Geskiedenis Podcasts

Abraham Muste

Abraham Muste

Abraham Muste is gebore in Zierkzee, Holland, op 8 Januarie 1885. Sy gesin verhuis na die Verenigde State in 1891. Sy pa was ondersteuner van die Republikeinse Party en as jong man het hy sy konserwatiewe standpunte gedeel. In 1909 word hy as predikant in die NG Kerk georden.

Muste word toenemend radikaal en ondersteun in die presidensiële veldtog van 1912 Eugene Debs, die kandidaat van die Sosialistiese Party. By die uitbreek van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog het Muste die NG Kerk verlaat en 'n pasifis geword. In 1919 speel hy 'n aktiewe rol in die ondersteuning van werkers tydens die Lawrence Textile Strike en verhuis later na Boston waar hy werk by die American Civil Liberties Union kry. In die vroeë 1920's werk Muste as direkteur van die Brookwood Labor College in Katonah, Westchester County. Hy het ook by die Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) aangesluit.

Muste is ontsteld oor die gebeure wat in die Sowjetunie plaasgevind het. Hy het nie meer gevoel dat hy die beleid van Joseph Stalin kan ondersteun nie. Muste het nou besluit om saam met ander eendersdenkendes saam te werk om die American Workers Party (AWP) te stig. Muste, wat in Desember 1933 gestig is, het die leier van die party geword en ander lede was Sidney Hook, Louis Budenz, James Rorty, V.F. Calverton, George Schuyler, James Burnham, J. B. S. Hardman en Gerry Allard.

Hook het later in sy outobiografie aangevoer, Out of Step: 'n Rustige lewe in die 20ste eeu (1987): "The American Workers Party (AWP) is georganiseer as 'n outentieke Amerikaanse party wat gewortel is in die Amerikaanse revolusionêre tradisie, bereid om die probleme wat deur die ineenstorting van die kapitalistiese ekonomie ontstaan ​​het, aan te pak, met 'n plan vir 'n koöperatiewe gemenebest uitgedruk in 'n inheemse idioom wat verstaan ​​kan word vir bloukraag- en witboordjiewerkers, mynwerkers, landbouers en boere sonder die nasionalistiese en chauvinistiese boventone wat in die verlede met plaaslike protesbewegings gepaard gegaan het. Dit was 'n beweging van intellektuele, waarvan die meeste ervaring opgedoen het in die arbeidersbeweging en 'n trou aan die oorsaak van arbeid lank voor die koms van die depressie. "

Kort nadat die AWP gestig is, het leiers van die Communist League of America (CLA), 'n groep wat die teorieë van Leon Trotsky ondersteun, 'n samesmelting voorgestel. Sidney Hook, James Burnham en J. Hardman was vir die CLA in die onderhandelingskomitee vir die AWP, Max Shachtman, Martin Abern en Arne Swabeck. Hook herinner later: "By ons heel eerste vergadering het dit vir ons duidelik geword dat die Trotskyiste nie 'n situasie kon voorstel waarin die werkersdemokratiese rade die party kon oorheers nie, of inderdaad een waarin daar meerparty werkersklaspartye sou wees. Die vergadering opgelos in intense meningsverskil. ” Ten spyte van hierdie swak begin, het die twee groepe egter in Desember 1934 saamgesmelt.

In 1940 word Muste aangestel as uitvoerende sekretaris van die Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). In hierdie posisie het Muste die veldtog gelei teen die betrokkenheid van die Verenigde State in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog. In 1942 moedig Muste James Farmer en Bayard Rustin aan om die Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) te stig. Vroeë lede was George Houser en Anna Murray. Lede was hoofsaaklik pasifiste wat diep beïnvloed is deur Henry David Thoreau en die leerstellings van Mahatma Gandhi en die veldtog vir gewelddadige burgerlike ongehoorsaamheid wat hy suksesvol teen die Britse bewind in Indië gebruik het. Die studente het oortuig geword dat swartes dieselfde metodes kan gebruik om burgerregte in Amerika te verkry.

Na die oorlog het Muste saam met David Dillinger en Dorothy Day aangesluit om die tydskrif Direct Action in 1945 te stig. Dellinger het die politieke establishment weer ontstel toe hy die gebruik van atoombomme op Hiroshima en Nagasaki gekritiseer het.

Vroeg in 1947 kondig CORE planne aan om agt wit en agt swart mans in die diepe suide te stuur om die uitspraak van die Hooggeregshof te toets wat segregasie in interstate -reise ongrondwetlik verklaar het. georganiseer deur George Houser en Bayard Rustin, sou die Reis van Versoening 'n pelgrimstog van twee weke deur Virginia, Noord -Carolina, Tennessee en Kentucky wees.

