A.J. Muste Memorial Institute: Muste Notes, Summer 2004
A.J. Muste Memorial Institute
339 Lafayette Street, New York, New York 10012, (212) 533-4335

Excerpts from
VOL. 11, NUMBER 4 — Summer 2004

Dear Friends
Nonviolence Trainers Build Capacity
Nancy Muste Baker, 1916 - 2004
David Dellinger, 1915 - 2004
Vanunu Free at Last
Zinn Film Hits Theaters
New Grants, April 2004
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June 15, 2004

Dear Friends,

We're sad to report the recent loss of two friends of the Muste Institute. David Dellinger was a well-known activist, a close associate of A.J.'s for many years, and a member of our advisory committee. Nancy Muste Baker, A.J.'s last surviving child, was always supportive of the Institute's work and her father's memory. You can read more about both of them in this issue. You can also read here about our most recent grantees and their efforts to keep important issues like civilian casualties, war profiteering, conscientious objection and the death penalty in the public eye this election year.

As activism swells and word spreads about the Muste Institute, we have been flooded with proposals from groups doing wonderful work. Unfortunately, we're forced to send many of them away empty-handed. We wish we could expand our grantmaking program to meet the tremendous need. Can you help?

I hope you'll take a moment to read the enclosed letter from Muste Institute supporter and noted activist historian Howard Zinn, and that you will join Howard and me in giving generously to the Institute's efforts to foster and sustain the growing nonviolent movement for justice.

In peace,
Murray Rosenblith
Executive Director

Nonviolence Trainers Build Capacity

Twenty-two people gathered at the scenic Cayuga Nature Center near Ithaca, New York, on April 2-4, 2004, for a weekend training for nonviolence trainers organized by Syracuse Peace Council and partially funded by a grant from the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute. The training was designed to make upcoming nonviolent actions more effective by: (1) developing new trainers and (2) improving the skills of existing trainers.

The training brought together activists from many parts of upstate New York, as well as from New York City and Massachusetts to work through sections on nonviolence, group process and consensus, role plays, and legal issues. The four lead trainers also presented or led exercises on the role of the facilitator, designing agendas, addressing oppression issues, incarceration, affinity groups and health issues related to direct action. At the end of the training, participants were tired but much better prepared to work as nonviolence trainers. "My favorite aspects were the role play section and the part where we facilitated a section," wrote one participant in the final evaluation. "I felt these two really contributed to what I consider to be a real breakthrough experience overall."

A 125-page resource manual for nonviolence trainers was provided to participants to assist them as they return to their communities to build the movement for peace and justice.

—Andy Mager, Syracuse Peace Council

For more information, contact Syracuse Peace Council, 315-472-5478, [email protected], www.peacecouncil.net

Nancy Muste Baker, 1916 - 2004

Nancy Muste Baker (born Ann Dorothy Muste in 1916) was the first child of A.J. Muste and Anna Huizinga Muste. She was born in Newton, Massachusetts, where A.J. had his first parish. Nancy's earliest memories were of Brookwood Labor College which her father led after he had organized the American Workers Party. At Brookwood, the family lived in the midst of a community of young people committed to workers' rights and to strengthening their abilities as labor organizers. Nancy would talk about the people she met there and her family's role in the community. She particularly remembered their participation in Saturday evening entertainments - one of the songs they sang as a family was The Bomb Song where Nancy and her quite-staid parents sang, "Oh, it's sister Jenny's turn to throw the bomb…."

Nancy graduated at the head of her class from Katonah High School, where Brookwood was located. Through the generosity of wealthy pacifists, she was able to go to Swarthmore College but, dreadfully homesick, she finished her degree at Barnard, where she made lifelong friendships. After college, Nancy married John Baker (her high school sweetheart), the son of an intelligent but impoverished family. Nancy and John (known to all as Jack) struggled to make ends meet during the last years of the depression. Jack worked first as a manager at the A&P, and then by dint of ability and diligence as a draftsman in the shipbuilding industry. Nancy served as a social worker, paid only for every other week she worked.

