Sunday, April 17, 2005

Benjamin Ricketson Tucker (4/17/1854-6/22/1939)

Following the military defeat of the Southern Jeffersonians in the Civil War and the war reparations placed upon their property and livelihood, the American political world was left to the Hamiltonians for a generation. There were few options left. Jeffersonians in the North were tagged as Copperheads and rebel sympathizers. Southern Jeffersonians were disenfranchised in more ways than one. Tariff increases initiated by the Republican Party sent long-time Jeffersonian strongholds into bankruptcy. Many would later attempt to rebuild the lost economy of the South with the few scraps left by the carpetbaggers of the North; others left for the West in the hopes of finding better opportunities. The power gained by the Republicans was to give political control of the South and most of the other states within the Union to the G.O.P. With this free hand, there was little opposition to the special grants and privileges which were sought by their supporters and interests.

The next political battle the Jeffersonians were to undertake was much later against the Tariff. This effort energized a new generation of Jeffersonians. Tariffs, by the late 1870's not only eliminated the federal debt but filled the coffers of the federal government with a surplus unheard of by any of the previous administrations. Indeed, it was an embarrassing surplus with little reason to exist. There were interest groups fighting over control of this surplus, including railroad interests, Northern banking interests and ex-soldiers and soldier wives' pension demands.

Much of the later American designs in the Pacific and elsewhere were a consequence of this surplus as Republicans fought to gain additional territory through military occupation and continued increasing control over lands reserved for Indians. Imperial designs were made upon Spanish claims.

As the Republicans understood, tariffs are a natural income for a nationalist state. It places control at the border as to what products may or may not enter. It is only a national state dominated by special interests which inherently benefits from these taxes. What is the proper revenue for local needs and focuses on benefits accrued from individuals within states and local jurisdictions for a republican state allied with other republican states in a federal system? Of necessity, it must be a form which, if not a voluntary payment, is of a nature which is controlled by the polity closest to the individual, wherein choices are made on the smallest level possible. Tariffs were certainly not the answer

The growing Free Trade Movement sought an end to the tariffs and corruption in state and federal governments by every means available to them, leading to several outcomes. The first and most important was the rise of the Democratic Party with Grover Cleveland at its helm. The next most important were the rise of the "Mugwumps" within the Republican party. For many Jeffersonian radicals, neither went far enough or sufficiently effective in their efforts and looked for alternatives.

The first major movement of the radical Jeffersonians evolved from the insights of a young journalist and firebrand, Henry George. With the publication of Progress and Poverty, as well as number of other books, pamphlets, essays and articles, a new movement arose with ideas for a dynamic capitalist free society, the single tax movement. The idea of limiting all government to a single tax based upon land value was debated across dinner tables and lecture halls throughout the country. It would preserve the Jeffersonian ideal by its primary emphasis upon providing income for cities and local communities (as land taxes have always done) and little for the higher levels (state and federal) save for what would accrue for a frugal government willing to provide for state and national concerns. This paleolibertarian notion was the direction of political activism for radical libertarians for generations.

Following the Civil War came a growing preoccupation with public corruption, beginning to overshadow concerns among reformers with Reconstruction itself. Their enthusiasm for the Republican party began to evaporate during Grant's administration. Tucker described his only sojourn into politics in The Life of Benjamin Tucker, Disclosed by Himself, In the Principality of Monaco, At the Age of 74:

"Four years of Grant and corruption had disgusted me with the Republican party, and the chance of seeing an honest man in the White House in the person of Horace Greeley, whom I had so long admired, made me eager for the fray. In Theodore Tilton's …establishment of his new paper, The Golden Age, I found an immediate opportunity for participation, as Tilton, in his youth a Tribune reporter under Greeley, had espoused the cause of his old employer, and was devoting both pen and tongue to his election. …I had still a few weeks in New Bedford, and it occurred to me that a part of that time might well be devoted to a canvass for subscriptions to The Golden Age. Less than a week's work in the city resulted in a list of respectable propositions, -- about thirty names, I believe, -- and without previous consultation with the management of the paper, I dispatched both the addresses and the money…, they rose promptly to the occasion. Straightway came a letter … urgently inviting me to take the agency for the entire State of Massachusetts. My refusal [was] based on the ground that I was soon to accompany my parents to Vermont…However, even in hopelessly Republican Vermont, I had one opportunity, while at Bellows Fall, to lift my feeble voice in the good cause..."

