Supporting Nonviolence and Social Justice Since 1974.
339 Lafayette Street, New York, New York 10012 (212) 533-4335 Fax: (212) 228-6193 [email protected]

Muste Notes
Vol. 15, No. 1 — Fall 2007
Muste Notes Fall 2007

Dear Friends
Defending Communities Against Dams
The Future of the Muste Building

New Counter-Recruitment Fund Grants, June 2007
New Grants, June 2007
Oaxaca Resurgence
Travel Fund Takes Off
New Nonviolence Training Grants

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Past editions of Muste Notes are here

August 1, 2007

Dear Friends,

As we ponder the future of our building, we are excited to see how our grantmaking programs are growing. We have so many new grants to report on—44 of them in this issue of Muste Notes alone—that we’ve barely managed to fit them into our expanded six-page format.

Your generous contributions make these grants possible. Our deepest thanks go to those of you who responded to our recent appeal. Regardless of what happens with our building, your continued support will allow us to keep funding nonviolent grassroots activist projects around the world.

In peace,
Murray Rosenblith
Executive Director

Defending Communities Against Dams
Redlar banner
Redlar line of people Redlar conference

From July 19 to 22, 2007, more than 300 activists from throughout Central America, Mexico and beyond gathered in Chalatenango, El Salvador for the 4th Mesoamerican Meeting of the Latin American Network Against Dams in Defense of Rivers, Water and Communities, or Redlar, as the network is called for short. The meeting was dedicated to the memory of Salvadoran activist Gerson Roberto Albayero Granados, a member of MONARES, the El Salvador National Movement Against Dams, who was murdered in January 2007. The participants pledged to continue struggling for water and energy policies that are community-controlled and sustainable, and to defend the rights of people who are displaced or threatened by hydroelectric mega-projects. In June the Muste Institute granted $1,800 to MONARES, the host organization, for the Redlar meeting, and another $5,475 from our NOVA Travel Fund to help delegations traveling from Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama and Brazil. Photos by Redlar & Mapder

The Future of the Muste Building

The Muste Institute is currently facing some tough decisions. A recent survey by an engineer revealed that our threestory building at 339 Lafayette Street requires major structural repairs. The building’s condition is not immediately dangerous, but we have had to put up scaffolding across the facade and it must remain in place until repairs begin. Initial estimates put the cost of basic repairs at $1 million—just to stabilize the building’s exterior, while leaving the interior space in its present condition.

The War Resisters League moved to this building in 1969, and in 1974 the Muste Institute was founded in part to buy the building and maintain it as a permanent center for social change organizing. We currently lease out the ground floor storefronts to commercial businesses to help generate enough income so we can operate the building while providing subsidized rent to the activist groups that occupy the upper two floors.

It would take an extraordinary fundraising effort—and probably a very long time—to raise an extra $1 million for repairs, on top of what we need to maintain our grantmaking and other programs.

The Muste Institute’s Board of Directors is considering several options to ensure the long-term stability and growth of our programs supporting the nonviolent activist movement:

• Selling the building and buying an office loft condominium. Initial inquiries suggest that we would get enough from selling our building to be able to buy an office loft space that could house our own offices, the War Resisters League and other activist groups. We would get upgraded, accessible office and meeting space, and a modest endowment to offset maintenance costs.

• Selling off the ground floor as a separate retail condominium and using the proceeds to make the necessary repairs. If we generate enough income from this sale we could also upgrade the existing office spaces. This option would allow us to remain in the building, and would free us from having to act as a commercial landlord for the ground floor stores. We would still be responsible for building maintenance and would probably not end up with any extra money.

• Borrowing the money to do the necessary repairs, and providing a long-term net lease to a commercial company for the ground floor spaces. The lease would allow us to pay off the loan more quickly. We would still be responsible for maintaining the building, but would not have to manage the storefronts. We would retain full ownership of the building. This option won’t leave us with any extra money initially, and we will likely carry a debt for some period after the repairs, but the lease arrangement could eventually contribute to our financial stability.

We have been researching all of these options and need to reach a decision soon. We encourage you to renew your commitment to the Muste Institute and help us maintain and expand our programs while we tackle this challenge. Whatever route we take, our first priority is for the Muste Institute to go into the future as a stronger resource in the nonviolent struggle for social justice.

—Peter Muste, Chairperson, Muste Institute Board of Directors

New Counter Recruitment Fund Grants , June 2007

The Muste Institute’s Counter Recruitment Fund makes small grants for grassroots efforts to inform young people about the realities of military service, help them protect their privacy from recruiters and refer them to non-military education and employment options. Our next deadline for proposals is October 19, 2007. Guidelines are at www.ajmuste.org/counter-recruit.htm.