After Nancy and Jack's children John and Richard were born, Nancy worked in the offices of the Fellowship for Reconciliation, where A. J. had landed after returning to religious pacifism from labor organizing and radical politics. Throughout her life, Nancy revered her father and his radical positions. Nancy and Jack had an international life, living and working in England, China and Canada, with interludes back in their home in New York. Jack died in 1981 and Nancy spent the next years alternating between New York and her son Richard's home in Massachusetts. In 1996, Nancy followed her son Richard to St. Louis and died there in March of 2004, after a long battle with congestive heart failure and dementia.

She retained to the last her humor, her interest in gardening and nature, and her ability to sing all the verses of The Internationale.

—Shirley Baker

David Dellinger, 1915 - 2004

"The best tribute to a dead leader is to carry on his work-or better still to carry on one's work more creatively. When the dead leader is A.J. Muste, one will try to work more persistently, more shrewdly and with appreciation of all those who work by different methods or at a different pace."

These words opened the introduction of the A.J. Muste memorial issue of Liberation magazine in September 1967. They were written by David Dellinger, who died on May 25 at the age of 88. Thirty-six years later, they could just as accurately be applied to Dave's life and work.

Dave was something of a protégé of A.J.'s and worked closely with him from the World War II period until A.J.'s death. Dave was, along with A.J. and Barbara Deming, one of the best known and most influential pacifists of the late 20th Century. In addition to serving with A.J. as an editor of Liberation, Dave worked directly with him on the Quebec-to-Guantanamo Walk for disarmament, the Assembly of Unrepresented Peoples, and the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee.

He was one of the "Union 8", a group of seminarians who in 1942 chose to refuse their automatic conscientious objector status by refusing to register for the draft at all. He served several prison terms during World War II for these actions. Never one to pass up an opportunity to agitate, Dave was involved in protests against racial segregation in the prison system. He is best known for his membership in the Chicago 8; a group of protest organizers who were indicted for conspiracy during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Throughout his life, Dave was an ecumenical activist. While maintaining his personal commitment to pacifism and nonviolence, he worked closely with a wide range of groups and organizers. During the late 1980s, the Muste Institute worked with Dave's associates to create a special fund to support him while he completed work on his autobiography From Yale to Jail. In 1993, the Institute also supported a book tour which promoted the book's publication.

Dave spent the last thirty years of his life in rural Vermont, teaching, writing and continuing to organize and participate in a broad number of protests. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Peterson, five children, two sisters and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of his sons, Raymond, predeceased him.

—Murray Rosenblith

Vanunu Free at Last

Mordechai Vanunu was released on April 21, 2004, after serving nearly 18 years in Israeli prisons for blowing the whistle on Israel's nuclear program. The US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu received grants from the Muste Institute in September 1993 and February 1998 for educational and advocacy work on behalf of this political prisoner. This photo, taken in jail, shows Vanunu with Mary and Nicholas Eoloff, longtime activists and Muste Institute supporters who legally adopted Vanunu as their son. Activists are now working to get Israel to stop restricting Vanunu's rights to travel and speak freely.

For more information: www.nonviolence.org/vanunu

Zinn Film Hits Theaters

"Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train," a documentary by Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller about the famous historian and activist, is being released theatrically this summer. The film, which was supported with a grant from the Muste Institute and previewed in New York last October at a special Institute-sponsored screening, will be aired in June in Portland, Oregon, and in Provincetown and Boston, Massachusetts. The film will open for its commercial run at New York City's Cinema Village starting on July 23. Some screenings will feature special appearances by Howard Zinn.

For details, see http://firstrunfeatures.com/howardzinn.html

New Grants, April 2004

Denver, CO: $1,500
Since 1979, the Denver Justice and Peace Committee has promoted peace and economic justice for Latin America. This grant goes for the Global Solutions to Violence Education Project, educating students about international issues, creating future activists and leaders around issues of globalization, human rights and nonviolent conflict resolution. http://www.denjustpeace.org/

Austin, TX: $1,500
This grant goes to the Poultry Workers Justice Campaign, a joint project of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) and Equal Justice Center's Mississippi Poultry Workers Justice Campaign. The two groups bring together Latin American immigrant workers and African American workers in Mississippi with supportive community leaders to hold the poultry industry accountable for abusive labor practices. http://www.equaljusticecenter.org/

Brooklyn, New York: $1,000
Ground Zero for Peace was founded by firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who assisted in rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. These emergency "first responders" seek to promote nonviolent alternatives to war and create fellowship with other first responders throughout the world. This grant goes for a trip by GZFP members to Afghanistan to meet with Afghan colleagues, and to raise awareness in the US about the extent and impact of US military operations in Afghanistan.