The stagnation of party politics in the mire of narrow partisanship and repeated scandals during the "Great Barbecue" of the Gilded Age cleared the way. The abolitionist, freethinker and father of the mutual insurance industry, Elizur Wright, spoke to black voters in the 1872 election that the Party of Lincoln had only freed the slaves as a wartime "expedient…It is you[r] obvious policy not to wed yourselves for better or worse to either party…but to go for that which best deserves and most needs your help…The great question now before the Republican party, and all the rest of us is whether after our bloody cutting out of cancer [slavery], we are to rot by the cancer of our corruption." While he supported Grant's troops ordered to combat the KKK, he would later say, "What is the use of keeping people's throats from being cut, if they are to be perpetually robbed?" (p. 180-81).

By July 4, 1876, Wright would found, with other former abolitionists (such as Moses Harmon), the National Liberal League which supported black emancipation, women's rights, but above all they identified themselves as individualists threatened by the imposition of state-enforced Christian dogma: "The platform of the coming millions is the individual," as Wright would say (p. 182). The League's stress was upon personal rights, civil liberties and freedom of thought. Anthony Comstock's crusade against vice and obscenity was to become their most noted battle front, with Ezra Heywood, who was arrested for the publication of his essay, Cupid's Yoke. D.M. Bennett, editor of freethought periodical, The Truthseeker, was also arrested by Comstock for mailing a copy of Cupid's Yoke through the U.S. Postal Service.

Ezra Heywood, an elderly abolitionist and opponent of the Civil War (he had opposed the violent methods used by Lincoln as well as that of the Confederate States of America), was highly regarded as a "gentle anarchist" who was fighting a battle for freedom of information, and the rights of consenting adults to their own personal relationships. An ardent feminist as well (and married to a strident feminist, Angela Heywood), he believed that men had reduced women to such socioeconomic dependence that, in order to live, women were forced to chose between selling their labor for next to nothing or selling their bodies into unwanted unions. This Heywood believed to be an insufferable injustice and devoted his writings to free love as a form of freedom from another type of slavery, as he explained in Uncivil Liberty as well as in Cupid's Yoke.

Here is the point where the subject of this article comes in, for he meets Ezra Heywood in 1873 at the National Free-Love Convention held in Ravenna, Ohio. Benjamin Tucker, who had become one of the controversial feminist Victoria Woodhull's "boy-toy" at the age of 19. As a long-time friend, J. William Lloyd would describe Tucker as a:

"well-groomed, fashionably dressed, with a neatly trimmed dark beard (beards were fashionable then), a swarthy complexion, flashing black eyes, a frequent if perhaps slightly nervous laugh, and a charmingly genial manner, which I never knew him to lose… Handsome, a brilliant translator, an editor of meticulous care and finish, a trenchant reasoner, with a faith and enthusiasm for his "ism" that had no bounds, he was like a strong current that swept us along… Tucker's manner of writing was what chiefly attracted attention to him. No more fiery and furious apostle ever put pen to paper. A veritable baresark of dialectics. He was dogmatic to the extreme, arrogantly positive, browbeating and dominating, true to his "plumb-line" no matter who was slain, and brooked no difference, contradiction or denial. Biting sarcasm, caustic contempt, invective that was sometimes almost actual insult, were poured out on any who dared criticize or oppose… this swashbuckler, on paper, when you met him in person, was the most genial, affable, and charming gentlemen that you could possibly imagine, kind, gentle and always smiling. I discounted this as toward myself but I could not learn that anyone had ever had a hard spoken word from him, and I have never to this day heard of one who had. Face to face this tiger was a dove."

Benjamin R. Tucker was to become America's greatest expositor of the philosophy of "unterrified Jeffersonianism" (as he called it), most commonly known as anarchism. Child of a Quaker father. a Jeffersonian Democrat and Painite Unitarian mother activist, both of old Yankee stock, he grew up as a child reading Darwin, Spencer, Buckle, Huxley and Tyndall, and listened to speeches by such as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Emerson, Wendell Phillips, Carl Shurz and Charles Bradlaugh. When he moved in 1872 to Boston to study at MIT, he would meet and become friends with other American radicals like Josiah Warren, William B. Greene, Stephen Pearl Andrews and, of course, Ezra Heywood. As a matter of course while beginning his career as a journalist, mainly with the Boston Globe, he would work with journalists, many sympathetic with his views, and become familiar with other writers who would come into his circle of friends as he began publishing, editing and writing in the radical press of this time.