The Journey of Reconciliation begin op 9 April 1947. Die span was 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 en Homer Jack.

Lede van die Journey of Reconciliation -span is verskeie kere in hegtenis geneem. In Noord -Carolina is twee van die Afro -Amerikaners, Bayard Rustin en Andrew Johnson, skuldig bevind aan die oortreding van die Jim Crow -buswet van die staat en is tot dertig dae gevonnis op 'n kettingbende. Regter Henry Whitfield het dit egter duidelik gemaak dat hy die gedrag van die wit mans nog meer aanstootlik vind. Hy het aan Igal Roodenko en Joseph Felmet gesê: "Dit is tyd dat jy, Jode uit New York, leer dat jy nie daarheen kan kom om jou ******'s saam te bring om die gewoontes van die Suide te versteur nie. Net om jou te leer les, ek het jou swart seuns dertig dae gegee, en ek gee jou negentig. "

The Journey of Reconciliation het groot publisiteit behaal en was die begin van 'n lang veldtog van direkte optrede deur die Congress of Racial Equality. In Februarie 1948 het die Council Against Intolerance in America aan George Houser en Bayard Rustin die Thomas Jefferson -toekenning vir die bevordering van demokrasie toegeken vir hul pogings om 'n einde te maak aan segregasie in tussenstate.

Die Congress of Racial Equality het ook Freedom Rides in die diep suide gereël. In Birmingham, Alabama, is een van die busse met 'n brand bestook en passasiers is deur 'n wit skare geslaan. Norman Thomas beskryf hierdie jongmense as 'sekulêre heiliges'. I. F. Stone het aangevoer: Hulle en 'n paar blanke meelopers, net so jonk en toegewyd soos hulle, het 'n sosiale revolusie in die Suide begin met hul sit-ins en hul Freedom Rides. Nooit het 'n kleiner minderheid meer gedoen vir die bevryding van 'n hele volk as hierdie paar jongelinge van C.O.R.E. (Congress for Racial Equality) en S.N.C.C. (Studente nie-gewelddadige koördinerende komitee). "

Teen 1961 het die Congress of Racial Equality 53 hoofstukke in die Verenigde State gehad. Twee jaar later het die organisasie gehelp om die beroemde optog in Washington te organiseer. Op 28 Augustus 1963 marsjeer meer as 200 000 mense vreedsaam na die Lincoln -gedenkteken om gelyke geregtigheid vir alle burgers onder die wet te eis. Aan die einde van die optog het Martin Luther King sy beroemde toespraak "I Have a Dream" gehou.

Muste was ook baie aktief in die War Resisters League en het gehelp om burgerregte -leiers soos Martin Luther King en Whitney Young te beïnvloed om die Viëtnam -oorlog teë te staan.

Abraham Muste is op 11 Februarie 1967 oorlede.

Ek is seker dat Marshall óf sleg is oor die beginsels en tegnieke van geweldloosheid of onkundig is oor die proses van sosiale verandering.

Onregverdige sosiale wette en patrone verander nie omdat die hoogste howe regverdige beslissings lewer nie. U hoef slegs die voortgesette praktyk van Jim Crow tydens interstate -reise, ses maande na die beslissing van die Hooggeregshof, na te sien om die noodsaaklikheid van weerstand te sien. Sosiale vooruitgang kom uit stryd; alle vryheid vereis 'n prys.

Soms vra vryheid dat sy volgelinge in situasies moet gaan waar selfs die dood in die gesig gestaar moet word. Weerstand teen die busse sou byvoorbeeld vernedering, mishandeling deur die polisie, inhegtenisneming en fisieke geweld teen die deelnemers beteken.

Maar as iemand op hierdie datum in die geskiedenis van mening is dat die 'wit probleem', wat 'n voorreg is, sonder geweld opgelos kan word, vergis hy hom nie en besef hy nie die doelwitte waarmee mans gedwing kan word om vas te hou aan wat hulle hul voorregte in ag neem.

Dit is die rede waarom negers en blankes wat aan direkte optrede deelneem, hulself moet verbind tot geweldloosheid in woord en daad. Want alleen op hierdie manier kan die onvermydelike geweld tot die minimum beperk word.

As jy 'n neger is, sit op 'n voorste sitplek. As jy wit is, sit op 'n agtersitplek.

