Cornerstones of Nonviolence, The AJ Muste Institute Pamphlet Series

The Institute publishes a pamphlet series comprised of historical and contemporary essays on issues of social change. Covering, among other topics, nonviolent resistance and national defense, liberation struggles, racism, sexism, and labor organizing, they place 19th century thinkers next to present day activists. They demonstrate that the threads linking radical pacifist philosophy through the ages are strong and durable. These pamphlets are distributed to activist groups, schools and colleges, and individuals for classes, discussion groups and public events.

Available Titles:

  • #1: Martin Luther King, Jr.—America’s leading apostle of human dignity—“Loving Your Enemies”; “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”; “Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam” [For Spanish version, see #13, below]

  • #2: Barbara Deming—the feminist connection to nonviolence—“On Revolution and Equilibrium”

  • #3: Henry David Thoreau—the original architect of resistance—On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

  • #4: Jessie Wallace Hughan—suffragist, peace activist, founder of the War Resisters League—Pacifism and Invasion; On Duelling

  • #5: Emma Goldman—fiery orator, anarchist, agitator for peace and liberation—Preparedness: The Road to Universal Slaughter; The Individual, Society and the State

  • #6: Rosa Luxemburg—courageous leader of Germany’s democratic socialist movement—Prison Letters

  • #7: A. J. Muste—foremost Twentieth Centry pacifist theoretician and activist, minister, socialist—Who Has the Spiritual Atom Bomb?

  • #8: On Wars of Liberation [OUT OF PRINT]—three essays on pacifist responses to armed freedom struggles, including analysis of Gandhi’s position

  • #9: Aldous Huxley [OUT OF PRINT] —Twentieth Century visionary and prolific writer—Science, Liberty and Peace

  • #10: Paul Goodman—pacifist, anarchist, activist—The Morality of Scientific Technology; The Psychology of Being Powerless

  • #11: Some Writings on War Tax Resistance—thoughts, poems, tales from resisters, including Juanita Nelson, Allen Ginsberg and Pete Seeger

  • #12: Sidney Lens—peace and labor activist, socialist, occasional political candidate—six articles spanning three decades on the state of the U.S. labor movement

  • #13 (Spanish): Martin Luther King, Jr.—“La Fuerza de Amar”;"Carta desde la Carcel de Birmingham"; y Declaración de Independencia de la Guerra en Vietnam (Spanish language translations of "Loving Your Enemies," "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and "Declaration of Independence from the War in Vietnam" ) [información en español] [link]

  • #14: Jeannette Rankin—first woman in Congress, suffragist, pacifist—“Two Votes Against War” and Other Writings on Peace

  • #15: David McReynolds—longtime anti-war activist, War Resisters League staffer and Socialist Party presidential candidate—“A Philosophy of Nonviolence” 


Panfleto No. 13: Tres Ensayos por Martin Luther King, Jr.-"Amad a Vuestros Enemigos", un sermón que fue pronunciado por King en la iglesia bautista de la avenida Dexter en Montgomery, Alabama, en la Navidad de 1957, después de haber estado encarcelado por haber cometido actos de desobediencia civil no-violenta durante una campaña que denunciaba la segregación racial en los autobuses de Montgomery; "Carta desde la Cárcel de Birmingham", escrito por King cuando estaba otra vez encarcelado por manifestarse en contra de la segregación racial, esta vez en Birmingham, Alabama; y "Declaración de Independencia de la Guerra en Vietnam", el famoso discurso anti-guerra, pronunciado por King en la iglesia de Riverside, en Nueva York, un año antes de su asesinato.

Precios: 20 copias o menos: $2.00 c/u; más de 20: $1.40 c/u (pagable en dólares de EE.UU.). Librerías y organizaciones pueden pagar a plazo de 60 días. Por favor decirnos como enviar su orden (lo más rápido, lo más barato, etc.). No aceptamos devoluciones. Para hacer una orden o para más información, escriba (en español o inglés) al Instituto Conmemorativo A. J. Muste, 168 Canal St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10013, USA; email [email protected]; o llame al (212) 533-4335 en inglés L-V 9am-5pm, o en español L, Mi, V 10am-3pm EST (hora de Nueva York) 

The Essays of A.J. Muste

Edited by Nat Hentoff,
new preface by
Jo Ann O. Robinson
2002. 515 pages.
$20 softcover

The Institute has released a new edition of The Essays of A.J. Muste, first published in 1967. The twenty-eight essays in this nearly 600-page volume are presented as written during the many decades of A.J. Muste’s activism. “Sketches for an Autobiography” eloquently describes his life as a radical pacifist, political organizer, minister and pragmatic philosopher. There are entertaining and historically important accounts of his work with other civil rights, antiwar, and labor leaders and of his international travels to promote peace. The essays paint a clear picture of how Mr. Muste and the pacifist left became the “glue” that held so many, often disparate, factions together during many era’s of progressive organizing in the United States. His political analyses make an excellent foundation for both studying and building effective movements for peace and social justice.

