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Abraham Muste

Abraham Muste


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Abraham Muste lahir di Zierkzee, Belanda, pada tanggal 8 Januari 1885. Keluarganya pindah ke Amerika Serikat pada tahun 1891. Ayahnya adalah pendukung Partai Republik dan sebagai seorang pemuda ia berbagi pandangan konservatif. Pada tahun 1909 ia ditahbiskan menjadi pendeta di Gereja Reformasi Belanda.

Muste menjadi semakin radikal dan dalam kampanye presiden 1912 mendukung Eugene Debs, kandidat Partai Sosialis. Pada pecahnya Perang Dunia Pertama Muste meninggalkan Gereja Reformasi Belanda dan menjadi pasifis. Pada tahun 1919 ia memainkan peran aktif dalam mendukung pekerja selama Pemogokan Tekstil Lawrence dan kemudian pindah ke Boston di mana ia menemukan pekerjaan dengan American Civil Liberties Union. Pada awal 1920-an Muste bekerja sebagai direktur Brookwood Labor College di Katonah, Westchester County. Ia juga bergabung dengan Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR).

Muste terganggu oleh peristiwa yang terjadi di Uni Soviet. Dia tidak lagi merasa bisa mendukung kebijakan Joseph Stalin. Muste sekarang memutuskan untuk bergabung dengan orang-orang yang berpikiran sama untuk membentuk Partai Pekerja Amerika (AWP). Didirikan pada bulan Desember 1933, Muste menjadi pemimpin partai dan anggota lainnya termasuk Sidney Hook, Louis Budenz, James Rorty, V.F. Calverton, George Schuyler, James Burnham, J.B.S. Hardman dan Gerry Allard.

Hook kemudian berpendapat dalam otobiografinya, Keluar dari Langkah: Kehidupan yang Tidak Tenang di Abad ke-20 (1987): "Partai Pekerja Amerika (AWP) diorganisir sebagai sebuah partai Amerika otentik yang berakar pada tradisi revolusioner Amerika, siap untuk menghadapi masalah-masalah yang diciptakan oleh kehancuran ekonomi kapitalis, dengan rencana untuk persemakmuran kooperatif yang diungkapkan dalam sebuah idiom asli yang dapat dipahami oleh pekerja kerah biru dan kerah putih, penambang, petani penggarap, dan petani tanpa nada nasionalis dan chauvinis yang telah menyertai gerakan protes lokal di masa lalu.Ini adalah gerakan intelektual, yang sebagian besar telah memperoleh pengalaman dalam gerakan buruh dan kesetiaan pada penyebab tenaga kerja jauh sebelum munculnya Depresi."

Segera setelah pembentukan AWP, para pemimpin Liga Komunis Amerika (CLA), sebuah kelompok yang mendukung teori Leon Trotsky, menyarankan merger. Sidney Hook, James Burnham dan J. Hardman berada di komite negosiasi untuk AWP, Max Shachtman, Martin Abern dan Arne Swabeck, untuk CLA. Hook kemudian mengingat: "Pada pertemuan pertama kami, menjadi jelas bagi kami bahwa kaum Trotskis tidak dapat membayangkan situasi di mana dewan demokrasi pekerja dapat mengesampingkan Partai atau bahkan situasi di mana akan ada partai kelas pekerja yang jamak. Pertemuan itu larut dalam perselisihan yang intens." Namun, meskipun awal yang buruk ini, kedua kelompok bergabung pada bulan Desember 1934.

Pada tahun 1940 Muste diangkat sebagai sekretaris eksekutif Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Dalam posisi ini Muste memimpin kampanye menentang keterlibatan Amerika Serikat dalam Perang Dunia Kedua. Pada tahun 1942 Muste mendorong James Farmer dan Bayard Rustin untuk mendirikan Kongres tentang Persamaan Rasial (CORE). Anggota awal termasuk George Houser dan Anna Murray. Anggotanya sebagian besar adalah pasifis yang telah sangat dipengaruhi oleh Henry David Thoreau dan ajaran Mahatma Gandhi dan kampanye pembangkangan sipil tanpa kekerasan yang ia gunakan dengan sukses melawan pemerintahan Inggris di India. Para siswa menjadi yakin bahwa metode yang sama dapat digunakan oleh orang kulit hitam untuk mendapatkan hak-hak sipil di Amerika.

Setelah perang, Muste bergabung dengan David Dillinger dan Dorothy Day untuk mendirikan majalah Direct Action pada tahun 1945. Dellinger sekali lagi membuat marah kalangan politik ketika ia mengkritik penggunaan bom atom di Hiroshima dan Nagasaki.

Pada awal 1947, CORE mengumumkan rencana untuk mengirim delapan orang kulit putih dan delapan orang kulit hitam ke Deep South untuk menguji keputusan Mahkamah Agung yang menyatakan pemisahan dalam perjalanan antarnegara bagian tidak konstitusional. diselenggarakan oleh George Houser dan Bayard Rustin, Perjalanan Rekonsiliasi akan menjadi ziarah dua minggu melalui Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee dan Kentucky.

