Podcasts de historia

Abraham Muste

Abraham Muste

Abraham Muste nació en Zierkzee, Holanda, el 8 de enero de 1885. Su familia se mudó a los Estados Unidos en 1891. Su padre era partidario del Partido Republicano y de joven compartía sus opiniones conservadoras. En 1909 fue ordenado ministro en la Iglesia Reformada Holandesa.

Muste se volvió cada vez más radical y en la campaña presidencial de 1912 apoyó a Eugene Debs, el candidato del Partido Socialista. Al estallar la Primera Guerra Mundial, Muste dejó la Iglesia Reformada Holandesa y se convirtió en pacifista. En 1919 jugó un papel activo en el apoyo a los trabajadores durante la huelga textil de Lawrence y más tarde se mudó a Boston, donde encontró trabajo en la Unión Estadounidense de Libertades Civiles. A principios de la década de 1920, Muste trabajó como director del Brookwood Labor College en Katonah, condado de Westchester. También se unió a la Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR).

Muste estaba preocupado por los acontecimientos que estaban ocurriendo en la Unión Soviética. Ya no sentía que podía apoyar las políticas de Joseph Stalin. Muste ahora decidió unirse a otras personas de ideas afines para formar el Partido de los Trabajadores Estadounidenses (AWP). Establecido en diciembre de 1933, Muste se convirtió en el líder del partido y otros miembros incluyeron a Sidney Hook, Louis Budenz, James Rorty, V.F. Calverton, George Schuyler, James Burnham, J. B. S. Hardman y Gerry Allard.

Hook luego argumentó en su autobiografía, Fuera de paso: una vida inquieta en el siglo XX (1987): "El Partido de los Trabajadores Estadounidenses (AWP) se organizó como un auténtico partido estadounidense arraigado en la tradición revolucionaria estadounidense, preparado para enfrentar los problemas creados por el colapso de la economía capitalista, con un plan para una mancomunidad cooperativa expresada en un idioma nativo inteligible para los trabajadores de cuello azul y de cuello blanco, mineros, aparceros y agricultores sin los matices nacionalistas y chovinistas que habían acompañado a los movimientos locales de protesta en el pasado. Era un movimiento de intelectuales, la mayoría de los cuales había adquirido una experiencia en el movimiento sindical y lealtad a la causa del trabajo mucho antes del advenimiento de la Depresión ".

Poco después de la formación del AWP, los líderes de la Liga Comunista de América (CLA), un grupo que apoyaba las teorías de León Trotsky, sugirieron una fusión. Sidney Hook, James Burnham y J. Hardman estaban en el comité de negociación del AWP, Max Shachtman, Martin Abern y Arne Swabeck, del CLA. Hook recordó más tarde: "En nuestra primera reunión, nos quedó claro que los trotskistas no podían concebir una situación en la que los consejos democráticos obreros pudieran anular al Partido o, de hecho, una en la que hubiera partidos plurales de la clase trabajadora. La reunión disuelto en un intenso desacuerdo ". Sin embargo, a pesar de este mal comienzo, los dos grupos se fusionaron en diciembre de 1934.

En 1940 Muste fue nombrado secretario ejecutivo de la Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). En esta posición, Muste dirigió la campaña contra la participación de Estados Unidos en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. En 1942 Muste animó a James Farmer y Bayard Rustin a establecer el Congreso sobre Igualdad Racial (CORE). Los primeros miembros incluyeron a George Houser y Anna Murray. Los miembros eran principalmente pacifistas que habían sido profundamente influenciados por Henry David Thoreau y las enseñanzas de Mahatma Gandhi y la campaña de desobediencia civil no violenta que utilizó con éxito contra el dominio británico en la India. Los estudiantes se convencieron de que los negros podían emplear los mismos métodos para obtener derechos civiles en Estados Unidos.

Después de la guerra, Muste se unió a David Dillinger y Dorothy Day para establecer la revista Direct Action en 1945. Dellinger una vez más molestó al establecimiento político cuando criticó el uso de bombas atómicas en Hiroshima y Nagasaki.

