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FACTS ABOUT THE WALL from friends in Bethlehem

Read the truth about the Wall and what is happening today in the Holy City of Bethlehem.

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"Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all...and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave...a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils."
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"My aim is to agitate & disturb people. I'm not selling bread, I'm selling yeast."
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"Imagine All the People Sharing All the World."
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"If enough Christians followed the gospel, they could bring any state to its knees." 
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"You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down."
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"If I can't dance, it's not my revolution."
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"Never doubt that a few, thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." 
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We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. -July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence

 

Home arrow Blog arrow June 2010 arrow June 7, 2010: WAKE UP!

June 7, 2010: WAKE UP!
June 7, 2010: We Shall Overcome June 17, 2010: UPDATE LEADS from Mairead Maguire
   

Roger Waters - "We Shall Overcome"


Alfred Nobel’s intention was to reward people with a moral backbone and he hoped to create icons and examples to humankind when he established the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mairead Maguire continues to uphold that tradition ever since she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her leadership and vision.

 
Press Release  - 17th June, 2010

 

MAIREAD MAGUIRE CALLS FOR ISRAEL’S BLOCKADE OF GAZA TO BE LIFTED COMPLETELY

 

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, who was a passenger on the MV Rachel Corrie Ship which tried to break the Siege of Gaza and Deliver Humanitarian Aid to Gaza, but whose boat was illegally confiscated by Israeli Commandoes in International Water on 5th June, 2010 has responded to the news that Israeli Gov. has eased blockade on Gaza:

 

Ms. Maguire said:

 

“A partial lifting of the siege of Gaza by Israel, is not enough as the Israeli blockade of Gaza must be lifted completely.

 

“It is not enough that Israel allow a little more goods into Gaza, but that people and goods, both humanitarian and commercial, are allowed to move freely between Israel and Gaza. This was provided for in the Agreement on Movement & Access, which Israel signed up to in November 2005 and which set out the Arrangements that were supposed to operate for the passage of people and goods in and out of Gaza, in order to maintain its economic life, after Israel’s alleged ‘disengagement’ from Gaza.

 

“It is urgent that there be unfettered access to meet the humanitarian needs and to enable rebuilding of not only home and infrastructure, but trade must be permitted to build up the Gazan and Palestinian economy.   Under Oslo Agreement Israel Agreed to opening of Port of Gaza (closed over 40 years ago) and this must be Opened, as well as their airport (which was bombed by Israel) rebuilt,  so the people of Gaza have land, sea and air access and are no longer cut off from their Palestinian families and World community.

 

“This small step by the Israeli Government has shown what international pressure can achieve, but the International community must continue to demand that Israel Uphold human rights and International Law by lifting the siege of Gaza, ending the occupation of Palestine, and allowing the Palestinian People their right to self determination.”

 

Mairead Maguire

Nobel Peace Laureate

Peace People, N.Ireland.

www.peacepeople.com

 







PUBLISHED first January 1, 2010:
What Reverend MLK, Jr. might say to Bono
 




Two years ago, Israeli President Shimon Peres invited Bono to attend a conference in Israel marking Israel's 60th Anniversary and to honor its contributions in medicine, science, and conservation.



 

Bono didn’t make that trip, but this summer he was scheduled to perform in Israel.


I just checked U2's Tour Schedule and Israel is NOT on the list, but I persist:


In a recent New York Times op-ed, Bono wrote of his hope "that the regimes in North Korea, Myanmar and elsewhere are taking note of the trouble an aroused citizenry can give to tyrants."

 

Bono wrote of his hope that "people in places filled with rage and despair, places like the Palestinian territories, will in the days ahead find among them their Gandhi, their King, their Aung San Suu Kyi."

 


Bono is apparently clueless that an "aroused citizenry" of people of conscience have already responded to the tyranny of Israel's military occupation and apartheid practices by joining the Palestinian civil society’s call for NONVIOLENT Boycotts, Divestments, and Sanctions against Israel until they change their undemocratic behavior.



 

Bono is apparently also unaware of the thousands of NONVIOLENT resisters to the Israeli occupation who have been imprisoned by Israel without charges or trials.

