but found himself increasing uncomfortable with the doctrines of Calvinism, and moved on to a Congregational Church near Boston.

The year 1917, when the United States declared war on Germany, was a dramatic watershed for the young man: despite social pressures around him, he adopted a position of radical pacifism.

Muste had already joined over sixty fellow pacifists to found the American wing of the international Fellowship of Reconciliation. Next, abandoning his pulpit, he turned toward labor organization as a theater where his commitment to issues of peace and justice could find expression.

In 1921, he became educational director of the Brookwood Labor College in New York and laid foundations for the Conference for Progressive Labor Action. Frustrated with the church, he was drawn for a time to Communism, even visiting the noted Marxist Leon Trotsky in 1936. “What could one say to the unemployed and the unorganized who were betrayed and shot down when they protested”? he asked himself. “What did one point out to them? Well, not the Church … you saw that it was the radicals, the Left-wingers, the people who had adopted some form of Marxian philosophy, who were doing something about the situation.”

And yet A. J. didn’t have it in him to stay away from Christianity for very long. That same year he wandered into the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris and experienced a reconversion: “Without the slightest premonition of what was going to happen, I was saying to myself: ‘This is where you belong.’” On his return to the United States, Muste headed the Presbyterian Labor Temple in New York and then became Executive Secretary of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

In 1949 a very young Martin Luther King, Jr., then at student at Crozer Seminary, heard Muste lecture on non-violent resistance. It may even be fair to say that King would not have achieved his ambitions had he not had Muste as an example.

In his years of “retirement,” Muste was more vigorous than ever, participating in a string of activities: the anti-nuclear walk to Mead Airforce Base, where the seventy-five-year old climbed over the fence into the grounds the San Francisco to Moscow Walk for Peace, the Quebec-Guantanamo Peace Walk, the Nashville-Washington Walk, and the Sahara Project to oppose nuclear testing in Africa.

In 1966, in the heat of the Vietnam War, he led a group to Saigon, where he was immediately deported, but shortly thereafter flew to Hanoi to meet Ho Chi Minh. Less than a month later Muste died of an aneurysm. The great American linguist, philosopher, and social critic Noam Chomsky called Muste “one of the most significant twentieth-century figures, an unsung hero.”

During the summer of 2017, I had the great privilege of accompanying David Schock on a series of cross-country trips to interview and record the memories of people who knew A. J. or had written about him. It was an unforgettable experience, and the footage is priceless. We heard the stories—often expressed in tears—of working with Muste, observing his deft administration, and wondering at his dedication. What is the cost of a life like Muste’s, a life that so realizes the imitatio Christi?

Surely Muste paid a price: his family’s finances were chronically precarious, he was often away from home, and he endured the suspicion of many with whom he had grown up. One person we interviewed estimated that Muste had probably owned no more than four suits in his entire life, and his shoes often revealed patches in the soles.

Yet Muste was a happy man. I love this story from his co-worker Barbara Deming, who was with him when he was arrested in Vietnam: “None of us had any idea how rough they might be,” she recalled, “and A. J. looked so very frail.” She went on: “I looked across the room at A. J. to see how he was doing. He looked back with a sparkling smile and, with that sudden light in his eyes which so many of his friends will remember, he said, ‘It’s a good life!’”

Though Muste wasn’t an English major, he was a lover of poetry, so it seems fitting to end with some of the lines that most inspired him. These words, from Stephen Spender’s “The Truly Great,” were read at his memorial service: “I think continually of those who were truly great. / Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history / Through corridors of life, where the hours are suns, / Endless and singing.”

Visit Digital Holland for a timeline of Muste’s life, and be sure to check out Hope’s A. J. Muste Web page.


A.J. Muste the Protestant Saint

Abraham Johannes Muste, AJ to friends, January 8, 1885 Zierkzee, The Netherlands to February 11, 1967 New York City

He introduced Martin Luther King Jr. to the theory and practice of non violent civil disobedience.

