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Presidents

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Essay title: Presidents

Globalization as Colonization and Methods of Resistance and Transformation for the Church The following essay includes two sections. The first section relates the element of economic exploitation, identified earlier in discussions regarding the colonization of North America, to patterns of economic exploitation now emerging under the auspices of a global economy. The second section explores possible means for the church to resist and transform patterns of economic exploitation; including an evaluation of previous efforts by the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, and the possibility of future ecumenical action modeled on recent cross-boarder organizing efforts and trends toward localization. I The colonization of North America involved the economic exploitation of land, resources and people. Often the church colluded with the state and/or private capital in the colonization effort. For example, Tinker notes that the missionary efforts of Pierre-Jean De Smett facilitated the exploitation of natural resources and indigenous labor. While De Smett undoubtedly believed himself to be an instrument of God, his ties to the fur companies placed him on the front-line of capitalist expansion. In another example, Bonino identifies the "legitimizing and sacralizing" role that Christianity played in the "Spanish national-religious project." According to Bonino: "Class structure and land ownership (and the forms of consciousness corresponding to them) [were] incorporated into the world of sacred representation." In both cases religion functioned as a means for colonial powers. The collaboration of church, state and/or private capital is not restricted to North American colonization. Mugambi notes that in Africa south of the Sahara, "Missionaries followed and established mission stations which were to become the centers of the invading culture and points of contact with colonial administration." Similar to Tinker's assessment of De Smett, Mugambi argues that: The settlers and traders could then exploit the resources (both human and natural) for the benefit of the industries in Europe and North America. Interestingly, many of the colonies in Africa south of the Sahara started as properties granted to chartered corporations which were expected to exploit the resources for maximum profit. In central Africa, Mudimbe notes that Catholic missionaries from Belgium were responsible not only to Leopold II, but to Rome, as well. Consequently, argues Mudimbe, the Africans encountered an "essential axis" of power at which the political spoke with the "absolute truth" of the spiritual. Collusion between religion and colonizing forces is not restricted to the past. Tamez suggests that bible stories, such as the conquest of Canaan, which the Spanish employed to justify their American invasions, continue to inform rationalizations for invasion. For example, the 1988 invaders of Panama were described as "saviors" of the people. Similarly, the United States described its invasion of the Persian Gulf as an effort to "liberate" it. It is no accident that Mander employs the term "Manifest Destiny, modernized" to describe the patterns of economic exploitation emerging under the auspices of a global economy. John L. O'Sullivan coined the term 'manifest destiny' in 1845 in the wake of the US' invasion of Texas. The term implies today, as it did then, a divine sanctioning of colonial aspirations. However, Boff reminds readers that "the true God is the God justice and love." Consequently, the church "must denounce the use that is often made by many social systems of the Christian God and the Christian tradition." In short, the church must resist contributing to the manufacture of "rationalizations for a new kind of corporate colonialism, visited upon the poor countries and the poor in the rich countries." The 'corporate colonialism' described by Mander too often comes under the guise of international aid for development. Tinker notes that the aid packages provided by the colonial powers only "perpetuate poverty and the imbalance of power arrangements among states and peoples." In sum, international aid packages impose socioeconomic conditions, often through the International Monitory Fund and/or the World Bank, which turn recipient nations into contemporary, corporate-managed colonies. Advocates of this form of colonization employ the term 'development' to mask the imposition of "monoculture - the homogenization of culture, lifestyle, and level of technical immersion, with the corresponding dismantelment of local traditions and economies." Bonino identifies of the colonizing effect of Western style 'development' in Latin America in this statement: "Latin America suddenly realized that it had been incorporated into the modern world indeed,

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