 


And so, to commemorate Martin Luther King Day 2010, I spin what King might say to Bono:

 

In 1985, you joined forces with a group of artists concerned about Apartheid in South Africa and were inspired by your meetings with several of them, to write "Silver and Gold"




This is a song written about a man in a shanty town outside of Johannesburg.
A man who's sick of looking down the barrel of white South Africa.
A man who is at the point where he is ready to take up arms against his oppressor.
A man who has lost faith in the peacemakers of the west while
they argue and while they fail to support a man like bishop Tutu
and his request for economic sanctions against South Africa.
Am I buggin' you?



 
I mean to bug you, because the only way to break this monster's back is by first understanding WHY it is Apartheid in the 'Holy' Land!




In 1967 at Riverside Church, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the sermon and speech, Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break Silence, and addressed three of America’s demons; racism, materialism and militarism.

 

 

He called our government; "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today" and "the war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit."

 

 

Being a person of faith, King knew the power that was within and that, "there is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war."


King knew that the only hope for real change "…lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism…The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history."

 



In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s Wall is a violation of International Law because it cuts through the West Bank appropriating Palestinian land and destroying Palestinian villages and economy to make way for Jewish only colonies, which are been spun as neighborhoods by limp media and colluding governments.

 



Haaretz columnist Danny Rubinstein recently spoke at the UN and admitted that "Israel today was an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which had a different status...even if the wall followed strictly the line of the pre-1967 border, it would still not be justified. The two peoples needed cooperation rather than walls because they must be neighbors." [1]


"An apartheid society is much more than just a 'settler colony'. It involves specific forms of oppression that actively strip the original inhabitants of any rights at all, whereas civilian members of the invader caste are given all kinds of sumptuous privileges." [2]


On May 14, 1948, The Declaration of the establishment of Israel affirmed that, "The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations."


However, reality intrudes, for "The truth which is known to all; through its army, the government of Israel practices a brutal form of Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention camp."- Israeli Minister of Education, Shulamit Aloni quoted in the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Acharonot on December 20, 2006.


How could a state founded on "equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants" come to be such a state of hypocrisy?


A Little History:


July 5, 1950: Israel enacted the Law of Return by which Jews anywhere in the world, have a "right" to immigrate to Israel on the grounds that they are returning to their own state, even if they have never been there before. [3]


July 14, 1952: The enactment of the Citizenship/Jewish Nationality Law, results in Israel becoming the only state in the world to grant a particular national-religious group—the Jews—the right to settle in it and gain automatic citizenship. In 1953, South Africa's Prime Minister Daniel Malan becomes the first foreign head of government to visit Israel and returns home with the message that Israel can be a source of inspiration for white South Africans. [IBID]


In 1962, South African Prime Minister Verwoerd declares that Jews "took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state." [IBID]


August 1, 1967: Israel enacted the Agricultural Settlement Law, which bans Israeli citizens of non-Jewish nationality- Palestinian Arabs- from working on Jewish National Fund lands, well over 80% of the land in Israel. Knesset member Uri Avnery stated: "This law is going to expel Arab cultivators from the land that was formerly theirs and was handed over to the Jews." [IBID]


April 4, 1969: General Moshe Dayan is quoted in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz telling students at Israel's Technion Institute that "Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You don't even know the names of these Arab villages, and I don't blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either… There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."[IBID]


April 28, 1971: C. L. Sulzberger, writing in The New York Times, quoted South African Prime Minister John Vorster as saying that Israel is faced with an apartheid problem, namely how to handle its Arab inhabitants. Sulzberger wrote: "Both South Africa and Israel are in a sense intruder states. They were built by pioneers originating abroad and settling in partially inhabited areas." [IBID]


September 13, 1978: In Washington, D.C., The Camp David Accords are signed by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter. The Accords reaffirm U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338, which prohibit acquisition of land by force, call for Israel's withdrawal of military and civilian forces from the West Bank and Gaza, and prescribe 'full autonomy' for the inhabitants of the territories. Begin orally promises Carter to freeze all settlement activity during the subsequent peace talks. Once back in Israel, however, the Israeli prime minister continues to confiscate, settle, and fortify the occupied territories. [IBID]


September 13, 1985: Rep. George Crockett (D-MI), after visiting the Israeli-occupied West Bank, compares the living conditions there with those of South African blacks and concludes that the West Bank is an instance of apartheid that no one in the U.S. is talking about. [IBID]