A principios de 1947, CORE anunció planes para enviar a ocho hombres blancos y ocho negros al sur profundo para probar el fallo de la Corte Suprema que declaraba inconstitucional la segregación en los viajes interestatales. organizado por George Houser y Bayard Rustin, el Viaje de Reconciliación iba a ser un peregrinaje de dos semanas a través de Virginia, Carolina del Norte, Tennessee y Kentucky.

El viaje de reconciliación comenzó el 9 de abril de 1947. El equipo incluía a 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 y Homer Jack.

Los miembros del equipo del Viaje de Reconciliación fueron arrestados varias veces. En Carolina del Norte, dos de los afroamericanos, Bayard Rustin y Andrew Johnson, fueron declarados culpables de violar el estatuto estatal de autobuses Jim Crow y fueron condenados a treinta días encadenados. Sin embargo, el juez Henry Whitfield dejó en claro que encontraba aún más objetable el comportamiento de los hombres blancos. Le dijo a Igal Roodenko y Joseph Felmet: "Ya es hora de que ustedes, los judíos de Nueva York, sepan que no pueden bajar con ella trayendo a sus hijos para alterar las costumbres del sur. Sólo para enseñarles un lección, les di a tus chicos negros treinta días, y te doy noventa ".

El Viaje de Reconciliación logró una gran publicidad y fue el comienzo de una larga campaña de acción directa por parte del Congreso de Igualdad Racial. En febrero de 1948, el Consejo Contra la Intolerancia en Estados Unidos otorgó a George Houser y Bayard Rustin el Premio Thomas Jefferson para el Avance de la Democracia por sus intentos de poner fin a la segregación en los viajes interestatales.

El Congreso de Igualdad Racial también organizó paseos por la libertad en el sur profundo. En Birmingham, Alabama, uno de los autobuses fue bombardeado y los pasajeros fueron golpeados por una turba blanca. Norman Thomas describió a estos jóvenes como "santos seculares" I. F. Stone ha argumentado: Ellos y algunos simpatizantes blancos tan jóvenes y devotos como ellos han comenzado una revolución social en el sur con sus sentadas y sus paseos por la libertad. Nunca una minoría más pequeña ha hecho más por la liberación de todo un pueblo que estos pocos jóvenes de C.O.R.E. (Congreso por la Igualdad Racial) y S.N.C.C. (Comité Coordinador Estudiantil No Violento) ".

En 1961, el Congreso de Igualdad Racial tenía 53 capítulos en todo Estados Unidos. Dos años después, la organización ayudó a organizar la famosa Marcha sobre Washington. El 28 de agosto de 1963, más de 200.000 personas marcharon pacíficamente al Monumento a Lincoln para exigir justicia igualitaria para todos los ciudadanos bajo la ley. Al final de la marcha, Martin Luther King pronunció su famoso discurso "Tengo un sueño".

Muste también fue muy activo en la Liga de Resistentes a la Guerra y ayudó a influir en líderes de derechos civiles como Martin Luther King y Whitney Young para oponerse a la Guerra de Vietnam.

Abraham Muste murió el 11 de febrero de 1967.

Estoy seguro de que Marshall está mal formado en los principios y técnicas de la no violencia o ignora el proceso de cambio social.

Las leyes y patrones sociales injustos no cambian porque los tribunales supremos dictan decisiones justas. Uno simplemente necesita observar la práctica continua de Jim Crow en los viajes interestatales, seis meses después de la decisión de la Corte Suprema, para ver la necesidad de resistencia. El progreso social proviene de la lucha; toda libertad exige un precio.

A veces, la libertad exigirá que sus seguidores se adentren en situaciones en las que incluso se enfrentará a la muerte. La resistencia en los autobuses significaría, por ejemplo, humillación, maltrato por parte de la policía, arresto y algo de violencia física infligida a los participantes.

Pero si alguien en esta fecha de la historia cree que el "problema de los blancos", que es el de los privilegios, puede resolverse sin violencia, está equivocado y no logra alcanzar los fines a los que los hombres pueden verse obligados a aferrarse a lo que quieren. considere sus privilegios.

Es por eso que los negros y los blancos que participan en la acción directa deben comprometerse a la no violencia de palabra y de hecho. Porque sólo de esta manera se puede reducir al mínimo la violencia inevitable.

