A.J. Muste Memorial Institute: Muste Notes, Summer 2001
A.J. Muste Memorial Institute
339 Lafayette Street, New York, New York 10012, (212) 533-4335

Excerpts from
VOL. 8, NUMBER 4--Summer 2001

Dear Friends
New Essay Series Pamphlets!
Nonviolence in Action: Sheilah’s Fund East in Latin America
Donor-Advised Funds
Update on Projects Funded by Muste Institute
Carol Bernstein Ferry, 1924-2001
Board Member Takes Leave
New Grants

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July 23, 2001
Dear Friends,

We usually think of summer as a time when things slow down. As you can see from this issue of Muste Notes, the summer of 2001 is one of the busiest periods we've had at the Muste Memorial Institute for quite a while. The last funding cycle was crowded with proposals and the board made more grants than usual to keep a number of good projects going through the summer. Our special donor fund also increased its activity to provide necessary funding to a number of projects in Latin America.

We're finally in the last stages of producing both our new pamphlets and The Essays of A.J. Muste. Last, but not least, we're also performing some needed repairs and rewiring in our building to accomodate the increasing activity of our resident activist groups.

As you can imagine, all this "movement" costs money. Please take a moment to send a contribution to the Muste Institute. What we've been able to accomplish already is entirely due to your generosity. What we can accomplish in the future also depends on your support.

Yours in peace,
Murray Rosenblith
Executive Director

New Essay Series Pamphlets!

The eagerly-awaited new additions to our Essay Series on Nonviolence are finally on their way!

Essay Series #14 is a collection of speeches and writings on peace by lifelong pacifist Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to serve in the US Congress. Her writing is down-to-earth, engaging, funny and sensible as she talks about the futility of war and the importance of political action. The essays included span nearly half a century, from the 1920s to 1967; they were culled from archival sources and edited by Muste Institute program associate Jane Guskin. The Institute is proud to make these writings widely available and accessible, and we hope to see Jeannette Rankin regain some of the recognition she deserves as one of America's great peace advocates.

Essay Series #15 is A Philosophy of Nonviolence, by longtime anti-war activist, Muste Institute board member, War Resisters League staffer and Socialist Party presidential candidate David McReynolds. This essay is an introductory journey through the philosophical origins, basic principles and challenges of nonviolent thought and action. This easy-to-read pamphlet avoids an overly academic approach and will prove especially useful in exposing new activists to nonviolence.

These new publications are now available thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Muste Institute's former executive director, Wendy Schwartz, who edited the McReynolds essay, assisted in final editing of the Rankin essays, and brought both pamphlets to completion. The Rankin and McReynolds pamphlets are available for our usual cover price of $1 each or 70 cents each if you order 10 or more pamphlets in any combination. Our updated literature catalogue should be ready by sometime in the Fall, by which time we should also have our upcoming new edition of The Essays of A.J. Muste available.

Nonviolence in Action:
Sheilah’s Fund East in Latin America

Sheilah's Fund East is a donor-advised fund of the Muste Institute. At the end of each year, the anonymous donor who established this fund sends the Muste Institute a large contribution. Throughout the year, the donor and her advisers recommend grants to be made from the Fund. This arrangement provides critical support to member organizations of the Latin American peace network Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ), as well as to other groups committed to nonviolence, primarily in Latin America.

So far in 2001, the Muste Institute has distributed the following grants through Sheilah's Fund East:

SERPAJ-Mexico (www.nonviolence.org/serpaj/mexico) (Mexico City, Mexico):$5,000 for workshops, educational materials and related activities, promoting a culture of peace and active nonviolence within the context of civil resistance in Mexico.

SERPAJ-Morelos (www.nonviolence.org/serpaj/mexico/morelos) (Cuernavaca, Mexico): $7,000 for educational materials, workshops and other activities promoting a dialogue on active nonviolence as a strategy to resist militarization and injustice in Mexico. (This group was known previously as SERPAJ-Cuernavaca.)

SER PAZ ([email protected]) (Guayaquil, Ecuador): $10,000 for work with school-age children and high-risk youth, including gang members, teaching conflict resolution and active nonviolence toward building a culture of peace in Ecuador.

SIPAZ (www.sipaz.org) (Santa Cruz, CA): $5,000 to support the peace process in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, through violence-reduction and peacebuilding strategies in Chiapas, and efforts to inform and mobilize the international community. SIPAZ stands for Servicio Internacional por la Paz (International Service for Peace).

SERPAJ-Costa Rica (www.nonviolence.org/serpaj/cr) (San José, Costa Rica): $5,000 for the "Educating for Peace" project, training rural, urban and indigenous youth in active nonviolence and alternative conflict resolution so they can serve as promoters of peace and human rights in Costa Rica.

