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. 13, No. 4 — Summer 2006

Dear Friends
Counter-Recruitment Fund Launched
An Update on Projects Funded by the Muste Institute
Grantee Profile: Stopping the Bomb
Help Us Fix Our Building
New Grants, April 2006

For an Acrobat PDF version of the most recent edition of Muste Notes click here

Past editions of Muste Notes are here

May 31, 2006

Dear Friends,

This summer finds us busy as ever, expanding our social justice grantmaking and developing new dedicated funds to make that support go even further. At the same time, we're carrying out structural repairs on our building so we can keep 339 Lafayette Street as an indispensable movement center.

When you check out some of the projects we have funded recently, profiled in this issue, and read the accompanying letter from Rebecca Libed, I hope you will be inspired to increase your commitment to the Muste Institute. Rebecca came to us as a part-time staff member, served on our Board of Directors and now represents one of our sponsored groups. She has a unique perspective to share on the value of the Muste Institute's programs. Please join her in supporting us.

In peace,
Murray Rosenblith
Executive Director

Counter-Recruitment Fund Launched

With an initial generous gift of $50,000 from an anonymous donor, the Muste Institute has established a special fund to support counter-recruitment organizing projects around the US. Institute board chair Peter Muste has donated his time to facilitate an advisory committee of counter-recruitment activists which will make grant decisions in collaboration with the board.

The fund's first deadline is July 15. Proposals will be accepted by email using a simplified application form, which will soon be posted on our website. We encourage grassroots groups doing counter-recruitment work to apply for support, and we invite donors to become partners with us in expanding this important effort. Please help us spread the word!

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

Thousands of immigrants and immigrant rights supporters rallied in Boise, Idaho on April 9, 2006. Photo by Leo Morales, ICAN

On April 9, 2006, some 13,000 people gathered at Julia Davis park in Boise, Idaho before marching to the state capitol as part of a national day of action in support of comprehensive immigration reform. Idaho Community Action Network (ICAN) http://icanweb.net/ helped to organize the demonstration, one of hundreds held across the US on April 9 and 10. An unprecedented number of people — more than two million, according to most estimates — took part in the coordinated actions, many of them in small towns and cities like Boise where the immigrant community has grown rapidly in recent years. A Muste Institute grant of $1,000 in June 2005 helped ICAN carry out a public education campaign in southern Idaho that helped set the stage for this year's immigrant rights rallies. The campaign used posters bearing the image of the Statue of Liberty and the slogan "Immigration is an American experience. Acceptance is an American value."

The Camden 28 www.camden28.org/, a documentary film which the Muste Institute supported with a $2,000 grant in 1999, was recently completed and has hit the festival circuit to popular acclaim. It premiered this past April at the 15th annual Philadelphia Film Festival, where it won both the Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best Documentary, becoming the first film ever to win both awards in the festival's history. It also received the highest audience rating out of all the 231 films aired. The Camden 28 now heads over to New York for the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, June 8-22. The film highlights the story of 28 anti-war activists, many of them from the "Catholic left," who were arrested in 1971 for the destruction of files at a draft board in Camden, New Jersey.

At an April 1 march in Chicago, farmworkers from Immokalee, Florida, joined veterans of the movement in demanding that the McDonald's company do more to ensure improved wages and better conditions for tomato pickers supplying its restaurants. Photos by JJ Tiziou, www.jjtiziou.net.

This past March, the Student Farmworker Alliance http://www.sfalliance.org/ once again joined with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers http://www.ciw-online.org/ in a public education and protest campaign for farmworker justice. The "2006 McDonald's Truth Tour: The Real Rights Tour" hit 17 major cities throughout the South and Midwest in 10 days. It culminated in a March 31 picket at the McDonald's company's global head quarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, and a 400-person march to a McDonald's in downtown Chicago on April 1-the fifth anniversary of the launch of the successful Taco Bell boycott. At the end of the march, the Coalition announced a new aggressive public education campaign targeting McDonald's and Chipotle, a quick-service Mexican restaurant chain controlled by McDonald's. Student Farmworker Alliance got a Muste Institute grant in September 2004 for its "Boot the Bell" campus organizing campaign, which ended in a precedent-setting April 2005 agreement with Taco Bell's parent company guaranteeing fair wages and labor conditions for tomato pickers.


Grantee Profile: Stopping the Bomb

One thousand people marched to the gates of the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab in California on August 6, 2005, marking the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Photo by Bob Fitch

Fifteen hundred people gathered to say YES! to peace and NO! to nuclear weapons at the Y12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on August 5, 2005. The hydra-dragon answered the question: "Who profits from death?" at the puppet drama during the peace rally. Photo by Ralph Hutchison

The Muste Institute made two grants in April 2005 for events protesting nuclear weapons last August 6-9, the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One grant of $1,000 went to Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) www.stopthebombs.org/ to mobilize for a demonstration at the Y12 plant in Tennessee; a $1,500 grant went to Tri-Valley Cares www.trivalleycares.org/ for a rally and educational campaign at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The two organizations coordinated their events nationally with groups protesting at the Nevada Test Site and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. (The Los Alamos action was led by Peace Action New Mexico www.peace-actionnm.org/, which received grants from the Muste Institute for similar actions in 2000 and 2002.)