Si es negro, siéntese en un asiento delantero. Si es blanco, siéntese en un asiento trasero.

Si el conductor le pide que se mueva, dígale con calma y cortesía: "Como pasajero interestatal, tengo derecho a sentarme en cualquier lugar de este autobús. Esta es la ley establecida por la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos".

Si el conductor llama a la policía y repite su orden en su presencia, dígale exactamente lo que dijo cuando le pidió que se mudara.

Si la policía le pide que "venga" sin arrestarlo, dígales que no irá hasta que lo arresten.

Si la policía lo arresta, vaya con ellos pacíficamente. En la comisaría, llame a la sede más cercana de la NAACP oa uno de sus abogados. Ellos te ayudarán.

El centro de la historia es la carrera del reverendo Abraham J. Muste, quien a principios del otoño de 1933 me invitó a mí y a otras figuras radicales a organizar un nuevo partido político, en cuyo portavoz principal se convirtió.

En su gráfico pero tendencioso Historia de la Revolución rusaLeon Trotsky escribió que la Revolución entró en la historia bajo el vientre de un caballo cosaco. El acto irresoluto del jinete, el insólito fracaso en derribar al manifestante, tipificó el derrumbe de la moral entre los defensores del zar en los días de febrero de 1917. Tal vez se pueda decir de AJ Muste que ingresó al movimiento obrero bajo las pezuñas de un montado en el caballo de un policía mientras marchaba con algunos piquetes en huelga en Lawrence, Massachusetts. Sin dejar formalmente la Iglesia Reformada Holandesa y luego la Iglesia Presbiteriana, se convirtió en un organizador laboral y un educador destacado. Fundó y dirigió durante muchos años el Brookwood Labor College, cuyos estudiantes fueron reclutados del movimiento laboral para servirlo con dedicación e inteligencia. A finales de los años veinte, los intereses de Muste se habían vuelto más políticos y, a medida que se profundizaba la depresión, lo eran de forma intensa. Había experimentado pronto los efectos del comportamiento maquiavélico del Partido Comunista, cuyos funcionarios alternativamente lo adulaban y lo denunciaban. Muste estaba convencido de que solo un partido político completamente en el grano estadounidense haría algún progreso en los Estados Unidos. Había seguido muy de cerca mis escritos, era consciente de mi orientación pragmática y me propuso que me uniera al comité organizador del nuevo partido.

Nuestras relaciones personales fueron siempre cordiales, y lo fueron durante la larga e inesperada odisea que lo llevó de su original persuasión pacifista al liberalismo pragmático y al socialismo, al trotskismo revolucionario (tan extremo que fue repudiado por el mismo Trotsky), para luego volver a las armas. de Dios y un pacifismo absoluto en cuyo olor de santidad pasó sus últimos días. No hubo indicios de estos desarrollos cuando el Partido de los Trabajadores Estadounidenses se lanzó sin fanfarrias después de unos meses de intensa preparación.

El Partido de los Trabajadores Estadounidenses (AWP) se organizó como un auténtico partido estadounidense arraigado en la tradición revolucionaria estadounidense, preparado para enfrentar los problemas creados por el colapso de la economía capitalista, con un plan para una mancomunidad cooperativa expresada en un idioma nativo inteligible a azul trabajadores de cuello blanco, mineros, aparceros y agricultores sin los matices nacionalistas y chovinistas que habían acompañado a los movimientos locales de protesta en el pasado. Era un movimiento de intelectuales, la mayoría de los cuales había adquirido una experiencia en el movimiento obrero y una lealtad a la causa del trabajo mucho antes del advenimiento de la Depresión ...