In 1947 he organized the “Journey of Reconciliation” during which blacks and whites sat together on Greyhound buses traveling through the South. That “Journey” served as the model for the civil rights movement’s “Freedom Rides” in 1961.

He was lead organizer of the first mass protest against the Vietnam War. The march from Central Park to the United Nations on Tax Day, April 15, 1967 was at the time the largest demonstration in U.S. history.

He served as spokesperson for the mostly immigrant workers during the historic Lawrence, MS textile mill strike of 1919.

Following the gains made by the Lawrence workers, he served as the first head of the Amalgamated Textile Workers Union until 1921. In the position, he supported organizing nearly weekly strikes at mills across the U.S.

He trained union organizers as education director of the Brookwood Labor College from 1921 to 1933.

When he died in 1967, obituaries referred to him as the “American Gandhi”.

If you haven’t named who “he” is you are not alone. Few people in churches, or outside them, in the U.S. know about the contributions of Abraham Johannes Muste to the labor and peacemaking movements in the U.S. Yet Muste would be a candidate for sainthood if there were saints in Protestant Christianity. He served the Church as a clergy member in four different U.S. Protestant denominations but his call eventually led him to leadership in the labor and peace movements of his adopted country. Until his death in 1967, Muste remained a radical practitioner of the theology of the “Social Gospel”.

In the first congregation he served, he opposed U.S. entry into the First World War and, against the wishes of many in the congregation, resigned. From the crucible of the WW I era to the end of his life, he helped organize mass actions of civil disobedience in resistance to U.S. warfare and militarism. Muste was the first to declare, “There is no way to peace peace is the way”. Another Muste saying, often attributed to others, he coined as an early protestor of the Vietnam War. During a White House vigil in a rain storm, someone asked him if he really thought he was going to change U.S. policy that way, he responded, “I’m not out here to change U.S. policies. I’m here to make sure they don’t change me.”

Like no other American Christian of the 20 th Century AJ Muste lived out his faith in the nation’s public sphere. In his work and writing, he adhered to the values of the Sermon on the Mount and chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew. His radical pacifism grew out of his devotion to living by the roots of the Christian faith. Muste believed that as Christians we are all called to be “Saints for This Age”. While he based this conviction on the lives of the first Christians as reported in The New Testament, his passion for social change was also fired by the horrors of 20 th Century militarism and by the example of radical leftists in the labor movement.

In the 1962 essay titled “Saints for This Age”, Muste wrote “It was on the Left – and here the ‘Communists of the period cannot be excluded – that one found people who were truly ‘religious’ in the sense that they were completely committed, they were betting their lives on the cause they embraced. Often they gave up ordinary comforts, security, life itself, with a burning devotion which few Christians display toward the Christ whom they profess as Lord and incarnation of God.” In the next paragraph, he contrasts the “liberal” Christians who professed the “Social Gospel” with these non-Christian radical leftists.

“The Left had the vision, the dream, of a classless and warless world, as the hackneyed phrase goes…..Here was the fellowship drawn together and drawn forward by the Judeo-Christian prophetic vision of a ‘new earth in which righteousness dwelleth’. The now generally despised Christian liberals had had this vision. The liberal Christians were never, in my opinion, wrong in cherishing the vision. Their mistake, and in a sense, their crime, was not to see that it was revolutionary in character and demanded revolutionary living and action of those who claimed to be its votaries.”

Christian faith, and the first Christians who modeled faith for AJ Muste, was profoundly counter-cultural. “I spoke of the early Christians as having ‘broken loose’. They understood that for all its size, seeming stability and power, the ‘world’, the ‘age’ in which they lived was ephemeral, weak, doomed…..They had therefore turned their backs on it, did not give it their ultimate allegiance, were not intimidated by what it could do to them, and did not seek satisfaction and security within its structure, under its standards. They were loose – not tied to ‘business as usual’.” Muste himself was not “tied to ‘business as usual’” and will serve Christianity and humanity as a “saint” for this and for ages to come.


Se videoen: Abraham u0026 Isaac (Kan 2022).