In July 2000, President Bill Clinton convenes the Camp David II Peace Summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. Clinton—not Barak—offers Arafat the withdrawal of some 40,000 Jewish settlers, leaving more than 180,000 in 209 settlements, all of which are interconnected by roads that cover approximately 10% of the occupied land. Effectively, this divides the West Bank into at least two non-contiguous areas and multiple fragments. Palestinians would have no control over the borders around them, the air space above them, or the water reserves under them. Barak called it a 'generous offer" and Arafat rightly refused to sign away the rights of Palestinian civil society. [IBID]


August 31, 2001: Durban, South Africa, 50,000 South Africans marched in support of the Palestinian people. In their "Declaration by South Africans on Apartheid and the Struggle for Palestine" they proclaimed: "We, South Africans who lived for decades under rulers with a colonial mentality, see Israeli occupation as a strange survival of colonialism in the 21st century. Only in Israel do we hear of 'settlements' and 'settlers.' Only in Israel do soldiers and armed civilian groups take over hilltops, demolish homes, uproot trees and destroy crops, shell schools, churches and mosques, plunder water reserves, and block access to an indigenous population's freedom of movement and right to earn a living. These human rights violations were unacceptable in apartheid South Africa and are an affront to us in apartheid Israel." [IBID]


October 23, 2001: Ronnie Kasrils, a Jew and a minister in the South African government, co-authors a petition "Not in My Name," signed by some 200 members of South Africa's Jewish community, which stated: "It becomes difficult, from a South African perspective, not to draw parallels with the oppression expressed by Palestinians under the hand of Israel and the oppression experienced in South Africa under apartheid rule." [IBID]


Three years later, Kasrils will go to the Occupied Territories and conclude: "This is much worse than apartheid. Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had jets attacking our townships. We never had sieges that lasted month after month. We never had tanks destroying houses. We had armored vehicles and police using small arms to shoot people but not on this scale." [IBID]


April 29, 2002: Boston, MA. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he is "very deeply distressed" by what he observed in his recent visit to the Holy Land, adding, "It reminded me so much of what happened in South Africa."


The Nobel peace laureate said he saw "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about."


Referring to Americans, he added, "People are scared in this country to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful—very powerful. Well, so what? The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists." [IBID]



 

On July 26, 1973, a UN draft resolution affirmed the rights of the Palestinians and established provisions for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories as embodied in previous General Assembly resolutions, but the American Government killed this international effort to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands. [4]

 


It was 'civilized' men who carved up the Holy Land vis-ŕ-vis the UN Partition Plan in 1947, and over 700,000 indigenous Palestinians became refugees- who are still denied their inalienable human right to return home-because they are the wrong religion.  And this is at the root of much of the misery in the Middle East and fuels the 'demon' of Anti-Semitism.


Because of ignorance, misplaced guilt for the Jewish Holocaust and a fear of being called an Anti-Semite; Israel has been allowed to defy international law and deny equal human rights to the indigenous people.

Aided and abetted by USA and European economic, diplomatic and political support all have colluded to treat Palestinian citizens with institutionalized discrimination!


And the Goldstone Report didn't tell us anything new!

In February 2008, PACBI reported that Israel has been "committing horrific war crimes in the occupied Gaza Strip, where its illegal and immoral policy of collective punishment -- through a hermetic military siege and an almost complete blockage of fuel, electric power, and even food and medicine -- is pushing 1.5 million Palestinian civilians to the brink of starvation. Without electricity, incubators are shutting down; hospitals are fast coming to a standstill; water is not being properly purified nor separated from raw sewage; whatever is left from the local economy is undergoing a meltdown; and the most vulnerable sectors of the population, the children, the elderly, and the acutely ill, are languishing under unspeakable hardships." [5]




It has been reported that a few weeks before Rev. King bled to death on a patch of pavement in Memphis, he said:


"Peace for Israel means security, and we stand with all our might to protect its right to exist…I see Israel as one of the greatest outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy."

That maybe just a Zionist urban legend, but as King died a mere ten months after Israel's Military occupation of Palestine began, I imagine that with nearly 43 years of reflection, King would amend those words-if he actually spoke them-by citing the Hebrew prophet Amos who prayed:

"Let JUSTICE roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream."