En vísperas de la fusión entre las dos organizaciones (los trotskistas cambiaron completamente de opinión en reuniones posteriores y profesaron hipócritamente estar de acuerdo con nosotros), publiqué un artículo titulado "Democracia de los trabajadores", que abogaba por una "salida democrática con sentido común de la impasse del capitalismo "y sostuvo que los ideales consagrados en la tradición revolucionaria estadounidense," igualdad de oportunidades "," la igualdad de derechos de todos los ciudadanos a la vida, la libertad y la búsqueda de la felicidad "," la paz y la seguridad para las masas "podrían ser mejores realizarse bajo el socialismo. A pesar de este énfasis en la democracia, sufría de la vieja ilusión de que el conflicto fundamental era entre socialismo y capitalismo más que entre democracia y totalitarismo, pero su énfasis en la democracia y los requisitos sociales y económicos para su cumplimiento eran inconfundibles. El artículo provocó una fuerte respuesta de Will Herberg, el principal ideólogo, después de Bertram Wolfe, de la Oposición Comunista Lovestone.

Herberg expresó abiertamente la posición de que no se podía permitir que el resultado de la democracia obrera siguiera su curso si las consecuencias de ese curso, a los ojos del Partido Comunista o su dirección, no favorecían la salud de la revolución. Ahora se hizo evidente por qué, para todos los leninistas, el clamor espontáneo de los marineros de Kronstadt y sus partidarios, "Los soviets sin la dictadura del Partido Comunista", ¡era contrarrevolucionario!
Aunque Muste afirmó, después de la fusión con la CLA, haberse convertido a la doctrina revolucionaria marxista-leninista, nunca me convencí de que realmente la entendiera o estuviera motivado por ella. Era ante todo un moralista, no porque fuera un predicador o por su formación religiosa, sino porque veía las acciones humanas simplemente como correctas o incorrectas, independientemente del contexto. Para su crédito, hizo caso omiso de expresiones como "históricamente determinado" o "organizativamente necesario", pero ser indiferente a lo que era posible o probable era otra cosa. Rara vez pensaba en una posición, pero adoptaba una por motivos morales que rara vez se veían afectados por los hechos del caso. Había sido un pacifista apasionado. Cuando se convirtió en un marxista revolucionario, abandonó públicamente su pacifismo y, entre nosotros, su fe en el cristianismo. No pudo haber sido muy versado ni en uno ni en otro, a pesar de su formación religiosa, porque cuando finalmente vomitó el marxismo que se tragó apresuradamente, volvió a sus primeras creencias con la pasión de un recién convertido. Es muy raro que, a medida que los individuos se desarrollan y abandonan una posición por otra en una serie continua de progresiones, regresen a una visión anterior. Pero a veces ocurre. En el caso de Muste, su temprano abandono del pacifismo y el cristianismo no pudo haber sido muy reflexivo.

Es difícil explicar por qué Muste, cuyo dedo nunca dejó de moverse en denuncia moral a los estalinistas por anteponer los intereses imaginarios de su organización por encima de todo, consintió en la fusión del Partido de los Trabajadores Estadounidenses y la Liga Comunista Trotskista de América. No era tan completamente inocente como para creer que los trotskistas se habían despojado de su tradición leninista. Tampoco está del todo claro por qué se opuso tan obstinadamente, después de que las dos organizaciones se fusionaron en el Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores, la entrada propuesta de este último en el Partido Socialista, y luego se movió rápidamente hacia la izquierda. La razón que él mismo da no es convincente. Afirma que, como condición para fusionarse con la Liga Comunista de América, exigió a sus líderes la promesa de que no emularían la política del grupo trotskista francés al ingresar al Partido Socialista Francés. ¡No había tal promesa! Como figura principal que representa al Partido de los Trabajadores Estadounidenses en sus negociaciones, puedo afirmar que el tema nunca surgió. Tampoco surgió en los extensos y acalorados debates entre los miembros de AWP si aprobar la fusión. La oposición declarada de Muste en ese momento a la entrada de las organizaciones fusionadas en el Partido Socialista era que tal acción representaría una traición a los principios revolucionarios. Dado que esos principios estaban incorporados en los principios que Trotsky había elaborado para la Cuarta Internacional, Muste, por así decirlo, afirmaba ser más trotskista que los trotskistas. Reprendió a los trotskistas por ser malos marxistas y malos leninistas.

