Gene Sharp and Albert Einstein: A Correspondence

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by Janine Liberty

July 31, 2017

Gene Sharp, lifelong advocate of nonviolent resistance and founder of the Albert Einstein Institution, has passed away at age 90.

In 2016, Gene Sharp’s collaborator Jamila Raqib made an incredible find: a box containing correspondence between Albert Einstein and the 25-year-old Sharp, who was in prison at the time for refusing conscription into the Korean War. Written in the last two years of Einstein’s life, the letters show how the two thinkers grappled with some of the most profound challenges of the 20th century: war and violence, totalitarianism, the degradation of civil liberties, and attacks on academic freedom. It is evident that the McCarthyism of the era weighed heavily on Einstein’s mind as he offered steadfast support to Sharp and addressed the “conflict between political obligation and moral conscience.”

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