I also imagine that King might also remind Bono of what John Lennon sang about women in the ‘70’s for today the Palestinians have become the 'N's' of the world:

We insult her every day on TV
And wonder why she has no guts or confidence
When she's young we kill her will to be free
While telling her not to be so smart we put her down for being so dumb.-
John Lennon, "Woman is the "N" of the World"



King united people of all faiths and civil secular society in the battle for civil rights for African Americans based on respect for human dignity, and driven by ethical and moral standards, and so, I imagine he might tell US all:

If you have ears to hear; hear!

If you have eyes to see; see!

If you have a heart of flesh may it bleed for the least among us-all the "N's" of the world- for only in solidarity do "have it in our power to begin the world again"-Tom Paine


I beseech US all to be a part of "the change you want to see in the world" [Gandhi] and may we all plunge into the righteous flowing stream of BDS, seeking justice and peace through NONVIOLENT actions until Israel behaves like a democracy should!

 



And may a righteous indignation over hypocrisy in high places fill US all with the desire for PEACE/Shalom/Salaam and might we all feel within this paraphrase from Luke 4:14:22:

May the Spirit of the Mystery we call the Lord be upon you.


May He/She/? anoint you to bring glad tidings to the poor.


May He/She/? use US all to proclaim LIBERTY to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,


Until the oppressed will be freed in a spirit of sister and brotherhood,


And then, we may truly proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord,


Who created ALL equal and endowed all with the inalienable rights to a life of liberty, that they may seek happiness and live in harmony with ALL.



 

Vanunu's Message to Hillary Clinton re: The Apartheid Wall


Learn More:

 

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

 

 

 




[1] http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3444320,00.html

[2] Apartheid Ancient, Past, and Present Systematic and Gross Human Rights Violations in Graeco-Roman Egypt, South Africa, and Israel/Palestine, By Anthony Löwstedt. Page 77.

[3] The Link, About That Word Apartheid, April-May 2007, Published by Americans for Middle East Understanding, Inc.

[4] http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/p-neff-veto.html

[5] http://www.pacbi.org/press_releases_more.php?id=655_0_4_0_C

 

 

 



Published first August 23, 2009: I hear 'dead' people talking...

"Where there is no love, put love and you will find love."-
St. John of the Cross

"And, in the end, the love you take; is equal to the love you make." -The End by The Beatles


Physical work is hard. Mental work is harder. Spiritual work is the hardest of all for it is a solitary suffering that requires an endurance that can only be fueled by a burning love for God and God is within All.  


Dorothy Day lived a diverse 83 years that culminated in 1980. She spent her youth amongst anarchists, communists and bohemians, in bars, on picket lines, in jail cells and through many unhappy love affairs. She ended life with a mile high FBI file and a paper trail that testifies that what she wrote, she believed, she did and lived.

When Dorothy Day was a child she dreamed of writing "such books that thousands upon thousands of readers would be convinced of the injustice of things as they were."

She accomplished that and in the end; much more.

As an unwed mother she shocked her progressive friends when she entered the Roman Catholic Church, and from the inside, she began to critique it. She called herself a journalist, but she was also a spiritual writer and a St. Francis of Assisi-a lone prophetic voice of wisdom that challenged church-and state-and illuminated their corruption of the gospel/good news that Jesus said was non-negotiable for his follower's; to be NONVIOLENT, to forgive in order to be forgiven and to love even those who do not love back.


In a 1994 issue of The Progressive, Erwin Knoll reported "the day after the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor [was] a day when even the most committed pacifist might have been forgiven for maintaining a discreet silence…There was nothing discreet about Dorothy Day."[1]


On the Sunday after Pearl Harbor, Day spoke out, "There is now all this patriotic indignation about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Japanese expansionism in Asia. Yet not a word about American and European colonialism in this same area. We, the British, the French, and others set up spheres of influence…control national states-against the expressed will of these states-and represent imperialism…We dictate to [all] …to where they can expand economically and politically, and we declare what policy they must observe. From our nationalistic and imperialistic point of view, we have every right to concentrate American military forces [Everywhere we chose]…But I waste rhetoric on international politics-the breeding grounds of war over the centuries. The balance of power and other empty slogans inspired by a false and flamboyant nationalism have bred conflict throughout 'civilized' history.


