Saturday, September 10, 2005

If you support nonviolent action to promote freedom and democracy . . .

Help Save the Albert Einstein Institution

(I just received this important message from the Fellowship of Reconciliation:)
Gene Sharp is without doubt one of the most influential theorists and strategists in nonviolence since Mahatma Gandhi. Armed with a great intellect, dogged determination, a small staff, prolific pen and modest budget, he has provided millions of people around the world with the knowledge needed to achieve freedom and democracy through nonviolent action.

He is the scholar whose name is synonymous with "the politics of nonviolent action." His monographs, books and booklets, and those of his colleagues at the Albert Einstein Institution, have been translated into 30 languages. His work has contributed enormously to nonviolence movements and nonviolent revolutions around the world -- in The Philippines, Burma, Palestine, Serbia, Georgia, the Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, among others. Gene and the Albert Einstein Institution have had a profound impact on the teaching of nonviolence, as well as on events in the world's public squares.

Our lives have been touched, enriched and shaped by Gene Sharp and the work of the Albert Einstein Institution. But we have just learned that the Institution faces an unsustainable financial shortfall and its board must seriously consider whether to close its doors.

The Albert Einstein Institution needs an immediate infusion of $150,000, a sum that seems daunting, absent the imaginative power of nonviolence. Yet this amount can be raised through 3,000 contributions of $50 from donors around the country, a goal that seems eminently achievable.

It is of vital interest to the Fellowship of Reconciliation that the work of Gene and the Albert Einstein Institution continue.

Please send in a check today. And please circulate this appeal to others by e-mail or the postal service. The timeliness of this appeal cannot be stressed too strongly. As we have learned in our study and practice of nonviolence, we must be prepared and ready for that special moment in history. That moment is today.

In gratitude to Gene and the Albert Einstein Institution,

Mubarak Awad, President, Nonviolence International
Elise Boulding, peace researcher, author, Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History
Carol Bragg, RI Committee for Nonviolence Initiatives
Daniel L. Buttry, Global Service Consultant for Peace and Justice, International Ministries, American Baptist Churches
Janet Chisholm, Coordinator of Nonviolence Training, Fellowship of Reconciliation and Chair, Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Pat Clark, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Dorothy F. Cotton, Director of Education, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, under Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Richard Deats, editor emeritus, Fellowship magazine
Marjorie Swann Edwin, activist in nonviolence movement for 68 years
Diana Francis, former President, International Fellowship of Reconciliation Aryb Gandhi, president M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Memphis, TN
David Hartsough, co-founder, Nonviolent Peaceforce
Robert A. Irwin, author, Building a Peace System Tolekan Ismailova, Citizens Against Corruption Human Rights Centre, Kyrgyzstan
Randy Kehler, former national coordinator, Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign
Scott Kennedy, Resource Center for Nonviolence, Santa Cruz, CA
Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Director, Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies, University of Rhode Island
George Lakey, Director, Training for Change
The Rev. Jim Lawson, civil rights leader and former director of Nonviolence Education at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Michael Nagler, professor emeritus and founder of Peace and Conflict Studies Program, UC-Berkeley
Mary Lord, Assistant General Secretary for Peace and Conflict Resolution, American Friends Service Committee
David McReynolds, former Chair, War Resisters International
Hans Sinn, founding member, Peace Brigades International
Michael True, Executive Committee, International Peace Research Association Foundation
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director, The Shalom Center
Howard Zinn, historian

Please donate online at
Sorry for the long post, but this message doesn't seem to appear on the FOR website, so I don't know how else to pass it along here.

Gene Sharp is one of my heroes (featured to your right under the "Big Brains Break it Down" section). One of the most exciting moments of my peacenik career was when Professor Sharp himself called me on the phone after I ordered some Spanish brochures from the Albert Einstein Institution to distribute to social movement leaders in Bolivia. We even discussed the possibility of my going to work with him, but then, as now, the Institution's budget was too tight. My loss more than theirs, I'm sure, but it was a special privilege to discuss such mattering matters with such a groundbreaking thinker.

The Institution does incredibly valuable work teaching and promoting effective, strategic nonviolence around the world, often resulting in dramatic people's victories, revolutionary social change, and the toppling of dictators and other tyrants. In places like Serbia and Ukraine, where the whole world watched admiringly as nonviolent popular movements toppled corrupt and powerful regimes, Gene Sharp and his colleagues were secret heroes working behind the scenes, training and advising movement leaders. If anyone saw the PBS special, "A Force More Powerful," it was inspired by Gene Sharp's work, and produced with the help of the Albert Einstein Institution.

I truly believe that if Gene Sharp's methods had been promoted vigorously in Iraq, as some suggested before the invasion, Saddam could have been toppled by now, the war having been avoided, and the Iraqi people would be in a better position to carry on toward a more just and peaceful future. If you want to help avoid more wars like Iraq in the future, I strongly urge supporting the Albert Einstein Institution today.

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