SERPAJ-Ecuador ([email protected]) (Quito, Ecuador): $5,000 for the youth-led Action for Peace project, involving educational work around active nonviolence and conscientious objection to military service; and strengthening of the Institute of Peace Education (Instituto de Educación para la Paz, IDEPAZ), promoting alternative conflict resolution and active nonviolence in Ecuador.

Observatorio Internacional por la Paz ([email protected]) (Quito, Ecuador): $5,000 for the International Observatory for Peace, a collaborative project among a number of peace and human rights groups in Ecuador. The project seeks to document and expose the human consequences of the US-sponsored military "Plan Colombia", to work toward an end to the violence and to demand the departure of a US air base from the Ecuadoran city of Manta, where it is being used as a major military staging ground for the region.

Donor-Advised Funds

Donor funds at the Muste Institute allow contributors to enjoy tax benefits from their gift, while offering flexibility and convenience in funding worthy groups whose efforts are in line with our mission of nonviolent action and education for social and economic justice. Because our grantmaking is not restricted geographically or based on tax-exempt status, creation of a donor fund at the Institute allows your tax-deductible contributions to go to groups which may not have their own tax-exempt charitable status, including groups based outside the US.

Donor funds can be arranged, either as a one-time project or an ongoing established fund, with a gift of cash or stock worth $5,000 or more. Administrative fees are worked out on a case-by-case basis, but are generally figured at 5% of either the average yearly balance or the total amount distributed each year, whichever is higher. It is also possible for a group of several donors to pool their contributions into a fund supporting specific aims, as with our International Nonviolence Training Fund. Please call the Institute's Executive Director, Murray Rosenblith, for more information.

Of course, your contributions of any size are always appreciated and are needed to sustain our grantmaking, literature and building programs, through which we promote and support nonviolent action for a more just world.

New Developments:
An Update on Projects Funded by the Muste Institute

Stephanie Black, whose 1990 documentary film H-2 Worker received an early grant from the Muste Institute, is winning wide acclaim for her new feature documentary, Life and Debt. Black became interested in Jamaica while shooting scenes there for the award-winning H-2 Worker, which depicted the slave-like conditions faced by thousands of Jamaican men who come to Florida on guest worker ("H-2") visas to cut sugar cane for US companies. Through frank interviews with farmers, workers and policy-makers, Black's new film powerfully and clearly depicts the devastating impact of International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies on human lives and livelihood in Jamaica. Life and Debt's blistering critique of globalization is set to a soundtrack of well-known Jamaican performers including Ziggy Marley, Bob Marley, Buju Banton, Mutabaruka and Peter Tosh, among others, and has a narration written by famed novelist Jamaica Kincaid. Following rave reviews in the New York Times and Village Voice, and a premiere screening at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, the film played to sold-out crowds in its opening week in New York in June. Life and Debt is scheduled to air nationally on PBS on August 21 (check your local listings). For more information, including a page of activist links on globalization, see the film's website at www.lifeanddebt.org.

Carol Bernstein Ferry, 1924-2001

Carol Bernstein Ferry died on June 9th at a retirement home in Rye, New York at the age of 76.

For many years she, together with her first husband (Daniel Bernstein), and later with her second husband (W. H. Ferry), gave thousands of dollars to radical causes which other funders wouldn't touch. During the Vietnam War money flowed to the various mobilizations. Working with the late E. P. Thompson, the Ferrys gave large sums to the European Nuclear Disarmament (END) movement.

Three things marked the contributions that came from the Ferrys. First, there were no strings attached, no effort to change a group's program or orientation. Second, while the Ferrys were not "invisible", they discouraged publicity about the contributions. Third, they often gave to groups, such as War Resisters League, which were not tax exempt. Carol generally declined to be listed on committees, satisfied with funding causes ranging from prison reform to civil rights to peace. (She visited a number of prisons and for some years taught reading to inmates at Sing Sing).

Carol had been suffering from terminal cancer and decided to make a final affirmation of her belief for legalizing euthanasia by taking her own life from an overdose of sleeping pills while loved ones looked on. In a note to a board member of the Muste Institute she wrote on May 22nd: "... Am feeling a bit like Banquo's ghost when I appear here and there, but it can't be helped. Hope you are well and enjoying the struggle with Bush et al. Aren't they extraordinary? The word juggernaut has a whole new area of importance ? Also, remember all the references to fascism coming to US with a smiling face? Here it comes with a smirk".

Carol was unique in the world of funders. She is remembered with special warmth by a great many people. Memorial services were held on June 27th in New York City at the Cosmopolitan Club.

-David McReynolds

Board Member Takes Leave

The Muste Institute is sorry to be temporarily losing one of our most active board members. Jill Sternberg leaves this summer for a two-year stint in East Timor. She will be working there to help 1996 Nobel peace laureate José Ramos Horta establish an East Timorese peace and democracy foundation, which aims to carry out conflict resolution training and other peace-building activities.

