An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Christ the Revolutionary
"A final key ingredient for a successful strategy is our ability to frame our own struggles, or to tell our own story. If we act defensively within the framework of the United States government and their 'war on terror' story, we will always be on the defensive. If we allow them to define reality, we will always lose. If we limit ourselves to defensively arguing that there were no nuclear weapons in Iraq, or that there are none in Iran, for example, without challenging the legitimacy and cost of the United States being an empire, then we are operating in a reality defined by those in power. We have to be able to understand, fight, and win the 'battle of the story.'" - David Solnit.
Or in the words of Daniel Berrigan, we do not accept the terms of the argument. The story they tell always leads to the same conclusion, ongoing support for violence against nature and against ourselves.
Yet still we resist, just like the three people that managed to show up for the commissioning of the USS Sampson in Boston on Nov. 3, 2007. CNN won't be there, you can bet. But God will be. He is there in the emptiness, when no one seems to notice. The gestures we make from the heart are the ones that count, even when no one is there to cheer.
Today is the day of the 18th anniversary of the women and Jesuits assassinated in El Salvador–an anniversary of a modern-day crucifixion that we celebrate as a sign of hope that all of us remain faithful in the struggle, in the face of whatever lies in our path. Only then will we be able to experience the joy and gift of resurrection. The joy and gift of resurrection which is the gift of life.
Which leads to the story that we Christians must tell: "And do you know who spoke of new human beings more than two thousand years ago? Do you know who? Christ and the prophets spoke of the arrival of new human beings. Christ was a new man; he was the incarnation of the new human being, except that they crucified him. Old human beings often crucify new men and women because they don't want anything new. And new human beings are social beings, human beings. Che said that revolutionaries are the highest form of human beings, the kind of person who lives each day not thinking of her own gain nor of how to obtain that personal material gain -- no, no, no, thinking of other people. And, what is more, in relation to a project -- in this case the revolutionary Bolivarian project -- completely committed, struggling against old vices -- corruption, abuses of power, egoism -- and against those categories that are capitalist: commodities, economic profitability. This isn't the most important thing -- individual material interest, etc. can't be what guides any human being who calls herself socialist and who joins in the construction of a socialist society. I'll read some more: "We need to remember the goal. The world that we want to build is the society of associated producers, where each individual is able to develop his full potential, the world which, in Marx's view would allow the 'absolute working-out of his creative potentialities,' the 'complete working out of the human content,' the 'development of all human powers as such the end in itself.'" And these last sentences are direct quotes from Marx. Marx's thought must become a potent nutrient of the Bolivarian Revolution. We have to go to this thought and to socialism's great thinkers. (Of course, we here are not going to copy this thought as if it were a catechism and we are not going to carry around a little book which tells us what has to be done. No, no. We just take sustenance [from them] to use to invent our socialism). Simón Bolivar, a thinker who becomes more social, more revolutionary, more socialist with each day that passes -- somewhere around here I have a book published by Simon Rodriguez University: Simon Rodriguez' Letters -- a socialist to the core, a thinker, a philosopher. There's a lot to be found, taken, extracted, as if from a gold mine, from Simón Rodriguez's thought: ideas, inspirations, guidance for our socialism . Zamora, Mariátegui, and many, many other thinkers. Christ, as I mentioned before -- although some bishops get angry, that's not my fault, I am free to say what I believe; here everyone is free to say what she or he thinks -- I believe that Christ was a great socialist, the greatest of our era." - Hugo Chavez