December 21, 2011

Muste wins

Filed under: Uncategorized — carrite @ 12:09 pm

Wednesday midday.

Well, a second biography of A.J. Muste rolled in yesterday, so that’s where I’ve decided to turn attention. I identified and wiped out a “howler” last night, a contention long standing in the existing article (unfootnoted) that Muste gave an anti-War sermon on Sunday that inspired his congregation to hold an impromptu meeting afterwards which summarily fired him and expelled from his parsonage.

It doesn’t seem that there is anything at all to this melodramatic tale. Muste himself is quoted as saying he resigned his position in December 1917 after having taken a 2 month vacation during the summer. No doubt he was under substantial pressure due to his pacifist views, but there’s nothing at all, it would seem, on the “mob with pitchforks abruptly throwing him onto the street” scenario.

Nat Hentoff’s bio is the pioneering work, JoAnn Oooiman Robinson’s the later, more detailed and scholarly study, fully endorsed by Hentoff on the dj flap. Together they will flesh out the Wikipedia bio nicely.

Muste is an interesting character in the Great American Drama. The closest parallel is to his friend Norman Thomas. Both were clerics and pacifists who turned to movement politics. Muste left radical politics to dedicate himself to pacifism full time in 1936, Thomas remained entrenched in the declining Socialist Party of America. They’re both very close figures though, in terms of their political trajectory.

Anyway, I’ve squirreled around with AfD and internal WP drama too much already today, time to get back to work.

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Books Received:

Nat Hentoff, Peace Agitator: The Story of A.J. Muste. Macmillan, 1963.

Gary Edward Holcomb, Claude McKay, Code Name Sasha: Queer Black Marxism and the Harlem Renaissance. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.

Edward Kellogg, Labor and Other Capital [1849]. Kelley, 1971

William Pencak, For God and Country: The American Legion, 1919-1941. Northeastern UP, 1989.

Daniela Spenser, Stumbling Its Way Through Mexico: The Early Years of the Communist International [2009]. University of Alabama Press, 2011.


1 Comment »

  1. “Muste wins carrite” was indeed definitely
    entertaining and informative! In the present day
    world that’s difficult to accomplish. Thanks, Judson

    Comment by — February 10, 2013 @ 11:47 am | Reply

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