Theological Community, The Church, The World, The Blogosphere

MLK the economic radical (aka “Communist” “Socialist” etc.) for which many adoring media would still oppose strongly #OWS

September 30, 2014 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

The criticism Dr. King received for these stances was fierce, and media coverage even among the outlets that had given sympathetic perspectives on the Civil Rights marches in the South began to echo the J. Edgar Hoover accusations that Dr. King was a Communist and subversive.

via MLK and the struggle for environmental justice..

Malcolm X is depicted as telling Dr. King that “It didnt cost this country to integrate the lunch counters”

One article attributed that insight to MLK :  “It didn’t cost the nation one penny to integrate lunch counters. It didn’t cost the nation one penny to guarantee the right to vote. The problems that we are facing today will cost the nation billions of dollars.”

To hear an excerpt of an MLK speech where  these occur,  click the play button when it appears HERE>  (from    )

the audio link (the play button above) from  has MLK indeed saying that,  which isn’t to say that MalcolmX didnt give him the idea for that.

MLK and the triple threat impacts environment issues as well (and vice versa) @ThisChanges Everything #OWS

September 30, 2014 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS, People's Climate, Theoblogical

As I read Naomi Klein’s ThisChangesEverything,  I am also winding down the final chapters of Tavis Smiley’s book Death of a King,  about MLK’s final years,  where he was offending a good portion of his following becuase they saw him as “Venturing out” from Race to issues (like war and economics)  that many were saying were “beyond his province”;  “Stick to civil rights” he quoted others as saying to him.  His answer:  “Ive worked too hard and too long  against segregation to end up segregating my MORAL CONCERN”.   This is a KEY THEOLOGICAL truth.  “Theology” is not “over here” while economics, race,  and yes,  the environment are “over there”.

I have this friend who is constantly missing that truth:  that theology is not “other” than any of the socio-ethical issues of our time, or any time.  This comes up time and time again whenever “Separation of Church and State” comes up.  It’s always “Keep the ‘religious’ element OUT of the decision making process where it concerns governing; religious beliefs ‘have no place’ in deciding what to do about X”.  Again,  the separation of “religous” into some ideological section OTHER than politics, government, social welfare.  Frustrating artificial divide.  The same collection of false dichotomies leads to what I was tweeting about earlier:  that the reaction to the environmental crisis is yet “another issue” that is something to be “into or not into”;  is it is certainly understandable,  and one cannot argue with “I’m just not interested in that subject,  although I believe the science about it”.   But the “gap” there is realizing that this climate crisis constitutes a much bigger deal than the act of giving it a score ,  and of course,  to people who treat it this way,  it is practically impossible to point out this disconnect, since they HAVE that disconnect.

Naomi talks about the great weight of this issue,  and how it drives so many people (like herself,  and like me,  even more so) to treat it as we would any other issue,  and read about it and listen to discussions,  but also somewhat consciously set it aside as it becomes “too much” to take in,  given the state of our politics,  and the ingrained harsh capitalist behavior of the fossil fuel companies,  and their constant ,  largely successful pressure, on the politics,  which is a part of why our politics is in such a depressing state of being totally subservient to the corporate state.   The corporate state , in turn,  bows to the will of the Fossil fuel companies by actually subsidizing their already massive profits.  How this makes sense in an economic atmosphere where the conservatives oppose “government intervention” and regulations of any kind,  is revealed when we follow the money cycle,  which changes hands virtually between the halls of government, Fossil Fuel, Conservative think tanks,  and the .1% drivers of all this.

And so,  1988 ,  the year commonly identified as when the climate scientists got their message out that some concerning trends had been taking place around and on the globe,  due to the massive emissions.   And once a network of collaboration has been shaped and implemented that creates an economic ideology that underpins and enables that behavior,  there is a seemingly endless problem in breaking through that set of assumptions about our economics.   That a certain style and shape of economics is assumed if it is to be called capitalism.   And then when people like Naomi Klein question the ethics and practicalities of such a capitalism,  there are endless protests of “anti-capitalist” as if that meant “Anti-American”,  which for many people, does indeed mean that.

MLK understood this process,  which enabled him to question the economic priorities of the United States and not be attacking the very idea of America,  which we took great pains to articulate,  drawing from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  He saw a “triple threat” to America in the shape of racism, poverty, and militarism.  Post 1988,  he would be talking about climate as well,  as a principal component or major product of the threats. He often talked about militarism and the economy in terms of priorities,  and the impact of poverty on ALL of the poor,  fueled by racism and militarism.  Add the environmental implications,  which has its economic causes (“unfettered capitalism) and effects on poverty (low income areas often most impacted by toxic activities,  since the more affluent have the political muscle to have a say in where these “byproducts” can be handled and expelled.  And racism is a vicious cycle,  acting as a social stigma,  due to the generalizing that racist elements use to develop prejudices ,  from the impact of strident low-income populations,  being beset by economic disadvantages, environmental hazards,  and lack of funds for basic infrastructure (often in no small measure due to the wasteful activities of the economy and the corporations which lobby the halls of government for increasingly lax regulation and subsidies.

So you see the quandry we’re in,  caught in multiple feedback loops where problems compound and spill over into the others.