Albany Peace Seekers, Albany, OR: $500 to provide high school students with materials and information about military recruitment.

American Friends Service Committee - Mid-Atlantic Region, Baltimore, MD: $500 for counter recruitment workshops and expanded outreach to Latino youth. http://www.afsc.org/midatlantic/default.htm

Caribbean Project for Justice and Peace - Proyecto Caribeño de Justicia y Paz, San Juan, PR: $500 for workshops and distribution of information in schools and universities to inform youth in Puerto Rico of the implications of entering the armed forces.

Coordinadora Estudiantil de la Raza (NoSomosELArmy), Los Angeles, CA: $1,500 for counter recruitment tabling, film screenings, teach-ins and other events at Los Angeles area high schools.

CHOICES, Washington, DC: $1,000 to inform Washington, DC youth and students about opportunities for further education, job training, and employment outside the military.

Finding Alternatives to Military Enlistment (FAME), Detroit, MI: $1,000 for counter recruitment outreach to Latino, Arab-American and Muslim youth in and around Detroit. http://www.famedetroit.org/

Koinonia Partners, Americus, GA: $500 for training in counter recruitment outreach to impact high school age youth in low-income communities of rural South Georgia. http://www.koinoniapartners.org/

Lehigh Pocono Committee of Concern (LEPOCO), Bethlehem, PA: $500 for tabling, information distribution and outreach at high schools in Pennsylvania.http://www.lepoco.org/

Mid-South Peace & Justice Center, Memphis, TN: $1,500 for the Alternatives to the Military Project, informing low-income high school youth in the Memphis area about optout rights, ASVAB testing and other recruitment issues. http://www.midsouthpeace.org/

National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY), Bethesda, MD: $500 to develop a website to better facilitate resource-sharing and coordinating of counter recruitment efforts regionally and nationally. http://www.nnomy.org/joomla/index.php

Quaker House of Fayetteville, Fayetteville, NC: $1,500 to develop new animated versions of “Sgt. Abe, the Honest Recruiter” educational materials, and for translation of existing Sgt. Abe printed materials into Spanish. http://www.quakerhouse.org/index.php

Whatcom Peace & Justice Center, Bellingham, WA: $500 for tabling and other counter recruitment outreach at high schools and tribal and community colleges in the area of Bellingham, Washington. http://www.whatcompjc.org

New Grants, June 2007

Chicago, IL: $2,000
In 2005, Beyondmedia Education launched Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance, a website designed to create a space for dialogue among currently and formerly incarcerated women and other community members. This grant goes to create zines which introduce the website and to distribute them among women in U.S. prisons. http://www.beyondmedia.org   http://www.womenandprison.org

Chicago, IL: $1,000
Founded in 2002, the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative is a coalition of workers and organizations seeking to raise the standards for low-wage workers in the state of Illinois. This grant goes for a rapid response network to defend immigrant workers against
workplace raids.

Atlanta, GA: $1,800
Since 1989, ECO-Action has helped more than 130 community-based groups in Georgia to defend their rights to clean air, land and water. This grant goes for a campaign to build awareness and action to stop new nuclear plants and oppose the resurgence of nuclear power in Georgia. http://www.eco-act.org

Asamankese, Ghana: $1,200
Founded in 1998, Gap-Bridge serves disadvantaged communities in the eastern region of Ghana. This grant goes for the Women’s Rights Awareness Education Project, aimed at educating and training women in the Akrosu rural community to understand and defend their rights.

San Salvador, El Salvador: $1,800
MONARES, the El Salvador National Movement Against Dams, was founded in 2006 to bring together Salvadoran community-based groups fighting major hydroelectric dam projects that are destroying their lands and livelihood. This grant went to help organize
the 4th Mesoamerican Meeting of the Latin American Network Against Dams in Defense of Rivers, Water and Communities (REDLAR), held July 19 to 22, 2007, in Chalatenango, El Salvador.

Brooklyn, NY: $1,800
For 25 years, NWTRCC has been educating the U.S. public about war tax resistance. This grant goes for production of a DVD geared to introducing a wider audience to the issue. http://www.nwtrcc.org

Brookeville, MD: $1,800
Founded a decade ago as the Montgomery County, Maryland chapter of the national group Peace Action, PeaceAction Montgomery currently has over 2,300 members. This grant goes to create and support peace clubs in at least four high schools in the county.

