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Muste Notes Summer 2010Muste Notes
Vol. 17, No. 4 — Summer 2010

Dear Friends
No Nukes! No War!
Teaching Rebellion, from Oaxaca to Wisconsin
Howard Zinn: 1922-2010
Social Justice Fund Grants, June 2010
Counter Recruitment Grants, April 2010
Adalys Travel Grants, February and April 2010

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July 12, 2010

Dear Friends,

There is much to be excited about in the global movement for nonviolent social change. In the enclosed letter, you can see the results of your generous contributions to the Muste Institute.

Thanks to your support, we have exceeded our fundraising expectations. But the grassroots peace and justice movement keeps expanding, and our resources aren’t enough to meet the needs. We received 100 applications for the June cycle of our Social Justice Fund!

People of all ages and backgrounds are out there organizing, mobilizing, and educating to build a better future. With your help, this movement can continue to make real gains.

Please give generously. And please help us spread the word about the Muste Institute by passing this newsletter on to your friends, colleagues, and family members, or posting it at your local library.

Jane Guskin and Jeanne Strole

P.S. We are deeply grateful to Melissa Jameson for her thoughtful, dedicated service to the Muste Institute since 2003. Melissa stepped down from the Board in June; she had been on leave since late 2008.

No Nukes! No War!

Photo by Kimber Heinz

Photo by Kimber Heinz

Peace activists gathered in New York City in early May 2010 to send a strong message for nuclear disarmament to the United Nations conference on the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty. On May 2, thousands of people—including a 1,000-strong delegation from Japan—marched from Times Square to the U.N. Our friends from the War Resisters League (WRL) were out in force, calling for "No Nukes—Start with U.S."

At right: Tejaswini Madabhushi of WRL holds a sign that reads: "No excuse for even one nuclear weapon," while Elbina Mathews peers through the eye of a skull representing Russia. Demonstrators carried skulls named for all the countries that have nuclear weapons--including, obviously, the United States. "The march was phenomenal," remarked Tejaswini, "with so many young and really old from various countries, voicing their dream of a nuclear free world." On May 3, WRL members staged a "die-in" action at Grand Central Station; 22 people were arrested. A video of both actions can be viewed on the War Resisters League blog site at warresisters.wordpress.com

Photo by NLN / Bud Korotzer

Photo by NLN / Bud Korotzer

At left: Molly Klopot (right) and Phyllis Cunningham from the Granny Peace Brigade and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)- NY Metro let the world know they won’t stay quiet about nuclear weapons—or any other injustice. The New York grannies had a strong presence at the May 2 march. WILPF NY Metro is a Muste Institute tenant group, and the grannies often meet and plan actions in the building.


Teaching Rebellion, from Oaxaca to Wisconsin
by Rachel Wallis

In October 2008, with support from a Muste Institute grant, CASA Collectives of Support, Solidarity and Action began a two-month organizing tour across 15 states using the book Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca. The goal of the tour was to engage with U.S. audiences around the grassroots mobilization that took place in Oaxaca in 2006, to share the stories of how people across social groups joined together to fight against a corrupt and brutal government and in support of worker rights. Our hope was that by sharing the voices and experiences of Oaxacans fighting for human rights in their own communities, we could engage in a dialogue about cross-movement organizing, direct democracy, and human rights in the U.S. as well. In addition to sharing the testimonies from the book, the tour also featured an exhibit of photography documenting the movement.

From left to right: Gustavo Vilchis, Rachel Wallis, and Simón Sedillo are interviewed on WORT, a community radio station in Madison, Wisconsin. Simón’s 2005 documentary film El Enemigo Común (The Common Enemy) documented paramilitary activity against indigenous communities in Oaxaca—see elenemigocomun.net. Photo by Martin Alvarado.

The tour began on October 10 in Los Angeles with CASA board member Melissa Mundt and photographer and human rights activist Gustavo Vilchis. Gustavo and Melissa traveled through eight cities in California, Oregon and Washington, speaking to groups of activists, students and indigenous groups. Highlights included meeting with activists from the Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales, a binational group of indigenous Mexicans, many of whom are originally from Oaxaca; and a presentation at the University of Washington Law School.

Gustavo then flew to Minneapolis, where CASA board member Rachel Wallis took over interpretation and coordination. Gustavo and Rachel traveled through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, speaking to university audiences, immigrant groups and community organizations about grassroots organizing in Oaxaca. Highlights included meetings in Madison, Wisconsin with members of the Mexican-American student group MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán); presentations with the parents of New York activist journalist Brad Will, who was murdered in 2006 while covering the Oaxaca rebellion; and a photography workshop with an immigrant women’s domestic violence support group.

CASA activists Gustavo Vilchis and Rachel Wallis present to a class at Eastern Michigan University. Photo by Richard Stahler-Sholk.