As die bestuurder u vra om te beweeg, moet u kalm en hoflik vir hom sê: "As 'n interstaatlike passasier het ek die reg om oral in hierdie bus te sit. Dit is die wet soos bepaal deur die Hooggeregshof van die Verenigde State".

As die bestuurder die polisie ontbied en sy bevel in die teenwoordigheid herhaal, vertel hom presies wat u gesê het toe hy u die eerste keer gevra het om te verhuis.

As die polisie u vra om saam te kom sonder om u in hegtenis te neem, moet u vir hulle sê dat u nie sal gaan voordat u in hegtenis geneem word nie.

As die polisie u in hegtenis neem, moet u vreedsaam saamgaan. Bel by die polisiekantoor die naaste hoofkwartier van die NAACP, of een van u prokureurs. Hulle sal u help.

Die kern van die verhaal is die loopbaan van dominee Abraham J. Muste, wat my en ander radikale figure vroeg in die herfs van 1933 genooi het om 'n nuwe politieke party te organiseer, wie se hoofwoordvoerder hy geword het.

In sy grafiese maar neigingagtige Geskiedenis van die Russiese rewolusie, Het Leon Trotsky geskryf dat die Revolusie die geskiedenis ingegaan het onder die maag van 'n Kosakperd. Die onwrikbare daad van die ruiter, die onwillekeurige versuim om die betoger af te sny, kenmerk die verval van die moraal onder die verdedigers van die tsaar in die Februarie -dae van 1917. Miskien kan 'n mens van AJ Muste sê dat hy die arbeidersbeweging onder die hoewe van 'n het die polisieman se perd gehardloop terwyl hy met 'n paar treffende plakkate in Lawrence, Massachusetts, opgeruk het. Sonder om formeel die NG en daarna die Presbiteriaanse Kerk te verlaat, het hy 'n arbeidsorganiseerder en opvoeder geword. Hy het jare lank die Brookwood Labor College gestig en gelei, wie se studente uit die arbeidersbeweging gewerf is om dit met oorgawe en intelligensie te dien. Aan die einde van die twintigerjare het Muste se belange politieser geword en, namate die depressie verdiep het, intens. Hy het vroeg die gevolge van die Machiavelliaanse gedrag van die Kommunistiese Party beleef, wie se amptenare hom ook gevlei en veroordeel het. Muste was oortuig dat slegs 'n politieke party deeglik in die Amerikaanse graan enige vordering in die Verenigde State sou maak. Hy het my geskrifte noukeurig gevolg, was bewus van my pragmatiese oriëntasie en het voorgestel dat ek by die reëlingskomitee van die nuwe party aansluit.

Ons persoonlike verhoudings was altyd hartlik en het so gebly gedurende die lang en onverwagte odyssie wat hom van sy oorspronklike pasifistiese oorreding na pragmatiese liberalisme en sosialisme, tot revolusionêre Trotskyisme (so ekstreem dat dit deur Trotsky self verwerp is) geneem het, en dan terug na die arms van God en 'n absolute pasifisme in wie se reuk van heiligheid hy sy laaste dae deurgebring het. Daar was geen idee van hierdie verwikkelinge toe die American Workers 'Party sonder fanfare van stapel gestuur is na 'n paar maande se intense voorbereiding nie.

Die American Workers Party (AWP) is georganiseer as 'n outentieke Amerikaanse party wat gewortel is in die Amerikaanse revolusionêre tradisie, bereid om die probleme wat deur die ineenstorting van die kapitalistiese ekonomie ontstaan ​​het, op te los, met 'n plan vir 'n koöperatiewe gemenebes uitgedruk in 'n inheemse idioom wat verstaanbaar is tot blou kraag- en witboordjiewerkers, mynwerkers, aandeelhouers en boere sonder die nasionalistiese en chauvinistiese toonsettings wat plaaslike protesbewegings in die verlede vergesel het. Dit was 'n beweging van intellektuele, van wie die meeste ervaring opgedoen het in die arbeidersbeweging en trou aan die oorsaak van arbeid lank voor die koms van die depressie ....