In 1892 in "Why I am an Anarchist" in The Twentieth Century, a New York weekly edited by Hugh O. Pentecost, Tucker said that anarchy is

"the realization of liberty. Destroy the banking monopoly, establish freedom in finance, and down will go interest on money through the beneficent influence of competition. Capital will be set free, business will flourish, new enterprises will start, labour will rise at a level with its product. And it is the same with the other monopolies. Abolish the tariffs, issue no patents, take down the bars from unoccupied land, and labour will straightaway rush in and take possession of its own. Then mankind will live in freedom and in comfort. That is what I want to see; that is what I love to think of. And because Anarchism will give this state of things, I am an Anarchist." (reprinted in Man! An Anthology of Anarchist Ideas, Essays, Poetry and Commmentaries edited by Marcus Graham, London: Cienfuegos Press, 1976. p. 136)

Tucker's beliefs were set down in the first issue of Liberty in August 1881:

"Liberty insists on the sovereignty of the individual and the just reward of labor; on the abolition of the State and the abolition of usury; on no more government of man by man, and no more exploitation of man by man; on Anarchy and Equity.-Liberty's war-cry is 'Down with authority' and its chief battle with the State-the State that corrupts children; the state that trammels law; the State that stifles thought; the State that monopolizes land; the State that give idle capital the power to increase, and through interest, rent, profit and taxes robs industrious labor of its products."

Tucker is best known as the author of Instead of a Book, By a Man Too Busy to Write One and Individual Liberty, both collections of essays culled mainly from Radical Review (1877-1878-indexed here) and Liberty (1881-1908-indexed here). Tucker's free-wheeling, laissez-faire, free market anarchism tinged with free love, Stirnerism with a good dose of humor, was analyzed, criticized, commended and blackballed, but it could not be ignored. His periodicals included discussion, propaganda, literary writings of note, debates, essays. The periodicals were brilliantly edited, typed in the best formats of its day, with beautiful artwork and photos. It would be in his periodicals that libertarians would know what is available and what were the issues were being debated.

A generation of radicals grew up reading his periodicals, books and essays in America, Europe and elsewhere. His staff of associates and writers were the best that liberty produced. He popularized Whitman's Leaves of Grass, and printed G.B. Shaw prior to any other American publisher. When Liberty stopped publishing in 1908 when Tucker's bookstore burned down, he would continue to write and communicate with others until his death in Monaco.

His impact was considerable, both within his own generation, and to the generations of libertarians that have come afterward as Rudolf Rocker points out in Pioneers of American Freedom (Los Angeles: Rocker Publication Committee, 1949. pp. 118-154)

Just Ken

cross-posted at Liberty & Power Blog

CLASSical Liberalism


Question: "Tucker sided with the Allies against the Central Powers during the First World War. Do you know why he did so? And did he ever express regret over this stance?"

Rudolf Rocker, author of the brilliant Nationalism and Culture, discusses the matter in his Pioneers of American Freedom (ibid., pp. 136-138. I highly recommend this work--the bibliographical material is quite valuable for the researcher of libertarian anarchism). Following the fire which destroyed his bookstore and all of his papers, he went to Europe never to return again. There were offers for reimbursement so that he could continue, but he declined them.

Rocker says (ibid, p. 138):

During the first World War, he vigorously defended the cause of England and France, for he regarded the whole policy of Germany as a deliberate preparation for the conquest of Europe. Always an ardent friend of French culture, he regarded a German victory as a real disaster for Europe's future, and the beginning of a reaction whose end none could foretell.

In some ways, Tucker had become a lost soul, maintaining relationships with a number of old libertarian friends (John Henry MacKay being the most important), but feeling that his efforts had little impact, that preparing the next generation of anarchists was more important, but he was not in a position to be their teacher. Tucker said in the 1920's:

[T]he economic solution proposed by Anarchism...and there is no other solution--will remain a thing to be taught to the rising generation, that conditions may be favorable to its application after the great levelling. But education is a slow process, and for this reason we must hope that the day of readjustment may not come too quickly. Anarchists who endeavor to hasten it by joining in the propaganda of State Socialism or revolution make a sad mistake indeed. They help to so force the march of events that the people will not have time to find out, by the study of their experiences, that their troubles have been due to the rejection of competition. If this lesson shall not be learned in season the past will be repeated in the future... (p. 137)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Did Free Trade Kill Off the Neantherthals?