Perjalanan Rekonsiliasi dimulai pada 9 April 1947. Tim tersebut antara lain 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 dan Homer Jack.

Anggota tim Perjalanan Rekonsiliasi ditangkap beberapa kali. Di North Carolina, dua orang Afrika-Amerika, Bayard Rustin dan Andrew Johnson, dinyatakan bersalah melanggar undang-undang bus negara bagian Jim Crow dan dijatuhi hukuman tiga puluh hari dalam geng berantai. Namun, Hakim Henry Whitfield menjelaskan bahwa dia menemukan bahwa perilaku orang kulit putih bahkan lebih tidak menyenangkan. Dia mengatakan kepada Igal Roodenko dan Joseph Felmet: "Sudah saatnya Anda orang Yahudi dari New York mengetahui bahwa Anda tidak bisa turun dengan membawa pantat Anda untuk mengganggu kebiasaan Selatan. Hanya untuk mengajari Anda pelajaran, saya memberi anak laki-laki kulit hitam Anda tiga puluh hari, dan saya memberi Anda sembilan puluh."

Perjalanan Rekonsiliasi mencapai banyak publisitas dan merupakan awal dari kampanye panjang aksi langsung oleh Kongres Kesetaraan Rasial. Pada bulan Februari 1948 Dewan Melawan Intoleransi di Amerika memberi George Houser dan Bayard Rustin Penghargaan Thomas Jefferson untuk Kemajuan Demokrasi atas upaya mereka untuk mengakhiri segregasi dalam perjalanan antarnegara bagian.

Kongres Kesetaraan Rasial juga menyelenggarakan Freedom Rides di Deep South. Di Birmingham, Alabama, salah satu bus dibom dengan api dan penumpang dipukuli oleh massa kulit putih. Norman Thomas menggambarkan orang-orang muda ini sebagai "orang-orang kudus sekuler" I. F. Stone berpendapat: Mereka dan beberapa simpatisan kulit putih yang muda dan setia seperti diri mereka sendiri telah memulai revolusi sosial di Selatan dengan aksi duduk dan Freedom Rides mereka. Tidak pernah ada minoritas kecil yang berbuat lebih banyak untuk pembebasan seluruh rakyat daripada beberapa anak muda C.O.R.E. (Kongres untuk Kesetaraan Rasial) dan S.N.C.C. (Komite Koordinasi Mahasiswa Non-Kekerasan)."

Pada tahun 1961 Kongres Persamaan Ras memiliki 53 bab di seluruh Amerika Serikat. Dua tahun kemudian, organisasi tersebut membantu mengorganisir Pawai yang terkenal di Washington. Pada tanggal 28 Agustus 1963, lebih dari 200.000 orang berbaris dengan damai ke Lincoln Memorial untuk menuntut keadilan yang sama bagi semua warga negara di bawah hukum. Di akhir pawai, Martin Luther King menyampaikan pidatonya yang terkenal "I Have a Dream".

Muste juga sangat aktif di Liga Penentang Perang dan membantu mempengaruhi para pemimpin hak-hak sipil seperti Martin Luther King dan Whitney Young, untuk menentang Perang Vietnam.

Abraham Muste meninggal pada 11 Februari 1967.

Saya yakin Marshall kurang paham tentang prinsip dan teknik non-kekerasan atau tidak mengetahui proses perubahan sosial.

Hukum dan pola sosial yang tidak adil tidak berubah karena mahkamah agung memberikan keputusan yang adil. Kita hanya perlu mengamati praktik Jim Crow yang terus berlanjut dalam perjalanan antarnegara bagian, enam bulan setelah keputusan Mahkamah Agung, untuk melihat perlunya perlawanan. Kemajuan sosial berasal dari perjuangan; semua kebebasan menuntut harga.

Kadang-kadang kebebasan akan menuntut pengikutnya masuk ke dalam situasi di mana bahkan kematian harus dihadapi. Perlawanan di bus akan, misalnya, berarti penghinaan, penganiayaan oleh polisi, penangkapan, dan beberapa kekerasan fisik yang dilakukan pada peserta.

Tetapi jika seseorang pada saat ini dalam sejarah percaya bahwa "masalah kulit putih", yang merupakan salah satu hak istimewa, dapat diselesaikan tanpa kekerasan, dia salah dan gagal untuk menyadari tujuan dari mana manusia dapat didorong untuk mempertahankan apa yang mereka miliki. mempertimbangkan hak istimewa mereka.

Inilah sebabnya mengapa orang Negro dan kulit putih yang berpartisipasi dalam aksi langsung harus berjanji pada diri mereka sendiri untuk tidak melakukan kekerasan dalam kata dan perbuatan. Karena dengan cara ini saja kekerasan yang tak terhindarkan dapat dikurangi seminimal mungkin.