Op die vooraand van die samesmelting tussen die twee organisasies (die Trotskyiste het hul stem heeltemal verander op die daaropvolgende vergaderings en skynheilig ooreenkoms met ons gepubliseer), het ek 'n artikel gepubliseer met die titel "Arbeidersdemokrasie", wat argumenteer vir 'n "gemeen -demokratiese uitweg uit die verkeer van kapitalisme "en het volgehou dat die ideale wat in die Amerikaanse revolusionêre tradisie vervat is," gelyke geleenthede "," die gelyke regte van alle burgers op lewe, vryheid en die strewe na geluk "," vrede en veiligheid vir die massas "die beste kan wees onder sosialisme verwesenlik word. Ten spyte van hierdie klem op demokrasie, ly dit aan die ou illusie dat die fundamentele konflik tussen sosialisme en kapitalisme was eerder as tussen demokrasie en totalitarisme, maar die klem op demokrasie en die sosiale en ekonomiese vereistes vir die vervulling daarvan was onmiskenbaar. Die artikel het 'n sterk reaksie uitgelok deur Will Herberg, die hoofideoloog, na Bertram Wolfe, van die Lovestone Kommunistiese Opposisie.

Herberg het openlik die standpunt uitgespreek dat die uitkoms van arbeidersdemokrasie nie toegelaat kan word om sy gang te gaan as die gevolge van die weg, in die oë van die Kommunistiese Party of sy leierskap, nie die gesondheid van die rewolusie bevorder nie. Dit het nou duidelik geword waarom die spontane geskreeu van die Kronstadt -matrose en hul ondersteuners, "Die Sowjets sonder die diktatuur van die Kommunistiese Party", vir alle Leniniste kontra -revolusionêr was!
Hoewel Muste beweer het dat hy na die samesmelting met die CLA tot die revolusionêre marxisties-leninistiese leerstelling omgeskakel is, was ek nooit oortuig dat hy dit werklik verstaan ​​of gemotiveer is nie. Hy was in die eerste plek 'n moralis, nie omdat hy 'n prediker of vanweë sy godsdienstige opleiding was nie, maar omdat hy menslike optrede bloot as reg of verkeerd beskou het, ongeag die konteks. Tot sy eer het hy uitdrukkings soos "histories bepaal" of "organisatories noodsaaklik" afgetrek, maar om onverskillig te wees vir wat moontlik of waarskynlik was, was weer iets anders. Hy het selde 'n standpunt deurdink, maar sou dit aanneem op morele gronde wat selde deur die feite in die saak geraak word. Hy was 'n vurige pasifis. Toe hy 'n revolusionêre marxis word, het hy sy pasifisme en, onder ons, sy geloof in die Christendom in die openbaar laat vaar. Ondanks sy godsdienstige opleiding kon hy nie die een of die ander goed onderkry het nie, want toe hy uiteindelik sy haastig verslinde marxisme opgegooi het, keer hy terug na sy vroeë oortuigings met die passie van iemand wat onlangs bekeer is. Dit is baie selde dat, namate individue in 'n voortgesette reeks vorderinge een posisie vir 'n ander ontwikkel en laat vaar, hulle terugkeer na 'n vroeëre siening. Maar dit kom soms voor. In die geval van Muste kon sy vroeë verlating van pasifisme en die Christendom nie baie reflektief gewees het nie.

Dit is moeilik om te verduidelik waarom Muste, wie se vinger nooit opgehou het om in morele veroordeling van die Staliniste te wankel nie, omdat hy die begeerde belange van hul organisasie bo alles geplaas het, ingestem het tot 'n samesmelting van die American Workers 'Party en die Trotskyist Communist League of America. Hy was nie so heeltemal onskuldig om te glo dat die Trotskyiste hul Leninistiese tradisie afgeskaf het nie. Dit is ook nie heeltemal duidelik waarom hy so hardnekkig teëgestaan ​​het nadat die twee organisasies by die Sosialistiese Arbeidersparty opgegaan het nie, die voorgestelde intrede van laasgenoemde in die Sosialistiese Party, waarna dit vinnig na links beweeg het. Die rede wat hy self gee, is onoortuigend. Hy beweer dat hy, as voorwaarde vir samesmelting met die Communist League of America, 'n belofte van sy leiers geëis het dat hulle nie die beleid van die Franse Trotskistiese groep by die toetrede tot die Franse sosialistiese party sou navolg nie. Daar was nie so 'n belofte nie! As die hooffiguur wat die Amerikaanse werkersparty in sy onderhandelinge verteenwoordig, kan ek bevestig dat die onderwerp nooit ter sprake gekom het nie. Dit het ook nie ontstaan ​​in die uitgebreide en hewige debatte onder die AWP -lidmaatskap of die samesmelting goedgekeur moet word nie. Muste se destydse teenkanting teen die toetrede van die saamgesmelte organisasies tot die Sosialistiese Party was dat so 'n optrede 'n verraad van revolusionêre beginsels sou verteenwoordig. Aangesien hierdie beginsels vervat was in die beginsels wat Trotsky vir die Vierde Internasionaal opgestel het, beweer Muste, so te sê, meer Trotskyisties as die Trotskyiste. Hy het die Trotskyiste beledig omdat hulle slegte marxiste en slegte leniniste was.