Mirando hacia atrás, el comportamiento de Muste fue extremadamente desconcertante. Reflejaba una ambición personal de la que probablemente era inconsciente. Muste nunca ocultó realmente su sentido de vocación de liderazgo, pero después de muchas largas conversaciones sentí que su verdadera vocación, por la que tenía sed en lo más profundo de su ser, era el martirio. Esto salió a la superficie unos años más tarde cuando, habiendo regresado a su primera fe pacifista, se opuso amargamente a la resistencia estadounidense a Hitler y los caudillos japoneses. Violó visiblemente las leyes de registro, vendió su casa y posesiones, pronunció discursos elocuentes en varias cenas públicas de despedida a cargo de amigos y admiradores, y esperó en vano a que los secuaces del estado lo llevaran a la cárcel. Fue frustrado por un burócrata sensato, por una vez, que decidió ignorarlo. El lenguaje en el que denunció "este truco sucio" fue positivamente anticristiano. A.J. Nunca se recuperó de esta indignidad, hasta los días de la guerra de Vietnam cuando se recuperó.

La Revolución Estadounidense se libró por una razón muy simple: establecer el principio de libertad en nuestra tierra. Esa revolución, esa fase de la misma, fue esencialmente un éxito. Se estableció el principio, pero el principio no incluía a todos los estadounidenses.

Para mucha gente no significó libertad. Por ejemplo, no se aplicó a las mujeres en los primeros días de Estados Unidos. Las mujeres no tenían los derechos garantizados a otros estadounidenses. Ni siquiera tenían derecho al sufragio y tuvieron que luchar para lograr ese derecho. Lucharon bajo la bandera de las sufragistas y significativamente, amigos míos, utilizaron técnicas bastante similares a las que durante los últimos años han dominado el movimiento por los derechos civiles.

Este principio establecido en el siglo XVIII en la primera etapa de la Revolución Americana no incluía a los trabajadores. Los trabajadores y trabajadoras de nuestro país obtuvieron la mitad de las libertades que se habían proclamado. No tenían voz sobre sus salarios u horas o sobre el establecimiento de sus condiciones de trabajo. Eso no fue libertad. Luego tuvieron que luchar por su libertad, por su propia inclusión en el pacto de libertad estadounidense. Lucharon duro con las mismas armas: la manifestación, la marcha, el piquete, el boicot. Establecieron el principio de su inclusión; ganaron el derecho a la negociación colectiva y el derecho al reconocimiento sindical.

Durante muchos años, como un gran gigante dormido, los negros aceptaron el status quo. Durante mucho tiempo pensamos tan poco en nosotros mismos que aceptamos la segregación y la discriminación, con toda su degradación.

La lucha por la libertad se combina con la lucha por la igualdad, y debemos darnos cuenta de que esta es la lucha por Estados Unidos, no solo por los Estados Unidos negros, sino por todos los Estados Unidos. En palabras del gran rabino que escribió hace 2.000 años: "Aquí, si no soy para mí, ¿quién será para mí; si soy solo para mí, qué soy? Si no es ahora, ¿cuándo?"

Ellos y algunos simpatizantes blancos tan jóvenes y devotos como ellos han comenzado una revolución social en el sur con sus sentadas y sus paseos por la libertad. (Comité Coordinador Estudiantil No Violento).

Algunas personas, incluida la Sra. Roosevelt, Norman Thomas y A. Muste, apoyaron la amnistía para nosotros. Estas personalidades en particular habían sido firmes defensores de las libertades civiles a lo largo de los años. Pero incluso aquí algo me molestó. Si alguna gente estaba justificada para no venir en nuestra defensa, fueron estos tres a quienes he nombrado. ¿No les habíamos amontonado abusos personales y políticos (alternando con períodos de alabanza)? Me pregunté cómo habríamos respondido si la situación se hubiera revertido, y mi respuesta no fue reconfortante. Llegué a sentir que estos individuos deben tener una superioridad moral sobre nosotros, que debe haber algo decididamente mal en la actitud del comunismo hacia la democracia.