Jika Anda seorang Negro, duduklah di kursi depan. Jika Anda berkulit putih, duduklah di kursi belakang.

Jika pengemudi meminta Anda untuk pindah, katakan padanya dengan tenang dan sopan: "Sebagai penumpang antarnegara bagian, saya berhak duduk di mana saja di bus ini. Ini adalah hukum yang ditetapkan oleh Mahkamah Agung Amerika Serikat".

Jika pengemudi memanggil polisi dan mengulangi perintahnya di hadapan mereka, beri tahu dia apa yang Anda katakan saat pertama kali meminta Anda untuk pindah.

Jika polisi meminta Anda untuk "ikut," tanpa membuat Anda ditahan, beri tahu mereka bahwa Anda tidak akan pergi sampai Anda ditahan.

Jika polisi menahan Anda, pergilah bersama mereka dengan damai. Di kantor polisi, telepon kantor pusat NAACP terdekat, atau salah satu pengacara Anda. Mereka akan membantu Anda.

Pusat cerita adalah karir Pendeta Abraham J. Muste, yang pada awal musim gugur 1933 mengundang saya dan tokoh radikal lainnya untuk mengorganisir sebuah partai politik baru, yang menjadi juru bicara utamanya.

Dalam grafisnya tapi tendensius Sejarah Revolusi Rusia, Leon Trotsky menulis bahwa Revolusi memasuki sejarah di bawah perut kuda Cossack. Tindakan penunggang kuda yang tidak tegas, kegagalan yang tidak disengaja untuk menebas demonstran, melambangkan kehancuran moral di antara para pembela Tsar pada hari-hari Februari 1917. Mungkin orang dapat mengatakan tentang AJ Muste bahwa ia memasuki gerakan buruh di bawah kaki seorang menaiki kuda polisi saat ia berbaris dengan beberapa piket mencolok di Lawrence, Massachusetts. Tanpa secara resmi meninggalkan Gereja Reformasi Belanda dan kemudian Gereja Presbiterian, ia menjadi organisator tenaga kerja dan pendidik terkemuka. Dia mendirikan dan memimpin selama bertahun-tahun Brookwood Labor College, yang mahasiswanya direkrut dari gerakan buruh untuk melayaninya dengan dedikasi dan kecerdasan. Pada akhir tahun dua puluhan, kepentingan Muste menjadi lebih politis dan, ketika depresi semakin dalam, menjadi semakin intens. Dia telah lebih awal mengalami efek dari perilaku Machiavellian dari Partai Komunis, yang pejabatnya secara bergantian menyanjung dan mencelanya. Muste yakin bahwa hanya partai politik yang benar-benar ada di Amerika yang akan membuat kemajuan di Amerika Serikat. Dia mengikuti tulisan saya dengan cermat, menyadari orientasi pragmatis saya, dan mengusulkan agar saya bergabung dengan panitia penyelenggara partai baru.

Hubungan pribadi kami selalu ramah, dan tetap demikian selama pengembaraan yang panjang dan tak terduga yang membawanya dari persuasi pasifis aslinya ke liberalisme dan sosialisme pragmatis, ke Trotskyisme revolusioner (begitu ekstrem sehingga ditolak oleh Trotsky sendiri), lalu kembali ke pelukan. tentang Tuhan dan pasifisme mutlak yang di dalamnya dia menghabiskan hari-hari terakhirnya dengan bau kesucian. Tidak ada firasat tentang perkembangan ini ketika Partai Pekerja Amerika diluncurkan tanpa gembar-gembor setelah beberapa bulan persiapan yang intens.

Partai Pekerja Amerika (AWP) diorganisir sebagai partai Amerika otentik yang berakar pada tradisi revolusioner Amerika, siap untuk menghadapi masalah yang diciptakan oleh kehancuran ekonomi kapitalis, dengan rencana persemakmuran kooperatif yang diungkapkan dalam idiom asli yang dapat dipahami dengan jelas. pekerja kerah dan kerah putih, penambang, petani penggarap, dan petani tanpa nada nasionalis dan chauvinis yang menyertai gerakan protes lokal di masa lalu. Itu adalah gerakan intelektual, yang sebagian besar telah memperoleh pengalaman dalam gerakan buruh dan kesetiaan pada penyebab tenaga kerja jauh sebelum munculnya Depresi....