As ek terugkyk, was Muste se gedrag uiters raaiselagtig. Dit weerspieël 'n persoonlike ambisie waarvan hy waarskynlik bewusteloos was. Muste het nooit werklik sy gevoel dat hy 'n roeping vir leierskap het, verberg nie, maar na baie lang gesprekke het ek gevoel dat sy werklike roeping, waarvoor hy in die diepte van sy wese dors, vir martelaarskap was. Dit het 'n paar jaar later na vore gekom toe hy, nadat hy teruggekeer het na sy vroeë pasifistiese geloof, die Amerikaanse weerstand teen Hitler en die Japannese krygshere bitter teenstaan. Hy het die registrasiewette opvallend oortree, sy huis en besittings verkoop, sprekende toesprake gelewer by verskeie openbare afskeidsaande deur vriende en bewonderaars, en tevergeefs gewag dat die onderdane van die staat hom in die tronk gaan haal. Hy is in die wiele gery deur 'n verstandige burokraat wat besluit het om hom te ignoreer. Die taal waarin hy 'hierdie vuil truuk' veroordeel het, was positief on-Christelik. A.J. het nooit van hierdie verontwaardiging herstel nie, tot op die dae van die Viëtnam -oorlog toe hy tot sy reg gekom het.

Die Amerikaanse rewolusie is beveg om 'n baie eenvoudige rede - om die beginsel van vryheid in ons land vas te stel. Die revolusie - die fase daarvan - was in wese suksesvol. Die beginsel is vasgestel, maar die beginsel het nie alle Amerikaners ingesluit nie.

Vir baie mense beteken dit nie vryheid nie. Dit was byvoorbeeld nie van toepassing op vroue in die vroeë dae van Amerika nie. Vroue het nie die regte wat aan ander Amerikaners gewaarborg is nie. Hulle het nie eens die stemreg nie, en hulle moes sukkel om die reg te bereik. Hulle sukkel onder die vaandel van die suffragettes en beduidend, my vriende, het hulle tegnieke gebruik wat baie soortgelyk is aan dié wat die burgerregtebeweging die afgelope paar jaar oorheers het.

Hierdie beginsel wat in die agtiende eeu in die eerste fase van die Amerikaanse rewolusie vasgestel is, het nie werkers ingesluit nie. Werkende mans en vroue van ons land het die helfte van die vryhede gekry wat verkondig is. Hulle het geen stem gehad oor hul lone of ure of die vasstelling van hul werksomstandighede nie. Dit was nie vryheid nie. Hulle moes toe sukkel vir hul vryheid, vir hul eie insluiting in die Amerikaanse vryheidsbepaling. Hulle het hard geveg met dieselfde wapens - die betoging, die optog, die pieklyn, die boikot. Hulle het die beginsel van hul insluiting vasgestel; hulle het die reg op kollektiewe bedinging en die reg op vakbond erkenning gewen.

Vir baie jare, soos 'n groot sluimerende reus, het negers die status quo aanvaar. Ons het lankal so min aan onsself gedink dat ons segregasie en diskriminasie aanvaar het, met al die agteruitgang daarvan.

Die stryd om vryheid word gekombineer met die stryd om gelykheid, en ons moet besef dat dit die stryd vir Amerika is - nie net swart Amerika nie, maar die hele Amerika. In die woorde van die groot rabbi wat 2000 jaar gelede geskryf het: "Hier, as ek nie vir myself is nie, wie sal vir my wees; as ek alleen is, wat is ek? As nie nou nie, wanneer?"

Hulle en 'n paar blanke meelopers, so jonk en toegewyd soos hulle, het 'n sosiale rewolusie in die Suide begin met hul sit-ins en hul Freedom Rides. (Studente nie-gewelddadige koördinerende komitee).

'N Paar mense, waaronder mev. Roosevelt, Norman Thomas en A. Muste, het wel vir ons amnestie ondersteun. Hierdie besondere persoonlikhede was deur die jare getroue verdedigers van burgerlike vryhede. Maar selfs hier het iets my gepla. As iemand geregverdig was om nie tot ons verdediging te kom nie, het ek net hierdie drie genoem. Het ons nie persoonlike en politieke mishandeling op hulle gepak nie (afwisselend met lofprysinge)? Ek het myself afgevra hoe ons sou reageer as die situasie omgekeer was, en my antwoord was nie 'n troosvolle antwoord nie. Ek het gevoel dat hierdie individue 'n morele superioriteit bo ons moet hê, dat daar iets beslis verkeerd moet wees met die gesindheid van kommunisme teenoor demokrasie.