A.J. Muste: el pacifista estadounidense más famoso del siglo XX y el número 8217

En 1939, cuando las nubes de guerra sobre Europa se volvieron más oscuras por horas, la revista Time llamó a Abraham Johannes Muste & # 8220 el pacifista número uno de los Estados Unidos & # 8221. La designación era ciertamente apropiada y llevaba la etiqueta con orgullo. Desde la Primera Guerra Mundial hasta su muerte en 1967 en plena guerra de Vietnam, Muste se destacó en la lucha contra la guerra y la injusticia social en Estados Unidos. Sus roles de liderazgo en la Confraternidad de Reconciliación, la Liga de Resistentes a la Guerra y el Comité de Acción No Violenta, y sus numerosos escritos que llenan las páginas de la prensa pacifista, dan testimonio amplio del Testimonio de Paz de los Cuáqueros. Refuerza esta visión muchos homenajes que detallan su notable carrera en el momento de su muerte. David McReynolds, de la Liga de Resistentes a la Guerra, observó que Muste & # 8217s Inner Light & # 8220 era tan central para él que su vida no puede entenderse sin darse cuenta de que, incluso en sus momentos más políticos, estaba actuando según sus convicciones religiosas. El radical laborista y escritor Sidney Lens comentó que & # 8220 para Muste el término & # 8216religion & # 8217 y el término & # 8216revolution & # 8217 eran totalmente sinónimos. & # 8221 Y uno de sus aliados más cercanos en el movimiento por la paz, John Nevin Sayre, señaló con afecto que la religión era Muste & # 8217s & # 8220 fuerza motivadora. . . hasta el final de su vida. & # 8221

A.J. El viaje espiritual de Muste comenzó con su nacimiento el 8 de enero de 1885 en el puerto de embarque holandés de Zierikzee. En 1891, su familia dejó Holanda y se estableció con parientes y amigos en la comunidad reformada holandesa de Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sus años de infancia estuvieron profundamente influenciados, según la biógrafa Jo Ann Robinson, & # 8220 por el hogar & # 8216religioso y piadoso & # 8217 que mantenían sus padres, donde estaba & # 8216 empapado en la Biblia y el lenguaje de la Biblia & # 8217 y por la enseñanza de su iglesia nativa de que & # 8216 usted vive a los ojos de Dios y no hay acepción de personas en Él, y la pretensión es una cosa baja y despreciable. & # 8221 En 1905 Muste se graduó de Hope College y en En 1909, después de asistir al seminario en New Brunswick, Nueva Jersey, fue ordenado ministro en la Iglesia Reformada Holandesa. Ese mismo año fue instalado como el primer ministro de la Iglesia Colegiada de la Cuarta Avenida Washington en la ciudad de Nueva York. También se casó con su ex compañera de clase de Hope, Anna Huizenga. Tendrían tres hijos.

Durante un breve período, Muste se aferró a los rígidos principios de su fe calvinista. Pero presenciar los efectos nocivos de la industrialización y la urbanización en la ciudad más grande de los Estados Unidos lo llevó a reconsiderar su papel de predicador. Su liberación de las restricciones teológicas del calvinismo llegó así con el inicio de la Primera Guerra Mundial.Según Robinson, su creciente preocupación sobre cómo aplicar los preceptos cristianos a la corrupción política y el conflicto de clases en Estados Unidos se agravó en la nueva lucha sobre cómo llegar a un acuerdo con el sufrimiento masivo y la muerte causados ​​por la Gran Guerra. & # 8221 Mirando hacia adentro, ahora sentía, como escribió en su & # 8220Sketches for an Autobiography, & # 8221, & # 8221 que & # 8220 tenía que enfrentarme, no académicamente sino existencialmente, por así decirlo, la cuestión de si podía conciliar lo que había estado predicando del Evangelio y pasajes como I Corintios: 13, de las Epístolas, con la participación en la guerra. & # 8221 Profundamente preocupado por los acontecimientos mundiales, Muste comenzó buscando respuestas en las enseñanzas del cuaquerismo. Se inspiró en los primeros cuáqueros durante la agitación revolucionaria de la Inglaterra de los siglos XVII y XVIII. Se preguntó: ¿Cómo evalúan las personas morales los cursos de acción que pretenden seguir y cómo sabrán si son correctos?

