Journeys of justice and peace through the Jubilee Holy Year 2000!
Welcome to the Justpeace Front Page
Grace to you and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! This edition's "opening notes from Bob" are a bit long, it turned into our summer letter, so if you want to skip those musings GO DIRECTLY TO JUSTPEACE PATHWAYS (i.e. the new links)
+++++ It is turning out to be a long hot summer. We moved the kitchen to the porch to help reduce the heat buildup in the house. My grandmother said that this is what everybody in Oklahoma used to do during the summer, so I guess we're remembering the wisdom of our ancestors. We're using a 2 burner gas grill and a 1 burner propane cooker, and have even managed to bake biscuits on the grill. We've also feasted on fresh blackeyed peas, yellow squash, tomatoes, and green beans from the garden, and are about to start picking corn. Alas, the pumpkins and winter squash were munched by various bugs, and the yields all around are down due to a July storm. We replanted the winter squash on the opposite side of the house, and so far the bugs haven't found it. The late sunflowers we planted are about to bloom.
+++++ Requests for assistance have remained steady throughout the summer, but resources have been scarce. As of last week we were down to beans, rice, flour, sugar, salt, tuna, ramen noodles, and canned mixed vegetables in our emergency grocery pantry. This week we've been given some juice, frozen vegetables and potatoes, so we have a little more variety, but the cupboard remains a bit bare. Praise God a member of my choir gave us a freezer last week, so we had room for the frozen food.
+++++ Every time we make up bags of groceries, I look at what we put in and think, "How will the person receiving this be able to use these particular foods?" I find myself hoping that they have baking powder and soda and yeast and know what to do with it, but worried that they don't have that knowledge. We also have requests for milk for kids that we haven't been able to meet. We've written four flyers -- (1) Saving big bucks on your summer energy bill, (2) family food security, (3) how to make your own snacks, and (4) Ideas for tasty and thrifty meals. They're all based on material in our Better Times Cookbook and Almanac of Useful Information for Poor People. We include them and a copy of our newspaper with each bag, plus a Rosary. Feel free to reprint them, they will eventually be available at this site as adobe acrobat files.
+++++We've had some visitors this summer. Jesse from the Rochester house stopped by (he was on an odyssey to visit as many CW houses as he could, I hope he sends out a little report on his journey). Cliff from Pittsburgh sojourned with us a few days during his recent trans-continental journey in search of community. He got appointed our director of holy research and blessed development -- we want to make our own solar cells for alternative energy purposes, and of course, teach others how to do the same -- and since he's working on a degree in some kind of materials engineering, he has more science than the rest of us combined. We've put this project under the patronage of St. Ambrose of Milan, one of the patrons of candlemakers (there wasn't a patron saint listed for "PV Solar Cell Makers", so we figured that candlemakers was close enough. Fiat lux!) Two expatriate Okies -- Margaret from New York and Christy from St. Louis, both volunteers at the houses in those cities, also stopped by for a visit. Margaret's mother died recently, let's keep that family in our prayers.
++++ A friend in Texas has sent us some photographs and maps of 20-30 acre parcels of land about 60 miles east of Oklahoma City near Wetumka (also Henrietta and McAlester). 30 acres runs $490/acre, a mixture of woodlands and pasture. Payments are low. Don't know about the water, though, but we'll find out. She's thinking about starting a Catholic Worker house in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, so that's another item for the prayer list. I told her, "It's easy to start a Catholic Worker house, just hang out your shingle and let God do the rest." We continue to make things up as we go along; as they say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
+++++ We are a year old this month. Since August of 1999, from a standing start, we have provided 1,211 nights of lodging and 3,752 meals to guests, as well as delivered groceries to 726 people. We connected 54 people with Christmas presents, and provided a bunch of clothing, as well as blankets, sheets, and the occasional stove or bit of furniture. We've also paid for some electric bills, prescriptions, doctor visits, and veterinary treatment (6 dogs and 2 cats), and delivered food, water, and "hospitality bags" to the homeless. We keep track of most of this in our house Journal -- a purple spiral notebook in which we write down requests for assistance, people who visit, guests, phone numbers, etc. It's a bit on the tattered side after a year of being packed around everywhere I go, but it's still hanging together, and just about full. Time for another notebook. Currently there are 7 people (6 adults, 1 kid), 4 dogs, and 4 cats in residence. Regarding internet activity, since December 27, 1997, there have been 370,054 unique user sessions, viewing a total of 713,248 pages; in the past year (roughly, August 23, 1999 to July 24, 2000) there were 161,943 user sessions, viewing 311,168 pages.
