New York: New York Committee for the General Strike for Peace, 1961-1963.
A collection of nine rare leaflets and letters concerning the General Strike for Peace, which in the early 1960s sought a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons as well as global disarmament. This material belonged to Jackson Mac Low (1922-2004), poet, performance artist, and peace activist.
Eight of these items were issued by the New York Committee for the General Strike for Peace, for which Mac Low was one of the organizers. (Julian Beck and Judith Malina of the Living Theatre were also organizers.) The collection also includes a letter from the Committee for Nonviolent Action.
The General Strike for Peace consisted of three different phases, the first of which took place in early 1962, followed by additional calls to strike in November 1962 and then again in May 1963.
On January 29, 1962, more than 300 people marched down Fifth Avenue in New York calling for a worldwide general strike for peace. The New York Times was there: "The demonstrators' appearance ranged from button-down to beatnik, with the latter somewhat more conspicuous in the heart of the fashionable shopping district. Pete Seeger and Gil Turner, folk singers, strummed songs against war and against civil defense...." (The New York Times, January 30, 1962, page 3.)
This collection includes material from each of the three phases of the General Strike for Peace. All appear to be photomechanically reproduced, including the letters:
--Three leaflets calling for a general strike from January 29 to February 4, 1962. Two of these leaflets are identical, titled “general strike,” while a third, titled “general strike for peace,” appears to be an updated version with a fuller list of members on the “Action Committee” as well as the addition of “International Sponsors.” Each is a single sheet folded to create 4 pages measuring 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches when folded.
--A “Dear friend” letter from the Committee for Nonviolent Action, expressing sympathy for the General Strike but saying that the Committee “could not undertake organizationally to work on this project.” Single sheet measuring 11 x 8 1/2 inches.
--A leaflet, “This is the SECOND CALL for a WORLD WIDE GENERAL STRIKE FOR PEACE,” set for November 5 to November 11, 1962. Single sheet folded to create 4 pages measuring 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches when folded.
--A “Dear Friend” letter from the New York Committee, explaining the second call. The letter is signed by Donn Reed, who was an antiwar activist. Stapled to the letter is a leaflet with the same text as the example listed immediately above (although in a different color). Letter: Single sheet measuring 11 x 8 1/2 inches. Leaflet: Single sheet folded to create 4 pages measuring 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches when folded.
--A leaflet, “general strike,” announcing a worldwide general strike for peace for May 8, 1963. Single sheet folded to create 4 pages measuring 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches when folded.
--A leaflet, “crisis strike,” seeking support for an emergency general strike for peace in times of crisis. Undated. Printed recto only. Single sheet measuring 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches.
Provenance: From the collection of poet, composer, and performance artist Jackson Mac Low, one of the organizers of the New York Committee.
This material is rare. OCLC shows only one institutional holding, at Northwestern, for “This is the SECOND CALL….” of 1962. The University of Kansas holds a copy of “general strike” of 1963. We assume there are other examples held by institutions, probably in ephemera collections that have not been fully catalogued.
A rare collection of “General Strike” material, formerly owned by one of the organizers of the New York Committee, the poet and performance artist Jackson Mac Low.
CONDITION: Some modest creasing and soiling. Overall, Very Good or better copies. Item #1904