Bethlehem, Palestine: $1,000
Holy Land Trust was founded in 1997 to strengthen and improve the lives of children, families and communities in the Middle East through community development and economic assistance programs. This grant goes for Palestinian Nonviolence Support Program trainings, seeking to develop a strong, unified, indigenous Palestinian nonviolent movement, cultivate skilled community leaders, to inspire and attract Palestinians to the nonviolent movement and publicize these efforts. http://www.holylandtrust.org/

Prilep, Macedonia: $1,000
Mirovna Akecija (Peace Action) was formed in 2001 by the Group for Antimilitarist Action (GAMA) and Anti- Militarism, Anti-Violence (AMAN). This grant goes for an international seminar on conscientious objection and peace, organized with War Resisters International in June 2004 in Ohrid, Macedonia. The seminar seeks to increase the visibility of conscientious objection in Macedonia and strengthen networking among CO groups.

Lincoln, Nebraska: $1,500
Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty was founded in 1981 after Governor Charles Thone vetoed a bill passed by Nebraska's legislature which would have repealed the state's death penalty law. This grant goes for the Rural Empowerment Project, an effort to expand the statewide movement to end the death penalty by building local leadership in Nebraska's rural communities. http://nadp.inetnebr.com/

Cary, NC: $1,000
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows was founded in February 2002 by relatives of 9/11 victims to promote effective, nonviolent solutions to terrorism and to acknowledge their common experience with all people similarly affected by violence. This grant goes for the "Stonewalk 2004" Project, highlighting the issues of civilian casualties and the human costs of war during the election campaign. http://www.peacefultomorrows.org/

San Diego, CA: $1,500
The San Diego Military Counseling Project was founded in 2003 to provide military service personnel with information about their rights and discharge options and support their efforts to speak out, organize and protest against military activities. This grant goes for production and distribution of outreach and publicity materials. http://members.cox.net/sdmcp2/ SER PAZ Guayaquil, Ecuador: $10,000 (SFE) This grant from the Institute's donoradvised Sheilah's Fund East goes for the work of SER PAZ with high-school students and at-risk youth in Guayaquil, Ecuador, providing peer conflict resolution and education toward building a culture of peace.

Guayaquil, Ecuador: $10,000 (SFE)
This grant from the Muste Institute’s donor-advised Sheilah's Fund East goes for the work of SER PAZ with high-school students and at-risk youth in the urban area of Guayaquil, Ecuador, providing peer conflict resolution and education toward building a culture of peace.

New York, NY: $1,500
War Resisters League, founded in 1923, advocates Gandhian nonviolence as the method for creating a democratic society free of war, racism, sexism, and human exploitation. This grant goes for the "Stop the Merchants of Death" Campaign, a speaking campaign about the companies which profit from wars, invasions and occupations. http://www.warresisters.org/

Bujumbura, Burundi: $2,000 (INTF)
Youth Intervention for Peace Project seeks to confront the negative forces which lead young people in Burundi to participate in inter-ethnic violence for political ends, and to introduce them to nonviolent methods of action as a viable and constructive alternative. This grant from the Muste Institute's International Nonviolence Training Fund (INTF) goes for a nonviolence training program for youth in Bujumbura this summer.

The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute makes small grants to groups doing nonviolent organizing for social change. Our next deadline for proposals is July 23 and October 22, 2004. To read our grant guidelines, click here.

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Board of Directors
Karl Bissinger
Susan Kent Cakars
James A. Cole
Christine Halvorson
Melissa Jameson
Carol Kalafatic
Bernice Lanning
Rebecca Libed
Elmer Maas
David McReynolds
Nina Streich
Robert T. Taylor
Martha Thomases
Diane Tosh
John Zirinsky

Executive Director
Murray Rosenblith

Program Associate
Jane Guskin

Administrative Assistant
Jeanne Strole

Salvador Suazo

Newsletter Designer
Judith Rew

A.J. Muste Memorial Institute

339 Lafayette Street, New York, New York 10012, (212) 533-4335 fax: (212) 228-6193