On the current edition:
Muste did not write to be studied in the abstract. The Essays call to the conscience of each reader to engage in ‘responsible living . . . being engaged in the struggle against injustice and tyranny’ as he expressed in his ‘Sketches for an Autobiography.’ When Muste died, the notice read: ‘in lieu of flowers, friends are requested to get out and work-for peace, human rights, for a better world.’ This reissue of his Essays is a fitting way to renew that request.” - Jo Ann Ooiman Robinson, from her Preface

On the first edition:
A.J. Muste stands out in our time, and I believe that he will stand out in history, as a great leader of a pacifism which is anything but passive. He is a man who believes that real victories for peace and social justice must, and can, be won by nonviolent means. This book . . . vividly illustrates the change and growth in thought of a man whose steadfastness of purpose and dedication to his fellow men were constant.” - Norman Thomas

Historians of the future who want to know what it meant to live with integrity in the twentieth-century era of wars and revolutions will very likely begin with the life of A.J. Muste. He has confronted the violence which threatens to destroy us with the whole of his life. I am one of the many who has learned from him the virtues of grace under pressure, and how to bring to bear wit and compassion simultaneously.” - Staughton Lynd

Peace Agitator

The Story of A.J. Muste by Nat Hentoff. An activist writer chronicles the 'grandfather' of the current U.S. peace movement-minister, labor activist, pacifist and resister, who left us with a legacy of nonviolent direct action. This edition contains many photographs and an introduction by Larry Gara, a leading historian of the nonviolent movement.

By Nat Hentoff
Introduction by Larry Gara
1982. 269 pages.
$5 softcover

Ordering Literature: view and print our one-page literature order form here

Pamphlets are $2.00 each, or $1.40 each if you are ordering 20 or more. The Essays of A.J. Muste is $20 per book, or $12 per book if you are ordering five or more copies. Peace Agitator is $5 per book, or $3.90 per book if you are ordering five or more copies.

For prepaid orders, please add 15% of the total order amount to cover book rate (media mail) postage. For priority mail shipping, add 15% of the total order amount plus an additional $2.00 for up to 20 pamphlets and an additional $2.00 per book. Make your check or money order out to A. J. Muste Memorial Institute and mail to A. J. Muste Memorial Institute, 168 Canal Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10013.

Bookstores and organizations may order by phone, mail or email (email is preferred) and will be billed for the total plus actual shipping costs. Terms are net 30 days. Prices are $1.40 per Essay Series pamphlet (for 20 or more), $3.90 per book for Peace Agitator, and $12 per book for The Essays of A.J. Muste. Minimum order for Essay Series is 10 pamphlets. No overstock returns are accepted. Damages can be returned for replacement only.

To place your order, contact us at:
A. J. Muste Memorial Institute
168 Canal Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10013
tel (212) 533-4335
email [email protected]


Essay Series Pamphlet #1:
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“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”)

Essay Series Pamphlet #2:
Barbara Deming

“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 will—in the sense that we respect his human rights—and truthfulness, in the sense that we act out fully our objections to his violating our rights). We put upon him two pressures—the pressure of our defiance of him and the pressure of our respect for his life—and it happens that in combination these two pressures are uniquely effective.”

Essay Series Pamphlet #3:
Henry David Thoreau

“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 I was.”

Essay Series Pamphlet #4:
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”)

Essay Series Pamphlet #5:
Emma Goldman

“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 doesn’t 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”)

Essay Series Pamphlet #6:
Rosa Luxemburg

“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 child—one 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.”

Essay Series Pamphlet #7:
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 protect—have 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
(Anthology). “How can I explain the process through which I’ve 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 American—in 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.”

—Yvonne Dilling, Christian activist, in “Revolutionary Violence: A Dialogue on Central America,” part of the anthology pamphlet “On Wars of Liberation.”

Essay Series Pamphlet #9:
Aldous Huxley

“The collective mentality of nations—the mentality which reasonable adults have to adopt, when making important decisions in the field of international politics—is 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 nation’s 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:
Paul Goodman

“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 one’s own that is not entirely structured and warped by the suicidal system. Going it alone may allow for new development.”

Essay Series Pamphlet #11:
Some Writings on War Tax Resistance
“When the doors opened, I continued to sit. My thoughts were like buckshot, so scattered they didn’t hit anything or, when they did, made little dent. The robe was a huge question mark placed starkly after some vexing problems.

“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?”

—Juanita Nelson, war tax resister and nonviolent activist, in the anthology “Some Writings on War Tax Resistance.”

Essay Series Pamphlet #12:
Sidney Lens

“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.’”

Essay Series Pamphlet #14:
Jeannette Rankin

“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 citizen’s 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 #15:
David McReynolds

“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.” - David McReynolds, A Philosophy of Nonviolence