was A.J. Muste?
view and print our one-page literature order form here
Series Pamphlet #1:
To our most bitter opponents we
say: We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to
endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us
what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience
obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation
as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb
our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded
perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and
leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will
wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not
only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall
win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.
(from Loving Your Enemies)
Series Pamphlet #2:
This is the heart of my argument: We can
put more pressure on the antagonist for whom we show human concern. It is precisely
solicitude for his person in combination with a stubborn interference with his
actions that can give us a very special degree of control (precisely in our acting
both with love, if you willin the sense that we respect his human rightsand
truthfulness, in the sense that we act out fully our objections to his violating
our rights). We put upon him two pressuresthe pressure of our defiance of
him and the pressure of our respect for his lifeand it happens that in combination
these two pressures are uniquely effective.
Series Pamphlet #3:
I have paid no poll-tax for six
years. I was put into a jail once on this account, for one night; and, as I stood
considering the walls of solid stone, two or three feet thick, the door of wood
and iron, a foot thick, and the iron grating which strained the light, I could
not help being struck with the foolishness of that institution which treated me
as if I were mere flesh and blood and bones, to be locked up. I wondered that
it should have concluded at length that this was the best use it could put me
to, and had never thought to avail itself of my services in some way. I saw that,
if there was a wall of stone between me and my townsmen, there was a still more
difficult one to climb or break through, before they could get to be as free as
Essay Series Pamphlet
Jessie Wallace Hughan
It always irritates me to have people use the adjective
`innocent, only as applied to women and children! But we have our part in
it too: the responsibility of cheering our boys, of selling liberty
bonds as in the Great War, of buying them, of making speeches, of pride
in those who bravely enlist, poor young lads, of contempt for those
who hold back. (from On Duelling)
Series Pamphlet #5:
The very proclaimers of America first
have long before this betrayed the fundamental principles of real Americansim,
of the kind of Americanism that Jefferson had in mind when he said that the best
government is that which governs least; the kind of America that David Thoreau
worked for when he proclaimed that the best government is the one that doesnt
govern at all; or the other truly great Americans who aimed to make of this country
a haven of refuge, who hoped that all the disinherited and oppressed people in
coming to these shores would give character, quality and meaning to the country.
(from Preparedness: the Road to Universal Slaughter)
Series Pamphlet #6:
The other day one of these lorries was drawn
by a team of buffaloes instead of horses. I had never seen the creatures close
at hand before. ... They are black, and have huge, soft eyes. The buffaloes are
war trophies from Rumania. The soldier-drivers said that it was very difficult
to catch these animals, which had always run wild, and still more difficult to
break them in to harness. ... Unsparingly exploited, yoked to heavy loads, they
are soon worked to death. The other day a lorry came laden with sacks, so overladen
indeed that the buffaloes were unable to drag it across the threshold of the gate.
The soldier-driver, a brute of a fellow, belabored the poor beasts so savagely
with the butt end of his whip that the wardress at the gate, indignant at the
sight, asked him if he had no compassion for animals. No more than anyone
has compassion for us men, he answered with an evil smile, and redoubled
his blows. ... The one that was bleeding had an expression on its black face and
in its soft black eyes like that of a weeping childone that has been severely
thrashed and does not know why, nor how to escape from the torment of ill-treatment.
... The suffering of a dearly loved brother could hardly have moved me more profoundly
than I was moved by my impotence in face of this mute agony. ... Poor wretch,
I am as powerless, as dumb, as yourself; I am at one with you in my pain, my weakness,
and my longing.
A. J. Muste
It is said that if the United
States were to stop shooting and withdraw its troops from Vietnam, the Viet Cong
would then stage a great purge of the people who we have been seeking to protecthave
pledged to protect. First of all, so far they have been getting precious little
protection from us. The Vietnamese people as human individuals have been shot
at by the French, by us, by Communists, by guerrillas for years. Maybe, if only
somebody would stop shooting at them that would be something to the good.