Santa Rosa, CA: $1,800
The Peace and Justice Center was formed in the late 1980s in response to the US government’s war in Central America. This grant goes for counseling and assisting active duty military personnel who want to separate from the military. http://www.peaceandjusticesonomaco.org

East Jersualem, Palestine: $500
This grant goes for a documentary film telling the story of nonviolent resistance to the occupation in Palestine. Stories from the Living Stones is an independent production of filmmaker Virginia Keller and the Jerusalem office of the American Friends Service
Committee. http://www.afsc.org/israel-palestine

Denver, CO: $1,800
SOS 8 emerged in 1999 out of a struggle by low-income Denver residents to defend their housing rights as federal subsidized housing (Section 8) contracts expired. This grant goes to mobilize tenants and community leaders in low-income housing areas of Denver that have been targeted for redevelopment.

The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute makes small grants to groups engaged in nonviolent education and action for social justice. Our next deadlines to our regular grant program and to our Counter Recruitment grant program is October 19, 2007 Guidelines are at http://ajmuste.org/guidelin.htm

Oaxaca Resurgence

Oaxaca volunteers Oaxaca movement

Volunteers at Casa Chapulin in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca have been kept busy documenting and supporting the ongoing struggles of the region’s grassroots movement for social justice. In June 2007, the social movement in Oaxaca took to the streets again, with the teachers’ union, the APPO (Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca) and other social organizations installing a sit-in at the zócalo (town square) of Oaxaca city, demanding the resignation of governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and the release of activists arrested over the past year. Casa Chapulin was started in September 2006 with support from the Muste Institute. In these photos from April 2007: activists demonstrate in front of the Santo Domingo church in Oaxaca city to demand freedom for political prisoners; and participants from 20 indigenous communities of Oaxaca take part in a workshop to learn how to build radio transmitters for community radio initiatives. Photos by Laura Böök

Travel Fund Takes Off

The NOVA Travel Fund makes grants for travel of Latin American, Caribbean and indigenous American activists to regional meetings. Deadlines are every two months; the next ones are October 1 and December 1, 2007. Guidelines are in Spanish on our website–see www.ajmuste.org/novaintro.html.

Redlar delegates Summit of Indigenouse Peoples
The Mexican delegation at the Redlar meeting in El Salvador in July. Photo by Mapder Mónica Michelena Díaz, left, with other participants at the Third Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala in March 2007. Photo by Juan Luís de La Rosa. UBV / Latinamerika - Información Indígena

The NOVA Travel Fund made its first 16 grants between March and August of 2007:

$1,150 in March 2007 for Mónica Michelena Díaz of the Comunidad Charrúa Basquadé Inchalá, an indigenous group in Uruguay, to travel to the Third Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities of Abya Yala, held March 26-30 in Guatemala.

$1,036 in March 2007 for Antonio Llumitasig of Ecuarunari, an indigenous coalition in Ecuador, to travel to the same indigenous summit in Guatemala.

$1,038 in March 2007 for Eliana Martinez of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) to travel to the indigenous summit in Guatemala.

$600 in April 2007 for Cristina Almazán Villalobos of Pobladores, A.C., a community organizing group in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, to attend the Second Regional Meeting for Latin America on “Building the Popular Urban University” held April 18-25, 2007, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Pobladores works on such issues as housing rights and popular education.

$1,500 in April 2007 for Lourdes Esther Huanca Atencio of FEMUCARINAP (the National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous, Native and Salaried Women of Peru), based in Lima, Peru, to participate in the International Course on the Current Policies of Labor Union Action, held April 30 through May 19, 2007, in Havana, Cuba.

$900 in April 2007 for Yoconda Domitila Rodríguez Aguilar of the Movimiento de Mujeres Ciudadanas del Cono Norte (Movement of Citizen Women of the Northern Cone), based in Lima, Peru, to participate in the 4th Hemispheric Meeting of Struggle Against Free Trade Treaties and for the Integration of Peoples, held May 3-5, 2007 in Havana, Cuba.

$1,200 in April 2007 for Patricia Merkin of Asociación Civil Hecho, an organization working with homeless people in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to participate in the 11th Conference of the International Network of Street Papers, held June 14-17 in Poznan, Poland.

$500 in April 2007 for Celerina Ruiz Nuñez of Cooperativa Jolom Mayaetik, a cooperative of 350 indigenous Tzotzil and Tseltal women artisans, weavers and embroiderers in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas highlands, to participate in the U.S. Social Forum, held June 27 to July 1 in Atlanta, Georgia.