A recent report in the New Scientist by Celeste Biever of a yet-unpublished study suggests that modern humans may have driven Neanderthals to extinction 30,000 years ago because Homo sapiens unlocked the secrets of free trade, say a group of US and Dutch economists. The theory could shed new light on the mysterious and sudden demise of the Neanderthals after over 260,000 years of healthy survival.

Anthropologists have considered a wide range of factors which may explain Neanderthal extinction, including biological, environmental and cultural causes.

Jason Shogren, an economist at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, US, says part of the answer may lie in humans’ superior trading habits. Trading would have allowed the division of labour, freeing up skilled individuals, such as hunters, to focus on the tasks they are best at. Others, perhaps making tools or clothes or gathering food, would give the hunters resources in return for meat.

The idea that specialisation leads to greater success was first used in the 18th century to explain why some nations were wealthier than others. But this is the first time it has been applied to the Neanderthal extinction puzzle, says Shogren.

He cites archaeological evidence that suggests that humans, who joined Neanderthals in Europe about 40,000 years ago, specialised and traded both within and between regions. The evidence includes complex living quarters with different sections partitioned for different functions. Neanderthals, in contrast, lived in “largely unorganised” living spaces.

There is also evidence that the early humans, mainly one population called the Gravettians, imported materials. Ivory, stones, fossils, seashells and crafted tools were found dispersed through many regions. This greater pool of resources led to increased innovation, says Shogren.

Shogren tested his theory with simulations of population growth. He even gave the Neanderthals, who were larger than Homo sapiens, a head start by assuming they were better hunters and individually brought home more meat - which may or may be true.

But because humans were allowed to trade, in two of three similar simulations, they overcame this initial handicap and ousted the Neanderthals within 7000 years. In the third simulation, the two ended up co-existing.

“It’s an intriguing and novel idea,” says Delson. “But it requires stronger support.” He points out that the Gravettians in particular only emerged 28,000 years ago, while the last of the Neanderthals died about 29,000 years ago.

So the Gravettians could not have had very much influence in the extinction of the Neanderthals, he argues. “He also assumes that all they ate was meat, which of course is not true,” he adds.

The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization, co-authored by Erwin Bulte of Tilburg University in the Netherlands and Richard Horan at Michigan State University in East Lansing, US.

Thanks to Sean Corrigan for mentioning this report in the Mises Blog.

Just Ken
CLASSical Liberalism

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Taylor Rustin (b. 3/17/1912) was raised by his maternal grandmother in Pennsylvania, a Quaker by inclination, although nominally with the AME Church, and a charter member of the NAACP (in 1910). He adopted those Quaker principles--the equality of all human beings before God, the vital need for nonviolence, and the importance of dealing with everyone with love and respect. Rustin was one of the most important leaders of the American civil rights movement from the advent of its modern period in the 1950s until well into the 1980s. His behind-the-scenes role never garnered Rustin the public acclaim he deserved.

Rustin's career as political activist began in high school when he was arrested for refusing to sit in the balcony of the local moviehouse, dubbed Nigger Heaven. As offensive lineman on the football team, he instigated a revolt among his black teammates to their Jim Crow accommodations. He led a group of classmates in acts of defiance to such practices in restaurants, soda fountains, movie houses, department stores, and the YMCA. Graduating with honors in 1932, Rustin was class valedictorian and received a prize for excellence in public speaking.

In 1937, his permanent residence became New York City and enrolled in the City College of New York, , while singing in local clubs with African American folk artists Josh White and Huddie Ledbetter. At this time, Rustin began to organize for the Young Communist League of City College as their position on racial injustice appealed to him, although he later became disillusioned after the Communist Party's abrupt about-face on the issue of segregation in the American military in the wake of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. He broke with the Young Communist League and sought out A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and the leading articulator of the rights of Afro-Americans. Rustin led the youth wing on a march on Washington that Randolph envisioned. Randolph called off the demonstration when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 8802, forbidding racial discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries. Randolph's calling off of the march caused a breach between them and Rustin transferred his organizing efforts to the peace movement.