+++++ So let this be a lesson to you. Starting a Catholic Worker house is not an impossible task. Sure, there's a certain precarious nature to everything we do, but that's part of our solidarity with the poor. They are always on the edge, one foot on a banana peel and the other slipping. See also, "We start small, or we don't start at all." And, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." We certainly don't have a huge shelter or soup kitchen, but at night our living room turns into a bedroom. We've managed to keep at least one vehicle running and legal for the entire year (there are five vehicles around our place these days, 3 belonging to us and 2 to our guests, one is currently running and legal). We started with no money, essentially with just the space we live in, our vehicles, and the website. "How do you find people to help?" This hasn't been a problem, word gets around, they find us. We don't have a big strategic plan or a fund-raising campaign, nor a 501-c-3 corporation. But willing hearts and lots of prayer and the help of friends seems to be doing the job thus far. As we are praying in this week's novena, "Help me to not lose my faith, hope, and love."
+++++++The Daily Oklahoman business section reported on the Feast of the Transfiguration that the top 5% of households own 82% of stock market shares in the United States, and the top 1% own 51%, which means that the other 95% of the population splits 18% of the market. Only 30% of the population have more than $5,000 invested in the stock market.
+++++ Everybody here is waaaay dubious about the escalation of US military involvement in Colombia under the pretext of suppressing the illegal drug trade. Sounds like Vietnam II. If we were a betting house, we would be doing a "house pool" on the date of a "Gulf of Tonkin" incident designed to inflame domestic opinion in the US to support armed intervention in the country. So there's a special section to this Front Page about Colombia and the war on people who use drugs. My invitation is to take notice of this issue, because it is not a matter of major national discussion. When are the presidential candidates going to discuss their policies towards US military involvement in Colombia?
+++++ This Front Page also looks at income inequality and economic justice. To be sure, we do not begrudge anyone that which they have honestly earned, although we do remember the teaching of the Bible that "the love of money is the root of all evil," and have not forgotten Jesus' advice to the rich young ruler. The hypothesis around these parts is that a lot of what passes as wealth these days is not honest money, but rather politics and corruption, a reverse (perverse!) Robin Hood economy that steals from the poor to give to the rich. In spite of the tremendous economic boom of the 1990s, only the top 20% (in particular, the top 5%) shows serious gains. The next 20% has gained some income (not much, though), and the other 60% of households have incomes that are stagnant or declining. Memo to Washington: The "rising tide" is not lifting all boats. Combine this news about household income with the percentage of stock asset ownership, and it augurs a rocky and unstable future. A truly free and fair marketplace wouldn't produce this kind of injustice. The conclusion we draw is that the present system is cleverly rigged and politically manipulated to achieve this inequitable situation. One has to wonder how long the 80% will put up with this on-going legalized theft of their share of prosperity. Unfortunately, the powers that be appear to be as clueless as the Romanovs in 1917 or the French aristocracy in 1789.
+++++ Worldwide, the situation for the poor is grim, and getting worse. Promises of debt relief are not being fulfilled, the poorest of the poor are losing what little ground they have, and mortality is increasing. What's happening has almost a science fiction aura about it, as the prosperous North goes about its business oblivious to the millions dying in the South. We've been chronicling this since December 1997. We'll be glad when the news turns around. In any event, we watched parts of the Republican National Convention, and heard a lot of talk about Compassionate Conservatism. So we've compiled some Suggestions for Compassionate Conservatives (and Liberals, Socialist, Libertarians, and Greens), just in case somebody wants to take the propaganda seriously. We invite you to pass that list along the cyberways.
+++++"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away.'" Revelation 21:1-4. Amen, even so come Lord Jesus.
On the feast of St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr,
Robert Waldrop (and Sean, Josh, Nick, Shawn, Tammy, Ashley, plus Sally, Sassy, Pixie, and Bambi the dogs, and Mother of Nations, Crooked Paw, Callie, and Skitz the cats)
Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House, 1524 NW 21st, Oklahoma City, OK 73106, 405-557-0436.
+++++P.S. For a free subscription to our print publication, the Oklahoma City Catholic Worker, send me email with your postal mailing address. And of course, there is an internet edition at http://www.justpeace.org/okccwindex.htm .
If you don't subscribe to my listservs CINJUST & CINJUSTANN and would like to receive an
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me a blank email with SUBSCRIBE FRONT PAGE in the subject line. I'm also moderating a
new CIN list, Caelum et Terra, (CET), which is Chestertonian, Catholic, agrarian, community-oriented.
JUSTPEACE PATHWAYS+++ Bookmarks to the news and views departments on this page:
|Crossroads Featured news, connections, links.||Solidarity Reports, news, views, links, resources, from and about them that's doin'.||World Bank/IMF/Corporate Welfare Watch We keep our eye on these global structures of sin.|
|Spirituality Source of orthopraxis.||Disasters and Emergency Relief||On-going stuff that usually doesn't change from issue to issue.|
|Bookstore justice, peace, prudent, frugal, and simple living, community, organizing.||Special focus: Colombia and the war on people who use drugs||Living on the Earth as if people and other living things mattered|
Faithful Citizenship, a letter from the United States Bishops regarding the national elections this year.
Practical Distributism, 102 actions that support economic justice, social peace, and world harmony, by your Justpeace webservant.
Suggestions for Compassionate Conservatives (and Liberals, Socialists, Libertarians, and Greens), a new Justpeace page inspired by this year's trendy political slogan. Suppose we took this talk of compassionate conservatism seriously?
A Moral Assessment of Progress Towards Jubilee, from structural adjustment to just economic relationships, from the Religious Working Group on the World Bank and IMF.
My View of Distributism, by Antoine Valentin. A nice selection of links and commentary.
Jobs of our own: A distributist future for Australia, text of the G.K. Chesterton Memorial Lecture, May 1999.
The Urban Distributist, discusses the similarities -- and the differences -- between distributism and capitalism. "Capitalism does not mistake itself for God as communism does, it just acts as if God were dead."
Just Desserts, Amartya Sen reviews "Equality, the Third World, and Economic Delusion" by noted conservative economist P.T. Bauer who argues that gross income inequality is not only inevitable, but desirable. Sen refutes the thesis.
Why people go hungry, a review of Amartya Sen's "Poverty and Famines: an essay on entitlement and deprivation." Most people think that famine and chronic hunger are caused by a combination of population pressure and crop failure. Sen refutes this thesis too, arguing that famine results from "the working of the economic system in allocating the ability of people to acquire goods."
What to the slave is the Fourth of July?, a speech by Frederick Douglas, July 4, 1852, before the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society. "Oppression makes a wise man mad."
The death of moral distance, how the globalization of fear will make us all better people, from Slate on-line magazine. "In the end, we may have to try a radical approach to fighting terrorism: reduce the number of people who feel alienated and aggrieved enough to become terrorists in the first place." What a concept. As the Bible says, "Sow not in furrows of injustice lest you reap a sevenfold harvest."
The betrayal of Adam Smith, an excerpt from "When Corporations Rule the World." As far as Adam Smith was concerned, smaller was better. It would appear that the great exponent of capitalism would take a dim view of todays gigantic transnational corporations. The Smith idea would be small farmers selling to small milling companies, not small farmers selling to four transnational grain conglomerates.
Solidarity, Orthopraxis, Community Development TOP
Orthopraxis refers to practicing what you preach.
Web resources for socially responsible investing, lots of links, university oriented.
