As you can see from the volume of news items this week, the Just Third Way is in no danger of a summer slowdown. Of course, we don’t want you to slow down, either, so be sure to pass this edition of News from the Network along to your network:
|Gene Gordon (center) manning his booth|
• Gene Gordon. Gene Gordon, a CESJ member and founder of Descendants of American Slaves for Economic and Social Justice (DAS/ESJ) based in North St. Louis, Missouri, reports that he is making headway reaching out to millennial leaders in his community. On Saturday, June 29, 2019, Gene organized and manned an informational booth at the Black Wall Street Festival hosted by Young Voices With Action. Working with CESJ, Gene developed a banner, posters and handouts that he used to present the ideas of the Citizens Land Development Cooperative (CLDC) and the Capital Homestead Account. His booth drew in many different people, including community and youth leaders. Braving high humidity and blazing sunshine for nearly seven hours, Gene answered a lot of questions by the almost constant stream of people visiting his booth. He especially stressed the need to go beyond “programs” to deal with consequences of poverty, and to “repair the system” in order to empower every person with capital ownership. Many people commented that they had never heard about CESJ’s ideas of the Just Third Way and Capital Homesteading for every citizen. Gene plans to follow-up with some of the people who showed strong interest, and organize to build community councils with citizen representatives of all ages. DAS/ESJ’s objective will be to build a base of people power to demand an expanded capital ownership redevelopment strategy and model CLDC. He also plans to set up his DAS/ESJ booth at other community gatherings – except this time he’s going to bring a tent. Those interested in helping Gene Gordon with his project in St. Louis can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Pope John Paul II, personalist philosopher|
• Economic Personalism. Work is nearing completion on a short book intended to introduce “economic personalism” to people interested in finding a Just Third Way solution to many of today’s problems that avoids the extremes of capitalism and socialism that concentrate power in the collective or a private sector élite, respectively, and that doesn’t fall into the trap of the Welfare/Servile State. By concentrating on presenting the philosophical foundations of the Just Third Way and avoiding technical details that might obscure the main point, the book — actually a longish pamphlet — could be a useful tool in advancing the cause of economic justice for all. (By the way, for those interested in the technical details, a bibliography and resource guide is planned, as well as suggested questions for discussion.) Although the book was requested specifically for members of the Catholic clergy and hierarchy, it is written from a natural law, interfaith perspective that will make it accessible to people of other faiths and philosophies. We plan on pricing the book to sell at $10 retail ($7 wholesale, plus shipping), and will be taking a very low margin, just enough to cover costs. We will also be actively seeking the help of the CESJ network as well as friends and supporters to market it when it is published.
|Father William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D.|
• Other CESJ Publications. Work is also advancing on other CESJ publishing projects, notably What Happened to Social Justice, and a compendium of the shorter writings of CESJ co-founder Father William J. Ferree, S.M., Ph.D. The former is a historical overview of the development of the concept of social justice from the earliest days, with a special emphasis on what happened in the early nineteenth century with the rise of socialism, modernism, and New Age thought and how it has affected how people today understand social justice. The latter includes Father Ferree’s Introduction to Social Justice (1948), Discourses on Social Charity (1966), and some pithy and rather acerbic commentary on what became the U.S. Bishops’ pastoral on the economy, Economic Justice for All (1986), published the year after Father Ferree’s death, and the year before CESJ presented elements of the Just Third Way to Pope Saint John Paul II, receiving His Holiness’s personal encouragement for our work.
• Other Publications from the Network. In the “Better Late Than Never” Department, Dr. Robert A. Gervasi, president of Dominican University of Ohio, sent us a copy of an article he published in 1995, “Toward a New Economic Ideology” (Sapem, June 1995, 39-41.) The article focuses on the well-intentioned but often misdirected efforts of politicians in developing countries (or anywhere else, for that matter) to reach goals that, within the wrong (i.e., non-Just Third Way) paradigm are not merely incompatible, but actually contradictory. Noting in his cover letter that, sadly, nothing had changed in the past quarter century, Gervasi wrote, “The ideology of technology rightly emphasizes the benefits of the information age, but it minimizes its adverse effects on employment as sophisticated machines make manual labour increasingly redundant. It is contradictory for politicians to proclaim, as twin economic goals, the pursuit of advanced technology and increased employment. By its very nature as non-human capital, technology does not promote but undermines the creation of employment.” (p. 40.) Clearly, politicians will have to adopt a new way of thinking (which Father Ferree pointed out is often the hardest part of social justice) before any real progress can be made. Gervasi opined that a national mutual fund could be of benefit to spread out capital ownership. We agree, depending on the specific circumstances, although a number of advances have been made in expanded ownership technologies over the last twenty-four years that might be more feasible — especially given the temptation that such a fund would represent to politicians! (It’s astonishing how easily politicians find ways to take over financial machinery to their benefit, from the Duc d’Orleans hijacking John Law’s Mississippi project in the early eighteenth century, to FDR bringing the Federal Reserve under the penumbra — what a useful word! — of the federal government in the 1930s.)