A.J. Muste: Die bekendste pasifis van die twintigste eeu en#8217

In 1939, toe oorlogswolke oor Europa met die uur donkerder word, het die tydskrif Time Abraham Abraham Muste, die nommer een Amerikaanse pasifis, genoem. Vanaf die Eerste Wêreldoorlog tot sy dood in 1967 op die hoogtepunt van die Viëtnam -oorlog, het Muste opgemerk in die stryd teen oorlog en sosiale onreg in die Verenigde State. Sy leiersrolle in die Fellowship of Reconciliation, War Resisters League en Committee for Non-Violent Action, en sy talle geskrifte wat die bladsye van die pasifistiese pers vul, getuig van die Quaker Peace Testimony. Hierdie siening versterk baie eerbetoon aan sy merkwaardige loopbaan ten tyde van sy dood. David McReynolds van die War Resisters League het opgemerk dat Muste se innerlike lig so sentraal vir hom was dat sy lewe nie verstaan ​​kan word sonder om te besef dat hy selfs op sy mees politieke oomblikke besig was om sy godsdienstige oortuigings uit te voer. ” Longtime arbeidsradikaal en skrywer Sidney Lens het opgemerk dat John Nevin Sayre, een van sy naaste bondgenote in die vredesbeweging, opgemerk het dat John Nevin Sayre, een van sy naaste bondgenote in die vredesbeweging, en die term ‘revolusie ’ met liefde dat godsdiens 'n motiverende krag van Muste was. . . tot aan die einde van sy lewe. ”

A.J. Muste se geestelike reis het begin met sy geboorte op 8 Januarie 1885 in die Nederlandse skeepshawe Zierikzee. In 1891 verlaat sy gesin Holland en vestig hulle by familie en vriende in die Nederduitse Gereformeerde gemeenskap van Grand Rapids, Michigan. Volgens die biograaf Jo Ann Robinson, was sy kinderjare diep beïnvloed deur die ‘religieuse en vrome huis wat sy ouers gehou het, waar hy geweek was in die Bybel en die taal van die Bybel, ’ en deur die onderrig van sy inheemse kerk dat jy in die oë van God leef en dat daar geen respek vir mense in Hom is nie, en pretensie is 'n lae en veragtelike ding. '” In 1905 studeer Muste aan Hope College en in 1909, nadat hy die seminarie in New Brunswick, New Jersey, bygewoon het, word hy as predikant in die NG Kerk georden. In dieselfde jaar word hy aangestel as die eerste predikant van die Fourth Avenue Washington Collegiate Church in New York. Hy trou ook met sy voormalige Hope -klasmaat, Anna Huizenga. Hulle sou drie kinders hê.

Vir 'n kort tydjie het Muste vasgehou aan die rigiede beginsels van sy Calvinistiese geloof. Maar as gevolg van die negatiewe gevolge van industrialisasie en verstedeliking in die grootste stad in die VSA, het hy sy rol as prediker heroorweeg. Sy bevryding van die teologiese beperkings van die Calvinisme het dus gekom met die aanvang van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. Volgens Robinson het sy toenemende besorgdheid oor hoe Christelike voorskrifte op politieke korrupsie en klassekonflik in Amerika toegepas word, vererger in die nuwe stryd oor hoe om kom tot stand met massiewe lyding en sterfgevalle wat veroorsaak is deur die Groot Oorlog. ” As hy na binne kyk, voel hy nou, soos hy in sy “ Sketse vir 'n outobiografie geskryf het, ” waarvoor ek te staan ​​moes kom - nie akademies nie, maar eksistensieel as't ware - die vraag of ek kon versoen wat ek uit die Evangelie en gedeeltes soos ek in die Korintiërs verkondig het: 13, uit die Sendbriewe, met deelname aan oorlog. soek na antwoorde in die leer van kwakerisme. Hy is geïnspireer deur die eerste kwakers tydens die revolusionêre onrus in die 17de en 18de eeuse Engeland. Hy het homself afgevra: Hoe evalueer sedelike persone die aksies wat hulle wil volg, en hoe sal hulle weet of hulle reg is?

