Base Communities Essay Research Paper Christian Base

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Base Communities Essay, Research Paper Christian Base Communities Confront the Neo-Liberal Project by Juan Manuel Hurtado Juan Manuel Hurtado is a member of the theological commission of the Christian Base Communities of Mexico. This article appeared in Spanish in the July 1992 edition of Estudios Ecumenicos. After the fall of the socialist bloc and its opening to the market economy, it would appear that the only valid economic and political model of society left to the world is capitalism. Neo-liberalism (the present model of capitalism) grows stronger every day and allows the powerful to accumulate more wealth and power; it also generates hunger, misery, under-development and death in Third World countries. The law of the market, of competition, is the law of the survival

of the fittest. Wealthy corporations and technologically powerful nations join together to destroy their “enemies,” basing their actions on economic, political and even theological logic. From this perspective we may analyze the U.S. invasion of Panama, the Gulf war, the economic and political blockade of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, and the current blockade of Cuba. This is the absolute law of the Empire which excludes anyone outside of its reign, the law of the jungle which is directly opposed to any democratic aspiration or struggle for human rights. And as somebody has already warned: “If the law of the jungle rules, we are not the lion.” The number of poor people and the level of poverty is increasing throughout the world. In Latin America, governments

impose economic measures on the poor in accordance with the requirements of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and giant multinational corporations rather than responding to the needs of the impoverished majority. A good example of this subservience to the rich corporations is Mexico in its rush to pass laws to pave the way for establishing the Free Trade Agreement with the United States and Canada. Our cultures and our way of life have been inundated by consumer products promoted by the multinational corporations, which canonize technology and consumerism as the only model of society. This violates the cultural rights of our peoples, particularly people of indigenous or African descent, and the ways in which we express ourselves. If in the past gold was traded for glass

beads, today quality resources are traded for alcohol and Coca-Cola. A People in Resistance The failure of peoples of indigenous and African descent, farm workers and marginalized peoples in the cities to assimilate into the great neo-liberal project is characterized by governments today as nonconformity, backwardness, non-compliance with the economic and political strategies of the Nation, lack of understanding of the current economic model or separation from the “national project.” The legitimate organization of the people to defend their interests is seen as protest. The poor are only taken into account when their culture and their creativity become objects of consumption, when their hospitality and solidarity are noted, or when their cheap and docile labor is required.

When the poor take responsibility for their own lives, when they want to create their own social and economic project in accordance with their past, their interests and their possibilities, then the governments, the multinational corporations and the establishment press attack them. Our peoples are resisting, and struggling to survive and to move forward. Over the years the poor have responded to the assault of capitalism with suffering and with organization. They have known how to conserve the miracle of life. With ingenuity they have multiplied their bread to feed their children and unmask the death-dealing policies of the powerful for what they truly are. The 43,000 people who die of hunger each day in the world are both evidence of and an accusation against the evil of this