Menjelang penggabungan antara kedua organisasi (para Trotskyis mengubah nada mereka sepenuhnya pada pertemuan-pertemuan berikutnya dan dengan munafik mengaku setuju dengan kami), saya menerbitkan sebuah artikel berjudul "Demokrasi Buruh," yang berpendapat untuk "jalan keluar demokrasi yang masuk akal dari kebuntuan kapitalisme" dan mempertahankan bahwa cita-cita yang diabadikan dalam tradisi revolusioner Amerika, "persamaan kesempatan," "hak yang sama dari semua warga negara untuk hidup, kebebasan dan mengejar kebahagiaan," "perdamaian dan keamanan untuk massa" bisa menjadi yang terbaik. diwujudkan di bawah sosialisme. Terlepas dari penekanan pada demokrasi ini, ia menderita dari ilusi lama bahwa konflik mendasar adalah antara sosialisme dan kapitalisme daripada antara demokrasi dan totalitarianisme, tetapi penekanannya pada demokrasi, dan persyaratan sosial dan ekonomi untuk pemenuhannya, tidak salah lagi. Artikel tersebut memancing tanggapan keras dari Will Herberg, kepala ideologis, setelah Bertram Wolfe, dari Oposisi Komunis Lovestone.

Herberg secara terbuka menyatakan posisi bahwa hasil dari demokrasi buruh tidak dapat dibiarkan mengambil jalannya jika konsekuensi dari jalan itu, di mata Partai Komunis atau kepemimpinannya, tidak memajukan kesehatan revolusi. Sekarang menjadi jelas mengapa, bagi semua Leninis, teriakan spontan para pelaut Kronstadt dan pendukung mereka, "Soviet tanpa kediktatoran Partai Komunis," adalah kontra-revolusioner!
Meskipun Muste mengklaim, setelah bergabung dengan PKB, telah beralih ke doktrin revolusioner Marxis-Leninis, saya tidak pernah diyakinkan bahwa dia benar-benar memahaminya atau termotivasi olehnya. Dia pertama dan terutama seorang moralis, bukan karena dia seorang pengkhotbah atau karena pelatihan agamanya, tetapi karena dia memandang tindakan manusia hanya sebagai benar atau salah, terlepas dari konteksnya. Untuk penghargaannya, dia mengabaikan ekspresi seperti "ditentukan secara historis" atau "diperlukan secara organisasi", tetapi bersikap acuh tak acuh terhadap apa yang mungkin atau mungkin adalah sesuatu yang lain lagi. Dia jarang memikirkan suatu posisi tetapi akan mengadopsinya atas dasar moral yang jarang dipengaruhi oleh fakta-fakta dalam kasus tersebut. Dia adalah seorang pasifis yang bersemangat. Ketika dia menjadi seorang Marxis revolusioner, dia secara terbuka meninggalkan pasifismenya dan, di antara kita, kepercayaannya pada agama Kristen. Dia tidak dapat memahami dengan baik salah satu atau yang lain, terlepas dari pelatihan agamanya, karena ketika dia akhirnya memuntahkan Marxisme yang buru-buru ditelannya, dia kembali ke keyakinan awalnya dengan semangat seseorang yang baru bertobat. Sangat jarang, ketika individu mengembangkan dan meninggalkan satu posisi ke posisi lain dalam serangkaian perkembangan yang berkelanjutan, mereka kembali ke pandangan sebelumnya. Tapi itu terkadang terjadi. Dalam kasus Muste, pengabaian awalnya terhadap pasifisme dan kekristenan tidak mungkin terlalu reflektif.

Sulit untuk menjelaskan mengapa Muste, yang jarinya tidak pernah berhenti bergoyang dalam kecaman moral kaum Stalinis karena menempatkan kepentingan organisasi mereka di atas segalanya, menyetujui penggabungan Partai Pekerja Amerika dan Liga Komunis Trotskyis Amerika. Dia tidak sepenuhnya polos untuk percaya bahwa kaum Trotskyis telah melepaskan tradisi Leninis mereka. Juga sama sekali tidak jelas mengapa dia menentang begitu keras kepala, setelah kedua organisasi itu bergabung ke dalam Partai Buruh Sosialis, usulan masuknya Partai Buruh Sosialis ke dalam Partai Sosialis, kemudian bergerak cepat ke kiri. Alasan yang dia berikan sendiri tidak meyakinkan. Dia mengklaim bahwa, sebagai syarat untuk bergabung dengan Liga Komunis Amerika, dia menuntut janji dari para pemimpinnya bahwa mereka tidak akan meniru kebijakan kelompok Trotskyis Prancis dalam memasuki Partai Sosialis Prancis. Tidak ada janji seperti itu! Sebagai tokoh utama yang mewakili Partai Buruh Amerika dalam negosiasinya, saya dapat menegaskan bahwa masalah itu tidak pernah muncul. Juga tidak muncul dalam perdebatan panjang dan panas di antara anggota AWP apakah akan menyetujui merger. Penentangan yang dinyatakan Muste pada saat masuknya organisasi-organisasi gabungan ke dalam Partai Sosialis adalah bahwa tindakan seperti itu akan mewakili pengkhianatan terhadap prinsip-prinsip revolusioner. Karena prinsip-prinsip itu diwujudkan dalam prinsip-prinsip yang telah disusun Trotsky untuk Internasional Keempat, Muste, bisa dikatakan, mengklaim dirinya lebih Trotskyis daripada Trotskyis. Dia mencaci-maki kaum Trotskyis karena menjadi Marxis yang buruk dan Leninis yang buruk.