A member of one of the government-recognized peace churches (the Fifteenth Street Meeting), he was entitled to do alternative service rather than serve in the armed services. Rustin found himself unable to accept this, given that many young men not members of recognized peace churches received harsh prison sentences for refusing to serve. In 1944, Rustin was found guilty of violating the Selective Service Act and was sentenced to three years in a federal prison. In March 1944 Rustin was sent to the federal penitentiary in Ashland, Kentucky where he set about to resist pervasive segregation in U.S. prisons. Rustin faced frequent cruelty with courage and nonviolent resistance.

After release from prison, Rustin became involved with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, which staged a Journey of Reconciliation through four Southern and border states in 1947 to test the application of the Supreme Court's recent ruling that discrimination in seating in interstate transportation was illegal. Rustin's resistance to North Carolina's Jim Crow law against integration in transportation earned him hard labor on a chain gang, where he met with the expected racist taunts and tortures.

Between 1947 and 1952, Rustin traveled to India and then to Africa under the aegis of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, exploring the nonviolent dimensions of Gandhi. Most of FOR's leaders were disciples of Mahatma Gandhi. With James Farmer as its race relations secretary and Rustin as field secretary, FOR was the progenitor of the Congress of Racial Equality. Founded in 1940 with Rustin as its first field secretary. CORE combined the racial militancy of Randolph with the tactics of the pacifist movement, centered around nonviolent direct action, for challenging Jim Crow in the South. Although CORE's experiments with sit-ins and boycotts were minimally effective in the 1940s, they constituted a political legacy that was readily adopted by the evolving civil rights movement in the 1950s. Then he worked for several years in a campaign against America's development of nuclear weapons and its programs for war preparedness. Soon after the abortive Journey of Reconciliation he traveled to Paris and Moscow with David Dellinger and other pacifists. In Paris he learned of emerging anticolonial struggles in Africa.

In 1953 Rustin was arrested for public indecency in Pasadena, California. Rustin's conviction and his relatively open attitude about his homosexuality set the stage for him to become an elder gay icon in the decades to come. Gay rights became a part of his belief in the inherent dignity of all oppressed people. As a consequence of his arrest, Rustin was to lose his position on the staff of the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Rustin then began a twelve-year stint as executive secretary of the War Resisters League. Rustin also contributed greatly to a compilation of pacifist strategy, published in The Progressive and also as a monograph in 1959 by the American Friends Service Committee titled Speak Truth to Power.

When Rosa Parks's act of courage in December, 1955 precipitated the Montgomery bus boycott which would catapult Martin Luther King into a leadership position, Rustin was summoned to Montgomery the following February. In 1956 Rustin was approached by Lillian Smith, the Southern author of Strange Fruit, to provide Dr. Martin Luther King with some practical advice on how to apply Gandhian principles of nonviolence to the boycott of public transportation then taking shape in Montgomery, Alabama. On leave from the War Resisters League, Rustin spent time in Montgomery and Birmingham advising King, who had not yet completely embraced principles of nonviolence in his struggle.

At 44 he was a seasoned organizer; King, at 27, was a neophyte who by sheer accident was drawn into the swirling vortex of black revolt. King had previous academic exposure to Gandhi, but it was Rustin who prevailed on King to dispense with armed guards and to embrace nonviolent action as the trademark of the budding movement. It was also Rustin who forged links to radicals in the North. In April 1956 Liberation carried King's first piece of political journalism, and Rustin and the War Resisters League mobilized leading pacifists and radicals into a Committee for Nonviolent Integration which funneled aid to King. Rustin helped to organize yet another group, In Friendship, which sponsored a rally at Madison Square Garden that raised some $20,000 for the Montgomery Improvement Association. There was always nervousness among King's advisors about Rustin's Communist past and his homosexuality, but his organizing skills and political savvy proved indispensable.

It would be difficult to exaggerate Rustin's contribution as the Montgomery boycott evolved into a broad strategy for protest. Rustin "conceived and charted" the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, along with Ella Baker and Stanley Levison. This was to serve as the organizational mechanism for King's ascent to national prominence. Over the next decade Rustin remained a close advisor to King, especially during moments of crisis. Rustin was the chief organizer of the Prayer Pilgrimage to Washington that took place on May 17, 1957 to urge President Eisenhower to enforce the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling that the nation's schools be desegregated.

