Sunday, April 3, 2011


The key to Quadragesimo Anno – Subsidiarity: (Comunidades Autonomous o Fascismo? Autonomous Communities OR Fascism)

“The supreme authority of the State ought, therefore, to let subordinate groups handle matters and concerns of lesser importance, which would otherwise dissipate its efforts greatly. Thereby the State will more freely, powerfully, and effectively do all those things that belong to it alone because it alone can do them; directing, watching, urging, restraining, as occasion requires and necessity demands. Therefore, those in power should be sure that the more perfectly a graduated order is kept among the various associations, in observance of the principle of ‘subsidiary function,’ the stronger social authority and effectiveness will be the happier and more prosperous the condition of the State.” Para. 80

Joanne and I have been in San Francisco for three months visiting our daughter and her family. We try to make ourselves useful by babysitting, but besides having fun with the kids we visit lots of new places and reminisce with old friends who happen to live here. We have a small apartment near our daughter two blocks from Mission Street – once part of the Camino Real.

You don’t hear much English spoken on Mission Street. The district where we live is called the ‘Outer Mission’ or ‘Excelsior’, former home of Jerry Garcia. Years ago it was an Italian neighborhood, but now it is mostly Asian and Latino. The young Chinese woman who runs the bakery on the corner speaks Cantonese, Spanish and English. We take our 20 month granddaughter Monique to a play school where her playmates are Chinese and Latino. They get along fine, all learning to speak English – including the parents. Monique has no problem responding to “Monica.” There are classes for the parents on family issues such as parenting and domestic violence. Parents and staff sympathize with us concerning our Wisconsin Walker problem as they also face budget cuts sponsored by the now neoliberal collaborator Jerry Brown.

Our 11 year old grandson Liam participated in a protest by his classmates to Brown’s budget cuts. The kids also wrote protest letters to Brown.

The ‘Mission’ is known for its murals. “Conscientizacion” through art (Community organizing through mural art) – a remembering, an awareness, a motivating force – an identity. For example, St. Peter’s Church has a mural two stories high called “500 years of Resistance.” It depicts heroes of the resistance: Bartolomé de las Casas, Oscar Romero, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez and others.

The resistance struggled against the Spanish “Conquista” - the age of colonialism; the beginning of exploitation and ‘culture theft’ by the Spanish monarchy and its emissaries. Next, the age of liberalism, exploitation by nationalistic European and U.S. capitalists, and now we have the age of neoliberalism – exploitation by capitalists in control of world financial institutions and supported by the U.S. military. Other murals show resistance in other parts of the world such as the Philippines and Nepal. Resistance to the U.S. neoliberal policy on immigration is also depicted on a mural. One mural reminded me that some Mayans were never conquered.

1931 Q.A. on liberalism:
“…and so it happened that the teaching of Leo XIII, so noble and lofty and so utterly new to worldly ears, was held suspect by some, even among Catholics, and to certain ones it even gave offense. For it boldly attacked and overturned the idols of Liberalism…” Para. 14

We visit with friends we knew in Bolivia some 40 years ago. We remember the Bolivian struggle and our part in the resistance. Joanne and I were married in Cochabamba and our daughter Dori was born there.

The great victory over neoliberalism in the year 2000 Water War took place in Cochabamba. Che Guevara had been in the area before he was murdered in 1967 on orders from the U.S. I remember a fellow Dominican priest telling us at a community meeting of the Friars in reference to the 1971 bloody grab of power by S.O.A. trained Hugo Banzer: “Bolivia is where communism was killed and buried.” I felt the brother was lost in his own head battles. Banzer’s governments provided a transfer from liberalism to neoliberalism; he was also president during the Water War. The S.O.A. headquarters in Columbus, GA display a picture of Banzer as one its honored former students.

Bolivian president and former labor leader, Evo Morales, has an acute awareness of current political reality. He prophesized to a large crowd celebrating the new Bolivian constitution in January, 2009: “I want you to know something, the colonial state ends here. Internal colonialism and external colonialism ends here. Sisters and brothers, neoliberalism ends here too.” (Dancing with Dynamite, Benjamin Dangl, 2010, AK PRESS)

Reflection and personal experience educated Morales. Resistance continues.

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