will not tire of declaring that if we really want an effective end to
violence we must remove the violence that lies at the root of all
violence: structural violence, social injustice, exclusion of citizens
from the management of the country, repression. All this is what
constitutes the primal cause, from which the rest flows naturally.”
-- Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980)
to the perpetual barrage of bovine fecal matter spewed forth by our
beloved corporate media whores, terrorism is not an imminent threat to the
continued existence of moral, peaceful human beings. Certainly there are
groups and individuals who kill innocents in pursuit of demented agendas.
However, by and large, those labeled “terrorists” by the Bush
administration and their unofficial mouthpieces at Fox News and similar
outlets are people who are simply using "asymmetrical warfare" to resist
the ongoing oppression, exploitation and subjugation of an imperialist
Increasingly, United States foreign and
domestic policies are determined by a relative handful of cynical
bourgeois, some of whom are not even US Americans. Their malevolence is
exceeded only by their avarice.
True to their deceitful natures, the moneyed elite have contrived the “War
on Terror” as an attack on those bold enough to violently oppose their
enslavement. Yes, the latest campaign to enforce Pax Americana is
simply a new front in the “War on the Poor and Oppressed.” Humanity has
been embroiled in an epic struggle between the pecunious and impoverished
since it developed agriculture, abandoned nomadism, and began the
acquisition of wealth. Industrialization, consumerism, materialism, debt
slavery, wage slavery, hyper-competitiveness, egocentrism, and the myriad
of ills spawned by American Capitalism have catapulted the plutocracy into
the stratosphere in terms of wealth and power. They are not about to
quietly relinquish their ill-gotten spoils.
Despite the deepening misery and increasing numbers of indigent human
beings, our corporate masters and their loyal propagandists assure us that
the class wars are over. After all, the collapse of the Soviet Union and
China’s rush to embrace “free markets” “prove” that Socialism and
Communism are utopian failures. The United States and the countries it has
conquered (sorry, that’s liberated), are meritocracies. For those of you
in rags, riches are just around the corner. Simply get off your lazy
posteriors and apply a little elbow grease. Such tripe rolls easily off
the tongues of those pulling down six, seven or eight figure incomes,
people who nestle safely within the confines of their gated communities
and rest upon the comfortable support of their inherited or plundered
Yet far from having ended, thanks to the tireless efforts of Goldwater,
Buckley, Nixon, Reagan, Cheney, Bush, and a host of other neo-fascists,
the enduring socioeconomic struggle has reached a fever pitch. Tragically,
the ruling elite have utilized their formidable agitprop to beguile the
confused masses into believing that our depraved system’s victims (and
their champions) are the enemy.
In stark contrast to George Bush, a man responsible for the deaths of a
million or more Iraqis and Afghanistanis plus thousands of Americans in
New Orleans and Iraq, Hugo Chavez has no blood on his hands. And Chavez, a
man who has mitigated the suffering of millions of people, is the
Resistance fighters battling to expel an imperialist foreign occupier
which has been waging genocide against the Iraqi people since the Gulf War
are “terrorists”. The invading hordes are hailed as “liberators”.
Ridiculously out-gunned and out-financed Palestinian groups like Hamas,
which resort to violence in a desperate attempt to counter brutal Zionist
ethnic cleansing, Apartheid, occupation, and colonization, commit “acts of
terror” when they kill Israeli civilians. Conversely, Israeli IDF forces
are “fully justified” when they commit murder on a much wider scale
because they are “defending Israel’s right to exist”.
One can find numerous other instances of the empowered establishment
vilifying and attacking the “wretched refuse,” but let’s rewind a few
years for a revealing look at a specific example of the pernicious
machinations of the opulent. Concurrently, we will also explore a
potential solution to the cancer of American Capitalism which plagues the
Earth and nearly every living being on it.
Free at last?
Liberation Theology, a movement widely embraced by Central and South
American priests and bishops in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, traces its roots
back to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor who was hanged in 1943 for
his resistance to Hitler and the Nazis. Interpreting Christ’s teachings as
a clarion call to devote their lives to the struggle for social justice
and human rights, people like Don Helder Camara, Leonardo Boff, Dorothy
Stang, and Oscar Romero faced harassment, punitive action from the
Vatican, persecution, and assassination in their quests to uplift the
exploited, violated, and destitute.
The Red Bishop
Taking on both the Vatican and the military dictatorship that ruled his
home nation of Brazil from 1964 to 1985, the Red Bishop, Don Helder
Camara, was a fearless advocate for the down-trodden. World renowned for
relentlessly assailing the ruthless Brazilian government for human rights
violations, Camara attacked the Right Wing elements of the Catholic Church
with equal vigor. Before Pope John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger, his
reactionary confidant, effectively silenced most liberation theologians
(because of their Marxist tendencies), Camara managed to significantly
advance the cause of humanity in Brazil.
Camara is noted for once having said, “When I give food to the poor, they
call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a
Leonardo Boff in particular drew Ratzinger’s wrath. Boff, another
Brazilian clergyman, was even more radical in the eyes of the Church than
Camara. His tireless intellectual efforts set the foundations for
Liberation Theology in Latin America. The Vatican was loath to associate
itself with this Leftist political movement, Christ’s call for justice be
damned. As its chief architect, Boff was a marked man.