While the Midwest leg of the tour was wrapping up, an East Coast tour was beginning with Sylvia Hernandez, a former political prisoner and Oaxacan activist, and former CASA Coordinator Chris Thomas. The two traveled from Vermont to Virginia, speaking to community bookstores, immigrant organizations, student groups and more. Highlights included a meeting with the Olneyville Neighborhood Association in Providence, Rhode Island (a Muste Institute grantee); and events with People United, an immigrant organizing project in Harrisburg, Virginia.

This tour was organized on a shoestring budget. We made use of the hospitality of our hosts, our friends and our families, and borrowed cars whenever possible to save on travel expenses. Thanks to the support of the Muste Institute, we were able to devote at least half of the tour dates to community and grassroots organizations who couldn’t afford to pay an honorarium or travel expenses. During tour events, we also raised more than $900 to support the families of political prisoners in Oaxaca. We have continued to build on the relationships begun with the speaking tour, most recently mobilizing in response to the assassination of two human rights activists in rural Oaxaca in April 2010.

You can get more information about CASA’s work at casacollective.org . Photos, videos and blog entries about the tour can be found at teachingrebellion.wordpress.com.

Howard Zinn: 1922-2010

"I do believe [...] change can occur but it will not happen 'one day' or in one cataclysmic moment. It will happen over time as people, little by little, take over the institutions of society—the economy, the universities, the neighborhoods—and run them democratically. [...] I don't reject the idea of revolution, but I reject the idea of armed struggle, or a military action to achieve it. The revolution must be democratic in means as well as in ends, and this requires building mass support for change by long, persistent struggle." —Howard Zinn (interview by Paul Glavin and Chuck Morse published in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, Spring 2003.)

Howard Zinn—activist, teacher, historian and longtime Muste Institute supporter—died on January 27, 2010 at age 87. Roslyn Zinn, his wife, died in May 2008. In this photo, Howard is arrested at a May 1971 protest in Boston against the Vietnam war. The image was used in Howard Zinn: You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train, a documentary by Deb Ellis and Denis Mueller which the Muste Institute supported with a grant in December 2002.

Social Justice Fund Grants, June 2010

The Social Justice Fund makes grants for grassroots activist projects in the U.S. and around the world. The next deadline is September 24, 2010. Guidelines are at ajmuste.org/guidelin.htm. If supporting social justice activism is important to you, please donate now to help us expand this important grantmaking program.

Activists from Think Outside the Bomb march in the international nuclear non-proliferation demonstration on May 2 in New York City. Photo by NLN / Bud Korotzer.

Lauderhill, FL: $1,250
Formed in July 2008, ATIC addresses the reality that half of Florida's more than 100,000 incarcerated residents are jailed for nonviolent, victimless third degree felonies. Our grant goes for the Community Organizing and Awareness Project, building public support for reassessing nonviolent crimes, limiting mandatory sentencing and encouraging alternatives such as diversion programs.

Austin, TX: $1,250
The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition is a membership-based coalition of immigrants, allies and organizations promoting human rights, dignity and social and economic justice for immigrants. The Coalition formed in the spring of 2006 as immigrants were mobilizing across the U.S. in response to repressive national legislation. This grant goes for the Human Rights Promoter Project, training immigrant leaders to organize in defense of their rights under the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to educate others through the creation of human rights committees.

Hartford, CT: $1,000
Since 1986, this network has been mobilizing grassroots community-based activists to educate and organize the Connecticut public in opposition to capital punishment. This grant goes for the "Voices of Experience Tour," in which family members affected by violent crime speak out about their opposition to the death penalty in public events and through the media.

Albuquerque, NM: $1,250
MASE is a coalition of community-based organizations from communities adversely impacted by uranium mining. In a region that produced almost half of the uranium used by the U.S. from 1948 to 1988, many former mine workers are still sick, and communities are devastated by contaminated air, water and soil. This grant goes for the Mount Taylor Sacred Sites Prayer Run, an action to unite and reinvigorate people who have been working to stop new uranium mining in the region, and let the mining companies know that these communities will not allow uranium mining to resume.

Albuquerque, NM: $1,250
Think Outside the Bomb started in 2005 as a project of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Youth Empowerment program, and became an autonomous youth collective in 2009. This grant goes for the Disarmament Summer project: a cross-cultural alliance of youth working in partnership with indigenous communities in New Mexico to build a grassroots, consensus-based, nonviolent direct action movement. Their goals: stop the expansion of the nuclear weapons industry and achieve healthcare and environmental justice for communities directly affected by the nuclear industry.

Counter Recruitment Grants, April 2010

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 11, 2010. Guidelines are on our website at www.ajmuste.org/counter-recruit.htm.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (National Office), New York, NY: $1,500 for regional counter-recruitment networking in Chicago and Albuquerque; and "truth in recruiting" efforts, especially with Native American and low-income youth. http://www.ivaw.org

High Rocks Educational Corporation, Hillsboro, WV: $750 for a vocational and leadership development project targeting 60 female and at-risk students. http://www.highrocks.org

Northwest Suburban Peace & Education Project, Chicago, IL: $1,000 for an "alternatives to military enlistment" career fair. www.nwsubpep.org

Adalys Travel Grants, February and April 2010

The Adalys Vázquez Solidarity Travel Fund enables grassroots social movements from Latin America, the Caribbean and indigenous territories throughout the hemisphere to expand their presence at regional gatherings in order to share experiences and coordinate strategies.The next deadlines are August 1 and October 1, 2010. Guidelines are on our website in English at ajmuste.org/novaintro-eng.html and in Spanish at ajmuste.org/novaintro.html.

