As the Golden Rule continues its voyage up the East Coast, it is sailing into cities with historic connections. It is now in Philadelphia, home of crew member George Willoughby, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and so many Quaker supporters. Onto New York, home of the War Resisters League office which provided staffing and organizing.
Peg Averill’s “Stop Militarism in Our Schools!” poster excites me not only for its anti-conscription stance and connections to the Vietnam War, but also for its contemporary relevance, art historical references, and uniquely gender-ambiguous figure....
WRL Southwest formed as a chapter and then as a regional office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during the Vietnam War. We wanted to be a voice for peace, pacifism and nonviolence in the area, which hosted the Kirtland Air Force Base and the two atomic weapons laboratories: Sandia in Albuquerque and Los Alamos National Laboratory in northern New Mexico, where the first nuclear weapons were researched and designed....
“[T]he customary band of pickets” was how a 1953 New York Times article dismissively termed Tax Day demonstrators from WRL, Catholic Worker, and the Peacemakers outside the Manhattan IRS. The article went on to report “they either refused to pay Federal income taxes or sympathized with those who did not because ‘the huge program of armaments can only lead to a third world war.’”
Virginia Baron edited the 1997 WRL Peace Calendar, “Womanspirit Moving: ” a collection of profiles, quotations, and stories about women organizing for peace and justice around the world. In a lifetime of activism herself, Virginia worked for the Fellowship of Reconciliation, traveled the world on peace delegations, and was active with War Resisters League for at least the last 30 years of her life. Virginia died at age 91 in 2022. This is an excerpt from the introduction to the Womanspirit Moving Calendar.
Twenty years ago, on March 19, 2003, the U.S. launched the disastrous and deadly invasion of Iraq. With great hope and determination, millions around the world joined antiwar protests on February 15, a month before the attack.
In founding and then leading WRL for nearly 20 years, Jessie Wallace Hughan was supported by an impressive group of women, many having previously headed other women’s pacifist, suffragist, anti-conscription, and socialist organizations. Unusually independent for their time, most had graduated from prestigious universities, supported themselves with careers, and were engaged in romantic relationships with like-minded women.