Naomi Klein finds kernels of hope amid climate change and untamed capitalism

September 29, 2014 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

Slavery was as profitable as fossil fuel, but we still overcame it (or perhaps not quite, but we made good headway).

via Book review: Naomi Klein finds kernels of hope amid climate change and untamed capitalism.

So if something as profitable and ingrained in culture as slavery was finally defeated,  can we not have hope that unfettered capitalism can be “overthrown” and redirected toward the democrarcy it ostensibly serves? Naomi Klein offers that possibility in her excellently written and researched book, This Changes Everything.  Been reading that a lot yesterday and today,  and thereare stories of what CAN be done becuase it HAS been done; cases of where cities have decided to fire their private utilities and run their own;  where the people have taken democratic control of their energy needs,  and built self-sustaining systems in an astonishingly short time.  So it CAN be done.  And political winds DO shift,  often dramatically,  when crisis hits.  Corruption is called on the plundering , plutocratic rich who put profits and privilege ahead of the people.   And so ,  while the present political reality might tell us that these things are impossible today,  empires do fall.  I’m not talking about the American project.  I’m talking about the Elitist, privileged, project.  They usually fall.  They were taken down a few times in this country’s history (Slavery,  as mentioned above,  as well as the monopolies of the J.P. Morgans and Rockefellers which Teddy Roosevelt worked to dissolve.  So these previous eras of extreme wealth hegemony have a history of being brought down by their excess.  Surely the time is not far off from where we are.

Imagining Life Beyond Capital – By Joerg Rieger – The Marginalia Review of Books

September 28, 2014 By: Theoblogical Category: Occupy Theology, OWS

From the co-author of Occupy Religion: Theology of the Multitude,   a review of Thomas Pikkety’s landmark work of 2013, Capital in the 21st Century.  Some select quotes from the review:

For those aware of the basic orthodoxies of contemporary economics, Piketty’s work presents substantial arguments. The most important of these is a well-documented rejection of the widespread assumption that capitalism leads not only to greater economic success but also to greater equality in the long run

This insight highlights the inadequacy of a politic organized around commerce and the holding of personal property.  As a theological people who consult Biblical traditions for insight into the history of God’s people,  we see alternative ways of economic living. The Book of Acts description of the first Christian community describes an organization around principles other than personal property.  This also suggests that the organization of capitalism is not the ultimate principle of arrangement, nor the only ethical or just way of ordering relationships and mediating exchanges in the commons;  not the ultimate or only way of providing for the common good;  indeed whether it is good at all.

What Piketty best for the most part, and what might in the end save us, are efforts to organize the power that emerges from below.

I’m reminded here about the PeoplesClimate march,  as well as Occupy.   The PeoplesClimate March,  as well as Naomi Klein in her just released book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate,  talk about how the movment has to come from below;  from the people, since the political system has become so beholden to the sway of the elite and the corporations.

The Occupy Wall Street movement has demonstrated some potential, which was great enough that the powers that be were forced to smash it.

via Imagining Life Beyond Capital – By Joerg Rieger – The Marginalia Review of Books.

We’ve also seen a strong movement spring up and endure in #Ferguson over the issue of police force and racism.  The reactions of the Ferguson police and the city and state structures,  and even the Federal government which made visits and set up investigations,  but seems to have made little difference in the reactions of the  local police department.  This is the way the federal government seems to handle these things.  Lip service is payed to the problem,  and expressions of understanding toward the ones facing the injustices,  but in the end,  not moving to mandate or require justice being served.  Constant police pressure and intimidations ,  to provoke some response,  then move to crack down and break up the gatherings and arrests are made,  and repeat the process until someone’s hand is forced to achieve some resolution or end.  Seems to be a process of gradually wearing down the resistance until the light of public attention wanes,  and the resistance fades.  Running out the clock .  Assuring the maintenance of the status quo.  Something which the church throughout its history has become accustomed to facing.


One way “capitalism is stupid”: Lack of planning. It’s all NOW NOW NOW

September 25, 2014 By: Theoblogical Category: Media, Occupy Theology, OWS

process of convincing very wealthy people that this really was a problem, and that there really were costs down the road and that in the long term it would be better to prevent it from happening.

via Naomi Klein on Cause of Climate Crisis: “Capitalism Is Stupid”.

This has always been found to be true.  The cost of cleanup and relief far outpaces the cost of prevention,  but the short-term profit motive keeps people from accounting for that,  and therefore needed prevention and maintenance is neglected. This is also true for,  and the raison d’etre for Healthcare insurance,  and the countries that have recognized this best are the ones who have made it universal,  and they are the only ones reaping the benefits of that,  while the U.S. remains near the bottom of the heap in health care costs per capita.  It seems we never learn.

This has always been (although we truly only begun to see it about 30 years ago) true of the environment and global climate.  What we are paying for now in disaster relief and cleanup and after the fact future management and prevention dwarfs the costs we would have incurred had we acted when we realized this.  And that’s not even including the jobs bonanza that would have taken place just as it does everytime an economy retools itself to address new challenges.

I have just started reading “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein,  and I just finished the Intro (which was a phenomenal introduction which I couldn’t stop quoting- via my Kindle Share to Twitter and Facebook app)