Gradualmente, Muste se acercó más al cuaquerismo, y cuando fue expulsado de su púlpito en Newtonville, Massachusetts, debido a su predicación contra la guerra, se hizo amigo en marzo de 1918. Lo que provocó esta conversión fue la influencia del erudito cuáquero y activista Rufus Jones. En sus Estudios sobre religión mística (1909), Jones señaló que las experiencias místicas han llevado a & # 8220 grandes reformas y campeones de movimientos de gran importancia para la humanidad & # 8221. Durante la Gran Guerra Jones fue el primer presidente del Comité de Servicio de los Amigos Americanos y ayudó a establecer una rama estadounidense de Fellowship of Reconciliation. La capacidad de Jones para aplicar sus creencias a la acción llevó al predicador recientemente depuesto a considerar qué podría hacer para ayudar a la causa de la humanidad. En consecuencia, Muste y su esposa se mudaron con cuáqueros en Providence, Rhode Island, donde fue inscrito como ministro en la Sociedad Religiosa de Amigos. Allí, Muste comenzó a asesorar a los objetores de conciencia en las cercanías de Ft. Devens, Massachusetts. También defendió a los opositores a la guerra acusados ​​de incumplir las leyes de sedición y, según sus & # 8220Sketches & # 8221, comenzó a hablar de & # 8220 establecer cooperativas urbanas y rurales desde las cuales poder continuar la lucha contra la guerra y por la justicia económica y la igualdad racial. & # 8221 A lo largo de 1918 viajó por Nueva Inglaterra, abordando los problemas de la guerra y la injusticia social en la sesión anual de la Reunión Anual de Nueva Inglaterra en Vassalboro, Maine, y en la Reunión de Providence (RI).

Poco después de la guerra, Amigos de todo el mundo se reunieron en Londres para reexaminar y explorar la aplicación del Testimonio de Paz. Se llegó a un consenso de que era insuficiente señalar el mal individual como la única causa de la guerra. El racismo, la pobreza, la opresión, el imperialismo y el nacionalismo ahora tenían que enfrentarse de frente. Esto encajaba perfectamente con el temperamento del amigo recién convertido. En gran medida, la participación de Muste en la vida y las instituciones cuáqueras se encontró en el trabajo por la paz y en las organizaciones pacifistas, más que estrictamente en reuniones locales y anuales.

En 1919 comenzó a llevar a cabo su nuevo compromiso con el Testimonio de Paz como líder de la huelga durante la disputada huelga textil en Lawrence, Massachusetts. Comentó en broma que & # 8220 Convertirse en pacifista y cuáquero en tiempos de guerra ya era bastante malo, pero andar con una camisa azul y desfilar en los piquetes, ¡esto es demasiado! & # 8221 Dos años después asumió la dirección de Brookwood Labor College. en Katonah, Nueva York. Allí ayudó a capacitar a varios activistas laborales que promoverían las campañas sindicales industriales de fines de la década de 1930. Una división de facciones entre la facultad, debido a su creciente militancia, llevó a su partida en 1933.

Sin embargo, su participación en el movimiento obrero no terminó. La profundización de la Gran Depresión hizo que Muste reconsiderara su compromiso con la no violencia. Su giro a la izquierda resultaría en una breve asociación con el Partido de los Trabajadores Estadounidenses trotskista. De 1933 a 1935 adoptó pasivamente los principios más radicales del marxismo, solo para ser despertado por el poder del pacifismo. En 1936, después de regresar de un viaje de verano a Europa, destacado por una visita a la Iglesia Católica de San Sulpicio en París, Muste cambió su ideología marxista por la no violencia. Lo había invadido un sentimiento de no pertenencia entre los revolucionarios seculares.

Ahora seguro de su testimonio pacifista, se convirtió en secretario ejecutivo de la Confraternidad de Reconciliación al comienzo de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. La Comunidad era ampliamente conocida como una importante organización religiosa por la paz en ese momento. El eminente teólogo protestante Reinhold Niebuhr una vez pidió una especie de convento cuáquero dentro de la iglesia tradicional. A lo largo de los años de la guerra, Muste apoyó constantemente los derechos de los objetores de conciencia y pidió ayuda estadounidense a las víctimas que estaban perseguido en Europa. Protestó enérgicamente por el internamiento de japoneses estadounidenses. Como secretario ejecutivo de FOR, trabajó en estrecha colaboración con quienes administraban los campamentos de servicio público civil para objetores de conciencia.