Essay Series Pamphlet #8:
On Wars of Liberation [OUT OF PRINT]
How can I explain the process through which Ive come? I grew up believing
that the definition of violence could be reduced to the use of guns or other direct
physical attack. I now see that the limited options for change, violent or nonviolent,
for most of the peoples of the world is directly related to the unlimited options
offered me as a North Americanin terms of health, education, food, shelter,
meaningful work, a life basically free of fear. I must come to grips with the
fact that my freedoms have not been acquired without struggle. The blood and suffering
of native peoples, slaves, immigrants, and people of other colors from around
the world have paid for our `liberty. They continue to pay, and as a Christian
I must admit that reality and work with it.
Dilling, Christian activist, in Revolutionary Violence: A Dialogue on Central America, part of the anthology pamphlet On Wars of Liberation.
Essay Series Pamphlet #9:
The collective mentality of nationsthe
mentality which reasonable adults have to adopt, when making important decisions
in the field of international politicsis that of a delinquent boy of fourteen,
at once cunning and childish, malevolent and silly, maniacally egotistical, touchy
and acquisitive, and at the same time ludicrously boastful and vain. When the
issues involved are of no great weight, the adults in control of a nations
policy are permitted, by the rules of the curious game they are playing, to behave
like adults. But as soon as important economic interests or national prestige
is involved this grown-up Jekyll retires and his place is taken by an adolescent
Hyde, whose ethical standards are those of a boy gangster and whose Weltanschauung
seems to have been formed by a study of Houston Stewart Chamberlain and the more
sanguinary comic strips.
Essay Series Pamphlet #10:
To expect disaster and desert the sinking ship is not a political act, but it is often a profoundly creative one, both personally and socially. To do it, one must have vitality of ones own that is not entirely structured and warped by the suicidal system. Going it alone may allow for new development.
Series Pamphlet #11:
Some Writings on War Tax Resistance (anthology)
When the doors opened, I continued to sit. My thoughts
were like buckshot, so scattered they didnt hit anything or, when they did,
made little dent. The robe was a huge question mark placed starkly after some
Why am I going to jail? Why
am I going to jail in a bathrobe? What does it matter in the scheme of things
whether or not you put on your clothes? Are you not making, at best, a futile
gesture, at worst, flinging yourself against something which does not exist? Is
freedom more important than justice? Of what does freedom of the human spirit
consist, that quality on which I place so much stress?
Nelson, war tax resister and nonviolent activist,
in the anthology Some
Writings on War Tax Resistance.
Series Pamphlet #12:
The mere assertion that this [the 1880s] was a decade of great industrial growth does not accurately picture the turmoil and unevenness of this development, the heartache and tribulations of the millions of immigrants and native workers who sought security in the factories and railroads being built by the robber barons.
Series Pamphlet #14:
In the geography class, we learned as children
how to bound the country in which we live. By the map we were taught to orientate
ourselves nationally. To most of us those boundary lines and coast lines still
represent the limits of our country, and we feel that we have no concern with
what lies beyond them. At any rate, we rested in that illusion until the bitter
awakening which recently overtook us. It seems now that we must forthwith go to
school again and learn about boundaries in a wholly different kind of way, namely,
that they do not represent the end of the good citizens responsibility but
also a beginning. Boundaries are contacts as well as limits. At what point do
the interests of our country meet and possibly conflict with those of other countries?
What are our real interests anyway and are they worth a war for their protection?
And are the interests in question those of the nation as a whole or merely those
of a small group of men or even of a single man? Are such clashes anyway settled
better by heat and conflict or by a reasonable adjustment?
Jeannette Rankin, Peace and the Disarmament
Conference (In Two Votes Against War and Other Writings on Peace)
Essay Series Pamphlet
Death is a given. Our own life is supremely important
to us - our only experience of consciousness - yet we must come to terms with
its inevitable end. At least for those of us who are atheists, there is no afterlife.
Part of what makes nonviolence so powerful is its respect for the unique nature
of every person. Not one of us has existed before, or will exist again. Each of
us contains a kind of private universe of experience. It is good to
live, good to experience life, good to enjoy that experience, good to rejoice
in the wonders of life. All the more urgent, if we are here but once, and briefly,
to feel entitled to experience the delights.
McReynolds, A Philosophy of Nonviolence