$800 in April 2007 for Miriam Luz Torres Millan of the Asociación de Mujeres Williches de Chiloe Rayen Kuyen, an indigenous women’s group on the island of Chiloe in Chile, to participate in the 4th Brazilian Congress on Social and Human Science in Health, held July 13-18, 2007, in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil.

$1,250 in May 2007 to the Movimiento Mexicano de Afectados por las Presas y en Defensa de los Ríos (Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams and in Defense of Rivers), based in the southern state of Chiapas, to allow 15 activists from throughout Mexico to travel together by land to the 4th Mesoamerican Meeting of the Latin American Network Against Dams and in Support of Rivers, their Communities and Water (Redlar), held July 19-22 in Chalatenango, El Salvador.

$1,200 in May 2007 to the Frente Petenero Contra Represas (Petén Region Front Against Dams), based in Santa Elena, Guatemala, to allow 40 people from dam-affected communities in Guatemala to travel together by land to the same 4th Mesoamerican Meeting of Redlar.

$550 in May 2007 to the Frente Unido en Defensa del Ecosistema (United Front in Defense of the Ecosystem), in Panama, to help 12 activists to travel to the Redlar meeting in Chalatenango by bus.

$1,000 in May 2007 to the Asociación Casa de la Mujer de Bocana de Paiwas (Women’s House Association of Bocana de Paiwas), in the southern Atlantic Coast automous region of Nicaragua, for a group of 16 community members to travel by bus to the Redlar meeting.

$910 in June 2007 for Nellys Palomo Sánchez of Kinal Antzetik, an indigenous women’s organization based in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, to participate in the 5th Continental Encounter of Indigenous Women, held July 9-12 in Kahnawake, Québec, Canada.

$920 in June 2007 for Clotilde Marquez Cruz of the Centro de Mujeres Indígenas Aymaras “Candelaria,” an indigenous women’s group based in Patacamaya, Bolivia, to participate in the “Women and the City” Seminar held from July 18 to 20 in Quito, Ecuador.

$1,475 in June 2007 to allow Rogério Hohn of the Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens - MAB (Movement of Dam-Affected People) of Brazil to participate in Redlar’s Mesoamerican meeting in Chalatenango, El Salvador, in July.

New Nonviolence Training Grants
December 2006 - June 2007

The International Nonviolence Training Fund (INTF) makes grants for nonviolence trainings outside the U.S. or in indigenous communities within the U.S. The next deadline is September 7, 2007. Guidelines are on our website at www.ajmuste.org/guidintf.htm

CENTRE FOR RENEWAL, Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria: $1,000 in February 2007 for a training workshop for facilitators using Pace e Bene’s “From Violence to Wholeness” curriculum to empower communities in Plateau state to settle religious, economic and political conflicts nonviolently and work toward sustained nonviolent action.

PALESTINE SOLIDARITY PROJECT, New York/Palestine: $3,000 in June 2007 for nonviolence trainings and meetings in the South Hebron hills to help residents develop strategies of nonviolent resistance to displacement and violence. http://palestinesolidarityproject.org/

Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement
Participants in the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement (PCR) summer training camp, part of the Young Advocates Program, engage in a comparative discussion about the state of nonviolence in the first and the second Intifadas. Photo by Hussam Qassis

PALESTINIAN CENTRE FOR RAPPROCHEMENT BETWEEN PEOPLE (PCR), Beit Sahour, Palestine: $3,000 in December 2006 for the Young Advocates Program, training young Palestinians in advocacy, human rights, language, media, web design and other skills, to help them lead a successful nonviolent resistance movement capable of ending the Occupation. http://www.rapprochement.org/

PINE TREE, La Trinidad, Benguet, Philippines: $2,000 in December 2006 for a training of indigenous Igorot leaders to assist their peoples in nonviolently defending their rights to land and to sustainable, communitycontrolled development.

SHRI GANDHI SEVA ASHRAM SARGUJA, Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh, India: $1,000 in February 2007 for a project in collaboration with Grassroots India Trust, training leaders of “Villagers Empowerment Forums” in leadership, legal literacy and campaigning skills so they can carry out the nonviolent Food and Democracy Campaign.

SUDANESE ORGANIZATION FOR NONVIOLENCE AND DEVELOPMENT (SONAD), Khartoum, Sudan: $1,000 in February 2007 for an intensive training to strengthen the skills of local Sudanese nonviolence trainers to handle difficult group situations in various kinds of civil conflict transformation efforts.