Activism

A New Christian Manifesto: "Follow Me" (Part 2s)

[continued from part 1]

Jesus did not establish bureaucratic institutions, weekly social gatherings, or houses of religious entertainment. He started a movement that demands that rather than spending our time establishing ever more luxurious churches, we must strive to establish God's kingdom of love and justice on earth as in heaven. The gospel he lived and died for summons us to treat [...]

Speeches are Fine, but Real Change Takes a Movement

It was a warm spring afternoon when Martin Luther King addressed tens of thousands gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial, the largest gathering to date in the growing struggle for civil rights.

King rallied the crowd with his stirring refrain: "Give us the ballot!" He called for the government, white liberals, white Southerners, and finally the African-American [...]

China Bars Olympian and Darfur Activist from Attending Summer Games

Looks like Joey Cheek -- a winter Olympics medalist who co-founded the organization Team Darfur to protest the genocide incited by the regime in Khartoum -- will not be going to Beijing in support of the Team Darfur athletes about to compete in the Olympics. China, which buys Sudan's oil and often runs interference for the Khartoum regime in the U.N. Security Council, has revoked Cheek's visa and told him to stay out.

But, to paraphrase Matthew 15, it's not what goes into [...]

MoveOn at Ten

MoveOn.org pioneered the art of online political advocacy. As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, it can look at enormous successes and a host of new questions. Do politicians take mass e-mails seriously? Is advocacy by e-mail being replaced by text messaging and social networking? Can online activism be turned into on-the-ground organizing? They're questions that face [...]

Band-Aids or Cures?

The prophet Isaiah says that the Lord will be a stumbling block for many, meaning that the majority of us will have difficulties living the way we ought to. Working in the field of social justice only seems to add another dimension to that difficulty. Poverty, economic inequality, and eradicating racism, sexism, and the like are all issues that "progressive Christians" care about, but how much do we really say about how things got this way?

From my experience, the progressive [...]

The Shortage Isn't Food, It's Democracy

News broadcasts report a horrific “world food crisis.” But there is no food shortage. In fact, there’s more than enough food to make us all chubby—even counting only the “leftovers,” what remains after turning more than a third of the world’s grain and fish catch into feed.

The forecast for world cereal production in 2008 stands at a record 2,164 million metric tons, says the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s an increase of 2.6 percent over last year, the previous global high.

Again: The shortage is not of food. It is one of democracy. At its heart, democracy means power distributed so that citizens’ interests—our values and our common sense—show up in policies.

Yet, can you imagine citizens anywhere setting things up so that just one company, controlling a huge share of the entire world’s grain trade, could enjoy a 65 percent profit surge last year, while at the same time food price hikes are pushing 100 million more people into poverty and hunger? (The most recent quarterly Archer Daniels Midland profit surge came largely from the company’s financial division that makes money on price volatility via commodity futures trading.)

Or think about this: In a world where even before this historic price climb almost a billion people couldn’t afford enough to eat, what citizen would say, “Why don’t we start shifting prime farmland into agrofuel production and push prices still higher!?”

Neither could happen if citizens had real power. Each violates our common sense and our hardwired human need for fairness.

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Sojourners Magazine July 2008
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Crazy for Justice

This Training for Change conference was a good experience, one that I did not expect and that challenged me deeply. One of the tools we practiced was learning to tell our personal stories to build relationships with each other. I'm not very good at that, and I have a hard time finding the desire to open up to strangers.

But the more the ideas of "relationships" and "stories" were [...]

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