Labor Rights Leader and Pacifist Abraham Johannes Muste

About the labor rights leader Abraham Johannes Muste, history and biography of the pacifist.



His Person: Dutch-born minister and revolutionary who worked prominently in the American labor, civil rights, and peace movements. Sought a new kind of society rather than a change of government. Believed "one must be revolutionary before one can be a pacifist." Resigned from the pulpit because of his pacifist views during W.W. I. Advocated nonviolent resistance to striking textile workers and helped to popularize the tactic of the sit-in. Campaigned for trade unionism, racial equality, disarmament, and civil liberties. Worked to broaden the scope of American pacifism into a mass, directaction movement based on nonviolent philosophy and techniques. Encouraged conscientious objection and refusal to pay income tax. Initiated civil disobedience actions against nuclear testing and led opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Unpretentious advocate of human solidarity and self-determination for all peoples. Remembered for his lively, compassionate spirit and nonantagonistic manner. Social critic Paul Goodman called him "the most astute political analyst in America and an Authentic Great Man."

His Belief: "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."

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