Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 3, 2013 / 28 Elul, 5773

Civil right leader, turned conservative

By Cathy Young





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Amid celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington, there have been many tributes to the oft-neglected main organizer of that historic event: civil rights leader Bayard Rustin.

A number of articles on Rustin have mentioned that he was briefly a Communist in his youth and then a socialist, as well as a pacifist and a conscientious objector during World War II. But that's only half the story. From the 1960s onward, Rustin was a passionate anti-Communist. His socialism was a support for government programs and strong labor unions to alleviate the market's imbalances; for Rustin as for many other Cold War liberals, it went hand in hand with unequivocal support for American democracy and opposition to Soviet totalitarianism.

Rustin's pacifism, too, underwent a dramatic evolution — rooted in the idea that freedom was more important than peace. "Whereas I used to believe that pacifism had a political value, I no longer believe that," Rustin wrote. While still committed to finding alternatives to war in defense of freedom, he stated that without such alternatives, it was "ridiculous" to simply talk about peace.

In the mid-1960s (as most media tributes won't tell you), Rustin broke from the civil rights movement over its embrace of open opposition to the war in Vietnam, a stance from which he had tried to dissuade King. Arch Puddington, vice president of Freedom House — with which Rustin was affiliated in his later career — writes that while troubled by the war's brutalities, Rustin was "deeply disturbed by the prospect of Vietnam's people coming under the domination of a totalitarian regime on the Soviet or Chinese model." He also opposed linking the cause of racial equality to a broad attack on American power.



In the 1970s and 1980s, Rustin's activism focused on global promotion of freedom. He was a strong supporter of Israel and a champion of refugees from Communist oppression, be it Soviet Jews or Vietnamese boat people. While he worked against South African apartheid, he was extremely concerned about Soviet expansionism and the rise of brutal postcolonial dictatorships in Africa.

Domestically, Rustin was not only an outspoken opponent of black nationalism but a critic of affirmative action by means of race-based preferences, which he saw as a polarizing issue.

Rustin's unpopular politics probably had at least as much to do with his near-erasure from civil rights history as did his sexual orientation. Yet these views make him even more of a hero. A man who belonged to two minorities long excluded from the American promise of justice for all, Rustin not only fought to reclaim that promise but insisted that the American ideal of freedom — however imperfectly realized — was worth fighting for.

In November, Rustin will be posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It is to be hoped that all the aspects of his dedication to liberty will be remembered at that time. His "right-wing" beliefs were an inalienable part of who he was and should not be relegated to a new, liberal-enforced closet.

Archives

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Cathy Young is a regular contributor to Reason magazine and Newsday. Comment by clicking here.


© 2013, Cathy Young. This originally appeared in Newsday.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast