Friday, 11 November 2011 13:11
The protestors that are camping on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and on the streets of cities around the world are part of a protest movement that hungers and thirsts for justice and equality and an end to corruption. It began in Spain a year ago when the central plaza was occupied. That sparked the Chilean student sit-ins in Santiago demanding justice in education and then came the "Occupy Wall St." protest in Manhattan against the corrupt bankers and global financial manipulators. The inequality and ever widening gap between the poor and rich in developed and poor nations is the root of the problem. It always has been especially since the globalization of trade and neo-liberal capitalism, that is, business without a conscience, took over the world.
New sit-down and 'occupy' protest grups are springing up around the world to protest and change this. It is a reawakening or a continuation of a world-wide protest movement that began twenty years ago in the "March Against Poverty, Make Poverty History" campaigns that called for justice and debt forgiveness for poor nations. These young generations of protesters are not marching; they are sitting down and refuse to move. They are inspiring millions to act for justice and that gladdens the hearts of all who have worked all their lives to bring about global equality. The spirit lives on, the hope remains, the love of justice will overcome evil.
The protesters are expressing the worldwide disgust with corrupt politicians of the G20 nations who made promises to end poverty and suffering but did not keep them. Famine grips East Africa, food prices soar, the US oil giants are turning corn into ethyl-alcohol to fuel more cars instead of providing food for the hungry. Sex slavery thrives and human trafficking continues with impunity. The millennium goals to reduce poverty and disease and increase education will not be met. These are the challenges that must be confronted.
The Middle East is in protest and rebellion too against tyrants and their backers. some have won liberation. These are great signs of hope yet thousands have been killed in Syria as the people demand freedom.
The resurgence of that voice of compassion for the poor and the demand for global social justice and is once again challenging those most responsible for world hunger and inequality, namely the super rich bankers, currency manipulators and corrupt politicians. Nothing new in that line up of suspects but what's new is the globalization of the protest.
Thanks to the internet and web sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, the protest action is relayed around the world in a flash. The demand for a "Robin Hood" Tax is gaining worldwide popular support by which every large scale global financial transaction will pay a tax to fight global poverty, hunger and disease. It is opposed by the money moguls of Manhattan, the wizards of Wall Street that make pension funds and taxpayers money disappear into their pockets – a conjuring act of global proportions.
The "occupiers" want radical change, a peaceful revolution that will change how the world economy is managed and structured. They are calling for an end to elitist crony capitalism and a structural change so that economic power and wealth is more democratically shared and regulated and not concentrated in the hands of a greedy elite of billionaires who buy elections, and fix the legal and trading system in their favor and exclude the majority.
This is best illustrated in the way the ruling elite of the Philippines (where I have worked for forty years), are grabbing the mineral rich lands of the indigenous tribal Filipinos for destructive open-pit mining. They do it in partnership with multinational mining and investment corporations and because their family members, relatives and cronies are the lawmakers, justices, enforcers and bankers the get away with it.
The local elite in pseudo-democracies get their relatives or friends in government to approve loans of foreign borrowings or tax payers' money (seldom repaid) sign environmental clearances and mining permits. They bypass requirements like community acceptance and eliminate opponents and proceed to devastate the land with open-pit mining, the result is flooding, toxic waste, logging and land slides on ancestral lands.
Italian Missionary Father Fausto Tentorio in Mindanao and many more journalists, environmentalists, priests and pastors, have been killed for speaking out and opposing the corrupt system. There is no greater love than this than to give their lives for others. They are the true courageous Christians and while they die for the farmers and the forests, for the poor and the oppressed people those protesting in the plazas or on the footpaths are united in the same just cause. We too are part of this work for justice through prayer, action and giving support.
By Father Shay Cullen
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