Muste Notes

Volume 25, Number 1 -- Fall 2018


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Past Issues of Muste Notes

November 2018

Dear Friends:

After decades of historic protests in the nation’s capital, the U.S. Park Service claims that protest-related costs are too burdensome. Last year’s Women’s March, it said, imposed “a pretty heavy cost” on the government! Now, the Trump administration and Secretary of the Interior have proposed that protesters absorb the Park Service’s costs.

The Muste Institute sent an opposition letter on October 15 to the proposed rules that would impose steep fees on demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and require protesters to pay for park ranger wages and overtime, harm to the grass, and barricades erected at police discretion.

Additionally, new waiting periods remove the government’s obligation to promptly process or approve permits. The rules would restrict and suppress spontaneous demonstrations that respond to breaking events. Long term vigils or protest like the Occupy movement, will be banned.

These radical restrictions to free speech rights would affect all parkland under the National Park Service including the National Mall, Lafayette Park, the White House Sidewalk, Lincoln Memorial, Freedom Plaza and the sidewalks and parkland along Pennsylvania Avenue — including the sidewalk in front of the Trump Hotel.

Should this unconstitutional rule pass, you can be sure we’ll be peacefully resisting in the public streets of D.C.! To read Muste’s comments, please go to:

Heidi Boghosian

David McReyndolds (center) stands with four others burn their draft cards in front of a crowd of about 1,500. AJ Muste (right) looks on. (Photo: Neil Hayworth/WRL)David McReynolds, October 25, 1929-August 17, 2018

“David was one of the last surviving persons who worked directly with A.J. Muste. He was a brilliant and passionate individual, and we honor him for his decades of work on behalf of social justice.”  – Martha Thomases, Chairperson, A.J. Muste Institute

The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute celebrates the life of founding board member David McReynolds. Born in Los Angeles in 1929, McReynolds was raised in a conservative Baptist family. In 1953, he graduated from UCLA with a degree in political science and a hunger for social and political activism. After graduating, McReynolds worked on the editorial board for Liberation Magazine, before joining the staff of the War Resisters League in 1960. An integral part of the WRL, he worked there until his retirement in 1999.

In 1951, he joined the Socialist Party and later ran for president under the Socialist Party USA Ticket in 1980 and 2000.

On November 6, 1965, a few months after a law passed making it illegal to destroy draft cards, McReynolds, with four others, protested the Vietnam war by burning their draft cards in front of a crowd of about 1,500. In the PBS documentary series The Draft, David McReynolds spoke about the incident: “We weren’t shooting anybody. We were not breaking any windows. We were burning a card, which was being used by the government to send young men to Vietnam by the tens of thousands.”

David was also an avid photographer. His work is online at

Shortly after David was taken to the hospital, his beloved cat, Shaman, who David had a wonderful bond with an cared for deeply, passed away.

The A.J. Muste Memorial Institute remembers and honors David McReynolds and the impressive work he did throughout his life.

A memorial for David will be held on December 1, 2018 at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Click here for more information.

Actor Mike Colter and real-life anti-fascist fghter Daryl Lamont Jenkins pose with Muste board members Matt Meyer, Johanna Fernandez, Carol Kalafatic and Executive Director Heidi Boghosian

Scenes from the flm “Skin” were shot on July 13 at NYC Peace HQ at 168 Canal Street. It’s the true story of how Bryon Widner–one of the FBI’s most sought after white supremacists—falls in love and leaves the movement. Covered in racist tattoos from head to toe earned for performing hate crimes, he endures death threats and harassment from his old gang while attempting to turn his life around. With the help of the FBI and SPLC, he undergoes 25 painful tattoo removal surgeries. In exchange, he decoded those tattoos to help arrest and convict his former gang.

Ann and Ahmad Shirazi August 30 report back on their recent trip to Iran

Granny Peace Brigade member Ann Shirazi, and Ahmad Shirazi, described daily life in Iran and exploring the cities of Shiraz and Tehran. They saw parks, vibrant art, the reliable (and clean) public transportation, music and the kindness of both family members and strangers. When speaking with younger members of their family, they were surprised to learn of the success of the pro-U.S. and pro-Donald Trump propaganda.

On April 12, 2018 Medea Benjamin spoke at the Muste Institute about her new book Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran

In light of escalating U.S. antagonism toward Iran, Medea shared firsthand experiences with Iranian activists, politicians and citizens. She writes, “There is a deep longing among the Iranian people for close ties between Iran and the West, for moving beyond the divisions our governments create. In a more rational world, Iran and the United States would have full diplomatic relations. Pictured from left: Muste board member Nina Streich, Medea Benjamin, and Muste executive director Heidi Boghosian.

A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, Inc. Revenue & Expense as of 06/30/18  Revenue  Contributions and grants - $826,250 (53%) Investment income - $586,338 (37%)  Rental and other income - $151,721 (10%)  Expense Grants - $831,846 (41%) Other program services - $630,443 (31%) Management and general - $456,297 (23%) Fundraising - -$99,293 (5%)2017-18 Grants: What You Helped Support


32 grants ($34,000) in the U.S. and beyond for organizing, mobilizing, and educating in favor of immigrant rights, racial justice, worker empowerment, health care access, educational rights, nonviolent movement building, transnational solidarity, land and housing rights, and justice for Palestine; and in opposition to war and militarism, criminalization and mass incarceration, the death penalty, nuclear weapons, and economic injustice.


$17,000 to tenant groups in the Muste shared space for undocumented youth organizing, media justice, anti-war and antimilitarism education, labor solidarity, tenant advocacy, and related work.


$50,846 in support for 13 projects in the U.S. and beyond promoting feminism, self determination, human rights, international justice, and nonviolent resolution of conflicts; opposing war, militarism, imperialism, occupation, and displacement; and educating about climate change, nuclear power, and the environment

Projects A.J. Muste Funded in the Recent Grant Cycle

1. Gays Against Guns - $5,000
To subsidize two bus rides to D.C for rallies, this inclusive direct-action group of LGBTQ people and allies is committed to nonviolently breaking the gun industry’s chain of death - investors, manufacturers, the NRA and politicians who block safer gun laws.

2. Black Kids in Outer Space - $5,000
The “Space is the Place” project plans to spotlight through video, writing, photos and other forms of popular education the “ten most dangerous streets in the US” for people of African descent.

3. Southside Worker Center - $5,000
The Southside Worker Center’s “Protection Network” project will offer workshops (Cafecitos) on immigrant, worker, and undocumented individual rights, basic community organizing skills, and will teach participants to navigate the legal system from immigration detention to the bond process.

4. Garden of Peace - $3,000
This project offers a month-long artist residency specifcally for Black trans folks in a space of healing and restoration in Pittsburgh

5. Kween Culture Initiative - $4,000
The Kween Culture Initiative provides a space specifcally for Black and Brown transgender women. They are committed to creating a space dedicated to cultural enrichment and social empowerment.

6. Arriba Las Vegas - $3,000
The goal of the TPS (Temporary Protected Status) Youth Organizing Project is to support youth whose families are under attack due to the cancellation of TPS, and help them take leadership in order to impact the policies that directly affect their lives.

7. Rise & Resist, Inc. - $3,000
Rise and Resist is an agile community dedicated to direct action, using grassroots activism to create change on a wide variety of social justice issues that have arisen under the Trump administration.