Sunday, September 29, 2013

 

Blood for Oil

Evo Morales calls out Obama for crimes against humanity.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

 

Gospel of Damnation

Evangelicals -- Protestant Christians including both Fundamentalists and Pentecostals -- are self-described as "born again." The term evangelical literally means gospel or good news, which Evangelicals actively spread near and far. While some Evangelicals limit their evangelism to spreading the news of salvation, others spread the gospel of damnation. While Fundamentalists are frequently racist and homophobic, Pentecostals usually reject racism, but are split over homophobia.

Evangelism, racism and homophobia, of course, are found in most Christian denominations to some degree. Christian missionaries, by definition, assume the arrogant position that non-believers are wrong, and that they have been sent by God to convert them--to make them right. This evangelism has caused severe divisions, resulting in cultural disintegration of Indigenous societies, as well as sociopolitical upheaval--especially in Latin America and Africa.

13% of all Christians are Evangelicals, 29% of which are found in the United States, followed by Brazil at 26%. What distinguishes the "born again," perhaps, is their religious fervor, what sometimes characterizes the charismatic movement. Among the Evangelical churches in Africa, Pentecostal charismatics are prominent. In Uganda, American Pentecostals were behind the movement to enact laws making homosexuality punishable by death.

While nominally not racist, Pentecostals are often involved in holy wars against atheistic forces of evil. To some Pentecostals, this includes deists and Indigenous peoples, who believe in a divine spirit but not the Christian gospel. In places like Guatemala, where the Pentecostal Evangelical President Efrain Rios Montt led a thirty-year civil war against the Indigenous Mayans, holy war can become genocide.

To be fair, Evangelicals can be either liberal or conservative, their fervent activism being the trait they share in common. Religious Right Evangelicals in America are perhaps best known for backing the election of Ronald Reagan, the ideological icon of privatization. It is these Evangelicals that are known for seeking a privileged position for Christianity in public affairs.

The motivation for Pentecostalism is the belief in the Second Coming of Christ, which lends an urgency to their Evangelical mission. While evangelism of other Christian denominations is also aimed at conversion, Pentecostalism is distinguished by its active involvement in political campaigns to smite heathens. At its worst, Pentecostalism can constitute a Christian jihad, based on satanic panic, rooted in spiteful piety.

In America, this piety derives from a fusing of the Puritan tradition and the Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th centuries. The dynamism of the Evangelical movement makes it a formidable foe.

Friday, September 20, 2013

 

Cleaning Brand Obama

Jim Lobe's article on rapidly escalating U.S. militarization of Latin America is valuable in illuminating the nature of the U.S. military as an industry unresponsive to international and even domestic law, but that said, Lobe's failure to challenge the false image of the Obama Administration as progressive on human rights brands him as an apologist. Having lifted the ban on U.S. support to Indonesia's military death squads now on a rampage of murder in West Papua, Obama needs apologists to keep his brand clean. Liberals like Lobe seem eager to oblige.

Friday, September 06, 2013

 

Degrees of Evil: Savoring the nuances of co-optation

Mind games of the non-profit industrial complex aren't hard to decipher; the gullible simply have to decide they no longer want to be coddled by bromides, no longer treated as infantile consumers of spectacle. Once they reach the point of being skeptical, the charades of capitalist activism come clearly into view.

Spectacle celebrities like Naomi Klein, while raising valid (albeit hypocritical) criticism of the complex, count on infantile consumers to maintain their activist credentials. Serving as proxies for consumer rage, yet asking nothing serious of them as citizens, makes these capitalist activists popular and profitable PR puppets. (I especially love Ms. No Logo's logos.)

When Klein cuddled up to assimilated indigenous activist Arthur Manuel on the celebrity panel at the Idle No More conference, she was branding Manuel with the approval of the heavyweight philanthropies behind her. Manuel, already co-opted by Ford Foundation through the Seventh Generation Fund, has wisely chosen not to sell out directly like Rebecca Adamson of First Peoples Worldwide.

Using philanthropic cutouts to maintain plausible deniability of co-optation, while strategically clever, however, is not immune from exposure by those willing to look. Once those masquerading as agents for change are revealed, non-profits like 350 dot org are seen for what they really are.

While these charades might seem harmless to naive consumers of the non-profit spectacle, they unfortunately interfere with the ability of authentic activists and indigenous governing authorities to successfully challenge Wall Street and the modern states it has corrupted. When PR puppets -- indigenous or otherwise -- dominate social media, both the infantile and the skeptical are led astray.

Chutzpah personified would be Naomi Klein — board member of 350 dot org — talking about Big Green opportunism. I guess that’s why elites like Rockefeller fund it.

As for scams, it’s hard to imagine a more losing strategy than the 350 dot org fossil fuel divestment campaign. I mean, shifting university shares in oil companies to Wall Street is hardly going to improve corporate behavior.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

 

People Land Truth 2013

PLT 2013, a special publication of Intercontinental Cry Magazine, is now available in digital and print formats.

 

Anomie

On the eve of destruction of Damascus, Jason C. Bivins writes on religious enthusiasm, the public imagination and the American apocalyptic. As prelude to the second coming, says Bivin, the emotional resonance and exclusive certitudes of the End Times mediasphere certify only one thing: anomie.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

 

Constraining Hate

How to constrain hate campaigns is the subject of a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. While the ruling regarding Hungarian fascist associations and their threatening behavior toward Roma (Gypsies) is not an indigenous issue, it contains discussion applicable to hate crimes and hate campaigns against indigenous peoples. As I noted in my comment on the article at Minorities in Focus, outlawing threatening behavior, be it in print or on the street, seems more effective than banning associations or political parties. Seizing financial assets involved in promoting hate crimes thus becomes a useful deterrent, justified as a response to unlawful rather than merely offensive behavior.

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