Trocaire, Irish organization "working for a just world."
The impact of neo-liberalism on Chile, a report prepared for Trocaire. Discusses the actual economic effects of the Pinochet regime's embrace of "neo-liberalism" as defined by the Chicago School (Milton Friedman et al) and its tragic effects on both the common good of the nation and the living conditions of everyone not in the nation's economic elite. Executive summary: the top 20% mad out like Fat Rat, the rest of the population experienced a steep decline in living standards.
The truth about Pinochet, Chile's legacy of torture, murder, international terrorism, and the "disappeared". On line access to a lot of primary material, including photographs, much of which originated in the Catholic press in Chile, documenting the crimes of the Pinochet regime. The myth of the Chilean economic miracle.
Chile, the laboratory test, a critique of the Chicago School of Economics.
Conflict and Competition, the Latin American Church in a Changing World, on-line text of a book which looks quite interesting, has a particular focus on Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guatemala, Peru and Venezuela.
Economic Apartheid in America, extract from a United for a Fair Economy report on the TomPaine.Com site. Facts and figures on economic inequality. The largest US employer is Manpower, Inc -- a temporary help agency. Virtually all the income growth for 25 years has gone to the top 1% of households. The rich get richer. More chapter and verse, with statistics, showing how income inequality in the US is increasing, and how the "rising tide" is lifting only the boats of the top 20%, with the rest of the population experiencing stagnant or declining incomes. In 1999, the average middle class family worked 256 additional hours than they did in 1989 to make ends meet (that's 6 weeks of work added to the 52 week year).
Rowel, Reform Organization of Welfare, fighting poverty and discrimination in Missouri, working for economic justice and a fair welfare system. When I lived in Kansas City, I was a volunteer with this group. They have an innovative Life in the State of Poverty welfare simulation game, which they present regularly throughout the state (the game may be purchased from them for use elsewhere). This simulation takes people through a month in the life of typical welfare families. Very educational.
We have met the monster, and it is us, by a Jesuit priest ministering in the barrios of Los Angeles, on the unlearned lessons of the recent Ramparts police scandal. Dehumanization is dangerous.
Belize Development Trust Library, I think it is good to read the press in third world countries,
this site is maintained by their equivalent of a 501-c-3 charity. Lots of articles, three good picks
would be Social justice for the Belizean people, Can you preserve your culture and raise your
standard of living at the same time? , The politics of efficiency, regarding the problems "free
trade" is causing small countries in the Caribbean.
Special Focus: Colombia and the war on people who use
Special Focus: Colombia and the war on people who use drugs. Yes, I know the convention term is "Drug War", but its focus is on people, and there's no doubt that it is a war. Perhaps the solution is peace.
Colombia: the genocidal democracy, by Fr. Javier Giraldo, SJ, complete on-line text. Before you sign off on the government's blank check for violence in Colombia, read this book.
This is your legal system on drugs: doing time for somebody else's crime. Collateral damage in the war on drugs. Tell me this is justice.
Economic costs and consequences of the drug war, this article pegs the cost at $40 billion in direct expenditures and climbing, but gives no estimate of indirect costs. Drug War Statistics, remember, if it's on the interest, it's forever. This is a copy of an alt.politics.libertarian article that I posted in 1993. By using some guestimates, proxies, and statistical abstract dollars and arrests, my estimate for 1990 incarceration costs alone was nearly $40 billion. So the $40 billion mentioned in the original article in this paragraph is only the beginning of the costs. Then there's the collateral damage costs -- lives destroyed, homes broken, jobs lost, debts unrepaid. And these figures are only for the US. What is the cost to the poor Colombians, as they flee their villages and farms, chased away by drug war violence -- and how much of that violence is the US financing?
History of Prohibition and Drug Use, 5000 BC to 1986 AD. Based on the work of Dr. Thomas Szasz in his book, Ceremonial Chemistry. Casualties of the war on people who use drugs. Justice Mocked.
Busted, total non-violent prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes in the US: 460,000 -- 25% of all prisoners in jail.
