American Friends Service Committee

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The American Friends Service Committee was formed in 1917 by a group of 14 socialist Quakers to aid draft resisters. It has been penetrated and used by Communists since the early 1920s when it sent Jessica Smith, who later married Soviet spies Harold Ware and John Abt to the Soviet Union to determine famine relief needs in Russia exacerbated by civil war and the collectivization of farmland. As a result of AFSC support for the Vietcong, the Philadelphia Meeting of the Society of Friends withdrew its financial support from the the Committee.[1]

About

On their website the Committee stat that they exist as a practical expression of the faith of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and are committed to the principles of nonviolence and justice, seeking in its work and witness to draw on the transforming power of love, human and divine.[2]

As at March, 1982, the AFSC's six key program areas were:[1]

  • Disarmament (Terry Provance) and human rights
  • Global justice (targeting South Korea and Central America)
  • The Middle East (where the AFSC supports the cause of the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization)
  • Southern Africa (where AFSC supports the pro-Soviet terrorist movements in Namibia and South Africa)
  • Indochina (supporting the pro-Soviet Hanoi government in Vietnam and its puppet regime in Cambodia)
  • Opposing registration for a military draft

Non-violence: Not First for Export

In 1972 a pamphlet entitled "Non-violence: Not First for Export", written by Jim Bristol was published and continually reprinted by the AFSC. The pamphlet lays out a number of core goals and ideals of the Committee:[1]

In the AFSC pamphlet, Bristol presents the totalitarian revolutionary goal in the most glowing terms as a utopia:

"a human society where the worth of the individual will be recognized and each person treated with respect... Land reform measures will be enacted... Education will be provided for every member of the society;... There will be employment for all. Discrimination because of race, color or creed will end. Universal medical care will be provided."

The pamphlet asserts that the United States and other Free World countries are guilty of a form of "terrorism" which it calls the "violence of the status quo" and defines this in the broadest possible terms not only as every possible social ill, but also personal or social discomfort. In the words of the pamphlet, this "violence of the status quo" is:

"the agony of millions who in varying degrees suffer hunger, poverty, ill-health, lack of education, non-acceptance by their fellow men. It is compounded of slights and insults, of rampant injustice, of exploitation, of police brutality, of a thousand indignities from dawn to dusk and through the night."

Since the 1960s, the AFSC has supported revolutionary terrorist groups such as the Vietcong, Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Central American Castroite groups. As a result of AFSC support for the Vietcong, the Philadelphia Meeting of the Society of Friends withdrew its financial support from the the Committee. In its justification of supporting such groups, the Committee made the following statements in the pamphlet:

"terrorism... repeatedly... is used to signify violent action on the part of oppressed peoples in Asia, Africa, Latin America or within the black ghettos of America, as they take up the weapons of violence in a desperate effort to wrest for themselves the freedom and justice denied them by the systems that presently control their lives. What is so easily (one suspects, often deliberately) overlooked is the fact that the regimes rebelled against are the incarnation of a greater violence than any used in the struggle against them.
before we deplore terrorism, it is essential for us to recognize whose 'terrorism' came first....It is easy to recognize the violence of the revolutionary when he strikes out against the inequities and cruelties of the established order. What millions of middle-class and other non-poor fail to realize is that they are themselves accomplices each day in meeting [sic] out inhuman, all-pervading violence upon their fellows."

After this justification of the concept of class warfare, which makes "permissible" terrorist attacks on civilians since they are part of the "oppressive class," the AFSC pamphlet says that U.S. activists should not concern themselves with what sort of violent tactics revolutionaries utilize to achieve their ends. Instead, they should work to disarm the United States and for economic warfare against the U.S.'s "oppressive" allies. In its words:

"Instead of trying to devise nonviolent strategy and tactics for revolutionaries in other lands, we will bend every effort to defuse militarism in our own land and to secure the withdrawal of American economic investment in oppressive regimes in other parts of the world."

Disarmament Program

The director of the AFSC's Disarmament Program since the revival of the international disarmament campaign in the mid-1970s has been Terry Provance, a World Peace Council activist and founding member of the U.S. Peace Council who is also a leader of the Mobilization for Survival and is active with the World Information Service on Energy. Accompanied by two foreign Communist WPC activists, Nico Schouten, leader of the Netherlands "Ban the Neutron Bomb" organization, and East German Peace Council head Walter Rumpel, Provance addressed a Mobilization for Survival rally at the U.S. Capitol on October 29, 1979.[1]

Friends Committee on National Legislation

AFSC operates a lobbying arm, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, which as at March, 1982 was headed by Ed Snyder, who has played a key role in developing strategy for pressure on Congress against the U.S. defense budget, and particularly against development or deployment of new weapons systems.[1]

National Action/Research on the Military/Industrial Complex

Another AFSC project, the National Action/Research on the Military/Industrial Complex (NARMIC), serves as the AFSC's "intelligence-gathering arm". NARMIC works closely with the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), the North American Congress On Latin America (NACLA), a pro-Cuba research group, and other anti-defense and armament research organizations.[1]

Affiliations

Solidarity with Sept. 24 FBI Raid Activists

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression lists American Friends Service Committee as one of the organizations that has issued a statement of solidarity in support of the activists raided in the September 24, 2010 FBI Raids.[3]

External Links

References