Melihat ke belakang, perilaku Muste sangat membingungkan. Itu mencerminkan ambisi pribadi yang mungkin tidak disadarinya. Muste tidak pernah benar-benar menyembunyikan perasaannya bahwa dia memiliki panggilan untuk kepemimpinan, tetapi setelah banyak percakapan panjang, saya merasa bahwa panggilannya yang sebenarnya, yang dia haus dari dalam dirinya, adalah untuk mati syahid. Ini muncul ke permukaan beberapa tahun kemudian ketika, setelah kembali ke keyakinan pasifis awalnya, dia dengan sengit menentang perlawanan Amerika terhadap Hitler dan panglima perang Jepang. Dia secara mencolok melanggar undang-undang pendaftaran, menjual rumah dan harta miliknya, menyampaikan pidato yang fasih di beberapa makan malam perpisahan publik oleh teman dan pengagumnya, dan dengan sia-sia menunggu antek-antek negara untuk membawanya ke penjara. Dia digagalkan oleh seorang birokrat yang bijaksana, untuk sekali ini, yang memutuskan untuk mengabaikannya. Bahasa yang digunakannya untuk mencela "trik kotor ini" jelas-jelas tidak Kristen. A.J. tidak pernah pulih dari penghinaan ini, sampai hari-hari Perang Vietnam ketika dia datang ke miliknya sendiri.

Revolusi Amerika diperjuangkan untuk alasan yang sangat sederhana - untuk menegakkan prinsip kebebasan di tanah kita. Revolusi itu - fase itu - pada dasarnya berhasil. Prinsip itu ditetapkan tetapi prinsip itu tidak mencakup semua orang Amerika.

Bagi banyak orang itu tidak berarti kebebasan. Itu tidak, misalnya, berlaku untuk wanita di masa-masa awal Amerika. Wanita tidak memiliki hak yang dijamin oleh orang Amerika lainnya. Mereka bahkan tidak memiliki hak pilih, dan mereka harus berjuang untuk mencapai hak itu. Mereka berjuang di bawah panji hak pilih dan secara signifikan, teman-teman saya, mereka menggunakan teknik yang sangat mirip dengan yang selama beberapa tahun terakhir mendominasi gerakan hak-hak sipil.

Prinsip ini didirikan pada abad kedelapan belas pada tahap pertama Revolusi Amerika tidak termasuk pekerja. Laki-laki dan perempuan pekerja di negara kita mendapat setengah dari kebebasan yang telah diproklamirkan. Mereka tidak memiliki suara mengenai upah atau jam kerja mereka atau menetapkan kondisi kerja mereka. Itu bukan kebebasan. Mereka kemudian harus berjuang untuk kebebasan mereka, untuk penyertaan mereka sendiri dalam kesepakatan kebebasan Amerika. Mereka berjuang keras dengan senjata yang sama - demonstrasi, pawai, garis piket, boikot. Mereka menetapkan prinsip inklusi mereka; mereka memenangkan hak untuk berunding bersama dan hak atas pengakuan serikat pekerja.

Selama bertahun-tahun seperti raksasa yang tertidur, orang-orang Negro menerima status quo. Untuk waktu yang lama, kami berpikir begitu sedikit tentang diri kami sendiri sehingga kami menerima segregasi dan diskriminasi, dengan semua degradasinya.

Perjuangan untuk kebebasan digabungkan dengan perjuangan untuk kesetaraan, dan kita harus menyadari bahwa ini adalah perjuangan untuk Amerika - bukan hanya Amerika kulit hitam tetapi seluruh Amerika. Dalam kata-kata rabi besar yang menulis, 2.000 tahun yang lalu, "Di sini, jika saya bukan untuk diri saya sendiri, siapa yang akan menjadi untuk saya; jika saya hanya untuk diri saya sendiri, apakah saya? Jika tidak sekarang, kapan?"

Mereka dan beberapa simpatisan kulit putih yang semuda dan setia seperti diri mereka sendiri telah memulai revolusi sosial di Selatan dengan aksi duduk dan Freedom Rides mereka. (Komite Koordinasi Anti Kekerasan Mahasiswa).

Beberapa orang, termasuk Ny. Roosevelt, Norman Thomas dan A. Muste, mendukung amnesti untuk kami. Kepribadian khusus ini telah menjadi pembela setia kebebasan sipil selama bertahun-tahun. Tetapi bahkan di sini ada sesuatu yang mengganggu saya. Jika ada orang yang dibenarkan untuk tidak datang membela kami, hanya tiga orang ini yang saya sebutkan. Bukankah kita telah menimbun pelecehan pribadi dan politik kepada mereka (bergantian dengan periode pujian)? Saya bertanya pada diri sendiri bagaimana kami akan menanggapi seandainya situasinya terbalik, dan jawaban saya bukanlah jawaban yang menghibur. Saya merasa bahwa individu-individu ini harus memiliki superioritas moral atas kita, bahwa pasti ada yang salah dengan sikap komunisme terhadap demokrasi.