June 22, 2010: Stella Maris "Cacha" Cena, right, from Tandil, Argentina, takes part in the opening march of the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit. At left is Andrea Oliva, a union activist from Tandil who joined Cacha on the trip. In the middle is Mary Bricker-Jenkins, a longtime U.S. activist working on poverty issues, who helped host the two women. Photo courtesy of Andrea Oliva.

Asociación Civil de Corazón Tandilense , Tandil, Argentina: $1,422.40 in April for Stella Maris “Cacha” Cena of this organization addressing poverty issues to participate in the United States Social Forum held June 22-26 in Detroit, Michigan. Cacha flew to New York City--her first time on a plane--and traveled to Detroit on a bus caravan with activists from Community Voices Heard, joining up along the way with community activists and farmworkers in Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio.

Asociación Multiétnica de Mujeres Xna Ixim, San Pedro Carchá, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala: $700 in February for Mayan activists Ericka Gabriela Caal Chen and Sandra Eugenia Aguilar of this multi-ethnic women’s association to participate in the Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos sobre el Cambio Climático y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra (World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth), held April 19-22, 2010, in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Centro de Formación de Misioneras Indígenas, Ibarra, Imbabura, Ecuador: $700 in February for Olga Carlosama Pupiales to participate in the Congreso de Teología por Mons. Romero y Asamblea Mundial SICSAL (Mons. Romero Theology Congress and SICSAL World Assembly) held March 16-26 in San Salvador, El Salvador.

Centro de Investigación y Formación de Movimientos Sociales Latinoamericanos, Buenos Aires, Argentina: $700 in February toward expenses of a solidarity delegation from Argentina to Honduras March 5-15 (including an International Women’s Day action on March 8), with the goal of building support for the struggles of the women’s movement and other social movements resisting militarism and the de facto regime in Honduras. www.cifmsl.org

Colectivo de Coordinación de Acciones Socio Ambientales (Colectivo CASA, Coordinating Collective of Socio-Environmental Actions), Oruro, Bolivia: $724.06 in April for rural organizers Guadalupe Fernández Gonzáles of the Sub Central de Campesinos Acre Antequera and Carolina Ayala of the Central Provincial de Trabajadores Campesinos de la Provincia Saucarí to participate in the Seminario Internacional Asunción TRans Antimili (International Seminar Asunción Trans Antimilitarism), held May 8-16, 2009 in Asunción, Paraguay. This and three other grants (see below) to groups attending this gathering were supported in part by a gift to the Adalys Fund from War Resisters International.

Grupo de Objeción de Conciencia del Ecuador (GOCE), Quito, Ecuador: $818.88 in April for Juan Carlos Obando Pazmiño to represent GOCE, the Conscientious Objection Group of Ecuador, at the Seminario Internacional Asuncion TRans Antimili held May 8-16 in Asunción, Paraguay.

March 8, 2010: Members of the World March of Women (Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres) from Peru’s northern region celebrate women’s day with a batukada drum procession through the streets of Lambayeque, Peru. Photo by Rafael Burga.

Marcha Mundial de las Mujeres Macroregion Norte Perú, Piura, Peru: $1,000 in February for Rosa Elvira Rivero Reyes and María Suluco to participate in the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held April 19-22 in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Organización Sociedad Civil Las Abejas, Chenalhó, Chiapas, Mexico: $700 in February for a group of Tzotzil indigenous people from this radical nonviolence community (45 of whose members were killed in a December 1997 paramilitary massacre) to travel to El Salvador for a March 21-26 gathering, “Promoting Community Reconciliation Processes Starting with the Victims,” hosted by CRIPDES Community Development Association. acteal.blogspot.com

Periódico El Libertario, Caracas, Venezuela: $756.82 in April for Lexys Elena Rendón Limongi from this newspaper supporting autonomous social movements to participate in the Seminario Internacional Asuncion TRans Antimili held May 8-16 in Asunción, Paraguay. www.nodo50.org/ellibertario

Pobladores A.C., Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico: $700 in February for Aurora Castillo Reyes to participate in the Foro Urbano Mundial Alternativo (Alternative World Urban Forum) held March 20-26 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Red Juvenil de Medellín, Medellín, Colombia: $894.30 in April for Sandra Miledi Isaza Giraldo to represent the Medellín Youth Network at the Seminario Internacional Asuncion TRans Antimili held May 8-16 in Asunción, Paraguay. www.redjuvenil.org

Total: 11 grants, $9,116.46