Jill has been a Muste Institute board member since 1997, and has served as facilitator for the Institute's International Nonviolence Training Fund (INTF) Advisory Committee. She has also been a contributor to Muste Notes, having written a review in the Fall 2000 issue of Matt Meyer and Bill Sutherland's book Guns and Gandhi in Africa, and an article in the Fall 1999 issue ("Independence Betrayed") about her experience as an observer for the UN-sponsored self-determination vote in East Timor.

The Institute's staff and Board is extremely grateful to Jill for her hard work and dedication to the Muste Institute. Jill will continue to serve on the INTF Advisory Committee via email from East Timor. We will be in regular contact with her, and we hope she will be able to send us reports on her work in East Timor which we can publish in Muste Notes. We wish her the best of luck for a positive and fruitful visit there.

New Grants

BAT SHALOM (www.batshalom.org)
Jerusalem, Israel: $2,000.
Bat Shalom (Daughter of Peace) is a peace organization made up of Jewish and Arab Israeli women who protest the expansion of Jewish settlements, the confiscation of Palestinian land and demolition of Palestinian homes, and the revocation of Jerusalem residency rights for Palestinians. Our grant goes for a public awareness campaign promoting "Equality for Arab Israeli Citizens," to be carried out by the Jezreel Valley regional branch of Bat Shalom.

BOSTON MOBILIZATION FOR SURVIVAL (www.bostonmobilization.org)
Boston, Massachusetts: $1,000.
Founded in 1997, Boston Mobilization has organized against nuclear weapons, nuclear power and military spending; and in favor of universal health insurance and campaign finance reform, among other issues. This grant goes to the Youth for Peace Project, educating and mobilizing young people and students around issues of militarism, including university links to defense contractors.

CAMPAIGN TO END THE DEATH PENALTY (www.nodeathpenalty.org)
Chicago, IL: $2,000.
Founded in 1995, the Campaign to End the Death Penalty combines education, watchdog activities, media outreach and collective action to mobilize the general public against the death penalty. This grant goes for six public "town hall meetings" in different cities as part of a national educational and media campaign called "Stop All Executions: Moratorium Now!"

Denver, CO: $2,000.
Originally started in 1990 to stop the "Gulf War," the Colorado Campaign reformed in 1997 with the goal of exposing, discrediting and ending the US government's embargo and military aggression against the people of Iraq. This grant goes to strengthen the newly formed National Organizing Network on Iraq, coordinating efforts among diverse groups around the US toward building effective campaigns to stop the sanctions and the bombing. The Muste Institute is also the fiscal sponsor for the Colorado Campaign.

Kentucky Alliance is a grassroots multi-racial organization based in Louisville's African-American community and led by members of that community. The Alliance carries out campaigns around ending police brutality, improving public schools, and working for civil rights and a living wage. Our grant goes for the Prison & Justice Critical Resistance Committee, working to build a strong local movement to change the prison system.

NEVADA DESERT EXPERIENCE (www.nevadadesertexperience.org)
Oakland, CA: $2,000.
For 20 years, this organization has mobilized thousands of people to resist nuclear weapons through nonviolent protests and actions at the Nevada Test Site, where the US has exploded more than 900 nuclear weapons since 1951. Our grant goes for the August Desert Witness project, involving an action at the Nevada Test Site August 6-9, focused on the $5.1 billion a year US nuclear weapons development program known as the "Stockpile Stewardship Program."

Concord, NH: $2,000. Since its founding as New Hampshire Freeze in 1981, this organization has devoted its energies toward opposing nuclear weapons; stopping US military intervention in Central America, Indonesia, Yugoslavia and Iraq; and exposing the role of New Hampshire weapons makers in US military aggression. This grant goes for a project building local opposition to US military aid to Colombia.

Northampton, MA: $2,000.
Since December 1998, when the US renewed its bombing campaign in Iraq, this group has held a weekly vigil in front of the Northampton courthouse to protest the bombing and the embargo. The Committee also organizes educational events, rallies and marches. This grant goes for an exhibit of a child-to-child art exchange between local children and Iraqi children, seeking to break the barrier of isolation and build solidarity between US and Iraqi citizens. The exhibit will be accompanied by educational forums with guest speakers.

New York, NY: $2,000.
Founded in 1915 as WILPF's first local chapter, the NY Metro branch currently has programs addressing racial justice, economic globalization and peace and disarmament. Our grant goes for a part-time membership coordinator, to broaden outreach and facilitate communication with members. WILPF-NY Metro is a tenant at the Muste building here at 339 Lafayette Street, and previously received a grant from us in October 1997 for the Women Insist on Nuclear Disarmament campaign.


The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute makes small grants to groups doing nonviolent organizing for social change. Our next deadline for proposals is October 15, 2001. To read our grant guidelines, click here. Guidelines are also available by email or by regular mail.

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A.J. Muste Memorial Institute

339 Lafayette Street, New York, New York 10012, (212) 533-4335