Geleidelik het Muste nader gekom aan die kwakerisme, en toe hy uit sy kansel in Newtonville, Massachusetts, gestem is weens sy prediking teen die oorlog, het hy in Maart 1918 'n vriend geword. aktivis Rufus Jones. In sy Studies in Mystical Religion (1909) het Jones opgemerk dat mistieke ervarings gelei het tot groot hervormings en kampioensbewegings van groot tyd vir die mensdom. ” Gedurende die Groot Oorlog was Jones die eerste voorsitter van die American Friends Service Committee en het gehelp om 'n Amerikaanse tak van Fellowship of Reconciliation op te rig. Die vermoë van Jones om sy oortuigings op dade toe te pas, het die onlangs afgesette prediker laat nadink oor wat hy kan doen om die saak van die mensdom te help. Gevolglik verhuis Muste en sy vrou by Quakers in Providence, Rhode Island, waar hy as predikant by die Religious Society of Friends ingeskryf is. Daar het Muste begin om met pligsgetroue beswaardes raad te gee by die nabygeleë Ft. Devens, Massachusetts. Hy verdedig ook teenstanders van oorlog wat daarvan beskuldig word dat hulle nie oproerwette nagekom het nie, en volgens sy sketse het hy begin praat oor die oprigting van stedelike en plattelandse koöperasies waaruit hulle die stryd teen oorlog en vir ekonomiese geregtigheid en rasse -gelykheid. ” Gedurende 1918 reis hy oor New England en spreek die kwessies oor oorlog en sosiale onreg aan tydens die jaarlikse sitting van die New England Yearly Meeting in Vassalboro, Maine, en tydens die Providence (RI) Meeting.

Kort na die oorlog het vriende van regoor die wêreld in Londen vergader om die toepassing van die vredesgetuienis te ondersoek en te ondersoek. Daar was konsensus dat dit onvoldoende was om individuele euwel as die enigste oorsaak van oorlog uit te sonder. Rassisme, armoede, onderdrukking, imperialisme en nasionalisme moes nou in die gesig gestaar word. Dit pas perfek by die temperament van die onlangs bekeerde vriend. Muste se betrokkenheid by die Quaker -lewe en -instellings is grootliks by vredes- en oorlogsorganisasies gevind, eerder as streng by plaaslike en jaarlikse vergaderings.

In 1919 begin hy sy nuwe verbintenis tot die Vredesgetuienis as stakingsleier tydens die bitter omstrede tekstieluitstappie in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Hy het skertsend opgemerk dat dit 'n slegte genoeg was om 'n pasifis en 'n kwaker te word, maar om in 'n blou hemp rond te gaan en op optoglyne te paradeer - dit is te veel! ” Twee jaar later neem hy die direkteurskap van Brookwood Labor College aan in Katonah, New York. Daar het hy gehelp om 'n aantal arbeidsaktiviste op te lei wat die veldtogte van die industriële vakbond van die laat 1930's sou bevorder. As gevolg van sy groeiende strydlustigheid het 'n faksieverskil onder die fakulteit tot sy vertrek in 1933 gelei.

Sy betrokkenheid by die arbeidersbeweging het egter nie geëindig nie. Die verdieping van die Groot Depressie het Muste laat herbesin oor sy verbintenis tot geweldloosheid. Sy draai na links sou lei tot 'n kort verbintenis met die Trotskyite American Workers Party. Van 1933 tot 1935 het hy die meer radikale beginsels van marxisme passief aangeneem, net om weer opgewek te word deur die krag van pasifisme. In 1936, nadat hy teruggekeer het van 'n somerreis na Europa, beklemtoon deur 'n besoek aan die Katolieke Kerk van St. Sulpice in Parys, verhandel Muste sy marxistiese ideologie vir geweldloosheid. Hy was oorweldig deur die gevoel dat hy nie by sekulêre revolusionêre hoort nie.

Nou veilig in sy pasifistiese getuie, het hy aan die begin van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog uitvoerende sekretaris geword van die Fellowship of Reconciliation. Die genootskap was teen hierdie tyd alombekend as 'n belangrike godsdienstige vredesorganisasie. Die vooraanstaande protestantse teoloog, Reinhold Niebuhr, het eens 'n soort Quaker -konventikel binne die tradisionele kerk genoem. ” Gedurende die oorlogsjare ondersteun Muste voortdurend die regte van gewetensbeswaardes en vra Amerikaanse hulp aan slagoffers wat vervolg in Europa. Hy protesteer sterk teen die internering van Japannese Amerikaners. As FOR -uitvoerende sekretaris werk hy nou saam met diegene wat die burgerlike staatsdienskampe vir gewetensbeswaardes administreer.