A.J. Muste: Pacifis AS Paling Terkenal Abad ke-20

Pada tahun 1939, ketika awan perang di atas Eropa menjadi lebih gelap dari waktu ke waktu, majalah Time menyebut Abraham Johannes Muste “Pecinta Damai AS Nomor Satu.” Penunjukan itu tentu saja tepat dan dia memakai label itu dengan bangga. Dari Perang Dunia I hingga kematiannya pada tahun 1967 pada puncak Perang Vietnam, Muste menonjol dalam perjuangan melawan perang dan ketidakadilan sosial di Amerika Serikat. Peran kepemimpinannya dalam Fellowship of Reconciliation, War Resisters League, dan Committee for Non-Violent Action, dan banyak tulisannya yang mengisi halaman pers pasifis, menjadi saksi yang cukup untuk Kesaksian Perdamaian Quaker. Memperkuat pandangan ini adalah banyak penghargaan yang merinci karirnya yang luar biasa pada saat kematiannya. David McReynolds dari War Resisters League mengamati bahwa Cahaya Batin Muste's 'begitu penting baginya sehingga hidupnya tidak dapat dipahami tanpa menyadari bahwa dia, bahkan pada saat-saat paling politisnya, memerankan keyakinan agamanya.” Lama radikal buruh dan penulis Sidney Lens berkomentar bahwa “bagi Muste istilah ‘agama’ dan istilah ‘revolusi’ benar-benar sinonim.” Dan salah satu sekutu terdekatnya dalam gerakan perdamaian, John Nevin Sayre, mencatat dengan kasih sayang bahwa agama adalah 'kekuatan motivasi Muste'. . . sampai akhir hayatnya.”

A.J. Perjalanan spiritual Muste dimulai dengan kelahirannya pada tanggal 8 Januari 1885, di pelabuhan pelayaran Belanda, Zierikzee. Pada tahun 1891 keluarganya meninggalkan Belanda dan menetap bersama kerabat dan teman di komunitas Reformasi Belanda di Grand Rapids, Michigan. Masa kecilnya sangat dipengaruhi, menurut penulis biografi Jo Ann Robinson, “oleh rumah ‘religius dan saleh’ yang dijaga orangtuanya, di mana dia ‘direndam dalam Alkitab dan bahasa Alkitab,’ dan dengan ajaran gereja asalnya bahwa ‘kamu hidup dalam pandangan Allah dan tidak ada orang lain di dalam Dia, dan kepura-puraan adalah hal yang rendah dan tercela.'” Pada tahun 1905 Muste lulus dari Hope College dan di 1909, setelah menghadiri seminari di New Brunswick, New Jersey, dia ditahbiskan menjadi pendeta di Gereja Reformasi Belanda. Pada tahun yang sama dia dilantik sebagai pendeta pertama dari Fourth Avenue Washington Collegiate Church di New York City. Dia juga menikahi mantan teman sekelas Hope, Anna Huizenga. Mereka akan memiliki tiga anak.

Untuk waktu yang singkat, Muste berpegang teguh pada prinsip-prinsip kaku dari iman Calvinistiknya. Namun menyaksikan dampak buruk industrialisasi dan urbanisasi di kota terbesar AS itu membuatnya mempertimbangkan kembali perannya sebagai pengkhotbah. Pembebasannya dari pengekangan teologis Calvinisme datang dengan dimulainya Perang Dunia I. Menurut Robinson, kekhawatirannya yang berkembang tentang 'bagaimana menerapkan ajaran Kristen pada korupsi politik dan konflik kelas di Amerika menjadi diperparah dalam perjuangan baru tentang bagaimana berdamai dengan penderitaan besar dan kematian yang disebabkan oleh Perang Besar.” Melihat ke dalam, dia sekarang merasa, seperti yang dia tulis dalam “Sketches for a Autobiography,” bahwa “yang harus saya hadapi—bukan secara akademis tetapi secara eksistensial—pertanyaan apakah saya dapat mendamaikan apa yang telah saya khotbahkan dari Injil dan bagian-bagian seperti I Korintus: 13, dari Surat-surat, dengan partisipasi dalam perang.” Sangat terganggu oleh peristiwa-peristiwa dunia, Muste mulai mencari jawaban dalam ajaran Quakerisme. Dia terinspirasi oleh Quaker pertama selama gejolak revolusioner Inggris abad ke-17 dan ke-18. Dia bertanya pada dirinya sendiri: Bagaimana orang-orang bermoral mengevaluasi tindakan yang ingin mereka lakukan, dan bagaimana mereka tahu apakah mereka benar?