Fifteen hundred people gathered to say YES! to peace and NO! to nuclear weapons at the Y12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on August 5, 2005. The hydra-dragon answered the question: "Who profits from death?" at the puppet drama during the peace rally. Photo by Ralph Hutchison

In the weeks and months leading up to the actions, OREPA volunteers made more than 200 presentations in 18 states, educating people about the dangers of nuclear weapons and encouraging them to get involved. OREPA also co-sponsored a peace pilgrimage from Oak Ridge, Tennessee to the United Nations in New York, sponsored an Interfaith Convocation on the Global Nuclear Crisis the weekend before Hiroshima Day, and held a week-long workshop to build puppets for the demonstrations. The August 6 march and rally at the Y12 plant drew more than 1,500 people, including special guest Nakanishi Eiji, who survived the Hiroshima bombing at age three and is now a journalist in Japan. The local press gave positive coverage to what organizers said was the largest peace protest in East Tennessee history. One thousand people marched to the gates of the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab in California on August 6, 2005, marking the 60th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Using connections made in last year's organizing, OREPA is now building for its 2006 commemoration, starting with a march and rally on Saturday, August 5, at the Y12 plant, which produced the enriched uranium for the Hiroshima bomb. The next day, August 6, will see a Hiroshima day "Remembrance and Hope" event at Y12, and the events will end on August 9-the day the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki-with a Peace Lantern Ceremony in Knoxville. In December, the Department of Energy announced plans for a new $2 billion bomb plant in Oak Ridge.

At the Livermore lab in California, Tri-Valley CAREs organized an August 6 rally last year that drew about 1,000 people. Over the preceding three months, organizers carried out a local door to-door campaign to inform residents of housing developments and low-income apartments about the upcoming protests and the dangers of the lab's activities. Tri-Valley CAREs produced bilingual literature, leafleted weekly at community events, and collected hundreds of letters asking Cgress to cut funds for nuclear weapons programs. Tri-Valley CAREs convened last year's August 6 national planning committee, and is now working in coalition on this year's planned actions: on August 6 at the Livermore lab and August 9 at Bechtel corporation.

Art by Jeanne Strole

Help Us Fix Our Building!

This summer, the Muste Institute must repair and reinforce several large sections of the facade of our "Peace Pentagon," and rebuild bulkheads above our stairwells. We expect this work to cost between $50,000 and $100,000. For over thirty years, our building at 339 Lafayette Street has served as a vital headquarters for peace and social justice in New York City, providing affordable office and meeting space for dozens of movement groups. We urgently need your help to pay for these essential repairs. If you value all the important organizing that happens here, please help us keep this building going strong by sending your generous contribution check to the Muste Institute today, or by donating online at: www.justgive.org/giving/donate.jsp?charityId=4046& We appreciate your support!

New Grants, April 2006

Bil'in, Palestine: $2,000
This grant goes to efforts by residents of the village of Bil'in, Ramallah district, in the West Bank of Palestine, to resist the Israeli government's construction of a "separation barrier" (the wall) through village lands, and the resulting expansion of illegal Israeli settlements. From the beginning, the village committee resolved to confront the situation nonviolently, even in the face of violence and provocations; to welcome Israeli and international supporters; and to use the media to create political pressure on the Israeli government.

Berkeley, CA: $2,000
Desiree Alliance was formed in 2005 to promote social justice, gender equity and labor rights for workers in the sex industry. This grant goes toward the participation of immigrant, transgendered and people of color sex workers at the "Re-visioning Prostitution Policy: Creating Space for Sex Worker Rights and Challenging Criminalization Conference" scheduled to take place July 9-12, 2006, in Las Vegas, Nevada. www.desireealliance.org/

Norfolk, UK: $1,718
This group was established to carry out a year-long peaceful blockade of the Trident nuclear weapons base at Faslane in Scotland, in order to apply critical public pressure for the disarmament of Britain's nuclear weapons. Groups from throughout the U.K. and beyond are invited to come and nonviolently shut down the base for at least one 48-hour period each during the year. This grant goes for the action's public launch event, in October of 2006. www.faslane365.org/

Olympia, WA: $2,000
Know All You Can Know began in 2004 as an action team under the umbrella of Veterans for Peace, Rachel Corrie Chapter 109. This grant goes for the Know All You Can Know Summer Camp, scheduled for late August 2006 in Olympia, building the organizing skills of young activists to educate, inform and mobilize people around the realities of military recruitment and military service, and civilian alternatives. http://criticalconcern.com/optout/

Roxbury, MA: $2,000
Project HIP-HOP (Highways Into the Past-History, Organizing & Power) is a youth-led organization that uses hip hop culture and popular education to engage and develop young people as organizers. This grant goes for expansion of an "Opt-Out" campaign to counter military recruitment among Boston public high school students. Project HIP-HOP helped more than 5,000 students protect their privacy from military recruiters in 2004 and 2005, and hopes to help another 5,000 students opt out by the end of September 2006. www.projecthiphop.org/

Washington, DC: $2,000
Since 1994, STITCH has worked to build solidarity between women unionists and activists in the US and Central America. This grant goes for leadership development trainings as part of the Women, Labor and Leadership Curriculum Project, supporting efforts by women workers in Central America to build skills and strategies for organizing. www.stitchonline.org/

Washington, DC: $1,500
Voices on the Border has worked in solidarity with the Salvadoran people since 1987. This grant goes for a film project in which youths in El Salvador's Lower Lempa region will attempt to contribute to their communities' historical memory by recording residents' experiences of combat, exile, loss and survival during the country's armed conflict. www.votb.org/

The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute makes small grants to groups engaged in nonviolent education and action for social change. Our next deadline for proposals is October 20, 2006. Guidelines are on our website at www.ajmuste.org/guidelin.htm.