Statements like, “Jesus was a political prisoner, who died on the Cross,
not an old man who died in bed,” did little to endear him to an
institution far more interested in expanding its wealth and influence than
in taking a stand against established powers on behalf of the indigent.
The Church stripped Boff of a number of his priestly duties. He eventually
left the Church and went on to pursue a better world through independent
Affirming his fervent opposition to our criminal potentates, in November
of 2001 Boff commented, "For me, the terrorist attack of September 11
signs the turning for a new humanitarian and world model. The targeted
buildings send a message: a new world civilization couldn't be built with
the kind of dominating economy (symbolized by the World Trade Center),
with the kind of death machine set up (the Pentagon) and with the kind of
arrogant politics and producer of many exclusions (White House spared,
because the plane fell before). For me the system and culture of the
capital started to fell. They are too destructive."
A US American nun who eventually became a naturalized citizen of Brazil,
Dorothy Stang was an indefatigable and valorous defender of both the
rainforests and the rights of peasant farmers. Despite death threats from
wealthy land-owners and logging interests, she continued helping poor
Brazilian families work small land parcels without engaging in
deforestation. On 2/12/05, assassins gunned her down at close range.
Dot, as her family called her, summarized her noble agenda succinctly with
"I don't want to flee, nor do I want to abandon the battle of these
farmers who live without any protection in the forest. They have the
sacrosanct right to aspire to a better life on land where they can live
and work with dignity while respecting the environment."
Perhaps the most influential member of the deeply inspiring Liberation
Theology crusade was “San Romero.” The Vatican gave Oscar Romero his
position as Archbishop of San Salvador because he ostensibly supported the
“Washington Consensus”. However, witnessing thousands of horrific crimes
against humanity catalyzed Romero’s profound conversion. Jimmy Carter (and
later Ronald Reagan) helped finance the military of a government in El
Salvador dominated by a few wealthy oligarchs who were closely aligned
with US corporations. In their efforts to defend their wealth from the
threat of the “Communist scourge”, Washington’s friends in El Salvador
were murdering 3,000 unarmed “oppositionists” each month by 1980.
Romero advocated a path of non-violence. In 1978 he wrote:
“The counsel of the Gospel to turn the other cheek to an unjust aggressor,
far from being passive or cowardly, shows great moral force that leaves
the aggressor morally overcome and humiliated. The Christian always
prefers peace to war."
Utilizing his position and voice within the Church, Romero delivered
powerful sermons calling for an end to the torture and slaughter. As an
active means of protest, he closed schools, cancelled masses, opened the
seminary to the homeless and wounded, and halted construction of the new
cathedral. He leveled powerful accusations against the ruthless tyrants
ruling El Salvador. Romero called upon the US to stop funding the butchers
in San Salvador (Washington continued sending $1.5 million per day for 12
years), for the penurious to take up “their own struggle for liberation”,
and for the peasant soldiers of El Salvador to defy their government
“Brothers, you are from the same people; you kill your fellow peasant ...
No soldier is obliged to obey an order that is contrary to the will of
God. No one has to fulfill an immoral law. It is time to recover your
consciences and to obey your consciences rather than the orders of sin.
... In the name of God then, in the name of this suffering people I ask
you, I beg you, I command you in the name of God: stop the repression."
As a result of his appeal to El Salvador’s troops to defy their orders, on
March 24, 1980, Monsignor Romero unknowingly presided over his final mass.
In the midst of the service, an assassin’s bullet ripped through Romero’s
heart. Within moments, he had passed to the other side. Reactionary forces
had slain yet another intrepid defender of the tyrannized and
Hit Me With Another Round of Inculcation
Yet as Western media pundits, think tanks, and our “public servants” have
so astutely observed, there is no class war. Socioeconomic classes are
amorphous in a US-dominated world economy offering limitless upward
mobility. Marx and his philosophies are dead. It is simply the natural
order that “moral beacons” like Carlos Slim Helu, the Walton’s, Charles
Koch, Rupert Murdoch and a few hundred others possess more wealth than the
world’s poorest 2.5 billion people. While it is a pity, the 11 million
children who die as a result of poverty each year are necessary sacrifices
upon the altar of Mammon.
In the terrifying and unlikely event that your indoctrination fails and
you find yourself suddenly afflicted with the profound feeling of
existential emptiness that accompanies the realization that our
hedonistic, acquisitive, narcissistic, shallow, mean-spirited, and
bellicose American Way is spiritually bankrupt, remember that the
Liberation Theologians showed us that there are other ways of being.
Oh, to Hell with it!
Just turn on the TV. Luxuriate in the fantasy that you could become as
affluent and privileged as “The Donald.” That’s much more gratifying than
attempting to emulate those hopelessly idealistic wannabe saints!
is a wage slave of the American Empire who has freed himself
intellectually and spiritually. He writes prolifically; his essays have
appeared widely on the Internet, and he volunteers at a homeless shelter.
He welcomes constructive correspondence at
or via his blog:
Thomas Paine's Corner.
Disclosure: In his relatively nascent
but profound divorce from the rabid centrism posing as “liberalism”
infecting many US Americans, this author unwittingly advocated and
embraced notions akin to Liberation Theology prior to discovering the
existence of this incredible movement. Despite abandoning his Christian
faith in favor of a personal spirituality forged in the crucible of
personal struggle, the two pieces linked below reveal the striking
similarities between his personal principles and those of Liberation
In short, the author is heavily biased in favor of many aspects of