Fueling a Failed War on Drugs, my grandfather told me a long time ago that if a person needed to understand what was happening in politics, to "follow the dollar," and you would find the reason every time. Who is lobbying big time for feeding the pipeline of dollars, equipment, and personnel to the drug war in Colombia? Occidental Petroleum, BP Amoco, Enron, United Technologies, and Bell Helicopter Textron.
Hard time for soft crimes, Salon magazine looks into the issue of incarcerating non-violent drug offenders, and finds some surprising talk coming from some Republicans.
Poor Prescription, the costs of imprisoning drug offenders in the US, from the Justice Policy Institute.
Common Sense for Drug Policy, a comprehensive site advocating changes in the nation's drug laws. Lots of information and links. Proposes an Effective National Drug Control Strategy.
Nobody questions the Colonel, the shameful and tawdry story of the light sentences given to the former commander of US forces in Colombia and his wife for drug smuggling and money laundering. Their Colombian "mule," who actually carried the drugs, got more time than the Colonel and his wife combined. See also the Corruption of Colonel James Hiett.
The unquiet death of Jennifer Odom, is the government trying to cover up the first US battle casualties in Colombia as "accidents"?
Index of drug war stories, from Salon.com, spend some time browsing and updating yourself on current happenings in this "longest war" our nation has fought.
Swept Away, read and weep, stories of women betrayed and jailed, guilty of little more than bad judgment, often framed so that others can go free.
Massacre in Colombia, editorial in the SF Chronicle regarding the massacre earlier this year in
the village of El Salado by right wing paramilitary death squads.
A week of novenas for justice and peace, from the Oklahoma City Catholic Workers, 63 days of summer intercessory prayer.
Sisters of Mercy, NY regional community, teaching non-violent conflict resolution skills, service, and solidarity with the poor through apostolates and community life.
Notes from the Hermitage, web site of a hermit and his dog.
The reluctant conversion of Oscar Romero, from Sojourners Magazine, memories on the 20th anniversary of his martyrdom.
Blessed Alberto Hurtado, a Holy Helper of the Poor from Chile.
For each month's prayer intentions of the Holy Father, with complementary readings, see the Catholic Information Network's Apostleship of Prayer.
Virtual Rosary Online!
For the sake of profit many sin, and the struggle for wealth blinds the eyes. Sirach 27:1
World Bank/IMF Watch
World Bank/IMF WatchTOP Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways. Proverbs 3:31
Corporate money flows at convention, Salon magazine article regarding corporate financing of the recently concluded Republican National Convention.
Feasting at the federal trough, Dick Cheney's hypocrisy. Documents Cheney's success, as CEO of Haliburton, at looting the federal treasury via various corporate welfare/pork barrel/military spending programs.
The Bolivian Water War, from the Democracy Center in Cochacamba, Bolivia, documenting the attempt of the Bolivian government to privatize water systems, and the resulting popular uprising against the program which primarily benefitted transnational corporations.
Al Gore, corporate welfare environmentalist, a Focus on Corporation column.
Growth may be good for the poor -- but are World Bank/IMF policies good for growth? An analysis, from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, of the March 2000 apologia of the World Bank for its policies. Critiques the World Bank/IMF's numbers and concludes that the policies of these institutions have suppressed economic growth in developing countries.
Rightsizing the World Bank, IMF, and WTO, from the journal of the Society for International Development, suggestions for dealing with the damage being caused by these organizations.
Drop the Debt!, Summit-watch site for the recently concluded G7 meeting, which squandered the opportunity to do something meaningful about debt, and which cost over $750 million for 8 middle age men to get together and talk. They should have stayed home and talked on the telephone or sent each other email. End the G7 Now, Slate article on the issue.
He who oppresses the poor blasphemes his Maker. Proverbs 14:31a
Happy are those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked. Psalm 1:1a
TOP+++ Living on the Earth as if People and Other Living Things Mattered Department
This section now has its own internet publication: Better Times: the Webzine.