Perlahan-lahan, Muste semakin dekat dengan Quakerisme, dan ketika dia dikeluarkan dari mimbarnya di Newtonville, Massachusetts, karena khotbahnya menentang perang, dia menjadi Teman pada bulan Maret 1918. Apa yang mendorong konversi ini adalah pengaruh sarjana Quaker dan aktivis Rufus Jones. Dalam Studies in Mystical Religion (1909), Jones mencatat bahwa pengalaman mistik telah menghasilkan “reformasi besar dan gerakan juara momen besar bagi kemanusiaan.” Selama Perang Besar, Jones menjabat sebagai ketua pertama Komite Layanan Teman Amerika dan membantu mendirikan cabang Persekutuan Rekonsiliasi AS. Kemampuan Jones untuk menerapkan keyakinannya ke dalam tindakan mendorong pengkhotbah yang baru saja digulingkan untuk mempertimbangkan apa yang mungkin dia lakukan untuk membantu tujuan kemanusiaan. Akibatnya, Muste dan istrinya pindah dengan Quaker di Providence, Rhode Island, di mana dia terdaftar sebagai pendeta di Religius Society of Friends. Di sana Muste mulai menasihati para penentang hati nurani di Ft. Devens, Massachusetts. Dia juga membela lawan perang yang dituduh gagal mematuhi undang-undang hasutan, dan, menurut “Sketches,”-nya, mulai berbicara tentang “mendirikan koperasi perkotaan dan pedesaan dari mana mereka dapat melanjutkan perjuangan melawan perang dan untuk keadilan ekonomi dan kesetaraan ras.” Sepanjang tahun 1918 ia berkeliling New England, membahas masalah perang dan ketidakadilan sosial pada sesi tahunan Pertemuan Tahunan New England di Vassalboro, Maine, dan pada Pertemuan Providence (RI).

Tak lama setelah perang, Teman-teman dari seluruh dunia bertemu di London untuk memeriksa kembali dan mengeksplorasi penerapan Kesaksian Perdamaian. Sebuah konsensus dicapai bahwa tidak cukup untuk memilih kejahatan individu sebagai satu-satunya penyebab perang. Rasisme, kemiskinan, penindasan, imperialisme, dan nasionalisme kini harus dihadapi secara langsung. Ini sangat cocok dengan temperamen Teman yang baru saja bertobat. Dalam skala besar, keterlibatan Muste dalam kehidupan dan institusi Quaker ditemukan dalam pekerjaan perdamaian dan organisasi antiperang daripada secara ketat dalam pertemuan lokal dan tahunan.

Pada tahun 1919 ia mulai melaksanakan komitmen barunya pada Kesaksian Perdamaian sebagai pemimpin pemogokan selama pemogokan tekstil yang diperebutkan dengan sengit di Lawrence, Massachusetts. Dia bercanda mengatakan bahwa “Menjadi seorang pasifis dan Quaker di masa perang sudah cukup buruk, tetapi untuk pergi berkeliling dengan kemeja biru dan parade di garis piket—ini terlalu berlebihan!” Dua tahun kemudian dia mengambil alih jabatan direktur Brookwood Labor College di Katonah, New York. Di sana ia membantu melatih sejumlah aktivis buruh yang akan mempromosikan kampanye serikat industri di akhir tahun 1930-an. Perpecahan faksi di antara fakultas, karena militansinya yang berkembang, menyebabkan kepergiannya pada tahun 1933.

Namun, keterlibatannya dengan gerakan buruh tidak berakhir. Pendalaman Depresi Hebat menyebabkan Muste memikirkan kembali komitmennya terhadap non-kekerasan. Gilirannya ke kiri akan menghasilkan hubungan singkat dengan Partai Pekerja Amerika Trotsky. Dari tahun 1933 hingga 1935, ia secara pasif mengadopsi prinsip-prinsip Marxisme yang lebih radikal, hanya untuk dibangkitkan kembali oleh kekuatan pasifisme. Pada tahun 1936, setelah kembali dari perjalanan musim panas ke Eropa, ditandai dengan kunjungan ke Gereja Katolik St. Sulpice di Paris, Muste menukar ideologi Marxisnya dengan antikekerasan. Dia telah diliputi oleh perasaan tidak memiliki di antara kaum revolusioner sekuler.

Sekarang aman dalam kesaksian pasifisnya, ia menjadi sekretaris eksekutif Fellowship of Reconciliation pada awal Perang Dunia II. Persekutuan secara luas dikenal sebagai organisasi perdamaian agama yang penting saat ini. Teolog Protestan terkemuka, Reinhold Niebuhr, pernah menyebut UNTUK “semacam ruang biara Quaker di dalam gereja tradisional.” Selama tahun-tahun perang, Muste terus-menerus mendukung hak-hak para penentang hati nurani dan menyerukan bantuan AS kepada para korban yang dianiaya di Eropa. Dia dengan keras memprotes interniran orang Jepang-Amerika. Sebagai sekretaris eksekutif FOR, ia bekerja erat dengan mereka yang mengelola Kamp Layanan Umum Sipil untuk para penentang hati nurani.