"And it has become too late in human history to tolerate wars which none can win. Nor dare we quibble about just wars…All wars are, by their very nature, evil and destructive. It has become too late for civilized people to accept this evil. We must take a stand. We must renounce war as an instrument of policy…Evil enough when the finest of our youth perish in conflict and even the causes of these conflicts were soon lost to memory. Even more horrible today when cities go up in flames and brilliant scientific minds are searching out ultimate weapons.

"War must cease. There are no victories. The world can bear the burden no longer. Yes, we must make a stand. Even as I speak to you, I may be guilty of what some men call treason. But we must reject war: Yes, we must now make a stand. War is murder, rape, ruin, death; war can end our civilization. I tell you that within a decade we will have weapons capable of ending this world as we have known it." [IBID]

In the pages of the all volunteer The Catholic Worker, which Dorothy Day founded, she advocated nonpayment of federal income tax as a protest against war and nuclear weapons. She stood her ground against Big Brother and corporate interests girded by her love for the NONVIOLENT Christ and under conviction that if the gospel that Jesus actually preached was practiced, it would transform the world.


In the 1950's an IRS employee asked Day to estimate her personal income tax for the previous ten years. She quipped, "You estimate my income for the past ten years, and you estimate what I owe. And how about, I won't pay that?"


Not until 1972 did the IRS bring another suit against Day's newspaper and also issued a threat to put it out of business. Dorothy responded:

"One of the most costly protests against war, in terms of long-enduring personal sacrifice, is to refuse to pay federal income taxes which go for war…Wars will cease when we refuse to pay for them…Our lives are open books-our work is obvious…Christ commanded His followers to perform what Christians have come to call the works of Mercy: feeding the hungry…visiting prisoners…And how opposite that is to the works of war which starve people by embargoes, lay waste the land, destroy homes, wipe out populations, mutilate and condemn millions more to confinement…Here in the Western Hemisphere, we went for precision bombing [reference to Hiroshima and Nagasaki] we went for obliteration bombing.


"We are on the side of revolution…Jesus said that the worst enemies were those of our own households, and we are all apart of this country, citizens of the United States and we all share in its guilt…We disagree with all political parties dedicated to maintaining the status quo. We don’t think the present system is worth maintaining…something else is necessary, some other vision of society must be held up and worked toward…We must reach our brother…the bridge is love and compassion-the suffering together which goes with love."


Day understood that the higher law is God's law and not man made laws.

She knew that God is love and "Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of cities. Love is not killing...Our Manifesto is the Sermon on The Mount, which means we will try to be peacemakers."


From his jail cell in Birmingham, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote:


"There are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all.

"A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.

"An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself. This is difference made legal. By the same token, a just law is a code that a majority compels a minority to follow and that it is willing to follow itself. This is sameness made legal.

"One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."- Letter from Birmingham Jail



"While there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-Eugene V. Debs

Dorothy Day's muse's included Tolstoy and most especially Peter Maurin, of whom she wrote:

"When I first saw Peter Maurin…he had tried to dress up by wearing a tie and a suit which looked as though he had slept in it. I found out afterward, indeed he had…he was one of those people who talked you deaf, dumb and blind, who each time he saw you began his conversation just where he had left off at the previous meeting, and never stopped unless you begged for rest, and that was not for long. He was irrepressible and he was incapable of taking offense.

"The night I met Peter I had come from an assignment for The Commonweal, covering the Communist-inspired "hunger march" of the unemployed to Washington. I had prayed at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception that I might find something to do in the social order besides reporting conditions. I wanted to change them, not just report them, but I had lost faith in revolution, I wanted to love my enemy, whether capitalist or Communist.

"I certainly did not realize at first that I had my answer in Peter Maurin. I was thirty-five years old and I had met plenty of radicals in my time and plenty of crackpots, too; people who had blueprints to change the social order were a dime a dozen around Union Square.

"He had been sent to me, he said, by George Shuster, later president of Hunter College, who at that time was editor of The Commonweal. George thought that we were alike in point of view, both interested in changing the social order and in reaching the masses with the social teaching of the Church.

"I had been a Catholic only about four years, and Peter, having suggested that I get out a paper to reach the man in the street, started right in on my education…I met Peter in December, 1932, and the first issue of The Catholic Worker came out in time for the May Day celebration in Union Square, 1933.