Llevando con orgullo la etiqueta & # 8220 el pacifista número uno de los Estados Unidos & # 8221, Muste comenzó a promover acciones más atrevidas en nombre de la paz y la justicia al final de la guerra. El advenimiento de la guerra atómica y los temores de la Guerra Fría llevaron a Muste a utilizar la táctica de la desobediencia civil no violenta. La acción directa se convirtió en su mantra. En la década de 1950 y principios de la de 1960, se involucró en una serie de actividades con la Liga de Resistentes a la Guerra y el Comité para la Acción No Violenta. A lo largo de estos años, a menudo se enfrentó a la cárcel y al enjuiciamiento por negarse a pagar impuestos sobre la renta (siguió constantemente los dictados del cuáquero del siglo XVIII John Woolman, quien insistió en que & # 8220 El espíritu de la verdad requería de mí como individuo para sufrir pacientemente la angustia de bienes, en lugar de pagar activamente & # 8221), liderando marchas de protesta por la paz y los derechos civiles y allanando propiedad federal. Desempeñó un papel fundamental al ayudar a establecer la Sociedad para la Responsabilidad Social en la Ciencia y la Misión de Paz de la Iglesia. En términos de dar visibilidad al movimiento pacifista y antinuclear, participó en tres importantes marchas transnacionales por la paz patrocinadas por CVNA: San Francisco a Moscú (1960-61) Quebec a Guantánamo (1961) y Nueva Delhi a Pekín (1963-1964). .

Claramente, los impulsos espirituales internos de Muste gobernaron sus decisiones de vida. Jo Ann Robinson señala que el propio misticismo de Muste fue movido por experiencias fuera de lo común del tipo de & # 8220 súbita invasión de la conciencia desde el más allá & # 8221. Esta experiencia mística le permitió & # 8220 soportar mejor el mundo. & # 8221 Así lo llevó a lugares donde, simbólicamente arriesgándose a la muerte, resaltaría el espíritu de & # 8220 negativa individual a & # 8216 seguir adelante & # 8216. & # 8221 Por ejemplo, durante un simulacro de defensa civil nacional de 1955, él, junto con con otras 26 personas, fue arrestado mientras estaba sentado en un banco del parque en City Hall Park en la ciudad de Nueva York, con un cartel que decía: & # 8220 Fin de la guerra, la única defensa contra las armas atómicas & # 8221. A los 74 años pasó ocho días en cárcel en 1959 cuando trepó una cerca de cuatro pies y medio en un sitio de construcción de misiles en las afueras de Omaha, Nebraska. Como señaló el propio Muste en su popular libro de 1940, No violencia en un mundo agresivo, & # 8220 Hay una relación inextricable entre los medios y los fines, la forma en que uno se acerca a los objetivos # 8217 determina la forma final que adoptan esos objetivos & # 8221 Para Muste, la relación entre medios y fines era simplemente su declaración ahora ampliamente citada: & # 8220 No hay camino a la paz. La paz es el camino. & # 8221

Si bien Muste hubiera disfrutado simplemente reunirse con Friends en su casa, su reputación, a pesar de una naturaleza tranquila y reservada, requería que estuviera al frente de las protestas de acción directa. Creyendo que la paz es más que la ausencia de guerra, los activistas de la década de 1960, liderados por Muste, ampliaron su enfoque para abordar el tema de la intolerancia racial en los Estados Unidos. En uno de sus ensayos populares sobre el papel del movimiento emergente de derechos civiles, observó que & # 8220 un estudio sereno de la situación ciertamente no conducirá a un veredicto de que la justicia y la igualdad para el pueblo negro se hayan logrado sustancialmente. Por el contrario, todavía queda un largo camino por recorrer. & # 8221 Al ver una conexión directa entre el imperialismo en el exterior y la injusticia racial en casa, Muste brindó orientación a Martin Luther King Jr., después de que este último & # 8217 emergiera como el portavoz principal de el ala no violenta del movimiento de derechos civiles. 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.

En 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

por 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.

Fechas

Creator

Idioma de los materiales

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.

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Visión general

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.

Arreglo

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.


Ver el vídeo: Abraham u0026 Isaac (Octubre 2021).