Met trots op die etiket “ die nommer een Amerikaanse pasifis, begin Muste met die bevordering van meer gewaagde optrede in die naam van vrede en geregtigheid aan die einde van die oorlog. Die koms van atoomoorlogsvoering en die vrees vir die Koue Oorlog het Muste aangespoor om die taktiek van geweldlose burgerlike ongehoorsaamheid te gebruik. Direkte optrede het sy mantra geword. In die 1950's en vroeë 1960's was hy betrokke by 'n aantal aktiwiteite by War Resisters League en Committee for Non-Violent Action. Gedurende hierdie jare het hy gereeld tronkstraf en vervolging opgelê omdat hy geweier het om inkomstebelasting te betaal (hy het voortdurend die voorskrifte van die Quaker John Woolman uit die 18de eeu gevolg, wat daarop aangedring het dat die gees van waarheid van my as individu geduldig moes ly as gevolg van die nood van goedere, eerder as om aktief te betaal ”), wat protesoptogte vir vrede en burgerregte lei, en betreding van federale eiendom. Hy het 'n deurslaggewende rol gespeel in die stigting van die Society for Social Responsibility in Science en die Church Peace Mission. Ten opsigte van die sigbaarheid van die vredes- en antinucleaire beweging, het hy deelgeneem aan drie belangrike transnasionale stappe om vrede geborg deur CVNA: San Francisco na Moskou (1960-61) Quebec na Guantanamo (1961) en Nieu-Delhi na Peking (1963-1964) .

Dit is duidelik dat die innerlike geestelike aansporings van Muste sy lewensbesluite beheer het. Jo Ann Robinson wys daarop dat Muste se eie mistiek ontroer is deur buitengewone ervarings van die soort plotselinge indringende bewussyn van buite. Dit het hom dus na plekke geneem waar hy, met 'n simboliese doodsrisiko, die gees sou beklemtoon van die individuele weiering om saam te gaan. ' saam met 26 ander, is gearresteer terwyl hy op 'n bank in die City Hall Park in New York City gesit het en 'n bordjie met die opskrif vasgehou het, “Eind War — The Only Defense Against Atomic Weapons. ” Op 74 -jarige ouderdom het hy agt dae in tronk in 1959 toe hy op 'n heining van vier en 'n half voet in 'n raketbouperseel buite Omaha, Nebraska, klim. Soos Muste self in sy gewilde boek uit 1940, Nonviolence in an Aggressive World, opgemerk het, is daar 'n onlosmaaklike verhouding tussen middele en eindes die manier waarop 'n mens sy doelwitte benader, bepaal die finale vorm wat die doelwitte aanneem. ” Vir Muste, die verhouding tussen middele en doelwitte was eenvoudig sy stelling wat nou wyd aangehaal word: “There is no way to peace. Vrede is die weg. ”

Terwyl Muste dit net sou geniet om by sy huis byeen te kom, het sy reputasie, ten spyte van 'n rustige en gereserveerde aard, vereis dat hy aan die voorpunt was van protesoptredes. Die oortuiging dat vrede meer is as die afwesigheid van oorlog, het die aktiviste van die 1960's, onder leiding van Muste, hul fokus uitgebrei om die kwessie van rasse -onverdraagsaamheid in die Verenigde State te hanteer. In een van sy gewilde opstelle oor die rol van die opkomende burgerregtebeweging, het hy opgemerk dat 'n rustige oorsig van die situasie beslis nie sal lei tot 'n uitspraak dat geregtigheid en gelykheid vir die negermense wesenlik bereik is nie. Inteendeel, daar is nog 'n lang pad om te sien. Muste sien 'n direkte verband tussen imperialisme in die buiteland en rasse -onreg by die huis, en gee leiding aan Martin Luther King Jr., nadat laasgenoemde ontstaan ​​het as die hoofwoordvoerder van die gewelddadige vleuel van die burgerregtebeweging. Muste het hom aangemoedig om die werke van Woolman, Jones, Gandhi en Thoreau te lees, en toe King's groeiende weerstand teen die Viëtnam -oorlog 'n belangrike rol speel, staan ​​Muste op alle terreine by hom.

Sosiale en burgerlike onrus tuis, gekenmerk deur protesoptredes van burgerregte en toenemende verset teen die Viëtnam -oorlog, het nog meer tyd en energie van Muste geëis. 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.

In 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

deur 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.

Datums

Creator

Taal van materiaal

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 )

Biografies

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

Oorsig

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.

Arrangement

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.


Kyk die video: A. J. Muste Biography Quick Facts (Desember 2021).