"What Peter Maurin was interested in was the publication of his essays, and my journalistic sense led me to report conditions as they were, to paint a picture of poverty and destitution, homelessness and unemployment, in short, to so arouse the conscience that the reader would be willing and ready to listen to Peter when he talked about things as they should be.

"Peter slept in the back of The Catholic Worker office, and he soon brought in an Armenian anarchist poet and a German agnostic to share his quarters with him and to provide sparring partners for round-table discussions. He never took part in any of the work of the paper, except to turn in each month half a dozen "Easy Essays." [2]

 

In the 1930's Peter Maurin wrote about feeding the poor and starving the bankers, on capitalism and greed, on borders and nationalism and love of God who indwells All; and he usually did it in rhythm and rhyme:


Modern society has made the bank account the standard of values.

When the bank account becomes the standard of values the bank account has the power.

When the bank account has the power the technician has to supervise the making of profits.

When the bank account has the power the politician has to insure law and order in the profit-making system.

When the bank account has the power the educator trains students in the technique of profit making.

When the bank account has the power the clergyman is expected to bless the profit-making system or to join the unemployed.

When the bank account has the power the Sermon on the Mount is declared unpractical.
When the bank account has the power we have an acquisitive, not a functional society.
 
 
Maurin saw what the Industrial Revolution had done to human beings and he had no faith in unions and organizations, or in strikes for higher wages or shorter hours as the solution to fix what society suffered.

"Strikes don't strike me," he used to say, but he did work for hours on picket lines as he distributed-leaflets regarding men and women's dignity and their right to associate themselves with trade unions,  cooperatives, maternity guilds, etc.


Day wrote, "He liked the name "radical" and he had wanted the paper to be called The Catholic Radical. To him, Worker smacked of class war. What he wanted was to instill in all, worker or scholar, a philosophy of poverty and a philosophy of work…he never preached; he taught. While decrying secularism, the separation of the material from the spiritual, his emphasis as a layman, was on our material needs, our need for work, food, clothing and shelter...Though he lived in the city, he urged a return to the village economy, the study of the crafts and of agriculture. He was dealing with this world, in which God has placed us to work for a new heaven and a new earth wherein justice dwelleth." [Ibid]


Before Maurin died in 1949, he was interviewed by the Houston Catholic Worker/HCW  from which I excerpt:

HCW: Am I my brother's keeper?

Peter Maurin: No matter what people's preferences are, we are our brother's keeper.

HCW: What did your father mean when he talked with you about the "shock maxims of the Gospel?"

Peter Maurin: As we walked back and forth to the village our father spoke of the shock maxims of the New Testament. He was talking about the Sermon on the Mount: going the extra mile, having a coat and a cloak and giving one away, loving your neighbor as yourself, turning the other cheek.

HCW: What's wrong with industrial capitalism?

Peter Maurin: It is incompatible with the Christian Gospel because it renders the person subservient to the production of wealth. No economic system which places greater value on the accumulation of wealth than on the dignity of the human person deserves the support of those who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and the Pope. It leads to alienation and a loss of a sense of personal participation in community life. With industrial capitalism it is not clear who is responsible for problems that arise.
 
HCW: The Easy Essays seem so simple. Why did you write that way?

Peter Maurin: They are deceptive. My writing is the fruit of much study and prayer. The essays were written to entice people into more profound study regarding the rich Christian tradition and radical ways of living the Gospel.

 
HCW: What did you do when the FBI came to investigate conscientious objection at the Catholic Worker during World War II?

Peter Maurin: FBI agents continually came to check on the sincerity of those who had registered with the Association of Catholic Conscientious Objectors. These agents were courteous and frequently Catholic. They had never heard the morality of war debated from a Catholic point of view. They often stayed to talk; some subscribed to the paper or left money for the bread line.

HCW: What should we do about our borders and immigrants?

Peter Maurin: We call barbarians people living on the other side of the border.

We call civilized people living on this side of the border. We civilized, living on this side of the border, are not ashamed to arm ourselves to the teeth so as to protect ourselves against the barbarians living on the other side.

And when the barbarians born on the other side of the border invade us, we do not hesitate to kill them. So we civilized exterminate barbarians without civilizing them. And we persist in calling ourselves civilized.