He who oppresses the poor blasphemes his Maker. Proverbs 14:31a
Disasters and Emergency Relief
Disasters and Emergency ReliefTOP
They ask their mothers, "Where is the cereal?" -- in vain, as they faint away like the wounded in the streets of the city, and breathe their last in their mothers' arms. Lamentations 2:12
ReliefWeb from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Complex Emergencies, information about on-going emergencies and various countries of concern to the humanitarian community. There isn't very much good news here. ReliefNet Home Page non-profit helping humanitarian organizations raise global awareness and encourage support for relief efforts via the Internet. AlertNet, a news and communications service from the Reuter Foundation for the emergency relief community, has press releases from leading relief agencies, expert analyses, reviews of key issues and events, jobs notice board. Has a focus page on Kosovo. Direct from the Field, reports from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world's largest humanitarian network. DisasterRelief.Org, worldwide disaster aid and information via the internet. Some very sad and tragic stories here.
Kosovo Regional Emergency, from Catholic Relief Services Kosovo Humanitarian Aid and Discussion links
Happy are those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked. Psalm 1:1a
Remember the time of hunger in the time of plenty; poverty and want in the day of wealth. Sirach 18:25 TOP
On-going. . . Subscribe to Catholic Information Network Mailing lists: CINJUSTANN, Catholic Justice and Peace Announcements, and CINJUST, Catholic Justice and Peace Discussion, both moderated by Robert Waldrop, Justpeace web servant. CINMUSIC, about liturgical music in the Catholic context. Click on the link and follow the instructions to subscribe. CET, Caelum et Terra, a continuing conversation among people inspired by the Caelum et Terra magazine which briefly flowered in the 1990s. Discussions range from organic gardening to Catholic intentional communities. Offered through the facilities of the Catholic Information Network. A message archive is available at the CIN site: Catholic Information Network . Click on "mail lists" or "mail list archives".
Even to the death fight for truth, and the Lord your God will battle for you. Sirach 4:28
PREVIOUS EDITORIAL COMMENTARY BY ROBERT WALDROP
|Independence Day 1999||Let Them Eat Portabello Quesadillas commentary on the 50th anniversary of NATO.||1999 Justpeace Easter Letter|
|WAR IS THE HEALTH OF THE STATE. Holy Week 1999 and the commencement of the United States war against Serbia.||WITH BURNING SORROW, a response to the March 24 statement of the president of the NCCB on the crisis in Kosovo.||The Epiphany View from Oakley Street, 1998|
|Election Day 1998 Special Edition||ALL SAINTS DAY 1998 Special Edition||A LAMENT Concerning the Foreign Policy of the U.S.A.|
|A LAMENT for the SUMMER of 1998||Congress, the Presidency, and the Culture of Death||President Clinton Should Resign,|
|Works of Justice and Peace|
My son, rob not the poor man of his livelihood, force not the eyes of the needy to turn away.
A hungry man grieve not, a needy man anger not; do not exasperate the downtrodden;
delay not to give to the needy. A beggar in distress do not reject;
avert not your face from the poor. From the needy turn
not your eyes, give no one reason to curse you.
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The just have a care for the rights of the poor;
the wicked have no such concern.
The mystery of the poor is this: that they are Jesus, and what you do for
them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing
and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty
is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor
in giving to others, we increase our
knowledge of and belief in love.
Dorothy Day of New York,
Confessor and Catholic Worker
What we do here is very little,
but it is like the little boy with a few loaves and fishes. . .
Christ took that little and increased it; He will do the rest.
What we do is so little that we may seem to be constantly failing --
but, then so did He; He met with apparent failure on the Cross. . .
unless the seed fall into the earth and die, there is not a harvest.
And why must we see the results of our giving?
Our work is to sow -- another generation will be reaping the harvest.
O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.
Avoid profane babbling and the absurdities of so-called knowledge.
By professing it, some people have deviated from the faith.
Grace be with all of you. 1 Timothy 6:20-21
Copyright (c) 1998, 1999, 2000 by Robert Waldrop
This is me (Spring 1999) while working at Catholic
Charities in Oklahoma City earlier this year. Note the
clean and well-organized desk.