When the first Quakers arrived in America in the late 17th century, they were thought of as heretics, sometimes witches and routinely bizarre. Theirs was a religion based on the ideas the individual is supreme, that the relationship between God and man is a very private affair not to be regulated by government or society, that temperance ("all things in moderation") is a noble way to live one's life. Above all, it prized peace and stated that violence should be avoided if at all possible.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) has mastered the art of selling itself as the logical extension of traditional Quakerism into the arena of social justice. Many have passed through it over the years with the very best of intentions. After all, the Quaker faith appeals not just to those who share its peaceful theology, but to many who love life and liberty. Unfortunately, the AFSC no longer has anything in common with the Quakers who first carried their faith to America from England. Its stated purpose is "to confront, non-violently, powerful institutions of violence, evil, oppression, and injustice." To this end, the organization has supported the most brutal, repressive and corrupt regimes in world history. The AFSC, which is revered by the Left for its history of actively opposing U.S. "aggression," has defended the Viet Cong and the P.L.O. These seekers of social justice have repeatedly turned a blind eye toward modern slaveholding nations while keeping their finger perpetually pointed at the United States.
Founded in 1917, for the ostensible purpose of aiding European refugees and those affected by World War I, the AFSC provided a home for that war's conscientious objectors. Although the AFSC has repeatedly denied being a Communist or Communist-infiltrated organization, the history of the AFSC speaks otherwise. While not founded by Communists, the AFSC quickly developed a cozy relationship with both the Communist Party USA and various socialist and revolutionary groups of the fifth column.
The AFSC does not see Communism as presenting an Evil Empire, as did those who suffered under its persecution, nor even does it see socialist totalitarianism as an alternate economic system. Indeed, they view Communism as a desirable state. So important were the Marxist-Leninist (and, presumably, Stalinist) nations to the earth's salvation that the AFSC could not allow them to falter. Instead, they actively assisted Communist nations in an elusive quest to achieve economic prosperity. In the 1920's the AFSC sent Jessica Smith to Russia to 'determine famine relief needs.' A Communist herself, Smith was married to Harold Ware, a Communist cell leader in Washington D.C. (After Ware's death from an auto accident in 1935 Smith, would later go on to marry John Abt, a member of the "Ware Group" made infamous by Whittaker Chambers. Abt was also General Counsel to the Communist Party USA and sat on the CPUSA's political committee beginning in the 1950s.)
AFSC author Ruth Anna Brown describes their misplaced philanthropy: "We have helped, or are helping, Communist countries reach the amount of economic growth and development necessary for them to allow a degree of relaxed domestic control. We are helping Communist countries to achieve greater benefits through peaceful co-existence than they could receive through war" (Emphasis added). This AFSC mouthpiece parrots the hard-left fable that terror, repression and genocide are merely tools employed by Communist regimes to relieve domestic pressure during times of economic crisis. (Perhaps Marxism's implosive economic hypotheses explains why the persecution never ended.)
Quaker author Jerry Frost recalls that in the 1930's "the AFSC refused publicly to criticize the Soviet Union because building up cultural and personal contacts seemed the only way open to defuse hostilities." However, if they refused to criticize the Soviets for fear of losing contacts then it's obvious who they saw (and continue to see) as their real enemy: the United States of America.
The alliance with Communists would bear much fruit in the AFSC's propaganda, as well. In the 1972 AFSC pamphlet Non-Violence: Not First For Export, author John Bristol explicitly describes the feelings that the AFSC has for the West in general, and America in particular. In a passage forgiving terrorists for their violent ways, Bristol asserts that "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." But who exactly is the cause of the 'system' terrorists are trying to overthrow? Bristol places the blame squarely at the feet of the West. "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."
Bristol concludes that the AFSC is uninterested in promoting world peace as long as the United States has any sort of power, and does not apply its own standards to other nations. "Instead of trying to devise non-violent 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" (emphasis added).
In the book Peace And Revolution: The Moral Crisis Of American Pacifism, author Guenter Lewy describes the head of the AFSC's Indochina program from the 1970's John McAuliffe as yet another example of the AFSC's apologist position. McAuliffe reported at that time that news of massacres under Pol Pot was merely the product of an American "misinformation campaign" and that the Cambodian regime was "the example of an alternative model of development and social organization." The AFSC also distributed a printed defense of the Khmer Rouge well after the human decimation in Cambodia had been exposed. At that time McAuliffe said "all reliable sources indicate that the [Marxist] Vietnamese are carrying out the task of reconstruction with extraordinary humaneness." McAuliffe and the AFSC did eventually recognize the horrors of Pol Pot's regime, but they again laid the blame squarely at the feet of the United States.
As part of their campaign to paralyze their greatest enemy, they have made their top plank the unilateral disarmament of the United States. Terry Provence, director of the AFSC's 1970s-era Disarmament Program, was a founding member of the U.S. Peace Council and a member of the
Soviet-oriented World Peace Council. Along with fellow Communists Nico Schouten and Walter Rumpel, he led the charge at the "Mobilization For Survival" rally in Washington, D.C., in October of 1979. The AFSC's National Action/Research on the Military/Intelligence Complex (NARMIC) has worked in tandem with the pro-Cuba/Castroite research organization The North American Congress on Latin America. Just like their friends in SANE/FREEZE, the goal of the AFSC is not peace; it's the total dismantling of the United States military structure and a resultant paralysis before an aggressive Soviet Union. A recent pamphlet distributed by the AFSC in Pittsburgh reflected on these heady days by concluding, "The solution was to disarm America and have it withdraw economically and militarily from the globe." Americans out of America! The AFSC's love of Communism has found more contemporary objects, as well. A loving eulogy can be found on the AFSC website for the late Communist leader of Tanzania Julius Nyerere of the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania. On November 2, 2002, the AFSC Annual Gathering in Philadelphia also received a keynote address from the Deputy Minister of Defense for the Communist-riddled African National Congress Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge.
A quick look at flyers posted on the AFSC website gives one a clear understanding of where these people stand. Grassroots Voices, the explicitly radical-activist wing of the AFSC, recently sponsored their 2002 Conference On Justice And Global Security. In addition to the slew of anti-American workshops and classes held during the conference, the event was co-sponsored by the Communist Party USA and the Communist-founded National Lawyers Guild.
Without question, the facts disprove the AFSC's longstanding denial of a pro-Communist orientation. While not Communist in name, they espouse and endorse every plank of the Communist party platform. They hide behind the religious shield of Quakerism and non-violence. Their background in the Quaker Society of Friends provides a Divine legitimization for card-carrying Communists and their fellow travelers. The American Friends Service Committee is and has always been committed to undermining Western democracy, propping up Communist regimes and working for the total disarmament of the United States in the face of her enemies.
American Friends? Hardly.