In March of 1951, Jacobo Arbenz came to power in Guatemala after having been resoundingly elected by the people. A little more than three years later, he was forced to resign in the midst of armed intervention. His reforms to redistribute unused land to poor peasants had fallen afoul of the United Fruit Company, which owned and warehoused vast tracts of Guatemalan land. The American corporation solicited the US government to overthrow the populist president and the Eisenhower administration delivered with the help of the Department of State and CIA, which happened to be led by the Dulles brothers, who had strong ties to the company. Arbenz’ ousting put an end to democracy in Guatemala for decades and replaced it by military rule. A civil war followed several years later, resulting in the deaths of over 200,000 people. The country remains one of Latin America’s most impoverished to this day.
“Memorial Day is a time to remember, appreciate, and honor the selfless patriots who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to freedom. At a time when our country seems so divided, we must not forget that it is because of their service and sacrifice that we live in the most free and prosperous nation on Earth.” —Congressman Tom Garrett
Within many areas of contemporary life there is a growing momentum for fundamental change. Inequality and injustice are being resolutely challenged and environments in which Right Relationships can evolve are being consistently and powerfully demanded. The establishing of right relationships is a principle hallmark of the unique times we are living in, it sits alongside those other perennial values of goodness: justice freedom and sharing; qualities that have been held deep within the hearts of humanity for eons though consistently denied and not expressed.
We have blind men, one-eyed men, squint-eyed men, men with long sight, short sight, clear sight, dim sight, [and] weak sight. All that is a faithful enough image of our understanding; but we are barely acquainted with [men of] false sight. — Voltaire, The Philosophical Dictionary, Knopf, NY, 1924
Colombia’s presidential election could determine the fate of the historic peace deal ending their 53-year civil war. While most in the country want to honor the agreement, Colombia’s right wing has been a fervent opponent.
Top military, diplomatic, and political leaders have exposed, warned of, and condemned our runaway, unaudited military budgets for decades, to no avail. (For many examples, see America’s War Machine: Vested Interests, Endless Conflicts by James McCartney, with Molly Sinclair McCartney.) They usually come to the same desperate conclusion: that only organized citizens back in their Congressional Districts can make Congress stop this spending spree. Only us, Americans!
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“When a man is placed in a position where he is compelled to give the benefit of his labor to another, he is in a condition of slavery, whether the slave is held in chattel bondage or in wages bondage, he is equally a slave.” — Quentin Skinner
Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become “commonwealths,” and colonies become “territories” or “dominions” (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, “commonwealths” too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of “national defense,” “national security,” and maintaining “stability” in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.
Why should it be that in a climate that’s shifted so far to the right, that out of the morass that is contemporary Britain, there should emerge a politician who was shaped by and effectively still lives, in a world that no longer exists? It’s bizarre to say the least but how to explain it?
In modern times it may not even seem like an issue if a Christian can or cannot serve in the military, clearly Christians today and for many centuries do, so what would the issue be? On the other hand, anyone who has honestly read the gospels must recognize that the issue of violence is at the very least problematic in Jesus’s teachings. One would simply have to point to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38–47) or the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6:27–31), or his teaching on the one taking the sword dying by the sword (Matthew 26:52), to recognize that Jesus tended to reject violence.
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new 19-kilometer bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with mainland southern Russia. Thousands of kilometers away, in occupied Palestine, a massacre was being carried out by Israeli soldiers with full support of the United States as it opened a new embassy.