HCW: Do you have a blueprint for a farming commune?

Peter Maurin: I don't give blueprints or five-year plans. You must learn by doing. Education is a life process.

HCW: Do you believe in freedom?

Peter Maurin: Freedom is a duty more than a right. Having pure aims and using pure means is making the right use of freedom.

HCW: Why do you always talk about the Works of Mercy?

Peter Maurin: In the first centuries of Christianity pagans said about Christians: "See how they love each other."

The love of God and neighbor was the characteristic of the first Christians. This love was expressed through the daily practice of the Works of Mercy. To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to instruct the ignorant at a personal sacrifice was considered by the first Christians as the right thing to do.

We cannot imitate the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary by trying to get all we can.

We can only imitate the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary by trying to give all we can.

I feel that you have to keep to a personalist approach, which is so much more profound than politics.

Charles Péguy used to say: "There are two things in this world, politics and mysticism."

Politics is just politics and is not worth bothering about and mysticism is mysterious and is worth all our striving.

HCW: What do you think of the present secular and theological world?

Peter Maurin: We have entered into a new Dark Age in a century and culture of death, holocausts and exploitation of poor workers.

To be radically right is to go to the roots by fostering a society based on creed,
systematic unselfishness and gentle personalism.

To foster a society based on creed instead of greed, on systematic unselfishness instead of systematic selfishness, on gentle personalism, instead of rugged individualism, is to create a new society within the shell of the old.

Modern society is in a state of chaos. And what is chaos if not lack of order?

All founders of orders made it their personal business to try to solve the problems of their own day. If religious orders made it their business to try to solve the problems of our own day by creating order out of chaos, the Catholic Church would be the dominant social dynamic force in our day and age.

HCW: How is a personalist different from other people?

Peter Maurin: A personalist is a go-giver, not a go-getter.

He tries to give what he has, and does not try to get what the other fellow has. He tries to be good by doing good to the other fellow. He is altro-centered, not self-centered. He has a social doctrine of the common good.

HCW: What is the most important thing in your economic reform?

Peter Maurin: Peter Kropotkin said: "The economic problem is not an economic problem; it is an ethical problem."

Economic reform must begin with the individual. No effort to build an economic order embodying Catholic teaching can succeed unless Catholics begin to live out their principles in their personal lives.

If I am anxious to build an economic order which cares for the needs of the poor and the needy, I must care for the poor and the needy. If I want to love Jesus, I must love my neighbor, especially my neighbor in need.

HCW: Do you believe in systems?

Peter Maurin: We believe in systematic unselfishness.

HCW: Do you believe each person has a vocation?

Peter Maurin: Each person has a specific purpose in God's plan and has unique gifts to contribute to the community. Before discovering their vocation, people might be envious or jealous of others; they might even wish to be some other person. They might be afraid.

Vocation means to be a friend of God.

HCW: What is the solution to our economic problems?

Peter Maurin: Business men say that because everybody is selfish, business must therefore be based on selfishness.

But when business is based on selfishness everybody is busy becoming more selfish. And when everybody is busy becoming more selfish, we have classes and clashes.

Business cannot set its house in order because business men are moved by selfish motives;

Business men create problems they do not solve them.

When the bank account is the standard of values the class on the top sets the standard.
When the class on the top does not care for culture, nobody cares for culture. And when nobody cares for culture civilization decays.

When class distinction is not based on the sense of nobless oblige, it becomes clothes distinction. When class distinction has become clothes distinction everybody tries to put up a front.

The world would be better off if people tried to become better,

And people would become better if they stopped trying to be better off.

For when everyone tries to become better off nobody is better off.

But when everyone tries to become better everyone is better off.

Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to become richer.

And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest

And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.

A radical writer says: "Rome will have to do more than to play a waiting game; she will have to use some of the dynamite inherent in her message."


To blow the dynamite of a message is the only way to make the message dynamic.

It is about time to blow the lid off. - Peter Maurin



I am no theologian, but I have concluded that the ONLY 'sins' are selfishness and being boring. Dorothy Day and Peter were never either!


1. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1295/is_n4_v58/ai_14951440/pg_1

2. http://www.catholicworker.com/cwo003.htm


3. http://www.cjd.org/paper/interv.html

 

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