• International Outreach. This past week we connected with Binu Bosco, who teaches economics in Kerala State, India. Binu, who also has a post graduate degree in sociology (very useful in reaching an understanding of the Just Third Way), has also signed up to receive the daily blog postings by email, which can be done by signing up on this blog by putting your email into the box to the upper right. (Note: this does NOT add you to the CESJ emailing list, which is kept completely separate; this ONLY gets you whatever is posted on the blog, as they are two separate systems. When we get the newsletter restarted, if you want to receive it and other CESJ emailings, you will have to add yourself to that email list separately. Yes, it’s a pain for those who want both, but preferable for those who just want the blog postings and nothing more.)
|John Henry Newman, reluctant convert?|
• John Henry Newman. Rumor has it that John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), whom the Catholic Church regards as a “beatus” or “blessed,” one step away from official recognition as a saint, may be canonized later this year. (N.B.: “Canonization” does not mean the Catholic Church makes someone a saint — that would be impossible — but that there is sufficient evidence to justify adding someone to the official list or “canon” of people whom the Church certifies are in Heaven, hence “canonization.”) So what has this got to do with an interfaith think tank like CESJ? Actually, a great deal. Newman’s “idea of a university” fits almost perfectly with CESJ’s concept of “Justice University.” According to Newman, a university should not be a job training center, but help people develop more fully as virtuous human beings. What is particularly interesting is that overlooked evidence has come to light concerning Newman’s “shocking” conversion from the Anglican Church to Catholicism. People today cannot truly comprehend the earthquake Newman’s conversion sent throughout the world; he was the leading intellectual light of the Church of England, and to many people personified the Anglican Communion as revived by the Oxford Movement. Biographies of Newman portray him as either a traitor to the Church of England, or a “crypto-Catholic” all along, finally realizing it in time to go where his true allegiance lay. A new reading of the situation in light of his relationship with his brother Charles, who was a follower of the socialist Robert Owen, and the activities of the “New Christians” (socialists and modernists) in the 1830s and 1840s (which inspired Charles Kingsley’s vicious attack on Newman twenty years later) suggests, rather, that Newman was absolutely loyal to the Church of England until its leaders and the major parties in the Church of England forced him to confront the fact that the Church of England and the Church of Rome could not both be right. When the Church of England insisted on giving official sanction to socialism, modernism, and New Age thought, Newman — to his horror — was forced to accept the conclusion that by his own line of reasoning the Church of England was wrong, and the Church of Rome was right. One of the things tearing apart the “Church of Rome” today is the irony that so many Catholics are insisting on following the same route that drove Newman out of the Church of England.
• Hong Kong and the Just Third Way. During the recent protests in Hong Kong, leaders of the pro-democracy movement were presented with the ideas of economic personalism. One of the members of the movement organized a brief symposium in which a member of CESJ Australasia explained the importance of expanded capital ownership from the moral as well as the economic point of view — the same thing, really, for economics as a social science must be consistent with the natural law or it becomes anti-human.
• CESJ Team Australasia. Also during the protests, members of CESJ Australasia participated in peaceful demonstrations in Western Australia promoting solidarity. The team spoke to students and immigrants from Hong Kong about economic justice and the Kelso paradigm. The team also had private discussions with student leaders. Some of the participants expressed interest in a “Justice University” course to present a more comprehensive picture of the Just Third Way.
• Contact in Brazil. CESJ Australasia also reached two members of the Brazilian Senate. One of the senators talked to the team on two occasions. The other one has been investigating the Just Third Way for some time. He is preparing for a possible trip to the United States which would include a meeting with CESJ in Arlington.
• The Subversive Just Third Way? We thought we had it bad in the United States, with academics and Church people ignoring us, blocking us on social media, spreading calumny, or running the other way when they see us coming. We have it pretty good compared to what is going on in China. A professor at one of the universities in Beijing who is a supporter of the Just Third Way appears to have taken an unannounced sabbatical, whereabouts unknown, after he organized a seminar on the basics of economic personalism for his students. According to friends, the professor was “disappeared” (a euphemism for being illegally arrested) some time between June 28 and 29. Some of the students were also arrested.
• Just Third Way Seminars. CESJ Australasia organized three discussions in Western Australia in June for leaders and those interested in social justice. The meetings were the beginning of an educational effort on economic personalism. Plans are to hold further sessions periodically.
• German Outreach. CESJ Australasia has shared information about economic personalism with a representative of the SPD, Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, the German Green Party. Two members of the Party are planning an informational meeting and discussion for party youth groups. A member of the European Parliament from the SPD has become a supporter of the Just Third Way. This is significant, because the SPD has made tremendous gains in the last couple of years, becoming the single most powerful party in Germany, largely in reaction against Angela Merkel’s Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands (CDU), the interfaith successor of the old Catholic Center Party (Deutsche Zentrumspartei), which destroyed itself by joining the coalition granting emergency dictatorial powers to Hitler following the Reichstag fire. (Hitler used his power to make the Nazi Party the only legal one in Germany.)
• Shop online and support CESJ’s work! Did you know that by making your purchases through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon will make a contribution to CESJ? Here’s how: First, go to https://smile.amazon.com/. Next, sign in to your Amazon account. (If you don’t have an account with Amazon, you can create one by clicking on the tiny little link below the “Sign in using our secure server” button.) Once you have signed into your account, you need to select CESJ as your charity — and you have to be careful to do it exactly this way: in the space provided for “Or select your own charitable organization” type “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington.” If you type anything else, you will either get no results or more than you want to sift through. Once you’ve typed (or copied and pasted) “Center for Economic and Social Justice Arlington” into the space provided, hit “Select” — and you will be taken to the Amazon shopping site, all ready to go.
• Blog Readership. We have had visitors from 31 different countries and 47 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past week. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Brazil and Spain. The most popular postings this past week in descending order were “America Delenda Est?” “Mortimer Adler: Intellect Mind Over Matter, I & II,” “The Four Faces of Socialism: The Abolition of Private Ownership,” “News from the Network, Vol. 12, No. 26,” and “An Unexpected Renaissance.”
Those are the happenings for this week, at least those that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we’ll see that it gets into the next “issue.” Due to imprudent language on the part of some commentators, we removed temptation and disabled comments.