Dengan bangga mengenakan label “Pecinta Damai AS Nomor Satu,” Muste mulai mempromosikan tindakan yang lebih berani atas nama perdamaian dan keadilan pada akhir perang. Munculnya perang atom dan ketakutan Perang Dingin mendorong Muste untuk menggunakan taktik pembangkangan sipil tanpa kekerasan. Tindakan langsung menjadi mantranya. Pada 1950-an dan awal 1960-an, ia melibatkan diri dalam sejumlah kegiatan bersama Liga Penentang Perang dan Komite Aksi Non-Kekerasan. Selama tahun-tahun ini ia sering menghadapi penjara dan penuntutan karena menolak membayar pajak penghasilan (ia terus-menerus mengikuti perintah Quaker John Woolman abad ke-18, yang bersikeras bahwa 'Semangat kebenaran menuntut saya sebagai individu untuk menderita dengan sabar dalam kesusahan. barang, daripada membayar secara aktif”), memimpin pawai protes perdamaian dan hak-hak sipil, dan masuk tanpa izin ke properti federal. Dia memainkan peran penting dalam membantu mendirikan Society for Social Responsibility in Science dan Church Peace Mission. Dalam hal memberikan visibilitas untuk gerakan perdamaian dan antinuklir, ia berpartisipasi dalam tiga perjalanan transnasional yang signifikan untuk perdamaian yang disponsori oleh CVNA: San Francisco ke Moskow (1960-61) Quebec ke Guantanamo (1961) dan New Delhi ke Peking (1963-1964) .

Jelas, dorongan spiritual batin Muste mengatur keputusan hidupnya. Jo Ann Robinson menunjukkan bahwa mistisisme Muste sendiri tergerak oleh pengalaman luar biasa dari jenis “kesadaran yang menyerang secara tiba-tiba dari luar.” Pengalaman mistik semacam itu memberdayakannya untuk “memahami dunia dengan lebih baik. ” Dengan demikian membawanya ke tempat-tempat di mana, secara simbolis mempertaruhkan kematian, dia akan menyoroti semangat “penolakan individu untuk ‘ikut.'” Misalnya, selama latihan pertahanan sipil nasional 1955, dia, bersama bersama 26 orang lainnya, ditangkap saat duduk di bangku taman di City Hall Park di New York City, sambil memegang papan bertuliskan, “Akhiri Perang—Satu-Satunya Pertahanan Terhadap Senjata Atom.” Pada usia 74 ia menghabiskan delapan hari di penjara pada tahun 1959 ketika dia memanjat pagar setinggi empat setengah kaki ke lokasi konstruksi rudal di luar Omaha, Nebraska. Seperti yang dicatat oleh Muste sendiri dalam bukunya yang populer tahun 1940, Nonviolence in a Aggressive World, “Ada hubungan yang tidak dapat dipisahkan antara sarana dan tujuan, cara seseorang mendekati tujuan seseorang menentukan bentuk akhir yang diambil oleh tujuan tersebut.” Bagi Muste, hubungan antara sarana dan tujuan hanyalah pernyataannya yang sekarang banyak dikutip: “Tidak ada jalan menuju perdamaian. Perdamaian adalah Jalannya.”

Sementara Muste akan menikmati berkumpul dengan Teman di rumahnya, reputasinya, meskipun sifatnya pendiam dan pendiam, mengharuskan dia berada di garis depan protes aksi langsung. Percaya bahwa perdamaian lebih dari tidak adanya perang, para aktivis tahun 1960-an, yang dipimpin oleh Muste, memperluas fokus mereka untuk menangani masalah intoleransi rasial di Amerika Serikat. Dalam salah satu esainya yang populer tentang peran gerakan hak-hak sipil yang muncul, ia mengamati bahwa 'survei situasi yang tenang tentu tidak akan mengarah pada putusan bahwa keadilan dan kesetaraan bagi orang-orang Negro telah tercapai secara substansial. Sebaliknya, perjalanan masih panjang.” Melihat hubungan langsung antara imperialisme di luar negeri dan ketidakadilan rasial di dalam negeri, Muste memberikan bimbingan kepada Martin Luther King Jr., setelah kemunculannya sebagai juru bicara utama untuk the nonviolent wing of the civil rights movement. Muste encouraged him to read the works of Woolman, Jones, Gandhi, and Thoreau, and when King’s own growing resistance to the Vietnam War took center stage, Muste stood by him on all counts.

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

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


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

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

Di dalam 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

oleh 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.

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Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Copyright and Rights Information

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

Biographical

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

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

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

Extent

Additional Description

Gambaran

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.


Tonton videonya: Израиль. Иерусалим. Крестовоздвижение. Голгофа и пещера обретения Креста (Juli 2022).


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