An Early History
Except for last paragraph, taken from the papers
of Ethel Machanic Alper (1908-1989), U. Mass., Boston [see www.lib.umb.edu/archives/alper.html]
Ethel Machanic Alper, daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, was born
September 23, 1908, in Burlington, Vermont. An accomplished portrait
artist, Ethel attended the school of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston
on a scholarship. She married Benedict Solomon Alper in 1931 and they
had a daughter, Fredrika Clara. After World War II they lived in New
York City and moved to Brookline in the early 1950s.
Ethel's involvement in progressive political causes began in 1936
during the Spanish Civil War when she supported the provision of medical
relief to the Republic of Spain. Her political activities included
working for Henry Wallace's 1948 Progressive Party presidential campaign,
for Voice of Women and SANE in Brookline, and against the Vietnam
War. As secretary of Brookline Political Action for Peace (PAX) from
1962 to 1987, and as a member of other peace and social justice organizations,
Ethel was involved in a myriad of local, state, and national social
causes until a few years before her death on July 18, 1989. ...
The Brookline Committee of the Massachusetts Hughes for Senate Committee
formed in 1962 under Ruth Sidel's leadership. Ethel was among the
Brookline volunteers campaigning for Harvard professor Stuart Hughes
whose platform included banning nuclear testing. In December 1962,
the state-wide committee became Massachusetts Political Action for
Peace and the Brookline committee became Brookline PAX. In 1972 Mass.
PAX merged with Citizens for Participatory Politics (created to support
Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential campaign), forming Citizens for
Participation in Political Action (CPPAX). Brookline PAX affiliated
with CPPAX, but retained its original name.
In addition to promoting world peace in the 1970s and 1980s, Brookline
PAX supported and worked for freedom of opinion and expression, adequate
education, housing, health facilities and job opportunities for all
citizens in the United States. Such goals led it to work with a variety
of both local and national peace and social justice organizations
on issues ranging from nuclear disarmament to regulating condominium
conversions in Brookline. Brookline PAX devoted much of its energy
to electoral politics. Based on each candidate's stance on both peace
and domestic issues, it evaluated, endorsed and supported campaigns
for local, state, and national offices. It also lobbied local government
and Brookline's state and national congressional representatives,
publicized officials' voting records, sponsored lectures and other
educational events, and helped organize marches and rallies.
Over the last 45 years, subsequent PAX leaders have included Bob McCain,
Bill Schlesinger, Marty Rosenthal (early 1980's), Frank Smizik, Julie
Johnson, Karen Wenc, Jessie Mermell, and the current co-chairs, Marty
Rosenthal (again) now with Frank Farlow.