Held at the Lincoln memorial on the third anniversary of the Brown decision, the Pilgrimage drew some 30,000 participants from labor, student, religious, and civil rights organizations. This was King's first major protest event outside the South, and his oratorical gifts captured the attention of commentators both inside and outside the movement. Rustin also had a hand in drafting King's first book, Stride Toward Freedom, which reached a national audience with the riveting story of the Montgomery boycott. In 1958 Rustin organized yet another mass demonstration in Washington -- the Youth March for Integrated Schools. These were the feats of creative organizing through which the civil rights movement grew from a regional protest against Jim Crow to a national movement for racial justice.

Rustin was "a leading member of the radical jet set," flying off to conferences in Europe, India, and Africa. In late 1959 Rustin was abroad protesting France's first nuclear test in the Sahara, and was absent from the planning for the 1960 national conventions, much to the ire of Randolph. According to Anderson, "Rustin therefore found himself in the middle of a tug-of-war between the two political causes to which he was equally committed, pacifism and black protest activism."

The high point of Bayard Rustin's political career was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom which took place on August 28, 1963, the place of Dr. Martin Luther King's stirring "I Have a Dream" speech. King's celebrated I-have-a-dream oration has been embraced precisely because it vented no anger, cast no aspersions, but on the contrary, invoked America's ideals and substituted utopian reverie for political action. Rustin was by all accounts the March's chief architect. To devise a march of at least one-quarter of a million participants and to coordinate the various sometimes fractious civil rights organizations that played a part in it was a herculean feat of mobilization. While the March had all of the earmarks of protest, it represented the ascendancy of a new brand of coalition politics, the antithesis of the politics of confrontation that were at the core of the black protest movement.

By 1965 Rustin felt that the period for militant street action had come to an end; the legal foundation for segregation had been irrevocably shattered. Now came the larger, more difficult task of forging an alliance of dispossessed groups in American society into a progressive force. Rustin saw this coalition encompassing Afro-Americans and other minorities, trade unions, liberals, and religious groups. That Rustin's plan failed was due to the Vietnam war, which diverted the efforts into antiwar activism. Rustin's steadfast opposition to identity politics also came under criticism by exponents of the developing Black Power movement. His critical stance toward affirmative action programs and black studies departments in American universities was not a popular viewpoint among many of his fellow Afro-Americans, and as at various other times of his life Rustin found himself to a certain extent isolated.

Rustin worked as a delegate for the organization Freedom House, monitoring elections and the status of human rights in countries like Chile, El Salvador, Grenada, Haiti, Poland, and Zimbabwe. In all his efforts Rustin evinced a lifelong, unwavering conviction in behalf of the value of democratic principles. It was Rustin's human rights expedition to Haiti in 1987 that drew the final curtain on his life. After his visit, Rustin became ill. His symptoms were initially misdiagnosed as intestinal parasites and on August 21, 1987, Rustin was diagnosed with a perforated appendix. He died of cardiac arrest on August 24, 1987.

Although Bayard Rustin lived in the shadow of more charismatic civil rights leaders, he was an indispensable unsung force behind the movement toward equality for America's black citizens, and more largely for the rights of humans around the globe. Throughout his life, Rustin's Quakerism was a unifying force in his life. His efforts toward coalition politics, both within the labor movement and in Democratic Party politics, was to overtake his personal beliefs when he supported the Administration's line on Vietnam. In "An Open Letter to Bayard Rustin," Staughton Lynd had this objection:

"Why, Bayard? You must know in your heart that your position betrays your essential moralism over the years. The lesson of your apostasy on Vietnam appears to be that the gains for American Negroes you advise them to seek through coalition within the Democratic Party come only at a price. . . . The price is to make our brothers in Vietnam a burnt offering on the altar of political expediency."
[Jervis Anderson, Bayard Rustin: Troubles I've Seen: A Biography (New York, HarperCollins Publishers, 1997), pp. 295-96]

This from a man who chose prison over the Civilian Public Service; who had been a leading crusader for nonviolence in international affairs. There is paradox and tragedy that in his pursuit of coalition politics, The civil libertarian (although hardly an economic libertarian) Rustin betrayed the principles and the movement that he had done so much to advance. Once Rustin committed himself to the false god of coalition politics, all of his lifelong principles went asunder. There is also a lesson to be drawn from Rustin's political fall: to resist the blandishments of power during those rare moments of radical ascendancy.

A Selection of Articles by Bayard Rustin: We Challenged Jim Crow, Twenty-Two Days on a Chain Gang, From Protest to Politics, The Blacks and the Unions, Bayard Rustin Meets Malcolm X

Just Ken

CLASSical Liberalism